Nice job last week, Johnny. Living up to the family reputation, I see.
Watch it, kid. My season may be done, but at least the Ravens have a bright future ahead – unlike your prospects of returning to an NFL gig any time soon.
Look, we may have gotten our asses kicked by Alabama, but at least we kept things close in the first half. That’s more than you can say about last week’s travesty. At least that was an entire team effort. It took only one Bama grad to beat you last week, since apparently you forgot to tell your guys to tackle Derrick Henry.
Last week was a learning effort. It’s made me realize that there’s some holes on the roster. When I awoke at 3:45 AM – since I now need to get up even earlier in order to make sure I have enough time to watch 19 hours of game tape a day in between complete MMA workouts – I was hit by a realization. The University of Maine is known as the Black Bears, but there’s no rule in the rule book that says you can’t sign actual bears to play for your team. So I felt inspired to go north to Maine to do some scouting, to see about the toughest, meanest bears around. Unfortunately, couldn’t find any, but I did find out about a solid local rivalry when I was there.
THE PORK AND BEANS WAR
Combatant 1: USA (state of Maine)
Combatant 2: British Empire (colony of New Brunswick)
Location of Conflict: Aroostook River Valley, NB
Reason for Conflict: Somebody majorly fucked up a map.
What happened? In the 1820s and 1830s, the border between the newly formed state of Maine and the British colony of New Brunswick was not clearly delineated. The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the American Revolution, tried to address these issues, but due to incomplete surveying of the region, both sides laid claim to a large swath of land, which had many conflicting land claims and attempted enforcement of legal jurisdiction. The territory itself was extremely rural and highly rugged; while valuable for its timber, its isolated nature also made it extremely difficult to defend. Despite its relative remoteness, it remained a hot-button issue for decades after the Revolutionary War.
In 1820, when Maine formally separated from Massachusetts to become its own state, one of the most pressing issues was a better resolution of the border with New Brunswick. Over the next two decades, both American and British agents would be all over the place, trying to collect taxes and take a census of residents – much to both sides’ dismay. The Dutch, led by King William I, tried to mediate a settlement in 1830 between the two sides, but were unsuccessful; the Americans refused to accept the boundaries drawn by the Netherlands, while the British, who had initially accepted King William’s proposal, ultimately rejected it in 1835.
By 1839, war appeared imminent. The Americans raised a posse that left Bangor, Maine and headed to the Aroostook River valley, arresting a number of New Brunswick lumberjacks. The British, in response, arrested an American land agent and his assistants, taking them back to Woodstock, NB. The Americans, further enraged, arrested a British military commander. Despite the political prisoners and harsh words exchange, there hadn’t been any open warfare.
The Aftermath: Ultimately, there was to be no serious war. The conflict ended in 1842 with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, so named due to its collaborators, Daniel Webster, US Secretary of State, and UK diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton. Both sides didn’t really want a war, in the end – while both sides exchanged fire on numerous occasions, the only people who ended up being directly harmed were two Canadian militiamen who got severely mauled by black bears.
That’s not to say that both sides didn’t gear up for a war – the US authorized a fund of ten million dollars to equip a 50,000 man force to defend Maine’s border, if needed, while the British governorship in Nova Scotia committed $150,000 to the cause, and called in troops from as far as the West Indies to help bolster its own militia forces in New Brunswick. The funniest part of the conflict, however, was that due to the screwed-up land surveys, the US spent tons of time and money building a fort on the wrong side of Lake Champlain, which they were ultimately forced to abandon. Dubbed “Fort Blunder”, it was built three-quarters of a mile north of the 45th parallel separating New York from the colony of Lower Canada (modern-day Quebec).
So why the name “Pork and Beans” War? Nobody really knows. There’s two guesses – either it pertains to the rations commonly issued to British soldiers, or it’s from a very common lumberjack breakfast during these times. At any rate, this is one of the weirdest “wars” in history.
The bear thing ain’t gonna work, John. If Belichick’s not doing it, it’s probably not feasible. Besides, I’ve tried the whole animals on the field thing before. Recruited some actual wolverines for Michigan – made sense at the time, since they don’t need scholarship money and mostly eat whatever’s left out back in the dumpster. As it turns out, those fuckers always jump offsides. Shea Patterson’s still missing a couple fingers, I think.
Anyone who says they need 10 fingers to play the game just isn’t trying hard enough, if you ask me.