Where's Santa?

Ho! Ho! Huh? Santa, baby - no loafing on the job, tonight of all nights! Get your padded butt out of the Phoenicia Pharmacy…even if that old dentist's chair IS comfortable! You've got work to do, man!

As I wrap up another year of oddities, I'd like to thank my friends of the Catskills for always surprising me with another curiosity just around the corner…and for not pressing charges for trespassing. You make these marvelous mountains the coolest place in the world! Have a magical and memorable holiday, brimming with love and goodwill to all! And cookies. Lots of cookies.

One pill makes you larger...

'Tis the season to be madly dashing towards the holidaze - a time when logic and proportion are falling all over themselves in apoplectic panic. May this colossal capsule remind us all to chill out, have a cup of cocoa, and take a deep cleansing breath. If all else fails, go ask that chick Alice. I think she'll know.

Props to my pal "Doctor" Jon for prescribing this pill oddity!

Giving Thanks

While driving along these country roads, I always brake for dudes in loincloths. Look! There's one in the distance!

Could he be the last Mohican? Perhaps. The Mohican tribe settled along the banks of the Hudson, which they dubbed the Mahicannituck. They called themselves the Muh-he-con-neok, meaning the People of the Waters That Are Never Still. I find that so very lovely. I'm certain they didn't have rifles, that is before the European settlers came barreling in with them. Which is why it made me sad to see that someone had nailed a firearm to his arms. (omg...where are his hands?!) Is this supposed to be a not-so-subtle hint about trespassing?  I wanted to get to know my native friend a bit better, so of course I got a bit closer.

This really is a fine carving. Nice quads!

Still, I really hate that he's got a gun. Seriously, I hate that. He's obviously striking a pose of thanks to the Sky Gods of stuffing and sweet potatoes, not looking for a can of cranberries to shoot off a fence. If I were the owner of this magnificently carved man, I would change up what he's holding. Perhaps a custardy fruit trifle, instead of that rifle? What would you have him hold?

While pondering that, I'd like to wish my Friends of the Internet That is Never Still a happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for your visit to my little blog, and I'm immensely grateful that the Catskills continue to be a veritable cornucopia of curiosities!

Tempest-tossed and topsy-turvy!

So who got shook up by Sandy? *raises hand*  I think the windows on this house got a bit scrambled by the squall, as well. Or as my friend remarked on this peculiar place, "It's as if someone went to a spectacular window sale and said: I'll take that one, a couple of those, three or four from over there, and oh, these are nice…I'll take them, too!"

Willy-nilly windows aside, I truly hope that if you or a loved one were hit hard by that blustery bitch, that the road to recovery has been swift. As a Long Islander, I'd like to thank the Ulster County Fire Departments who came to my area. Thank you for sacrificing the time you would have spent with your own families and communities in order to help mine. Your assistance and bravery did not go unnoticed. A big wind-swept kiss to you all!


Once upon a midafternoon dreary, while I motored, neither weak nor weary, I came across this formidable fellow.









He was not alone.









There were many more.








Many, many more. Are you getting chills yet?









You should! A grouping of crows is called a murder; a grouping of ravens an unkindness. Since all ravens belong to the family of crows (Corvidae) one could say, with authority, that this is a cold-blooded killing on display! One of Hitchcockian and Poe-ish proportions and quite appropriate for Halloween, quoth I. Have a happy one…and stay off the ice!


A clove by any other name...

The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties is the most aromatically appetizing outing this side of the, well…Hudson. There were about a zillion variations of raw garlic, dips, spreads, baked goods and fried foods to sample and buy, along with a few unexpected turns of the common clove. Garlic marshmallows for your garlic cocoa, anyone? It's a day of eating on top of eating with some more eating. So I was rather surprised to see politics poke its stinky head into the mix.

Yes, this is a real person. Ms. Garlick has been collecting taxes in the town of Geneva for many years. I can't blame her for wanting to get her name out there in this venue. In fact I applaud her piquant sense of humor. Just don't tax my bulbs, lady!

Words to live by

I live and work downstate in the cookie-cutter checkerboard grid of suburban Long Island. The only signs affixed to the houses there are the ubiquitous home security stickers and occasional directives meant to dissuade the knocks of solicitors (Girl Scouts being the exception because, y'know, Thin Mints)Anything that deviates from the norm is pretty much a guarantee that a block party invite won't be coming your way. Not so with the quirky Catskills! Freedom of creative expression is not only commonplace, but expected.


Thank you, whoever you are.

Library Love

I love libraries. They are the defenders of democracy, the champions against censorship and the fighters for intellectual freedom. They are the keepers of our stories and our histories and our humanity. Their doors are open to all. Come inside the Haines Falls Free Library, won't you?

The Haines Falls Library was founded in 1900, and although it has progressed with the times, it still retains its early 20th century charm. Their system is fully automated, but the card catalog remains present, as if to say, "I am here for you, too. And don't I look lovely?"

It's the little touches that give every library personality and life. Product placement should be thoughtfully displayed.

That little boy's grandma is looking for her bookmark, I bet!

Because everyone has the right to be able to read clearly.

Mysteries hold a prominent position in front of the fireplace. I thought I heard a tap-tap-tapping from the blocked-off hearth.

Young adults…represent! Although I think that copy of Edna Ferber's Giant on the third shelf there was more representative of my mother's teen aged years.

My favorite section of a small town library would have to be the local history collection. Priceless treasure to be found here.

That lovely long-necked lady is Maude Adams, a stage actress best known for playing Peter Pan. She lived her final years of celebrity in nearby Tannersville. The woman on the left gained notoriety for having an overdue library book for 67 years (Edna Ferber's Giant). The wooden dude next to her? No clue, but he's featured in my nightmares now.

It seems that librarians cannot help themselves from documenting and cataloguing everything. This was found in the bathroom. Joe did a fine job with all the fittings, but someone had a heavy hand with the paintbrush.

Does this not look like something you'd find in The Shire?

I imagine Bilbo Baggins would treat his library like the precious institution it is. We all should. And whaddya know? September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! If you don't have a library card, what are you waiting for? It's your passport to the world and beyond. And librarians (myself included) are there to help you embark!

Rip Tide!

It is along this scenic route, built by convict labor (thank you, convicts!), where Rip Van Winkle took the world's longest nap. Mmmm…naps.

Most of us know the tale of Rip Van Winkle's famous slumber, but few know that Washington Irving's first draft had Rip waking up to a confusing case of identity disorder! Here he is, ready to strike up the band.

On the other side of town, he was found gearing up for ski season…

and Rip-lining! (otherwise known as zip-lining to those not as ego-centric as Rip)

Rip knows that women cannot resist a man in a kilt…

Or in top hat and tails. Oh, that ritzy Rip!

Well hello there, ripped Rip! Where have you been all my life?

At the height of his identity disorder, Rip believed he was Jerry Garcia. The Jerry Garcia who works for cheese. I would work for cheese, too…

…and for beer.

Then there's the Rip who was so confused by his affliction, that he just tried to blend in unnoticed. 

Psst…I can see you, Rip! 

Strategically placed lighthouse. Oh my.

Kapow! Are you sensing a disturbing crotch trend here, or is it just me? (Yes, I'm 12 years old)

Okay, at this point, I've gotta come clean - I've just been ripping ribbing you! Rip did not awaken to a schizoid existence. He was fine…albeit a bit confused at first. "You mean there was a Revolutionary War?!"

All of these artistic incarnations of Mr. Van Winkle are part of a yearly fund-raising effort to raise money for non-profit organizations, to assist those who were affected by last year's devastating Hurricane Irene, and to help our local artists. There are more than fifty Rips dotting the landscape along Route 23A…Wowza! And they'll be auctioned off on October 6th, so you, too, can own a piece of this historic mountaintop legend. More info here at Rip Lives!


This is a post about cleavage. Get that image out of your head (yes, I know what you were thinking) and replace it with this one - a smooth river rock, plucked from Warner Creek. No big whoop, right?

But when precise metamorphic pressure and unique molecular structure combine with the ticking hands of time...

Voila! One becomes three!

This is what geologists refer to as "perfect cleavage." I refer to it as nature exercising her awe-inspiring capacity again and again and again. And that's hot.

Condo Bird Approved

Situated on one of the crossbeams underneath our deck is a beautifully constructed nest. I was delighted to find it!

My pleasure was doubled when I glanced a bit to the left and found another.

But wait...there's more! Three neat little nests all in a row.

I was curious to find out if this avian apartment complex is a family friendly operation. Indeed it is!

Not wanting to barge in on our bird friends uninvited, I took this shot in the least intrusive manner possible by placing the lens of my iPhone's camera directly on the space between the floorboards above the nests. It's such a tiny space that reveals nothing but darkness to the naked eye. And because of the glare on the display I didn't see what I had shot until I went indoors and scrolled through the photos. You can imagine my excitement. We're going to have babies! Well, not me eggzactly, but you get my drift. Nature...thou art awesome.

Heads up!

In my obsessive quest to document every oddity in the Catskills, I have been accused of a blithe indifference to personal boundaries and a general disregard for my own safety. And although my heart is in the right place - entertaining and enlightening you, dear readers - it has come to my attention that one's heedlessness could very well result in one's headlessness.

Poor chaps - couldn't they read the sign? And why is the gentleman to the right unduly amused by his situation? I don't trust him.

Ned? Ned Stark! Is that you?

Sorry, I couldn't resist referencing another of my obsessions. Please forgive...but do remember, kids - No trespassing means EN-OH Trespassing!
(Except for me, of course.)