Archive for March, 2021

Annealed
03 27th, 2021

As country comedian Minnie Pearl would yell out; “howdeee”, and with that remembrance it’s the beginning of a wonderful Saturday morning. Coffee is already sitting on my desk next to me. Let’s get going. Good morning!

These are very strange moments in history indeed. Last evening Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Bill Clinton held a webcast; that in itself is not strange at all. What does make it beyond strange indeed was the subject; a discussion about “empowering women and girls.”

So, here you have an old guy whose name appears 27-times on the travel logs of Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express,’ a guy who continues to be accused by a number of women of rape. He’s sitting with Harris who’s clawed her way into the upper echelon of politics with a pattern of fornication and then without qualm pushing her ‘lover’ under the bus. Harris who as Howie Carr famously quipped; started by “working under Willy Brown.” (Brown, at the time, was California’s most powerful politician)

So it’s team Clinton-Harris gushing at each other. Strange times indeed as shame appears to have taken a back seat in popular culture.

Spring Break – Parents working, kids out of school, Grandparent sitting around. It didn’t take long and a day trip was organized to the nearby National Museum of the United States Air Force. Vai and Vili took the offer and so we went off on what proved to be a delightful and exciting day.

I’ll let the photos tell the story. Highlights included the Wright Brothers’ canvas-on-wood first airplane. We talked about WWII and especially about the bombers and P-51 Tuskegee fighters as flown by the two friends and heroes who attended their school; names of people who they had learned about.

Vili especially was mesmerized by the B-52 bomber and the B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber (both aircraft who he and I had seen flying on video) and now could stand next to.

Scale could be grasped next to the massive B-36 “Peacemaker”and especially one of the tires of that massive machine. Seeing the 6 ‘pusher’ piston engines each with a 19′ propeller, plus the 4 jet engines is stunning.

They were awed being next to SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000, which was used by eight presidents — Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton.

The Apollo 15 module (our fourth to land on the moon), the Shuttle trainer, and the array of rockets, all were seen with wide eyes. Yup, a wonderful day it was.

Eggs – A few days ago I hunted for a YouTube showing fun rides in a little Deux Chevaux – this was owing to the isolation felt due to the lockout Canada has imposed and I so missed mine. I did find this great little couple-of-minute video:

Then yesterday on my walk the whole ‘egg’ thing came to mind as I reflected on what occurred the previous evening. I realized that I’d been totally amiss placing all my ‘eggs’ in the Trump Bandwagon during the last election.

This became crystal clear seeing our new President, able to embrace all and as described by others as; ‘a man of science’. My progressive friends had warned me time and again of my error, but only after last Thursday night’s masterful ‘presser’ was I convinced. Gone were the mayhem, the turmoil, and bravura I’d watched at Trump’s ‘pressers’. Last evening calm settled over me.

One specific quote will slide into the annals of history and be positioned amongst lesser pieces such as Lincoln’s; “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent” speech. Or, Kennedy’s; “Ask not what your country can do for you…” Biden’s was masterful and its superiority evident:

”So the best way to get something done, if you, if you hold near and dear to you that you uh um like to be able to, anyway”

To my Progressive friends, I hope that I’ll be forgiven and that under this newfound ‘heat’ of unity I’ll be able to anneal to where I should be. Yes I know I was warned, it just took time.

Walking – has become an amazingly enjoyable daily pastime for me. But, it’s also given me some insight. Most notably an insight in what these unaccompanied children must go through to accomplish their incredible feat of traveling to our southern border.

That child, let’s assume age 11 (old enough to allow them to set a steady pace). Walking 8 hours per day and at an average pace of 4 miles per hour every day of the week; it would take these kids 7 weeks to trek the 1,500 miles from Honduras. No days off and no getting lost and minimal food stops.

OK, so now the question is how are they really getting here? And doing this unaccompanied?

Fini – Derek and Kellen, are back in Zoom School. Here, Marin, Dinah, Vai, and Vili are finishing up Spring break.

• Baby Brother Art (aka; Marius) will be celebrating his birthday next week

• Marcia got notified that she needs to sign up for Jury Duty. Right now she’s trying to convince them that due to age she shouldn’t have to go.

• As mentioned, since I have no access to our little Citroën 2CV, I figured I’d cheer the team on any way I can.

• The Cincinnati Reds, the oldest professional major league team in the nation will start play this coming week. This town is crazy alive and every Health Department naysayer is worried; Covid don’t ya know.

• Talking sports, our new major league soccer team (FCC’s) new stadium is nearing completion and it’s pretty spectacular.

• RIP Jessica Walter. In her role as Mrs. Lucille Bluth on “Arrested Development” (one of my favorite comedy shows) which follows the life of a habitually dysfunctional family as the boozy matriarch was as good as it gets. Lines such as these:

Lucille: “Get me a Vodka on the Rocks.”
Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth her Son; “Mom, it’s breakfast.”
Lucille: “and a piece of Toast.”

• In our part of the country we understand that Carbon is a good thing; trees grow and crops do better. Even better, coal is cheap. Hence, where else in the nation could you get a Specialty Plate for your car like this?

• Mentioning Climate Change, these renderings showing what the world was like before our Neanderthal cousins invented fire. Yup, climate change is real, it’s happening constantly and we have little to do with it, just ask Mr. Sun!

• And, I thought I’d finish with this image of what it’s going to take to re-float the stuck container ship blocking the Suez Canal. Good luck!

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

Dirk


Peas and Zip
03 20th, 2021

After weather ups and downs, we’re in for a great Saturday morning and in celebration, my coffee is brewed.

I was going to stop keeping track, but after seeing Senator Dr. Rand Paul (KY) and Dr. Fauci going at it.  Apparently Senator Paul didn’t order the “Fauci Baloney on Rye with RNA Sauce sandwich”.

So I thought the better of it. This week for us it’s been over a full year since the 15-day shutdown to “flatten the curve”. Follow the science – and keep on following wherever the ‘goal-posts’ move.

In the meantime, we keep inching into Spring (and I am finally into sync with the time switch). I say “inching”, because there is frost on the cars this morning.

   

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have” ~ Our former city’s Mayor, Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council, U.S., Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ken Blackwell

The Princess and the Pea – I watched enough (OK, a couple of tiny snippets) of the Oprah & the Royals TV debacle. However, upon reflection, I must say that I do have sympathy with the newly formed Team Meghan and Harry. I would agree that the Royals (those in the UK) can be a difficult bunch.

To demonstrate, I came across this dinner party with Tracey Ullman and Hugh Laurie who happened to host a “Royal Visit”.

Bell’s Palsy – We are in the midst of Brain Awareness Week. What better way to bring this to light than to post this drawing made by Dr. Charles Bell, 19th century surgeon and neurologist. Plus, he was also an amazing artist. This printed in his Anatomy of the Brain (1802);

You might know the term ‘Bell’s Palsy’, it’s named after his description of the effects of a type of paralysis caused by damage of the 7th cranial nerve (yes, I had to look that up). Considering the rudimentary instruments available it is really amazing seeing the depth of understanding people had at that time.

If interested, there will be a live Q & A as part of #BrainAwarenessWeek activities, today (the 20th) at 2pm. Click on ‘YouTube’ here.

Finding Bellarmine Chapel – Walking through the campus of nearby Xavier University on my ‘daily’ earlier in the week I spotted this dear soul sitting by herself near Bellarmine Chapel with nary a soul around. What to do, but walk by with a hearty greeting. Naturally, this led to a bit of a conversation (etc. etc. for those who know me).

It had to be six or so minutes into the ‘conversation’ when a young kid strode by, and called out to me; “yes, everyone on campus loves Mother Theresa.” I smiled at the kid, nodded, and hustled off; understanding had come to me like a lightning bolt.

Zip Line – I know this isn’t for real, but it’s just some “what if” thinking on my part – probably some dream. Let me start with what is real though; Governor Whiney DeWine came to town on Thursday to oversee 10,000 of my fellow citizen’s get ‘poked’ at the Cintas Center on the nearby Xavier University campus as part of the Covid cure.

And, on another part of the campus a Zip-Line was set up as entertainment for students.

So I wondered how it would go over, if (and I know that this would never happen) people would, for a fee, be ‘zipped’ past the long line of those patiently waiting for entry into the Cintas Center after registering properly much, much, earlier.

That, at the front of that line were some red-haired woman with a formal name tag, with a name such as, say; Jen Psaki who allowed these ‘zippers’ to cut into the front of the line. Then when questioned would keep coming out with the same answer over, and over, and over; “Good question. I’ll have to circle back with you“. Naw, that didn’t happen, that was just some dream I was having.

Columbia University – is a perfect example of how I view our country as turning from something we’ve referred to as exceptionalism into an ouroboros-like serpent; a laughing stock of a nation.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on how we moved from a coming together period during the ‘80s, ‘90s, and early on into this century. This was a time when even a ‘woke’ company such as Coca-Cola proudly put out a Tomorrow’s People musical advertisement with the recording of “the Real Thing” . However, and especially during the last 15 or so years, we’ve been put into, and placed ourselves into, an array of separate ‘silos’.

Now I read where aside from a traditional graduation ceremony at Columbia University there are nearly half dozen others. Virtual graduations for the following ‘silos’: Native Graduation, Lavender Graduation (LGBTQIA+ community), Asian Graduation, FLI Graduation (first generation and/or low income), Latinx Graduation (whatever “Latinx” is).

At this pace it won’t be long for separate dormitories to emerge – wait, those have already been asked for, or separate water fountains to be installed – wait, we could just grab some of the old ‘Jim Crow’ ones out of storage. This nonsense is going nowhere good. ”Separate but Equal” sets us back 100 years to segregation times.

Fini – Derek and Kellen, plus mom Kirstin, on spring break, spent the week in Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and had a BLAST! As a bonus, they also got to visit with dear friend Susannah.

    

Then, after showing little interest for the past two years, Derek took to the wheel on the forest Parkway.

As I’m penning this they are halfway home, but not before seeing Graceland and the amazing Bass Pro Shop ‘pyramid’ in Memphis.

   

I love how marketing entities are having a field day. Advertisements now come in threes. In some the casts have masks on, some have been cast with half masks, and some totally without. You gotta love it.

From ideas gathered on the staircase of her childhood home here in Cincinnati, as the adults talked downstairs and where Stowe encountered fugitive enslaved people and the activities of the Underground Railroad, emerged Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin which was published on this day in 1852. It was so widely read that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he reportedly said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”

President Reagan: “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”” Now, from our current President: “Help is on the way”.

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

Dirk


Spring Forward
03 13th, 2021

It’s Saturday morning and after yesterday’s massive workout with my brothers and a 6+mile walk in well under 2-hours I am happy to be here. This all is making the coffee very gratifying, i.e. it’s very tasty.

And I might as well keep the drumbeat going. This week for us it’s been a full year since the 15-day shutdown to “flatten the curve”. Follow the science – and keep on following wherever the ‘goal-posts’ move (1).

Spring Forward – a three-fer – It’s an exciting weekend with all the happenings. First it’s the time change, then it’s all about recycling, finally it’s about warming temps with flowers budding.

I tried to present all of this in some understandable manner and I think I got it. I remembered a video made by a musician whose talents encapsulate (embrace) all of the above.

So, here is something he recorded for you, he is shown playing in Spring –like outdoors surrounded by warm grass and great trees. Plus he, here’s #2, plays mostly in Europe so we have an automatic time change.

And here’s #3, this week I joined a Zoom seminar with Dr. Douglas Frank. And, although it wasn’t his main topic he does love digging down to the core of an issue – hence; Recycling. Doing all his research he came up with the fact that were it not totally underwritten, recycling programs would be a huge financial failure. In fact, he flat out stated that only three items, when recycled, pay for themselves; milk jugs, aluminum cans, and carpets. Everything else costs more in energy consumption than savings when recycled. Our musician fits this ‘bill’ perfectly in that he is a one-man-band who plays several instruments that he created out of, you guessed it, recycled objects.

Our musician is Massimo Tortella. He’s from Viadana, Northern Italy. He busks primarily throughout Europe under his band’s name; Porcapizza. You’ll hear him play guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and keyboards as he performs that great Jimi Hendrix standard; Foxy Lady. It’s STARTLING!
Enjoy!

Now, tell me, wasn’t that a fun way to start your Spring Time Ramblings?

Elon Musk – recently had a discussion with Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience. A portion of the subject was; Liberty!

In part he dealt with the Coronavirus shutdown, which many are still under – us, under the ‘thumb’ of our micromanager Governor “Whiney the Wine” here in Ohio, included.

Elon does not mince words;

“We should be concerned about anything that’s a massive infringement on our civil liberties. You’ve got to put a lot of weight on that. A lot of people died to win independence for the country and fight for the democracy that we have. We should treasure that and not give up our liberties too easily. I think we probably did that.”

But he took it a step further. Basically what he said was; “If you own a small business, DON’T LISTEN. STAY OPEN! No politician has a right to prevent you from making an income. In America, government exists to protect certain unalienable rights, among these are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” not to run citizens’ lives.”

We need to get back to work. From the original dream of the Founders we’ve, year after year, moved away from that dream. We’ve allowed the federal government to grow and grow. And as it did its sucked away one freedom after another. Now, under the guise of Safety and Health we’ve gone so far as to hand over voluntarily many more freedoms. (2)

This week, amongst much cheering and hand clapping we’re sitting around waiting for ‘our’ $1,400 check. That message, delivered in a pre-taped, pre-planned, pre-written, pre-practiced, pre-edited address; was a little dark but perfectly managed. However, just remember that this obscene ‘Relief’ Bill divided by 330-million Americans is in reality costing you $5757. Think of it as pulling a bucket of water out of the pool’s shallow end and pouring it into the deep end so that it’s easier for you to swim.

As Musk told Rogan, “Let me just break it to the fools out there: if you don’t make stuff, there is no stuff.”

There is nothing magical out there. Economists are in agreement: We need productivity and output. We need to climb into our jobs, we need to open our businesses – 100%

Bits –
(1) From above, paragraph two; “Goal Posts move”. A subtle change made by the World Health Organization describing “What is Herd Immunity”, first from 9 June 2020 adjacent to it is the other mere weeks later 13 November 2020. Catch the subtle change?

(2) Freedom thought related to the fourth paragraphs above. This from Frederick Douglas (1818 – 1895) Slave, Social Reformer, Orator, Secretary to President Ulysses S. Grant, was nominated for Vice President of the United States on the Equal Rights Party ticket, and actively supported women’s suffrage.

A chart detailing just how our concept of Freedom has shifted over the years from the time of our Founding Fathers — I know, it’s being reposed on purpose. It’s worth clicking on it to enlarge and to take a careful look. Would JFK recognize the current political Parties? Could he be nominated in 2020? The answer to that bugging question lies in the chart below.

Crypto currency – has begun its path to becoming mainstream. We’re in that phase where there are a myriad of entrants, currently over 3,000 variants. China is the international leader in Crypto. Upon arrival in Beijing for the Olympics, each of the Olympic Athletes will receive a ‘wallet’ pre-loaded with Yuan (Chinese currency). The ‘wallet’ is theirs to keep and use and eventually to take home. Clever, don’t you agree? Another ‘something’ our leadership should make note of rather than worrying about the establishment of things such as the “Gender Policy Council” which Biden just signed.

Fini – A couple of weeks ago Dinah and my Birthday parties were celebrated with family in our Mount Storm Park. Marin is shown handing me his gift, baked-from-scratch loaf of Sourdough Bread (even the sourdough starter is his) and the flour used is white, unprocessed, made by the Amish. I cannot remember ever having had better bread.

The other day I while on my walk I kept looking about – primarily to keep an eye on the looming rain clouds; and yes, I did get soaked and with the subsequent sun and breeze dried out before I made it home. During all the looking about I made note of my surroundings and realized that on the Wasson Walkway trail it was much like riding a train. One is constantly looking onto people’s back yard. That’s the place no one preps for viewing. Actually it’s more interesting than looking at the manicured front yards.

Our home is not all that far from our city center. About a half mile away is an area called Avon Woods Preservation woods. The neighborhood social gossip web site can hardly go a couple of days without someone reporting a Coyote sighting on their street or yard. Yesterday I cut through Avon Woods on my afternoon walk and thought it lovely for Coyotes to call home. Just believed I’d share that insight.

   

Today in 1869 the Arkansas legislature passes anti-Ku Klux Klan law. That was at the end of the Civil War. Ask yourself; what happened subsequently that allowed the KKK to strengthen and cause the many horrors they perpetrated, when earlier on they were outlawed?

Another history first. Today’s date in 1877 Chester Greenwood patents earmuffs after inventing them at age 15. I can’t understand why he had to wait until winter was over. It would have been much more practical to secure his patent in September or even October. This way he’d have a patent and have the things produced in time for the Christmas rush.

Just to snap you out of your reverie blocking all thoughts of winter, winter’s extremes, and lovely warmth. Remember that this weekend in 1888 was the Great Blizzard of 1888 which raged across the east coast of the USA and Canada

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

Dirk


Wow, what a Week
03 6th, 2021

It’s a banner springtime Saturday morning, and now with masks at the ready we’ll properly make note of the first anniversary since the 15-day shutdown to “flatten the curve” which began last year. I was going to use the word ‘celebrate’, but felt that a bit too crass, too insensitive, too uncaring.

Massive changes on many fronts have come quickly this past year. You might want to sip contemplatively on your morning coffee while staring at that bundle of plastic straws in the drawer or the hardcover Dr. Seuss collection on the shelf – wondering whether or not the FBI will storm through the kitchen door.

Now that the Dr. Seuss books have been pulled from eBay and other sites for ‘racism’ and other nefarious reasons, I thought it appropriate to reference the absolute ‘horror’ we all must feel at the writings scribbled by Theodor Geisel 90-years ago (born March 2, 1904). Over 60 books written and 600-million copies sold.

It is with utter regret (now that I am expected to understand the embedded ‘racism’ in his books) as I reflect on the misplaced joy our kids and later the grandkids expressed as they squealed with laughter during reading times.

“The works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, have sparked a love for reading in generations of students. His whimsical wordplay and curious characters inspire children to dream big…” Representative Brian Mast posting this President Obama quote.

President Obama was quoted from just a mere couple of years ago — how quickly we flounder.

As I quoted from Professor Gad Saad last week; “slowly we inch toward ……”.

Education – It’s not been a secret stating that I am disgusted by what has happened with our public schools this past year; totally unnecessary and unacceptable, as kids across the nation lost a year. The craziness of the ‘virtual’ classroom for kids in their formative years is nothing more than child abuse.

Rather than me starting a rant watch this, a short project film titled, Numb, made by Liv McNeil, 9th grader in Etobicoke, Ontario.
Her words; ” This is a mini film, Numb, by me. I did this for a school project but I’m really happy with how it came out, so I’m posting it here. This took me a combined 3 weeks or so. hope you enjoy! please feel free to share as much as you like, just credit me and M83, the band who made the music.

Many reacted to this film. One student’s reaction to seeing it: “As a 9th grade student too, I feel like my worth is measured from turning in assignments on time and doing well on quizzes. This hits a little too close to home. By the end of this, I was absolutely sobbing.”

A Trillion – Day after day we read about a nearly $2-trillion ‘relief’ bill made up of Pork and a little bit of Covid aid. We lose track of what that number really is. So I thought I’d write it out for you; $2,000,000,000,000.00.

Have a trillion in single dollar bills? It would take you about 31,546 years to count each dollar bill. Going back in time, a billion seconds and you’d be doing Disco in 1987, go back a trillion seconds and you’d be around 30,000 B.C. Have all that money in singles? This bundle would weigh about 2.2 billion pounds or over 630,000 mid-sized cars (many more if we all owned a Citroën 2CV). Now get the idea? Makes more sense?

History – The study of which I love, and something Marcia despises. I’ve come to realize that the ratio is about 1 to 5; those who enjoy the study of History versus those who don’t. So, I won’t go into the seminar on Alexander Hamilton I attended this week – except for the fact that I enjoyed it immensely, and these couple of snippets.

He was born on the British Leeward Islands and immigrated to North America virtually penniless. He joined George Washington in the War of Independence against the British (American Revolutionary War). A war of insurrection, it took shape and Hamilton quickly climbed through the ranks. He became about the only person General Washington entrusted with the names of those who were our spies against the British. The relationship was more of a mentor-teacher in that Washington was 23-years older than Hamilton.

His thoughts and Washington’s buy-in combined to create a sense of Nationhood rather than a loose collection of States as Thomas Jefferson envisioned.

He and his wife had eight children. His oldest son was also killed in a Duel prior to Hamilton’s own death at the hand of Aaron Burr. It was a strange time with a sense of ‘honor’ that stretched beyond the pale.

Forty + Years of friendship and that whole time William (Bill) Melvin built exacting model aircraft and drawings/paintings of these marvels of the air. Hundreds of them. Bill is one of those people who just keep on going; umpiring baseball into his mid-80s. His wife Janie passed a while back and the kids finally convinced Bill to move closer to them – New Jersey.

Early last winter we gathered with friends to wish Bill [now 90] a safe new journey as he prepared to make his move. So, did Bill just quietly shrink away? No, not a chance.

Last week a Facebook post announced that Bill’s art was being exhibited, and curated by Haifa Bint-Kadi, Artist, at the Riverfront Art Gallery in Yonkers, NJ. As their announcement states an: ….”journey through the war times, learn about various aviation heroes – all in one exhibit that’s worth 70+ years of love and time”, and dedication.

I just had to share this story. The black and white below is just one of nearly 200 pieces he created, and is of one of our nation’s heroes, Chuck Yeager, and the plane he piloted breaking the sound barrier for the first time. Click on Bill’s name above to learn a bit more about this remarkable friend. Enjoy!

   

Fini – Yesterday Art organized a change in our twice a week via Zoom workout regimen. Yesterday Kirstin led us in a morning Yoga session. Great fun, and more physical than I expected. Also, Kirstin is one great instructor.

This week Governor Abbott of Texas announced that his State was joining a few others and reopen. It’s wonderful to watch where people are once again able to take personal responsibility for our own wellbeing. Thanks! And I hope other Governors (ours included) take note.

Now expect to again hear the ‘claptrap’ coming from Paris as we’re rejoining that bunch. Let it be known that Climate Change has always been and will be real. It’s the nonsensical predictions of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming which is a scientific fraud.

Today in 1869 at the Russian Chemical Society, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev presented the first periodic table. Oh, the hours I spend memorizing and absorbing this table throughout my school years. Now I hardly recognize the updated version.

And, in 1836 on this date The Alamo in Texas fell to Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna after a 13-day siege. It was a brutal and chaotic time. The loss didn’t have to happen. Had it not though we probably wouldn’t have the myriad of great tales of derring-do by the likes of Davey Crockett, James Bowie, and William Travis; “Remember the Alamo”.

People have wondered whether or not the corner of Chaos & Mayhem is still active. It certainly is and it’s ongoing. This photo was taken yesterday.

My baby-brother Art got to meet baby Bryn Corinne – his first grandchild.

The Vondee Globe around the world, non-stop, solo, without assistance, sailing race finished yesterday when the last sailor came in – Ari Huusela of Finland. He was the first Fin to sail this race, 58 of years of age and an Airline pilot he took 116 days to complete his 30,000 mile sail. His homecoming back to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France was just as raucous as each of the others. Thirty-three boats sailed, one was lost, six dropped out due to mechanical issues, and in 4-years it’ll all happen again. For this race, this’ll be the last ‘bit’ on it you hear from me.

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

Dirk