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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday's Testimony: "The New York Look"

Indeed, the photograph atop this entry of THE NEW YORK LOOK, is sadly the New York look throughout all five boroughs of NYC — not just this once posh shop on the UWS. Stores closing due to being unable to pay the high rent is the norm.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Mini Update

Today's entry is not part of the regular posting schedule, a schedule that I announced in a recent entry here on Blogger, rather it is an extra posting which I mentioned might be something I will do from time to time.

Happy to say that The Moth (NPR radio program) just received my submission and has let me know the audio I included (at their request) has been accepted.

NOW, it's a question of time (three-six months) before I will know if they will air my story.

MEANWHILE, still waiting on the decision re a potential book publisher of Imperfect Strangers, a few more weeks to go!

Thanks for your support, dear reader, and please stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Today is Saint Teresa of Ávila's Feast Day!


I don't want the day to pass without mentioning today's is the Feast Day of Saint Teresa of Ávila. In bygone years I've written about her in entries that you may reference by clicking here. I especially appreciate her comparing gardening and the process of prayer which I discussed in a 2011 post on here on Blogger.

The image atop this entry has been included in my entries re Saint Teresa of Ávila and it from a page that features many of her quotes, including this one: "I am amazed by how much can be accomplished on this path by being bold and striving for great things. Even if a soul is not quite strong enough yet, she can still lift off and take flight. She can soar to great heights. But like a fledgling bird, she may tire herself out and need to perch for a while."


If I didn't know better, I might've thought the lone cormorant (seen in the photograph directly above as well as in the next series of images) was providing some shade for a sunbathing turtle when they were both atop a large rock within Turtle Pond, near The Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.

But this cormorants actions had nothing to do with giving a turtle some shade, rather he/she was drying his wings after taking a few dips in the pond's algae-laden waters.

Sunday, October 13, 2019


Yesterday during my walk in Central Park, I paid a visit to The Conservatory Gardens, a place I have not been to since this past summer (July 20th). My first time visiting them was May 25th, 2019.

In my posting re my May visit to this place, I discussed the garden sculpture and fountain (seen in the image directly above) which honors the children’s book author Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett.

During that visit I encountered a Polygonia interrogationis (AKA Questionmark Butterfly), but I did not see any butterflies there yesterday, however, I did see what appeared to be tropical fish swimming in the base of the sculpture/fountain.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday's Fun Fact: A Cardinal's Beak is Designed to be a Nutcracker!

While walking in Central Park, I came upon this male Northern cardinal (above) attempting to open a peanut. I probably enjoyed seeing this "event" more than the cardinal ultimately enjoyed eating the legume. A nearby female cardinal poking at a peanut (as seen below) was also captured my attention.

According to many sources including, BIRDWATCHING HQ, cardinals are "classified as a granivorous animals because they live on a diet consisting of mostly seeds. Their short, stout, cone-shaped beaks are specially designed to crack open the hulls on seeds and shells on nuts."

In volume one of my book series, Words In Our Beak, (pictured below) Cam, the narrator of the series out that cracking shells is good for their beaks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


In three weeks and one day's time from now, it will be Halloween, and this week's Wednesday's Wisdom is this: If you or anyone you know, puts up decor outside your home, please bear in mind, many decorations designed for this holiday can be detrimental to members of the avian community.

This is something I discussed in a 2018 blog post which you may reference by clicking here.

It is also a topic that is covered in volume two of my book series, Words In Our Beak and the photo atop this entry features my Halloween figurines memorized by this aspect of the book.

Additionally, I have a great selection of Halloween cards that are created from my photographs.

The one seen in the image directly below is available via Fine Art America (FAA) and I'm very impressed with their print quality.

It is sized 5" by 7" and FAA produces them on digital offset printers using 100 lb paper that has a UV protectant. The image is semi-gloss and the inside of the card is matte and blank so one can write a message, but if you prefer, FAA can customize any text or message that you want to include.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Yom Kippur 2019

I don't want this Tuesday to pass without my mentioning that I'm thinking of the Jewish community with this evening's onset of Yom Kippur which will began at sunset this evening.

I have Jewish roots that I did not learn about until 1989!

A Few Interesting Facts About Cormorants (Tuesday's Truths WK 146)

Nine days ago on September 29th 2019, I published an entry about a lone cormorant who was spending time atop a that's rock within Turtle Pond. The other day when I was in Central Park, I stopped by that same area only to find area he/she was still atop the rock (at least I think the creature was the same one, and nearby birders seemed to think so too). The bird had company this time, as you can see from the image atop this entry, a lone turtle joined him/her on the rock. I found myself intrigued by the cormorant's beak that has a sharp hook at the end (check it out in the image above).

Monday, October 7, 2019

In addition to a theatrical play, LBJ is featured in "Imperfect Strangers..."


Last night a friend took me to see The Great Society, the Broadway play now being featured at The Vivian Beaumont Theatre in NYC. Playbill describes it  as a production "Capturing Johnson’s passionate and aggressive attempts to build a great society for all, The Great Society follows his epic triumph in a landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later. It was an era that would define history forever: the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the destruction of Vietnam, and the creation of some of the greatest social programs America has ever known—and one man was at the center of it all: LBJ."

I also reference President Lyndon B. Johnson in my book, Imperfect Strangers, a story which begins from a child's perspective. The following vignette is twelve pages into the story, where I consistently reference historical events and songs of the particular time period to give the reader context.

The Nominee

My whole family still watches a lot of television. Tonight we are watching a variety program called “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Most of the older kids in the neighborhood are excited about tonight’s show because a new singing group named The Beatles (who are from England) will be making their United States debut tonight.

For months after this particular show, my father walks around the house singing “And when I touch you I feel happy inside –It’s such a feeling that my love –I can’t hide-I can’t hide-I can’t hide” from The Beatles hit, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” I prefer another group, Gerry and the Pacemakers. I like The Pacemakers because the year President Kennedy was shot I’d heard them on the radio singing “Walk On-Walk On-With Hope in Your Hearts.

It’s hard to believe that in three months President Kennedy will have been dead for one year. My mother and father never did like his vice president Lyndon Johnson. When the Republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, campaigns against Johnson for the presidency that is who they support. There is only one other student in my entire class whose parents support Goldwater.

Kids taunt me at school about my parent’s political position. They say that my father wants Goldwater to win so that aid to the poor will be reduced or eliminated. My classmates believe that because my father works for an insurance company, he is against this new idea of a program called Medicare.

All through the Johnson versus Goldwater presidential campaign, I am bothered by Johnson’s television commercial featuring a little girl with pretty hair picking up daisies in a field. She is counting the petals. A man’s voice can be heard counting too. She counts foreword, while he concurrently counts backward. When the little girl has counted to ten, the man’s voice simultaneously reaches the count of zero and there is an explosion from a bomb. The voice of Lyndon Johnson then proclaims, “These are the stakes!”

I have nightmares that if my mother’s and father’s choice of Barry Goldwater wins, then everyone will be destroyed by nuclear material. I haven’t told my parents about my nightmares because I am afraid they will be mad at me for questioning the ideas of their preferred selection of a presidential candidate. I ultimately feel uneasy the night that the election coverage is on television. When the news commentator, Walter Cronkite, reports on the exit polls and the electoral votes, I am relieved that the campaign has ended. I had hated seeing that commercial with the girl and her flower and I still have bad dreams about it.

At the beginning of next month, I will supposedly hear if the publisher will be taking on my book project. Please stay tuned.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

"A Bird's Eye View"

This "bonus" entry (unscheduled, "A Bird's Eye View," is in honor of this day being the first Sunday after 2019's Feast Day of Saint Francis, patron saint of animals (especially birds) and patron saint of those who love animals (especially birds). 

Churches (of all denominations) throughout the world hosted The Blessing of the Animals on his actual feast day but many (including The church of Saint John the Divine in NYC) will be holding that ceremony today.

The male and female Northern cardinals seen in the photographs directly above have a bird's eye view from within the tree tops of Central Park.

This bird type is featured in my three volume book series, Words In Our Beak.

Additionally this avian variety is the inspiration for a collection of greeting cards which can be found within my pages on Fine Art America's web-site.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

My Brief Encounter with a lone Winter Wren (and nearby Mallards)

Last Saturday when I took my weekly walk with CF, I spotted the tiny creature (thanks to my long camera lens) seen in the one and only photograph that I was able to get and it is atop this entry. I have now learned his/her identity through the NYC bird expert, Robert DeCandido PhD.

The little one I saw is a Winter Wren, a type of fauna whom I've never seen before.

After learning the ID, my research led me to many interesting facts re Winter Wrens, including a  web-page for Bird Watcher's Digest, explaining, "The winter wren is one of North America’s smallest birds, kinglet-sized and rounded in shape like a small teapot, with a short stubby tail for a spout. Its bill is short and thin. Dark brown feathers suit its skulking habits, for this is a bird that likes to hide among the leaf litter or crawl into dark crevices in rocks or the cavities created by fallen logs. (Its scientific name, Troglodytes, means 'cave dweller.') Often found along stream banks or thick roadside tangles, this wren may pass unnoticed much of the time unless you are attuned to its double-click chip note. In the breeding season, however, males will often establish a perch on top of a snag and remain there for long periods as they sing their glorious, bubbly song."

Friday, October 4, 2019

It's Saint Francis's Feast Day!

Today's entry is not part of the regular posting schedule I announced this past Monday, rather it is an extra posting which I mentioned might be something I will do from time to time.

My reason for today's entry is honor Saint Francis of Assisi. Today is his feast day! One of the ways I'm honoring the day is by sharing the cartoon by Patrick McDonnell that is posted atop this entry.

Among many things, Saint Francis is often remembered as the patron saint of animals; especially birds. I have a small statue of Saint Francis above my desk (seen in the image directly below).

His statue the one standing at the far left and serves as an inspiration for me to persevere in my work to help others learn about the needs avian community through my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Sparrows at The Delacorte

House sparrows often find and/or build a home in a number of places at The Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. The one seen in the photographs atop this entry  is "sitting" within one of the theatre's outdoor wall lights.

Unfortunately many horrific things happen to birds who visit this theatre. Some are documented in this article/report (by an unidentified writer) which you may read by clicking here.

On another note, regarding House sparrows, I'd like to let you know, dear reader, they are featured in my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wednesday's Wisdom: One Cure for Rejection, Keep your eye on the birdie!

Today's entry is not part of the regular posting schedule I announced this past Monday, rather it is an extra posting which I mentioned might be something I will do from time to time.

My reason for today's entry is to let you know that the photography book project that I have spent much time preparing and is one I referenced when I altered my blog schedule this past August has rejected my proposal stating, "...and thanks for formatting the files to meet our request. G.S. thanks you for your submission 'It’s the Little Things,' which he personally reviewed. Unfortunately our program is set for years to come, and adding new books to our program is the absolute exception. I wish you all the best for the publication of your interesting project...") is to keep looking for another publisher, which I am doing."

Hence here is my Wednesday Wisdom: Probably one of the best cures for a rejected proposal is to look for other places to submit work and I found one based in the northwest portion of the United States who said it would be a long shot as their content focused on the wildlife in that area of our country.

STILL, when I told her my angle, she told me to send a PDF to her, which I did this past Monday after receiving the rejection.

THE OTHER CURE for rejection is to cull photos; so I went through some pictures I took of titmouses whom I encountered in Central Park in February 2019 and some of the images I came across are featured atop this entry.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

It's the Feast day of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux Tuesday's Truths WK 145

Welcome to the 145th segment of my Tuesday's Truths series which is coinciding with the feast day of  Saint Thérèse de Lisieux. I confess that I barely have even a fraction of the faith that she was known to possess.

This confession prompted me to think of one of St. Thérèse de Lisieux's quotes which is this: "I had wondered for a long time why God had preferences and why all souls did not receive an equal amount of grace […] Jesus saw fit to enlighten me about this mystery. He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendour of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realised that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay."

I moved into my apartment on her Feast Day in 1992 and her picture (seen below) hangs above my desk as a reminder of "the little way" which is associated with her.