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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Reflecting on Fanny and Rosa Sonnenschein (Yom Kippur 2021)


On this Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish faith, I am reflecting on my ancestors.

Having said this, I should mention that I was not brought up with any practices in Judaism. I knew nothing about my Jewish roots until I was in my thirties and living in New York City.

Getting back to my ancestors, Fanny 'Wink' Sonnenschein, my father's grandmother, and my great grandmother, had an eye afliction. One of her eyes performed so much less than the other that it caused it to turn completely inward; and she was ultimately nicknamed Wink, by her mother, Rosa Fassel Sonnenschein.

Images of both Fanny and Rosa Sonnenschein are featured in the collage atop this entry.

Fanny is at the left, Rosa is at the right. Rosa Sonnenschein was the "flamboyant editor and publisher of The American Jewess, the first (1895) independent American Jewish magazine, published by a woman" and dedicated to issues concerning women. 

I am not certain if Rosa had poor eye-sight and perhaps if she had an affliction, she hid it. However, from what I understand about Rosa Sonnenschein, she was not shy about who she was or what she stood for. This is evidenced in a description that is on the backside of the image I've included in the collage atop this entry.

I realize that text is hard to decipher so I've taken the liberty of posting a copy of it directly below:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Wednesday's Wisdom is from SOUR PUSS!


I'm a sucker for Mutts and have published many blog posts about this amazing strip. 

You can read them by clicking here.

Mutts, as well as other comic strips, are part of the inspiration for my newly released book, BIRD TALES.


This book is a collection of photo-comics (a medium, as I've mentioned here on Blogger, that is a means of sequential storytelling that use photographs rather than illustrations). The inspiration comes from photo-novels, also known as fumetti. They are popular in Italy and Latin America.

It features a number of birds participating in a variety of activities and is dedicated to all birds and everyone who loves them. An interactive book for people of all ages to enjoy together and is now available via Apple Books.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Sparrows are the most ubiquitous of birds! (Tuesday's Truths Episode 222)


Yesterday my country celebrated National Peanut Day and my blog post re it featured a male House finch, taking the oportunity to enjoy peanuts that are in a feeder which is in my garden. That bird type is hardly the only avian creature who comes to nosh on the peanuts which I offer, House sparrows nibble on peanuts when they grow older as evidenced in the image of one of my comic strips.

Photo-comics, as I've mentioned here on Blogger, are a means of sequential storytelling that use photographs rather than illustrations. The inspiration comes from photo-novels, also known as fumetti. They are popular in Italy and Latin America.

This aforementioned strip is included in my recently released book titled BIRD TALES.


It features a number of birds participating in a variety of activities and is dedicated to all birds and everyone who loves them. An interactive book for people of all ages to enjoy together and is now available via Apple Books.

Since I've titled this 22nd episode of my Tuesday's Truths series, "Birds are ubiquitous," let me share with you the fact that they live all over the world, throughout Northern Africa, Europe, the Americas and much of Asia. There are many more sparrows than humans — wherever humans go, House sparrows live!

This is because they feed on scraps that people leave behind! You can find them on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building and have even 2,000 feet underground in a mine.

These birds are also included in my three volume book series, Words In Our Beak.


The goal of these books is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in a rooftop urban garden (mine) in New York City, my story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective.

Monday, September 13, 2021

National Peanut Day 2021


According to many holiday-themed web-sites, today is National Peanut Day. Over the years I've published posts on this blog about this event, so if you'd like to learn about it, please refernce them by clicking here.

On this National Peanut Day, I'm pleased to announce that I've complied a number of my photographs that feature various bird types who are enjoying peanuts I offer in a wreath style  feeder (which is in my garden), and I've created photo-comic strips.

Photo-comics, they are a means of sequential storytelling that use photographs rather than illustrations. The inspiration comes from photo-novels, also known as fumetti. They are popular in Italy and Latin America.

An example of one of my strips can can be seen in the image atop this entry. The bird type "show cased" in this image is a male House finch.

He (along with over twenty types of avian creatures) is included within my three volume hard cover book series, Words In Our Beak.

This is a photo of my three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak." Information re the books is another one of my blog  posts @ https://www.thelastleafgardener.com/2018/10/one-sheet-book-series-info.html

The goal of these books is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in a rooftop urban garden (mine) in New York City, my story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective.

This series has received rave reviews and prior to the cornavirus pandemic, I was able to make public presentations (based on my books's content) at prominent institutions.

Hopefully now that restrictions are being lifted, I will have the opportunity to do that again but during the imposed hiatus preventing that type of assignment, I created my photo-comics. They feature a number of birds participating in a variety of activities and they are now complied into a digital, interactive book titled BIRD TALES.

It is dedicated to all birds and everyone who loves them. An interactive book for people of all ages to enjoy together and is now available via Apple Books.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11 TWENTY YEARS LATER


There a number of things I will never forget in relation to 9/11. Twenty years later the horror of it all has not worn away, and indeed, I will never forget.

One month and one week prior to the attacks, I interviewed for a job with a company that was located on the eighty-third floor of One World Trade

The day my interview took place was one of the hottest days on record and a receptionist who identified herself as Margaret Mattic offered me a cup of water.

I was subsequently interviewed by Lashawana Johnson.

Ms. Johnson told me she enjoyed coming to work in the morning because she could shop for her young children.

Ultimately I did not get the position but when I heard the news over the radio as the first plane hit, I instantly thought of Ms. Johnson and Margaret Mattic.

Fortunately I had saved the contact information of a woman named Carmen who worked the night shift. I was able to reach her by phone and she gave me the sad news that everyone in the company who worked the morning shift had been killed.

To add to  Carmen’s horror, she witnessed the planes flying into the buildings because she had a view of the towers from her Brooklyn apartment.

I know of many people who perished including someone (Josh Rosenthal) who lived in the apartment building where my dearest friend VB was living at the time. 

Evidently that very morning he was joking about possibly being late for his job in an office on one of the higher floors of the towers.

Unfortunately for him he was not late in getting to work and perished with scores of others on that morning. The street where he lived was named in honor of his memory.

On a bittersweet note re 9/11, in the Dutch bulb supplier Hans van Waardenburg sent one million daffodil bulbs as a gift to the city. ... 10,000 initial volunteers joined the first planting efforts, and Mayor Bloomberg made the daffodil the city's official flower in 2007. 

Every time I see daffodils in the parks, public spaces, and tree pits, I think of those who lost their lives on that day; and I also think of those who now have 9/11 related illnesses. 

There are no words…