Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Black bear Lugnut gives birth - video

The Wildlife Research Foundation in cooperation with the Maine Department of Fisheries and Wildlife has established a live streaming video in a bear den in northern Maine.  As you know bears do more than shit in the woods.  They give birth there! As did Lugnut, one of the bears they are following.  The link above will bring you to the video archive.  the home page ahs video live from the den where the bear sleeps, but doesn't shit, so except for lucky moments not much is going on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One More Thing about Paterno - George Vecsey

George Vecsey - the recently retired Times sports columnist - and wise observer of men's lives, observes that by making Paterno king those who shouted "We Are Penn State" left him isolated and unguided. - GWC
One More Thing about Paterno - George Vecsey:

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At Brooklyn Prep, Paterno Learned Latin and Bravado - NYTimes.com

Brooklyn Preparatory School, whose graduates included Joe Paterno, closed in 1972 and its grounds became part of Medgar Evers College.
This building at 1150 Carroll Street in Crown Heights
- was Brooklyn Prep which closed in 1972

Mens sana in corpore sano was the maxim of the school. Neither was easy to achieve. Like everyone interviewed in this article I remember Brooklyn Prep as the most demanding school I attended. College at Holy Cross, grad school at BU, law school at Rutgers. None was as challenging as high school. None as rewarding. The study of the classics encouraged a Homeric self-image. If we were good enough to study Cicero and read the Odyssey in the original Greek we were good enough for anything. Just don't be late to class. - GWC
At Brooklyn Prep, Paterno Learned Latin and Bravado - NYTimes.com:
"At the Jesuit high school Joe Paterno attended in Brooklyn, students wore jackets and ties and were taught by priests or by lay teachers in academic robes. The curriculum was also rigorously Old World: students took several years of Latin and many added three years of Greek, with three hours of homework per night the rule.
If they were late or forgot a notebook, students might find themselves detained after school for what Jesuits called “jug,” spending an hour in the courtyard walking in circles.

Fr. Engel was Prefect of Discipline
The prefect of discipline was the Rev. Frederick W. Engel, a tall priest with the fists of a trained boxer who could instantly silence an auditorium filled with 300 shouting boys.
“It wasn’t hell you were afraid of, it was Father Engel,” said Gerry Uehlinger, class of ’67, now a trial lawyer in Maryland."

 The school is well remembered in Charlie's Prep the book sponsored by NYU President John Sexton.   Charlie Winans introduced us to James Joyce.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Paterno Leaves a Complicated Legacy - NYTimes.com

Joe Paterno was, by far the most famous graduate of my high school - Brooklyn Prep. A Jesuit high school in Crown Heights its motto was mens sana in corpore sano. Paterno took it to heart. We all took four years of Latin and most of us studied Greek. He loved Virgil - which I found insufferable. (I loved the Odyssey and Cicero.) Unique among football coaches he took academics seriously. Penn State had a high graduation rate and Paterno was an apostle of academic as well as athletic excellence. 
 But when an assistant coach reported that he saw a popular former coach sexually assaulting a boy in the football locker room Joe's moral vision failed him.  He did the minimum - reported it to university officials, not the police. And when nothing came of that Joe let it slide.  Now everyone knows and now Joe Pa is dead. The statue ofPaterno was removed from the front of the stadium;  the legend is sullied. It is a shame. - GWC Paterno Leaves a Complicated Legacy - NYTimes.com: "Joe Paterno loved the classics. He quoted Shakespeare to his team, devoured the epics of Virgil and donated his money to help save Penn State’s classics department, even endowing a scholarship in the name of his high school Latin teacher, the Rev. Thomas Bermingham. With Paterno’s death at 85 from lung cancer on Sunday morning, the final thread of his narrative is one fit for the literary tragedies he adored."

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peter Ralston - premier photographer of the Wyeths' Maine

Peter Ralston - who co-founded the Island Institute with Philip Conkling - is the house photographer.  His pictures grace every issue of the annual Island Journal.  He grew up in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania - the winter home of the Wyeths.  A life long friend of Andrew and his wife Betsy,  he is a peer and close friend of their son James -  himself a distinguished artist.  He spent a lot of time at Jamie and wife Phyllis's Kent House, on Monhegan Island.  It is so named because it was built by the great illustrator, landscape painter, expedition sailor, and rebel Rockwell Kent.  Among Ralston's projects was his commission to make photographic reproductions of Andrew's paintings.  If you click on Ralston's name, above, you'll find yourself at his website. 
We have a print from the original negative of the top photo - Clearing - which is his signature image.  I had the impression from faint recollection that Ralston didn't like it very much (that the sky is overexposed - actually that's just the image I found.) But Peter's comment corrects that error.  HERE is the image on his site.  As I observed there is great power in the image of  the sheep huddled under tow in that skiff.  The brightening sky and the sun through the mist convey mystery, hope and vulnerability.  The sheep were on their way to Allen Island.  Owned by Andrew and Betsy, the stone cross on the island's south eastern bluff was erected by the state of Maine to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of Maine: Capt. George Weymouth's prolonged anchorage in 1605 from which he explored the St. George River and Georges Islands, and the Penobscot Bay and River. Known as George's Harbor, it is the Wyeths (and my) favorite spot. 

Misty Blue - Etta James

Friday, January 20, 2012

NASA - NASA Finds 2011 Ninth-Warmest Year on Record

NASA - NASA Finds 2011 Ninth-Warmest Year on Record: "The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis that shows temperatures around the globe in 2011 compared to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago. The average temperature around the globe in 2011 was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline."

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rounding the horn: solo around the Americas in a 27 foot sailboat

You know I love adventures like this.  Matt Rutherford has enormous skill and determination.  But he's also got the weakest piece of equipment I've ever seen for an ocean voyager - a 40 year old 27 foot boat.  Capt. Doug Pohl reports 
The Horn
Matt Rutherford
Solo Around the America's Under Sail | An audacious attempt at sailing the Northwest Passage and circumnavigating entirety of both continents, to benefit Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating: "I’ve now doubled the Horn, which means I sailed from 50 south to 50 south non-stop. Back 100 years ago it was common practice, but these days boats usually stop along the way and round the horn in a series of steps from safe anchorage to safe anchorage (understandably so). I spent 22 days in the furious fifties and I had a good time. I had four gales in a row before the Horn but the weather has been nice ever since. That gale I saw coming decreased in strength and it only blew 30kts and the one behind it did the same thing. I love the temperature down here; it’s around 55 degrees which is great for me. At night it gets a bit colder and I can feel it when I breathe, all wrapped up in my warm sleeping bag. What can I say, I’m a Celt. My ancestors didn’t live in warm sunny places. I’ve been spoiling myself by making blueberry pancakes every morning (thanks to self-reliance) along with a cup of coffee. I’ll tell you, life is pretty good!"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Circumnavigating Ellesmere Island - by Sea Kayak - NYTimes.com

Arctic Adventure - A 1,500-Mile Trip by Sea Kayak - NYTimes.com: "To stave off a breaching 3,000-pound walrus from the cockpit of a small sea kayak, Erik Boomer recommends using the paddle.
“Sort of like a Heisman stiff-arm, hit him in the face and try to feed him the paddle,” he said. “Then start paddling.”
The first 600 miles of the Ellesmere Island expedition had not been so sporting — lots of marching along on skis with skins, towing the boats."

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seven National All-Time Heat Records Set in 2011 | ThinkProgress

Seven National All-Time Heat Records Set in 2011 | ThinkProgress: "By Dr. Jeff Masters, in a Wunderblog repost:
"The year 2011 was the tenth warmest year on record for the globe, but the warmest year on record when a La Niña event was present (Ricky Rood has a discussion of this in his lastest post.) Seven nations and one territory broke all-time hottest temperature records. This is a far cry from 2010 (which tied for the warmest year on record), when twenty nations (plus one UK territory) set all-time hottest temperature records. One all-time coldest temperature record was set in 2011; this was the first time since 2009 one of these records was set. The all-time cold record occurred in Zambia, which ironically also set an all-time hottest temperature record in 2011."

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Friday, January 13, 2012

USCG Icebreaker Healy aids Russian Tanker Renda

The Renda, a Russian tanker, is bringing fuel to ice-jammed Nome Alaska, aided by our only icebreaker in the arctic.  This is the price of the Tea Party.  We have only the USCG Healy.  The Polar Star has been drydocked since 2006 thanks to federal budget cuts.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Waiting for the Margaret E

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission set a short winter shrimp season.  It opened the 30 day trawl a month late on January 2.  MWF only - 3 days/week.  A short day, too: nets on spools at 1 PM.  But last night after  two days of fishing the regulators bent: fishing allowed until 3 PM.  So if you're into the fish you can keep going - maybe get your limit - 5,000 lbs.
So the fleet came in heavy as darkness fell this snowy Friday evening at Friendship harbor - where perhaps twenty lobstermen have rigged their boats to drag nets instead of haul lobster traps. We waited for the Margaret E at Wallace's Lobster for our first shrimp of the season. I like 'em cajun style. Just seems right.
(click on images to enlarge and slideshow)