• Most out-of-staters think of Maine as a coastal state full of clam shacks and art galleries, but Yankee magazine has a great feature, with video, on the "blueberry barrens" in Washington County. Photographer David Stess has been working on blueberry-picking crews for 21 years, all the while capturing some striking images of rural life that one might think come from Depression-era Mississippi. (Go to the article to see the image at right in full size.)
But the pattern of well-heeled people taking over attractive, walkable neighborhoods (and pushing poorer people to the peeling-paint suburbs) is pretty much inevitable, thanks to the shortage of such neighborhoods. Matt Yglesias wrote a few days ago about the inevitablilty of gentrification (and the catering to "idiosyncratic tastes") in places like JP: "Having made traditional walkable neighborhoods illegal to build, it then turns out that many of the existing ones become prohibitively expensive." He's talking about zoning laws and parking-space requirements that now make it impossible to build anything like Boston's Back Bay, let alone the even more crowded North End.
• My city finally gets the recognition it deserves: as the home of what the Comics Curmudgeon calls "hideous mutant abominations" whose lovemaking is undoubtedly the source of the noise (and smells) keeping me up some nights. The Curmudgeon's archives fortunately indicate that my neighbor, Stanley Binder, has trouble "bowling" two days in a row (if you get my drift).