Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"The Sign of the Turkey"

These "wild turkeys" invaded the neighborhood I live in this morning for some "Fall foraging" . I don't exactly know what they were eating from my yard but there is an oak tree near the street in my yard so they might be eating acorns (they must be nuts). Although these turkeys are "wild" they seemed quite comfortable in the neighborhood and didn't seem afraid of me. There was no "Tom" turkey among this "gang of eight" but I don't know these turkey's names; I did ask but they didn't answer me.

From the website they say the following about wild turkey sightings and symbolism:

Autumnal Symbolic Meanings

  • Cycles
  • Harvest
  • Endings
  • Beginnings
  • Preparation

Animal symbolism of the turkey also deals with male virility and pride. This isn't surprising when we observe male turkeys in the wild. They are quite noble looking as the strut and fan their impressive plumage for all to see.
When the turkey visits us it is a sign that we must be mindful of the blessings bestowed upon us each day. Further, it is a message to express our strength and brilliance - it's time to show our own plumage and reveal true selves. 

So, I guess I have to start showing the universe my "strength and brilliance". I suppose that is what I have to do. The number 8 is the "Lucky number" for China and with the name Rickshaw I have taken this as a "sign" to study somewhat the Oriental culture now and Zen. Hey, maybe "good fortune" will "Smile" on me in the near future; time will tell but at least I'm probably "brilliant enough" to "count my blessings".

Monday, December 8, 2014

Soundings Resort "Holiday Tree"

Here is a photo of the "Soundings Resort Holiday Tree" located in the lobby of this Cape Cod oceanfront property in Dennisport. This tree has "Sand dollars, blue sea horses, and Starfish". December 25th is an interesting day as it is the first day when the days start to "get longer" after the Winter Solstice. Although Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, some people say Jesus may not have been born on exactly December 25th which was the date of a Pagan holiday prior to the rise of Christianity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wine Not?

I recently received this "RICKSHAW" 2012 Chardonnay California wine from my UCONN roommate "Jack" as he treated me to dinner at the "Oyster Company" restaurant in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. The Oyster Company restaurant was appropriate as far as this wine bottle was concerned I'm sure as the label shows a bunch of unshucked oyster which ironically may have on the label the same number of oysters as the number of birthdays I have experienced.

The back label of this wine bottle states that "Dedicated to the relentless pursuit  of wines of elegance, purity, and sophistication at prices that rarely reflect these characteristics. We are equally dedicated to helping carry our fellow man , thus the name. 5% of all profits will be donated to food based charities in the state where the wine is sold."

Why not try some "RICKSHAW" wine for yourself if you happen to stumble across this vintage in your travels? Wine not?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Interstellar Time

Just returned from viewing the new Christopher Nolan directed film "Interstellar". This movie explores some interesting "physics" concepts such as "worm holes and black holes" and the "Theory of Relativity" as it relates to the concepts of space and time along with gravity and the future of mankind if planet Earth becomes uninhabitable .Relative time between Earth time and time in space and other planets in other galaxies was explored.  Definitely a "thought provoking" movie along with exploring the human urges of "self preservation versus human species continuation"and what decisions people may make if confronted with the choice of these two paths.

Christopher Nolan also directed  "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Memento" as well as the mind provoking movie "Inception" where present reality was contrasted the dream states and "dreaming within a dream" where in this movie as well time passed at different rates.

So, if you like a movie that makes you think a bit then you might enjoy this film. If you are looking for a movie for laughs or car chases then you will find this film somewhat disappointing.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"A Hooker and Road 2 Ruin"

Catchy title Eh?  I'm writing about beer of course. For my recent birthday I received a "6 pack" each of "Hopmeadow I.P.A." beer from the Thomas Hooker Brewery of Bloomfield, Connecticut and also a "6 pack" of "Road 2 Ruin" Double I.P.A.  beer from the Two Roads Brewing Company of Stratford, Connecticut.

My Dad grew up on Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury, Connecticut and according to "Wikipedia" Hopmeadow either refers to wild hops found on the banks of the Farmington River, OR from the fish that used to jump in the river with gave the name of "Hop Brook" and the fields surrounding the river being known as Hop Meadow. Don't know which definition is true. Maybe, somebody saw some rabbits "hop,hop, hoping" in a nearby meadow and said; "Let's name this street Hopmeadow".

Both beers are "India Pale Ale" and are self described as "tempting hoppy" with "plenty of bite" for the "Road 2 Ruin" beer while the Thomas Hooker beer is self described as having a "big hop finish" and "A blend of Cascade,Centennial, and Zythos hops give this beer a citrus nose and crisp piney finish.Balanced but complex, this beer is a truly refreshing IPA". Now, I'm not a beer critic but I do like the taste of these beers. Feel free to try them for yourself and see what you think. I for one didn't even know citrus have a nose; so I did learn something from reading the packaging found on the Thomas Hooker Brewery "6 pack".

Sunday, November 2, 2014

MY Birthday Gift To Everyone!

I was born on November 2nd on what was "Election Day" that year. They say that people born on a Tuesday are "full of grace". SO, I do hereby proclaim that today November 2, 2014 shall have an extra hour for everyone to do as they wish as they go about their life as a "present" from me and all others who were born this day and do hereby declare that "All clocks shall be set back one hour". I feel this is the least I can do as a token of my appreciation for all the people who have been good to me in my life as well as all the other people in the world that I have never met.  I expect nothing in return for this action and don't blame me if someone in the future say next Spring for example wants to take this hour back at some point.

There have been more presidents born this day (November 2nd) than any other being James Polk and Warren Harding. Marie Antoinette of France was born this day as well, (and she NEVER said "Let them eat cake"). Daniel Boone, "Nelly", David Schwimmer the actor, Burt Lancaster, Stephanie Powers, Ray Walston, and singer K.D. Lang to name a few were also born this day. Also, "Michael Buffer (LLLLLLEEEEETTTSSS Get READY TO HAVE A BIRTHDAYYYYY)

So, I hope you enjoy my gift and extra hour today as a "present" for an expanded present day. Think of it similar to sometimes receiving a "baker's dozen" from your local baker.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"A Day At The Races"

This past Saturday my brothers Scott & Steve and I went to Stafford Springs Connecticut to the Stafford Springs Raceway to participate in the "Rusty Wallace Racing Experience". Stafford Springs Raceway is a half mile track with slight "banking in the corners we all were there for the "ride around experience" as we were "co-pilots" in the cars along side an experienced professional race car driver. We all entered our cars through the window just like a real race car driver ( also like the "General Lee in the Dukes of Hazzard television show) and were wearing a regulation helmet and race outfit.

I would estimate our average speed to be about 93 miles an hour and I was surprised at the "G" force as the driver would floor the car down the "straightway" and then hit the brakes fairly hard to reduce the speed right before the corners. I tried to video this race experience but somehow the video didn't work I found out later after the ride as I must have put the camera in the selection one spot away from video mode.

I rode in the  "00" red Ford Taurus car which I thought seemed to be the fastest car there at the track. My brothers both rode in a blue modified racing truck.

We all definitely experienced the real feel of the racing experience and I would recommend the "Rusty Wallace Racing Experience" to anyone who wants to get a taste of a "Day at the Races" and perhaps feels "the need for speed". The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience is available at various tracks of all types throughout the country at all types of tracks offering "ride around" and individually driven race car experiences. My driver and I did pass some of the individual riders quite closely almost like they were standing still as these drivers of course don't have as much skill or comfort with their cars as the professional drivers. I wonder how the racing experience would be on the bigger tracks such as Daytona, Michigan, or Talladega super speedways? Maybe some day when I am older I'll get a chance to find out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Don't Want Ebola

"Free Pot"

Today I receive my first "free pot" from the local Shaw's supermarket. This "Cuisinart 2 quart stainless cookware" only took $1,000 worth of groceries with one "green stamp" received for every ten dollars worth of items purchased. So I guess this pot isn't really free but it is "catchier" in marketing than saying "You can get this here saucepan for only one thousand dollars worth of purchases".

Similarly, there is a local pizza place that says "Buy one large pizza and get a small cheese pizza free.". You can't get the "free" pizza without spending money. A lot of promotions are "BOGO" (buy one get one).

Well, I guess I can't complain too much especially as I do eat everyday and with this pot I did "get a little help from my friends" with the green stamps; but that is another story plus the retail price for this pot is supposedly $39.99.

"Skyline Chili In A Bowla"

I just finished recording an acapella  song today where I talked about not wanting or liking "Ebola" and in this song I mentioned that I'd rather eat "Chili in a bowla" when just at noon time I received a package from "Pauline " of Lawrenceburg, Indiana containing 4 cans of "Skyline chili" renowned in Cincinnati, Ohio area since 1949. Pauline and her husband were recent guests driving their car all the way to the "Soundings Resort A Bluegreen managed resort" in Dennisport on Cape Cod. On arrival I was speaking with Pauline and her husband about the "Skyline Chili" and also the "Mike Fink Riverboat of Covington, Kentucky". Pauline said, "Hey Rick, give me your address and I'll send you some chili". True to her word, today I'm in "Chili Heaven!" with the arrival of this chili package. Thanks Pauline for  the chili and crackers  and remembering me. I hope you and your husband had a great time visiting the Cape and the Soundings. I'll have to try your serving ideas and also add a hot pepper or two from my recent garden to make this chili even hotter than the "five alarm version".

Ebola Me No Like. Not Fun

I don't like Ebola.             Ebola is no fun. I just don't like it. Too bad we can't restrict this deadly plague to Africa and try to contain it, treat it, and eliminate it. BUT, apparently that is not "politically correct" and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Obama Administration seem to feel that it is better NOT to restrict air travel or secured our borders as people from the affected Western African countries will willingly submit to testing,  quarantine, and telling the truth about their flight origin and medical history and potential Ebola exposure. Their logic is IF we restricted travel from the affected countries then these people would just enter through our unsecured borders without any medical testing or monitoring and spread Ebola even faster.

I don't know. Doesn't seem to make sense to me. I don't want or like the thought of Ebola and having blood spurting out my eyeballs. Not fun. check out my YouTube video .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Doggone Dog Visits the Soundings"

This week we had a late night visitor on the grounds of the Soundings Resort in Dennisport on the Cape. Maintenance man "Pete"  found this "doggone dog" wandering around without an owner is sight. We decided to keep this dog in the lobby and call the police to help determine who owned the dog from the dog tag license number. This dog who we found out was named "Honey" was quite playful and curious as it wandered around the lobby and office. Honey found a whiffle ball in the back office so we played fetch for a while and I gave the dog some water from a bowl while waiting for the police officer to arrive. It was determined that the dog lived nearby and this 10 month old Yellow Labrador was given just a verbal warning for trespassing and sent on its way when its owner arrived.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Special Delivery

Thanks for the "special delivery" "Joe G" from West Haven, Connecticut of a "clam pizza" from "Pepe's Pizza " of Wooster Street in New Haven all the way to the Soundings Resort in Dennis Port on Cape Cod (a 186 mile trip according to Google Maps). "Pepe's Pizza" a New Haven landmark, was recently voted the Number ONE pizza in America with the clam pizza. I appreciate this gesture from you Joe and the over three hour trip you made to the Cape.

I remember back at the University of Connecticut in 1975 while attending school there that student John DeStefano Jr. and others used to make the drive from Storrs, Connecticut to Wooster Street in New Haven for "Pepe's and Sally's pizzas". John later became New Haven's longest serving  mayor and still resides in New Haven (one of the "Pizza Capitals of the World if not THE pizza capital of the world").

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Deer In Headlights"

A couple nights ago I was driving to my house around 11:40 PM from the Soundings Resort. I was a few hundred feet from the turn off to my street when out from the corner of my eye I saw a deer running from the right hand side of the road towards my car from between a couple of houses. I though for an instant "Hmm, I've never seen a deer on this road before". The deer kept on running and didn't stop so we ended up colliding on the right passenger headlight area of my car. I was probably driving around 30 MPH at the time and didn't have enough time to avoid the deer. I wonder what this deer was thinking? Probably not too much I guess. From the collision , the deer was knocked into the center of the road on to its side; the deer looked at me for a second and then got up and continued running across the street.  I guess deer don't know enough to watch out for traffic so I literally had a "deer in headlights".

I went back later an found the piece of plastic from the headlight on the road and taped it up. The next day I went to a local auto parts store  and they said that they could order the replacement part for $375.00 and it would be there the next day. I decided to check the Internet and found the same part on EBay with a "buy it now price of $195.06 including shipping for a parts store in Illinois with arrival scheduled for Tuesday. So, I will see if I made the right decision when the part arrives although they do allow for free return shipping if the part doesn't fit.

I'm glad the deer seemed "OK" and I'm glad my car wasn't "totaled" but I kind of wish the deer was able to "chip in a few bucks" but it ran away before I could ask for identification.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dennisport Mural

Here is a photo of a sailing mural located on a former brick wall in back of Main Street in Dennisport on Cape Cod near "Auntie's Ice Cream Parlor, the Red Nun Restaurant and Jeremy's Barber Shop" which I took on "Columbus Day" this year. This mural represents sailing of course, but not the "Nina, Pinta, or Santa Maria" of the Christopher Columbus fleet of 1492. It is said that the Vikings visited Newfoundland in Canada and also the town of Dennis before it was a town in approximately 1005 with Leif Erikson. We don't have a "Leif  Erikson Day" celebration with getting off of work although October 9th has been deemed "Leif Erikson Day".

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Twenty-Six Summers Ago"

Twenty-six Summers ago I remember browsing through a "Cape Cod Compass Summer 1988" magazine and seeing myself in the above print advertisement for the local radio station "WCOD" in a picture taken at their annual "Cape Cod Chowder Festival" held at the "Melody Tent" in Hyannis, Mass. I'm pictured on the left in the photo pouring in some light cream into the chowder pot and John Richards is stirring in the cream into the chowder. This photo was taken a few years before 1988 and I remember being amused and surprised to see myself unexpectedly in the magazine.

We were representing the "Captain's Clambake Emporium and catering operations at that time based in Dennis Port and used to feature the traditional New England Clambake both inside the restaurant along with as many as five outside on location catered clambakes occurring on the same day. The Manning family, owners of the Captain's Clambake Emporium had converted the former "Hereford House"into a  restaurant which featured a custom stainless steel steam unit for the clambake and a  gas radiant "charbroiler " for cooking steaks and chicken in an open kitchen. There was a player piano present for entertainment and I was in charge of the group sales (primarily motorcoach groups) for the restaurant along with helping market the catered clambake business.

I had my fill of clam chowder and watermelon over those years as for "quality control" I would sample and rate each chowder and watermelon on what they would call the "Ricker scale". I would welcome each group at the restaurant along with giving a short speech about the history of the New England Clambake and our cooking processes along with changing the piano rolls for the player piano and helping direct the groups through the clambake meal.

I look different now over 25 years later but seem to be still about the same size and weight. Pictures are a "snapshot" in time which moves steadily on for us all.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

"Sheik Yaboutay "

   I remember this song from 1976 by "KC and the Sunshine Band; "Sheik Yaboutay" during the era when "funky" music was popular. Here is a You Tube from "Soul Train". I never understood why the song title is "Sheik Yaboutay" but maybe this song is a tribute to one of the Saudi Arabian Sheiks who helped end the gas lines and gas shortages of the Jimmy Carter era of the early 1970's.. Apparently "Sheik Yaboutay" could really dance and maybe "KC" went over to to Saudi Arabia and watched one of the local "Dancing Under the Tents" dance contests which were quite popular in Saudi Arabia and the other Middle Eastern countries back then. It is my understanding that many of the dance contestants would drive their camels over many desert  sand dunes for many a mile for the opportunity to compete at the oasis. For some reason, these contests were always held on a Wednesday night (also known as "Hump Day")probably in honor of all the camels. I was surprised to learn this but it must be true as I saw this on the Internet somewhere. "Shake Your Booty" Sheik Yaboutay.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ebola Out of Controla? Time Will Tell

I see there are reports of Ebola spreading to the USA in Texas and possibly Washington D.C according to the recent news reports. Is Ebola out of controla? Reports I have read saw there is a possibility of up to 1.3 million cases in Africa by January 2015 according to some projections by health officials if this virus is not contained. Viruses I guess are prone to "mutate" over time in some cases and the fear is that Ebola could evolve into some sort of airborne strain where literally "all hell would break loose". They say that contracting Ebola is like the fires of hell inside the body and that blood even starts to flow from your eyes, ears, nose, and rectum from the  hemorrhagic conditions of this virus.

I wonder if this is one of the "Four Horseman of the Apocalypse" as described in the Book of Revelations in the Bible. Some interpret the first horseman as representing "Pestilence" and the spread of disease. Time will tell how rapidly Ebola spreads throughout the world and how many will suffer a gruesome death.

Now, the United States has sent approximately 3,000 soldiers to Africa to help construct treatment facilities for the expanding number of Ebola victims to help in trying to treat this deadly virus. I hope these troops aren't directly exposed to the Ebola patients or we may end up with many soldiers coming back to America infected with this virus and further spreading this virus throughout the country. Time will tell.

There are other reports of new respiratory viruses spreading throughout America. The "open borders" policy of letting virtually anybody that wants to walk or swim across our Southern border without any type of medical screening may have contributed to new types of diseases and viruses broad to our country. Especially, I have heard that these new immigrants have been "settled" in all of the states.

It is usually risky to expose populations to new germs, viruses, and diseases. It is my understanding that many Native American Indians died from exposure to European settlers and the "small pox" they brought with them to the New World.

Time will tell the extent of the Ebola and other virus outbreaks. Time will tell if the lax government policies regarding immigration and health screening will come back to strike us with an out of control epidemic or if these viruses can be contained.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"A Smokin' Sculpture"

"Smokin' is Cool"
I saw this "smokin' sculpture" on a recent trip to Nantucket Island. Outstanding, this sculpture had enough sense to smoke outside instead of infusing his Nantucket Harbor view residence with his smelly cigar. Nowadays, even sculptures can't smoke inside anymore I guess. I tried to talk to this sculpture but he just stared straight ahead and wouldn't even acknowledge by presence. Just because I wasn't wearing a suit and tie like the sculpture doesn't in my book give him the right to act so superior to everybody. Hey, nobody is perfect. Seems to me this sculpture is either conscious of his height as he puts himself on a pedestal and perhaps suffers from a "Napoleonic complex" or maybe he just wanted to get a better view of the harbor. Maybe this sculpture has trouble seeing as he is wearing glasses and perhaps hard of hearing as well as I just spoke with a normal voice. Perhaps the sculpture doesn't understand English. I don't know.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nantucket Harbor and Brant Point

Here is a photo of Brant Point and Nantucket Harbor from my recent boat trip to the island. From what I understand, this current lighthouse is the 10th lighthouse since 1746. It is a tradition on Nantucket to throw a penny into the water from the ferry as you depart from Nantucket and round Brant Point to ensure a safe return visit to the island.

Yarmouth Summer Sand Sculpture Celebration

The town of Yarmouth on Cape Cod has a Summer Sand Sculpture Celebration with 42 sand sculptures scattered around the town. Here are photos of three of them: #24 Town of Yarmouth, #21 Ryan Family Amusements, and # 10 Riverview Bait and Tackle.  Some of these sand sculptures have withstood the weather and elements better than others as some of the sculptures are protected by tents. I will probably photograph more of the sand sculptures over time. This is an interesting promotion I think as one travels to different parts of Yarmouth to see the sculptures and possibly visit the businesses associate with each sculpture.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass Nantucket-Hyannis Connection

   I see that Meghan Trainor. (singer, songwriter, of the song "All About That Bass") (no treble) which has topped the music charts in many countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, and New Zealand according to  "Wikipedia"  was born in Nantucket and later with her family moved to Cape Cod and she apparently attended Nauset Regional High School in North Eastham. Wikipedia states that she has 6 kids and was  born in 1993; and states that she has been writing songs since she was eleven. I didn't know until very recently that she had a "Cape Cod Connection". Cape Cod seems to attract its share of "artistic people" perhaps from the "water influence" of being pretty much surrounded by water with Nantucket Sound to the South, the Atlantic Ocean on the East, and Cape Cod Bay on the North side. Many artists that I have met say they appreciate the "light" found here on the Cape perhaps from the air quality being above average with the lack of "heavy industry" although we do get out share of automobile traffic during the Summer season. Novelist Mary Higgins Clark I understand has a Summer place in Dennis, as does the former captain of the "Love Boat". I hear the actor "Robbie Benson" also has a place in Dennis. Author Norman Mailer had a Summer home in Provincetown. I have heard reports of several actors galavanting around Chatham and the movie "Summer Catch was filmed mostly in Chatham. I have recently heard that Aeorsmith lead singer Steven Tyler was seen at Sesuit Harbor in Dennis.

For a relatively small area the "Cape" to be well represented in the "Cultural scene". I'm sure that there are other talented artists from various fields of creativity that I haven't mentioned that reside as well on Cape Cod for at least part of the year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Tanks for the Beer, Long Trail"

In late July of this year while in Vermont I had a chance to stop by the "Long Trail Brewery" and tour their bottling operation which is quite automated although there were a crew of humans who were stapling together cardboard boxes for the cases of beer. I wonder why they didn't automate the making of the cardboard cases but they probably wanted some people around in case the beer assembly line went "haywire" so someone could shut down the beer production if needed. After visiting the brewery I had a "Long Trail Beer" along with an assortment of a dozen "chicken wings". under the watchful eye of the stuffed moose head. "Tanks for the beer,Long Trail".

"Driftwood Chandelier Eye View at the Crue"

During my recent Nantucket Island visit I had lunch at the Crue Restaurant located right on Nantucket harbor at 1 Straight Wharf. They have an interesting "driftwood and glass chandelier in the dining room so I took a picture and also a photo of the lobster roll and fries meal I had with a "pumpkin flavored beer". I guess the meal photo would be close to what the chandelier would see looking down from the ceiling if it had eyes. The Crue restaurant has a wide variety of different oysters on the menu but these Oysters were priced at I believe $3.50 per oyster which was more than I was willing to pay unless they would guarantee a pearl in with the oyster. Yes, to me, $3.50 per oyster seemed too much even with the "million dollar view location" as believe it or not for that price they don't even heat up or cook the oyster as they expect you to eat it raw.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nantucket Street Scenes (The Best Island in the World)

Nantucket Island, former whaling capital of the world, has preserved many of the former sea captain homes in the downtown area. Preserved as well are the cobblestone streets. Here are a few photos of the downtown area. The brick Pacific National Bank has an interesting mural in the lobby area but they wouldn't let me photograph it. I was thinking maybe they though I was doing advance work on a potential bank robbery (not that I would) but then thought they probably wanted to protect the privacy and identity of their customers.

National Geographic has named Nantucket Island "the best island in the world". Now. I don't know if that would be my opinion not having been to all the world's islands but it definitely is a nice place to visit. I know a million dollars doesn't go too far on Nantucket and I have met many "caretakers" during my home insurance inspections that appear like "regular people" who meet me for inspections for home owners who have seasonal and second homes on Nantucket. They tell me, "Oh, my property is probably worth two million or so, but I don't want to sell as I like the lifestyle over here and it is a good place to raise my family". The problem with selling your property if you live on Nantucket and want to stay there is that most other properties are of similar price range so you can only realize your value if you decide to leave Nantucket and live somewhere else.

Nantucket is pretty well kept up with minimal litter and no real "slummy or shanty town areas". There is a land bank in place where a percentage of each real estate transfer at the "closing "is assessed and the monies collected from this transfer assessment are used to purchase land for conservation so that the island doesn't become overly developed. This makes each property on the 14 mile island retain a high market value.

My only concern if I were to live on Nantucket would be the planning needed to leave the island whether by boat or plane as you just can't drive off Nantucket unless you have one of those "amphibious cars" which I don't think I would trust as Cape Cod is about 30 miles away and you wouldn't want to risk getting "swamped" by a big wave. I suppose if you had a helicopter at your disposal you could come and go as you please.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cromartie Gallery Nantucket Revisited "Hard Edge Realism"

I revisited the gallery of James Cromartie renowned for the painting style known as "hard edge realism". (See the You tube video below". I first met Mr. Cromartie in August of 2009 on a trip to Nantucket that year. I decided to go to his gallery/studio again this September but to my surprise I couldn't seem to locate at first his studio as I wandered aimlessly around the Nantucket waterfront with a couple of friends from the Montreal, Canada area who had never been to Nantucket. I thought to myself "Hmm, why can't I seem to find the gallery? I guess I better see if one of the other gallery owners can steer me in the right direction". I found out from one such gallery owner that Mr. Cromartie  had moved his studio/gallery to "Old South Wharf". We found the gallery and above you can see photos of one of his completed paintings and his latest "work in progress". Mr. Cromartie wasn't at his studio for this visit but the fellow at the gallery did mention that there is talk that a documentary is in progress for the "Discovery Channel " for the review of James Cromartie's "Hard edge realism" style of painting. In the above paintings one can note the attention to detail of virtually every blade of grass as well as the shadow created by the grass and flowers and the sun.

Now, I'm not a painter myself, but, it sure must take a steady hand, trained eye for detail, patience, and a tiny brush to complete these paintings which are almost photographic quality. This master artist has been living on Nantucket year round for approximately 35 years and has had a definite impact on the art world with his "hard edge realism" style of painting.

Cromartie's Nantucket - TRAILER

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cranberry Fudge

I fly over to Nantucket Island from Hyannis on Cape Cod fairly often for insurance inspections. I only seem to take the "slow boat" to Nantucket about once every 5 years lately as I took the boat over in August of 2009 and then in September of 2014. Each time I take the Hyline boat to Nantucket I find myself going to"Aunt Leah's" Fudge shop for some cranberry fudge. Here is a photo of the two selections I chose; cranberry walnut and chocolate cranberry. The fudge isn't cheap ( $9.99/ for 1/2 pound) but it sure is good. The cranberry walnut fudge with the walnuts is good for your heart and I'm told cranberries have "anti-oxidant" properties which are good I guess for combating "free radicals" in your body. Aunt Leah is a "fudge packer" so, if you want to try some good fudge, they can ship some out to you from their web site or give them a call.

"Nantucket Seagulls Down On Their Luck"

I find it quite sad that on an affluent island like Nantucket there are poor seagulls that are "down on their luck" and reduced to begging and asking for help outside the downtown Nantucket shops. Just look at these two poor birds who appear too weak to even sit on the nearby bench or steps. They both look like they are suffering from jaundice with their yellow faces, beaks, and eyes. They both look "green around the gills" and also seem to be suffering from poor circulation with their blue and purple legs. These poor gulls also seem to have lost a lot of their feathers and appear to reduced to not much more than skeletons. They do seem to retain the ability to write a legible note and maybe they should pick themselves up off the ground and try to get a job as a calligrapher or something. I told these seagulls they should consider going "off island" to either a big city where there is plenty of food scraps on the streets or head down to the beach where they can try to catch some crabs, little fish,  mussels, or clams. Unfortunately, these seagulls appeared too weak to even get up off their feet. Downtown Nantucket is just too clean and free of trash and discarded food scrap that these these seagulls are literally starving to death. For my part, I tried to feed them some popcorn but they were too weak to even swallow. So sad. At least they still have their purple hats to protect themselves from the sun.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Such A Well Behaved Dog"

This week while visiting Nantucket Island I spotted this "Bulldog" in front of one of the stores on "Straight Wharf". I can honestly say I don't think I have ever met "such a well behaved dog" as this dog sat perfectly still while waiting for his owner to finish shopping at the gift shop. This dog didn't mind me, a perfect stranger giving him a "how to you do?" pat on the head. I meet many dogs throughout the year with my insurance inspection assignments and as I'm sure you have probably notice as well in your life experiences: similar to people all dogs have a range of personality types. Some dogs can be very friendly while other dogs can be real bitches. Yes, this dog was very focused and didn't bark at any of the people on the street and just seemed content to enjoy the sights and smells of the spectacular September day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Grass Flip Flops"

While wandering the Cobblestone and brick streets of  downtown Nantucket island today I came across a unique store on "Easy Street" that sells, beer, wine, clothes, and "grass flip flops". I don't recall ever seeing a store that sold this combination of goods before in my life so far. For that matter, I have also never run across a store that sold just Scotch tape, Pez candy, and gas powered chain saws either and I'm not sure if I ever will.

I wonder if these grass flip flops modeled by this colorful parrot figure require the same amount of maintenance as a regular lawn? Would one have to install a miniature sprinkler system to keep the grass growing? Would you have to "lime and fertilize these flip flops? What kind of mower would you use when the grass needs cutting? I would think  that if you walked around in the grass flip flops you would end up trampling and killing the grass or at least making a path on the flip flops like you do if your yard gets too much constant foot traffic. What if your grass flip flops develop thistles or poison ivy? (that would be a prickly and irritating situation). I don't know. To me these grass flip flops seem to require too much work and expense; similar in many ways to a real lawn. I think I'll take a pass on the grass flip flops. You can buy them if you want to.


I just returned from a boat trip to Nantucket today. Nantucket (an island off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts) is an Algonquin Indian name meaning "Far away land". This sign, painted on a wall in downtown Nantucket shows where I was today in relation to various places both near and far around the world. I happen to be pointing to Calcutta, India in this picture with my hand also near Bombay, India. WHY did I choose this destination to point to you may ask? Elementary, my dear reader. My name is Rick Shaw, and in both Calcutta and Bombay, there are and have been human and bicycle powered "rickshaws" that taxi people around these cities. Plus, Nantucket, Calcutta, and Bombay are all three places with an "Indian connection". Nantucket with the American Indian name as mentioned; and Calcutta and Bombay with the sub-continental location in India. Sometimes in life it is good to know where you are at that present time and where other places around the world are as well from that location you find yourself on this planet we call "Earth" which happens to be the only planet in our solar system not named for a "God".

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Baby Jar Scotch"

Back in high school while attending Simsbury High in Simsbury, Connecticut during my Junior and Senior years in 1971 and 1972 (and maybe earlier) a group of us used to camp on top of a cliff at the end of Firetown road. Pictured in the above photo are "Kush", "Sky guy" and yours truly walking down Firetown road on the way to the camp site. We would camp out and sleep out under the stars in all sorts of weather even in the Winter snow. Across the Farmington River Valley below the camp site it is said that the Indian "King Philip" would watch from the cliffs on the other side of the valley from a cave as some of the settlements in the 1600's were set on fire by his band of Indians.

We used to bring up steaks to cook on the camp fire along with "Tiparillo" cigars, beer, with the occasional "baby jar Scotch" that someone would bring from their parent's reserves. The drinking age at the time in New York was 18 so we would be supplied by 18 year old classmates who would make "rum runs" to the New York border towns.  I remember one camping trip Richard Colwell (aka Colwell Turkey" became quite sick from the "baby jar Scotch" and almost burned his head as he collapsed near the roaring camp fire. Sorry to maybe embarrass you "Colwell Turkey" BUT it has been about 43 years since this experience so you probably have had a chance since then to learn how to handle your Scotch whether drunk from a baby jar, in a glass, or straight from the bottle.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Lucky Horseshoe Crab Omen"

I just returned from going down to the beach this afternoon and was amazed to see a massive amount of horseshoe crabs along the shoreline and was particularly amazed to see these 9 horseshoe crabs congregated on the jetty rocks of the Inman road beach in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. To me it almost looks like they aligned themselves into a horseshoe shape. I said to myself "What a lucky horseshoe crab omen!". Then I thought, "Well, maybe that is why they are called horseshoe crabs in the first place as they sure don't look to me like horseshoes on their own. I guess they all really liked this feast of algae and seaweed on this rock. You won't catch me eating this algae; although I have heard that some ice cream has seaweed extract in it so I would be more likely to get my seaweed intake that way.

Now, I don't know if these horseshoe crabs were just busy eating or if they were the "council of 9" leading horseshoes that similar to the United States Supreme Court gather from time to time to issue rulings and laws for the horseshoe crab world but I do know that the other horseshoe crabs did keep their distance from this select group. I have heard that the horseshoe crabs are similar to those that were around I believe around 450 million years ago; way before the time of the dinosaurs so maybe, (who knows) if mankind gets wiped out by nuclear war or exotic virus future generations of these horseshoe crabs may still be around to clean up the beaches and rocks.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I flew back and forth from Hyannis to Nantucket today. Here is a video that will give you an idea of how the flight is and especially if you are skittish about flying in 9 seat Cessna planes you can maybe start to overcome your fear by looking at this "co-pilot" view of the 15-20 minute flight. We had to wait for about 6 planes to land before we "took  off" which I don't remember happening on previous flights but I guess it is worth waiting versus crashing into another plane.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coin Flip

Sometimes in life probably everyone is faced with a decision that will impact the future course of their "life's path" and the decision is not clear cut on which path to follow as you may be comfortable with the current situation and wonder whether to leave that situation and take a leap of faith into the uncertain future of  change and a new direction. I was faced with such a choice in 1973 while at the time attending Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio.

I only applied to two schools of "higher education" after graduating Simsbury High School in Simsbury, Connecticut in 1972. I learned of Marietta College primarily from my high school coach of the Simsbury Rowing Club in 1971 C. Barton (Bart) Gulong  as I was one of about 30 or so high school kids who helped found the Simsbury Rowing Club that year. The Simsbury Rowing Club later became a recognized Simsbury High School sport that is still active to this day with many awards and trophies won by the Simsbury Crew team over the years. Marietta College (named after Marie Antoinette who had the same birthday as me, November 2nd but different birth year) is a liberal arts college with about 2500 students more or less located in Southeast Ohio near West Virginia. The town of Marietta was founded by a Revolutionary War General George Putnam.

I also applied and was accepted out of high school at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) to the main campus in Storrs, Connecticut. UCONN had about 19,000 students more or less attending the main campus with also branches in Hartford, Waterbury,Stamford and maybe another branch or two that I don't remember.

I decided to go to Marietta an started my college education there in the Fall of 1972. Marietta College at the time was about $3,000 per semester whereas UCONN was about $1500 per semester. I was again accepted at UCONN but at the Hartford branch after one semester at Marietta but I didn't want to go to the "branch". At Marietta I had fun and enjoyed the people I met there and was being "groomed" to be the "Concert chairman" by the current concert chairman for future years. For some reason that was one of my goals and interests. Myself and friend "Jim" were involved in setting up a film series for the students to watch (one film per week) at I think an admission price of 50 cents per movie.

I was accepted again at UCONN to the main Storrs campus after 3 semesters at Marietta for the 1974 Winter semester. This is where I had a decision to make as to "should I stay or should I go?" I didn't decide right away and told my friends that after the "Winter Break" either I would  be still at Marietta or transferring to UCONN and to check my room for the answer.

I had two tuition bills to choose from: Marietta at $3,000 approximately an UCONN at approximately $1500. My parents contributed a certain amount of the cost and I also had money from savings and a Summer job. I did have a small student loan from a local bank to afford the Marietta tuition. To help me decide which school to continue my education I decided to flip a Kennedy half dollar 10  times and decided that a "heads" result would mean I should stay at Marietta and a "tails" would mean I should transfer to UCONN. Guess what the result of flipping the coin was? (TEN HEADS IN A ROW!!) I thought to myself, what are the odds of that? Each coin flip of course should have a 50/50 result and each coin flip result should be independent of the previous and subsequent coin flips.

The reason for the coin flip in my case anyway was to assess my reaction to the result of the coin flip such as "Oh Good! or Hmm, I wish the coin had landed the other way".

I ended up after the coin flip walking the over two miles from my home in Simsbury to downtown Simsbury to the post office. I had with me two letters, one for Marietta and one for UCONN both with signed checks in them. When it came time to "Drop the letter with my "final decision" I ended up mailing the UCONN tuition check.

It was a tough choice giving up the situation at Marietta and it was a tearful trip to Ohio with my parents and brothers and sisters as we drove to Ohio to move out of my dorm room. In the end my "rationalization" was that I could try UCONN and see if I liked it and if I really hate it I could probably return to Marietta a semester later having saved $1500 dollars plus lower travel expenses for that semester. During this time Jimmy Carter was president and there were "gas lines" which probably also had some weight in my decision.

As it turned out I became too involved at UCONN and eventually became concert chairman there with the Student Union Board of Governors. I also over time came to the conclusion that "everybody graduates or transfers at some point into the "real world" after attending college. I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had stayed at Marietta and graduated from there where I would be today and how my "life path" would have changed.

Sooo, Flip a coin and see what you think of the result when faced with a decision on whether to "make a change".

Monday, August 25, 2014

Harwich Cranberry Festival Beach Volleyball Tournament

Here are a couple of photos of the trophy I still possess from The Harwich Cranberry Festival Volleyball Tournament from some time in I believe the 1990"s. Back then I used to play volleyball sometimes 4 nights a week in 2 leagues and 2 "recreational volleyball nights". In mid-September the Town of Harwich on Cape Cod hosts an annual Cranberry Festival with parades, fireworks, arts and crafts shows, a road race and back then a day at the Red River Beach in South Harwich with a beach volleyball tournament. 

The year that my team took the "trophy" a group of my volleyball friends assembled a team that didn't happen to include me. I said to myself "O.K, I guess I'll  just have to form a team of my own and win this tournament without them. I formed a team with myself(of course), brother Scott, Bob, Brian, Jill. and Doreen. I sent my winning thoughts out into the universe the night before the tournament and went down the beach the next morning to enter the tournament. 

As it turned out the team I was on and the team with my other volleyball friends had the best records in the "round robin" format and ended up playing in the finals. The game was scored with the first team to reach 15 points being declared the winner and you had to win by 2 points. We are into the final game and my team is behind 14 to 10 in a game to 15 one point away from losing as mentioned. I thought to myself, "How  can this be?" I had already decided that my team was going to win the night before and at that moment it looked like that wasn't going to be the outcome. 

Well, our team rallied from being behind 14 to 10 to winning 16 to 14. For some reason they never had another Cranberry Harvest Volleyball Tournament in future years so my team is STILL the undisputed CHAMPION of the Cranberry Harvest Volleyball Tournaments over 20 years later.