Live Free or Die (And Other New England Oddities)

Friday, April 22, 2011

I've been keeping a running mental list that I thought it was time to put to paper blog. I like to call it "Reasons Why New England is Really Freaking Weird."
  1. When you order from a Starbucks, the barista asks if it's "for here or to take away." This seriously happens at nearly all coffee shops, as far as I can tell, & it isn't limited to one or two employees. I'd like to note that "to go" is a full two syllables shorter. And also way more normal.

  2. Billboards are illegal in Maine. Don't get me wrong, I'm no slave to the advertiser, but... dude, illegal? Not just... regulated, or something? It seems Maine is quite insistent on reminding you that they really are stuck in times past.

  3. New Hampshire's state motto is "Live free or die." While I'm told this is an abbreviated version of Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death," I find it to also be the tackier, more hillbilly version, perhaps because the license plates that bear it are so often attached to cars bearing gun racks & Truck Nuts.

  4. The accents, you guys. OH, GOD, THE ACCENTS. I know I've said it before, but I have a new observation: It seems particularly cruel/questionable that the MBTA named its quick-fare card the CharlieCard, as both of these words exemplify the best/worst (depending on your perspective) of Boston-area accents. Say it out loud. Yeah, I told you so.

  5. I live down the road from a place called Carl's Meat Market. And really, I think this point stands alone.

  6. The art of taxidermy is alive & well here. I swear a full post is coming on the bizarre glory that is the Kittery Trading Post, but for now, this picture should give you a feel for what that post will entail:

  7. My Congressional Representative sucks. I was so happy living in BettySuttonLand, a bastion of longtime allegiance to the Democratic party. I could count on the reliably progressive Rep. Sutton to regularly vote in alignment with my decidedly liberal views. But now? Now I get Rep. Frank Guinta, a virulent anti-choicer who supports extending Bush-era tax cuts & the U.S. pulling out on the United Nations. Oh, hey, crazy.

  8. Everyone is a terrible driver. Yes, everyone. But no, not me. Like today: I drove past a parked car whose driver decided to pull out right then but lay on the horn at me for having the audacity to, like, be driving. And then she followed me & gave me the finger for a good 15 seconds. I repeat: Oh, hey, crazy.
I wanted to come up with 10, but these eight feel pretty solid. Plus, I plan to do a "Things That Don't Necessarily Suck About New England" post sometime in the near future, too, & God knows I won't be able to come up with 10 for that one, so I'll keep it fair & balanced. I am the Fox News of blogging, I know.


  1. "Take away" was a term I discovered in London. They laughed at me when I tried to order something "to go." I still don't think Starbucks should use this term!

    Billboards are also illegal here in Alaska, and taxidermy is alive and well here too (pun intended).


  2. These make me want to visit and see/hear them in person, but then come right on back to California.

    Maybe we should make this happen.

    Also, since when does Starbucks do orders differently if you're staying in the store? Why even ask?

  3. You know what? GOOD POINT. I didn't even think of that! Just another reason
    why this is a bizarre place to be.

  4. I lived in Boston for 6 years and never heard the "take away" thing. That's weird, yo. Also, the driving = THE WORST. And I'm from New Jersey.

  5. For a real dose of Maine accent, check out this song by Black Taxi:

    Apparently it's based on a true story, which, once you wade through the accent, involves a barfight and an undercover cop.

  6. Hahah. I like the meat market ;) And yes, 'to take away' is way unnecessary.

  7. I'm from VT and went to school in Maine. I've been reading your blog for awhile now but never commented. This post made me laugh a lot. Billboards are also illegal in VT, but I think we say "to go" and not "take away"...I can't remember. And the drivers from Massachusetts are notoriously bad that we call them "Massholes" in Vermont. My grandparents have deer heads mounted in their living room. As far as representation goes, though, VT wins. We have the most liberal representatives and senator (yes, only one) in the nation, including Bernie Sanders who is a Socialist. You should check out VT sometime, it's better than NH (in my oh so humble opinion).

  8. One of my fav places in RI is "The Beef Barn".

  9. Hahahaha! That's so weird!! I live in CT and visited all over New England and never did I notice any of those things... maybe it's just Maine? :)

  10. You know, I just noticed that a few people in my area of NY say "take away" and I always respond "TO GO" because, dude, it's faster. However, it's quite a British thing to do. Everyone I met in England said "to stay or to take away" I don't know, maybe it has something to do with that?

  11. Hey, billboards are REAL visual pollution (As opposed to windmills, which aren't. I'm looking at YOU Ted Kennedy z"l).

    To quote Ogden nash:

    "I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree.
    Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
    I'll never see a tree at all."

  12. I'm going to keep an eye out for the post about things that don't suck about New are, after all, living in my home state!

    PS. Live free or die is the best state motto evah! ;)

  13. A few things:
    In Israel we also say take away - but in Hebrew, so I guess that's normal.
    Watch the HBO John Adams mini-series and "Live Free or Die" will be a lot cooler/make a lot more sense.
    Also, Massholes are the worst drivers because they are selfish drivers. That person thought that they legit had the right of way. Why? Because obviously they're more important than you/need to get there faster. Also, they think that if they don't get in the middle of the intersection, they won't make it through. I don't get it.

  14. I did not know this about Maine and, quite frankly, wish the rest of the country would adopt that law. I'm a straight-up I-95er as I drive up and down the east coast from Florida to Maryland and get really sick of Pedro and his damn South of the Border signs for 400 miles. Then there's Ron Jon's Surf Shop in Daytona for the drive south.

    Go, Maine!

  15. The "Fox News of blogging"... haha! Love it.

    (By the by, I gave you a blogger award. Cuz I think you rock:

  16. As someone who lived in Boston for 4 years, I LOVE this post! Know what else is weird about New England? THEY CALL LIQUOR STORES "PACKAGE STORES!" What IS that? WHY??

  17. Whilst I can't comment on the New England side of things... I can comment on the England side of things. 'Eat in or take away?' is a common question in coffee shops/some restaurants and a 'take away' is a popular dinner on a Friday/Saturday evening and could be pizza, fish & chips, Chinese, Indian etc. Because, I suppose, you literally take it away to eat, but you don't eat it 'on the go' as you generally sit down to eat it :)

    AND, I believe, billboards are banned over here on motorways/major roads because they are distracting for drivers!

  18. I.Love.This.Post.
    So glad I stopped by...hope you enjoyed watching "Lord of the Rings" (love it)...I was pretty impressed by 127 hours...
    Happy Easter xxx

  19. I don't appreciate billboards, so I love it! Now I need to move.

  20. Hmmm baristas don't ask that in Boston, and we don't have taxidermy anywhere. I think you might just be living in the wrong part of New England...

  21. In British Starbucks they ask if you're eating in or taking away and take away is cheaper!

  22. Taking your food to go is cheaper in Ohio, too. Something to do with sales
    tax laws?

  23. I think in England it's because everything is smaller, so they want to encourage you not to stay lol

  24. I've never understood the whole "Live Free or Die" bit, especially considering that Patrick Henry was a Virginia, who gave his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech just up the road from me, in Richmond, Virginia. Dear NH: Get your own heros.

    And maybe it's better that you're somewhere with a shittastic representative because that means comes votin' season, your vote is especially necessary.

  25. "Live Free or Die" just seems really ... aggressive. And demanding. Weird for a state motto.

  26. ISN'T IT? I don't even know what other states' mottos are, but dude, this
    one is weird.

  27. This was hilarious.
    Yes. I said "CharlieCard" out loud and laughed. I never want Jim to know about this or he'll say "CharlieCard" in his annoying, fake Boston accent that he uses just to piss me off.

  28. People say take away here sometimes too which is interesting to me... isn't it To Go or Carry Out? Live Free or Die. That's special. And no billboards in Maine?

    I have to say, I love these posts you do. Seriously so fun, informative and teaches us stuff about our crazy nation..!

  29. I can't wait to read about the Kittery Trading Post. It looks amazing.


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