Archive for October, 2011

All the, uh, News

Monday, October 31st, 2011

By Jeffrey Page
More than 2 million people without power in the northeast over the weekend. Nine people (later raised to 21) dead, including one man who was electrocuted on a downed wire. Phones not working. Trees down all over the place. And some reporters at The New York Times decided to write a cutesy weather story focusing on the colors of autumn and the first snow’s effect on Halloween.

Saturday’s trivialization went like this:

“October, said the calendar. Before Halloween. And the 2.5 million trees occupying New York City’s open spaces confirmed it was fall – not winter – with glorious canopies of leaves stretching along their boughs.

“Yet snow was falling,” the second paragraph went on. “Not a light, mischievous form of precipitation, but heavy wet flakes.”

How could a reporter write such drivel at a time of great human suffering. More important, how could an editor allow it?

The Times story eventually reported that 2.5 million people from Pennsylvania to New England had no electricity. Which sounds like lead material, but the Times made us wait for the third paragraph. Then, in the fourth, we learned that 750,000 people in Connecticut alone had no power. The ninth paragraph – the ninth! – noted that this was a nor’easter with winds as high as 60 mph. Still, the top of the story was devoted to glorious canopies of leaves in the time just before Halloween.

Sunday’s storm story led with concern about Halloween costumes.

“Is it timely? Is it clever? Does it fit?” the Times fluffily began.

Second paragraph: “From New England down to Maryland on Saturday, revelers heading to weekend Halloween parties added a new criterion to choosing a costume: How would it fare in a northeaster?”

Through the next 24 paragraphs – 24! – you came across no mention of costumes, leading one to suspect that the hunt for the right outfit was more a conceit in a writer’s head than anything witnessed in the streets.

This Times treacle made me recall the advice I got as a cub from a great city editor, the late Marty Gately: Don’t be cute; be clever. I also did some checking in the Times’ library.

Some outstanding New York Times leads have been short: “Houston, Monday, July 21 – Men have landed and walked on the moon.” (Think of all the green cheese, man-in-moon and moon-June clichés that might have popped up in this story if it had been written this week and not in 1969.)

And some outstanding Times leads have been long: “Hijackers rammed jetliners into each of New York’s World Trade Center towers yesterday, toppling both in a hellish storm of ash, glass, smoke and leaping victims, while a third jetliner crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. There was no official count but President Bush said thousands had perished, and in the immediate aftermath the calamity was already being ranked the worst and most audacious attack in American history.” (The reason you read right past the clichés in that one is because there are none.)

By Monday morning, the Times got the snow story straight, though readers might have wondered why the paper reported that 12 inches of snow had fallen on Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., but failed to include a word on conditions at JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and Stewart.

Still the Times couldn’t get away from its idiotic Halloween fixation.

“It was a storm of record consequence, disrupting large swaths of the Northeast in ways large and small: towns were buried in dense snowfalls, closing down streets, schools and even, in some cases, Halloween celebrations.”

This Times story contained eight consecutive paragraphs about the ruination of Halloween. In fact, four of those paragraphs were about a town official cancelling Halloween and then relenting – in Hollis, N.H.

In the Times newsroom, I guess they call it journalism. What do you call it?

Locavore Thanksgiving

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

By Shawn Dell Joyce
Right now many of us are planning our Thanksgiving Dinner. We have a big decision; to sit in front of a meal of imported ingredients, grown around the world in places where the Pilgrims never set foot, or, skip the supermarket and source all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner from local farms, mills and growers.

Eating local embodies the spirit of the first Thanksgiving, where Puritans and Wampanoags sat down together to share a meal that consisted mainly of shellfish, eels, wild fowl (including swans and eagles) and other local foods that they could gather or grow. When we source our foods locally, we eat in season, and celebrate what’s grown in our region. Absent from the first Thanksgiving feast were modern traditional dishes like corn on the cob (all corn was dried by that time), pumpkin pie (they had no sugar), cranberry sauce (no sweetener other than maple syrup), and stuffing (they served pudding).

We have altered the menu over the years to the point where we rehash and serve the exact same dishes over and over. This year, have a real Thanksgiving by celebrating the local harvest and the hardworking hands that grew it. Buy your dinner ingredients from local farms, and prepare what is seasonally available in our area. Your food dollars will stay local, nourishing the farm family, farm hands, and local community. This is an act of gratitude that bolsters your local economy during tight times.

Right now, you can find turkeys that live the way nature intended, chasing bugs, scratching in the grass and frolicking in the fall leaves instead of penned up one-on-top-of another in factory farms. These turkeys will cost a little more than their supermarket counterparts because they are not mass produced, or government subsidized.

As a matter of fact, none of our small local farms are government subsidized, so when you pay a little more for local produce, it is because you are paying the full cost to grow the food at a fair rate. Large farms that wholesale to chain grocers are subsidized by our tax dollars lowering the cost of goods on the supermarket shelf. This makes non-local groceries appear cheaper than locally grown foods, but there are hidden costs that must be paid in the long run by someone else. Like the loss of soil fertility, social costs of cheap labor and environmental devastation of shipping food over thousands of miles.

This year, as you and your family gather around the Thanksgiving feast, offer a prayer of gratitude for our small farmers and farm workers. Give thanks that we still have people in our region willing to grow quality food in a market flooded with cheap imports. Support these hard-working folks by eating locally grown foods at the holiday table, and year round. Let’s reject our national food system that makes “cheap” the highest priority, at a deep cost to the environment, the farmers, and future generations, and spend a little more on quality local food and farms.

—–To find local Thanksgiving Dinner ingredients:

Swarms and Ladders

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

By Jean Webster
Honeybees the world over are in danger, from commercial beekeepers with 30 to 40,000 hives whose honeybees pollinate farmers’ crops, to backyard beekeepers with one or more hives. Blame has been placed on pesticides, used on agri-farms, that can kill a hive within a few years as well as mites and diseases that cause deformed and weakened bees.

Five years ago, we started with one beehive in the backyard of our home near the ocean in mid-coast Maine. It had more to do with a retirement occupation than the plight of the bees. Since then we’ve become champions of honeybees, like the thousands of backyard beekeepers in small towns and even in cities like New York and Chicago. It’s not about the honey. It’s about the bees.

All went well our first year. We joined a regional club, learned a little, and got about six pounds of honey. Sweet! How little we really knew.

The following year we learned firsthand about swarms – when nearly half the 60,000-plus bees in the hive take a new queen and abandon the colony. Why? No one is sure. It could be crowded quarters or an aging queen. We learned that “swarms” can happen frequently.

Our bees swarmed one Sunday morning while we were enjoying coffee and the newspaper on our front porch. We heard the swarm before we saw it, and immediately went into action. Houses here are practically within arms distance. We had to move fast.

The bee club has a “swarm chain,” a list of people looking for bees to populate a hive. We already had a second hive in the woods near my brother-in-law’s house. So we contacted Linda who lives about five miles away and who was in the market for bees for another hive.

Linda had recently rescued a swarm, so we followed her instructions. Fortunately, the swarm (which looks like a giant’s beard, with all the bees clustered together, keeping the queen safe in the center) was in a low bush. But, it was in our neighbors’ yard. Understandably, they weren’t happy, but we assured them we just needed time and space.

It took less than half an hour to coax the swarm – 30,000 bees – into the wooden box Linda would use to transport them home. Our remaining bees could get on with their work, bringing in nectar and pollen for the hive.

Two weeks later our honeybees swarmed again. This time, I was on my own. I’d ignored a few bees in our dining room skylight on Saturday. That was the clue. Now, there were about a dozen. And, when I walked outside for the paper, I saw the telltale “beard” on a flowering bush by our driveway – about five feet high.

Checking the “swarm chain,” I contacted Ken, a longtime beekeeper who was delighted to claim the swarm, and “rescue” the stranded bees in my skylights.

We both wore protective gear: a lightweight one-piece suit, long gloves and a pith helmet with netting over it. This outfit made it difficult for a rebellious bee to sting us.

Using clippers, Ken cut the bee-covered branch off the bush and shook the bees into the bucket I held. I quickly whisked the screened cover onto the bucket, and our second swarm was ready for transport.

Now for the bees in the skylights. They’d probably arrived the day before the swarm to scout for a new home. Our old cottage has many entrances for honeybees. They were simply trying it out.

For this rescue, we used a ladder and two yogurt containers with covers. “I haven’t done this since I was a kid,” Ken said, thrilled to be renewing this odd pastime.

One at a time we liberated the dozen or so bees in my skylights by scooping each into a container. I hurried each one outside, hoping she’d return to our much-decimated hive. And that’s how we rescued those scouts, mostly without harm.

There were no more swarms that summer, but also no honey for us. Beekeepers have to leave enough honey in the hive for the bees to survive the winter.

However, the 2011 season rewarded us with nearly 125 pounds of honey. This “gold” came from three hives at three locations. The flavor of the honey is a combination of plants and flowers in each neighborhood.

How beekeepers harvest the honey is another story.

Jean Webster is a poet, freelance writer and candy shop proprietor in Maine.

Endings, Happy and Otherwise

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Kim Kardashian ... soon to be divorced

By Bob Gaydos

There is an art to ending things — careers, relationships, jokes, movies, books, TV shows and yes, even lives.

As a rule, most of us pay too little attention to figuring out how to end something, perhaps because we just don’t like to think about it when we‘re in the middle of whatever it is. The result is most often boring, routine. Hardly artistic.

“Thanks for the 35 years, Joe. Hope your 401k holds up.”

“I, uh, think maybe we should spend a little less time together.”

“He died in his sleep. He was 77.”


In truth, just as we give little thought to how to end our own things, we seldom notice other people’s endings, except when someone gets it unmistakably right (“Casablanca,” Johnny Carson or “The Usual Suspects”), or painfully wrong (“The Sopranos,” Joe Louis or Brett Favre).

Take Kim and Kris Kardashian. I mean, uh, Humphries. Or rather, Kim Kardashian and Kris “What the Heck Happened to My Life” Humphries. After a mere 72 days of marriage, the TV reality star announced her marriage to the pro basketball player was done.

“After careful consideration,” she said in a prepared statement, “I have decided to end my marriage. I hope everyone understands this was not an easy decision. I had hoped this marriage was forever but sometimes things don’t work out as planned. We remain friends and wish each other the best.”

Careful consideration? Sometimes things don’t work out? 72 days? That’s quick even for Liz and Zsa Zsa, although well off Britney’s record.

Humphries says he was “blindsided” and found out about it from a TV show. Either this was the worst example of how to end a marriage or the cleverest ploy to juice the ratings for a TV show. Or, as I suspect, both.

Humphries, an oak tree of a rebounder for the New Jersey, soon-to-be-Brooklyn, Nets, comes off looking like a grade A schlemiel in this. He bought her a ring for $2 million, is a free agent in a sport whose owners have locked out the players and he may not see a paycheck for a year, and, well, he apparently never really got the whole Kardashian created-for-TV family empire.

When nothing is too personal, too sensitive or too intimate to share with millions of strangers, then someone is bound to get hurt. Kardashian has had a sex tape posted on the web and had her famous behind X-rayed to prove it was not enhanced. (“Mom, Dad, you know Kim …”) Her stepfather, former Olympic star Bruce Jenner, has had his face remodeled beyond recognition to blend in. The wedding, every bit of it shown on TV, cost $10 million, but some reports say the family made a profit on it from all the media deals.

And, of course, they had a pre-nup.

Kardashian filed for divorce Oct. 31, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Considering that Humphries is two feet taller than her, that should have been obvious from the start. Even so, it would have been nice — dare I say, decent — if, before telling the Twitter world about the divorce, Kim had given Kris the news face-to-face (sitting down), without any cameras. But then, that would not have been the Kardashian way.

On the other hand, there is the Tony La Russa way of saying goodbye. Aces all around for the St. Louis Cardinals’ longtime manager, who guided his team through a remarkable end of season comeback that put them in the World Series and saw them winning it thanks to more remarkable comebacks. No sooner had the cheering and champagne ceased in America’s heartland, than La Russa announced he was retiring. Bam! On top. Winner of his third World Series as a manager. Sayonara, baseball.

He wasn‘t sticking around to hear any more criticisms of his sometimes odd moves in the series. No more reading about his control freak nature in dealing with pitchers. No more having to put up with reporters who want to ask annoying questions after every game. Pack my bags, I’m bound for Cooperstown.

And so he is and, control freak that he really is, he did it on his own terms. You gotta give him credit for that.

But for sheer genius, the award for the classiest ending in recent weeks has to go to the certified genius who left us far too soon, Steve Jobs. The man behind the Apple empire and all it has spawned, died of cancer last month at 56. In a eulogy delivered during a memorial service, his sister revealed Jobs’ final words: “Wow. Oh wow. Oh wow!”

Move over “Rosebud.” We have a new winner.

Home-town pharmacists need your help

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

By Michael Kaufman

Home-town pharmacists throughout New York State thought they’d won a significant victory earlier this year with the passage of a bill in both houses of the state legislature that prohibits health insurers from requiring the use of a mail-order pharmacy as a condition of their pharmaceutical benefit coverage. Implementation of the bill would allow people to fill their prescriptions at pharmacies of their own choosing, without penalty of having to pay substantially more money for their medicine.

That was good news for local pharmacies still struggling to survive competition from chains such as CVS and Rite-Aid, as well as Walmart, Costco and some supermarkets. In recent years they have faced an even bigger and more insidious menace. Large employers are pressuring and in some cases forcing workers to fill their prescriptions by mail order. This has hurt home-town pharmacies such as Akin’s in Warwick, where Robert Newhard and his sister Jean, have been dispensing medicine and expert advice to customers as their father did before them. 

“After years of legislative battles to pass this legislation….it passed with only two negative votes,” Craig Burridge, executive director of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), happily reported in the August 23 issue of Pharmacy Forum. “This landmark legislation ‘prohibits insurers from requiring the insured purchase prescribed drugs from a mail order pharmacy or pay a co-payment fee differential when such purchases are not made from a mail order pharmacy.’ This legislation takes effect 30 days after the Governor signs it into law.” And therein lies the rub. Governor Cuomo has yet to affix his signature.

Why hasn’t the governor signed a bill that benefits consumers and local small businesses, and which passed with overwhelming popular and bipartisan legislative support? The answer isn’t exactly hard to find. Opposed to the legislation are big pharmaceutical companies, managed care companies and big business in general.  The Business Council of New York State, which issued a statement in May condemning the bill as a “state-imposed coverage mandate [that] will increase overall costs to the health care system, limiting one very real opportunity and option to bend the cost curve in health care without any decrease in access or quality to care….

“Pharmacy networks and mail order pharmacies are tools used by employers and insurance carriers to provide pharmaceutical coverage with ensuring access to the drugs in a cost effective manner,” says the Business Council. “Typically mail order pharmacies are an option to employees, not a mandate, and the option usually is accompanied by passing along the savings to the insured in terms of lower out-of-pocket co-pays. If an insured prefers to use a non-mail order pharmacy, it is the informed choice of that consumer to fill the prescription knowing that the co-pay will be higher. Consumer choice exists within the current system; employers and carriers are doing what they can to identify options to consumers to preserve the benefits while offering lower cost options.”

The New York Health Plan Association, representing 25 managed health care plans in the state, complained: “This proposal enriches community pharmacists at the expense of patients and will result in increased pharmaceutical costs.” They say their “relationships” with mail-order pharmacies enable them “to provide coverage for many rare drugs as well as high-cost drugs at a reduced cost to the consumer.” Included among the approaches to increase mail-order pharmacy utilization are lower co-payments for 90-day prescriptions. And, they add, “Mail-order companies offer special tracking and reporting systems that help plans and patients monitor and manage prescriptions. They also provide 24/7 phone access and support for patients.”

Robert Newhard says he can’t blame financially strapped customers for taking advantage of the lower cost 90-day prescriptions—something that he and other local pharmacies are now prohibited from providing. But he bristles at the suggestion that the mail-order companies provide comparable service. Numerous complaints lodged by consumers about Medco, the largest mail-order pharmacy, support his view.  For an up-to-date sampling, see and/or

Medco, incidentally, is a spinoff of pharmaceutical giant Merck.  In 2004 the company agreed to pay $24.9 million to settle state and federal complaints that accused Medco of violating consumer protection and mail fraud laws by switching patients to drugs that were said to add to costs for patients and their health plans. According to The New York Times, the Justice Department “accused Medco of receiving $430 million from Merck, its former parent, to switch patients to more expensive drugs like Merck’s Zocor.” It seems that some people have indeed been “enriching themselves at the expense of patients,” but it isn’t community pharmacists like the Newhards. According to the Times, Medco also “agreed to start telling patients, doctors and employers about billions of dollars in annual rebates that it has received from drug manufacturers for promoting their products.”

Newhard points to the front door of his store, on which is posted his home phone number so customers can reach him directly in case of an emergency when the pharmacy is closed. “All we’re asking for is an equal playing field,” he says.

There ought to be a law….and there is one. It is just waiting for the governor’s signature in Albany. The Newhards and other community pharmacists are asking customers to call the governor’s office at 518-474-1041 or go online at and urge that he sign the bill into law. Just click on “contact,” enter “A5502-B” as the subject and “Insurance” as the topic.

Michael can be reached at

Gigli’s Photo of the Week

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Photography by Rich Gigli

Otego, N.Y.

Autumn Song –  by: Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838-1912)
Let’s go down the road together, you and I,
Let’s go down the road together,
Through the vivid autumn weather;
Let’s go down the road together when the red leaves fly.
Let’s go searching, searching after
Joy and mirth and love and laughter–
Let’s go down the road together, you and I.

What Won’t Perry Say to Raise Cash?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Rick Perry ... birther?

By Bob Gaydos

God bless Rick Perry.

Well, I don’t actually mean that literally, but what the heck, a lot of spiritual leaders say it’s good to pray for people with whom you have … issues. That qualifies Perry in my book.

But what I really mean to do is thank him for, in his usual bumbling way, providing a concrete example of what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about.

Money. The pursuit of money. The power of money. The endless pursuit of money in politics. The overwhelming power of money in politics.

Perry, a Republican, is the governor of Texas, a state that was content with Democratic chief executives for decades until the turn of the recent century. Perry was elected lieutenant governor to Gov. George W. Bush in 1999, then succeeded him as governor when the U.S. Supreme Court elected him president. Apparently, the Texas Legislature must have repealed the IQ requirement for governor shortly after Ann Richards left office.

In any event, Perry, reputedly a charming guy and a master fundraiser, has seen his presidential hopes dimmed because every time he speaks he sounds confused, evasive or just plain dumb. (Again, this has apparently not been a problem in Texas politics.) However, the fact that these things also hold true for many of his Republican primary opponents has kept his presidential dream alive.

It also took him to the feet of a man whose very name has become synonymous with what politics is about today — Donald Trump. Big money.

Perry had dinner with Trump in search of an endorsement and maybe some campaign donation. The thinking behind such courting is that, if Trump anoints Perry, perhaps a lot of others who want a piece of the Trump action will follow suit, just to ingratiate themselves with the Donald.

The fact that Trump, who abandoned his fake campaign weeks ago, still has any influence at all in GOP politics traces to his name and bank account. But Perry took the ingratiating far beyond the power and prestige route. He actually let one of Trump’s dumber ideas slip into his own conversation — the idea that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Yup, Perry fell into the “birther” briar patch, in, of all places, an interview with a reporter for Parade Magazine. Now, this is virtually impossible to do since the apple pie-America Sunday magazine doesn’t even approach Katie Couric on the tough interviewer scale. Here’s what was said in the middle of a lengthy interview that was edited for the print version, but appeared in full online:

“Parade: Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?

“Perry: I have no reason to think otherwise.

“Parade: That’s not a definitive, ‘Yes, I believe he’–

“Perry: Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.

“Parade: But you’ve seen his.

“Perry: I don’t know. Have I?

“Parade: You don’t believe what’s been released?

“Perry: I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.

“Parade: And?

“Perry: That came up.

“Parade: And he said?

“Perry: He doesn’t think it’s real.

“Parade: And you said?

“Perry: I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the President of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue.”

First off, kudos to reporter Lynn Sherr for a textbook interview, following each of Perry’s answers to the next logical question.

Second: He doesn’t have any idea if Obama’s birth certificate is real? Really? After Obama provided his long form birth certificate in April and Trump was laughed out of the campaign for sticking with that insulting argument? This is where Perry wants to go just because he had dinner with Mr. Moneybags? And voters are supposed to take Perry seriously when he talks about budgets and flat taxes and a lot of other more complicated issues?

The online version of the Parade interview also contained interesting comments by Perry on secession. He denied ever suggesting that Texas do it, as has been reported, but insisted that he could “understand” why some might suggest it: “Let’s say somebody stands up at an event and says, ‘Secede.’ My response would be that we have a great country. I see no reason that we would ever want to dissolve it, but I do understand why people get frustrated when government does not work the way our Founding Fathers meant for it to. I totally understand why people would shout that out. Do I think it’s a realistic thing? No.”

Not realistic? Why give the wackos any wiggle room? They claim to be patriots, so why not just say, “No. It would be an irresponsible act of war”?

Imagine if Texas, theoretically, decided to secede because residents got “frustrated” with the federal government and the president decided, as Abraham Lincoln did, that it was his duty to protect and defend all property of the United States?

Fort Bliss. Fort Hood. Corpus Christi Naval Air Station/Naval Hospital. Lackland Air Force Base. NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Can Texas hope to just take them over without a fight? How about the oil fields crucial to U.S. security?

This is arrant nonsense, if not treason, and the fact that Perry can’t just say so is evidence of a mind too confused trying to figure out what he can say and still raise cash from the loony fringe of the Republican Party. Which includes Trump on the “birther” issue.

Sarah Palin, God bless her, figured it out. She decided to keep saying whatever popped into her head, raise bundles of money from the faithful, and leave the campaigning to the suckers.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week: Dunes

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Dunes, Ocracoke

By Carrie Jacobson

Finally, finally, I have been freed for a vacation!

I left home Friday at noon, and arrived in Cape Hatteras on Saturday. Sunday morning, I took the ferry to Ocracoke Island, and began painting.

This was the first painting I made on Sunday, and while I was making it, I began to understand some things about myself and what attracts me – or at least, what is attracting me on this trip.

You think “Outer Banks” and you think water and waves and beaches – or at least, I do. But on Sunday, I realized that for me, it’s not that. It’s the dunes and the sky.

Beaches and waves I can get in Westerly, R.I., near our Connecticut home.

Dunes – backbones of the earth, raw and rhythmic, dunes are what call me. Long skeins of dunes, under a huge and unbroken sky, these pull at my eye and my heart and all my senses.

I don’t pretend to understand this. But seeing them, and painting them makes me happy. And so, on this narrow, windswept island, I am painting dunes and not questioning my soul.

I’ve Been Kindled

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

By Jeffrey Page
Without so much as actually holding a Kindle in my hands, I had concluded that this was a nasty little invention that eliminates the intimacy between author and reader, between reader and bookseller. And never would I own one.

My, how things change.

My daughter and son-in-law gave me a Kindle for my birthday and I enjoy it immensely, mainly for one wonderful feature. I now have the ability to enlarge the size of the type in the work I’m reading. This is no small gain for someone like me, who once went several months without picking up a book because the letters were blurry. It happened gradually and at first I was unaware of the change in my eyesight.

I finally came to understand my un-literacy when I tried on a pair of drug store reading glasses just for the hell of it. The letters were sharp, and I tried to remember the last book I had read, and when I read it. I couldn’t do it; it had been that long.

I bought that pair of $20 spectacles and was happy to read again. But I was getting headaches and went to see an ophthalmologist who told me the pain was due to reading with the glasses’ equal magnification in each eye when in fact, my eyes were different and I needed two different lenses.

Now the letters are sharper yet I still have a problem with type size. But with this Kindle I have eight choices of type size and I can see the page before me. Well, I guess I could always see the page, but now I can read the page.

Another thing I like about this Kindle is that with fewer and fewer bookstores to browse in, I can choose titles from Amazon’s huge inventory, push a button and download it in a matter of seconds – and at a discount. For example, I bought “The Warmth of Other Suns,” Isabel Wilkerson’s riveting story of the black migration from the American south to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. It lists for $30. I paid $12.99 for a hard-to-argue-with 57 percent break.

The portability is nice too, as is the capacity. They say a Kindle can hold 3,500 books. I could carry all 3,500 and never get out of breath.

There are losses connected with Kindle as well. I come from a time when there was nothing like a brand new book to savor. We would open the front cover and hear the spine pop slightly. We would turn the pages lovingly from the title page and on to the narrative. The paper felt soft and warm. And a new book had a wonderful aroma: slightly woody, a nod to the tree from which it came.

Kindle may be terrific, but I doubt I’ll ever give up on bookstores, and I’ll always keep the books I love most on my shelves for second, third and forth looks. The Iliad. Sherlock Holmes. Lear and the fearsomely honest Cordelia. The sonnets. Gatsby and Holden Caulfield. And Dylan Thomas breaking my heart again as he and I beg our dads not to go gentle.

Have you Kindled? What do you think of it? And what books do you keep on your personal shelf?

Gigli’s Photo of the Week

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Photography by Rich Gigli

Mountian Brook

“I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.”

The Brook by Alfred, Lord Tennyson  (1809-1892)