Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

Exercising and finds
01 16th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirk


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

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

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

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

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

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

   

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

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

at Chùa Linh-So’n Temple

   

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

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

   

Which card would you appreciate most?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirk


It’s Boxing Day
12 26th, 2020

Happy Saturday morning as the Brits and Canadians flock to the stores on Boxing Day; I’m just here enjoying my coffee. Yesterday morning our ‘Real-Feel’ temperature was 3-degrees; and that shut me down for the day.

That “shut-down” on Christmas was actually a good thing. We’d had our family gathering and now it was a period of proper music, some choirs on the ‘Telly’ (staying with the British theme); and seeing Marcia bustle nearby wondering about dinner after she realized that the ‘protein’ centerpiece was absent. The resultant dinner was great anyway.

Mid-week we’d gathered as family as we’d always done and it was wonderful. My personal edict that I’d rather live life instead of cowering to live for life, stayed true. Just so you know; we all had a brilliant (another Brit expression) time. I believe that the tin-horn potentates we call Governors are in the game to affect obedience. As the late astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, once said; “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

Christmas – the season didn’t just rush in this time, it didn’t just blow in and then was gone. It was well paced and that whole time the weather helped and made it seem like late autumn. This year I was able to enjoy it to the utmost.

Last weekend I walked by a small garden plot and took this photo of some gorgeous ornamental cabbages in glorious color.

The next day I cut through the adjacent small community of St. Bernard where folk were busily preparing for an evening of ‘neighborhood’ and ‘community’ including the magic of Santa, luminary; as well as flags, a manger scene, and much hot chocolate. There is so much to say about small town America.

     

Marcia and I didn’t miss out either as we went on our evening neighborhood walking tour. We’d already eaten so skipped the food-trucks. But, we saw plenty of decorations. Marcia, after a hot-toddy brimming with Woodford Bourbon, even got to sit on a naughty Santa’s knee.

”Life and consciousness are the two great mysteries. Actually, their substrates are the inanimate. And how do you get from neurons shooting around in the brain to the thought that pops up in your head and mine? There’s something deeply mysterious about that. And if you’re not struck by the mystery, I think you haven’t thought about it.” — Charles Krauthammer

Last Evening — Last evening was as perfect a way to close out Christmas Day. Marcia had gone off to bed. Somehow I tuned in on a one-hour long radio interview with a Daniel Krauthammer son of the brilliant thinker and columnist, the late Dr. Charles Krauthammer.

The discussion centered on a memoir Daniel’s dad had been working on and which during his last weeks asked his son to finish and publish. He was specific on his desires and his son struggled to be true to his dad and still bring out points he felt important and pertinent. This was especially so when it came to religion. And so I sat mesmerized and my Sudoku game sat idle.

Charles Krauthammer was an observant orthodox (including strict observance of Shabbat) Jew. Yet, he celebrated much of Christmas, both the secular and the religious. And here, on Christmas night I heard discuss the age old struggle many of us find ourselves facing time and again; the story in its simplicity surviving in a world which continues to shove it deeper and deeper into a corner.

Nearing death, Charles Krauthammer the orthodox Jew told his son that he did not have an answer as to what was next. What he did know is that us, living on a rock floating somewhere in infinity somehow brimming with not just life, but life cognizant of that knowledge is not just happenstance. Krauthammer seemed ready for the next step.

To me the celebration of Christmas, sitting by myself in my dimly lit living room, at that moment became surrounded by a warm glow. Yes, I had a great Christmas.

A Great Christmas Gift – from brother Arty to his brothers. He sent all of us 10# gym weights. The plan being that we all Zoom twice a week for a (30) minutes workout session.

His daughter, my niece Taryn, is Director for a company which staffs corporate wellness centers nationwide. So, at least this is the plan, she’ll be asked to generate a ‘geriatric’ strength program for the four of us.

Actually, I am ‘pumped’!

Fini – recently noted; ‘Dammit I’m mad’ spelled backwards is still ‘Dammit I’m mad’.

A crazy week of sports in the ‘Nati. This from our favorite local pundit, Willie Cunningham: “I must be living in a Star Trek time warp. Buffalo Bills win the AFC East. Cleveland Browns are 10 and 4 heading into the playoffs. Xavier hits a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win as the UC Bearcats whip Tulsa. Now.. Bengals are beating up the Steelers on MNF.. Am I dreaming???”

This week in 1808 Ludwig von Beethoven conducted and performed in concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, with a premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven himself playing the piano). This must have been as much of an event as watching the Beetles during the ‘60s or the Rolling Stones for the past century.

I am still watching the Vendee Globe sailing race, now about halfway through the 24,000-nm event. I believe their motto is; “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails”. That statement can apply to all sorts of scenarios,

A wit who put out a meme regarding the proposed fiscal bill; “Instead of sending Pakistan $10-million for Gender Programs…why not send them a million liberals with Gender Studies degrees?”

More wit; “this is that magical time of year when Walmart opens up their 3rd checkout lane of the 87 they never use.”

Yesterday on this day in 1977 Charlie Chaplin died. He’s quoted saying; “I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.”

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

NEXT WEEK – POSSIBLY A POST LATE SUNDAY. In TX on Saturday and traveling Sunday morning

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dirk


MERRY CHRISTMAS
12 19th, 2020

Happy Saturday morning. Just climbed into my chair and sipped my first coffee – waiting for my mind to snap into gear. While that is happening, with our curfew still in place, I’m noting that it’s deadly quiet outside, no traffic at all. I wonder how many cars are now sitting in their driveway idling, waiting patiently for the 5:00AM end of curfew to then race out. Something like that must be happening.

Ponder this; often the way we see things in the here and now turn radically different down the road. Example; years ago a Dr. Felix Rey was the Doctor who treated Vincent Van Gogh’s ear. In 1889 Van Gogh painted Rey’s portrait. Rey thoroughly disliked the final product. As a result the dear Doctor’s mother then ended up using that painting to patch a hole in their chicken coop (early example of recycling).

Salvaged and now at the Pushkin Museum its value has been placed to be in excess of $50 million. Can you think of any current example which might, down history’s road, be similarly viewed?

Possibly, the reverse of the above can also be true. Here is an early photo of my dad and his brother ‘stepping’ out around 1936. Next to it I placed one of a male model proudly wearing the best of today’s fashion offering. Take your pick.

     

Covid-19 —

My daughter just told me she licks her friends at nursery. Exactly what you want to hear during a global pandemic” — Helen Carr (the kid’s mom)

Our friends Barb and Bulent in Canada, they too are at wits end with the whole Covid lockdown bit. Barb, I think in desperation, is now reading a 10 billion-page book on the history of Europe; lots of minutiae. This caused a mail asking me if I knew who the first Count of Holland was without diving into Google. I had no idea. The next day she sent me a picture of Count Dirk I. I pasted a recent photo of moi next to the one she sent thinking there was some resemblance. Agree? Note the Caspian style hat that I’m wearing, thinking that Count Dirk the First might have come from a place such as modern day Kazahkstan. Who knows?

   

Operation Warp Speed was ridiculed early on when first President Trump introduced it as being just a pipe dream. Starting earlier this week the first vaccinations were being poked into people. Truly AMAZING.

I found a calculator (in the LA Times) where you could click on State and County, click on age, any conditions, and up pops exactly where you are in the long line of people waiting for the vaccine; I did that. So here is the result; In our county, I am in group B1 and have 76,474 people in front of me – spacing 6’ apart that’s quite the line.

This is especially for those of you living in extremely restricted States; those with over-the-top lockdowns, ill-conceived closures, etc. Remember that if you allow the government to break the law or just create an edict and pretend it’s a law, during an emergency, it will create emergencies to further break the law.

Americans have always been a totally courageous people. Yet today there seems to be a prevailing attitude. Our society today seems to be filled with fear, fear of illness, fear of our ever changing climate changing, fear of the people around us, fear of variety in thought and speech, and we can’t forget the fear of dying from the R’ona

What’s happened in the last half century? When did we ever climb into little cocoons to isolate ourselves, to isolate our towns? When last did we kill our commerce, kill our businesses, and kill the education of our kids?

Sailing sailing, over the bounding main – I might as well admit it, Marcia thinks that my following (obsession for?) this year’s Vendée Globe race is idiotic. The Vendée Globe race is held every four years. Little known in the USA it begins in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. Thirty three Imoca Class boats (60’ open cockpit virtually unsinkable monohull yachts) set sail to eventually return to Les Sables-d’Olonne after two and a half months and circumnavigation the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).

This year it’s 27 men and six women skippers who will cover the 24,000 Nautical Miles. Sailed single handed, nonstop, it’s really several races in one considering that older Imoca boats sail alongside the latest generation of carbon fiber foiler equipped entries.

Now, about 15,000 miles into it, six boats have abandoned the race (one broke in half and the skipper floated in a life raft for 11-hours before being rescued) and are spread out over about 4,000 miles.

Skippers will send in short videos and the race committee itself airs two updates each day. These updates try to convey weather issues, how individuals deal with the loneliness, sleep deprivation, breakdowns and needed repairs, sights (mostly sunrises/sunsets, Dolphins and Albatrosses), food and food preparations, and so forth.

The short video below is of Sam Davis and her boat; Initiatives-Cœur – a charity operation providing heart surgery for kids in the developing world. Sam had to abandon the race when her boat’s keel got damaged after hitting something at dinnertime (she broke a couple of ribs when the impact tossed her about). Sailing on, Initiatives-Cœur was repaired in Cape Town South Africa and, although no longer in the race, she is continuing, all in an effort to keep promoting the charity.

Anytime I do try to tell Marcia about some Vendée bit she starts up with a; “la la la la la, can’t hear you, la la la la la” sing song. It’s not her thing. However I am totally hooked.

Fini – Last week I mentioned the Abraham Accords; the normalization between Bahrain, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Israeli. I mentioned that these Accords were truly a historic diplomatic breakthrough. Well, I forgot to mention that The Sudan was also part of these Accords and feel I need to correct that bit.

Since soon a lot of information the media casually forgot to mention, which will soon be buried even deeper, causes me to remind you that President Trump, some months ago, granted a full pardon to Susan B. Anthony, who was convicted of illegally voting in 1872. I know the coverage of this event was missed due to the fact that the media was busily describing Trump’s hatred for women and other matters.

Thought you’d want to see the list of SHAME – Those countries in the U.N. General Assembly which voted NO regarding the Human Rights abuses by Iran. Here’s the list:

A little piece of detail from The Beatles. Paul McCartney recently mentioned that; “we were writing songs that were memorable. We weren’t writing them to BE memorable, but so that we could remember them!” As James Woods once said; “amazing how self-effacing the Beatles were”.

Keep your eyes and ears open on further news on more brilliant business strategies staged by one Hunter Biden. Could be fascinating!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone. It’ll be a little different this year as far as the celebrations go, but the spirit and the meaning will be the same and especially now, be more important than ever. Again, a MERRY CHRISTMAS to each and everyone of you.

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

Dirk


No More ‘P’
12 12th, 2020

Happy Saturday morning, only two days before Green Monday. With that in mind, no green coffee – green tea is about as close to that color in something I’m supposed to swallow as I get.

“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.” —Victor Borge; “Stop by their house, eat some cookies and milk, give out presents, and leave on a magical sleigh. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

And on this, the year of the ‘Rona’ mess and all the accompanying nonsensical edicts, even these once a year trips are cancelled.

I say “nonsensical” because it is. We are under a 10:00PM – 5:00AM curfew; “except for those leaving a sporting event” is the latest proclamation. Huh?

It proves just how supple “The Science” is.

2020 The Year – Friends Ron and Barb started their annual epistle this way: “Be careful what you wish for, especially at Christmastime. Last year we were craving a slower, more slothful season and next thing we know, we’re spending 295 consecutive days at home. It’s like George Bailey [of the Movie; It’s a Wonderful Life] wishing he’d never been born and then Bam! Pottersville.”
(Hey Ron and Barb, run out of colored ink? I took note that this year your letter is printed on simple Office Depot stock embellished with a tiny little sticker. You’re right; it proves that it’s been a tough year; I say with a smile)

The other oddity is not year specific. It references those items that only emerge this time of the year. Our local sage, Earl Pitts ‘Uhmerican’, describes it most succinctly:

Driving home from WVa last weekend – Passing through Adams County on our approach to Cincinnati, we passed the shuttered Killen Generating Station. The smoke stack had been visible for a while. Rolling past the complex I noted that the front façade of the 14-story main building was already gone.

I mentioned to Marcia that maybe I should turn around and take a photo. We agreed that it’d be best to just continue on home.

Wednesday news broke that that same massive structure at Killen had collapsed. A company was on site placing dynamite for the implosion when it collapsed. Five workers got caught. Three ended up in nearby hospitals and the search for the two remaining guys is still ongoing. Keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Walking – I am back in my groove. After missing for most of the previous week (weather and small one-lane roads carrying two-way traffic) it’s back to normal. And it also meant that I took a fresh look at things. For example, our town sits on a bend in the Ohio River. This means that the city streets don’t form a grid, but often are laid out like spokes on a wheel. This makes for some wonderful architecture.

At one point, looking up I spotted this street named as an honorific to Bootsy Collins, probably Funk music’s most notable Bassist and a local icon. It reminded me he was scheduled to do a live-stream event yesterday. This morning I remembered that I forgot all about it. My bad, as another generation would say.

   

Without realizing it, I plowed on by this place. As I looked through the fence I thought of the Jim Croce song; “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and the lines:
“And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog”
As luck would have it these two ‘beasts’ were about a calm as could be.

Politics – The election is finally behind us. I’ve told Marcia and other family members that I am through jabbering about politics. Whatever comes will come. However, as I exit that path, I cannot help but comment on the over-the-top Time magazine Person of the Year issue; it’s completely disgusting.

Suggestions:
A) How about showing the Abraham Accords? The normalization between Bahrain, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Israeli. These Accords were truly a “historic diplomatic breakthrough.” Isn’t it stunning that finally and without battlefronts we are seeing in the Middle East an exchange of embassies and ambassadors, and a plan to “sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment…and other areas of mutual benefit.”
B) How about showing Dr. Li Wenliang (1986 – 2020) who sounded the Covid-19 alarm in Wuhan China. He was routed from his home for middle-of-the-night interrogations by the Chinese Communist Party. He died last February 7.


C) If not Dr. Wenliang, how about a cover showing the thousands of Front Line workers, the Nurses, Doctors, Nursing Home Workers, Cashiers, Ambulance Drivers, Truck Drivers, Food Plant workers.

Time Magazine, you folks are a joke!

Fini – This week it’s a very Happy, Happy Birthday to sis-in-law Jeanne Z.

This past week (Monday December 7) we lost “America’s greatest aviator’, Chuck Yeager at age 97. He was the first pilot to break the sound barrier. It also shows just how quickly life is changing. Here within a single lifespan we’ve seen Yeager’s feat, man landing on the moon, and now rocketry which lands itself on a ship upon return to earth.

Wondering what’s going on at the ‘Corner of Chaos & Mayhem’? Returning from West Virginia this greeted us. It seems that a driver careened through our drive, through the neighbor’s fence, across the side street, and through another fence. We missed it all.

Today, in the year 2000, the US Supreme Court announces its decision in Bush v. Gore, effectively ending legal changes to the results of that year’s Presidential election.

Finally, Marcia got censored for her response to a messenger item by her one-word response,  the word; “Wow”. She was not happy to say the least. What are we about these days?

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

Dirk


After a fine night in my own bed I wish everyone a good Sunday morning. We left our B&B yesterday morning and decided to take a more scenic way home. It was the expressway to Huntington, WV; then crossing over near Ironton, OH and followed Route 52 to town.

Now, Marcia is still sleeping and I am sitting here with a hot coffee in front of me.

As an added bonus, I have no idea what to write about!

The week was filled with a flurry of images, days of rain beginning with a day of snow (eventually 5” to 7” of the stuff). Decent enough temperatures and evenings filled with a nightly movie (we brought a stack of them). The movie fare was made more interesting due to the nightly shot of 100-proof we’d pour (locally made stuff which triggered a fit of coughing on my first sip).

     

We had no WiFi and to connect for texting meant that I had to sit on the right side of the couch, hold the phone up high and in front of the window blinds; then, which on attempt two or three it would be successful.

I did bring our little XM Radio and after a bit of ‘jiggling’ and ‘rigging’ it performed flawlessly. We had a window into the world!

 

Half off our week of adventure was trying to find places:

me; “which way to Harmony (name of town)”. Local; “Y’all jist head yonder and you’ll be there direckly”. This left Marcia and me ‘apondering’ since it would probably mean another hours’ worth of driving through one ‘holler’ after another.

We loved it!

Except for that one time when we were given directions and our road (actually a narrow single lane with a proper county marker) switch backed down one steep mile long hill after another. In near tears she ‘ordered’ me to turn around and head back to civilization. OK, no problem, other than the fact that there was no place to turn around.

 

At the end of the road we were on was a ‘highway’, turn left and a quarter mile turn left into Sissonville – seems like about twenty houses and a barbeque joint. We drove this road except we got caught up by a road crew removing trees fallen by a land slide (they seemed to do a lot of that in West Virginia). Once through (after a mile or so) we had to turn around feeling like idiots since we had to wait and pass the same crew.

If you like West Virginia trucking in a Semi this guy is your guide; some mouthpiece:

Where we stayed – was as close as we could get to a season at our Northern Comfort. Yup, we got our knotty-pine fix,

 

Lunch in New Richmond, OH – almost home

 

President U. S. Grant – Point Pleasant, OH – Immediately adjacent to the highway is the birth-home of our former President. I’ve read his memoirs and taken a class on his background. What I didn’t realize is that one of his ancestors, Jean De Lannoy (1570-1604) was a Huguenot.

The plaque referencing this at Grant’s home sort of jumped out at me since it was my father who, as a High school graduation gift gave me a small, golden, Huguenot Cross (Huguenots chose the Maltese Cross to represent them rather than the more common Roman Cross)

Fini – Today, in 1865 the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery.

Then, in 1922, Benito Mussolini threatens Italian newspapers with censorship if they keep reporting “false” information. Anything familiar, or is the reverse true today?

Then, it’s amazing how history is often seen through ‘rose colored’ glasses. 1969 was considered to be part of the ‘Summer of Love’; yet on this day some Hells Angels, hired to provide security at a Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in California, beat to death concert-goer Meredith Hunter.

Then, this coming week it’s Happy Birthday to Donn

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

Dirk


It’s Magical
11 28th, 2020

Turkeyed out yet on this Saturday morning? All of our Cincinnati gang managed to get together – LIVE and IN PERSON no less; pretty wonderful. Plus we Zoomed with Kirstin. Wednesday was an all-day heavy rain-slosh. So, merely some ‘evil’ boding cloud cover was welcome on Thanksgiving Day; we even enjoyed desert outdoors on the deck (was too late in the eve for coffee).

“I want so little: another leather bound
Book, a gimlet with a lavender gin, bread
So good when I taste it I can tell you
How it’s made. I’d like us to rethink
What it is to be a nation. I’m in a mood about America
Today.”
~ Jericho Brown, The Tradition

Illusions – We’ve all seen them. Secretly we’ve probably had a sliver of that feeling of discovery when found. I remember the first time that I ‘saw’ the Arrow embedded in the FedEx logo on one of their trucks. Now it’s almost the first thing I see whenever I spot the FedEx name.

Our new walking trail has a 300’ long mural painted on a Duke Energy building. Since its completion late summer I must have walked by it at least twenty times. This week I did a double take. I spotted the embedded image; the illusion became plain to see.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – virtually – was one I attended live streaming last Sunday. Louis Langrée was the conductor and the CSO presented Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony – mesmerizing.

Love percussion? Listen to Julia Perry’s Homunculus C.F. (Perry b-1924 in Kentucky and lived mostly in Ohio) and you won’t be disappointed.

Soloist Anthony McGill introduced his You Have the Right to Remain Silent. Then with the opening notes of America the Beautiful, playing on the Contrabass Saxophone alongside the electronic cadence of a Kurtzweil, the music gave his insights into the happenings of this past summer – stunningly done. Music is Magic!

The YouTube viewing of the concert is on-line till December 12. Assuming a cold rainy afternoon, it’s worthwhile to ease back and  listen to Langrée’s  introduction and the concert.

Virtual (non) learning – While watching one of our local children choirs on TV, Marcia and I were talking about these tyrannical, obscene, and nonsensical lockdowns and what these have wrought; the damage this has done to your children and our grandchildren. Our kids have totally lost a year’s worth of learning; and almost impossible to recover. The Science says that they should be in school. The Science says they should be socializing. The Science says that their lost year will find recovery near impossible. The Science says that an array of mental issues will follow.

In 1773 the Sons of Liberty revolted in Boston with what’s now known as The Boston Tea Party (Revolt). Enough is enough was their mantra. What’s ours as our petty little dictator bureaucrats, potentates, and Governors keep heaping on with edict after edict. When are we going to stiffen our spines and revolt? Listen to this YouTube from less than two years ago and ask why in the H*ll this level of pride, spirit, excitement, exuberance and happiness shouldn’t part of our kid’s lives today. Deep down you know it should be; and remember that the ‘Rona’ has nothing to do with it.

Are we living merely for Life
Or is our life for making the most of our Living

Truly Magical – Truly a Master Magician – I fess up, doing a compilation it was The Federalist where I picked these ‘bits’. Want detail normally found in footnotes? Click here on The Federalist for the whole piece and all their well-researched entities.
In a nutshell, these are some amazing numbers:
Of the 19 Counties which have predicted the president perfectly over the past 40 years, Trump won 18 of them by an average of 16 points. Biden won one by 3 points.
Of the top 58 bellweathers since 2000, Trump won 51 by an average of 15 points, Biden won 7 by an average of 4 points.

Seeing what’s been presented as the final outcome for the election I can only say; the man is truly ‘magical’.

Fini – Monday morning Marcia and I will be heading for somewhere nowhere, deep in a ‘hollow’ in West Virginia (no Rocky-Top for us). It’s being touted to me as an opportunity to; “get outa Dodge”. As an assist, George & Sandy sent us this single use, self-contained, charcoal grill. Marcia is packing a pair of steaks. Thanks guys.

On the positive side, Deaths per Day for 2020 is backing lower to where it’s now almost the same as the average for 2014 – 2019. On the other side, Deaths due to Alzheimer’s Dementia related causes in America are 20,000 more than past averages. Wonder why?

On a walk, I spotted this a town over. To pour 4 new steps leading to a porch, bring in a truck almost larger than the house itself. Nice going guys.

Thanksgiving morning on our nearby walkway I happened on these lovely people sharing the spirit of Thanksgiving. Thanks ladies.

Otto von Bismarck can be quoted with this gem; “what we learn from History is that no one learns from History.” I’m thinking of his wisdom as it looks like Kerry will be resurrected in a new administration. Don’t remember him? Kerry was a principal character in the Iran nuclear deal that was signed in 2013 when they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash; “Iran’s hostilities substantially increased” after this foolishness. Aside from a legacy of lies he’s also a clown.

Stay sane! We will, especially with a week of no internet. A post next Saturday is a bit ‘iffy’.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy! And pay no attention to the picture above — that’s important.

Dirk


Celebrate! Thanksgiving
11 21st, 2020

It’s Saturday morning, warmish & rainy in these parts. Yesterday I stood in line at Costco for a Black Friday buy. While there I tanked up at $1.569 per gallon. Drop it any further and they’ll pay in free fuel for me to shop there. Possibly I might prefer a payout in free coffee.

“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter” ~ George Washington, 1783

“The First Amendment doesn’t exist to protect comfortable speech. It exists to protect uncomfortable speech.” ~ Matt Gaetz, lawyer & U.S. representative

Then, remember that the First Amendment isn’t only just a protection of personal and political freedoms, but it also protects Capitalism; the freedom to discover, build, manufacture, and market. Maybe the Congressional young’uns in ‘The Squad’ should learn that.

This week I was in a two-hour class (more on that in a bit), but was kept so busy with note-taking that I emptied my legal pad. With a 2CV it’s a never mind, “I’m covered.”

But first, here is your morning time-check. Of special interest to those who are familiar with the nearby town of Batavia. More frighteningly is the mention of Charleston, West Virginia; Marcia and my destination area in a little over a week. For now, just set your clock:

Trash Twitter, Fire Facebook, Gone Google! – was the title of my EmpowerU class mid-week. Two hours on Zoom. Fourteen speakers including 4 U.S. Representatives, a Judge, a TV Anchor, a Woman of the Year for Veteran Affairs, and a couple of professors, and others. All came together to discuss the aftermath of the Senate Hearing with the heads of the aforementioned Social Network companies.

Originally people jumped on board with these companies because all of this connectivity was ostensibly, FREE! Now we’re beginning to come to grips with the fact that, literally, keystroke by keystroke, they own everything about us. Now it’s gone even further as these companies silence and control ‘thought’ that’s not compatible with theirs; without any real pushback. I’ve had a couple of instances where, although perfectly accurate, my post had a “Fact Check” placed on it; nothing further, no debate, no discussion, just done by some faceless person or algorithm. It’s gotten so ridiculous that even communications by our President were pulled.

In my case, I am already in the process of porting away from Twitter (if interested two alternatives are MeWe and Parler). Facebook, is a bit more difficult, but I’m working on it and use it hardly at all; also, it owns Instagram. Google has its tentacles in almost everything. It’s a slow switch; my search engine is already DuckDuckGo and no longer Google.

Our City ‘Clowncil’ – consists of nine members. Early summer one member was arrested for conducting a ‘Pay-to-Play’ scheme and she’ll be sentenced this coming Tuesday. Two weeks ago, the FBI nabbed another one (his home is 1 ½ blocks from our place – now up for sale). Thursday a third was picked up by the FBI (it was widely assumed he’s be the next mayor). Now, rumor has it that the ‘shoe’ might drop again. The way it’s going we’ll be the first city in the nation with a city council having a quorum in Sing Sing. We should be very proud.

Blue Wave – Really didn’t materialize. Not getting into it, I just wanted to show you a photo of two new members of the 117th Congress; the youngest GOP woman and the youngest GOP man. There is a future.

Masks – like most of you I live in a state headed up by a Governor who acts as a unilateral tyrant. This is not a Dem vs. Rep thing, ours, DeWine is Republican, and as bad as a Mayor de Blasio, Governor Newsom or a Whitmer, and others with their ‘do as I say and not as I do’ edicts.

Their nonsensical fiats on how to celebrate Thanksgiving or a funeral service are bad enough. And, luckily the courts have gotten involved. However, what is even worse is what these “little Kings’ have done to our school kids by moving them to ‘on-line learning’.

In New York a study showed that testing over 140,000 students the case rate among children was 8 per 100,000, and among staff 12 per 100,000, still lower than the community rate of 13.

The Dutch government conducted a large study of 44,000 teachers after schools were reopened last May. They found those teachers had a cumulative infection rate of just 0.7%, much lower “than the total of 2.0% of the over 940,000 adults tested in the test lanes in the same period.”
When will these clowns follow “the Science?”

There are others who have it right. For example South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem who on the subject of masks said; “here in South Dakota we’re focusing on solutions that DO good, not on responses that FEEL good”.

Fini – Sadly, on one of my afternoon walks I spotted this scene curbside. It appears that ‘Billy-Bass’ from our lake up north missed us this summer and tied to visit us. He didn’t make it. Damn ‘Rona’.

On November 21, 1980, 350 million people tuned in to television’s popular primetime drama “Dallas” to find out who shot J.R. Ewing. I remember that I skipped it; on purpose. I was a cantankerous contrarian even way back then.

For my ‘vinylphobe’ brother; on this day way back in 1877 Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph, a method to record and play back sound. As an aside, it was an invention he stumbled on.

And, aren’t we all glad that the phonograph was invented so that we can still enjoy a glorious voice? For, this day in 1934, a very young gal by the name of Ella Fitzgerald stood on stage at the Harlem’s Apollo Theater on Amateur night. A scary proposition, especially since her name was drawn, per chance, out of a hat. She won!

Just yesterday I wanted to be out for some warm evening air. Then I panicked that should I misread my watch and not get back inside by 9:59PM before the 10:00PM curfew I’d catch ‘the bug’. So I stayed inside where I’d be SAFE.

The attorney who reached a multimillion dollar multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit settlement with CNN for the Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann puts today’s happenings into perspective:

“Life on Earth is 1 grain of sand. Eternity is every grain of sand above and below the water of every ocean of the world
Focus on the long term.”
~ Lin Wood

Last. Here is what I stood in line for yesterday at Costco. Not included in the photo are the ‘impulse’ purchases Marcia waits for with trepidation.

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

Dirk


It’s Saturday morning and I guess I know why you’re here. So, three — two — one — and Go; we’re underway. Whoops, first let me dive into the kitchen for my coffee.

Before I forget, did you remember that yesterday was Happy friggatriskaidekaphobia day? Should you panic on those days, little worry, the next one won’t be till Friday, August 13, 2021. Like suspense? The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, was born on a Friday the 13 (August 1899).

Something new. A new (test) feature, the best Meme of the week:

“The survival of our democratic republic depends on Americans’ belief that their vote counts and their continued faith in the fairness and security of our electoral process.” ~ Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, where he manages the Election Law Reform Initiative.

“We have heard an awful lot about systematic and systemic injustice! But I don’t think anyone here can think of anything more systematically unjust than a stole election in a democracy.” ~ Michael Gableman, former justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court

Sadly, many of the 72,000,000+ of us who voted for our President feel, like sand in hand, the security of our electoral process is slipping through our fingers; I included.

This, in part, caused me to participate in a lecture on President Ulysses S. Grant earlier in the week. Also in part since his birth home is a short half hour drive along the Ohio River banks away. However it was also for the discovery of the man himself. Aside from his innovative battle-field strategies, what I really sought was further insight into Grant’s character, along with his treatment of African-Americans, American-Indians and Jews. He stood up for their rights, despite widespread opposition from the south and the American public. These minorities’ determination, coupled with his support, unleashed opportunities they never experienced before. Foremost of the black voices was Frederick Douglass, who became a member of his inner circle along with the Native American (Seneca), Ely S. Parker (DO-NE-HO-CEH-WEH). Parker was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the Civil War, when he served as adjutant and secretary to Grant.

Grant saw the good in almost everyone and took them at their word. This became a hallmark of his Presidency as well difficulties when that trust was abused. Grant lived the last 24 years of his adult life believing all people should be treated with respect and dignity. At the time it was said that it was Lincoln who freed the slave and it was Grant who made them citizens. It wasn’t long after these two left the scene that Reconstruction as a force faded and the Democrats put ‘Jim Crow’ laws into place in the former Slave States. Still, he did manage to set up the Department of Justice and made equal education for all a standard.

Early in 20th century, Grant’s reputation was damaged by what was known as the Dunning School and quickly his Presidency’s place sunk near the bottom. More recently it’s been moved into a top tier. It was Walt Whitman’s famous assessment that includes the line, “What a man he is!

It’s amazing how distant history brings clarity and form to a person and a Presidency. I firmly believe that that same historical perspective will heap honor and praise on our current President.

Keeping busy – The absolute joke what most of the news and media have become, for a news junkie like me, it caused an I NEED ESCAPE moment. That’s why I watched a complete concert by the UKs, Florence Welch who fronts for the Florence and the Machine band, and was glad I did. That was exactly what the ‘doctor’ ordered. Great music.

Second it was the start of the Vendée Globe around the world race. Nonstop, solo with no assist, almost 25,000 miles and taking between 8 and 10 weeks, it’s a massive undertaking sailed every 4 years. Luckily, with on-board technologies it’s possible to keep up with the boats sending daily video clips. Two days in they encountered 40-45 knot winds and 5-meter waves; all stunning to see.

   

It was with a bit more ‘meat’ that I listened to an interview on The Rubin Report with Thomas Sowell. Aged ninety, Sowell is ‘sharp as a tack’ and much honored as an economist and social theorist who is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Dave Rubin is a wonderful interviewer much along the style of an earlier Dick Cavett, Charlie Rose, or a Phil Donahue. I captured this short one minute piece of the one-hour in-depth exchange between the two – Enjoy!

And, it’s been a beautiful autumn. Even this week while on my walks there is still a lot of color to relish. All to help keep the mind clear.

Blink and it’s been a 100 years –

Warp Speed – Did you hear the President give his update on the progress of a vaccine yesterday afternoon? Light is visible in the tunnel even as many ‘leaders’ and ‘experts’ still treat us like children with crazy lockdown schemes. Stop eating at 10:00PM because the restaurant must close. No more than a handful for Thanksgiving, or better; no Thanksgiving, and NO singing. Where is it that these little tyrants advocate for self-responsibility? How come each report lists an array of horrible sounding ‘Rona’ case numbers, but we don’t hear any meaningful ones, i.e.; numbers listing recoveries, deaths caused by co-morbidity, etc.

“Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.” ~ Elon Musk – November 13, 2020

Meanwhile Speaker Pelosi is hosting a large dinner for new House Members.

Thank you Mr. President for the massive push you organized to get this business behind us. I am so ready for life to resume as normal.

Fini – Shopping this week it became clear that as a tall person I cannot offer to reach something on a high shelf for a stranger, yet if they ask me I should oblige. Apparently, this is the law of the tall ones.

Yesterday Marcia handed me the mail while giggling. The reason for her merriment was this advert. It took away all the surprise!

With the difficulty eating out these days we are beginning to establish meal categories. This past week it was foreign sounding foods.

On my walks seeing something truly ‘Hot’ is still a thrill. This Z-car parked by Xavier University was such a moment.

If you think Joe Biden got 8 million more votes than Barack Obama, pull my finger and I’ll fart Bohemian Rhapsody in E minor.

On that previous ‘note’ (pun intended), its Mark Levin who is quoted saying; “it’s amazing how 100% of the dead voters vote Democrat”.

Finally, we might soon have a new China policy;

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

Dirk


It’s Saturday morning and I hope that it finds you well. Here, I am the only one awake, hardly a soul to be found outside, coffee was just poured, and I took my first bite of a ripe banana. A good start to the day my fellow insomniacs.

What is it about this first full week of November over the years?

The year was 1605 and based on accounts by Sir Robert Cecil there was a Catholic conspiracy in 1605 to blow up the House of Lords on 5 November. A letter delivered to a Lord Monteagle days earlier allowed the plot to be ‘foiled’ at midnight on 4 November. The plot’s leader, Guy Fawkes and his 13 co-conspirators were rounded up and life went on as usual – except for Guy and his buddies [they were sentenced and met their demise] and for the annual (mandated) celebrations; now as Guy Fawkes Day.

The year was 1860 and the South had watched in horror as an unlikely candidate, a ‘rube’ from the back-country, grew in stature. He gave no serious speeches after his nomination, but he did not need to, as the Buchanan administration began to collapse under the weight of its incompetence and greed. By then the most toxic campaign in American history delivered Abraham Lincoln. The Press wrote bitterly against the candidate. Lincoln had to survive his election and a difficult transition, severely resisted by an entrenched political establishment that had no intention of giving up power. On November 6, Lincoln was elected, the first President from the new Republican Party.

The year is 2020 and on Thursday November 5 Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prime Minister and three others imposed a Second National Lockdown to deal with the Coronavirus. This move is one that will affect everyone in Britain and extend the economic war waged against the people. Opposition claims that little transparency and the numbers didn’t warrant such a lockdown, especially when the first one only triggered a sharp rise in deaths.

November 5, 2020 and the morning showed a complete reversal of President Trump’s re-election fortunes. In fact, by the end of the day a (almost 100% negative) Press was clambering for Trump to concede. As noted over the previous 4-years, Trump does not quit easily and will ‘jab’ and ‘punch’ till the bitter end. By November 6 word of illegalities in Ballot handling; especially in Detroit and a chronically corrupt Philadelphia surfaced.

Then, a County in Michigan reported that a flaw in their software had 6,000 Ballots to ‘flip’ from Trump to Biden – a small breath of air. Then it was reported that 47 other Counties used the same software program and it was also being used in other states – more oxygen. Then Georgia ordered a complete recount – another breath. Late in the day Supreme Court Justice Alito ordered that Philadelphia separate its late Ballots from those entered by the end of Election Day – some more oxygen to the campaign. It ain’t over yet; remember it took months for Al Franken Minnesota Senate seat to be resolved. His opponent threw in the towel; but that was a different time.

What is it with the first week of November? If you stopped drinking this past week, you couldn’t have done so at a worse time.

“‘Remember Remember the 5th of November…” ~ first line of John Milton’s poem In Quintum Novembris [On the Fifth of November].

Referring to the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day

“I am old enough to remember when votes were counted on Election Day” ~ Benny Johnson

“Florida is double the size of Michigan, but had its results almost immediately. What is the reason?” ~ Caleb Hull

Sports – You should know that by now (for a variety of reasons) I have pretty well given up on Professional Sports. But, even under the ‘R’ona’ virus restrictions there is an escape, possibly buried in the lesser tiered Sports one can find delight. Enjoy!

Listening? Focus on the announcer. There was way too much hilarity going on around that lonely guy sitting with a mike on a bridge table by the edge of the bleachers.

An Overpass Apart – on yesterday’s walk I came across two sights. The sidewalk approached a highway overpass. On one side I looked into a homeless encampment – no tent, just right into the guy’s bedroom. On the sidewalk he had a display of ‘bits’ and ‘pieces’ he’d put up for sale and display.

On the other side of the same overpass is a Harley Davidson dealership. They were prepping for a fun evening. A band was doing their sound-check, riders were beginning to arrive, and the Food Truck was nearly ready to serve.

Two scenes, just a mere 100 feet apart from each other; but worlds apart.

Walking – A treasure spotted. Also on yesterday’s walk, while nearing home this gorgeous little Buick Skylark came up to the light. The owner was very proud and I gave him a ‘Thumbs-Up’, then, while traffic held up, I reached in and we gave each other a High-Five. Even under all of our current virus edicts, LIVING LIFE is more important to me than merely living.

Office Scenes – I’ve been pretty open sharing scenes from the corner of Chaos & Mayhem. But actually, I’ve done you a disservice. All the scenes I’ve shown are from the front of the Condo or the side balcony. This week I’m sharing occurrences spotted from the rear, from my office window (both happened this week). Two separate events, a neighbor needing Medic assistance. The other was some Fire happening – three fire trucks and a medic. How can I get any work done you ask? “I don’t have a clue”, is the answer.

Fini – The US – Canadian border is still closed. This is causing some mild panic by the Treasurer of our nearby Lake Association. Wonder why?

Now I can go back to hiding under my desk. It’s a safe place while the current mess whirs around me and AOC and her Squad has its team looking for me to place on one of their lists. Shhhh!

Have some spare time? These Fireside Chats podcasts (here linked) by Dennis Prager are always meaningful, insightful, and a learning experience. I urge you to listen to one, especially this one since it was posted November 5 – remember that date?

Thought I’d be the first to introduce the Biden’s new campaign Logo:

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

Dirk