Archive for June, 2020

Concert & Rust
06 27th, 2020

A good Saturday morning all. Be sure to click on a new Time Check on top of the page.

What’s going on? First it was an angry protest. Now I only see turmoil filled screens filled with anarchy, mostly by groups of pasty white endomorphic and spineless ectomorphs all pretending that they are the current generation of ‘movers’ and ‘shakers’.

“The covers of this book are too far apart.” ~ Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914, American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran)

By and large our town seems to have turned the corner.

Garden Stroll – A week ago, on a glorious Sunday afternoon some kind (brilliant?) neighborhood folk organized a Garden Stroll. And people were oh so ready to remove the cobwebs over their doors and stride out. Being outside just to enjoy the little pleasures of life once again; I think it brought normalcy back.

  

 

Pear Rust – or as those much smarter than me prefer to call it; gymnosporangium sabinae. In all the years we’ve been here we’ve never seen anything like it. Apparently the Juniper trees together with the pear trees which line many of our streets got together (it requires both) and the result is Pear Rust.

Curbsides were filled with the powdery stuff; street after street. And on the day we noticed it (it had rained that night), it seemed like a salt truck had come by spraying orangey paint. It looks strange, ugly, and ‘sorta’ neat all at the same time. The car in the photographs was parked immediately in front of our balcony.

 

A concert — Last evening there was a first of the Covid season. Neighbors held a concert on their property. The group, going by the name of The Groove Mechanics pumped out some lovely R&B, Soul, and Funk tracks: for two solid hours.

Pieces from Booker T. Washington, The Allman Brothers band, Al Green, James Brown, and so it went. It was an evening of foot moving, and head bobbing. Hearing some ‘anthem’ from the early ‘70s I do believe I saw my arms extended over my head.

Marcia stayed home, but caught a snippet live-streamed on the neighborhood Facebook page so she too was happy. Just being there was good!

NO Ramblings – Next week there will NOT be a post, sorry. Marcia felt she was not ready for another sleepless night of loudness from outside ‘parties’ and fireworks. So we’re spending the weekend at a B&B in Rising Sun Indiana and Rabbit Hash Kentucky (a short ferry-boat ride across the river).

Rabbit Hash is a town of 300+/- people. The Mayor of the place comes from a long line of canine mayors. Currently it’s Brynneth Pawltro, a pit bull. Brynneth Pawltro won the title of mayor of Rabbit Hash, in Boone County Kentucky, with a simple slogan: “Peace, love and understanding.”

The place is also known for its General Store, operational continuously since 1831 and the Sunday ‘Music behind the Stove’ concerts (these haven’t started up yet). It burned down in 2016 but was rebuilt and back in operation within a year using salvaged and donated lumber and items.

Fini – Tevita celebrated his Birthday yesterday (and I do believe the celebrations will continue throughout the weekend). Happy Birthday Tevita.

This day in 1971 was final show at the Fillmore East, with performances by acts such as Albert King, The J. Geils Band, The Beach Boys, and The Allman Brothers Band. Operational for only just over three years it already proved to be too small.

With all the hub-bub regarding ‘equality’ and such I noted this news. A graduate of Howard University became the 1st black Female Officer to join the Air Force Thunderbirds’ precision flying team. Captain Remoshay Nelson is quoted as saying; “… to be in a position that is visible, to show little girls that this is attainable, to let them know they can do anything they put their mind to, is an absolute honor.” Why can’t more of this type of news be reported on a broader scale?

Last Thursday at dinnertime I made sure to watch a Press event by Premier Ford of Ontario to see if there would be an update on the US/Canada Border opening. Nothing was mentioned! So, it seems that an end-of-July date is still in play.

Lastly, my friend Linda, offered this bit of insight. Spot on!

Make it great week, keep the peace, stay safe, and be healthy!
Dirk


Indulgences
06 20th, 2020

A good Saturday morning all — the time check above will let you know its morning. My week has been a little ‘peak-ed’, partially due to the fact that the song “MacArthur Park” has been running around in my head the whole time and totally without reason. So, while enjoying my morning coffee I can safely say that this didn’t happen to me:

“Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!”
~ Sir Richard John Harris, AKA Albus Dumbledore

Now it’s your turn to uncouple it from your brain. Good luck!

Juneteenth Last evening was an amazing time. At dusk the parties began. The closest to us was immediately across the street. Next block over was another. On her scanner, Marcia kept up with the happenings across the city. Life in the city was ‘a-hoppin’. As soon as it was dark the fireworks began – all over the place and from as far away as we could hear. These continued for a couple of hours. By then enough ‘beverage’ had been consumed and this, coupled with outdoor sound systems, had yards full of folk dancing and singing till well after midnight (that’s when I fell asleep, but Marcia woke up around 3:00 and it was still cranking); and let it be known that I totally hate Rap.

A short history lesson: First African-Americans elected to Congress were Republicans.

Lockdown peccadillos – have created scenes, sayings, and stupidity which will find their way into posterity. We’ll never outrun nonsensicals such as: “we’re in this all together” what exactly does this refer to? I don’t think so! How about the ‘clever’ line: “this is the new normal”. Does this refer to the sixty-year old driving by HIMSELF with a mask on in such a way so that his eyes barely peek out over his mask’s top? This is the “new normal”?

The ‘lockdown’ has Marcia almost going bonkers – definitely into a funk. Luckily we got a $50.00 check from our Insurance Co. as a ‘gift’ for not driving much during Covid-19. And so we both hopped in the car to deposit it at the bank’s drive-through – anything to escape. Once there I hit the little button to open the door; only then to watch the canister disappear (empty) down the vacuum tube. While waiting for it to get returned I noticed that my face as displayed on the system’s TV screen looked awfully pale and pointed this out to Marcia. “Maybe”, I thought, “they’ll send me a little make-up kit back”. They did not.

In the meantime an older pickup with its windows open, a Skoal-chewing tobacco type guy driving, pulled into the neighboring drive-through. I thought it completely appropriate to yell over to him; “you look pale too?” That’s about the same time Marcia began to react negatively.

I am looking forward to the OLD normal; days of going to Costco complete with all of their ‘food’ ladies. I just want to be walking down an aisle trying to balance a small paper ‘pill’ cup with three hot green beans in it and me trying hard not to bounce them out; while at the same time trying not to forget why I was in the aisle in the first place.

An Icon falls – In the latter part of the 1800s a printing company evolved into what became the United States Playing Card Co. They became known for various brands; Bicycle, Bee, Tally-Ho, Congress, Hoyle, and Aviator. It operated next door in Norwood until a recent move into adjacent Northern Kentucky. In Norwood for over 100 years the place could be found via its iconic tower. This week it came down – all except the tower, it’s a fixture which is staying.

In 2003 they released a deck under the name of “Most-Wanted Iraqi Playing Cards“. The deck contained the most-wanted members of President Saddam Hussein’s government. I still have one unopened deck. Looking up how history dealt with these characters, all but 6 of the 52 have been killed or captured.

Fini – Last evening the party across the street was still going full bore when I heard sirens. A block away fire equipment, EMT, and Police roared in. So, a little past midnight, I walked over to catch the goings on. Net result? Nothing. Lots of equipment, hoses running to and fro, but no fire to be seen.

However, earlier in the week a trailer-load of massive ‘bouncy’ houses were dropped off; six in all. Of course a few had to be tested. You can imagine my consternation upon returning from my walk one morning and being confronted by this scene from Easter Island.

I thought you’d want to know that on this date in 1893, after a murder trial which captured the nation, Lizzie Borden of Massachusetts was cleared of the charges. The murders were memorialized in a children’s rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks
And when she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

And if you aren’t scared enough these days, remember that on this day in 1975 the movie Jaws was released. Many a sleepless night ensued.

It’s almost with a tinge of pride that Marcia proclaims that with the Lockdown our little condo has taken on the appearance of a Frat house. Your thoughts? She couldn’t possibly be correct, could she?

Make it great week, keep the peace, stay safe, and be healthy!
Dirk


Months Postponed
06 13th, 2020

A good Saturday morning all. Last weekend we had great weather, and then during the week the humidity kicked in. Now, this weekend, it’s back to perfection. Mother Nature understands oh so well that I do not do humidity. At this point I can be seen lifting my morning mug of fresh coffee in appreciation to her.

As an interesting bit of ‘factoid’ our nation’s beginnings had a stinky start. It was on this very day in 1777 that a young 19 year old Frenchman set foot on our shores after a two month sea voyage — sans showers (or baths). By then he had to be a seriously stinky bloke. It was the newly arriving Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (we only referred to him as La Fayette, because barely anyone in the soon to be USA could read French or even names for that matter) who as a 19 year old pup with no combat experience befriended both Washington and Jefferson as he assisted fighting in the War of Independence by helping train and lead revolutionary regiments.

[I tried to make that last sentence as long as La Fayette’s name on purpose so that you could really see why no one used his whole name]

Food Truck Love affair – It all started because Restaurants were forced to stay shut due to the Covid bug. Our neighborhood began by selecting differing Food Trucks to offer their specialties on a weekend evening. Select, order, and pay on line. Select the pick-up time. Say “hi” to a neighbor or two (from 6-feet away of course), and head home with some very tasty morsels.

Last evening it was Venezuelan food fare from Empanadas Aquí Café. Marcia and I both had an Arepa made from Venezuelan style shredded skirt steak, shredded Queso Amarillo (yellow cheese), and housemade Guasacaca sauce (avocado cilantro sauce). Plus a side of the perfunctory Garlic-Rosemary Yucca fries.

Marcia was immediately transported back to her days in La Victoria and Caracas.

Madness breaking loose:

”Have we eaten on the insane root that takes reason prisoner?” ~ William Shakespeare

“Hoooo…boy. When the pendulum swings back the other way, things are going to be insane” ~ Robert Laurie

”We are living in an era when sanity is controversial and insanity is just another viewpoint—and degeneracy only another lifestyle.” ~ Thomas Sowell

”Did you ever wonder how a civilized country like Germany could descend into a perfect storm of mob rule, street violence, obedience to authority and racial hatred?
Well wonder no more.
You’re living in it.”
~ Alice Smith

”A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying; “You are mad, you are not like us.” ~ St. Anthony of the Desert

This short video made by Monty Python star John Cleese could have been made this morning rather than the 40-years ago as it was.

Enjoy.

And, I have stopped watching Television news. I couldn’t take any more of their 24/7 non-stop, blasting forth of ‘click-bait’ while carefully hawking depression. It stopped being accurate news a long time ago and it’s only become worse.

Dirk the ‘voyeur’ – This week I have been following on a daily basis the adventures of a Welsh Automotive Information writer as he traveled 2,000 miles from Wales to Croatia and back – in an old Deux Chevaux. Yes a 2CV! I never knew how stunning an area both Slovenia and Croatia are.

Ian Seabrook is a classic car nerd, motoring writer, editor and videographer and his YouTube pieces under the name of ‘Hubnut‘ are wonderful.

He headed out to two differing automotive gatherings. The furthest out was a week-long world gathering of 2CV owners in a small town outside of Zagreb, Croatia; nearly 2,000 of them!!!

So, for me it was; dinner done and feet up, behind the telly (as the Brits & Welsh would say). Just couldn’t wait.

Also on display were three ‘barn’ finds totally unrestored. These 2CVs were hidden immediately prior to the start of WWII to keep their embedded new technology from the Nazi’s. They used 8 torsion bars for suspension and one had a water-cooled engine installed. All had aluminum bodies. Interesting how ‘Our Duck’ could have looked had the vehicle not been, clandestinely, redesigned during the war. Not certain I would have purchased one had it looked as these look – even if new.

     

Fini – the ‘new’ (looks brand new) iPhone SE came. It was purchased through Swappa. Originally I was introduced to Swappa through Vince and now having purchased from them again have not been disappointed. Soon we’ll have Marcia join the world of ‘the connected’.

Yesterday our State’s Supreme Court dealt a blow to our Governor’s heavy handed (now deemed illegal) lockdown strategy. This morning I noted that similarly in California Governor Gavin Newsom got slapped on the side of the head by their courts. Last week Michigan’s Governor Whitmer lost another round with the ‘Barber-of-Owosso’. It’s good to see that constitutionality does still prevail.

The Cincy gang (and Marcia as their properly registered ‘Baby Sitter’) have been enjoying the community pool. It’s by appointment and in 3-hour chunks of time. But (so they tell me) it’s wonderful.

Friends and neighbors Barb and Bulent will head for their north woods camp next weekend and then we’ll hear how ‘Northern Comfort‘ fared last winter. We can’t cross the border at least till the end of July. Paraphrasing that old Dire Straits song, Money for Nothing; “that ain’t nothing but that’s the way we have to do it” – sadly!

Make it great week, keep the peace, stay safe, and be healthy!
Dirk


Being thrashed
06 6th, 2020

Morning all. This morning’s curfew hasn’t lifted yet. And I am surprised. On the one hand the activity on the road is negligible. On the other hand, with a curfew in place, there is more traffic out and about than I would have thought. Maybe, as soon as the coffee is done, I’ll pour a mug and contemplate on the puzzle.

Whew! What a week. This is one for the memory books. As someone once said; “I feel like I’ve been thrashing in a Beaver pond while wearing trunks woven from Willow.”

“Even in those cities which seem to enjoy the blessings of peace, and where the arts flourish, the inhabitants are devoured by envy, cares and anxieties, which are greater plagues than any experienced in a town when it is under siege..” ~ Voltaire

With whiny DeWine – Almost daily at two o’clock we Ohioans gather around our TVs and radios. Soon Governor DeWine is introduced, we sit raptly and are regaled for fifteen or so minutes of blather and a bit of nostalgic insight into the state’s darling first lady, Fran (who has borne the couple eight children and who sews masks). Then the real reason we’re staying tuned emerges. Quickly, with approving nods of Health Director Amy Acton, a new listing of approved openings is announced.

The event reminds me of my College days as we student gathered in similar fashion. Only then it was as the Selective Service Lottery numbers were announced. Vietnam was along well enough into the struggle that it was quickly becoming ever more clear that those selected were being sent into the fray for a ‘saving-face’ closing out operation – “quickly now boys, the killing fields await.”

Both events had a plethora of miss-steps, power struggles, incompetence, and saving face media events. Utter nonsense with both.

This week, State big-wigs cheered on the “calm and peaceful” marches and turned a blind eye towards the ‘Social Spacing’ edicts and the wearing of the highly regarded (near) mandatory face mask by the assembled. Meanwhile, an outdoor Amusement Park is still closed. Grab a beer is OK, stand up with the same beer means the pub can get fined. And kids still see yellow caution tape blocking their playground entrances.

Originally (it was so long ago), but maybe you can still remember when it was a 15-day ‘Lockdown’ to ‘Flatten the Curve’? Next in line was the importance to ‘build immunity’ by mingling so that “Herd” immunity would take hold and save us. Instead, over long week after long week we’ve been beaten into submission with lockdown and scary fairytales – a new one breathlessly told every evening. We’ve been pushed into depression over an influenza-like virus that is almost on par with the regular flu – except this one seems to have a longing for the elderly. But in fact, the Seasonal Influenza has killed more children than the Covid virus.

Voltaire had it right.

Our town’s “Thin Blue Line” – Cincinnati went through a troubling time about twenty years ago. This resulted with input from the courts, the Feds and city management into a document labeled the “Collaborative Agreement”. The product that emerged is now rated as the best Police Force in the nation. Other cities turn to us for guidance and training. For twenty years no Police Officer has carried a baton. Similarly, a ‘knee on the neck” move has been outlawed for all since that time.

So, living in a town with excellent policing as a backdrop, I struggle with seeing the level of vitriol expressed to police. We too have had an occasional rogue cop – and this should be dealt with quickly. But, the resultant burning and looting seen across the country as a response to the murder in Minneapolis has little to nothing to do with honoring a murdered individual.

Even across the street from our place is a “Black Lives Matter” sign and this too is part of an agenda that is not meant to improve. If it were, go with “All Black Lives Matter” and be just as vehement about the 15-homicides (nearly all black) in Chicago last Sunday alone. Outrage should be there for a 77-year old retired police Chief David Dorn, Federal Protective Service Officer Dave Patrick Underwood, Police Officer Breann Leath. They were murdered this week – all three were black. And the list goes on. Where is the outrage, the kneelings, where are the marches for these people who served us, these servants who protected us? Instead it’s deadly quiet, barely a peep other than a ‘ton’ of hatred which keeps on being heaped. There is an agenda at play and these murdered servants don’t fit the dialogue. Shameful! All Black Lives Matter; change the chant and you my might see me climb aboard.

Heading Out – Marcia reached a point where something had to give. We took a drive and ended up heading to our eastern ‘burbs and a new Jungle Jims. The place has whatever it is you want as a foody. Asian fresh veggies? Sure, Indonesian, Russian, Korean, French or British, Serbian or Dutch? Yup, it’s all there, acre after acre.

Marcia did her thing. I found five wedges of different European cheeses (these had my name on them) – Marcia thinks that the more ‘green’ on them the better I like it. True!

At lunch I’ll have another piece of smoked herring; a bit salty but delightful.

                

     

Fini – This day in 1944 the western Allied forces from the United States, Britain, Canada, and Free French forces returned to the European continent in something code-named “Operation Neptune”. D-Day beachheads were secured in Normandy on five beaches—code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

Signage on another side of Chaos & Mayhem:

Marcia woke up shortly after 4:00AM when the police scanner came to life. Police were asked to converge on our west end, near downtown. Two cars were chasing each other for several blocks until the lead car crashed with at least one fatality. For several blocks the roadway was strewn with empty casings and even an empty magazine. Along the way five parked vehicles were riddled with bullet holes. With nary a grumble our heroic police officers did exactly what we’ve asked them to do – proceed into the morning blackness and deal with the situation.

In the meantime, later today our City ‘Clowncil’ will be meeting to approve to NOT prosecute any of the several hundred curfew breakers picked up this week. To the Council, understand the word ‘cajones’? Well, grow a pair!

Our neighborhood pool club opened up this week and Marcia joined in with Adrianne, Vai, and Vili and got some sun. The event was a positive enough experience that Thursday Marcia was seen at Target looking for a bathing suit.

So, I sat and watched, first the launch of the SpaceX Dragon. Then, second the arrival at the International Space Station with it’s two passengers. I just love all of this. If offered I’d jump aboard in a heart beat.

A series of parts for Our Duck – our little Deux Chevaux arrived. Now my wait to head north has quickly become even more difficult.

Make it great week, keep the peace, stay safe, and be healthy!
Dirk