Blogfather's blog

First Annual Blogger's Awards, and the Winners are...

Most Traffic, Most Comments & Kookiest are top prize winners 

blogawardcaldwellLast night, at our 2nd annual Cape Blogger's party, held at the eCape office in South Dennis, we bestowed many awards upon our esteemed (and some not-so-esteemed) bloggers.   I and my staff met many bloggers in person for the first time and enjoyed delicious food prepared by Cape Cod Chef on Call.  

The first prize winner was Tim Caldwell of Cape Wide News on right. CWN was judged "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO SHOW YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR IN HANDCUFFS." 

At the end of the event, we watched local guy-turned-corporate bigwig George Dratelis talk about the impact of blogging on the media of the future via Skype video from St. Louis in our downstairs conference room.  

Bloggers who didn't attend really missed a really good time

Attired in my signature trenchcoat, I bequeathed these award certificates,  each attractively displayed in the finest frames Christmas Tree Shops has to offer. 

I hereby decree that the 1st Annual Blogger's Awards were a complete success.  Bravissimo to the winners!   Those with an * won a $50 gift certificate to Alberto's Ristorante in Hyannis.

* Most Popular Blog (Blog with Most Traffic):  Cape Wide News 

blogawardspyro* Blog with Most Comments in the past year:   Media Watch. This joint effort by Jack Coleman and  Spyro Mitrokostas (shown accepting two awards including this one last evening) was judged the "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO RUIN A CITY EDITOR’S MORNING COFFEE." 

* Kookiest Blog:  East of Boston. Monponsett's was judged as "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO BEAT THE SPREAD." 

The next awards included: 

Blog with Most Postings in the past year:  Media Watch is written by Jack Coleman, Spyro Mitrokostas and myself. 

Bill's browsBest Politican's Blog:   Barnstable County Bill. Bill Doherty's was judged the "BLOG WITH THE BEST EYEBROWS."  See on right.

Most Humorous Blog:  Cape Politics is also written by Jack Coleman, Spyro Mitrokostas and myself. 

Best Conservative Blog:  Generally Speaking by Jimmy Dishner was judged as the "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO TURN A BLUE STATE RED IN THE FACE." 

Best Washashore Blog:  Washashore by Chuck Ross was also judged the "BLOG WHICH BEST REMINDS US OF OUR OWN RECENT PAST."

blogawarddemocrantBest Liberal Blog:  Massachusetts Democrant by Steven Leibowitz ON RIGHT was judged the  "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO RAISE YOUR TAXES." 

Best Old Salt Blog:  Henry Beston Society

Blog with the Timeliest Topics:  The Opinionator. This one was judged the "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO WEAR TWEED." 

Most Rock Solid Blog:  Footnotes

Blog We Most Miss Peter Porcupine was awarded a prize as the "BLOG WE MISSED THE MOST." 

Tastiest Blog:  Cape Fine Diner

Most Useful Blog: Yarmouth Taxpayer

Most Warm and Fuzzy Blog:  Cape Cod Rockhopper. This off-cape blogger, Steve Gimmi, was judged the "BLOG THAT DOES THE BEST JOB OF SHOWING US TO OURSELVES." 

Blog with Most Community Spirit: Big Brother Big Sister

blogawardsheedyBlog with the Coolest  Content: Off the Shelf by the Dennis Public Library's Jack Sheedy (on right) was also judged as the "BLOG MOST LIKELY TO BE LITERATE." 

A runner-up included:

Jack Coleman's Wind Farmer's Almanac as the  "BLOG MAKING THE BEST USE OF ALL THE HOT AIR OF THE BLOGOSPHERE."

Here is an A to Z list of all our Cape Bloggers. 

Ode to the nice guys who linish last

"Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant"

The primary's over (but for Barnstable's Fourth),
All the winners are happy (as they should be, of course).
So let's take a minute to visit the past,
To honor the good pols who did finish last.

While this first round is over to everyone's delight,
Let's honor the losers ere they fade from our sight.
The winners will now get to play their new tunes,
But they also serve who must lick their own wounds.

The also ransSo let's honor Howell and Buckley and Bennett,
The former two lost the house, the latter the senate.
And Silbert who gave the Lite Guv's job a fling,
(A waste of her talents - the job doesn't do a thing.)

The GOP battle for the Barnstable Fourth nod,
Gave a whole new dimension to "campaigning Cape Cod".
While Howell beat Buckley as everyone notes,
He did it in fact by very few votes.

And while Maloy prevailed in his contest with Howell,
The latter has yet to throw in the towel.
Add to Aaron's angst in whipping Sarah Peake,
Is a possible recount - a few days or a week.

But even though our rotaries will be clear of Doug Bennett,
Ric Barros has a tough job to get to the Senate.
This latest campaign in Ric political career,
Comes sadly in what looks like a Democrat year.

And though Andrea Silbert lost to Goldberg and Murray,
She gets to live on Cape Cod, so she hasn't a worry.
Unlike Mihos whose dreams all end with a sob.
'Cause Christy's worst nightmare is to win the Deval's  job.

Why did Gabrieli wait months to make that announcement

Let's look at a few frames of his announcement video to find out
Is another multi-millionaire trying to "buy" the Governor's office?

Click Chris to see video If you click on the TV screen on the right you will be able to see the video released last week where venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli endorses the Cape Wind project.

What caught the attention of media mavens like Jack Coleman was the part of the video early on which pans to a gas pump.

In it the price for regular gas is $2.77 a gallon.

How long has it been since that was a price you saw on any pumps?

Maybe BEFORE  the convention? 

Back on June 2 and 3 the Massachusetts Democrats held this year's state convention in Worcester. Gabrieli expected to make the 15% cut which would allow him to run with the other survivors in the September Democratic Primary to select this year's candidate for Governor. Did he plan to run the video then?

He made the 15% cut, but he apparently waited months before running this ad endorsing Cape Wind.  Some local gas stations said they haven't seen that low a price for regular in six months.

gabgas277_01His ad agency has to have made that video in the months BEFORE the June Convention in order to have it ready, and the price of regular gas in Massachusetts last week when the ad first ran is over $3.00 a gallon.

The whole point of showing a gas price was to impress us with his renewable energy stand, so there is no reason on earth the agency would have not filmed the highest gas prices available at the time they created the ad. 

See the still-frame form the video on right, then click on the one above to see it for yourself.

Gabrieli spends $5.2 million, out-Mitts Romney 

Mr. Gabrieli has mentioned figures as high as $15 million as how much he was willing to spend to get the nomination and election as governor, so we can assume his advertising agency had the budget to prepare for any contingency. Today's news reports said he has spent $5,200,000 before August, the highest in Massachusetts history for that period with the primary still five weeks away. Read today's Herald story here which states he is closing in on Mitt Romney's $6,100,000 for a complete campaign.  Sounds more like a Republican than a Democrat.

patrickjulyYet he is getting almost no contributions from the voters. 
In the month of July he was given $45,916 by the public while his two opponents were given three and eight times as much. Deval Patrick may have been given nearly that at one fundraiser last evening at the Chequessett Yacht and Country Club  in Wellfleet where 150 well-heeled Liberals slurped the world's best oysters at $125 to $500 a pop per person. See the photo at the bottom of this event.

Patrick has a grassroots campaign with over 6,000 volunteers and has raised more than $4 million, mostly in small donations, including more than $800,000 in donations raised through the campaign's website.
The poll this newspaper is running on our front page right now reflects these same percentages with Deval Patrick outdistancing both opponents Tom Reilly and Chis Gabrieli, Independent Christy Mihos  with 1 vote and only GOP candidate  Kerry Healey a serious threat to Patrick's winning in November. Cast you own vote today.

The "second man" on the moon 

Do you think he waited to "see how the  wind was blowing" before sticking his neck out for renewable energy? Maybe he finally figured out when the voters across the state were on this issue, unlike Deval Patrick who endorsed the project almost a year ago because he thought it was the right thing to do despite being urged not to by every important Democratic pol in the state.

What other reason could explain Gabrieli waiting a half year or so to announce a decision he had already made? Do you think he may be trying to "buy" the governor's office?

The irony is that nobody except this newspaper and the Cape Cod Times seemed to care enough to run the story. Nobody remembers the second man on the moon either. 

BTW, it was Buzz Aldrin.  Below is a photo from last night fundraiser.
The Philbricks and Sarah Peake greet Deval Patrick
From left in Wellfleet last night, Orleans political activists Jackie and Dick Philbrick, Deval Patrick and Democratic State Rep. candidate Sarah Peake.

Get in "the Spirit" this weekend

Free Tours of  MMA's Spirit of Mass Saturday & Sunday, August 12 & 13
A chance for your kids to walk the deck of a Tall Ship

spirit1sailthe MMA training vessel, the Spirit of Massachusetts, will dock at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay on Friday for MassSail's Cape Cod Bay & Canal Community Days.  An open house offering tours of the vessel is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

MassSail is a joint venture of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) and the Ocean Classroom Foundation (OCF).  Its mission is to foster stewardship and understanding of Massachusetts’ marine coastal environment.

MassSail offers students the opportunity to study marine ecosystems, marine mammals, and seafaring skills beyond the traditional classroom. The overnight sail with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands departed from and arrived back at Provincetown on Tuesday. TDBanknorth sponsored the sail.  Students from Big Brothers Big Sisters were full participants in the operation of the ship, working with the vessel’s professional crew to learn the skills and arts of traditional seafaring.

spirit2Prior to her arrival at Buzzards Bay, students from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands sailed aboard Spirit for an overnight marine science education program.

In addition to the programs held earlier this week, Spirit of Massachusetts will be open for free public tours from 10:30 am until 4:30 pm on Saturday, August 12th and Sunday, August 13th at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay.

Visitors can meet the Spirit crew and learn about traditional seafaring skills, maritime history, and contemporary issues and concerns about the marine ecosystem. Limited parking is available.

FredoniaConstructed in 1984 at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard, Spirit of Massachusetts is a 125-foot-long schooner modeled after the late 19th-century fishing vessel, Fredonia (in the oil painting on right with fishing dory in foreground), designed by Edward Burgess, which sailed to the North Atlantic fishing grounds for cod.

Since MassSail’s inaugural season launched in May 2005, hundreds of students have crossed the Spirit’s decks for an odyssey in experiential education. 

  • The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education and conservation of the marine and coastal environments through applied science and education programs.
  • The Ocean Classroom Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides programs of sea education and adventure for youth aboard the schooners Westward, Harvey Gamage, and Spirit of Massachusetts.
  • The Massachusetts Maritime Academy is at 101 Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532. (508) 830-5000 

Why Vineyarders support renewable energy options

Gas $$$ in The Vineyard
This  photograph was taken today at the foot of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.

The price of regular is now $3.87 and high test is $4.07--what Cape Cod will most likely be paying next year.

Too bad the rich folks who own the local media here and on the Cape aren't supporting renewable energy for their readers and fellow citizens, and if you don't think this is what's causing the current increase in the foreclosure rate, you're simply burying your head in the sand.

Maybe when the bottom falls out of the tourism market on Cape Cod, our local Chamber of Commerce might even wake up to the vital necessity of supporting rather than opposing the nation's first offshore renewable energy wind farm on Nantucket Sound.

It is simply amazing how our "leaders" are kowtowing to King Kennedy.

Most of my fellow Cape Codders have yet to recognize the catastrophic effect soaring energy prices will have on their lives.

If they did, an angry mob would be storming the Kennedy Compound as you read these words.

For it is our infamously famous "environmental" US Senator Ted Kennedy and his Osterville oil baron buddies who are denying Massachusetts the chance to lead the nation to a brighter, economically sound renewable energy future.

Follow the money

That most eminent of mystery writers, Agatha Christie, always had her sleuths "follow the money" when seeking the villain at large.

Ask yourselves, dear readers, who benefits most from soaring energy prices?

Oil companies.

Like British Petroleum (BP) which today posted a last quarter profit of over 30% higher, literally $80 millions dollars a day profit for a commodity over which America has no control.

Then there are the neighbors and co-conspirators of Senator Kennedy like Bill Koch of Oxford Energy and Doug Yearley of Phelps-Dodge. These two have contributed and/or assisted in raising millions to stop Cape Wind's project in Nantucket Sound.

Not to protect Ted Kennedy's and their views, but to stop America's first offshore renewable energy project which, if allowed to flourish, might slow and even end their oily grasp on our nation's economy.

Mister Kennedy, and his errand boys, Congressman William Delahunt and State Senator Robert O'Leary, will tell you "it's the principle, not the money."

Whenever anyone says that, you may rest assured, it's always the money.

A week in Provence

Introduction to the river  - Part One
How can anyone adequately  describe something as ethereal as charm?

pro1_400Posted aboard the River Royale 

Since 9/11 and Iraq, many if not most Americans feel ambivalent about visiting Europe, and the US-French connection has always been at best a love-hate relationship.

But a wise American cruise company has changed all that in the most dramatic fashion.

UniWorld tames Europe for America

We were invited by an the LA-based river cruise company UniWorld to try out a brand new luxury hotel barge on The Rhone and Saone Rivers of southern France.

After a dozen forays into the continent with ever increasing doubts, we overcame our resistance due to an unquenched desire to see the area called Provence about which countless others have written with unreserved praise.

Our surprise and delight is complete.

In a dozen or more previous trips to Europe, we have never received better or friendlier attention, and the UniWorld's French crew acted more "American" than most our fellow countrymen.

Add to this classic Continental charm and you will finally find the France of your dreams aboard the new River Royale which roams Provence on the Rhone and Saone from Arles to Lyon.

The photo above is in Arles where Van Gogh created many of his most wonderful  paintings, and we were there but an hour and understbad why.

And wait until we introduce you to Eric, Christian, Julian, Dominic, Alice, Oliver and their merry crewmates in our next dispatch.  In the meanwhile, here's the ship and the bike I borrowed from Jean-Marie in Lyon in front of the university.  -Walter & Patricia Brooks

NEXT WEEK: Why UniWorld is perfect for Americans 

America's most impressive sight

Even the most jaded traveler will stand in awe of this masterpiece of nature

It has been said "No matter how many times you see the Grand Canyon, you are still emotionally moved to tears."1gcrrwbpb
The scene is awe inspiring>>>

Add to that the fact that it belongs to YOU, and it is but a few hours by air from any point in New England.

And there is really only one way to visit this 8th wonder of the world - by train.

We were invited by the Grand Canyon Railroad to hop on their beautifully restored cars in Williams AZ about 70 miles and a two hours train Ride south of the canyon.

This locally-owned company also operates a modern hotel in Williams which offers 1, 2 and 3 night excursions at very reasonable rates, and economical Southwest Airlines will fly you to Phoenix.

What the first visitors saw

New England's great transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, said, “The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.”

And our first and greatest environmentalist President, Theodore Roosevelt, echoed these sentiments saying, “In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world.... Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American....should see.”The Hopi dances

The Hopis danced>>>

We spent three nights at the canyon over the Memorial Day weekend, and walked for miles along the rim of the canyon for two days.

Word can not describe its beauty, and we've visited the canyon twice before.

One of the canyon's earliest explorers, Major John Wesley Power, said after his terrifying ride on the Colorado River. “We are three quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth, and the great river shrinks into insignificance, as it dashes its angry waves against the walls and cliffs, that rise to the world above; they are but puny ripples, and we but pygmies, running up and down the sands, or lost among the boulders. We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not.”

Please believe me, no site on earth is more amazing, awe-inspiring and beautiful than your first glimpse over the edge of the south wall of Arizona's Grand Canyon.

Sources and travel tips;
Grand Canyon Railroad.
Grand Canyon National Park.
Southwest Airlines.

A walk in the woods, on bikes in East Harwich

The new "Muddy Creek" Nature Walk is seldom used but beautiful
Why am I telling you all about this wonderful "secret place"?

Clink image to see largerMy grandson Will got a new Mountain Bike for Christmas, and Cape Cod being Cape Cod, has had little chance to ride it lately.

Sunday was a good day to start, and the nature walk carved out of newly acquired Harwich Conservation Trust land on Bay Road a 1/4 mile up the hill from Pleasant Bay is a wonderful place to begin an 8-year-old's off-road training. 

The Cape Cod Americorps created a simple, gravel and fence-posted parking area on Bay Road opposite Blue Herring Drive last month, but with our weather as it's been, I've been able to walk the new trail once and ride it a second time to check out it's viability for training my grandling Will. In all our visits I've met only one hiker, Tommy Johnson of Church Street, a real Cape Codder and nature lover.

The new nature trail is just under a half mile from the parking lot to the two benches overlooking the creek, thus less than a mile round trip. The trail has two paths running off to the right . The both continue west a half mile or so to the Harwich Water Dept. land (see map below) and a power line. From either spur's end you continue on the powerline (left if you took the first spur, right if you took the second) and look for the trail to enter the nature area back to the trail to started on.

The second right spur is at a single bench about 1/4 mile into the walk, and you can rest there, although the river is barely visible through the trees. I suggest you amble on past the bench another 1/4 mile or so to the two benches at the trail's end and sit quietly in hopes of spying the Blue Herons which hang out on the tree stumps below you.

The photos on right show at Blue Heron on a tree stump on the river, then flying off (click on image to see larger). On right is Will discovering a strand of bamboo among the scrub pine, white and red oaks, and at bottom the two benches at trails' end overlooking the river.

42 acres preserved forever

A look at the Kelsey Airview below from the HCT site shows the enormous difference a conservation effort which is made early can make. All those homes on the right of the photo are on the Chatham side of Muddy Creek  (mislabeled "Monomoy River" by the HCT in a misguided effort to curry favor with washashores who would much prefer being treated as peers by using the proper, although less elegant, real name of the non-river).

A Chatham developer won the land on the Chatham side of Muddy Creek from a local judge in a poker game around 1960, and renamed Muddy Creek as "Monomoy River" to empress the swells he was trying to sell into what he called Riverbay Estates.

Not even a river (Cape Cod doesn't have any)

This bucolic little body of water, which is the boundary between Harwich and Chatham, isn't even a "river". The lower part nearest Pleasant Bay was known as Long Cove to differentiate it from nearby Round Cove, but when Route 28 was constructed as a State Road early in the last century, the state saved money on a bridge by using a large culvert to connect the cove with the bay. The little stream which feed the cove was always called Muddy Creek by natives.

Below I have placed yellow dashes approximately where the trail lies.

Former Cousteau staffer joins Cape Cod TODAY

Dick Farley signs on as our Washington correspondent
Cousteau policy staffer and Journalism Award winner

WASHINGTON -- May 17, 2006 -- Award winning investigative reporter and former Cousteau Society policy staffer C. Richard "Dick" Farley, Jr., is joining Cape Cod Today's editorial team as its Washington correspondent.

farleycousteau300Farley, 58, continues a varied career as a newspaperman, nonprofit executive and scuba diving instructor. He lives in suburban Maryland with his wife of 27 years, Lucia, an environmental scientist working for a Rockville, MD firm, and their son Richard, 22, who is blind, developmentally disabled and autistic.

Won AP's Mark Twain Award for Investigative Reporting

In 1990, Farley won a Mark Twain Award for Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press in the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Region for newspapers under 75,000 circulation. A series of stories he reported on alleged improprieties in university nonprofit foundation spending in Maryland contributed to the resignation of a university president and changes to regulations governing the accounting and spending of charitable contributions by Maryland higher education institutions.

From 1976 through 1983, Farley, shown on right with Jacques-Yves Cousteau, was continuously associated with various Cousteau family organizations, initially as a divemaster with Project Ocean Search Expeditions conducted by the "first incarnation" of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute, established by the elder son of the late Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau at Hilton Head Island, SC.

After the death of Captain Cousteau's younger son, Philippe, in a plane crash in 1979, Jean-Michel Cousteau son rejoined his father's larger, membership-supported nonprofit group, The Cousteau Society, taking Farley and several other key staff with him.

Farley moved to Norfolk, VA in 1980, first serving as coordinator of Cousteau's relocation of his operations center and expedition base for the famed research vessel, Calypso. He later served as coordinator of information and policy analysis for The Cousteau Society and as a contributing editor of Calypso Log, the organizations membership publication, tracking environmental affairs during the early Reagan years.

Before leaving The Cousteau Society in 1983, Farley served as the advance man for Calypso's filming expedition along the Mississippi River, handling ship logistics and coordinating public relations for the Cousteau team's "whistlestop" appearances along the river, from New Orleans, LA to St. Paul, MN, and back downriver to St. Louis, MO.

After leaving Cousteau's organization, Farley did some consulting before returning to journalism and working briefly for the Orlando Sentinel. He left the Sentinel after his father, a dentist, died from asbestos disease, probably contracted while working in a steel mill in the 1950s to put himself through dental school.

Directed New York Toxic Litigation Group

Farley for a time directed the New York Toxic Litigation Group, a program organized by plaintiff's attorneys representing asbestos victims and families trying to change the statute of limitations in New York for the filing of damage claims, a move ultimately rendered unnecessary by the asbestos industry's capitulation, with many firms filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying claims to victims.

Upon discovery of his son's multiple disabilities, Farley's focus shifted to meeting the many therapeutic and educational needs of his son, Richard, moving through five states in four years before settling in Maryland in 1988. Along the way, Farley helped to found a nonprofit national effort to promote sailing and maritime recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities and worked in executive capacities with several other nonprofit organizations.

Besides being a free-lance writer and policy analyst, Farley currently teaches swimming part-time at a large public indoor aquatic center, mostly to pre-schoolers and their parents.

Farley will cover issues of interest to Cape Cod Today readers. He initially will focus on the politics and policies surrounding the ongoing Cape Wind controversy and its attendant environmental, ocean policy and energy related developments. He will also do an occasional column for cct, "Washington Window" as a blog on our online newspaper site.

A Letter to Congress

Katrina today, Cape Cod tomorrow

s an editor and publisher on Cape Cod where the highest point of land is but 70 feet above sea level, I am deeply concerned about global warming and the immediate effect of insurance companies stopping home coverage for fear of the next hurricane season.

I am even more troubled about a provision in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill that would effectively kill the future of America’s first offshore wind farm, Cape Wind.

I strongly urge members of Congress to oppose the provision that gives veto power for any wind farm project in Nantucket Sound to the Massachusetts Governor, a highly political office with no qualifications in renewable energy.

My online newspaper has this month published documents proving that it was lobbying by Big Oil to kill our nation's first offshore renewable energy project which directly lead to the covert inserting of that amendment in the Cape Wind "kill-bill".

What a slap in the face to Senator Pete Domenici and the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

This veto provision is a blatant example of the Abramoff illegal lobbying scandal, the very kind of back door politics that Congress has been claiming it is against. The amendment had to be secretly added in a closed-door committee because it would never have passed in open committee debate.

This provision is a sneaky attempt to shutdown America's move toward a clean energy future.

I ask you to join with Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass to stop this travesty immediately.
I urge you to stand up and reject this egregious language in the Coast Guard Bill.  Our country needs more renewable energy and less special-interest politics.

Search my newspaper site for the names "Senator Stevens",  "Don Young" and "Bill Koch" if you wish to see the proof of my assertions.

Walter Brooks, Editor & Publisher