An author decided to write a book about churches around the country. Since he lived in San Francisco, he figured he'd start locally, and work his way east from there. He went to the largest church in San Francisco and began his research. As he walks through door, he spots a golden telephone on the wall and is intrigued with a sign which reads "$10,000 a minute."

Seeking out the pastor, he asks about the phone and the sign. The pastor answers that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to Heaven, and if he is willing to pay the price, he can talk directly to God. He thanks the pastor and continues on his way. As he continues to visit churches in Seattle, Boise, Dallas, Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington, DC, New York, Boston, and on around the United States, he finds more phones, with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.

Finally, he arrives in Maine. Upon entering a church in Howland, lo and behold, he sees the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign reads "Calls 25 cents." Fascinated, he requests to talk to the pastor. "Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I found this golden telephone, and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but, in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads 25 cents a call. Why?"

The pastor, smiling benignly, replies, "Oh, my son, that's very easy to explain. You see, you're in Maine now and, of course, it's a local call.

Official Maine Temperature Conversion Chart
60 above New Yorkers try to turn on the heat. People in Maine plant gardens and go fishing.
50 above Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Maine sunbathe while fishing.
40 above Italian & English cars won't start. People in Maine drive with the windows down on the way to go fishing.
32 above Distilled water freezes. While out fishing, Mainers notice that the water in Moosehead Lake is getting a little thicker.
20 above Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves and woolly hats. People in Maine throw on a flannel shirt so they can fish at 3:00 in the morning.
15 above New York landlords finally turn up the heat. People in Maine have the last cook-out before it gets cold.
0 People in Miami all die from shock. Mainers lick the flagpole to tell which side of the lake the ice is thinnest (so they can go fishing).
20 below Californians fly to Mexico. People in Maine get out their winter coats, so they can drag their uninsulated ice fishing cabins out on the lake with the tractor.
40 below Hollywood shatters into a pile of frozen faux jewelry. The Girl Scouts in Maine are selling cookies door to door among the ice fishing communities on the lakes.
60 below Polar bears begin to evacuate the Arctic. Maine's Boy Scouts postpone "Winter Survival" classes until it gets cold enough. Instead they go fishing with their folks, and work on their bare-handed catches at the ice fishing holes.
80 below Mount St. Helen's freezes. People in Maine rent some videos to watch during their overnights in their ice fishing cabins.
100 below Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Mainiacs get frustrated because they can't thaw the keg while fishing.
297 below Microbial life no longer survives on dairy products. Cows in Maine complain about farmers with cold hands.
460 below Absolute zero on the Kelvin scale. ALL atomic motion stops.
People in Maine start saying "Cold 'nuff for ya?"
(answer: "ayuh, 'bout time to hit the lake and catch a couple…")
500 below Hell freezes over. The New England Patriots win the Super Bowl and the Red Sox win the World Series.

MAINE: Land of the Bad People
As anyone "From Away" can attest, Maine has a reputation for showing convivial disdain for outsiders. This trait actually goes back to the earliest days of its settlement.

In fact, when Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the coast of Maine in 1524, he encountered the native Abanaki tribe and found them less than welcoming. The Abanaki, already embroiled in sporadic warfare with the powerful Iroquois Federation to their west, were not a very trusting group (later treatment by European settlers would justify this lack of trust) and refused to come down to the shore to trade with Verrazzano's men.

They were more than willing to barter, but only from the safety of a shoreside cliff. From this vantage point, they would trade by lowering items on a rope (and thus establishing the first American line of credit). Verrazzano writes in his journal that when the Abanaki were finished trading, they "showed their buttocks and laughed immoderately..." In other words, they mooned the Europeans.

For this, Verrazzano bestowed upon Maine the title "Terra onde la mala gente," or "the land of the bad people."

Theodore Roosevelt Goes to Maine
"Once, while driving in a wagon with (Maine native) Dave Sewell, up an exceedingly wet and rocky backwoods road, with the water pouring down the middle, I asked him how in Aroostook County they were able to tell its roads from its rivers.

'No beaver dams in the roads,' Dave instantly replied..."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, describing one of his trips to Island Falls, ME, circa 1890.

Maine Computer Terms
1. Log on - Make the wood stove hotter
2. Log off - Don't add no more wood
3. Monitor - Keep an eye on that wood stove
4. Download - Getting the firewood off the truck
5. Floppy disk - What you get from downloading too much firewood
6. Ram - The thing that splits the firewood
7. Hard Drive - Getting home in the winter
8. Prompt - What the US mail ain't in the winter
9. Window - What to shut when it's cold outside
10. Screen - What to shut in black fly season
11. Byte - What the black flies do
12. Bit - What the black flies did
13. Mega Byte - What the BIG black flies do during trout season
14. Chip - Munchies for TV
15. Micro Chip - What's left in the bag after you eat chips
16. Modem - What you did to the weeds growing in the driveway
17. Dot matrix - Old Dan Matrix's wife
18. Lap top - Where the beer spills when you nod off
19. Software - The dumb plastic knives and forks at McDonalds
20. Hardware - Real stainless steel cutlery
21. Mouse - What makes the holes in the Cheerio box
22. Main frame - What holds the house up, hopefully
23. Enter - The only way to win those magazine sweepstakes
24. Web - What a spider makes
25. Web site - High corners of the ceiling
26. Cursor - Someone who swears
27. Search Engine - What you do when the car dies
28. Screen Saver - repair kit for the torn window screen on the camp
29. Home Page - map that tourists keep in their pocket in case they get lost in the woods. Real Mainers never use them
30. Upgrade - Steep hill
31. Server - waitress
32. Mail Server - male waitress. Damn few in Maine
33. MS DOS - Some new disease they discovered
34. Sound Card - One of them gall darned technological birthday cards that plays music when you open it
35. User - The neighbor who keeps borrowing your stuff
36. Browser - A problem moose in the Blueberry patch
37. Network - Mending holes in the gillnet
38. Internet - Complicated fish net repair
39. Netscape - What haddock do when you don't do your network
40. Online - good sign there'll be clean clothes this week
41. Off line - the clothes pins let go and the laundry falls on the ground. Next week, get biggah pins...

The Hayloft, The Stalls, and Other Places in the Barn
Watch where you step...."

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