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Immaculate Conception at night by Vincent Embser

Wiser’s Wramblings-Feather Fluffing

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Photo by Dan Jordan

By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

I hate to keep fluffing the feathers of the “bird whisperer” Dan Jordan, but his expertise and love of all things “Eagles” has transmogrified or better said, expanded, into a similar love of Baltimore Orioles. Normally the orioles seem to disappear from the area, or at least from our feeder locations around mid-July, and seemed to have followed that pattern again this year. Dan has had a mess of them flocking his feeders since their early May return to our area and his feeder visits have let up a little but he still has numerous visitors. It is rare for us, but we have seen multiples of them stopping to check out our offerings as well. Sadly, they are disappointed here as we quit feeding them when it is obvious, or we thought so, that they have either left or switched their culinary choice to the insects in the trees and shrubs. Now Dan has the luxury of both Eagle hunting and photographing at the break of dawn and then watching the Orioles from his back porch at dusk. Dan was also blessed with a rare, or first, visit from Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and a first ever attraction and week-long stay of a visiting Orchard Oriole this year. I guess as his “following” silently slips away one by one, they bless us with a brief stop on their way by.

Just now, as I finished that paragraph, I saw a male Oriole land on one of our sunflower feeders, only to flee to our apple tree as I picked up my camera. Unfortunately, he went deep inside the leaves so no photo shoot. Now, my wife is re-hanging some of the oriole feeders for them.

We are pleased and content with a very healthy growth in the population of our cherished favorites, the Cardinals, as the new additions are numerous. Our Hummingbird family has grown considerably as well. Things get pretty hectic at the feeders, as the Cardinals and Grosbeaks continue to compete for the best spots at the seed diner as the “hummers” hum busily around them and our window feeders. We have more “hummers now than ever before.

Sticking with my “bird “brained observations. One of most birders’ favorites, is my least favorite. I admit that Blue Jays are very colorful, but that is where my fascination with them ends, and my dislike begins. They are noisy, glutenous, bullying, dominate the landscape and feeders, and can destroy every single apple on your apple tree by pecking away at each apple, ruining them without eating all that much.

It is well known that I love to learn. This also applies as I re-learn things I already knew. Recently I have written of my travel adventures as I drive to and from the Rochester area. Trying to recall and travel the route that was popular in my younger days I kept trying to drive South on Rte. 15 thinking it will bring me back into Allegany County as I thought it used to. As I studied the map yesterday trying to figure out where my “recalled route” went I noticed that there were two route 15’s. DUH! County Route 15 exists in two separate counties, as two separate routes.

Grammar grin. If you are observant of grammar misuse, you must love it when someone corrects someone else’s spelling with a mis-spelled word.

Lyme disease warning or caution. There seems to be a significant number of people being infected with the disease lately. Perhaps it is just because it has happened to several people close to me making me more aware of it. The ticks, that spread the disease, seem to be unusually numerous this year. The tick does not have to embed itself under your skin by burrowing, to transmit the disease, as perhaps some believe. I have had three ticks firmly attached to me over the years, including this year, and have yet to get any disease whatsoever from it. I had to have a tick extracted from my back with tweezers, by an unnamed person this year, after working near the ground on my garden boxes. A week or so after that, “said person” became mildly ill, followed a few days later with the bullseye rashes at multiple sites on their body having developed after that. That, unnamed person, does recall feeling something on their skin at about the same time I had one removed, but just brushed it off thinking nothing of it. After discovering numerous rash points, an ER visit and testing confirmed the infection. I’ve developed the habit of checking myself over after every outdoor visit near the garden boxes or wood pile. A friend of ours, several years ago, was diagnosed with the disease well after having been exposed to the infection. The disease had gone so long undetected that the victim now must have an injection site and be medicated on a regular basis over 30 years past when their infection first occurred.

The saga of fraudulent billing continues but at least it had nothing to do with insurance or the health care industry. Late last week I received an email from ESPN+ advising that my automatic annual renewal would continue as of 9/1/22 and payment would be taken from the designated account on that date. They also advised that the monthly bill would increase from $6.99 to $9.99. Huh? I had no such account. I immediately called ESPN+ to discuss this unexpected problem.

Every year for the last 5 or 6 years I would subscribe to ESPN+ at the beginning of the St. Bonaventure basketball season and then cancel my enrollment in March at the conclusion of the season. The last two or three years I have enrolled through my Roku streaming connection, with payment made via PayPal. Cancellation has always been uneventful and successful. My call to ESPN+ customer service was answered, surprisingly, by a friendly, well-spoken, understandable person named Warren.  I explained my problem to “Warren”. As we spoke, he accessed my account record and began back checking what might have happened. He checked my account and sure enough, they had not cancelled my account as I had directed at the end of this past March, and they had taken automatic payments using the account on file. I had never been advised of this and advised Warren as to that. Warren said he needed to look into it further and would give me a call back. After hanging up I recalled that I had accessed ESPN+ through my ROKU account detail and attempted to call back, hoping to talk once again to Warren. It took three call attempts to succeed. The first call was answered by an “English speaking challenged” lady. To tell the truth I have no idea what she was saying or had said, before I hung up and called a second time. The second call responding representative was easier to understand with an enjoyable Jamaican sounding accent. I explained that I had previously spoken with a representative named Warren and if there was any way possible, I would like to continue with him instead of trying to explain the situation all over again. He checked my previous account “activity” and could see the record of my call. I asked that, if he couldn’t transfer my call directly, could he send a message to Warren and have him call me. He said he would try, and we hung up.

Less than two minutes later the phone rang, and it was Warren. As I started to explain that I was calling to advise of the Roku account connection, he interrupted me and told me that he had already taken care of the problem and he had gone ahead and credited me with monthly refunds going back to March. I thanked him profusely, hung up, and immediately checked my account and for the email he said he had sent. Surely enough the credits were already there. Occasionally someone comes through and steps up to do the right thing. BTW, I did follow through and officially, again, canceled that account. I can’t financially justify the TV packages that would give me access to the multiple spread of Bonnies game programming, as many have suggested, as I only watch exactly two TV choices. Bills games and Bonnies games.

Photo by Wiser

Morning Update: Everything to this point was written Wednesday evening. I didn’t get out of bed very early this morning (If you count 7:15 AM as sleeping in) having been up late writing what precedes this “Update.” As I commenced to finish this week’s column, my wife started telling me about this morning’s many Oriole visits, to the feeders she had put back up last night. For some reason, maybe because “bird whisperer” Dan asked them to, the Orioles have re-appeared for a continued, unexpected, late summer visit. This has never happened before. As I watch them try to access the feeders it is obvious that these are not the same Orioles that had been here previously.

We are on the brink of Mid-term elections, and it has already become apparent that for some, there are extremely worrisome political/election dynamics taking place. Ever since the shenanigans following the 2020 elections, especially those of the Presidential election, I have serious concerns about the continuing integrity of our system, its processes, and the results of further questionable tactics and activities.

Speaking in particular about our Presidential election process it is flawed in my opinion. The “Electoral College” component is rife with apparent problems, weaknesses, and vulnerability. The vote of the majority of people in America has failed to select the President in two of the last few Presidential elections. The “Popular” vote has been overwritten or usurped by the Electoral College. The division of the American peoples by their “political party” affiliation goes beyond our personal “political leanings and beliefs”. I am friends with many people with whom I have disagreements “politically” but we “agree to disagree” and we get along with each other and in fact, remain friends. It is the “rabid component” of the political party or idealistic differences that turn violent that is taking us down a path that reasonable people would not want to, or at least choose to follow.

I believe that “One vote should count as one vote and every vote should count in determining who become our elected officials.”  

Lately I have been looking into the election process called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Some states, cities, municipalities and even countries use this method of voting in various election processes. I plan to explore, educate myself, and discuss this in an upcoming column. It may well present a more cost effective, and fraud preventive way, of selecting our elected officials.

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