May 6, 2009

Marlboro Miles and the Marlboro Country Store

While many people talk about how they are going to spend their AMEX points or Delta Sky Miles, more daring individuals debate the use of their Marlboro Miles. From 1994 to September 30th 2006, Philip Morris, Marlboro Cigarette’s parent company, had a merchandising promotion program whereby a satisfied costumer could mail in their proof of purchase coupons (5 “Marlboro Miles” per cigarette pack), and buy various products ranging from licensed Marlboro Zippos to denim jackets and sleeping bags from the catalog or the Marlboro Country Store.

The products in the Marlboro store are an extension of “The Cowboy Code: A cowboy is courageous. Keeps his word. Pulls his own weight. Returns what he barrows. Closes gates behind him. Is always on time. Minds his own business. Sometimes exaggerates, but never lies. Doesn’t cuss another man’s dog.” The archetypal American Man.

Everything a cowboy or cowgirl needs put in cigarette pack denomination. I would go with the Stetson, the Time Track by Swiss Army, the Canvas Coat and the Blues Harp with my stockpile of 2000 packs of cigs. I also find the satirical allusions to jail culture where people use cigarettes as currency amusing, but that’s a different matter all together.

Few ideas are more American than buying products, often made in China, created as extensions of a marketing campaign with proof of purchase coupons for an expensive, carcinogenic, addictive product.

Here are some of my favorite finds from ebay,
Marlboro Swiss Army Knife (Ebay),
Marlboro Brass Belt Buckle (Ebay),
Marlboro Swiss Army Pocket Watch (Ebay),
Marlboro Duster (Ebay),
Marlboro Country Zippo (Ebay),
Marlboro Miles Poker Set (Ebay),
Marlboro Country Store BBQ Set (Ebay)
Marlboro Country Denim Shirt (Ebay),
Marlboro Country Denim Jacket (Ebay).
Marlboro Country Cook Book (Ebay),
Marlboro Stetson Hat (Ebay).

I guess a Marlboro Denim jacket purchased with six hundred packs of cigarettes is icing on the cake for a dedicated smoker.

Here are some more links,
Explanation of Marlboro Miles System,
Marlboro Country Store Goods,

April 14, 2009

Millard Wardwell’s Trapping Gear

After talking with Millard for ten minutes or so his eyes lit up, “Let me show something.” I eagerly followed him to the garage with no idea what was in store.

The garage door slid up exposing a room full of hunting and trapping gear. For the next twenty minutes, Millard walked me through his gear. Starting on the left: Millard’s trapping backpack, Conibear traps, a jaw trap and the wood things are pelt stretchers.

According to Millard, peanut butter is the best all purpose bait and works on animals from squirrels to beaver and foxes. The Conibear traps are on the left and the anchors on the right are used to secure the traps into the ground.

Millard raved about these Conibear 120’s. They can catch a variety of animals ranging from fisher, fox, rabbits, weasels and beaver and are easy to set.

Millard used this set up to catch fishers, their pelts go from $40-$100 at auction. As you can see the traps exert a tremendous amount of force and kill the animals instantly.

One winter, Millard used these very snow shoes to track and kill 96 porcupines. In the spring, he collected the 50ยข bounty and bought a Smith & Wesson Competition Revolver for $45 new. That must have been some time ago.

Millard uses these pieces of wood to stretch the skins before he sends them off the to local tannery. Starting on the left; hares, red squirrels, fishers, and foxes. After tanning the pelts, Millard would send them to a consignment auction house in upstate New York and await sale. “Every month or two I get a check in the mail for one of my pelts. Its a pleasant surprise.”

These larger, two-piece stretchers are used for coyotes. Note the sign, “Coyote Traps Ahead.” One winter Millard got 26. Millard does note like Coyotes.

“Red Squirrel pelts will get 1$ in Russia. Apparently they use the dinky furs to line fancy woman’s coats. Who would’ve known.”

Three years ago Millard was diagnosed with bladder cancer. After a successful surgery, Millard’s catheter clogged and a failed cleaning led to a near-fatal infection. Three months later, Millard recovered, however his sense of balance never recovered, severely limiting his mobility. Today Millard struggles to walk and can no longer maintain his trapping lines. His eyes teared up, “This is just bringing back a lot of good memories.”

I will never forget Millard, and I hope that my generation will keep this fleeting Maine tradition going.

Here are some more links,
Millard Wardwell’s Trapping Gear (Picasa),
Millard Wardwell: A Maine Trapper (ART).

April 13, 2009

Millard Wardwell: a Maine Trapper

Heading toward Stonington along back roads Friday afternoon, I spotted a garage laden with fourteen pairs of antlers and an American Flag. I asked my dad to stop and grabbed my Canon to take a better look. While framing the shot through my view finder, I heard a deep voice with a a Maine accent as thick as maple syrup pipe up, “There used to be a lot more of those (white-tailed deer) around here before the coyotes got out of control.”

Startled, I looked over to the deck and spotted a man sitting in a chair wearing a camouflage shirt drinking and cup of coffee. I walked over to the deck and started talking about the one thing that I knew the American flag wearing sportsman would like to talk about, guns. “What did you get those caribou with?” I chimed.

The man’s eyes lit up and he opened up in the way only an isolated backwoodsman can. We struck up a conversation that lasted forty five minutes and ranged from the current prices of martin pelts, Maine hunting and trapping legislation, and ethanol’s effect on his truck’s MPG.

Millard Wardwell has lived in Penobscot Maine for the last eighty years. His sister lives across the street. His three sons live within a 10 minute walk and his daughter lives on the adjoining property across the field. For thirty eight years Millard worked the night shift at the local paper mill. This left him to spend his days enjoying the Maine outdoors. Millard loves his LL Bean Real Tree shirt and Wrangler International jeans.
His Lacrosse Safety Toe Rubber Boots work in the mud and snow.

Millard served in the US Navy following VJ Day on a converted Destroyer sweeping for mines in the South Pacific.

Millard’s well-loved Leatherman PST II. He has used it for the last fifteen years.

Millard showed us his trapping gear, including a demonstration of a Conibear 120, but that is another post.

Here are some more links,
The Man Behind Wardwell’s Nuisance Animal Removal (Picasa),
A Pipe, a Remington Shotgun, and Man Named Butch (ART).

March 26, 2009

The People of Bristol

The people at the Food City 500 were happy. They were not concerned with impressing others or what they were doing on Monday. Here are some people I saw.

Note the cozy protected Busch Latte and the cooler packed to the rim.

This guy was one of the nicest cops I have ever met.

I would not mess with this guy’s daughter nor ask him for his second cigar, in his breast pocket.

America Fuck Yeah!

NASCAR cars use bright colors to differentiate themselves from the other racers. These neons, reds, yellows and blues translate into the t-shirts worn by avid fans.

Who’s looking at who?

I love his Wallabee style boots and denim overalls.

Note the cigs in his sleeve.

After the race, this guy was grinning.

Looking good.

Here are some more links,
The People of Bristol (Picasa),
Bristol (A.R.T.).