Islander's Blog

Archive for November, 2009

Goodman’s Gam

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

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Tomorrow’s the big day. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and it’s ours. Canada celebrates it as well, but this is a (North) American tradition that is a New World one-day vacation. As is usually the case, food is much of the tie that binds us this day.

I love to eat well, so cooking and stuffing a turkey is right up my alley. One year, I bought a huge fryer and cooked a 12-pound bird in the back yard. If you’ve never tried this type of preparation, do so some time. The skin is perfectly crisp, it was done in 33 minutes and the meat was the juiciest I’ve had the pleasure of consuming. There was also a turkey roasted in the oven, though the fried one took first prize.

Another year, I cooked an extra turkey on the grill. This was an eight-pounder, and it was done in a little less than an hour and a half. As with the fried bird it was a big hit at the table. People often talk about how difficult it is to cook a turkey, but they’re easy, if one takes the time to prepare. In a pinch, there are several Internet sites with needed information.

This year, I’m invited to the house of friends. The lady of the house, knowing vegetables aren’t my forte, asked if there was something extra she could make for me. I explained that turkey, stuffing and gravy are sufficient (in large quantities) to induce a much needed food coma. That and good friends are all I require to give thanks.

One of the stories seen in many newspapers last week was the demise of the Nantucket versus Martha’s Vineyard football game. The Island Cup needs to be continued in the future. Even islanders who normally don’t go to the gridiron contests turned out for the game. Evidently, the Vineyard is committed for all of their games next season. That means that the athletic directors of each school have enough time to cease squabbling over who didn’t do what, and plan for the 2011 Island Cup.

Over the last couple of months I’ve noticed (and written) about how few people are out and about in the town center. It still looks that way, but in the past two weeks, traffic has been fairly busy. The mid-island area has had its share of tie-ups in particular. Old South Road is quite full of vehicles most weekdays.

Seeing that Jim Richard is intent on throwing his hat into the ring for sheriff is a good/bad thing. I’m worried that Jim (Richard) and Jim (Perelman) may cancel out enough of each other’s votes, thereby allowing the wrong man to win a third term. Not only that, my choice of whom to vote for has become extremely difficult. Other folks have told me they are suffering the same dilemma.

I would have to hope that there will be another ethically-challenged opponent running for sheriff to pull votes away from the present office-holder. Where’s Dennis Kozlowski when we really need him?
On the subject of people running for public office . . . it sounds as though Lou Dobbs may try for a U.S. Senate seat, or even the White House. Team him up with Sarah Palin and think of how happy the Democratic Party would be.

Over the last couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of not writing of the demise of friends and acquaintances. Now there are three good men gone recently and I want say goodbye to them and wish their families the best.

Lydle Rickard was the first person I ever asked for a job, shortly after moving here. One look at my (long) hair, and he told me to get lost. Years later I worked along side of his daughter, Margaret. Then I got to know Mr. Rickard and reminded him of my very short job interview. We both laughed at it. He was a good guy, and I probably wouldn’t have been much of a plumber as it is.

Steve Barcus was first introduced to me in Bill Fisher Tackle. Steve and his brother Alan were known as Curly and Moe by one inhabitant of the tackle store, due to their hairstyles, or in one case a lack of hair. The brothers were a funny couple who kept everything loose, whether holding court at Great Point or in the aforementioned shop on New Lane.

Steve’s son Michael started fishing when he was less than three feet tall. It was easy to see how proud Steve was when Mike caught his first striped bass. He was cremated and his ashes will be spread on the water at Great Point. The bass became dinner.

Last, but certainly least is Earl Girroir. He was a mentor to hundreds of kids who attended the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club (at that time it may have been boys only). Among other things, he will be remembered for his handshake, a love of boxing and his wonderful personality. Earl left the island a while back, but used to occasionally write me, commenting on what I’d written in the I&M. I’ll miss his humanity.

The Patriots did a number on the Jets last Sunday. Let’s hope they are able to best the toughest team in the league on Monday night. The New Orleans Saints are formidable, to say the least.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly at www.discovernantucket.com and monthly in The Inquire and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

My beautiful and talented friend, Claudia Kronenberg, went out with me scalloping recently and took pictures. Claudia is a world renowned professional wedding and portrait photographer. Here is Claudia’s website. and here are a few of the pictures Claudia took.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

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There may be drought conditions in many areas in this country and the rest of the world, but a lack of water isn’t a problem on Nantucket. Some places on our diminutive sand spit have saltwater intrusion in wells and Hummock Pond is full of nasty algae that are making its waters unsuitable for swimming and fishing.

Having said that, other bodies of water, mostly ponds (and mud puddles) on-island are full up to the brim. The aforementioned Hummock Pond and Sesachacha Pond are lower than normal, due to having been opened up to the ocean recently. Before the two ponds were drained they were close to three feet higher than they are at present.

Long Pond, which is somewhat open to the sea, is a good foot above normal. I checked Gibbs Pond and Washing Pond as well. They’re not flooded, though an extra couple of feet have been added to their depths. We don’t need a weatherman to tell if there’s a drought or a surplus of water around these parts.

About two weeks ago, I began seeing and hearing Christmas ads on the TV and radio. Then, I came into town to do a few errands and the Christmas trees were being anchored between the bricks all around the core district. It isn’t even Thanksgiving, and we’ve moved beyond it. I suppose there will be ads for Valentine’s Day shortly before the new year.

Our town arborist Dale Gary (aka DPW Dale) had an interesting encounter with a tree he was removing last week. Usually, Dale is the victor, but in this case, the tree won the first skirmish. While cutting a Federal Street elm down to size, his chain saw blade was trashed by a large chunk of cement that had been placed inside a hollow portion of said tree.

The mortar mix couldn’t be seen until it had already done the damage. I’ve noticed trees (off-island) with similar chunks of cement and some that were filled with brickwork. Here, there aren’t that many large trees, particularly packed with mortar, so this was an unforeseen event.

Inserted in last week’s I&M was the high school newspaper, Veritas. This publication is always a wonderful read, and last week’s edition was no exception. There were several articles by former students who had written for the paper, describing their first few months in college. I found the experiences enlightening, though no more so than the former staffers had.

Last Saturday evening the Nantucket Junior Miss contest took place at the high school auditorium. Ashley Clinger (a Veritas staffer) was second runner-up, with Sarah Andrews as first runner-up. Georgina Morley (a Veritas editor) won the 2010 Nantucket Junior Miss title. Congratulations to the nine contestants, their “big sisters,” and all of the other folks that made the entire event come to fruition!

I’m third on the waiting list at the Atheneum to receive a copy of an upcoming best-selling piece of fiction. The name of the weighty tome is….”Going Rogue.” Or is it “Goin’ Rogue.” Dang.
There was an interesting New York Times article concerning the comeback of bay scallops around Long Island. In New York, fishermen are allowed a limit of ten bushels per day, and their opening price was $12 per pound. Compared to the five-bushel limit and the prices local fishermen are making, bay men to the south of us are doing better than well.

Captain Pete Kaizer had a beautifully-written commentary that ran in the Boston Globe this past Monday. Pete made his case that the over-fishing of herring is contributing to the dearth of tuna and striped bass populations. Without food, the predator fish will eventually starve. Squid are another stock that is being over-fished. It’s a matter of time before human beings find a way to use up any and every resource at our disposal.

Next Thursday (Turkey Day) at 10 a.m. is going to be the eighth annual Cold Turkey Plunge. If you wish to immerse yourself in the balmy harbor waters, then show up at Children’s Beach by 9:15 in order to register. Pledges made to sponsor swimmers go to help fund the Nantucket Atheneum Weezie Library for Children. Please visit the Atheneum to obtain information for the event.

I noticed there are a number of categories that have prizes attached to them. Two of these attracted my interest. They are for the farthest traveled male and female. As far as I know, simply traveling into the water on Thanksgiving Day is further than I’m inclined to go.

Google News Alerts sent me a warning that 17,000 sweatshirts have recalled, due to a possible strangulation hazard. The Chinese-made jackets and sweats have drawstrings that could be problematic. Why is this pertinent to us? Some of the sweatshirts and jackets have the name Nantucket on them, as well as a number of other tourist-oriented communitie. Most of these items are taken off-island, so the risk is minimal if you actually reside here.

In the past couple of days, both the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post carried articles about the further financial difficulties encountered by Bob Matthews, former owner of the Point Breeze fiasco. It seems that Mr. Matthews’ project, The Heart of Palm Hotel, was taken back after he couldn’t come up with the necessary $22.2 million.

Next week he may lose a prime acre of land in Palm Beach if he’s unable to produce $20.1 million. I noticed that the Matthews’ house (Casa Bendita) has the highest delinquent property tax in Palm Beach County, amounting to just less than $265,000. Maybe his house name needs to be changed to Casa Bandita.
David Goodman writes Goodman’s gam weekly in this space and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Here’s a little video clip I shot while out scalloping last week.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog.

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

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Scallopers aren’t having much trouble finding their five-box limits these days, though with poor poundage per bushel and far lower prices the season will be a struggle (I&M story here). One scalloper said that due to lower yields they have to pay openers more per pound.

With that in mind, one has to admit it is a living compared to what many in the trades are facing. At least they have some income to help pay their bills. Most carpenters, painters and others in the construction industry have little or no work ahead of them.

Once winter is at an end, many homeowners will suddenly decide to have work done on their summer abodes. Then they’ll be in a rush to get it completed. It might be nice if they’d start thinking about what needs to be done now. This is the time when workers are able to perform their tasks without a schedule that forces them to work overtime and try to beat the clock, as it were.

Even in good years, too many people wait until the last minute, and then call on island contractors for repairs on their house. If you’re in one of the building trades, you know the drill. A job postponed results in no job at all. Take too much work, or have a schedule that gets fouled up for whatever reason, and angry phone calls will come your direction. No matter how well you plan, something trips you up.

A carpenter/contractor spoke to me the other day regarding the no-work situation for the upcoming winter. His idea was to try and convince 50 well-heeled homeowners to each spend $25,000 fixing up their houses. Repaint them, new shingles, a rebuilt deck. These are make-work projects, but they’re needed on many houses every couple of years. That work would help dozens of Nantucket workers scrape through the lean times and spruce up a number of summer homes.

Now there’s more Federal Street post office news. I asked our postmaster about the railing and he said he thought it was the original. When queried about the door not appearing to be tailored to handicapped people, he told me it was. His belief was that the ramp up to the door made it handicap accessible.

I said it didn’t seem that anyone in a wheelchair could possibly open up the door while trying to enter the portal at the same time. The postmaster’s reply was to ask if I’d like to file a complaint, and if so it should be addressed to the folks in Providence (R.I.). Whether or not the decision was made in Providence, shouldn’t the postmaster have some idea of what’s happening in his own fiefdom?

This was a typical “it’s not my job syndrome” that is frighteningly common these days. If you’re going to do something, at least do it to the best of your abilities. And the United States Postal Service is going down the tubes. On the other hand, the majority of people working in all of our local POs are excellent at their jobs.

While speaking about doing a job well, I’m looking at the shrink that allegedly shot and killed over three dozen people at Fort Hood. How does a doctor with a poor rating get a promotion to major? A raise for mediocrity is insane, but then so was the doc.

I was proud to see our congressman, Bill Delahunt, voted nay on a U.S. House vote on a resolution congratulating the New York Yankees on their World Series victory. Mr. Delahunt said that as a lifelong Red Sox Nation fan he couldn’t bring himself to vote for it.

The Nantucket Junior Miss competition takes place this Saturday at the Mary P. Walker Auditorium (Nantucket High School). This is always a great evening for the audience, as well as the contestants. I especially like to watch the children in attendance, because they get so excited watching the festivities. Its good entertainment and the kids know the young women on stage from seeing them in school or around town.

Contestants have a chance to show off their talent and brains, while vying for scholarship money to help defray college expenses. The doors are open by 6:30 pm and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, and are available at The Hub, the High School front desk, and if any are left, at the door.

While this fall has been full of precipitation, along with some early chilly days, we’ve had some days that have really stood out. Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday were bright and warm. On Saturday a friend and I went fishing in Sesachacha Pond. In the process, we waded at least a quarter of a mile in waist-deep water. It was my first time fishing since early July, and the day was nearly perfect.

Another entity who’s opposed to the Nantucket Sound wind farm is the Steamship Authority. They’re against the collection of steel posts, complete with fans on top, as they would pose problems for their ships for “navigational safety reasons.”

I should have posted this last week. I’d like to apologize to veterans and those servicemen and women now serving our country for my tardiness in congratulating their service to all of us. Whether or not you believe in what we’re doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, the members of the armed services deserve our respect each and every day, not just one day each November.
– “Goodman’s Gam” appears weekly at www.discovernantucket.com, and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

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Having spent an hour walking around Main Street on Halloween, I was struck by how elaborate many of the costumes were. Not the children’s get-ups, but those of the parents and other adults. This was akin to arrested development in my mind. Perhaps it’s just my age. I don’t recall adults dressing up for Halloween when I was a kid. It’s another thing to go to a costume party as an adult.

There were children with costumes that showed how much thought and effort had gone into them. The two families that were my favorites were a mother, father and a child who all had matching outfits. One troika was dressed like Dalmatians with Cruella DeVille and the other were either zebras or white tigers. I appreciated the family approach they had taken.

Several Main Street businesses were supplying trick or treaters with bowls of candy set out on their counter. Nantucket Pharmacy had one of their executives out on the sidewalk giving away treats. This entire evening impressed me far more than the Christmas Stroll. At least it was comprised of people who live here, and it was real, not an invented holiday. Money had nothing to do with the celebration.

Last week I mentioned the new façade of the Federal Street post office. Since then one of the employees explained that the railing is the original. That still doesn’t explain the large overhang on the left side of it. Then, I had a post from a reader asking why the front door isn’t handicapped accessible.

Today (Tuesday) I asked another post office employee about the problem with the front door. He didn’t have a clue as to what was happening with it. Then, I tried to speak to the postmaster. The employee said he wasn’t there. So I asked when he would return. His reply was: “maybe tomorrow.” Pretty reassuring when the staff doesn’t know where the boss is or when he’ll return.

The Sconset Post Office may not be with us much longer. Their hours have been cut back to the point where the desk is (wo)manned a little more than half of each day. Knocking down the service will make it more likely that east-end residents will change to a town P.O. box. Once that begins to happen, the USPS will have an easier time shutting down the Sconset post office for good.

Maybe it’s a good thing that the Nantucket Whalers aren’t going to be playing their annual football game with Martha’s Vineyard. Last week the “Grapes” had to cancel a scheduled game with Cape Cod Tech, due to about 10 members from the Vineyard with H1N1 (swine flu) symptoms. I doubt Nantucket will escape unscathed from this flu pandemic, but the later it comes here, the better for all of us.

Today at noon the Food for Thought series will present Charles Gifford, representing “Waste Options” (i.e. the dump). It takes place in the Whaling Museum and is free. Bring your lunch while hearing about our lovely landfill.

The news about the Wampanoag tribe trying to stave off the wind turbines in Nantucket Sound sounds good to me. I’m getting tired of newspaper articles saying that this is about rich people saying NIMBY. There are plenty of normal residents who are dead set against this project.

There are several problems with the windmills, and many of them have nothing to do with which door they’re seen from. The developer may sell the electricity to whomever he likes. It won’t necessarily come to our shores. The power goes to the highest bidder.

I believe the towers may very well impact fishing, and for those who say there aren’t fish in that area, I beg to differ. I have fished in the area several times, catching blues, striped bass and fluke. I’d be lying if I said it was the best fishing spot around here, but anywhere there are living creatures they need to be protected.

The developer is likely to “flip” the project once it’s approved. He is not an environmentalist, he’s a businessman. If it must be run as a business, let’s have a utility company such as NSTAR do it. I trust their expertise more than that of a “for-profit” developer. Remember, the developer tried (and failed) to construct a fossil fuel plant to generate electricity in South Boston.

We now have a new water tower on the island horizon. It’s beautiful, if you appreciate mushroom-shaped infrastructure. Unfortunately it’s needed, given the growth on our water-hungry sandbar. Eventually it’ll blend in and be relatively benign. I remember using the black water tower by Washing Pond as a landmark when fishing from my boat. Of course, that was before we had GPS.

The town clerk has informed me that November is “National Preservation Month,” and she will be hosting an open house to show off some of her office’s historic items. The open house is to take place on Friday, Nov. 13, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Catherine Stover and her able assistants would like to show you around the items they caretake.

The New York Yankees are now World Series champions after finishing off the Philadelphia Phillies four games to two last evening. After all, the Bronx Bombers were the finest team money could buy. This season they played like a team, instead of a group of well-paid businessmen. Chase Utley was the bright spot for the Phillies. I wish he’d hit one more home run and beaten Reggie’s record.

The Interfaith Harvest Fair will take place on Saturday, November. 7 from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. All of the local congregations will have tables with gift items, home furnishings and other goodies. It’s a chance to start shopping for the holidays.

For readers who choose not to post their thoughts below, I may be reached at (508)228-4325, or e-mailed at dgoodman@nantucket.net. My P.O. Box is 1263.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly at www.discovernantucket.com and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Opening day of commercial scalloping season. Pix.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog.

Waterfront News

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Nov. 1 sunset and moon at Brant Point. Pix.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog.

Waterfront News

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

The new water tower is visible now around the waterfront. It’s huge!! I went out yesterday in my boat and grabbed some shots of it from a few different locations.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog.