Sunday, December 27, 2020


There is a young amateur photographer in Russia who revels in taking photos of snowflakes.

His name is Alexey Kljatov and he lives in Moscow.  His "studio" is the small deck attached to his apartment where he sets out a piece of woolen fabric and, using a toothpick, gently transfers his snowflake to the cloth where the threads hold it firm.  

Alexey uses a Canon Powershot camera that he has fashioned for just this one project. It allows for the extreme close ups that we see here ... and he seems to prove that the old saying "no two snowflakes are alike" is true. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Ten days before Christmas 1965, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration got an early holiday present: astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford, aboard Gemini 6, rendezvoused in space with Gemini 7, piloted by Frank Borman and Jim Lovell.  

The maneuver required the most exacting pilot and computer control of a space vehicle yet attempted. Its success demonstrated to Mission Control that when it came to linking two vehicles in space, Houston did not have a problem.

Then just before Stafford and Schirra were scheduled to re-enter Earth's atmosphere the pair reported they had sighted some sort of U.F.O. That really alerted Mission Control, but they had little to worry about.

What they heard was Schirra's voice and here was his message. “Mission Control we have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit. You just might let me pick up that thing. I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front and the pilot of the command seems to be wearing a red suit” … and then the ground controllers heard the strains, both familiar and otherworldly of “Jingle Bells”, played on a harmonica backed by (what else?) miniature sleigh bells.

Ho, Ho, Ho and MERRY CHRISTMAS  to all.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Does anyone among today's Republican sycophants have the guts to be our Joseph Welch ???

In 1954 Senator Joseph McCarthy and his hatchet man Roy Cohn were on TV. It was the 30th day of the Army-McCarthy hearings where the despicable McCarthy was shouting to the hills that he was out to “rid our country of Communism”.

Joseph Welch, Chief Counsel for the Army challenged Roy Cohn to provide U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. with McCarthy's list of the 130 subversives in defense plants and McCarthy counters the request by accusing a young lawyer in Welch's own Boston law office as belonging to the National Lawyers Guild which he claimed was “the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party.”

It was a turning point in the proceedings and I still get chills as I remember Mr. Welch holding his head in dismay and then quietly voicing these words:

Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us....Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.”

When McCarthy tried to renew his attack, Welch interrupted him and uttered these words,
“Senator, may we not drop this? ... Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough.  Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”  

It was the beginning of the end for McCarthy but his untruths and hatred had already ruined the lives of countless American citizens and it's no surprise that his trusted legal advice came from the equally corrupt Roy Cohn. (Yes, the same man who befriended and advised Trump... the same one that Trump has been known to say, "Where is my Roy Cohn when I need him?)

Is there no one with the GUTS to be our Joseph Welch ?

Monday, December 14, 2020

It's just days before Christmas ...

 ...and we here in the U.S. hang our heads in dismay and disbeliefas our President continues to spew vitriol and hatred. He is the epitome of old Mr. Scrooge except that nothing the Past, Present or Future ghosts have to say will get through to him. Between him and the pandemic it's a pretty dismal Christmas here.

By comparison I turn to our neighbor to the North ...Canada. How I envy you all and here's just a small example of one way that you celebrate. 

 Every year your postal service helps children from every center of the world get their letters to Santa and some years back some big-hearted Canadian Post Office workers started writing back. This turned into a letter writing program and now they even have their own special postal address.  It is ...

Santa Clause, North Pole, HOH  OHO, Canada  

An average of one million letters arrive every year now, in English, French and 30 other languages and these precious messages are all answered. It's past time to send these letters this year but be sure to remember it for next Christmas and thanks for lifting my spirits too.   


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Not in a million years …

...would I have believed that Trump's tantrums could reap such a following of fawning Republican sycophants and it has awakened and brought out the underbelly of our nation. These are the RACISTS of our society who have found their hero. Trump, they believe, will face their greatest fear ...THE BROWNING OF AMERICA !

Of course they don't say this out loud but it's at the base of all their actions. Whatever happened to “all men are created equal”? Where is the equality when you look at all that the white's have and how stingy they are when it comes to sharing it?

I've never been so proud of being a Democrat as I am now. With all of our disparities and sometimes child-like dreams of a truly (small D) democratic nation we forge ahead and fight against the hatreds that are now coming to the fore with the Republicans.

I close my thoughts with agreeing with my middle son who states, “What a nation. Just look at our history … every time the Republicans are in power we, the Democrats, have to get elected to bring it back to where we should be”

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Dueling Ducks … a repeat from 2007

 In 1964 my husband and I and our three children were living in New York City. We would take regular trips to the country and on one of these jaunts we fell in love with a lake front property with a large home and boathouse. We loved the city but felt that the children would be better served in the country so we bought that property and made the transition to "small town, USA".

It was a culture shock, to say the least, but we loved the sounds and sights of the lake. In many ways it was actually noisier than the city. The night critters kept up a constant hum and during the day we would watch all sorts of water fowl and other wildlife. We thought we were attuned to these sounds until one Spring morning when we were awakened before dawn by a strange, loud noise.

It was difficult to place where it came from, but it sounded very much like the rustling of many newspapers. As the dawn brightened we were able to discern three ducks in the water very close to shore. Two of the ducks were fighting...the thrashing of their wings and their bodies colliding were producing the strange rustling sounds.

The other duck was at a discreet distance...aloof to the whole sordid affair and we finally deduced what was happening. Obviously these were two male ducks fighting for the attention of the fair, feathery maiden. We watched in amazement as the battle played out and finally one of the ducks gave up and skulked off.

The duck-duel was over and the winner could claim his prize. I don't know what we expected at this point...perhaps a tender touching of bills or a graceful encircling of two ducks in ecstasy. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The male duck swam behind the female and proceeded to prod and nudge her on her feathered rump. He was anything but gentle as he pushed her along toward the middle of the lake for one and all to see. "After all", he seemed to be saying, "I am the conqueror and to the conqueror go the spoils........"

(A note to readers… if you haven't checked out “Travels with Birds” blog have a look … it is amazing and I learn something new every time I check in. This silly 2007 re-post shows how far I've had to go.)