Articles by Kent Ward


‘Just see the ball and hit it’

By Kent Ward on Feb. 10, 2012, at 3:18 p.m.
When asked where they find their inspiration, newspaper columnists rarely care to expound on the matter, believing that the genesis of ideas — like the making of meatloaf down at the local greasy spoon diner — is a mystery probably better left unexplored. “The last thing I want to be …
Kent Ward

Cue cards for GOP debaters

By Kent Ward on Feb. 03, 2012, at 12:38 p.m.
When the University of Maine men’s basketball team played the University of New Hampshire at Alfond Arena some years ago, a New Hampshire coach positioned at the far end of his team’s bench worked a series of large cards bearing coded messages in ultra-bold foot-high type. By this method he …

Mailing in ‘The Speech’ a bad idea

By Kent Ward on Jan. 27, 2012, at 3:25 p.m.
A friend once advised me that if one is to make it to the conclusion of a typical snoozer of a presidential State of the Union address it helps to have some sort of diversion in play. And so it was that I decided to remain awake by counting the …

Relocation of snow a major sport

By Kent Ward on Jan. 20, 2012, at 4:25 p.m.
Although they have taken their sweet time in getting here, the snows of winter seem at last to have arrived in the north country, which means that the periodic rearrangement of snow in our dooryards has become the outdoor seasonal sport of necessity. While most of us are weekend warriors …

Of death spirals and remarkable revisions

By Kent Ward on Jan. 13, 2012, at 5:18 p.m.
In a feasibility study to determine whether the U.S. Postal Service should close its Eastern Maine mail processing and distribution center at Hampden and process all of the state’s mail at a similar facility in Scarborough, among the projected savings was $797,000 through the elimination of two managerial positions at …

The icing on January’s annual thaw

By Kent Ward on Jan. 06, 2012, at 4:01 p.m.
When the new year rang in earlier this week, bringing to Maine a spate of unseasonably warm weather and rain showers, it upset ice fishermen and pond hockey players, but went down OK with homeowners, pedestrians and retired snowbirds late in heading for their winter quarters in Florida. Two days …

A new year much like the old one

By Kent Ward on Dec. 30, 2011, at 7:47 p.m.
One of the more notable birth dates I recall belonged to a gentleman, long since gone to his heavenly reward, who came wailing into this world on Jan. 1, 1900. I always considered him to be the ultimate New Year’s baby, born as he was on such an easy date …

Honesty in speeding earns break

By Kent Ward on Dec. 23, 2011, at 3:59 p.m.
It’s hard to beat those unique Christmas gifts that come from readers throughout the year in the form of written response — mostly by email these days — to things they read in their newspaper. Little stocking stuffers they are, and a delight to read. An example of the genre …

Christmas reward for being good

By Kent Ward on Dec. 16, 2011, at 1:47 p.m.
In his poem “Just ’Fore Christmas,” the poet Eugene Field acknowledged, “Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain’t no flies on me. But jest ’fore Christmas I’m as good as I kin be.” Well, sure. Aren’t we all. But as Christmas, now just eight days off, sneaks …

Lingering party guests a challenge

By Kent Ward on Dec. 09, 2011, at 1:15 p.m.
In an essay on rules for a happy marriage, the late humorist James Thurber argued that husbands and wives should stifle any urge one might have to insult the other in public, saving their best zingers for the privacy of the dwelling place. “Thus, if a man thinks the souffles …

Pearl Harbor remembrance in newsroom

By Kent Ward on Dec. 02, 2011, at 7:26 p.m.
As November morphed into December and the 70th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, surprise attack on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces drew near, a friend and former co-worker at the newspaper called. During our chat, we reminisced about the newsroom gyrations we sometimes went through concerning coverage of …

Polarizing callifudges of politics

By Kent Ward on Nov. 25, 2011, at 1:47 p.m.
A newspaper comic strip and my desk calendar featuring forgotten English words and terms may express the sentiments of many Americans following a congressional supercommittee’s colossal failure to reach a deficit-reduction accord, despite 14 weeks of intense and mostly secret deliberations that ended Monday. In Jeff MacNelly’s “Shoe” strip in …

Thankful for things to be thankful for

By Kent Ward on Nov. 18, 2011, at 1:04 p.m.
Topping most any list of things for which to be thankful as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I suppose, would be that we are not the turkey about to become the main event on the day’s dinner menu. Unfortunately for the turkey population, only one will be spared by the traditional …

The eerie stillness of armistice

By Kent Ward on Nov. 11, 2011, at 5:18 p.m.
“He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. “He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over, one …

A touch of brandy in style sauce

By Kent Ward on Nov. 04, 2011, at 5:28 p.m.
A front page story in the Thursday morning newspaper reported that 40 Republican members of the House of Representatives had joined 60 Democrats in signing a letter to the Congressional “supercommittee” which has little time remaining to find ways to reduce the gargantuan $14.8 trillion national debt, or see automatic …

On catching the drift of things

By Kent Ward on Oct. 28, 2011, at 5:06 p.m.
“Snow again. I didn’t catch your drift,’’ an old timer of my acquaintance now gone to his heavenly reward was fond of saying when the person with whom he was conversing had made an ambiguous statement that my guy felt required clarification. When we have to reread passages in news …

Finale for baseball’s spitters

By Kent Ward on Oct. 21, 2011, at 4:45 p.m.
On an unusually chilly and blustery recent day I bumped into an old friend while on a grocery run to the village, and the conversation naturally turned to the weather. “The old-timers always claimed that we have only three seasons here in The County — Fourth of July, the Presque …

Quimby and Maine pride of place

By Kent Ward on Oct. 14, 2011, at 3:30 p.m.
In his book “Over to Home and From Away,” an anthology of Maine humor writing published by the Guy Gannett Publishing Co. in 1980, former Portland newsman Jim Brunelle includes several pieces by popular 19th century humorist Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye, who was born in the Piscataquis County town of …

Meddybemps awaits the occupation

By Kent Ward on Oct. 07, 2011, at 6:03 p.m.
The lead paragraph of The Associated Press dispatch out of New York City reporting on the proliferating Occupy Wall Street protest movement pretty much outlined the fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into: “Protests against Wall Street spread across the country Monday as demonstrators marched on Federal Reserve banks and camped …

Mementos of baseball in summers past

By Kent Ward on Sept. 30, 2011, at 3:49 p.m.
On this fine autumn weekend when September morphs into October, there is no joy in Mudville. Red Sox Nation is in deep mourning after watching the home team spectacularly flame out, blowing a nine-game late-season lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild-card spot in Major League Baseball’s American …