Seen and Heard On Circuit: Indian Summer, Bulls, Food Truck, One Song, A Singer

So much observed by living, asking questions. Interesting news, tidbits, tips flow in like a river, some days a torrent, other days it’s more of a trickle. No better way to find interesting people and stories than to get up and go out. Casual conversations on our way to and from interviews and photography sessions can result in sparks of ideas and connections. Some just happen.

Boots and the front hooves of a horse.

Boots and hooves. Curiosity leads to some interesting people and places. AGH/MDP

Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Store at 1003 Newfield St. in Middletown, Conn., has a used bookstore and record shop, all in one, did you know? The book and vintage records building will close in November as the space is unheated, so there is still time to go check it out. Plenty of parking too. If curious, wander around; it’s an interesting and unique place.

Wizard of Oz mayor of munchkinland and Wild Bill's bookshop/record collections.

The Mayor of Munchkinland from the classic film Wizard of Oz welcomes visitors to Wild Bill’s book shop and record collections. He’s in good company that includes Elvis, Howdy Doody, Neil Diamond, JFK – and many others. Plus there are books galore. AGH/MDP

Elvis, Oz, Neil Diamond. Newfield Street still has an agricultural presence with a few hayfields and pastures that remain. Don’t miss the stone-built railway arch that can be glimpsed at a distance (across from NAPA Auto Parts approximately). Don’t try to look while driving as this is a very busy route. Recently a bull got loose, was quickly caught and is back inside his fence. But more and more an urban population just isn’t all that familiar with livestock and how, now and then, an animal just does what it does despite strong fencing.

While some can tell a breed at a distance – beef, dairy, equine, many people see only a “cow” or a “horse” – it’s brown, white, black. That’s it. A bull (or a stallion) commands respect – and is much like a locomotive on four legs with an earthy purpose. There is a reason for the word bullpen that has nothing to do with baseball. Let’s stop there.

Flotsam and jetsam of conversations, memories – if not written down are gone forever. Distilled into stories, they are preserved.

A Black Angus bull via Encyclopedia Britannica.

A Black Angus bull via Encyclopedia Britannica.

So. A Black Angus bull, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is a breed of “black, polled beef cattle, for many years known as Aberdeen Angus, originating in northeastern Scotland. Its ancestry is obscure, though the breed appears closely related to the curly-coated Galloway, sometimes called the oldest breed in Britain. The breed was improved and the present type of the cattle fixed early in the 19th century by a number of constructive breeders among whom Hugh Watson and William McCombie were the most famous.”

Polled, by the way, means without horns, a distinctive trait much appreciated by those who handle livestock. Another breed profile, from The Dairy Site: “Mature (Hereford) males may weigh up to 1,800 pounds, while mature females may weigh around 1,200. … Herefords will stand out in the arctic snows of Finland, endure the heat of Northern Transvaal, withstand the tough climate and rough grazing of northern Uruguay or the sub-tropical zones of Brazil and continue to thrive. “Herefords are generally docile and fast growing cattle with good beef quality.”

(Having the heard a first-person experience related about seeing a got-loose emu, eye-to-eye while sitting in a truck warming up to go to work – well, that big bird had gone on a walkabout, too. The emu was clever and pushed on a fence where it lived on a nearby farm – not for the first time. Odd and memorable, to say the least, to see a bird that size and at eye level. Blink. Blink.)

A recent Jeep commercial (so well done, featured here) for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee is accompanied by the song “If you Want To Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens – recalled Harold and Maude, a quirky (1971) movie where Stevens’s music wove in and out of the antics of the two main characters. Maude, played by the late, great Ruth Gordon, is something to behold. There is no describing the plot, the visual story has to be viewed to get the full flavor of why the movie has a devoted fan following.

“Well, if you want to sing out, sing out,
And if you want to be free, be free,

‘Cause there’s a million things to be,
You know that there are.”

A feed store cat. AGH/MDP

A feed store cat. AGH/MDP

Cat Stevens is now Yusuf Islam, a Muslim since 1977/78 – and, according to Wikipedia, a “British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist. His 1967 debut album reached the top 10 in the UK, and the album’s title song “Matthew and Son” charted at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. His albums Tea for the Tillerman (1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971) were both certified triple platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA. His musical style consists of folk, pop, rock, and Islamic music.”

Don’t know about you, but being raised in a big family with plenty of neighborhood pals, we were taught at home to “keep your hands to yourself.” There were repercussions to not heeding that rule, by the way.

Zinnia flower

A zinnia with a split personality, grown from seed. TW/MDP

Back to beefers.

Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburger’s has a mobile unit, as seen parked at the eatery’s Cromwell location. But please Ted’s – we want to share where this mobile unit will be, so hungry people (including us) can order up the delicious two-fisted burgers topped with a slab of melted gooey cheese. Via Twitter – – let us know where you will be, so we can tell others?

Food truck.

Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburgers mobile unit. AGH/MDP

The next is an announcement about awards for pilot grants in two states, mentioned to shine like a light for others to emulate and perhaps, try for in the next round. Remember that Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford is now part of the National Park Service because there were those who saw the potential and never gave up to have this area in Hartford not only recognized, but preserved as national heritage.

Be inspired and take note:

“Our hope is that these LWCF grants will stimulate interest in targeted planning efforts that, among other things, will help identify economically disadvantaged communities that are underserved with respect to parks and other outdoor recreation areas, and thereby provide a nexus to future project proposals suitable for the national competition,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “An investment in connecting kids to their parks and public lands is an investment that will pay off for their entire lives. Helping communities connect with their youth and getting kids to explore the outdoors greatly benefit future generations on so many levels.

In recent news, he also announced $98,000 in awards from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for new “Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership” pilot grants to two states to support statewide planning efforts and analyses to help identify areas underserved by parks and other outdoor recreation spaces in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program is a nationally competitive program that complements the existing National Park Service LWCF State and Local Assistance Program by creating new opportunities for outdoor play as well as developing or enhancing outdoor recreation partnerships for communities across the nation. Over the course of LWCF’s 51 years existence, more than 40,000 local outdoor recreation and conservation projects have received funds to protect our nation’s land, water and wildlife heritage. These grants provide capital funding to create new parks and recreational opportunities, as well as significantly enhance existing parks in these cities. The LWCF, created by Congress in 1965, promotes access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations by providing funding to federal, state and local governments to support a wide variety of outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

Grant recipients: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, $23,000; Missouri SCORP Urban Youth Study; Maryland Department of Natural Resources, $75,000, Transforming Baltimore’s 20th Century Recreation and Parks System for the 21st Century.

For more details, visit

The U.S. Constitution

Read, learn, grow.

Just for a handy reference, the U.S. Constitution – a good thing for all U.S. citizens to read over and over again – is linked to this image of We The People as it was penned by the founders of the United States of America.

Footnote: Indian summer won’t last. The halcyon days of warm, dry, gorgeous weather are to be savored. And the term, though outdated, should remind us all that the continent existed and was populated by humans who had their own languages and culture long before Christopher Columbus or other explorers stumbled upon its shores. “Late-19th century Boston lexicographer Albert Matthews made an exhaustive search of early American literature in an attempt to discover who coined the expression, according to Wikipedia‘s entry on the two words. The earliest reference he found dated from 1778, but from the context it was clearly already in widespread use. … Although the exact origins of the term are uncertain, it was perhaps so-called because it was first noted in regions inhabited by Native Americans (‘Indians’), or because the Native Americans first described it to Europeans, or it had been based on the warm and hazy conditions in autumn when Native Americans hunted.”

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