Dec 30, 2011


Chickadees Are My Favorite Winter Bird

When I exit from the kitchen door in wintertime I am greeted
by the chickadees at the feeder filled with sunflower seeds.

I find this little bird endearing with lots of personality.
They let me know when the feeder is empty.
While I refill it they can hardly wait to take a seed.
They never eat at the feeder but fly to a nearby branch
and dehull the seed.

The NY DEC has a page up from the Conservationist magazine
discussing the various winter birds we see at our feeders. (LINK)

The photos are by Jeff Nadler who works in
Finance for  General Electric in Schenectady, NY.
More of his bird photography can be viewed at his web site.

If you like to venture beyond your backyard bird feeder
click on the Link to Watchable Wildlife.

The Sapsucker Woods
across from the Ithaca Airport off Rt 13 is my favorite place.


George Vanderwoude

Dec 29, 2011


Every day we are bombarded by news about
findings and conclusions in medical research along with advice
about our health.

It is a never ending stream.
Most of it confusing and possibly slanted due to
corporate money moving behind the scenes.

At one finds a nugget now and then.

Click this link and view a 14 minutes video
putting a valid perpective on it all.

George Vanderwoude

Dec 21, 2011



If you travel or are have vision problems you may have
been thinking about acquiring audiobooks.

A visit to one of the book store chains
is not likely to persuade you to build
a library of audiobooks.

Audiobooks are expensive.
Sometimes there is a sale but maybe the titles
are not appealing enough to make
you part with
your money.

In 2005 an author, Hugh McGuire, living in Montreal
set up a blog and posed the question:
"Can the net harness a bunch of volunteers to help bring books
in the public domain to life through podcasting?"

The result as of this writing is a library of 5279 items,
consisting of unabridged books to shorter items.
All works are in the public domain so no copyright issues.
Librivox has become the most prolific publisher since 2007.
The Audiobook Library can be accessed by clicking here.

Ninety percent of the books are in English.
The remaining 10% represents more than 30 languages.

Recent downloads:
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Christmas Poetry and Hymn Collection
Great Expectations
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Art of War
Moby Dick, or the Whale
Pride and Prejudice
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
A Tale of Two Cities

You can search for titles or authors as well as by genre or language.
One can also look for all works read by a particular volunteer.

I have fond memories of a book of my youth, rich with illustrations,
which I read many times.

The Adventures of Reddy Fox
by Thornton W. Burgess

To access the Reddy Fox library page click here.

You can listen to the book online or download it in various formats.
MP3 format is available in two speeds.
An audio CD at Amazon will set you back $49.95 (LINK)

George VanderWoude


The Guardian, a British Newspaper, is runnning a
series of pictures of kids photographed in Santa's lap.
It appears that kids would rather be somewhere else.
Here is one of the pictures from the series.


George Vanderwoude


About 40% of police officers screened positive for at least one sleep disorder
in a study published by
Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD,
Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA.
The majority of the police officers had not been diagnosed
with sleep disorders previously.
It affected their driving performance and resulted in administrative errors etc.
Police officers have irregular schedules and work at odd hours.
Consequently they are at greater risk for sleep disorders and injuries.
Body weight was also a factor.
The study included 4,957 officers from the U.S. and Canada
between July 2005 and December 2007.
Journal of the American Medical Association



A few weeks ago on a late afternoon I am driving west on
Jennings Creek Road toward Route 221 in the Town of Lapeer.

The sun is low above the horizon and
I am slowing down because it blinds me.

As I approach the Amish Schools I discern the silhouettes of two
Amish men on an open buggy driving toward me.
I slow down some more.

The men are wearing bright orange striped hunting vests
and orange Amish hats.
They wave and I lift my hand off the steering wheel.

In the rearview mirror I see the licenses pinned to their vests.

The Amish don’t want their pictures taken but if there ever was an
opportunity for a good photo this was one.

Off the highway on Hunts Corners Road I notice an
Amish man operating a sawmill.

Having been born with a tendency to ask questions
I swing into his driveway.

“Hi, my name is George Vanderwoude and
I am wondering if I could ask you a question?”

“Sure, go ahead”.

“I just saw the most startling thing I have seen recently,
two Amish men with bright orange hats and hunting vests”.

Jason (not his real his name) smiles.

“Do the Amish people hunt?”

“Oh yes we love hunting”.

This begs for more questions.

His brother and many others own gun collections.
Shotguns, rifles, muzzle loaders and air guns for the kids.
Many of them are no stranger to archery.

Since then I have become acquainted with Jason’s brother in law
who cuts deer and processes meat into a bologna
that makes me sneak to the fridge in the middle of the night.
The seasoning is unequalled.

The deer processing sign at Hunts Corners (four corners)
has been replaced with a sign
for blacksmith/horse-shoeing services.

I am thinking of slaughtering a cow.
A steady supply of Amish Bologna makes my mouth water.

George Vanderwoude

For more information about Amish hunting
click on

Dec 12, 2011


On December 2, 2011 the Christian Science Monitor published an article
about food waste in the U.S. (LINK)

According to the Monitor more than
34 million tons of food is wasted in the U.S. every year.
Most of it ends up in landfills creating
voluminous amounts of methane gas

which is more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide (CO2).

“American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food”
A book written by Jonathan Bloom wo also
writes a blog called Wasted Food  (LINK) is quoted as stating:
“On a fundamental level it doesn’t make sense to me that
we waste so much food when
so many other people have trouble getting food.”

Quote from the Monitor:
"He estimates that as much as 25 percent of the
food we bring into our homes is wasted.

 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO LINK) reports
that annually an estimated one-third of the food produced
for human consumption worldwide is wasted."

According to an article published in the
 Health Section of
The New York Times

A quarter to half of all food produced in the United States goes uneaten,
left in fields, spoiled in transport,
thrown out at the grocery store,

scraped into the garbage or forgotten until it spoils.

According to a to a Tompkins County study

40% of food waste occurs in the home.

A survey by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab
indicated that 90% of consumers bought food they never used.

What Happens When Food turns to Waste?  (link)
A new study states that the Brits living in London produce food waste
which emits 6.3 million tons of greenhouse gases per year.

In the U.S. 18% of landfill waste is food.

If your family spends $160.00 per week on food and one quarter
of it goes to waste you lose $40.00 per week adding up to $2,080.00 annually.


George Vanderwoude

Link to You Tube video "Food Waste is Money Waste"

The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab
features an interesting Lesson Planning Section.

Dec 9, 2011


In the good old days when we had something to sell
or were looking for a bargain
we turned to the classified ads in the Pennysaver or the local newspaper.

However, the Internet has mostly superseded that in the form of

Searching on Craigslist is tedious and time consuming.
In New York State the number of areas covered by Craigslist
has grown to:
finger lakes
glens falls
hudson valley
long island
new york city
twin tiers NY/PA
The listing of these areas can be found on
Craigslist by clicking HERE ON THIS LINK.

Based on the information provided in the previous "Google Search" post
 you may be persuaded to search with the "Google Operators"
site: horse trailer
This search will not yield the results you are looking for.
You will get better results with horse trailer
The locations displayed are all over the U.S. and you will
have to click on every listing that seems to be within a
reasonable travel distance.
Very frustrating and time consuming and no pictures.
There may be a very nice trailer for sale in California but
do you want to travel across the continent to pick up a used horse trailer?

The best way to search Craigslist is to point your browser to
Click on image for larger version.
Here you can select distance from your zip code and
what you are looking for.
You can also select to include Ebay and Amazon
as well as Category and Sub-Category.
There is a checkbox to select listings with pictures only.
In the bar on the top you can enable widgets.
When the search has been completed you will be shown
the results in blocs per location.
It will include trailers of various types from boat to utility trailers.

As in the Google Search quotation marks work in Search Tempest also.
Narrow the search to "horse trailer".

At the top of a bloc listing you can select to show the pictures in the listings.
Once you are done viewing a "location bloc"
you can "X" it to cut down on clutter.

George VanderWoude

Dec 8, 2011

Robot Flying Like A Bird

A Robot modeled after a Herring Gull
flies over the audience at the
Edinburgh International Conference Center

Plenty of robots can fly -- but none can fly like a real bird.
That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at
built SmartBird,
a large, lightweight robot,
modeled on a seagull,
that flies by flapping its wings.
More videos at

George V

Google Search - How To

So you want to search via and come up with some nuggets?
The words you type into the Google search box can lead you everywhere.
However, if you are familar with what are called "Google Operators"
your search will be considerably more effective.

Example Number 1:
You want to search the web site of the Marathon Central School District
for the Board of Education Minutes.
Type in the following: Board minutes
The results will surprise you with 3 pages of links.
This is a search for specific information at a given web site.

Example Number 2:
To search the New York State Education Department web site
for Marathon.
Type in: marathon
The result is about 11 pages of links.
If you would like to refine the search to the school only marathon school
If you were to type in "marathon central school"
you would get less satisfactory results.

Example Number 3:
Let's assume you are interested in acquiring knowledge
about crow families.
Now we are looking for files pertaining to the
characteristic of crows
and their families.
Type in:
crow families
The results are quite interesting and range all over.
However, you are interested in finding some *.pdf files
describing crows and their families.
filetype:pdf crow bird intitle:family

Never ask Google a question like:
"What is the airspeed velocity of swallows?"
It is better to look for pdf files because much research is published in the
form of the ubiquitous Acrobat Reader format of .pdf files.
filetype:pdf air speed intitle:velocity of *swallow
The asterisk is inserted to encourage Google
to insert qualifying words or phrases.

Example Number 4:
You are interested in learning everything that has been published
in connection with Congressional Representative Richard Hanna.
If you were to type in just the first and last name you would
receive results of
Hanna and Richard in all sorts of
To limit the search as much as possible to Richard Hanna
type in
"Richard Hanna"
between quotation marks.
If you scan down to the bottom of the page you will notice
clickable suggestions for other searches relating to Richard Hanna.

Example Number 4:
You are interested in publications by an author.
Type in
author:"Karen Johnson-Weiner"
To narrow and limit searches to specific
information always use quotation marks "......" as operators.

Google Images Is Fun
After you have opened your browser to
click on the "images" tab shown in the upper left hand
of the page. This should open up to

If you were to type in
you will be shown thumbnails of pictures from everywhere
and about anything. So let us narrow it down with
"Marathon NY"
This is as good as it can get even though you are shown
pictures of Marathon Runners in and around Manhattan.
You will notice different results if you insert a comma between the words.

You should wait for the page being loaded.
Then mouse over the thumbnails for a brief description.
Right click on the thumbnail and select to open it in new tab.

I will end this post with showing some pictures listed down the page.

The McEvoy Family exhibiting one of their dairy cows.

The Gerald Johnson Collection of
Snow Plow Equipment
at Clark's Corners.


George Vanderwoude 

Dec 4, 2011

Menno Simons and Mennonites

Let's start in
Witmarsum, Province of Friesland, The Netherlands

In A.D. 1496 a boy was born there and baptized in the Roman Catholic Church
Minne Symens.
His father's name was Symen  therefore he was designated as
"Minne son of Symen".
A patronymic system in use by the Friesians at that time.
Friesians speak a language different from the Dutch.
(The Netherlands is officially bi-lingual).
Minne called his father and mother  "Heit"and "Mem".
In the Dutch language it is "Vader" and "Moeder"
more like the German "Vater" and "Mutter".
Minne Symens (referred to as Menno Simons in Dutch) was a
very bright young man and as such the priesthood was in his future.
He was educated in Latin and Greek in a school
near Bolsward and later in Utrecht where he was ordained at age 24.
At age 28 he reports himself to be a Roman Catholic priest
assigned to the parish in the village of Pingjum in Friesland.
A 45 minutes walk from Witmarsum.
According to ancient manuscripts his father hailed from Pingjum.
His father was a well to do dairy farmer.
Minne Symens was not the only priest in the parish.
There was no shortage of priests in those times.
In A.D. 1521 the total population of Friesland was listed as 75,000.
Number of priests 2,000.
Monasteries 50.
As a "vicar" Minne Symens had an easy and good time in Pingjum.
He was sought after as an excellent and popular preacher.
His superior was a man who according to Minne's writings
"was man who did not lift the heavy end of a beam".

As to his appearance:
A contemporary scribe described Minne Symens as
"heavy set, big framed, irregular face and a brown beard,".
It is also mentioned that he had a hard time moving around.

Later in life he desribed himself
as "Menno Symons de Creupele".
("Creupele" translates into "cripple").

In 1531 we find Minne Symens back in Witmarsum as the head of the parish.
He is now called "pastoor".
This meant that he was also overseeing the land holdings of
the local Roman Catholic Church.
He wrote that it was an easy job.
All he had to do was copy what others did.
But changes were afoot.

In 1517 Martin Luther had nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door
of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany thus initiating
the Protestant Reformation and subsequent turmoil in the Holy Roman Empire.
The times were turbulent and warring factions of nobles
caused much suffering and death among the local population.

Minne Symens had never really studied or read the Bible,
but he wrote later that many times when he handled
the bread and wine at Mass he doubted very much
that it was literally the flesh and blood of Christ.
In 1531 Sikke Freerks, a taylor in the city of Leeuwarden (Capital of Friesland)
was beheaded because "he had renewed his baptism".
Minne Symens wrote that he knew of Freerk's faith
and beliefs and that his death stuck a dagger in his heart.
He started studying the Bible and came to the conclusion
that "infant baptism" had no basis in the scriptures.
He wrote that he discovered that he was misled about the Eucharist and Baptism.
As a consequence he broke with the Roman Catholic Church
on January 30th, 1536 after his brother Pieter Symens was put to death
with 300 Anabaptists near Bolsward, Friesland.
The men were beheaded or hanged and the women
were tied into sacks and drowned in the nearby canal.
His brother Pieter was a "Münsterite". See below.

He travelled to Groningen, NL where he was rebaptized
and married Geertruydt Hooyer from Witmarsum.
Subsequently the newlyweds took up residence in
Oldersum, Northwest Germany.
About 100 miles by car from his birthplace.
Google Maps:

In 1525 Anabaptists in Switzerland had started a movement looking for a radical
reformation of the prevailing Roman Catholic social order.
They wanted to introduce baptism at an adult age
and diminish the influence of rulers in the churches.
Some early Anabaptists (Münsterites) resorted to violent tactics.(Link)
Despite the fact that the majority of the Anabaptists adhered to pacifism
and nonviolence the governments intensified
the persecutions and many Anabaptists were killed.
 See "Martyrs Mirror".(Link)

Menno Simons strongly disagreed with the violent tactics of the Münsterites.

The Anabaptists lacked a strong and educated leader.
Minne Symens (now referred to as Menno Simons) felt he had a calling
to minister to the demoralized and scattered Anabaptists (Wiedertäufer).
He made long and secret voyages to the Anabaptist congregations in
the Netherlands and Northern Germany
preaching, baptizing and serving Holy Communion

He was also a prolific writer.
In A.D.1539 he published "Dat Fundament des Christelycken Leers"
(Foundation Book at Amazon. Link).

Even though The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V offered a substantial sum
of golden guilders for the head of Menno Simons he was never caught.
He continued to travel throughout the Netherlands and Germany preaching and writing.
In the process establishing a printing press to circulate Anabaptist teachings.
Menno Simons took the Bible literally, sometimes even legalistically.
The emphasis was on Christian living rather than doctrine.
He defended the doctrine of the Trinity.
However, he refused to use the term because it did not appear in Scripture.
As Menno Simons continued travelling. His family had to flee many times.
In AD 1554 he wrote that he and his family had been refugees for 18 years.
Multiple times he wrote of his wife being "sickly".
She died between 1553 and 1558.
In 1553 he sent greetings from his wife.
In 1558 he sent greetings from his daughters only.
His son (Jan) and his wife were presumably not alive anymore at that time.

The marriage produced one son and at least two daughters.
Only one daughter survived his death in 1561.
In his last years he was occupied with the doctrine of
shunning excommunicated church members.
However, in all his writings (more than 40 exist to this day), he always began
by quoting the Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthians:
"No other foundation can any one lay
than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

At age 66, he became ill on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his renunciation
of the Roman Catholic Church.
He died a natural death the following day January 31, 1561
in a house at a nobleman's estate located near
Bad Oldesloe, Northern Germany.
Here he had been provided a safe haven several years earlier.

At the end of the 16th century approx. 25% of the Friesians had become Mennonites.
 They were awarded limited freedom of religion in 1595.
Small churches were allowed to be built,
but these churches could not be visible from the throroughfares.
The Mennonites built churches with facades looking like regular dwellings.

Monument commemorating Menno Simons in Witmarsum, Friesland.
Today Menno Simons has close to one million folllowers worldwide.

Submitted by George VanderWoude

Dec 2, 2011

H.R.1148 adresses insider trading by Congress

What's this you say?
Members of Congress trade stocks on "Insider Information"?
Yes they do.
For members of Congress it is legal and frequently done.
On November 13, 2011 CBS-60 minutes aired a segment about
members of Congress trading stock on inside information..

Why is it legal?
Inside information is also called non-public information.
Following is a qoute from:
"Like everyone else, members of Congress
are subject to current insider trading laws.
However, current insider trading laws do not apply to nonpublic information
about current or upcoming congressional activity --
that's because members of Congress aren't
technically obligated to keep that information confidential.

So, for instance, if a lawmaker learns an upcoming bill
will grant a company a large government contract, which could boost that company's stock,
he or she is free to buy that stock ahead of the bill's public introduction.
This form of "insider trading" is one of the reasons
why there are so many wealthy members of Congress

If you would like to keep track of Congress you can point your browser to:

It is an interesting web site to keep track of the happenings on Capitol Hill.
To keep track of H.R.1148 also called the "Stock Act' visit

In the right hand margin you can select to email your Congressional representative
or share the page with friends.

Submitted by George Vanderwoude

Nov 17, 2011

Farmland Values Shine Brightly in a Dark Economy

Land that once had been secured by developers prior to 2007 is
coming back on the market after the economy tumbled.
Once destined for residential development this land has fallen so far in value that
thousands of acres across the country are again being used for agriculture.

Crop prices have reached all-time highs and farmers in the Midwest are
outbidding one another at land auctions.

In Southern New Jersey farmers are putting development land
into Land Preservation Trusts.

The Ogle County News in Illinois reports that
Commercial and Residential land values are down but farmland is up.

The Wall Street Journal wrote on Tuesday November 14, 2011 about
dairy farmers 30 miles west of Phoenix, AZ who purchased 760 acres of
cotton and alfalfa cropland for $7 million.
It had been sold to developers in 2005 for $40.8 million

The USDA forecasts that net farm income will rise to $103.6 billion in 2011,
rising above $100 billion for the first time in history.
An increase of 31% over 2010.
Adjusted for inflation it will the highest income since 1973.

 Corn, wheat, hay, cotton and soybean receipts are
expected to show the largest increases.
The USDA estimates that farm expenses will jump
by $32.5 billion (11.4%) in 2011,
exceeding $300 billion for the first time, due to rising input prices.
 Prices for all crop-related inputs are expected to be up in 2011.


Submitted by George VanderWoude

Rep. Richard Hanna called this morning

It was a long pre-recorded call explaining Medicare changes.
Representative Richard Hanna started the call informing the listener that his three offices
had handled approximately 50,000 calls for assistance
and inquiries since he was elected.
If his office is unable to provide assistance his staff will see to it that
the appropriate authorities are contacted.
He also indicated that his district has the largest number of seniors of
any Congressional District in New York State.
After the introduction his assistants continued explaining Medicare changes.
It was stated that for Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance
the listener should call

County Area Agency on Aging
Carol Deloff, Director
County Office Building
60 Central Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-2746
TEL: (607) 753-5060
FAX: (607) 758-5528

Broome County Office for the Aging
Kathleen Bunnell, Director
Broome County Office Building
60 Hawley Street, 4th Floor
PO Box 1766
Binghamton, NY 13902-1766
TEL: (607)778-2411
FAX: (607) 778-2316

Rep. Richard Hanna
Cortland Office
18 Tompkins St.
Cortland, NY 13045
Tel: 607-756-2470
Fax: 607-756-2472
Click here for directions

Nov 16, 2011

Amish Singing

The Amish do not want to be photographed or recorded by audio.
However, occasionally Amish singing is
recorded surreptiously and without consent.
The person who recorded an Amish Youth Group singing the song

The Amish sing from the Ausbund, a collection of hymn texts
that dates from the sixteenth century.
The Ausbund remains in print until the present.
It is the oldest Protestant hymnal in existence.
Some hymns contain hundreds of verses, and because of the slow,
sustained melodic style, they may last an hour or longer.
Music notations do not appear in the hymn books.
It is necessary to rely on memory.

Nov 15, 2011

Marathon Maple Fest - 2012

According to the web site for the
Marathon Maple Fest
the dates for this coming year
March 24 & 25, 2012
The web site can be viewed by pointing your browser to:

The top of the page features a
Adobe Flash Presentation
and in the right-hand margin Presentations.
These are not viewable with:
iPods Touch,
and iPhones.
Apple Safari Browser Software
does not support Flash Presentations.

The Maple Fest has a presence on Facebook.

Interesting photos can be viewed:

Postcards on Ebay - Ronald G. Mudge

Like many people I visit the Ebay web site frequently.
One of the categories I peruse is the postcards section for the State of New York.
The total number of listings this morning was in excess of 94,000.

My interest is strictly local.
When I narrowed the search by typing in "Marathon, NY"
a listing of 12 postcards was shown.

My eyes were drawn to a postcard sent by
Ronald G. Mudge of Marathon on Aug. 7 1958
from Cincinnatus, NY where he was born.

Ron was a life-time ham radio enthusiast.
His call letters were KN2UZF.
The card was went to a ham radio operator in Whippany, NJ.
Ron's age is penned as "16" on the card.
Ron passed away at Cortland Hospital on July 29, 2009.
If you click on the picture a larger version should show.

I bought my first CB radio from Ron as did many others.
Channels 2 and 3 were our local channels.
Many folks in the greater Marathon, NY area owned Citizen Band Radios
and monitored the transmissions on these channels.
It was called "sandbagging".
We identified ourselves with creative monnikers.
The truckers passing on I-81 used Channel 19.

George V

Good Old Days in the Cincinnatus Pennysaver

In the good old days Mrs Dorothy Brown and her husband published the weekly Town and Country Pennysaver from their home near Cincinnatus.
It consisted of many page of advertising and editorial content in a format of approximately 6.5 x 8 inches.

Mrs Brown used to make her weekly rounds visiting the local business establishments solliciting advertising for her "Town and Country Pennysaver" published in partnership with her husband Noyce Brown.

It was commonly referred to as "The Cincinnatus Pennysaver".

My favorite feature of the "Cincinnatus Pennysaver" were the articles penned by Mrs MacRae. She was historian of the Town of Cincinnatus for many years.
Her writings appeared under the heading of "The Good Old Days" and were always interesting and filled with historical facts.

On November 5th, 2011 Mrs Rachel Pearl Field MacRae passed away at age 96.

Mrs Dorothy Robinson Brown passed away on January 21, 2009 at age 79.

I have in my hands the current issue (November 11-17, 2011) of the
"TOWN & COUNTRY Scotsman Pennysaver". On the second page it states that the Scotsman Pennysaver has a tradition of excellence in publishing and printing.

Without a doubt the Scotsman folks excel in printing when compared to Mr and Mrs Brown.

When it comes to publishing I think the Browns had them beat.

We are left with skimpy coverage of local news.

On page 12 (last page) I see a photograph of the Sidney Field Hockey
team which beat Marathon (2-1) on November 5 in a game played in Greene.
Also Mrs Zeiter's long running "disa & data" feature.

On page 2 two submitted articles. One about organic turkeys and the other about a future DEC hearing in Binghamton. No signatures.

Mrs Connie White used to have her writings published by the Scotsman Press.
However,  I have not seen her column for some time either.

In the good old days when I ran a classified ad in the "Cincinnatus Pennysaver" I could tell where and when the USPS was delivering.

Telephone calls started coming in and told me the time and location. Apparently the Pennysaver was the first thing folks reached for and read.

I wonder if that is still true today.

George VanderWoude

If you would like to try submitting the fruits of your English Compositional Skills send an email to the address listed in left hand margin of page 2. .

Nov 10, 2011

Catholic College Sues the Federal Government about "Affordable Health Care"

Today, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed a lawsuit against
the federal government on behalf of Belmont Abbey College about the “Affordable Care Act” (aka “Obamacare”), that forces the College to violate its religious beliefs or pay a hefty fine.

The lawsuit contests the recently issued Health and Human Services’ mandate
  that requires thousands of religious organizations to provide
contraceptives and sterilization against their conscience.

The Federal Government has issued waivers (thousands) for a variety of
special interest groups including McDonald’s and Teachers’ Unions.
However, the Federal Government (H.H.S) refused
to accommodate religious organizations.
The existing religious exemption is very narrowly defined.
It prompted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to opine
that even Jesus’ ministry would not qualify.

Went For a Motorcycle Ride Yesterday Afternoon

The afternoon temperatures were balmy.
Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
So my trusty steed beckoned
and begged me to take it for a ride.

It had been several weeks that I had an opportunity/time for a ride.
If I don't want to go too far afield my area of choice for leisurely riding
is North East of Marathon toward Freetown and Cincinnatus.

Some hard surfaced and some dirt roads.
The Suzuki DR650 is up to taking on rough surfaces
as it is shod with knobby tires.

In the beginning of June of this year I rode down in one day to Marlinton, WV
to attend a motorcycle rally.
Down I-81 to Lexington, Virginia.
West on I-64 and off at the first exit and back roads to the rally.
511 miles.
Prior to going down I had done some research and created a Google Map

In addition I created a web site featuring Rides and Sights
Click on blue links

In my opinion West Virginia is without equal when it comes to scenery.
I have visited many of the sites but definitely not all.
If one has never been to West Virginia
the Greenbanks Observatory is a "Must See".

If you arrive and the bus is idling at curb do not board.
Go view the presentation in the auditorium first.
The rally was held at the Marlinton Motor Inn a few miles North of Marlinton.

The routes featured in my
Rides and Sights
web site are based on this location.


McGraw Sportsmen's Club, Ridge Road, McGraw, NY

Gus W. and I are about finished redesigning the web site of the Club.

We designed a logo for George W. Jennings Jr.

George is a graduate of Marathon High.
His father George Jennings Sr was postmaster in the village for 42 years.

If you visit the newsletters of the Club you will notice that
George Jennings Jr is the Editor and Chief.

The club has a membership approaching 550 members.
Membership dues $20.00 annually. Junior Membership $5.00 if needed.
The Sunday Morning Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. provides an opportunity to visit
with the members of the club.

The Club is looking for a few sponsors of the web site.
Club Location:


Nov 9, 2011

Black Fawn

A few days ago I received an email containing three pictures of a black fawn.
Googling led me to a blog by "Barry the Birder" .
The photo was taken near Austin, Texas.
The area has a concentration of black deer.

Black Fawn was also the title of a book written by
Jim Kjelgaard., author of many animal stories.
One of his books Big Red was made into a Disney movie.

Main Street Mad at Banks Heading To . . . .

You guessed it!
The Retail Juggernaut.


Nov 8, 2011

Why Watch "Raising Hope?.

Phone Call:

"Do you still downstream movies from Netflix?."
"Yes, why?'
"Do a search for "Raising Hope" and add it to your Instant Queue".
"It is a TV sitcom."
"It is very funny."
"And it is available for downstreaming?"
"What's so funny?"
"You'll see."
"OK, I'll put it in the the Instant Queue."

It is funny, very funny. No commercials.
Twenty-two episodes lasting about 22 minutes.


Native Ladybugs Getting Scarce

There seem to be not nearly as many Ladybugs attempting
to invade our house this Fall.
In previous years they descended on us by the hundreds,
covering the window screens looking for a safe winter home.
Why not as many as in previous years? We don't have a clue.

The distribution of native Ladybugs across the North American Continent
has changed significantly over the last two decades.
Many species have become very rare.
The invasive species from Asia have become abundant.
Cornell University has a "Lost Ladybug Project" to be viewed at

At a sub-link you will find a picture of "C9".

This Ladybug - C9 - Coccinella novemnotata,
(Also known as nine-spotted Ladybug)
is the New York State insect. 


Nov 7, 2011

Can Cops Use a GPS To Track You?

Tomorrow, November 8th, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court
will address the issue.

United States v. Jones (10-1259)


In the meantime keep checking the inside of the bumpers and fenders of your vehicles.
It may not be the cops who are curious about your movements.


Barn Fire on Turner Hill Road

Shortly after 6 a.m. this morning the siren of the Killawog Fire Department sounded multiple times..
It appears there is a fire at a dairy barn on 1249 Turner Hill Road.
Seven Fire Departments were at the Hall Family Farm.
The damage is reported to be limited to approx. $2,000.00
Location per Google Maps:


An Epidemic: 48 Percent of Students in Grades 7-12 Experience Sexual Harassment

During the 2010-11 school year, 48 percent of students in grades 7-12 experienced some form of sexual harassment in person or electronically via texting, email and social media, according to a major national survey being released today by the American Association of University Women.

News from the Post Standard

ABC News


Download the full report from the AAUW

It makes one wonder how this is handled by the administration in the Marathon School District.


Nov 6, 2011


Why the Amish Mennonites do not want their children on regular school bus runs.

Old Order Amish depend on their church for their relation to the world outside their lives.
The Amish do not refer to their "church" as a building like other denominations.
Their church is the community they belong to.
It is called "Gmay"  it is derived from a German word "Gemeinde" which means "community".
The Gmay is the community of members who with their baptism have indicated a willingnes to practice the teachings of Christ as found in the New Testament.

Every Gmay is guided by the "Ordnung" (system of community norms).
The Ordnung specifies what is worldly and what is sinful.
It regulates private, public, and ceremonial life.
It enables the community to practice scriptural edicts.
Also, it builds a barrier against the world beyond the community.

Is everything in the Ordnung supported by the Bible? No, it is not. When certain practices appear "worldly" then such practices are forbidden.

The Ordnung may vary among different Amish communities. Each Amish Gmay has its own Ordnung. The Ordnung may change over time. When economic survival becomes an issue it may be modified but the Amish accept change very slowly. When creameries no longer accepted milk shipped in cans the use of bulk milk tanks was approved. The local Amish milk by hand and strain the milk into cans which they transport to a dumping station. The dumping station at the corner of Krill Road and Jennings Creek Road is owned by Dairylea. Dairy farmers may ask why not use a vacuum pump powered by a small engine like they use for other equipment so they can use vacuum operated milking machines? It seems that the Ordnung forbids the use of milking machines.
I asked the question. My guess is that the children would have too much idle time.
Work is viewed as a desirable activity.

The Ordnungs are generally not in writing. They are reaffirmed and if needed modified in the Spring and Fall of the year at Ordnungsgmay. At this time the leaders of the Gmay (Bishop and Preachers) expound on the forbidden practices and each individual member is asked if she or he is in agreement.

If all members are in agreement it is cause for a celebration at the "Grossgmay" .
("Gross" is German for "large, big") to be held two weeks later and communion takes place. Amish church gatherings are held every other Sunday.

Amish communities do fellowship with other Amish communities that have similar Ordnungs.
An interchange of preachers is allowed in such sharing of fellowship.
It also broadens the base from which marriage partners can be selected.

Amish people set themselves apart through the clothing they wear, means of transportation, level of education and continued use of the German language. Amish children are brought up to speak "Deitsch". Their pronunciation of "Deutsch" (german). They learn English in school.

The Amish adhere to a literal interpretation of the Bible. Romans 12:2 ("And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of  God.") and 2 Corinthians 6:14 ("Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what communion hath light with darkness?" are interpreted literally . This literal interpretation forbids marriage with outsiders, connecting to the electrical grid or to the telephone system. Connecting literally and physically defines the rule.

The Ordnung of our Amish allows use of the phone of consenting neighbors but prohibits the use of cell phones. Don't offer the use of your cell phone which I did recently.

It is at the time that an Amish believer decides to be baptized that he or she becomes a member of the Gmay.
The Amish believe that baptism is a covenant with God, a vow of total obedience to the Church of Christ, which is the local Gmay and its Ordnung. Every person contemplating baptism is advised to evaluate this decision very carefully. The baptismal vows express faith in God, the Bible, obedience of Christ's teachings incorporated in the rules of the Ordnung.

The Amish do not believe that baptism brings salvation. It is a covenant. To proclaim that one is saved is considered prideful. Only God knows.

"Being separate from the world" is the guiding principle in Amish life.

It is the reason why our Amish neighbors refuse to let their children ride on the school bus with Non-Amish children. It would violate the rules of the Ordnung about connecting with the world outside.

As long as our director of transportation keeps coming up with proposals that include mingling Amish kids with non-Amish kids it amounts to blowing in the wind.

Also, when Amish children are killed in traffic incidents it becomes national news.

Envision this headline:

"Two Amish Girls Killed in Snowstorm.
School Board Refuses Bus Transportation to their Schools".

George VanderWoude

New York Amish: life in the plain communities of New York State by Karen Johnson-Weiner
Also available in the Lisle, NY library

The Riddle of Amish Culture
by Donald Kraybill

Biblical text copied from
United States Printing Office
Washington : 1942


Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive

Note: Amish businesses have a 95% survival rate.