Archive for November, 2019

Good – mid – morning to all. Rugby-the-dog was dependent on me this week and I had to take care of the morning feed, meet, and greet. Not to mention the initial morning constitutional (he is a very regular dog). Hence the mid-morning start on these Ramblings.

So, as I was strutting the mutt, slogans (and Marcia’s) words of wisdom stayed with me:

“Less talking more walking!” ~ Slogans Hub

Thanksgiving – is going to be celebrated by us tomorrow since it’s the first opportunity for the whole ‘Nati gang to get together. So, Marcia and I made the best of our quiet Thursday. We spent the afternoon seeing a matinee showing of Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; an oldie but goodie, especially for Thanksgiving.

Although, it seems like there were not too many folk who had a similar thought. Our first hint was when the ticket taker (with an early attempt at mustache growing) looked twice at our stubs, then steered us to Theater #1. Theater #1 appeared to have been a walk-in closet prior to some previous renovation. Having said that, we ended belly-laughing throughout.

It was Monty Python’s Eric Idle who said;

we do not decide to laugh, we find ourselves laughing. In the dark amidst hundreds of strangers we suddenly find ourselves united in a tribal explosion of noise, which begins in a shout of recognition and ends in the sound of a gurgling drain or a goose being strangled. For a few seconds we are all barking mad together.

And so I’ve come full circle, back to my week with a dog by going “barking mad”; it being the human equivalent of a dog’s bark.

Twice this week – the corner of Mayhem and Chaos did not disappoint. Monday it was an EMT run a few doors down. Last evening it was the street being closed down for a wreck further down.

Let me begin that most evenings Television is worthless. Friday evenings are especially bad. As I walked past our guest room I noticed that the bright flickering light of the cruiser made the wall in that room appear like the flickering screen of a ‘20s silent movie. I just had to test it and Marcia got the honorific role of silhouette-puppet master. That’s how we entertain ourselves in the city!

Time flies – And the kids do grow up. Thursday morning Dinah completed her first 10K – CONGRATULATIONS Dinah! Is it just me or did she actually push her grandpa Jim across the finish line?

Classic – A little over a year ago we snagged a vintage Lava Lamp at an on-line auction. It was only 11-bucks and in its original packaging. At the time I thought it a bit overboard to then have to drive into Covington, KY to pick it up.

Turns out it is one of those classic gems. A great night light, and those newly-made lava lamp replicas can’t compete.

Fini –
I do hunt up YouTube ‘stuff’ dealing with Citroën, Deux Chevaux (2CV) vehicles – which should come as no surprise. This capture from my TV screen is of two brothers (on left) at a gathering of Deux Chevaux owners. What made this extra special is their 2CV which they’d rigged for a trip. OK, what kind of ‘trip’? What would you say if I said France to Mongolia and back! This is in a over 50 years old 40hp 2-cylinder car folks; unbelievable!

Later today it’s a run to the airport to pick up A-T-V-&V. A long day for them, but they’ll be full of stories. Here are a couple of photos Adrianne posted for those not on Facebook. It was an Ongolea family gathering on the west coast; combination Thanksgiving and Tevita’s aunt, Luisa” 80th birthday .


Vili and Vai both talk about the importance of celebrating their family heritage. And, that they did.

Yesterday I tanked gas at $2.029. Almost reminded me of my school days.

Till next week, make it a great one.

A Week Gone By
11 23rd, 2019

Good morning to all. Here the night sky is still clearly visible; this bodes well. Coffee is ready and whatever brain cells were still in dream land have now snapped to by the smell of said coffee. Day has sprung!

With all of the ‘bounce’ the weather offers this time of year, there are downsides. Most rampant is – the common cold. And we all know that’s like (although our little household hasn’t experienced anything).

Awesome Invention

“A good homespun remedy will cure the common cold in a week.
But left untreated, your cold may linger for up to seven days.”
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neighborhood Fire –

It’s really a 24/7 game with Marcia – she’s a scanner junkie. The city’s Fire Department ‘alert’ call, a nasty “whee, whee” on the scanner, barely registers anymore; whereas early on it used to startle me.

Various dispatchers she knows by assigned nicknames. Barely an address mentioned where she can’t pin-point the exact location. Often it’ll be something like; “that’s the second run today to that nursing home” (here Fire and EMT are co-joined into a single department). And so it goes.

Three days ago, between 12:30 & 1:00 AM a fire broke out at a home a block and a half from us. It quickly turned into a multiple alarm. And as time wore on 50-firefolk were working it into the morning hours. WE SLEPT THROUGH IT ALL! WE HEARD NOTHING!

This fire also brought to light that these old neighborhoods with gas streetlights and ambiance up the wazoo are horribly behind today’s standards. The water lines feeding the neighborhood (and by default the hydrants) are 5” and should be 12”. So, they were running hoses from several streets away – more noise and more flashing lights. NONE OF WHICH WE HEARD OR SAW!

Can you even imagine the utter look of letdown and disappointment registered on Marcia’s face when she finally discovered what had occurred; especially the fact that it was almost in our backyard.

The Babylon Bee – Is most excellent with its constant stream of satire. With the sad spectacle of the go nowhere sham ‘impeachment’ event by our do-nothing Congress a little levity is a requirement. Hence, my searching out a few lighthearted paragraphs from the ‘Bee’.

More wags have climbed on the satire bandwagon; Dave Rubin had an insight; “I feel like Schiff is in an old Hitchcock movie where at the end he realizes he was investigating himself the whole time…” And so it goes.

Time flies – For school Derek has to do a Story Corps—like project. Story Corps is an organization which assembles histories from the aging, either oral or written. These are being kept and assembled in a massive repository. He needed search out his oldest living relative to interview – and that didn’t long. In fact, I was the first one sought out (although I do think I have some competition, but won’t go there).

What it reminded me is that the speed of change is constantly accelerating. From great grandparents who hardly left an area more that 25-miles from where they were born to today’s Jet Setters. Primarily, folk worked in a manner identical to that of their parents, and probably never changed occupations. I’ve read that in today’s world the average school graduate during their working life will hold seven differing occupations.

Likewise, think how things have changed in everything imaginable. From owning a car built on a wooden frame to one self-driving. From sitting in a dental chairs with the drill operated by foot pedal to the laser beam used today.

Personally, seeing my grandmother become almost blind, to me having implanted multifocal intraocular lenses. During my lifetime, having to schedule an appointment to make an international telephone call. My first trans-oceanic flight required three fueling stops in a four-engine plane seating only 50 people.

Do you remember the advertising ‘hoopla’ many of us experienced when, this past week back in 1963, the first push-button telephone was introduced (complete with an upcharge for that service)?

Fini – For the past several weeks Vai and Vili have spent their Saturday mornings at DAAP (University of Cincinnati school of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning). Here art students work with them. Later this morning Marcia and I will head there for an Art Show being put on using their works. Should be fun.

Thanksgiving for us has a twist this year. The Ongoleas will be in California to visit with family. They’ll be back next Saturday and we’ll celebrate (the whole “Nati gang) tomorrow a week. On top of that, the planned dinner will be at our place.

A week and a half ago Marcia spotted a Costco flyer offering a complete Thanksgiving dinner for 8 at a magnificent price – Turkey breasts and the works complete with pumpkin pie and ice cream. I ordered it. Two days later (two weeks early) a thirty-plus pound box of food arrived. Luckily Adrianne had space in her freezer.

The dry ice filling the bottom of the shipping box that the Turkey dinner came in went with them to school for various ‘science’ projects. We are so into fully cycling stuff.

Donn made his annual late fall trip to the lake this past week. All is well, cold but not much snow. It’s always fun to get these updates. I see the place fully shuttered and can still hear kids’ laughter and see me sitting in the sun with feet on a stump reading a book. Winter will be over soon and spring will follow quickly! Thanks Donn.


Till next week, make it a great one.

11 16th, 2019

Good morning everyone. Here, radio guy Bubba-Bo is still trying to close out his overnight drive-time show. Yes, it’s early.

Having said that, I can hear our Mr. Coffee machine working hard trying to complete its perk cycle; it’s making that sputtering sound. I’m looking forward to that first sip.

This week fall finished as cold north winds blew through – along with an inch or two of snow. Even the beautiful yellow leaves of the Ginkgo tree called it quits. Ginkgo trees have a secret communication code. Right about when the full Beaver moon appears, overnight, in one fell swoop, every ginkgo tree in town drops its leaves, all of them; all together now, one, two, three – GO! And so the annual great Ginkgo-Tree leaf dump of 2019 was done.

On the prettier of my walking trails the route takes me through streets lined with probably a dozen or so Ginkgo. Yesterday I noted that they’re all bare branched, but each with a bright yellow ‘apron’ around its trunk. Nature really is amazing!

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year..” ~ Backseat Goodbye

Shifting Sands – watching lead player Schiff (Congressman Adam Schiff, D-CA) lead us in some elaborately staged Kabuki Theater. This is where what you thought you were watching was cleverly changed (morphed) into something else. Then, just when you began to grasp it, realized it had already changed again.

This week, being the good ‘doobie’ that I am (also one with no life), I watched/listened dutifully. I was appalled. But rather than get into a rant about something which will go nowhere anyway, I’m giving you a different tack.

What is with these Congressional folk addressing unelected bureaucrats with; “thank you for your service to country.” What? These bureaucrats are people who sit behind a lovely desk, make better than average wages, have more perks than the average Joe, and a grand retirement package early enough to start a second career. Where does this “Thank you for your service” bit stop? Am I expected to greet my BMV clerk in similar fashion? The IRS worker auditing my income tax?

It’s become a bit like tipping, where, there too I get confused. Restaurant wait-staff OK, barber also OK, same with the hotel room service folk. But then, what about a super-efficient checkout cashier, or the ticket taker at a Theater? How about the Priest who sat patiently listening to your gang-buster confession? The whole ‘Service to Country” and tipping scenario gets on my nerves – it’s probably me, being the one who doesn’t grasp all the intricacies and rules.

A Game – It’s difficult to be reading some current news and not catch wind that straws are a serious issue. Why, even Presidential candidates bloviate on the horrors of these small appliances.

So, here are two pictures both dealing with the subject of ‘straws’. One is the latest stainless-steel carry with you 24/7 variety, the other a possible fun use. Your job? Guess which originated in coastal areas and which in ‘fly-over’ country.


Grand Solar Minimum – The Global warming discussions are beginning to be much more than the simplistic, “it’s the CO2 stupid,” and is not settled. There is a massive range of data entering the equation, Earth’s path around the sun, Earth’s tilt, to name a couple. And currently entering the discussion is the Grand Solar Minimum. This is much more than the 11-year Solar Minimum cycle by the sun. A Grand Solar Minimum occurs when several solar cycles exhibit lesser than average activity for decades or centuries. A new study suggests that a ‘Grand’ Minimum to be what we’ll be living with between the years 2020 – 2053.

We can trace two previous Grand Solar Minimum cycles, the Maunder Minimum which coincided with the Little Ice Age (c. 1500–1850) and the Spörer Minimum from (c. 1460 – 1550). As a FYI, during the ‘Maunder’ the Thames River in England froze over and Viking settlers abandoned Greenland. Sit tight folks. I just hope that this next season at Northern Comfort will not be another summer-that-wasn’t.

Craft Beer – is no longer a three guys and a keg operation. Craft beer has taken over from the ‘dishwater’ beers the big boys have foisted on us for years. However, the ‘craft’ sub-set portion of the business has grown; to what degree I had no idea. That was until yesterday when Marcia and I were stuck in traffic immediately behind a massive Rhinegeist craft beer 18-wheeler. Sitting there it dawned on me that it’s become a real business.

Fini – I happened across an electric Scooter hearse. Never knew what happens to these little things which seem to spring up all over – from nowhere.

Vili is our little science wizard and builder of things. This is the soccer game he made. And it works! I just knew there’d be a use for these old timey clothes pins.

Marcia wanted to head over to the local Weavers Guild. Always amazing what folk can make from a little thread.

This month Marie Sklodowska Curie was born in 1867. This colorized photo of her was taken in her laboratory – notice the difference in just a measly 150 years. Oh, I do love history.

This time of year the sun is lower. This means that at the right time it shines into our sunroom, it’s light ray separates there, pours through the glass in the doorway and projects across the living room onto the wall. During the year I tend to forget and then get all surprised when it occurs again.

Till next week, make it a great one.

11 9th, 2019

“You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven,” said years ago by Jimmy Hendrix. He lived his own ‘mayhem’. Me? Sitting in our sunroom, drinking a mug of black coffee while reading a book, quickly becomes my own wild and crazy weekend.

‘Wild and crazy’ when all I have to do is look up and see this happening out front. Out of nowhere a massive container was dropped off. A half hour later it had disappeared.

Welcome to my corner of the world.

“ I have always found that if I move with seventy-five percent or more of the facts that I usually never regret it. It’s the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy.” ~ Lee Iacocca.

Talking with an old friend this week and reminiscing on some crazy stuff which happened on joint business trips, this quote from Iacocca came to mind. It was a good conversation – a fun conversation.

Goetta – Even when traveling, be it to some small town or a faraway international locale, it’s always without hesitation that I seeked out a local ‘go-to’ place. In other words, aside from the fact that I just love food, I really love Regional Foods.

Cincinnati has not one, but two regionally noted such foods. Cincinnati Chili, a cumin based, chocolate infused, chili on a bed of spaghetti and topped with a mound of shredded cheese tops the list.

Quickly gaining as a ‘new’ specialty ‘must have’ item is Goetta. Goetta has been around since the mid-1800s when the area flooded with German immigrants. In reality it is a meat extender peasant food; Pinhead Oats, pork bits, and spices; all for the common folk.

And there were literally dozens of slaughter houses and butchers making it. After all, Cincinnati gained the name of ‘Porkopolis’ during this period. These immigrant butchers all brought slightly differing recipes, all coming from towns located in the NW area of Germany. Today, there are just about ten with the largest creating 1.5 million pounds of the stuff annually.

So, here I am, the only one in the family who likes the stuff. In fact, I’m the only one in the family who’ll eat it; and I say “bring it on!”

Thursday evening I trotted off to our nearby University, UC, for a two-hour class in what’s known as Communiversity. It’s just an array of fun classes designed for adults. I’ve been to an Astronomy class, now the Goetta session, and for future interest I spotted several with the word Bourbon somewhere in the description.

The word ‘fun’ was absolutely correct, and the other ‘f’ word I’ll use is ‘fascinating’.

Meeting – Tuesday evening I attended a downtown meeting on Policing and Safety; only committee members of the various neighborhood associations where there and so it was a smallish affair. The meeting place was near City Hall, above our Fire Museum. A gorgeous high ceilinged place with huge windows each with dark walnut shutters.

What really got my attention was a massive (probably 8’ wide) Brass and Copper wall hanging. It was a stylized replica of the world’s first ever practical steam fire engine dubbed the: “Uncle Joe Ross”. It was invented (1854) and developed here in town, six hoses could be connected, it took three men to make it work, and (I love this) it took four STOUT horses to move it. Eventually the city had six of these beasts. A great piece of art.

As an aside, Cincinnati had the nation’s first professional, paid, fire department. Prior to that it was an all-volunteer affair – which got the various, apparently quite raucous, ‘teams’ into an occasional Battle royal; even shootings.

On a serious note – Julian Renfro, our former neighbor and friend passed suddenly this week. Yesterday was his service, two hours long, and the most uplifting funeral I can remember. Julian and his wife, Gail, own Renfro Funeral Services, but that’s not what made his life special, it was the last seven years of his life which were extraordinary. Click here and watch Julian tell his story. This is not a spoiler; but do be a tissue donor!

When it’s Election Day, school is out – and I had the pleasure of taking the gang to lunch and the Zoo. There is now a major difference over earlier trips. Now we enter a building and they stay put. Why? Well mostly because they’re now reading all display signage, and working all the ‘hands on’ stuff. It really was a great day!

Having said that, once in a while the kid in them did emerge.


Fini – Amazon Prime is in the delivery business. Like me, most of you know full well that they are. But, just maybe not to the extent by which they are. On one side of our airport they’re building a distribution site with tarmac big enough for well over 100 Boeing wide-body 767 freightliners. But it’s their fleet of ‘final mile’ delivery vans which got my attention. On our recent drive to Austin if we saw one truck towing the small vans, we saw at least 1000 being towed. If memory serves right they’ve ordered 100,000 of these things. Gives ‘scope’ to the size of that enterprise especially considering that founder, Jeff Bezos, started selling books from his garage.

Our Tevita was/is a serious lover of the sterling game of Rugby and was a standout on the local semi-pro team. He re-posted this picture from nine years ago when I drove him in my Old Benz to get 13 staples in his skull. As the song goes, “those were the days my friend”!

This week Adrianne and Vai took a tour of Clark Montessori, our local Montessori middle/high school – part of the city’s alternative school system. Over last weekend she toured Walnut Hills our college preparatory school. Walnut is substantially larger, other than that I received little as to the direction she’ll take next year, grade 7.

Gordo’s Pub and Grill is where Marcia lost control. In this case it was their Blackened Burger, complete with the works, plus grape compote and Blue Cheese (I did have a few of her fries). Mine was the Jean Robert and I should point out that we each cut our ‘beast’ in half and shared halves.

Remembering like it was yesterday. This day in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and East & West Germany were re-connected. In part, a result of that now famous speech made by President Ronald Reagan calling out the USSRs General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, to “tear down” that Wall.

Till next week, make it a great one!

PS. The Goetta video was made by The Kamikaze Fireflies. This duo primarily has a vaudeville act, but when touring also explore regional foods. This past summer they were in Cincinnati. Click them on You Tube and watch some of the vaudeville stuff – hilarious entertainment; be sure to catch their Fastest Foot Sandwich act.

Honor Flight
11 2nd, 2019

Morning all, some people wondered what it was like upon our return to the corner of Chaos and Mayhem. Apparently in past years there was an abundance of both: Chaos and Mayhem. This year it was different and much calmer. In fact we were ‘eased’ into our new routine (from that which we experienced in the North Woods). Not to say it was total calm, just more of that which brings on a smile. Coffee in hand, let me get started; on the corner we spotted a person with an over-the-top desire to communicate with everyone. I think that to be even more creative he should’ve ordered a vanity license plate reading:

4U 2RD

Then there was the “Queen”. She was stopped by police for her participation in a Road Rage incident. The police pulled her over directly across from our balcony. Here Marcia watched as the Queen sat in her car and screamed at the officers – for TWENTY solid minutes she screamed. They then cuffed her and took her away in a new ‘carriage’, complete with driver and lights. The old ‘Queenly’ carriage stayed overnight by our curb – then it too disappeared.

Ah yes, we were home again.

“Just learned that the guy down the street is handing out full-sized candy bars to the young Trick or Treaters. This leaves me no choice but to now hand out Rotisserie Chickens” ~ anonymous;

Halloween – Even Halloween requires decision making and thought. That, plus trudging through dark windblown streets in near-freezing temperatures; all for the love. Really now, a few photos are all you need. Enjoy!

Honor Flight: Veteran heroes – 2005 is when two friends in the nearby town of Springfield, OH felt it necessary to honor the hero parents and veterans of World War II (we’re losing 640 per day) and organized a small group to visit the monuments in our capitol. This act has grown and organized. Grown to where now these Honor Flights take place nationally throughout the year and have begun to include veterans from the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

Their all-paid for escorted trip to Washington via a charted American Airlines plane was to return at 9:30 last Tuesday evening. This was the final flight of 2019. So, I thought I’d welcome them ‘home’, and to our airport I went. Not realizing that others had a similar plan, I ended up being there with in a throng of at least 1,500 other folk. It was a party atmosphere. And when the 72 vets and their individual escorts, crew, and medics returned it was a time of pure happiness (judging by their faces, handshakes, and high-fives). Tears could be seen running down cheeks, even by some of us and the escorts. Balloons, flags, and signs were all over the place; little ones greeting returning grandparents, and for me, there were BAGPIPES! These vets got ‘honored’ big time, and it was a thrill to help welcome them home.


Where’s Waldo? – Thursday was a here, there, and everywhere type of day. I ran around with my list and Marcia hers. At some point we had to come together. She had the truck for a short grocery run. I then needed to pick-up a kid.

In the nick of time Marcia huffed in the front door. I expected the car-key, but instead (in my mind’s eye) I heard the words from Gilligan’s Island: “So this is the tale of our castaways, they’re here for a long, long time
They’ll have to make the best of things, and it’s an uphill climb”.

Turns out that Marcia had lost her keys and had walked home.

I walked to take care of my pick-up duty; she walked back to the truck with the spare key.

I came home with my charge; she not until much, much later – ‘sans’ truck (another whole story).

Meanwhile, Tevita had gotten home from out of town and upon hearing of what was transpiring set out with Vai in tow. And so the search began. I even received updates.

Without going into all the crazy details, in due course Marcia did return. The truck too came home. And Marcia (relished?) having a day of well over 10,000 steps – maybe even 15,000!

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati A while back my nephew, Nick M, was in town and spent a few days at this place and raved about it. Now I discovered that I was able to tap into a docent guided tour of the place. So yesterday early evening I went and toured the place.

So what is the 21c? It’s the first multi-venue museum dedicated to the art of the 21st century in the nation and it has a hotel built within the museum. So cool!

The art is scattered all over the place, rooms, hallways, lobby, and dedicated display spaces. Quilts, oils, sculpture, wall-hangings, and interactive electronics – it blows you away. And its nothing to sneer at either, not just anything gathering dust in some back alley gallery. These are major works from the hottest of today’s artists, national and international.

Stay at the hotel and having a bit of trouble sleeping? No problemo; get up, smile at the front desk folk, and give yourself a tour – you’ll be by yourself, totally free to explore a full-fledged art museum!

Where else can you check in to a hotel and directly behind the desk hangs a 16-foot oil painting by Kehinde Wiley titled Morpheus. Who is Wiley you ask? Oh, he’s the same one who painted President Obama’s official painting, the one which will hang alongside the other 44 Presidents.



And even the first of a series of 9-foot tall ‘Soundsuit‘ sculptures created by artist Nick Cave:

Fini – I was informed that Marin has been properly signed up for Drivers-Ed classes – at almost $500! Certainly a far cry from my tentative driving beginnings sitting next to my dad, the only instructor I ever had – but he came for free.

Marin also has expanded his pool of friends. They’re growing up fast.

Condolences to Cathy with the loss of her grandfather. Declining health and aged 97 it was expected, nevertheless, not easy.

Vili took the English Reading portion of the State’s standardized test required for entry into grade 4. I asked him how he thought he did. “Great” was his proud reply. “I had 90 minutes and finished with thirty minutes to spare”.

Marcia had her first meeting as HOA-VP; the meeting lasted 4-minutes & 30-seconds. Well now, that went well!

Till next week (see you when we’re all back on standard time).