Monday, September 15, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

Have you seen that commercial on T.V. with all the toilet paper rolls rolling down the streets? The ad claims that there are enough of these rolls to fill the Empire State Building…twice…over a short period of time.

Well, they are probably right and I certainly go along with their solution of using the new product they offer—a tubeless roll of toilet paper. Are there more ways we can “go green” or reduce “our carbon footprint?” Those are popular terms we hear today and we’d better listen, because we are running out of room to dispose of all the stuff we don’t want anymore. We have become a society of consumers who with each generation becomes more of a throw-away society than the one before it.

Remember the Great Depression and World War II when we were savers instead of a society who despoiled the environment? In the 30s it became necessary to save and reuse everything you possibly could so that you could put food on the table and have a roof over your head. Waste Not, Want Not.

Our mothers saved things like string, rubber bands, and paper grocery bags. Oh, yes, paper bags and not those plastic non-biodegradable bags that now fill our landfills. For that matter, I never remember using plastic garbage bags at all. We had a big steel barrel next to the barn where we dumped our house trash. Of course at some point the powers that be decided that that practice was not all that sanitary, thus the use of those black bags.

We didn’t throw things away as much either. An appliance was meant to last for several years, not the average time today which I observe as being from two to five years at the most. My mother had her washing machine for over 20 years and it was still in good working order after that. The T.V. we had in the living room was the one and the only one we ever had. Same with the console radio we listened to the Long Ranger on. Waste Not, Want Not.

We didn’t throw away shoes or socks with holes in them either. Shoes were resoled and passed on to someone else when we outgrew them. My mother had a darning egg in her sewing kit which she used often to darn my father’s socks.

Yankee Traders and Yankee Savers

I in fact come from a long line of Yankee Traders and Yankee Savers to boot. Let me tell you a couple of stories to prove it. These stories may be family fables but they just as well could be true.

The first story concerns an uncle who had a pair of “Spruce Head” shoes, meaning that he only wore them in the summer while residing at the cottage there. I don’t think he ran around the clam flats in them but they probably were imbedded with spruce sprills eventually.

This uncle bought these shoes at what then was called Sears and Roebuck. Flash forward 20 years and the shoes are finally worn out. I don’t know if this practice is still in force but Sears and Roebuck at that time would accept any product back with a full refund if you were unsatisfied, no questions asked. Guess what? Yep, he took them back. He may have even had the receipt from 20 years previous, but he got his money back—no questions asked.

The second story concerns my grandfather. Even though he was not living in poverty at the time, he had some strange saving practices. If he went to a dinner at the Masons say, he would, in true Jack Benny style, fold his napkin up very carefully and put it in his pocket to be used at home later. What he used for a napkin while he was eating at the Masons is anyone’s guess. Waste Not, Want Not.

During WWII the country was united in their saving habits, saving things like newspaper and scrap metal. Most homes had a vegetable garden or “Victory Garden” so the troops could be fed easier overseas. We were also forced to save or use things sparingly like gasoline and sugar because we had to have a special coupon to buy our allotment of those things.

How did we go so far astray from our Waste Not, Want Not society? Why do we need a new IPhone every year? Why do we always need to have the very latest and greatest gadget?

I must mention hoarders here, like those you see on T.V. They go too far in their saving habits but they suffer from a mental disorder and could use our help in deciding what to keep and what to throw out so that they do not end up living under such unsanitary conditions.

A Slap on the Back to the Great State of Maine

I congratulate my State of Maine for being more environmentally conscious than some other states I’ve lived in, such as Georgia. My sister-in-law, Kay should get a special commendation for her recycling efforts. She recycles everything she possibly can to take over to the recycling place in Thomaston. She has a compost heap too.

Maine also has a generous return policy regarding plastic and glass bottles. In Georgia we have recycling sites to take stuff too—if you can find them. I think there may be two such places in all of Gwinnett County where I live, an area that would cover three or four counties in Mid-Coast Maine. The real kicker is that they pay you by the pound as far as bottles go, not by each individual bottle. Therefore you have to save bags and bags of the things to even make a few dollars. No one is going to bother with that. Living here in this apartment I have no room to save them and especially to keep them bug-free while I am saving them.

I do the best I can, but I know I can do better. I try to buy water bottles that use the least amount of plastic and which I can twist into a smaller piece when I throw it away. When I replace a big item such as a washer or dryer I always buy it from a store that will remove the old one and recycle the parts on it so it won’t go into a landfill somewhere. When I relocate to Maine, I will try to be more of a good citizen as far as recycling goes. I want Maine to stay as beautiful as it is for as long as possible.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

These three words should be our mantra today. There is a wonderful site online called “Green and Simple Living” which has wonderful suggestions for today’s throw-away society. You can find it at: Go there to see a discussion of how to create a better landfill; how you can practice the three R’s above; Low-impact Living; and other environmental topics.

Let’s all promise our children and grandchildren that we will leave them a world that is clean and environmentally safe for them to live in as they grow older.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Maine, New England,
 and Long Island Fall Foliage

Fall foliage trips are very popular in Maine and in New England, as well as in the Long Island, New York area. Of course Maine has the prettiest and brightest leaf-viewing available, however, everyone may not be able to get as far North as Maine to view the fall leaves.

Therefore, I will try to expand your horizons so to speak by updating the very popular September, 2012 blog on Maine foliage only.

Maine Foliage

For specific zones and forecasts for leaf change in Maine, go to:

(There is an inferior hyphen after the word fall.)

 This site has a wealth of information that will help you immensely in planning your Maine fall trip. Subjects covered include: The Weekly Foliage Report; trip ideas; Maine scenic byways; fall foliage hikes; and the best locations in their respective zones to view the best colors.

In the 2012 blog it was suggested by Gordon Page that the Maine Eastern Railroad in either direction is a great way to see the foliage you won’t see from Route 1. Check out their schedule. I believe it runs from Rockland to Brunswick.


This map from Yankee magazine gives you the New England picture as far as leaf change goes. As you can see, the leaves are still green. Keep this website:

in mind, however, to keep up on the progression of leaf change so that you may plan your fall foliage trip. This site also gives you an analysis of leaf change as well as the foliage forecast in case you’re interested in the scientific end of things.

Three Fall Foliage Destinations near Long Island, New York

If you are from out-of-state and can’t make it up to Maine this year, perhaps you could plan a trip to one of these great destinations which are all within easy driving distance to Long Island, New York.

For Fall foliage trips near Long Island, you might consider these choices from


While the Poconos of northeast Pennsylvania are the lowest-lying of the three areas, they still offer plenty of fall scenery, most of it readily accessible from I-80. Where the Poconos score highest, however, is in recreational opportunities, with an abundance of activities such as golf, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking and white-water rafting that just isn't possible on steeper slopes and in narrower valleys. And that's not to mention seasonal fairs, festivals and ongoing entertainment options.

Upwardly mobile

Towering 1,000 feet over the dramatic Delaware Water Gap on the Pennsylvania side is Mount Minsi. The 2-mile (each way) trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, begins in the Lake Lenape parking lot.

Walk in the woods

There are 8.5 miles of easy to moderate hiking trails in Big Pocono State Park (570-894-8336,, located atop 2,133-foot Camelback Mountain in Tannersville (free).

Ride the rails

Hourlong rides on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway (570-325-8485, cost $12 for adults, $9 for ages 3-12.


Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, 800-762-6667,

From the Throgs Neck Bridge to Camelback in the Poconos, about 2 hours.



With nearly 100 peaks over 3,000 feet, the Catskills are true mountains. Just about everywhere you go in the sparsely populated four-county area -- especially the 287,500-acre Catskill Forest Preserve -- yields a collage of yellows, oranges and reds.

Upwardly mobile

For continuous scenic views, it's hard to beat the moderate exertion, 7-mile round-trip to Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain. Trailhead on Rte. 47 south of Big Indian.

Hunter Mountain's Skyride (518-263-4223, is open weekends through Columbus Day. $11 adults, $7 ages 7-12. Hike another two miles to the fire tower.

Walk in the woods

It's an easy ¼-mile from the parking lot in North-South Lake State Park in Haines Falls (, entrance fee $10 per car) to the site of the original Catskill Mountain House (1824) with its five-state view.

Ride the rails

Catskill Mountain Railroad's (845-688-7400, 45-minute Fall Foliage trains leave from Mount Tremper station Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Sept. 26-Oct. 26; $14 adults, $8 ages 7-12.

Get adventurous

Bike the Catskills Scenic Trail (, a 26-mile rails-to-trail project in the Delaware River Valley. Rentals and shuttle service available at Plattekill Bike Park in Roxbury (607-326-3500,


Catskill Association for Tourism Services, 800-697-2287;

From the Throgs Neck Bridge to Woodstock in the Catskills, about 2 hours.



Smaller and less dramatic than their first cousins west of the Hudson, the Berkshires of western Massachusetts offer something both the Catskills and Poconos can't: authentic New England charm in the form of picturesque colonial-era towns, complete with graceful churches and expansive village greens; bucolic, centuries-old farms and orchards; and dozens of art and history museums, literary sites and grand, historic homes. They also feature more of the true stars of any premier fall fashion show: maples. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Berkshires can get quite crowded during the height of the fall foliage season and two-lane Route 7, the main north-south artery, downright congested.

Upwardly mobile

Massachusetts' highest peak, 4,391-foot Mount Greylock, affords magnificent 60-90 mile views in all directions. The 8-mile access road can be picked up off Route 7 in Lanesborough or off Route 2 in North Adams ($3 summit parking). You can also spend the night there at Bascom Lodge (413-743-1591,, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Jiminy Peak's Berkshire Express scenic chair lift in Hancock (413-738-5500, operates weekends though Columbus Day. $12 over 54 inches tall, $6, 38-53 inches)

Walk in the woods

Named by Pittsfield resident Herman Melville for its spectacular fall colors, October Mountain (413-243-1778, in Lee is the largest state forest and offers miles of hiking.

Get adventurous

Take a 20-minute scenic flight with Teamflys (413-862-9359, out of Harrison-West Airport in North Adams. $30-$69 per person.


Berkshires Visitors Bureau, 413-743-4500,

From the Whitestone Bridge to Stockbridge in the Berkshires, about 21/2 hours.

Plan Your Trip Now

Wherever you plan to travel on your fall foliage trip, start planning now while the leaves are still green. Once they start to turn you may or may not have a chance to see this seasonal phenomenon before they are all gone.

Some people view the fall as a sad time of year because of what follows when all the leaves have fallen and the trees are bare and exposed. I believe each season has its beauty. We should enjoy all of the seasons and what better place to do that than in New England, and especially in my beloved State of Maine.

Have a nice trip and thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

She Entered Laughing and Left us Laughing

From Hollywood Reporter

September 7, 2014—Temple Emanu-El, New York City
Today we buried a great comedienne, a greater friend, and an even greater humanitarian. They stood in line at the door to Temple Emanu-El in New York City to be checked off a long list of those who wished to pay their last respects to their friend and co-worker in many cases.
They came from Hollywood; from the theater; from the fashion world; from the world of stand-ups and TV talk shows. The paparazzi were out in force. It was the way Joan wanted it. She said, “I want an affair with lights, cameras, action and Hollywood all the way.”
In her long career she touched many lives and the people she encountered and became friends with were all there, from the young to the old. Howard Stern gave the eulogy; reminisces and tributes were given by Deborah Norville, close friend Margie Stern, Columnist Cindy Adams and Joan’s daughter, Melissa.
The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus sang Broadway hits and Audra McDonald sang “Smile.” Bagpipers from the New York City Police Department played on the streets.
Everyone came to say goodbye including Bernadette Peters, Tommy Tune, Clive Davis, designers Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors; Barbara Walters, Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee, Hoda Kotb, Kathy Griffin, Andy Cohen, Paul Shaffer, Donald Trump and Steve Forbes.
Joan was an example of how any woman can pull herself up by her bootstraps and start over, reinvent themselves. She reinvented herself several times in her career from stand-up comedienne; to late night talk show host; to a QVC dynamo; to doing Red Carpet commentary with her daughter, Melissa, to doing a show on fashion; and finally back to her stage show again in Vegas. She was also on stage, in film and a TV actress. She was never down for long and she was working full tilt at 81 till the day she died in August.
She also found time in her busy schedule to remember those who were less fortunate than she was. In lieu of flowers her friends were asked to make donations to her favorite charities—God’s Love, We Deliver, (which she was very much involved in--even delivering food at times); Guide Dogs for the Blind; or Our House.
Joan’s biggest fear was to own a blank appointment calendar. All the pages will be blank now-- except in heaven--which she probably entered laughing. Rest in Peace, dear Joan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sail, Power & Steam Museum



Larry Kaplan

September 13, 7:10 pm, $12

Belfast Bay Fiddlers

September 26, 7:30 pm

For reservations for all events call: