Archive for March, 2022

03 26th, 2022

Morning all; here it’s a chilly morning (hovering at 40 – with a 5-minute snow shower). All this means that my fresh pot of hot java tastes extra good. This morning I want to thank you, my readers, for sticking with these Ramblings. I know it’s a chore to get up on Saturday morning to get a weekly ‘fix’. Oh wait, that’s me, writing this stuff. Well anyway, thanks for reading; I’m still having fun plowing on.

I just noticed an itch on my head and touching my scalp noted that I have a small crust at that spot. Late afternoon yesterday I found myself leaning under our microwave replacing the cook-top light on its underside. I also remember whacking my head on the corner of one of the kitchen cabinets. It’s amazing how quickly one can put ‘two and two’ together.

This leads me to Segway into some reflections I had earlier this week. From this (and tied to me whacking my head) comes this short YouTube on the human brain. Enjoy!

Then, in my morning mail came notice that it was time to sign up for Paddlefest 2022 in August. Last August I did the 10-mile kayak run on the mighty Ohio River (but owned by Kentucky).

Taxes — As you know from a week ago, my taxes are done and have been submitted. This also means that I’m in much better shape to enjoy the annual blossoming of spring as plants put on their grand display. Here are two examples from just this week.


The joy of Kabuki Theater – is missing this go-around of the Confirmation Hearings. Especially missing is the stream of slanderous dives into the nominee’s high school yearbooks. This go around it’s much more boring. However, there are some snippets embedded deep within these quotations:

Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has if you count the tail as a leg. When they answered “five,” Lincoln told them the answer was four. The fact that you called the tail a leg did not make it a leg. ~ Thomas Sowell, Professor Emeritus

When every Judicial nominee calls herself an “originalist”, the method cuts no ice. If everything is originalism, nothing is.” ~ Adrian Vermeule, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

Steel Drums – Thursday we couldn’t wait to head out to Vai’s school to listen to a concert as she and her Steel Drum band mates put on quite a show. Listen to this piece called “Shut up and Dance” and keep in mind that everything you hear are percussion instruments. Great stuff!

Time with the grandkids – from performing some public service (with Adrianne & Vai), this was sorting Adult Diapers at Matthew 25: Ministries. And with at least as much fun, cleaning and taking a ride in ‘Our Duck’, the little Citroën Deux Chevaux.


Fini –
• Here in Ohio we’re still struggling to settle on the Congressional redistricting. Until the courts approve we can’t be certain when exactly our mid-term elections will happen. This also means that we can’t predict when exactly the next Covid-19 variant will emerge – but rest assured it will show up just in time, that’s a certainty.

• A ‘remember when’ moment. Remember when, for weeks on end, we were bombarded on a daily basis with salacious news of Trump, someone named ‘Stormy Daniels’, and an attorney named Avenatti? Well you might have missed (since the news didn’t bother to inform), that the 9th Circuit ruled the Daniels lawsuit frivolous and that she owes Trump nearly $300,000.

• Any one of you ever shake the last bit from a jar of Paprika? Ours has been hanging about the kitchen for at least a decade.

• Last weekend Kirstin led a Bridesmaid Party, outdoors in Leander, TX. Good to hear that this was her leading the ladies in a calming Yoga session rather than some raucous event. Good for you Kirstin.

• About six years ago we went to a Lenten Fish Fry at the Eagles Hall in nearby St. Bernard. I ended up requiring a Heimlich when a piece of bread got stuck. Last evening Marcia and I went to the place for the first time since that event. It was great! It reminded me of all the Fish Fries we’ve been missing in Wharncliffe and Thessalon on our Canada seasons.

• Often we talk about “the good old days.” This photo (colorized by Marina Amaral) shows a Sunday afternoon in Gordonton, NC in 1939. It sure did seem a lot calmer, but then, summer heat does promote more sitting around.

• Also remember that the Pleistocene Ice Age is still cooling. The previous ice age (the Karoo) lasted 100M years, the Pleistocene is only a mere 1.6M years old. No reason to panic – yet!

Best till next weekend. Let’s hope that wiser heads prevail as this week progresses. Don’t forget those caught under ‘jackboots’ throughout the world.


The Big One
03 19th, 2022

Morning all; Marcia was already up with coffee made when I woke up – must be a celebration in honor of the first day of spring; to you all, a happy Saturday and happy springtime. And, I do hope you caught sight of the full moon, the worm moon, a couple of days ago, it was a lovely sight.

Our Zoo as well as our nearby Spring Grove cemetery are both also registered Botanical Gardens and the latter also an Arboretum. And, by the way, both are located a mere neighborhood away. Now, in short order, they’ll both be in full bloom (pun intended).

Taxes — Yesterday, shortly after 2:00PM, I sat at our dining room table (where I am sitting now) ‘hunting & pecking’ away on this week’s Ramblings. Anyway, all of last year’s required paperwork was quickly encircling me.

About the time that Marcia announced dinnertime I was in the final throws of completion as I plowed through Turbo Tax 2021. One small hiccup, a final page showed me as the ‘recipient’ with an address that had the State of residence as CA. I couldn’t change. I also couldn’t correct it.

After dinner I had a ‘Live Chat’ technician on the hook for nearly two hours. Eventually she overrode that piece. Finally, everything was accepted and e-mailed to both the State and the Feds. This morning I am staring at two new emails from Turbo Tax with the header; “ACTION NEEDED!” Then in smaller text; “Your 2021 Personal return was rejected. This happens from time to time, but we’re here to help.”

Now what? Now, how much more time is required dinking around further? Didn’t I hear, year after year, that in the near future we’d do our taxes on a Postcard? It’s been said that nothing is as certain as death and taxes. I know I’m on the way towards the one, but the other too seems to be accelerating.

After two weeks – in Austin, fine weeks I must say, I am home. Kirstin claims that we got everything on her to-do list done. If so, I had a blast doing it. The list was varied. From a chip in her windshield, a replacement ‘key’ to her gas fireplace, to more involved stuff like a doggy-door (Piper-the-dog thinks it wonderful) and the powerwashing the final side of the backyard fence (a neighbor sent a text to her making note of it).


Aside from that, the time spent with Derek, Kellen, and Kirstin was wonderful. This included watching two, vintage, Sherlock Holmes movies. But, the event which garnered the most high-fives was Derek backing their freshly washed car into the garage with me in the passenger seat. This was a first! It was accomplished spot-on perfect!

And, rest assured, there was some time for a bit of relaxation.

A century of The Big One – This month in 1922 under the call letters of WLW AM 700, “The Big One”, began broadcasting. Started by Powel Crosley Jr who wanted a radio in every Crosley car sold and a cheap radio set in every home (the $7 Harko radio) began broadcasting.

To make it even better he set up a state-of-the-art studio for a complete live broadcasts as well as starting live baseball sports broadcasts. Dubbed “The Nation’s Station” it jump started the careers of many, including Red Skelton and Jazz biggies such as “Fats” Waller. It’s truly a wonderful story.

At 5,000 watts, it was billed as the first ‘super power’ station. Eventually it was granted to increase the output to an unprecedented 500,000 watts. To give an idea of what that was like, locals reported receiving the signal through their teeth fillings, it could be heard off-shore in the Pacific, and it was the only station mentioned by Hitler as being a pain in his side. The four tubes pushing out this power were transported three or four per train box car.

Today, no clear channel station can operate beyond 50,000 watts. The last time the old tubes were used was at midnight New Year 2000 when fear of computer disruption was widespread. The old tubes were fired up and the station ran for 15-minutes using the old technology while the computer century crossover was checked.

Fini –
• If you remember what this little widget was used for, then you’re as old as me.

• This past week the Irish were feted. This is how the ‘Nati handled the event (we also had a parade).

• A bit actor named Jussie Smollett was convicted of a felony hate crime hoax, sentenced, and a day or so later released from jail while awaiting his appeal. Meanwhile, un-convicted folk, mostly charged with ‘trespassing’ on January 6, 2021 are still in pre-trial detention. Nah, it’s nothing political.

• A ‘remember when’ moment occurred this week when Zelenskyy received a standing ovation from congress. Wasn’t it a short couple of years ago when the same Zelenskyy told the same Congress that there was no ‘quid pro quo’ on a call with Trump and he wasn’t believed? Just thinking.

• We’re watching how the Polish people have been accepting and welcoming to the refugees from Ukraine. In that light, I thought it to be interesting to post a map I found marking every Catholic Church in Poland. Could this be a player?

• This past week the women’s NCAA swimming competition was held. As expected, the Trans competitor won handily. This whole ‘adjustment’ on how sport records can be made and broken would be even better if we went a step further and move towards holding Trans-Species races. This photo of world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, coming in second explains fully. Wouldn’t the world be just electrified watching a cheetah win?

• What exactly is going on as we watch the inflation rate creep (jump) up?
2017 Trump – 1.7%
2018 Trump – 1.65%
2019 Trump – 1.7%
2020 Trump – 1.4%
2021 Biden – 14%
2022 Biden – 14.9%

A side door adjacent to where I was sitting at my gate for the flight home, I spotted this. A black wall with a heavy duty, four steel hinged door, a lit sign when in use, two strobe lights (green & blue) contained in a box set up for speaker, a secure electric entry, and a sign stating; “CBP Outbound Search”. This next to a gate used mostly for smaller commuter style aircraft. Any conspiracy theorists with an idea?

• I am watching unions trying to gain foothold at places like Starbucks and Amazon. At a time when our administration is promoting ‘unity’, isn’t a union all about division? Isn’t it a wedge between employer and employee? Assuming work and pay are acceptable why pay dues to a union? How it works negatively to the extreme is the spectacle witnessed these past months between players and owners in MLB?

• And, on top of it all, I have started up my exercise routine after what turned out to be pretty well a two-week hiatus.

Best till next weekend. Stay happy, stay healthy, and keep of all those oppressed and in fear in your hears and mind.


03 12th, 2022

Morning all; on the verge of Spring we have another so-called “bomb cyclone” weather phenomenon. And yes, I did look up whether or not there is such a thing. There is! It’s a winter storm that is created through a process called “bombogenesis”; a storm which will see a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, plummeting by 0.71 of an inch of mercury or more within 24 hours.

When I talked with Marcia last evening she described it as a “white blanket of death” which had started to fall. That explains it better.

Here in Austin it only turned cold and very windy. All the overwintered plants we took out a week ago are back in the garage. And, oh yes, I only packed clothing for a 60 – 80 degree range; not good!

For those in the path — of the ’bomb’ cyclone I captured some seaside shoreline sounds, magically generated by my little bedside Marpac sound generator. I am hoping that this will improve your mood.

Best project – has been the Doggy Door. If for no other reason than not having to get up every time Piper-the-dog wants to head into the yard. So, this project took center stage early on. Initially it was bit of coaxing to get her to use it; the video below shows her very first attempt. But, by day three she had become a fearless pro. The process was totally satisfying.



Quote of the week –

Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important. ~ Mark Manson, author

This week’s quote could be a guide for those fighting for Freedom everywhere, whether truckers in Canada or citizens in the Ukraine.

As I spotted elsewhere: “The spread of communism starts when people are silenced. Free speech is the first freedom citizens lose”.

Fini –

• As a walker, I recently read that the longest continuous walking path in the world is: 22,387Km.

• Probably photo shopped. But these days I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

• Vili had a school project. He studied and then made a class presentation on Bob Dylan. Scored a solid ‘A’. Kudos Vili!

• Dinah has been back on the water training as a member of her rowing team. While walking in Austin, I spotted her competition’s digs.

• Teaching Derek the fine art of grilling, and that adding the right herbs and spices is much more than a good thing. Good times!

  • Surgical instruments from Roman times. These look like they’d be in use today.

  • Now can’t wait for my favorite breakfast; multi-grain toast, loaded with fresh Avocado, and sprinkled with ‘Everything but the Bagel’. 

Best till next weekend – homeward bound on Tuesday.


Cough, Cough
03 5th, 2022

Morning all; Even though it’s still dark and quiet this week’s Ramblings will arrive a little later than normal. Changing time zones does that you know.

I started setting my watch while still in the air heading for Kirstin’s. Let it be known that my Casio Pro Trek is the best watch I’ve ever had (a gift from Jason a few years ago). With over 30 city settings and the ability to set time via longitude and latitude means only one thing – deadly accuracy.

45-minutes of trying had my time set several hours off, That evening at Kirstin’s here in Austin, had me work on the thing another hour; to no avail.

I downloaded the manual and poked around a few You Tubes. So, when I finally got it correct, to the minute, in Austin’s Central time zone it was almost a bit of a let-down, A ho-hum moment. What I have learned to do is keep looking at the thing just to make certain it hadn’t changed time zones on its own.

First three days in Austin — I realized the evening prior to my leave-at-dawn flight that my sinuses were set to explode with the beginning of a cold. It had been so long since I had one, that what was left from the Cold Alka-seltzer Plus tablets years ago were now mere ‘bits’ in swollen packages.

Even though I am still searching for new, secret, locations where Kirstin hides the Kleenex, I am definitely on the mend. “Plink, Plink, Fizz” thank you very much.

Tools in hand – Actually, I’ve already gotten a pretty decent jump on the “To-Do” list. Simple stuff like dragging potted garden plants from their winter storage in the garage into the yard; with the help of Derek. Then, it was on to the slightly more complex, repairing a kitchen cupboard hinge.

Most noticeable was the setting in order of the backyard Pergola – this was celebrated by Kirstin and I making use of the place. Anyway, there are a dozen or so items on the list. Most fun will be dealing with the security camera/lights above the garage door.

Quote of the week –

”I do not want my picture in your offices, for the President is not an icon or a portrait. Hang your kid’s photos instead – and look at them each time you are making a decision.” ~ Volodymyr Zelenskyy President of the Ukraine

Recently I read (forget where exactly) that everything reported about war by governments, mainstream media, much alternative media, and by the ignorant public at large, is little more than lies and deceit. Assuming that to be correct (and it probably is), it’s an opportune time to quote Orwell one more time:
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.” George Orwell, 1984

Fini –
• Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas made mention that this past week 15 Russians and 15 Chinese were apprehended crossing the border illegally. The question is why, and how many more actually made it? Why are we not controlling our border?

• Last weekend I made my way through a new section of the walking trail. Something new to explore and to see.

• One way as a reminder that you’re living in a city founded by German immigrants. Just look at the signs and the buildings.


• The current administration had our AG write a letter to the DOJ asking them to monitor parents who seek change (especially with School Boards promoting Critical Race Theory style agendas) and view them as Domestic Terrorists. Now 14 States are using Freedom of Information Act channels to have the AG turn over communications with the National School Boards Association. Just thought you’d want to know.

George Chakiris starred in the 1961 movie; West Side Story. He was Bernardo and a member of the Sharks. Turns out he was born in a house I pass weekly on my exercise walks – on Sherman Avenue. Apparently his father, a Greek immigrant had a sweet shop in the front of the place. Currently it’s a home contracting business.

• Russia’s attack on the largest European Nuclear Power Plant, the Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine has now been labeled a War Crime. Since the ‘world’ appears to speechify mostly, what exactly does this mean?

Best till next weekend – after which I’ll finish my taxes.