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.