Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Golden Birthdays

Sunday marked the birthdays of two greats in the acting fields.  

James Earl Jones turned 90.

He has one of the most recognizable voices in movie history.  Who would be Darth Vader's voice if he wasn't?

Then, Betty White, actress (and so much more) beloved by so many, turned 99 on Sunday.  

What a life.

Here's a little documentary on her, if you have the time.  Think of Betty White being a pioneer at a time when women weren't expected to have careers - yet she co produced TV comedies, competed on game shows, sang, and more.  I remember her from my childhood, my teenage hood, my young adult hood, my middle age....and beyond.

I have to admit this totally off-color performance is one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits.  You'll never think of muffins in the same way again. (Definitely not suitable for work.)

For a change, it's a pleasure to pay tribute while these two greats are still with us.  Long may they continue to thrive.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Hunny Honey #MusicMovesMe

Welcome to Monday!  It's time for #MusicMovesMe.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only , please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-cohostesses are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. As Xmas Dolly likes to say, "Applause!"

Each month we have a guest co-hostess who picks themes for the month, and this month it is Cathy at Curious as a Cathy. 

Cathy's theme for today has to do with today being Winnie the Pooh day.  Cathy provided a link explaining this celebration and asked that we use it to generate ideas for today's post.

I remember Winnie the Pooh, a character originally dating from 1926.  There was a time when my son was around five where he loved to watch Winnie the Pooh VHS tapes.  Before that, he would wear Winnie the Pooh pajamas.  Sweet memories, right?

Sweet = sugar.  Or, thinking of what Winnie the Poo loves, hunny.

Why not use a topic of honey today?  We need a lot more sweetness in our lives.

A Taste of Honey - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

From 1957, Jimmie F. Rodgers and Honeycomb - a nice song from my childhood.  I didn't realize until researching this post that the song was a cover.   Fun fact, the B side of this single was "Kisses Sweeter than Wine", which was also a hit.

Carl Perkins wrote a song called "Honey Don't", which originally was the B side of his "Blue Suede Shoes" (a big hit for Elvis Presley when he covered it).  Honey Don't has been covered by many artists.  Here is a cover by the Beatles, from 1964.  The Beatles were big Carl Perkins fans.

Speaking of the Beatles, here's another song mentioning honey in the title "Honey Pie", from the 1968 White Album.  I enjoy the early 20th century vibe of this song, complete with record crackles.

Honey, Bobby Goldsboro, from 1968.  The singer sings about his young deceased wife.  Some call this one of the worst songs ever.  Others can't listen without crying. But consider this:  this charted #1 on both the country and rock charts.  And also adult contemporary.  You can't beat that.

While researching this, I found that the original was recorded by a South African, Peter Lotis, first in 1962, and then released as a single, also in 1968.  So we can have an official "battle of the singers" here, if you wish.  Goldboro or Lotis?  I'm not even sure if I can call Bobby Goldsboro's version a cover as these both seemed to be released at about the same time.

For my next to last song, I will deviate a little from my honey theme.  Winnie the Pooh was a teddy bear owned by a little boy by the name of Christopher Robin.  The stories inspired a song by Kenny Loggins, first recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971.

And finally, one last video, if you'll permit me.  I wanted to give a shoutout to our national treasure Betty White, who turned 99 yesterday.  Yes, she's still working, as far as I know.  And, well, she's never been afraid to speak her mind - and what a mind it is.  This musical clip is from 1954.  Nevertheless (I'm In Love with You).  Betty, I'm in love with you!

That's a sweet wrap!

See you again next week, same time, same place.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Two Views of Victory

 I don't often show the aged and decrepit side of the village of Johnson City, New York, but today I feel I need to show a contrast of past and present.

The major industry in this area, back in the early to mid 20th century, was shoe manufacture.  In fact, the Village of Johnson City was named for shoe manufacturers - twice.  First, Lestershire, after the Lester Brothers Boot and Shoe Company.  And then, the village became Johnson City, renamed in 1916 in honor of George F. Johnson, who was originally hired by the Lester Brothers Boot and Shoe Company and eventually became co owner of the shoe company with another man, Henry Endicott as the Lester Brothers sold out to them.

The story is a lot more complex, but for today's purposes you should know that Endicott-Johnson, at one time, was the largest shoe manufacturer in the United States and employed thousands in Johnson City, in nearby Endicott (yes, named after Henry Endicott) and other nearby communities.

The Victory Plant was built in 1921, and named Victory after our victory in World War I.  Just think, at the tail end of a pandemic which killed some 50 million people worldwide, this shoe manufacturing plant was state of the art.  This is what it looked like at one time (third photo down on the page this links to).

A view today of the defunct Victory Plant, Johnson City, New York

Today, it lies in ruins, closed up in the 1970's.  

But, within walking distance is CFJ Park (named after another member of the Johnson family), and near that, tents have gone up near a closed newspaper printing plant.  A vaccination facility is supposed to open there tomorrow.

Hopefully, thousands will receive COVID vaccines there in the coming months.

Two view of victory - past victory from 1921, and what we hope is eventual victory over COVID in 2021.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

It Can't Take That Away From Me

It can't take everything away from me.  I won't let it.

I (along with millions of others) have lost freedoms and/or livelihoods to COVID.  Many have lost businesses or jobs.  Many are depending on food banks for food.  Others (right now that includes me, a senior, with rates climbing where I live) don't feel comfortable going into stores except for the necessities.   And, maybe soon, not even that.  The UK strain is in our state already. 

But Rona, or COVID or whatever you want to call "it", can't take gardening away from my spouse and I.  The other day we sent our renewal in for our one "in ground" plot and the one raised bed I use, due to my bad back.

2020 raised bed
We've sent in our seed orders.   We did them all online because already there seem to be some shortages.

This year, we aren't as adventurous as in past years.  One herb I am going to try to grow is Zaatar marjoram, an ingredient for a Middle Eastern herb mixture called za'atar.  I already have the other ingredients, thyme and oregano, growing in our home herb bed.

We are also going to try to grow spring-planted garlic, something you apparently can do with softneck garlic with a degree of success.

I'm splurging on some fancy zinnia and cosmos seeds.

Today is another day of snow flurries and white sky gloom where I live.  It's so nice to dream.

No, Rona, you can't take that away from me.

What can't Rona take away from you?

Friday, January 15, 2021

Plants and Skies January 2021 #SkywatchFriday #GardenBloggersBloomDay

This month I am combining two memes, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and SkywatchFriday, so if you are here for Skywatch Friday, I'll have sky pictures towards the end of the post.  I hope you enjoy the blooms in my zone 5b upstate New York home and yard, because I have so few of them.  

I do have a blooming plant outdoors - joy!  At Christmas time, we had a record snowstorm with some 40 inches of snow.  But it has been melting, and one of my two Lenten Rose plants is exposed in the snow melt.  


Fortunately, it's an early bloomer, and, in fact, was trying to bloom before the snow fell.  The snow has protected it ever since and it was blooming under the snow.  I hope, when winter returns in earnest (it's been a bit mild lately) the blooms will survive.  Some years, they don't always.

I bought this primrose plant the day after Christmas.  It's been blooming since, but is on its way out.  I will plant it outside come spring (if it survives) but I don't have a good track record with these supermarket plants.

I took a Persian shield cutting before frost, and I have it in water.  I've not had good luck transplanting them so I am keeping it in the water.  It surprised me yesterday with blooms.

Indoors, I did something that caused most of my Thanksgiving cactus to start to die.  I don't know what I did wrong.  I've grown these for years.  (My one Easter cactus is fine, so far.) I have one that survived whatever I did but it's only had a couple of blooms.  Now, it has a bud that hasn't quite opened yet.

 Well, buds are flowers, right?

I have my two poinsettias from the holiday season.  Still not sure if I want to keep them but they are looking good, so why not?  Here is one of them - the beautiful red and white "leaves" are actually bracts and the flowers, which are mostly dead, are in the center.

 And the other.

My million bells, in a hanging basket, is hanging on.  The bacopa, which was still blooming in December, has about had it. The million bells is blurry because my iPhone SE first generation doesn't do macros well.

Thank you for your patience, skywatchers, and it's time for some sunsets.  These were taken in the past week, on two days where the sun made a brief appearance.  

These were taken in a local park, and we probably won't be able to use its walking trails until a spring cleanup.  Mud from our December flood still is all over them.

Thank you for joining me for Yogi's #SkywatchFriday and Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens.  Please visit some of the other fine bloggers who have linked to both posts.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Snowy Tree #ThursdayTreeLove

Welcome!  Let's start 2021 off right.

Snow is an everyday sight for me, living in New York State in the Northeast United States, but I know that many of the wonderful bloggers who participate in Thursday Tree Love every second and fourth Thursday of the month do not live in climates that receive snow in the winter.

So I like to bring snow to them.  Actually, I would love to ship snow to them, given that we still have piles of our record 40 plus inch (101 cm) snowfall from December.

I'll admit, snow is pretty when you don't have to shovel it, walk in it, or drive in it.   So here's a tree after a snowstorm we had after that snowstorm.  The white sky (yes, that's a white sky) is just a bonus.

And the tree?  It's in its winter sleep, awaiting the secret signal only trees know, that tells our trees it's time to wake up, stretch and pop their buds, and unfurl leaves for a new summer.

It's not time yet.  It won't be for another three months.

Joining Parul and other tree lovers at #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Dunedin Brewery #WordlessWednesday

I'm living off some of my iPhone photo memories.  This is from the last pre-pandemic trip we took, from New York State to Florida in January of 2020.  We've only been, at most, an hour and a half from home ever since.

Both my spouse and I have always wanted to visit Scotland.  We spent a few days in Dunedin, Florida to scout out snowbirding opportunities. Dunedin, Florida is so proud of their Scottish heritage.   

While we were there, we visited a brewery, the Dunedin Brewery. And it was decorated in...what else?  Scottish symbols.

The beer was good, too.

I've never been off the North American continent, but my late childhood best friend had another school friend who married and moved to Scotland as an adult, and visited her and her family there several times.  How wonderful that must have been.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.