ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS GETS IT WRONG. Bill Maher is a major proponent of climate action, yet he misspoke on his show last Friday night when he said that climate scientists got caught “fudging” their data. They didn’t. But how was he, or anyone else, supposed to know this? The right wing played the Climategate “scandal” brilliantly, and this shows it.

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Ed Leydecker (far left) looks on as country music legend John McEuen (on banjo) and lobster fishermen Stevie Robbins (shaved head) and his brother Brian rehearse for the big show at Univ. of Maine last Wednesday night. Back in 1991 we gave Ed the credit of “Cultural Liaison” for the film “Salt of the Earth.” The entire project never would have happened if not for his people skills. Stevie had no interest in making a film with a marine biology professor from the University of New Hampshire (me), but after Eddie showed up at the dock in Portsmouth, N.H. at 3 a.m. with a box of donuts and hot coffee things began to change. As the crew tied up his boat, Stevie was unable to say no to Eddie’s offering. Two hours of friendly discussion later, Stevie reversed things and agreed to the filming session. Every film needs a cultural liaison like Ed.

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Have you ever planned and envisioned a single moment for several months and then had it finally happen EXACTLY the way you had hoped for? I had one of those experiences last night at the University of Maine. It was truly amazing and a moment that will live forever.

After spending the afternoon rehearsing, it proved to be a fantastic show at the Collins Art Center on the campus of the University of Maine. We screened the hour version of “Salt of the Earth” to a loudly appreciative audience that cranked out wave after wave of laughter followed by silence for the emotional climax of the film. Then as the end credits began to roll we had the two stars of the film, lobster fishermen Brian and Stevie Robbins, accompanied by country music legend John McEuen, all seated behind the movie screen. The three of them began playing a rousing rendition of “Don’t Think Twice.”

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#70) “Patience and Humor”

September 21st, 2010

That was what 67-year-old Maine lobster fisherman Stevie Robbins told us he learned from his father during our radio interview two weeks ago. My 86-year-old mother heard him say that and has been repeating it to me ever since. Clearly it resonated with her years of knowledge and experience.

Stevie is going to be the star of the show tomorrow night here at the University of Maine’s Collins Art Center. During that interview, he also told us about one time when he said to his father, “Pa, my head hurts when I shake it. What should I do?” His father replied, “Don’t shake it.”

That’s Downeast logic for you.

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EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP. It’s something the evolution science world has been given from Dr. Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education. It’s something the climate science world could use more of.

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The ducks (and lobsters) are lining up for the big “Salt of the Earth” tribute screening at University of Maine’s Collins Art Center on Wednesday, September 22. If you live anywhere close to Orono you really should make the trek to the campus for the show. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

On Friday we did an hour on the radio for WERU’s Talk of the Town show. The two lobster fishermen brothers, Brian and Stevie Robbins were in the studio in Blue Hill, while my buddy Ed Leydecker (who played a pivotal role in making the film happen — he’s also the sound man who asks the question of the poker players at the end of “Flock of Dodos”) and I joined in via phone. It was amazing hearing the voice of Stevie Robbins, now 67, live for the first time in 19 years after having listened to his voice in the film for so many years.

There’s going to be live music, including some surprise performers, plenty of discussion and a whole lot of good times. Hope to see you there!


I did a guest blog post yesterday on Joe Romm’s blog, Climate Progress, about the awesome Opinion paper in Nature from my friends Jennifer Jacquet (former co-blogger), Jeremy Jackson, Paul Dayton and Daniel Pauly. What an all-star line up for a single paper. It’s a GREAT paper, unless you work for the Marine Stewardship Council and are now fearing for your job because of it.

Also, this just in — a few weeks ago I took part in a conference call about global warming with the folks at The Nature Conservancy which they transcribed and posted (it starts on page 8 in their Science Chronicles publication). Interestingly they chose as their climate scientist the feisty Dr. Judy Curry.

And lastly, I’m up to my neck in pulling together over 50 old black and white photos from the decade 1937-1947 that my crazy mother, Muffy Moose, has unearthed in preparation for the talk she is going to give next weekend when we’re in Wichita. She has so many photos of her with different boyfriends during the war years that I’m thinking maybe it’s time for me to get a DNA test to make sure my father really is my father.

A few years ago, when she starred in my movie, “Flock of Dodos,” she had fun telling everyone, “It took me 83 years to become a movie star!” Now she can add to that — it took her 86 years to become a public speaker — this is going to be the first public presentation of her life!

Das Benshi shall be on hiatus for a couple weeks, probably resurfacing on or around September 15. Happy Labor Day!