Posted in Photography, Travel, tagged 66 Steak & Seafood, Arborvine, Blue Hill, Blue Hill Inn, Maine, Photography, The Fishnet, Travel on July 9, 2012 |
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Kish is a Maine aficionado. Whenever we are planning a trip down east, she does lots of research and always picks great places to visit.
This year, I think she outdid herself by choosing Blue Hill. I liked everything about it — from the distinctive town hall, pictured above, to the excellent library, to the uncrowded, non-touristy feel of the community. We had fabulous dinners at Arborvine and the Blue Hill Inn, great steamers and steamed lobster at 66 Steak & Seafood, and excellent lobster rolls at the Fishnet. The community also features live musical performances, lots of water, pretty old homes, a music academy, a very cool co-op grocery store, and a convenience store that sold good quality cigars. What more could you want in a vacation destination?
Oh, yes — while we were there the temperature stayed in the 60s and 70s, while the rest of the country was struggling with 100-degree heat. I suppose that’s worth mentioning, too.
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During our visit to Stonington, Maine, I ran across this boat tied to a dock. I didn’t see the owner, but Sherlock Holmes clearly could have drawn some significant inferences from the state of his vessel.
The owner clearly wouldn’t be pretentious, given the appearance of his humble, battered craft. He didn’t load the boat with creature comforts or fancy gadgetry, and indeed did not even treat himself to a seat cushion to make the ride a bit more bearable, so he obviously wasn’t a slave to luxury. And given the simple contents of the boat — a buoy, some oars, a life jacket, a beaten tool box — the owner clearly was focused on function, nor form.
I imagined a working man who had a vessel he had used for years and trusted completely, and who saw no need to mess around with something that was working just fine, even if it was somewhat the worse for wear.
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If you look at any advertising flier you get in the mail, chances are you’ll see an array of happy faces, a business name, and not much else. It doesn’t really make any difference what the ad is for — a bank, a grocery store, or any other consumer service business — the focus is on smiling human faces.
There will be random photos of people of every demographic group, looking directly at the camera with wide grins. There will be carefully staged, faux candid shots of a boy being carried on his father’s shoulders, or an older woman gardening in a wide straw hat, or three teenage girls laughing. None of the photos will have any logical connection to the business that is sending the ad. Instead, these people apparently are just thrilled to be alive and enjoying existence to the fullest, thanks to their credit card, their haircut, or their choice of cell phone service provider.
Compare these ads to the ads of long ago, where the focus was always on the cost, quality, and capabilities of the product being sold. Back then, ad agencies thought consumers would make rational judgments about what they were buying — even if it was avoiding dreaded yellow wax build-up or ring around the collar — not pure impulse decisions based on generic, content-free, feel-good faces.
It’s hard for me to believe that anybody responds to these fliers — or thinks that people could ever be that delighted by their choice of a bank — but the smiling face ads must work, because they are everywhere. How do the people who fall for them feel when they eventually come to realize that the people they are dealing with aren’t the crinkly-eyed, carefree types on the ad, but instead a sullen call center worker who is making minimum wage at a job she despises?
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