Monday, June 29, 2009

The tide was in a mischievious mood. Two fishermen were caught out on Red Rock and hundreds of jellies washed ashore along lynn-Nahant beach today. No brown algea though. I wonder what brought them this way? Oh, the fishermen? They declined any help from the fire dept. and chose to wait the tide out. Maybe the fishing is better at hightide? A ring-bill gull with a different fashion sense was also loitering around. He was tagged by the DRC at Wachusett Reservoir. For more about the program, go to

Friday, June 26, 2009

Curious George - The True Story

Is it only me who finds the classic children’s book series, Curious George, disturbing?
Those familiar with the PBS TV show, or the publisher written books they’re based on, may not be familiar with the way George and the nameless man-in-the-yellow-hat meet in Margret and H.A. Rey’s 1941 version. In the original story, George the monkey is a happy little primate living a care-free life in a tropical jungle paradise. The Man in the Yellow Hat appears to make a living by capturing wild animals and selling them to zoos. Before you can say ‘King Kong’, George is netted, boxed, and shipped off to the big city. George does manage to escape from his zoo cage and track down the Man With the Yellow Hat. Yellow Hat makes the fateful decision to let the furry little mischief maker live with him. George quickly adjusts to the concrete jungle he now calls home and spends the rest of the series with his yellow-hatted, adoptive father - giving testimony to the resilience of primates and a text book case of Stockholm Syndrome.
For his part, Yellow Hat does seem to look upon George as a son, not a pet. But his parenting skills are so poor it’s a wonder that both the SPCA and Social Services across the nation haven’t put these books on their banned list. Each story has Yellow Hat leaving George, an over-active monkey with the brain of a five-year old, in places where he couldn’t help but get into trouble. Yellow Hat even seems to goad the simian on by always telling him ‘not to be too curious’ before leaving him alone in chocolate factories, libraries, ice cream and pizza shops, hospitals, and yes, even a zoo. He then acts surprised to find that George has managed to get into trouble. This guy is the prototype for ever clueless father that now over-populates kids TV shows and movies.
Another word of warning- These tales are not for germ-a-phobics. I can’t tell you how many stories involve George man-handling (and man-footing) food meant for retail sales. Apparently there’s no Board of Public Health in the city were George resides.
I’m probably being to harsh. Once you get past the animal exploitation, the reckless parenting techniques, and the health code violations, these really aren’t bad books at all. Just don’t read them before ordering a pizza.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Seasonal Friends.

The Brants and the Buffleheads are gone. I haven’t seen any Ring-Billed Gulls or Black Ducks in a while either. The only other formally dressed regular on the beach is a Great Black-Winged Gull, holding court amidst the young Herring Gulls. The spot under the sea wall were the ducks and gulls had spent the winter isn’t quite empty though. A pair of Black Guillemots, The white splashes on their wings bright on their black plumes, has toured further south than usual. Maybe it’s the unseasonably cool weather. They look content enough passing the time on the waves. Closer to the surf, another uncommon pair seems less sure of were they are. The Gadwalls keep a wary eye on me, unsure if I’m an object best to be feared or ignored.
The Swallows that arrived this week are more brazen. Flying with stunt pilot precision, they zoom by, hugging the ground and walls, taunting the children to try and catch them. They do manage to startle the bright yellow flowers that rise above the wild roses. As the blooms hop and flutter to new stalks, I realize, with embarrassment and delight, that they’re really a flock of Goldfinches.
There are no hellos or goodbyes for these sojourners. For them, migration seems no more dramatic than running to the store for some milk. They don’t doubt they’ll be back. They don’t doubt we’ll be here to be surprised by their return.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Artistic Side of Seaweed

Being at the seashore sometimes feels like a personal invite to an art gallery opening. There’s so much to see, and the scenes, both macro and micro, are always changing. Even seaweed and sand have color and flow that bestow on them beauty and personality.