​ ​​​​Cooperstown Today


Although it is our hope to be able to include updates on a daily basis, with the exception of weekends and holidays, common sense tells us that, for a host of different reasons, this is probably not an attainable goal.  But we will do our best to present the issues, as well as upcoming events, that would seem to be of interest to our community. Anyone wishing to contact us about any of the issues raised can do so by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.   


TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Where Nature Smiles from May 31...

This week we offer some excerpts from the Remembering Cooperstownfrom the chapter entitled “Around the Village.”

We start with the following about stoplights...

Stewart Wayman would like to know if anyone remembers where Cooperstown's other traffic light used to be located. We confess that we had forgotten that the village ever had another traffic signal until our memory was prodded. 

Several people, including Terry Pugliese, Katie Sanford, and Doug Preston, said they remembered the "other" stop light at the corner of Glen and Chestnut. It was no doubt placed there to regulate pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the old high school located where the Cooper Lane Apartments now stand. 

The Glen Avenue-Chestnut Street stoplight was unusual in that the green light was on top and the red light on the bottom. George Connell, Ward Moyer, and Doug Preston among others recalled this interesting point. 

Stewart also reminisced about the police light which used to sit atop the flag pole at Main and Pioneer Streets. This light would activate if there was a call for the patrolman on duty who would then, upon noticing the lighted signal, hasten to the nearest phone to discover where he was needed.

While all are in agreement about the light at Glen and Chestnut. the exact location of the police signal has caused some discussion. Some feel that the light was near the flag pole, but not on top of it. Grace Welsh remembers that the telephone operators used to activate the light from a control on the switchboard. We, as a kid wandering Main Street, remember looking up and seeing the lighted signal and thinking that the police were needed---somewhere. At last we know how the system worked! 

We now turn to some thoughts about Cooperstown’s ice houses...

Several weeks ago we asked about ice houses located in the village and, thanks to Lyle Reynolds of Beaver Meadow Road, discovered that one stood on Susquehanna Avenue near the corner of Walnut Street between 74 Susquehanna and 80 Susquehanna. Evidently it was a large ice house, about 30-by-100 feet. Lyle recalls that this ice house was owned by a Mr. Coburne or Colburne. 

Others have told us that this ice house was owned by several different individuals including a Mr. Walrath, a Mr. Colburn, Harry Campbell and George Horton. Perry Hotaling, Chestnut Street, has an ice pick advertising the business when Mr. Horton owned it.  Perry remembers being on the wagon when deliveries were made and chewing on pieces of ice as he hitched a ride through the village

Marge Tillapaugh tells us that there is an ice house located on the bank of Willow Brook behind the Tillapaugh Funeral Home on Pioneer Street.  Evidently, this was at one time an ice house for the Cooper Inn.  When the Tillapaughs purchased the piece of property on which the ice house stands from the Cooper Inn, the structure did have the insulation and dirt floor common to ice houses.  After making some renovations in the old ice house, the Tillapaughs used the building for storage.

And finally this week, in talking about animals within the village, we offer the following about Bassett’s sheep...

Does anyone remember when Bassett Hospital owned a sheep?  Honestly, we are not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.  This is a legitimate question and we hope our readers flock to answer it.  Please don't say baa.  Let us know.

Bassett Hospital owned a sheep sometime in the late 1920's according to Mac Preston of Elm Street.  Mrs. Preston, a registered nurse, well remembers that each day the sheep was tied on the hospital's lawn to graze and that at night the wooly creature inhabited a room on the third floor of the old laboratory building.  Indeed, when Mac and Bob Preston where first married, they lived in a room on the third floor of the old laboratory building right next to the room occupied by the sheep. However, the sheep actually proved to be a fairly decent neighbor---considerate and quiet.  One of the hospital staff was assigned the role of shepherd and as such supervised the sheep's comings and goings.  Mac even remembers the time the sheep somehow mysteriously appeared in the room of one of the nurses who, upon returning from work and discovering the animal, began to yell at the top of her lungs.  Unfortunately, the exact purpose for which the sheep was procured was and has remained somewhat of a mystery.

We will offer more tidbits from the book in upcoming columns.
 

MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Since we have now returned from our annual trek to visit family and friends in Ohio and Michigan, we will be sharing with you this week the “Where Nature Smiles” columns which ran in The Freeman’s Journalwhile we were away,as well as this week’s column.  Enjoy...

Where Nature Smiles from May 24...

For a number of years now, we have been talking about, musing over and finally putting pen to paper in an attempt to pull together what we wrote about the history of the Cooperstown area in in the early days of this column.  And we are happy to report that we now have completed the first draft of a book which we are currently calling Remembering Cooperstown: Historical Musings from “Where Nature Smiles.”  Since we tend to think this is quite a milestone, as we never actually thought we would be able to pull such a book together, we are planning to share, over the next few weeks, some excerpts from the book’s first draft.

We begin our introduction to this book by noting that when Cooperstonians opened their copies of The Freeman’s Journal on January 4, 1984, they found themselves reading on page two:

“We thought this was an excellent time of year to take a stab at continuing a column which appeared in The Freeman’s Journal for more years than we can remember.  In the first place, all those many organizations that you may from time to time connect us with tend to take a break for the holidays leaving us with something we are not accustomed to, namely free time. We had to find something to do. Secondly, the holidays are a good time for finding all sorts of people going all sorts of places to do all sorts of things.  We managed to take note of at least a few of them.  And thirdly, arm twisting, all four of them, on the part of the editor and publisher, works every time.  So here we go, where nature smiles.”

And while the column has most decidedly undergone any number of changes over the years, we do believe in what we fondly call its golden years, from 1984 until 1999 when we both, the she-we and he-we wrote the column, that there was always a very consistent emphasis on the history of Cooperstown as the readers of the column remembered that history.

In going back over all those columns, we were not only struck by how much we had forgotten about what we had written, but also by which items of history received the most input.  For example, when we were writing about the Thanksgiving Hospital, over 35 readers contacted us to let us know they were born there. Of course, focusing on history as our readers remembered it also gave us, specifically the he-we, a chance to include some history of our own pertaining to two generations of the Ellsworth family participating in ballroom dancing classes.  

We were also able to share such juicy historical tidbits as a recently discovered C.C.S. document of some historical interest, namely the absence list for the morning of April 28, 1964.  Some of those absent that morning included the he-we, Doug Preston, Kay Winne Pierro, James Austin, Rose Yager Pink, Mary Kane Tabor, Bonnie Page Ives and Kevin Grady.  


In choosing what to include in the book, we have tried to cover a wide range of topics, most of which would not make it into the history books. Nor in any way are we attempting to present a comprehensive history of Cooperstown.  That has been done, more than once. Instead, in our discussions of Cooperstown history in the column, we talked about the events, businesses, buildings, people and remembrances as they were related to us by our readers. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing in the column some of these memories of Cooperstown which our readers passed on to us years ago. In doing so, we hasten to point out it should be remembered that all of these memories were written down between 1984 and 1999, making many of the references of what was where when somewhat out of date.  Also, while we cannot guarantee that all the history is absolutely correct, we are quite certain that what we are sharing from the early years of our writing “Where Nature Smiles,” is a reflection of the memories of the many people who lived and loved Cooperstown.

Please note:


It is once again that time of year when we find ourselves needing to put down our pen and take a break from our daily musings. Thus, this will be the last daily update until we return, hopefully rested, renewed and ready to go, on Monday, June 18.  


 
FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

This week for Funny Friday we offer “My Favorite Animal” from a young lad who just doesn’t seem to be able to win... 

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was and I said, "Fried chicken." 

She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed.  My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal. 
I told my dad what happened and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much.  I do too, especially chicken, pork and beef. 

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened and he laughed too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed and told me not to do it again. I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.

Today my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her "Colonel Sanders." 

Guess where I am now...


THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018 

Where Nature Smiles...

Two weeks ago when we sent the column in to the paper, we received the following email from the editor: “You can write a good column about anything.  Just for the fun of it, I ought to assign you a topic:  Carrots.  Or bifocals.   And see what you come up with. (You already did ear wax!)   It's a gift!!!”

We replied with: “Thank you for your kind words. We do like to think we have mastered the art of versatility when it comes to writing.  And we do think writing about bifocals would be rather easy.  The carrots might be more problematic.  Of course, given their supposed value to eyesight, it might be possible to include the carrots in the bifocal discussion.”

Over the years we have learned that from time to time that we have found ourselves searching desperately for something about which to write.  And we always seem to come up with something although we must admit that we have written some rather sketchy columns at times.  Of course, we can always fall back on the ever popular column topic, namely the weather especially when the village is rather quiet as it seems to be at the moment.  At least we have not encountered any pressing issues of late.

And while the village is relatively quiet, it seems the same cannot be said for the Town of Otsego. As we understand it, at the last meeting of the board, a vote was held to eliminate the town’s law regarding Heirloom Barns and Buildings.

Found in Section 3.15 of the town’s Land Use Law, it reads: “Barns and agricultural buildings older than 60 years and buildings of any kind of older than 110 years add historic and rural character to the Town and merit protection afforded by adaptive rehabilitation for special permitted uses subject to site plan review to ensure restoration and protection of the historic external appearance and minimum impact on neighbors. Permitted special use of heirloom barns and buildings, for any land use district, included all listed special permitted uses for RA-1, RA-2, H-R, H-B, GB-1, GB,-2 and R/E districts if additional required parking can be masked from roadway and adjacent property view.” 

As we read this law it seems fairly straight forward, making it easy to understand and apply to those wishing to save the agricultural barns and buildings as well as historic structures which add greatly to the rural, if not to say charming, character of the area. We would think that any law which seems to be intended to preserve the history of the area would be one to keep. In fact, we have trouble trying to figure out why there is thinking afoot that it should be eliminated. Granted, re-purposing a building is not a strict restoration project. But we would think a rejuvenation project would seem to be a better solution to maintaining the area’s character than the seemingly inevitable demise of buildings as they age.

Plus, in this day and age we would think that any governmental entity would be interested in maintaining, if not growing, their property tax base.  It is certainly a concern we have heard expressed concerning the limited tax base of the CCS district, of which the Town of Otsego is a large part.  We find it equally difficult to believe that the town board members are not concerned with offering opportunities which would increase the job prospects in the area.  To not do so would seem to just make it that much more difficult for young people, who are the future of our communities, to secure jobs that will allow them to stay in the area. And once the young people leave, most of them will never return.  Thus, we would find it hard to believe that the Town of Otsego would not be concerned about the exodus of young people from our area.

And we must say that we have to wonder why, since the law was obviously deemed worthy of adopting, does the board want to get rid of it at this point. We have to think it was written with some legal advice as to its viability.  And it must have been thought to serve a purpose as to the goals of the town’s land use law. What exactly has changed to make the law no longer viable? Additionally, we are curious as to what the lawyer for the town thinks of the proposed elimination of the law. Surely the board has solicited its lawyer’s thinking on the subject.

It is our understanding that a public hearing on the elimination of Section 3.15 Heirloom Barns and Buildings of the Town of Otsego Land will be scheduled, supposedly as part of the next board meeting on June 13.  We would suggest that anyone who is interested in the proposed change in the land use law, should plan to attend the public hearing in order for their thinking to be heard on the subject.

​WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2018

In the Saturday, May 5 edition of The Daily Star,we enjoyed seeing a picture of visitors to the Greater Oneonta Historical, located on Main Street in Oneonta, participating in a cakewalk, to the tune of the society’s player piano Friday. We must admit we had not thought about cakewalks in quite a while.  However, we do have very fond memories of them as they were held at fundraising fairs at Woodward Elementary School in Kalamazoo, Michigan where we attended grades one through six.

Of course, the cakewalks were not all we remembered from these fairs.  One year our mother made a set of matching mother and daughter aprons which she donated to the cause.  And since we found the aprons to be much to our liking, we grumbled enough about her not keeping them, that at the fair she bought them back in order to end our harangue, something we seemed to be good at even then. We remember the aprons had the most interesting blue strawberries on them.  But much as we liked the aprons, they most definitely did not install in us a love for cooking.

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018

We must admit that although we do try to watch what we eat, we have a certain fondness for the Silvermint Bars, mint ice cream dipped in a chocolate coating, which we purchase from the Schwan man. Over the years we have noticed that the size of the bars has seemingly shrunk a couple of times.  And in fact, our latest purchase indicated that Schwan’s now thinks a single serving consists of two bars.

But interestingly enough, according to the nutrition information on the box, a single serving of two bars has 310 calories while a single bar has 160 calories.  We must say we have no idea just how this might work.  But we are most happy to know that we will save 10 calories if we eat two bars at the same time.  And to add to the confusion, we further note that one bar is 45g while two bars are 91g.  We suspect we will have to eat a goodly number of the Silvermint Bars in order to figure all of this out.

MONDAY, MAY 14, 2018

We have often been told that spring is a new beginning.  And this year, once we felt the snow would indeed stop falling, we took this advice to heart and decided to move our daily walking routine from the confines of our house, to the outdoors.  Thus, about two and a half weeks ago, we started walking on our front porch and have managed to do so no matter the weather.  One day, in fact, we were so adventurous as to walk down to the corner of Pioneer and Beaver and back. 

As a result of our new undertaking we have discovered that Pioneer Street is not nearly as quiet as we thought. There is a fair amount of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  And while we don’t tend to think the pedestrian traffic speeds by, we do think much of the vehicular traffic is exceeding the village speed limit.  Of course, we were told last summer when the street was redone, and all those speed bump like potholes would disappear, cars would fly down the street.  And we guess that has indeed proven to be true...at least for a lot of the traffic.

Of course, we have enjoyed chatting with various people as they walk by.  And we must say we were quite amused by the neighbor who told us not to enjoy the summer like weather too much for fear it would disappear.  We well understood that thinking as we can remember all too well year that we watched the snow falling across the lake as we enjoyed, if that is the right word under the circumstances, a Mother’s Day breakfast at the Otesaga.  Fortunately, snow was not a problem for this year’s Mother’s Day celebrations.

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2018

For Funny Friday we would like to point out that, as this last Will and Testament shows, things are not always what they seem...

Doug Pender lived all his life in the Florida Keys. He is on his deathbed, and knows the end is near. His nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons, are with him.

He asks for two witnesses to be present and a camcorder be in place to record his last wishes. When all is ready he begins to speak:

"My son, Bernie, I want you to take the Ocean Reef houses."

"My daughter Sybil, you take the apartments between mile markers 100 and Tavernier."

"My son, Jamie, I want you to take the offices over in the Marathon Government Center."

"Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the bay side of Blackwater Sound."

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings. As Doug slips away, the nurse says, "Mrs. Pender, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property."

The wife replies, "He’s talking about his paper route."

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

This past week we had a rather interesting conversation with an CCS alum about the current cost of education in the district.  While discussing how expensive education seems to have become, we were asked if we knew how much the teachers in the district are paid.  And while there was a time when we probably could have answered the question, we must admit that we have not followed the comings and goings of the school as closely of late as we did in the past.

But since we were asked, we did go online to see if we might be able to bring ourselves up to date.  At http://pressconnects.nydatabases.com/database/educator-salaries-new-york, we found a listing of CCS salaries for the 2015-2016 school year. It is noted on the website that the compensation may not include all benefits which can add an additional 30% or 40% of the salary to the total compensation package. As far as we can tell, 27 faculty members made over $70,000 a year with the highest salary listed as $97,160.  15 salaries were between $60,000 and $70,000 while 26 were between $50,000 and $60,000.  We must say that the salaries at CCS have gone up since we last paid much attention to them.

Given what we learned, it seemed only fair to explore what the income levels might be in the rest of the school district. At the website https://www.point2homes.com/US /Neighborhood/NY/Otsego-County/Cooperstown-Central-School-District-Demographics.html, we found the following information on the median income, the point at which half of the people make more and half of the people make less. For those under 25 it is $32,470; for those 25-44 it is $46,931; for those 45-64 it is $68,812; and for those over 65 it is $45,031.  Additionally, we learned the median household income in the district is $51,806 while the average household income is $71,134.  Thus we think it is safe to say that while salaries at CCS seem high, given what others make they may be not be all that out of line.  But there is probably little doubt that compensation for personnel is a large part of the school budget.  And we suspect that has long been the case.

We hasten to note that next Tuesday, CCS voters will be going to the polls to cast their ballots on four separate items, the first of which is the $19.7 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.   The budget has a 2% increase of $237,839 in the tax levy, with an overall increase in the budget of 3.4% percent, or $639,001, over the current year’s budget. 

The second item is a separate proposition asking residents to consider a five-year lease of two 63-passenger buses. The total cost of the bus lease will be $178,000 over a five-year period. 

The third proposition on the ballot is to increase the library tax by 2.1 percent. If the proposition is approved, the Village Library of Cooperstown is planning to raise an additional $2,850 over last year, while the Kinney Memorial Library appropriation is projected to increase by $1,000. Together, the total proposed library tax is $187,950. 

The fourth item on which residents can vote is the election of three members of the Board of Education.  Incumbent Board President Marcy Birch and board member Anthony Scalici are seeking re-election. Board member Mary Bonderoff is not seeking reelection.  Matt Schuermann and Nancy Areliussonare also candidates for the three seats, which will be filled by the three candidates who receive the most votes. The new three-year terms will run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. 

For more detailed information on the upcoming vote, we would suggest reading the CCS Budget Newsletter which arrived in mailboxes recently. Overall we think it is well organized, very informative and seems to outline the goals of the school. In fact, we only found six things which we brought to the superintendent’s attention.

Of them, the most disturbing is probably the amount spent per pupil. However, having done some research on educational costs per pupil across the country, we tend to think the seemingly high cost might have more to do with NYS than with CCS.  As far as we can tell, as of 2015 NYS spent the most per pupil of any state in the country, namely $21,206.  At the same time the national cost of education per pupil was $11,392.

The CCS annual vote will be held on Tuesday, May 15 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Room 305 at the Junior/ High School on Linden Avenue in Cooperstown. Please plan to get out and vote.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2018

We recently read in our weekly Natural Gas Now newsletter a very interesting article, “Did Cuomo’s Fracking Ban Create a New York Willing to Ban Any Energy Project?” which was written by Jim Willis, Editor and Piblisher of “Marcellus Drilling News.” 


In this article, Willis writes:

“In June 2014, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, reaffirmed two lower court rulings that empowers townships and municipalities across the state to strip away property owners’ rightsto allow drilling and other energy projects. NY’s high court ruled in the “Middlefield” and “Dryden” cases that local municipalities have the right to regulate energy development within their jurisdictions–where it can and cannot happen.

The seeds planted with the “Dryden” and “Middlefield” cases have sprouted and are now in full bloom–like spring daffodils. So-called “renewable” energy projects are now being blocked using the very same decisions meant to block natural gas drilling–delicious irony...” 

According to the article, the Town of Hopkinton, located in St. Lawrence County,  has enacted a zoning law which basically means that no windmills will be possible within the town.  And in the Town of Dryden, there was a move to build a solar farm which was opposed based on environmental concerns, the broadness of the project and confusing documentation as well as the fact that it would be right next to a historic cemetery. 

One person who spoke against the Dryden project was reported as saying “...he owed it to the 7,500 people buried there and the 2,400 more who have plots to speak at the meeting. He told the board it will affect cemetery revenue as people don’t want to see solar arrays when they visit their beloved family members...” Another person against the project said “I think we should protect our veterans by keeping these things out of sight of our cemetery.”

In his article, Willis points out that “...the truly horrific consequences by NY’s highest court in allowing each community to, in effect, regulate energy production. It is utter folly and lunacy.”  And while we do not know if it actually is “utter folly and lunacy,” we are fairly certain it seems to be turning out that it is indeed most ironic.

 

TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2018

We were most interested to read about the recent opening of the new Farm Credit East bank.  When we heard there was to be a new building in that location, we took a trip up the lake last fall to see just what was being erected.   And we must admit that what we saw was rather bitter sweet.   Back in the 1980s we spent two summers on that property in Springfield when it was Beaver Cross, the summer camp of the Epsicopal Diocese of Albany.  Our late husband, Jerry, was director of the camp which, if we remember correctly, he actually attended as a camper when it first opened.  And now, the camp property has been divided into two properties, on one of which the Farm Credit East now sits.

On the northern part of the property the large house, which contained the dining rooms and staff quarters for the camp, still stands along with, we assume, the cabins in which the campers stayed. The house, Ringwood, was originally owned by the Arthur Larned Ryerson and his wife, Emily Maria Borie who built the c.1900 manor on 39-acres as their family’s summer home.

Unfortunately, in April 1912, the Ryersons, along with several of their children, were on the Titanic as they were returning to this country for the funeral of their oldest son, Arthur L. Ryerson Jr., who had been in fatal automobile accident. Arthur Ryerson went down with the ship, but Mrs. Ryerson and the children were rescued.

The property on which Ringwood was situated was left to the Episcopal Church in the early 1960's. It was used as summer camp until 2000 when it was replaced by a much larger camp located at the Christ the King Spiritual Life Center north of Albany.

We were sorry when Beaver Cross left our area not only because of the closing of the summer camp in this location, but also because the property has not been used since, as far as we know. Thus, we do think it is a good thing that at least part of the property has found new life as the Farm Credit East.  We would only hope that the time will come when a use will be found for the rest of the Ryerson estate.

MONDAY, MAY 7, 2018

We recently read in the May edition of “Village Voices,” The Village of Cooperstown newsletter, that for the sixth year in a row there has been no increase in the village’s tax levy.  And, given the way the rest of the tax levies of various governmental entities seem to be ever increasing, we think the news from the village is indeed good news.

However, as we have learned in the past, just because the village tax levy does not increase that does not mean that our taxes won’t go up.  But we shall cross our fingers and hope for the best.  In truth we are beginning to wonder just how much longer it will make sense for us to stay here in Cooperstown as the cost of living here seems to be on a course to eclipse our income.  And we fear the time will come when it no longer makes sense to stay not only in Cooperstown, but also in New York State.  But we are ever hopeful that that day will be far in the future.


​FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2018

We think today’s Funny Friday explains a lot...

Ray and Bob, two government maintenance guys were standing at the base of a flagpole looking up.  A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.

“We’re supposed to find the height of the flagpole,” said Bob, “But we don’t have a ladder.”  The women said, “Hand me that wrench out of your toolbox.” She then loosened a few bolts and laid the pole down.

She then took a tape measure and announced, “Eighteen feet, six inches” and walked away.

Ray shook his head and laughed, “Well, isn’t that just like a “Miss-know-it-all” woman?  We need the height and she gives us the length!”

 

THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Some time ago now, we signed up to get email alerts from the UPSP which would alert us as to what letters would be that day.  We must admit we really don’t know what the purpose of the service might be. But since it is free, we do rather enjoy knowing what might be lurking in the mail box on any given day.

For example, on April 9 we received notification that we would be receiving five letters in the mail that day. One of the letters listed was, rather surprisingly, a letter addressed to our son at his home in Ohio. Now from time to time we do get letters addressed to our son at our Pioneer Street address, even though he has not lived here since 1996.  But we could not imagine he would have a letter delivered here which was addressed to him in Ohio.  And, when the mail arrived, the Ohio letter was not to be found.

Thus, we decided the notification must have been some sort of a fluke.  Of course, two days later we once again received notification from the USPS that they would be delivering the letter they had claimed they would deliver two days earlier.  However, said letter did not arrive that day either. Exactly what the letter was doing, we do not know. But are happy to report that the letter did finally make it way to Ohio. 

We note that the USPS email notifications also let us know when we will be receiving letters that we classify as junk mail.  And it seems to us that much of this unwanted mail falls into one of three categories, namely, hearing tests and hearing aids, satellite TV and internet offers and financial assistance and planning opportunities.  Since we have no inclination to partake of any of these services, we do wish that those sending this mail would cease and desist even though we know that is highly unlikely.

Of course, we are inclined to think the same thing of some of the emails we receive.  For example, not long ago received what we thought to be a completely unnecessary email from Medicare.gov.  The email started out with “Earth Day is around the corner---are you doing your part for the planet? Here’s a tip: ditch the paper and go digital with Medicare?” 

We were offered three ways in which we could go paperless with Medicare, all of which assured us we would get better service from Medicare.  The email ended with “Sign up for some or all of Medicare’s online resources today!  Happy Earth Day!”  And while we guess we appreciated Medicare taking the time to wish us Happy Earth Day as well as point out some of their new services, we are not at all certain we understand the point as we have a Medicare Advantage Program. Thus, in terms of our health insurance, we do not receive any communication directly from Medicare making us wonder exactly what Medicare’s point was in sending us the email.

Fortunately, there are always those emails which we really enjoy receiving. Back in March, when we were inundated with snow, we emailed a picture we had taken of our front lawn to a friend in Florida.  He reciprocated by emailing us a picture of his front yard.  We would like to point out that the two pictures were virtually the same. But doing so would be less than truthful.  Our snow covered bushes looked nothing like his palm trees, leading us to print out his picture to post on our back door as a contrast to our weather.

Last week we wrote our Floridian friend noting that “We are happy to report that the weather seems to be improving.  In fact, we are going to take the picture of your front yard, with its “Dream On” notice on it, off our back door.  Since we put it up, we have gotten a number of comments on it.”  He replied with “Glad to have been of service.  But, as I read the weather in Albany in the paper, you’ve got a long ways to go!!!”  To this we pointed out that “...all things are relative.  And at the moment we are preferring to look at how far we have come, not how far we need to go.”  To this we received an email which said: “That is a good way of looking at a lot of things.”  And while we had not thought about it terms of anything other than the weather, we do suppose it can well applied to any number of other situations.

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2018

We must say we read with great interest the article entitled “Cooperstown hosts first Youth Food Summit,” which appeared in last Saturday’s Daily Star.  As we understand it, the summit was considered to be, according to Thomas Hohensee, a health promotion and disease prevention specialist with Bassett, “...a wise investment in our students’ futures and our future as it relates to the food environment.”  We gather the summit was an opportunity “...to mull the future of food.”

Yet we must admit as we read the article, it seemed to us that the concept od the presentation was actually a return to the past when it comes to food.  In fact, it made us stop and think about the food we encountered as a child. We grew up with a garden.  And we shall never forget the year our father decided to plant a rather large potato patch which produced rather a lot of potatoes. We had to dig the potatoes by hand in a very wet field that we thought rather resembled a rice paddy due to the nine inches of rain we got that September. We recall it was not fun.  But it certainly got us in touch with growing our own food.

We also recall the trips to the farmers’ market to purchase bushels of cucumbers to be made into bread and butter pickles and string beans to be canned.  We remember most fondly the grapes that our mother canned to make some of the most delicious grape juice we have ever had.  A trip to the orchards found us buying peaches by the bushel to be canned for the winter.  Other fruits were turned into homemade jellies and jams.  

How well we remember the smell of bread as it rose and was then baked and eaten hot from the oven.  Our food supply was also supplemented by the wild game, such as deer, rabbit, squirrel and pheasants, which our father brought home from his various hunting trips.  

As we look back on it, as a family we processed much of our food ourselves. It was not something about which we were taught but rather a necessity to food supply.  And we certainly spent no time mulling it over. Nor did we think of it in terms of sustainability.   We always thought that was just the way it was done when it came to food.  So for us, today’s interest in food would seem to be something from the past that we knew only too well growing up. 

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2018
                             
In her recent column, “Baseball makes Cooperstown Special,” which appeared in the April 26 edition of the Cooperstown Crier, Sarah Ferguson writes “...it is blatantly apparent and absolutely wonderful to see the enormously beneficial impact that baseball has on this entire area. Cooperstown is synonymous with baseball. It lives and breathes the game; the Hall of Fame, Dreams Park, local business from gift shops to restaurants to lodging thrive on it. People come from across the country and beyond for the love of the game, and Cooperstown is the place to be for baseball.”

Obviously it is her right to be enamored of Cooperstown as a baseball mecca where she thinks “Just walking down Main Street during the tourist season is an exciting experience, as one can feel the excitement in the air, especially coming from visiting children who are spending the week in Cooperstown playing baseball, living their dream.”  She can even think, incorrectly from our perspective, that “...it takes baseball to make Cooperstown the lovely, prosperous village and destination that it is.

While baseball no doubt adds to the economy of the village during the summer months, we find it hard to believe baseball makes Cooperstown “lovely.”  Nor do we think that, in the scheme of things, it is baseball and tourism that drives the economy of the village and its surrounding area.  We think credit for the Cooperstown’s economy has to go to the Cooperstown institution which not only provides year round employment with benefits, but is also the largest employer in the county.  Tourism may be fun, but it is certainly Bassett that pays the bills.  

So we would suggest that when one waxes poetic about Cooperstown, one should be willing to at least acknowledge what really drives Cooperstown’s economy.  We also think it is not baseball, but rather the people who call this community their home, who make Cooperstown, Cooperstown.  It is the people who give Cooperstown its charm, character and yes, even its loveliness.  And that is something that should never be forgotten.

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2018

As we head into May, we are reminded that it will soon be time to vote on the CCS budget as well as elect three school board members.  More information on the upcoming budget vote will be available at public hearing on the budget to be held this Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Junior/Senior High School Library.   

On Tuesday, May 15, residents of Cooperstown Central School District will vote on four separate items:

1.  The proposed $19.7 million budget for the 2018-19 school year which has a 2% 
increase of $237,839 in the tax levy, with an overall increase in the budget of 3.4% percent, or $639,001, over the current year’s budget. 

2.  A separate proposition will be on the ballot asking residents to consider a five-year lease of two 63-passenger buses. The total cost of the bus lease will be $178,000 over a five-year period, which would be spread out among annual budgets. 

3.  A proposition to increase the library tax by 2.1 percent. If the proposition is approved, the Village Library of Cooperstown is planning to raise an additional $2,850 over last year, while the Kinney Memorial Library appropriation is projected to increase by $1,000. Together, the total proposed library tax is $187,950. 

4. The election of three members of the Board of Education.  Incumbent Board President Marcy Birch and board member Anthony Scalici are seeking re-election. Board member Mary Bonderoff is opting not to run again.  Matt Schuermann and Nancy Areliussonare also candidates for the three seats, which will be filled by the three candidates who receive the most votes. The new three-year terms will run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. 

The Tuesday, May 15 CCS vote will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Room 305 at the Junior/ High School on Linden Avenue in Cooperstown.
 

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2018

For this week’s Funny Friday, we explain why one should never turn down good advice, especially when one has paid for the advice.

It was back in the 70's and a soon-to-be prominent golfer, Ray Floyd, was playing at Augusta in his first Masters. Back then the players could not bring their own caddies but had to use one of the locals. 

Floyd told the caddy master he wanted a big fellow who could handle his bag, but who also could keep quiet, no advice needed.

The caddy who was assigned Floyd said, "Hello Mr. Floyd."  Floyd said "Hello." He followed sternly with, "That's the last I want to hear from you unless I ask you a question."

Everything went well until the 10th hole when Floyd pushed his drive into the right trees on the par 4.  After surveying the scene he said out loud, "I'm going to hit a low fade out through that opening to carry and land mid green and then roll over the crest down near the hole."

Surprisingly he pulled it off exactly and turned to his caddy and said, "How's that?"

The caddy spoke for the first time and said, "That wasn't your ball."

THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must admit that last week we were sorely tempted to come to the conclusion that the new color for spring this year was going to be white.  Each morning we hesitated to look out the window in fear that the driveway would once again be blanketed in snow.  To say that we were beginning to despair about the weather would have been an understatement. However, this week seems to be at least moving in the direction of a spring that holds the promise of something being green.  And for that we are indeed grateful. 

On Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m., Woodside Hall and the Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP) will discuss their exciting partnership in a program entitled “Listen to Everyone.” CGP student Emma Glaser will explain how the program model was developed and how the volunteer program has grown. CGP student volunteers have conversations with Woodside Hall residents about stories from CGP’s oral history collection and the memories and feelings they evoke. At the May 1 program, other students from the graduate program will also share their experiences and what they have learned speaking with residents at Woodside Hall. 

CGP’s oral history collection include local stories on topics with importance in the world today, such as women’s rights, the environment, education, and citizenship. The act of listening to a story allows people to create a mental image of what they hear—to fill in the gaps with their own past experiences and knowledge. The story may spark a forgotten memory, or it may simply provide new information and perspective. For more information on the program, please email Emma Glaser at glaseg73@ oneonta.edu.  This program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Not long ago, Village Historian Hugh MacDougall shared with us an email he had received regarding a request about a stamp cancellation for Index, NY.  What we found somewhat amazing about the request was not that it was about Index, but rather that it had come from a gentleman in Belgium who wanted to know why in 1905 Index was called Index?  And not surprisingly, Hugh was quite able to answer the question.  He wrote:

“Index is a hamlet a few miles south of Cooperstown, formerly known as Hope Factory, where a group of water-powered mills operated during the 19thcentury. I have long wondered about the change in its name to Index, and have just run across an item in the February 27, 1902, p. 3 issue of the “Freeman’s Journal” – a Cooperstown weekly newspaper, reading: ‘It is proposed to establish a post office to be known as “Index” at Hope Factory, now a place of considerable business.”

Hugh further noted that “The ‘Index Knitting Mills” in Phoenix Mills, a hamlet in the town of Middlefield on the other side of the Susquehanna River, had a branch—branch No. 2—in Hope Factory, which may explain why the name of Index was chosen. I have heard a story that when the appropriate official was suddenly asked what to name the new post office at Hope Factory, he replied “Index” at random, because the Index Knitting Mills had a branch there.

The oldest reference to the “Index Knitting Mills” in Phoenix Mills I can find was on November 9, 1893, when a Hudson, New York paper listed the “Index Knitting Mill” of  “Cooperstown” was closing (among some others), leaving 150 employees without jobs; but in a Cooperstown paper of August 16, 1894 it was announced that it was resuming work..  The most recent in 1914—when it was announced as “closing temporarily”. Why it was called the Index Knitting Mill, I have not discovered.”

We thank Hugh for sharing all this information with us.  We must admit we were aware of the many knitting mills in the area during the late 18thand early 19thcentury.  And we also knew that when two of the mills were torn down, the cupolas were salvaged, taking up new homes atop Bassett Hospital and the Otesaga Hotel. But we must admit we had never given much thought to the naming of Index.  Thus we are glad we can now add this bit of local history to our thinking.
 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2018

Recently, in his column “From the Librarian,” David Kent wrote about an opportunity for seniors to become more conversant with today’s technology.  He notes that many older people “...are often clueless when it comes to computers and too intimidated to even try to become comfortable with them. Searching the internet is like learning a foreign language. Sitting in front of a computer can feel like taking an oral exam on a subject you know nothing about. Many of our seniors would love to join the computer age but feel helpless without the proper guidance.” 

To help with this issue, Kent notes that “The Village Library of Cooperstown is pleased to announce the launching of a program to bridge the gap between generations and provide a way for seniors to become computer-savvy. We have a group of high school students who are willing to volunteer their time to provide one-on-one computer training to all interested seniors (60 years and older). The beauty of having these students provide the tutoring is that computers and the internet are second nature to them. They grew up in the information age.”

The training will take place in the Village Library, which will provide the laptops for the one-on-one sessions. To participate in this program, please call the library at 607-547-8344 to sign up or get more information. “Since space may be limited, it might be wise to call sooner than later.   We think it is an excellent opportunity to learn more about today’s technology from those we would tend to think of as digital natives.  And since there is a very good possibility that seniors who are not computer savvy are not reading this online, we would hope that anyone who knows a senior who would like to know more about computers might be kind enough to let that person know about this opportunity.
 

TUESDAY APRIL, 24, 2018

We must admit that this spring has indeed been most unpleasant.  And we suspect that most people are somewhat behind in the spring cleanup of their yards. Nonetheless, we did notice that the weather did not deter the cleanup of some yards in our neighborhood. 

In fact, two weeks running we noted that the cleanup of yards was taking place in what we thought were rather unpleasant snow squalls. No doubt the cleanups in question were driven not by the weather but rather by the calendar, something we usually tend to think is not always the best decision in this neck of the woods. We tend to think that Mother Nature does not always pay much attention to the calendar.  Or maybe she doesn’t have one.  We really don’t know.


MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2018

We continue to struggle with the fact that there are evidently a number of people who do not seem to believe that the First Amendment right of free speech applies to anyone with whom they disagree.  This mentality has been quite evident this past year on college and university campuses around the country.  And now, from what we recently read in a Daily Star “Sound Off” column, that thinking seems to be alive and well in Oneonta. 

The “Sound Off” writer wrote in opposition to The Daily Star printing columns by Chuck Pinkey and Taylor Armerding, saying that “Their very names don’t even sound kosher. Their pathetic ploy at spreading propaganda to sway some suckers to their warped sense of the situations at hand demeans your newspaper and its readers.” The opinion piece ends with “...neither Armerding nor Pinkey is suitable to print. Subterranean, sub-par. Fire them. Disgusting in a college town.”

And while we most certainly would defend the rights of this writer to his/her opinion, we fail to see why it is thought that the opinions of the conservative writers are “Disgusting in a college town.”  In fact we tend to think that college towns should go out of their way to make certain that all opinions can be heard.  Such diversity is the foundation of a liberal education which results in the students’ ability to not only think critically but also form their own opinions about the issues of the day.  An open and free society ceases to function when all opinions cannot be heard and respected.  Such thinking would seem to be a truly sad day for Oneonta and Otsego County.

​FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2018

On Funny Friday, never argue with a woman...

One morning, the husband returns the boat to their lakeside cottage after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap.  Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, puts her feet up and begins to read her book. The peace and solitude are magnificent.

Along comes a Fish and Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, “Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?”

“Reading a book,” she replies, thinking, isn't that obvious?

“You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,” he informs her. 

“I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.”

“Yes, but I see you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up”

“If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,” says the woman.

“But I haven't even touched you,” says the Game Warden.

“That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment”

“Have a nice day ma'am,” the Fish and Game Warden said as he left.

THE MORAL: 
         Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.


THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

On Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. Woodside Hall will host its next Community Evening Program when Ron Jennings will present “The Influence of Mills on the Early Development of this Area.” Jennings, of Phoenix Mills Road, will share his research on the influence of mills on the early development of this area using the Phoenix Mills as an example. He is a lifelong resident of Phoenix Mills with family ties to the extensive mill activity that took place within the hamlet during the 19th and into the mid 20th century. Jennings has been researching the topic for more than 25 years and has written, and hopes to have published this year or early next, a book based on his research.  Refreshments will be served following the presentation.  For more information, please call Woodside Hall at 607-547-0600.

Recently we made our first trip to Main Street this year.  And, as is so often the case, we found ourselves unable to get from the car to the sidewalk.  On the passenger’s side of the vehicle our way was blocked by a rain garden which had piles of icy snow on each side of it.  As we surveyed our intended path to the sidewalk, we came to the conclusion that we would have to walk in the street until we came to a spot by which we could get from the street to the sidewalk.  And while we suspect such a maneuver is probably some form of jaywalking, we had no other choice.  Fortunately, we discovered that we only needed to walk in the street behind our vehicle as the path on the driver’s side from the street to the sidewalk was clear. And while we were able to deal with our dilemma without too much difficultly, it did remind us that we never know what obstacle we will encounter when we try to access Main Street. 

While reading our April 2018 edition of Your AAA New York, we came across an opinion piece, “Partnerships Could Aid Roadways” which we found to be rather interesting.  It made the argument that it is perhaps time to consider public/private partnerships when it comes to financing aging roads and infrastructure as long as those partnerships deliver the best results possible for the public.  

Of course, it was pointed out that such partnerships would probably not work everywhere. It was thought “They might be worthwhile for the $1.5 billion replacement project for Goethals Bridge, which connects New Jersey and Staten Island, but won’t be as useful for roads and bridges in Cooperstown or Centereach.”  Why are we not surprised by this assessment?

In the winter 2018 edition of the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin we recently read an article entitled “High Anxiety” by Michael Blanding.  In it, he interviewed a Kenyon alum, Maryanna Klatt who is now a professor of Clinical Family Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine where she studies the effects of stress on the body.  

Professor Klatt points out that “We teach people about dysfunction in psychology, but no one teaches people how to be resilient and happy.  That training is something we need to be proactive about on every level.”  She adds that people need to “...develop mechanisms to better cope with their life stresses.”  One suggestion made in the article for doing this is to monitor how much time one spends on one’s computer, tablet or cellphone.  Plus, it is thought that spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter can lead to a sense of helplessness.  Professor Klatt suggests that “People need to focus on figuring out what their ‘minimum effect dose’ is so they get the news but don’t get stressed.”

Since we are not on either Facebook or Twitter they do not present a problem for us.  But we have, after a bit of thought, come to the conclusion that, when it comes to the news, we should no doubt limit our “minimum effect dose” to something resembling zero.  That, we think, would leave us in a blissful state of ignorance, which for us would indeed be a radical, and probably much needed, change in our life.  Of course, we do have our doubts as to whether or not we really could exist being that disconnected from the world around us.
 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2018

Much has been made of late of the amount of influence the NRA has in this country.  Any number of people have made the claim that the NRA “owns” Washington, D.C. Now we must admit that we tend to think Washington lobbyists, and the businesses and organizations they represent, have a definite advantage over the average American when it comes to having one’s voice heard.  And that lead us to wonder just how much money does one have to expend in order to “own” Washington.

Our online research lead to us the website OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics, which maintains a lobbying database.  They explain that “In addition to campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates, companies, labor unions, and other organizations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies. Some special interests retain lobbying firms, many of them located along Washington's legendary K Street; others have lobbyists working in-house.”

We learned that in 2017, the NRA spent $5,122,000 on lobbying efforts which does seem to be a goodly sum. However, it should be noted that it does not come close to meeting the lobbying efforts in 2017 for the top five businesses and organizations.  The US Chamber of Commerce came in first spending $82,190,000.  The National Association of Realtors was second with $54,530,861.

Coming in third was the Business Roundtable which spent $27,380,000. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing was fourth having spent $25,847,300, while BlueCross/Blue Shield held fifth place by spending $24,330,206. 

Of course, as we understand it, these figures only represent the amounts spend on actual lobbying efforts in Washington. No doubt all of these businesses and organizations spent more in 2017 in other ways.  However, it is quite obvious that money does play a big role when it comes to being heard in Washington or anywhere else in the country for that matter. 
 

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

Recently when there was some concern over an uncontrolled Chinese space station returning to earth, we came across an online headline which read “Ex-NASA astronaut on the Chinese space station set to crash land on earth.”  We must say we were somewhat surprised by this headline as we were under the impression that the failing space station was unmanned.  Thus we could not understand how it would be possible to have someone on it, let alone an ex-NASA astronaut.

We immediately opened the article to see what we had seemingly missed about this story.  There we discovered that the ex-NASA astronaut was not on the space station but was only going to speak on the topic of the space station. Once again, we found ourselves having been misled by what we thought to be a poorly written headline.

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2018

In last Thursday’s Daily Star we thought the editorial, “Pruitt was an awful choice to lead EPA,” could have been an excellent piece.  It outlined rather well the reasons the editorial board’s thinking as to why Pruitt was not the person to be EPA Secretary.  But unfortunately, the editorial board must have thought that the facts as they saw them, were enough to be convincing.

Thus, not once, but twice, it was deemed necessary to include “information” about in whose bed Pruitt was sleeping. The first reference mentioned that Pruitt was awakened from “...an afternoon nap in lobbyist Vicki Hart’s bed.” The second noted that “...the brazenly corrupt Pruitt was literally found in a lobbyist’s bed.”  Technically both statements are true as Pruitt was renting a room from Vicki Hart and it would be thus safe to assume that Ms. Hart owned the furniture in the room.  

However, the innuendo in both statements did little, if anything, to bolster the arguments being made against Pruitt in the editorial.  In fact, we found both bed references to be too clever by half, thus destroying, for us at least, an otherwise well argued editorial.   

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2018

This week for Funny Friday we offer the following: 

A man and his wife were awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door.

The man gets up and goes to the door where a stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.

"Not a chance," says the husband, "it is 3:00 in the morning!" He slams the door and returns to bed.

"Who was that?" asked his wife.

"Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers.

"Did you help him?" she asks.

"No, I did not.  Its 3:00 in the morning and its bloody pouring rain out there!"

"Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!”

The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pouring rain. He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?"

"Yes," comes back the answer.

"Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband.

"Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark.

"Where are you?" asks the husband.

"Over here, on the swing," replied the stranger.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Earlier this year we encountered a problem with water in our right ear.  A trip to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of impacted earwax for which we were referred to the ENT clinic at Bassett.  We assumed that such removal would be a relatively simple office procedure for which we would owe a $30 copay.  However, that did not prove to be the case.

As it turned out, the removal of the impacted earwax was considered to be outpatient surgery.  And since at our first ENT appointment it was determined that we also had an earwax problem in our left ear, in which we were not told to put the prescribed earwax softening drops, we had to return for a second appointment to clean the left ear. Since the appointments were billed as outpatient surgery, the bill for each appointment came to $208, a total of $416 for both ear appointments.

Fortunately for us, Medicare only allowed $92.92 for each appointment which was good news for us as our copay for outpatient surgery is $200, slightly more than our $30 copay for an office visit.  When our Medicare Advantage health plan figured out who owed what, we discovered that our copay for each appointment was $60.48 while the insurance company paid $32.44 for each appointment.  Thus, getting our ears cleaned cost us $120.96 and our insurance company $64.88.

And as outrageous as this seemed to us, the fact that the ear cleaning was deemed to be outpatient surgery is a result of Medicare regulations.  We went online to the website of AACP which is “...the world’s largest training and credentialing organization for the business of healthcare, with more than 175,000 members worldwide who work in medical coding, medical billing, clinical documentation improvement, medical auditing, healthcare compliance, revenue cycle management, and practice management.” 

There we learned that the code 60210 was indeed the correct code for the procedures we had done as they included removal using both instruments and a vacuum.  And from our insurance company we learned that the code 60210 is considered to be an outpatient surgical procedure.  What we did not learn, until it was too late, is that we should have asked just what the possible outcome of these two procedures might be in terms of what we might have to pay.  

Thus, we would encourage anyone who is having any type of medical procedure done, to ask beforehand just what the ultimate cost might be.  And while we do not know how other insurance plans would reimburse an ear cleaning which was coded 60210, we suspect that the person without insurance would be expected to pay the billed $208 charge for the procedure.

And while we are not particularly happy with the cost we incurred in getting our ears cleaned, it does help us to understand why we have recently seen so many TV ads for various products designed so one might clean one’s own ears.  In fact we were so intrigued by this that we went online to see just what might be available.

From Dollar General one can order a “Rexall Ear Wax Remover Kit” for a mere $4.75.  Walmart offered two possibilities, an “Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System” by Doctor Easy for $29.50 and an “Electric Vacuum Ear Cleaner” for $19.99.  The vacuum system claims to offer safe removal of ear wax which is easy and painless.

Plus, Style of Modern, offers a system the “Endoscope Ear Pick,” which “With electronic micro-camera, you can achieve real-time observation of the whole process of dig earwax through the USB data cable. The built-in ultra small lens with 0.3 mega pixels can easily access to your ear canal and see more clearly.”  It seems earwax removal can be achieved with the assistance of one’s computer.  Who knew?

So it would seem that the possibilities for removing ear wax are endless.  And we didn’t even check on Amazon.com.  But perhaps we will find ourselves doing so in the future as we were assured that increased earwax production can be a sign of aging.  We are indeed beginning to wonder what is not a sign of aging?
 

​WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018

We were not at all surprised when we realized that The Daily Star was conducting a poll about the use of social media.  The poll asked the question “How has your social media use changed over the past year?”  Those responding to the poll were given a choice of three possible answers, namely “I use it less,” “I use it more” or “It’s about the same.”

As we pondered our choice of an answer, we felt that none of them worked for us.  While we admit we joined Facebook a number of years ago, we gave up on it six or seven years ago.  At first we rather enjoyed it.  But as time when on we found it to be more and more annoying.  And we have never tried any of the other social media venues which seem to be rather popular with many others.  Thus, we really felt the poll should have included the choice “I never use social media.”  Of course, we might have been the only person to have chosen that answer.

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2018

We must say that we have been somewhat taken aback by the national discussion about what questions can be included in the upcoming 2020 US Census.  As we listened to the various arguments for and against asking a question regarding one’s citizenship, we found ourselves wondering just what the US Constitution might have to say about the issue.

Thus. we went online to the United States Census Bureau to see what they might have to offer on the subject.  There we found the following information under the heading, “Questions beyond a simple count are Constitutional:”

“It is constitutional to include questions in the decennial census beyond those concerning a simple count of the number of people. On numerous occasions, the courts have said the Constitution gives Congress the authority to collect statistics in the census. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court characterized as unquestionable the power of Congress to require both an enumeration and the collection of statistics in the census.” 

The complete explanation on the inclusion of questions on the census can be found at: 

https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/about/census-constitution.html. 

We must say we found it to be rather interesting reading.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2018

Following the recent Village of Cooperstown election it seemed as if the local papers were impressed with the voter turnout which gave the Democratic candidates a sweeping victory.  And while there is no doubt the Democrats won handily, we thought the voter turnout for the election was rather poor.  Of course, we have no idea how many registered voters there might be in the village.  But given the village’s population, along with an estimate of how many living in the village might be under 18, lead us to think that a minority of those eligible to vote actually did so.

But, as is our usual wont, we went online to see if we could find any statistics as to the actual number of registered voters in the village.   According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 the population of the village was 1,852. And this exact same population number also appears on the Census Viewer website, found at http://censusviewer.com/city/NY/Cooperstown.

However, when we went to the section of the Census Viewer website which dealt with voting, it seemed to us that the number of registered voters in the village was 1,923.  Since we thought it would not be possible to have more registered voters than residents, we decided that our online research did not prove to be terribly reliable.  And since our search was just one of curiosity, we gave it up, deciding we would just be happy thinking that the voter turnout in the recent village election was not all that great.  Of course, we don’t tend to think there would have been a different outcome had there had been more voters involved.  But that certainly does not mean we didn’t the number of voters in the recent village election to be rather disappointing.
 

​FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2018

This week, for Funny Friday, we offer "An Atheist in the Woods"...

An atheist was walking through the woods. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers What beautiful animals!" he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look and saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charging towards him.

The man ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"

Time Stopped.  The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. "You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light and said, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well", said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. 

Then the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and said: "Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen." 

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

For many years we sponsored an annual “I-left-my-Christmas-wreath-up-until-Easter” contest in this column.  It started off as a contest for just Upper Pioneer Street which made it easy for us to figure out just who had taken part in the contest.  And thus we were able to make mention in the column of those who were successful in achieving the contest’s goal, such as it was.

As the contest continued, we started to get complaints from those not on Upper Pioneer Street who, nonetheless, wanted to participate in the contest.  We would get phone calls from those people telling us they wished to be included.  And so we included them, making it more difficult for us to check to see just who had reached the goal.  In fact, it became so intense that we eventually let the contest fade away. 

However, this year, given the weather in March, we felt our Christmas wreaths were quite in keeping with Mother Nature’s offerings.  And so, when our friend who put up the wreaths before Christmas arrived at the house last Friday, he brought in the Christmas wreath from the back porch.  We immediately pointed out to him that he needed to put it back up as we were on track to leave our Christmas wreaths up until Easter and we had but two more days to go.  And while we are not inclined to bring back the contest, we must say we rather enjoyed doing it once again this year.

Not long ago we discovered, much to our horror, that some sort of book wrapped in plastic had been tossed on our front porch.  After several days of looking at it out there, we finally decided to risk life and limb and crept out onto the porch to rescue it.  Once we managed to get it into the house, we discovered it was a copy of Verizon’s The Real Yellow Pages: The Original Search Engine.  In this day and age, we must say we cannot think of a more useless publication. Unfortunately,  Verizon long ago gave up publishing a telephone directory with the white pages in it, something one might actually want. And we suspect it is the business advertising which has allowed the yellow pages to continue. 

And we tend to think, in some ways, billing the “Yellow Pages” as the “original search engine” is as ridiculous as saying the pencil is the “original computer.”  Of course, during those years when we traveled with Santa to the elementary school to hand out PTO provided pencils to the school children, that is exactly what Santa told them.  Whether or not the students actually believed him is no doubt up for debate.

While online recently, we came across an advertisement for something called “Grammerly.” And since the topic of grammar is always one we enjoy contemplating, we went to the Grammerly website, grammarly.com, to see just what it might be offering. And we must say, we found it to be rather interesting given its ability to be “...an automated proofreader and plagiarism checker.”

It claims that “Millions of students and professionals use Grammarly to check their papers, emails, and other important documents.”  In fact, “Grammarly offers accurate context-specific suggestions to make your work shine.” It continued with the fact that “Grammarly's free writing app makes sure your messages, documents, and social media posts are clear, mistake-free, and effective. It's trusted by millions every day,” as well as by students and faculty at Berkley, Northwestern, Stanford and the University of Michigan.

Reading about it quite made us think that Grammarly thinks it might actually be able to write this column for us. However, we remain dubious as we would be inclined to think that such a service would remove our well known writing style over which we have fought with various editors who always wanted to change what we wrote to fit their concept of how something should written for the newspaper.  We even had an editor who sent us an online copy of the New York Times style book.  We never opened it.  Quite simply, with us, what you read is what you get.  

And the very thought that there are students who are using Grammarly to improve their writing is, as far as we are concerned, somewhat frightening.  Doing so would seem to circumvent the process of learning to write. And we would like to think that is not something an educational system, at any level, would think is in any way appropriate.

 

​WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2018

Since we no longer participate in a book club, we find ourselves actually purchasing far fewer books that we used to. And that is no doubt a good thing as we seem to have more than enough books in the house to last us any number of lifetimes.

In fact, as we were recently upstairs finding a new selection of books to put in our “books to read” pile downstairs, we suddenly realized that we have books lurking on all four floors of the house. They can be found in the basement, on the first floor, on second floor and in the attic.  Our supply of books is, without a doubt, rather overwhelming. In fact, we have so many books that we have started a new category of books, those which we have determined we have absolutely no inclination to ever read.  So far there are two books in that category.  But we suspect, as we continue our at home book shopping, we may well find others which we will forgo reading.

 

​TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2018

Although we were invited out for Easter dinner, we decided we would not try to navigate the crowds, choosing instead to fix our own dinner at home.  Unfortunately, we did not plan well and did not order any ham for the occasion.  We did have the baked potatoes, broccoli with cheese, deviled eggs and biscuits with honey. But there was no ham. So we did what we always seem to do when we need to acquire in a bit of a hurry something we don’t have.  We turned to Amazon.com.

And sure enough, we found we could order up a canned ham which would arrive before Easter.  And not only did we get the ham, but we also greatly enjoyed going through all of the canned meats Amazon had to offer. In fact, we also purchased canned hamburger, turkey and corned beef.  However, we did pass on canned Alaskan Reindeer, Rattlesnake, Bacon, Alligator, Salted Zebra Tarantula, Sliced Conch and Pork Brains with Milk Gravy. We also passed on New England Style Indian Pudding, which was in with the canned meats section although meat did not seem to be one of its ingredients.

We were also interested to learn, as we perused the canned meats it is also still possible, as long as one does not live in California, to purchase a canned whole chicken, without giblets, which comes in a 50 ounce can.  We well remember such chickens from our childhood when our mother would purchase them to make chicken and noodles.  We certainly had no idea they are still available.  And, given our experience with them as a child, we are not thinking we will be buying a canned whole chicken any time soon.  After all, we do have our limits.

 

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2018

When we turned our calendar from March to April, we must admit that we were not in the least sorry to see March go. In fact, we are of the opinion that March could well have gone much sooner.  To say that as a month it did not seem, at least weather wise, to have much to recommend it is perhaps an understatement.  Of course, we know from experience that April could prove to be equally disappointing.

We believe it was T.S. Eliot, in his poem “The Waste Land,” who noted that “April is the cruellest month...” And while there are those of us who might like to think it is a reference to April being the month in which income taxes are due, we are rather certain that was not his thinking.  And no doubt what we have long taken the comment about April to mean is probably not accurate either.  Over the years we have been lead to think that April is thought to be the cruelest month because the weather in April can always be dicey and one should never be surprised by what Mother Nature might throw one’s way.

But, whatever might be meant about April being the cruelest month, we do think perhaps kinder thoughts should be in order as, if nothing else, each and every year, April gets rid of March.  And for that we should all be grateful. 

 

​FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2018

A Funny Friday tale of woe...

Two hunters, Fred and Stan, got a pilot to fly them into the Canadian wilderness where they managed to bag two big Bull Moose. As they were loading the plane to return, the pilot said the plane could only take the hunters, their gear and one Moose.

The hunters strongly objected saying: "Last year we shot two and the pilot let us take them both... And he had the exact same airplane as yours!"

Reluctantly, the pilot, not wanting to be outdone by another bush pilot, gave in and everything was loaded. However, even under full power, the little plane couldn't handle the load and went down, crashing in the wooded wilderness.

Somehow, surrounded by the moose, clothing and sleeping bags, Fred and Stan survived the crash.

After climbing out of the wreckage, Fred asked Stan: "Any idea where we are?"

Stan replied: "I think we're pretty close to where we crashed last year!"

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

While recently reading an article in the naturalgasnow.org weekly update, we were referred to the Albany Business Review website, bizjournals.com, where we found the article, “These upstate New York counties had the most people move to other states.”  Written by Todd Kehoe, Research Director, Albany Business Review, it points out that “About 2 percent of upstate New York's population left for other states between the years of 2011 and 2015.”

In fact, it notes that “Only seven upstate counties have grown in population since 2010, according to Census estimates.”  And the article included a list of the twenty upstate counties that have lost the biggest share of their population between 2011 and 2015.

In this area Tompkins County, which is #2 on the list, saw 5.1% of its population exit. That was a loss of 5,294 people, leaving the county with an estimated population of 104,871 in 2016.

In that same time frame, Otsego County, on the list at #11, lost 1,408 people, 2.26% of the population of the county, leaving an estimated 2016 population of 60,097.

And as distressing as the loss of population is to this area, we found what naturalgas.org wrote in its update about Otsego County even more disturbing.  It read: “Otsego County, for you readers from Manhattan, is home to Cooperstown and ‘Lake Glimmerglass’ of Leatherstocking Tales fame, the Baseball Hall of Fame and some very snobby folks who generally oppose anything they might, under the most remote of circumstances, see or hear.”

Of course, this attitude toward Otsego County in general, and Cooperstown in particular, is not new to us when it comes to the natural gas. We well remember attending a meeting in Oneonta on the issue of natural gas at which we were greeted with an audible gasp of horror when we introduced ourselves as being from Cooperstown. Fortunately, it is a reaction we do not normally get when we mention we are from Cooperstown.  Nonetheless, it was an experience we shall not soon forget.

Not long ago a friend cut out from his newspaper and sent us an opinion piece, “Threat from campus speech police,” written by Peter Morici.  It begins with the somewhat startling sentence, namely, “American universities pose a terrible threat to our prosperity and democracy.” It goes on to explain that, in the opinion of Morici, college graduates no longer are able to think critically, noting that “Although essential at every level of professional work, employers find that facility lacking in about 4 in 10 graduates.”

He continues with “In the 1950s, freshman composition was an arduous rite of passage. Each week, students wrote themes, which were rigorously graded for grammar and logical structure. They learned not merely how to bang a subject against a verb but also how to think clearly and put aside personal biases.

Gradually, such rigor has been removed from required undergraduate curricula. These days repeating faculties’ and administrators’ politically correct orthodoxy, and running off campus speakers whose views challenge their prejudices, are what passes for intellectual competence.”

Additionally, he points out that “universities are undermining American civic values of tolerance and respect for due process.” The entire opinion piece can be found at:  https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/beware-threat-from-campus-speech-police/article_f6138ab2-2248-11e8-8722-674f257cb887.html. As we read the piece, we must say that it quite made us think that we shall not remove the sign we have on our back door which reads: “Critical Thinking...The Other National Deficit.”

Not long ago, we came across a pink satin down comforter which we believe belonged to our maternal grandmother.  At least we remember it being in her house when we were growing up.  It has a label on it which points out it is a “Blue Goose Brand” comforter which was made in Detroit, Michigan.  And since we always wonder about exactly when such things appeared on the scene, we were delighted to discover that the original price tag was still attached.  From it we learned, it was purchased at Gilmore Brothers Department Store probably sometime around the end of January 1931, at a cost of $32.50.  Since we thought $32.50 was not an insignificant sum in 1931, we turned to the online inflation calculator to discover that in today’s dollars the cost would be $532.38, also not an insignificant sum.  But, we do think it is safe to say that the family has gotten its money’s worth from the comforter, especially since it is still in good condition. 

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2018

School spring vacations are here and so, we have been informed, are visitors to our fair village.  We certainly hope they are enjoying their stay. We hasten to note that, working in their favor, they do not have to pay to park.  Nor do they have to pay to enjoy looking at our wondrous piles of snow.  The first experience they would not be able to enjoy during the summer tourist season.  And we trust that during the summer season they would not be able to enjoy the snow piles either.  At least that would be our hope.

 

​TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2018

We were most pleased to learn that what has long been a Ford dealership, namely Smith Cooperstown, will remain a Ford dealership when it becomes Royal Ford of Cooperstown next month.  Our congratulations go out to the new owners Kevin and Fran Harris.  We are more than relieved that there will continue to be a Ford dealership in Cooperstown, especially in light of the fact that our Ford Fusion has recently been included in an airbag recall.  And once we receive notice that the parts are available to replace the airbag in question, we fully plan to take it to Royal Ford of Cooperstown to have the recall work done.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2018

We must admit that we have long been suspicious of newspaper headlines.  And we must say that based on some recent headlines in local papers, our thinking seems to have been confirmed.  We note that an article, written by Greg Klein, about the recent walk-out on March 14 at CCS. appeared in both The Cooperstown Crier and The Daily Star.  The headline in the Crier read “Cooperstown walks out for safety” while the headline in the Star read “CCS students join gun walkout.”

In reading the article, we tend to think the headline in the Crier seems much more accurate than does the Star headline.  Thus, we are tempted to think that the headline in the Star might have more to do with the paper’s editorial thinking than with the article itself.  And if that is indeed the case, we are all the poorer for it, especially if all we do is read the headline.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

Today’s Funny Friday shares a conversation between a customer wishing to order a pizza and a new pizza enterprise, Google Pizza...

Hello! Is this George's Pizza? 
         No sir, it's Google's Pizza.

Did I dial the wrong number?
         No sir, Google bought the pizza store.

Oh, all right - then I’d like to place an order please.
         Do you want the usual?

The usual? You know what my usual is?
         According to the caller ID, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust.

Okay - that’s what I want this time too.
         May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice with ricotta, arugula and tomato instead?

No, I hate vegetables.
        But your cholesterol is not good.

How do you know that?
         Through the subscribers guide. We have the results of your blood tests for   the last 7 years.

Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol. 
         But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. Four months ago you   purchased a box of only 30 tablets from Drug Sale Network. 

I bought more from another drugstore.
         It's not showing on your credit card sir.

I paid in cash. 
         But according to your bank statement you did not withdraw that much cash.

I have another source of cash. 
         This is not showing on your last tax form, unless you got it from an undeclared           income source.


WHAT THE HECK? ENOUGH! I'm sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. I'm going to an island without Internet, where there’s no cell phone line, and no one to spy on me. 
         I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your passport. It expired 5 weeks ago.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must say that we have had it when it comes to snow.  Of course, in the best of times, we are not a big fan of snow.  And so we have not exactly enjoyed most of our March weather.  But we do take comfort in the fact that snow usually melts in April, which we hasten to point out is not that far off.  Besides, we have already received two mailings from the Cooperstown Art Association that we take to mean that plans are already under way for their summer offerings.  The first was an application form for their annual regional juried art show “Essential Art!” And the second was an application form for their “Fine Arts on the Lawn.”  And while we do not plan to enter anything in either event, we were greatly cheered when we received the mailings as they lead us to think that summer will arrive sometime.

Two weeks ago now, there were several items in the paper that we found to be somewhat puzzling.  The first, “Luxury Rentals Planned,” noted that progress is being made on turning the upper floors of what is currently referred to as the Key Bank Building, into apartments.  In fact, the apartments are scheduled to be ready to rent by the end of the year.

Of course, one of the biggest drawback to the apartments will be, what else, a parking problem.  However, it seems that the owner already has a potential plan, namely to provide underground parking for the tenants.  We must say this is not a solution we ever recall hearing before.  And it makes us really have to wonder just what the path of Willow Brook from Doubleday Field to Lake Street might be.  We seem to recall, in our early days of visiting Cooperstown, that one of the highlights of June was the flooding of the basement of the Key Bank as a result of Willow Brook overflowing.  Since then, we do believe Willow Brook has been put into some sort of pipe.  But it would indeed be interesting to know just where that pipe is and how it might affect the concept of underground parking.

The second item of interest was a little blurb on the front page that read: “SECOND TO ONE: A poll by Expedia determined Cooperstown is American’s second-favorite destination, second only to Cape Cod.”  How, we wondered, could
that possibly be true? We found it so very amazing that we had to go online and see if we could find more information about this bemusing piece of information.


Online at https://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/americans-pick-favorite-destinations/ we found the following information about the poll:

"Oh, smaller towns and cities, how we love you. You offer us an escape from the buzz of traffic, buildings that block out the sunset, and hectic, high-speed attitudes. And don’t even get us started on your killer charm and good looks.

We know you’re out there, and we want to celebrate you. That’s why we polled 1,000 Americans to determine their favorite medium and small towns to visit in the U.S. We reviewed all the nominations and pinpointed the most frequently mentioned cities, towns, and villages to provide you with America’s favorite places to visit.”

We found having discovered the parameters of the poll greatly helped explain why Cooperstown came in second.  Interestingly enough, we also found it interesting that we have actually been to eight of the twenty-five places mentioned.  And some of them, we must say, left us wondering just how they made the list.

And while we have managed to respond to two recent items in the paper, we must admit that each week, when we read the paper, we find ourselves wanting to respond to either a letter to the editor or an opinion piece.  However, we fully realize, we would have to actually read the article in question, and not just rely on the headline, in order to pen a cogent reply.  And it seems that so often, for whatever reason, we never seem to get beyond the headline.  It is not unlike the fact that we never seem to make it to any number of events which we really think would be most interesting to attend.  No doubt it all means we need to do either a better job of organizing our life or spend less of it with our nose in a book.

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2018

We recently received a brochure from Assemblyman Bill Magee declaring “My door is always open.”  He further pointed out that his office can help “obtain benefits, government forms and applications, get information of government programs like EPIC, HEAP and STAR, replace veterans’ lost medals and awards, answer questions about state government and find solutions to community issues.”

All in all, with think it is good to know just what information one might be able to obtain from one’s assemblyman.  And while we can well understand how the first three items could well be accomplished, we are less certain about the last two.  We find ourselves musings about just what questions we might ask about state government.  We fear the list might be rather lengthy.  We must say we have our doubts as to whether or not anyone could answer them all.  And we tend to think the same might be true when it comes to finding solutions for community issues.  But perhaps it might well be worth sending off a list of community issues just to see what the solutions might be offered. 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018

Today we note that the calendar is making the claim that today is the first day of spring.  And, regardless of just what the calendar might say, we tend to think that proclaiming the first day of spring has arrived is little more than a joke in our neck of the woods.  At least most of the people we have spoken with about the arrival of spring have laughed at the thought.

And insult is added to injury when we consider that now we are blessed with Daylight Saving Time, we now have daylight later in the day, giving us more time to gaze out at the endless piles of snow.  Spring has arrived?  We think not.

 

​MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2018

The next Woodside Hall Community Evening Program will be held on Thursday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m.  Patricia Szarpa, Executive Director, Otsego Land Trust, will present the program “Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Blackbird ID.”

Not only will Pat explain why Otsego Lake has a Blackbird Bay, she will also share how to identify the various species of blackbirds that visit our area and what draws them here. Pat is an active member of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society and an avid birder. Following the presentation refreshments will be served.  For more information on this program, please call 607-547-0600.

We must admit that we are not particularly conversant on the origin of Blackbird Bay.  But we do know that somewhere in the bay there is a a complete set of golf clubs which were thrown into the water by our late father-in-law after what much have been a rather trying day on the golf course.  And from stories we have heard, the golf clubs are not the only things that have found their way into Blackbird Bay.
 

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2018

A tale with a moral for Funny Friday...

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighboring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?  What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.

He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old witch, for only she would have the answer.  But the price would be high, as the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.  The last day of the year arrived, and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old witch wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend! Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.  He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the witch answered Arthur's question thus:
What a woman really wants, she answered...is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was, the neighboring monarch granted Arthur his freedom, and Lancelot and the witch had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached, and Lancelot, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened .

The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.  Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old witch?  Or, would he prefer having a hideous witch during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments? After thinking it over, Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

The moral is....

If you don't let a woman have her own way, things are going to get ugly.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

A while ago now, we received a brochure from State Assemblyman Bill Magee which pointed out that unused prescription drugs could be disposed of at both the Oneonta Police Department, 62 Main Street, in Oneonta, and the Otsego County Sherriff’s Department,172 County Highway 33W, in Cooperstown.  It now should be noted, that Bassett is participating in a “Drug Take-Back” program.  Along with five other hospitals in the state, Bassett will accept leftover medications that are either outdated or not needed.  Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the six-month pilot program allows individuals to drop off unwanted, expired, or leftover medications, with no questions asked.

At a recent appointment at Bassett we checked out not only the locked box, but also the mail-in envelopes, located in the lobby of the Clinic Building here in Cooperstown, for the collection of such prescriptions. In addition to the drop off center in Cooperstown, medications will also be accepted at the O’Connor Hospital in Delhi and the FoxCare Pharmacy in Oneonta.  We would encourage everyone who wishes to dispose of unneeded prescriptions to take advantage of this pilot program.

We must admit that we tend to think we receive a fair number of emails on a regular basis, many of which are personal.  But, some of the emails share all sorts of jokes.  Others address current issues. And then there is the occasional email which really makes us stop and think.  Such was the one with the subject of “Pale Blue Dot.”  It explained that “This excerpt from Carl Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot (1994) was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan's suggestion, by Voyager 1 on Feb 14, 1990.  From a distance of about six billion km, Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving our Solar System, was commanded by NASA...to turn its camera around and take one last photo of Earth across the great expanse of space.”

As a result of that picture, Sagan wrote in his book Pale Blue Dot:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

This was true in 1994 and it is still true in 2018.
 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2018

In the March 2018 edition of Your AAA New York we came across an article entitled “Greenlight Open-Road Tolling.”  It points out that the concept of greenlight open-road tolling does not require that vehicles stop to pay a toll.  Evidently this system has been in use on bridges as well as tolls collected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Now it seems there is thought such a system should be expanded to include the NY Thruway and Port Authority tolls.

As we understand it, those vehicles with E-ZPass will continue to pay the tolls as they currently do.  Vehicles without E-ZPass will receive a bill, which we suspect will be more than is paid by vehicles with E-ZPass.  This bill can then be paid online, by mail, by phone or in person.

As one might expect, switching to such a payment system would not be cheap.  In fact, the article notes that “The transportation authorities’ investment obligations toward basic road and bridge improvements must come before the cashless tolling infrastructure.”  And if that is indeed the case, we think we shall not hold our breath waiting for cashless tolling to arrive.

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018

In the local papers lately there have been several letters to the editor suggesting it is time for the second amendment to the to go.  And as we read these letters we often wonder if the writers really understand what it would take to actually remove the second amendment from the Bill of Rights.  Somehow we image they are thinking it would simply take the swipe of a Sharpie to do away with the amendment.  Unfortunately, we rather doubt it is quite that simple.

According to the National Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution,  “The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution.”

It is further pointed out that “The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention.”  Thus it might be safe to assume that Congress would have to spearhead any undertaking to change the second amendment.

Once Congress proposes an amendment, the Governors of the fifty states are notified. Then it is noted that “The Governors then formally submit the amendment to their State legislatures or the state calls for a convention, depending on what Congress has specified...A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States).” When there are the “... required number of authenticated ratification documents...” it is certified “...that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution.”

And while this process has been undertaken successfully 27 times, we are somewhat doubtful that the 28th time will result in an amendment to the US Constitution which would remove the 2nd amendment.  Thus, instead of advocating in favor of removing the 2nd amendment, we would be inclined to think that time and effort might better be spent working on how a badly divided country can come together to solve the seemingly increasing problem of violence with which we are beset.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2018

We have survived, we hope, yet another switch from Eastern Standard Time to Eastern Daylight Time.  As we have pointed out in the past, we absolutely despise the fact that twice a year, for no apparent good reason, we are forced to either spring ahead or fall back when it comes to what time it might be.  Quite frankly, we wish a decision could be made to pick a time and stick with it throughout the year.

In fact, our online research points out that less than 40% of the countries in the world change to Daylight Saving Time.  There are eight countries in the North American continent which use Daylight Saving Time.  There are only about 75 countries world wide that partake of Daylight Saving Time.  However, it should be noted that because the length of day variations are negligible around the equator, most tropical areas do not change their clocks.  So it would seem that we are in the minority when it comes to switching the time back and forth.

Additionally, we are always bemused by the people who claim they really like the extra hour of daylight.  Switching to Daylight Saving Time does not create an “extra” hour of daylight.  It just moves the hours of daylight later in the day.  Thus, Daylight Saving Time appeals to those who like it to be light later.  And those who prefer the daylight in the morning no doubt prefer Standard Time.

We must say we really don’t have an opinion about when daylight hours might be.  We just want those daylight hours to remain constant throughout the year, eliminating completely the twice yearly switching of the clocks.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2018

This week’s Funny Friday concerns the perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70 or beyond...  

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you. 

2. In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.   

3. No one expects you to run anywhere. 

4. People call at 9 p.m. or 9 a.m. and ask, “Did I wake you?” 

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac. 

6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way. 

7. Things you buy now won't wear out. 

8. You can eat supper at 4 p.m. 

9. You can live without sex but not your glasses. 

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans. 

11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge. 

12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.   

13. You sing along with elevator music. 

14. Your eyes won't get much worse. 

15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.   

16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service. 

17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either. 

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.   

19. You can't remember who sent you this list.   

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Continuing where we left off last week in our musings about language, when it came to our online research about “safer streets” Wikipedia seemed to let us down.  The closest we were able to come was a discussion of “complete streets” found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_streets.  The article pointed out that “Complete streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, cycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods...Complete Streets are promoted as offering improved safety, health, economic, and environmental outcomes.”

And while we certainly could not disagree with the “complete streets” concept, we suspected that we needed to expand our online research a bit if we really wanted to know more about “safer streets.” So, we found ourselves back in front of the computer in an attempt to expand our understanding of the “Safer Streets” initiative which we mentioned but briefly last week. 

As we suspected, “Safer Streets” is a governmental program about which we found all sorts of interesting information online.  We tend to think that the report, “Safer People, Safer Streets:  Summary of U.S. Department of Transportation Action Plan to Increase Walking and Biking and Reduce Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities,” dated September 2014 was perhaps the most informative.

It pointed out that “Around the country, States and cities are documenting increasing numbers of people walking and bicycling for their commutes, errands, recreation, and other travel. For some people, walking and bicycling are the only transportation options.”

It also noted that “Rural roads can pose safety challenges where traffic is moving fast and drivers may not be expecting a bicyclist or pedestrian. But the majority of fatalities—73% of pedestrian deaths and 69% of bicyclists deaths in 2012—occur in urban areas where interactions between vehicles and non-motorized users are most frequent, and where many people walk or bike to reach destinations or transit stops and stations. A majority of fatalities take place on urban arterials.”

We also found it interesting that the booklet contained fourteen pictures of both pedestrian and bicycle travel, pictures, none of which were taken in a rural area like the Town of Otsego.  The entire report can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/safer-people-safer-streets.


Another report of interest, “Safer People, Safer Streets: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative,” last updated January 20, 2017 and found at https://www.transportation.gov/safer-people-safer-streets, follows up with information about initiatives that have been taken to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Under the heading “Behavioral Characteristics of Crashes” it was noted that “...alcohol involvement by either the driver or non-motorist was reported in more than 37 percent of the traffic crashes that killed a bicyclist and 48 percent of the traffic crashes that killed a pedestrian. Nearly one-fourth (24%) of bicyclists and one-third (34%) of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes were alcohol-impaired... Bicyclist and pedestrian behaviors can affect their likelihood of being victims of a crash with a motor vehicle, as well as their likelihood of surviving that crash. Crossing streets outside of the intersections increases the risk of a crash...”  it was also noted that 14% of drivers in fatal bicycle crashes and 12% of drivers in fatal pedestrian crashes were driving under the influence of alcohol.  Plus, it seems that “Pedestrian injuries and fatalities disproportionately occur among older adults.”

In our search we came across two other online articles which we found to be of interest.  And while we do not have space to discuss them here, we do think they are well worth reading.  The articles are:

“Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities Partnership for Sustainable Communities” found at:  https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/2011_11_supporting-sustainable-rural-communities.pdf

“Benefits of Complete Streets – Complete Streets Work in Rural Communities” found at:
https://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/app/legacy/documents/cs/factsheets/cs-rural.pdf

All in all, it would seem that pedestrian and bicycle safety is indeed a problem throughout the country.  And we think it will be interesting to see how the Town of Otsego, which we understand has adopted a “Safer Streets” resolution, will apply the concept to the many roads in the town.  We look forward to learning more about the town’s plans.

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2018

When we first read that the Village of Cooperstown has scheduled a public hearing for its proposed drone law, we went to the village’s website in order to read it.  And, since attempts by local jurisdictions to craft drone laws that do not clash with federal regulation of air space, we were interested to see how this law might get around that particular conflict.

The proposed Cooperstown law, as we understand it after not only having read it but also chatting with the village attorney about it, does not address air space at all.  Instead it focuses on regulations as to where and when drones may be launched or landed within the village.  Thus, the law would fall under the village’s zoning ordinance as it deals with use of property.

We must say we have no idea if the law will actually meet its goal, namely restricting drone use within the village during those times when there are events being held that would draw over 200 people.  However, given safety concerns, it would seem the village is no doubt prudent to address the issue of drones.

The proposed law is posted on the village’s website should anyone wish to read it.  And the public hearing about the law will be held on Monday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the village meeting room at the Village Library Building.

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018

We must say we were somewhat surprised when we read that a federal judge has blocked the State of California from requiring Monsanto to put a warning label on the weed killer Roundup pointing out that it is known to cause cancer.  Evidently the judge believes there is not enough evidence that the active ingredient, glyphosate, in the popular weed killer causes cancer.

We must say we were somewhat surprised to read this news as we assumed, given the fact that the Village of Cooperstown, has banned the use of Roundup on public property, that the scientific evidence regarding Roundup was set in stone. But, from what we read online at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/27/federal-judge-halts-monsanto-warning-label-requirement-in-california-687912, “The warning label requirement, which was set to go into effect in July, is based on a 2015 conclusion from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that the chemical was a ‘probable’ human carcinogen.”

The online article further points out that “The judge ruled that the California state agency depended too much on IARC’s analysis and didn’t take into account studies from the Environmental Protection Agency, multiple bodies of the World Health Organization and other regulators that the cancer risk from glyphosate is unclear.”

It should also be noted that, according to the article, that “Glyphosate is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been used widely since 1974 to kill weeds while leaving crops and other plants alive.”  Of course, when it comes to what glyphosate might do to humans still seems to be up for debate.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2018

While we recently found ourselves thinking that this winter was not too bad, Mother Nature, as she often does, very quickly changed our opinion last week.  In fact, she has led us to believe that winter can still pack a punch when it feels like it. And although we thought the dumping of snow on us was completely unnecessary, we must admit that from our perspective, in the warmth and comfort of our home, it did not intrude greatly into our life. 

At some point, we know not when, the electricity must have gone off as evidenced by our blinking alarm and microwave clocks, as well as the fact our computer shut down.   We also noted that the cable went out for a brief time which did little more than annoy us.  But other than all of that we came through the storm unscathed.

Of course, we do realize that others were not so lucky as they had to deal not only with slippery roads, but also the need to clear a fair amount of snow from sidewalks and driveways.  And we do sympathize with all such people as we still can remember the days when we too had to deal with the challenges winter can present.  And thus we do consider ourselves quite fortunate these days that we now can depend on others to deal with the woes of winter while we stay safely inside.

Of course, we probably could have done without the person who, after we sent a picture of our backyard winter wonderland, reciprocated with a picture of his front yard in Florida.   On the other hand, we just may print that Florida picture out so we can put it up on the window and pretend it is our outside, not his.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2018

In going through our treasure trove of jokes, we came across this one from 2011 which predicted the following business mergers:

1. Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace Co. will merge and become Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace. 

2. Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers join forces and become Poly, Warner, Cracker. 

3. 3M will merge with Goodyear and become MMMGood. 

4. Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become ZipAudiDoDa. 

5. FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and become FedUP. 

6. Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become: Fairwell Honeychild. 

7. Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become PouponPants. 

8. Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become Knott NOW! 

To the best of our knowledge, none of these mergers have happened.  But it is rather amusing, we believe, to think about them.

 

​THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

There was a time when we tended to think we had a most satisfactory relationship with the English language.  When we encountered a word about which we felt we needed more information, it was a simple task to simply open the dictionary and check it out.  In fact, we well remember in our now long ago childhood, that we were always most pleased when we could turn to our grandmother’s dictionary, which we remember as being, given its immense size, the end all be all of dictionaries.

Now, however, there seem to be a growing number of buzz words and phrases for which we find we ourselves clueless as to what they might mean. Thus, we have turned to our trusty computer to try and figure out just exactly what is meant when these words and phrases are used.  Some of our recent searches have included “authentic education,” “mindfulness,” “wayfinding” and “safer streets.”  In each case we started our search with Wikipedia, which seemed to know about the first three subjects, but was seemingly as clueless as we were about the fourth topic.

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authentic_learning), “In education, authentic learning is an instructional approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner.  It refers to a "wide variety of educational and instructional techniques focused on connecting what students are taught in school to real-world issues, problems, and applications...[it]...equips them with practical and useful skills, and addresses topics that are relevant and applicable to their lives outside of school”  This all sounds good to us as it seems to describe just what we think all education, both formal and lifelong, is.  Consequently, we were somewhat surprised to learn that there is some thinking out there that the designated STEM program is the one which provides authentic education.  And while this is no doubt true, we tend to think authentic education is most certainly not limited to the STEM program.

Another buzz word which we had not before encountered is “mindfulness.”  Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness) defines mindfulness as “...the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. The term "mindfulness" is a translation of the Pali term sati, which is a significant element of Buddhist traditions. In Buddhist teachings, mindfulness is utilized to develop self-knowledge and wisdom that gradually lead to what is described as enlightenment or the complete freedom from suffering.”

And while this would seem to indicate that “mindfulness” is in some way a sort of religion, our conversations on the topic have lead us to believe, that it’s current use  actually embodies a concept that we grew up, namely self discipline.  And as such, we can well understand its value in today’s educational setting.

We must say that the term which really befuddled us was “wayfinding.”  When we first heard it, we could simply not imagine just what it might mean.  But, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayfinding) informed us that “Wayfinding encompasses all of the ways in which people (and animals) orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.” And while we suppose there are many animals, as well as a few people, who manage to find their way around by dead reckoning, we are inclined to think that for many years, people have managed to figure out not only where they are, but where they might need to be, by using a map.  And we are somewhat suspicious that ultimately, the concept of “wayfinding” will ultimately end up using some type of a map, even if it might be on someone’s cellphone.

Unfortunately, when it came to “safer streets” Wikipedia seemed to let us down.  The closest we were able to come was a discussion of  “complete streets” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complete_streets) which pointed out that “Complete streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, cycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods...Complete Streets are promoted as offering improved safety, health, economic, and environmental outcomes.”

And while we certainly could not disagree with the “complete streets” concept, we suspect that we need to expand our online research a bit if we really wanted to know more about “safer streets.”  And we fully intend to do so, as we understand, from reports that we have received, that the Town of Otsego has more than a passing interest in a “safer streets” initiative.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2018

We do find it somewhat difficult to believe we have actually arrived at the end of February.  Granted, February is a short month, but we really feel it flew by much faster than usual.  Of course, we also think it is rather unusual that our driveway has melted off 6 times since the beginning of the year, leaving it completely bare.  In the 36 years that we have lived in Cooperstown, we do not remember the driveway has ever been cleared of snow and ice so many times at the hands of Mother Nature.

Of course, we must admit we are not complaining. The winter has seemed to be rather mild in terms of precipitation, if not temperature.  Plus, at this point three months of winter are gone.  Of course, we have no way of knowing just how many months of winter might still be ahead of us.  We are hoping for one but will be OK if it turns out to be two. Beyond that we make no guarantees of just what our thinking about the winter season might be. 

                              

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2018

Last week, following a somewhat unusual appointment at Bassett, we had the opportunity to take in an at home lunch and movie with a friend.  The movie of choice, which we had not seen before, was The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!, which was made in 1966.  Of course, in the past year we have heard the movie referred to, in a seemingly joking manner, many times.  And thus we were pleased to be able to have the opportunity to see it...finally.

And we must say we quite enjoyed it.  Although the plot seems entirely implausible, it was most entertaining.  And, by the end of the movie, we thought a very interesting point was made, namely that when one gets right down to it, one on one, people tend to just be people.

For anyone who wants to spend an afternoon or evening whiling away the time, we would most certainly suggest that watching The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! would be a good way to do it.

 

​MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2018

Difficult as it is to believe, we are fast approaching the date when we will have written our “Daily Updates” for three years.  And while our original goal of having more discussion with others on the issues which face our area has not been met, we do know that we have readers who, although they may not always agree with us, continue to seem to enjoy our perspective on what is going on locally.  And we very much want to thank all of our readers for their faithful following of what we have written.

However, we feel we do have to consider whether or not continuing with the website is a path forward that we should pursue.  We are disappointed that the website has not resulted in more open discussion.  Added to this is the frustration that we often feel as we search for topics of interest not only to us but to our readers. 

The addition of “Funny Friday” is a result of reader feedback in favor of including jokes on a regular basis.  And since we have so many in our collection, we have many from which to choose.  And of course, including our newspaper column, “Where Nature Smiles,” on the website allows those readers with internet access to read our weekly musings on a seemingly wide variety of topics.  However, we are still left searching for appropriate “Daily Update” topics three days a week.  And while there are weeks when doing so is not a problem, there are weeks when it is a big problem. 

Consequently, since the time has come when we have to renew our commitment to the website, we have taken the view that instead of signing up for another three years, we will take the option to renew it from month to month.  That way we will not have made a great investment should the time come when we feel we are no longer able, for all sorts of reasons including our ever advancing age, to continue to write our “Daily Updates.”  For now, we fully plan to push forward.  However, we can see the day, hopefully far in the future, when that will not be an option.

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

This week for Funny Friday we offer a joke which one of our faithful readers received from her cousins in Scotland...

A wealthy Arab Sheik was admitted to hospital for heart surgery, but prior to the surgery, the doctors needed to store his type of blood in case the need arose.  As the gentleman had a rare type of blood, it couldn’t be found locally, so, the call went out.

Finally a Scotsman was located who had a similar blood type.  The Scot willingly donated his blood for the Arab.  After the surgery, the Arab sent the Scotsman in appreciation for giving his blood, a new BMW, 5 carats of diamonds, and 50,000 euros. 

A couple of days later, once again, the Arab had to go through a corrective surgery.
The hospital telephoned the Scotsman who was more than happy to donate more of his blood again.  After the second surgery, the Arab sent the Scotsman a thank-you card and a box of Black Magic chocolates.

The Scotsman was shocked that the Arab did not reciprocate his kind gesture as he had before.  He phoned the Arab and asked him: "I thought you would be generous again, that you would give me another BMW, diamonds and money, but you only gave me a thank you card and a box of chocolates.”

To this the Arab replied: "Aye laddie, but I now have Scottish blood in ma veins."

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Several weeks ago now, we got what we thought was conflicting information concerning a flap over membership on the Otsego County IDA board.  The Freeman's Journal editorial noted that “Wherever we’re heading on economic development, a common mission between the county board and Otsego Now board will be essential...” But at issue was the idea that former County Representative, Craig Gelbsman, was still on the IDA board which was deemed to be “mystifying,” as it was thought his IDA appointment was tied to his serving on the County Board.

However, an article on allotsego.com indicated that, according to Otsego Attorney Ellen Coccoma, “...the original resolutions appointing Gelbsman didn’t explicitly tie his tenure to his county board term.”  Thus, his tenure on the IDA board did not automatically expire when his term on the county board did.

It is our understanding that IDA board members can only be appointed by a nomination from the Chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives. This is in keeping with information regarding the Otsego County IDA found on the Otsego Now website, otsegonow.com, which reads:

“...The Otsego IDA is governed by the actions of its Board of Directors, who are appointed by the Chair of the Otsego County Legislature. The Otsego IDA is self-funded and is not an office or department of the Otsego County government.”  However, what is not quite so clear, is how members of the board of the IDA might be removed from their boa positions. 

According to the aforementioned Freeman’s Journal editorial, “...the county representatives hold all the cards.  County Attorney Coccoma had advised Bliss’ predecessor that Otsego Now board members serve ‘at well [sic],’ and can be removed by the county board at any time.”  The editorial adds that “...Before anything like that happens, however, the Bliss Administration should, in consultation with Otsego Now, come up with a common idea of what economic development should be...Then the reps could decide who stays and, if some clique doesn’t want to play ball, who’s out.”

Yet when we went online to research the issue of removing a member from an IDA board, we were unable to find any such clear cut information. What we did find was a great deal of information about IDAs, all of which we found to be most educational as we must admit that IDAs are a subject of which we felt we knew less than we might need to know. But it is still not clear to us as to not only how, but why, an IDA board member could be removed from the board. 

Nor is it exactly clear to us what the role of the County Board of Representatives, other than having the Chairman of the County Board nominate IDA board members, might be given the fact that the IDA is “...not an office or department of the Otsego County government.”

In fact, in Industrial Development Agencies in New York State, prepared by Alan G. Hevesi in May of 2006, it is pointed out that “Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) are public benefit corporations originally authorized by the Industrial Development Agency Act of 1969 and governed by the provisions of Article 18-A of the General Municipal Law....

...According to the authorizing statute, the purpose of an IDA is to promote, develop, encourage and assist in acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining or equipping certain facilities, thereby advancing the job opportunities, health, general prosperity and the economic welfare of the people of New York. Each IDA is an independent public benefit corporation established by a special act of the State Legislature at the request of a sponsoring municipality, and each is expected to act in the interest of that particular local government and its residents.”

Thus, we would tend to think that until such time it can be shown that the Otsego County IDA is not acting in the best interests of Otsego County and its residents, it should be allowed to continue its work.  After all, having read the resumes of the current board members, we think they are a rather impressive group of individuals, with backgrounds that include business ownership as well as leaders in the areas of healthcare, insurance, banking, not-for-profit service organizations and construction, not to mention a board member who works for a company, heading up all business development activities and initiatives for the firm worldwide.

So, before we start suggesting that members from the Otsego County IDA board should be cut, we would like to take a step back and let them do the work for which they seem so eminently qualified.  In fact, given the seeming state of the economy in the county, we should probably thank them all for their willingness to take on the job of serving on the IDA board.

 

​WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Tomorrow evening, February 22,  at 6:30 p.m., Woodside Hall will present the program, “A Short History of Cooperstown,” which will be given by Paul Kuhn.  The talk will feature information about the origins of the Village of Cooperstown, including the history and the major economic factors as well as the individuals that influenced its development.  Kuhn has operated the “Guided Tours of Cooperstown” for over fifteen years. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.  For more information about the program, which is free and open to the public, please contact Woodside Hall at 607-547-0600.

 

​TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2018

We recently received the following article which appeared in The Washington Post which we thought was worthy of sharing.  It reads:

The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places, the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from the Consulate at Bergen Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.

Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coast cities uninhabitable.


This article would seem to be in keeping with a number of Washington Post articles on global warming.  However, we must point out that the article appeared in the paper on November 2, 1922.  And, according to Snopes.com, while the article is true, it was not thought to be evidence of world wide global warming but rather an anomaly to the specific area mentioned.

The entire analysis by Snopes of The Washington Post article is available at:
www.snopes.com/politics/science/globalwarming1922.asp

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2018

We have come to the conclusion that 2018 has been the year of the confusing calendar.  Shortly after the first of the year, we discovered a calendar we had been using which claimed to be a 2018 calendar was most definitely not a 2018 calendar.  And now we have discovered that the calendar on which we are keeping social engagements, such as they are, has problems of its own. 

On the month of February, it identifies the 12th as Lincoln’s birthday which is correct.  It then identifies Washington’s birthday as the 22nd which is incorrect.  It also makes no mention at all of Presidents’ Day.  Needless to say we found this to be rather puzzling.

We checked the other 2018 calendars which we have received and found little, if any consistency among them in terms of presidential birthdays.  Two of the calendars mentioned only Presidents’ Day as being on the 20th.  Another two identified the 20th as Presidents’s Day also mentioning both Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthday on the correct days.  We have no idea what all of this might mean, but it leads us to believe that when it comes to identifying dates of importance in February, it is indeed a free for all.

This, of course, made us wonder just what one might find online to shed some light on just what the thinking might be regarding Presidents’ Day.  On the website of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, founded in 1792, website, which can be found at  https://www.almanac.com/content/when-presidents-day, we learned that “Many calendars list the third Monday of February as Presidents’ Day. Many U.S. states list the holiday as Presidents’ Day. Of course, all of the 3-day retail store sales are called “Presidents’ Day” sales and this vernacular has also been influential in how we reference the holiday.”

It continued with “Contrary to popular belief, the observed federal holiday is actually called ‘Washington’s Birthday.’ Neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to Presidents’ Day. Additionally, Congress has never declared a national holiday binding in all states and each state decides its own legal holidays. This is why there are some calendar discrepancies.”  However, we hasten to point out that none of this would explain the calendar that we have which puts Washington’s birthday on the 20th.

While on the website we learned probably more than we needed to learn about Washington’s birthday.  In fact, we found the following to be of particular interest:
“Although the federal holiday is held on a Monday (the third Monday of February), George Washington’s birthday is observed on February 22. To complicate matters, Washington was actually born on February 11 in 1731! How can that be?

During Washington’s lifetime, people in Great Britain and America switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (something most of Europe had done in 1582). As a result of this calendar reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates. Those born between January 1 and March 25, as Washington was, also had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar. By the time Washington became president in 1789, he celebrated his birthday on February 22 and listed his year of birth as 1732.”

We have to wonder it there might indeed be times when it is possible to have too much information.  Somehow we think Washington’s birthday just might be a case in point.

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2019

For this week’s Funny Friday, we offer a bit of theater humor...

When the usher noticed a man stretched across three seats in the theater, he 
walked over and whispered, "Sorry, sir, but you are allowed only one seat."

The man moaned but didn't budge. 

"Sir, if you don't move, I'll have to call the manager," said the usher more 
loudly. 

The man moaned again but stayed where he was.

The usher left and returned with the manager, who, after several attempts at 
dislodging the fellow, called the police.

The cop looked at the reclining man and said, "All right, what's your name, 
joker?"

"Joe," he mumbled.

"And where are you from, Joe?"

"The second balcony."

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We have recently learned that at the 21st International Cooper Conference, held in Oneonta last September, Cooperstonian Hugh MacDougall was recognized as founder of the Cooper Society and long time Cooper Conference participant. At the conference, a handout entitled “A Tribute to Hugh MacDougall,” was distributed to the attendees. And while we have not had the opportunity to read all of the tributes to Hugh, we would like to share part of the one written by Steven Harthorn, Executive Director for Publications for the Cooper Society. 

Harthorn wrote: “Hugh MacDougall is an extraordinary person in many ways, and when spending time with him, it doesn’t take long to recognize his vigorous energy or his encyclopedic knowledge.  One quality that has stood out for me as I have tried to carry on Hugh’s legacy in editing the Cooper Society’s publications is Hugh’s passion for outreach.  Hugh’s vision for the Cooper Society has made it distinctive in the world of author societies.  He has aimed to appeal to academics and non-academics alike, reaching out with nearly evangelical fervor to attract interest in Cooper from scholars, students, local history buffs, book collectors, recreational readers, and others from all over the world.  Even today, after Hugh has stepped back from some of his former duties with the Society (which now take several people to do), he still delights in serving as “Ask Fenimore,” ably fielding whatever Cooper questions people might throw his way.  Hugh always believed in making knowledge accessible with minimal barriers, providing editorial guidance while letting the ideas of his contributors speak for themselves...”

We could not agree more with Harthorn’s thoughts and thank him for sharing them.  They are not only completely appropriate, but also most deserved, when it comes to acknowledging Hugh’s many contributions to the James Fenimore Cooper Society, not the least of which was encouraging us to join.  And while we often think some of the articles are way above our understanding of Cooper, we always feel we learn something new with each and every one of them that we read.  And we would encourage anyone who is interested in Cooper’s many works to also join the Cooper Society.

Interestingly enough, at the same time we received the most recent edition of the James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal, we also received the most recent copy of the Fly Creeker, both of which mentioned possible people who served as Cooper’s inspiration for the character of Natty Bumppo. 

Under “Fly Creek Area Historical Tidbits,” the Fly Creeker notes that “The hero of James Fenimore Coopers’s novels lived in the Fly Creek area.  David Shipman (1730-1813), fictionalized as ‘Natty Bumppo,’ ‘Deerslayer,’ and ‘Leatherstocking,’ lived in a log cabin on the east bank of Oaks Creek, about half-way between Fly Creek and Toddsville.  He is said to be buried in an unmarked grave in Fly Creek’s Adams Cemetery.”

And, in the Cooper Society Journal, we read an article entitled “The Leatherstocking Fountain in Edenkoben, Palatinate, Germany,” written by Robert Becker.  He explains that this fountain in Edenkoben features a statue of Leatherstocking, with his rifle, dog and two beavers as well as Leatherstocking’s Indian friend, Chingachgook. 

Becker points out that that on the current site of the fountain in “...1952, a memorial plaque was unveiled in honor to a certain Johann Adam Hartmann (1743-1836), former citizen of Edenkoben.  This Hartmann fellow is purported to have been a ‘model’ for Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo---the Leatherstocking.”

Needless to say, we found this particular article in the Cooper Society Journal to be rather interesting as it is certainly something we had never heard before.  However, we hasten to point out that we have decided we are not going to take either side in these “Model for Natty Bumppo” claims.  We shall leave that up to finer minds than ours.  However, we will point out that having a goodly supply of reading material, such as the Fly Creeker and the James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal, did make it much easier to get through Mother Nature’s misguided notion that we would actually enjoy having the many piles of snow round and about the area.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018

Since we seem to spend a fair amount of our free time, of which there is much, reading, we have over the years come across all sorts of interesting articles on a huge variety of topics.  For example, not long ago we were reading the Adirondack Journal which had an article, “Utica’s POW Camp,” written by Brian Howard, Executive Director of the Oneida County Historical Society.

According to the article, Utica was one of many places across the country that had a POW camp during WWII to house Axis prisoners, most of whom were from eastern European countries.  In fact, the article points out that “...425,000 German POWs were sent to the U.S. and that more than 700 camps were established to house them across 46 states.”

The POWs in the Utica area were housed in the former Sauquoit Paper Company plant on Seward Avenue.  They worked at three different canning companies during the height of the pea harvest. 

According to Howard, “The history of Utica’s ‘POW camp’ is measured not in years or months, but in weeks.  Today it is little more than a footnote in the area’s rich heritage of wartime contributions.”  Nonetheless, we find it to be a rather fascinating piece of Utica history. 

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018

For quite a while now we have been musing about the many calls to ban plastic bags as they have been deemed an unacceptable environmental problem.  In fact, according to the editorial “State must ban one-time- use plastic bags” which appeared in the February 8 edition of The Daily Star, “Last February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked a New York City law that would have put a 5-cent fee on all carryout bags handed out at stores.  In doing so, he vowed to take ‘bold action’ and recognized that plastic bags were making a ‘costly and negative’ impact on New York’s natural resources.  He created a state Plastic Bag Task Force to come up with what he called a ‘statewide solution.’”

However, the report is out and it seems no “statewide solution” was in the offing.  Thus, The Daily Star editorial has come to the decision that “We need the ‘statewide solution.’ A patchwork of local regulations is confusing to customers, and, as Assemblyman Kevin Cahill said, ‘Wind does not really respect town or county lines, and bags blow in the wind.’ The only way to stop the bags blowing in the wind is a ban.”

We must say that we find the Star’s conclusion somewhat puzzling.  As far as we can tell, the bags, which we have long thought were inanimate objects, seem to have developed a life of their own and the only way to get rid of these pesky bags blowing about is to eliminate them altogether.  Is it safe to assume, from this line of thinking, that there is no human involvement between the time a plastic bag leaves a store and is found blowing in the wind?  We must say we find such thinking to be rather unbelievable.  Yet, instead of placing the blame on the human being who must have, for whatever reason, not secured the plastic bag, instead releasing it into the environment, it seems we should place the blame on the plastic bag which has evidently launched itself into the wind.

As a person who routinely reuses plastic bags, we do not believe we have ever thrown one into the wind.  In fact, we find them much too valuable to toss them away in such a manner.  Thus, before we ban the bags, why don’t we expect people to take more responsibility for their bags. The bags can always be reused. And, if that is not an option, we believe most grocery stores have bins in which the bags can be recycled.  And then there is always the option of using one’s own bags, bypassing the plastic bags completely.

We also think, when considering bans plastic bags, doing so would simply make those of us who actually reuse the bags to turn to some other source of plastic bags.  We currently get such bags from Ohio.  And, having done a bit of research, we also know such bags are available online at Amazon.  Plus, it is always possible to purchase plastic bags to be used for waste disposal at any number of local stores.  It leads us to think that banning plastic bags used by stores, will not in anyway, eliminate the use of plastic, all of which, we suppose, could also be blowing in the wind.

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018

We must say we were somewhat taken aback when Cooperstown Crier columnist, Tom Knight, wrote in his most recent offering, “Football won’t remain our national sport,” that “On Sunday, hundreds of millions of Americans turned on their TV sets, switched on their radios (there’s probably a wacky few out there still), and booted up their laptops to witness the biggest spectacle in modern sports.”

And while we don’t doubt that a lot of people took in the Super Bowl game on television, we cannot understand, for the life of us, why Knight would declare that anyone who chose to listen to the game on the radio would be “wacky.”  In fact, we found such a statement to be way beyond the pale.  And thus we went online to see what we might be able to learn about those who choose to listen to the game on the radio.

We went to RadioSurvivor.com where we found the article, “How To Listen to Super Bowl LII on the Radio this Sunday,” written by Paul Rilsmandel.  He writes:

“Every year I enjoy the little treasure hunt of figuring out where you can listen to the Super Bowl on the radio. Having done this for five years now, parts are the same every year, especially when it comes to terrestrial US listening. But what keeps me on the hunt is figuring out how listeners outside the US can tune in, especially without internet access.

Why do I do it? Because regardless of whether or not you’re an NFL fan (and I’m actually not), the Super Bowl is a cultural touchstone, and one of the few big events that ties so many people together for just a few hours every year. While most will watch it on TV, audio is still the most accessible medium for many, whether they’re driving, working, or otherwise unable to watch a screen. Sure, you could just listen to the TV sound, but the play-by-play is different on the radio, since the announcers assume you can’t see the action. It’s truly a different experience.”

Rilsmandel then proceeds to outline all the various radio broadcasts of the Super Bowl in this country as well as around the world.  Of particular interest, we thought, was the explanation that on the Armed Forces Network, “Armed services members deployed overseas can listen via AFN Radio on satellite, and AFN 360 Internet Radio...” 

And while it is no doubt true that many people watched the Super Bowl, it would seem that a fair number might well have listened to it on the radio.  And we certainly would not be inclined to think those listeners should be referred to as being “wacky.”

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2018

This week for Funny Friday, we offer some thoughts on Inner Peace...

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without a glass of wine,
if you can sleep without the aid of drugs,


Then you are probably ….......................the family dog!!

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Difficult as it is to believe, it is once again Winter Carnival weekend.  And as we looked through this year’s schedule of events, we see some long time favorites as well as some new, at least to us, additions to the list.  The festivities start off on Friday with the Soup R’ Chili Luncheon at the First Baptist Church, 21 Elm Street, which will feature soup, breads, drink and tasty dessert.  This luncheon will be held again on Saturday.  And then there is a relative newcomer to Winter Carnival food options with a Brooks Chicken BBQ dinner which will be held at the Church Episcopal Church Parish House, 69 Fair Street.  The dinner includes the a half BBQ chicken, potato, rolls, butter, salad and dessert, all of which will benefit the Susquehanna Animal Shelter.

Long time carnival food opportunities will continue on Saturday with the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast which will be held from 8:00 until 11:30 a.m. at the Cooperstown Veterans’ Club, 60 Main St.  The breakfast will feature pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, applesauce and drinks.  The breakfast will be repeated on Sunday.

The list of events also includes the long running Quilt Show sponsored, for its 28th year, by the Fenimore Quilt Club.  It is pointed out that the Quilt Show, which will be open on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m., is a great place to get a break from the cold and warm up while viewing the show.  The show is held in the Cooperstown Art Association galleries located in the Village Library Building, 22 Main Street.  And although the show opens as part of the Winter Carnival it will continue through February 25.  The hours for the show are Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m.

And while we have discussed some of the food opportunities connected with Winter Carnival, we would also like to mention what has become, for us at least, a not to be missed winter dining opportunities.  This year, as we have done for the past few years, we are taking in the International Dinners offered each Wednesday night at the Hawkeye Bar and Grill.  Thus far we have enjoyed the food of Ethiopia, Italy, Norway, Poland and Spain.  And we are looking forward to India, China, Thailand, Brazil, Ireland, France and Israel. We must say, we find the International Dinners are great way to try varied cuisines from around the world, without having to leave Cooperstown. 

And while we are busily taking in a number of dining opportunities this winter, we are also in the midst of what we are calling the “The Year of the Purge.”  It is time, we have decided, that there is a lot of stuff lurking in our house that should, and can, be removed to other locations, where ever they might be.  And while we have made some headway with this project, we must admit that, try as we might, there is still a lot of stuff with which we find ourselves unable to part.

For example, while going through a pile of seemingly miscellaneous papers, we came across a letter we had received in April of 1954 from Gilmore Brothers Department Store in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The letter thanked us for “...helping in such a fine way with our ‘Little Lady’ party.”  Included with the letter were two pictures of us as we hosted a mother-daughter party which featured “Little Lady” toiletries for girls. As we think about the experience, we are somewhat taken aback that at the tender age of six, we were involved with marketing products to the unsuspecting public. Nonetheless, we remember the occasion well, which means that there is certainly no way we can part with such a memorable and well documented childhood event.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2018

It has come to our attention that there are now two new columnists writing for The Freeman’s Journal, namely Mike Zagata and Adrian Kuzminski.  As we understand it, they will write their columns to appear on alternate weeks in the newspaper.  We look forward to their input and are hopeful they will pen columns on topics which will present all sorts of interesting “food for thought” for the many readers of the newspaper. 
 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2018

For the past two weeks, there has been a letter to the editor in The Freeman’s Journal concerning affordable housing in this area.  In the first such letter, appearing on January 25, village resident Bill Dornburgh wrote: “Last week’s newspaper features the controversy about a hotel on Main Street, Cooperstown, as one of the major issues confronting our village.  The powers that be in Cooperstown (our duly elected trustees and the Clark interests) are ignoring a much more major problem that has been festering for years, and that is the lack of affordable housing.”

The following week, February 1, Village Trustee Richard Sternberg took umbrage at Dornburgh’s comment, writing: “Where does Mr. Dornburgh get his information.  He certainly never tried to speak to me and from his comments I suspect that he hasn’t spoken to my fellow trustees or ‘the Clark interests.’

If he had he would be aware that affordable housing is a concern of all of us and, based on Miss Clark’s comments at the...Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Fenimore Art Museum, one of hers also.” 

While it is indeed good that everyone is concerned about housing in the area, it would seem to us that concern only goes so far.  It is also easy for Sternberg to point out that no one has “...come forward with their issues or ideas.”  However, as far as we can tell, Sternberg has not shared his ideas on the subject either.

Consequently, instead of pointing fingers, perhaps it is time for some thoughtful consideration, along with a bit of research as to what other communities who have faced this dilemma may have done about this issue.  If nothing else, it would seem like a good place to start.

Of course, we find it somewhat interesting that Dornburgh’s closing comment, namely that “...Cooperstown, rather than being a ‘village of museums’ is becoming a ‘museum village’: worse yet a Potemkin village.” did not engender any response from Sternberg.   In many ways, we think suggesting Cooperstown is a “Potemkin village” is much more damaging than suggesting Cooperstown lacks affordable housing.  After all, Wikipedia notes that “In politics and economics, a Potemkin village...is any construction (literal or figurative) built solely to deceive others into thinking that a situation is better than it really is.”  We rather think we would have been tempted to defend that accusation rather than railings about affordable housing.

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2018

We must say that we were somewhat surprised when we learned that both the Democrats and Republicans have nominated complete slates for the upcoming Village of Cooperstown election.  We had assumed the Democrats would have a complete slate.  But we had not expected that of the Republicans.  However, we do think it is always a plus when elections are contested.

And, of course, we are looking forward to learning what the thinking of the candidates might be concerning the future of the village.  Much has been said of late about the lack of affordable housing, as well as the seemingly somewhat shaky condition of the business climate, in the village.  Both of these issues would appear to have the possibility of influencing the viability of the village to continue to be a living and working community and thus be worthy of thought.   After all, if Cooperstown becomes something other than a working, living community, we would tend to think that we would all be the poorer for it.
 

​FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2018

This week for “Funny Friday” we would like to share the following information about one’s diet...

Q: Doctor,  I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life.  Is this true?  

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and so don't waste on exercise.  Everything wears out eventually.  Speeding up the heart will not make you live longer; it’s like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer?  Take a nap.  

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?  
A: You must grasp logistical efficiency.  What does a cow eat?   Hay and corn.  And what are these? Vegetables.  So steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Beef is also a good source of field grass (a green leafy vegetable).  If you need grain?  Eat chicken.  And a pork chop can give you 100% of recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. 

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?   
A:  No, not at all.  Wine is made from fruit.  Brandy is distilled wine, which means they take water out of fruity drink so you get even more of goodness that way.  Beer is also made of grain.  So, bottoms up! 

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?  
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio one to one.  If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc. 

Q: What  are some of  the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?  
A: I can't think of single one, sorry.  My philosophy is: No pain.....good!

Q:  Aren't fried foods bad for you?   
A:  YOU NOT LISTENING!  Foods are fried these day in vegetable oil.  In fact, they permeated by it.  How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?!?   

Q:  Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?  
A: Definitely not!  When you exercise a muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.  

Q:  Is chocolate bad for me?   
A:  Are you crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It’s the best feel-good food around! 

Q:  Is swimming good for your figure?   
A:  If swimming is good for your figure, explain the whale to me. 

Q:  Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?   
A:  Hey!  Don’t you know 'round' is a shape?


Hopefully this has discussion with the doctor has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets, not to mention exercise.
 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must say we are stunned at how quickly the dreaded month of January seems to have flown by.  And, given the weather with which we have been presented of late, we are most grateful that January has come to an end.   Not only does it shorten the remaining winter season, it also means there are several fundraising dinners on the horizon which will support some worthwhile undertakings.

The first is a fundraising Brooks Barbeque Chicken dinner to benefit the Susquehanna Animal Shelter.  It will be held on Friday, February 9 from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., at the Christ Church Parish House located at 69 Fair Street in Cooperstown. The dinner will feature half of a Brooks Barbeque Chicken, baked potato, salad, rolls, butter and dessert.  The cost will be $10 per person.  Take-out dinners will be available.  We understand there will also be a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. Tickets for both the dinner and the raffle can be purchased at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter or at Church and Scott’s.

And the second fundraising food event will be the annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper which will also be held at the Christ Church Parish House on Tuesday, February 13 from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.  The supper will feature pancakes, bacon and sausage, applesauce and beverage. The cost for the pancake supper will be $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children.  Proceeds from the supper will benefit Christ Church’s outreach global mission program.

When we first read about the new book, Tales From the Tunnicliff Inn, written by long time Cooperstonian Bill Waller, we knew we needed to add it to our collection of Cooperstown publications.  Fortunately, we were able to procure a copy of the book, which we note is available online at Amazon.com.  And we must say we found it to be most interesting.  Based on photographs that can be found at the Tunnicliff Inn on Pioneer Street, Bill has crafted a most creative book of short stories which are short on fact, but long on fiction. 

We must say we found the concept of writing fictional stores based on real photographs to be very intriguing.  Obviously it would make for an excellent creative writing project, something which Bill has so well demonstrated with his book.  We also think this is a book which would be an excellent selection for the reading list of any book club.  We thank Bill for penning his most recent literary endeavor.  Not only are we are most pleased to have it as part of our “Cooperstown” collection, it also was a very good way to while away a bit of January.

We also have spent some time in January trying to organize photographs of our two granddaughters so that we can coral the pictures in two photo albums we received for Christmas.   Unfortunately, as we proceeded with the task, we quickly realized we have way more pictures of our first granddaughter, Abby, than we do of our second granddaughter, Marin.  So, before we can get the two albums organized we have come to the conclusion that we need to print a few more pictures of Marin. 

And when doing so, we hope to be able to find pictures of Marin in which she is not wearing the same outfits seen in the pictures we have of Abby.  We must say that this entire project has brought home one of the complaints that our younger sister, Ellen, has long voiced, namely that while we may have liked the clothes we wore as a youngster, she was much less enthusiastic about them.  In particular, she hated my most favorite red, white and blue plaid dress which featured dropped waist with a pleated skirt.  Of course, when we wore it, it was in fashion which was not the case seven years later.

And finally, when we opened a recent message which arrived on our computer, we were quite surprised to discover a picture of a hand written restaurant bill.  As we read the bill, we fully understood the comment “Spelling was not the server’s strong point.” which accompanied the picture.  According to the bill, the drinks ordered for the meal were an “unsweat iced tea w/lemon” and a “sweat tea.”  We must say the “Gyro special w/Fetta and olives” and the “Lamb kebob platter,” which were also on the bill, sounded much more appetizing than did the drinks.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2018

We were somewhat surprised when we read that the Village of Cooperstown is looking into enacting regulations concerning the flying of drones within the village limits. We did not realize that drones were presenting a problem within the village.  We must admit we have never seen one in flight. In fact, we readily admit we never seen a drone anywhere other than on television.  But then, perhaps we do not get out enough this days to be up on this particular topic.

However, we do have two thoughts about such legislation.  In the first place, we would hope an explanation would be forth coming as to why such a law is needed.  And, secondly, we would hope as a result of such a law, there would not be signs at the various entranced to the village stating something to the effect that “Drones are banned in the Village of Cooperstown.”

According to our research, there are something in the neighborhood of 865 people in the country with the surname “Drone.”  And while this is not an overly large number, we do think it is quite possible that some of these people just might be baseball fans planning a trip to the Hall of Fame.  And we would not think it would be in the best interest to offend them in any way.  Needless to say, we shall continue to monitor the fate of drones within the village.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018

A week from today, February 6, is the day that anyone with Spectrum cable TV will evidently need a Spectrum box on each and every television in order to receive any television signal at all.  And while we admit it is without doubt Spectrum’s right to make whatever decisions they deem necessary for their cable television system, we suspect that there are going to be a number of their customers who will not be happy with Spectrum’s decision.

When we first heard about this, we called and ordered another box so that we could use the two television sets that we normally watch, one in the kitchen and one in the family room.  However, as we thought about this upcoming change, we came to the conclusion that instead of paying another $6.00 a month to maintain a second, we would rearrange our viewing habits around a single television set, allowing us to return to Spectrum the second box which we had ordered.

And we have to say that going down to one television set is probably not going to be a very big inconvenience.  After all, we can also watch Spectrum television on a computer, of which we have two, and our iPad.  Thus we tend to think that we will have as many viewing options with just one box as we have had before Spectrum makes this change to all digital television.  And, of course, we also have come to the conclusion that watching less television is, in the long run, a good idea.

 

MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018

Normally, we try our best to stay away from national politics.  However, we were so stunned by guest commentary that appeared in last Saturday’s Daily Star, that we really felt the need to weigh in on it.

Entitled “American politics now resembles a playground,” author Daniel Gomes of Schenevus, explained that this particular piece had originally been written as a letter to the editor, which he acknowledged was a “diatribe.” But, he had decided not to submit it to the editor.  However, he points out that “After mulling it over for a few weeks, I had second thoughts.”  And thus he included the following letter to the editor in his guest commentary:

“I need a moment — to vent! Then it’s back to overcoming incredulity.

It’s been a year since the presidential election. Sadly it is clear now that many of Trump’s supporters will never feel —much less confess — regret. Like Trump, they are loathe to acknowledge they made a mistake. They would rather fish for red herrings and remain flailing in troubled waters still fishing for the big one.

For Trump devotees though, this is not surprising. For them it’s not so much about being right or wrong; it’s about getting even for being ignored. They are at war with a political system they see as plagued with professional and liberal bias. Of late, however, a Rasputin-like possessed would-be despot has provided them with Bannon-esque clarity, blood ties and scapegoats, and ever since they have been like re-energized walking dead.

They don’t digest commonly agreed-to facts; they feed on “alternative facts” instead to animate their failure-to-thrive mien and conspiracy driven impulses.

They don’t rely on long-term, future oriented solutions to redress their economic grievances; they latch onto FOX-fed, grumbler-type talking points instead — no matter how irrelevant or debunked— because with “winning,” feeding on distraction and fabrication matters.

They don’t respond to speech that expresses good will and searches for common ground; instead they are excited by language that divides, singles out and attacks tribal certified targets and speaks code to misanthropic fringe groups that they can publically disavow when necessary.

They are like disgruntled zombies on an American cruise ship who, because of a posted unappetizing dinner menu, can be talked into jumping ship.

The trouble for you my friends is blowing in the wind. Soon you will be adrift at sea with a disgraced and outed would-be Führer — with no compass and nothing but red herrings to dine on.”


Our reaction, given our strong belief in the First Amendment right of free speech, is that Gomes is most certainly allowed publically to express whatever opinions he might have.  However, we hasten to add, that if his goal is to lead those people that Gomes sees as misguided Trump supporters to a different point of view, we are not convinced that his technique is going to be successful.

We find it hard to believe that the 53.4 percent of voters in Otsego County who voted for Trump in 2016 are going to be impressed by his thoughts about those voters.  Certainly, no one would like to be told “...they are loathe to acknowledge they made a mistake.” Nor are we convinced they appreciate being called the “re-energized walking dead.”

Likewise, we rather tend to think that calling someone “... disgruntled zombies” is not a good way to win friends and influence people.  Neither does it seem wise to tell them that “Soon you will be adrift at sea with a disgraced and outed would-be Führer — with no compass and nothing but red herrings to dine on.” 

In the future, we would like to suggest that Gomes might be more successful in getting his point across by trying to make a clear and concise argument as to why his thinking about the president should be everyone’s thinking about the president.  We would further suggest that he do so without any name calling or demeaning of those with whom he does not agree. That, we would think, would be a guest commentary well worth reading.  Otherwise he is just, as he said, “venting.” And while such venting might be helpful for Gomes, we are somewhat clueless as just what the benefit of such venting might be for anyone else.

The entire guest commentary is available online at: http://www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/guest-commentary-american-politics-now-resembles-a-playground/article_98473979-6c5a-5bcb-bc9a-f5f080903eee.html

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 2018

For “Funny Friday” we offer some advice for the workplace...

A young engineer was leaving the office at 4:45 p.m. when he found the Acting CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.
  
"Listen," said the Acting CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document, and my secretary is not here.  Can you make this thing work?"
  
"Certainly," said the young engineer.  He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.
  
"Excellent, excellent!" said the Acting CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine, "I just need one copy."   

Lesson:  Never, ever assume that your boss knows what he or she is doing.   

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

Over the years we have come to the conclusion that writing a weekly newspaper column quite often becomes a real juggling act.  Each week, one carefully compiles a list of possible topics to be included in the upcoming column.  And normally, it is a process which works quite well.  And then there are the weeks when suddenly one is presented with an issue which leaps to the forefront, knocking every other topic off the drawing board.  And such was the case this past week.  In spite of our carefully crafted list, when we read in last week’s paper the headline “Downtown Hotel, Round 2” and the accompanying editorial Getting Downtown Hotel ‘Right’ Important To All,” we could not resist the temptation to revisit the Main Street hotel issue.

In the article, it was pointed out that one of the questions to be resolved when it comes to the possibility of floating the concept of a new Main Street hotel has to be “... is there a demand for a hotel in the downtown area of Cooperstown?” And we would quite agree that this is indeed an important question to answer.  Based on rather hasty research, we have come to the conclusion that there are already five different businesses within the Main Street business district that offer tourist accommodations.  And, if we are correct, they also all offer the always needed off street parking. Thus, it would make sense to us to survey these businesses in order to get a sense of what their occupancy rates might be throughout the year.

And, of course, in addition to these five businesses, there are other hotels and B&Bs as well as a motel within the village limits.  Beyond that there are many other tourist accommodations within the area.  Consequently, it makes us wonder just how many rooms are available in the area and just what their occupancy rates might be.  We do know that a long time B&B owner told us a number of years ago now that the number of rooms available was fast outpacing the number of visitors to the area.  In fact, this past summer was the first time in over thirty years, the B&B of which we speak was only rented for seven weeks of the Dreams Park season.

Of course, the paper’s editorial “Getting Downtown Hotel ‘Right’ Important To All” suggests a most positive view of having a new hotel on Main Street. The editorial explains that “Foremost, the loss of the two biggest 12-month magnets—CVS and the Cooperstown General Store—threatens to make downtown a tourist ghetto, the worst fear of everyone who loved Cooperstown’s completeness as a community and mourns the erosion of that former reality.”

In fact, it quotes long time resident, Homer Osterhoudt, when he noted that at one time Main Street was an “...intact downtown of groceries, hardware stores, jewelries, a produce stand, haberdashers and, not just a shoe store, but a shoe-repair shop!”  And, although most of us have not been around as long as Homer, there are still many of us who remember that of which he speaks.

In response to all of this the editorial concludes that “The only solution [to a tourist ghetto] is to bring more people downtown year ‘round.”  And we could not agree more.  However, we must say we do not understand exactly how all the solutions offered by the editorial are going to result in more locals making their way downtown.

As we understand it, the thinking is that the goal of getting more locals downtown can be achieved by the use of the newly redone ballroom at the Village Library Building, increasing housing on the upper floors of downtown buildings and having a first rate hotel on Main Street.  And while we might agree that the first two suggestions, we fail to see just how having another downtown hotel will result in more locals frequenting Main Street.  For the most part, we suspect locals do not make use of tourist accommodations on a regular basis, if at all. And thus, we do not quite see how adding another tourist accommodation will draw more locals to Main Street. But perhaps we are missing something.

Of course, we also do not understand, when it was pointed out that those individuals who originally proposed a hotel for Main Street, are evidently going to meet to discuss four things: “...whether or not we want to put in stores on the bottom; if we want to put on long-rentals or not; whether or not we want to put in a hotel; and if we do, whether or not we’ll work to comply with the zoning laws.” It quite makes one wonder if nothing was learned by the Round 1 application to open a new hotel on Main Street.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2018

Registration for the Fenimore Quilt Club’s 2018 show will be held from 10:00 a.m.
until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, at the Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main Street in Cooperstown.

Exhibitors for the show are asked to register no more than two items. Organizers of the show also note that all quilts and wall hangings must have a six inch sleeve or other suitable method for hanging before they may be registered for the show.  The only exception is for antique quilts which should not be hung because of their condition.
Insurance coverage for exhibited works is the responsibility of the owner.

Information will also be available during registration to anyone interested in selling any of their displayed works.

We note that this show is an excellent opportunity for people who wish to share their treasured quilted items with others.  Over the years, the show has displayed a wide range of items which have not only delighted, but also inspired, those who have attended the show.

This year’s quilt show will run from Saturday, February 10 until Sunday, February 25.  The show will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday.  For more information about the show, please contact Jean Lyon at 6057-547-2709 or the Cooperstown Art Association at 607-547-9777.  Information on the show is also available at www.cooperstownart.com.
 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018

Today we would like to note the Cooperstown Central School Friends of Music and Art will host its annual Cabaret Night at the high school from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. this Friday, January 26 at the CCS Junior/Senior High School.   

Admission to the event will be $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger. Included in the festivities will be a Brooks chicken barbeque meal complete with dessert and beverage as well as entertainment by CCS students, faculty and others, There will also be a silent auction featuring area arts and entertainment items.

The FOMA Cabaret Night is an excellent opportunity to not only have a delicious meal but also to be part of the exciting CCS music and art programs.

 

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2018

We were interested to learn that finally the sale of Focus Otsego to Centers Health Care has taken place.  The facility will now be known as Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, a name which we find to be somewhat cumbersome for casual conversation.  Thus we are inclined to think that somehow the name will end up being shortened to something.  But the question has to be just what that something might be.

Over the years, the local nursing home has been known as The Meadows, Otsego Manor and Focus Otsego.  And although we have considered more than one option when it comes to shortening the new name, none of them really seem to be working for us.  “Cooperstown Center” does not seem to identify exactly what the facility is.  Using the acronym CCFRAN would seem to be unpronounceable.  And taking out the “for” and “and” leaves us with CCRAN.  And we cannot imagine how that might go over.  Would we really be willing to say that someone is at the CCRAN for rehab?  We suspect we will simply have to wait for the powers that be to decide just how the Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing will be referred to in casual conversation.  And until that happens, we shall simply cross our fingers in hopes that the new owners will be successful in running the facility as it is a very much needed part of our community.

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2018

For this week’s “Funny Friday” we share some thoughts on a recently opened supermarket...

A new supermarket opened in my neighborhood recently.  It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh. Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh rain.

When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and you experience
the scent of fresh mown hay.

In the meat department there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks with onions.

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and cackle, and the air is filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The bread department features the tantalizing smell of fresh baked bread and cookies.


I don't buy toilet paper there anymore.
 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We have come to the conclusion that thus far this year, the weather has been rather strange.  While the concept of a January thaw is certainly not new, we must say we cannot remember a time when such a thaw topped sixty degrees while reducing the accumulated snow fall to practically nothing.  During the height of the thaw, we even noted a neighbor digging in some front yard flower beds. We are not certain whether the goal was to finish up some yard work not completed before the snow arrived or to get a head start on the spring clean up season.  Either way, we think it is not something anyone should plan on as being a part of any future January thaw.

And while we did not undertake any outside work of late, we did find ourselves in the somewhat disturbing position of having to replace our printer which had served us well for a number of years.  Interestingly enough, when we were in Ohio our son’s printer, which was the same model we had, died.  So he gave us his ink cartridges, one of which was brand new, so we could us them up. However, under the circumstances that did not work out as our printer seemed to give up the ghost with the same issue that befell the printer in Ohio. 

And while we were able not only to replace the printer, but also set up correctly, in good time, the demise of our old printer left us with a goodly supply of ink cartridges which we can no longer use.  Thus, if there is anyone who can use HP ink cartridges #92 (black) and # 93 (tricolor), please let us know as we would be more than happy to pass them on.

We also found ourselves musing over the information sent to us to inform us of our Social Security benefits for 2018.  As promised, our monthly payment increased by $14.00, which turned out to be the exact amount our Part B Medicare Premium went up.  As a result, for the fourth year, the amount Social Security will deposit monthly into our checking account remains exactly the same.  We also tend to find it interesting that since 2013 Social Security benefits have increased by 5.6% while Part B Medicare Premiums have gone up 27.7%.  

Of course, health insurance premiums are not the only monthly expense that is scheduled to go up.  As we understand it, all Spectrum customers will need a box on each and every TV by February 6 at which time Spectrum will begin encrypting its signal.  Customers who already have boxes on their TVs will not be affected.  But any customers who have received cable by plugging it directly into their TV sets will need boxes from Spectrum because their signals will be scrambled.

We received a telephone call from Spectrum with this less than happy news as we did not respond to a letter they sent us but that we evidently never received.  When we called Spectrum to ask about getting a box we learned that we could get boxes for all of our TVs at no change.  And using them would be free for a year after which each box would cost $5.99 a month.  Needless to say, we were not pleased, although we do think our area is one of the last to be hit with this news.  We grudgingly agreed to order one box, which we must admit did arrive in jig time.  In fact, we did not even have time to figure out how our TV viewing needs could be met with the one box that we currently have.  Fortunately, with a bit of thought, we think we have managed to do just that which means our next chore will be returning the box we received to Spectrum.  Of course, we tend to think we have a year to accomplish that feat.

And while we find all these various increases to not be to our liking, we are happy to report that we have found one of our Christmas gifts to be of help in keeping costs down.  We asked for a supply of gently used plastic grocery bags which Santa seemed to be able to supply with no trouble.  Therefore, we are set for quite a while when it comes to having bags with which to dispose of both our trash and our recyclables.  And in this day and age, every little bit seems to help.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018

We had hoped that 2018 would see an end to the seemingly unending name calling which seems so prevalent in public discourse these days. However, thus far, that does not seem to have been the case.  In fact, if anything, it seems to be getting worse.  Quite frankly, we found it bad enough to have the current president demeaning this group and that group.  But now it seems that one of our former presidents has joined the fray by announcing that if one watches a certain cable news channel, one is “...living on another planet.” 

We have absolutely no problem with discussing the issues which face the country.  But we fail to see how belittling people is in any way helpful in making progress on any of the problems we face as a country which desperately seem to be in need of solutions.  We are sick of it.  And it needs to stop.  It is time for someone, somewhere, sometime to take high road as we fear if that does not happen, we shall all be mired in the muck for some time to come.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2018

Today we would like to point out that on Thursday, January 18th at 6:30 p.m., Woodside Hall present a program entitled “Photos of Afghanistan.”

Former Cooperstonian, Joshua Ives, currently at Syracuse University, will share photographs he took while on military deployment in Afghanistan.  This is a chance to see a country that is so often in the news and so few Americans ever visit.  The presentation also promises to be a thought-provoking one.  Following the presentation, the public is invited to stay and enjoy refreshments with the residents of Woodside Hall. 

For more information on the program, which is open to the public, please contact Woodside Hall at 607-547-0600.
 

MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2018

We tend to think that the weather thus far this January has been a bit on the unusual side.  We are finding it somewhat difficult to stay ahead of just what weather might be headed our way next.  However, in spite of the weather, we are doing our level best to note the various comings and goings of the community in which we might participate.  It is our hope that doing so might tend lessen the effect of what we tend to think are the January doldrums.

Thus, we hasten to note that tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Boy Scout Troop 1254 will sponsor a spaghetti dinner at the Cooperstown Veterans Club on Main Street.  The dinner includes spaghetti with homemade sauce, sausage and meatballs, bread, salad, drink and dessert. Take-outs will be available. The cost is $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and younger.  From past experience, we can attest to the fact that not only is the dinner delicious, but it is also supporting a good cause within the community.

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 12, 2018

For “Funny Friday” we offer some advice about parking when there is a snow emergency...

One winter morning while listening to the radio, Bob and his wife hear the announcer say ”We are going to have 4 to 6 inches of snow today.  You must park your car on the even-numbered side of the street, so the snowplow can get through.”  Bob’s wife goes out and moves her car.

A week later while they are eating breakfast, the radio announcer says ”We are expecting 6-8 inches of snow today.  You must park your car on the odd-numbered side of the street, so the snowplow can get through.”  Bob’s wife goes out and moves her car again.

The next week they are having breakfast again, when the radio announcer says ”We are expecting 8 to 10 inches of snow today.  You must park...”  Then the power goes out.  Bob’s wife is very upset and with a worried look on her fact she says “Honey, I don’t know what to do.  Which side of the street do I need to park on so the plow can get through?’

In response to his wife’s question, Bob says “Why don’t you just leave it in the garage this time?”

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 2018

Where Nature Smiles...

We must admit that 2017 was not exactly our most favorite year.  In fact, it seemed to be packed with issues which were not at all to our liking.  And some of our experiences over the holidays did little, if anything to improve our opinion of the year.

We did, for a change of pace, travel to Ohio to spend Christmas with our son, Christopher, and his wife, Annie, and daughters, Abby and Marin.  We were also joined by Annie’s parents, Hal and Judy Higby.  And while we had a great time in Ohio, complete with too much good food and holiday festivities, we have to say that 2017 was not the year to want to travel over the holidays between Buffalo, New York and Cleveland, Ohio.  Going out before Christmas was not too bad.  In fact we made it in record time.  But the trip back to Cooperstown could well be rated as one of the worst white knuckle trips we have ever made.

Not only did our driver, Shawn Mulligan, suffer through blizzard conditions around Erie, Pennsylvania on the way to Ohio to pick us up, we encountered what we thought to be equally unpleasant road conditions between Cleveland and the Ohio/Pennsylvania border as we made our way back to Cooperstown.  Not only were there cars and trucks off road all over the place, but we passed what appeared to be a rather serious accident in the other direction which included a bevy of police cars, fire engines and ambulances which had shown up to offer what would seem to have been some much needed assistance.  Needless to say, we were quite relieved when we rolled into Cooperstown just before dark.

Unfortunately, once we got home, we discovered that the mail had not been stopped when we asked it to be.  As a result the mail, which included among other things new credit cards, a check, Social Security and financial information, all of which sat in the mailbox on our front porch for two weeks.  And then, to add insult to injury, the post office did not resume delivering our mail when the hold mail order expired.  So we had to call and ask them to deliver it as we knew there were bills in it which needed to be paid.  We must admit we have never had any problems in the past with stopping the mail.  So we certainly hope that this time will prove to be the exception and we shall not encounter such difficulty anytime in the future.                                                                                                                 

Additionally, while we were away we lost two people who had been a part of our life since taking up residence in Cooperstown in 1982. 

The first lost was of Walter Eckler, our late husband’s first cousin.  How well we remember all the various family get-togethers at the Eckler’s home on River Road as well as Walter’s taking part in the much enjoyed Fourth of July Firemen Carnivals held in Lakefront Park.  And of course, while working at Sperry’s Chevrolet, Walter always took good care of our various cars. We will miss him.  To all of the family, as well as his many friends, we extend our sympathy.

We were also saddened by the recent passing of Paul Lambert who, over the years, touched so many young lives both during his long time at CCS as well as within the community in general.  How well we remember him at the many football games we attended when our son played on the football team with the longest losing record in New York State.  After each game, he would commiserate with us, shaking his head over yet another loss.  He too will be greatly missed by all who knew him.  To his family and friends, we extend our deepest sympathy.

And now, with 2017 behind us, we are remaining optimistic that somehow 2018 will prove to be an improvement.  At least that is our hope.  But, only time will tell if 2018 proves to be a marked improvement over 2017.

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2018

With the advent of a new year, there is always a scramble to make certain that important information for the year is transferred to the new year’s calendar.  And we were busily working on doing just that, when we became quite confused as it seemed we had two 2018 calendars, one of which has January 1 as being on a Monday, while the second calendar seemed to indicate that January 1 was on a Tuesday.  We immediately came to the conclusion that one of them must be wrong.

After consulting yet a third calendar, we determined, as we had thought was the case, that January 1 fell on a Monday in 2018.  And while the incorrect calendar did not really cause us any great problems, we have to wonder just what the fall out might have been when the organization that sent out the calendar realized its error.  That, we suspect, would not have been pretty.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2018

We must admit that we were not at all sorry to see 2017 go.  It quite made us ever hopeful that 2018 will be more to our liking.  And while we have never been one to make any New Year’s resolutions, we have come to the conclusion that we are perhaps at that point in our life where making such resolutions might make a bit of sense.  And so we have given it a bit of thought and have actually managed to come up with a resolution for 2018.

As we were pondering what our resolution might be, we were reminded of the time when we were at a routine appointment at Bassett where we were informed that we had to pick a goal which would help us improve our health.  There was, in fact, a chart which had various ideas from which one could pick.  They included such things as giving up coffee, cutting out juice, limiting alcohol intake, losing weight, etc. etc. etc.  And quite frankly, none of them appealed to us.  So we asked if we might set our own healthy goal.  When we were told that was possible, we picked the goal of living to be one hundred years old.  And so far, every time we have an appointment at Bassett, we find it quite easy to note that we are still working on achieving our healthy goal.  We have yet to give it up.

And since such a goal seems to be working very well in terms of our health, we decided a similar goal for 2018 just might be in order.  Thus, our New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to survive the year.  And so far, so good.

 

MONDAY, JANUARY 8, 2018

Today we are sharing the three Where Nature Smiles columns which appeared in the newspaper during our time off from the website.

Where Nature Smiles – December 21, 2017

With apologies to “O Little Town of Bethlehem,”
                           we offer the 2017 Cooperstown Carol...

O little Village of Cooperstown
   Where tourists visit each year.
They arrive in droves and pay to park
  The Hall of Fame to cheer.
Yet do they notice the storefronts
  With empty spaces around.
The hopes and fears of all the years
   For the business climate abound.

O little Village of Cooperstown
   Redoing Pioneer street.
It was a huge, long, dirty undertaking
  With no pavement beneath the feet.
But now it’s almost done.
  The flagpole has risen in the wind.
The hopes and fears for all the years
  Will still see the noon whistle end.

O little Village of Cooperstown
  Which produces lots of trash.
The transfer station closes for repair 
  In a move that seems so rash.
The county board takes the blame.
  The people grumble and groan
The hopes and fears of all the years
  Dissolve when the finished project is shown.

O little Village of Cooperstown
  Where alcohol seems to thrive.
Open containers are banned throughout the parks
  Yet at some potlucks they are quite alive.              
Alcohol is part of Cooptober Fest;
  Enjoyed by everyone.
The hopes and fears of all the years
  Wonder what’s coming next for fun.

O little Village of Cooperstown
  Where resolutions abound.
Now violence, bigotry and hateful rhetoric
  In the village cannot be found.
Nor is it a “Sanctuary City,”
  For fear of losing funds.
The hopes and fears of all the years
  Make us think there will be other ones.

O little Village of Cooperstown
  Where change seems to be in style.
New CVS, redone Clark Sports Center,
  Plus The Railroad Inn for staying a while.
NYSHA is no more;
  It’s the Fenimore Museum of Art.
The hopes and fears of all the years,
  Wonder when the next change will start. 

O little Village of Cooperstown
  With its CCS dress code,
Pink hatted protestors, Be Positive Fest;
  The Vet’s Club sans NFL is the mode.
Twenty-seventeen has been quite the year
  And it’s not really over yet.
The hopes and fears of all the years,
   Will Cooperstown have more about which to fret? 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Where Nature Smiles – December 28, 2017

Each year when we write the annual Cooperstown Carol, we find ourselves going through the archives in order to review carols from past years.  This year, during Christmas, which we all know lasts for twelve days, we thought we might share several carols as we think it is not only interesting to try to remember just what issues were included, but also how some issues never seem to cease to be.

With apologies to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” we offer the
         Cooperstown Carol from 1988...

Three hundred thousand tourists came
  Just to see the Hall of Fame.
But they found no place to park
  And nothing to do after dark.
As they walked upon the street
  Litter fell beneath their feet.

Hordes of tourists this way come
  To visit our town.  It's fun for some.

The now historic Higgins place
  Is taking up more parking space.
As down the road it did roam
  To find itself a brand new home.
Now it sits across the street
  From part of the county seat.

Hordes of tourists this way come
  To visit our town.  It's fun for some.

Trash may come, but trash won't go
  'Cause there's no landfill as you know.
Recycle, recycle is all that's heard
  Spoken as a magic word.
But will tourists recycle their junk
  Or toss it out with quite a clunk?

Hordes of tourists this way come
  To visit our town.  It's fun for some.

When you drive upon the street
  You hope no other car to meet
Because with parking on both sides
  You can have some scary rides.
Elk Street has now gotten relief
  So should others is our belief.

Hordes of tourists this way come
  To visit our town.  It's fun for some.

Next year "They'll Love New York"
  With activities of every sort.
Increasing numbers with great promotion
  In the village will cause commotion.
Having more tourists here next year
  Is the native’s greatest fear.

 

Hordes of tourists this way come
  To visit our town.  It's fun for some.

Living here for peace and quiet
  Finds the summer is more like a riot.
Fighting crowds throughout the town
  Turns that smile into a frown.
Take advice from a friendly seer,
  Get out of town before next year.

 

Hordes of tourists this way come
  To visit our town.  It's fun for some.

Where Nature Smiles – January 4, 2018

Continuing again this week we offer, with apologies to “Do You Hear What I       Hear,” the Cooperstown Carol from 2005...

Do you see what we see?
Do you see what we see?
The tourists, the tourists
Crowd upon the street
With no parking spots do they meet.
With no parking spots do they meet.

Did you do what we did?
Did you do what we did?
Online, Online
Game tickets we did buy
As the long wait did not bring them nigh.
As the long wait did not bring them nigh.

Do you hear what we hear?
Do you hear what we hear?
The park, the park
Wants to grow some more
By adding to their fields with four.
By adding to their fields with four.

Do you hear what we hear?
Do you hear what we hear?
The address, the address
Might change, sakes alive.
We'd be 9 instead of 105.
We'd be 9 instead of 105.

Do you see what we see?
Do you see what we see?
Stop signs, stop signs
Posted everywhere
Making drivers in less of a tear.
Making drivers in less of a tear.


Do you hear what we hear?
Do you hear what we hear?
Fly Creek, Fly Creek
How will it fare
With the disagreement over there.
With the disagreement over there.

Do you hear what we hear?
Do you hear what we hear?
Beach Boys, Beach Boys
Singing on the field
While we wonder what next year will yield.
While we wonder what next year will yield.

Do you see what we see?
Do you see what we see?
The books, the books
Every columnist writing one
Except for us because we'll never get it done.
Except for us because we'll never get it done.

Do you know what we know?
Do you know what we know?
The gas, the gas
Is no longer had
Where it passed to son from dad.
Where it passed to son from dad.

Do you see what we see?
Do you see what we see?
The signs, the signs
Placed upon the street
The capital project to beat.
The capital project to beat.

Do you have what we have?
Do you have what we have?
The flyer, the flyer
Placed into your hand
Asking you to take a stand.
Asking you to take a stand.

Do you hear what we hear?
Do you hear what we hear?
The vote, the vote
Seemed to get it right
But will what we need be brought to light?
But will what we need be brought to light?

And thus we end our trip down memory lane with some Cooperstown Carols of yesteryear.  And while we certainly enjoyed seeing them again, we are only most sorry that the Rev. Canon George F. French, long time rector of Christ Episcopal Church is no longer here.  Each year at Cooperstown Carol time, he would call us and sing the carol of the year for us.  It was a traditional that we still sorely miss.
 

PLEASE NOTE:

We are taking the next three weeks off.  One to get ready for the holidays.  One to celebrate the holidays.  And one to recover from the holidays.  We will be back with our “Daily Updates” beginning on January 8, 2018.  We will be back with you then.

                                  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2017

For Funny Friday, we offer this bit of advice...

The five best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk:


Number 5:  They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen. 

Number 4:  This is just the 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time-management course you have me attend.

Number 3:  Whew! Guess I left the top off the White-out. You probably got here just in time!

Number 2:  Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close? 

And the number one best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk: 
While raising your head very slowly, say “...in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2107

Where Nature Smiles...

It is once again that time of year when we are overwhelmed by the deluge of catalogs which arrive seemingly daily in our mailbox.  And while we have long railed against the tide of unwanted mail, as we have grown older we had tended to adopt a more benevolent attitude to the onslaught of catalogs.  Instead of just moving them from the mailbox to the recycling bin, we stack them up so we can look through them at our leisure.  And, if we should happen to come across something we think we simply cannot live without, we cut it out so we can determine if the item is available with free shipping online.  We suspect this is most definitely not the goal of the companies sending out the catalogs, but nowhere on these catalogs have we ever read “not appropriate for online shopping.”

Of course, catalogs are not the only deluge which seems to be descending upon residents of the village.  There also seems to be a veritable bevy of plans for various projects within the village.  The most recent one seems to be the pilot program, for which the village has received $300,000 to set up a Wi-Fi hot spot somewhere on Main Street.  Such a hot spot will allow people to use the basic internet connection for free. 

We gather, from what we have read about this project, that it is just one more of the changes which the village is undertaking to not only make it more business friendly but also to enhance the lives of residents and the experiences of tourists. And while we are still working on just how it might enhance our life, we do wonder, once the project is up and running, just who is going to foot the bill for its operation. We find it rather hard to believe it will run forever on a mere $300,000.  However, the answer to our question so far has not been forthcoming in anything we have read.

Plus, in terms of village planning, there was a recent meeting held regarding the second phase of the Main Street project, the first part of which was completed several years ago.  Although we were unable to attend the recent meeting held at the fire hall, we were most happy to discover that the information presented at the meeting is available online at the village website: http://cooperstownny.org.  Once on the website, click on “Live” where there will be links to the TEP Project Power Point Presentation and the TEP Project Drawings. For a quick look at what is being proposed for this next upgrade, we would recommend looking at the project drawings as they include the overall scope, time frame and expected features of the project.  And while the village is accepting comments on the project until December 15, we suspect, as is often the case, the project is in reality a done deal.

Entitled the “Village of Cooperstown Downtown Streetscape and Pedestrian Improvement Project,” the goals are to “Enhance the overall experience throughout downtown Cooperstown; Improve the safety, accessibility and functionality of the Main and Chestnut intersection for all users: Improve pedestrian accessibility and safety; Continue the aesthetic design concept and materials of GIGP Project recently constructed; Promote the use of bicycles; complement “sharrows;” and Unify the existing streetscape utilizing a cohesive set of streetscape furnishing (benches, receptacles, bike racks, signage).”

Construction on this next phase of work is scheduled to begin in September of 2018, continuing until May 2019.  Construction will halt during June, July and August of 2019, continuing again from September until November of 2019.  And since it includes sidewalk work in the business parts of Pioneer Street, those businesses which have been affected by the work on Pioneer Street this fall can now look forward to more disruption starting next year.

We must say that there was once a time when residents of the village were concerned that the village was headed on its way to become just like Lake George.  However, as far as we can tell, that that should no longer be a concern.  A comparison with Lake George is no longer the issue, as it would almost seem that residents should be concerned about being just like Disney World.  Instead of having what has long been a living and working community, the powers at the village now seem bent on turning Cooperstown not into the most perfect village but rather into the most synthetic village outside of Walt Disney World.

 

​WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2017

From what little we have read of late, we are worried that once again, given the $4 billion shortfall in the Governor’s initial proposed 2018 state budget, that there will be yet another move to balance the budget on the backs of NYS school children.  One article, from WAMC Northeast Report, noted that “’The budget is not going to be an easy budget,’ Cuomo said. ’We’re going to have to find additional savings in the budget. That’s clear.’”   It was further pointed out that “Cuomo says the state during his tenure has already spent a record amount on schools, with more than $25 billion in state funds going to schools in the current fiscal year. He says New York is the top spender per pupil of any state in the nation.”

However, we do hope that this does not mean the Governor thinks cutting state aid to schools now is an acceptable, let alone a good, idea.  The last time such a move was made, the schools lost millions of dollars in state aid, leaving many of them with no option other than to cut programs and personnel.  It was not pretty to say the least.

Therefore, we do hope that the powers that be will take under advisement a report recently released by The New York State Educational Conference Board which noted there is a need to increase, not decrease, school spending for the 2018-19 school year.  And while we fear any such increase will no doubt affect local property taxes adversely, we do firmly believe that offering a good education to our children is essential.  We tend to think we are not the only one who thinks our public education has served us well for many, many years now.  And thus we know our children need to also be able to think their public education will serve them well going forward.

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2017

We were interested to read recently that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has evidently changed its collective mind when it comes to what kinds of milk can be served in public schools across the country.  Starting in the 2018-19 school year, if the current proposal is approved, schools will be allowed to offer 1 percent flavored milk for school breakfast and lunch programs.  We must say we tend to think such a change is a good idea, especially since it seems consumption of milk in schools has dropped since 2012 when such an option was eliminated from school programs.

And while we are willing to bet there will be parents who will object to the change, we would like to point out, as we did at a PTO meeting when the CCS elementary school decided to offer chocolate milk on Fridays, that doing so would not be the end of the world as we know it.  In fact, we went so far as to suggest to those at the meeting who were violently opposed to the change that it would be very easy to limit such offensive milk from their children’s meals.  When we were asked how them might do that, we told them to instruct their children not to purchase the chocolate milk.  Unfortunately, they did not seem to think they could such a thing, which make us wonder just who was in charge. 

 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2017

We are always interested when we come across an article, such as the one we discovered recently in the December 9 edition of The Daily Star.  Entitled “Scientists: Climate change is hitting N.Y.” and written by Joe Mahoney, the article did not seem to shed much in the way of new information on the ever ongoing discussion of climate change.

However, we were somewhat surprised to read that “Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed that the state increase its reliance on renewable sources of energy so that by 2030 they provide at least 50 percent of the state's energy mix.  He has said that continuing to rely on natural gas as a bridge is necessary to get to that goal.”

We must say in all that we have read regarding the Governor’s thoughts on natural gas, we do not recall he has ever mentioned that natural gas needs to be a bridge to renewable sources of energy.  And it would hardly seem that such thinking is in keeping with the state’s ban on natural gas development and its hesitance to allow the construction of natural gas pipelines.  We willingly admit that we are confused to say the least.  And we have to wonder if the Governor has actually changed his mind or is someone putting words in his mouth for some unknown reason.

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2017

This week we present “Seniors on a Little Road Trip”...

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip.

When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table and she didn't miss them until they had been driving about twenty minutes.  

By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the husband became the classic grouchy old man.  He fussed and complained and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn't let up.

To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant.  As the woman got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her. 

“While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card!”

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017

Where Nature Smiles...

When we first read that the Village of Cooperstown had given Ommegang Brewery permission to use Pioneer Park to shoot a brewery commercial, which will feature Santa’s cottage as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus, we were dumbfounded.  And even though the brewery paid the village a $500 fee to use Pioneer Park, we must say we have great reservations about the project.

An article on the subject, found on allotsego.com and written by Libby Cudmore, reported:

“’We see a line of men, waiting in Pioneer Park,’ said Larry Bennett, Ommegang’s creative director, as he outlined his vision for a commercial before the Village Board this evening. ‘What are they waiting for? The camera pans up to Santa’s cottage, and Mrs. Claus welcomes him inside. He goes to Santa, Santa opens his ‘Nice or Naughty’ book, and then hands him a bottle of Three Philosophers.’

Bennett is seeking “men in their late 20s, 30s and 40s” to appear in the commercial, which will shoot Monday, Dec. 4, and air on Ommegang’s website, YouTube, Facebook and other social media that Friday.”

It was then pointed out that “The board approved the request, with a $500 location fee. ‘How about a keg?’ joked Trustee Richard Sternberg.”

Following the article, there were two comments from the public.  The first read: “What??? …seeking “men in their late 20s, 30s and 40s” – ageist if you ask me! Like us fogies don’t like fine brews!!!” The second added: “Santa Booze… GREAT! and from a baseball town with a drinking problem!”  And while we found these comments most interesting, they did not in any way, express our thoughts on the making of such a commercial.

Our immediate reaction was the village seems more than happy to sell any aspect of the village if the price is right.  And in this case, they sold the use of Pioneer Park in order to use Cooperstown’s long and cherished Santa Claus tradition to promote the interests of a commercial enterprise. Beyond that, we were concerned about using the space in which children come, in great anticipation, to share their Christmas lists with Santa, as a space for grown men to visit Santa in hopes that Santa will find them on the “nice,” not the “naughty,” list.  The “nice” list will find Santa bestowing them with an alcoholic gift.  We suppose it is up to the viewer of the commercial to decide just what the men on the “naughty” list might receive. We have trouble thinking this is a good use of a space designed for children.

When we questioned the shooting of such a commercial, we were told that the 4Cs had already approved the project. We have also heard that Santa is evidently is in favor of the project.  We were also assured that “There are no open containers, no drinking, no opening bottles, nothing about being inebriated...There will be no handing out of actual beer. Nothing will be opened, poured or consumed.”  We gather that what was not going to happen evidently justified what was going to happen.  Additionally, it was pointed out to us that the board voted unanimously to approve the use of Pioneer Park, as if that somehow made a difference in the appropriateness of the project.

Our response to this, as we understand the project, is that it will appear that men going into Santa’s cottage will be given an alcoholic product.  Granted it will no doubt be a prop and will not be "opened, poured or consumed.”  But it would seem that the message is still clear that Santa is handing out alcohol to men in the same space that children go to share their Christmas wish list with him.  And since the "Board voted unanimously to let Ommegang film...” the commercial on village property, it seems the goal of the project, namely to sell alcoholic beverages, must be considered not only an appropriate use of Santa’s time, but also an appropriate message from Santa to the children of our area.

Needless to say, we remain unconvinced that this undertaking is a worthy project. In many ways, it seems to make a mockery of the Christmas traditions of the Village of Cooperstown.  And it is a mockery that has the potential of representing Cooperstown not only here but also across the country. In fact, we think it is but one more tear in the fabric of the community.  And it makes us most glad that our days as Mrs. Claus, although in the same place, were in another time, with different leadership.

 

​WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2017

Not long ago we were looking through the newspaper when we came across the “Dear Annie” column in which a reader had written about using “no problem” as a substitute for “you’re welcome.”  The reader made the argument that the two phrases do not have the same meaning, writing “The phrase ‘no problem’ carries with it the implication that if the task had created a ‘problem’ for the server, perhaps she might not have carried it out so nicely — or at all. ‘You’re welcome,’ on the other hand, has a much more gracious implication: that the person would have done this task for you no matter the cost to herself.”

And we must admit we could not agree more.  It seems to us that when someone is thanked, saying “you’re welcome” implies that the person doing the thanking was more than happy to have helped the person doing the thanking.  On the other hand, to reply “no problem” when being thanked, seems to indicate that that the person being thanked is less than gracious by implying that whatever was done wasn’t a big deal, even if the recipient might have thought it to be.

However, we suspect our thoughts fall on deaf ears.  Annie replied with “I see no evidence that “no problem” carries that implication, but I love a good linguistic debate, so I’m printing your letter.”  And, having read that answer, we are not at all surprised that Annie thinks “no problem” is just fine.

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017

In this country, there has always has seemed to be movement from rural areas to urban areas.  We supposed it is perceived that the urban areas have more to offer than do the rural ones.  And that might will be true, at least for some people. It seems to us that it takes a certain type of person to thrive in a rural area without missing the wonders of the city.  And we have almost come to the conclusion that rural areas are struggling because there just aren’t enough people who want to, or can, call the rural areas of the country home.

Thus we were most heartened when we read the article, “We are seeing a return to simplicity,” by syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker.  She points out that “Young people are moving back to farming; small towns are being revitalized and attracting young families who once might have elected to live in the ‘burbs; and local governments are finding grant monies to revitalize their downtowns and support small businesses.

For people living in small towns and mid-size cities, “local” is the new orange.
What’s at play, one may infer, is that the “human” in human being is enjoying something of a revival. Too much of everything has spawned a backlash manifested in a preference for simplicity.”

She then adds “Down the road, rural communities are seeing an uptick in smaller-scale, family-owned operations as young, college-educated families trade concrete for soil. A perceptible shift away from quantity toward quality amid an appreciation for authentic human exchanges seems a hopeful sign as we enter the season of giving.”

And we think she is right on when she writes that “The frantic immersion in material gratification symbolized by Black Friday is the precise opposite of spiritual connection or interpersonal engagement.”  And if people are indeed opting for a simpler, more personal life style, we think that should bode well for areas such as ours.


MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2017

It seems that we do not need to be in the midst of an election cycle to receive all sorts of annoyingly political calls.  And while we usually try to avoid them, we did answer such a call last week, during the height of the debate on the tax bill in Congress.  The woman was most cheerful and pleasant, asking us how we were.  But after the pleasantries were over.  She told us she was calling about the tax bill and wondered if we had heard of it.  We found the question to be somewhat demeaning, almost as if we most certainly must be such a rube as have no idea what might be going on in the country.

Before she could launch into her pitch either for or against the bill, we expressed great delight in the tax bill, announcing we thought it to be a very good thing.  Evidently that was the wrong thing to say as the women abruptly hung up.  We suspect she was not in favor of the bill.  We also suspect she is not going to win friends and influence people by hanging up on those expressing an opinion with which we assume she disagrees.
 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2017

For “Funny Friday,” we offer the following...

A young woman brought her fiancé home to meet her parents.

After dinner, her mother told her father to find out about the young man. The father invited the fiancé to his study for a talk.

"So, what are your plans?" the father asked the young man.

"I am a biblical scholar," he replied.

"A biblical scholar, hmmm?" the father said. "Admirable, but what will you
do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?"

"I will study," the young man replied, "and God will provide for us."

"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she
deserves?" asked the father.

"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replied, "God will provide
for us."

"And children?" asked the father. "How will you support children?"

"Don't worry, sir, God will provide," replied the fiancé.

The conversation proceeded like this, and each time the father questioned,
the young idealist insisted that God would provide.

Later, the mother asked, "How did it go, honey?"

The father answered, "He has no job and no plans, and he thinks I'm God."