Archive for January, 2021

Curmudgeon with Smile
01 30th, 2021

Happy Saturday morning and here the snows have melted (more on the way overnight). I’m sitting in the dark playing a bit with the coffee mug while waiting for a moment of it cooling. This reminds me; are our troops still guarding the fences around the capitol? They are our troops are they not? We’re sure this isn’t some foreign Trojan Horse Horde planning to take us over?

The two-inches of snow we got Thursday evening caused complete havoc. I’m serious; HAVOC I tell you! The city alone had over 40 wrecks including a couple of police cruisers. This doesn’t include any of our 23 ‘burbs’.

Seems like our whole fleet of ‘salt’ trucks was incapacitated. Actually the trucks were fine, their drivers were all Covid quarantined, self-quarantined, and binary quarantined (they’re politically correct). Hence the drivers were ‘recruited’ from behind their city desk jobs.

At one point a cops had a truck blow by them in their lane when they were outside of their vehicle – spraying salt. With lights on they followed, and now the truck driver really ‘made tracks’. At one point as the cruiser got near he lifted the truck bed and turned that sprayer on and covered the cruiser.

Pretty soon the ‘po-po’ had this driver in the pokey.

Turns out the driver had around 30 previous traffic citations and did not have a valid driver’s license. But hey, these are the days of Covid and you got to do what you got to do.

Possibly the activity on our corner of Chaos and Mayhem is expanding outward.

‘Sempo’ – This week was International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27). Many of us know names of heroes whose actions saved many from transport to the Nazi extermination camps. Names such as Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler have entered our lexicon, but how many of us know of Chiune “Sempo” Sugihara? ‘Sempo’ was a Japanese Diplomat, fluent in Russian and stationed in Lithuania. Told not to, and disregarding orders, he spent evenings and weekends generating travel visas. These legal visas enabled the bearer to train through Russia to Siberia and to places from there. It’s been estimated that he enabled as many as up to 6,000 Jews to gain their freedom.

Any idea why Hollywood has never taken interest in ‘Sempo’ and his amazing life and the amazing good he accomplished?

“one should not do a good deed with the expectation that you will be rewarded, but for the good deed itself.” — Nathan Lewin (quoting his Rabbi)

Vendée Globe – Last week I noted that my twice a day Vendée Globe update is a constant fixture! Now you’re saying “lawdy, lawdy, he’s at it again!” Not so. This last piece is on aging.

The first ten boats are in and it’s one of my favorite boats, “Yes We Cam”, I want to mention. Then I’m completely done.

The oldest skipper in the fleet (Jean Le Cam, age 61), on one of the older boats (2007) “Yes We Cam !”, managed to cross the ‘kine’ in 8th place and came in 4th overall (from a starting fleet of 33 boats). This 4th place finish on a 25,000 mile, 80 days of nonstop sailing, “Everest of Yacht Racing” journey is amazing. Oh, and that was that after an 11-hour search he rescued another skipper from his life-raft bobbing in the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean,  whose boat had sunk.

The two sailed together on “Yes We Cam !” for a week before offloading his ‘passenger’ onto a French Navy vessel.

Now that he accomplished his remarkable finish, ending each little audio or video update with his signature staccato “clack clack clack” (loosely meaning, “go go go”) is what I’ll remember most. Le Cam is a French icon, their hero, and absolutely loved as “King Cam”. It was great seeing an oldie-but-goody do so well.

Lord Fauci – As the Wuhan-Flu rolls merrily along, Ohio is rolling out the vaccine in a most chaotic manner; it’s an ongoing pathetic attempt which would have bankrupted any private sector company had they done the same. Meanwhile, ‘Lord’ Fauci keeps on with one pronouncement after another. Couple that with the approval Ivermectin for early Covid treatment (allowed conveniently a few days after Trump exited). Now we’re hearing we might want to double up on masks. Triple anyone?

So rather than me getting on to a rant about it all, I’ll let Professor Saad provide some input.

Gad Saad is a Lebanese-Canadian evolutionary psychologist and professor in the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University – Montreal, and is a master expressing his thoughts; sarcasm at its best.

Well that didn’t last long – the honeymoon period with the new administration that is. I’m beginning to make note that the questions to Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, are becoming a bit more substantive.

And the answers are dutifully made note of by an eager Press Corps. Surprising that no one has gotten dizzy:

Fini – This week I was notified through “My Chart” to sign up for a Covid vaccine. This time, I went on-site within an hour after being notified. This message was displayed: “As vaccine shipments are received, additional timeslots will be added. We apologize if you are unable to make an appointment today due to limited supply.”

We were a major test site for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the way the rollout is going even their drug will be out and a brand new fourth well underway before we too get a turn to get ‘poked’.

This past week WWII Navajo Code Talker John Kinsel turned 100. Happy Birthday to a true hero.

A full week into the new administration and through ‘Executive Order’ Misogyny is alive and well:

This week I learned the word for Avocado comes from the Aztec word “ahuacacuahati” which is translated as testicle tree. Your week would not be complete without this ‘snippet’.

The reason for my Avocado interest is that a breakfast slice of toast with Avocado I am now sprinkling with something I picked up at Trader Joe’s. Thank you Kirstin!

These days I hear more about Sepsis as a quiet but deadly killer for all ages. I came across this “signs to watch for” poster and thought to park it here as a public service:

Now that we’re rejoining the “World Climate Change” money grabbing bunch, let me end with a quote from Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace:

“We do not know the long-term future of weather and climate, never mind the future state of politics or civilization.
Therefore in order to remain sane and not pessimistic and grumpy, it is best to emphasize hope over fear. Neither is certain, but the former is much more enjoyable.”

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

Dirk


Pondering Pills
01 23rd, 2021

Saturday morning and it’s a meager 18 degrees. Coffee is piping hot though. Last Thursday I did a two-hour walk in shorts and a (very) light windbreaker; it was sunny and pushing 50-degrees. What a difference a day makes.

It’s a new era and I want you to make note of this for reference in a year or so from now:

Stock market is above $30K
The USA is energy independent
Gasoline is right around $2.00 per gallon
No new wars during the past four years.

“When that trial ends senators will have to decide if they believe Donald John – Donald John Trump incited the erection – insurrection – against the US.” — Senator Chuck-Schumer (as quoted by the Dailymail, UK news article-9177191)

I suspect that the Senate will have to think long and hard on such weighty matters.

Joke of the Day – North Korea this week reviewed Australia’s rights record at the U.N.

“DPRK is concerned about rights in Australia. We recommend to Australia. 1) End racism, 2) Cease inhuman treatment in detention centers. 3) Ensure the right of all to participate in elections.”

And we continue to pay (our Chinese borrowed) dollars to fund this clown-show?

OK, no more on political matters, there is more to life. I just want to give my condolences to our girls as a new ‘glass ceiling’ was just placed over them. This, as our new President unilaterally eviscerated women’s sports, and women’s privacy. If we’re on this ‘equality’ kick why not do several things, such as getting rid of weight classes in boxing – wouldn’t it be fun to see a heavy weight whale away at some feather weight?

I can tell already, we’re in for a wild ride.

Quatman’s Café in Norwood was our dinner place this week. They’re known for their cheeseburgers, and yes, Marcia and I each had one along with a side of onion rings. However, the item that draws me the most is their homemade Mock Turtle Soup, love that stuff. And again, I wasn’t disappointed.

In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carrol created a character called Mock Turtle, who notably said, “Once I was a real turtle.” Carrol even ‘concocted’ a song where Mock Turtle sings;

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!

Lockdown Insights – Marcia made note that yours truly had never bothered with taking pills, but with the lockdown that all has changed. It’s changed to the point that I am now the proud owner of pill-organizer. Without realizing I have started to buy a new type of pill during each pharmacy visit; slowly going through the Element Chart (aka – the periodic table of elements). Pills with contents such as Zink, Potassium, and Magnesium now find their way into my organizer. It’s a whole new hobby!

Vendée Globe My dear wife flat-out states that I am totally-over-the-top absorbed by this once in four years, 25,000 mile around the world, non-stop, solo with no assistance, sailing race. The fleet of 33, 60-foot IMOCA class, boats left Les Sables d’Olonne, France last November 8th. It appears that the first will return to les Sables d’Olonne this coming Thursday. So far one boat sank in the Indian Ocean (boat broke in half, skipper was safely rescued after being in a life-raft for 11 hours) and 7 more have retired. Not bad considering that they have fought gales of 45 knots and wave heights approaching 50 feet in the Southern Ocean and rounding the three major Capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).

What is now a lifetime ago I raced in sailing for a number of years (thanks Mike and Pat) where I handled the jib and the spinnaker. Most of my sailing was done on the Highlander Class sailboat. In comparison to the IMOCA think of me sailing on the equivalent of a Stearman biplane trainer and then these boats akin to a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. However, I remember the thrills and excitement as if it was yesterday. The photo is not our boat but it was taken on Lake Norman, NC where I took part in the nationals.

The one-minute video below was taken by the French Navy which was patrolling the area near the Kerguelen Islands to prevent illegal fishing in those territorial waters during the 2016/17 race.

This one-minute video below was made by French-German skipper Isabelle Joschke. A petite woman, Isabelle, was doing amazingly well. However, as she rounded Cape Horn the hydraulics on her Keel gave out and she had to retire – is now sailing slowly for a port in Brazil.

Since the Vendée Globe is comprised of professionals and those participating for various charity causes, it sports the latest in boat designs as well as 20-year old sailboats. This means that the boats are spread out over 5,000 miles; the final one coming home in about a month. Now the excitement is building as six boats have opportunity to climb the podium in that they are less than 150 miles apart. And, most importantly, each ship returning – first to last – is given a hero’s welcome by many thousands (maybe with Covid not this year); after all, fewer than 100 have completed this adventure.

My twice a day Vendée Globe update is a constant fixture!

Marcia, just to let you know, starting Friday I’ll be watching the America’s Cup race (aka; the Auld Mug).

Fini – This week the broader Pastoor family expanded by the birth of Bryn Corinne Thrall-Pastoor. Mom and Bryn are both healthy (dad Conner too). Bryn at 8lbs 13oz and 20.5 inches sure is a cute little chunk.

Happy belated birthday to Joel. Sunday it’ll be Cathy’s turn for the same, and then followed by Kirstin on Wednesday. Whew, what a couple of weeks.

See How the Vaccine Rollout Is Going in Your State by clicking on this New York Times link – this from January 22, 2021

President Trump joined with former Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Polk, and FDR as having accomplished the most during their term. Both Lincoln and Trump did so while fighting constant opposition and a biased media. Trump also did so while fending off flagrant abusive impeachment charges and a pandemic.

January 23, 1957 and for the first time ever tossing a Frisbee became a pastime (eventually morphing into Frisbee golf).

And, also on this date in 1984 many young boys’ donned bandannas as Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Sheik to win the first WWF title; he escaped from the Sheik’s “camel clutch”. It was and amazing event to see; to all of us watching on our little Sony Trinitron TVs.

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

Dirk


Exercising and finds
01 16th, 2021

Saturday morning and we’re told snow-showers are on the way; am still not sure what exactly is meant by that. In the meantime, the coffee is nice and hot. This reminds me to say that I miss the daily 2:00PM Espresso break I enjoyed at Kirstin’s. That was so much easier since she has a Nespresso machine (instant results), while ours requires much set-up. Spoiled aren’t I?

“ Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” — Milton Friedman

And it would appear that we’re on a quick path to get a few of them.

Vaccine – Seemingly our State’s plan to distribute the COVID vaccine is to not have a plan. The start is with 80-year olds. These dears, beginning now, are to man their phones and start calling numbers to see if they can get inoculated. There is a trick though. They have to first go onto a web site (not yet complete) and do a twenty-question like test to find places and numbers to call.

The scheme is akin to giving monkeys a typewriter and hope that (at least one) will actually write the book.There a song from the old (1946) movie Gilda with Rita Hayworth, called; Put the Blame On Mame:

They once had a shootin’ up in the Klondike
When they got Dan McGrew
Folks were putting the blame on
The lady known as Lou
That’s the story that went around
But here’s the real low-down
Put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame
Mame did a dance called the hoochy-coo
That’s the thing that slew McGrew
So you can put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame

Anyone qualified enough to create another stanza? One where the boys put the blame on ‘Mame’ only this is where the city blames the county, the county blames the State, and, the State blames the Feds? See where this could go?

Lockdown desperation – has reached extremes. Marcia is at a point where I can hardly talk her out of the house. Me, I too find myself doing things I normally don’t. The latest is contemplating on how many different model Citroën’s have shown up in the Adventures of Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy (by the Belgian cartoonist; Hergé). This would include the lovely Citroën model DS, the Traction Avant, and best of all, our delightful Deux Chevaux.

                              

Art’s Gift – this Christmas has to be one of the most thoughtful ever. Art had shipped to each of the brothers a pair of 10-pound weights. Yesterday these were used for the first time as he organized the four of us to get together on Zoom for an organized exercise program.

Art and Jolene’s daughter, Taryn, was asked to generate a ‘geriatric’ strength program and so we started. Aside of the physical benefits it’s also a twice-a-week opportunity for the four of us to just socialize a bit.

Yesterday, with Art in California, Pieter in Portland, George in Naples, and me in Ohio it came off without a hitch. Cool stuff. THANKS Art!

Fini – This past week was Marcia’s Aunt Doris’ Birthday. She’s a strong 97.

Nearby is an old Fire station, now unused it’s been made useful again as a museum and meeting place. Love how they’ve spruced it up.

Also from a walk this week, I came across this sign which does really reflect the historical roots of our town.

Just in case you only think of Pyramids and Egypt, other cultures also built similar structures. This picture is of Pyramids from the ancient Nubian kingdom of Kush (now Sudan). These almost 5,000 year old pyramids have substantially steeper slopes than those found in Egypt. BTW, years ago I did get to visit the Egyptian pyramids and was awestruck!

With 25,000 troops in DC this week I think all should be quiet. Not to worry, the photo below is not current; it’s only from the previous inauguration when a little rioting was a minor concern.

By default this week seems to contain an inordinate amount of Car ‘stuff’, so I might make it a theme. Mid-week while walking past the VW dealership I spotted this beauty.

A warm glow enveloped me as I gave thought to our 1971 VW Westfalia Campervan. Bought new ($4,000 including tax & an AM radio) it served Marcia and I well as our little family took shape.

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

Dirk


It’s Saturday morning and I am pretty well settled in after returning from visiting with Kirstin, Derek, and Kellen. Anything new happen while I was gone from these Ramblings during the past couple of weeks?

Kirstin had a to-do jobs list (much shorter than I expected).

This left us time for much tea, much chatting, and much binge watching – two shows, Escape to the Chateau and towards the end of my stay, Alone.

Both got me into the thick of the occurrences, happenings, and adventures. So, couple all of that with a massive (should have called it; ultimate) Mediterranean Party Appetizer Platter from Costco which Kirstin kept sitting around her kitchen island; made for some seriously fine times. Then, can’t forget our daily 2:00PM Espresso break.

And, just so that won’t think we were just a pair of ‘couch-potatoes’, we (most days) managed to trek about her neighborhood to the tune of 5 to 6 miles each day.

Last Saturday our whole gang (minus Piper the dog) did one of the Austin area nature trails; lots of crossing of creeks. At one point it was going over a small dam. As a joke I pretended that I had to crawl across the dam and sent the picture to Marcia. Her immediate response was that; “some people never get beyond age 40”. So much for that!

   

“Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.”

“They blame those who remain silent, they blame those who speak much, they blame those who speak in moderation. There is none in the world who is not blamed.” — Buddha

at Chùa Linh-So’n Temple

   

Covid-19 gifts – Actually two gifts. On Thursday I received a note from my nearby YMCA branch along with a heartwarming drawing.

Yesterday, I got a postcard from the State, letting me know that they understand just how ‘crappy’ I feel (I don’t, however I’d feel even better living my life without notes regarding my possible ‘crappyness’, i.e. Anxiety, Stress, & Isolation). Just to let me know how deeply personal this card was it was addressed to: Dirk Pastoor Jr. or Current Resident.

   

Which card would you appreciate most?

Also, on the State’s postcard, anyone even know what that partially shown yellow piece of equipment is? Asking for a friend.

Birthdays – A week ago Marcia had her birthday (with a great celebration at Adrianne’s home with the whole ‘Nati gang there). Next month it’ll be my turn. This places the two of us ‘square-dab’ in the mature range. Hence I thought it appropriate to share this YouTube:

Fini –A-woman and Amen” this was the manner in which the opening prayer concluded during the first session of the new 117th Congress. I recently spotted this truth; “If you say A-woman then Amen, you’re A-moron”. Unreal and way beyond any satire I could muster.

Walking the aisles of Kirstin’s nearby H-E-B grocery store I spotted this employee removing the 6’-spacing and directional floor stickers. I do believe I spotted the beginnings of a return to normalcy.

Two Sundays ago in the year 1496, Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tested his concept of a flying machine. Then in 1793 Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in North America. Then also around this date, but now in 2020, I flew nonstop to Austin in a plane loaded with about 180 people. Thought you’d want to know.

The iconic iPhone was unveiled by Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs on this day in 2007. Doesn’t it seem like it’s been around forever?

Then, in the wonderful world of Social Media, Marcia’s account got blocked for a couple of weeks. Her crime? She posted “WOW” in response to some point made. The original point was deemed politically correct, her “wow” comment was therefore offensive. I do believe this was Marcia’s first run-in with the new First Amendment interpretation popular these days.

After this week I think it appropriate to end with the lyrics of Loudon Wainwright III’s song; “Dead Skunk”

“Dead Skunk
Crossin’ the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn’t see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are

You got your
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road…..” ~ Loudon Wainwright III

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

Dirk