Summer in October

Friday in NY was fantastic. It was like summer.

I usually prefer fall and would want the weather to be in the 50s and 60s, but this past summer was crap – 107 degrees or heavy rain constantly and this past week was blah, overcast and not really cool, but not really hot.

But Friday, was bright, the sky was blue, the temperature was 80 degrees and it seems like the whole city was out. Every park was full of people of all types from school children to office workers.

I watched in delight as some school boys climbed up on one of the statues in Union Square, where one of them struggled to get up there with his friends. Just matter-of-factly, two friends grabbed him by the arms and dragged him up. And then it looked as if they all had lunch sitting up on the statue base.

An older guy played the guitar and sang old hippie songs from the 1960s, and was amazing. The whole day was amazing.

I took the subway out to Coney Island. While the weather was great, strangely enough, there weren’t many people out there and it wasn’t as lively as it was in the summer. But I still enjoyed it.

Thursday night I spent with my cousins, We all went to dinner and it had been almost two years since we did that due to the pandemic, so it was very enjoyable, one of those nights I’ll always remember.

We may go apple and pumpkin picking upstate this weekend, but the weather is supposed to turn to rain again, bringing in a cold front, so we’ll see. The rain would stop us from going, not the cold front.

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I left my cell phone in an Uber

I left my cell phone in an Uber the other day. You can imagine what that’s like.

I had taken the Uber to pick up my car, which was in for service. I had the driver leave me at a supermarket, which is in the same shopping center where the car was being worked on.

Anyway, she left me off across the lot, in front of the supermarket and as soon as I got out, I realized I didn’t have my phone. And there she went, driving off.

Luckily there was traffic in the parking lot and she wasn’t going that fast, but every time I reached the car, she drove on a bit. I kept reaching the back of the car and she kept driving more. I kept calling out, “Wait! Stop!” I’m sure people were looking at me wondering what happened. I’m glad I can run fast.

Finally I managed to run around to the front of the car and stop her and I got the phone. I’m glad I had her drop me on the other side of the shopping center, because if she had dropped me off where the car was, she would have been on the highway and long gone.

It’s scary how much we rely on our cell phones.

A couple of years ago, my cousins, mother and son, dropped me off at the train in Queens, NY so I could get the subway back to the city. As I walked up the steps (it was an El train, at Woodside, Queens), I realized I didn’t have my phone, I had left it in their car.

As I rode back to the city I realized I had no way to reach them, I didn’t know their home or cell numbers. It’s funny how we remembered all the numbers in the past, but these days we don’t need to, unless you lose your phone of course. So as was on my way back to the city, I tried to think of how to reach them. I didn’t know anyone else’s numbers and so I couldn’t call my cousins or aunt or whatever. I thought I would call my parents, I remember their number and then have them call my cousins and arrange something.

You fell so naked without the phone, your who life is on there.

When I got back to the city, realized I could leave a message for my cousins on Facebook. I did that and we arranged for me to pick up the phone the next day – in Hoboken of all places, one of my favorite places. One of my cousins works in Hoboken and I ended up going at lunch time and I got my phone and we had lunch.

I always wonder how people lose their phones, but it’s quite an easy thing to do.

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CBS all night

Saw this old tv guide page on Facebook. It’s from December 1962, a Monday night. Looks like a NYC edition by the channel lineup.

I think I would watch CBS, channel 2 all night. Maybe up till 10 pm and then change to ABC Channel 7 for Ben Casey.

When we were kids my father was supposed to be on To Tell the Truth. It was live I think, because he was coming home late from work and my mother told me that the reason was he was going to be on To Tell the Truth, so we put it on and waited, but he never came on the show. I forgot the reasoning, maybe a technical issue or something and they showed a rerun.

He was going to be one of the liars/false people, making believe they were the person who was supposed to be the subject. I have to ask him about that, see if he remembers all these years later.

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Cocaine Cowboys

I started watching the 6-part Netflix show, Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami. And to my surprise, I know so many of the characters/people. I’ve lived in Miami most of my life, so this all transpired during my lifetime.

I’m friends, well, let’s say I’m friendly with one of the dealer’s sons. I know two of the women, who are now Real Housewives of Miami. I know them through a good friend, who is good friends with them. I know one of the lawyers, I work out with him at the gym, and so on and so on. They even mention and show old videos of my own little neighborhood in the show.

So many of the news stories, I remember seeing on the tv news at the time.

The 1980s, my favorite decade, was a wild time in Miami. I was of course removed from al of these drugs things going on, but they were always front page news at the time. And the people I know from the stories, I know now, I didn’t know then.

I love the part in the show where one juror says that Willy and Sal, the drug kingpins didn’t look like gangsters to her when she saw them in court, she said, “The attorneys are the ones who looked like gangsters.”

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Visiting Van Gogh

These pictures of course do not do this justice, but the other day we went to the Van Gogh Experience in NYC. It was one of the best things I have experienced. The best part and most unbelievable part was just as we entered, my favorite song, No Regrets by Edith Piaf started playing.

This was not planned. We entered randomly, it was not as if the show was starting, it’s an ongoing thing. The person at the entrance, parted black curtains, and four of us entered, the lights came on and Edith Piaf started singing and Vincent Van Gogh’s work was bigger than life surrounding us. An indescribable moment.

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A delightful train ride

Photo courtesy Railroad Museum of New England

I made my plans for my usual train ride from Boston to NYC in the fall. It’s been a regular thing every few years. I start out in Boston and end up in NY for Thanksgiving via train, traveling through the colorful autumn leave covered terrain of New England along the way. One of my favorite things.

A couple of years ago, I sat in front of two older ladies and enjoyed hearing their conversation through the whole ride. Rather than being annoying, it was quite enjoyable. Here’s the story, I had posted it before, but here it is again.

On Thanksgiving week, I took a four hour train trip from Boston to New York. Sitting behind me were two older ladies. They didn’t know each other and they just ended up sitting together and they talked and talked for that four hours. I know their whole stories, I know their names, I know about their kids and I loved every minute of it. I almost wish I had taped it.

One lady is 82 and one is 83. One is from Manchester, England one is from Rhode Island, they both had lived in New Jersey at one time and both were on their way back to New Jersey to be with family for Thanksgiving.

This video is 23 seconds through Connecticut, and you can hear the ladies speaking behind me. It’s low, but listen . . . It’s amazing, when I hear them it brings me right back to that moment.

The lady from Rhode Island talked like Cyndi Lauper. Exactly. The lady from Manchester had that refined English accent and you can imagine these two accents going back and forth sharing their lives with each other. Cyndi Lauper was nosy and nervy, she asked a lot of personal questions, and Manchester calmly answered them.

Manchester has two children, one in Washington DC and one in New Jersey, I think she said she lives in Boston now. Cyndi Lauper has five children and nine grandchildren, they live all over and I don’t remember where she lives now.

They spoke about their husbands who have both passed, Manchester’s husband passed 10 years ago, Cyndi Lauper’s husband passed nine years ago to the exact day we were on the train. Cyndi Lauper was very into her husband’s life, it was more about him than her, and it seemed to be a man’s world according to her questions. She asked Manchester what her husband did for a living, rather than asking Manchester what she did. Manchester’s husband did many things, including real estate, to which Cyndi Lauper said, “Oh you must have made a lot of money!” to which Manchester calmly said, “No, just enough to live on.”

Cyndi Lauper’s husband was a highly regarded college professor. It was a hectic life being a professor’s wife, according to Cyndi Lauper.

They spoke of World War II and of all of the places they have been and lived. They spoke of the Royal Family. Neither of them like Camila, Cyndi Lauper doesn’t like Charles, but Manchester says he is not a bad sort.

Manchester came to the US in the 1960s. She said that period of time was a “brain drain” where all the good minds from England moved to the states. She eventually became a citizen with her husband in Elizabeth, New Jersey, they lived in that county at the time and that was the county seat and the location for the citizenship ceremony

The conversation was fascinating. And the thought of these two older grandmas traveling alone together was nice. When they first met, Cyndi Lauper told Manchester that she was nervous about traveling alone, getting on the wrong train and all but Manchester said, “We’ll you’re on the train now and the only thing to do is get off when it’s time. That’s it.”

Cyndi Lauper had her son picking her up at the train station and Manchester had her daughter-in-law picking her up at the train station. Manchester said the first thing she wanted to do once she was settled at her son’s and daughter-in-law’s house was to have a hot cup of tea. She said, “When she asks if I want anything [meaning her daughter-in-law], I will say ‘yes,’ a hot cup of tea!”

I did not look back at them the whole time, I didn’t want to spoil the image I had in my head of them. But when my stop came, NYC, I had to get up and leave, so I looked back and there they were, sitting and staring at me. I just stared back, I didn’t want to be rude but I wanted to take them in. Neither was what I had pictured in my head and I almost wish I had not looked.

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What a difference a year makes

A recent cartoon made me laugh before I even drew it. It wasn’t the cartoon or subject matter itself. It’s the fact that as I sat down to draw, I said out loud, “Let’s get this scene done!” I guess I think I’m shooting a movie or something these days. And possibly I am. I am the writer, director, cameraman and so on. So maybe it is a scene being shot.

I like the juxtaposition of this cartoon with one I did about a year ago, around the beginning of the pandemic. This one below.

They are both confusing due to the masks. In the last case above, masks are becoming a thing of the past, but the bank robber wants to keep his on. In the earlier one below, the bank robber is sort of infringed upon by everyone wearing masks, which struck me quite funny the first time I walked into a bank and saw everyone, including myself, wearing masks.

Here’s a little secret – they were both done around the same time – a year or so ago. The top one originally was the lady banker telling the man banker, to “calm down, it’s ok to wear masks in the bank today.” And the customer didn’t have a gun. He was just a customer with a mask. But it sat for a year and eventually, I changed the wording, added a gun and there you have it.

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Birthdays, kayaks and getting back to normal

For the past week my life has been kayaks and birthday lunches.

I’ve never been one for birthdays, I don’t see any reason to celebrate getting older, and of course my mother always cries when I say that and she thinks I wish I never was born, which of course is not the case. I just don’t like to make a fuss over it.

So usually my birthday comes and goes and my family does something, usually a cake on pizza night or something, but I guess because of the pandemic coming to an end, people want to get out, so I’ve been having lunches almost daily with different people, who are asking to take me out for my birthday, which was almost a week ago – yet the lunches keep going on and I’m loving it. I have a lot of Gemini friends, so there are lots of other birthdays during this period, so we have been celebrating those, too. So it’s been one big Gemini party lately.

For years I went out to lunch almost daily with different friends, and family, on different days and it was just the norm, but over time it seemed to stop, but it’s back and I’m loving it.

One of the local restaurant owners saw me on the street and started complaining about the fate of restaurants these days and he said I look so relaxed and happy and don’t have a wrinkle on my face, which he meant as a put down, but of course, I took it as a compliment, especially on my birthday, the day he actually said that to me. I had to remind him that the pandemic affected everyone, not just him.

As for the kayak/canoe saga, my kayak friend traded in that blow-up thing for an actual canoe. He had some guy with a trailer bring it over to my house to store here so we can easily take it out on the water, but haven’t yet. The bay has been choppy, maybe due that big beautiful full moon. Did you see it?

He came over to try it out, to see if it worked in the water without any leaks. It’s an old, ugly canoe, and therein lies the rub. One of my neighbors objected to it being on the property. “I’m trying to make the place look nice and you have that piece of crap hanging on the wall?” He offered to buy a nice new wooden one for us all to use, something he called “Hamptons-style.”

So I told him to just wait it out, my friend will get bored and get rid of the canoe, although he didn’t take it well when I told him it had to go.

I normally would fight it and say that I live here too, I have rights. But the thing is ugly, it is not going to be used, and my neighbor always does things for me – like buy me a brand new canoe, which I am going to decline. It makes no sense for him to do that.

So between that and lunches with friends (he was one of them that took me out), that’s what’s been going on around here. Business has been picking up, so that’s great and I’m getting ready for summer travel, so that is great, too. Little by little things are returning to normal, let’s hope they stay that way.

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Faded pictures

I was looking through pictures of our kayaking adventure and also pictures from when my friend was in town in April. A lot happened – went to the zoo, Everglades, etc. But I don’t have many pictures. Is it possible we are finally, as a society, getting over taking pictures of everything, including our lunch every day?

There was a time where we took pictures of everything. My friend likes to post “stories” on Instagram, which disappear in 24 hours, so he doesn’t have any photos to see or save.

I used to take so many pictures of everything, sort of documenting my whole life. When I published the daily news, I literally would have 150 photos of an event I attended and then I would have to go through every one of those photos and edit them down to a handful that I would publish. I finally learned, after so many years of that to just edit as I went along. I would take maybe 12 photos and then whittle that down to 9 or 10. And this way, I literally cut out hours worth of work going through images.

But now I sort of don’t take pictures of things. When we went kayaking, my biggest fear in that rubber raft was sinking. Not so much drowning, but sinking and losing my keys and my phone. But I left them home and went out “naked” so to speak, and it was so much more relaxing not having to worry about anything.

I remember once I went out and left my phone at home and rather than panic, I was totally relaxed.

So I’m wondering now if we are letting up on the photos. For one thing it’s rude when you are with people, you know, you’re out and about and maybe at lunch and you are taking photos of everything. I don’t even answer the phone when it rings when I’m with people. I try to think of years ago when we didn’t have that option, so why is it so important now? Let people wait, you don’t need to text right back or answer right away or take pictures of your lunch all the time.

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Art and history come to life

This is freaky, but interesting. I was flipping through YouTube the other night and this caught my eye and I couldn’t stop watching. Famous people’s statues are brought to life. It’s so real and lifelike, and spooky when they blink!

And here portraits are brought to life.

There are a bunch more of these here at Mystery Scoop on YouTube.