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A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.


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November 22, 2016

The Leaves In My Neighborhood

Some photos I took during this Autumn, the Fall of America,
trying to sidestep despair

Several weeks ago, as the leaves turned around my house and in nearby Lincoln Park, I roamed about catching some of the color with my little camera. Downtown Albany is always the last part of the region to have the leaves turn color, and it is the last place where the leaves actually fall to the ground. By the time I’d taken these pictures pretty much every tree from the suburbs up into the mountains had become bare branched, waiting for the late arrival of winter delayed by Global Warming.

Yes, I have much to say about the takeover of my nation by evil liars and their Corporate Media supporters. But like any patriotic American I am still stunned by the results of this display of national self-hatred. Soon I will make my comments about the impending collapse of my country while I am still allowed, before the secret police clamp down violently on free speech. But right now I’m going to show you some colorful leaves and dappled sunlight.

Maples Along Morton Avenue
Maples Along Morton Avenue

As usual the color yellow predominated among the leaves, but here and there were flashes of red. The photos below are in Lincoln Park, named after a great president who holds the undisputed title of The Last Honest Republican.

Some Red In Lincoln Park
Some Red In Lincoln Park

The grass has continued to grow right into November. It made for some interesting color contrast as the leaves landed on the green.

“And The Leaves That Are Green Turn To …” Well, First They Turn Red
“And The Leaves That Are Green Turn To …”
Well, First They Turn Red

Trees in Albany often do not look “perfect,” the twisted and gnarled maples in particular are allowed to live as long as they don’t pose a hazard. The City crews have always had the attitude that if a tree is alive it ought to be saved, that half a tree is better than none. Thus there are plenty of odd looking hacked up trees in Lincoln Park, but hey, when left to grow on their own trees are naturally as full of imperfections as people are.

Not all Trees Are Perfect
Not all Trees Are Perfect

The magnolias along ML King Avenue (S. Swan in the park) across from the statue of Dr. King are a non native species from way south that do not turn color in the Fall. And indeed, the leaves later all fell from them without turning color. They do bloom magnificently in the early spring, a cascade of flowers. But too often they bloom too early and, as happened again this year, an overnight frost will instantly murder the blossoms and leave them hanging from the trees brown.

The magnolias were planted there long before the statue was placed across the road from them. But I suppose that Dr. King, who was born and raised in the deep South, saw plenty of blooming magnolias in the spring during his youth. A happy accident that compliments the much-visited monument.

Magnolias In Exile, Visitors From Another Clim

Magnolias In Exile, Visitors From Another Clime

Often trees next to the houses stay green the longest because of heat from the buildings. But not always, I suppose that would depend on how early people turn on their heat. Rental properties are required by law to turn on the heat by October 15 at the latest, but because of the persistent warm weather many owner occupiers had little reason to fire up their furnaces early.

Between The Houses

Between The Houses

Eventually the leaves did fall off the trees, an event that happens later and later each year as the climate warms up. Every year my neighbors and I contemplate the leaves still clinging to the trees and hope the damn leaves fall off before it starts to snow.

Okay, I know that it is politically incorrect to mention the fact of Global Warming because it cuts into the exploitative profits of the corporate fascists, but I said it anyway. I’m sure statements like that will soon be used as evidence to justify my indeterminate detention. Oh well. America was a great idea, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it wonderful while it lasted?

The Leaves Fall At Last In Albany

The Leaves Fall At Last In Albany

Instead of raking and bagging leaves, which is tedious in the extreme, I prefer to mow the leaves with a lawnmower and mulch them into the grass. I got the idea in the last decade from the City crews, who for a few years did that in the park. I’m not sure why they don’t do that anymore. I hear the City makes a profit from making and selling mulch, maybe the fallen leaves are now too valuable to waste as grass food.

So I hired a neighborhood guy to mow the leaves. I stopped to chat with him as he was working, he turned off the loud engine, and a moment later I said, “Why is smoke coming out of the top of the mower?” I looked at it closer and could see flickering inside the engine. A moment later he hurriedly pushed the mower away from the house as flames shot up out of it.

Dangerous Badly Built Husqvarna Lawnmower That For No Reason Burst Into Flames, Don’t Buy Husqvarna

Dangerous Badly Built Husqvarna Lawnmower That For No Reason Burst Into Flames, Don’t Buy Husqvarna

I dumped a couple buckets of water on it until the sizzling stopped. My neighbor had just filled the plastic gas tank so happily there was no explosion, which is a good thing because he’d pushed the mower out to the street next to where I parked my truck. In retrospect, what corporate idiot designed the mower so that flammable plastic parts covered the hot engine?

Oh yeah I’m angry. This is the last Husqvarna lawnmower I’m buying, the first one I bought fell apart in less than a year, this one lasted six months. Now I’m faced with the daunting task of buying a lawnmower in late November. Well, if I can’t find a mower I may be forced to rake and bag after all.

Babygirl

Babygirl

Well, here’s Babygirl, a calico cat who supposedly belongs to a guy who lives up the street but prefers to roam the neighborhood and delight in humans that she has made friends with. She loves to follow her human friends down the hill to the Stewarts and then wait outside the door for them and follow them back up the street. Like most calicos she does not socialize well with other cats, and so some of the feral cats in the neighborhood deliberately seek her out to abuse her. In certain ways cats are exactly like humans.

So yesterday the guy up the street told me he grabbed Babygirl and has locked her in his house. He didn’t want her outside at night in the freezing temperatures, she is shorthaired and lean. But I know that cat is going to be unhappy stuck inside all winter.

Flowers In November

Flowers In November

One of the odd things about Global Warming (there I go being politically incorrect again) is that late season wildflowers popping out of the lawns and along fences persist into November. They are nice to see, but they are ominous signs that make me sad. I look at them and can’t help thinking, what will happen to us when there is no more snow, no more winter cold.

Leaves Struggling To Turn At The End Of October

Leaves Struggling To Turn At The End Of October

Here’s a photo I took the day before Halloween of the intersection near my house looking at the park. Word was that everywhere else the leaves were past their peak but in my neighborhood it was like the trees were were straining to make their leaves turn color. They eventually succeeded as we can see, but up to this point we hadn’t had any freezing nights.

The one good thing about the unnatural warm weather is the availability of local produce right into the middle of October. It’s a little known fact that despite widespread drought and deteriorating economic conditions this country has had record harvests for the last four years in a row. The reason? The surplus of CO2 in our air, the same gas that is heating up our planet rapidly toward the breaking point, has caused plant life to grow like crazy. Enjoy the surplus while you can.

Young Maples Along Morton Avenue
Young Maples Along Morton Avenue

Okay folks, I didn’t want to sound so negative and full of ominousness. I figured some pretty pictures of trees and flowers would be a good temporary antidote for national despair, but well, you know how it is. Anyone who is happy right now about the future is still hypnotized by their TVs, in serious denial or just plain stupid.

Today I’m going to pick up a big turkey for Thanksgiving, we have an invitation to dine on Thursday and the plan is that I cook the bird for guests coming over to our house on Friday. Yes, we have much to thankful for, despite serious mismanagement by our federal government these last thirty years our nation’s economic system has provided us with prosperity. Ever since the last pieces of the Hamiltonian System were discarded in 1996 we have been coasting along without any real deprivation.

But this time next year, will we still have much to be thankful for? Will we?

Young Maples Along Morton Avenue

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Posted by:GH
Posted on:11/23/2016
Comments:
Wow, Babygirl looks just like my cats!

I take solace in the idea that my cats are blissfully ignorant of the troubles of the world.


Posted by:Daniel Van Riper
Posted on:11/24/2016
Comments:
Since I posted this article Babygirl did indeed engineer an escape and has been roaming the neighborhood again, hopefully she can find ways to deal with the cold.


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