Tag Archives: New York Times

The One Country Where Bookstores are Not Crashing and Burning, and Why

Very interesting article from the New York Times, Sunday June 20th.

By Elaine Sciolino

The French Still Flock to Bookstores

PARIS — The French, as usual, insist on being different. As independent bookstores crash and burn in the United States and Britain, the book market in France is doing just fine. France boasts 2,500 bookstores, and for every neighborhood bookstore that closes, another seems to open. From 2003 to 2011 book sales in France increased by 6.5 percent.

Read the complete article here.

I especially wanted to share the conclusion of the article with GMG readers. What a great idea!

A 59-page study by the Culture Ministry in March made recommendations to delay the decline of print sales, including limiting rent increases for bookstores, emergency funds for booksellers from the book industry and increased cooperation between the industry and government.

“Running a bookstore is a combat sport,” the report concluded.

One tiny operation determined to preserve the printed book is Circul’livre.

On the third Sunday of every month this organization takes over a corner of the Rue des Martyrs south of Montmartre. A small band of retirees classify used books by subject and display them in open crates.

The books are not for sale. Customers just take as many books as they want as long as they adhere to an informal code of honor neither to sell nor destroy their bounty. They are encouraged to drop off their old books, a system that keeps the stock replenished.

“Books are living things,” said Andrée Le Faou, one of the volunteer organizers, as she hawked a three-volume biography of Henri IV. “They need to be respected, to be loved. We are giving them many lives.”

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HOT HOMEMADE PIZZA TIP!!!

Back in September I posted about a trip to visit my daughter in Brooklyn, and the extraordinary pizza place that she loves to go to, Roberta’s. Recently, the New York Times’s Sam Sifton wrote an article all about Roberta’s fabulous pizza titled “A Little Pizza Homework!!” 

Whether you are a lover of thin crust or thick crust pizza, I urge you give this recipe a whirl. Even though we don’t have a fancy wood-fired oven, the Margherita pizza was out-of-this-world delicious. On a good night, Robertas makes 25oo pizzas, and it’s no wonder when Roberta’s pizza czar Anthony Falco, thinks of the dough as his “baby.”

Sam Sifton writes, “Watching Mr. Falco encourage a mound of dough to become a pizza is entrancing. He starts with his fingertips, spreading the dough out from its center, gently, on a well-floured surface.

“It’s a living thing,” he said of the dough. “It’s your baby. You don’t want to beat it up.” He pushed down gently around the pie’s perimeter, creating the edge. He picked up the dough and lightly passed it back and forth between his palms, rotating it each time, using gravity to help it stretch. The top remained the top. The bottom remained the bottom. At approximately 12 inches in diameter, Mr. Falco called it ready to go. He slid the round back and forth on the floured surface to make sure it didn’t stick. “That is certified for topping,” he said.”

Find the fabulous Roberta’s Pizza Dough Recipe click here.

For video and complete article click here: Watch Anthony Falco Make Roberta’s Pizza Dough

Roberta’s Pizza Margherita Recipe here

 

Monarch Butterflies in Crisis

Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Graph Journey NorthEach winter, since I began photographing the Monarchs in 2006, I compare this graph from Journey North to the number of butterflies observed on Cape Ann. As you can clearly see, this is the worst year on record, which corresponds to the near complete lack of Monarchs in our region this past summer.

Monarchs Gloucester 2012 �Kim Smith
Monarch Butterflies Eastern Point Gloucester

Many thanks to Kathy Chapman and our GMG Readers for forwarding the following New York Times update about the shrinking Monarch Butterfly popluation.

By Michael Wines

January 29, 2014

Faltering under extreme weather and vanishing habitats, the yearly winter migration of monarch butterflies to a handful of forested Mexican mountains dwindled precipitously in December, continuing what scientists said was an increasingly alarming decline.

The migrating population has become so small — perhaps 35 million, experts guess — that the prospects of its rebounding to levels seen even five years ago are diminishing. At worst, scientists said, a migration widely called one of the world’s great natural spectacles is in danger of effectively vanishing.

The Mexican government and the World Wildlife Fund said at a news conference on Wednesday that the span of forest inhabited by the overwintering monarchs shrank last month to a bare 1.65 acres — the equivalent of about one and a quarter football fields. Not only was that a record low, but it was just 56 percent of last year’s total, which was itself a record low.

At their peak in 1996, the monarchs occupied nearly 45 acres of forest.

The acreage covered by monarchs, which has been surveyed annually since 1993, is a rough proxy for the actual number of butterflies that survive the arduous migration to and from the mountains.

Karen S. Oberhauser, a conservation biologist at the University of Minnesota who has studied monarchs for decades, called the latest estimate shocking.

“This is the third straight year of steep declines, which I think is really scary,” she said. “This phenomenon — both the phenomenon of their migration and the phenomenon of so many individuals doing it — that’s at risk.”

Continue Reading Here

Setting the Table for a Regal Butterfly Comeback, With Milkweed

Monarch Caterpillar Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2013Monarch Caterpillar Eating Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Foliage

Thank you GMG readers and Monarch Butterfly friends for forwarding the following article from the NY Times!

By Michael Wines

Published December 20th, 2013

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Bounding out of a silver Ford pickup into the single-digit wind-flogged flatness that is Iowa in December, Laura Jackson strode to a thicket of desiccated sticks and plucked a paisley-shaped prize.

It was a pod that, after a gentle squeeze, burst with chocolate brown buttons: seeds of milkweed, the favored — indeed, the only — food of the monarch butterfly caterpillar.

Once wild and common, milkweed has diminished as cropland expansion has drastically cut grasslands and conservation lands. Diminished too is the iconic monarch.

Dr. Jackson, a University of Northern Iowa biologist and director of its Tallgrass Prairie Center, is part of a growing effort to rescue the monarch. Her prairie center not only grows milkweed seeds for the state’s natural resources department, which spreads them in parks and other government lands, but has helped seed thousands of acres statewide with milkweed and other native plants in a broader effort to revive the flora and fauna that once blanketed more than four-fifths of the state.

Monarch Caterpillar milkweed -2 © Kim Smith 2012Monarch caterpillar hanging from a Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) leaf rib, in the characteristic J-shape, readying to pupate.

Nationwide, organizations are working to increase the monarchs’ flagging numbers. At the University of Minnesota, a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies called Monarch Joint Venture is funding research and conservation efforts. At the University of Kansas, Monarch Watch has enlisted supporters to create nearly 7,450 so-called way stations, milkweed-rich backyards and other feeding and breeding spots along migration routes on the East and West Coasts and the Midwest.

But it remains an uphill struggle. The number of monarchs that completed the largest and most arduous migration this fall, from the northern United States and Canada to a mountainside forest in Mexico, dropped precipitously, apparently to the lowest level yet recorded. In 2010 at the University of Northern Iowa, a summertime count in some 100 acres of prairie grasses and flowers turned up 176 monarchs; this year, there were 11.

Read the story here

The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear

Many, many readers have forwarded the following article from the New York Times, “The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear.” 

Female Monarch Egg Marsh Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2013JPGFemale Monarch Depositing an Egg

In the above photo, the female Monarch Butterfly is curling her abdomen around to the underside of the Marsh Milkweed plant. She chooses the most tender foliage toward the top of the plant on which to deposit her eggs.

Begin New York Times article, published November 22, 2013 ~

ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned.

This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.

“It does not look good,” said Lincoln P. Brower, a monarch expert at Sweet Briar College.

It is only the latest bad news about the dramatic decline of insect populations.

Another insect in serious trouble is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.

That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.

“There’s no question that the loss of habitat is huge,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, who has long warned of the perils of disappearing insects. “We notice the monarch and bees because they are iconic insects,” he said. “But what do you think is happening to everything else?”

A big part of it is the way the United States farms. As the price of corn has soared in recent years, driven by federal subsidies for biofuels, farmers have expanded their fields. That has meant plowing every scrap of earth that can grow a corn plant, including millions of acres of land once reserved in a federal program for conservation purposes.

Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it.

As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone. “The agricultural landscape has been sterilized,” said Dr. Brower.

The loss of bugs is no small matter. Insects help stitch together the web of life with essential services, breaking plants down into organic matter, for example, and dispersing seeds. They are a prime source of food for birds. Critically, some 80 percent of our food crops are pollinated by insects, primarily the 4,000 or so species of the flying dust mops called bees. “All of them are in trouble,” said Marla Spivak, a professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota.

Farm fields are not the only problem. Around the world people have replaced diverse natural habitat with the biological deserts that are roads, parking lots and bluegrass lawns. Meanwhile, the plants people choose for their yards are appealing for showy colors or shapes, not for their ecological role. Studies show that native oak trees in the mid-Atlantic states host as many as 537 species of caterpillars, which are important food for birds and other insects. Willows come in second with 456 species. Ginkgo, on the other hand, which is not native, supports three species, and zelkova, an exotic plant used to replace elm trees that died from disease, supports none. So the shelves are nearly bare for bugs and birds.

Native trees are not only grocery stores, but insect pharmacies as well. Trees and other plants have beneficial chemicals essential to the health of bugs. Some monarchs, when afflicted with parasites, seek out more toxic types of milkweed because they kill the parasites. Bees use medicinal resins from aspen and willow trees that are antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral, to line their nests and to fight infection and diseases. “Bees scrape off the resins from the leaves, which is kind of awesome, stick them on their back legs and take them home,” said Dr. Spivak.

Besides pesticides and lack of habitat, the other big problem bees face is disease. But these problems are not separate. “Say you have a bee with viruses,” and they are run-down, Dr. Spivak said. “And they are in a food desert and have to fly a long distance, and when you find food it has complicated neurotoxins and the immune system just goes ‘uh-uh.’ Or they become disoriented and can’t find their way home. It’s too many stressors all at once.”

There are numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to rebuilding native plant communities one sterile lawn and farm field at a time. Dr. Tallamy, a longtime evangelizer for native plants, and the author of one of the movement’s manuals, “Bringing Nature Home,” says it’s a cause everyone with a garden or yard can serve. And he says it needs to happen quickly to slow down the worsening crisis in biodiversity.

When the Florida Department of Transportation last year mowed down roadside wildflowers where monarch butterflies fed on their epic migratory journey, “there was a huge outcry,” said Eleanor Dietrich, a wildflower activist in Florida. So much so, transportation officials created a new policy that left critical insect habitat un-mowed.

That means reversing the hegemony of chemically green lawns. “If you’ve got just lawn grass, you’ve got nothing,” said Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society, a leading organization in insect conservation. “But as soon as you create a front yard wildflower meadow you go from an occasional honeybee to a lawn that might be full of 20 or 30 species of bees and butterflies and monarchs.”

First and foremost, said Dr. Tallamy, a home for bugs is a matter of food security. “If the bees were to truly disappear, we would lose 80 percent of the plants,” he said. “That is not an option. That’s a huge problem for mankind.”

Jim Robbins is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of “The Man Who Planted Trees.”
 *  *  *

My note about milkweeds ~

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the milkweed we see most typically growing in our dunes, meadows, roadsides, and fields. It grows quickly and spreads vigorously by underground runners. This is a great plant if you have an area of your garden that you want to devote entirely to milkweed. It prefers full sun, will tolerate some shade, and will grow in nearly any type of soil. The flowers are dusty mauve pink and have a wonderful honey-hay sweet scent.

Marsh Milkweed (Aclepias incarnata) is more commonly found in marshy areas, but it grows beautifully in gardens. It does not care for dry conditions. These plants are very well-behaved and are more clump forming, rather than spreading by underground roots. The flowers are typically a brighter pink than Common Milkweed.

New York Times Starts a Lobster Crawl in Gloucester

With most of “the news that’s fit to print” revolving around SSS and politics, it would have been easy to miss this gem about Lobster in the New York Times this week.

So for all of you who did miss it, we thought you’d like to know that  a deliciously written  article by New York Times reporter Glenn Collins entitled Lobster Crawl from Massachusetts to Maine, begins at Gloucester’s own Bass Rocks Ocean Inn.  Check out this excerpt:

Our first stop was Gloucester, Mass., where, after an afternoon arrival, we left the soothing surge of the breakers outside our room at the Bass Rocks Ocean Inn …

Congratulations to Tracey Muller.  Thanks for hosting the kind of travel writer we need to see more of.  And thanks for helping to put Gloucester on the map (as Joey would say #Boom, you did it)

GMG Ahead Of The Curve, Natch

The New Your Times Posts an article yesterday-

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A Different Poll Question: Who Do You Think Will Win?

By DAVID LEONHARDT
Published: November 1, 2012

In the tight 2004 campaign, the polls that asked Americans which candidate they supported — all the way up to the exit polls — told a confusing story about whether President George W. Bush or Senator John Kerry would win.

But another kind of polling question, which received far less attention, produced a clearer result: Regardless of whom they supported, which candidate did people expect to win? Americans consistently, and correctly, said that they thought Mr. Bush would.

Click here for the whole story


Yeah, as usual we’re 2 days to a week ahead of traditional media.  The GMG poll posted on October 28th.  It’s just what we do, who we are- out in front baby.

The First Official GMG Presidential Poll Romney vs Obama Who Ya Got For the Win?

Posted on October 28, 2012 by Joey C

Comments will not be approved on this post.  It’s strictly a poll.

We will see how accurately the GMG viewing audience can predict the next Presidential election.

Thanks Marty for forwarding the link to The New York Times piece.

The New York Times, just the latest to ride our coat tails. Winking smile

New York Times Features Gloucester’s Hopper Houses

John McElhenny Forwards this Article In The NY Times-

The Original Hoppers

To New Yorkers, Edward Hopper is likely to evoke visions of moody nighttime urban scenes. But the painter created some of his most famous work in the bright seaside town of Gloucester, Mass., on Cape Ann, where he spent time in the 1920s. The photographer Gail Albert Halaban has been locating the original houses in Hopper’s paintings there and taking pictures of them as they look today. Greta Bagshaw, whose husband’s family has owned the ‘‘Mansard Roof ’’ since 1962, is accustomed to the attention. ‘‘Not infrequently we’ve seen people who set up easels in our backyard to paint it,’’ Bagshaw says. ‘‘We know it’s time to put up the awnings each year when we’re eating on the porch and we turn around and see a big tour group watching us eat dinner.’’

Julie Bosman

Click below for slide show and article-

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Joey Ciaramitaro, a blogger from Gloucester, Mass., called it “ridiculously disfigured” and “horribly disproportionate.”

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Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

New York Times, Front Page.  It’s What We Do.

Click here for the entire story

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Excerpt-

When Jonesport joined Beals to make a lobster trap tree on the island for the first time last year — it was 56 feet tall — Joey Ciaramitaro, a blogger from Gloucester, Mass., called it “ridiculously disfigured” and “horribly disproportionate.”

Mr. Ciaramitaro said he preferred his hometown’s tree, which stands about 35 feet, illuminating a plaza in the fishing city’s downtown. Each year, a local arts group invites children to decorate buoys as ornaments, which are auctioned off to raise money for the group. There are 353 on the tree this year.

“I think ours has a lot more soul in it than the other trees,” Mr. Ciaramitaro said. “It’s not just a bunch of traps all stacked up.”

Gloucester is believed to have started the tradition of the large lobster trap tree when it built its first one in 2001. Janice Lufkin Shea, who was a Gloucester shopkeeper at the time, was frustrated that Main Street had no holiday display. She saw a tiny lobster trap tree in someone’s yard and thought a bigger version would be perfect for downtown.

Legend has it that when people in Rockland, Me., learned of it, they decided they had to have one, too.

Click here for the rest of the story at The New York Times Website

I mean was there ever any question?  Last year’s fair and balanced poll proved out the numbers without a shadow of a doubt- the Gloucester Lobster Trap Tree Is Clearly the Most Beautiful.   Especially when you factor in the love and care from Art Haven and 353 sweet children who pulled together to adorn our tree with community messages and incredible art work.  You see, Gloucester isn’t just one dimensional.  Sure we have a great fishing community but it is so much more.  The Arts, The Food Scene, The Literary Scene, we’re not just a one dimensional fishing town.  We’ve got it all!

The Gloucester Lobster Trap Tree Has Been Constructed and Adorned With Buoys Hand Painted With Love and Special Messages Of Peace, Joy and Hope By The Children Of Gloucester.  And then there are the sterile generic boring trees erected by prisoners of the Maine criminal system who have been incarcerated for unspeakable crimes against the elderly and sick and destitute.

We’ve Got God On Our Side.  The Results Of The Poll Were Inevitable.

The numbers don’t lie, here’s the poll-

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Nice That The Bean’s Buoy Was Featured In The Article-

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Here’s the Bean painting her buoy last week at Art Haven-

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Recollections of Rockport in the New York Times

From the March 24th edition of the New York Times:

When Rockport Was My Own

 

Pamela Baker

The Bakers’ home, left, and Main Street, right, presided over by a church that residents call the Old Sloop.

By KEVIN BAKER
Published: March 23, 2011

I GREW up in a small town called Rockport, on the North Shore of Massachusetts, home to no more than 5,000 people when we first moved there, and dear to those who know it. It is a place of rugged natural beauty: a shore of granite outcroppings that jut into a cold blue sea, a movie set of a New England village with streets full of small shops and not a traffic light in the town.

My mother was so happy when we moved there from New Jersey that she used to make up songs about it and sing them as she literally skipped down to the ocean. It was a place she would always love more than anywhere else on earth, and it was easy to see why. For most of my childhood we lived, very cheaply, in a two-story, wood-frame house, with a yard full of trees and a wood behind us. We ate wild blackberries straight from the bushes that grew along the edge of our backyard, spent the summers swimming in abandoned granite quarries and skated over their black-green depths in the winter.

The town was almost unbelievable in its innocence, its sweetness. Rockport Junior-Senior High School, with 250 students, was too small to have any serious cliques and divisions; the same kids starred on the basketball team and in the school play. There weren’t even any locks on the lockers; no one ever thought to put them there. Little League games weren’t laden with adult expectations. Our champion Pigeon Cove Red Sox were coached by a couple of hippie-ish high school kids who piled us all into their old wrecks after each game to getice cream.

For the rest of the article click here to go to the New York Times website

Kevin Baker is the author of the novels “Dreamland,” “Paradise Alley” and “Strivers Row.”

The author, second from left, at his boyhood home in Rockport, Mass.
Pamela Baker

Rockport’s stony shore.

The author, far left, next to his mother and two sisters. His father is at far right with two other relatives.

Pamela Baker

Motif No. 1, a fishing shack famed as an artists’ subject.