Author Archives: Paul Morrison

Mikey Wins Plastic Head on Small Animal Photo Contest!

Mandy Leone Moffett on behalf of her son Mikey submitted three photos of “Squirrel With Plastic Horse Head”.

Contest rules here.

hungry squirrel acting like a horse's patoity

That is an actual Cape Ann Grey Squirrel wearing a plastic horse head. No details but I have a feeling there is some Gloucester Market Basket Jiff Peanut Butter inside that squirrel head.

sq2

Maybe some peanuts over here.

sq3

Smuckers Grape jam would be nice. With a name like Smuckers, it’s got to be good for a squirrel.

Contest rules state that entries had to be photographed in March and sent in on April 1st. So Mikey wins first second and third place. That makes three Rubber Ducks which Mikey can pick up down at Joey’s Dock or at the next GMG Mug Up.

If there are any late entries there might be consolation prizes.

Well played Mikey, well played.

Seasonal Opening Part III: Rubber Duck filling out her dance card

As you’re pumping out the basement of your restaurant today, washing the lobster bibs, and shining up the nutcrackers make sure you refresh your website and Facebook page. Better yet, send an invite for opening day to all the people who really “liked” you.

Top Dog with a bit a snow

They shoveled out the entrance. Come on down!

Top Dog of Rockport opened yesterday. Hot Chihuahua in the rain?
Red Sox Opening Day in Baltimore Monday March 31.
Topside Grill Tuesday April 1.
Lobster Pool in Folly Cove: Friday, April 4 then weekends rest of April
Red Sox Home Opener next Friday April 5.
Captain Carlos Thursday April 10. Their COUNTDOWN on the right is just weird.
The Rudder Thursday April 10 5 PM
Lobstaland Friday April 11.
Goose Cove Gardens two weeks April 12.
Cape Ann Wale Watch first trip: Saturday, 1:30 PM April 19
Marshall’s Farmstand the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend May 23. Get a farmer Bob card and save.
The Cupboard, around the same time as Marshall’s.
First GMG MugUp at the Madfish Pier. EJ?

More Spinning

Faster Fido Faster!

If you see me on a beach this weekend with a stick, an iPhone, and my dog Stella, it will be because I am trying to replicate this gif. I may even attach Rubber Duck to the end of the stick but I might have to wrap the end with some ham or roast beef. If Stella does not cooperate I will then attach Cheetos and try to get some Homies in on the act. If you think you can do better, go for it. Nichole could go out on the Blackburn Rotary and circle a few times but she should let a passenger handle the stick and meat products. If you have read this whole thing the dog has gone around at least six times. Are you dizzy yet? Doesn’t it look like Good Harbor Beach? I promise to pick up after my dog. -Paul Morrison and Rubber Duck

 

Woods Hole Pulls Ahead in Social Media

Just received my invite to the Opening of the Landfall in Woods Hole on April 4th. CLICK. now before you call me a traitor to Cape Ann, let me explain. I grew up in Woods Hole so when I am bored I “Like” the places there in Facebook. Same with Gloucester and Rockport.

So my question to the places opening on Cape Ann in the next few weeks, WHERE IS MY INVITE?? Donnie Estes and the Estes family have done an amazing job over the years making the Landfall the place to be on opening night in Woods Hole. It’s the start of the season.  The starting gun for the Knockabouts is just around the corner.

Come on Cape Ann restaurants, I have liked your pages, now send the invites out. If you still have “Thanks for a Great Season, See you in the Spring” on your website and social media I guess you are going for the semi-soft opening, and you don’t really want the place packed.

landfall

If you don’t like semi-soft, email Joey and he will show you how to stiffen things up. It’s easy.

Seasonal Openings 2014; Part I

I got all tingly just typing that. “Seasonal Openings“. OMG these polar vortexes can kiss my ass this winter is almost over. The forsythia will bloom and next week you can scrape some hard ground and plant some peas on Saint Patrick’s because, well just because. And it’s lucky.

Seasonal Openings! BearskinNeck.net posted on Facebook this morning this photo:bluelobster

Rubber Duck will be visiting Blue Lobster Grille for the first time on Sunday. Dock Square in Rockport. It used to be the Greenery which used to be the only place you could get WiFi in Rockport back in 2008. ( I drove over there and parked out front to read my email on my laptop in the morning.)

Rubber Duck QuickTips to Restaurants on the island: Send in your opening dates. Part II Seasonal Openings will be sent out within a couple of weeks announcing all of the April Fools Day openings. Another quicktip: Update your websites! I do not have a link here to the lovely Blue Lobster Grille website because it still says, “Closed For The Season, Thank you for a wonderful season.  See you in the spring!”. What?  They are not alone. I could list dozens of websites that still say that. Even if you aren’t open yet people are dying for a sign of spring. Post the date you are opening in BIG LETTERS IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR FRONT PAGE! On your website, your facebook page, your forehead. It’s Marketing 101, gin up interest, post entries on your facebook page with a countdown or a sign. I need a sign.

Go check out the Lobsta Land Facebook Page. That’s what I’m talking about.

It is 2014. Even Grandma uses the google, the Facebook, to find a place to eat.

Places to eat on Cape Ann

Quarrying Walking So-So Today

A test walk on some quarry trails. Right now most trails are 60% covered with lumpy hard ice especially where feet have walked through it and it has a light coating of new snow. So unless you walk like a constipated penguin or you are wearing Korkers you may be sitting on your ass.

quarry22

The frozen waterfalls are about a 3 on a scale of one to ten. Pretty cool and maybe if you got them in a nice morning light but right now so-so. In a week or so the trails will be impassable mud. A new layer of snow to ski on or another polar vortex would liven them up but who wants that? I might wait until there is witch hazel blooming. In fact there is some witch hazel blooming in the backyard and the forsythia I cut last week is blooming like crazy in the kitchen!

It would be jumping the gun to cut the wrap off the boat but a few weeks more and who knows? I still plan on planting  peas on Saint Patrick’s even if I have to shovel snow. As traditional as bootin’ green beer!

Send in your April 1 Restaurant openings. Publishing them is the only way to drive the evil polar vortex away.

Rubber Duck Quick Tip: Macintosh Photos

Now that even PCMag has selected the Apple Macintosh Operating System as Editor’s Choice, best OS for desktop and laptop the questions about how I do stuff on the Mac is increasing. But I am the worst person to ask. I’ve been using Macs since 1984 so my brain is stuck using methods from all the older programs with all the glitches and work arounds that I keep on using because my brain can’t handle new.

So when someone asks me how to manipulate a photo, I run through my list. iPhoto to resize, change color, Pixelmator to erase background, Photoshop when I want to tilt or animate. But then a Mac Group I belong to points out that most all of that can be done using “Preview”.

Is this how you find out what makes me tick Homie?

Rubber Duck and Homie on their Honeymoon. It went downhill after that.

What? Preview, the tiny built in Mac program that fires up when you double-click on a photo? I thought you could only … Preview a photo. But no, with MacOS X 10.9.2 Mavericks, Preview has added even more easy tricks. 99% of what I want to do with a photo can be done in Preview. I just need to fire it up and look at the menu, “Tools” especially.

Look at all the stuff you can do without actually running a big photo program! Adjust the color and tint, get Info on size, crop to your hearts content and it even tells you while doing so how many pixels so cropping to that 81×81 sized avatar is now simple. “Export” to any file format and done. This touches on only a few tools and tricks inside Preview. Go double-click on a photo and check out every menu item. You might find like I did that you are wasting time using humongous programs and complicated tricks when the Newbie who just bought their first Mac yesterday is way ahead of you.

ps. The text bubbles I did in Preview too! I created the set-up seen here and used “Grab” in timed screen mode so that my crop was visible. Grab is another program that comes with your Mac. What an easy way to grab a Rubber Duck’s head and stick it on a squirrel’s body but that is another post entirely.

pps. One actual photo tip (if you’re still reading this) from an actual photographer That would not be me): when adjusting contrast, shadow, highlights, you can really mess a photo up. The trick to make it simple:

1) Turn saturation to zero, leftmost. That turns off color.

2) Now go ahead with contrast, exposure, shadow, highlights to get the photo to pop in Black and White.

3) Now go back to saturation and bring color back up, then check the tint.  Works for me because otherwise I have no idea what I’m doing and my duck ends up orange with red lipstick applied by Picasso.

can you see her?

Still Life With Rubber Duck

4th Annual Spring Good Morning Gloucester Photo Contest

sillysquirrels

What are you looking at?                                                                   You got a problem?

OK, now that you have looked at these squirrels the photo contest rules write themselves.

1) Photo must be taken in the month of March, 2014 within Essex county.
2) All submissions become the property of GMG blah blah blah legal mumbo jumbo Joey can repost them forever etc.

Well what else? The rules are wide open. Obviously the photo must contain a small woodland creature (or pet) with something weird stuck on their heads. For example, If you take an old child’s toy, say a plastic horse or cow, bunny, monkey, baby, Spiderman, Cabbage Patch doll, and cut the head off, stuff some peanut butter, peanuts, lard, cat food, into the hollow head and string it up with fishing line next to your bird feeder you might walk away the winner.

Send all photos to GMG somehow (leave a comment on this post) or email to paul_morrison@dfci.harvard.edu with subject line “GMG photo contest”.

Judging will be done by a completely biased set of judges on or around April Fools Day. There will be prizes awarded in many categories. Most original, best “squirrel horse”, best “Arrogant Squirrel”, best “Embarrassed Squirrel”, best “rare species”, best “pet caught in the act”, best photo not taken in Essex County. A caption may help the judges decide but not necessary. Sometimes words get in the way of telling a good story. If you create a lobster squirrel does anything really need to be said?

Any photo deemed to have caused harm to any creature will be disqualified. If someone were to go to Horse Head Squirrel Feeder and purchase an official Horse Head Squirrel Feeder you may have a lock on first place in some category.

Collaborations are encouraged. If you have made a dozen heads of various plastic animals and you now have a clutch of squirrels trained to look goofy in your backyard but you do not have a long lens there are many professional GMG photographers with the proper equipment who will come over to your house and shoot your squirrels. The usual split is 30% of the winnings go to the photographer.

Squirrel photo posted by Trev Warth on Google Plus and the photo was taken by Zielinski Photography all rights probably reserved. 

New England Boat Show: Dazed and Confused

Wow, what an unbelievable amount of boat stuff all in one place. If you put all these boats in the water the ocean level would rise at least a few inches.

J&L Marine. The J and the L were way too busy actually working so Rubber Duck manned the booth.

J&L Marine. The J and the L were way too busy actually working so Rubber Duck manned the booth.

tobin

Tobin Dominick showed the Rubber Duck around the Cape Ann Marina booths. The consummate professional Tobin is not about to burst out laughing.

Cape Ann Marina has just way too much cool stuff going on. If you have not had breakfast at the Mile Marker Restaurant lately, order one of the Eggs Benedict and don’t forget the home fries. (Menu here.) These are not your ordinary home fries. They do some kind of magical double cooking of them so they are soft on the inside and crunchy but not greasy on the outside. I could just eat them alone for breakfast but their Benedict sauce has just the right amount of creamy goodness, and their crab cakes … oh wait, they also have a pretty nice marina, swimming pool (buy a punch card!), and they’ll fix your engine. You have to click through their entire web page and dream about summer.

Anyway, why did I label this post New England Boat Show: Dazed and Confused? Find out by clicking more below:

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New England Boat Show Starts Right Now! Feb 22 to Mar 2

This morning 10AM the official start of spring in New England! Type in 415 Summer St, Boston into your GPS and get over to the BCEC right now! Go smell the fresh fiberglass of powerboats, sailboats, shiny stainless steel accessories and marine electronics. You know you need a new anchor, new LED lights, new fishing lure, new depth gauge, new side scan sonar, new boat gizmo of some kind!.

New England Boat Show website. Cape Ann is represented at the boat show. Rubber Duck has a quick tip. Go straight there and buy tickets at the door. The one thing you want to bring is a floor map (click here). Before you go just find all the booths you do not want to miss and circle them. It’s a big show so you might miss something.

Rubber Duck has circled: Brown’s Yacht Yard booths 1850 & 1852, Cape Ann Marina booths 221 & 223, J & L Welding & Machine booth 150. One more link: Jeff Amero of J & L saves his best photos for his Facebook page here where he posts works of art in aluminum.

Rubber Duck will be going Monday from 1 to 4 PM. Patrick Star will be there next Saturday March 1 from noon to 3PM. Bring your camera!

patrickstarmarch1

Saturdays,  February 22 & March 1,  10am–8pm
Sunday,      February 23,                  11am–6pm
Monday thru Friday,                          1pm–9pm
Sunday       March 2                        11am–5:30pm

Screw That Rat Punxsutawney

Punxatawney Phil six more weeks of winter blah blah blah if you plan your life around a rat in Pensyltucky I got news for you. The rat is only right 41% of the time since 1987.

02022014sunrise

2/2/2014, 7:09AM iPhone 5s, Chapin’s Gully, Dry Salvages with the Breakwater exposed at low tide showing the Straightsmouth flank if you click in a few times.

Now go outside this lovely morning on Cape Ann and check it out. After a Polar Vortex or three the morning seems balmy. And the sunrise over the Rockport Breakwater was lovely.

Rubber Duck has called it: Winter is over. Let’s start scraping, buy some bottom paint, maybe some deadly dick lures to catch an early mackerel.

GMG Hard Core Dog Farting

Joey’s sick post about a deer farting got me to thinking and so I loaded up Stella with some beans.

smalldogCould I get this cute dog to rip off a full beaner? Well if you are over 13, click the more button button below. Don’t be eating your lunch. Go ahead. I am learning how to use the “more” button. I promise there are no rubber ducks involved.

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Tonight is “Meet The Coywolf” 8PM on PBS

Meet The Coywolf on PBS Tonight at 8 PM.  Find out where all that howling at the moon on Cape Ann is coming from.

sixweekcoywolf

Six Week Old Coywolf.

The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a remarkable new hybrid carnivore that is taking over territories once roamed by wolves and slipping unnoticed into our cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. Beginning in Canada but by no means ending there, the story of how it came to be is an extraordinary tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. Tag along as scientists study this new top predator, tracking it from the wilderness of Ontario’s Algonquin Park, through parking lots, alleys and backyards in Toronto all the way to the streets of New York City. -PBS

In 56 minutes I doubt they will even scratch the surface of the interesting parts. If they say “evolution” more than twice, “mitochondrial DNA sequencing” even once, I will eat my lab coat. But it is the Nature show on PBS and they might be even handed about the subject and they might even spice it up with some real science from real scientists instead of “scientists say …”

[edit] Looking for coywolf cameltoe to toughen up this post and there is no Rubber Duck at all. She has locked herself in her room crying.

CryingRubberDuck

Weird?

2 Days Until “Meet The Coywolf” on PBS

Meet The Coywolf on PBS This Wednesday, January 22, at 8.00 PM.  Find out where all that howling at the moon on Cape Ann is coming from.

sixweekcoywolf

Six Week Old Coywolf.

The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a remarkable new hybrid carnivore that is taking over territories once roamed by wolves and slipping unnoticed into our cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. Beginning in Canada but by no means ending there, the story of how it came to be is an extraordinary tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. Tag along as scientists study this new top predator, tracking it from the wilderness of Ontario’s Algonquin Park, through parking lots, alleys and backyards in Toronto all the way to the streets of New York City. -PBS

Rambling Endicott, Cordage, Social Media, The Hook

(Click video and read my four minute post.)

Every time I drive past the Endicott exit on Route 128 on the way to Cape Ann this song by Kid Creole and the Coconuts runs through my brain. So much so that most times I have to annoy passengers (even Stella) by singing the chorus badly.  But now, a new twist. On Friday, I turn off on Endicott and go to West Marine. Why? Because they send me an email on Thursday telling me what is for sale. Last week, 50% off boat hooks! This week, 40% off cordage!

The Point: If I had a shop on Cape Ann that wanted to pull me in every week and lighten my wallet, send me an email! Or Refresh your Facebook Page with a Special every week. If it’s a good special people will “Like” your page. If Three Lanterns had a special, “Fishing Lures 30% off this Saturday only!” I would be there. If it’s a special on Rubber Ducks, I’ll post it here!

The Pointless: I bet that if you listened to that whole song, it’s less than four minutes long, you would sing along with Kid Creole too as you drove onto the Cape. It never fails to put me into a Tragabigzanda state of mind.

I’ll never be, I’ll never be, Endicott! Drives Sue and the dog crazy. LYRICS HERE! There will be a test.

exposedduck

A post without a duck? Not a chance. Here is a slightly over exposed rubber duck waiting for sunrise.

Sun Puked! Hits Fan in the Morning!

The sun has been carrying a blotch of sunspots for the past week and she finally tossed her cookies. A Coronal Mass Ejection shot out on January 7 and it will slam into the earth tomorrow, 4 AM Cape Ann time.

Who cares? Well, you likely will not notice it unless you pull on the woolens and get out there between 4 and 5 AM in the morning tomorrow and look north from as dark a place as possible. It is possible that as the CME slams into the Van Allen Belt we will get some northern lights all the way down to our latitude. (Lat43, like the bar.)

News of the X-flare here.

auradora

It might look like this except that cabin is the fish shack at Lanes Cove.

[edit 01/09/2014] Aurora show was a dud last night. The Kp value never rose above 3. At Lat 43 We need a Kp of at least 7 to get a decent aurora. If you saw something last night I’ll have what you’re smoking.

BREAKING NEWS: Sun Puke was slow in getting here!

Today (Thursday), additional material associated with that explosion on the sun is expected to hit Earth. Its arrival is actually a little bit later than what was anticipated. A strong geomagnetic storm is now expected to continue tonight into Friday morning. This will give us another and perhaps better opportunity to see the Northern Lights.

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