How not to catch a firewood thief

I had the pleasure of getting a haircut from Norman Millette during my lunch break today down at his Congress Street barber shop. I assume everybody knows of Norman, but just in case, he’s been running his shop for 55-plus years now, and has trimmed the locks of the late movie star and Bette Davis beau Gary Merrill, among many others.

Anyway, Norman’s always good for a story. He told me that, back in the 50s, a friend was convinced someone was stealing logs off his wood pile at his camp on Little Ossipee Lake. To find the culprit, Norman drilled a hole in one of the logs and packed it with gunpowder, then waited.

Sure enough, Norman said, a few weeks later, some local teens were having a bonfire nearby and kaboom! The volunteer fire department rolled in to find the young partiers covered head-to-toe in soot and somewhat embarrassed, but otherwise no worse for wear.

Culprits caught, soot-handed. And that’s why you don’t cross Norman.

(Note: I do not recommend packing your firewood with gunpowder. Don’t play with explosives. They’re dangerous and could get somebody hurt or destroy property.)

And now some news of the day.

What we’re talking about

Justin Alfond won’t run for governor. The former state senate president and prominent owner of Bayside Bowl here in Portland officially pulled his name out of the running to represent the Democrats on the gubernatorial ballot next year. He’d been one of a number of noteworthy Dems who’d been rumored to be interested. Click here to see who’s in the race so far.

In the meantime, Paul LePage is still governor. And he’s still doing things like telling lawmakers he’s leaving town for 10 days during a government shutdown, then crying “fake news” when the media reports that he’s telling lawmakers he’s leaving town for 10 days during a government shutdown.

Live lobster roll action  — On Saturday, Thompson’s Point is ground zero for Downeast’s Lobster Roll Fest. The new bash is essentially a lobster roll rumble with a ton of family friendly activity tucked in for good measure. In the VIP tent, chefs from Maine’s supreme spots such as The Clam Shack in Kennebunk and Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co. duke it out with counterparts from Utah (please) and even Los Angeles (right). Follow Kathleen Pierce from inside the tent live on BDN Portland’s Facebook page to find out who rolls the best. The fest goes from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Tickets, $10, are still available for general admission. For every lobster roll sold, a portion goes to the Maine Lobstermen Community Alliance, so it’s all good!

Do you have $8 million kicking around? Check the couch cushions. I’ll wait. … No? Well, you’ll probably want to pass on this “magical island kingdom” that’s for sale now in Casco Bay. The Forecaster reports that the 86-acre Hope Island — complete with its 11,000-plus-square-foot mansion, barn, tavern, private chapel, boat house and 11,000 feet of shoreline — is on the market now that wealthy developer John Cacoulidis has decided he’s done with it.

The Old Port Half Marathon is tomorrow morning, so expect some roads to be blocked off to accommodate runners. Click here for turn-by-turn race directions, whether you plan to run or plan to be driving in the area.

Tweet of the day

From the National Weather Service:

The Big Idea

Your corduroy pants could be the next power plant. There’s a pickup line in here somewhere, I just know it. Scientists are trying to harvest the power of static electricity, even at its smallest levels, saying that a small hand-sized static electricity device made from paper can generate enough voltage to recharge your watch, a remote control or maybe even a small medical device.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email us at or, or tweet @SethKoenig or @JZBleiberg.

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