Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

July 19th, 2012

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Nantucket lost an important member of our community last week, when Whitey Willauer passed away in a Boston hospital. I got to know Whitey a few years ago when he was first elected as a selectman. He was the most involved member of the BOS, in my memory, since Bernie Grossman. It’s unlikely we will see another member of the board that has the time and will to serve this island as diligently as Whitey.

Now that we’re well into July, it feels as if things have calmed down from the craziness that took place the week before and following celebrations on Independence Day. That won’t mean much as August is coming soon. Then, Nantucket reaches our saturation point, and it’s full steam ahead until the week before Labor Day arrives.

There was a time when our season ran from Memorial Day until Labor Day. The idea of “shoulder seasons” wasn’t even an idea. Then, visitors began coming here for Columbus Day, Christmas Stroll, and Daffodil Weekend. Our season(s) expanded to include those holidays, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas and weekends in spring and fall when weather forecasts predicted nice weather.

Today, many homeowners (some with their own aircraft) spend time here when they have a few days of free time. I appreciate seeing people visiting here in colder months. They see what Nantucket is when things are what I would call “normal.” Too many folks think that this is merely a vacation spot. Year-round citizens know better.

Sometimes we miss the beauty of a place we inhabit every day. Every now and again, we need to sit back and remember that living here is our permanent vacation. Any time I leave this heap of sand, even for a day, coming back home is an adrenaline rush. There are few experiences that are comparable to that feeling. I doubt many people have that zing, when they come back to wherever they live.

Balloons filled with helium fascinate kids and adults alike. The problem with these floating objects is that they often are released into the air, whether deliberately or by mistake. Either way, they are a hazard to many creatures, from birds to sea turtles. I’ve seen these far offshore, and tangled on electric lines and in trees.

People who wouldn’t throw litter on the ground often litter the ground and sea by letting go of balloons. There is a petition being passed around the island asking the BOS to prevent the sale and use of helium balloons on Nantucket. Let’s hope they take a close look at this situation. What do you think?

My goal this summer is to sample every lobster roll (under $25) on-island. So far, I’ve tried four: the Downyflake, Oyster Crackas, Sea Dog Brew Pub and most recently, Dune. All three were very good, with the Downyflake being an eatery I frequent most often, lobster roll or not.

The other three were outstanding, but then, their rolls were twice the price of the Flake. So far, I have yet to eat any lobster that wasn’t tasty, anywhere, anytime. At Dune, the French fries accompanying my lunch were the best I’ve ever tasted. A friend with me tried the frites and agreed that these were special spuds. They came close to eclipsing the lobster roll.

Next Monday will be the third anniversary of my liver transplant. I bring this up not to celebrate, but because there are several hundred people living here with Hepatitis C that are unaware that they have the virus. The Nantucket AIDS Network conducts free testing for both Hep C and AIDS. Baby-boomers are most at risk. I had Hep C for 40 years before discovering it. Don’t wait to find out until it’s too late. Please, get tested.

Monday morning after the downpour, complete with its thunder and lightning storm, was sunny and beautiful. Looking out at my side yard, I noticed dozens of dragonflies. They were so thick, at first I thought it was an apparition. By the afternoon they were mostly gone. I have never seen so many in one place at the same time.

There are few things better than hearing what you have to say, whether this column piqued your interest, or you have something to add that I missed. My telephone number is (508) 228-4325 and my e-dress is dgoodman@nantucket.net. For those folks who would like to write me, the address is P.O. Box 1263, Nantucket, MA 02554. Be well.
– David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears occasionally in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket’s newspaper since 1821.

Nantucket Deer

July 17th, 2012

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I’ve been getting some really nice bucks on my trail cams lately. They are still in velvet. They will not come out of velvet and become hard-horned until the first week or two of September.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News and Nantucket Deer blogs

Waterfront News

July 9th, 2012

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(July 4) I went out in my boat today to escape the madness on shore for a few hours. I cruised around the inner harbor and took a few pictures
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Waterfront News

June 27th, 2012

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It’s very quiet around the waterfront now. In a week it will be the Fourth Of July. The halfway point of the summer. Hard to believe summer is almost half-over already. The weather finally warmed up a little after a very cold and windy spring. I wandered around the docks early this morning to investigate as I do most every morning. There are a few interesting boats there. One is a Hinckley that Kirby Jones is running. Looks as though her sides are shaved off. And the usual suspect, Belle, Is at her summer slip at the fuel dock along with the Sea Owl. And I noticed Mike Allen built a beautiful new boat lately. She is located right near the A&P parking lot. I stopped and looked her over for a long time. She has really nice lines. Mike did a beautiful job building her. Here are some shots of the waterfront.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News and Nantucket Deer blogs

Nantucket Deer

June 27th, 2012

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I’ve been waiting all spring to get a fawn on one of my 11 trail cameras I have set up around the island. Well, the other day it finally happened. I captured twins on my homebrew (homemade) camera last week.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Deer and Nantucket Waterfront News blogs

Nantucket Deer

June 25th, 2012

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I set out a couple of salt rocks for the deer in two locations deep in the eastern part of the island. It’s taking a while for the deer to discover them and start using them. I’m beginning to get a few deer showing up at the rocks. I recently set up my homebrew (homemade) trail camera over the salt rocks and received some pretty interesting shots.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Deer and Nantucket Waterfront News blogs

Goodman’s Gam

June 18th, 2012

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The first Nantucket Book Festival takes place tomorrow and continues through Sunday, June 17. What a great thing for Nantucket. Shortly before I heard of this event, I read a review of a new book by Mark Kurlansky. I obtained a copy of his new work about Clarence Birdseye from the Atheneum last week and read it over the weekend. As with Mr. Kurlansky’s other works it was a wonderful and enlightening read.

Many of you have read his books, such as “Cod,” “Salt,” and “The Big Oyster.” He will be appearing and speaking at the festival. His newest work is “Clarence Birdseye: A Curious American Inventor.” Most of us know the name of Clarence Birdseye from grocery shopping in the frozen-food section. But there’s so much more to the man. Kurlansky details a fascinating man who had more than 200 patents to his name.

One chapter delves into the time Birdseye spent in New Mexico, working for the government, shooting game and picking ticks off them for research. This was due to the problem of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in that area. Having recently read “Island Practice,” it made me realize that Tim Lepore wasn’t the first tick-picker. Birdseye beat him by almost a century.

Pam Belluck, author of “Island Practice,” will be another speaker at the book festival. She joins over 20 other authors, many of whom live, or have lived here. Go to nantucketbookfestival.org , or look here in the I&M for details about where the events are taking place. Let’s hope this will be a yearly celebration of words and the knowledge they convey to us. They’re the best escape I know of.

Nat Philbrick, whose “In the Heart of the Sea” seems to be gaining traction again in Hollywood after being optioned several years ago, will also speak at the festival.
There’s a petition going around the island asking the Board of Selectmen to appeal the decision of a judge who overruled the Historic District Commission when it denied a driveway on Martin’s Lane. There are very few streets on Nantucket where a curb cut for a driveway would be denied, but this is a different animal, indeed.
Martin’s Lane is not only historic, but it’s extremely narrow and paved with brick. The curb there is quite high, so turning in or out of the driveway would be difficult for the homeowner, not to mention any other drivers trying to maneuver through there. I have to wonder why the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee didn’t (or doesn’t) weigh in on this driveway application.

Speaking of traffic safety, I’m feeling less than comfortable with some of the driving taking place these days. Over the past week, several vehicles have come close to hitting me head-on. All but one of the offending drivers was speaking on a cell phone at the time. A woman who wasn’t using her phone appeared to be showing a scenic view to her friend, drifting halfway over the double line while negotiating a curve on Milestone Road.

Like many of us, I was disappointed to hear that the Tappet Brothers, aka Click and Clack, aka Tom and Ray Magliozzi, will be ceasing their NPR show “Car Talk” as of late September. Whether you’re a car buff or not, their repartee and genuine love of the subject made for a Saturday-morning show that was fun and interesting. After 35 years, it’s understandable that they might want to step away. The show will still be on NPR, but as of September, it will consist of reruns of their old shows.

We now have a true Nantucket radio station on the air. I have tuned in to WAZK every day for the past week or so and have been pleased at the music so far. Apart from music, town manager Libby Gibson is going to be doing a live chat session every Thursday, between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Libby also does an interview with Geno Geng each week on Channel 17 (GenoTV.com). Talk about transparency in local government. Some of the selectmen might want to try going on the air, too.

The Boston Celtics put forth a mighty effort in their bid to play for the NBA championship, but they ran out of gas in their last two games against the Miami Heat. I’ve now become a temporary fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Go get ’em Kendrick.
David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror

Waterfront News

June 5th, 2012

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It was bound to happen eventually. The summer that never was. We were long overdue for it. As I type this we are in the middle of a northeast gale. Boats are washing up on the beaches around the waterfront where they will stay wrecked forever, never to be cleaned up. It’s been cold, rainy and windy so far. We have had a few nice days but they have been few and far in between. In two and a half months summer will be over. Hopefully we can salvage September. I guess the only good news is that our winters have been nice and hot the past few. I snuck down to the waterfront late this afternoon to take a look at the storm.
Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Nantucket Deer

June 4th, 2012

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One of my trail cameras takes HD videos as well as stills. It’s the Bushnell 466. Great camera. Sometimes I set it to take videos. This particular spot is loaded with bucks of all sizes from small button bucks all the way up to jumbo six-pointers. I’ve had a camera in here for two summers now and have never been let down. I get tons of pictures and videos of deer all summer long. This little button buck caught my scent on the cam and came over to have a look.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Deer and Nantucket Waterfront News blogs

Nantucket Deer

May 30th, 2012

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The bucks I’m capturing on my trail cameras now are growing their antlers. They shed last year’s antlers last winter. Deer grow a new set of antlers every spring. They are fully grown by September. This early the antlers are small and covered in velvet. Velvet is a substance with blood vessels on the developing antlers. The blood vessels deliver the blood to all parts of the antler, helping it grow. Bucks are very reclusive this time of the year because they do not want to damage their growing antlers by walking through heavy brush. They lay low only coming out to feed in the open. I have my nine cameras all over the island now documenting bucks and their antler growth. Soon the does will start dropping their fawns. It’s always a nice surprise to see a newborn fawn on my trail cameras. Stay tuned for that. For now, here are pictures from my Bushnell 466 trail camera of a buck in velvet. He spotted my camera and came over to it to investigate. Deer are extremely curious creatures. Anything they see that is new in their environment, they have a look. Click here for more.
Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Deer and Nantucket Waterfront News blogs