Spooktacular Night


Halloween has a little something for everyone. I’d like to point out the painting in the lower right. “Jack O’Lantern” a digital painting by by Rado Javor (©2010-2016 RadoJavor) created in photoshop CS5. “The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern tells about the eternal Irish wanderer who wasn’t ‘let to the Heaven neither to Hell.’ He is traveling through the world in the search of Redemption.” See more of his work HERE.


It’s “ghosts and goblin” time again – with Halloween next week, the element of surprise makes it fun and unpredictable. When we were kids, my brothers and I used to sprint from house to house, block to block, and see who could get the most candy. As my daughters got older they would get all dressed up, go out with their pillow cases, and bring them back filled to the top. At that point, the real fun would start. Jackie and I would watch them dump out all of the candy in the family and start trading. Guess who got anything they didn’t want!! For fun, here is some trivia and scary urban legends you can share for a “spooktacular” night.

  • The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainopobia.
  • Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
  • The tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates to the Celts. As part of their autumnal celebration, they wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they carved faces into vegetables such as turnips, potatoes and squash. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.
  • The name Jack o’ Lantern comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
  • If you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
  • The common little brown bat of North America has the longest life span for a mammal it’s size, with a life span averaging 32 years.
  • The Ouija Board ended up outselling the game of Monopoly in its first full year at Salem. Over two million copies of the Ouija Board were shipped.
  • Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters, with Snickers #1 – industry experts predict overall candy sales this year will top $2 billion.
  • Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
  • Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.
  • Signs of a werewolf are a unibrow, hair palms, tattoos, and a long middle finger.
  • In 1962, The Count Dracula Society was founded by Dr. Donald A. Reed. To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies with people claiming to be real vampires.
  • There really are so-called vampire bats, but they’re not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.
  • Many people still believe that gargoyles were created by medieval architects and stone carvers to ward off evil spirits.
  • “Halloween” (the movie) was made in only 21 days in 1978 on a very limited budget. The movie was shot in the Spring and used fake autumn leaves. The mask used by Michael Meyers in the movie “Halloween” was actually William Shatner’s mask painted white. The character Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis was named after John Carpenter’s first girlfriend. While the setting for the story is in Illinois, the vehicles have California license plates.

Every year, urban legends make the rounds once again. Similar to the “Poison Halloween Candy” story, they play on parent’s fears that madmen are out to harm our children. Just a few …

BLOODY MARY: Who can forget the scary story of Bloody Mary, the evil spirit who will scratch your eyes out when summoned? Most people heard the Bloody Mary legend when they were children, listening to spooky ghost stories around the campfire. The tale is still told at slumber parties, campouts, and late-night bonfire parties. The legend claims that the evil woman can be summoned by chanting “Bloody Mary” into a mirror anywhere from three to one-hundred times in a darkened room lit only by a candle. (Thirteen seems to be the most popular number of chants, appropriately so). The bathroom is the most popular setting to test out the legend, but other dark rooms seem applicable. After the given amount of chants, the spirit will then appear in a mirror to claw your eyes out. Death will follow. Other variations have her driving you insane or pulling you into the mirror, never to be seen again.
Who Bloody Mary really is remains a mystery. While there are many versions of this story, many accounts point to a woman named Mary Worth, who was horribly disfigured in a car crash. Some are adamant that it’s Queen Mary I of England, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Some people still tell of a witch who was burned at the stake and has returned for revenge, or it may be the devil himself who comes for your soul. Legend has it that if you are near a mirror in total darkness, she can still come for you, regardless of whether or not you’re trying to call for her.

FRIDAY THE 13th: Most historians agree that the history of Friday the 13th as an unlucky day is a relatively short one, beginning sometime in the 19th century. Facts include: Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer famous for operas such as the Barber of Seville. His 19th century biographer, a British journalist named Henry Edwards, wrote that Rossini thought Fridays and the number 13 were unlucky. Rossini died on Friday, November 13th, 1868. Many folklorists cite Rossini’s biography as the first written reference to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day.
In the Canterbury Tales, written in the 14th century, there is a reference to “unlucky Fridays”. The whole root of the superstitions surrounding the number 13 may come from a Norse myth originating during prehistoric times. The myth goes that 12 gods were celebrating and dining in Valhalla when in walked Loki, the Norse god of mischief. According to the myth, Loki got the god of darkness to shoot Balder, the god of joy and gladness with a poisoned arrow, causing all of Earth to become dark as Balder died. Loki was the 13th guest, leading to the belief that 13 was a bad, unlucky number. No one can really say whether Friday the 13th is an unlucky day or even if there is any such thing as bad luck. That being said, millions of people believe in the superstition and no one can really say they are wrong.



It’s “Chowda” Time


On any fall day this month, if you are lucky enough, and in the right location (at the park, a church parking lot, or your own backyard), the air is filled with the aroma of the Atlantic Ocean – soft ‘n salty clams steaming in pots, alongside sweet potatoes, chicken, the last of the season’s corn and jugs filled with savory broth from the spigot, all waiting to be eaten and enjoyed. Around here, it’s Clambake time, and I love it.

Growing up, Dad loved to put on clam bakes for the family. My brothers and sisters would have contests on who could eat the most clams! I can only say I stopped counting once I hit the 6th dozen! The table would be piled high with the shells and there was nothing like the “chowda” that went along with it. As we have all grown up, a new tradition has been born, we try to get together annually for a clambake prior to Thanksgiving. This allows time for all of us siblings (and extended family) to reminisce and catch up at the same time. I can no longer hit the 6 dozen mark and that’s ok! The leftovers make wonderful chowder or sautéed in butter with a pinch of garlic! YUM

As you’d probably expect, clams, along with other shellfish such as oysters and mussels, have a worldwide audience. But because of peak clam sales here in September and October, Northeast Ohio is considered the fall clambake capital of the country. Churches, restaurants, fire departments, neighborhoods, veteran’s groups, cheerleaders, and families big and small all get into the act. According to the professionals who buy and sell clams, our area is a hotbed this time of year, according to John C. Young of Euclid Fish Co., a third generation fishmonger whose grandfather unloaded rail cars bearing iced-down barrels of clams from the shore. And Chesapeake Bay waterman Chad Ballard, the largest clam producer on the East Coast, agrees with all of them. We’re the top market in the fall for his product – not Chicago, Boston or New York, which have their clambake peaks in late summer. Say Ballard, “From our perspective, the volume is incredible. The northeast part of the country buys all year round, but in fall, no one comes close to NE Ohio.

Some attribute it to our origins as a kind of second Connecticut, since the “Western Reserve” lands in the northeast corner of Ohio were given to those veterans of the Revolutionary War. Others think it’s our mighty pre-election clambake ritual, when politicians use clams to lure constituents. And others think it’s just what’s needed before the chilly weather sets in for good. Here are some interesting facts:

  • While our love for the double-shelled food has held steady, clams themselves have changed. A growing number of them – 80 percent by some estimates – are now farm-raised. In a world where farm-raised seafood has a checkered reputation, clams stand out as not just a good thing, but also a necessary one.
  • Our appetite for oysters, once rivaled our love for clams. In the early 1900s, tens of thousands of gallons of oysters were consumed annually in Cleveland alone, including by families who cooked them at home.
  • The 1914 food section of The Plain Dealer was filled with reader suggestions on how to prepare them: In fritters, baked, sauced, wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a loaf, deviled, panned, scalloped, in soup and chowder, a pie, a hot cocktail. (“Hot” then meaning temperature, not spice.) “Inexhaustible seem the disguises of the festive oyster, to judge by the great variety of modes in which Women’s Exchange contributors serve the bivalve up,” read a story about a recipe contest.
  • Cleveland had restaurants devoted exclusively to shellfish menus. At a Cleveland shop called “The Ocean,” one story said, “oysters may be purchased by the barrel or hundred; bucket and count oysters by the hundred, quart or gallon.”
  • In an 1899 shucking contest downtown, the winners opened more than 50 oysters in about five minutes.
  • In 1900, the Fifth District Republican Club had its first clambake at its headquarters on Woodland Avenue. Recounted The Plain Dealer: “The bake was very successful in every way and about 200, who evidently brought their appetites with them, sat down to devour the festive clam and all that is good that goes with it.”
  • In 1906, the golden-era mayor Tom Johnson showed up with 1,200 others to the Buckeye Club’s Clambake at “Giesen’s Gardens on Pearl Street,” which raised money for band uniforms for their Cedar Point appearances.
  • Back in the day, most clams were harvested by hand rakes. Now, because of so many environmental changes, many of them are grown from egg. One-inch seedlings are sprinkled in the water and covered with netting to protect them from predators.
  • When full size, clams are gathered by hydraulic rakes and sometimes stored to help clean out grit. Wet storage also keeps inventories high and prices regulated.
  • The largest clam ever recorded was found in Okinawa in 1956, it weighed 750 pounds.
  • Hard shell clams can live to over 40 years if they can avoid humans, fish, starfish, crabs, birds and other predators.
  • In October 2007 a team of British marine biologists working north of Iceland dredged up what may have been the world’s oldest living animal–an Ocean Quahog clam from 250 feet deep turned out to be over 405 years old. Unfortunately, they realized the clams extreme age only after they had cut through its shell to count its growth rings.
  • Early French immigrants to Canada made a hearty soup called chaudree from salt pork and fish. (Chaudree derives from the Latin calderia ‘caldron’.) When chaudree crossed the Canadian border and moved down the eastern seaboard of the United States, “chowder” American style came into being. Maine, ever practical and plain, fostered a simple chowder using pure water, clams, salt pork, and of course, potatoes.
  • The dairy-rich state of Massachusetts chose to make its brand of chowder with milk, while Manhattan and Connecticut versions added tomatoes. Thus started the famous food controversy, still, if ever-to-be settled, as to whether chowder should be made with tomatoes.
  • According to the Father Willy, a clam veteran, “It’s a Cleveland thing – They just don’t do this everywhere.”




Fall Is More Than Just Blue Jays in Town


Some of our feathered friends: (Clockwise from top left) Broad-winged Hawk, Snowy owl, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Golden Eagle, White-winged Crossbill, confused with canaries?: the American Goldfinch (L) and the Evening Grosbeak (R), Canvasback Duck.

While working in the yard this week (awesome weather), I noticed some new and unusual bird calls and birds in the bushes. It peaked my interest, so I looked online to learn that Fall brings with it many changes to Ohio’s bird life. According to Bill Thompson, editor of Bird Watchers, and some other birders I found, and in what has become an almost annual tradition here at KHT here’s what we can look forward to:

  • September/October brings many changes to Ohio’s bird life, as this month is the peak of fall songbird migration. Even though there are probably more birds passing through the state in fall, their passages are much more subdued than in spring. Plumages are muted and generally lacking the festive hues that many warblers and other songbirds sport in spring.
  • By October, the warbler migration is past peak, although a few species, such as Yellow-rumped Warbler, are moving strongly. Sparrow migration has picked up, and will be a major feature of the month. Many short-distance migrants such as Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, American Pipit, and others appear. Shorebird migration continues strongly through the first half of the month. Waterfowl migration is picking up, and many dabbling ducks are numerous throughout most of October, although geese, swans, and diving ducks tend to peak later.
  • We can find the American goldfinch, brightly colored and abundant little finches who favor the use of thistle down and other late-to-mature plant matter in the construction of their nests.
  • Migration hotspots like Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Black Swamp or Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus are excellent places to observe fall migrants. On a good day, these sites and others like them can be filled with blackpoll, bay-breasted, Cape May, and yellow-rumped warblers, among others. (see links below)
  • A number of species of birds, especially shorebirds, have elliptical migration routes that take them mostly west of Ohio in spring, but right through the Buckeye State in fall. If you want to add buff-breasted or Baird’s sandpiper to your bird-watching list, you’ll definitely want to go explore Ohio’s fall mudflat scene. Even some songbirds like the Connecticut warbler display similar migration routes and are best seen in this month. The elusive Connecticut warbler is the hardest of our regularly occurring warblers to find, spending much of its time furtively skulking in dense shrubbery, and more than one longtime Ohio birder has yet to add this one to the list.
  • In late September/early October, it’s wise to watch the skies, as hawk migration time arrives. The most dramatic species in terms of numbers are the broad-winged hawks. Forming flocks known as kettles, the peak passage of broad-wings is around the third week of September, and the vicinity of western Lake Erie is the best place to catch big flights. In Sept 2002, it was in this area that some 20,000 (never to be seen in those kinds of numbers) red-tailed, Cooper’s, and sharp-shinned hawks were seen high overhead.
  • If you want to see a migrating golden eagle, park yourself in the heart of the Oak Openings this month, because that’s when and where the most hugest! raptors are seen in our state. It’s a good time to look for that medium-sized falcon, or the merlin, in wide-open places like Big Island or Killdeer Plains wildlife areas, too.
  • Birders eagerly rub their hands in anticipation of winter finch invasions, such as evening grosbeak, purple finch, pine siskin, and red and white-winged crossbills. – – October and November are generally when the first invaders arrive on the scene. While these and other northern irruptives like red-breasted nuthatch and northern saw-whet owl are notoriously cyclical in numbers from year to year.
  • Waterfowl begin to stage big movements in our marshes as October fades to November, and perhaps the wild hordes of Canada geese are the most obvious of this group. While not as vociferous as the geese, Ohio marshes become packed with many species of ducks, including northern shoveler, blue-winged and green-winged teal, and northern pintail. Reliable as clockwork, mid to late November brings the flocks of tundra swans, that are best seen as they migrate along the Lake Erie shoreline. Another big, spectacular bird stages flights through western Ohio and even queues up in flocks to roost at favored mudflats, such as at Deer Creek Reservoir.
  • As November windes down, we’ve usually had our first taste of snow, and shirtsleeve birding is a thing of the past. The arctic visitors such as rough-legged hawk have returned, and snowy owls will start to be seen in favored Lake Erie haunts. Huge numbers of red-breasted mergansers form flocks so large in the offshore waters of Lake Erie that observers can’t believe their eyes and accurate estimates are nearly impossible. As many as 100,000 of these fish-eaters have been seen flying past one location in 10 minutes! Other hardy diving ducks become common on our great lake in November, too, including canvasback, ruddy duck, bufflehead, and American goldeneye. Constantly whirling overhead are the gulls, which pick up in numbers and diversity as winter sets in. Great black-backed gulls become more numerous, and giant flocks of Bonaparte’s gulls congregate in harbors and river mouths.
  • Late November/early December, is high time to have your feeders up and filled, as backyard birds will be eagerly seeking handouts by now. That perennial snowbird, the dark-eyed junco, is back in force, and American tree sparrows have begun to appear. Acclimating your yard birds to the feeders now should insure a steady supply of feathered friends throughout the coming winter.

For more info, click HERE for great birding hotspots in Ohio.
And to learn more about clubs and places to visit, use these handy links below:
Bird Cinema
Black River Audubon Society
Black Swamp Bird Observatory
Black Brook Audubon Society
Cleveland Audubon Society
Akron Audubon Society
Kirtland Bird Club
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society




What’s Your “Will” Power?


(L to R Clockwise from top left) How I think early in the morning. Young Alfred Nobel. The presentation in Stockholm. The Nobel Medal. The Big Bang: Alfred Nobel’s most famous invention and how he made the fortune that funds the yearly prizes.


Got any will power? No, not the voice in your head to put down the second piece of pastry sitting next to your coffee cup, but “will” power.

If you’re like me, I’m occasionally thinking about “what’s to come” – later today, tomorrow, next month, year end, next year. As I interact daily with staff and our great customers, I often challenge my decisions; to be sure we’re doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons.

Sometimes, as the sun is coming up while I’m out on my 4:30 AM runs, I think about what is being passed on to the next generation of workers here at KHT, what can I do now that can positively impact our business in 5-10-20-30 years? With the rapid pace of science and technology changes coming, what should I plan for? (thirty years ago we really didn’t use computers much, and ten years ago, my iPhone wasn’t sitting within arm’s reach). And, if I left “instructions” for those that follow me, would they make a difference in our business or community? For an inventor, and successful business man in Paris, his instructions sure did.

In 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his third, and last will at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris. When it was opened, it caused great controversy, as he left much of his wealth for the establishment of a fund, to endow “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. According to Nobel, his sizeable estate was to be “invested in safe securities, and constitute a fund, the interest shall be divided into five equal parts:

  • one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics;
  • one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement;
  • one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine;
  • one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and
  • one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
  • also it is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.” How cool is that!

Congrats to this year’s Nobel Prize winners:  nobelprize.org

And for our history buffs, (according to Wikipedia) here are some cool facts about Alfred Nobel and his award. Enjoy.

  • Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. Known for inventing dynamite, Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments.
  • Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous. After reading a premature obituary which condemned him for profiting from the sales of arms, he bequeathed his fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him. His name also survives in modern-day companies such as Dynamit Nobel and AkzoNobel, which are descendants of mergers with companies Nobel himself established.
  • Following various business failures, Nobel’s father moved to Saint Petersburg in 1837 and grew successful there as a manufacturer of machine tools and explosives. He invented modern plywood and started work on the “torpedo”. Alfred attended school nearby and was an outstanding student, interested in chemistry, literature and the sciences.
  • As a young man, Nobel studied with chemist Nikolai Zinin; then, in 1850, he went to Paris to further the work, where he met Ascanio Sobrero, who had invented nitroglycerin three years before.
  • At age 18, he went to the United States for four years to study chemistry, collaborating for a short period under inventor John Ericsson, who designed the American Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. Nobel filed his first patent, an English patent for a gas meter, in 1857, while his first Swedish patent, which he received in 1863, was on ‘ways to prepare gunpowder’.
  • Nobel found that when nitroglycerin was incorporated in an absorbent inert substance like kieselguhr (diatomaceous earth) it became safer and more convenient to handle, and this mixture he patented in 1867 as ‘dynamite’.
  • Nobel demonstrated his explosive for the first time that year, at a quarry in Redhill, Surrey, England. In order to help reestablish his name and improve the image of his business from the earlier controversies associated with the dangerous explosives, Nobel had also considered naming the highly powerful substance “Nobel’s Safety Powder”, but settled with Dynamite instead, referring to the Greek word for “power” (δύναμις).
  • In 1888 Alfred’s brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite and is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The obituary stated, Le marchand de la mort est mort (“The merchant of death is dead”) and went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred (who never had a wife or children) was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered.
  • The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the peace prize, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient, or laureate, receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation – as of 2012, each prize was worth about US$1.2 million, along with custom artwork depicting the prize contribution. The Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious award available in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace, and economics.
  • The Nobel Foundation was founded as a private organization on June 29, 1900, with the first award given in 1901. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. Brothers Robert and Ludvig Nobel were involved in the oil business in Azerbaijan, and according to Swedish historian E. Bargengren, who accessed the Nobel family archives, it was this “decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred’s money from Baku that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established”.
  • The Foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the Nobel laureates. In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an investment company, in that it invests Nobel’s money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and is exempt from all taxes in Sweden and from investment taxes in the United States.
  • According to the statutes, the Foundation consists of a board of five Swedish or Norwegian citizens, with its seat in Stockholm. The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Swedish King in Council, with the other four members appointed by the trustees of the prize-awarding institutions. An Executive Director is chosen from among the board members, a Deputy Director is appointed by the King in Council, and two deputies are appointed by the trustees.
  • Nomination forms are sent by the Nobel Committee to about 3,000 individuals, usually in September the year before the prizes are awarded. These individuals are generally prominent academics working in a relevant area. Regarding the Peace Prize, inquiries are also sent to governments, former Peace Prize laureates, and current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. About 300 nominees are selected each year, and all nomination records for a prize are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of the prize.
  • Except for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, Sweden, at the annual Prize Award Ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The recipients’ lectures are normally held in the days prior to the award ceremony. The Peace Prize and its recipients’ lectures are presented at the annual Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, usually on 10 December. The award ceremonies and the associated banquets are typically major international events.
  • The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm occurs when each Nobel laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of the King of Sweden. In Oslo, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway.