Remember the Men & Women Who Fought for Us

Memorial Day Weekend on Nantucket has come to be regarded as the start of the party season on the island.  The Friday afternoon ferries were filled with people carrying cases of Bud Light and looking for the nearest beach.  Harbor Square was packed with partiers. The 200+ sailboats of FIGAWI  arrived Saturday for a weekend of fun.

Nantucket Island is a summer resort — we welcome vacationers and partiers.  But let’s pause for a moment this weekend and remember the reason behind Memorial Day: it’s our time to honor all American men and women who have died while serving our country.  As we enjoy the beginning of summer, remember those who died so that we have the freedom to live as we do, and say a prayer for those who are still fighting.

Sunday, May 27, join Post 8608 VFW and Post 82 American Legion in honoring these men and women. At 1 p.m., the procession will march from American Legion Hall to Steamboat Wharf for a short service. They will then continue to Prospect Hill Cemetery, and return to the American Legion Hall for a gathering.


Talk about Talk

by Guest Blogger H. Flint Ranney

Whatever has become of good public speaking?

Do schools even bother to teach it any more?

Watch a White House press briefing, visitors speaking at a Board of
Selectmen meeting, or some other event where speech is extemporaneous. Look
at the TV news panels where talking heads are analyzing the latest events.
Observe how some speakers, without a written text or a Teleprompter in front
of them, have difficulty avoiding what might be called thought-spacers, also
known as discourse particles: “um” and “uh.”  In jolly olde England, these
sound like “em” or “erm.” Too often we also add meaningless utterances such
as “you know,” “I mean,” and “like.”

Maddeningly, some speakers will respond to a question by starting right out
by saying “I mean,” or “You know” before saying anything else. Then the next
minute or two will be filled with so many “you knows” that it’s hard to
count them. Try it. It’s not always a spaced out “you know,” but often a
barely noticeable “ya know” prefacing and attached to, another word.

The thing is, until something has actually been said, or an opinion
presented, we DON’T know. Throwing your shoe at the TV will not reduce your
frustration level if you are even paying attention to the twaddle. Count the
number of “uhs” and “ums” in a one-minute period, even in a single sentence,
and you’ll be surprised. These have probably become the most popular
“non-lexical vocals” in the English language, cluttering some 20 percent or
more of our unrehearsed speech, public or otherwise.

How has this happened to us? Maybe it is because we are all so busy and our
brains so disordered with an overload of miscellaneous information that we
can’t just utter words in a continuous intelligible flow. We have to pause
and think of what to say next, and embarrassed by “dead air,” as they say in
broadcasting, we add fillers to keep listeners from interrupting us. Or
maybe we have just lost our train of thought for a few seconds.

Schools seem to be too occupied with programs on diversity and preventing
student loss of self esteem (no grades given out because it’s unfair for
someone to get an A unless everyone gets an A), that teachers probably
cannot find time to encourage kids to speak in cohesive sentences.

Ah, yes, and there are some people who can talk, and talk, and talk, even
entire paragraphs, without a single speech disfluency. One might observe
that these luminaries tend to be older, wiser, and may have a natural public
speaking gift.

But ever an optimist, I’m like hoping that public speaking will improve
over, um, time, if, I mean, you know, uh, the public learns, ya know how.

Food, Wine, and Fun on Nantucket

by Sarah Teach, reprinted from

Fine wines won’t be the only palate-pleasers illuminating the 2012 Nantucket Wine Festival on May 16-20. Veiled beneath the shadows of the much more renowned Grand Tasting and Harbor Gala dwell perhaps the greater gems: the series of Wine & Food seminars that offer an inside scoop of some of the tastiest foods made by the country’s most innovative chefs. This year’s festival presents nine different seminars, each one with its own distinguishing culinary focus. Simon Shurey, Events Coordinator of the Wine Festival, says, “The people who go to the seminars are the ones who really care about food.”

Shurey’s personal recommendation is “The Greatest Chef You’ve Never Heard Of,” which will feature Damon Baehrel this year.  (Incidentally, we hadn’t heard of him.)  Baehrel’s restaurant in Earlton, NY, has a wait list that is more than three years long; but come to “The Greatest Chef You’ve Never Heard Of” and you will get to try his extraordinary cuisine right away!  Shurey also touts the seminar featuring Cheese Master John Greeley, who is Co-Chair of the American Cheese Society Competition Committee. Greeley, also known as “the Big Fromage,” will host tastings of the inimitable cheeses from France’s Rhône Valley.  During the seminars, chefs welcome questions and engage actively in dialogue with attendees, offering an intimate look at food and wine pairings.

But the yum doesn’t stop at the seminars.  The luncheon symposia program continues this year, promising to serve up outstanding cuisine and education at some of Nantucket’s best addresses.  During each of these three exclusive wine-and-dine events, the first hour is devoted to learning from several specially selected world-class winemakers.  After the educational hour, attendees will be served an exquisite four-course luncheon highlighting the very wines that were just discussed!

In between the big events, there are plentiful prix fixe meals served at local restaurants, all offering superbly paired cuisines and wines sure to please any gourmet enthusiast.  While most Festival-goers this weekend will simply say “Cheers!” you are invited to the more exclusive group that can exclaim, “Bon appétit!”

Mother’s Day Nantucket-Style

If you’re lucky enough to have your mother here on Nantucket Island rather than across the pond in America, there are a number of activities you can enjoy with her tomorrow.

We venture a guess that every mother on Nantucket, on at least  one Mother’s Day, has attended The Rotary Club of Nantucket’s Mother’s Day Breakfast.  It tends to be a fun jumble of pancakes, families with young children, and sticky kisses, and it benefits the Rotary Scholarship Program.  This year, it will be held from 8 to 11 am at Faregrounds Restaurant, and tickets are just $10.

If your mom wants to sleep-in for Mother’s Day, consider brunch.  Starting at 11 am, there are several options: Fifty-Six Union, which promises a brunch fit for a queen (508-228-6135); Galley Beach, which offers indoor and outdoor options (508-228-9641); and Brant Point Grill (508-325-1320), where brunch begins at 10 am and includes a variety of buffet stations.

After brunch, Mom can enjoy a matinee of TWN’s “Noises Off” at 3 pm in Bennett Hall, 62 Centre Street.  You will want to leave the little ones at home for this hilarious adult farce full of doors slamming and on- and off-stage intrigue.

You can end the day with a family dinner Italian-style at Fusaro’s, now offering a Special Sunday Supper of “macaroni with all-day Sunday gravy,” a slow-simmered sauce loaded with beef, pork, Nana Jean’s meatballs, and sausage served over rigatoni. Just 14.95 for all-you-can-eat starting at 4 pm.

Happy Mother’s Day!