Daily Blog 
     Tiger Software

                             July 4,   2007

The Maine I Remember
             and Some Down-East Humor
   William Schmidt,     - Tiger Software's Creator
   (C) 2007 William Schmidt, Ph. D.  -
   All Rights Reserved. 

   No reproductions of this blog or quoting from it
   without explicit written consent by its author is

   Send any comments or questions
   to william_schmidt@hotmail.com

   ever made. 

    July 4, 2007  

      "Have you lived here all your life?" Answer: "Not yet."

     I got a very nice note from a customer in Maine.  He said he liked my blog and the jokes
     I passed along.  That made my day and made me think of Maine.  On this day of Independence,
     I think it's good to think back over what is special about America.

     And I realize I love Maine, at least as I have idealized it, having only seen it in the summer
     and mostly in my youth. Even now I remember driving up from Boston and excitedly crossing the
     state line.  .This is what I saw.

sunset.gif (234781 bytes)

      Of course, I never had to put up with the cold Winters and engines that would not start,
  or the back-breaking task of making a living there, far away from big cities. But I love Maine:
  from the the first clam bake and juicy lobster, to the the scenic Bar Harbor ferry rise, the epoch
  fifteen minute struggle to land the 5 pound,  21" small-mouth bass I caught on a 'flatfish" lure

  maine.gif (39833 bytes)

  which I was trolling 150 feet behind my canoe in the middle of Pocamoonshine Lake.
  And how I remember the invigorating 58 degree ocean swim in July to a Maine tidal island.  .   

  And I think of the start of Longfellow's poem, Evangeline:
                            "This is the forest primeval.
                              The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
                              Bearded with moss, and in garments green,
                              indistinct in the twilight."

I think of such creative "Mainers", like John Ford the film director,  
   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poet from Portland,
   Stephen King writer, from Portand and now lives in Bangor,
   Edna St. Vincent Millay poet and  Walter Piston composer, Rockland.

Down-East humor

Then there's Down-East humor.  A recurrent theme is the country "bumpkin"
   who must fend off the arrogance of an often pompous urbanite, often from Boston.
   For example, a tourist  pulls up in his shiny BMW and shouts to the fellow in
   front of the general store, "How do you get to Bangor?"  The Mainer replies:
   "My father takes me."  Or if he's feeling a little onery, after an overlong silence,
   the Mainer replies,  "Can't get there from here.", meaning that no matter how hard
   he tries, the tourist will never see and feel things as a Mainer would. (Maine humor
   is more subtle.)

      Another tourist came along and asks for directions to Sugarloaf, the ski area.
   The Mainer answers,  "Go down the road a mile, and turn left at the store and stop there". 
   The tourist replies, "Wow. It's that close?".  "No." says the Mainer with a pause for
   a couple of seconds,  "But they sell  maps there."

    The Maine Farmer and the Trooper

An old Maine farmer got pulled over by a Maine State trooper for speeding.

The trooper started to lecture the farmer about his speed and in general, began to throw his
weight around to try to make the farmer uncomfortable.

Finally, the trooper got around to writing out the ticket. As he was doing it, he kept swatting
at some flies that were buzzing around his head.

The farmer said, "Havin' some problems with circle flies there, are Ya?"

The trooper stopped writing the ticket and said--"Well, yeah, if that's what they are--
I never heard of circle flies ."

So the old Maine farmer says, "Well, circle flies are common on farms. See, they're called
circle flies 'cause they're almost always found circlin' around the back end of a horse.

The trooper says, "Oh," and goes back to writing the ticket.

Then after a minute he stops and says, "Hey...wait a minute, are you trying to call me a horse's ass?"

The farmer says, "Oh no, officer. I have too much respect for law enforcement and police
officers to even think about calling you a horse's ass."

The trooper says, "Well, that's a good thing," and goes back to writing the ticket.

After a long pause, the farmer says, "Hard to fool them flies, though."

                                                     Bert and I

       I think of the "Bert and I" recordings I used to listen to. Interestingly, these were
   made by twoYale students who were not from Maine. But they capture the spirit
   and I love the exaggerated accent.  Get them at http://www.bertandi.net/
   Listen to the comedy of Bob Marley.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Marley_%28comedian%29

      As you may know, I love accents.  I grew up in southern Ohio, and used to hitch-hike home
   from schools.  I found that if I talked more like the person picking me up, I could often get them
   to drive me closer to where I wanted to go.  That's where I learned my twang for Hank Williams
   songs.  I can do quite a few accents.  Of couse,  I like  a   "Downeast Accent".  You can read more
   about this below and from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_accent    

                  Downeast Accent

  • Words that end in "er" are pronounced with "ah" at the end; i.e. Mainer = Mainah, far = fah, etc. 
    Drop-R  ...Denerally, the the Maine accent exhibits drop-R phonetics, but is not the case for every occurrence
    of the letter 'R.' For example, 'murdered' could be pronounced 'murdihd,' where the second 'r' and the past tense
    are merged together. This is dependent on how thick the speaker's accent is. Another variation is 'murdehd.'

    Drop-R typically is not used if a 'u' precedes the 'r.' For example, 'further' can be pronounced as 'furthah,' while
    'farther' can be pronounced 'fahthah,' eliminating both instances of 'r.' This is not the case if the '-ur' occurs at the
    end of the spoken word. 'Wilbur' would be pronounced 'Wilbah' or 'Wilber,' with heavy emphasis on pronouncing
    the '-er' such as it were spelled 'Wilbr.'

  • Words that end in "a" are often pronounced with "er" at the end; i.e. California becomes Californier, idea becomes idear, etc. 
  • Drop the "g" in all words ending in "ing." stopping and starting = stoppin' and stahtin', etc. (No g sound is actually dropped, as none is present in such words in General American. Rather the sound of the final consonant is changed from a velar nasal to an alveolar nasal, which is the normal sound for n. See G-dropping.)
  • Broaden all "a" and "e" sounds; i.e. calf becomes cahf, bath becomes bahth, etc.
  • Drag out most one-syllable words into two syllables; i.e. there becomes they-uh, here becomes hee-ah, etc.

   Do you know these words?  

  • Apiece: Some distance, sometimes a segment of time.
  • Bug: Lobster.
  • Finest kind: The very best around, also a drug reference.
  • Car: An automobile.
  • Dite: A small amount.
  • Flatlandah: Someone "from away" (or from the "flatlands", specifically referring to nearby Southern New England and urbanized states like Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, etc.)
  • Gahwd: God.
  • Gawmy: Awkward or clumsy.
  • Irregardless: Regardless, with a Maine twist
  • Numbin' 'round / dubbin' aroun': Hanging out, not doing anything important
  • Prayer Handle: Knee. (rare)
  • Scrid: A tiny piece of something.
  • Scridgens: Many tiny pieces or remnants of
  • Figger: Figure, as in "'ow do you figger"
  • The County: Referring to Aroostook County
  • idn't: isn't
  • wadn't: wasn't
  • Maineson/Dixon line: Colloquial/jokingly, a line of latitude drawn through Bangor (rhymes with Al Gore in the North, South dropped 'r'). Used to demonstrate supposed "real Maine" and "North Massachusetts" in a general manner. Many Northern residents sense a separation of culture from Southern Maine, as many people are moving in from away.
  • tater/dader/budader: potato
  • beans: sweet baked beans, also: medicine/pills, sometimes testicles.
  • beanhole baked beans: beans baked in a hole full of coals. This is a popular pastime and community event in The County.
  • goowud: good   

    Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July.

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