When the world is a monster     Bad to swallow you whole     Kick the clay that holds the teeth in     Throw your trolls out the door    






The One-Legged Sandpiper


   January, 2009   





Happy New Year!!!     Thursday, January 1, 2009     Happy New Year!!!


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   Starting the new year on the beach is important.   

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   Kelly kneels close to the fire to keep warm.   

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   The gusting wind made it tough at times.   

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   We were the only souls on the beach north and south.   

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   Waiting for the fire to die down so we could go get warm.   

Happy New Year!!!

Welcoming the new year with a fire on the beach.

      This year was the toughest ever for almost everyone I know. This fact seemed to be reflected on the beach at midnight New Years Eve. For quite a few years now we have made a point of being on the beach as the new year starts. The first year's fire was an unplanned event with no one invited and no specific plans. By the end of the night nearly thirty people had come and gone, drawn to the fire like bugs to a porch light. People arrived in trucks and there was music and drink and it was a perfect celebration. Each year since has been a mixed bag of results but almost all have been considered a success. Even the year we had to build plywood and driftwood shelters to keep out of the freezing rain.
      The beach is an obvious destination for beach people for New Years. Most years there are fireworks, hooting and hollering, air horns, cheering and horns blowing and a few fires. This year we were the only one's on the beach as far as we could see north and south. Not another soul even walked up the beach. We felt it was our duty to maintain the tradition in spite of the bitter cold and howling winds.
      The firewood came from the Train Station and driftwood from the beach and brush cut from my mother's house in Piscataway. There were even the leafless remains of Aunt Dottie's honeysuckle vine. After locating a shovel behind Agnes Walter's shed, I dug a hole for the fire up the beach while Kelly was preparing our New Years feast back at the Dip & Sip. The top three inches of sand was frozen solid so it was like digging through pavement until I reached the softer sand underneath. Luckily the wind was blowing from the west so the sparks and smoke were carried out to sea. I packed a box full of paper and kindling and we transferred all of the firewood to the beach. We started the fire about twenty minutes before midnight. It took a lot of huddling over it and quite a few attempts to light it but when it finally caught it took off like it was doused in gasoline. The wind provided a forced draft that threatened to burn up our wood supply before midnight. Luckily the wood supply lasted as long as we did in the cold. We waited to see if someone else would show up to no avail. It might have been disappointing but... we congratulated ourselves on keeping the tradition going and retired to the house for a fantastic steak dinner. Happy New Year!!!


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Island Beach State Park

The first trip to one of the best places in New Jersey

      Island Beach State Park is an undeveloped stretch of land about ten miles long at the southern end of our island. The park is filled with wildlife of all kinds. Foxes and ospreys are our favorites to watch. Clams and crabs are our favorite to eat. We've seen an osprey mother teaching her baby to fly and stumbled across a five foot wide Cow-Nosed Ray that was clamming in the same area that we were and all sorts of other fascinating stuff. This first trip yielded a few pounds of mussels that made a great Marinara sauce the same night. The mussels were fresh and oceany tasting without a trace of grit even though they were dug from some nasty black bay mud.
      The park has always been an important place for us and getting a park permit is a signifigant symbolic success. The next big one will be getting our yearly clamming licenses. The two kind of go together. The state simplified the park permit procedure greatly this year... possibly in anticipation of the impending regime change. I guess more of us would rather enjoy the natural barrier island environment than launch a terrorist attack. This was the first of many park visits this year. Add a stop at Bakin' Bagels on the way in for everything bagels with scallion cream cheese and a stop at 7-11 (Sevo) for coca-mocha-latte-frappe-chino coffee drinks on the way out and you have the makings of a great day. We've returned home with a variety of "quahog" clams, razor clams, surf clams, steamers, mussels, crabs, blufish and flounder, rose hips and beach plums over the years. Last year was the toughest clamming year ever... like everything else. Maybe his year will be better.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Seaside the Cat

Surviving and Thriving on the Boardwalk

      Seaside appeared during boardwalk walk in Seaside Heights one night in November. She seemed to need a home... or at least a meal. We returned a day or two later with catfood but she was nowhere to be found. This last-night-at-the-beach boardwalk walk was a rather somber affair until Seaside made her presence know. She seemed healthy and happy and at one with her surroundings. The second half of the walk, heading back north, was a little lighter as a result.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Danger Kitchen
Danger Kitchen

Ham Steaks and Mashed Potatoes


A great meal from Ham and Cabbage leftovers

Ingredients:

Ham Steaks 1/2" to 5/8" thick.
Cooked Potatoes (skin on or off) 1-1/2 lbs per ham steak.
Butter or Margarine.
Milk, Half and Half, Cream, Sour Cream or potato cooking liquid.
Chopped Scallions (white and green parts) ("OBR" optional but recommended).
Chopped Chives (OBR).
Chopped Fresh Parsley (OBR).


Protocol:

Preheat broiler or skillet.
Rinse the ham slices in hot water and pat dry.
Coat both sides of ham slices with butter, margarine or olive oil.
Sprinkle with a little fresh ground pepper and/or garlic poweder and/or dry mustard (optional).
Place ham slices under the broiler or in a hot skillet until barely browning on one side.
Remove ham slices and set aside.
Prepare mashed potatoes your favorite way. Danger Kitchen Garlic Mashed are fine.
Top the ham slices with an even layer of mashed potatoes 1/2" to 1" thick.
Brush the potatoes with melted butter or margarine.
Sprinkle with chopped scallion, chives and/or parsley (OBR: optional but recommended)
Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper "FGBP" and/or garlic powder(optional).
Broil until the peaks of the potatoes are lightly browned. Serve with just a salad or some mixed vegetables go well. Try Danger Kitchen Cabbage With Carraway Seeds, Baked Mushroom or Carrots Danger Kitchen Style. Dab on some melted butter just before serving (optional).


Notes:

     When I tried this dish in 1985 I became an instant fan. I always get the largest ham I can when I make Ham and Cabbage so I can slice off at least one ham steak. Make sure you save the broth and ham bones from Ham and Cabbage to make Danger Kitchen Pea Soup. A big ham is a gift that keeps on giving. All of the above mentioned recipes freeze well so you can cook three different dishes from one batch of ingredients and eat well wheneverthe mood strikes for weeks. Try making the mashed potatoes with leftover Ham and Cabbage potatoes for more interesting variations.

Optional:

Just in case this isn't good enough as it is... Try adding crisp fried bacon strips to the top of the ham slices before adding the mashed potatoes. Add Crumbled bacon and/or sour cream to the mashed potatoes or top with sour cream before serving.

Links:

Visit the Cooks Ham website.
The Danger Kitchen Mashed Potatoes recipe.
Danger Kitchen Baked Mushroom recipe.
The Cabbage With Carraway Seeds recipe.
Carrots Danger Kitchen style.
Here's the Ham and Cabbage Recipe.
This is the Pea Soup recipe.
A printable version of the Ham Steak Recipe.
The Danger Kitchen Online Cookbook.
www.dangerkitchen.com Danger Kitchen has a home.
Danger Kitche is brought to you by The One-Legged Sandpiper.





Saturday, January 10, 2009


An Occurrence At
Haven Harbor

Strange goings on in New England...

On a bizarre little island...

Off a different kind of coast



You aren't from around here are ya?

      Haven Harbor is a fictional story that was born in a puddle of a pond in my backyard on Christol Street in Metuchen, New Jersey when I was in third grade or so. A trip to Eastport, Maine and Ketchikan, Alaska have contributed Ideas as has the Popeye movie with Robin Williams and a small cluster of houses between the highways somewhere near Mantoloking, New Jersey. The characters are all fictional but based on people I have met over the years. This is chapter one. The introduction showed up in November of last year here in the Sandpiper. Chapter One was a feature in December of last year. Stay tuned for more.


Chapter Two

 

The Last Day Of Summer

Or

It’s Not Over ‘Till I Say It’s Over

 

          “It’s over!” he thought as he slid below to hit the head and get ready for the day of activity that would be necessary if he was going to leave tomorrow. He could easily have driven up Friday morning based on the distances the driving directions had listed. He could leave at eight in the morning and be there for his ferry reservation with time to spare. That would be too easy. Palmer wanted to take Situation on one last blue water sail before having her pulled for the winter. He had negotiated a storage deal in Rhode Island, and this was a good excuse to get the boat up there and ready to be taken out of the water. Besides, it would be much more exciting than a road trip he had made most of a thousand times in the past.

          The first order of business would be to tow the skiff to the bay beach in Lavallette some twelve or thirteen miles north of Situation’s current anchorage and get it out of the water, turned over, and chained to something permanent until it could be stored properly for the winter. The Zodiac, named Wuddle, was lashed to the cabin trunk upside down just forward of the mast. Palmer made the painter fast to the nearest stanchion with a clove hitch and then used the spare jib halyard to lift the ten foot inflatable clear of the stanchions and life lines and rest the pointy after ends of it’s pontoons on Situation’s spray rail. He let the jib halyard go and Wuddle plopped unceremoniously into the water with a pneumatic sounding splat. He loosed the halyard from the bow of the inflatable dink and cleated it off on the mast, keeping Wuddle’s painter secured until he was ready to lead her aft. The wind practically lifted her clear of the water as he yanked the painter to turn her around. He retrieved the fifteen horse Mariner outboard and gas tank from the port storage locker in Situations stern and had Wuddle ready to motor north in a few more minutes.  The choppy water made the whole process a little cumbersome, but the engine didn’t wind up in the drink so everything was good.

          Palmer secured the bowline on the skiff to the stern tow ring on the Zodiac and was getting ready to leave when he thought of trying to reach Cooper James again. Cooper and Palmer have been friends since before they can remember. They had been out of touch for a while but Palmer knew “Coop” would be up for a spur-of-the-moment sail to New England for a week or two. Cooper James had recently taken a leave of absence from the Police force in the town where they grew up to reevaluate his current path through life. “Slumming is more like it,” thought Palmer as he reached for his cell phone. This time a groggy sounding voice answered on the third ring. “…’Low…” said the voice. “What happened to hell?” asked Palmer laughing. A long exaggerated “Heyyyyyyyyyy” was the response. “What the flyin’ hell is going on?” asked Cooper James. “Same ole same ole” said Palmer. “Wanna go sailing for a few days?” he asked expecting the answer no. “Sure… Why not… Where?” “Does it matter?” questioned Palmer. “Nope” came the response after a short pause. “Ok then… Get your butt in gear and drive down the shore and I’ll pick you up and we’ll go. Bring plenty of clothes just in case” “In case what?” worried Cooper, not knowing if Palmer was planning something crazy. “In case nothin’… Just bring lots of gear!” “Uh… One problem” “And that is…” queried Palmer. “The ex has my truck to move something or other. I don’t know what. All I know is it doesn’t involve me… Just my truck” replied Cooper. “Well that’s just ducky” came Palmer’s sarcastic response. There was a long silence before Palmer said “Take the train to Bay Head. I’ll motor down in the Zodiac and pick you up.” “Well, Felipe, why not just drive down?” “Wouldn’t be as much fun… Besides, Nicole has my truck. Her Audi conked out and she needed to get back and forth to school. No wheels.” “Who’s Nicole? New babe?” “Nah… Long story. Just take the train A.S.A.F.P.” “Alright alright… I’ll be there on the first one I can get. Call me on my cell in an hour or so and I’ll let you know what’s up.” “Okee Dokee, See ya then big guy” said Palmer with a singsong kind of inflection in his voice. “When are we leaving?” Cooper asked a dial tone.

          Palmer hurried about Situation’s cabins gathering foul weather gear out of lockers and tucking cash and his list of things to buy and do in a waterproof plastic pouch. With the current conditions in the bay, the trip in the Zodiac was bound to be wet and cold. He hadn’t seen Cooper James for quite some time, a few years in fact. That was how their friendship worked. No minimum requirements. No Christmas cards. No phone calls necessary. They just picked up where they left off when the circumstances allowed it. “Why mess with something that works.” He thought as he headed back up on deck, closing and locking the main hatch behind him. He knew that there would be no awkwardness between them because of the long period of radio silence. He knew that they would catch up on the present, relive the past, and discuss plans for the future without so much as a nod to the lack of contact ending today. It just didn’t matter. He was really looking forward to the trip now that there would be someone to take a watch at the helm once in a while. This would prove to be a much better experience than the last time they sailed together over twenty years ago. Thoughts of summer ending were temporarily on hold.

          Palmer scanned Situation Number Six from stem to stern making sure everything was in order. The anchor was holding and everything was secured. The anchor light was on in case they arrived after dark and everything seemed shipshape. He pulled on his boots and the farmer John Gore-tex pants that made up the bottom half of his foul weather gear and descended the steps from the deck to the platform stern before putting on the hooded jacket and fastening all the zippers and Velcro closures before sliding on his waterproof gloves. It was feeling warmer, but getting soaked in these conditions could lead to hypothermia in no time at all. “There’ll bee plenty of time for that and fatigue tomorrow.” He thought to himself considering this would be only the first of four days on the water in late October.

          The line to the skiff pulled tight as Palmer throttled the Zodiac away from the big sailboat.  The water close to the island was relatively flat so the little parade picked up speed quickly. As the Zodiac tried to plane it plowed up a bow wave like a tugboat. The skiff glided through the water almost effortlessly.  As he rounded the sedge grass island marking the western limits of the park, the Zodiac started bouncing over the growing swells whipped up in the shallow bay. The Skiff parted the waves neatly and because of it’s greater length, spanned three swells at a time and rode majestically over them with hardly a splash. Palmer loved that skiff. He had wanted one since the first time he climbed on the overturned hull of one on the beach pretending it was a submarine that had surfaced. The skiffs had been used as surf rescue and fishing boats for most of the time people had inhabited the island. They were strong and flexible and could ride a wave up onto the beach without so much as a creak or groan. They were built of stem bent white oak frames with lap strake cedar planking held in place by copper rivets. They were built the exact same way until the early eighties, when the first fiberglass replacements started showing up on the beach.

          Palmer was nearing the north end of the park after nearly fifty minutes underway. He had opened the bail on the Zodiac to drain the gallons of water that splashed aboard. The weather was now clear and sunny, and it was hard seeing through the spray that coated his sunglasses. The brilliant sparkles on the water didn’t help, but he could feel the warmth of the sun on his cold wet face and it felt good. It was a few hours since breakfast and Palmer’s thought turned to a bowl of clam chowder from Berkley Seafood, a fish market and restaurant just outside the gates of the park. Without a seconds hesitation he turned east into the wind and headed for the spot where the green of the park’s pines and holly turned into buildings and docks and signs of inhabitation from the border of the park north as far as the eye could see. He was glad to see Wheel House Marina still had their floating dock on the water. He slowed to a crawl about a hundred feet off the dock and then coasted the last twenty feet in neutral until the inflatable gently bumped the dock. The skiff continued forward for a few feet until the wind stopped it’s forward progress. Palmer tied the Zodiac to a cleat and wobbled up onto the floating dock, just a bit unsteady after nearly an hour of abuse in the dink. He walked down 24th street east towards the ocean; nodding to the owner of the marina who was busy covering a Cat Boat just he had just hauled out of the water.  He walked into the market section of Berkley Seafood and said “Pint of Manhattan chowder to go.”  Loudly to the first person who looked up, a guy that looked like he’d be more at home on a skateboard than in a fish market. He was stripping off his jacket as the goateed and pierced employee returned silently with the chowder, a big plastic spoon, some napkins and a hand full of little plastic bags filled with oyster crackers. “Bag?” he asked. “Nope… All set.” said Palmer, elevating the conversation to two word sentences.

He paid for his chowder and dumped two bags of crackers into the hot food container before heading out the door he forced open with his knee.

The chowder wasn’t as good as the fantastic stuff he had stowed in the freezer aboard Situation, but it was hot and tasted good. He glances to the right at the park entrance about fifty yards south and felt that end-of-summer lump in his throat again for the first time in a few hours.

          Palmer nodded again to the owner of Wheel House Marina as he walked towards the floating dock. He held up the soup and gestured towards the restaurant with the spoon. The man laughed and patted his stomach hard with both hands. They both shared a weakness for takeout from Berkley Seafood. Wheel House was a working stiffs marina. There were no slimy weasel salesmen hawking brand new over-priced powerboats. Just reasonably priced slips, clamming licenses, a shop, parts store and a small restaurant that made simple breakfasts and lunches. It was the closest marina to Barnegat inlet on the island and had a homemade look and feel to it. It was a place Palmer has felt comfortable ever since he and Nicole first came here for their clamming licenses. They had many quick breakfasts here as well before Situation Number Six’s predecessor, What A Situation, allowed them to attack the clam beds from the water instead of “the dry side” as they called it.

          The wind had dropped a bit and was coming a little more from the south now. The confused chop in the bay was settling into small even swells that would make the rest of the trip a little more comfortable, if not drier. Palmer checked the gas tank before departing the floating dock and was off through the swells again. The owner of the marina had finished covering the boat he was working on and stood on the bulkhead the floater was anchored to and watched the small parade of boat and Palmer grow smaller as it motored north as quickly as conditions allowed. He recognized Palmer and remembered that he and “the Surfer Chick” always seemed to be on some kind of mission or other. He wondered, “Where she was today?” and “Where’s that guy off to?” and “What’s he doing out there today?” and “Where was the big sailboat?” He never asked questions, but that didn’t keep him from wondering. He wished he were doing whatever Palmer was doing, and going wherever Palmer was going.

          Palmer aimed the Zodiac for the east side of the Toms River Bridge. The two bridges spanned the bay and during the summer funneled a steady stream of cars onto the island from the Garden State Parkway a few miles inland. Situation Number Six could pass under the newer west bound bridge, but had to wait for the shorter eastbound span to open to pass. He had always enjoyed being stuck on the island’s drawbridges when they opened to let a boat through. It was a chance to get out of the car and enjoy the view and check out the boats as they passed. He enjoyed being on one of those boats even more. Not today though. The little parade passed unnoticed through the concrete piers close to the eastern shore, the sound of the outboard echoing loudly off the underside of the bridge and scattering a small flock of roosting pigeons. He passed the north side of Pelican Island and aimed towards the tip of West Point Island about a mile to the north. West Point Island’s only claim to fame is as the home of Joe Pesci’s Mom’s house. “Not quite Graceland.” Thought Palmer, but “nice to know he built his Mom such a nice house.”

          Palmer rounded West Point Island and turned slightly east towards the Lavallette Yacht Club. In a few minutes he had passed the two town docks used mostly for fishing and crabbing and was slowing as he approached the north end of the beach. Bat, a big beautiful A-Cat sailboat was still moored in the small cove protected by the Yacht Club’s breakwater and boat slips. Most of the smaller boats moored off the bay beach area were already out of the water, including Palmer’s little One Design Class Mutineer Cantaloupe, the boat he taught Nicole to sail on. There were a few Moms and their children playing on the colorful plastic playscape on the open sandy area at the north end of the beach. The rest of the area was covered with dune grass and bayberry bushes from the high water mark to the bay road about thirty yards away.  The town had placed wooden posts anchored in concrete every twenty feet or so along the beach about twenty feet into the grass. Each post had a large eyebolt in it to lock a boat to.

          He untied the skiff and pulled the bow onto the sand as far as he could with one arm. He dragged the inflatable clear of the water and turned back to the skiff, retrieving two long inflated plastic rollers covered with heavy fabric from under the thwarts. “Boatwursts” he said to himself as he jammed one under the curve of the stem of the skiff. He placed the other one a few feet forward of that on the sand and slogged into the water behind the skiff. He shoved the sturdy wooden boat forward with all of his strength and it rolled up onto the boatwursts and into the grass. He had to grab the transom with both hands and dig his boots into the sand to slow the skiff once it cleared the small berm near the water. After jogging the stout hull into a position he was satisfied with, he grabbed the line he had tied to the opposite gunwale, and pushing down on the closest side with one foot while pulling hard on the line, flipped the skiff over in one smooth fluid motion, catching the opposite rail and easing the boat over completely upside down. With no time to waste and noon approaching, Palmer tucked a few chunks of pressure treated six by six under the inverted rail of the skiff to raise it off the sand a few inches and was back in the Zodiac.

One pull started the still warm outboard and he was off towards the channel separating the yacht club from the southern Twin Island. The islands were low marshy grassy islands of a few acres each that formed a slightly sheltered cove off of the bay beach belonging to the little development where Palmer’s beach house was. The southern island actually had a few small trees growing on it and the bottle dump of a long decayed hunting shanty, the rotted pilings of which were still visible in the sand. The islands had a small channel between them that lead west to the open bay. Each island was separated from the bay shore of the big island by only a hundred feet more or less. There was just enough room for small boats to comfortably pass each other in opposite directions. The Zodiac passed by the yacht club and into the little cove. He could see the ropes and floats that defined the swimming area for the bay beach as he passed a long lagoon lined with houses and boats still in the water.  Everyone called them lagoons, but technically these were Gunk holes. They were about a hundred feet wide, four to six feet deep and plenty slimy on the bottom. They were a good place to catch crabs and bait fish. Palmer motored by the bay beach and the spot where the wooden raft used to be anchored that he and his friends played King Of The Hill on when they were young; another tradition done in by liability issues and apathy.

Palmer turned east down the next gunk hole and reduced speed so the Zodiac didn’t leave a noticeable wake. The sound of the outboard echoed off of the bulkheads, houses on his right, and condos on his left. The condos were built on a long empty stretch of sand and reeds on the north side of the “lagoon” that the local kids used to play on. They blew up model boats with firecrackers during the day, and roasted potatoes in fires built with driftwood during the night. Palmer remembered that the best kindling was always well-weathered delaminated plywood. His group nicknamed the stuff “quick start” it worked so well. The condos were built in spite of concerted terrorist activity by the local ten to twelve year old rebel forces. He still scoffed at the condos thirty years later. He remembered how good the roasted potatoes tasted as if it was yesterday.

He tied the Zodiac off to the cantilever dock that extended from the new polyethylene and pressure treated bulkhead. He wondered if the new one would last anywhere near as long as the old creosoted wood and iron tie-rod model. “I seriously doubt it.” He thought to himself. He stripped off his gloves and jacket and enjoyed the warmth of the sun as he walked across the southbound and then the northbound lanes of the dual-lane highway that ran the length of the island, except for a few miles in Bay Head and Mantaloking to the north where it was reduced to one lane in each direction, without the block of houses in between.  His first destination was the beach to see the ocean. That was ALWAYS the first order of business.

The beach has always cast a spell over Palmer, for as long as he could remember. He could spend endless days on the beach, kayaking, fishing, reading or just watching the horizon. He called it Beach Anthropology, one of the lesser-known social sciences. It was the casual observation of anything and everything that happened on the beach. Today was no exception, but he was on a tight schedule. There were a few people sitting on the beach. He surprised not to find Nicole’s grandmother, although it was a bit cold and windy, she was usually there. “The ocean’s very green looking today.” He thought as he scanned the horizon. He spotted a few clammers and a container ship just over the horizon that looked like a small city sitting on an island. The tide was out and the large sandbar was full of seagulls wading in the water looking for fish or clams. He always recalled seeing one back out of the water with a large surf clam clamped on his beak, dragging the clam out of the water so he could breathe. Just as he arrived to help the clam released his grip and the terrified bird scrambled into the air leaving a trail of feathers. He tossed the clam back into the water in a deep spot a little further down the beach. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Palmer reached for his cell phone and dialed Cooper James. Cooper answered on the second ring. “Where are you?” Palmer asked. “Just left Rahway station about five minutes ago.” Answered Cooper. “I’ll be in Bay Head a few minutes past three. You gonna be there?” “Well… Ok I suppose.” He followed a moment of silence with “Of course I’ll be there. You’re not getting out of this that easily.” Cooper laughed and said “I’ll see ya around three… Don’t forget.” Palmer’s “Forget what?” was cut off as Cooper hung up the phone.

 “Now for the tough call.” He thought as he dialed Nicole’s cell. “Uh oh! She picked up on the first ring.” “Hey! I’ve been waiting for you to call. I thought we were gonna go put out some eel traps today?” His silence alarmed her. “Ok… What’s wrong?” She asked. “I think I have to cancel this weekend’s sail. And the rest of this week too.” He said glumly. “How come???” She whined just a bit. “I have to sail to Rhode Island for a project… I think I’ll be gone at least a week.” “Well, we can go sailing again when you get back.” “I’m going to take Situation out of the water when I’m done with what I have to do. It’s getting to be that time of year.” “I just thought you needed help with all that… You said I could help.” “And I meant it. I just need to do this for a week or so, then maybe you can drive my truck up and we’ll deal with the boat. This shouldn’t take too long.” Palmer was trying not to bargain too much. Nicole needed to do well this semester so she could transfer to a good teaching college. He didn’t want her skipping any more classes. “I guess…” She said almost crying. “Meet us at the Crabs Claw for dinner tonight.” He offered. “Us?” she questioned. “Yeah, my friend Cooper James from forever ago.” “I guess… What time?” “Around seven thirty. We might be late. We have a lot to do before tomorrow.” “I guess… Bye.” She hung up before he could say anything else. “That went well… Not!!!” he said to himself. “Time to lock up and get going.”

Palmer hadn’t been back to the trailer in the past two weeks. He preferred the solitude of Situation’s remote anchorage and the beautiful natural surroundings there while working on his websites. “Too many distractions at the beach.” He always said. The little trailer reminded him of a boat anyway. He called it the Nomad 33. He was looking at big sailboats at a boat show in Atlantic City, and when asked what kind of boat he had currently, he was a little embarrassed to admit it was only a fifteen footer so he told the salesman he had a Nomad 33, the brand and length of the trailer. He was surprised that the salesman was that familiar with the Nomad and her sailing characteristics. The Nomad had become a closet for Nicole when she was at the beach and was covered end to end with clothes, fishing gear and empty Snapple bottles. “Man what a mess!!!” He said to himself surveying the carnage. “Oh well, no time to worry about it now.” He wrote “Clean Me Up Or Else No Sailing” on a piece of paper and left it on the dinette table, checked his phone messages, and locked the door behind him.

The walk back down to the bay took Palmer past a thousand memories of summer growing up. Something happened everywhere, around every house and any spot on the street. The flood of memories brought back that mixture of feelings that always came with the end of summer. Nostalgia. Melancholy. Loneliness. It was all there… Just like every summer before and no doubt every one after. As he approached the northbound highway his thoughts turned once again to food. “There’s always time for a Teepee sub. If you want to keep moving, you have to keep eating.” He said to himself as he turned the corner and walked towards then south end of the little development. The summer crew that always knew what he wanted before he ordered it was gone. He ordered a Teepee club sub, dry, with Munster cheese, lettuce, onions and hot peppers, and a Snapple. The summer crew always knew to wipe the oil and vinegar off the cutting board before assembling the ingredients, and doesn’t cut it in four pieces. He sat by the window and gazed out at Joe Pepsi’s Pizza and the ice cream shop across the street and sighed a long drawn out sigh as his thoughts once again turned to summer.  He ate quickly, hit the rest room and was back out the door into the sunny windy afternoon.

          Palmer paused at the dock long enough to get back into his foul weather gear and check the time before getting back in the Zodiac. It was 2:12. He had less than an hour to motor the six miles north to the train station in Bay Head. On a calm day he wouldn’t give it a second thought. Today it might be close if the wind picks up any more, the way it often does in the afternoon. It was blowing more from the south now and that would help some on the way there. He glared at the condos again as he passed them on the short trip west to the bay. He turned north at the end of the gunk hole and passed through the narrow channel between the marshy little island and the bulkhead at the end of the row of houses built back in the days when all you needed to do was put up a bulkhead and fill it with sand to create as much land as you needed.  The bay was viewed as a smelly mosquito infested swamp back in the fifties and sixties. “My how times have changed,” he thought as he revved the little engine and headed north into the open bay towards Chadwick Island. He chose to stay close to the big island shore where it was a little calmer.

Palmer was passing by Chadwick Island in a few minutes and turned slightly towards the flashing channel marker off Curtis Point where his current course would intersect with the last few miles of the Intracoastal Waterway. The bay opened up here to almost a mile wide for a stretch before Seaweed Point split the water west into Kettle Creek and east towards the Point Pleasant Canal leading to the Manasquan River and the Ocean. The swells here were quite large having had the fifteen-mile length of the bay to build in size. Palmer had to slow the Zodiac to the speed of the swells and try and ride one into the narrows between the seemingly endless boat yards on the mainland and the sprawling luxurious houses packed closely along the island shore. Luckily boat traffic was non-existent today and he could shoot right through the center of the channel. The Channel turned towards the west and the canal. Palmer was glad he didn’t need to run the canal today. The water can boil through there at close to ten knots during the ebb or flood stages of high tide and with this wind today would be like a roller coaster ride.

Palmer’s destination was the yacht club directly ahead. Towards the north end under a footbridge was a little known creek that emptied into a small marshy body of water known as Twilight Lake. The beach at the far end was his destination. It was less than a quarter mile south of the train station.  It was ten to three. He was right on time. He motored past a growing forest of pilings holding up a large expanse of fixed docks. Winding his way through he turned east and passed under a high footbridge over the small channel. After passing the end of the docks on the left he turned north and headed up a narrow body of water less than a hundred feet wide. The waterway was bordered by more fixed dock to the west, and by a weedy, brushy shoreline to the east for about a hundred yards. The docks were replaced by natural shoreline on the west side and the natural shoreline to the east by boat slips marked by pilings leaning in all directions.  The creek narrowed further and became shallower as he approached a low wooden footbridge fifty yards ahead.

Palmer released the lock on the outboard so it could swing up if it hit anything including the bottom. The murky water could be ten feet, or ten inches deep. It was difficult to tell. Passing a hundred yards of natural shoreline to the west, and some well-rotted wooden bulkhead to the east he ducked as he passed beneath the second wooden footbridge. He tipped the engine up a few notches until the prop was just beneath the surface of the water.  The creek was more like a drainage ditch at this point. “I hope I don’t have to get out and walk in this gunk.” He thought as he approached the larger, lower, concrete bridge that allowed Bridge Avenue to cross the creek.

He had to lay quite flat in the bottom of the Zodiac as he approached the bridge, much to the amusement of some “Bennys” crossing the bridge from in front of the Bay Head Fire Company building on the west side. The tide was in and there wasn’t much clearance. He hoped the engine cover of the outboard would clear the concrete. He slowed to a crawl, lined up the bow of the Zodiac with the center of the opening beneath the bridge and hoped for the best. The tourists waved as he passed under their feet in a prone position. He saluted, not knowing what else would be appropriate.

He sat up as soon as he saw daylight again and twisted the throttle a bit more as the little prop sent a spray of water into the air. He dropped the engine back down and motored past the pillared Shoppers Wharf building on the left and out into what felt like open water of Twilight Lake, a brackish body of water less than a quarter mile on a side and bisected by the abandoned filled roadbed of the rail line that once ran nearly the length of the island. Palmer was approaching the opposite shore in minutes and could see the rail cars of the NJ Transit trains behind the thickets of scrub pine and bayberry bushes to the west. He killed the engine and coasted the last few feet to shore, pulling the Zodiac up on the beach next to a tiny fiberglass sailboat name Jolly Roger. He walked across the little beach and park and headed west towards the train station. Three Ten was the time as he rounded the corner to see Cooper James and two large duffel bags sitting outside the small station.

He waved Cooper towards him and stopped, standing in the middle of the road with his hands on his hips. Cooper shouted something at him with a laugh as he closed the distance between them, but the wind rustling through the trees that surrounded them drowned out the words. “Been waiting long?” asked Palmer grabbing one of the heavy duffel bags. “Seven minutes… You’re late,” grumbled James, trying to sound annoyed. “You look like one of those Old Man In The Sea salt and pepper shakers they sell at the beach.” Said Cooper, stopping to look Palmer up and down as he walked ahead. “You better hope the pink ones I brought for you fit or you’re gonna be one cold wet camper by time we get to the boat. When did you grow the beard back? I like the Francis Ford Coppola look.” Cooper James was stocky and athletic looking. He looked far younger than his “Upper Middle Forties” age. Palmer was convinced there might be some hair color modification as well, but nothing worth mentioning. After all, they had a few years to catch up on and a few days sailing to look forward to. There would be plenty of time for confessions in the days ahead.

“Is that her” asked Cooper pointing at the Jolly Roger. “Yeah… That’s what we’re sailing to Rhode Island in.” Palmer responded as he set the duffel bag on the sand and grabbed a nearly full black plastic garbage bag out of the bow of the Zodiac. He opened the bag and tossed another folded bag to James. “Put your duffel in this and tie it off. Your stuff should stay dry.”

“Where ARE we going?” asked Cooper as he wrestled his navy duffel bag into the slippery black trash bag. “Right now, or eventually?” asked Palmer. “Both” was the reply. “Right now we’re going to the A&P in Ortley for supplies, and then to the Crabs Claw in Lavallette for dinner and then to the boat in Island Beach State Park.” “What about eventually?”  “Tomorrow… At Dawn… We’re sailing to Rhode Island… Well actually tomorrow we’re sailing to Shelter Island, New York, then to Newport, Rhode Island, then Thursday to Providence.” “And that’s it?” “Nope.” “So where after that?” asked Cooper, now curious due to Palmer seeming reluctant to reveal their final destination. “I’ll tell ya later… Put these on.” Palmer threw an armful of foul weather gear to Cooper and started arranging duffel bags in the inflatable.

It was quarter to four when they passed under the footbridge at the yacht club due to a little mishap at the Bridge Avenue Bridge. Luckily the Zodiac was sitting a little lower in the water due to its additional three hundred pound load of gear and Cooper James. The sun was noticeably lower in the sky and it was obvious to Palmer that the warmest part of the day had passed. Cooper was alarmed by the amount of spray coming aboard, and the fact that most of it was hitting his back thanks to his position in the bow. Palmer hugged the eastern side of the bay as much as he could. The wind was blowing strong and steady from the southeast. Luckily the island was blocking some of it, creating a lee shore that offered some protection from the chop and spray that was building in the open water. Palmer was enjoying the dryer more comfortable ride in spite of the conditions. Conversation was impossible due to the noise of the wind, waves and the little Mariner pushing for all it was worth at the stern of the Zodiac. Communication consisted of exchanges of amused looks whenever a wave washed over Cooper James and caught Palmer square in the face.

“HOW FAR DO WE HAVE TO GO?” shouted Cooper. “ALL THE WAY BABY!!!” was the answer. “NO I’M SERIOUS!!!” “ABOUT AN HOUR TO THE A&P!!!” A sarcastic thumbs up was the only response Cooper could muster. “Why do I always say yes?” he asked himself as the Zodiac pitched into a swell as they rounded the western end of Chadwick Island into the open bay. In spite of the cold wet uncomfortable ride he was beginning to enjoy himself. The promise of a week of new sights and sounds buoyed his spirits, sagging from a few years of domestic turmoil and a messy divorce. He needed something other than a small basement room at the end of a day of work.  Less than an hour into the “project” as Palmer referred to it and he was beginning to feel connected to it, whatever IT was.

The sun was beginning to set as they rounded West Point Island and turned due south for the last mile of the trip to Ortley Beach. The low clouds in the west made the horizon bright red behind the jagged outline of the pine trees on the western shore of the bay over a mile away. The sea gulls that spend their days feeding on the beach return to the bay at night to roost in the marsh grass on the many islands. Palmer had noticed years ago that the gulls seemed noisier if the sunset was red instead of yellow, orange or gold. Normally the wind would begin to drop around this time of night unless there’s a storm coming. Palmer hoped the relentless strong gusts were riding a high-pressure front in from the south rather than a storm. Strong wind and clear weather would be perfect for tomorrow. He liked a good storm more than the next guy, but knew that sixteen to twenty hours of storm sailing would dampen Coopers enthusiasm for the project.

“Cranberry Inlet Marina!!!” said Palmer loudly, unaccustomed to the lack of engine noise as they coasted the last few feet to the dock.  They tied off the Zodiac and Palmer locked a chain through the bow lifting ring, Cooper’s duffel bags, and a large galvanized eye on the dock. “It would be a long walk to the boat from here if somebody grabbed this.” He said as they surveyed their new surroundings. Lights were coming on in the houses on Pelican Island to the southwest and on the Toms River Bridge in the distance beyond the island. Directly west was a flat grassy island and beyond that, open bay to the other shore a mile and a half away. They could hear cars rushing by on the highway that ran past the marina to Pelican Island and the bridge to Toms River on the opposite shore. They could smell a fresh ocean smell in the air mixed with wisps of Chinese food and pizza. Palmer felt a bit sad all of a sudden. This scene reminded him of the nights he and Nicole were out on the bay until sunset fishing and clamming and crabbing. It was that last day of summer feeling rearing it’s ugly head again. He felt guilty as well, knowing how disappointed Nicole must be missing the last sail of the season. They had planned it for weeks. He knew that it would take more than dinner at the Crabs Claw to make up for it.

“Why is this Cranberry Inlet Marina?” asked Cooper as they walked towards the deserted offices and sheds of the marina. “I don’t see an inlet, and I don’t see any cranberries.” “I think there was a cut through to the ocean around here in the mid seventeen hundreds.” Palmer said trying to act nonchalant about knowing. “The whole place was lousy with cranberry bogs and ships used to stop to get berries to prevent scurvy. Pirates used to lure ships in and I think there was a naval battle or two with the British around here. The inlet closed up in the early eighteen hundreds and that was that.” “Hmmm… How far to the store?” asked Cooper slogging along with slightly rubbery legs from the trip. Palmer pointed to the bright A&P sign visible over one of the marina buildings as he rummaged in the map pocket of his jacket. “Here’s your list.” He said handing a folded piece of copy paper to his friend. “We’ll split up and get out of there faster. Nicole’s meeting us for dinner at the Crabs Claw as soon as we’re done here.” “So what’s the deal with this Nicole chick?” asked Cooper, not satisfied with the previous answer he received to the same question. “We just hang out and sail and fish and clam and crab and… Whatever.” “Ah ha!!! I thought there was some whatever goin’ on.” Proclaimed Cooper pointing a triumphant finger in the air. “Put a sock in it you giddy school girl!” Palmer shook his head in mock disgust striding ahead of his friend towards the supermarket.

The parking lot wasn’t crowded, and the two men drew curious stares from most of the shoppers coming or going as they trudged through the automatic doors still picking stray pieces of eel grass off their bright yellow outer covering. “I bet they think we’re homosexuals.” whispered Cooper with a laugh as he paused to read his shopping list. “Well, one of uth anyway.” lisped Palmer as he sashayed off towards the produce department in a swish of Gore-Tex. “Let’s get shopping!” he said raising his eyebrows at Cooper as he reached for a lime.

“Two dozen eggs, quart of half and half, pint of Hazelnut stuff, pint of Irish Cream stuff, 2 lbs shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 2 lbs butter, 2 pints sour cream, 1 lb cream cheese, French onion dip, cucumber onion dip, clam dip, 2 big things Port Wine Cheese spread, four cans refried beans, two jars hot salsa, 2 boxes Utz hard pretzels, 2 bags Utz crab chips, 3 bags whatever you want chips, Mayonnaise, 2 lbs American cheese from the deli, 3 lbs assort. Cold cuts, 1 lb dried navy beans, 1 lb dried split peas, 4 cans chopped clams, 4 cans crab meat, 2 cans tiny shrimp, Seasoned bread crumbs, what ever else you want or think we need.” “We must be picking up passengers somewhere,” thought Cooper as he read his list. Even considering “Palmers penchant for plentiful provisions” it seemed like a lot. The other customers were giving him a wide berth as he walked along mumbling to himself and loading his cart.

 Palmer was loading up on produce, meats, bread, rolls and bagels. He used a simple formula when provisioning for a cruise. Figure on food for twice as many people, for twice as long as planned and multiply it by three. “People eat and drink three times as much on a boat.” He always said. “You never know how long you’ll be out.” He said out loud shrugging at a woman seemingly alarmed at the number of rolls he was loading in a plastic bag. “That should hold us a few days.” Thought Palmer as he dropped the last bag of bakery products in the cart and wheeled off to look for Cooper. They met at the end of the soda aisle where Cooper had grabbed a few bottle of tonic water. “You didn’t have it on the list but I saw you going for limes.” “Stout lad!!!” was Palmer’s reply in his best Sean Connery brogue. “Let’s use the self checkout lane. We have to pack everything in this canvas bag.”

“That went well,” said Palmer as they walked through the automatic door. He paused to grab a Boat Shopper off the rack before they were outside again. “Except for the personality problem between you and the register you mean.” Laughed Cooper. “That thing had an attitude problem right from the start. Wait here and guard our stuff.” Said Palmer as he disappeared into the liquor store. He grabbed a two liter bottle of Skyy vodka, two six packs of Honey Brown Ale and a little metal keg of Dinkelacker. He had the tap he and Cooper had used on one twenty five years before on board the boat. “He’ll get a laugh out of this.” He thought, standing in the checkout line.  He walked outside and placed the box it was all packed in on top of the canvas duffel in the cart. “Critical supplies,” he said smiling at Cooper “to ward off the dangers of dehydration at sea. Lets get this to the Zodiac and go eat!” They laughed as they wheeled out of the parking lot like homeless people with all their belongings in a shopping cart.  

          “Wuddle?” asked Cooper noticing the name on the side of the Zodiac. “It’s a long story.” Came the reply as Palmer stepped down onto the hard bottom of the little inflatable. “Hand me the supplies.” He said bracing a boot against the pliable side. Cooper handed the heavy canvas bag to his friend. They both struggled to look unfazed by the heavy load. Both of them knew the other was straining as much as him. Nothing was said about it. Palmer arranged the food and liquor as far forward as possible while leaving Cooper enough room to sit on the bottom for stability. “We’re ridin’ kind a low in the water.” Mused Palmer as the overloaded Zodiac wallowed away from the dock and headed north into the choppy channel towards Lavallette.

          “Seems like it’s clearing!!!” shouted Palmer over the wind and noise from the outboard. “That means it’ll get cold and windy for tomorrow!!!” “What do you mean GET cold and windy???” Shouted Cooper. “What do you call this???” “It’ll be perfect sailing weather… We’ll make great time on the first leg!!!” “Yeah… Whatever!!!” was Cooper’s less than enthusiastic response. Palmer was feeling the effects of a day in the cold and wet and wind. He was used to it at least. He figured his companion was in desperate need of a break right about now. “I could go for a draft Bass like nobody’s business right about now!!!” He shouted, waking Cooper from his tired daze. “They have Bass???” “They have anything you want!!!” “How much further???” “See where those lights are on the end of those docks???” “Yeah!!!” “Just a little past that!!!” The mile or so from Ortley Beach to President Street in Lavallette seemed more like ten in the dark and cold. “Wait till he hears it’s another ten back to the boat.” thought Palmer. “I’d better get plenty of food and beer in him before we leave.”

          They tied the Zodiac to some bayberry bushes after dragging it a few feet up on to the beach, and trudged off down President Street towards the beach. “I need food!!!” moaned Cooper as they caught a whiff of seafood cooking during a brief wind shift. They had picked up their pace to a trot as they neared the North bound lanes of the road in front of the restaurant. They neglected to look for cars in their haste and were nearly run down by a delivery truck of some sort, the driver of which rode the horn for a hundred yards down the road to emphasize his alarm. “That guy was driving way to fast for conditions.” Laughed Palmer. “What conditions… Us?” asked Cooper. “I’m in no condition to discuss conditions right now… we have to eat and drink right away… And speaking of right of way, we’re wearing yellow, we could be crossing guards for all he knew.” “You have to stop talking now.” Said Cooper as they walked through the front door.

The inside of the Crabs Claw was warm, cozy and inviting. The ceilings were low and there was a fire in the fireplace on the far left wall of the large room surrounding the bar. There was a noisy crowd around the bar at least three deep on all four sides. Most of them turned and looked at the two men dressed in dripping yellow foul weather gear and quickly went back to their loud conversations. “Here for dinner boys?” asked the hostess just inside the front door. “We’re meeting someone.” Said Palmer. “Who… Mrs. Paul?” came the question. “I’m sorry… I couldn’t resist.” “That’s OK. That’s the rule… When you see a shot, you have to take it.” Palmer smiled at her and did a double take as he noticed the long straight dark hair that reached well below her waist. She smiled back at both of them and said, “Just let me know if you need a table… Make yourselves at home… Harpoon something!” Palmer rolled his eyes and shook his head in mock disgust as they walked towards the bar.

They were heading toward a vacant spot at the far corner when a voice near the bar asked “Which one’s salt and which one’s pepper?” They both turned towards the voice and noticed Nicole sitting on a bar stool with what Palmer surmised was a Honey Brown Ale in one hand. “You’re late!” she said glaring at Palmer and flaring her nostrils. Palmer frowned at her and gestured towards the beer with both hands open. “You’re not twenty-one!” “No, but Erin Lavin is.” Said Nicole, holding up her fake ID and flexing it between her thumb and middle finger. “You realize he’s a cop don’t you?” Palmer gestured towards Cooper James. “You realize I don’t care don’t you?” she said breaking into a warm ear-to-ear smile. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to confiscate that Ma’am.” Said Cooper using his best “Command Presence”. “I’ll just buy nine more then.” “Ok order up… Nicole’s buying!” Palmer said gesturing at the bartender. “Let’s eat… NOW!!!” insisted Nicole and Cooper in stereo. “Ok Ok… I know where we can get a table too.”

“You were so flirting with her,” scolded Nicole. “She’s the hostess… She’s supposed to be pleasant and friendly.” Protested Palmer. Cooper joined Nicole in teasing their friend. “You’re the customer… You’re supposed to shut up and sit down so we can eat already.” “That’ll be enough out of you!” Palmer glared at his tablemates as he slid out of the booth and started peeling off yellow Gore-Tex. “Stuff these… Under the table will ya.” He handed a big ball of material to Nicole and sat on the edge of the booth to take off his boots. “Ahhhhhh… That’s way better… My dogs can breathe! I can go to school!! I… Can… Be… Somebody!!!” His friends ignored Palmer’s attempt at humor as they studied the menu carefully. They ordered Calamari and Crab Wings, the house chicken wings, and clam chowder, and finished a pitcher of beer before deciding on their meals. The waitress seemed impressed by the speed in which they devoured everything she brought to them, including two baskets of bread. The crowd was thinning out and she had time to visit between trips to the kitchen, sliding into the booth next to Cooper and joining the conversation.

“I think she’s taken a shine to you.” Palmer whispered to his friend across the table after the waitress had left to bring more drinks. “Yeah… Big time!” Nicole joined in. Palmer smiled at Cooper James. “Invite her to go sailing big guy.” “Hey!!! You’re inviting her and not me???” Nicole flared her nostrils again and elbowed Palmer in the ribs… Hard! “You have to do REAL good this semester if you want to transfer in the fall… Remember?” “I know. I know. I just want to go sailing… That’s all.” Palmer and Nicole had this discussion often. “No more skipping classes!” “Besides…” added cooper, “Do you really want to spend three days straight with us?” “Not the way you guys are eating.” Laughed Nicole. “I just want time on the boat… You guys can stay here. You need somebody to take pictures of this place or whatever it is. You know I take way better pictures than you do.” She pressed her case. “That’s true.” Admitted Palmer, “But…” “But nothing… Where are you going anyway?” She interrogated him with the intensity of a prosecuting attorney. “It’s an island in Connecticut. Off the coast I think, or maybe in one of the rivers. I have all the directions, I just haven’t located it on a map yet.” “What???” Asked Nicole, bugging her eyes out in an exaggerated look of surprise. “Mister Navigation hasn’t found the exact square inch and looked at satellite pictures? Are you feeling OK?” She leaned over and felt his forehead. “Haven’t had a lot of time today in case you hadn’t noticed. I checked the website for the place. It’s kind of vague. It makes the place look like a couple of little villages on some island, but I can’t think of any island that’s big enough. I think it’s near where you and I used to live.” Palmer nodded towards Cooper James and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess we’ll know when we get there. All I know is that I’m the one that gets to interview the guy that developed it and do a story for yafahay.com. I guess he read my other stuff, and The One-legged Seagull, and decided I was the one to do it.” “Well aren’t we special.” said Nicole looking genuinely hurt that she wasn’t involved in the project.

“Dinner’s here!” noticed Palmer, relieved to be able to change the subject. “Still hungry?” he asked his tablemates. “Oh yeah!!!” was the tandem response. The waitress deposited three large plates of blackened, broiled, stewed and sautéed seafood in front of them and then returned again with Palmer’s Xingu ale. “What’s that stuff?” asked Nicole curiously eyeing the black foamy liquid as it slowly filled the pilsner glass Palmer was holding. “It’s from Brazil… To go with my fish stew. It looks like a heavy stout but it’s more light and creamy.” “A perky little brew with a frisky finish, and hints of fruit and bull sh…” “Hey!!!” Palmer cut off his friend. Nicole was giggling at Cooper’s performance. “I think you captured his essence.” She said clinking her mug against Cooper’s. Conversation nearly stopped as they dug into their plates with the gusto that only wind, waves and just enough drink, can provide.

Palmer did his best to hurry the meal along through the delicious desserts and Jamaican coffees they ordered to match the Reggae music in the background. It was getting on towards nine o’clock and they still had an hours ride to the boat and plenty to do when they got there. He wanted to leave by six o’clock if possible. They had a sixteen to twenty hour sail ahead of then tomorrow and Palmer knew the weather offshore was unpredictable this time of year. Palmer grabbed the check and said “Business expense,” firmly as his friends reached for their wallets. “Thank you Mister Hamilton.” They both said in unison. “Do you guys have a script or teleprompter or something? You’ve been doing that since we got here.” “We just know how to annoy you.” “Again in stereo!!!! That’s just weird. We have to get out of here!” Palmer was on his feet before he had finished his last statement.

They waited until they were outside before they started putting on their foul weather gear. “Oh this looks great!” said Nicole trying to look nonchalant as the two men were pulling on their bright yellow pants on either side of her. Carol the waitress came to the door to wish them a safe trip and seemed to direct her attention to Cooper James when she told them to make sure they stop in on a night she’s working when they get back. “Oh yeah… She wants you.” Laughed Nicole patting Cooper on the back “My advice is to go for it… She’s a babe… Not like me or anything…But still a babe.” “Maybe she’s just attracted to bright colors.” Volunteered Palmer. “I don’t see her flyin’ to your bug light buddy.” Cooper laughed at Nicole’s choice of words and shouted at Palmer, “Ok crossing guard… Do your stuff.” Palmer asked Nicole to follow them to the bay and grew silent as he realized that this was it. This was the end of summer happening live. All three were quiet as they walked the few blocks to the bay.

“Be CAREFUL… And Email me… And call me and let me know where you’re at when the cell phone works.” Nicole was trying not to cry as she relayed her instructions to Palmer. “And you too.” She said giving Cooper James a hug. “Come back and see us again will ya.” “I will.” he said, surprised he felt so sad leaving somewhere he just arrived a few hours before. “And you… Jerk.” She glanced at the ground as she walked towards Palmer, knowing any eye contact would cause a flood of tears. She hugged him as hard as she could. “Remember what I said.” Came in a strained voice. “Yeah yeah yeah… I’ll be back in no time… I’m sure you’ll survive.” Palmer tried to act tough to keep his composure.  “Here… I made this for ya.” He said pulling a plastic bag out of his jacket and handing it to Nicole. It was an ink drawing of Situation Number Six sailing past Barnegat Lighthouse colored with watercolors. “Awwwwwwww… It’s beautiful!” she said hugging him again. “Bye guys.” She waved sadly to them as they started to walk towards the Zodiac. “Email me pictures every day.” “I will.” said Palmer. “And be careful.” “WE will.” Said Cooper. She caught Palmer square in the seat of his pants with her boot and said “And that’s for not taking me with you!” He shook his head with a smirk on his face as he pushed the Zodiac, with Cooper nestled in the bow, into deeper water. “I like her.” Said Cooper leaning towards Palmer so he didn’t have to shout over the sound of the wind. “Yeah… I do too.” He said to his friend. “Buh Bye Nicole.” “Bye guys.” Palmer yanked the starter and the outboard fired on the first pull. They waved to Nicole and then turned into the wind and headed off into the dark. Nicole watched from the little beach until the Zodiac’s running lights disappeared around West Point Island.

 



Sunday, January 11, 2009





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Monday, January 12, 2009


With temperatures looking to stay well below freezing for the next few days it's likely that some or all of Barnegat Bay will freeze. There was a skin of ice on a few of the lagoons during my Christmas visit so I imagine that the coming stretch of cold weather will bring some serious ice to the bay. That seems like a good enough reason to revisit the ice boating page from way back when. I hope to see them back on the bay again. It's been years since a good hard freeze.






Link to the International Detroit News Ice Yacht Racing Association web site. This is part of their logo, designed by Evert Vanderberg.
Iceboating On Barnegat Bay
My First Close Encounter
Saturday, January 13, 2001
Lavallette, New Jersey


01a
     While inspecting the work in progress on the replacement bulkhead at the Ocean Beach lagoon, I overheard some club members talking about an iceboat regatta in Lavallette. Seeing as it was getting later in the afternoon, I thought there might be the possibility of getting a sunset picture or two for the Sandpiper.
     By the time I arrived, the sun was getting low, the "big rigs" were all disassembled, and most of the smaller wooden iceboats were gathering near the beach. Small groups had formed and the conversations were spirited. Refreshments were being consumed.
02
03
     Threading my way through the crowd of people and hardware, I found myself drawn to where the hi-tech rigs were lined up waiting to be loaded in their trailers. The smaller identical boats had a salty, "Popular Mechanics" kind of feel to them. This baby was pure space program.
     My first socioeconomic observation was that the ice-boaters had, consciously or subconsciously, arranged themselves in ascending budget order, with the T-head dock being the base line.
04
05
     Maybe the real reason was just to allow truck/trailer combinations like this monster some extra maneuvering room. I'd like to think it was simple vehicular courtesy, rather than the sort of budgetary elitism that seems to permeate hardware intensive activities like this.
     That's not to say that given the opportunity, and the checkbook, that I wouldn't have an iceboat like Rick Stavola's Mona Lisa, and one of those great trailers to transport it in.
Maybe room for two...
Probably...

Definitely...
06
07
     These boats are sophisticated marvels of design and construction. I wouldn't be surprised to find titanium and carbon fiber used in their construction. The front blade is steerable, and mounted on springs to absorb vibration.
     Function may dictate form, but no effort is spared to achieve fair lines and fine finish. Close inspection reveals signs of repair and plenty of battle damage. Seventy miles per hour on the ice causes a lot of wear and tear on these boats.
08
09
     Looking as out of place as oar locks on a jet plane, the winch reminds us that these are sailing craft, and don't actually fly. Seeing them without their masts, sails or rigging could give one the impression that they were engineered for flight. .
     Back near the dock, the crowd of DNs is growing as the last boats left on the ice wander back to the beach. DN is a class boat, with over 2000 members worldwide, and over 1000 members in North America.
10
11
     DN stands for Detroit News. This was apparently the winning iceboat design in a competition sponsored by The Detroit News, A newspaper in, not surprisingly, Detroit. This is a sport that seems to have grown up in the Midwest and Canada. .
     The DN is twelve feet long with a hull twenty-one inches wide. The runner plank is eight feet long, and the boat rides on three steel runners, which are carefully removed from the boat, sharpened, oiled, and stored in wooden boxes after sailing.
12
13
     Masts sixteen feet long carry sails of sixty square feet. They're constructed of beautifully finished wood and can sail with one person aboard at two to four times the speed of the wind, normally around sixty miles per hour.
     As the sun gets closer to the horizon, the last few diehards make their way back to the beach before the wind dies. Anyone who has sailed a boat on Barnegat Bay has experienced that. An iceboat can be coaxed along with the push of a finger should the wind die but it could be a long cold walk. .
14
15
     The DNs glide gracefully in from the ice, moving much faster than you would expect them to be moving as they approach the crowd of other boats in various states of undress and disassembly back in the cheap seats by the dock. .
     It's a graceful event up to the last few seconds, when the ice boater hangs his feet over the side to create enough drag to slow and stop his seemingly runaway DN. Some do nearly crash into the earlier arrivals at the beach. This breach of protocol seems to be tolerated for the sake of the community. .
16
17
     Are you interested? I am. A used "recreational" DN might be had for $1,000.00 from a Canadian seller. This is a nice group of people to join for the price of a big television. A used race rigged DN with spare parts and trailer might be had for $4,500.00 or more.
     It's hard to witness the end of this event and not want to participate... If only to be out on the ice as the sun is setting and the stories are being told and the plans are being made for what is to happen as soon as the boats are back on the tops of the cars, or loaded in their trailers.
18






Link to the International Detroit News Ice Yacht Racing Association web site. This is part of their logo, designed by Evert Vanderberg.
iceboating On Barnegat Bay
Not My Last Close Encounter
     One thing I don't need now is another hardware intensive hobby. Where I put the equipment is the least of the many concerns. The nice thing about iceboating is there doesn't seem to be an age limit. It is an exciting activity but not a particularly strenuous one. We have the whole rest of our lives to consider it. Of course... Maybe a partnership... Nope, not just yet.

     Anyone interested in learning more can visit the IDNIYRA ( International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association ) website put together by Paul Goodwin. Paul has put together a great website and, based on my limited Email contact with him, seems like a great guy. Paul also has a personal website devoted to DNs and iceboating that's well worth visiting.

     Another very good source of local information can be found at North Sails Of New Jersey's website hosted by www.monmouth.com. The site has a great page of iceboat photos and a collection of vintage postcards with local iceboating scenes from the past.

Pray For Ice!



Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Liars and Thieves

Have you ever noticed how liars and thieves love liars and thieves? A liar will ignore the well-meaning input from a hundred intelligent people to lap up the lies of a fellow liar like ambrosia. A thief will steal from anybody.

Ouroboros

Speaking of which... Let's think up a good name for the new "night club". I've got a few in mind.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Click here for a larger version of picture 1
   The Rez on a cold dark winter afternoon.   

Click here for a larger version of picture 2
   The view of the parking area from the creaking ice.   

The "Rez"

The first visit of the new year.

      Today was so cold, and the forecast for the next few days so bleak, that a mental health trip to the Rez was required. The sudden plunge in temperature had the ice pinging and creaking as I walked on it but I'm sure it was solid enough for a Smart car. It was a short visit due to the bitter cold. I was happy to see the water level brimming above the highest marks of spring and summer. This is in stark contrast to last winter's drop of over two feet. Maybe this means things will be better this year. Unfortunately I didn't see my cormorant buddy or the pair of herons.



Thursday, January 15, 2009


Visit the SimpliSafe website.

Now Available
Online at
www.simplisafe.com

The One-legged Sandpiper is pleased to support SimpliSafe, a new home security system designed for city living.

We want you to be happy... healthy... and SAFE!

Visit the Simpli Safe website.

Watch for more soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Hace Frio Mucho

Its Wicked Cold Here.

      It was six degrees below zero at 8:00 am on the Wing Bridge this morning. The Wing Bridge is a small porch off of the kitchen of the upstairs apartment at the Train Station. I mounted an outdoor thermometer on a pole of the scaffolding I built to work on the roof and renovate the third floor. The Wing Bridge is a great place to watch sunsets here in Darwin's Leach Field. It's a good place to sit and have a cup of tea, coffee or an egg sandwich when the weather is warmer. I watch Providence Worcester trains go by from that spot as well. It's about twenty feet from the rails so the train is kind of up close and personal. The point is... It is just too cold.
      The "Wicked" in the subtitle is a Rhode Island thing. The phonetic pronunciation is actually "wickit". The important daily chore has become looking after my stray cat buddies. The black one has been living behind the Train Station since the woman who took care of him died in the downstairs apartment. The gray female is a recent addition. I made them a shelter out of three layers of cardboard boxes with a cat-sized opening and a flannel shirt for a bed. I put it in the back of the wood shed so it doesn't get wet and they seem to share it enough to stay warm and survive. It seems like that's all we can all expect lately.


Saturday, January 17, 2009



Click here to see the Merv Whipple Christmas Wonderland Memorial page

The Mervin R. Whipple
Christmas Wonderland
 Memorial Web Page
Is Back Online!

      The Mervin R. Whipple page is back online. This one has the jingle bells and everything. Christmas almost wasn't Christmas without Mervin Whipple's Christmas Wonderland.



Sunday, January 18, 2009


Squalid Splendor Squalid Splendor Introduction

      Squalid Splendor is a concept and soon to be new department in Danger Kitchen, the food and drink leg of the One-Legged Sandpiper. Like Manuela's Kitchen, a special area for fine Portugese cooking, Squalid Splendor will follow a theme you can probably guess from the title. Entries will show up here and there as the mood strikes me and will soon be organized and identified in the Danger Kitchen web page. I'm still working on an icon to flag Squalid Splendor recipes. I'm thinking of a tin cup maybe. I think I need to tone down the presentation a bit for these entries. The Hooverville images and such seemed like a good idea but they seem to overpower the text.

Stay Tuned for more.


Squalid Splendor

Monday, January 19, 2009


Dubya
Less Than 24 Hours To Go!!!

Time to change
the launch codes!

      About eight years back there was a Sandpiper entry about our chances of surviving a Bush presidency. I believe the closing line was "We are so doomed!" I didn't think we'd really survive him and I'm still not sure we can pull out of the nose dive. I think we may see some interesting legal proceedings in the works once he's a civilian again and can't pardon anyone. I hope we can recover in my life time. I really think it's far worse than we're even pretending it isn't. I hope I'm wrong. At least "wronger" than I was eight years ago or so.



Squalid Splendor Squalid Splendor Introduction

      Squalid Splendor is a concept of living based on a variety of experiences I've had over the years... Some of them good... Some of them not so good. Its existence is a result of me living in various stages of financial stability and in a variety of physical locations over the years. The concept is all about trying to live comfortably wherever the circumstances of life find me and it's based on the following premises:

Squalid Splendor "Living well is the best revenge."♣ Or at least eating well is. "Eating well" means quality, quantity and flavor and... Can also mean healthy.
Squalid Splendor Everyone can cook. It takes a little time and maybe a little practice... Bu everyone can cook. The trendy gadget inclined can think of cook books as an analog GPS for food. There are web sites and TV programs and DVDs about it. There's no excuse.
Squalid Splendor You don't need expensive ingredients to eat great healthy food.
Squalid Splendor You don't need expensive fancy utensils or appliances to make outstanding healthy food.
Squalid Splendor You don't need a big fancy kitchen to eat well.
Squalid Splendor You don't need to count calories and avoid fat like the plague if you get off your butt and get some exercise.
Squalid Splendor You don't need spend any money to get some exercise.
Squalid Splendor Your life will be better without TV.
Squalid Splendor You can grow a few things that will improve your life dramatically (probably not what you're thinking).
Squalid Splendor You can gather or harvest or catch a few things that will improve your food related life.
  ♣   Attributed to Welsh poet, orator and priest George Herbert (1593-1633)



The Detroit News Ice Boat logo
Iceboating
When you want to sail in the winter.
Pray For Ice!
Lavallette, New Jersey
Read the whole story.
Online again after all these years.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Slipping in to Darkness

A Rez sunset after days of snow.

      The Rez is always a favorite stop for sunset when I can't get to Barnegat Bay. We were getting over our fourth or fifth day of snow when these pictures were taken. I wanted to catch the ice with no footprints but there had already been ice fishermen trudging across the surface. The scene reminds me of a great Yukon Jack poster from thirty years ago or so. "Yukon Jack" was standing by a fire in a giant fur coat with a great desolate winter scene behind him. This reminds me of hitchhiking to northern Vermont from Boston and sitting around a fireplace drinking Yukon Jack and singing Marshall Tucker Band songs first thing in the morning one winter day in 1978 but that's another story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



Highlights of last Year

Kayaking Alexander Lake for the first time.
Two trips to the Nordic Lodge.
Hiking the bay trail in Island Beach State Park.
Hiking Cattus Island State Park to the south point on Silver Bay.
Kelly's summer vacation in Connecticut.
Finding Crabby at the Rez.
Hiking the cliffs above Ross pond in Killingly, Connecticut.
The Boston produce show.
The Boston seafood show.
Seaside boardwalk walks in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Reviving the One-Legged Sandpiper.
Making mortgage payments.
Reclaiming a good portion of the Church yard.
Clamming in Island Beach State Park.
The Rez... Kayaking, fishing, hiking and photographing in Brooklyn, Connecticut.
Fire pit Fires at the Train Station in Danielson, Connecticut.
Beach fires.
Beach walks.
Dinner at Berkley Seafood in Berkley, New Jersey.
Watching the new Indiana Jones Movie.
Seeing 10,000 B.C. in the theater.
Having Work... That's interesting and different all the time.
Making my first "professional" videos.
Being hired as a wedding photographer.
Having many of my photographs published.
Spending time at Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
Starting the year on the beach with a fire in Ocean Beach, New Jersey.
Live music at the Rain Desert in Danielson, Connecticut.
Planting the herb garden.
Cooking with fresh herbs from the garden.
Watching plum pudding number 66 made by Agnes Walter.
Christmas.
Christmas in Piscataway.
Ending the year with a fire on the beach.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Babies in a Wood Chipper

Stem Cell Research is Barack Obama's Fault


      The following paragraph is from an article that appeared on cnn.com today:

"Federal regulators have cleared the way for the first human trials of human embryonic stem-cell research, authorizing researchers to test whether the cells are safe to use in spinal injury patients, the company behind the trials announced Friday. Embryonic stem cells are blank cells found in embryos, which have the ability to turn into any cell in the body. The tests could begin by summer, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of the Geron Corporation. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the trials, which will use human stem cells authorized for research by then-President George W. Bush in 2001."

By Sunday every Fundamental Christian and the like will be railing against Barack Obama blaming the whole issue on him and creating an image of a godless medical technician loading babies in a wood chipper with a pitch fork... And not welfare crack babies... REAL babies!
Stem Cell Research



Friday, January 23, 2009


Rewriting History Before It Happens

The Mindset of the Typical American

      The following is text from an article by Jim Spellman of CNN:

CHEYENNE, Wyoming -- While Washington gears up for Inauguration Day, Republicans in Wyoming are taking stock of their future and assessing Barack Obama. Janet Anderson, Dicky Shanor, Cindy Hill, Jack Mueller, Ted Mueller are cautious about Barack Obama. "I'm afraid that so much of the responsibility of individuals is being transferred to Washington," says Jack Mueller, a 67-year-old retired state government worker. "Big Brother is going to be telling us what to do over and over and over again."

At least they're not tapping our phones without warrants and... a...

Well at least they don't tell us when to wear our seatbelts and when to talk on a cell... um...

So we sure don't have the government trying to tell us how and when to learn about sex and when and if everyone has access to birth control and... Hmmm.....

OK... we can get married to whoever we want as long as... well...

States can damn well determine what their educational goals and evaluation process is and... And...

So that big "Brother" reference is 'cause he's black right?


Mueller and a handful of other Republicans sit in the coffee shop of the historic Plains Hotel on this windy January morning, chatting about the incoming administration and their mixed feelings. These are back-to-basic Republicans. They want small government, strong national defense and an emphasis on individual liberties and accountability. "I wish President[-elect] Obama well, but I do not wish him success in the things he is proposing," says Ted Mueller, 57, an insurance salesman. Ted is not related to Jack, but they share concerns about what they see as a federal government on the brink of a huge expansion. "I don't want the federal government to give away our individual rights. I don't want them to take over our business. I don't want them to take over our religion."

But boy would they like their religion to take over the federal government.

We sure don't want to expand the federal governmnt by creating the largest beurocratic department ever created since the department of defense. Like homeland security for instance. We don't want the federal government taking away states rights to allow gay marriages by promoting an amendment to the Constitution... in spite of repeated determinations by the courts that preventing same sex marriages is unconstitutional.


Watch with CNN! Watch the historic inauguration of Barack Obama with CNN and the best political team on TV! Coverage begins Tuesday, 10 a.m. ET see full schedule »

Notice, based on the last sentence or two in the story, that Barack Obama has not actually been sworn in... And yet... Read the next line... This is great!

Janet Anderson, 57, returned to Cheyenne after a career in the oil business in Texas. She worries about the federal government bailing out businesses. "The Obama administration is taking consequences out of our nation."

By not actually being sworn in yet. Those bastards! It's not like they've taken the consequences out of eight years of dangerously and irresponsibly stupid criminal behavior by being elected and sworn in and having to straighten out the biggest most expensive mess ever made.

She says, "If you go make a bad business decision and you lose your shirt, you just go to the government and get some money." Cindy Hill is an assistant principal of a junior high school. She is afraid the Obama administration will dismantle No Child Left Behind and worries that his administration will leave behind huge debt for her son's generation. "He's only 20 years old -- and the decisions being made right now, the deficit and how were approaching solving problems -- are going to impact his generation significantly." she says.

Leave behind a huge debt!!! You mean like FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS more national debt??? You meant doubling the debt left by the previous 220 some years of government in only eight years??? That kind of debt?

Want to know how successful No Child Left Behind is? Try talking to some teachers. The basic premise is stupid: Don't do so well on performance and we'll cut the money you could use to improve performance.


Only 33 percent of Wyoming's voters cast their ballots for Obama, but they are concerned about the future of the Republican Party outside the state. "We really need to decide to define our party and what we're going to be in the future," says 26-year-old Dicky Shanor, a Cheyenne attorney. "We need somebody on the federal level to step up and define us. I don't know who that's going to be." "It'd be great if we could have another leader like Ronald Reagan -- that strength of leadership, the strength of character," says Ted Mueller, "I don't see it right now, but there's always hope. Somebody will rise up."

Ronald Reagan??? Senile and drooling you mean? Someone else to run up the national debt and rattle their saber at the Soviet Union as it was collapsing from internal strife, economic folly and increasing pressure from the population to allow free enterprise. During the peak of Reagan's cold war nonsense, Dallas was the most popular TV show (illegal) in the Soviet Union. Larry Hagman had more to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union than Reagan did. I watched the debates before his second term. The porch light was on but nobody was home. We're lucky nothing happened that required a competent hand at the wheel.

These Wyoming Republicans share a respect for the office of the president, even if they have doubts about the man. "As an American, obviously I want him to succeed. He is my president," says Jack Mueller. "I hope that he will do well." "I truly hope that he succeeds. You have to respect the office, I don't care who's in it," says Janet Anderson. "If Barack Obama earns my respect, I will respect the man."

Please note, in case the point of this has escaped you, that Barack Obama is already responsible for the mess Bush has left in the minds of Wyoming Republicans... before he was even sworn in. Ya gotta love it! I was told Wednesday night that a group of New Jersey Republicans were convinced that Obama took the oath by swearing on a Koran or a scroll of some sort rather than the Lincoln inauguration bible and that "He's not black... He's not white... He's Muslim."


We, as a country, are so collectively stupid
we may well deserve the mess we're in.


Saturday, January 24, 2009


      Here's another recipe from the twilight zone that some of the old One-Legged Sandpiper disappeared in to. I discovered a cache of five or six complete but never published recipes in a long forgotten corner of an old hard drive. I've been making this pea soup since 1979... Thirty years now. The recipe evolved from one in a crock pot cookbook that came along with my first crock pot. I was living in Wolcott, Vermont at the time. Check out the Danger Kitchen online cookbook here or use the link on the menu bar to the left and check out all of the Danger Kitchen recipes.


When it's smoking it's cooking... When it's black, it's doneIt truly is a dangerous kitchen

Danger Kitchen Online Cookbook available.


Serving Soup to Nuts for... oh... a couple of weeks now anyway.


Danger Kitchen Pea Soup
Pea Soup As Thick As Fog



     Pea Soup is one of life's simple pleasures, like a glass of wine. Like wine, pea soup can have an infinite number of incarnations, and pea soup recipes can be the topic of heated debate. Pea soup is, after all, an emotional issue. Because of this, I've included a few alternatives to my own recipe. Danger Kitchen Pea Soup is not the definitive pea soup. It's MY pea soup recipe, and if you don't like it you can go take a...

     Sorry!    Make some pea soup and relax. This is the perfect time of year for this kind of comfort food. It's guaranteed to alleviate cabin fever... And if you do anything in your life... Try the lamb shanks cooked in pea soup. It's a good thing



This is a Danger Kitchen original recipe.


Ingredients

> 1 pound dried split peas.
> 1 to 2 smoked pork hocks.
> 6 cups boiling water or chicken or pork stock.
> 2 large onions chopped.
> 2 large stalks celery chopped.
> 2 large carrots chopped.
> 2 large or 6 small potatoes chopped.
> 1 bunch of parsley minced.
> 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced (or as much as you can stand).
> Fresh ground black pepper.
> 2 tsp dried thyme.

How

> Put the peas in a 5 1/2 quart or larger crock pot.
> Put in the pork hock(s) and pour on 6 cups boiling water.
     Pour the water over the hock. It helps release the flavor.
> Chop the celery and add to the pot.
     Keep the pot covered between each addition to keep the ingredients warm.
> Chop the onions and add to the pot.
> Mince the parsley and garlic and add to the pot.
> Cut up the potatoes and add to the pot.
     Leave the skins on the potatoes. It's more nutritious (easier).
> Chop the carrots and add to the pot.
> Add the thyme and plenty of black pepper.
> Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.
> Cover and cook on low for 8 or 10 hours.
> Remove the hocks, chop and return to the pot.
     Not the bones... Duh! Chop the skin and everything.
      Don't be a wuss... It's good for ya!

> Mash the soup thoroughly with a potato masher and stir to a chunky consistency.
> Cook another hour or so and then turn off the pot.
> Serve anytime during the next few hours or cool and refrigerate.
> Serve with croutons (good home made ones) and or crumbled bacon fried crisp.
     Just in case you skimped on the pork hocks.
> Add a Cabbage Salad, Herb Bread or House Bread and cold beer or wine and you got one heck of a meal.

Optional

> Pretzels go well with pea soup. Use hard pretzel nuggets or pieces for croutons.
> Add white wine to proper consistency after cooking.
> Garnish with minced fresh parsley.
> Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
> Top with grated parmesan cheese.
> Put a blob of sour cream in the center of the bowl when serving.
> Put lamb shanks in the pot for the last four hours of cooking.
     If you try anything... try this one.




Recommended Beer: Xingo (Shin-goo)

     Xingu is a black or "Escura" lager from the Caccador Brewery in the state of Santa Caterina, Brazil, 600 miles southwest of Rio. It's a recipe developed by Alan D. Eamer and is based on those made by the Indians inhabiting the area surrounding the Xingu River. Visit the official Guiness website It's a rich creamy brew so dark it looks like Coke in a pilsner glass. The taste is surprisingly light and slightly sweet for such a dark beer.
One expects the bitter kick of Guinness Stout, but receives a gentle Oktoberfest or Bock beer caress instead. The colorful label features artwork by Maine Artist Eric Green and features a Txukahemei warrior with a lip disk and a background based on an antique map if the Xingu River. Xingu can be difficult to find, but its work asking for. If you have no luck finding it, call Caparra Sales Co., the distributors. They are located in Randolph, Massachusetts. They can be reached at
(617) 986-2337.
Even if you don't make the soup... Try the beer. For those interested in brewing their own... try stoutbillys.com for a recipe.



Danger Kitchen 1
     Put the peas in a 5 1/2 quart crock pot. Use a larger pot if you have one. The 5 1/2 is just barely large enough.


     Pour boiling water over the pork hocks. This helps release the flavor of the pork hock. Turn the pot on high for the first few minutes while you're preparing the rest of the ingredients. Keep the pot covered as you add each ingredient.
Danger Kitchen 2


Danger Kitchen 3
     This is the proper quantity of vegetables. Add more onions, or use red onions as necessary.


     Slice the celery in half lengthwise and then slice thinly crosswise. .
Danger Kitchen 4


Danger Kitchen 5
     Slice the onion in half from side to side. Slice each half thinly, retaining the position of each slice. Turn the slices 90 degrees and slice thinly again into fine pieces. This is a quick and easy way to chop onions. .


     Fold the bunch of parsley in half, keeping the stems on. They're tender and have as much flavor as the leaves. Squeeze the parsley into a thin bunch and slice thinly. The tighter you squeeze the parsley, the easier it is to mince. Don't worry, it fluffs back up again.
Danger Kitchen 6


Danger Kitchen 7
     Potatoes are fine with their skins on. Trust me... You won't notice the difference. The skins seem to add a bit of flavor and texture.


     This is what the whole mess should look like before mixing all the ingredients thoroughly. Notice how full the little 5 1/2 quart pot is. Grind on lots of pepper. Use good quality dry thyme. I like Spice Islands brand. Use fresh if you can get it of course. .
Danger Kitchen 8


Danger Kitchen 9
     Pea soup is an acquired appearance. The taste is great but the look can be tough. This is what Danger Kitchen Pea Soup looks like when done. Thick... Chunky... More colorful than normal pea soup. Bubbling slowly like lava, and hardening like roof tar when cool. It's soup with a lot of character. Enjoy!

  Other Pea Soup Recipes Online  


Curried Pea Soup


Green Pea Soup (St. Germaine) - Recipes from 1896


Spicy Black-eyed Pea Soup


Irish Fresh Pea Soup


Roberto Donna's Cisra ( Chick Pea Soup with Sweet Garlic Toasted Bread )



  Remember... It truly is a dangerous kitchen  




Sunday, January 25, 2009




Train Station For Sale

Own a Piece of History

      The Train Station is for sale. { More text goes here }

Monday, January 26, 2009



Highlights of 2009

So Far

Starting the year with a fire on the beach.
Being the only ones on the beach for the New Year.
Steaks and rock crab claws and stuffed shrimp and puffy spinach deals and little hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls for New Years dinner.
Getting a permit for Island Beach State Park (and all NJ state parks).
The first trip to island beach state park in 2009. The first since September 5, 2008 (clamming).
Harvesting pounds of mussels in the park.
Making mussels marinara that night.
The first batch of pea soup made with ham and cabbage leftovers.
The first trip to the Rez this year.
Getting new reading glasses.
A Party at Madiera restaurant in East Providence, Rhode Island.
Surviving the eight degrees below zero night with no frozen pipes.
Surviving the cold spell so far with no frozen pipes.
A big container of Kapusta.
Getting all of the second floor apartment plumbing problems resolved at the Train Station.




Squalid Splendor Squalid Splendor Life's Simple Pleasures

      Squalid Splendor is all about life's simple pleasures and the appreciation thereof. I created a Life's Simple Pleasures entry in the Sandpiper on Sunday November 9, 2008 intending it to be a regular feature. It will be but it will now be packaged under the Squalid Splendor label since it forms the basis of this concept. That entry was about harvesting the last of the late season vegetables from John Walter's garden in Brick, New Jersey. Adding some fresh herbs from the herb garden at the Church made for some great cooking and eating.

      Squalid Splendor is also about conservation, economizing, adaptation and improvisation. Times are tough all over the country and the world right now. This economic stagnation started here in northeast Connecticut about three years ago and decimated the local economy well before the effects were felt nationally. I've felt it on a personal level over and above the local norm due to outside forces... Two rotten apples can spoil the whole orchard. As a result I've been doing the economizing thing for three years now with no end in sight. Even so... There's no need to suffer. When I came in from the cold today the downstairs apartment, where I'm currently living, was bathed in the aroma of a Crockpot full of baked beans slowly cooking to perfection. The total of all of the ingredients is probably around $2.50 but will provide days of great eating. Dried beans, a smoked pork hock, an onion, brown sugar, molasses, mustard and fresh ground black pepper make up the shopping list. I had everything anyway. There are few things more satisfying than good baked beans on a cold day. The net effect on life is dramatic and the cost is minimal and the effort of preparation lasted no more than a few minutes. Preparation is another important part of Squalid Splendor. A little planning and some preparation and pennies can turn into a fortune of soul satisfying "luxury".

      Just in case that doesn't sound appealing enough, there's more. Stop & Shop was dumping turkey parts for sixty-nine cents per pound and slightly more. I bought pounds of thighs, wings and backs for a few dollars. Two pounds of carrots for $1.79 and I was ready. I loaded the turkey and carrots and onions and potatoes in a big roasting pan and dosed all with poultry seasoning, garlic powder, a few bay leaves and plenty of fresh ground black pepper ($0.88 each at Job Lot). I roasted it covered for an hour and then uncovered it to brown up nicely. When everything was nice and browned I dumped in two cups of white wine to create a nice broth and finished it off for another forty-five minutes or so. This cooking was done in the upstairs apartment kitchen. I use that for major cooking so I don't make a mess in the tiny kitchen downstairs. The whole unheated upstairs apartment was warmed to a comfortable temperature and smelled wonderful. Walking between the beans downstairs and the turkey dinner upstairs was a great way to get some plumbing projects and cleanup done. And... I have great meals for four or five days for about $15.00. That's just a breakfast and lunch eating out... Maybe.

      Food is not the only thing Squalid Splendor is about. Activity, exercise and outdoors are a huge part of it. Get out and walk around somewhere. I'll get in to this some more in the future, but get out and get connected to your neighborhood and local natural areas by walking through them and looking at stuff. I took an hour break from the day's activities and stopped at the Rez to take some pictures. An ice fisherman was coming off the ice dragging a toboggan full of gear and announced that he had caught a bass and two perch. I never get tired of stopping at the Rez. There's always something going on there. Find a Rez of your own and check on it as often as possible. Get in tune with weather and seasons and such. It doesn't cost anything and connects you with the basic cycles of life and keeps you away from the TV.

      Forget TV. It eats your life. Lose cable and keep a VCR and DVD player and watch movies. Buy them used at flea markets, garage sales or the Salvation Army store. People give them away. If the movie is good, you may want to watch it again eventually. It the movie is great you may never get tired of watching it. I feel that way about quite a few. The rest... Trade for different ones or give away. You can keep them too in case company might want to watch them. You never know what might appeal to someone. So I was shuttling back and forth between upstairs and down building an appetite worthy of a pack of hyenas. I had purchased Top Gun, Jurassic Park, Beverly Hills Cop and Hannibal from the Salvation Army store next to Job Lot in Brooklyn. I've seen the first three before but they fall in to the watch again category. I watched Beverly Hills Cop off and on during dinner preparations and plumbing work and settled in to watch Hannibal during dinner. I liked Silence of the Lambs better by the way. Whatever... it was $0.99 and was worth all of that and then some.


Squalid Splendor

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A Starbuck of...
A new term of venery

Starbucks to close 300 stores as profit tumbles

The coffee chain reports fourth-quarter results below forecasts
and announces 6,700 more job cuts.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday its fiscal first-quarter profit and sales fell short of Wall Street's forecast. The high-end coffee chain also announced 6,700 new job cuts as a weak economy weighed on sales. For the three months ended Dec. 28, Seattle-based Starbucks reported net income of $64.3 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with $208 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding certain charges, including a $75.5 million pre-tax charge related to store closures, the company said it earned 15 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting 17 cents. Sales in the quarter fell 6% to $2.6 billion from $2.8 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $2.69 billion.


      I feel bad for a lot of people that have lost jobs. Probably most of them but... Having a place on every other corner where one can spend upwards of seven or eight bucks for a cup of coffee if one so chooses is a symptom of many of the issues that have lead us as a country to the brink of financial doom. The word "chooses" in the last sentence is misleading. One can certainly choose not to but the cultural pressure to choose to is very strong.
      What I have no sympathy for is the smug superior attitude of the elitist wannabes that tend to work there. You're serving coffee... Get over yourself. Don't snob at me because I didn't know the drill at your little coffee shop and just wanted a lousy cup of coffee. I feel sorry for you if you need a coca-mocha-latte-frapuucuino-muy-splendisimo to make or break your day. I don't feel sorry that you lost your job and your little coffee shop is closing if you're a pretentious turd-face. We as a country deserve less of you. This brings me to the point of this piece. A term of venery or collective noun is a word used to describe a group of a certain type of members; gaggle of geese; pride of lions; etc. Here is a list of a lot of them. My new suggestion is in the list. See if you can find it.

aardvark: aarmory
albatross: rookery
alligator: congregation
alpaca: flock, herd
ant: colony, nest, army, swarm, bike
antelope: herd, cluster
ape: shrewdness, troop
auk: colony, flock, raft
baboon: troop, flange, congress, tribe
badger: cete, colony, set, company
barracuda: battery
bass: shoal, fleet
bat: colony, cloud
bear: sleuth, sloth, slought, maul
beaver: family, lodge, colony
bee: colony, grist, hum, swarm, hive, cluster
beetle: swarm
bird (general): fleet, parcel, dissimulation, flight, volery, cast, flock, aviary
bison: herd, troop, gang, thunder
bittern: sedge, flock, siege
bloodhound: sute
boar: singular, sounder, herd
bovine: herd
buffalo: gang, troop, herd, obstinacy
bullfinch: bellowing
bullock: drove
butterfly: rabble, flight, swarm
buzzard: wake, flock
camel: flock, train, caravan, herd
caribou: herd
cat: clowder, clutter, pounce, cluster, colony, glorying, destruction (wild cats)
caterpillar: army, nest
cattle: drove, herd, bow, bunch, draft, drift, mob
cheetah: coalition
chicken: brood, clutch, flock, peep, hatching, battery
chimpanzee: cartload
chinchilla: colony
clam: bed, flaccidity
cockroach: intrusion, swarm
cod: lap, school
colt: rake, rage
coot: cover
cow: herd, drove, pack, team
coyote: pack, rout
crab: cast
crane: sedge, siege, flock, herd
cricket: orchestra
crocodile: bask, nest, congregation, float
crow: murder, horde, parcel, hover, muster
deer: herd, leash, bevy, game, quarry, bunch, mob, parcel
dog: gang, legion, kennel, pack (wild), litter (young)
dolphin: team, school, pod, herd
donkey: drove, herd, pace
dove: dule, duet, flight, troop
duck: brace, flock, gaggle, paddling, team, raft, badling, bunch, waddling
eagle: convocation, brood, aerie
eel: swarm, bed. draft, wisp, knot
elephant: herd, host, flock, parade, memory
elk: gang, herd
falcon: passager, cast
ferret: business, cast
finch: charm, chirm, trembling, trimming
fish (general): school, shoal, draft, nest, cast, draught, run, catch, drift, haul
flamingo: stand, flamboyance
fly: business, hatch, swarm, community, cloud, grist
flying fish: glide
fowl: plump
fox: leash, skulk, earth, troop
frog: army, colony, froggery, knot
gerbil: horde
giraffe: tower, troop, corps, herd, group, stretch
gnat: cloud, horde, swarm, plague
gnu: herd
goat: tribe, trip, flock, herd
goldfinch: charm, chattering, drum, troubling, vein
goldfish: troubling
goose: flock, gaggle, skein, line, wedge, nide
gorilla: band
grasshopper: cloud, cluster
greyhound: gallop, leash
grouse: covey, pack, brace, drumming
guinea pig: group
gull: colony, pack
hamster: horde
hare: down, husk, leap, , leash, flick, kindle, drove, warren
hawk: cast, kettle, boil, leash, mews, aerie
hedgehog: nest, array, prickle
hen: brood, battery, parcel, roost, mews
heron: siege, sedge
herring: army, glean, shoal
hippopotamuses: bloat, pod, herd, huddle
hog: drift, drove, herd
hornet: nest, bike, swarm
horse: harras, herd, pair, team, stud, field, mob, troop
hound: cry, mute, pack, kennel
hummingbird: charm, chattering, drum, hover, troubling
hyena: cackle, clan
impala: herd
jackrabbit: husk
jellyfish: smack, brood, smuth, smuck, fluther
kangaroo: mob, troop, herd
kitten: kindle, kendle, litter, intrigue
lark: ascension, exaltation, bevy, flight
lemur: group
leopard: leap, prowl
lice: flock
lion: pride, tribe, sault, sowse
llama: herd
locust: host, plague, swarm, cloud
louse: colony, infestation, lice
mackerel: school, shoal
magpie: tiding, gulp, murder, charm, tittering, flock
mallard: sord, brace, puddling, flush
manatee: herd
marten: richness
minnow: shoal, steam, swarm
mole: labor, company, movement
monkey: troop, barrel, tribe, cartload
moose: herd
mosquito: scourge, swarm
mouse: nest, colony, harvest, horde, mischief
mule: barren, pack, span, rake
nighthawk: kettle
nightingale: watch, flock, route, match
orangutan: buffoonery
ostrich: flock
otter: romp, bevy, lodge, family, raft
owl: parliament, stare
ox: yoke, team, drove, herd, nye
oyster: bed, hive, cast, culch
parrot: company, flock, prattle
partridge: covey, bew
peacock: muster, ostentation, pride
penguin: colony, rookery, parade, parcel
pheasant: bouquet, nest, nide, nye, brood, covey
pig: drove, litter, drift, flock, hoggery, herd, sounder
pigeon: flight, loft, flock, dropping
plover: congregation, wing, leash
polar bear: aurora, pack
polecat: chine
pony: string
porcupine: prickle, family
porpoise: school, crowd, herd, pod
possum: passel
prairie dog: coterie, town
pretentious elitist: starbuck, latte
quail: bevy, covey, drift
rabbit: colony, nest, warren, bevy, bury, drove
racoon: nursery, mask
raptor: cauldron, kettle
rat: horde, mischief, rabble
raven: unkindness, congress, conspiracy, parliament
reindeer: herd
rhinoceros: crash, herd
rook: building, shoal, congregation, pack, parliament
salmon: run, bind, gib, school, shoal
sardine: family
scorpion: bed, nest, colony
sea horse: herd
seal: pod, herd, school, trip, rookery, harem, team
shark: shiver, school, shoal
sheep: drove, flock, herd, drift, fold, mob, pack, trip
skunk: stench, surfeit
snail: escargatoire, rout, walk
snake: bed, knot, den, pit, nest, slither
snipe: walk, wisp
sparrow: host, flight, quarrel, tribe
spider: cluster, clutter, venom
squirrel: dray, scurry, colony
starling: murmuration, cloud, chattering, clutter
stork: mustering, flight
swallow: flight, rush, swoop
swan: bevy, wedge, flock, game, team, ballet, regatta
swine: drift, sounder, herd
swordfish: flotilla
termite: colony
tiger: streak, ambush, hide. ambush
toad: knot, nest, knob, lump
tortoise: creep
trout: hover, leash, troup
turkey: rafter, posse, gang, dole, flock, raffle
turtle: bale, bevy, nest, dule, turn
turtle dove: pitying
toucan: durante
viper: nest, den
vulture: wake
wallaby: mob
walrus: pod, herd, huddle
wasp: nest, knot, bike, swarm, colony, pail
weasel: pack, gang, sneak
whale: gam, herd, grind, pod, shoal, school, mob
wild boar: sounder
wolf: pack, rout, route, horde
wombat: mob, warren
woodcock: fall, covey, plump
woodpecker: descent, gatling
worm: bed, bunch, clew
wren: herd
yak: herd
zebra: herd, cohorts, crossing, stripe

Thursday, January 29, 2009


      Here's yet another recipe from the twilight zone that some of the old One-Legged Sandpiper disappeared in to. I discovered a cache of five or six complete but never published recipes in a long forgotten corner of an old hard drive. This one is a must make. Everything I've ever tried that Manuela has made has been amazing. I had the pleasure of dining with her and David at Madiera in East Providence a week or so back and that prompted me to hunt down this recipe.


When it's smoking it's cooking... When it's black, it's doneIt truly is a dangerous kitchen

   Danger Kitchen Online Cookbook available   


   Serving Soup to Nuts for... Oh... A couple of weeks now anyway   


Manuela Sardinha... A GREAT cook
Manuela's Kitchen
   Octopus... Portuguese Style   
Where the food is GREAT and you can eat off the floor



Where the food is GREAT and you can eat off the floor      Welcome to what will hopefully become a regular part of Danger Kitchen... Way over in a corner... The neatest cleanest corner. It's Manuela's Kitchen, featuring Manuela Sardinah's renditions of traditional Portuguese dishes. Carne de Porco a Alentejana (Pork with littlenecks), Paella, Skate wings and now Octopus. Everything I've tasted or tried has been spectacular.

     This is not food for the calorie conscious but it's good for the soul... And that has to be good for us.

     Octopus is not a stretch if you like squid. Prepared this way the texture is firm and only slightly chewy. The Octopus complements the potatoes and the spice is mild. Add some bread and butter, maybe a salad and some wine, and you have a combination you can keep eating until you can't breathe.
     Manuela recommends using only Nigel brand frozen Octopus. It's from Lisbon Portugal, and it's frozen as soon as it comes out of the ocean. In fact they need to be rinsed when thawed because they still contain salt water.

     Octopus Portuguese Style is not what most people would consider standard fare, but it's well worth trying... If only to say you've tried it. I'm sure you'll want to have it again.

Welcome To Manuela's Kitchen!


Eat Me... Nothing like a meal you can arm-wrestle
Portuguese Style Octopus

By Manuela Sardinha

This recipe should serve three to five depending on how hungry they are.

Photos By David Sardinha


Ingredients

> 5 Pounds Frozen Octopus (Fresh if you can get it, but very fresh).
   Use Nigel brand octopus from Lisbon Portugal, available in most Portuguese markets.
> 12 small potatoes.
> 1 medium onion chopped.
> 1 1/2 tsp white pepper.
> 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
> 2 Tbsp olive oil.
> 1/2 cup red wine.

How

> Thaw the octopus in the refrigeator starting the day before. Keep covered.
> Rinse the octopus in fresh water thoroughly.
> Cut in two inch pieces.
> Place the 'pus and everything but the potatoes in a baking dish.
> Bake uncovered at 475 until boiling.
> Add the potatoes, cover and bake 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are done.
> Uncover and return to the over for another 5 minutes.
> Serve with bread and butter, and a salad. Don't forget wine.



Danger Kitchen 3
     This dish goes together quickly so it's a good idea to have all of the ingredients ready. Treat the octopus with care. It's very delicate and perishable.


     Cut the octo into larger than bite size pieces. He will shrink when cooked. 5 pounds will not seem like enough once you have tried this dish.
Danger Kitchen 4


Danger Kitchen 5
     This is what the ingredients should look like ready to go into the oven.


     Add the potatoes after the other ingredients have come to a boil in the oven. This is just the right amount of potatoes.
Danger Kitchen 6


Danger Kitchen 7
     Pour the finished product into your best serving dish. This is such an attractive dish that it deserves the best.


     Some good Portuguese bread is a must with this dish. Italian or French will do in a pinch though.
Danger Kitchen 8


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     Wine and maybe a salad complete the meal. I don't recommend anything but wine with Portuguese Octopus.


     Like everything else from Manuela's Kitchen, Portuguese Style Octopus will make you happy and satisfied. Manuela, Monty Sardinha and Savvas seem to think so.
Danger Kitchen 10


  Remember... It truly is a dangerous kitchen  



Friday, January 30, 2009



Clear and Present Danger

The Most Memorable Presents From Days Gone By


      If you were product of the sixties you were all about the presents. Yeah... They tried to tell you about the birth-of-Jesus thing sometimes... But it was all about the presents. Some I remember like it was yesterday. These are those... A few at a time.

      This "Clear and Present Danger" was supposed to appear in the Sandpiper on December 4, 2008... To go along with the over the top Christmas theme. But it was not to be due to all sorts of issues. Here it is now. There's going to be more soon. Favorite toys are important things in life. My favorites now are my computer, kayak and camera... In that order.


You sunk my battleship!

      My version of battleship was newer that the one in the picture here. The unit had both players back to back with a radar screen type deal you rotated to see a silhouette of your enemy's ship. It was a great unpowered gag to emulate radar and made for a pretty good game. I remember playing it on the dining room table on Christol Street in Metuchen, New Jersey so the sun coming in the window would light up the radar screens better. Circa 1968. Notice Mom and Sis in the kitchen doing dishes while the rutting stags engage in a post dinner game of "BS". The women don't even need eyes to complete their chores.

"You sunk my battleship!"

Yeah I did.

Dog fights without the dogs

      This was another great game. Each player had an easily identifiable top. When whoever was anointed said "go" every player would yank their top string, carefully wound around the top as if you were packing your own parachute. The tops would whirl against each other and over a period of time, usually less than a minute but often longer, the last top "standing" would win. Strength mattered, but not as much as you would think. A nice smooth pull, increasing pull speed throughout the duration of the pull (maybe a second), seemed to be the best strategy.

      I think one hit me in the eye only once. Not bad for a game in the sixties. Simple idea. Great game. It was actually my brother's present. Circa 1970. Look sat their eyes! The father (or guardian... or...whatever) and the kid on the right don't seem to be impacted in the same way as the other two. Maybe there's hope for them. I hope they're still alive. Maybe it's a symptom of exposure to Platformate... A trendy gas additive at the time.


Big Bruiser was the best towtruck ever
Big Bruiser was the best towtruck ever

      Big Bruiser was a tow truck. A giant (at the time) white truck with a battery operated blinking light and working winches with fairly pointy metal hooks on them for towing things. The best part was the plastic pickup truck in the same scale that came with it. It had a jack and some other tools I think and a tire that could be changed with one that was flat and a fender that could be replace with a crumpled one.
      Big Bruiser is one of those toys I wish I still had. That's how great it was. I was walking the aisles in Brimfield, Massachusetts about ten years back and saw one for sale. It was getting close to the end of the huge flea market/antique sale and everybody was packing up. The guy wanted $80.00 for it. I kept looking back at it. I told him I had one when I was about six or seven. He returned from behind his table with his hands behind his back and produced the pickup truck... With all of the parts even! I should have bought it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


There May Be Hope

      The sun was still glinting through the south bedroom window at the Train Station at 4:30 this afternoon. It was still above the roof line of the multi-family house behind the Cyr Building on Main Street. This is a good sign. The days are getting noticably longer... Ever so slightly. This also means it's time to head to Walmart in Windham to pick up my new reading glasses. Maybe I'll stop at the Rez on the way out for a picture or two. Maybe I'll stop at the Salvation Army store on the way back for a movie. Maybe Big Y to look for any good deals and then a walk before it gets too late. Good thing the sun caught me in the eye as a reminder... There's still plenty to do before settling in for another cold dark winter night.




New Night Club Name Contest!!!

Vote for your favorite below.

Alz
Dimentia
C. Niles McNasty
Rips
Ripperz
Rip Van Winkle's
Stinkerz
Stinkeez
Bogart's
Stalkerz
Strokerz
Spinnerz
The Spinning Chicken
Smelleez
Booperz
The Gas Light
Bubbles
Bubbles in the Tub
Sir Fartsalot
The Pew
Peppe Le Pew's
Oz Qui Pey
Fartalotta's
Ripalotta's
Stalkalotta's
Shopalotta's
Spendalotta's
The Brain Desert
Boonit's
McNasty's
McStalker's
McStinky's
McFarty's
Vote For Your Favorite Now!!!

Get in on the fun!

Vote Here!!!

Please Note: This nightclub name contest is not associated or affiliated in any way with The Argyle Rhinoceros at 49 Cottage Street in Danielson, Connecticut. That club already has a great name and local authorities have been assured it is NOT a gay club. Not that there's anything wrong with that -{Seinfeld}, Jerry Seinfeld.