Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

A good Saturday morning to all. I opened my eyes & checked the time, 5:00AM on the nose. Most Saturdays I am well underway with these Ramblings by that time. So, 5:00 was a little later than normal, but not late enough to start making ‘late’ excuses. In any case, the coffee is ready, thus ‘awaaaay’ we go. Glad you’re along for the ride.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Passed last evening (in case you hadn’t heard). May her memory be a blessing. As a hard left leaning Justice she had developed a devoted following. And at the same time many of her legal positions were disagreed with by others. This happens when one has and maintains a position based on a core belief.

What stands out most for me was the well-known close friendship she had with hard right leaning Justice, the late Antonin Scalia. This demonstrates that (and especially during these times of extreme political positioning and vitriol) civility can be, and deep friendships can form and grow, while staying true to one’s core beliefs; be these opposite. These two recently late members of our Supreme Court leave this as part of their lasting legacy. RIP – RBG.

Going on Month Seven – Enjoying the six-plus month anniversary to “Two weeks to stop the spread?”

“My friend, Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo: “If reason finally prevails over panic, policy makers will reopen schools and focus on the vulnerable”.” ~ Dr. Simone Gold: MD, JD, FABEM, board-certified emergency physician

Your (my) Political Update – Last weekend a Road Rally rolled along I-275 around Greater Cincinnati: this to show support for President Trump — 9,000 strong. This outer beltway, forming an 85-mile circle, makes for an impressive sight and sign of support. Mentioning this Rally in our neighborhood would have people crossing the street to pass our place.

A new ‘bone’ tossed into the political arena is something called “critical race theory”. During the decade of the Nineties I thought we were well along moving beyond this business of tossing everyone into one ‘silo’ or another – based on race. Yet this business returned under the previous administration and now is picking up more steam. I am happy that President Trump spoke out on the latest manifestation of this ‘theory’ by embracing the principles 0f 1776 over a journalist’s release of something labeled 1619. Likewise, putting a halt to forcing federal bureaucrats to sit through hours of indoctrination sessions; forcing them to learn to feel miserable over their skin color. That whole business is abhorrent!

Lastly, it seems that things don’t change all that much and that people easily forget. This monologue piece is from Johnny Carson the host of The Tonight Show (1962 – 1992) and was from 1987.

Rap – Earlier in the week I was on an afternoon neighborhood walk and came across these neighborhood kids. But first, let it be known that I enjoy all types of music – immensely. This would include most country, especially rock from the ‘golden’ era, Jazz, foreign language material, Classical, Choral, Blues, R&B, need I go on? Then I come to Rap; I detest Rap.

Living on the corner of Chaos and Mayhem I begin to shudder whenever one of those ‘hoopty’ mobiles with their 5,000-amp amplifiers stops at the corner Stop sign and all of our windows start to vibrate. I hate rap.

OK, so I came across this group of local kids. They had a speaker system set up, two were doing the moves, one was filming, and one was Rapping. I stopped. I listened. Then I asked if I could ‘hang’ for a bit and take a picture or two. Then I had a very good time watching these kids work with amazing energy, total focus, and absolutely absorbed in their project. Do I now love Rap? The answer is still No. But, I have gained in appreciation; of the musical style, what goes into it, and the fact that these undeniably motivated  kids rather than just ‘hang’ and get into trouble can channel their energy.

Look closely at the photo, who knows; maybe down the road you’ll recognize a face in some Hip-Hop article showing an emerging star. Go guys!

A Glass Eye – Nearby Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum became the destination point for one of my walks this week. It’s a wonderfully peaceful place with mile after mile of roadway, ponds, and plants (plus a lot of gravesites); and is the final resting place of my parents. Also, I have taken advantage of their events, such as taking a guided nighttime horticultural walking tour. On that tour I learned that there are located three busts in the place where the family had glass eyes placed into the sculpture. This fact I promptly forgot; until this walk.

Turns out that close by to the section where my parents lie is the family grave of a Mr. C.C. Breuer. It is his marker which is one of the three mentioned to have glass eyes. The fascinating thing with the glass eye is when walking past the monument it actually appears that his gaze is following you.

With C.C. Breuer there are two versions regarding the eyes. An optometrist by trade, he committed suicide in 1908, he supposedly requested that his eyes be removed, put in glass, and placed in the bronze bust likeness of himself. The other version is more mundane; purchased glass eyes were used.

Stop by, I’ll give you a private tour and you can decide.

Fini – It’s really beginning to look like the border into Canada won’t open till November. I do want to at least get there to review the status of Northern Comfort and to ensure that it’ll be OK for the hard part of the winter.

I have arranged for our Duck, the little Deux Chevaux, to be secure for the winter. Having put 0 (as in ZERO) miles on a car you love to drive is difficult. But, what is, is.

I drive Marcia crazy whenever she catches me watching a YouTube of some historical WWII black-&-white footage. I never realized that they actually filmed as much as they did – both by the Allies and the Axis. If this is of interest to you just start your own hunt, you’ll be amazed as to what is available. I mention this because today in 1944 was the start of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest – a series of fierce battles fought from 19 September to 16 December where whole armies disappeared in the forest. This fight, on the heels of Normandy, is almost forgotten by the Battle of the Bulge, yet it was horribly fierce.

Yesterday I saw a photo of Paul back in his favorite chair. Welcome home Paul

Marcia’s dad loved taking photos. These, almost all slides, were left by his passing, boxes full of the things. As time marches on these became more and more just potential items from the past to pitch. To the rescue came grandson Marin. He loves photography. He loves technology. He bought equipment to digitize the slide collection. This week he sent out a link for us to view or grab 660 of these transferred so far. Reviving old memories captured decades ago is wonderful – such as the time Grandpa’s whole house was moved several blocks to a new location.

A huge (as in ‘YUGE’) thanks Marin.

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

Dirk


Start of Normalcy
09 12th, 2020

A good Saturday morning to all. Today I did get my order-of-sequence correct so my first, yet un-tasted, cuppa (or is it ‘mugga’?) of coffee is sitting next to me at my desk. Now, let’s get this thing rolling. Here are this weeks Ramblings as of the morning of September 12, 2020.

Contractors – Interviewing a worker for that stunning project you’re envisioning? Tip, check out the ‘wheels’ they drive up in to make their pitch; lots of information to be gleaned. Just sayin’.

Speed of Light – Scientists at M.I.T’s Media lab have created a camera that can capture the speed of light, taking a photo in less than two-trillionths of a second.

To gain perspective, it was pointed out that if we captured a blink filming with that camera we would see the enormity. To gain some perspective, consider that we film our blink at 10-trillion frames per second (lightspeed), then it would take (approximately) 1,900-years to play it back at normal movie speed of 24-frames per second. Just think, start watching that movie of my eyes blinking during the time that Jesus walked the earth and watch my eyelids open fully again right about the time of World War I. Now, just think that at that speed it still takes sunlight an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth. Yup, that’s the speed of light.

Any Benefits? –

“Sweden, now, looks like a country from a parallel universe. Children didn’t miss a day of school…its economic hit was half of ours” (Britain). ~ Fraser Nelson

Stanford Professor Jay Bhattacharya, director of Stanford’s Program on Medical Outcomes as well as the director of the school’s Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging, found it “”shocking” that, as countless countries earlier this year moved to shut down ahead of COVID-19, and then forgot to “think about both the cost and benefits” of such policies.” Why this ‘Lockdown’ mitigation strategy?; “when there had been a playbook … to address the epidemic in ways that took into account both the cost and benefits of the policies.” (interview with John Solomon in Just the News)

Now from the New York Post comes this; “Teachers are fighting tooth and nail to prevent reopening public schools for in-person learning — in the name of safety. Yet our just-released study suggests that these reopening decisions have more to do with influence from teachers’ unions than safety concerns.”

Cincinnati’s public school system with 35,000 students has had ZERO Covid-19 deaths in their population. There is NO transmission of student to adult pattern. Yet, there is no in-person schooling in the Cincinnati public school system. All surrounding suburban schools and including several Catholic high-schools schools have sports as normal. Cincinnati allowed for practice but NO games. It’s NOT the science. It’s NOT for safety. It’s NOT for wellbeing.

What it is, is POLITICS and the large Teachers Unions. Wake up people!

Cafê Vivache – Wednesday Marcia and I tasted normalcy! After six months it was finally the total experience. We watched and were perfectly mesmerized by a live concert, enjoyed a steaming bowl of West African Peanut Stew (one of our favorites) and some flatbread along with a glass of Malbec.

The group we enjoyed was Trihos Urbanos. Husband and wife team (both instructors at Miami University) of CCM graduate João Rocha and Dr. Paula Gandara (Professor of Lusophone Studies). Percussions were managed by Baba Charles Miller displaying the percussive traditions of Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean. It truly brought me back to some of the haunts I so loved on my times in Brazil. This YouTube was the evening’s finale, Another LINK here is to a YouTube of Gandara singing one of her poems and featuring the percussion artistry of Baba Charles Miller:

 

Media – Since the Media cannot extend one good day to our President I felt the need to let you know that in the past month:
** President Trump brokered peace and trade between Israel and the UAE.
** Peace between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Israel.
** Economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo (96% Muslim).
** Has been nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes.

Efforts had been made without success for decades by both Republican and Democratic Presidents. So what does The Atlantic quickly write? “End the Nobel Peace Prize – The Trump nomination shows that peace had its chance, and blew it.” [Sept 11, 2020]. These people are psychotic fools!

Fini – Recently I joined an online international group primarily because of our little Citroën Deux Chevaux-vapeur or 2CV (“two steam horses” a French taxing designation). One specific I looked for was replacement of the disc on the under-hood disc parking brake. Here’s what I have learned so far; that the hydropneumatic suspended Citroën’s were used for many years as camera cars for horse racing. Always start learning about the important stuff first.

Some people have that extra measure of ‘zest’. This past week back in 1955, and at age 67, grandma Emma achieved her goal. Months earlier Emma Gatewood told her children that she was going for a walk – they didn’t ask where. She did go on a ‘walk’, a 2,165-mile walk, and became the first woman to complete the Appalachian Trail solo and in a single season.

Yesterday we honored the fallen and celebrated the first responder heroes from the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center destruction, but still, we have no functioning Visa Exit System. This was ‘merely’ the top item (as in #1) on the 9-11 Commission recommendations list. Yesterday it was a parade of somber faced politicians on video and posing for photographs as they uttered hollow words; most all phonies, fakes, and hypocrites.

transcript of a Voice Mail sent from the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Somerset County, PA

My niece, Lori, took this noontime photo from in front of their home in Clackamas County, Oregon. Keep her and her family in your thoughts, as well as all the people of Oregon, Washington State, and California who are dealing with these horrendous forest fires.

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

Dirk


109
09 5th, 2020

Saturday morning and waking up I heard Marcia’s scanner tell police that ‘Shot-Spotter’ heard “shots fired” in more than one location. The city never sleeps. Here, even traffic passing by the corner of Chaos & Mayhem has eased up. Having begun on these Ramblings, Mr. Coffee just alerted me that my first cup-of-Java is ready. So let’s get started. First, remember this is day 177 of the 14-day lockdown to “flatten the curve”.

If you could see me this morning, I’d look a little different to you, a little ‘hunched’. Carrying a heavy box of stuff home from Costco I twisted putting it into the truck bed and pulled a muscle. So here I sit with my Home Depot back-brace. My mother would have called it ‘Lumbago’; remember that term? Even so, Fitbit gave me this bit of wake-up news this morning.

Which does remind me, now that all the tests are in from my recent physical; I find that I am in great shape. So, best discard the back-brace thingy as quickly as I can.

The Nutty Season – is now in full swing as both political conventions are behind us. This week I spotted a video of Senator Menendez walking around a restaurant with no mask. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just officiated a wedding with no mask (while undergoing cancer treatments). Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair done (illegally) without sporting a mask. Yet, their party and to a person, they say we can’t vote in person. Liars!

Speaking of Nancy Pelosi;

“an eighty-year-old woman who’s having a cat fight with her hair lady is in line for the Presidency.” ~ Anna James Zeigler

Ponder that for a minute!

“Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, and then it tries to silence good.” ~ Archbishop Charles Caput

Birthdays – This week my mother would have celebrated her 109th birthday. An only child growing up in a military household and educated as a teacher she was much stronger than we (my brothers and I) realized. She got married at the outset of WWII in occupied Netherlands – to an outgoing sales-type husband. It took a yeoman’s sales job by her to convince her dad that marrying such a person was a good thing.

Under the laws of the time, getting married and planning on kids, meant that she had to quit her teaching profession; times were different then. The difficult war years faced her. I was born during that time; at home. Also, this new husband got involved in efforts to do damage to the occupying forces and aid their Jewish friends – getting caught could be disastrous (I do remember him being taken away twice and managing to clear himself each time).

A decade after her marriage we were in North America, all without her knowing or speaking a single word of English. A short decade later, our dad, her hubby, died leaving her with four (difficult) sons to raise and minimal income.

She managed. She actually succeeded and blossomed (thanks Madeira Garden club). Thanks mom. Loved you and still in my heart.

     

I did head this portion “Birthdays, in plural. That is because my brother George had his birthday this week. George exhibits a problem that many of us guys have. Asked what we want as a gift and we get tongue tied. Of course the solution is to plan ahead and to speak up. Our local sage, Earl Pitts “Uhmerikun”, is most eloquent addressing this very issue:

Diverse – As a regular reader you know best how I love to make note of the various happenings here on the corner of Chaos and Mayhem. However, the past couple of weeks it’s been quiet (not ‘serene’ mind you, just quiet). About the only thing that’s different these days is the cadre of Census Takers floating about.

I’ve yet to see a Census Taker display any sense of urgency. Apparently they are not paid on any quota scheme, nor are they paid by ‘successful completions’. In fact, usually they pull up to the curb where they lounge in their car (where I swear they sit and eat bags of yellow Cheese Curls). When done they finally get out and stand on the sidewalk seemingly to take note of the neighborhood. Standing on the sidewalk, not moving, and with a bewildered look; much like a cat walking into a room not remembering why.

Anyway, we are a diverse neighborhood. My squad (recently having become a political term) of four readers is pretty well located in lovely communities spread to most corners of our nation. How many of you can walk around and in fewer than eight houses away see sights such as these? You just have to love it!

Fini – Today in 1793 was the beginning of The Reign of Terror period of the French Revolution. I mentioned our ‘nutty season’, but ours is nothing compared to their series of massacres and numerous public executions which took place in response to some crazy revolutionary fervor. They kept the guillotine, or Le Rasoir National (The National Razor), very busy.

Today in 1957 was the release of ‘On the Road’ a novel by Jack Kerouac. It’s one of those defining a period sort of book and if you haven’t read it you should. This continuing ‘lockdown’ period would be a most excellent time to do just that.

The other day I walked the neighborhood at dusk. In front of one of the houses were three deer. The (large) Buck was partially hidden by some bushes and trees. This Doe was comfortable enough to continue eating. Remember we’re three miles from the center of a good sized city.

A couple of years ago Marin spent the summer as an intern for the Artworks nonprofit agency which uses nationally known artists to have them design art specifically for murals. These are then placed around the city. A new walkway, the Wasson Way trail, at one end has a few commercial buildings. This was placed on one of them. And, this stunning piece is just half of the whole thing.

Remember, today is the running of the 146th Kentucky Derby in Louisvile. This year it’s being held 4-months late due to the ‘vid-19’ – which horses can’t get and people still can’t watch. These are strange times.

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

Dirk


Cringe
08 29th, 2020

A good Saturday morning to all. And for me, my coffee is almost ready. The audio piece above I put there to alert any walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and traffic passing by the corner of Chaos & Mayhem to ease up since I am working on these Ramblings. Not so sure it’ll help though.

“This COVID mess is a great reminder that there’s nothing more permanent than ‘temporary’ government intervention.” ~ Rogan O’Handley

Day 170 of the 14-day lockdown to “flatten the curve”.

I’m beginning to place some reality on a fear that as Governors run out of dialogue about “doing anything to save lives” regarding COVID, it will quickly translate into propagating ongoing lockdown measures through the flu season, even if COVID ceases to be a threat.

Cringe – Really, I was expecting some serious ‘cringe’, and was prepared to just watch a slight bit and maybe (at most) a flick back and forth as I started watching the Republican Convention this week. This thing was so well put together that the biggest problem was that there were NO ‘pit’ stop pauses!

Very few Politicians ‘blathering’ (which I loved), but each evening filled with ‘real’ people. Each giving and highlighting their personal story, some brought a smile others brought a tear or two. People like Herschel Walker (NFL great), Clarence Henderson (1960 Greensboro, Woolworth Sit-Ins participant), the widow of Captain Dorn (the retired black Police Chief murdered while aiding a friend), Alice Johnson (who was given a full Pardon during the convention), Mr. & Mrs. Mueller (parents of Kayla an aid worker abused and murdered by ISIS), and on it went.
Each evening filled with policy specifics, optimism for the future of our country, and assurance that EVERY American deserves opportunity.

Having seen most every Democrat and Republican convention decade after decade; this one was amazing.

The singer is superstar Tenor Christopher Macchio who afterwards said;

“what the 1st family did for me tonight is something I’ll never forget. They stood in regal nobility as I performed with tremendous love and pride in my heart for a nation grateful for their commitment to saving our culture and way of life.”

Losing it – A couple of days ago I walked somewhere around 6-miles going through the O’Bryonville neighborhood – where Marcia had her flower shop 30 some-odd years ago. By the time I had reached that area, in the heat and humidity, I was kept busy wiping sweat off my brow.

That’s when I spotted this truck – snagged a picture – and was amazed. I thought; “only in America would one find a mobile ‘Shrub’ vendor”. When I came home and cooled off a bit I said what I had thought earlier and showed Marcia the picture I’d taken. “You idiot, they’re selling ‘SCRUBS’, not shrubs,” was the snap-back response. Whoops!

Checkup – Mid week I had my medical checkup. Based on some of the tests results already in from my blood-letting, all is fine (actually excellent). The remaining test results to come anytime.

The highlight of the event’s experience is the Phlebotomist, that woman is amazing!

Kenosha, WI – Another character with a lengthy rap sheet got shot when not complying with a Police order. Another opportunity to loot, burn, and hurt citizens going about their daily business. Then have this spread across to other cities by cadres of paid thugs and anarchists.

The reality is that a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

There is an average of 27 deadly-weapons attacks on officers per day in the U.S.

Having interacted with police in our town for a period of years, these are good men and women, professionally doing a job that can turn life threatening in a mere second. A dangerous job most of us can barely fathom.

Tile gluing – Yesterday one of the marble tiles in our building’s entry way came loose. No problem. Clean the thing up, get some tile adhesive, and re-set the thing. Last evening after dinner I headed for the Home Depot and got what I needed. Question; when on earth did the descriptive verbiage on packaging become akin to having to read a chapter book?

Fini – Today it’s a Happy Birthdays to our Vaioleti. She’s now part of that ‘pre-teen’ world – more mature, less child-like, and a bit more introspective. Rain this morning and sunshine this afternoon, that’s when we’ll gather at her house for a bit of a celebration. Brother George will get his turn later this coming week.

Today, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina (a Category 5 storm) hammered the Gulf Coast. The reporting of that storm was similar to that of Laura which hit a couple of days ago. More devastation, more cleanup, more rebuilding; and so it goes; Mother Nature is still in charge.

Michael Jackson would have been 62 today. Which reminds me. This week I saw a photo of President Lincoln taken shortly before he was shot (colorized by Marina Amaral). Strange, in my mind’s eye he’s always seemed this old ancient historical person. This time, he appears as a vigorous middle-aged man with some serious ‘weight’ on his shoulders.

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

Dirk


wang dang doodle
08 22nd, 2020

A good Saturday morning all; my morning White Castle diner coffee is still a treat! And we’re baaack.

Not back from Canada though – the Ports of Entry opening date has now been moved back to the tail end of September. We’ve missed all of summer. The new date, if it holds, might mean we’d catch the trailing end of the Fall Color season; anything later it’ll be cold winds, rain, and possibly snows. Northern Comfort has been a lonely place in 2020. Our poor little ‘Duck’ (Deux Chevaux) has not communicated with us the whole year. Even the extra day, 366 this year, is not helping. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

“’Mailgate’ is the most pathetic attempt to grasp at straws and deflect from policy that I have seen this election cycle.” ~ George Papadopoulos

Just an insight; India has no absentee or early voting. Their citizens all vote on ONE day, using their National Voting Picture ID. One billion people – very accurate results. Hmmmm?

This past week was the 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment, known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920. Unknown by me was the fact that Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 (big bucks for that time) for voting illegally in 1872. This week President Trump pardoned her posthumously on that anniversary date. Also, were you aware that all of these early feminists were pro-life? Anthony called abortion “child murder”.

Wang dang doodle – The craziness of our Chaos & Mayhem corner had gotten to Marcia. What to do? What to do? Then it hit home; we’d have a ‘wang dang doodle’; celebrate birthdays, and head for the Lodge at Hueston Woods. We had an amazing time. Swimming for the kids, Tevita taught Vai and Vili how to shoot his Cross bow at the Archery Range. We played Disc Golf, The Os rode their bikes, and I managed to walk close to 25 miles. What a weekend!

 

These shots were not a ‘one-off’, they hit dead center at 70-feet time after time! Did better than yours truly, much better.


Covered Bridge – The nearby (to Hueston Woods) town of Oxford is the home of Miami University. Miami is the 10th oldest University in the nation and the campus looks like it’s an Ivy League school. Oxford is lovely and Marcia and I managed to get to the town-square Farmers Market and ate some amazing Pub food. But that’s not all.

Just outside the city limits is their historic (1868) 3-story Black (Pugh’s Mill) covered Bridge. It’s one of the few still standing on location and on the original timbers. Very cool!

Police – We’ve all heard of the ‘whacko’ Defund the Police movement in too many crazy ‘progressive’ cities; New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and Austin to name some. As of late our city’s Council has swung a hard left and now it too can be viewed as the ‘City Clowncil”. 60,000 signatures were needed to get a ‘defund’ on our November ballot – they couldn’t come up with the required number. Yesss!

Keep in mind that after our 2001 riots, under Federal Court supervision a massive ongoing training and restructuring program of our police force took place. Currently the Cincinnati Police department is a national model. To disband this force is beyond nutty.

I believe that our local sage, Earl Pitts “Uhmerikun”, could shed a bit of light on all this business.

Beatles Concert – The Beatles were in town – 54 years ago. August 21, 1966 was the date and old Crosley Field was the place. It was the fourth American and became their final commercial tour. I was driving on Interstate-75 South heading towards Kentucky when I saw traffic slow down and a number of cars parked on the shoulder of the highway. I pulled over and asked who the Reds were playing; then was told that it was the Beatles Concert. I think I did hear (nearly) one complete number (splendidly mixed with passing diesel engine roaring) before Troopers moved everyone out of there – no fines were issued.

That day, they played a daytime show in Cincy (should have been on the 20th but changed due to rain) then on to St. Louis for an evening show at the old Bush field. Later it was reported that on the short flight between the two cities the lads talked and made up their minds to stop touring. Think that playing two shows in one day was the catalyst?

Fini – Happy Birthdays to Adrianne on Monday, and Sis-in-Law Sandy on Tuesday. Then Vaioleti will celebrate her big ‘last-before-teen’ Birthday on Saturday. I once read; “a (birthday) celebration isn’t complete without some reflection and introspection. Take the time to look behind you; the clues to your future are in there.”

Now that we’re back we’ve taken notice of a brigade of Census 2020 takers storm (well not really – ours tend to be more like turtles) through the neighborhood. Most knock on a door for a bit and wander off. Wouldn’t it be easier if they changed the census date and have the Census form as an add-on to the IRS Tax filing? I read where the completion rate to date is in the low 50%. I’d put odds on a much better rate with my idea.

26 Wildfires and a bad heat wave in California. Stay safe to all my family spread from north to south in the State; keep them in your thoughts.

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

Dirk


A Break
08 14th, 2020

A break from the corner of Chaos & Mayhem.

We were beginning to find it difficult hanging out, incessant Mask wearing, and the all day long non stop Covid-19 hype. We needed a break!

While you’re reading this we’re on our way for a long weekend at Hueston Woods Lodge and State Park. look at these few photes and be jealous.

I’ll be back on schedule beginning Saturday August 22, 2020

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

Dirk


Power
08 8th, 2020


A good Saturday morning all. During these ‘special’ times, here’s my thought for the day:

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” ~ Muhammad Ali

“Thursday time to feed the cat” goes the saying. We don’t have a cat, so Marcia and I celebrated anyway and ended up at Quatman Café, one of our standby favorites. Our table was cleverly “Socially Isolated” through the use of several screens borrowed from my Proctologist’s office. But hey, they did the job.

Since most professional sports are a bit of a joke this year, plus all their political statements which I don’t need to have parked in front of my face – I’ve not watched any. However, at Quatman’s, hanging across from our table was a large screen showing the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks game. Most every Jersey had a saying written on the player’s back – all the mundane and approved stuff you’d expect. Except for one, that of Miami’s #28, Andre Iguodala; on his was printed “Group Economics”. Not sure exactly what he meant by it, but I could appreciate. Maybe it was Nike related?

Walking – was becoming a bit boring and so I’ve set forth on some new ‘highways and byways’. This past week it was lovely. In the back area of Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum I almost walked into three Bucks. I also made note of the passing of my dad, 56 years ago this week, as I walked past my parent’s gravesite.

At Rookwood Commons I came across this lovely LTI old London cab. It’s been at least 15+ years since my last ride in one during a London stopover.

On Wasson Way, one of our newer walking trails, I stopped for a moment to admire these high schoolers busy at work with the latest ArtWorks undertaking. It was a couple of years ago that Marin managed to get involved with ArtWorks where he worked for the summer on another of their projects. It’s a great learning activity for students, for artists an opportunity to gain note, and for the citizenry something beautiful to enjoy.

Power Bill – In Canada we have Hydro-One. Each bill comes with its own set of ‘hydro-glyphs’. The larger chunks I can figure out. The small bits and pieces add-ons are a grand mystery, but at least I only get it every three months.

Here back home I have done the right thing. I opted for the paperless model to singlehandedly save the planet by receiving an auto-pay e-Bill. Now comes this. Recently we’ve been scammed by the (now former) Ohio Speaker of the House to the tune of $62,000,000. He had skillfully maneuvered an extra bit of alphabet soup onto everyone’s power bill; it’s been a steady revenue stream.

Then looking at my new monthly bill, it dawned on me that my e-Bill only contains a ‘Total Due’ amount. To gain the details I would have to climb through a series of hurdles and into my actual account. Once there I was amazed at the ‘a few pennies here and a few pennies there’ acronym add-ons. It’s almost impossible to make any sense of it.

At this point I felt a little insight from ol’ buddy Earl might be good. That’s Earl Pitts, “Uhmerikun” for you who aren’t familiar with the sage.

Pizza – Marcia and I ‘attended’ our City’s School Board meeting. Did so virtually; did so over Pizza; and ‘peppered’ the meeting by us commenting continuously.

The result was pre-ordained and so the conclusion was not negotiable. The Cincinnati Public School System would not start this month; instead classes would start on-line from home. All was explained through the use of a series of glib Power Point slides. One of the key presenters joined remotely – and the audio ‘crapped’ out. I looked at Marcia and mentioned that what we were watching had been put together by an IT Specialist and it failed, how then would it all work with third graders in a class setting? I think not!

Most western nations, many school systems in our country, are all opening schools. These are all realizing that it is, “imperative to the normal development of our nation’s children” – Dr. David Samadi. And should you hear scare stories regarding Covid-19 transmission. Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics flat out states; “COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame”

I’ve read and think it correct, the statement that currently the Coronavirus is 90% politics and 10% medicine. It’s time for politics to socially distance from medicine.

In Cincinnati, the Teachers Unions won out. Students are the losers. Parents will feel the hurt. Continue on this path and educationally the students will lose a year academically, and emotionally/psychologically/socially we’ll be on a path to lose a generation. That is really ‘The Science’.

Fini – We’ve all seen some old Western movie featuring a train robbery. However, today in 1963 was ‘The Great Train Robbery’ at Bridego Railway Bridge in Buckinghamshire, England. It’s the name given to a £2.6 million mail train robbery (the equivalent of £41 million today). Some of the gang escaped, some were tried, two then escaped. But, what I thing is best of all is that one of the jurors during the robber’s trial was called Mr. Greedy.

In Illinois a school system does not want its students to copy the habits of their ‘work from home’ parents. They want students to take remote learning seriously and have implemented a dress code for those sitting at home in front of their computers – no PJs

Starting Tuesday August 11 remember, it’s probably not a Jehovah’s Witness at the door, but just your friendly Census taker.

And last, this week a reporter asked President Trump why his guests weren’t social distancing or wearing masks. His immediate retort: “It’s a peaceful protest.” It made my day.

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

Back the Blue

Back the Blue

Dirk


Light Hearted (mostly)
08 1st, 2020

A good Saturday morning all. A week of new coffee filters, switched from brown to white. For you who have always wondered, no taste difference. It’s still great.

Coronadoom – is with us and won’t go away. Some crazy color scheme has kept Ohio guessing – I believe our county is now ‘Covid Hot Pink’ – but ask what that means and you get a blank stare. I think that what creates the anger and the mental health issues is in part due to the arbitrary, capricious, subjective, and illogical edicts made by unelected bureaucrats and imperial politicians (this week our State generated complete ban on pharmacies to fill prescriptions for HCQ, this was reversed by our courts within a day – whoopsy-daisy).

At the same time options differing from the ‘proscribed’ are flat-out banned even though front line fully certified Doctors from across the country offer alternatives and hope. >>>Click underlined Below<<<

Press Conference of America’s Frontline Doctors

Funerals are tightly controlled, yet we see a dignitary’s massive event with a completely packed sanctuary. As of last evening, no drinks to be served after 10, and doors closed by 11; huh? And so it goes; this while the death count is quite similar to the annual flu. It’s a bad joke except for the power grab which will quickly become a new norm. The latter is no joke.

Music – Last Saturday I ‘repackaged’ myself with a bit of immersion. It was a couple of hours with Randy Bachman’s ‘Vinyl Tap’ show on Canada’s CBC-1. Randy was a founding member of the classic rock band The Guess Who and hard rock band Bachman–Turner Overdrive. Last Saturday, his Vinyl Tap’s subject was “He – She music”; a piece introduced and then re-popularized by someone from the other gender.

So, here are a couple of ‘bits’ to clear your head. What would a Boy-Band from the 1870s look like? The heartthrobs of yesteryear.

We all know the amazing career that the Bee Gees had. Their impact on popular music would have been clipped dramatically had the early lyrics to one of their most popular pieces been recorded. But they were! And, had this version not ended up as a pile of tape on the studio floor, their career would have ended tragically:

Landscaping — We live less than three miles from our city center, and the ‘Nati does fall around the top 30 largest places in the nation. Therefore, I was a wee bit more surprised to discover that ten or so houses from our corner of Chaos and Mayhem five Goats were busily cleaning up a yard. Yup GOATS! Their back yard goes up a steep hill for about 80 feet and was overgrown. Five hungry Goats complete with their multiple stomachs were brought in to tackle the job. 

   

I told you these Ramblings would be light-hearted.

“I was surprised….sometimes you find something that you didn’t expect.” ~ Danish cheese and microflora study co-author Morten Rahr Clausen, a postdoc in the department of food science at Aarhus University in Denmark.

The Cheese – I love cheese. I love really good cheese. ‘Good’ meaning cheese filled with a load of bacteria; aged cheese meets that criteria. This brings me to Jungle Jim’s, our World Market for ‘Foodies’. Their cheese section spans a complete aisle in an average grocery store. And here is where I win taking advantage of our FDA rules.

By edict, food has to have an expiration date – however many cheeses improve with age; something to which the FDA pays no mind. So, I scour the section at Jungle Jim’s which offers products approaching their expiration date and offered at a discount. Yup, I’m not proud; I look for some cheese ‘bonanzas’. Often I am in luck.

Here is a sample ‘find’: A .26 lb wedge of Gourmino Ur Eiche cheese (a raw, cow’s milk cheese made by a mostly female team in the Girenbad creamery in Switzerland) normally at $24.99 per pound I got it for $1.04. I think a Jungle Jim’s staffer asked me why I was doing a jig in the aisle.

Fini – Next week marks the 56th year of the passing of my father. I am already well beyond both in his age at death and years since his passing. It’s all just flown by – life is like that isn’t it? Still miss you dad!

Our ‘Duck’ — this past week marked the 30th year since the Citroën 2CV (French: “Deux Chevaux” i.e. “deux-chevaux-vapeur”, literally, “two steam horses” or two tax horses) stopped with production. Our ‘Duck’ is an air-cooled front engine, front-wheel-drive car. It was introduced at the 1948 Paris Mondial de l’Automobile. Ours was built in 1989 — during the last month of production at their plant in Portugal.

Today, the first of August in 1944 marks the day that Anne Frank made her final entry in her diary. She was arrested three days later.

Today in 1957 the US and Canada created the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). This finally allowed us to track Santa Claus on his travels from the North Pole for his annual ‘visit the kiddies’ trek.

Then, this day in 1958 the US Post Office upped First Class postage from 3 cents to 4 cents. Had they ‘bit the bullet’ and moved it directly to today’s 55 cents they might not be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy here in 2020.

A couple of days ago another American hero passed, Herman Cain. With the horror show of political sputtering taking place this election year we should celebrate his life. Here was a man able to establish and live the American dream without tons of ‘let us do it for you’ legislation. He was Black and grew up ‘threadbare’ in Memphis during the Jim Crow period. He became a Navy mathematician later chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Climbed the corporate ladder at Pillsbury, Burger King, then the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, and eventually ran as a candidate for the Presidency.

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

Dirk


Contrarian
07 25th, 2020


A good Saturday morning all. Now that my coffee has been poured I want to mention that my morning coffee isn’t just a consumable, it’s my morning sanctuary.

With the continuing ‘lockdown’ it’s come to a point where, when getting up, I slap myself – it’s a new ritual to alert me as to whether or not it’s a new day, or if I’m just waking up from a nap. This lockdown business is keeping me tired to the point of wishing it was garbage day; those trucks are amazing and watching them perform their ‘magic’ is absolutely captivating. Is it wrong to sit by the window and wave at the garbage workers?

It reached a point where I felt a quick call to ol’ buddy Earl might be what was needed. That’s Earl Pitts, “Uhmerikun” for you who weren’t sure. From what he tells, he has a grip on the situation. Some folk are just smarter than the average bear, here’s Earl:

Coronadoom – This whole Coronadoom period I’ve continued to maintain my daily walk regimen; in part to keep my sanity. Realize that our neighborhood (including the corner of Chaos & Mayhem) is literally amazing and this makes the going about doable and even fun.

Last Thursday evening at dusk we had quite a downpour. I was looking outside at the pounding sheets of rain just as a convertible drove by – top down. I was caught gawking. The driver of the top-down convertible did have an umbrella opened up, leading edge tucked by the sun visor and the rear jammed between the back of his head and the head rest. It all seemed just a bit too normal Reminded me of Dire Straits singing in their song Money for Nothing; “that’s the way you do it.

Earlier in the week we had a bit of a rain and wind storm. Our neighborhood has no nearby trailer parks. I suspect that the wind therefore took aim at any available chimney. This was what I spotted at a house around the corner; house – 0, wind – 1.

Five houses down the street I spotted a Salvador Dali-esque apparition parked curb-side. That really does look like it belongs.

Walking, I am now also keeping track of passing cars with just a driver inside who’s dutifully (OCDC?) wearing a face mask. I plan to avoid these characters when I happen to be driving somewhere, just in case they collapse from Hypoxemia.

I have caught myself openly singing while walking. I think it’s me fighting for my brothers in California whose idiot governor has outlawed singing in church. On the other hand, I have noticed that when passing someone who asks me; “how is it?” my answer of, “fine” sounds more like an ugly snarl. Yup, in general, my walks are therapeutic, and as I said, “even fun”.

Election Special – First of what could be a new series: As we’re in the beginning throes of another Election Season all sorts of wild idiocy is being hurled at us. This rational information came to mind.

“The reason slavery ended in 1865 and not in say 1900 or 1950 was because the Electoral College allowed a guy who won 37.5% of the popular vote to become President” ~ Miles Smith IV

Contrarian Views – The sad thing with this whole Coronavirus thing is that all the trust for guiding is being channeled through just a very few like minded folk. Dr Fauci is in the lead of that pack and he does not have a perfect record of trust – a quick on-line search will readily track his 40+ year fairly spotty track record.

There are many MDs, Medical Statisticians, and research scientists who hold contrarian views regarding the Corona virus, the forms of treatment, and the management of the virus. Shouldn’t input also have added to a solution?

This single viewpoint has resulted in what I only see as a power grab by many elected officials and bureaucrats. They’ve subjected us to massive levels of onerous regulations and restrictions; bypassing the fact that we in our nation do have due process protections. That these restrictions must be put in place by the least restrictive and most narrowly tailored means. I’ve now been watching as the courts are beginning to react to lawsuits dealing with this. However, so much damage has been done – and much of the damage was not for the betterment of the population at large. Are you listening Governor DeWine?

Fini – Last evening the 2020 Baseball season started here in the ‘Nati, sans much of anything other than kneeling players. Without digging into the weeds, I’m just mentioning that I’ve decided to skip involvement with Major League sports. Marcia claims that for me that’s like giving up chocolate covered grasshoppers for Lent.

Yesterday 109 years ago (in 1911), the American historian Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu in Peru. Originally believed to be a ‘lost’ Incan city, the prevailing opinion has changed, today it’s that Machu Picchu was not a city in the classical sense of the word but served as an imperial estate, a religious refuge, or a secret ceremonial city. Eighteen years ago it was one of my life’s highlights when I visited the site — SPECTACULAR!

This week the lawsuit filed by the Covington Catholic School student Nick Sandmann against the Washington Post was settled. Sandmann was attending a March for Life march in Washington DC. (2019). The suit was as a result of defamation, in articles printed by the WP. This was the second settlement (CNN was the first) out of 8 such lawsuits filed – NBC, ABC News, CBS News, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Gannett are still being argued. It’s amazing that all these media entities not only saw fit to hastily print misinformation but then continued to repeat and repeat – as the NYT front page reads; “All the News Fit to Print”. Yah, right!

And for everyone complaining when meal service is canceled on a flight. Remember that today in 1909 French aviator Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly across the English Channel in an airplane – around 22-miles.

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

Dirk


30 Years Ago
07 18th, 2020


A good Saturday morning all.

Here we are again. What a perfect time to properly set your watch or clock. Click on the audio link and be poised to set time perfectly and sip some coffee while listening.

Soon it will be 30 years ago since the Berlin Wall came down. I remember it vividly. Suddenly I found myself listening to Klaus Meine sing with the German band Scorpions to what had quickly become the, de facto, anthem of the time; Wind of Change. Why bring it up? I had hoped to be in Canada where I could crank the sounds up while organizing Northern Comfort after its extra-long ‘winter’ hiatus. Now we’ve just been informed that the border will stay closed through August (maybe even longer). See the border theme? I guess more news to follow – in the meantime I’ll be here in the ‘Nati!

But there is more to my reflections on the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was emblematic of how the German nation was torn in half immediately after WWII. West Germany buried its past, embraced democracy and Capitalism and thrived, rapidly gaining its power-house nation status in Europe. Alongside that nation’s growth its citizenry thrived. At the same time the new East Germany buried itself under the burden of Marxism; saddled with the dictatorial edicts of Communism.

When the wall was torn down I remember watching TV as thousands upon thousands of people streamed through to the West; for the first time setting foot into personal peace and freedom. Now, thirty years later the former East is, in many ways, is still trying to catch up with its Western brothers and sisters. Escape wasn’t easy, even after gaining the freedom to do so.

Why do I even bother digging into this? The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in. Many died trying to escape and those who made were warmly embraced by the West, each success making headlines across the world.

But my real reason is to bring to light a bit of what we as a nation are facing these days. Sure, the language has softened, and been ‘sugar’ coated, but Marxism is beating at our own ‘gates. Two of the founders of Black Lives Matter (BLM), Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors during an interview had Cullers exclaim; “Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.”

Extreme ‘progressive’ Governors and Mayors in many of our major cities are allowing BLM and Antifa anarchists with their Communist underpinnings free reign and they are busily destroying cities into their world vision. The ‘Cancel Culture’ has gained speed and is now freely being allowed to erase our nation’s history –making it impossible to better ourselves by learning from history as names of founders, statues, and ideas are quickly being erased — and we’ve derided the Taliban for doing just this?  Bernie Sanders, looking a bit like a crazy professor to many, has managed to push one of our major Political Parties into left wing positions deemed impossible even at the time Obama was elected.

Almost 250 years since our nation embarked on our ‘Grand Experiment’ to become the de facto world leader, we are now close suddenly being pushed into an abyss alongside nations such as Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. How did this happen? We only need to go back in time, the time of Greek mythology when ‘sweet songs’ were being touted. In Greek mythology, sirens (creatures half bird and half woman) were known for seducing sailors with their sweet voices, and, by doing so, lure them to their deaths. In mythology it was a simpler time and sailors only needed to place wax in their ears to stay their course. We require much more, 250 years of effort and hard work building our nation lost in a blink — or in an election!

Currently we’re facing an onslaught, a barrage, a tsunami all pushing us into the direction from which East Germany finally escaped! Stay true to our ideals and plow through beyond this ‘surf’ to enjoy what we had and what we still want to attain; Wind of Change;

The wind of change
Blows straight into the face of time
Like a stormwind that will ring the freedom bell
For peace of mind…..

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change…

Coronadoom – Over the past weeks I’ve blathered enough on the Corona virus. So, this week a few voices, each more eloquent than mine;

“If you don’t think the Controlavirus is going to disappear like magic after the November election – pull my finger” ~ Catturd™

There is a great lesson to be learned from my experience handling COVID.. trust your people. Don’t lay down mandates that are going to hinder the flexibility that they need to really get through this difficult time” ~ Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota

”Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” ~ George Carlin

Foods – are what we’re using, in part to get through all of this. Last weekend it was dinner at our favorite pub, Gordo’s. Marcia drools for days just thinking about their Pear & Blue Cheese Salad. Me, it’s a pint of ice cold draft Lager.

Last evening our neighborhood again organized to get one of the area’s great variety of food specialty trucks to make a stop. Placed the order on-line on Thursday, and was given a pick-up time of 6:06 on Friday. So, last evening we totally enjoyed our Korean Rice Pot dinner from Red Sesame Korean BBQ. Worthy of FIVE Stars.

Fini – Next Friday Baseball season starts – months late and without fans it really is a bit of a joke. Just imagine the roar of the crowd when on this very day in 1927 Ty Cobb hit his 4,000th run. Nevertheless, Go Reds!

This day, but back in 1969, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick island……the rest of that story lives on and on in infamy.

RIP Congressman John Lewis, he was one of the few remaining icons of the Civil Rights movement, he passed yesterday. But, also today we can celebrate the life of the first black American to receive the Medal of Honor. On this day in 1863 during the assault on Fort Wagner, SC, Union Sgt. William Harvey Carney, a former slave, despite serious wounds struggled across the battlefield carrying the Union flag which earned him that honor. The award was given to him in 1900.

It’s a new day (future trend?) in the emerging world of ‘Corona-Weddings’. Paul and Dia, in Michigan, watched via Facetime as granddaughter Sierra got married in California. Their toast on their porch never tasted as good. Much happiness Sierra.

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

Dirk