Showing posts from August, 2010

Tipping and ripping the cap

A belated tip of the cap to this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductees. I know the NFL and NBA Halls had their 2010 inductions more recently, and an eventual nodding of the helmets to the former may follow. It’s just that a recent conversation prompted this post.

In this era of free agency, the need for players to don one team’s cap over another when their plaque is created seems to be something of a relic, especially when a player has left an indelible mark on multiple teams. Even if the bulk of his career or prime numbers rest mainly with one team, should that team be solely associated with that player when he gave another some great years? Conversely, if, say, a contract or personal quarrel leaves bad blood between a player and the team where his HOF numbers were earned, should that player have the right to select some team where he had less impact?

Admittedly, most inductees do lean to one team or another in terms of career dominance, and Wikipedia, under the "Players with m…

Moose, part deuce

Seeing moose on my first trip to northern New Hampshire didn’t make me think “ok, been there, done that”. No, I wanted to go back. The whole trip was my speed—the camping, the hiking, the fresh air, the scenery in general, the practicing of outdoor photography skills, and, of course those magnificent animals. Aside from the moose, the other things mentioned were doable nearby.

What triggered my fascination with moose, though, escapes me. After seeing so much wildlife on trips through the Rockies, I suppose the bull moose did become something of a checklist item. A common misconception pegged me a “Northern Exposure” fan, but my only Hollywood association with moose is that great scene from “Shoot to Kill”, when Sidney Poitier’s city-dwelling character opens his cabin door and finds one at the entrance. Outdoor and wildlife photography magazines and books certainly featured captivating pictures of these beasts, and I think were prime motivators in that I was eager to replicate some of …

Passing from Maine to Canada

I still have a few adventures with moose to tell, but I want to follow up on my previous post about the dreaded Canadian border crossing. A fear I developed of Customs was erased by a perfectly easy time when returning to the US from a trip to Norway. I figured what had happened to me when crossing from Quebec into Maine was a fluke.

So, in 1997, I took a driving trip through the Canadian Maritimes. My itinerary started with me driving up to Portland, Maine, spending the afternoon there, and then catching a ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, later than evening. I’ll note quickly that I had driven through Portland a few times, but this was my first time wandering the downtown area. Like other smaller cities along the coast, I found Portland thoroughly likable. Anyway, after a nice afternoon I drove to the docks to catch the late night ferry.

Among the first to arrive in the boarding area, my car was at the front of one of several long rows of cars. In front of the cars was the waiting are…

Moose watching too close to the border

I recently posted about my 1993 moose spotting trip in very northern New Hampshire. On a subsequent trip in the mid 1990s, I picked up the book Maine Moose Watcher’s Guide to get some ideas for additional, err, moose watching locales. From Moose Alley outside of Pittsburg, NH, it seemed like the easiest way to get to some of the cited areas was by driving a short distance into Canada, heading a short distance east, and crossing south into Maine. I decided to give it a try.

I had no trouble exiting the country. Crossing back into the country at a small northwestern Maine junction is where things got interesting.

It was a nice day, so I was driving with my moon roof open. As I slowed up to their gate, a Customs agent approached me on the passenger side of the car. I started to roll down the window, but he leaned over and looked down at me through the roof. He simply offered some civility and followed it up with this question: “Are you carrying more than $10,000 in money or possessions?…

Aunt Gertrude

A weekend visit with my father had me return with another armful of envelopes loaded with an amazing pictorial history of his mom’s side of the family. I’ve been scrutinizing such pictures by the hundreds these past few months. With the previous ones, it was just nice to see and share old family pictures that I had not seen in years, not since really diving into family history. I could tell from those, however, that there was a gap: they mostly skipped from the late 1930s right to 1950. The pictures I took home this weekend filled in that gap. More surprising, though, the number of pictures I had predating the 1930s was now greatly increased.

Included are a few of my grandmother as a teenager (younger than I ever recall seeing her), a bunch more of her parents, and many, many more of all of her brothers and sisters. Except for one.

I probably had only met my Aunt Gertrude a few times before 2000. She lived in the southern end of New Jersey, and visits between the families just didn’t…

Changing months

A few months ago, I wrote about the appeal of living in a four-season spot such as the Hudson Valley. I explained that things like the imminent baseball season and the awakening yard were pleasant evidence of the transition from winter to spring, and suggested that each season brings its own welcome change.

Then came this sweltering summer, with the second hottest July ever flipping over to an August that is already continuing that trend. It would seem more effort is needed to find the appeal of this season. Or maybe not: As I was looking at an August schedule, the iPod shuffled to Tom Waits’ “Broken Bicycles”, and the line “September's reminding July/It's time to be saying goodbye” caught me, launching me into this post.

We’re in the dog days of summer for sure, but then again NFL training camps are open! Helmets are on, and two-a-days are taking place up in Albany (Go Big Blue!) and elsewhere. Plus, August means something else in the Hudson Valley. The month is bookended by th…