Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pool Gone...Fire Island Pines Beachfront House

This house in the Pines used to have a see-through pool so that you could watch people swim from the beach. That pool was changed or replaced years ago. Hurricane Sandy washed away the replacement pool that was there until last Fall.

Fire Island Wildlife

Bradley and I came across this pretty snake in the "meat rack" on Saturday...she was evidently sunning herself.

Pines Beach Scraping

According to a Pines beachfront homeowner that I spoke with this weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers built a dune the entire length of the Pines. Underneath the mound are large sacks of sand. Hopefully this will offer some protection to the oceanfront houses there. At Ozone walk the homeowner took it upon himself to add a second row of sandbags for protection.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The New Pines Pavilion

Looks like it might be ready by Memorial Day!

Cherry Grove Dune Recovery

The dune in the West End of Cherry Grove seems to be on the road to recovery. The snow fencing that has already been installed is doing its job.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Supreme Roberts Nails Obama

I'm no fan of Chief Justice John Roberts, but he did say one thing today that was spot on when he asked why President Obama doesn't "have the courage of his convictions" and stop enforcing DOMA if he thinks it is unconstitutional. Why indeed, Mr, President? The Chief Justice has a valid point it seems to me. Another example of how Obama has failed the glbt community. How embarrassing that John Roberts is the one to call the president on it.

Activist Robin Tyler's Anger At The Supreme Court

I was told to put a good spin on what happened. But I’m not going to do that. I felt like I was sitting in some Medieval court. I was counting how many Catholic Justices there were. I believe the public is far ahead of the Supreme Court on this issue. I’m angry. I felt like a second class citizen. I felt that some of the questions by the Justices were degrading. How dare they sit in front of a room of such accomplished LGBT people and refer to us like this was all something new! And when Scalia asked, ‘Where in the Constitution is there discrimination against gay people?’ I mean – women are not in the Constitution, either, but there’s implied discrimination. Some of their questions were demeaning and insulting to the audience – and the court was filled with people they were talking about! I just hope they do the right thing.
Read more:

Supreme "Fuddy-Duddies"

In today's New York Times, Maureen Dowd notes how the Supreme Court doesn't hesitate to make sweeping decisions that take the country into uncharted territory when it comes to right wing policies such as declaring corporations to be people so that they can corrupt our democratic system with tons of money. But when it comes to the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians, then the Court wants to run away from the issue. As I wrote yesterday, shame on all of them. Dowd:
Swing Justice Anthony Kennedy grumbled about “uncharted waters,” and the fuddy-duddies seemed to be looking for excuses not to make a sweeping ruling. Their questions reflected a unanimous craven impulse: How do we get out of this? This court is plenty bold imposing bad decisions on the country, like anointing W. president or allowing unlimited money to flow covertly into campaigns. But given a chance to make a bold decision putting them on the right, and popular, side of history, they squirm...If this court doesn’t reject bigotry, history will reject this court.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Supreme Shame

And so the US Supreme Court heard arguments today in regard to California's proposition 8. Missing was any suggestion from even the liberal justices that gays and lesbians are entitled to equal protection under the law, and they are entitled to due process. Instead the discussion focused on legal technicalities. Shame on the nine justices...all of them. There is no Thrugood Marshall, no justice who has personal experience with discrimination (Uncle Clarence Thomas apparently included, if you look at his history on the court.) So tomorrow we will see what these great jurists have to say about another clearly unconstitutional anti-gay law, DOMA. And in June we will know their decisions. I'm not particularly optimistic after reading analyses of the proceedings today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

St. Barths Mens' Fashion

I really like the line of mens' shirts and accessories at the new shoppe "Ascony" in St. Barthelemy. I fell in love with this shirt. it is just so cool with the embroidered St. Barths breast emblem with the colors of the French flag. The back of the collar has the coordinates of St. Barthelemy. At 145 Euros it was a bit of a splurge I guess but I just had to have it. I saw a similar necklace in the Ascony window but the one I wear I actually made myself on the island. I went to that wonderful marine supply house on top of Le Repaire and got the stainless bow shackle and a meter of green poly line. It was easy to knot it for wear on the island. When I got home I added the silver lobster claw catch and crimp eyes.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Income Inequality In The United States

What needs to be done is a radical redistribution of wealth. Unfortunately, anything that can be tarred with the brush of socialism, e.g. progressive taxation, single payer medicine, has little chance of seeing the light of day in the US. We live in a country where the population has been fooled into a fantasy belief that everyone has equal opportunity so we don't need equality of outcomes. Fools.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Nino Scalia: BIGOT

One thing is for sure about next week's arguments at the Supreme Court in regard to marriage equality. Scalia will be unable to contain himself. His hatred of gay people will pour out in open court for all to hear.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Snowy Spring Day

Today started off with snow showers as Bradley and I walked in Fairmount Park. Some Spring! Later it was Starbucks, the Wanamaker Organ free at noon concert, and a salad lunch downtown for me on one of my customary "downtown days."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Underwater Photography Power Point Slide Presentation

On Tuesday, March 19th, I made a slide presentation on the topic of underwater photography at our weekly gay mens' senior meeting at the William Way GLBT Community Center in Philadelphia. This is a Power Point presentation that features a number of photographs that I took during our vacation earlier this month in St. Barths.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Busy Day!

Photo: St. Barths Dan and I were very busy day today. Dan taught his class early this morning, then we both made presentations at our gay senior mens' weekly meeting. Dan read one of his short stories that was published in an anthology. I gave a Power Point slide presentation on underwater photography. Both presentations were well received.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Home Safe From St. Barths

We're home safe after a three hour delay in the flight from St. Maarten(SXM) to PHL and the usual madness at the SXM airport, where the right hand never seems to know what the left hand is doing, and the PA announcements might as well be in Greek since they are so hard to hear in the downstairs B gate barnyard that masquerades as a waiting room. It's nice to have our two little furry friends waiting for us...and the vanille rhum that didn't break in the checked baggage!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Our Final Full Day In St. Barths

At the start of a very busy day Friday, we walked to the top of the old fortress above the left side of the harbor facing St. Marteen. A slight rain fell briefly and for most of the day it was cloudy, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying two different beaches. At Grand Cul de Sac we had a delightful lunch at Gloriette. Jim’s lobster cassoulet was bathed in a cream sauce and boasted large chunks of lobster, with diced red peppers as a taste variation. Dan enjoyed the Caesar salad with gambas, or large shrimps. They had been sautéed in a succulent sauce, slightly spicy and salty. Desserts were a traditional, excellent Fondant (chocolate cake with a moist interior) and the ever-well prepared French mousse au chocolat. After conquering the roads to Gouverneur Beach (not well labeled, so we had to retrace our steps more than once) we enjoyed snorkeling and swimming on what we think is the best beach on the island. Happily, it’s near Santa Fe and Lurin. After our stay there we headed back to the villa at Colony Club to shower and dress for our final meal, at the beautifully situated Victoria’s Restaurant in the Carl Gustav Hotel. High above the town of Gustavia, the harbor view is spectacular and we saw the masts of ships lit with tiny, sparkling lights. Only seaside resorts offer such a combination of natural and man-made sights, which reminds the imagination of an earthly Paradise. The final meal was also expertly done and very fine, starting with a tarte made of eggplant, candied tomatoes and goat cheese, on a bed of puff pastry. Then Jim enjoyed an authentic boullaibaise with swordfish and Dan loved his melt-in the mouth grouper which included a peppercorn and mango topping. Dan also had a gigantic butterscotch éclair while Jim tried the Nutella pizza. The meal was a fitting end to our spectacular visit to our favorite Caribbean island.—Dan
                                          View of Gustavia from Fort Karl ruins

                                          Lobster cassoulet at Gloriette

                                          Grilled prawns at Gloriette

                                          Gloriette desserts

                                          Gloriette on the beach at Grand Cul de Sac\

                                          Victoria's at the Hotel Karl Gustav

                                          Sunset view from the Hotel Karl Gustav

                                          Eggplant tarte at Victoria's

                                          Grilled grouper at Victoria's

                                          Swordfish Bouillabaisse at Victoria's

                                          Butterscotch eclair at Victoria's

                                          Nutella pizza at Victoria's

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Final Day Of Diving St. Barths

Thursday I enjoyed another two visits to the beautiful coral reefs of St. Barths. Here are a few of the photographs I took of some of the sea creatures that live on the reef.





Flamingo Tongue Shells

Spiny Lobster

Two Special St. Barth's Restaurants

We ate at two special Gustavia restaurants on Thurdsay. For lunch at Wall House, we had the daily special, a fish terrine that was the best one I’ve ever tasted, stuffed with sweet gerkin pickles and savory Greek black olives. The white sauce which we daubed on the terrine seemed like a sour cream suffused with cream and herbs. A salad with a wine-wine vinaigrette dressing was also included in the dish. Later, in the afternoon, after Jim’s second dive, he made one of his special salads, which we’ve enjoyed a couple of days for lunch here, or else as a late afternoon snack. He usually includes leaves of Romaine dressing, tomato, mushrooms, soft blue cheese or feta, and smoked salmon. The dressing, bottled, is a French moutarde or mustard salad dressing which cannot be bought in the U.S., sad to say. We bought it at the super marche and have been enjoying it all week. For dinner Thursday evening we splurged at the most expensive restaurant we’ve been to, in the town, L’Isola. Despite its very high prices, people are constantly trying to get into this new Italian restaurant. We had tried making reservations on our own, but the place was booked, as it is not large. Finally Antoine, our concierge from the Wimco Rental Co., made a reservation for us. Dan spoke Italian to the waiter, who was from Roma. For his first course, Dan ate a crisp salad with slices of formaggio parmeggiano. Jim had the melanzane, or eggplant, which was not highly breaded (unlike those in South Philly) and satisfied the taste buds, but did not over stuff the stomach. We washed these dishes down with a delightful Nebbiolo, an Italian red wine from the Piedmont, the province around Turin. It brought back fond memories of visiting that great city with its spectacular Baroque architecture. Dan’s main course was spaghetti with granch, or Mediterranean crabs, very small crustaceans. It was difficult to get the scarce meat out of the hard crab shells, but their flavor suffused the pasta, and it was a very unique and enjoyable dish. Jim ordered and ate an even more exotic dish, Spada (swordfish) which had been stuffed with herbs in bread crumbs, wrapped around a huge piece of lemon grass. His dish also included oven-baked fingerling potatoes and barely cooked vegetables. Jim enjoyed his Tiramisu dessert, since its truly Italian style preparation was not the average, fake style. Dan ate a crema di Amaretto, a semi-frozen dessert which was covered with cream. There was too much cream and not enough of the Amaretto flavor, that delicate Italian dessert wine that tastes of almonds. L’Isola has an extremely dark interior dining room, and a large staff; all of the Italian waiters are quite attentive. While it was a fascinating experience to dine there, this trendy restaurant would not be the first choice to return to, since it is a bit overpriced. Yet one must admit that such food is rarely available in the United States. That is one of the reasons why eating in St. Barth’s is such a rich gourmet adventure.—Dan

Wall House Fish Terrine

Gustavia, St. Barthelemy - Over The Rainbow!

I took this photo from our balcony Thursday morning...and jazzed it up a bit by increasing the color saturation. The rainbow is was there but just for a few seconds.