Saturday, April 30, 2022

Zoned #AtoZChallenge

Today is the last day of April, and it's the last day of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  It's time to end our virtual journeying from Florida to Vermont and back again with a "Z" post.  

You'd think I would be at the Zenith of happiness today, but for some reason, I couldn't decide on a Z post until the last minute.  So I decided to end the Challenge with a post about the man most associated with the iconic TV show The Twilight Zone, actor, screenwriter, producer, Emmy award winner, and narrator Rod Serling.

But, wait!  Haven't I blogged about Rod Serling before?

Yes, I have.  But please bear with me.  And yes, I know that Rod Serling's name doesn't have a Z in it, but, for me, I will always associate him with The Twilight Zone. So, Z for Zoned it is.

Some of my posts about Serling:

Zone of Twilight 

Revisiting the Twilight Zone

A Spring Tour Through the Twilight Zone

Rodman Edward Serling was born in Syracuse, New York on Christmas Day, 1924.  He and his family moved to Binghamton in 1926 and he grew up on the West Side of Binghamton, New York.  His father owned a kosher meat market in Binghamton.

His boyhood home on Bennett Avenue is a private residence and not open to the public, and I am not including a picture (although you can see it in the article I linked to).

But these are pictures, taken today, of the junior high (now called West Middle School) he attended in Binghamton.

Here's another view of the school.

His childhood seems to have been rather idyllic. He spent many happy hours in a neighborhood park called Recreation Park, which had (and still has) a historic carousel installed in 1919.  Happy children still ride it each summer, at no charge.


Recreation Park Carousel June 2013  Hard to see, but figure on the right is Rod Serling

Upon graduation in 1943, Serling enlisted in the military and was plunged into combat.  He served three years in the Philippines and his combat nightmares never left him.

Serling returned after the war a changed man, like so many veterans.  Some of the darkness in his life came through in various Twilight Zone scripts, but so did the longing for the happiness experienced in his childhood neighborhood.  One such episode, the fifth episode of the Twilight Zone series "Walking Distance", is considered one of the greatest shows in network history.

His wife's family  had property in the small Finger Lakes town of Interlaken. As an adult, Serling's production company was called Cayuga Productions. (Cayuga Lake is one of the Finger Lakes).  Although Serling had moved to California,he and his family returned to the Finger Lakes/Interlaken area for vacations.

It was there that, in June of 1975, Serling suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized first, in an Ithaca area hospital, and later in Rochester, New York. Eventually, he died during open heart surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.  He was only 50 years old.

Now that we are at  the end of our April wanderings, I want to bring you to one final destination, Interlaken, New York, a small town in the Finger Lakes, and to its cemetery.

There, you will find the simple graves of Serling and his wife, Carolyn.

And, near the cemetery, you will find one last thing, if you come in the summer. You might just recognize this cornfield if you are a Twilight Zone fan.

A cornfield.

It's a good life.

Thank you for your readership during the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  I hope you will keep reading my blog because I've enjoyed having you come along on my virtual April trip.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Yearning #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

It's time once more for two memes for the price of one.

Today is Friday, and "Y" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  It is also Skywatch Friday.

In the northern climes, we yearn for spring.  It's a heavy yearning.  By the time April rolls around, we've had our fill of blistering cold, snow, and winds that threaten to sandblast your face.

In the last two weeks, we've had snow, power failures, ice pellets, and 80 degree F (26.6C) plus weather.  We are yearning for spring to make up its mind.


Some skies for you, as we in the Southern Tier of New York yearn for spring to stay. No sunsets because I just don't want to stand out there.  The first two photos were taken Saturday.

Trees are starting to leaf up but you can barely see it.

By Sunday, we had that 80 degree F weather, and blue skies.  Let's travel to downtown Binghamton, New York, for a photo shoot.  This first picture is at the county courthouse.

A magnolia at the courthouse.   The branches looked sparse compared to how I last remembered them, back in 2020, but it is still pretty.

A weeping pink cherry, also at the court house.

Our former historic Carnegie library, now a culinary arts school.  This library was vacant for nearly 20 years before the State University of New York took it over and renovated it.

The building to the left (as we are facing it) of the culinary school.

Let's close with one last picture from the day before.  I hope I can end my yearning for spring to stay soon.

Joining Yogi and his crew of skywatchers at #SkywatchFriday.

Only one more day to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Tomorrow, I travel to the Finger Lakes of New York to end our virtual journeying.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Xerox (Original Home of) #AtoZChallenge

Only three more days in April, and only three more days to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  We have reached the letter X, which, for many A to Z'ers, is the most difficult letter.

I waffled, this year, between three different "X" words but settled on the word "Xerox".  You might say, "But you aren't living up to your theme, "From Florida to Vermont With Stops In Between".  

And you would be right, in a way.  But today, we are going to visit Rochester, New York, the third largest city in New York State.  Rochester has a historic connection with a "X" letter.

Rochester has a long and rich history.  Part of its history is industrial in nature.  Various companies started here, among them Eastman Kodak, Bausch and Lomb, French's (famous for their mustard) and a company originally called the Haloid Photographic Company.  Haloid manufactured photographic equipment and papers.

In 1938, the xerographic imaging process was invented by a physicist,  Chester Carlson in Queens, a borough of New York City.  Xerography is (according to Merriam-Webster) "a process for copying graphic matter by the action of light on an electrically charged photoconductive insulating surface in which the latent image is developed with a resinous powder (such as toner)."

The Haloid Company acquired the rights to xerography in 1947 and brought the process to commercial use so successfully that the company changed its name to the Xerox Corporation in 1961. Eventually, when people thought of Xerox, they immediately thought of office copy machines.  Growing up, I remember office copy machines being called (incorrectly, as this is not a generic name) "Xerox machines".

Although Xerox Corporation's ownership has changed over the years and is no longer headquartered in Rochester, Rochester itself remains an interesting city with many spots of beauty.  Let's visit some of them.

Cat at entrance of Warner Castle, a structure built in 1854 to resemble a Scottish castle.  Its sunken gardens are well worth the visit. 

Highland Park, September, 2016.  Their famed lilac festival begins in another week.  The park was one of several in Rochester designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also helped to design Central Park in New York City.

Tricolor beech in the park, one of many majestic trees in the park.

One of the several tortoises in the park's Lamberton Conservatory.  This one is a "repeat offender".

Cactuses in Lamberton Conservatory.

Black Button Distillery, Rochester, which was founded by a grandson of a man who owned a button factory.  He wanted to participate in the family button business but there was just one problem - he was colorblind.

Grave of either Henry Lomb or John Jacob Bausch, Mt. Hope Cemetery

Mural inside a Rochester area store showing the Frederick Douglass–Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge.

Tomorrow, another post in New York State.  Join me for "Y" day tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Walkway Over the Hudson #AtoZChallenge #WordlessWednesday

Welcome to Wednesday.  Today you get two memes for the price of one.

Today is "W" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme for this year is "From Florida to Vermont With Stops In Between".  This is also Wordless Wednesday.

Today I bring you the Walkway Over the Hudson , which connects Poughkeepsie, New York with Highland, New York.  This 1.28 mile bridge is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world and draws some 600,000 visitors annually and is part of the Walkway Over the Hudson Historic State Park.

This was originally the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, designed, in part, by the man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, built in the 19th century (1889) and abandoned in the 20th, after a 1974 fire.  In the 21st century it was renovated into a pedestrian path, which opened in 2009.

But enough of words.  Let's take a walk!

But first, a tongue in cheek history.

The Walkway.

The Great Connector.
From the Walkway you can see
the Mid-Hudson Bridge (properly named the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge), which carries vehicular traffic.

One last view of the scenery.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Virginia (Statehouse) #AtoZChallenge

Today, we are in Richmond, Virginia, visiting the Virginia State House.

This is not the first time I've blogged about Virginia during the A to Z Challenge.  I have visited the state on a number of occasions.  

Richmond was the third, and current, capital of our state of Virginia.  It also, between 1861 and 1865, was the capital of the Confederate States of America.

As is the case with other state capitals, various statues and monuments are found on its grounds.  This is a monument honoring our first President, a native of Virginia, George Washington.

At the time of our visit, in April of 2017, flowers were in bloom.

The Statehouse was designed by Thomas Jefferson (our third President and a man of many talents) and Charles-Louis Clérisseau and was built between 1785 and 1788. The two wings you see here were built at a later date.

There are busts of Virginia born Presidents inside the building.  This is a bust of President Tyler, our 10th President, who was President from 1841 to 1845.  Amazingly, at least as of late last year, Tyler had a living grandson. This is a post I wrote about that, back when Tyler had two living grandsons. One passed away in 2020.

Inside the House of Delegates, which is the lower chamber of the Virginia General Assembly.  It first convened in 1619.  Its current home is a bit more modern.

Did you know that portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip are hung inside the Virginia Statehouse?  They have visited more than once.

One more view of the interior.

Here is a wealth of information about the State Capitol, if you are interested.

If you live in the United States, I suggest you try to, at least, visit your state capitol. You may be surprised to find the treasures within.

 "V" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme for this year is "From Florida to Vermont With Stops In Between".

Monday, April 25, 2022

Ultimate Music #MusicMovesMe #AtoZChallenge

Today, we are taking a trip through music associated with the letter "U" for two memes. Music Moves Me and the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Who are the Music Moves Me 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-meaning at least one music video, please!)   Our head hostess is Cathy from Curious as a Cathy,  and she is joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and little ol' me.  Our founder, Xmas Dolly, has stepped back from blogging for now, and would appreciate your good thoughts as she works through some health issues.

We'd love more music lovers to join our fun group.  All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video).  That's it!

Each month, except December, we have a guest conductor. For the month of April, our guest conductor is none other than ME!  

For today, I am choosing the theme "You Pick" and I am picking "U" Music.  Our first two songs have "U" as the first word in the title.  The others...well, let's see.

From 1987, Prince - U Got the Look

M.C. Hammer - U Can't Touch This 

From 1991, U2 and "Mysterious Ways"

UB40's 1983 hit "Red Red Wine". 

From 1961, Ray Charles and "Unchain My Heart". 

Finally, a long selection but so worth your time.  From the iconic Dark Side of the Moon album, Pink Floyd's Us and Them.

And that's a wrap!

This is the last Monday for me as guest host, and the last Monday of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  But I hope you will join me again next Monday, May Day, for another episode of Music Moves Me, with a new guest host for the month.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Spring Springs and Plays Nice for Once

It's Sunday, and it's the last "off" day from the 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

The weather has been a challenge, too, for so many.  Thankfully, no tornadoes for us.  Up and down weather, though.

Today, the weather forecast is sunny and warm. Right now, it is 77F (25C)

We took a walk in Binghamton, New York.

White daffodils (actually taken near to Your Home Library in Johnson City, New York)

We are about to get another dip in the weather roller coaster  We are hoping the downturn Wednesday doesn't result in a storm like we had Monday night into Tuesday morning, with 10-14 inches of wet, gloppy snow that brought a lot of trees and branches down.

For now, I'm thinking flowers. 

Early tulips in Binghamton.

Daffodils in white and yellow.

In my yard, hyacinths are blooming.  I don't have many.  What I have were forced hyacinths I bought in Aldi (a German grocery chain with many stores in the United States) prior to the pandemic. They have a big fan following in this country.   They bloomed indoors with their roots in water, then I planted them in soil, and planted them outside when we were almost near our last frost date.  Some have come back year after year.
There is still a lot of tree damage visible.  These pictures were taken at a local park Thursday.

Nature's pruning in action.  I'm glad this wasn't near a house.

A couple of more, this time from my back yard. Here, bloodroot along a fence (purchased from a wildflower nursery near Ithaca, New York).

And a purple Lenten Rose.

Here's to spring - until, once again, it's not.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Train Transportation #AtoZChallenge

It's "T" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme has been "From Florida to Vermont With Stops In Between". 

But, up to now, I haven't shown you how we are traveling (at least in my imagination) from place to place on my blog.  Are you ready for the big reveal?

Say "hi" to the Auto Train. In real life, the Auto Train runs, once a day in each direction, from Lorton, Virginia (about 20 miles from Washington, DC)  to Sanford (just north of Orlando), Florida, and vice-versa.  It leaves (if it's on time) between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm and arrives at its destination (if on time) around 9am the following morning.

I've written several posts about the Auto Train, but I can't give you any current description because I haven't been on it since January, 2020. But this is my imaginary journey so here we go.

Please note that you can't get off anywhere.  You are on the train nonstop.  The train itself makes one stop (more on that later) but only to change crews and load on supplies.

Today, we are going to take the Auto Train from Sanford, Florida to Lorton, Virginia. At one time there was a plan to bring it into Washington, DC but there is a tunnel it would have to pass through and the cars with the auto racks are too tall.

Why the name? In order to ride, you must have a motorized vehicle (car, van, some motorcycles, and, depending on room, a limo) and there is a separate fare for the vehicle depending on what it is.  You don't have access to the vehicle during the journey.

Both stations look basically the same from the inside.  Also, both stations serve only the Auto Train, so only Auto Train passengers and Amtrak personnel are inside the terminal.

Let's board.

One of the cars on the outside.  I'm not a train "geek", so I don't know what the function of this car is.

Ladies and gentlemen, this will be our locomotive.  Actually, there are two of them.

This train is long.  Very, very long.

At full capacity, it holds approximately 300 cars and the passengers accompanying them.  The only place you can see part of the train is around a long curve in Jacksonville, Florida.  In the upper corner, you see part of the front of the train. 

The one stop is in Florence, South Carolina, which is the midway point between Sanford and Lorton.  There is activity, but it's pretty quiet.  It's also a good time to visit the bathrooms because the train is standing still.  Or, if you aren't sleeping, you can enjoy the view of a major medical center.

Sunrise or sunset somewhere.

 And we've arrived in Lorton, Virginia.

Tomorrow is an off day for the A to Z Challenge although I will post a non A to Z post (probably about spring).  

Monday, we resume, with a Music Moves Me musical post devoted to the letter "U".  Join me then!