Saturday, October 31, 2020

It's The Scariest Time of the Year

 Yes, it's the scariest time of the year.

It isn't because of Cher Crow.

It's not Halloween candy, because people are figuring out how to give it out safely. (We aren't going to this year, though.)

It's not Halloween weddings.

Or pumpkin people hot dog vendors that make it scary.

It's not a black and white cat taking a stroll in the park.

It's not gravestones in an old cemetery.  No, it's something else.  A full moon tonight, and a blue moon help.  But this is what is scariest of all:

It's the transition back to Standard Time in the United States at 2am tomorrow. 

Why do we do it?

Why do we complain every time it happens and then forget it until next time?  It's a dangerous practice, as explained in this Scientific American article. 

More and more states are wanting to have one year round time.  But it can't happen without an act of Congress, meaning - it won't happen.

No matter.

Tomorrow the clocks turn back.


Friday, October 30, 2020

Cemetery Skies #SkywatchFriday

 It's the last Friday in October, the day before Halloween (for those who celebrate), the next to next to last day of Daylight Saving (yes, it isn't "savings") Time here in the United States, and time to get wicked scary.

What's more scary than a cemetery?  How about a cemetery with interesting skies and foliage?

But no worries - there are no grave robbers after those inside this mausoleum anymore, unlike the 19th century, when this mausoleum belonging to a wealthy family had to be guarded and, in fact, was broken into.

Welcome to Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton, New York.

Yes, kind of creepy.

But don't be afraid.

You know you want to walk down this peaceful road.  Or do you?  I don't mind, at least during the day.

Don't you?

Wonder who (or what) lives in that tree. 

But before you turn around, one more majestic tree.

Today I join Yogi and the other bloggers of #SkywatchFriday, as I do each Friday.

Nothing spooky about that.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Grave Time

For Halloween season fun, what is more spooky than to go to a cemetery and check out the graves?  It's outdoors, free, and educational.

On October 25, spouse and I visited Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton, New York.  Until earlier this month, I had never been there,  although I had passed it (you can see it from NY Route 17) many, many times.  

These are some of the treasures I found (along with some nice fall foliage). Treasures?  No, not treasures of silver or gold.  No, treasures of history.

I never did find the grave I was most interested in finding, that of Colonel David Ireland, a hero of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. Ireland was born in Scotland, and married a local woman of a prominent family (the Phelps).   Someone had asked me about my fruitless search- the simple reason was, I was unable to find a map of the cemetery.  Surprising, for this cemetery hold a lot of local history in it.  But I want to pick several graves I did find. I hope are of interest to all of my readers.

This is the grave of Daniel Stevens Dickinson, a politician who passed away in 1866 at the age of 65.  He was a United States senator and, at one time, was seriously considered to be a running mate for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. (Instead, the soon to be infamous Andrew Johnson was chosen).  Here is a blog post I wrote about Dickinson and 1864 a while ago.

The Grave of Ellen Brown, the first female employee of the YMCA, hired in 1886.  Here is some more information on her.

The grave on the left is the grave of a Civil War Major who died in one of the last battles of the Civil War.  The GAR medal indicates this person was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, which was a fraternal order composed of Union Civil War veterans.  There is also artwork on the grave indicating the grave marker is for a fallen Major. 
Approach this grave and you know this headstone is old.  It reads Lousa Ely, wife of Oliver Ely, born in Lyme, CT. July 25, 1794  died February 16, 1866 (I'm not totally sure about those dates - they were hard to read). I can't seem to find anything on her.

And finally, something (center) that intrigued me because of the artwork. Are you into cemeteries and know anything about the art on this monument?  This is something I need to read up on.

I hope you had a spooky time today.

Tomorrow we'll be back at Spring Forest to watch the sky for Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

And The Winner Is #WordlessWednesday

How about one more day of Halloween fun while we can have it?  It's 100% social distanced, and no masks are required if you simply read it on my blog.

Each October, at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York, there has been an annual Scarecrow Contest and Display .

Various groups and families enter this contest where visitors to the park judge and vote for the best scarecrow. The contest has ended, and it's time for me to announce the winner.

But first, some scarecrows you haven't seen yet.

Parks and Recs

Cornell Cooperative Service

The World Spins Out of Control

Wings.  And now, the winners.  

Third Place - Bee Kind (which I had in a previous post but this is a different picture. Too bad someone did some minor vandalism)

In 2nd place:  Let's Clean Up - Spirits of Sandersons

And the winner....Animal Adventure Park, home of April the former Internet celebrity giraffe.

Want more?  Here are links to my other two posts

More Scarecrows for a Scary Time

Scarecrows at the Park

Joining Sandee of Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Screeching Past 4000 Posts While Voting

I don't look at my statistics that much, but I decided to today, and found that this will be my 4008th published post.

Kind of screeched past the 4000 posts milestone, because I had other things on my mind.  Like voting.  Like one of my spouse's cousins, who lives in California, and posted a picture (taken by a friend) of a shopping center near his home on fire.  I saw this morning that he is under an evacuation order.

I've voted in every Presidential election since 1972 (Nixon vs. McGovern). I've voted in churches, in schools, in a YMCA, in a library, in a mall.  

(Sorry about the glare).

But, until yesterday, never in an artisan food store called "Taste New York".

Early voting.  Until last year, New York didn't even have it.  It came just in time for the pandemic.

I don't need to tell my voting story.  Many had it a lot worse than I did.  I only had to wait an hour, mask on. The sun was shining.  I also had some nice scenery (above) to look at.

I think of people who waited six, seven, even up to 11 hours to vote.  Some had to watch armed "poll watchers" scrutinizing them.   

They are the true superheroes.  And speaking of superheroes, a little aside here - have you ever wondered how your favorite comic book superhero would have voted?  So did this doctor from India.

We in New York need to remind ourselves that this is not the first time we have voted through adversary.  Let's be grateful that Superstorm Sandy didn't come in time for Election Day, like it did in 2012.  Here's a little reminder.     2012 was a Presidential election year, too, but oh so different.

But, before I quote from my 2012 voting post, please, please, if you haven't voted yet, please be prepared to.  Have a plan. Our country is depending on each one of us.

And now, taken from my 2012 post:


Today, in the United States, it is election day.  We are electing a President, the House of Representatives, 1/3 of the Senate and also various local officials.

This is your choice today: vote or don't vote.  But for many in the Hurricane Sandy zone, voting is going to be just another burden on top of trying to get to work, trying to find a place with heat, and trying to find gas for your car or generator.

If you vote, you are joining people like my mother in law, who was away from her home for nearly a week due to Hurricane Sandy.  When I spoke to her Saturday, the thing uppermost on her mind was - not when her power would be restored (it was, shortly after I spoke to her) but if she would be able to vote.

I assured her she would, but to call her Board of Elections to find out if her polling place had changed.

People here in states that allow early voting were standing on long lines back in October to exercise their privilege.  People in Hurricane Sandy-affected areas today are going to go to a lot of trouble to vote.  A cousin who had to be out of town today voted by absentee ballot.

Haven't made up your mind yet?  Not an excuse.  My suggestion: don't vote based on one issue.  Examine your future carefully.  You are voting for both a future you can imagine and a future you can't.  A future that now includes the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and if we will learn our lesson.

Vote for the candidates that best express the future you dream of. 

Governors Cuomo and Christie (Democrat - New York and Republican - New Jersey) have joined in a common effort to make voting easier for their citizens.  Quoting from a news report (can no longer find the link):

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to issue an executive order that will allow displaced voters to cast ballots by affidavit at any polling site they can reach Tuesday.
The order will permit voters to sign affidavits that they're legally registered to vote in the presidential and state races and cast ballots at any open polling site, even those outside their neighborhoods.
But they won't be able to vote for state legislative candidates unless the polling place is within the proper legislative district.
New Jersey is allowing voters to use provisional ballots at any polling site"

Decisions on the fly, to cope with the conditions we now face.  That is true leadership.  Look for that quality in your candidate.

So now, if you are in the United States, make your country proud. Get out and vote.  And, a special thanks if you were impacted by Sandy. You are participating in history. Be proud.

It does matter."

It matters even more now.


And may everyone I know, either virtually or in real life, stay safe from the fires.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A Playlist of Tributes #MusicMovesMe


It's Monday.  It's time for music!

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!  First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, Stacy of Stacy Uncorked   and, finally, me.  One more note:  This is a music blog only - please post at least one You Tube or Vimeo video so we can dance with you.  No music, no dance!   

Each month we have a guest conductor.  This month we've been enjoying Mary from Jingle Jangle Jungle and she has decreed the theme for this week to be:  For Rocktober, choose a country and build a playlist of bands based in that country.

Last week seemed to be similar to so many weeks this week - we lost some musical greats.  For that reason, my playlist will be for more than one country.  I am choosing the United Kingdom, and bands or artists (with one exception) originating from within the UK.  And, I will include some deaths from October 15 forward. A little more than a week....just a few days in time....

David Munden, the drummer of the Tremeloes, passed away October 15.  Here is one of the hits of the Tremeloes - Here Comes My Baby.  Although "Silence is Golden" was their biggest hit here in the States, I like this song better.

Gordon Haskell, briefly of King Crimson, died October 16 at the age of 74.  Here is his 2001 hit (a big hit in the United Kingdom) "How Wonderful You Are".

But the news that saddened so many was the passing of Welch musician Spencer Davis at the age of 81. 

Spencer Davis with the Spencer Davis Group.  "Gimme Some Lovin'"

Tony Lewis, age 62, bassist and lead singer of The Outfield, passed away October 20.  Here is their hit "Your Love".

But wait, there's more.


I must add one more artist who passed away Saturday - Jerry Jeff Walker, who is associated with Texas but was born about an hour from where I live in New York State.  He died at age 78 from complications of throat cancer.

 Although he had a long career as both a singer and songwriter, Walker is perhaps best known for writing the song "Mr. Bojangles", which was subsequently covered by many artists.  I've never heard Walker's original so I decided to check it out.  Here it is.

And that's a sad wrap.

See you next week, when I hope to blog about happier music.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Don't Chase The Dead

The spookiest things just can't be made up.

Friday spouse and I revisited Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton, New York.  Besides looking for fall foliage (which we did find), we were looking for two gravesites - one for David Ireland, a Union Civil War hero of the Battle of Gettysburg from Scotland who married into a prominent Binghamton family who, tragically, did not survive the war.  The other site, where many victims of the tragic Binghamton Clothing Company Fire of  July 22, 1913 are buried, is a monument to one of Binghamton's most tragic events.

I didn't find either gravesite. 

But, as we drove around the cemetery, this song came on:  Marilyn Manson and "Don't Chase the Dead". The video is just perfect to start off a week where some will be celebrating Halloween. 

Now, why did that song come on while we drove around the cemetery?

It was a bit spooky.  Was I being given a hint?

I'd rather look at scenery than horror videos, myself.  But I'll bring you some more spooky views of this historic cemetery in the coming days.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Voting and Autism 2020 Style

I originally posted about politics and one of my in laws on November 8, 2011, which was election day.  

As my regular readers know, my spouse has a younger brother who is autistic.  He is also quite interested in politics.

In 2016, he voted in the New York presidential primary in April.  He made his mind up from watching the TV news shows he watched.

Not only that, he voted for President, and voted the opposite of how his mother (who he relied on so emotionally and physically at the time) intended to vote.  It led to some interesting comments from my mother in law, who wasn't seeming to like the fact that he wasn't just following along with whatever she said.

In 2018, though, I don't think he voted. We don't press him one way or the other, as he has a right to his private thoughts, so we don't know why.  I wonder, though, if the intensity of this election cycle overwhelmed him.  His mother was also terminally ill.  She died the day after Thanksgiving that year.

Yesterday, brother in law's two brothers and two sisters in law (I'm one of them) visited him, and we were told he already had voted, by absentee ballot.  We are proud to say that.  Voting, for someone with a disability, can be a hard thing.   Believe it or not, a person with intellectual disabilities can actually be stripped of their right to vote.

Or, it can otherwise be difficult.  In fact, my brother in law, who is in his 60's, voted for the first time in 2004.

I repeat this post in honor of my brother in law.  And please, if you are in the United States, vote on November 3.  This will be one of the most important elections in our country's history.

This is a non partisan resource for those who are disabled and those who care for them.  

Please be aware, each state has its own rules and, although 41 states allow early voting (New York's early voting started today), some early voting periods are nearly over.


From November of 2011 - Autism Votes

A Facebook post by a Facebook friend of mine, a woman who has an adult son on the autistic spectrum, inspired this post.

The day I first posted this was election day in the United States, where I live.

Her son voted for the first time that day. Although she is his legal guardian, her son retains his right to vote.  She told her Facebook friends that her son has looked forward to exercising his vote for years.  This was a big day for him.

It's also a big day for our country for another reason.

Her son is on the leading edge of a wave of soon to be adults with autism.  Some say 1 in 100 live births in this country result in an individual with autism.  Not too long ago it was 1 in 166. Then it was 1 in 150.  (Update, in 2016 some 6% fewer voters with disabilities voted than those without.   Let's step back a moment and see what that means.

Those babies are going to grow up.  In fact, the "leading edge" of the autism epidemic I just mentioned are now legal adults in many states, including New York (age of 18).  Just wait until all those adults with autism, who have been given the tools and supports to vote, start to exercise that right. 

Growing up, my brother in law was never encouraged to vote nor were people like him ever expected to vote.  This just didn't happen.  The belief was that they weren't "normal".  So their voices, and opinions, were unheard.

In 2004, a person who worked with him in a support role decided that my brother in law should exercise his right to vote.  He watches a news station that carries a lot of political discussions and has formed very definite political opinions.  Why shouldn't he vote?  She worked with him, he did vote, and he was very proud of voting for the presidential candidate of his choice.

For the first time, his voice was heard.

It is not easy for a person with autism to vote, as described here, but it can be done with proper education and proper support.  This issue isn't restricted to the United States, either.

It will be interesting to hear what these new adults with autism have to say in the voting booth.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Reflection on Final Colors #SkywatchFriday

Fall color is winding down where I live in New York State.

We've been dry but a recent rain brought two puddles together, one showing sky and one showing some trees turning color.  This is one of the few good uses of potholes in the road.

Now let's take a walk and leaf peep, shall we?

It's interesting seeing the change of the season.  This was our walk yesterday.  You're invited to come along.

Our river behind the trees.
Just a week ago....

Back to yesterday. These trees tend to the yellow.   They are still a little green because trees by the river tend to turn color last.  Many trees in the hills are already past peak.

The yellow at almost ground level in these photos is probably knotweed, an extremely invasive plant whose leaves turn yellow in the fall.  These plants line the riverbanks in many places.

Tired?  Want some other colors?  Let's take a short drive (these are from Wednesday).

A little past peak, perhaps, but still pretty.

Those pesky power lines, but oh, that sky.

One more.

I also promised you a Halloween bonus.  I've had a couple of posts devoted to a scarecrow decorating contest held at our local large county park.  

This "Bee Kind" entry was the third place winner.  First and second?  You'll have to wait until next week. 

You were good company. Thank you for joining me.

I'm also joining Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky for #SkywatchFriday

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cemetery Tree #ThursdayTreeLove

 I took a picture of this tree in Spring Forest cemetery in Binghamton, NY a couple of Sundays ago.

I don't know what kind of tree this is, but the way it is split open made it look so spooky.  I can something that seems like a bowed figure in this cavity.  

The fall background is a bonus.

Spring Forest cemetery in Binghamton, New York is one of many cemeteries I have visited over the years.  I happen to enjoy cemeteries because of the plantings, the peacefulness, and the art of the gravestones.  There's a lot of history in these cemeteries, too.  Some prominent local people of the 1800's are buried here, along with a general who played a role in our Civil War Battle of Gettysburg.

Join Parul of Happiness and Food and fellow bloggers for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursdays of the month.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Foliage of the Season #WordlessWednesday

These photos speak for themselves.



Yellow along the peaceful Susquehanna River.

Words not needed.

Joining with Sandee of Comedy Plus at her #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

More Scarecrows for a Scary Time

So much I could blog about - but do I want to?  The world is on fire.

So much to get depressed about.  But now, it's time to do something sanity-saving.

So how about a little Halloween fun while we can have it?  It's 100% social distanced, and no masks are required if you simply read it on my blog.

Saturday, I blogged about Scarecrows at the Park.

Each October, at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York, there has been an annual Scarecrow Contest and Display .

Various groups (mostly non profits, but a handful of families) enter this contest where visitors to the park judge and vote for the best scarecrow. The contest ended Sunday, but I have more photos from my visit I'd like to share with you.  

Paying homage.

A tribute to essential workers.  Sadly, the nursing home that sponsored this entry was one of several that has been hit hard.

Say No to Single Use. (appropriate as New York started to enforce its plastic bag ban yesterday.)
Witches Brew.


The winner will be announced later today.

I will have more of these on Friday.

So, to end this post, I'd like to take a quick poll of my readers:  are you going to celebrate Halloween this year?  If so, how?

I am reminded that we humans have weathered many pandemics in history.  We are not alone in our suffering.  In fact, our current Western society in the United States can be said to be partially a product of past pandemics - everything from the Black Death to the 1918 flu pandemic that killed some 50 million worldwide.

We are entitled to joy. 

Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and it is simply a more visible fact.

We will find a way to joy, even if it is visiting a scarecrow contest.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Earworms and Memories #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday.  It's time for Music!  

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join in on the fun.  Just remember our simple rule:  you must include at least one You Tube or Vimeo video or your post may be subject to removal or labeling "NO MUSIC". You are welcome to write about music. too but there must be at least one music video.   

We've been down a few participants recently and would love for you to join our Monday party!

Every month we have an honorary co-hostess.  For the month of October our honorary co-hostess is: Mary from Jingle Jangle Jungle!  Today, here is her theme:  You Pick

Last week I did a 1970 decade playlist, and I said I would continue this week.   As it happens, I can (mostly) pick songs that I owned - either on an album, a CD, or even a greatest hits collection.

While researching two artists, I decided against a couple of songs, and wouldn't you know, both became earworms.  Guess I should have picked them

In fact, this earworm lasted over a week.   Fortunately, I love this song:  Elton John, and Madman Across the Water, from 1971.  This is another song whose lyrics tell a story and Elton John brings it to life.  Lyrics and music, both genius.

The other earworm?  America and Only in Your Heart.  My record (yes, record, remember those?) had a skip in this song.  Now I can listen to it without preventing the album from skipping.

Anyone here remember Barry White?  I loved his voice and I loved his Love Unlimited Orchestra.  Let's give it up for Love's Theme, an instrumental by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, from 1973-1974.  

In the vein of instrumentals, I am also going to go with a song I heard on a Music Moves Me blog last week - Van McCoy and The Hustle, from 1975.  OK, it isn't a true instrumental, with the "Do it!" and the "Do The Hustle", but this is true music to dance by.

One of my favorite duos, Simon and Garfunkel, barely made it into the 1970's.  I bought their last album Bridge Over Troubled Waters (but of course) and I love many of the songs on it.  This is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it, too.  It does rouse strong emotions in some.

Simon and Garfunkel with "The Only Living Boy in New York", a song recorded in 1969 and released in January, 1970.


Some weeks ago, I blogged about a couple I babysat for in my late teen years and how they introduced me to Fleetwood Mac (before they reconfigured themselves and gained fame).  They also helped me discover Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  From 1970, "Lucky Man".

One more song, almost forgotten by me.  Argent, and 1972's Hold Your Head Up.  This is the album version, with the organ solo the single lacks.

Thank you for joining in on the fun today.

Join me again next week, same time, same place.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Closing Time for Tab

It's closing time for a once iconic drink.

The  drink Tab, Coca-Cola's first diet drink, first dating from around 1963, is being discontinued.


Just one calorie!  Amazing, back then.

Yes, Tab was an acquired taste, but once you acquired it, you were a fan.  Or at least I was.  I drank it through at least 1986, mainly because my employer in Arkansas (one of our fringe benefits) gave us free coffee, tea or soda (either diet or non-diet), all we wanted, during the work day.  The diet soda was Tab, and I grew to love the undertone of bitterness.  

But after I left Arkansas, I also left Tab.

Over the years, Tab became harder to get, but a local supermarket here in the Southern Tier did carry it from time to time.  Now, especially (I suspect) due to the pandemic, many companies are trimming their offerings.  Tab is one of the brands that will disappear.

I won't be surprised if it returns later, though.  I note that many feel that artificial sweeteners are bad for you, and this post will not discuss that controversy.  For the record, currently, Tab is (or, soon, was) sweetened with aspartame and saccharin. 

Saccharin, itself, has memories for me.  I remember my Dad, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his late 40's (just around the time Tab came out, in fact) sweetening his coffee with saccharin, which came in tablet form back then.  

Here's a final toast to Tab:

Closing Time (with apologies to The Weather Channel, a channel that played this song during their news spot on Tab today).

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Scarecrows at the Park

Each October, at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York, there has been an annual Scarecrow Contest and Display for the last five or so years.

This year, it's an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy a safe outdoor activity.


Here are several of the entries.   This one is from the Ross Park Zoo (Binghamton), the fifth oldest zoo in the United States.  It opened in 1875.  Ross Park itself has an interesting history - if you remember a post about a children's reading garden, this is also located in Ross Park.

Then there is Animal Adventure Park about 20 minutes outside of Binghamton, home of April the Giraffe, the then-pregnant giraffe who went viral in 2017.

Finally, the Very Fairy Scarecrows. 

Most of these are created by either businesses or non profits, but it is open to all.

I'll post some more displays during the coming days.  By then, I should know who the winner of the contest was.

The display is only up through tomorrow - even scarecrows, I guess, have to migrate to their winter grounds.

Which of these three was your favorite?