songbird's crazy world

life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

another this and that

I spent some time outdoors last weekend, at the community pool and in Drew's back yard. And I got a sunburn. But only on my left shoulder. Can you believe that? Aloe vera gel is my new best friend. Drew is having surgery later today, so I'll be spending my day in a hospital waiting room. Again. Yes, he's had more than a few surgical procedures in the last few years. And each time, I worry... My Idiot Foot is acting up again. I've got an appointment with my doctor on Friday. Sigh. Getting older isn't fun... We're supposed to go to a Ducks game on Saturday. I don't know if Drew will be sufficiently recovered by then. If he feels up to it, we'll go, and we can always leave early if he needs to. If not, well, the Ducks have a very generous policy about exchanging unused tickets. The movie theater near Drew's house is still closed, by the way. That rodent problem must have been difficult to remove... Maybe they should have hired our cat Redford. I've mentioned numerous times that Redford is a very good hunter. A few weeks ago Redford caught... a bat. Yes, a bat. I have no idea how he managed that. My sister called the county and had the bat tested for rabies (it was negative). and then she made sure Redford got his overdue rabies booster.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Music Monday

The whole world held its collective breath.  On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins boarded a Saturn V rocket.  "10...9...8..7...6...5...4...3...2...1.  We have liftoff...."   On July 20, we heard Armstrong say "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."  Men had landed on the moon !  and the next day, Armstrong walked on the moon.  "That's one small step for  [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." the astronauts returned to Earth on July 24.  

The astronauts were honored with a NYC ticker tape parade down the Canyon of heroes on August 13.

In honor of the events of 50 years ago, my music theme this week is all about space and space travel.

Nothing like a little 2001: A Space Odyssey to start things off.  Classic film from 1968, with an easily recognizable score.

On July 11, 1969, a struggling folk singer named David Bowie released a single for a new song called "Space Oddity", and the rest is history. Let's hear from Bowie  now.

A big hit in the 70's, Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk:

Let's add a bit of humor:

You knew I'd have to include this one:

And to close it out....the obvious....and a classic....

Sunday, July 14, 2019


There was a major electrical failure in NYC last night.  The blackout encompassed midtown and the Upper West Side.  Times Square was completely without power.

I’d given some thought to going into the city yesterday, to take photos of Manhattanhenge, but ultimately decided against it.

And my daughter-who-lives-in-Manhattan is ok — her current apartment, on the East Side, was unaffected.  Her former residence, in Hell’s Kitchen, however, was in the “zone of darkness”.

The blackout was a major inconvenience to a lot of people — shows and concerts had to be cancelled — but the city remained calm.

Interestingly, the blackout occurred on 7/13/19, the anniversary of the 1977 city-wide blackout.  On that hot summer night 42 years ago, the entire city was in darkness.  It was a horrible night, with rioting and looting in some of the city’s poorer neighborhoods.    Being a suburban child, I wasn’t directly affected by the 1977 blackout.

I don’t have very clear memories of the Great Northeast Blackout of 11/9/65. I was only 5 years old, and my “memories” are really family stories...

But the blackout of 2003 ... well, that one is still fresh in my mind.  I wrote about it 

Ah, the joy of walking from Wall Street to Penn Station — a distance of 4 miles — in the heat of summer.

Saturday, July 13, 2019


So, when you're in an LIRR station, waiting for a train, you're bound to hear  many announcements:  the time your train is expected to arrive, the track number of its arrival, a reminder to stand behind the yellow safety line and to step over the gap between the train and the platform, don't put your feet on the seats, store luggage inn the overhead racks ....

Some f the announcements are made by celebrities.  

For example, Darryl Strawberry -- former NY Met, former NY Yankee-- reminds passengers to hold their child's hand when stepping over the gap.

I completely understand.

Becca must have been about 4 years old, and Jen was about 6.  My sisters and I had taken the girls into Manhattan for some show or event.  We took the LIRR home.  

When it was time to board the train, Jen held hands with one of her aunts, and I took Becca's hand. I told her to step over the gap.  But for some reason, she started to fall into the gap.  

Never underestimate the strength of a mother who sees her child about to fall between the train and the platform.  I literally pulled Becca onto the train.  

I still remember the site of her patent leather Mary Jane lying on the tracks.  

If I were not holding her hand....

Friday, July 12, 2019

#skywatchfriday -- Chichen Itza

From October 2016, the pyramid at Chichen Itza, a Mayan site in the Yucatan.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Wednesday Medley

Terri's questions this week:

Everything below this line is from the National Day Calendar.




July 10th of each year celebrates National Clerihew Day in the United States.  Edmund Clerihew Bentley created the whimsical, four-line biographical poem.
An English novelist and humorist, Edmund Clerihew Bentley (July 10, 1875 – March 30, 1956), was a 16-year-old student when he thought up the lines for his first ever clerihew.
Sir Humphry Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium
As with most poetry, the Clerihew is defined by a set of rules. It must contain four lines, rhyming couplets of AA/BB, a person’s name in the first line, say something about that person and it should be humorous. It is meant to be a funny poem, of course.
The genre of poetry wasn’t limited to Bentley. Other poets wrote and published in form as well, and still do.
  • A Cluster of Clerihews by Gavin Ewart
  • Excuse My Clerihews by William Hazell
  • The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram by Paul Ingram (Though they don’t really seem lost, I guess they once were.)
Like limericks, poets poke fun at people real and imagined. As with any humor, it’s meant to draw a chuckle from the reader as well as the subject of the poem. If you can’t laugh at yourself and you’re the subject of a clerihew, it’s probably better not to read it. If you’re writing a clerihew about someone who can’t take a joke, maybe don’t write the clerihew. Or, write it about not being able to take a joke.
Nelly Belly ha ha
Danced to Lady GaGa.
Fell on her bum.
Cried in her rum.
On National Clerihew Day, try writing a clerihew or two of your own! Post on social media using #NationalClerihewDay.
The day is observed annually on the anniversary of Edmund Clerihew Bentley’s birth, July 10th.
Everything above this line is from the National Day Calendar.
Terri freely admits that she had no idea what Clerihew Day was about until she read about it above.  Sounds like a fun exercise!!  It may take a while so one poem is the only real task today!!  If you aren't up for creating, then visit HERE and pick your favorite to share!   Let's go!

1.  Try your hand at one of these Clerihew poems, or two or three!  
First, mine:
Performer Billy Joel
His music fills my soul.
All his fans hearken
When he plays at the Garden.

Next, one I liked:  
The enemy of Harry Potter
Was a scheming plotter.
I can't tell you what he's called; I'd be ashamed
To name "he who must not be named".

2.  Tell us something about your week so far.

Working in Manhattan may be many things, but "boring" is not one of them.  Yesterday HBO was shooting one of its productions outside 70 Pine Street, about two blocks from my office.  Today, of course, is the ticker tape parade for the women's soccer team.  And at the end of the week we will experience another "Manhattanhenge", where the setting sun will be aligned with the east-west streets of midtown.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

another this and that

Drew and I had a lovely backyard barbecue on the 4th.  Very small group of people, but we had a lot of fun. We plan to do it again Labor Day weekend. 

Maybe the next time Jen and Becca will show up; neither was able to attend this weekend.  Jen was in Rhode Island, a friend from college got married.  And Becca was a bridesmaid at a Long Island wedding, she's known the bride since middle school.

Drew and I went to another Ducks game Saturday night.  Unfortunately they lost the game, but there was good news -- they clinched a spot in the playoffs in September because they're the top team in their division at the end of the first half of the season.  And there were fireworks at the ball park after the game.  It's cheap entertainment, costs about the same as a movie ticket.

Good thing we chose baseball over the movies...the movie theater in Drew's neighborhood had to close suddenly because it failed a health inspection.  Seems there was a little rodent problem....though I'm sure they'll reopen in a few days, after they evict the unwanted guests.

There is excitement here in NYC.  There will be a ticker tape parade!  Women's soccer -- team  USA beat the team from the Netherlands to win the World Cup.  The parade starts at Battery Park at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and will make its way up Broadway -- the Canyon of Heroes -- to City Hall.  At 10:30 there will be a ceremony recognizing the team members accomplishments, and the Mayor will give them the keys to the city.  Street closures are expected to last until noon.

I'm not a soccer fan, so I don't have plans to go to the parade.  Besides, I've been to several previous parades -- for the Vietnam vets in 1985, the 86 Mets, several of the Yankees championship teams in the 1990's, Nelson Mandela, and John Glenn (in 1998, after he flew the space shuttle).  the parades are loud, crowded, you get covered in confetti, and you're more likely to see the honorees if you watch the parade on TV -- the only reason I saw Mandela at his parade was because I was watching from a 20th floor window.

My office is near the East River, about half a mile from Broadway, so  I won't be directly affected by the crowds or the street closures. But I do plan to bring my lunch and eat in our break room, since it's likely that all the parade goers will stay in the area for lunch...

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