My favorite things New Hampshire

1. Musician.  I don’t love Steve Tyler/Aerosmith, so what am I left with?

2. Author: I find John Irving unreadable, so does it come down to Russell Banks?  Who else is there?  Salinger lived in New Hampshire for a long time, so I’ll pick him, though it is also pretty far from my favorite.  Here is my Catcher in the Rye review.

3. Sculptor: August Saint-Gaudens.

“Law Supported by Power and Love”


4. Adam Sandler movie: The Waterboy, Happy Gilmore.

5. Poet: Robert Frost, who seems to be clear winner for the whole state.  There is a scholastic version of Frost which is quite dull, don’t be put off if that is all you know of him.

6. Movie director: Brian DePalma, Dressed to Kill and Mission to Mars being my favorites.

7. Painter: Maxfield Parrish.  I feel I’m being forced into many of these choices — I simply can’t think of anyone else.

8. Secretary of the Treasury: Salmon P. Chase.  Chase is one of the few people to have had a major position in the executive branch, served in Congress, and sat on the Supreme Court.

9. Free trade economist: Douglas Irwin.

The bottom line: For all of my grumbling, for such a small state it does pretty well.


New England is the most complacent part of America.

You could argue the Rust Belt, the Farm Belt, the South, or the Appalachians as the most complacent.

Don't see it for South or Appalachia. South is pretty dynamic at this point, the bar sadly being pretty low. Appalachia, in the sense we mean it culturally, never reached the comfortable level where Cowen-style complacency would set in.

The best thing about New Hampshire is that it is NOT Massachusetts.

best musician- Oscar Peterson

I've always been in awe of Oscar Peterson's genius and persona, but recently read a 1970 review by Whitney Balliet dismissing Peterson as a lusterless imitation of Art Tatum. Then I realized what a strange criticism that was, considering that you'd have to be in the top 1% of pianists to even creditably imitate Art Tatum.

Both were pretty good.
Tatum was more talented, of course.
Art Tatum once asked a friend to drop a couple dozen different coins on a counter at a bar (is that what they are called, counters? I think there is a better word)
and his friend did - dropped a pocketful of change on the bar - and for about ten or fifteen seconds the various coins dropped and bounced and rolled and spun and made all the sounds you would expect

and then when the last coin rested on the bar (in French we call it le zinc, for God's sake I have forgotten what it is called in English - certainly not just "the bar")

when the last coin had fallen, and when the noise of all those coins falling on a bar had ceased, Tatum looked away from his friend standing at the bar, turned to the piano, and played back as close as anyone could do in a Platonically perfect universe

the sound of all those coins falling and being dropped on the bar

note for note, word for word, sound for sound

on a humble upright piano in a long forgotten bar in New Hampshire

Heard the story on Rob Hamburgers Hot Jazz Saturday night, 5, 10, 20 years ago, I don't remember exactly

The Wikipedia article mentions no New Hampshire connection.

we apologize
howabout buddy miller

Holden Caulfield hated phonies. He couldn't handle the fact that the world is full of virtue signalling fakes. Big cities are full of them.

Holden was actually Salinger himself. The virtue signalling, city dwelling phonies could never understand why a genius like Salinger would retreat to NH and miss all the excitement of being in their presence and receiving their adulation. He hated them. Salinger much preferred the company of his unpretentious, rough hewn Canuck neighbor, clearly a deplorable. Read his story about the hatchet.

The NY literary elite never understood Salinger, just like the urban left and the "cognitive elite" (in truth they are neither) don't understand, and actually hate, the basket of deplorables living in flyover country and small rural states like NH.

I hope they leave NH alone, lest it turn into Maine or Vermont, ruined by urban refugees from NYC.

seriously, read the short stories

Aerosmith barely qualify as “New Hampshire.” The best rock band from NH is Scissorfight, by a wide margin, but probably not Tyler’s taste or sense of humor.

Metal god Dio was born in Portsmouth NH but spent most of his youth in upstate NY. Also hailing from Portsmouth is Peter Bonerz, the zany dentist on the Bob Newhart Show

You didn't mention Justice David Souter.

Punch Drunk Love is also good. But overall, Adam Sandler movies are terrible (IMO)

Just out of curiosity, why would you watch an Adam Sandler movie?

To avoid being fed through a woodchipper alive.'s a tossup

I really don't have a good explanation. For some reason during my high school days, Star Movies used to show a lot of Adam Sandler movies.
But I watched his recent Netflix movie with Jennifer Aniston (Murder Mystery) as well...I continue to regret having watched that tripe (and wasting precious 1.5hrs)

An author to consider: Marko Kloos who wrote Terms of Enlistment, Line of Departure, and half a dozen other works. of quite decent military science fiction. There's a Wikipedia page:

Musician: Tom Rush

Good one. Tyler's probably too young to know that.

Robert Frost is more of a Vermonter

I thought Frost was from California.

Frost was born in San Francisco. Upon the death of his father at age 11 he moved to Massachusetts.

He lived in New Hampshire for all but three years from age 25 and kept a summer home there until age 64. In 1921 he moved to Ann Arbor and after that primarily resided in Vermont. His first Pulitzer of four was for New Hampshire: A Poem With Notes and Grace Notes.

Donald Hall & Jane Kenyon

Greatest New Hampshire picture book: Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney, "Ox-Cart Man." Admittedly it rewards adults more than children.

If you're "impaled by beauty" like, say, Holden Caulfield, and you've any child in your life, however remotely, get hold of it!

How about the 14th US President Franklin Pierce?

The Bretton Woods Agreement in the Mt. Washington Hotel

The windiest weather station in the world at the summit of Mt Washington that can be reached by the original cog railroad

And Polly's Pancakes

Polly's Pancake Parlor on the Cooking Channel ---

Polly’s was recently featured on the Cooking Channel’s "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." The episode was titled- "Genuine Legends" - and celebrates eats and eateries that will always withstand the test of time. Find out which dishes make the cut and go down in history as true legends.

Polly’s was nominated by celebrity chef Simon Majumdar who visited the restaurant in 2017 unbeknownst to the staff and owners. Taping took place in October of 2018 and features manager Scott Carmichael.
Owner Kathie Aldrich Côté says that it was an honor to be nominated and featured on the Cooking Channel. 

Polly’s is open daily 7 AM- 3 PM through October and then open four days per week Friday-Mondays, November through April. Be parepared to wait in line.

Apparently Brian De Palma actually studied physics at one point, but Mission to Mars has some silly physics goofs. The most egregious was the rotating candy. Fail.

P. J. O'Rourke has lived in New Hampshire for awhile now. Just throwing that out there.

As far as poetry goes, I recommend this recent Slate article, "Who Gets to Be the Next Poet Laureate of New Hampshire?"
(My poetic tastes are stunted and unrefined, so I found it hilarious.)

Sarah Silverman!

At least three fairly prominent (especially after their SNL stints) SNL cast members/writers are from New Hampshire: Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, and Seth Meyers.

To make it even weirder, they are all from the same city (approximately. Silverman and Sandler are from Manchester; Meyers is from one town over in Bedford but attended high school in Manchester). They actually all lived there for a very brief simultaneous period around 1983-1984. However, as far as I know, none of them actually knew each other at the time.

Carlton Fisk!!

Their wonderfully unequivocal state motto, features on their license plates: “Live free or die.”

As opposed to my state of NY's "So Die Already, See if I Care"

'their license plates: “Live free or die.”' I remember noticing some of those when I visited Quebec (province). I remarked on them. A Canadian explained: "they are very excitable, our American cousins". Or did he say "prone to hysteria"? Something like that, anyway.

Think Lexington and Concord, or Bunker Hill, but that ethos has moved out of New England.

They are a bunch of pussies now, mostly.

They're puritans. They were puritans then and they're puritans now; it's just what they're being puritanical about keeps shifting.

Massachusetts played a big role in starting the civil war, too.

The Quebecois license plate also has a slogan about war, right? About remembering some loss to the British and its consequences?

Although Nebraska would probably take violent exception to New Hampshire's claiming her, Willa Cather spent considerable time at an inn in Jaffrey, NH, did much of her writing there, and at her own request was buried in Jaffrey.

re: Salmon P. Chase

- the most interesting fact about him is NOT that he served in all three branches of government. In fact, he served as a senator only for a couple of days before Lincoln made him Treasury Secretary.

The interesting fact is that as Chief Justice he ruled against himself by holding that declaring the greenbacks legal tender, which he did as Treasury Secretary to finance the Civil War, was unconstitutional. (I recommend the discussion by Milton Friedman & Anna Schwartz!)

#1. He's not your style, but Jim Matheos is New Hampshire's best musician by quite a long shot.

I assumed he was a Nutmeg Stater. Wow, glad to claim him for the Land of the Free.

I have nothing to add except I also do not understand the appeal of John Irving.

I do. Love everything that John Irving has ever written.

Well, bully for you.

I am surprised a supposed libertarian blog does not mention the Free State Project, Dartmouth v. Woodward, or the lack of income tax, sales tax, and adult seatbelt laws.

Well, you don't know Tyler's protocol. These regional favorites listings emphasize Tyler's interests in cultural output. Tyler needs a break from all things public policy and politcal economy. Oh, the hipster econ guy he is.

New Hampshire also has no income tax and has some of the low tax and low regulation features of Sun Belt states, but it hasn't become a destination for people fleeing high costs. I wonder if climate really is that important. Alternately, having a big city may be that important, and Machester isn't big enough. And it's too far from Boston and way too far from NYC/Philadelphia.

NH has outrageous property taxes. They do have infrastructure, and someone has to pay somehow. Tnstaafl or something ...

It's amazing how much nicer the infrastructure (roads, bridges, snow clearing) gets when you cross the border from Mass to NH. They seem to manage pretty well with their tax system.

Of course. They can take your money even if you have a bad year and have little income. If you don't pay, they sell your house.

Works for them!

"NH has outrageous property taxes."

Which keeps the wrong kind of people out, of course.

Daniel Webster, oh how we forget

Missed a power category...

Politician: Toss-up between the fetching president Franklin Pierce and the only congressman who defeated Old Scratch himself, Daniel Webster.

Justice David Souter deserves commendation

my fav NH thing:

I take exception to the choice of Sandler movies. Billy Madison is Adam Sandler's best traditional comedy by a long shot. It's willing to be genuinely weird and surreal in ways his other comedies don't really approach. The main character is also his best. Sandler protagonists are always assholes, but in other movies we're supposed to see them as heroic everymen. Billy Madison is just straightforwardly a spoiled, rich asshole and it makes the whole thing more effective. The movie as a whole is wildly uneven, of course, but it's the most worthwhile movie Sandler has written.

Is John Irving a poor man's Richard Russo or is it the other way around?

John Irving is really a very distinctive writer, right through his first four novels (three of which were published pre-fame). "The World According to Garp" delighted us with its energy and originality. Immediately after came "Hotel New Hampshire" which foregrounded some of his less interesting themes and obsessions and slowed his momentum.

I find it interesting that Irving is a dyslexic. It's possible that the difficulty with which he writes affects his choice of subject matter - his obsessions being the only topics powerful enough drag him back to the keyboard.

Richard Russo, by contrast, is a notably sane sort of writer, with a good sense of humor, who does not appear to be ruled by strange compulsions.

When a writer has published as many books as Irving, he raises the ratio of stinkers to good ones, and makes it more likely that the casual reader who dips into his oeuvre will come up with a loser. Maybe that's why people hate him.

russo after many books
0 stinkers

I don't know how New Hampshire gets to claim Frost...born in California, died in Massachusetts, lived most of his life in Vermont. He's less of a New Hampshirite than Alexander Graham Bell is a Canadian (which is not very much!)

The best evidence of this is his poem, "New Hampshire".

#1) Ronnie James Dio....nah, just kidding.
#1) Jon Howard Appleton--influential electro-acoustic musi composer. Fostered technology revolution in music with the Synclavier in the 70s and 80s..

#1) If Oscar Peterson is of NH origin, this would be the a fantastic pick, as suggested in an earlier comment. Peterson is one of the greats.

Peterson was from Montreal, and was based for many years in Toronto. I don't see the NH connection. At all.

Agree with Dressed To Kill, can't see how anyone liked Mission To Mars.

"Furthermore, the film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Brian De Palma in the category of 'Worst Director', where he lost to Roger Christian for Battlefield Earth."


The Shaggs!!!

My wife and I retired in NH in part because there's no income tax or sales tax, although there is a somewhat pesky cash interest and dividends tax with a $5,000 exemption

We're very happy with our taxes in NH. Supposedly property taxes are high, but the property is not revalued for years --- unlike Bexar County in San Antonio where our property was revalued in real time.

Also my property tax in San Antonio covered city, county, school district, and the Bexar County Hospital which was adding nearly $2,000 per year for charity medicine when we moved to NH. Now my taxes only are for city, county, and schools, although we make a sizeable donation to our regional hospital in NH (a discretionary donation).

Several of the physicians in our regional hospital moved here from Vermont to escape the really horrendous Vermont system of taxation.

Yes, the NH taxation system does attract the professionals weary of income taxes and sales taxes in all the states that surround NH (including Canada).

NH has no future. The state is just a series of retirement villages. The schools are shrinking, young families are leaving, and businesses aren't coming.

Frost lived in Franconia, NH for a few years where he wrote some of his best poetry. However, he found the winters too harsh for his apple trees and moved to southern Vermont.

His Franconia House is now a museum where aspiring poets meet every summer and even published their poems in a book called The Breath of Parted Lips edited by Donald Hall.

Foremost NH composer is Alvin Lucier.

Charles Simic is NH's best poet.

The Washington Post recently ranked New Hampshire schools at third in the nation behind Mass. and Minnesota ---

New Hampshire's economy is relatively good shape compared to other northern New England states. Liberal Vermont that drives its physicians and other professionals to New Hampshire because of the highest taxes in the nation now offers $10,000 scams for people to move to Vermont, but nobody is biting because the $10,000 will be taxed away almost immediately.

All of northern New England has been hit will paper mill closings and a climate that still is relatively cold with short growing seasons --- this summer we've really only had two warm nights.

So what's wrong with being a popular retirement state that attracts rather than repels retirees?

"So what's wrong with being a popular retirement state that attracts rather than repels retirees?"

Nothing, except that the state isn't attracting anyone else. That doesn't bode well for the state's long-term economic health.

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