​ ​​​​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.   

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.   


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:

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



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. 



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.



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.



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."



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.



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.



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:



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.



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 

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, 

"Joe," he mumbled.

"And where are you from, Joe?"

"The second balcony."



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.



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. 



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.



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.”



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!!



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.



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. 


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.



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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



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



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.   



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.



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.


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.



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.



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.


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.



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.



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.


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.



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?”



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.



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.



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.



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.


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!


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.”



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.



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.



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. 



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.



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!”



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.



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.



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.


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.


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."


Where Nature Smiles...

We are happy to report that once again this year we managed to produce, with the help of our trusty microwave, a rather delicious Thanksgiving dinner featuring turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes as well as stuffing.  Our microwave efforts were augmented by cooked cranberries, which we actually prepared on the stove, and squash which had been baked by our friend who joined us for dinner.  To top this fantastic feast off, we had mincemeat pie which we purchased at the Christ Episcopal Church chicken barbeque dinner and pie sale.  All in all, we found our Thanksgiving celebration most enjoyable.  And the really good news is that we had enough leftovers for two more meals.  It just doesn’t get better than that.

Of course, we are not quite so enamored of something we read recently in the news. It seems that the Oneonta Common Council has evidently seen fit to approve a resolution in opposition to the tax bill currently being considered by Congress.  As we understand it, they feel that putting limits on the deductibility of the so called SALT, state and local taxes, will be most detrimental to local citizens.

Now we must admit that we find it rather difficult to figure out just what affect, if any, the proposed legislation might have on one’s taxes.  However, based on our online research, we have come to the conclusion, that for us at least, the elimination of SALT is basically a wash given the increase in standard deductions. 

For 2016, when we filed our latest income tax return, our itemized deductions, consisting of taxes and charitable donations, totaled $12,483.  And given that the new tax regulations would increase the individual federal income tax deduction from $6,350 to $12,200, any such change to the SALT deduction would not really affect us one way or another. On the other hand, it would seem that we would not be seeing a decrease in our federal income tax, something that would not be the case for a couple with the same income and deductions we had in 2016.  Since the standard deduction for a couple would increase to $24,000, they would seem to realize a decrease in their overall federal income tax bill. 

Frankly, we suspect, the only way for one to try and figure out whether or not the proposed tax bill would help or hurt is to look at exactly what the effect would be on one’s own taxes.  And particularly, in regards to SALT, we would tend to think it might be more informative to figure out what the effect on one’s taxes might be rather than to simply taking the Oneonta Common Council thoughts on the subject.

We also found ourselves pondering the headline we read last week which read: “Abbate Era Ends...On High Note, With 7-7 County Board Split.”  Now technically the headline is correct.  If counting people, it is indeed true that starting in January of 2018 there will be seven Democrats and seven Republicans on the Otsego County Board.  However, given the county’s weighted voting of the county representatives, it should be noted that when it comes to voting, the Democrats will have 2,807 votes while the Republicans will have 3,421 votes. Of course, in this day and age, predicting how any government official might vote on any issue based on party affiliation is not something we are particularly inclined to want to do.

Nonetheless, in spite of fact that the headline seemed somewhat misleading, we do think that the article itself was well written and most informative.  We must say we are quite glad we actually read the article, something we almost did not do based on the headline.  Thus, we have come to the conclusion that just as one should not judge a book by its cover, one should not judge a newspaper story by its headline.

Finally, difficult as it is to believe, we note that the Medicare open enrollment period which started this year on October 15 is about to come to a close.  This next week will be the last opportunity until next year for those of us on Medicare to take a look at our Medicare insurance benefits to make certain that the coverage we now have will work well for us in the coming year.  Any changes which one wishes to make to one’s Medicare coverage needs to be done by Thursday, December 7.



And, while still on the topic of sexual harassment, we must admit we were stunned when it came to our attention that Emily Lindin, who is evidently a “radical feminist,” has some rather disturbing thoughts regarding sexual harassment allegations.

This past week, she sent out the following tweets:

The first one read: “Here’s an unpopular opinion:  I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.”

Her second tweet read: “First, false allegations VERY rarely happen, so even bringing it up borders on a derailment tactic.  It’s a microscopic risk in comparison to the issue at hand (worldwide, systemic oppression of half the population).”

And finally, she offered up the thought that: “And more importantly:  The benefit of all of us getting to finally tell the truth + the impact on victims FAR outweigh the loss of any one man’s reputation.”

We must admit that we are dumbfounded. The idea that mere allegations are the same as proven fact is outrageous. It is not our understanding that any accuser has the right to act as judge and jury. Following Lindin’s line of thought would lead us to think that every man in the country is at risk.

Should anyone be interested, more information on this topic is available at: http://www.dailywire.com/news/23892/teen-vogue-columnist-claims-shes-not-concerned-if-emily-zanotti#.  We note it is not particularly pleasant reading.



While we are not at all surprised by all the attention given to sexual harassment allegations of late, we must say we were somewhat taken aback by an article “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays.” which appeared on the Girls Scouts website, girlscouts.org.

It opens with: “Holidays and family get-togethers are a time for yummy food, sweet traditions, funny stories, and lots and lots of love. But they could, without you even realizing it, also be a time when your daughter gets the wrong idea about consent and physical affection.”

The scouts seem to think that parents, or anyone else, should not encourage hugs and kisses between girls and relatives as it just might be sending the wrong message.  The argue that “...telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she “owes” another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.”

According to “...Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, “...the lessons girls learn when they’re young about setting physical boundaries and expecting them to be respected last a lifetime, and can influence how she feels about herself and her body as she gets older. Plus, sadly, we know that some adults prey on children, and teaching your daughter about consent early on can help her understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help.”

And while we certainly give the Girl Scouts the right to their opinions, we must say we think they seem to be out in left field somewhere.  If girls are taught early on that hugging and kissing one’s relatives at family gatherings can be problematic, how on earth will such girls ever be able to develop normal relationships with others later in life.  Quite frankly, we don’t get it.  And, of course, we have to wonder how many people actually followed the Girl Scouts’ advice on something which we suspect is really none of their business.



For today’s update, we decided we needed to go through some possible update articles that we had saved but never used.  Headlines included “NFL protests are distracting and unhelpful” along with “Cooperstown Veterans Club bans NFL broadcasts.”  We also saved an editorial “IN OUR OPINION:  We don’t believe we are on the eve of destruction.” And we considered “Water, sewer projects to get millions in state aid” as well as “Local doc:  Colon cancer screening changes needed.” We also thought about both “Religion has a place in the public square” and “New York sheriffs shrug off Cuomo’s immigration order.”

Unfortunately, as we looked them over we decided that while they were all interesting, they are also old news.  Thus, we found ourselves, since the local newspapers of late do not seem to have had much of interest, turning to the internet for some topics that might be of interest.  And fortunately, it seems that we have come up with enough ideas for at least this week.  But, given the way the news seems to be going, we make no guarantees going forward.



In keeping with the holiday weekend, we offer the “Bad Parrot”...

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. 

Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. 

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary. 

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.

Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. 

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly,

"May I ask what the turkey did?" 



Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we offer the following:

Thanksgiving 8000 calorie poem...

May your stuffing be tasty,
  And your turkey be plump. 
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump. 

May your yams be delicious. 
  And your pies take the prize, 
And may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs! 

                                    -Author Unknown

 Happy Thanksgiving!



Where Nature Smiles...

Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, there can be little doubt that Christmas is lurking right around the corner, making all sorts of demands on our time and energy. Do this! No, do that!  Better yet, do everything!  It quite puts us in a “Bah-Humbug” frame of mind, leaving us to think what gets done, gets done, and what doesn’t, doesn’t.  And this year, since they will be ready to mail out this next week, the only thing which we are remotely willing to guarantee will happen this holiday season, is that we will get our Christmas cards sent.

Of course, with the season come any number of interesting events, such as the Adorn-A-Door Wreath Festival to be held this Saturday, November 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Cooperstown Art Association Galleries located at 22 Main Street.  Activities will include a silent auction of over 100 wreaths and the CAA’s annual Holiday Show and Sale as well as refreshments, local musical talent and children’s activities.

And, on Thursday, November 30th at 6:30 p.m. Woodside Hall will hold its next Community Evening Program. Dave Edwards of the Leatherstocking Beekeepers Association will be on hand to discuss “Are Honey Bees REALLY in Trouble?”

He will discuss the current issues related to honey bees and the causes of these issues.  Dave will help the audience understand the facts behind the current headlines about this hardworking pollinator. Community Evening Programs are offered on a Thursday evening of each month. Attendance is free and open to the public.  For more information please call 607-547-0600.

Of course, not all meeting scheduled during the frantic holiday season are related to the holidays.  In fact, the Village of Cooperstown has two public meeting on the docket which would not seem to be holiday related at all.

The first, to be held on Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cooperstown Fire Hall, will present information on $1.7 million funding the village has received from the Transportation Enhancement Program, administered by the NYS DOT.
The money, according to the November “Village Voices” newsletter, is to be used to “...improve the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists in the business district. The project’s area included Main Street from Pine Boulevard to River Street and Pioneer Street from Church Street to Lake Street.”

It is also noted in the newsletter that this project will “...include details about crosswalks and pedestrian signals, street furniture such as benches, interpretative signage and wayfinding, bike racks, new street trees, and more energy efficient and attractive lighting.” And while the powers that be at the village have assured us that what is being planned will make it easier for those of us with handicapped conditions to get around in the business district, we must admit we remain somewhat skeptical of that claim.

The second village meeting, to be held on Monday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. at 22 Main Street in the second floor Ballroom, will discuss the issue of how the village can better provide “...access to people of all ages and abilities.”  It is pointed out in “Village Voices,” that students at the Cooperstown Graduate Program have been working with the village for over a year in studying ways in which services and facilities can be more accessible to everyone.

At the meeting the CGP students will present a “Transition Plan” for the village which will identify and prioritize areas within the village in need of improvement. We can but hope as the students prepared the “Transition Plan” that they interviewed those in the area with handicapping conditions.  Quite frankly, we think it would be most valuable to have included the thinking of those who experience difficulty navigating the many barriers which they encounter throughout the village.  We speak from experience when we say that it is truly amazing how much of an obstacle course Cooperstown can be when it comes to those of us with mobility issues.

Plus, we would like to note that we find the locations for these two upcoming village meetings to be somewhat ironic. The meeting to discussion issues for pedestrians and bicyclists is scheduled at the Fire Hall while the meeting to discuss accessibility is held in the second floor ballroom of the Village Library Building.  We think the first is rather easily accessible.  However, we would tend to find the second venue far more difficult to access, something we hope will change when the village replaces the current elevator in the Village Library Building.



Where Nature Smiles...

Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, there can be little doubt that Christmas is lurking right around the corner, making all sorts of demands on our time and energy. Do this! No, do that!  Better yet, do everything!  It quite puts us in a “Bah-Humbug” frame of mind, leaving us to think what gets done, gets done, and what doesn’t, doesn’t.  And this year, since they will be ready to mail out this next week, the only thing which we are remotely willing to guarantee will happen this holiday season, is that we will get our Christmas cards sent.

Of course, with the season come any number of interesting events, such as the Adorn-A-Door Wreath Festival to be held this Saturday, November 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Cooperstown Art Association Galleries located at 22 Main Street.  Activities will include a silent auction of over 100 wreaths and the CAA’s annual Holiday Show and Sale as well as refreshments, local musical talent and children’s activities.

And, on Thursday, November 30th at 6:30 p.m. Woodside Hall will hold its next Community Evening Program. Dave Edwards of the Leatherstocking Beekeepers Association will be on hand to discuss “Are Honey Bees REALLY in Trouble?”

He will discuss the current issues related to honey bees and the causes of these issues.  Dave will help the audience understand the facts behind the current headlines about this hardworking pollinator. Community Evening Programs are offered on a Thursday evening of each month. Attendance is free and open to the public.  For more information please call 607-547-0600.

Of course, not all meeting scheduled during the frantic holiday season are related to the holidays.  In fact, the Village of Cooperstown has two public meeting on the docket which would not seem to be holiday related at all.

The first, to be held on Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cooperstown Fire Hall, will present information on $1.7 million funding the village has received from the Transportation Enhancement Program, administered by the NYS DOT.
The money, according to the November “Village Voices” newsletter, is to be used to “...improve the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists in the business district. The project’s area included Main Street from Pine Boulevard to River Street and Pioneer Street from Church Street to Lake Street.”

It is also noted in the newsletter that this project will “...include details about crosswalks and pedestrian signals, street furniture such as benches, interpretative signage and wayfinding, bike racks, new street trees, and more energy efficient and attractive lighting.” And while the powers that be at the village have assured us that what is being planned will make it easier for those of us with handicapped conditions to get around in the business district, we must admit we remain somewhat skeptical of that claim.

The second village meeting, to be held on Monday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m. at 22 Main Street in the second floor Ballroom, will discuss the issue of how the village can better provide “...access to people of all ages and abilities.”  It is pointed out in “Village Voices,” that students at the Cooperstown Graduate Program have been working with the village for over a year in studying ways in which services and facilities can be more accessible to everyone.

At the meeting the CGP students will present a “Transition Plan” for the village which will identify and prioritize areas within the village in need of improvement. We can but hope as the students prepared the “Transition Plan” that they interviewed those in the area with handicapping conditions.  Quite frankly, we think it would be most valuable to have included the thinking of those who experience difficulty navigating the many barriers which they encounter throughout the village.  We speak from experience when we say that it is truly amazing how much of an obstacle course Cooperstown can be when it comes to those of us with mobility issues.

Plus, we would like to note that we find the locations for these two upcoming village meetings to be somewhat ironic. The meeting to discussion issues for pedestrians and bicyclists is scheduled at the Fire Hall while the meeting to discuss accessibility is held in the second floor ballroom of the Village Library Building.  We think the first is rather easily accessible.  However, we would tend to find the second venue far more difficult to access, something we hope will change when the village replaces the current elevator in the Village Library Building.



Today we ask:  Why, why, why...

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are almost dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they already know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars; but have to check when you say the paint is still wet?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Why is there never a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

Why is it possible for all those dead bugs to get into those enclosed light fixtures?

Why, when we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart, apologizing for doing so, do we say, “It's all right?” Why don't we say, “That really hurt. Why don't you watch where you're going?”

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

Why in the winter do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

Why is it you never hear father-in-law jokes?



This week we feel we should be back on track, discussing the issues facing our area.  Yet, based on the news this past week, we aren’t at all inclined to write about anything of substance.  The animosity and divisiveness, not to mention the downright disgusting undertakings, of the news leaves us cold.  Thus, we once again have raided our email inbox to augment our posts this week. 

Today we offer...

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people's business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Elmer, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Elmer (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know exactly what he was doing! 

Elmer, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Elmer quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house, walked home and left the pickup there all night.



For “Funny Friday” we offer some thoughts on an ever favorite topic, namely money:

It can buy a house, but not a home.
It can buy a clock, but not time.
It can buy you a position, but not respect.
It can buy you a bed, but not sleep
It can buy you a book, but not knowledge.
It can buy you medicine, but not health.
It can buy you blood, but not life.

So you see, money isn't everything and it often causes pain and suffering.

I tell you this because I am your friend. And as your friend I want to take away your pain and suffering!

So send me all your money, cash only please, and I will suffer for you!

After all, what are friends for??


Where Nature Smiles...

After the comings and goings of the past two weeks or so, we announced to someone that this week we fully intended to write nothing but drivel in the column.  The response to this was that it would be highly unlikely that we would actually be able to that.  Needless to say, when it comes to writing this column, we love nothing more than a good challenge.  Drivel it shall be.

However, before we delve into this week’s drivel we thought it might behoove us to make certain we know exactly what is and what is not drivel.  Thus, we proceeded to check out the definition of drivel online.  We found this:

driv·el (ˈdrivəl/) noun
         silly nonsense.
            "don't talk such drivel!"

We also discovered that synonyms for drivel include nonsense, twaddle, claptrap, balderdash, gibberish, rubbish, mumbo jumbo, garbage, poppycock, piffle, tripe, hogwash, baloney, flap doodle, tommyrot and several other things we cannot include here. 

Now we must admit, that many years ago, we were accused of writing nothing but tripe in our column.  So we are indeed well informed on the subject. In fact, at that time we proceeded to divide the column into two parts, the first being the usual important information while the second part was reserved for the tripe that we wrote.  As we recall, this went on for quite a while, ending up with us including tripe recipes as well as the fact that Campbell’s made a Pepper Pot soup that included tripe as one of its ingredients.  As a side note, we understand that Campbell’s discontinued this tripe laden soup sometime in 2011, something which no doubt broke the hearts of an unknown number of people.  Eventually, we decided we had milked the tripe angle long enough, eliminating it from our column until now.

And while we do not intend to include any tripe recipes here this week, we do note that online one can easily find recipes for Roman Style Tripe, Mexican Tripe Soup, Deep-Fired Tripe, Trippa Alla Florentina: Florentine Tripe, Caribbean Beef Tripe Soup, Tripe Stew Nicoise-Style, African Tripe Stew, Tripe Aita and Tripe with Potatoes.  However, we do think it is safe to say that at this point, the local grocery stores do not have to worry about an increase in the demand for tripe.

Of course, we also fully understand another one of the other synonyms, namely nonsense, as we suspect from time to time over the past thirty or so years, we have managed, whether we meant to or not, to include a fair amount of nonsense in the column.  Perhaps the best example we have come across recently, was a discussion we had regarding the Village of Cooperstown seal.  We became well acquainted with this seal when we, the he-we and the she-we, were co-chairs of the village’s 1986 Bicentennial Celebration.

Thus, in February of 1990 we wrote, on the topic of the village seal, that “...someone has suggested that the collection of tools found on the Cooperstown village seal...probably represents the combining of the implements of husbandry and industry.  After giving the matter some thought, we feel that the tools depicted on the seal actually reflect the modern village rather well.  The rake represents those who wish to rake in even more tourist dollars.  The scythe symbolizes those who want to cut down the number of visitors.  The fork stands for those on the various governmental boards---village, school, town and county---who continually ask us to fork over more of our hard earned money when they stick us with even higher taxes.  The shovel is for those who enjoy shoveling that well known white substance which seems to abound these days.  The hammer and sickle might represent those who wish to slice out new development and hammer out franchisees.  Perhaps the tool which no one seems able to identify is actually a 19th century pooper scooper and what could be more appropriate in modern Cooperstown?”

As we close out our very special column of nothing but drivel, we note that for the past several weeks now we have been debating with ourselves as to whether the snow or the leaves lurking about our backyard would fall first.  And unfortunately, not at all to our liking, we have the answer to the debate.  The snow won and we feel we are the poorer for it.


For “Whimsical Wednesday” we offer the following thoughts from the mouths of babes...

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked 
me how old I was, and I told him, "62."  He was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old 
slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the 
children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin.
Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, 
putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she 
heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood 
was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a 
tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked 
wild raspberries in the woods."  The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how 
you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo while I asked, "No, how 
are we alike?" "You're both old," he replied.

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked.  "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"

When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in.  Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use, Grandpa. The mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the truck was a Dalmatian dog.  The children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another, "he's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."


For “Teasing Tuesday” we offer the following...

A man feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.  Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here's what you do," said the Doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and speak in a normal conversational speaking tone to see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?"  No response...

So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Honey, what's for dinner?"  Still no response...

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?" Again no response...

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away.. "Honey, what's for dinner?" Again there is no response.

Then he walks right up behind her, "Honey, what's for dinner?"  “Jim, for THE FIFTH time, it’s chicken.”



Having spent the end of last week, as well as the weekend, wondering what we should do going forward, we must admit that we are still clueless when it comes to the future of cooperstowntoday.com.  However, we did make the decision that perhaps it is more important to take some time to put everything, and we do mean everything, into perspective.  And we know of no better way to do that than to interject some humor into one’s life.

Therefore, we shall depart from our usual “Daily Updates” this week and use the space to hopefully add some much needed laughter to the world around us.  Thus, today we will offer “Amusing Monday” followed by “Teasing Tuesday,” “Whimsical Wednesday,” “Where Nature Smiles Thursday” and “Funny Friday.”

For “Amusing Monday” we offer the following to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade. The next time someone who knows nothing, and cares less, tries to make your life miserable, just remember this story...

A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded;

"Rome? Why would anyone want to go there?  It's crowded and dirty. You're
crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply.  "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser.  "That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on the Tiber River called Teste."

"Don't go any further! I know that place.  Everybody thinks its going be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city! The rooms are small, the service is surly, and they're overpriced. So, what are you doing when you get there?"

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser.  "You and a million other people trying to see him.  He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours.
You're going to need it."

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome .

"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one of
Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you
didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Oh, really! What did he say?"

He said, "Where did you get the horrible hairdo?"



In today’s “Funny Friday” we offer some questions, when asked of students, seem to have gotten some rather interesting answers...

Teacher: Why are you late, Henry?
Henry: Class started before I got here.

Teacher: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
John: You told me to do it without using tables.

Teacher: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
Glenn: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'


Teacher: No, that's wrong
Glenn: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

Teacher: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald: H I J K L M N O.


Teacher: What are you talking about?
Donald: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

Teacher: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
Winnie: Me!

Teacher: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
Louie: Because George still had the axe in his hand.....

Teacher: Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
Simon: No sir, I don't have to, my Mum is a good cook.

Teacher: Clyde , your composition on “My Dog” is exactly the same as your brother's.  Did you copy his? Did you copy his?
Clyde: No, sir. It's the same dog.

Teacher: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?

Harold: A teacher.


Where Nature Smiles...

We note that there are two Cooperstown churches that are planning fund raising dinners this month.  The first will be held tomorrow, Friday, November 10, in the Cooperstown Presbyterian Church Chapel on Pioneer Street.  The dinner will include macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, meatloaf, potatoes, salads and desserts.  There will also be vegetarian and gluten free options. Take-out dinners will also be available.  A $10.00 donation is suggested for the meal.  Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Presbyterian Church’s Living Waters Team’s installation of a “World-Water Purification System” in Tatumbla, Honduras in January of next year. Unfortunately, there has been a change in the amount of money local Living Water teams need to raise in order to continue to participate in Living Waters projects.  Thus, the local team needs to raise more money for the January project than it has to raise for projects in the past.  Because of this change, we would encourage those wishing to support the Living Waters project to support the local team’s fund raising dinner so they will be able to meet their fund raising goal. 

The second fund raising dinner will be held on Friday, November 17, 2017 from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church Parish House, located at 69 Fair Street, Cooperstown.  The Brooks Barbeque Chicken dinner will feature a half of Brooks chicken as well as coleslaw, baked potato, baked beans, roll, dessert and beverage. The cost per dinner will be $12.00. Take-out meals will also be available. In addition to the chicken dinner, there will also be a sale of a variety of homemade pies. Both the dinner and the pie sale will benefit the church’s Global Mission Outreach. For more information about the dinner or the pie sale, please contact the church office at 607-547-9555.

Recently, as we were reading our fall 2017 copy of the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, we came across an item in the column entitled “Gambier is talking about...”  This piece read:

“Members of Kenyon’s faculty vote unanimously at an April 24 meeting to approve a statement affirming their commitment to freedom of expression for students and faculty.  The statement urges support for a free exchange of ideas and encourages ‘critical and creative thinking.’  It will be used by faculty members as a guide for how to engage with difficult questions in a substantive manner while preserving respect for those with varying viewpoints.”

Although we must admit that this decision on the part of Kenyon’s faculty does not seem to be in keeping with so much of what is being put forth in the media about the issue of free speech on college campuses, we were most heartened that Kenyon is taking what we think is a most refreshing position on this issue.  Unfortunately, it seems that many colleges do not seem to be so enlightened.  In fact, when it comes to education we think a move to seemingly clamp down on free speech is making its way down the educational system into a number of public K-12 schools across the country.

And it would also seem that education is not the only area in which free speech is being curtailed.  There is also reason, we think, to believe that news media has long ago given up reporting the news in an unbiased manner.  Not only national, but also local, newspapers, apparently tend to sort through the news, reporting on that of which they approve while putting that which does not please them in the dustbin. This must, unfortunately, greatly increase the power of the press at the same time it is evidently leading many people, ourselves included, to hold a rather low opinion of those organizations tasked with informing the public of the comings and goings of the world around them.

Of course, as we were told a long time ago, when we first started writing this column back in the 1980s, the power of the press belongs to those who own the presses.  And we are beginning to believe, given what we have seen happening of late, that we are all the poorer for it.



We were pleasantly surprised yesterday when we realized that the comment we made in response to the article entitled “Taxes Emerge As Issue In Otsego Town Election,” which appeared on The Freeman’s Journal website, allotsego.com, was posted to the website.  It certainly makes us think more of the Journal than we did last week when our column “Where Nature Smiles” was not printed.  

Nonetheless, we have come to the conclusion that the campaign for yesterday’s election has left us wondering if what we have tried to do for the past two and a half years with this website has achieved its goal.

We had hoped to offer a forum in which all sides of local issues could be discussed in a rational way.  We had hoped for input from our readers.  And while that seemed to be the case as we started this venture, such input quickly disappeared, leaving us musings about what we thought the important issues of the day might be.  

And, if the snarky, if not downright disingenuous, campaigns tactics on both sides of the political spectrum are any indication, we have failed miserably in remotely reaching our goal. While we have enjoyed writing our “Daily Updates,” we do think the time has come to see if there is a way to better reach our original goal for this website.

This week on Thursday, we will post our weekly column “Where Nature Smiles.”  And on Friday, we will be offering our usual “Funny Friday.”  For the rest of the week, and over the weekend, we shall be assessing where we go from here.

Anyone having any thoughts on how we might better use the website to inform residents of the comings and goings in the area which have the potential of impacting their lives, are encouraged to share their ideas with us by either telephone at 607-547-9124 or email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.



Today on The Freeman’s Journal website, allotsego.com, there is an article entitled “Taxes Emerge As Issue In Otsego Town Election,” which points out that “...Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan, who is running unopposed in Tuesday’s election, said taxes will go up only a bit this year and still be lower than in 2015.  ‘The Town of Otsego is healthy,’ she wrote in a letter to the editor.”

In response to the article, we wrote the following comment:

"Catherine L. Ellsworth November 7, 2017 at 8:29 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

The statement that 2018 taxes in the Town of Otsego will be lower than they were in 2015 is a rather puzzling statement. In 2015, my town taxes were $109.53. Based on the proposed 2018 budget, I believe my town taxes will be in the neighborhood of $153, a 40.6% increase over the 2015 taxes. Additionally, it should be noted that my town taxes in 2012 were $49.90. Thus, given the projected taxes for 2018, my Town of Otsego taxes will have gone up 168% in less than ten years. The Town of Otsego may be “healthy.” But the taxes are not."

​Of course, we have no idea what "moderation" may be made to our comment before it appears on the website, if it appears on the website.


Of course, today’s election is not the only item of interest on the minds of the residents of the Town of Otsego.  Although it has not been well publicized, the proposed 2018 budget for the town has a 25% tax increase, something that is not sitting particularly well with some people. 

Thus we suspect the public hearing on the town’s 2018 budget will probably be worth the price of admission.  It will be held at the town offices, located in Fly Creek, tomorrow, Wednesday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. Town residents will have the opportunity to express their thoughts, both positive and negative on the 2018 budget.



We rather suspect there is no one in the area who is not aware that there will an election tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7.  The polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.  We encourage all registered voters to cast their ballots based on their assessments of which candidates they think will take the government in the direction they wish to see it go.

From our perspective, this election, as so many do, has revolved in great part on just what kind of government one thinks might best serve the interests of the public.  One side firmly believes that the bigger the government the better. Based on past experience such thinking tends to lead to more bureaucracy, more rules and regulations and higher taxes.  On the other side, the thinking is that less government works better as there is less bureaucracy, fewer rules and regulations and hopefully, lower taxes.  It will be up to the voters to decide what they perceive the best way forward for our local government might be.

And we suspect, once the votes are counted there will be those voters who are happy and those voters who are not happy.  We only hope that all of those candidates who are elected will come together to work for what proves to be in the best interest of all the residents of our area.  We always think government works best when it remembers that it needs to work for everyone, not just one side or the other.



This week, for "Funny Friday," we offer the story of Albert...

A woman is in a grocery store and happens upon a grandfather and his poorly behaving 3 year old grandson.  At every turn it’s obvious the grandfather has his hands full as the grandson screams for candy in the candy aisle, cookies in the cookie aisle and the same for fruit, cereal and soda. Through it all as they make their way through the store, the grandfather is saying in a very controlled voice, "Easy Albert, we won't be long, easy boy."

After year another outburst the grandfather calmly say, "It's OK Albert, just a couple more minutes and we'll be out of here.  Just hang in there.”
At the checkout, the little terror is throwing items from the cart and the grandfather again in his controlled voice is saying, "Albert, Albert, relax buddy, don't get upset. We’ll be home in five minutes.  Just stay cool, Albert".
Very impressed the woman goes up to the grandfather as he is loading his grandson and the groceries into the car and says, "You know sir, it's none of my business, but you were amazing in there. I don't know how you did it. The whole time you kept your composure and no matter how loud and disruptive your grandson got, you just calmly kept saying things would be OK. Albert is very lucky to have you for his grandfather."
"Thank you very much,” said the grandfather, "but I'm Albert. My grandson’s name is Johnny.”


An update on this week’s “Where Nature Smiles...”

It must be noted, we think, that The Freeman’s Journal made the decision not to print “Where Nature Smiles” this week. The explanation given to us for this decision was at best somewhat confusing.

When we submitted the column we were told that “Coming out a few days before elections, this could likely have an impact.  I don't object that, but I suspect there's another side to the story.  That increase seems extraordinary.  Would you bounce this off Meg Kiernan, the town supervisor, and see what she had to say? “

To this we replied: “We were disappointed...when you suggested we pass the column by Meg. The idea that any columnist has to get approval for what is written from an elected official would seem to us to make a mockery of a free press.” 

The response to this was “I wouldn't suggest that you pass the column to Meg.  No way.  I simply asked, as I would any reporter, to check what is likely to be a controversial story with both sides, to ensure the accuracy of the facts.  The Town of Otsego, as you know, is a hotbed of partisanship.”

It was further pointed out that “As it happens, I'm completely buried with letters to editor -- 17! I may hold column until next week; it'll still be relevant.” 

To this we replied “The idea that you would choose letters to the editor over a regular columnist is most disturbing to us.  It would seem to say that you do not value the work of someone who writes week in and week out when it becomes inconvenient to include a weekly column.”  We then added that to “...suggest that a weekly column is of less value than a letter to the editor is a real slap in the face.”

Under the circumstances we choose not to pass the column by the Town of Otsego supervisor as we had gotten the information concerning the proposed 2018 budget directly from her. If elected officials are being asked to check what columnists have written, we feel that the concept of freedom of the press is drastically diminished.  Of course, we also feel freedom of speech is also diminished when something a columnist has written is not printed because there is concern that it might have an impact on an upcoming election.

And while we are greatly disappointed that the column did not appear in The Freeman’s Journal this week, we fully understand that we are in part responsible for that decision as we choose not to compromise our principles regarding both freedom of speech and freedom of the press.



Where Nature Smiles...

Last year in our December 1st column, which appeared under a different name in a different newspaper, we wrote that we were hearing comments from a number of people who were expressing concern about the proposed 2017 budget for the Town of Otsego.  In fact, at the time we wrote the following:

“From our perspective, the most alarming thing we have heard is that the Town Board recently passed a budget which was balanced by using fund balance reserves. And while using fund reserves to balance budgets is not unusual, in this case it seems that using the fund balances is not thought to be sustainable, and if it continues, the fund balances will be exhausted in two years. And once that happens, there would seem to be a distinct possibility that property taxes will increase, perhaps by 20% or more if our sources are correct, to balance the budget.  If this is the case, it would seem the board might not be acting in the most fiscally responsible manner.”

As we recall, we were taken to task over what we wrote at that time.  In fact, we were told that what we had written was nothing more than gossip.  Thus we were somewhat surprised when we learned that the first draft of the 2018 Town of Otsego budget had an amazing 123% increase, with the tax burden in the town going from $207,390 to $462,623.  Since the 2018 proposed budget is virtually the same as the 2017 budget, it would seem that much of the increase resulted from the fact that while $235,349 had been transferred from the town’s reserve funds into the 2017 budget, for the 2018 budget only $19,564 was proposed to be transferred from the reserve funds. 

We must admit that the prospect of the possible 20% mentioned last year did not seem particularly appealing.  However, if the proposed 2018 budget, with a 123% tax increase were to be adopted, the 20% projected increase would be a cake walk. Fortunately, the town board did not buy into the originally proposed 2018 budget, scheduling a second budget meeting in hopes of being able to lower the tax burden.

When the board next met, the decision was made to cut spending, based on cuts suggested by town board member Joe Potrikus, of about $40,000 and adding an additional $160,000 in transfers from the reserve funds.  Doing this brought the tax burden in the town down to $260,373, an increase of only 25.5%.

We must admit that we are clueless as to how the Town of Otsego has gotten itself in what appears to be a bit of a fix. But, it seems that for the past five years, the town has transferred amounts between $235,349 and $399,852 to balance the budget.  Consequently, there is now concern that the reserve funds are, as was mentioned last year, in danger of being depleted.  In our email conversations with the supervisor, we gather that “...the reserves have been built up by overtaxing in the past and we need to slowly readjust.” She added that “We are trying to make the transition from relying on the reserves to dependence upon taxing as smooth as possible.”

Nonetheless, as we look at the budget, which has remained fairly constant over the past five years, the prospect of future tax increases in the amount being proposed this year is certainly not out of the question.  In fact, we would be tempted to think that in the next few budgets, the town will have to had made the transition from dependence on reserve fund transfers to dependence on the tax burden for taxpayers in the town.  And, we have to think that will only happen when the taxes have indeed increased the 123% which was originally proposed for the 2018 budget.

Granted, we certainly cannot be certain about where the Town of Otsego budget might be going in the future.  But we do think it is safe to say, the 2018 budget as now proposed with a 25.5% tax increase will still undoubtedly be on the troubling side for many taxpayers in the Town of Otsego.  However, it should be noted that the town will hold a public hearing on the 2018 budget on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. when town residents will have the opportunity to express their thoughts on the 2018 budget.

Finally, we note that Tuesday, November 7 is election day.  We encourage all eligible voters to go to the polls and cast their ballots.  Many of the races in this area are contested this year, giving the voters a choice between the candidates.  Also, there are three New York State propositions on the ballot upon which the voters can make their preferences on the issues known.



We recently received a piece of mail with the return address of:

         Taylor’s Home Heating
            A Division of Mirabito Energy Products
         17 Linden Ave.
         Cooperstown, NY 13326

It led us to believe that it is quite possible that the Taylor’s name is not yet going to disappear from the Cooperstown scene.  And, given all that we have lost of late, we think that is indeed good news.  While we fully realize that the only constant in life is change, it is sometimes nice to known that life is not always constant and sometimes things do not change.  We must say, we find it rather refreshing, for a change.