Gloucester to Boston skyline Niles Beach sunset -3With the frigid front moving in, last night’s sunset from Niles Beach revealed a crystal clear view to the Boston skyline. The warm hues in the photo are deceptive; a biting wind was whipping about. Peach met violet in the low hanging clouds and I thought the whole scene looked like a modern impressionist’s painting. 

Gloucester to Boston skyline Niles Beach sunset -2JPG

Gloucester to Boston skyline Niles Beach sunset Skyline from Niles Beach


30Mute Swans and Cygnet, Henry’s Pond Rockport

Mute Swans typically bond for the life of both members of the pair. If one is killed or dies, the other will usually take a second mate. Mute Swans engage in an intimate courtship dance. The cob (male) will often begin by pulling up nearby twigs (perhaps to show he is a good nest-builder). The pair next bobs their heads together, stretching and intertwining their necks alongside and opposite to each other in a beautiful synchronized ballet.

More Images of “Cold”

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
Hal Borland

Photo by Jeanne Blake


Sea smoke and Thatcher’s Island.


Photos by Anita Dziedzic



These pictures are taken in my backyard in East Hartford, CT. I have a weather station on the pole to the right by the garden and it is reading -23. Brrrrrr

My dog, Ozzy, didn’t waste any time doing his thing this morning.


Photo by Shannon O’Donoghue


Cold at Cox Reservation


Photos by  Vicki Gamage




Frozen Rockport Harbor


Photos by Lou Snitkoff



Greetings from Albany, NY. Here are a couple of images from Cape Ann (Lane’s Cove and Bearskin Neck) from late February last year. Cheers!


Photo by John Wheeler


Cold Duck

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.


A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.


William Shakespeare helped romanticize Valentine’s Day in his work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe.

Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas

Shakespeare In Love

As the years went on, the holiday grew sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Handmade paper cards became the tokens-du-jour in the Middle Ages.

Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.

Today, the holiday is big business: According to market research firm IBIS World, Valentine’s Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year; this year’s sales are expected to total $18.6 billion.

But that commercialization has spoiled the day for many. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says we have only ourselves to blame.

“This isn’t a command performance,” she says. “If people didn’t want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business.”

And so the celebration of Valentine’s Day goes on, in varied ways. Many will break the bank buying jewelry and flowers for their beloveds. Others will celebrate in a SAD (that’s Single Awareness Day) way, dining alone and binging on self-gifted chocolates. A few may even be spending this day the same way the early Romans did. But let’s not go there.


Rubber Duck Hears Her Echo!

Rubber Duck! Get off that ice or your next port o’ call is Portugal!
Where did Kiwi Cow go? RD: “Last I saw her she was huffing on the car defrost.”
RD: “My Limbago is kicking up can we go back to the car now?”
RD: “You see that sea smoke heading to Spain? That means the hike back to the car is into the wind!”
RD: “Where is my helmet?”
This was running water three days ago? Polar Vortex? We used to call it a “Cold Snap”.
“Can you see the moon RD? RD: “I can hear my ass crack in two under the arch and I did hear an echo. Home James, to the Superglue!”

To all the people (Skip Montello et al) who got up at the crispy crack of dawn (see what I did there?) and took photos of the sea smoke when it was wild and crazy I thank you. Better you than me and you take better photos anyway. Find them on Facebook in “Rockport Stuff”. Skip takes some of them in Infrared which are mind boggling.

nb. There is an old wive’s tale about the noise a duck makes, the quack, does not echo. Glad we cleared that nonsense up.

The Essex River Cultural District is please to announce the first Group Exhibition


The Essex River Cultural District is please to announce the first Group Exhibition as part of the Artists in the Shipyard Program. The program brings working artists and students to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum for creative pursuits. The exhibit will take place from February 11th to the 16th, 10 AM – 5 PM at 66 Main St. Essex, MA. The opening is on February 12 from 6 to 8 PM. The artists participating include Alison Taylor, Charlie Carrol, Barbara Donnelly, Connie Sweet, Kristen Wilson, Katherine Richmond, Lynn Havinghurst and Jay Havinghurst. The program is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the Essex Merchants Group. For more information email: or phone: 978-768-6441, or visit:

Alicia Unleashed Episode 17-Valentine’s Day

aliciaunleashed-1-picsay (1)


Alicia Unleashed Episode 17 taped 2/13/2016 with KD, B- Side and Hostess Alicia Cox

Topics Include:

Nat King Cole “LOVE”, David Bowie quotes, Valentine’s Spirit, Valentine’s Day Origin, Alicia LOVES Valentine’s Day, Alicia’s PSA on Valentine’s Day, Whats your favorite Valentine’s Day without gifts?, Bridget loves to give just because gifts, Alicia best V-Day memory with Chris, Who is the male version of you?, Kyle is a Twin, What is your spirit animal?, 25 minutes in and No introductions, What happens when you google yourself?, Kyle’s exotic animal house, Kyle’s PSA, Valentine’s Day dates, If there is a hole it will grow, Storm Nick Jonas, Best Romantic Comedies, Serendipity, Hope Floats, My best friend’s wedding, Alicia has a romantic side, Alternative ending to Pretty in Pink, Need to watch alternate ending, whats your favorite romantic song?, What song is your Kryptonite?, Joey commented on Instagram, Kyle and Cold Play tickets, Happy Birthday Lily

A-nah suites room walk through video Playa del Carmen

Swanky,  brand new, affordable,  a couple of blocks to the beach and Fifth Avenue.  Just far enough off of Fifth to get a good night sleep.  Perfect for families or groups of friends with two full baths and three large beds-

Let me know if you are interested in staying here and I’ll get you the info.

In the kitchen with Anthony Caturano and Rob Picardi At Prezza

Anthony will be bringing his culinary skills to soon to be opened “Tonno” in #GloucesterMA.  Currently completely renovating the space in the Blackburn Tavern  building on the corner of Washington and Main St.
Check them out them on Facebook here and get all the updates

In this video,  Rob Picardi demonstrates preparing the type cuisine we can expect at Tonno and we talk to owner/chef Anthony Caturano in the kitchen.

Here’s the wood grilled squid and octopus with braised white beans and toasted parsley –


Risotto and almond raviolini with braised veal, tomato, onion, red wine and pecorino cheese –

Bone in ribeye, sautéed escarole, Roasted potatoes, red wine sauce-

What a treat we are in for when Tonno opens up in Gloucester!