Ode To: Why Do I Even Bother?

Shine On Harvest Moon

So much to share and disseminate, but nobody looks or listens;
Why do I rack my brain while sweat on my brow glistens?
Is it worth it each week on Saturday night to be sittin’,
Figuring how the thoughts in my head should be written?

Who gives a damn anyway?
No one has a word to say,
About my weekly tirades seemingly now in disarray,
Keeping my incentive to blog totally at bay.

Writing is my way to remain sane,
Bored with a life that’s so mundane;
Nothing seems to rattle my chain,
Or relieve the sadness that’s causing so much pain.

But enough of wiping away the tears of this clown,
Trying to figure a way to smile instead of wearing a frown,
To remove these feelings of gloom, bringing me way down,
Churning my well-being round and around.

Was at Lardner’s Point yesterday,
The place I wrote about with words that say,
Not a single person who passed my way,
Looked me in the eye, said hello or how ya feeling, OK?

The same thing happened to me again,
Familiar people walking by with nary a glance did they send,
Even after a nod and hello I did append,
While attempting to be friendly, but seemed to offend.

I’m cutting short this diatribe in rhyme,
Not going to hit my 500-word quota this time,
Fed up with expressing myself and trying to be kind,
With no feedback from you, so now it’s your dime!

L8tr!




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The Latest Fad Diet

Back on another diet, I’m not using green coffee beans this time. My first stint with utilizing the extract shed 45 pounds/20.4 kilograms/3 stones, 3 pounds, starting in June 2014, which took roughly 8 months to reach my weight-loss goal. The holiday season put a halt in my progress, but discipline resumed after the new year started.

I had to change my eating habits dramatically, staying away from starches, dairy products, sugars and sweets, counting calories and eating a lot of salads. Exercise was an important factor. Photography helped by having me hike around daily for at least a mile (1.6 kilometers), chasing wildlife and looking for that Pulitzer Prize-winning shot.

green coffee bean extract
Green Coffee Bean Extract

After a while I became quite bored with it all and began eating in earnest again, tacking on 20 pounds/9 kilograms/1 stone, 6 pounds in the course of a year. My second attempt with the green-coffee-bean diet began in November 2016. That didn’t last long enough for me to use up the new bottle’s worth. Needless to say, I slowly gained back all that I had originally lost.

Presently, three years later, I’m at it again. My new method shaves off one meal per day, which has me eating a low-calorie breakfast combined with orange juice and caffeinated coffee, plus a full-fledged dinner complete with dessert. I grab a piece of fruit for lunch to tide me over. Seems to be working as I’ve lost 10 pounds already in a matter of about three weeks.

The problem is my weight seems to have stabilized. In order to lose more, I’ll either have to abstain from additional food or exercise harder, sort of like being caught between a rock and a plate of spaghetti. Maybe I can work on reducing a couple of desserts.

Meat is cut out of my regimen for two days weekly, and I’m back to eating several potions of vegetables, fish, and limited amounts of pasta instead. Dairy products—a daily glass of milk and Greek yogurt typically—are allowed. A weekly treat of pizza is included. The diet is not as boring as the green-coffee-bean method turned out to be. Vitamin supplements and two cups of green tea each day replace any nutrients and antioxidants that are missing. Wish me luck on this one.

All of this entry makes me hungry. Harking back to my younger years, I could shovel food down my throat and remain skinny as a pole regardless; but, off course, that was in days of old when knights were bold and calories weren’t counted. We’d eat and eat, many full meals complete, never having additional pounds amounted. Pardon the new take on an old, corny limerick.

Oh, to stuff down a few healthy slices of devil’s food cake smothered in chocolate frosting, bathed with two scoops of vanilla ice cream to satisfy its yin and yang. Throw some walnuts on that please. I’d also love to have a large cappuccino lathered in whipped cream and a cherry on top as well; but, for now, I’ll just settle for nothing beside my green tea sprinkled with cinnamon to add flavor.

Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

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And Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!

Spotted a spotted lanternfly this afternoon at Pennypack Park on the Delaware River in Philly. It was lying dead on the back trail leading to the bridge over the creek. At least I thought it was dead since the bug wasn’t moving, giving me the chance to take a few photographs. Here’s another shot from the other direction:

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula (White), is an invasive planthopper native to China, India, Vietnam.  It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County and has spread to other counties in the southeast portion of the Commonwealth.  This insect has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops such as grapes, hops, and hardwoods.  It is also reducing the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas.

Fourteen counties in Pennsylvania are quarantined, and the state officials are asking if the bug is spotted to report the sighting online by clicking here, which I did while sending them the top photo seen at the introduction of today’s tirade. More information about the invasive species can be found by clicking here. Reporting via phone is possible as well by calling: 1-888-4BADFLY.

The aforementioned alert also stated:

What else? Kill it! Squash it, smash it…, just get rid of it. In the fall, these bugs will lay egg masses with 30-50 eggs each. These are called bad bugs for a reason; don’t let them take over your county next.

Not knowing what to do with it at the time, I utilized my size-eleven boot intuitively to flatten that sucker out, leaving it belly-up and making sure it wouldn’t create any more havoc:

It’s a shame those flies are invasive and destructive. I think they look rather sharp—patriotic even— making me wonder how they got here in the first place. Possibly they stowed away on a slow boat from China that docked in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond. Who knows?

Lately, I’ve been photographing more insects than birds. Seems like a greater portion of the former are around at this point, being it’s getting to be the end of summer, what with Labor Day Weekend upon us. Happy holiday, by the way, for those in America and Canada who are celebrating.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about wooly worms and not having seen any yet this year. Well, as luck would have it, one crossed the same trail as where the lanternfly lay squashed. Why? To get to the other side, and guess what? The larva’s reddish band took up the caterpillar’s whole body:

That predicts the forthcoming winter is going to be completely mild, which is too good to be true. The other morning we had another fog, making a total of four for August, meaning we should expect four snowstorms. We’ll see.

I’m looking forward to the fall foliage and cool temperatures, pulling the leather jacket out of the black-hole closet for the upcoming season. The garment is getting rather old and tattered, unfortunately. Perhaps it’s time to buy a new one. The weather has been wonderful lately. I wish all of summer would be as comfortably temperate.

So goes another weekly payment to the gods of the blogosphere. Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

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You’re Officially Old If…

The other day on Twitter, one of the hashtag games was: #YouAreOfficiallyOldIf. For those not familiar with hashtag games, or Twitter, you are officially old! Come on, get with the times!

Some of the tweets to correspond with the respective hashtag were as follow:

Pardon the language, but that’s how Twitter is. The preceding referred to Barney & Friends, a PBS television program that premiered in April 1992.

Here’s another:

LimeWire was a free file-sharing client or computer app that provided free downloads of music files, which was ordered shut down by a U.S. Federal Court judge for copyright infringement. The product premiered in May 2000.

How about the next one?

AOL is an Internet pioneer, and those CDs date back to the late 1990s. I used floppy disks to install the format on my ‘puter in ’95.

One last one:

Play Station launched in December 1994, and those cell phones were a product of the ’90s as well.

I was at the threshold of middle age in the ’90s, which Merriam-Webster defines that milestone as: the period of life from about 45 to 64 . The preceding tweets were made by Millennials, born in the ’80s and ’90s, probably the majority of those with accounts on Twitter. If they expected me to feel old with their offerings, they certainly did, by gosh!

My contribution to that hashtag game was:

Notice the tremendous response I got: one like; and that was from an old friend, Tammy, whom I met back in the late ’70s in East Tennessee. That sure dates us both, doesn’t it? The typical hashtag player most likely can’t relate to wishing they were young again. They are young.

What if that hashtag game was for just us Baby Boomers, born between 1944-64? This could apply also to the Silent Generation who preceded us. The tweets would read as follows.

#YouAreOfficiallyOldIf:

  • You don’t call it, “Getting old.” but refer to it as “Outliving the Warranty.”
  • You bought a new pair of shoes with memory-foam insoles to stop forgetting why you walked into the kitchen.
  • You never appreciate what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.
  • You’re amazed at how the brain is the most outstanding organ in the body because it works for 24 hours, 365 days, right from birth until you fall in love.
  • You believe that the best part about getting older is…, “Nothing.” Getting older sucks!
  • You think senility is going to be a fairly smooth transition.
  • You remember as a kid when your parents would always say, “Excuse my French,” right after a swear word; and you’ll never forget your first day at school when the teacher asked if anyone knew any French.
  • When you drop something, rather than picking it up, you stare at if for a bit, contemplating if you actually need it anymore.
  • You realize that growing up in the ’60s was a lot more fun than being in your sixties.
  • Most of your conversations start out with, “Did I tell you this already?”; or, “What was I going to say?”
  • Instead of a sign that reads, “Do Not Disturb,” you need one that says, “Already disturbed, proceed with caution.”
  • You fall down in front of a lot of people, instead of their laughing like when you were young, they panic and start running to see if you’re all right.

In closing, here’s my advice for those who passed the Old Age Test:

If your eyes hurt after you drink coffee, take the spoon out of the cup. Greener grass across the fence may be due to a septic-tank issue. If you’re paying $3.00 for a bottle of Smart Water, it isn’t working.

Lastly, everything can kill you, so choose something fun. When you’re dead, you don’t know it. The pain is only felt by others. The same thing happens when you’re a dumb ass. Oops, pardon my French.

Thanks to my old buddy Nick for supplying fodder to include in this week’s tirade, and thank you for your continued support.

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Dog Days and Wooly Worms

August’s dog days complete with high temps and humidity are upon us, making this chronic bellyacher even more miserable. The current season has been right up there with the past several summers for what I like to call, “Dante’s Inferno.” In fact, reports claim July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. According to an article from the New York Times:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the global average temperature last month was 62.1 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7 degrees Celsius). That is 0.05 degree Fahrenheit higher than July 2016, and 1.7 degrees higher than the average for the 20th century.

The National Weather Service at Mount Holly, NJ, the prognosticators for Sweat City—another favorite moniker of mine for Philadelphia—has been issuing forecasts for morning fog in the region lately. I made a comment on one of their tweets as follows:

Of course, they, nor anyone else for that matter, responded. I thought it was a relatively informative statement to make. Maybe all of Twitterverse has me on ignore. It’s rather nettlesome to me.

Anyhow, tonight’s forecast from them calls for fog again in the early-morning hours, which will make three for this month so far, if it holds true. This morning was foggy as predicted. With the horrendous summer we’ve been having, I wouldn’t be surprised if the upcoming winter will be just as brutal.

Speaking of weather, why is it the weatherman is always spot-on with crappy forecasts, but has a large margin of error for clear skies and sunshine? That’s my observation only. No backup data for that is available.

I use Yahoo Weather at a glance for general information on the laptop and smartphone. The following is an example of their format for my locale:

Notice they have the temperature with the weather conditions broken down hourly at the top of the info-graphic, followed by the predicted scenario for the next nine days below it, stating also the percentage of precipitation with the high and low temps for the each day.

To the right of all that, the following appears:

Yahoo’s weather-people have it made. They update the graphic every hour, so if their prediction for rain didn’t materialize during that time period, it’s changed to the correct condition presently; this way, the forecast is never wrong.

I’ve read their forebodings as being, “Clear tonight with a 75% chance of precipitation.” That is certainly a safe presentment either way. If it rains, they were right. If the moon shines brightly until the sun rises, the forecast was spot-on again.

I found a wooly worm today, which determines another one of folk lore’s winter-severity prognostications. Also know as “wooly-bear caterpillars,” which morph eventually into isabella tiger moths, the insect predicts how stormy and cold, or pleasant and mild the season will be by the bands on the larva’s body:

Wooly Worm

According to the legend, the respective amounts of brown and black hair on the wooly worm are directly proportionate to the severity of the coming winter. If the brown band is wide, winter will be mild. Should the brown band be thin, the winter will be a bummer.

The photo above was taken last year at Pennypack Park on the Delaware River in Philly. Notice the brown band was very large compared to the black ones, calling for a mild winter with a couple of short storms at the beginning and end of the season, which was indeed the case.

Got some bad news. Here’s today’s discovery:

Better buy a big coat, a snowblower or a decent snow shovel.

Gotcha! I’m just joshing. Borrowed that picture from the Interwebs. Haven’t found one yet for this forthcoming winter. Hopefully it won’t look like the one above.

Thanks for stopping by, and for your continued support.

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Sitting on This Bench of Steel and Watching the River Flow!

Waxing-gibbous moon over Palmyra, NJ, and the Delaware River – August 10, 2019

‘Twas sitting on a steel bench at Lardner’s Point along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, watching the river flow and waiting for the moon to show. Prior to that, chasing dragonflies filled the void, as well as taking pictures of birds and butterflies. A few shots of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge were included too.

They”re still refurbishing the bridge. The ironworkers are certainly milking this job!.

Ever try to photograph dragonflies in flight? It isn’t easy. The insects’ compound eyes capture any movement of the camera and lens, causing the arthropod to reverse course, zigzagging in mid-air, as if they were trying to avoid having their photo snapped. It’s quite frustrating. The following are a few of the many attempts made:

Not too bad, if I do say so myself; although, the pictures are rather small. It’s a lot easier to zoom in on them when the bugger is standing still:

Funny how the dragonfly appears to be always smiling. Even though several years of their lives are spent as nymphs, living in fresh water, adults fly about for only a few days or weeks once they get their wings, during which time they must find a mate and procreate before dying.

That’s not a very happy existence in my humble opinion, which would definitely cause me to be frowning. Perhaps that’s why they are constantly biz-whipping around at full speed, trying to capture as much freedom and flight time as possible before kicking off.

A piece of driftwood caught my attention on the shoreline south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. It was low tide and a good portion of the riverbed was exposed. Take a look and see what you think it resembles:

Looks to me like a baby elephant, carved by the ebb and flow of the river. Here’s a closer look:

Found Elmo on the riverbank too. Wonder how he got there from Sesame Street. Isn’t nature mysterious?

Getting back to my lazin’ on the north side of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, watching the river flow and waiting for the moon to appear as evening approached, I occupied my time by people-watching, those of whom passed by along the trail; many were walking their dogs.

Strangely, none of the dozen or so individuals made eye contact with me, staring blankly ahead of themselves as they walked. Surely they saw me sitting there. It would have been nice to be acknowledged with a friendly nod, smile, or—God forbid—by their even saying, “Hello.”

I sensed they were watching with their peripheral vision. That makes me wonder, why is that? Maybe it’s because I was wearing a NY Yankees cap. My Phillies cap is in the wash like the team is at this point. Nah, that can’t be it. Had I been wearing a Mets’ cap, then it would have made sense.

Is it because my hair is getting rather long and was unkempt from sweat and the breeze that was blowing? Perhaps they thought I was going to panhandle. Nay again; I wasn’t dressed like a bum. My camera equipment alone is worth close to two grand. Not many vagrants are photographers; although, I’ve seen some with cell-phone cameras. Everyone has them.

It’s just something that makes me go, “Hmmmmmmm,” or “WTF?” At least those who passed me by today weren’t staring at their blasted smartphones, but they were gazing listlessly nonetheless.

Thanks for stopping in and for your continued support.

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House at Pooh Corner Revisited

Before going off on a tangent, as done normally during my weekly tirades, allow me to discuss what I had intended last week: poison ivy. By doing a search through the pages of this journal, one can find it’s a common topic around this time of the year.

Behold, two shots of what helps me keep my sanity in check during bouts with that dastardly weed:

The photo on the left goes back to an entry made on September 7, 2016. Note how nice and clean it was. On the right is the same bottle almost three years later. As is evident, I’ve used the remedy a lot during this past season so far, and should really clean it up.

The nasty rash has existed consistently at one place or another since June. The only prevention is for me to stay out of the woods and off the Delaware Riverbank, which ain’t going to happen.

The caked-on spillage is from pouring the lotion in the middle of the night, usually in total darkness, on various spots throughout my body that are driving me nuts. The insane itching is so bad, I end up dreaming about it, which wakes me up from not wanting to scratch and make the eruption spread.

‘Twas out in the woods today at Pennypack Park on the Delaware River, walking the trails and chasing butterflies, birds and bees, sort of like a grown-up Christopher Robin à la Winnie-the-Poo, hoping to get that award-winning photograph. Since it was a tad milder, temperature- and humidity-wise, long pants were the order of the day, so as not to tramp through any poison ivy, which was plentifully found during my excursion.

I took great lengths to avoid the poisonous plant, raising my arms above my head at times, due to wearing a short-sleeve shirt. Things were going well, so I thought. Tonight, as I type this, I’ve applied the Caladryl to my left elbow, which grazed a vine of my summertime nemesis presumably while I was photographing a red-bellied cooter on a fallen tree in Pennypack Creek:

Notice the blue damselfly on the turtle’s shell.
A closer view of the blue damselfly

My left ring finger has a dot of the dreaded affliction as well. Maybe I didn’t brush up against it. I’m like a poison-ivy magnet that can capture its poisonous vapor while just being near it.

My allergic reactions to the plant go in seven-year cycles. Considering I’ve written about it in my jeremiads here annually since 2015, methinks I’ve got three more seasons of grief to go before this problem ends. Surely if I had caught the scourge anytime before that, an entry dedicated to my woes would have been found.

August has turned the corner, leaving us with a month and a half of summer. I’m hoping the bottle of Caladryl will last through the duration, as its contents are getting low. Fortunately I haven’t had to rely on Benadryl to aid in my prevention of scratching.

At the end of last entry, I mentioned my desire to write about hemorrhoids also in this week’s essay; but, luckily for you, my five-hundred-word quota has been met. Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

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