Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dancing with the Pinched Nerve

Am at home recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction which followed a 6 week odyssey of jaw pain, ear pain, and two infections.  It's been character building.  I've also been fighting a pinched nerve affecting my lower leg so I may have an opportunity to blog about my first experience next week with physical therapy.  In the meantime...

I've had a fantasy for a while about appearing on "Dancing with the Stars".  Now, it's more attractive than ever.

The pain in my mouth, my gimpy right leg, my belly fat, are forgotten, as I take the dance floor in a sparkling costume only partially covering my spray-tanned toned body. (Hah!) I glide across the floor in high heels (I haven't been able to get my right shoe on without help in about 10 days) as the dance music begins.  The famous author, AM, (not) is the "wild card" every season features, the older person who has never danced a minute in his/her life but is now trying to impress the judges and stay on another week.   Will AM go down the path of almost every "senior" on the show-funny, entertaining, but ultimately voted off?

No problem for limber AM, who completes the complex (tango? paso doble?  quickstep?) routine without missing a step.  Or grimacing in pain.

The crowd comes to its feet.

The girl who was never picked for the punchball, curbball or softball game gets 9's and 10's, as Mary Murphy puts me on her Hot Tamale Train...(oops, wrong dance show.  I definitely Know I Can't Dance) OK, AM beams as Len Goodman says he had doubts about me but now he must admit there really is talent in there somewhere.

The fact that AM could even learn a routine without forgetting any of the steps, never mind two routines for one show, would be daunting enough.  But that's the fun of fantasy.  In real life, I have no chance of appearing in that show.  But who cares?  One day I will get that **** right shoe on without pain, and that will be a triumph.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Submitted for Your Approval: Binghamton Celebrates Rod Serling and the 50th Anniversary of the Twilight Zone TV Series

Some of you may know that dramatic writer Rod Serling grew up in Binghamton, went to junior high and high school in Binghamton, and incorporated Binghamton landmarks into several episodes of "The Twilight Zone".

Now Binghamton celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of the Twilight Zone, October 2, 1959.  Although the Twilight Zone is far from the only example of Serling's genius, it may be what he is the best known for.

I've been to some of these landmarks many times.  My son, when young, rode the carousel at Rec Park many times.  And, spouse and I take many exercise walks past the school now known as West Middle School. (if you enjoy Art Deco architecture, West Middle School is a must-see).

However, we won't be paying tribute just to Mr. Serling, but to his high school English teacher Helen Foley. Teachers, take note:  you will never know where your seeds of inspiration land, to grow into mighty trees.

Not just Binghamton will be celebrating, as Mr. Serling also taught at Ithaca College - Ithaca will also be having some events.

I hope to be able to go to some of these-and, if possible, take pictures.  

Friday, September 25, 2009

Monster Cereals, Wink and TaB-the Wonderful World of Forgotten Foods Part I (maybe of more)

Who would have thought about fans devoted to Monster Cereals (Count Chocula, Franken Berry,etc.) or other current or former manufactured food and drink products.

But they are there, both on Facebook and in the blogosphere.  And on the Internet.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Facebook Monster cereal group is especially interesting; you can view some of this site without joining Facebook.  If these cereals were a blast from your past, by all means check it out.  Apparently they are making a comeback.

There are also groups for various cereals, such as Count Chocula.

If you look at this blog, they  have an extensive list of more links.

To each their own.  I do have my obsession with arctic and antarctic sunsets.

Next I have to talk about a guy I know who is crazy about a soda called Wink.  It hasn't been sold here in the Triple Cities for years.  For a while this man got his Wink from someone he knew who worked in Binghamton and lived in Maryland (he commuted back and forth on weekends) but that went away at some point.  Now he cherishes his Wink.  Gotta love that authentic wood rosin taste.  He's even brought it to holiday parties.

And, last but not least, TaB.  I must admit, working for a company who provided us all the Coke and TaB we could drink, that I drank many gallons of TaB.  Back in the early 1980's that was one of the few (compared to today) diet sodas.  Sweetened (if you could call it that) with saccharin, TaB had this bitter aftertaste that grew on you after a while.  TaB still has a lot of fans. Sure enough they have a Facebook page.  And there's a website, too.

If you are under....30, I guess, you probably don't know much about TaB.  So, if it is sold in your supermarket, grab some.  IF you are lucky, your local Coca-Cola dealer carries it so you can get it.  One of our local supermarkets has it, sometimes, but it isn't cheap.

So many forgotten foods to write little time.  Hmm....Fizzies....

Do you have a forgotten food or drink you want to talk about?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fairbanks goes into the 20's and Fall Also Comes to Binghamton NY

Brrr, yesterday and today Fairbanks, Alaska dipped into the mid 20's.

When fall comes, Alaska doesn't hesitate a minute.

They had a "trace of" precipitation, wonder if it was rain or snow.

Day length there right now 12 hrs and 2 second.  The slide into winter continues.

Meanwhile, I had to go to Great Bend, PA today.  They are only about 10 miles south of Binghamton but the weather there can be colder than our weather. That is because, unlike Binghamton (which is in a river valley for the most part) Great Bend isn't.   Today, I was able to see the difference in fall color between the Binghamton trees and those in Great Bend. 

I must admit, I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into fall but once I am dumped into it, I manage to enjoy myself.

Also, gasoline was 10 cents a gallon cheaper in Great Bend.   Speaking of which, gas is in the $2.60's.  In Great Bend it was $2.55 in stations right off the Interstate.  Ah, those lovely NY taxes.

Oh well....let fall begin!

Things I learned today

What an educational day.  Thanks to some emails from friends, and my son, I now know about these.  For all I know, I am the last person in the U.S. to know about this stuff, but my son was gentle with me.

People of Wal-Mart:  have you ever thought about setting up a website with pictures of the unusual people you have seen shopping at Wal-Mart?  Well you are too late.  Three young men have beat you to the punch.  Is this humor?  Or is it mean spirited?  Your call.  Better hope your picture isn't there.  I do at shop at Wal-Mart, so maybe I better go see.

The 2001 Clear Channel Memorandum.
Son says he had "heard about this for years" and finally tracked it down.  Another "you decide" thing.  This is supposedly a memo Clear Channel Communications distributed after 9/11 either (suggesting) (requiring) (take your pick) that their radio stations not play these songs.  Censorship?  Sensitivity?

Christian Bale and His Rant on the Terminator Salvation set  I really must be the last person to learn about this.  It's because I try very hard not to pay attention to what happens in the entertainment field.
You Tube is full of the audio portion of this, and various take-offs and mashups of same.

David after Dentist (and the various takeoffs and mashups thereof).  Again I must be the most clueless person on the planet.  It took me going to a website I just found about, Know Your Meme, to find out about this.  Since I will have dental surgery in the near future, this was especially interesting.  Yes, this is real life!

Twitter Will Kill You  enough said! (Note, see David after Dentist first.)

So, that's the harvest of what's new to me, and probably only me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Laughing with Your Teen

Sometimes older teens take a break from their lives and have a conversation with you that makes you...well, read on.

This all started with an email from a friend containing photos of people shot at Wal-Mart...ranging from mighty strange to industrial strength weird.  To put it mildly.

In my son's job, he has seen this kind of thing, so we looked at the email together and had a good laugh.  He asked me to send the email to him.  And then he started asking me if I had seen some videos.  So off to You Tube we went 

At the end of the conversation I had a good insight into things happening and websites I never knew about.

Don't worry, son, I won't embarrass you by posting my finds on Facebook.  (no promises re my blog, though!)

As an anthropology major, this fascinates me.  We are certainly more than one culture here, in our house.  There is the baby boomer culture and the culture of ""Gen Next".  There is the culture of parents set in their ways and the young man who sometimes (no, more than sometimes) wants to tweak us just to see what will come of it.  Sometimes, it results a good argument.  Today, it was us uniting for a few minutes on the Internet to enjoy a few good laughs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like....Christmas?

Of course, Christmas is right around the corner...after all isn't fall going to begin soon?

So time to start discounting the Halloween candy and costumes, squeeze in some turkey sales....Santa Claus is coming to town.  In September.

I refuse to believe this but a co-worker told me she was in the mall over the weekend, and a local store of a major retail chain department store has their Christmas stuff up.

Years and years ago I read a story called "Happy Birthday Dear Jesus" by the science fiction author Frederik Poul.  Mr. Poul (who will turn 90 in November) had a period in the 1950's and 1960's when he wrote a lot about consumerism gone wild - including a novel called "The Space Merchants" which foretold the future of advertising-a bit scarily.

 As I recall it (and it's been many years) "Happy Birthday Dear Jesus" was about a retail world where Christmas was merchandised almost all year round, and a woman who wouldn't accept that.

I can identify.  Why does retail keep trying to rush the seasons?  Isn't there a time for everything?

As for me, I'll enjoy the apples and the foliage.  I'm glad I was able to enjoy an almost perfect three days of late summer weather.

So Christmas in September?  Bah humbug.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sunsets of Change

It's been a while since I've revisited my obsession with tracking sunsets and the seasons.  The season of change is upon us again as the earth and sun continue their celestial dance.  So, once again....

Officially, fall begins September 22nd 5:18 P.M. EDT 2118 UTC.  But in many ways it has already begun here in Binghamton, New York.  Being away last week for 6 days, the changes in season were obvious as we returned home.

Here and there in the hills, leaves are shedding their green, revealing their true colors of red and yellow.

Sunlight weakens.  Overcast days have the look of winter, promising the days of snow and cold will be here soon.

The farmers markets brim with local apples:  Honeycrisp, Ginger Gold, Paula Gold, 20 Ounce.  (more varieties to come soon!) The Cider Mill in Endicott presses its cider and advertises its Indian Corn, winter squash, donuts, candy apples, and pies.  (theirs are almost the only donuts I will eat.)

The "Realtime Global Map" on Eternal Sunset divider between light and dark is almost straight up and down from north to south, as sunrise and sunset evens out in all parts of the globe.  As I write this, the sun is setting at Bernardo O'Higgins base in Antarctica as the base gets ready to welcome spring and the annual return of the Gentoo penguins.  And, on the other end of the world, Longyearben, Norway (above the Arctic Circle) edges towards fall - it is dark there right now (nearly midnight) but earlier today I saw snow on the ground. Soon, the sun will set for good and not rise again until next year.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, the trees are already past peak in color and the snow creeps further down the mountains around Anchorage.

Meanwhile, in the Binghamton area, a blogger works among her flowers and feels the chill in the air.  The crickets still chirp in the bright sun. There is a frost advisory for early tomorrow starting at 3am although I doubt it will hit where we live in a valley. But it is only a matter of time.

A very bittersweet time.

Is it Worth Making Friends of the Young?

Looks like I made the right decision not to try to friend my younger relatives/children of friends on Facebook.  (Unless I am invited to, of course, which so far I have not been.)

This site was worth being up in the middle of the night.  And this commentary on that website got my intellectual curiosity up.  After all, I was an anthropology major.  Now this, I can sink my teeth into.
Why?  Because let's face it, there has been and always will be a generational divide.   So flashback time again....

I can remember years ago being invited to spend the week at an aunt's house when I was a teenager.  This aunt was the older sister of one of my parents...shall we say a much older sister as my Mom was the 3rd youngest of a very large family.  So we were talking a wide generational gap here.  Her kids were grown so it was just me, her and her husband.  Overall I had a good time but every once in a while there was a moment of "OMG, why am I here."  Nothing horrible, nothing I don't indulge in now and then (like sometimes overdiscussing health problems) being the age that aunt was now, but back then it was moments of pure embarrassment.  I can still remember a couple of those moments. (Along with some very good memories, by the way.)

We think as teens we will never make those mistakes with our kids but of course we grow up and we do.

Now, thanks to technology, we 50 plussers can embarrass our younger loved ones in public and to the whole world.  Or at least to the younger one's 275 Facebook friends.  And now we know where they get their revenge.  Forewarned is....

So, is it worth friending the young?

If I was invited to friend any of my real life friends' grown children (or my son, for that matter) I would do it in a heartbeat.  There is a realization at my age that one day I am going to get old, and my older friends one day...might pass on to whereever we all go before I join them.  And then in the meantime, if I don't have any younger friends....then what?

So...I'll wait and see.  But I won't make the first move.  At least for now.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Blast from the Massachusetts Past

When I announced I was going to Cape Cod, a co-worker recommended we visit Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA.  It was a wonderful kickoff to a Massachusetts vacation.  We spent part of two days there.

Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) is a "living history" museum - people "living" the life of those in a small village of the 1830's.  Close enough to the Revolutionary War but late enough to be experiencing the fruits (and problems) of the Industrial Revolution. 

Above, an 1830's craftsman  attends to his work.

OSV is ideal for the family with children, because there are so many hand on activities, with always something to do or something to watch.  Also, picnicing is encouraged and water fountains were readily available.   Restrooms were plentiful.  The "residents" were very patient with the visiting children, and skilled in handling crowds.

 I had  two minor complaints which I will get right out of the way:
1.  A family could get nickeled and dimed to death here because the admission is more "a la carte" than some other places.  A boat ride was $5. a person extra, as was a ride on a stagecoach.  This could run into serious money for the average family.  Some of the crafts activities were extra but in all fairness they were "make it and take it" so it would be up to the family to decide if the fee was worth the activity.

2.  Unlike some other "living history" museums I have been to, some of the"residents" stepped out of character.   It was a little disappointing, for example, to hear the tinsmith talk about OSHA regulations.  Again in all fairness, because he was dealing with lead solder, it is possible he had to mention the fact that the use of lead was safe because it did not come in contact with any surfaces that would contact food.  However, other "residents" stepped in and out of the 1830's, in my opinion.  Whether or not that is a bad thing is again for the individual visitor to judge.

In all other ways I was quite pleased with my visit.  One nice thing is that I saw the Village both on a very busy day (the day before Labor Day) and a "dead" day, Labor Day itself.

One crowd pleaser, on Sunday, was the man demonstrating a musket:  as you can guess the children were absolutely entranced at the entire process, including the below (the priming):

These two craftsmen above demonstrate a water driven sawmill.

All of the craftsmen were very skilled and knowledgeable of their craft, and eager to share their knowledge.   I enjoyed the tinsmith especially, and ended up buying a small creamer at the gift shop.  Having soldered myself, I could appreciate this man working with a charcoal fired solder melter.

The buildings on site were mostly moved from other New England towns.  This was never an actual "village". 

Here is one of the waterwheels in action.

This is the "Salem Towne House".  A prosperous family would have lived here.
This is a farm scene.  Seems peaceful, right?  Yet, it was very hard work to maintain, harder than most of us can imagine.

There were a couple of extensive heirloom gardens, with a very informative exhibit on uses of herbs and spices in the 1830's.  At the farm, of course, heirloom animals were being raised.  We ended up buying two heirloom plants and will see if they make it through our winter.

The OSV website has a wealth of information on this and other topics.

The OSV bookstore had an extensive collection of "how to" books, books about history, cookbooks, you name it.  The gift shop wasn't just the usual Made in China stuff but rather had locally or regionally made tinware, redware, pottery, and other surprises.

Finally, on Monday, when all was quiet, we had the chance to converse with some of the craftspeople.  It was obvious, the way they greeted each other (we were there when the village opened), that they enjoy working together.  One, a woman working on a netting project, sat in one of the houses - she explained she was retired and this was a retirement career.  Hmmm....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cape Cod's Local Wild Jams and Jellies

 This trip to Cape Cod, we kept running into local jams and jellies.  Not just your typical tourist jams but real, homemade, from domestic and wild fruits both.  We finally succumbed.
Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that allows people to make jams and jellies in their homes and sell to the public.  Two of these places deserve mention.
On our trip to Chatham to try to see the sharks, we had a sweet surprise - the Chatham Jam and Jelly Shop and its free samples.  This website gies a bit of the history of jam/jelly making in Cape Cod.
The friendly owners had an array of open jars ready for the tasting, and we dug right in.  First to be sampled were beach plum jellies, both the red type and the rarer yellow beach plum.  We remember picking sand plums when living years ago in Kansas, and these were similar.  Wild plums, tart but tasty, these did not disappoint.
We expanded our tasting.  This shop makes various wild jams and jellies.  As they explain on their website:
"Locally picked fruits include: the native Wild Beach Plum, the Beach Rose, Garden Mint, Blueberries, Blackberries, Elderberries, Wine Raspberries, Peaches, Pears, Cranberries, Concord Grape, Wild Grape, Wild Cherry, and Tomatoes."
The Tomato and Basil jelly was delicious and unique but we finally settled
 on a jam called Friendship Jam, consisting of pineapple, wild beach plum juice, sugar and pectin.

The other jam and jelly place worth mentioning was the Green Briar Jam Kitchen in East Sandwich.  This kitchen featured solar cooked jams and jellies.  Honestly, if they had offered samples, we probably would have bought there too.  These jams have to be used quickly so we didn't buy much, but we will look out for these if we ever go back to Cape Cod.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chatham Great White Sharks-Not! (Or, What we did on our Summer Vacation)

I just returned from Cape Cod this afternoon.  So, fresh off the digital camera....

 We did not plan to go to Chatham originally (where the great white sharks were spotted recently) but decided to go there-being spontaneous is part of vacationing, after all.  So yesterday, off we went.   Needless to say, we didn't see any sharks.   However I got some nice beach pictures and had a good time.

This picture is of the Chatham Lighthouse, near to where some sharks were spotted earlier in the week.  The only sharks there now are the visitors, circling the limited number of available parking spaces. (We may have been one of the "sharks" in this article.  Gee, my 15 seconds of fame.)  If we had been there the day before (Wednesday) we could have taken a tour of this working lighthouse.

What we did get to see is harbor seals.  The seals we saw were all in the water so I did not get a good photo. One of my tries is in the picture below, a dot between the posts in the "corner" and the boat closest to the bottom of the photo to the right. 

Their faces look very much like dogs.

We did not have time to take one of the tours that would have taken us out to nearby Monomoy Island, where we could have engaged in seal watching.  Perhaps another time.

Here are some boats in the Chatham harbor.

Finally, a picture taken at a beach at the Monomoy Wildlife Refuge.  This is another place we could have spent a lot more time at. 

Ironically, the movie "Jaws" was filmed not that far away (as the seabird flies), on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  So, I didn't need any convincing to stay out of the water!  Needless to say, the beaches above were all closed to swimmers - although it was cool and windy and probably few people would have been in the water anyway.

Next post, the sweeter side of Chatham.

Years ago it was my Father in Law's Birthday

My father in law, if he had still been alive, would have turned 75 on September 11, 2001.

Of course, that is not what September 11, 2001 is remembered for.  But my sister in law, who works for a newspaper in a NYC suburb, had the thought of what September 11 had meant to her before that day running through her mind constantly, from the time she saw the second plane hit (live) thanks to the newsroom TV set, to driving home that night on eerily empty highways.

September 11 is to my son as November 22, 1963 was to me and my generation-the day that defined us.

Like ripples in a pond, the effects of 9/11 spread and spread.... these are two of this ripples.  There are so many more.

1.  Several alumni of my high school died on September 11, 2001.  One of them was a probationary fireman, Christian Regenhard.   It changed the life of his mother forever, as this website shows.  In memory of Mr. Regenard is this center.  Another victim of 9/11 from my school, Ari Jacobs, left a pregnant widow.  The baby boy in the article will turn 9 soon.

2.  I knew someone local who lost his son, a BU alumni, in the North Tower.  The man told me, the last time I ever saw him, that he regretted all the late hours and time he devoted to his career and not to his family.  Not long after, he took early retirement and moved out of state.  His widowed daughter in law was mentioned in this same People article. 

So many stories....but can I dare say that 9/11, as painful as it is to us, may one day lie on the heap of Forgotten History?  I know that sounds like blasphemy but....the question of whether it should will be decided by the forces of History.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The continuing tragedy of the Binghamton Salt Babies - more Forgotten History

There is an older black [this information is relevant] woman who has been seen for years in downtown Binghamton. She appears (to the casual observer) to be mentally ill.  She screams at the noontime lunch crowd. 

I was told recently that this woman was the nurse accused of the accidental salt poisonings of newborns in the Binghamton Salt Baby tragedy of 1962.  She had gone insane from the truth of what she had done, or so the story went.

I remember this news-I was young and the "salt babies" stuck in my mind.  I remember reading it in either Life or Look magazine for some reason-I wonder how reliable that memory is.  It was several years after I moved up here before I found out the incident had happened here in Binghamton.

In brief, a number of newborn babies at Binghamton General Hospital were fed hospital-mixed formula where salt was accidentally used instead of sugar.  The salt and sugar canisters were on the same shelf.   7 babies died from salt poisoning, several others were saved using dialysis.

So is this unfortunate older woman (who could possibly be in her 70's) the nurse mentioned in the Time article?  (Time had said she was a "Negro"-and, a pregnant mother of 3)  Was she ever charged with a crime?  Why were sugar and salt canisters stored so closely together?  What was the rest of her life like?  I could certainly see a mother of 3 not being able to live with this knowledge, if indeed she was the guilty party. (or, even more horribly-was she a scapegoat?  That was, after all, 1962.)

And, more of interest, what of the families who lost children? 

There doesn't seem to be very much online for this happening of 47 years ago....another instance of Forgotten History (except to the families involved), lost in the mists of time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Forgotten History: The Binghamton Clothing Company Fire of 1913

Binghamton has been in the news before in a tragic way.  This past April was not the first time.

Many people know about the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City in 1911.  Not too many people have heard about a somewhat similar fire in Binghamton in 1913.   33 people died during a fire at the Binghamton Clothing Company on Wall Street in Binghamton.  On the 96th anniversary of the fire, this past July, a monument was finally dedicated.

Many things like this are lost in the "mists of time".  I am glad that this chapter of Binghamton's history was officially recognized this past July.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

There but for the grace of.....

There is a small, one woman beauty parlor on a main street in the Triple Cities.  In the front, the proprietor cuts hair.  In the back, by the sink where customers have their hair washed before their haircut, lies a teenage boy.  He is reclining, with his back propped up.  He has a laptop on his lap and is listening to music.

In the front of the store, there are family photos.  Two of them show the same young man, covered from the neck down in sheets.  He is surrounded by family.  He is in a hospital room.   He is on a respirator.

Flashback time.

Many years ago I was between beauticians and my son needed a haircut too.  I think my son was 7 then, beautiful and hyperactive.  I don't remember how we made our way to this parlor but both my son and I were happy with the haircuts we received.  But more important than the haircut was the fact that the salon had built-in boy entertainment.  The entertainment was in the form of a boy who seemed to be my son's age (it turns out he was more than 2 years younger) playing in the salon.  My son and this boy became instant buddies and matched each other energy for energy. The boy was the beautician's younger son.  She would bring him to the salon when she didn't have other daycare arrangements. She was and is a single mother.

Every time haircut time rolled around my son would hope the boy would be there.

Time passed.  The boys grew up and became teenagers. And yes, you guessed the obvious.  The young man lying in the back room is this little boy grown up.  Very grown up this young man is, more than others his age.  He has done a lot of growing up since March of this year when he was paralyzed in a car accident shortly after getting his license.  This of course, is every mother's nightmare when their children get their drivers licenses.

Five weeks in a hospital, then much of the summer in rehab, he is currently paralyzed from the chest down and has limited use of his arms.  He hopes to go back to school and get his GED.  He had been studying to become an auto mechanic.  He is able to use a power chair.

Amazingly, we didn't know about the accident until today.  We were out of town for part of March and the accident may have been at this time.  I never even noticed the article in the paper about the benefit held back in July for him to raise funds for renovating his trailer to accomondate his current needs because I don't read the paper that much anymore.  So I feel sorrow for them both, mixed with guilt that I did not participate in the fundraiser.

His mother and him will make it through, I know.  Their love for each other is visible.  She told me they tell each other they love each other daily.  She works two jobs, a "day job" and then her salon.  And now takes care of her son, too.

It made me think about the last time I told my son, who can be a pain, that I loved him.  It's been a while.

She told me my son could be a pain, but he was a good young man, and to cherish him.

I thought I had cherished life every moment since a day 6 years ago when my son survived a high speed head on collision, but I was wrong.   My son's injuries, in light of the accident, were not near as bad as they could have been.  And now he is 19 and yes he can be a pain.  May I remember the moment today in the beauty parlor every time I try to descend into self-pity.  And, Young Man, I wish for you that your dreams may one day come true.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Last Labor Day Weekend for Johnson City, NY?

The Labor Day weekend was always a good time for Johnson City, NY.  Johnson City Field Days (a carnival, proceeds to local organizations) with fireworks on Labor Day evening.

That was then and this is now.

This may be the last year Johnson City exists (or close to it, anyway).  Along with the "so and so for Mayor" signs sprouting in Johnson City is a move to dissolve Johnson City.  (Johnson City is a village, not a city, just for the record).  I don't live in Johnson City so I am not directly affected. Still, this is a step a lot of people are not taking lightly. 

It may well be too late for downtown Johnson City, which is (so sorry) blighted.  It may be too late for the village as a whole.  The glory days of Endicott-Johnson (old enough to remember their shoes?  If not, remember Father and Son?) are long gone.  We won't know until November if the dissolution will be voted through or not.

So this will be a bittersweet Labor Day weekend for the perhaps-soon-to-be-extinct Village of Johnson City.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Facebook Experiences-quick before everyone quits

If the NY Times says so, it is quick, while Facebook still exists-as promised, my experiences.

First, the good:
1.  I made contact with two people I hadn't been in contact with for years -lost track, and now here we are.  There are a number of other people I'd like to try to contact.
2.  It's fun to share articles, blog entries, etc. with real life friends that are on Facebook.
3.  It's even more fun to see the interests my Facebook friends, some of whom I haven't seen in person for many years, have developed.  For those I knew as a teenager or college student, many of these have kept steady. But not always.  I hope I am equally as entertaining.
4.  It can be a very good source of information.
5.  Privacy is much easier to control than it was a year ago, when I tried it and promptly gave up because something I thought was really creepy happened.  That won't ever happen again.

Next, the bad:
1.  I do feel like Big Brother is watching, in a way.   Although I also realize that "free" applications are never truly free - such as, uh....Blogger.
2.  Food fights.  I turned it off.  If you've flung food at me, I don't see it anymore.  None of us are in junior high anymore.
3.  The whole social dilemma thing.  Example:  last week, I got a "friend" recommendation (every time you sign on you get a suggestion of someone you may want to "friend") for a cousin's husband.  I had no idea he was on Facebook.  I sent him a friend request and a message.  We do sometimes email in real life (his wife, my blood cousin, doesn't use the Internet much) but not that much.  Well normally if a friend request is pending, you can see that.  It doesn't show.  Did he reject me?  (he did friend two of his wife's other cousins.)  Is it my breath?  Is it a glitch?  Should I try again?
4.  Ditto for people I sent messages to (you can send a message to someone who isn't a friend, and you don't have to friend them.)  Did I offend anyone by not trying to friend them?  Isn't life too short for this cra....I mean, stuff?
5.    I used a fun application put out on Facebook by Trip Advisor.  I love that website.  It was an app that allowed me to "show off" all the places I've been.  Well suddenly I get requests:  do I want to write reviews on places I've been?  I accidentally ended up posting something on all my friends walls about some place I visited two years ago.  Didn't mean to, didn't realize that would happen, oops so sorry! 
6. I don't want to be the target of advertising.  Here, a good word for Blogger.  Blogger doesn't force itself on you.
7.  It can be a real time waster.  Enough said.

So that's it.  So far I'm still having fun, but believe me, the minute it isn't fun anymore, adios Facebook.