Happy Mothers’ Day

mothers-day

Countries that celebrate Mothers’ Day on the second Sunday of May.

May is a special month for me, especially since my birthday falls on the 11th; thank you very much to those who acknowledged it on Social Media.

It’s also a sad month that marked the death of my dad ten years ago already, which occurred on 8th May 2007. A journal entry last year went into some detail about it, and also the passing of my mother, going on 52 years in September. Talk about my feeling like a dinosaur.

Motherly-Love-Delanco-s

Statue in Delanco, NJ, along the Delaware River.

Mothers’ Day is tomorrow, which is another empty holiday for which I won’t be celebrating, unfortunately; but, nevertheless, I do have many fond memories still that linger beyond the cobwebs of my mind. Thank goodness I haven’t lost it yet, although, some may prefer to differ.

I like to remember the happy, funny times spent with those missing from my life, like the time my father bought my mother and I a typewriter to share as a gift on one particular May 11, as Mothers’ Day and my birthday fell on the same day, which happens sporadically when the 1st of this month lands on a Thursday.

The next incidence of such would have been in 2020, if it weren’t for being a leap year. As a result, we’ll have to wait until 2025 instead. Hopefully, I’ll be around to see it at least one more time before I write my final chapter.

Getting back to the typewriter, another entry dealt with that funny story on a past Mothers’ Day feature, found within the hallowed archives of this blog.

My mother wasn’t particularly thrilled about it, however. I was though. It was one of the most practical things my father had given to me, whose benefits are evident even today with the ease of my typing this essay.

Growing up, especially as tyke, I was a dapper fellow, whose wardrobe was obsessively assembled by a particularly fashion-minded parent who wanted the best for her children, and especially to show off her sartorial eloquence during holidays when everyone used to dress up for the occasion.

That seems to be another thing of the past, putting on one’s Sunday best, complete with newly shined shoes and a starched white shirt, colorful tie and freshly pressed suit. I hated holidays for that as a youngster. Couldn’t get dirty and run around outside, playing ball or whatever.

My parents were from Canada, having moved to the States when I was in the oven, so to speak. We’d visit their families often, especially on holidays like Easter, sometimes Christmas and or New Years.

Labor Day Weekend was another big one for us to make the long journey up there from New Jersey before the New York State Thruway was built, taking US 9 instead through all the little towns and villages along the way.

On a Mothers’ Day, we happened to visit my father’s French Canadian brothers, four of whom lived next to one another in a rural farming town in Québec. Of course, my older brother and I had to be dressed to the hilt to make an impression that our family was doing considerably well in America. My elder sibling had gone off with relatives of his own age, while I remained with my parents.

While at one of my uncle’s farms, I wanted to go outside and play with my cousins. I loved it there, especially with all the animals: horses, pigs, dogs, cats, chickens, cows, goats, ducks, etc. We could walk for seemingly forever, leaving one pasture and going into another, for as far as the eye could see.

My mum warned me about getting dirty, and to not scuff my new shoes, which glistened in the sunshine like mirrors on my feet. My cousins and I ended up in the barn, playing in the haystack, for which I ended up with straw in the pockets of my pants, inside my shirt; but my shoes still maintained their shine.

In the late-afternoon, my companions said they had to go and round up the cows for the evening milking, asking me if I wanted to go with them.

“Mais oui,” I said. The oldest pointed to a door which led outside. He told me to exit the barn there, saying they would be right out after turning on the compressor for the milking machines.

Excited as a kid could be, I barrelled out the swinging door, not paying attention to where I was going, and sunk knee deep in cow manure, mud and slop that had accumulated from the rainy season in the pen outside where the cows were released after being milked.

My cousins were hysterical, laughing and making fun of my predicament, saying I was going to catch hell from my mother, obviously enjoying the thought of my forthcoming demise.

Smelling like the pigsty, or the outhouse after the morning rush, I made my way back to the farmhouse like a dog with its tail between its legs, whimpering from the thought of getting a whipping for destroying my shiny, new shoes, socks and spiffy suit pants.

Taking off my footwear before entering the kitchen, leaving them on the porch, wishing another pair of pants was readily available, I slowly slithered inside and was greeted with silence by everyone who was seated at the table. Everyone looked at me wide-eyed as if they had just seen the devil.

My mother’s jaw had fallen open. If not for being hinged to her skull, it would have certainly landed on the kitchen floor. I was ready for her to ask my uncle if she could use his shed to wallop my behind; but her look of hardened astonishment softened with bemusement. A smile appeared on her face.

She asked what happened and I told her. She laughed, got up and went out to our car to get my dungarees and a pair of sneakers, which I should have been wearing from the beginning.

The new shoes ended up in the trash bin with my soiled pants and socks. All had been ruined. She said I wouldn’t be receiving my allowance until I did some extra chores at home to compensate for the discarded items.

My uncle was ready to take his eldest into the shed for what he had done, but my mother insisted he didn’t, for, as she said in French, “Les enfants seront des enfants,” or “Kids will be kids.”

When we got home, I ended up making my bed for seemingly forever, doing a boatload of dishes for quite a spell, washing hers and my dad’s cars for a couple of months, along with my usual taking out the garbage, before I saw an allowance again.

Funny how we remember such things in detail, but sometimes can’t recall what we did yesterday.

Happy Mothers’ Day to whom that applies, and to my own mum, wherever she may be on the other side.

Thanks for stopping by and for your continual support.

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A Deal You Can’t Refuse

Oh boy, I’ve been selected by Time Magazine via e-mail. Guess that’s a whole lot better than being selected by the draft board through U. S. mail.

“Greetings,” they used as their salutation; not Time, but the Selective Service when military conscription was the order of the day. Fortunately for today’s youth, notices of such are a thing of the past, unless World War III breaks out, which, for the way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s put back into effect. Heavens forbid that ever happens.

Anyway, I was selected today to spend more of my hard-earned cash to subscribe to another periodical from the aforementioned magazine group, for an incredible 84% off the newsstand price: just 58¢ per issue.

That’s quite a bargain for Sports Illustrated, the proposed publication, especially for their much-beloved swimsuit issue.

By golly, that’s a little over twice the price of their first issue, dating back to 1954, the cover of which is seen on the left.

Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews is pictured at bat, and New York Giants catcher Wes Westrum is behind the plate. The scene occurred at Milwaukee County Stadium.

Prior to Time’s tenure, Dell Publishing released their version of the magazine in 1949, which lasted for six monthly issues, before shutting down the presses and selling the magazine’s rights. They dealt mainly with major sports: baseball, basketball and boxing, also for 25¢ per issue.

Dell bought the name of the periodical from Stuart Scheftel, grandson of Isidor Straus: a co-owner of R. H. Macy & Company who went down on the Titanic. In his issues, Scheftel, a championship golfer, focused on chasing the illustrious, little white ball around for a living, playing tennis, skiing and other major sports.

Stuart Scheftel - Geraldine Fitzgerald- Historic Images

Photo courtesy of Historic Images

His brainchild found its way in newsstands from 1936 through ’38 on a monthly basis.

I looked all over the Internet for a pertinent magazine cover, but found only the same rehashed information, word-for-word on every entry mentioned, other than an informative article from the present-day publishers, dated 1989.

Checking Google, Yahoo and Bing images, none appeared with regards to a photograph of the original publication; neither was one found on Ebay.

A listed vintage-magazine site  looked promising, but my luck had it that they were cataloging their inventory of Sport Illustrated at the moment, so no cigar there either.

The photograph above is of Scheftel, and Geraldine Fitzgerald—an Irish-American actress—shown together as they were signing their marriage license in 1946.

The special offer ended up shift-deleted as with all the other junk e-mail. That saves me from worrying about emptying the recycle bin on occasion.

My magazine reading occurs usually during my morning constitution, for which I’ve got plenty to mull over for the time being. The Net is another source of information, which comes to me for free.

So goes another weekly contribution to the blogosphere, something that’s like the old Seinfeld series on television, an episode about really nothing, although I hope it’s entertaining to those who read it.

In closing, allow me to share my latest Cover Your Ears, recorded on Friday to keep me busy during our rainstorm. It’s my impersonation of Louis Armstrong’s version of “Moon River.” I hope you enjoy it:

Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

 

 

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Baseball, Parasites and Politicians

Spring is now in its second month already. The regular baseball season is following close behind.

My favorite teams, the Phillies and Yankees, are playing exceptionally well thus far, looking like contenders for the Fall Classic again.

On this past Thursday, while tromping around Neshaminy State Park in Eddington, PA, or Sarobia—as it was formerly known—I got down on my knees at one point to photograph wildflowers, walked through tall grass and vegetation, hiked in the woods along the Delaware River, sat on large rocks by the shoreline, and brushed up against many trees and bushes.

One harbinger of the season, unfortunately, is the appearance of ticks, living in all the areas just described. I predict the vampiric insects are going to be a dreadful nuisance for this Mother Nature’s son, more so than in previous years.

Once in the car after the woodland activities, I found two ticks had nested in my hair, fortunately before their digging into my scalp or other fleshy parts. A couple of years ago, one was implanted in my right buttock, found in the shower, stirring up a large dose of paranoia on my part about catching Lyme disease and tick fever.

That didn’t happen. Had to use a mirror to inspect the area of the bite to make sure a bulls-eye formation didn’t show up, feeling rather silly doing so.

Upon my arrival home from Sarobia, I disrobed and checked my body for the nasty nits and hopped into the shower. That evening, every little itch and sensation had me looking for ticks. I found another one in my hair.

How it survived the deluge from the shower nozzle and shampooing earlier is another of life’s mysteries. That one had not adhered to my head yet, thank goodness.

Yesterday, I hung out along the Delaware Riverbank in Bristol, PA, sitting on my favorite boulder, hoping to photograph the bald eagles who live across the way in Burlington Island, NJ.

The male flew around a few times, but he kept himself up high, soaring with the helicopters that passed by. Got a few shots also of some other birds and critters thereabout.

Last night while editing the pictures taken that day, I remained paranoid about every little tactile stimulus to my skin and scalp, once again having shed my clothes from the afternoon and inspecting myself for ticks.

After the continual scratching of my noggin, I found another one was lounging in my hair, plucking it out, examining the arachnid before flushing it down the toilet unceremoniously after determining the parasite was a dreaded deer tick, the one which carries the various bacterium aforementioned.

I don’t think the tiny bloodsucker had lodged itself. Anyway, it’s very rare that Lyme disease is contracted by a tick attached for less that 36 to 48 hours, according to my paranoiac search of the Internet about the topic.

Still the thought lingers. I was even wearing my Phillies’ hat yesterday, thinking it would be a deterrent for homesteading invertebrates.

Maybe I should get a buzz cut for this year’s tick season, to be able to notice them quickly before they anchor themselves; either that, or stay out of the woods, but neither of those preventive measures is going to prevail.

bumblebee-Sarobia-2017

I’ll just have to be prudent, remain on the paths, and not on my knees photographing flowers in the brush, and to inspect myself constantly for evidence of those parasitic pests. That sort of takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?

deer-tick

Deer Tick

Lastly, as a followup to the previous post, the U.S. Congress, in its habitually procrastinate fashion, approved a one-week spending bill yesterday at virtually the last minute: another stopgap measure to prevent the government from partially shutting down on the 100th day of President Trump’s administration (today), prolonging the agony until next Friday.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could draft personal legislation to push off our obligations when they become due, like the mortgage payment, car payment, rent, utilities, whatever?

I’m sure the banks would love it if we notified them about an approved bill by our households, extending the deadline for another week or two before we send in the payment. How about our landlords, or utility companies such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T? What do you think their reactions would be?

Will our government remain open past next Friday? Will another short-term, stopgap measure be approved? That’s left to be seen.

Here’s hoping our elected officials put aside partisanship, do the right thing for their constituents, and at least fund the federal government for the remaining fiscal year, ending in September.

OK, that’s enough politics for this tirade. Those from other countries who read my rants don’t care about the lackadaisical nature in which the U.S. legislators conduct their business. They’ve got their own politicians to worry about. Many citizens from this country don’t even seem to care as well.

Thanks as always for your continued support. Go Phils and Yankees!

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This Lights My Fuse Every Time

shutdown

Here we go again!

Here’s another rant about procrastination, except this time it’s about that of lawmakers in the U.S.

It gets down to the wire regularly with the threat of shutting down the government, if our elected official don’t do their job in time.

Since Congress plays Political Monopoly with passing or killing every piece of forthcoming legislation, the U.S. is on the verge of yet another governmental closure, if a decision is not made by this Friday’s deadline.

Every six months, last-minute action has been the norm from the politicians’ wrangling, issuing temporary stopgap measures instead of coming together to fund the government for the entire fiscal year; yet, is it they who suffer? Their paychecks aren’t delayed as a result of a governmental closure, are they?

The last time a full shutdown occurred was for 16 days in 2013, when the cost incurred by the U.S. economy was $24 billion. In their article on October, 17, 2013, Time Magazine itemized the damages to be:

  • About $3.1 billion in lost government services, according to the research firm IHS
  • $152 million per day in lost travel spending, according to the U.S. Travel Association
  • $76 million per day lost because of National Parks being shut down, according to the National Park Service
  • $217 million per day in lost federal and contractor wages in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area alone

The ones truly effected by this are the country’s citizens, not the legislators who were elected to protect the former’s interests; however, the latter seem to be concerned only about their own party’s interests. Negative turbulence for investors in the Stock Market is another given.

Please contact your elected officials to let them know you’re sick and tired of worrying about this, and for them to do their jobs by avoiding an unnecessary governmental shutdown.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to sneak in an additional mini-rant for the week, and for your continued support.

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Today’s Tirade: Live for the Moment

Blah-Mag-April-2017

Hurray, Baseball Season is Back!

Nothing is better for one’s well-being than a good rant now and then to relieve pent-up frustration, triggering a pressure-relief valve which sounds like the whistle of an old steam locomotive, or that of an iron kettle filled with boiling water from sitting on a stove’s flaming burner.

Procrastination, an oft-mentioned theme in this journal, took the best from me this week, when I dillydallied about doing the confounded food-shopping. What happened to the solution for my habitual dread of visiting the supermarket? I procrastinated again.

Tuesday was the day for my originally planned foray, but was put off until Friday when the only thing left to eat in the refrigerator was Stone Fruit, remember him?

“You’ve got to be kidding. Over three years living in your fridge?” you might be saying.

Yup, although the fruit is more like in suspended animation. He looks good in there, don’t you agree? His new best friend is a package of Nathan’s hot dogs, purchased earlier, which is one shy of a full pack already.

Stone-Fruit-2017

Stone Fruit

Only now, the once-thriving grapefruit has desiccated to the point of being harder than a croquet ball.

The orb would probably shatter if struck with a mallet.

No way would it now be sustenance to birds or other critters.

His weight is a fraction of what it was at the time of the last entry about him.

Tapping on the exterior of this curious science project reveals a hollow core, yet Stone is as handsome as ever.

I put him up front instead of his residing in the rear of the Frigidaire, lonely and forgotten; but my willingness to toss him to the beasts, or throw him away into the dumpster is far less now than ever, for his existence and longevity inspires me.

The trip to the supermarket was quite uneventful to rate inclusion in a proper diatribe. Even the weekly rags were mostly blasé. I was happy not to see Trump’s ugly mug on a magazine cover for once, but there was Alec Baldwin who can be just as bad.

One thing striking was it’s already one year since Prince left us. It seems like it was only yesterday.

food-shopping

Rags for the Week of April 16, 2017

Now for the tirade:

One of my pet peeves is the phrase, “Rest in Peace,” spoken by mostly everyone when paying their respects to somebody who has passed on, for lack of a better euphemism about death.

How else will a dead person rest, if that can be considered resting? Never have I heard of someone resting in shambles or chaos after dying; but then again, who knows what goes on once life crosses over the River Styx?

When I surf the news sites on the Internet, why must every article include a video that slows up my browser, even causes it to crash when I have too many tabs open? Why do they then even bother to include text, rehashing what was mentioned in the clip? Seems like a waste of resources and a total redundancy.

I make it a point to park my vehicle almost exactly in the middle of the space provided, leaving enough room on either side to open the door and get in or out without having to squeeze through, providing the car next to me does the same; but no.

Everyone mostly ends up parking with their wheels skimming the lines that separate each parking space, eliminating that buffer. Worse yet, they end up dinging my paint job with their doors as they get out, which make me wonder: why do I even bother to make sure I don’t ding the cars next to me when I exit my vehicle? They don’t.

It’s like the imbecilic driver aims for my car as they are pulling in, thinking it’s so small and needs less space.

Facebook annoys the hell out of me with their notifications of what I’ve been missing since last logging on. One can’t stay away for more than 20 hours, it seems, before they start sending you e-mails to come back. I’ll log in again when I’m good and ready, by golly.

Getting back to news sites and Social Media, I find their vernacular consists nowadays of what we need to know with regards to a certain subject. Everything is about what we “need to know.” Let me be the judge of that. Offer the information, but don’t tell me I need to know it. When I see that now on a tweet or headline, I’ll say, “No I don’t,” and move on.

Another complaint is all subject matter on the Internet comes in top-ten lists. Please, my attention span lasts for only how long it takes to read the main reason for an anomaly. The rest is a waste of time.

You’re probably saying my tirades are sort of a list of things, so why make a fuss about it?  Someone commented one time that I’m always complaining about something which nothing can be done about.

Correctomundo; so with that, I’ll leave you with my latest cover, a tune that I’ve dedicated to my dad, who is dearly departed for ten years in May. My goodness how time flies, a good reason to live for the moment before nothing is left.

Thanks for stopping in and for your continued support.  Now excuse me while I raid the refrigerator, stocked up for another few weeks, to happily pig out.

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An Ode to Easter Past

Sunday Dinner

Holidays bring forth so many memories, like it or not.

For some they are painful and better if left forgot,

About what makes a person sad and melancholy.

Try to remember only what makes you jolly, by golly!

It’s not easy to suppress the many thoughts from yesteryear,

Especially of those who are no longer here.

Of all the happy times having spent together,

Each new occasion seemed always better and forever.

But nothing in life is ever eternal,

Be it mate, friend, sibling, child, or paternal.

Emotions are fleeting,

So why take a beating?

When my mind fills with gloom,

I sweep it away as if I had a broom,

And think of things that make me laugh,

About those who are missing from the past.

For this week’s entry in my journal,

I’ll express some cheer that’s mainly maternal,

About the chicken I received one Easter long ago,

Given to me by my mother whom I did love so.

I named it Peeper, such a cute little chick.

What made her give it to me, I haven’t a lick,

Of an idea other than she may have received it as a gift from a friend,

And she couldn’t be the mother hen.

She was separated from my pop,

Living in a rooming house, next town over on a hilltop.

There was no way Mum could keep the bird at her place,

She was basically living out of her suitcase.

I kept it in the basement of our duplex house.

We had no back yard and I couldn’t leave it out.

The bird was so happy to see me each day,

When I went down to feed it and we’d play.

She’d follow me around like a puppy dog,

Peeping, pecking, cackling as we jogged,

Around in her concrete playpen, for what else could we do?

But that got old very fast from my having to clean up all her poo.

My darling little chick had grown into a full-fledged chicken.

My dad’s patience waned and he started to raise the dickens,

From habitually stepping in droppings, and having the basement smell like a barn.

After all, he did say, we weren’t living on a farm.

I told my mom about having to get rid of the bird.

Pop was really fed up, especially from all the turds.

Sorry for being so gross, but when stuck to make a lyric rhyme,

I stoop so low all the time.

Mum said her friend had a chicken coop,

He didn’t mind all the poop.

She took the unusual pet off my hands,

And brought the feathered creature up to his land.

Next time we were together, I asked her about my chick,

Mom’s friend said a fox snuck into the henhouse and had eaten her really quick.

Methinks her buddy was quite a fibber,

And Peeper had become his Sunday dinner.

My 500-word post has just about been made,

And this week’s debt to the blogosphere has been paid.

So much for writing about poultry,

And so much for my attempt at poetry.

Thanks for stopping in and for your continued support. By the way, my other tribute to Easter Weekend lies in my latest cover by Bob Dylan. Allow me to share it with you.

Happy Holiday!

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The Only Thing That’s Certain in Life is Death and Paying Taxes, and the Return of My Beloved Ospreys.

Finally filed the state and federal income taxes this week, way ahead of time this year for once, almost two weeks before the final deadline. This past Wednesday was a rainy day, which was conducive for staying in and getting it over with, instead of prolonging the agony of any further procrastination.

This early filer is getting a federal refund for the first time in a while: $12.50! Please don’t tell me not to spend it all in one place, although, it passed through my hands immediately and theoretically as I signed the check to pay for my Pennsylvania return. Easy come, easy go.

Tomorrow’s Palm Sunday, and Passover is on Monday for those who celebrate the religious events. Easter follows next Sunday for Christians, and Passover ends on Tuesday the 18th for our Jewish friends, Tax Day for 2017, sort of an irony in itself, which means I’ve got another week of biting my tongue until my Lenten fast of having given up politics expires.

Believe me, I’ve had one hell of a time keeping my mouth shut with all the nonsense that’s prevailed during this past fasting season.

I’ve finished the annual survey of beloved ospreys along my stretch of the Delaware River, given to me by William Penn in a past life; although, no legal deeds therefrom can be produced. It’s just a strong feeling and love for the area that makes me say that in jest. Perhaps that’s why I have such an affinity for Sarobia and the Robert Logan story.

By the way, recent shots of the venerable, old estate have been added to Sarobia’s photo journal, if you’re interested.

The survey comprises an area of 18.6 miles/29.9 kilometers, starting southwesterly in Riverton, NJ, extending to the northeastern tip of Burlington Island, NJ.

On the map above (click on it for the full size), the red lettering and Xs with white borders indicate where the existing pairs of nesting ospreys are found. The two entries with black borders determine where nests had been in the past but no longer are there for 2017.

The birds’ digs are all on channel or range markers in the river, as seen above. They seem to like them, as it’s most convenient for their food supply (fish); and the towers are out of the way from human and predator encroachment, except for boats and other flying creatures that have enough tenacity to threaten them, which are few and far between.

The raptors return to the same nest occupied during the previous season, usually every year around St. Patrick’s Day. This year their appearance was delayed for a week by the winter storm we had on the 15th and 16th, as seen below.

Here’s last year’s distribution map for comparison. It’s virtually the same this season, except for the Marina birds are no longer there; and a pair are on a different channel marker in Riverton, NJ. Perhaps they are the same ones. Ospreys are known to change their locations on occasion.

As was the case for last year, 2017 has eight pairs situated along the stretch of the Delaware that’s included in my avian biological study, with one rearrangement, showing the usual consistency of the species.

The next map to be produced in the future will show the success of the nesting pairs with producing progeny and their amounts, which will be tallied by the end of May. Ospreys have an incubation period of five weeks for the eggs to hatch. Some of the birds are already incubating as assumed by their roosting behavior.

For a photo journal of this season’s family of ospreys from the survey, please click here.

In closing, allow me to share my latest attempt at being a rock star with a cover of a tune by Everclear. It’s a sad tale about the writer’s feelings for having experienced the suicide of his girlfriend at the time, who jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Thanks for listening, and for your continued support.

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