Down East 2013 ©
The state’s new tourism slogan was announced recently. I know you’re excited about that, so I won’t waste any time revealing the phrase that will replace such iconic mottos from past years as “It Must Be Maine,” “I Could Have Gone To Maine – Instead Of Going Crazy,” “See your Doctor If Side Effects Persist” and “Maine: Vowels Outnumber Consonants.”
The new slogan is: “There’s More To Maine.” 
This isn’t another one of those anti-obesity campaigns, is it?
Pat Eltman, who’s the director of the Maine Office of Tourism, says it’s not. In a press release from the governor’s office, Eltman explained that the new catchphrase “highlights a great variety of things to see and do – well beyond the activities people generally think of when they think of Maine.”
Swimming with the dolphins?
Running with the bulls?
Taking performance-enhancing drugs with Manny Ramirez?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau,  what there’s more of in Maine than anywhere else is old, white people.
Updated figures for 2008 released last week show the state is 95.3 percent Caucasian (topping Vermont at 95.2) and has a median age of 42 years (with Vermont again the runner-up at 41.2). The nation as a whole is 66 percent white and has a median age of 36.8 years.
Based on those statistics, it’s probably safe to assume Maine leads the nation in crankiness. That would account for the bill before the Legislature that called for making it illegal for recreational-vehicle owners to park overnight in lots owned by shopping centers and big-box stores.
The measure was initiated by campground owners, who have been losing business to the free parking spots listed on national Web sites. RV owners weren’t pleased by the prospects of having to pay for overnight accommodations and threatened a boycott of the state if the legislation passed. Lawmakers quickly came to their senses and killed the measure, with even its sponsor voting against it.
This led the Maine Office of Tourism to cancel its revised tourism slogan:
“Come on, You Cheapskates, There’s More To Maine Than The Free RV Parking You Get In Every Other State.”
Which is fortunate, because that’s a lot of words to get on a T-shirt.
Speaking of which, you may soon be able to buy spiffy tees commemorating your favorite state parks. The Maine Department of Conservation is planning to sell souvenir merchandise and offer canoe and kayak rentals at the parks this season in an effort to generate more revenue. 
Most items will be designed to appeal to old, white people, such as a board game called “Find The Elusive Public Toilet” and lobster bibs that read, “I Eat Dinner Earlier Than You Eat Dinner.”
No matter what time you decide to chow down, Maine lobster is a good deal.  Prices paid to lobstermen are about two bucks a pound below normal for this time of year, which means you can stuff your face for around $5.50 per retail pound.
Some lobstermen are predicting this second year in a row of abundant supply and light demand could force them out of business. Their slogan” “There’s More in Maine, Which Could Lead To Less.”
Both supply and demand for Allen’s Coffee Brandy remain strong. The state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations reports that Allen’s remains the top selling liquor in Maine, with approximately 1,063,000 bottles sold in 2008. That’s up about 39,000 bottles from the previous year. 
Allen’s, which when mixed with milk is sometimes described as a Madawaska Martini, beat out Orloff Vodka and Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, neither of which mixes well with milk.
If you think that’s disgusting (and you certainly should), consider the latest diet fad among bald eagles. Our national symbol is feasting on great cormorants, threatening that species survival off the coast of Maine.
Scientists think the eagles have begun attacking the seabirds because of a decline in the supply of fish. Once all the cormorants are gone, researchers predict the birds of prey will turn their attention to the next most abundant species: old, white people eating cheap lobster.
“Let go of the plate, Maude, and save yourself.”
Speaking of plates, Maine has a new one of the car-license variety that promotes pet adoption. Ten bucks from each one sold goes to fund animal-abuse investigations and spay/neuter programs.
It’s not clear to me if the neutering is done on the creeps who abuse animals, but it seems like a good idea.
When it comes to some animals, however, Maine doesn’t just have more. It has too many. An excess of moose in Aroostook County has led to an increase in collisions with vehicles, to the mutual dissatisfaction of both vehicle occupants and moose. To reduce these unpleasant encounters, the state has authorized a special moose hunt in the area in late summer.
One hundred permits will be distributed to County landowners and registered Maine Guides. The guides will then select others to do the actual hunting, so if you want a set of antlers to decorate the living room, this might be a good time to buy your favorite Maine Guide a nice bottle of Allen’s. If you really want that moose, I’d recommend the largest size.
Another thing Maine has more of: poverty. Although, somehow I doubt the tourism office is making much mention of that fact. According to a study done by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine and the Maine Community Action Association, 12.2 percent of Mainers were poor in 2007.
While that’s a significant increase from the 10.1 percent of the population in poverty in 2000-2001, it’s still a full percentage point below the national average.
In Hartland, it’s not the people that are poor, it’s the actual town. Municipal officials are trying to convince the state to guarantee its loans so they can borrow enough money to pay its debts. Otherwise, they may have to declare bankruptcy. 
Of course, there’s still the chance they can pull themselves out of this mess by selling T-shirts that say, “There’s Hardly Anything In Hartland.”
While I’m on the subject of what there’s less of in Maine, a bunch of car dealers around the state have gotten notices that they’re being dropped by General Motors and Chrysler.
Apparently, too many old, white people are driving Toyotas and Hondas.
The economic news was also grim at the University of Maine in Orono, where officials discovered most the flagship campus’ endowment was invested in bonds from the town of Hartland and stock in a company called Not-Exactly-Allen’s Coffee Brandy (Warning: Do Not Mix With Milk). Also, state funding has been cut, so the college announced it’s laying off 32 people, reducing the hours of dozens more and cutting several programs.
Among the studies getting the ax were the Research Institute to Develop New State Tourism Slogans and the Project to Find Fun Things to Do in Maine If You Happen to be Young and/or Non-White.
In addition, the entire university system is raising tuition, although not by nearly as much as in other years.
In crime news, the Portland Police Department is cracking down on lawbreakers on Peaks Island. In an effort to improve the department’s image with islanders, the cops have recently been citing Peaks drivers for not buckling up. They’re also posting towing notices on unregistered cars parked on public roadways.
This enforcement of ordinances that have been routinely ignored on islands for decades has caused concerns that it could revive sentiments to have Peaks secede from Portland and form its own town. But it appears to be worse than that. The island may be seceding from the entire state. It’s proposed new motto:
“We’ve Had More Than Enough Of Maine.”
One thing that might cause Peaks to reconsider is the Portland department’s new police chief. James Craig has already transformed law enforcement in the state’s most populous city by allowing patrol officers to go about in public without hats.
Craig is still insisting beat cops wear pants.
The chief is also asking the City Council for permission to try out Taser-type stun guns for a three-month trial.
He’s afraid the state’s new tourist slogan will attract so many rowdy young people to the state, that even without hats, his officers will be overwhelmed.
Naturally, those young, hip types will be stopping by Livermore on Aug. 9 for the Heroes of Woodstock Concert.
For as little as 50 bucks, they can see Jefferson Starship (although I’d pay even more if you’d guarantee I never have to hear “We Built This City On Rock and Roll” again for as long as I live), Canned Heat, Ten Years After, Big Brother & the Holding Co. (all minus the key members who made them famous) and other sad remnants of bygone days.
Given Maine’s demographics, I can’t believe the show doesn’t include the Average White Band and Old & In The Way.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.