Sunday, March 28, 2010

To Bee, Or Not To Bee?

That is the question.

Or at least that was the question last week at the Sebago Canoe Club. The immediate excitement has died down a bit now, but for a few days, there was an impassioned debate going on on the club Yahoo group about the possibility of forming a beekeeping committee!

This was kicked off by the recent decision by the NYC Board of Health to legalize beekeeping in NYC. One of our members suggested that we get a hive at the club, and even had a good idea about where to keep it to keep anyone from blundering into it. A lot of club members loved the idea, a lot really thought it was the worst idea ever. I was on the "loved it" side - I LOVE honey (once paid $50 for a 12 oz. jar - there was an ulterior motive there but the honey was the one thing on the silent auction table that I really, really wanted); having a garden, I also liked the idea of hosting our own little host of pollinators; I thought that beekeeping would be a really interesting skill to learn and then of course on a grander scale, there's that whole "honeybees are dying" thing. I don't worry about bees at all - I've been gardening for I guess three years now, and our gardens do attract enough bees that they are always around when I'm caring for my little plot, and they never bother me, not even when I go shoving a camera in their faces (which I do whenever I happen to have a camera and a bee that is willing to pose, like the one in the picture above was -- I'm a regular bee papparazza!). I even had a swarm invade my 2nd apartment in NYC & was able to get them out without one single sting - they had a hive on the 2nd floor of the decaying building next door, I left a light on in the bedroom when I left for work one morning, the screen was a loosely-fitting one & the light must have drawn them all in on their way home in the evening. I let them stay the night, turned out the light, shut the door, slept on the couch in the living room & the next morning opened the window wide. Most of them found their way out on their own, of the stragglers, some I was able to shepherd out & the stubbornest ones, I finally killed. Not one hint of aggressiveness from them the whole time, even when I'd gone to lethal measures & they would've been completely justified.

Still, we do have a high use area & some members who are seriously scared of and/or allergic to bees. Might be better in the end to not have that high a concentration of bees on the grounds, I personally don't think it's really quite right to introduce something that's going to make people actively nervous about coming to the club, and as I mentioned, our gardens draw plenty of bees, so I think that just by having those, we're doing a lot to help our local bees.

What fun to even be discussing such a crazy idea, though. Hooray for the NYC Board of Health!

No bees out & about today - they don't fly when it's too cold & I think it was too cold today. Bizarre how far it's dropped since last week, which was giving me thoughts of Cyclones games even though they don't start until June. It was just that kind of weather, that's all. This week, March was back in lion mode. TQ was in town, though, so we went paddling anyways. We picked up tamales from the tamale lady for lunch, and our original plan was to stop for lunch on one of the islands, but we got out there on the bay and YUCK, it was cold and drizzly & raw & just the sort of day where you want to stay in your boat & stay warm. There was a great blue heron who'd found himself a nice sheltered corner near the Sebago dock - they are usually a bit skittish but he didn't budge the whole time we were on the dock getting ready to go - we figured he was looking at us & thinking "Stupid humans, don't know enough to stay in out of the wind, who's the birdbrain today, huh?".

We did share enough of that bird's common sense to decide to keep our paddle a bit shorter than we usually do, skip the lunch break (aka "the time spent freezing our okoles off pretending it's fun") & bring the tamales home for an early-ish dinner. That was a very good call. We just did a loop around Ruffle Bar, probably around 7 miles or so, nothing, as they say, to write home about but it was nice to get out for a paddle with my favorite paddling companion.

It would've been a terrible day for sailing - somebody let all the water out of the bay!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And speaking of animation...

Secret of Kells has been extended!

Just in from the nice folks at the New York International Children's Film Festival - The Secret of Kells has been extended through April 1st. Yes, this is the one that made me want to run away from home and join the circus animating studio a couple weeks back.

i can has banana? or at least onion, sage, rosemary & thyme.

monkey see,

monkey do
I am the monkey, coo coo ca choo!

(thanks Chris for the 2nd picture!)

That was an easier trick than I thought it would be, somehow. It's a lot easier to stand up in a Sunfish than it is in a Romany!

Was it Tillerman who had that list of Twenty Silly Things To Do With Your Dinghy? I will have to hunt that down & refresh my memory for when the water gets a little nicer for falling in.

That may be a little while, though - spring may have sprung,

but it hasn't sprung too far. So far, besides the daffodils, most of the green in the garden is the stuff that overwintered. Given how cold it was, I was pleasantly surprised at how much did.

The green onions made it through, and look, I'm going to have some onion flowers:

Also survivors: Sage, rosemary & thyme. I know, I know, I have to put some parsley in there so I've got the whole darned song. In the meantime, onion does have the proper number of syllables to fill in.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sebago Crocuses

The crocuses are up & blooming at Sebago & the daffodils are just coming up. Funny how much difference there is between the Paerdegat & here in Ditmas Park, where the daffodils have been blooming for a while.

We're still a couple of weeks from the NYC last frost date but I cleaned up the garden last weekend & now I find myself very tempted to just start planting things.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the...

Meanwhile, back at the ministry of silly posts, there is a Spam singalong going on on O-dock.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Can we please put the horse to bed?

Mind if I vent for one post?

Well, if you do, please feel free to go away & come back in a day or two. Because really, this is one ridiculously tiny thing that left me slightly perturbed, in the middle of a couple of very interesting events that I attended last week (namely, the mapping meeting on Tuesday night & the maritime professionals evening at the South Street Seaport). I really enjoyed both & was very glad that I'd managed to manage my workload in such a way that I was able to go. The material was all engaging, well presented, forward-looking, made a person feel good about the Hudson's history & future. Sort of inspirational at times. I hope to have time to come back to those!

So with all the inspiration & interesting stuff, it was a bit of a bummer to overhear one of those inspirational speakers trot out that tired old chestnut about people taking kayaks on the working Hudson being just like people taking horses on the highway.

I first saw that in a Times article written somewhere around a decade ago, back when I first started paddling. It wasn't the same guy back then. I really thought that particular horse story had long since been put to bed, but apparently it's still out there kicking around.

I didn't feel like calling the guy on it. I have mixed emotions on the topic myself, honestly. I've seen people out there doing some pretty silly things in kayaks. I've done some pretty silly things out there in kayaks myself. I think anyone that's been boating (in any kind of boat) on the Hudson for very long can remember at least one time when they made somebody sweat bullets - themselves, if no one else. Happens to the best of us, and it not unique to kayakers at all. Still -- the horse-on-a-highway scenario? It just doesn't paint a very accurate picture, and I think that it would behoove us to put that particular simile out to pasture.

Failing that, maybe next time I hear somebody make that argument, I'll just ask if a few minor adjustments could be made to the highway concept, just to make it a better reflection of the situation as it actually exists on our urban waterways. Ready? Here we go:

1. Imagine that the highway was carved by Pleistocene-era glaciers.
2. Imagine that the highway is simultaneously being used by semis, minivans, Formula One racers, model T fords, bicycles, mopeds, that thing Jack Black drove in Nacho Libre, school buses, motorcycles antique & new, large hotels that have somehow become mobile, vintage Bugattis, VW Bugs, Australian road trains, beat-up old pickups, clown cars and oh yes, some horses.
3. Imagine that the highway is a mile across, with one fairly wide lane right down the middle. The semis and the road trains have to stay in that one. Everybody else is allowed to go in whatever direction they need to or want to, within the constraints of the rules of the road (see point 4).
4. Imagine that the rules of the road were written specifically to address all of the interactions between the between all the different vehicles (see point 2) travelling in all the different directions (see point 3).

And last but not least -

5. Imagine the horses were there first!


Grant me all that, and I will readily agree that taking a kayak on the Hudson is EXACTLY like taking a horse on the highway!!!

Thus endeth the rant.

Please be aware that my tongue has at least partway planted in cheek (otherwise there wouldn't have been as many bad horse puns) for this post. I do need to get serious here at the end, though. I do want to mention, in the guy's defense - he wasn't saying that kayaks should be banned in NYC entirely, he was just saying that there are places where it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a person to be hanging out in a kayak. I completely agree with him on that point. The question is, do you really want to flout the Public Trust Doctrine & carve out industry-only areas to keep recreational craft from causing problems, when there are already rules (and, one can at least hope, common sense) that should do the same thing? Furthermore, there were some interesting points made at the Tuesday night mapping meeting about the frustration that members of the professional maritime industry feel as their workplaces are gradually being turned over to developers & recreation (Exhibit A: Todd Shipyard Graving Dock).

I think anyone can respect that, even if we don't always like the way it's expressed.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spam On Saturday!

Welcome to Spamaica Bay!

hee hee. No, they didn't really rename the bay in honor of the big day, but I do suspect that this is probably the first day in the history of the world that spam musubi could be found plying the waters of Jamaica Bay. I went to the presentation at the South Street Seaport that I'd posted earlier this week last night (it was excellent), and that took me right past L&L Barbecue, of course. I'm a little short on lunch fixings right now & had been planning on picking up a sandwich, but since I had to go to L&L anyways, I figured, why have a sandwich when I can have the ultimate Hawaiian fusion cuisine? Onolicious!

Want to try it for yourself, but don't happen to have a Hawaiian plate lunch place in your town? Here's the Single Guy Chef to show you how!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sign of Spring in SoHo

Not many daffodils around where I work, but when the ice cream truck turns up, it feels like spring must be just about here!

Now, when I actually have to stop at the truck to buy an ice-cream sandwich, then it will be getting to feel like summer.

Hey, did you know that the Mister Softee song has lyrics?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

he da man...

OK, out of respect for our privacy & your sensibilities, I don't tend to write a whole lot about the whys & wherefores of my love life, but I just can't resist sharing an example of the sort of exchange TQ & I will have that leaves me with a bit of a goofy grin...

Excerpt from email from me to TQ discussing weekends that would work for him to come to Brooklyn in April:

You might want to steer away from the weekend of the 17th & 18th. That's a big weekend at the club, we have a work day on the 17th & opening day is on the 18th. If you want to come that weekend, you can, just be warned you WILL get put to work!

I was going to say that at least you get a hot dog, but if it's nice on Opening Day it is quite possible to get so caught up in taking people out that you get back to find everything's been eaten except a teaspoon of dried-out pickle relish in the bottom of the jar.

I was exaggerating about the pickle relish, but other than that, I was serious & I was genuinely thinking he'd say "Thanks for the heads-up, I'll pick another weekend".

Excerpt from his response...

"That sounds like it might be fun..."

That's my guy! :D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Upcoming Events - Thursday, Friday & Saturday

Event #1 - Thursday: Yikes! Sorry this is again a bit on the last-minute side but on Thursday, 3/18, my friends at the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Rolling Club are pleased to offer an evening with famous expedition paddler Jon Turk, who will be speaking about his newest book, The Raven's Gift.

Beczak Environmental Center, Yonkers NY at 6 pm.

Sponsored by the Hudson River Watertrail Association, Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club and the Beczak Environmental Center.

A $5 donation at the door, light refreshments will be served.
Event #2 - Friday, 3/19: I ran into an old acquaintance who works at the South Street Seaport museum last night at the mapping meeting & she mentioned that they have a pretty interesting program on Friday. It's part of their Free Friday series -- always free, always fun!

South Street Seaport Museum’s Free Friday
Friday March 19, 2010
5-8 pm 12 Fulton Street


Enormous numbers of both people and goods move across our harbor waters every day, yet the professionals who accomplish this often work behind the scenes. Meet port professionals, maritime engineers and other New York waterfront workers in person to hear their stories and enjoy a reception in their honor. Presentations at 6:30pm, ongoing reception between 5 and 8pm. Admission is free, but RSVP’s are appreciated to ensure adequate seating, 212-748-8786 or
Event #3 - Last but not least, on Satuday the 20th, there will be a cold water workshop at New York Kayak Company. Seriously - if you are in the NYC area, and you are looking at our fabulous forecast & thinking it might be very neat to throw on some jeans & a t-shirt, pull the canoe out of the garage & go out for a paddle -

GO TO THIS INSTEAD. Ok? Please? Seriously, this is the very worst time of year for a nice day on the water to turn into a tragedy - people feel that balmy 60 degree air & just don't realize that the water is still dangerously, wintery cold until something goes wrong & they end up in it - at which point, if you aren't dressed right, it's probably too late. I'm sailing on Saturday, I'll be in a drysuit & hood. I don't plan to fall in, but I'll have a lot more fun if I'm dressed so I don't have to worry as much if I do.

Here's the blurb from NYCKayaker:

Dressing for Cold Water Paddling Clinic & Demo Saturday at New York Kayak Co. on Saturday, March 20.
15% Off on Kokatat March 20 through March 28 .

Join us on Saturday, March 20th at 11AM for a free Cold Water Paddling Clinic. Tom Harsh, the Kokatat Factory Representative, will be discussing how build a paddle-sport wardrobe that enhances your comfort and safety in a broad range of conditions, with special emphasis on paddling in cold water. Randy Henriksen will talk about cold water risk management for paddle-sports. There will be dry suits to try on - you can even water test a suit under supervision (please bring immersion foot ware and a towel if you're going in for a cold water test.) No charge for the event, but let us know if you're coming so we know what suits to have ready.

Also, to help you get the season started early, all Kokatat paddle-sport apparel is on sale both online and in the store for 15% off March 20 - 28. This is a sale that will not be repeated in 2010, so please come in or order online during our event to get our best prices of the year!

Nice enough for ya?

The calm after the storm, I guess!

Pier 66, with the lightship Frying Pan and the retired fireboat John J. Harvey. I was on my way to the map project meeting, which was pretty interesting, and is the usual for me for 6:00 meetings, I was running late & hurrying to get there. I came out from the side street, saw this, and all the sudden, hyper ("I'mlate,I'mlate, foraveryimportantdate") changed to hypnotized ("Aaaahhh! Muuussssst...Taaaaake...Pictuuuure...")!

So I stopped & took some pictures & quite unsurprisingly, the meeting carried on just fine for a few more minutes without me.

(Note to Capt. JP - haven't seen the Gormleys yet but I want to!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

One Dozen Dead Umbrellas (And A Few More Significant Things that Didn't Weather the Storm So Well)

Saturday's storm was not kind to umbrellas.

Or trees...
Storm Damage 1

Always sad when you see one of these handsome old Ditmas Park trees bite the dust, and I'm sure the homeowner was upset, but I bet at some level they are also thanking their lucky stars that that tree didn't go a few degrees in another direction.
Storm Damage 2

That was a dramatic start to my walk & sent me scurrying back to my apartment for my camera. This was more the standard scene - big branches down everywhere.
Storm Damage 3

This all happened, of course, in that big storm we had on Saturday. I went ahead & went to a party in Queens during the day, had no trouble getting there, but getting home was another story, the subway line that runs through my neighborhood got shut down because a tree blocked the line. Everything was so messed up (understandably, you can't blame the MTA for stuff like this) that it took me almost 3 hours to get home. The funny thing was that the last 40 minutes were spent waiting for a bus to take me a distance I could've walked in 15 minutes - I'd walked a couple of blocks from the subway & I could actually feel the wind shoving me, didn't like it much & was really sort of worried about things flying around. When I got to a bus stop where it was possible to hunker down in a solidly sheltered spot, I did. Seeing the scene the next day, I think that was not a bad call.

These were all taken yesterday - it still wasn't boating weather so I went for another long walk, this time to Sheepshead Bay, south down Ocean Ave. & then west to the Ocean Parkway subway station. This was a construction site on Ocean Ave - the wind had completely torn up & flung around the plywood fencing & even knocked over their portajohn.
Storm Damage 4
I think that when I feel like whining about my job this week, I should spare a thought for the poor Call-A-Head guy that has to deal with that. Ugh.

And then there were some sad sights out in Sheepshead Bay -

Storm Damage 5

Storm Damage 6

One can only hope that the owners of those boats are people who had desperately been trying to sell & will be happy to pocket the insurance money & call it a day. But it's always a disturbing sight to see masts sticking up out of the water like this, isn't it?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New favorite animated movie...

I went to see The Secret of Kells on Friday. Pure magic. Almost made me cry, it was so beautiful. This scene was one of my favorites. The man from whom the cat Pangur-ban steals the key is Brendan's uncle, the Abbott of Kells, who is actually not the bad guy, just frustrated with his nephew's disobedience in leaving the safety of the walls of the abbey at a time when raiding Vikings are about.

It had been a rather long gray week at work (I've finally begun trying to tell my superiors that I think I'm in over my head with my current duties in a way that I don't think can be overcome by some online course, and it's been horribly depressing). Friday afternoon, I checked my email & there was an email from the International Children's Film Festival (I joined their mailing list last year when I was trying to get into one of their screenings of Sita Sings the Blues, I did and it became another instant favorite of mine). It was full of beautiful stills from the movie, which I'd been thinking of seeing since I first heard about it, and there was something extra-special about the Friday night showing - the director was going to be there doing a Q&A after the film. I was on Fandango buying a ticket a minute later - this sounded like just the antidote I needed, something to drive the week's woes out of my head for a while.

It was just what I'd hoped. There are some things that I've seen, or read, or heard, or even sung myself (especially back in the days when I sang with a small but excellent choir, my own voice alone can't weave that kind of spell) that just leave me feeling almost suspended, holding my breath after it's over holding the feeling for one more moment. This was one of those.

Wonderful movie. If you enjoy animation at all, and you get a chance to see it, do go!

I wish I'd been feeling a little less shy during the Q&A - I should've asked what the Irish in the song meant. Lovely, though, isn't it?

I think the thing about the Q&A that left me the most excited was that the same group is now working on an animated version of one of my favorite folk stories, the Irish legend of the Seal Wife. Short version of the legend - you've probably heard it - a man comes upon a group of selkies - seal women - who've shed their sealskins one rare sunny Irish afternoon & are sunning themselves on the rocks on the shore. The man sneaks up & steals one of the skins & that selkie is trapped when the rest resume seal shape. The man takes her home, marries her, they have a couple of kids & she's all settled into being a housewife until one day, she somehow finds the sealskin, which her husband had kept hidden in their home all those years. She goes down to the sea, puts it on & is never seen again.

I love this story partly, of course, because what water lover wouldn't love to be able to become a seal, or a dolphin, or the like?

But I also identify very strongly with the concept of being taken away from one home, making another, but never quite letting go of the loss of the first.

The versions of the story that I've read never seem to go too deeply into emotions - just a simple, straightforward "This happened, then that, then that". But I can never think of that story without embroidering it in my own mind. How did she feel about where she was? Did she forget until she found the skin? When she found it - how hard was the decision to make? When she was back in the sea, did she miss her home on the land? There's an Irish song I know, An Mhaighdean Mhara, that does go into that - the children are singing to their mother, and she to them (hm, if Dad's in there it's a verse I never learned...) - but the versions of the story I've heard tend to leave things interestingly open to interpretation.

I always thought that if I knew how to make animated movies - that's the story I'd want to start with.

Even got to goofing around with some colored pencils one night, trying to draw the moment she goes back - I'm no Bowsprite, but I'm definitely a doodler - and it came out like this -

she's got the sealskin in her arms, but she takes a good long look back at the cottage before she puts it on -

and then even once she's turned back to a seal - something of who she was is still there...

Imagine that drawn about a zillion times better, like, by an actual trained artist, and animated, and that's sort of what my make-believe cartoon movie about the Seal Wife would look like.

And y'know, if Disney decided to do it, I don't think I'd want to see it.

Cartoon Saloon's?

Can't WAIT.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Date for Harbor Charting Meeting

The meeting for the discussion & preliminary charting of NY Harbor recreational traffic patterns that I'd posted about a couple of weeks ago - the one that got postponed due to what I really really hope was the last blizzard of the season - has been rescheduled to next week Tuesday, 3/16/2010. Full details here.

I believe that all interested parties are welcome.

Should be interesting. Let's see, they've got the coast guard, commercial pilots, the "usual suspects" from the NYC boathouse scene.

Wonder who'll be there to speak on behalf of the folks who bought their kayaks on Craig's List or in the recreation department at WalMart, have used 'em enough to call themselves experienced paddlers & think it would be a total kick to put in at Liberty State Park for a nice trip over to Governor's Island? Be good to hear from that group.

I'm only half kidding. I suspect that particular demographic subset of the universe of recreational boaters are going to be severely underrepresented (putting it mildly) at this meeting. Too bad, since I'd bet that that group is probably overrepresented among the set of paddlers who occasionally contribute to the ulcers of the commercial pilots operating in NY Harbor.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LIC Boathouse Fundraiser - Tomorrow Night

D'OH! I had meant to post about this MUCH sooner! The Long Island City Boathouse is having their annual benefit on Thursday, March 11th (tomorrow night, at the time I'm writing this) at the Foundry, half a block south of the Long Island City end of the Queensboro Bridge. Full info is available on

This event is personally & enthusiastically endorsed by Sebago clubmate Walter. He's one of the founding members & grand Poo-Bahs of the Sebago Cruising Committee & believe me, the Sebago Cruising Committee knows a thing or twenty-seven about having fun. If Walter says it's a good party, it's a good party!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Schermerhorn Windows

Rough day at work, beautiful night, so I took a walk across the Manhattan Bridge to unwind a bit. I wish I'd brought my camera, I walked down Schermerhorn St (which I used to pronounce Schermermurmerhorm back when I used to change trains at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, mostly to disguise the fact that I have a heckuva time pronouncing "Schermerhorn") and there were such interesting windows along the way. There was a window where a lady was practicing her grand jetés. There was a window where there was a fabulous kitchen with a fabulous dinner party underway. It made me want to stop & join in...hmm, look, I could sometime. There was a window with a fabulous art place that looked like a grade-school art room. Only maybe for grown-ups. It made me want to stop & finger-paint. And then there was a window that was full of cakes. Good thing I'd already stopped in Chinatown for a bag of Chinese mini cakes, and was also trying to save room for fabulous grass-fed monster-carrot yukon-gold pot roast, heating up on the stove right now!

So nice that the weather's suddenly warm enough to make a little random ramblin' appealing. Tonight's was just shy of 4 miles.

Note on 3/10 - Who were the Shermerhorns? Check the comments! Thanks, O-docker!

Now about that carrot...

Right, enough childhood trauma new & old, let's talk about carrots again. I actually sent this picture to the Ditmas Park blog, because they always like reports on what's going on at our great little Cortelyou Greenmarket.

They posted it & before too long, a commenter had provided some fascinating trivia about this type of carrot. It's called a "Red Core Chantenay" and as it turns out, I bet most of you have tried this exact kind of carrot. Learn why in Comment #5!

Monday, March 08, 2010

why that bugged me so much...

BTW, I think the reason that that bugged me so much is that there was a certain extreme low point that I hit in high school, after we left Hawaii. Mostly I did a very very good job of hiding how homesick I was, but oh god, this one day it all just broke loose. In gym class, of all the idiotic places.

I look back on that & the one thing that I still can't figure out to this day is -

Where were all the grown-ups?

So I guess I read about a kid ending up getting put in a bad situation that the grown-ups should've maybe seen coming - it hits a few zillion nerves.

I really do hope the kid is too young to get it.

My outrage buttons are weirdly wired...

Pardon me while I get political for one post.

I ran across a story that really bugged me today on a friend's Facebook page today.

The story was about a Denver Catholic school that kicked out a preschooler because his parents are a lesbian couple.

Now, I claim to be a good couscous-nibbling chardonnay-sipping big-city lib'rul here on this blog occasionally, and according to that self-stereotype, you'd think I'd automatically say the lesbian parents were the good guys (or women as it was) and the bad old Church was the bad guy.

But instead, I just found myself thinking "Poor kid. Why weren't any of the adults watching out for him? Somebody should've known better!"

I'm very much in favor of gay rights (including marriage, I think it's incredibly unfair that TQ & I could set up that legal partnership known as marriage anytime we wanted to when we've never even lived in the same city, while friends of mine who've been in serious, loving, committed, living-under-the-same-roof relationships for years and years and years can't). But still...well, here's the rant I left on poor Peter's facebook page:

Hm. Went back, reread the article, find myself feeling very very sorry for the kid & wondering which set of adults was most responsible - the parents, the school admin, or church higher-ups.

Leaving aside the shoulds & should-nots & looking at what is - the fact is that a church that runs a school gets a certain say in how that school is run & who gets to go there. Another fact is that Catholic Church is anti-gay. I know plenty of completely gay-friendly Catholics, but the institution is NOT.

Clearly, it seems like whoever was responsible for the ultimate decision to kick the kid out chose to disregard the well-being of a child, which is a shame.

But on the other hand, I find myself thinking along rather similar lines as Michael's 2nd comment* - albeit with a different spin -

Why on earth would a gay couple entrust their child's welfare to such an institution?

Seems implausible that they would've just tried to pull a fast one. There would've been interviews, meetings, all sorts of preliminaries where their relationship should have become obvious. So either they deliberately hid it - which seems implausible, why would a gay couple effectively re-closet themselves to get their kid accepted to a school? What kind of message would that be for them to give their kid? - OR - more plausible - the administration at the school thought it was OK for them to wink at their own rules.**

Maybe they looked at it as civil (or ecumenical) disobedience - but is performing an act of civil disobedience that puts a child's welfare at risk OK?

Maybe better for the adults work to change the rules (if that's what they believe should happen) before they put kids in a potentially dodgy situation.

*Michael is a Catholic who was sticking up for his church's right to run their school by their own rules. I think that's fair, even if I don't think the rules are.

**Found a little more info in a related article when I got home tonight -
1. the child is a preschooler - is that young enough that he might not really get what's going on & bounce back without any major issues? Hope so.
2. It does sound like at least some of the staff were surprised & upset about the decision - I would have thought they might have suspected that this might be an issue, but then I don't know much about internal politics in the Catholic church. Still, "We didn't think" isn't always the best excuse in the world.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

It's not the size of the carrot...

But this IS impressive!

Found it at the local farmers' market on Cortelyou Road. The Ledge Rock Farm grass-fed beef guy had some roasts on sale - I got a chuck roast, a couple of these monster carrots, some potatoes & onions & am making a pot roast that may feed me until April!

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Current conditions for Brooklyn 11230... sez...


43° F

Feels Like: 35° F

Wind: From N at 18mph

Well THAT sure messes with my idea about going sailing...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Few More Allegheny River Pictures

From my January trip (for which I cleverly took a vacation day, creating a 3-day weekend without the 3-day weekend "Greyhound Gets Rabies, Bites" experience). We had freakishly lovely weather & we were not the only boaters out there.

By the time I returned in February, things were back to normal. TQ told me not to bother bringing the drysuit, the river was a bit on the chunky side for paddling. We did take a walk in the same park where we launched, and it looked pretty clear there - but then we drove along the river to another park where there's a little cascade that we thought would make for a nice snow hike with the dogs (it did), and I swear we only drove about a quarter of a mile along a bend in the river, and around that bend, the river was bank to bank ice floes.

Allegheny River Nuraghe

Today's Allegheny River Nuraghe is brought to you in honor of René Seindal, who is currently circumnavigating the island of Sardinia. Good luck, René!

(ps - one of my dream vacations would involve joining one of René for a kayak tour of Venice.)

(pps - no, this isn't a real nuraghe, just a silo of some sort that reminded me of a nuraghe)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Real Gowanus Canal

As mentioned at the end of yesterday's post, yesterday's picture turns out NOT to be one of the Gowanus Canal. "My bad", as the kids say.

For a view of the REAL Gowanus Canal (warts, oil slicks, dead things and all), check out this very nice slide show at the New York Times website.

Thanks again, Tugster, for both the heads-up on my error & the link!

And speaking of the oil slicks - a few years ago, there was a threat of a transit strike. Yes, there was a real transit strike too, this was a few years before that one, and in the summertime. I was living in Windsor Terrace & working in the World Trade Center at the time & I had sort of been toying with the slightly goofy idea of finding someplace on the Gowanus to stash one of my kayaks & using that to get to work. I wasn't really serious about it - crossing the harbor from Brooklyn to NY at rush hour would be less-than-fun endeavor what with all the fast ferries screaming around - but the idea got killed stone dead the day the transit workers staged a morning rush-hour slowdown. I ended up getting stranded at Smith Street with about a zillion other people & as is my wont when faced with really serious rush hour weirdness, I decided to just get off the train, call the office to let them know I was stuck, go have breakfast somewhere & then come back & give it another shot. The Smith Street station is on the section of the F line that's elevated to cross the canal & you come out of the station very close to it. I crossed back over the canal at street level, got a good close look at the oily sheen on the water & instantly dropped the whole kayak-commuting concept.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'd like to paddle there sometime - but all the Ajax in the world wouldn't get me to put one of my own boats in that muck!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

How to confuse yourself on your lunch hour

One step this time -

Read this.

The Gowanus Canal has been designated a Superfund site.

That's good, right? No -- wait -- that's bad???

I'm so confused.
:S |>
Dennis G. Moonstruck, fire at will!

NEXT post frolicsome. I Promise!

Note, several hours later - in a sort of funny/embarrassing development, it turns out that the above photo was not taken on the Gowanus Canal, but on the shore of some little Red Hook Nook about half a mile away. There used to be a very distinctive sugar refinery in the area (it was still there at the time I took this) that I'd always thought was on the shore of the canal & it turns out that no, it wasn't ! Now, see, if I had ever actually gone for a canoe ride with the Gowanus Dredgers instead of just talking about it, I would've known better! Tugster Will filled me in on my error & said he'd look for an actual photograph of the Gowanus Canal. Leaving this one up in the meantime 'cause it IS nearby & does at least give a clear idea of the heavily industrial flavor of the area's waterfront. BTW, about the "getting better" part? Tugster said it's still pretty disgusting.