Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 2012. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My Photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and an '86 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of '97 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 25 years--we're recyclers. I've published 2 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), and THE O'BRIENS (2012), and 2 collections of stories NIGHT DRIVING (1987), and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my book stuff at www.peterbehrens.org I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'll be teaching at Colorado College and Wichita State in 2013-14.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mermaid in Center Harbor

Mermaid was built in Florida in the 1940s. Built for fast, smooth runs to Havana and the Bahamas.

1958 Lincoln Premiere and the Living Garage

                                                                                                                 from plan 59

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Cars: the 1963 Pontiac Bonneville

This car lives in Blue Hill. A one-family car for 51 years. Restored 25 years ago. Runs great.
I've always has a thing for Pontiacs. Wrote an essay called Love Cars exploring why. And 1956-64 Pontiacs especially. Have a look at some of these Poncho posts on Autoliterate:


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Japanese Teenagers, Eliot Cutler, Franco-Maine, & The Blue Hill Fair

If you read E.B. White's Charlotte's Web as a kid, or read it to your kid, you already know something about the Blue Hill Fair, which happens on Labor Day Weekend. Maine's largest pig and largest cow are usually on display. Some of Maine's largest people too. Apart from  agricultural exhibits and the draft horse pulling competition, which are wonderful, there's a tawdry midway, and dozens of booths selling fried, wildly overpriced food. Kids of a certain age love the fayuh but the whole operation feels like a scam to me. The last time I remember money pouring out so fast was an afternoon walking around Paris. Eliot Cutler, the "Independent" candidate for Maine governor, was trolling the Fair, doing the meet & greet. He's a smart and accomplished man, but I'm afraid he's going to do the same thing he did 4 years ago--by splitting the Democrat vote he could throw the race to our Tea Party Gov, Paul Lepage. Lepage is a smart pol but wildly unthoughtful, with a lot of terrible instincts.  It's painful to watch a man as intelligent as Lepage willing himself into ignorance. It's all about anger, I guess. Some of it ethnic. There's a lot of buried anger in Franco-Maine. See my post on Biddeford. Lepage is from Lewiston, another Canadien mill town with some bad memories.  Anyway, here in North Brooklin we're hoping Mike Michaud, who has been our (Democrat) Congressman for the 2nd District, wins the governorship in November.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The 1962 Pontiac Bonneville and Parnelli Jones' 1964 Mercury Marauder

Never much liked what people think of as classic cars of the Fifties, the chrome beasts of '55-58.  Four years of chrome-laden slag mobiles, with certain beautiful exceptions--I always liked '57 Plymouths and '57 Fords. But 1958 in almost anything was a pretty horrible nadir. Actually the 1958 Chevrolet and Pontiacs were nice-looking, but 1958 Buicks? '58 Oldsmobiles? Depraved monsters of chrome.Then came '59--wow. Especially the GMs. Even Buick and Olds became beautiful, strange cars in 1959. 1959 to '65 are, for me, the great years for American cars. But so many car guys of an older generation got stuck in a 1950s time warp. Nostalgia---the word seems almost specific in our culture to Fifties-yearning. "Fifties" as a concept started in 1972, with Lucas'  American Graffiti--or maybe in 1969, with Sha-na-na,  and hasn't let up. Especially here on the East Coast, where a lot of small town car shows are still dominated by Tri-5 Chevys with their Chinese sheet metal and fuzzy dice, while the fairground sound system blasts tiresome 'classic' rock 'n roll, etc. 
If I were to get into cars--as opposed to old trucks-- it would be machines like the 1962 Pontiac Bonneville above, found on autospeed.
Or Parnelli Jones’ Mercury Marauder, here heading for the clouds at Pike’s Peak, 1964. (Image via Axis of Oversteer. I found it on Four Lean Hounds.)

The 1951 International Harvester L-130: Moutarde Saskois

 From Alex Emond, in south Saskatchewan:
"Here is that older International, warts and all, up in Kyle. There was no one home, not surprising on the August long weekend. So I was able to take some pictures. The interior is pretty tight and functional, nice bench seat. I'll be out that way again. What shade of mustard would you say that is--Grey Poupon?"---AE

Thursday, August 28, 2014

David Yezzi poem: Café Future

Café Future

The bunting they put out for the grand opening
never got put away, so every day

looks as if it might be opening day.
You inquire if Café Future carries pie,

and sure enough it’s right there on the menu.
A piece of rhubarb and black coffee, please.

The pie tastes like you’d hoped it would, but sweeter.
And though you’re wary of newfangledness,

you’ve never had a piece of pie this good.
You think you’ll make the Future your new place.

The long counter’s reflected in plate glass,
where sunlight pours in from the parking lot,

and the guy who’s looking back at you is you
and not quite you. The morning rush is over.

The chrome gleams with a perfect gleaminess.
The waitress’s smile lets you know she agrees.

It makes you want to stay and eat more pie.
She comes by, young-looking, like her own daughter,

and whisks your plate away. Another slice.
I know I really shouldn’t. Just one more.

That’s fine with her, she says. She’s on a double
and happy to bring you pie all day long.
                                                               --David Yezzi 

(The poem first appeared in smithsonian.com. By permission of the author here.)