Archive for October, 2020

A good Saturday morning to everyone – Its happened; Hello Fall. This also means that I prefer my coffee just a tad hotter. Mid-week I spotted our neighborhood’s official announcement that the season had shifted.

From their Canadian Thanksgiving stay up north, this picture taken yesterday by Bulent tells the whole story. The ‘winter in white’ is back.

Things I learned this week – Last Thursday evening I watched the ‘Town-Hall’ TV events. I really don’t know why. On ABC (hosting Biden) Stephanopoulos sounded as if he was ‘cooing’ to a newborn. On NBC (hosting Trump) Savanah Guthrie made it sound like she was screaming at an ex-lover; Guthrie asking 43 questions leaving 10 for the Town-Hall participants. Both were sorry state of affairs; this I learned.

It was telling that neither ‘moderator’ touched the 600-pound gorilla in the room; that From Hunter Biden’s own computer hard drive it appears ‘Don’ Joe B & crack-smoking sonny boy Hunter were caught red-handed for being in the bag to China, Russia, & the Ukraine to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. This needs to be verified and as yet is only conjecture. However, the FBI took possession of the drive last December and I suspect that confirmation will be forthcoming.

Message below by Dr. Gad Saad (bio underneath)

Dr. Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing, holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption, and advisory fellow at the Center for Inquiry. A Jewish Lebanese-Canadian, he lives in Montreal Quebec.

Election Prognosis & Projection:

  • • Zogby Analytics – President’s approval is at 51% (no President has lost an election with an approval rating of over 50%)
    • 56% of Americans gauge that they’re better off now than four years ago. With lower numbers than this, Presidents got re-elected in 1984, 1992, 2004, and 2012
    • Any President with an approval rating of over 75% in his own party primary vote typically gets reelected. Trump’s is at 94%
    • Voter enthusiasm gap, i.e. how enthusiastic are you about your candidate. Trump has an 20-point edge

The Incredible Story of a Blind Supreme Court Clerk – The personal story this young woman offered at this week’s Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing is staggering. It makes me even prouder of the work our Adrianne is doing, especially seeing the heights to which her population can climb – literally nothing can stop them. Please do yourself a favor and watch Appellate Attorney Laura Wolk’s short story.

Electric Avenue mural – I know I’ve written about my use of our area’s new Wasson Way hiking-biking trail. Now it’s even better with the just completed new ArtWorks mural, adding color and smiles to all along the trail. The Electric Avenue mural was designed by artist Christian Dallas. Then throughout a better part of the summer it was brought to life by two teaching artists who led a team of eight youth apprentices who painted the mural. It spans close to 300 feet and is WONDERFUL.

Concert – Last Saturday Marcia and I brought chairs and headed over to a nearby neighbor’s house. There to gather with others and listen to members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra give an outdoor presentation of Bach’s works. It was so good to be outside and with people and music (though we did forget to bring some wine). Definitely the highlight of our weekend.

Love that background stuff – especially from the world of music. Last week I mentioned the passing of guitarist Eddie van Halen. I thought I’d share this little detail. Michael Jackson’s signature album was Thriller. As the Thriller album was being worked on, Quincy Jones, then Michael’s Manager approached van Halen about playing lead guitar on Billie Jean and Beat It; which he did (these became the second and third singles released from that album).

van Halen later told that he approached his own Manager who advised against doing the gig; there was no money involved. van Halen really wanted to do it; “I did it as a favor” free of charge, but he did suggest that Michael could give him some dance lessons in return.

Recording the guitar solo; his playing had the control room’s monitor speaker literally catch on fire.

Thriller stood at the top of the music charts for 37 weeks.
There is a lesson-learned in all of this. van Halen saw something as good for him and for those around him, forgoing immediate ‘payback’. Apply that line of thinking to your own situations and your own opportunities as these present themselves in your life.

Fini – Hot off the press and important for people in nursing homes. President Trump just announced he’s reached an agreement with CVS and Walgreens to deliver vaccine to nursing homes for free.

It’s happening. Courts are getting involved with the eradication of some of these crazy, over the top, last minute voting ‘rights’ wrinkles. Michigan just learned from the courts that ballot harvesting is illegal. Ballots must be in by November 3 – for those not in the know, that’s Election Day.

Just in case you’ve never used an Excel Spreadsheet, today is a day you should make note of. Today in 1979 Visicalc was released. It was the very first spreadsheet computer program for personal computers. I remember using these early programs, one floppy disk-drive for the program and another to place the data. And, should you think that to be ancient history, remember that by then we’d already seen Man visit the Moon – and did so without the use of the iconic spreadsheet.

Mentioning 1979, that was the year of our nation’s, OPEC caused, gas shortage. Marcia and I recollected coming home from Michigan in our VW Campervan with our babies. By the time we reached Bowling Green in northern Ohio we were running on fumes (and had tried several stations to pump, all without success). So, I pulled into a motel for the night. By 5:00AM I was third in line at a nearby BP station – not yet open. Eventually I tanked, max 10-gallons. We barely made it home. Just glad that these days Trump is so hot on keeping us energy independent.

Also; today in 1989 at the start of Game 3 of the World Series in San Francisco, there was a major earthquake. The Loma Prieta earthquake which collapsed bridges, caused 67 deaths, had 4,000 injured, and $7 billion in damages.

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

Your Vote counts.

Dirk


Fall has arrived
10 10th, 2020

A good Saturday morning to everyone – first mug of Java has disappeared quickly. Next little break will pour ‘numero’ two (second mug that is).

Once upon a time there were two pant-suited and jacketed politicians who held a debate. Let’s call these two; Steve and Abe. They debated seven times, and each debate lasted three hours. The first got one and a half hours, the other got one hour, and then two fifteen minute rebuttal/wrap-up time periods each. Most importantly, there was NO moderator. Did you grasp all of that, seven debates allowing for a total of 21-hours? Each making their case and again; there was NO moderator! That amount of debate time allowed for each to hone their craft and sharpen/tighten their position. Abraham, the loser, gained a reputation for his “A house divided against itself cannot stand” words, which reverberated throughout the seven districts of Illinois.

Stephen was Senator Stephen A. Douglas and the ‘loser’ for the Illinois the 1858 Illinois state election campaign Senate seat was Abraham Lincoln; eventually one of our most revered and beloved Presidents.

So dissimilar to today’s “debates” where the “you have two-minutes” and a rebuttal of “fifteen seconds” orders are barked; with questions assembled by a biased hack ‘moderator’. The whole thing is now a joke with barely enough time to utter a carefully rehearsed one-line sound bite.

“I want to ask the American people, how calm were you when you were panicked about where you were going to get your next roll of toilet paper?” ~ Senator Kamala Harris; during the Pence/Harris debate

How many steps from the Presidency is this woman potentially? Is this for real?

Personal Injury Note – This week I’ve been fighting something my mother referred to as ‘lumbago’ (an old popular term for lower back pain). It just seemed to become a part of me; no announcement, no request. I just got out of bed mid-week and ten minutes later found me ‘walking’ from chair to couch to floor, then to repeat. Even so, I did manage to get my minimum five-miles per day of walking in; round of applause please.

Yesterday, arriving back home, I felt lucky that a cop hadn’t pulled me over for my careening drunken movements ‘walking’ on the sidewalk – crossing a street was even worse since there weren’t any light posts.

An end – The Boeing 747 was my favorite plane to fly on. And, my favorite 747 flight was the one where brother Pieter and I did Japan and China on old ‘Pan Am’ (Pan American World Airways); seats 1A and 2A!

As an aside; I learned that the original plan was to have it configured as a double-decker. However, they couldn’t get it certified that way since they couldn’t evacuate in the required 90-seconds; hence the immediately recognized ‘bubble-nose’ resulted. But, the immense efficiency of the 747 really brought costs down and started the world on the path of flights for the masses.

Thursday was the day where British Airways flew the final flights for their three remaining 747s; the last of these glorious machines left in passenger service. I watched them take off from Heathrow on Sky News.

Luckily Amazon Prime has begun its freight operations at our airport, and with many international carriers having converted 747s to freighters I can still muster over to the viewing area to catch sight of one gliding in. Amazon Prime Day is this coming week; and we aren’t even members — how’s that for a plug?

Bulent comes through – My friend and neighbor is currently at his north woods camp enjoying a late autumn and the corresponding color. He inspected Northern Comfort and judged the place as “sound”. All is well, even the tarp covered boats not only survived last winter’s snows, ice, and winds, but also spring and summer. Not certain if this is because I did such a good job ‘tucking’ them in or if I was lucky and bought high-quality tarps. Let me not take a chance, so, thank you Harbor Freight.

Nevertheless, I (phrased kindly) am still not happy with the border lockdown due to the Wuhan mess. Everything better be open no later than next season.

Halloween – No matter whether Halloween will be celebrated legally or not, we’re plowing forward. Marcia has arranged the décor and the prep work (candy purchasing) is progressing. Even in the sunroom our ceramic pumpkin greets all passers-by. Donn see what’s giving it its ‘spark’?

Fini – Yesterday, from the Washington Times I learned that; “Nebraska is the only state in the nation with a ‘unicameral’ legislature’ — a zero party, zero partisanship House, absent a Senate where bills are presented and debated without the typical Republican versus Democrat bickering, and then sent along to the governor for signing, or not.” See, one is never too old to learn.

Tomorrow, we’ll be wishing Paul a very happy birthday. He keeps on trying but finds it difficult to catch up to ‘moi’ and he’s no better gaining on his sister.

Tuesday I’ll join in on a discussion (via Zoom) at EmpowerU. A ‘twofer’, first up is Civil Rights Attorney Robert Newman who’s sued the City of Cincinnati. And secondly is Averel Meden. She’ll be discussing how the Ohio States’ $26 billion K-12 public education system monies are doled out. Aside from public education, the state has 5 school choice programs. Averel’s agency operates a network of Protestant and Christian schools who advocate for a parent’s right to choose the best education for their children. Both speakers will hold my interest.

Concert later today put together by nearby neighbors who passed this note around: “Kim and I will be joined by some of our dear friends and colleagues from the Cincinnati Symphony this Saturday October 10 at 3 pm in the afternoon for a CSO in ‘Your Neighborhood Concert’ in front of our house!
Bring a chair, picnic blanket, snacks, drinks etc. for a socially distanced 45 minute performance on Rose Hill Ave.”
Guess where Marcia and I will be.

RIP Peter (Peter Stambrook) who I didn’t know as a London born Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. No, I knew him as a teammate who, as we’d both run the length of the soccer pitch would trip, fall, roll, bound up, and still beat me. That’s the Peter I knew.
RIP Eddie Van Halen (Edward Lodewijk van Halen); guitar god. He was from the city of Nijmegen, also in my own birth country of Holland. Cancer is a beast.

After almost 50-years of friendship our friend Bill Melvin is moving to be with his kids in the NY & NJ area. Aged 94 and he’s giving us a little lunchtime talk during a luncheon in his honor which Marcia and I went to. He’d sold his car (don’t need it in NY), and a lifetime of model aircraft he’d been building — some are in museums and decorate homes and corporate lobbies. Many more years of health and joy Bill, it’s been much more than just a pleasure.

Make it great week, keep the peace, stay safe, and be healthy! All Lives Matter.

Dirk


Fall has arrived
10 3rd, 2020


A good Saturday morning to everyone. Overnight Marcia and I became survivalists.

We had almost run out of coffee. The only place carrying out ‘go-to’ brand of White Castle coffee was Costco; and they informed me that it was now no longer being carried. The search was on.

That afternoon I came home with a 2.5Lb canister of Duncan Donuts branded coffee. Not bad, but it wasn’t White Castle restaurant quality.

Yesterday we were back at Costco and I felt like a Homing Pigeon heading for the coffee isle just to “have a look”. There, at the end-of-aisle display was a double skid of, you guessed it, White Castle coffee. I loaded three 3-Lb bags of the stuff into the truck. Last week we celebrated our 50th, our coffee stash will now last till our 75th.

“Coffee is the best medicine.” ~ anonymous

Even during the days of the Wuhan-Covid this quote has power.

Personal Injury Attorney – OK, I am not making fun of, or trying to create a SNL skit. It’s just a bit of, maybe call it; karma. Yesterday, Steve Barnes of the famed Cellino & Barnes law firm and one of the nation’s key personal injury attorneys died; he was killed while piloting his own small plane. “He was always a fearless advocate for his clients,” the statement from former partner Ross Cellino read.

I suspect his estate will now become a client of the firm he founded.

Wedding – Last week we had a great time watching niece Taryn Cody Pastoor & Alexander Scott Sun get married. And as I wrote last week; “this will be our first Covid mandated Zoom wedding”. After Marcia and I together with our whole Cincinnati gang had our, socially distanced, Anniversary Dinner we gathered at A & T’s place to watch the wedding on their large screen.

So, and this is the beauty of today’s technology, we watched their exchange of marriage vows. Only, some of the witnesses were physically there, some were watching from Taiwan, some watched from locations in Pennsylvania, some from places in Europe, and we in Cincinnati. “Plus one” you say? Yes “plus one”. Kirstin joined from Texas in a most unusual way.

She experienced difficulties joining in and ended up calling Adrianne. The solution those two came up with was brilliant. Kirstin was on Face-Time with Adrianne. She handed her phone to me. I held it close to the screen on my laptop (it was used to power Zoom to the TV) and framed it properly – and so she too was part of the ‘circle’ of friends and loved ones. It was lovely.

Anniversary Celebration – was magnificent. The dinner at Wiedemann’s Brewhouse with accompanying band and great weather was all we could have hoped for. Afterwards came the wedding. Then Kirstin in Austin joined in as she powered up a “Tribute” show of video clips made by family and friends, plus photos from over the years. The only problem being that it was too much fun and some of it was lost due to us laughing. That evening both Marcia and I, almost at the same time, made note that our bellies hurt from laughing as hard as we did. Thanks to everyone who participated, it was delightful, amazing, and fantastic; truly a wonderful surprise! To Kirstin, for the hours of work putting it all together – THANKS.

And, we cannot forget the wonderful Peach desert made by our Fourth-grade Viliami – magnificent!

Fini – For the past 4-years we’ve become used to condo living, especially this year when we couldn’t get to Northern Comfort in Canada. We complain on occasion, but there is also a bunch to appreciate. This week we looked out the front door and the carpets in the lobby and stairs were busily being cleaned.

Mentioning cleaning. Marcia ‘begged’ not to get her anything for her Anniversary due to our limited space. Anniversary day, to her delight, brought her a new Dyson ball vacuum.

This week, October 3rd, 1942 Germany launched the first V2 rockets into England. Many of these things were launched from the farm fields beyond the outer beltway (de singel) of my city in the Netherlands. These things were pre-programmed and pretty crude. Occasionally one would fail and begin to circle over the city until its fuel ran out, then crash and explode. I remember, that as a kid, playing on the pile of rubble of what had been a home less than a block away. Some of these events are still very real and very vivid.

On a much more positive note, also on October 3rd, but 1990, it’s The German Unity Day, the National Day of Germany. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification when the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were unified. For the first time since 1945 there was now a single German state. Remember President Reagan’s; “Tear down this wall!” line from a speech in West Berlin on Friday, June 12, 1987, calling for the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to break the dividing wall between the west and communist east Germany. That began this change.

And, on this day in 1995, O.J. Simpson got acquitted after; “the Trial of the Century.”

And, this is now our best way to view the annual highlight of our regular season at Northern Comfort. Still, its a serious loss not being there.

Now back to my League of Women Voters newsletter to review my selections for later this week when Marcia and I will vote early — IN PERSON.

Make it great week, keep the peace, stay safe, and be healthy! All Lives Matter.

Dirk