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Saturday, August 29, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: I am not sure why HDW posted this on my blog instead of his, but since it is here I'll take the opportunity to note a couple other interesting Favre reactions here and here. I'll further note that "pulling a Favre" is now officially part of the lexicon, with 39,000 google hits.
Now Entering Upper Michigan’s Smoked Fish Zone
By MICHELINE MAYNARD
IN the time it takes most people to finish a cup of coffee, Tom Ryan Brown has cleaned, gutted and placed a whole whitefish in a barrel of brine, where it will rest for hours before it is stacked in a smoking shed outside.
A day later, that whitefish is for sale in the refrigerator case at The Fish House, a tiny restaurant and store in this one-stoplight town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Mr. Brown is the third generation to work for a company founded by his grandfather, Tom Brown Sr., and now run by his father, Tom Brown Jr., known as Buddy. Each day, father and son smoke about 125 pounds of fish, caught just minutes away in Lake Superior.
Some of the smoked fish ends up in a tangy spread created by Cathy Brown, Tom Ryan Brown’s sister and the restaurant’s waitress. Other fresh fillets make up the “Lake Superior Fish Dinners” advertised by the neon sign in the cafe’s window.
The Browns are part of a small but vigorous family-dominated industry in the Upper Peninsula, where everyone, local and visitor alike, seems to have their favorite place for smoked fish.
Some favor Gustafson’s of Brevort, arguably the best-known source.
Others favor King’s in Naubinway, where they catch and smoke their own fish, while those farther west on the Keweenaw Peninsula swear by the fish from Peterson’s in Hancock.
“Smoked fish is in every camp and cabin in the woods,” said Nathan Mileski, the executive chef at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
While smoked fish is available year-round, as long as it is safe for boats ply to ply the northern Great Lakes, business is at its peak in August, when waters abound with the summer’s first coho salmon, the fattest whitefish and flavorful lake trout.
After tourists go south after Labor Day, hunters arrive on the two-lane roads in this region where Ernest Hemingway once fished. Everyone, it seems, brakes for smoked fish, and if you can’t find it, you aren’t looking...
Not everyone is a fan, however.
“It’s cat food,” said Jeannie Rose, the owner of Jeannie’s Reach Cafe, which sits across from Gustafson’s in Brevort.
It’s true that the smoked fish made in the Upper Peninsula has little to do with the thinly sliced, silken kind sold by Zabar’s or served at Petrossian. While both are cured, the higher-end variety is cold-smoked (generally at a temperature of about 80 degrees) and sometimes not cooked at all....
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Dispatch #1: A new video from Save Sharp Park Golf:
This video speaks directly to a lie promoted by the Tuscon eco-extremists, certain San Francisco supervisors, and others trying to close the course - to whit - they represent San Francisco public course golfers as elitist and they paint golf as the exclusive domain of rich old white guys (Interestingly - ROWG's are the only demographic that is politically correct to disparage and hate. Even I don't like them, and I'm one of them - well... except for the "rich" part).
This video is also a great counterpoint to the propaganda piece put out by the folks at
"The Center for Biological Diversity and Nature in the City both support restoration at Sharp Park, and are primarily responsible for the existence of this website."
Dispatch #2: The local ABC affiliate recently ran a good piece covering the story:
Dispatch #3: I wrote a short opinion piece for the SF Chronicle arguing for the application of a little common sense in the controversy. They didn't publish it, so I'll post it here.
Common Sense and Sharp Park
The Chronicle recently reported that the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department missed a deadline for reporting on the status and potential plans for the Sharp Park Golf Course.
Among the reasons cited for the delay - the department is going to “clarify the longterm impacts of sea rise on the park”. This should come as an enormous relief to all Pacificans, San Franciscans as well as climatologists, policy makers, and leaders worldwide. Finally, the question of longterm impact of sea rise on low lying coastal areas is about to be clarified by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.
Perhaps what we need is a little less clarification on global warming from the city Parks Department and a little more application of common sense from our civic leaders.
It is important for all interested residents to realize that the funding and driving force behind the effort to destroy Sharp Park Golf Course is coming from a well heeled out-of-state ecology organization with a reputation for intimidating municipalities with high power legal machinations. The question for us - Are we as San Francisco and Pacifica residents going to knuckle under to their legal threats or stand up to it and do what is right for our communities?
There is a common sense answer to the conundrum of Sharp Park Golf Course.
Local leaders need to commit to the continuation of the course. This means Mayors Newsom and Lancelle, and all SF Supervisors with last names that are not spelled Mirkarimi. We need to stop pretending that destroying the course is a realistic, reasonable or economically feasible option.
Implement procedures at the course to further protect the endangered snake and frog where they have co-existed with golfers for 70+ years. That mediation plan is all the Dept of Recs and Parks should be working on now. They can solve the global warming/sea rise issue some other time. If necessary, the plan could include closing the course for a month or two during flood season when the frogs are laying eggs. Other municipal courses around the country close for months at a time due to a weather condition called "winter". It is not a problem for a properly managed course. It is a reasonable compromise.
Federal stimulus money has already been allocated for a pipeline project to irrigate the course with recycled water. This infrastructure shovel-ready project will create 275 jobs, will help the local economy and will save water. It is either a perfect stimulus project as envisioned by President Obama - or - if Mirkarimi has his way, it is an incredibly wasteful boondoggle where millions in federal, state, and local funds will be spent on a “pipeline to nowhere”. Now what makes more sense? I say we proceed with the project and not waste the money.
Recruit our federal and state heavy hitters (Arnold, Diane, Barbara, Nancy) to find a way to inoculate Pacifica and San Francisco against abusive lawsuits from the eco-bullies in Tucson. Historical Landmark status for this Alister MacKenzie course (as is currently being considered by the Pacifica City Council) could be just the ticket.
This is not rocket science or even climate science.
This is not a hard problem to solve, unless... our San Francisco Supervisors make it one.
A liberal application of common sense is all that is required to solve this problem. The "liberal" part is easy to find in San Francisco City Hall. The "common sense" part? Not so much.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Peter Fimrite, Wyatt Buchanan,
SF Chronicle Staff Writers
Thursday, August 6, 2009"The salty folks who like to hook rockfish, harvest kelp and dive for abalone will have to steer clear of several spots between Half Moon Bay and Mendocino County after a decision Wednesday by the state Fish and Game Commission to protect 85 square miles of California's ocean, including some of its most pristine habitat. The network of newly formed state marine reserves is part of a California initiative that conservationists say is the most ambitious coastal marine protection program in the world. It includes a permanent ban on fishing within 3 miles of the coast in selected areas where populations of rockfish, northern red abalone, seabirds, sea lions and other marine mammals live.
The network, approved by a 3-2 vote, will include Point Arena in Mendocino County, Bodega Head, Point Reyes, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve near Half Moon Bay and the Farallon Islands. In those areas, restrictions on fishing and other activities like spearfishing would extend into the ocean for 3 miles.
The regulations come in the shadow of a collapse of the salmon fishery and a two-year ban on ocean fishing of chinook, but the regulations do not address salmon habitat. The plan is to resuscitate flagging populations of rockfish, a complex of bottom-dwelling fish that was once a mainstay of the state's commercial and sport fisheries.
Environmentalists insist that the reserves will also protect crucial habitat for everything from sea slugs to gray whales. In all, 22 areas will have some level of protection. Thirteen sites will be fully protected, covering 11 percent of state coastal waters between Half Moon Bay and Mendocino County. That means fishing and destruction of wildlife and habitat would be strictly prohibited in those areas."
11% of the Central California Coast is now protected marine reserve.
If I am reading the map right, my favorite abalone cove is not affected.
My take - On balance this a good thing, as some action needed to be taken to protect the fisheries. My limited understanding of the science is that this approach is sound. Large blocks of protected reserves are the best way to manage a healthy marine ecosystem.
There are problems - the political process of determining exact locations and rules governing these reserves was seriously flawed. Some small local commercial fishing operations on the coast will be decimated. I think this could have been managed with more consideration for these fishing operations as well as being less onerous to recreational fisherman and kelp harvesters.
The worst aspect of this plan - it is virtually unenforceable as constituted. The Department of Fish and Game is already understaffed, has no chance of getting additional funding from our bankrupt state, and no ability to provide enforcement for these reserves in a meaningful way.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This happened 12:45 AM this morning. I was asleep or almost asleep when startled by the sound of a loud crash on the street below our high rise apartment. Out on the terrace I saw this car by itself on the other side of Jones halfway between Green and Union. This is the steepest part of Jones Street. The car appeared to be partially on the curb. Not sure how it got there or what it hit (but we have a theory*). Four or five people were getting out or milling about the car. One was lying in the road complaining about his back. They noticed that there was a small fire under the engine and got away from the car, including the person lying on the road. I called 911, but by the time I got through the cops had already arrived. The fire soon engulfed the hood of the car.
I grabbed my Olmypus 1030SW camera and took these pictures and video clips.
*Apparently some among the younger set have decided it is cool to take the crest of hills in SF at speed, catching air if they go fast enough across a steep crest. Check out here, here, here and here. I'm guessing these idiots took the hill fast enough to pancake the bottom of their car, ripping it up and starting the fire. That's why the guy was complaining about his back, and there did not appear to be any other cars involved. Dangerous as hell. We are going to try and get some city and police attention on this intersection.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Rec and Park misses species study deadline
SF Chronicle - Corey Paul
"The Recreation and Park Department missed its July 31 deadline to finish a study on how Sharp Park Golf Course should protect two endangered species that live there. In a letter sent to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who has supported restoration of the park, the department said it needs more time for three reasons: to explore financing for the restoration, to clarify the longterm impacts of sea rise on the park and to "develop a set of options for partnership opportunities with (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and City of Pacifica." Rec and Park officials could not say what those opportunities were or provide a timeline for completion of the study. Sharp Park is home to the threatened red-legged frog and endangered San Francisco garter snake, and the city is legally liable for any harm to the animals. The study is reviewing three options for the park: keeping it as an 18-hole course while restoring some areas for the animals; cutting the course to nine holes; or closing Sharp Park to create a natural preserve."
In other news, the mayor of the city of Pacifica (which has the most to lose by the SF Supes actions) offered her personal perspective on the battle so far, as presented to local residents in the clubhouse of the golf course. She is fighting the good fight.
As a San Francisco resident, I was amused by her reaction to her treatment at the hands of our Board of Supervisors. Don't feel bad Julie. That is exactly how they treat their constituents here in the City also.
A few days later the Pacifica City Planning Commission met to consider a resolution to seek landmark status for the historically significant Alister MacKenzie course. The commission decided to keep their powder dry, until it is determined what our Supes are going to do. From the Mercury News:
"The historic designation, if ultimately approved by City Council, would give the Planning Commission jurisdiction over the golf course and the ability to vote on any changes, irrespective of simple repairs, proposed to it during a public hearing. It would not preclude any investigation about habitat. Nevertheless, the owner of the golf course, the city and county of San Francisco, has indicated it is not subject to Pacifica's land-use designation, said Michael Crabtree, director of planning.
Proponents of the historic designation spoke about how the golf course meets many of the criteria set up to determine whether or not asite is such a landmark. Those criteria include that it reflects a significant element of the city's cultural, economic, political, aesthetic, engineering, architectural, geographical and social history. Other criteria call for the embodiment of architectural characteristics that are rare or the use of indigenous materials. The golf course was created by Alister MacKenzie, who went on to create many notable golf courses throughout the world."This meets many of the criteria for historical designation," Crabtree said. "This is a very important part of the city's social and cultural fabric. This is why we recommend moving it forward."
Bo Links, speaking on behalf of the city at Crabtree's request, said the Sharp Park Golf Course was the work of a master architect."It has historical significance. He built bunkers that look like clouds. The vast majority of his courses are private courses. This is the only public golf course built by the sea. He built a cultural landscape. Thirteen out of the 18 fairways are still in play. The course is crying out for restoration. This course is home to the most diverse group of golfers there is. The architect created something so unique that no one thought was possible. If you had that much of a studio where Monet worked, you wouldn't destroy it," he said."
A new post on the topic with more videos, news, and your loyal blogger's latest effort to acquaint our San Francisco Supervisors with the concept of "common sense" can be found here.
Sister Robyn, brother-in-law Jeff, nephew Roy and niece Katie have taken a dramatic technological leap forward at our Shag lake cottage with Shag Cam! Live!
The live cam feed is currently located at the top of the sidebar on the right ===>
I took the feed and projected it on my big screen, so I could enjoy my morning coffee on the deck at Shag Lake (pictured above). So far the most exciting bit was watching Roy talk to his girlfriend on the cell phone looking for some privacy out on the deck.
In this screen shot, Roy is launching the canoe at the dock. The tin can is already floating and in the foreground it looks like the visitors are determined to clean up and use the paddle boat. I can't believe they are really going to use it. Surely this is simply an effort to slam the door on the Great Paddle Boat Debate.
Should be fun to watch over the next few weeks.
Only problem I've noticed so far... Due to the unfortunate choice of name for the Cam, the primary contextual pop-up advertisement is for "Love Guy Condoms". Ah well. Perhaps the name will drive traffic from the UK. For any Brits who stumble on this post, yes there really is a Shag Lake, and no, its not what you think.