Monday, May 08, 2006


Who uses it: Entomologists
What it means: Insect droppings; excrement, specifically, but other debris as well.
How you can use it: As a replacement for other expletives. Really, doesn't "Frass!" sound better than those other words?

My birthday present to Grace Lechner was a butterfly garden, made up of a clear vinyl cylinder and a certificate to mail away for five Painted Lady caterpillars. The caterpillars arrived last week, in a cup holding their food and a circle of paper for them to build chrysalises (chrysales?) on. I got to see them yesterday; they are already eating well and starting to spin silk. It's pretty exciting.

"Maine is blessed," I said to Jen yesterday. We were walking out of Big Al's, a surplus store in Wiscasset. Big Al's is a collection of the useful, the interesting, the junky, and the bizarre; it's full of things you didn't know you needed, all priced at $10 or less. I bought a pair of fake Liz Claiborne sunglasses for $4.88; Jen bought two giant bags of stuff for about $36.

These stores are Maine institutions. Maine is blessed because not only does it have Big Al's, it also has Marden's -- a surplus and salvage store with branches all over the state -- and Reny's, the ultimate Maine general store. I'm grateful for the entry of Target stores into the Maine market, but it would be a tragedy if Target put any of these places out of business.

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