Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

All in This Together
05 16th, 2020

It’s Saturday ‘lockdown’ day 100 (or thereabouts) and Marcia says that I’m now well into a full-blown “acting strange’ mode. I think not!
Tell me who wrote these lyrics?
I’m a Doctor, I’m a Lawyer, I’m a Movie Star.
I’m an Astronaut, and I own this bar…..

Answ: srehtorB ymalleB ehT

While you’re gathering your thoughts and the answer, let me take a few sips of my coffee.
“Acting strange”? Why, not at all!

” If masks work, why do businesses need to be closed?
If they don’t work, why are we forced to wear them?”
~ Ryan Fournier

We’re all in this together – but not quite. Pretty amazing, don’t you agree; the fact that it’s hard to find a radio or TV ad not using that phrase? The daily Corvid update grind is peppered with it. Newscasts has those folk using it hourly. But it’s simply not true. What is true is that for eons fancy language has been used to alert the masses that they need to subjugate themselves.

Yesterday, May 15, in the year 1252 Pope Innocent IV released a papal bull; Ad Extirpanda. The faithful were thus informed that it was OK to torture heretics (well, there were some limits set – couldn’t be all bad). But like the controls on our ‘lockdown’, rational details were woefully weak and a heresy-of-the-day easily slipped in place as desired. All this to show that the nonsensical abuse we’re experiencing today has been around for centuries.

Maybe today we don’t get a turn (pun) on the ‘rack’, but we do get tossed into jail. We can’t sit and get a hair cut, but just fine to stand in line in a liquor store. Can’t shop at Mabel’s Flowers, but head for Kroger or WalMart and grab a bunch. Look at the details and it’s absurd. Most, couched in language of “the science says”, without any science backing or medical facts. In fact, could a lot of it really reflect some political goal? As my Brazilian friends would say; “que exaustão mental, né”? (such mental exhaustion, correct?)

Tale of Two States – or ‘The Power of the Press’. Viewing Florida and its Governor, Ron DeSantis could be a model for proper handling of the current pandemic. Safety of Florida’s citizens became a primary concern; achieving safety while minimizing hardship. Much is already open and the number of ill and fatalities is lower than most States – and exceptionally so when one considers the large aging (the most affected) population. It’s what every State hopes its own administration would achieve. Yet, DeSantis has dropped in the polls.

In New York is Governor Andrew Cuomo, is a darling of a liberal media. The way he managed the results of the Covid-19 outbreak could not be handled worse. He had depleted and not resupplied the State’s stocks of PPE supplies required for a pandemic. As the extent of the Virus became evident he enjoined people to join in a city-wide parade. Covid-19 infected patients were ordered back into nursing homes. A city dependent on public transportation was ordered to reduce the number of subway cars. Need to go on? Yet, with the backing of a compliant Press, his popularity could scarcely be higher. The Media does have power and can manipulate; keep that in mind

I miss – Reuters and Toronto’s Globe and Mail both reported that the international border (U.S. and Canada) now won’t open till June 21st. One more delay and it’ll be hardly worth the effort to head up north, other than to check out how Northern Comfort fared last winter.

So, I am now sitting training by the hour watching YouTube. There are some things I want to accomplish this summer and therefore YouTube and I have become best friends. The parking brake on Our Duck (a weird under the hood disk-brake configuration) and possibly a carburetor kit installation. Also, a bit of plumbing, a bit of PEX water-line re-placement (most has been done). And, a power switch-over from the grid to my generator for any extended power outage.

Then Marcia talks about a new rear (driveway side) door. We’ll see, I do need to test the kayaks and the vintage little Johnson engine on the Sea Nymph. The lake calls me.

Out/In – dining has become something to look forward to. At a central location in the neighborhood one of the many Food Trucks is invited in. Pre order on line, specify a preferred pickup time and pay — then just pick-up. It couldn’t be easier. Last evening Marcia and I brought in some great pulled pork sandwiches, sides, and desert. Had it not been raining I would have tossed a blanket in the condo’s side yard for a picnic – that didn’t happen.

Fini – I thought many of my four readers would appreciate this 10-year list detailing the end of the world.

I happened to catch the commissioning of the new Space Force Flag in the Oval Office ceremony. The more I read about the future of 5G technology and domination path other countries have embarked on made me appreciate the importance of this new DOD member.

Also yesterday in 1928 a cartoon with the title “Plane Crazy” premiered. It introduced a new character; Mickey Mouse. Plane Crazy didn’t do well and Mickey did not achieve iconic status until the release of “Steamboat Willie” later the same year.

The corner of Chaos and Mayhem has been quiet. Having said that, this week we had three EMT runs nearby – all legitimate health related calls. The photo is from immediately across the street.

Marcia was totally delighted with her Mother’s Day. Of note was this container planting of Salad Greens and herbs from Jason and Cathy. With the cool spring the lettuce should do well.

Make it great week, stay safe and be healthy!
Dirk


Holy Schneike
05 9th, 2020

Brrrr it’s mid-May, almost Mother’s Day, and it’s Freezing. With that said I wish you no more than just this Saturday ‘lockdown’ day to get through.

” Holy Schneike Holy Schneike” ~ Mollie Hemmingway, Senior Editor at The Federalist

Her expression upon hearing that the bogus Department of Justice case against Three Star General Flynn was dropped earlier this week (the case had been unraveling for some time and when the senior Prosecutor, Van Grack, resigned – well, that was all she wrote).

And, also my expression upon hearing our erstwhile weather folk proclaim a case of solid frost this morning (something we hadn’t seen for decades this late in the season).

Tik-Tok – I’m done. The ‘lockdown’ has me around more than I want to be. And, every afternoon is comprised of a series of Covid-19 pronouncements by all of our nearby governors. These are akin to a series of High-school produced Tik-Tok events; each finds me listening to a death rattle taking place.

Once each governor get through the ‘counts’ the dissection takes place. This part is much like groping around an Asian Wet-Market; especially when they park their Medical Directors front and center and these folk get wound up – excitedly yet dignified.

At first I thought all this cute. Our Governor (R; ‘whiney DeWine’) sounds a little Christopher Walken sans glasses. Kentucky’s guy (D; ‘a beer with Beshear’) is more like a gruff Arnold Schwartzenegger with a bad accent. Now, I’m way past all of that.

What then follows is the team-tag minor league stuff as the City ‘fathers’ and the County big wigs climb on a similar media stage to drone on further on Covid-19. The County Commissioners are the ones I ‘respect’ most when during a discussion regarding the feasibility of getting a bridge loan one of them in all seriousness asked why such a loan needed to be signed on a bridge. Ah yes people, strange times indeed.

Woke – We here are so very woke! Just perchance I discovered that yesterday by mid-day a black market hair cutting salon had opened up in our bathroom. Shortly, Marcia emerged and looked stunning; with that newish style of short on the one side yet somewhat longer on the other. Being the shy person she is, she couched the ‘look’ by stating that; “if you don’t like it, hair does grow in.”

We also sit with anticipation on each day’s newly pronounced edict. Will it be one of “don’t worry, masks don’t stop the virus” as it was for a good while? Or, one of; “to gain entry to …(here fill in the blank)… you must wear a mask”?

I miss – the days when it was first proclaimed that to “depress the curve” we would have to “hunker down” for 15-days. That was a long time ago. Then, holy EMC2, time itself shifted as the goal posts kept getting moved about on a daily basis.

I miss, as Dennis Miller puts so nicely; “the good old days before sign language interpreters had acting coaches.” As some sage put it; “now they look like squirrels on crack”.

I wish I could; “remember the Asian flu pandemic of 1957-58, which caused an estimated 70,000 to 116,000 U.S. deaths. Remember how we closed down our economy then? Neither do I” ~ Brit Hume

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light of consciousness” ~ Elon Musk

Fini – Last Saturday Marcia and I enjoyed a stunning craft Burger along with a mint-cucumber Margarita (in a Ball-jar) for Marcia while I enjoyed a small-batch Amber ale Crowler. This was part of a neighborhood organized Food Truck event. Ordered on line, picked up down the block, and ate at home – dining Out/In.

Today celebrate the birthday (1921) of Sophia Magdalena Scholl. We tend to think of the German population during the German Nazi years as marching in lockstep to the warped Nazi ideals. However, there was quite an extensive undercurrent of anti-Nazi activists. Scholl and her brother, Hans, were leaders in the White Rose non-violent resistance group. She and her brother were caught and both put to death by guillotine in 1943. Sophie Scholl’s final statement: “it is such a splendid sunny day and I have to go….stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.”

Some inkling of activity in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is openly contemplating opening the U.S. Canadian border on May 21st. Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford hints at reopening cottages on May 24th. This would mean that the opportunity to open up Northern Comfort sometime in early June might be reality.

The Ohio National Guard fired up their F-16 fighter jets and this week zigzagged around our sky passing over each of our 15 area hospitals as a way to acknowledge the work of the medical staffs of each. Marcia and I went outside and kept on hearing them. Finally, for a second or two through an open space between the trees across the street from us, spotted the low-flying aircraft zip by. It was fun being a kid for a few minutes.

It was like a roach infestation. See nothing, and then in a glance, there they were. All was marginal, but normal, across the street from us. Then, last weekend it swarmed. What looked like ‘druggies’ and ‘hookers’ came and went along with partying adults and playing kids. That lasted until Tuesday morning when a throng of Vice Squad and uniformed Police – 13 in all, made their ‘entrance’. The ‘roaches’ have disappeared, two ‘perps’ were picked up, drugs were seized, and a safe taken away. The next day, the lawn was trimmed and some little kids were playing with a beach ball. What a difference a day makes.

Did you know that the Hummingbird is the only creature that has legs but can’t walk on them? (Just me prepping for my summer hiatus with the birds while at the lake)

Make it great week, stay safe and be healthy!
Dirk


Isolation
05 2nd, 2020

‘Musta’ been a solid night. The first I heard was Marcia’s Police Scanner announcing 6:00AM. Lately that would mean that I’d already been up, coffee made, a second poured, and halfway into my Saturday post. So, another happy Saturday lockdown day (for most of us).

” Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take away everything you have.”Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Coronavirus – There’s been a change. In many ways the Coronavirus has already come and passed over; an it did for a vast majority of us. But, government will NEVER forget just how easy it was to take control of your life; to control every sporting event, classroom, restaurant table, and church pew. Even down to controlling whether or not you can leave your house.

And we allowed it! Not for a day or two when facing an unknown, but for weeks on end. In my state, with about 8-hour notice another month was added to the lockdown – and we the people sat. By and large we did nothing.

And trust me; it definitely is NOT ‘the Science’. “Science” is not what’s being followed, power is. Two hundred years after initiating the principles our nation was founded on, those flew the coop in a mere few weeks.

The ‘Science’ – For as long as I can remember ‘the science’ advocated going outside into the sunlight and the fresh air – for (so was the then ‘science’) the air in one’s home was the most polluted. Best for little kids? Go outside, play and root around the dirt and grass – “builds up their immune systems” was also the thinking. I remember a ‘science’ which advocated quarantining the stricken; the frail and elderly only.

After the declaration of a Pandemic, a forward path was promulgated by the medical community; a path which has been devastating to Ohio and the nation economically. Why were other specialties not brought into the discussions; specialties such as Biomedical Statistics and meta-research? People such as a Dr. Knut Wittkowski (formerly of The Rockefeller University) and Dr. John Ioannidis (Stanford) whose works offer a forward path 180-degree divergent from the draconian one we’re currently on?

Now, finally there are a number of States backing off those, panicked induced, edicts and life is proceeding. Others have doubled down and the scary craziness continues.

In the ‘Nati – the Lockdown seen change. The Murder rate has almost doubled over years past; as has Child Abuse, Domestic abuse – all the stuff a proper society does not want.

Yesterday, I saw two auto accidents; a total of 6 cars were totaled. The first one a driver blew through a red light two blocks from our place, then the driver jumped out of the vehicle bare-foot and through broken glass – totally high on something.

The second, a mile away, on a straight road with a 25-mph speed limit had a guy hit a pole and then do this to oncoming and parked vehicles. This is not normal stuff.

The calls for EMT help are difficult to keep up with. Yesterday, at the end of my walk I went into the kitchen for some water when an ambulance stopped across from us. Much of this in one way or another can be traced back to the difficulties of and the management of the Pandemic. Things need to change – NOW!

”Why forced isolation is bad: The Data is in – stop the panic and end the total isolation” Elon Musk

Two Odds & Ends – We live close enough to our Appalachian regions where seeing something like this is mostly viewed as normal.

On my walk I often pass by the offices of The American Postal Workers Union (APWU). I spotted this car in their employee parking area and it was a bumper sticker that caught my attention. Can you imagine this person’s Chinese counterpart in Beijing placing a MAGA sticker on their car?

Fini – Condolences to Dia with the loss of her mother. RIP Oma Kok.

Today, back in 1919, the first U.S. air passenger service started. It’s kind of ironic that today, a mere 101 years later and with a multitude of airlines ferrying millions of passengers yearly, most are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

I was at Whole Foods when I saw two guys taking groceries out for delivery. I think it was close to a total of 100 separate bags. Part of our new world.

Heading for Aldi’s we stopped behind our County Coroner’s van. Seeing her name on the seal made me realize that my mother baby-sat her when she was a toddler. Time ‘clicks’ along rapidly!

Mentioning Aldi. Marcia asked me to go back and grab an item back near the store’s entrance. Now, having to comply with the new ‘One Way’ shopping experience, it was like figuring one’s best way through a maze to do it (and do it correctly).

Later today the neighborhood is bringing in a Food Truck that’ll park nearby. After calling in our order we’ll have something we call: Dinner “Out and In”.

An ode to the Great One; from my investment company this quote from Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky offering a post-pandemic strategy: “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is.”

Make it great week, stay safe and be healthy!
Dirk


Black Hole
04 25th, 2020

Last evening at our neighborhood’s outdoor Happy Hour I was reminded that the weekend was about to start. I am so excited realizing what portion of the week I was embarking on that I woke up early. Happy Saturday, and yes, I’ve already had my first slug of coffee.

”Can’t believe it’s already whatever day it is now.” ~ Chuck Ross

Happy Hour – These weeks, time has both stopped while at the same time it’s slipping by; every day is “Ground Hog Day”. Way down deep you do realize something is different, but tune in and the same dour faces are spewing forth their identical daily list of details, using an unknown term now familiar to even every Kindergartener: Covid-19.

So, last evening fifteen or so of us stood in the middle of Burton Woods Lane, each loaded up with an Adult Beverage of choice. We were properly spaced and happy to see folk we thought had disappeared.

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I just want these specialists to know that my personal curve has now completely flat-lined. And, that unless that ‘flat-line’ quickly starts to get a few ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ I will do what the ladies did in the ‘60s; only I’ll be burning my facial Bra.

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Then, take note of Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee this coming week as these states lift their ‘lockdown’. See how long it takes for them to achieve ‘Herd Immunity’ (another term I’d not heard before). And, also of interest, how many small businesses will or won’t reopen. This might be a bit of a guide pointing towards our future.

Black Hole – I think that I’m fairly accurate by saying that the nearest Black Hole to earth is 7,500 light years away. But, yesterday when our President signed the latest half-Trillion ‘stimulus’ package I had seen something no Astronomer had ever seen – the formation of a ‘Big Bang’ and a ‘Black Hole’ simultaneously. I’ll explain!

In the meantime, remember the rallying cry of the Great Recession of 2008, “Shovel Ready Projects”? Can you name even one project started and completed from that venture? I can’t. So now we’ve experienced the first $-multi Trillion ‘stimulus’ package. Yesterday the second piece was signed and the planning for number three and number four is underway.

Each of these does have some monies for their designated purpose, but have no doubt; a better half is pet project ‘Pork’ (the other word for ‘Pork’ is WASTE). So that is the ‘Big Bang’ we just witnessed. The ‘Black Hole’ our grand-children will see the full effect of when those borrowed dollars come due.

Positive – One thing that is happening for the first time in my lifetime is occurring and I think it positive. We’ve always been told of our nation being a ‘Grand Experiment’; a series of states which hold the power and a minimalist Federal government. That idea had long ago disappeared as more and more of the power is being concentrated in Washington DC. A slight crack in that formula is creeping in. President Trump in a brilliant move is diverting many of the ‘next steps’ to the Governors of the various States – the true pieces of our Grand Experiment.

Birthday – Jason had one of those strange Corvid-19 birthdays. We talked on the phone and since there was a slight dampness in the air (not quite rain, but dampness which did stay on my hoodie) Marcia decided to stay home while I went over to their house to both hum ‘Happy Birthday’ and bring his gift. After all, Marcia had delivered him in the first place and was totally familiar with the whole birthday thing.

So, we sat outside on the front porch, properly spaced as we were told. It was a good visit with happy chatter and laughter. But, I missed the raucous behavior as we would gather as family in some warm place eating unhealthy, but oh-so tasty, pub foods – and I am certain Jason did too.

Shopping – This week I had to swing by our Kroger grocery store. Blue gloved ladies were scrubbing down the handles on carts. Plastic shields at the registers and masking-tape lines on the floor. None of that really piqued my interest. What did catch me was the wide array of home-made face masks. As I explained to Marcia, for a moment I felt as if I were on the set of some old Western Movie with all the bandanna variants.

Fini – I came across this old cover and thought of my mother, our ‘Omi’. And it’s so true, she really lover her fried chicken. And, to her, Colonel Sanders was indeed the sexiest Chicken Salesman around.

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Today, back in 1961 Robert Noyce was granted a patent for the integrated circuit, or microchip. To our kids and our grandkids computers coupled with the internet have been around forever. But, the earliest opportunity to even contemplate all we take for granted electronically began only a mere 59 years ago.

It’s springtime here and in The Netherlands. This is what the fields of tulips look like prior to the bulb harvesting start-up.

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And yes. The weather was great. And our now nine year old Viliami burst out with the fact that he had a great Birthday (even though no kids were present).

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Also today, back in 2014 the city of Flint began sourcing water from the Flint River and with that began a debacle which brought to the forefront incompetence and cover up on multiple levels. Meanwhile the citizenry of Flint is still paying a price.

It’s beginning to look more and more like the only thing I’ll be doing in Canada is pay our Property taxes. The border between Canada and the US is closed and from what I read, Prime Minister Trudeau is in no hurry to open it. Fingers crossed – maybe Trudeau is waiting for Black Fly and Mosquito season to pass first.

While out on my walk I passed a UPS Store. Got a bit of a chuckle when I spotted the Amazon driver dutifully standing in line (#5 from the front door) to either deliver or pick up. No favoritism shown here.

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Make it great week, stay safe and be healthy!
Dirk


liberté
04 18th, 2020

It’s early Saturday morning, a coffee time to cherish. And probably with little guilt, I’m drinking it without a mask!

This week America awoke; awoke from weeks of sullenly obeying. The nation arose. I don’t know the ‘why’ for this despotic ongoing virus crackdown. I do know that I’ve lived long enough to have developed a pretty decent BS meter, and it’s going crazy.

”It is not that we don’t have enough scoundrels to curse; it is that we don’t have enough good men to curse them.” ~ G. K. Chesterton, known as the “prince of paradox” was a poet, lay-theologian, philosopher, arts critic, and oh yes, an author

Loss of wit – This whole WuVirus business has my disposition hanging on a thin tether. I have noticed the beginnings of a loss of humor and this cannot be. So when the dear lady at the YMCA called me (note; I am a member) to ask if I needed anything; “Medicine or a food perhaps”? I answered; “no”. “Anything else then”; came the response. I answered that I’d stopped talking with my wife long ago and that possibly having them send me a comedian would be good. This only caused a snicker at the other end – there was no verbal response. I don’t think I’ll see my requested comedian.

Bernie – I believe it was last Saturday, but possibly it was earlier that week that my phone rang. I got to it just as it clicked into Voice Mail mode, but in time to see the screen which read, “Team Bernie”. It was a sad moment. I had just missed a great opportunity to have an hours-long discussion, uplifting, of substance, and possibly inspiring. Marcia took note of my whining and labeled it, “bizarre.” Notice how well we’re making do in today’s new world?

liberté, égalité, fraternité? – Finally we’re seeing the first instances of civil disobedience. We have a large number of competent Governors in a variety of states. There are others who have used the Corvid-19 opportunity to turn their states into ‘Police States’. Most of these latter types have issued their dictatorial edicts under the banner of; “following the science”. Peel away and what’s left is an onerous array of edicts which justify nothing, but promulgate their own narcissistic, power hungry, and political favoritisms. Dental work or a knee replacement becomes “unnecessary”, a liquor store staying open or an abortion on demand is a necessary health item. A ‘weed’ store is fine, a walk on the beach is a no, no. Insanity!

America is different because of our early beginnings and our Bill of Rights and its implicit freedoms. Unlike our European brethren and their acceptance of more governmental cover (France even has this thought embedded in their motto: “liberté, égalité, fraternité”), we have always wanted Government out of our lives wherever possible. Although the push towards ‘Globalism’ over the last decades has made us different from what we had enshrined in our beginnings. The turn towards Globalism has chipped away at the ideals of our historical backdrop and has inserted an ever larger intrusive governmental dependency into our daily lives.

Even so, it is in America where we see an outburst due to people having ‘enough is enough’ by demonstrating in a number of places, most notably this week’s occurrence in Lansing, MI.

Interestingly, on the heels of Lansing’s outburst came their Governor’s ghoulish response; a ridiculous response issued under the umbrella of Covid-19 necessity, an edict which had caused the people to rebel in the first place – i.e. do this again and I’ll do it more.

Fish – Last Tuesday, mask and all, I headed into town for Take-out Tuesday dinner. It had been a good while since stopping by Alabama Fish Bar. The place normally holds five people max, standing, shoulder to shoulder (no groping allowed – EVER). I mentioned the latter since the proximity issue always made digging around for one’s wallet a bit of an issue; “sorry just getting my wallet” and a hint of a smile.
Now, we did the socially responsible distance thing, and each person waited outside on our carefully positioned designated piece of Blue masking tape affixed on the sidewalk. By the time we made it inside the Fish Bar we had become so used to communicating with people around us done through a face-covering mask that placing our order to another person wearing a mask was now a new normal.

     

Eyes Open – This whole Wuhan virus thing is not yet finished. In fact it’s just beginning. Remember the name “Shi Zhengli” when it starts to become more visible as details of the Wuhan laboratory start to unfold. Couple the whole virus affair with China’s Communist Party apparatus subterfusing any international efforts to discover the cause of the pandemic. Then there is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cow-towing to and parroting of China’s propaganda. The whole history of the WHO is questionable, beginning with this statement from Brock Chisholm, the very first Director-General of the WHO (1947 –1953)

”To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men, their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism and religious dogmas.” ~ (from) a Speech given at the, Conference on Education, Asilomar, California, September 11, 1954

As late as January 23rd, 2020. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (the current Director-General of the WHO) declined to declare the China virus outbreak as a global health emergency. Even after travel to China the WHO did not release independent advice to the International Community; only Chinese issued details were shared. All this caused weeks long and possibly months long delays in dealing with the virus issue – think lives lost, misery caused. This focus on the WHO is not over yet.

Excellence in Television – Being homebound does mean that we’ve enjoyed some very fine specials, such as Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid Hope show and audience-less Grand Ole Opry performances.

     

     

Fini – Later today it’s off for our first ‘real’ venture. It’s patio time and a cookout celebrating Vili’s Birthday. No masks, but proper Social Distancing for you worry warts.

Dia’s mom, in her mid-nineties, was tested for the virus and is negative. CONGRATULATIONS. I’s a shame that it’s such a heavy handed approach which dictates no visitors to our elderly in residential facilities, A careful routine with controlled numbers, yes but, mandating ‘no visitors’ for these folk is just cruel. I remember visiting a hospitalized friend several years ago. His cancer treatment had killed off all his white blood cells and donated cells had been inserted. At the time he had no immunity! A carefully overseen clean-up and garbed routine allowed my visit – it is possible and safe if done properly.

A neighboring Condo unit had an internet issue and so Spectrum came out. Things did not go well and eventually there were three trucks out in front (a crew and a called in supervisor). As work progressed, we too, lost our internet. I just knew that this crew had it all confused and in reverse – no masks, but shoe booties. When they finally left I realized that it was just good to have people in the place normally, meaning without masks (I just couldn’t get used to those silly blue booties).

And probably a first, Kirstin home-made great looking jars of Dill Pickles complete with dill-seeds.

Make it great week, stay safe and be healthy!
Dirk


John 3:16
04 11th, 2020

It’s Saturday morning, still dark, and at 37° a vast difference from the 80+° the other day. That day, April 9th, was our annual Winston Churchill Day; a day set aside to recall the moment when the former Prime minister of the United Kingdom was officially declared an “honorary citizen of the United States”. I raise my fresh mug of coffee to, what is probably my most favorite historical character, Sir Winston Churchill.

”There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” ~ Winston Churchill

TeleHealth – From my pre-retirement world I am still connected through a few publications. One, which I always check, is called strategy+business. The latest contained an article on TeleHealth, and per happenstance, last Sunday my Neurologist’s office called to see if my appointment could proceed via an on-line face hookup. I was all ‘thumbs-up’ and ready; Tuesday afternoon was the moment. Now, time for a (bit lengthy) quote from strategy+business;

“Technology is poised to flip healthcare from scarcity to abundance. Think of this in the context of Google Maps. A couple of decades ago, a map wasn’t exactly scarce, but you had to trudge to a store and pay money for a physical product that was printed in limited quantities. Today, every owner of a smartphone can tap a screen and get a map instantly for free, and that map does vastly more than the old physical maps — it can even route you around traffic jams. Technology moved maps from being relatively expensive and hard to get to being free and available seemingly out of thin air.

That’s the power of shifting something that was physical and bound by geography to a digital and cloud-based format. This dynamic has transformed industry after industry: media, retail, music, banking, and education.

Its healthcare’s turn, and the coronavirus crisis looks like it could be a turning point.”

Recently the Trump administration waived some rules about cross-state TeleHealth. Here’s the potential plus; “so, if there’s too much demand in New York, for instance, the system could tap doctors with open time in other parts of the country. Doctors could see patients at all hours, without keeping an office open. And patients wouldn’t need to waste time in waiting rooms, sitting elbow-to-elbow with other sick people.”

My Doc told me he “loves it”. It satisfies for first visit and follow-up contacts especially well and using it (even in the early stages of the new cloud-based technology) satisfies 80% of what he hopes to gain from each visit. Me? I felt comfortable, interactive – to us even reviewing my recent scan, and it was super-efficient. A Five-Star all Thumbs Up!

One of our local hospitals, St. Elizabeth in nearby Edgewood, KY, said that a year ago they managed between 250 and 300 TeleHealth appointments. This year it’s over 20,000 sessions.

Just think, it hasn’t even reached the point where Artificial Intelligence has really crept into the equation. It won’t be long before AI takes over the pre-primary care. Especially once it auto-connects to our wearables collecting our vital details. It’s a new world staring us in the face.

Flatten the curve – Does bring its own set of quirkiness. On the plus side is Wimbledon. They apparently paid $2-million a year for pandemic insurance for the past 17 years (Total $34-million). This year’s cancellation payout will be $141-million.

NBC News stated that the US reported 1,264 deaths of the virus in a 24-hour period. That same period China (where it broke out) reported zero [remember Tiananmen Square? China also never reported a single death there].

Evolution to a degree that Darwin would be proud:
1) “Trump giving Americans false hope
2) Trump peddling snake oil
3) Trump made a couple drink fish-tank cleaner
4) Hydroxychloroquine might, maybe, be helpful
5) Trump is in it for the money”          (Prof Margaret Cleveland)

A vast majority of doctors concur that Hydroxychloroquine & Zithromax might be effective for the virus. The media starts blasting that it’s unproven! Fake! And not backed by science! These same ‘wizards’ insist just as loudly that we Must! listen to a high school dropout Swedish kid.

The numbers, both hospitalizations and deaths, are fractionally of the predictions, predictions which are downright garbage and forced our economy to shut down and grind our celebrations to a halt. We’re in lockdown. In Kentucky Police are recording the automobile plate numbers of churchgoers, and in Michigan it’s forbidden to travel from one residence to another. So far we’ve willingly watched as our freedoms and our Bill of Rights are torn. Maybe it’s time to act like the Buffalo which face the storm and head straight for it; not cower and run away as do cattle.

So, back to the positive. It appears that Texas Governor Greg Abbott is working for business to re-open beginning next week; “restore livelihoods… aggressively…but safely”. Leave it to Texas to display some common sense!

Final Numbers – are in. Last Wednesday evening Mother Nature put on one amazing spectacle. I sat in our sunroom absolutely mesmerized as sky, cloud to cloud, lightning blasted across all points of the sky without ceasing for about an hour. My phone alarm went off and tornado sirens wailed – a couple of different times.

By morning we were informed that 70,000 were without power and that 7 tornados had touched down in the counties east of us.

Friday evening happening – Marcia noted on our Neighborhood site that there was activity a ways away by The Belvedere. It was dusk and I took to the street. I’m still not sure exactly what transpired; but with lots of cops, detectives, Crime Scene vehicles, and a Coroner’s wagon I can make a pretty good guess. With all the face masks and milling about I didn’t think it appropriate to let them know that I was just being nosy. I guess that soon we’ll find out exactly what went on; it doesn’t look good.

I just heard an Owl, so I deduce a bothersome Owl was not the issue.

     

Fini – April 14th, 15th, and 16th, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and the moon will appear together and all should be visible to the naked eye (or try a decent pair of binoculars).

To help entertain the little tykes as parents walk them around the block, Marcia has ‘hidden’ bears in the windows of the sunroom for them to discover. She also placed a doll Vai and Dinah always deemed “creepy” in the same window, sitting complete with a knitted face mask. Kids still see it as ‘creepy’.

On this day in 1976 computer hobbyist Steve Wozniak hand-build and offered to the public a new machine dubbing it the Apple I.

As one who enjoys Jazz, I came across this photo of many of the really big names in Jazz. This from Esquire’s 1959 Golden Age of Jazz photo shoot by Ari Kane.

With music on my mind. For the past three or so weeks the various neighborhoods I walk through are abuzz with contractors. I’ve discovered that well before I get to a place being worked on I can tell about the work crew. If the DeWalt radio is pumping out modern country, not the ‘King of Swing’ Bob Wills or even Merle Haggard stuff, but the current Country genre; they’re probably from Kentucky.

If I hear a thump-thump base and then soon recognize the ‘lilt’ of some Rap-Crap I know it to be an Urban crew. Latino music is just as recognizable. And I’ve also come to realize that it’s this style that has me strain for more as I walk on past and it fades – just a little bit more please.

Lastly, do keep a journal documenting this WuVirus; Corvid-19. The loss of family contact, the face masks and the isolation, the constraints and the 6-foot rule; record it all before this event too fades into the history books. Based on all that I read, Corvid-19 will eventually be viewed as an average flu-like event, no worse and no better, and no more or less dangerous. An event, for whatever reason, exacerbated by a global panic, which then turned into a global recession (or possibly a global depression).

I’m hopeful that now that Easter is here, we’ll begin to see our leadership focused on a path forward.

Donald Trump, US President; ”We built the greatest economy in the world, I’ll do it a second time!”

I hope!

Make it great week, stay safe and healthy!
Dirk


Insanity
04 4th, 2020


It’s Saturday morning and I am tired. Tired, of being subjected to the constant stream of hyperbolic intensity over Covid-19. Tired, of being coerced, sheep-like, into a behavior pattern which changes constantly. Tired, of feeling like a lab-rat. Tired, of watching life as I know it careening down some demon roller-coaster. Tired, of the general malaise and grief exhibited by those cooped around me.
And, I don’t think this needs to be thus.

”Funny how everybody with a degree is sitting home right now and the trades are running this entire nation.” ~ Sandy Schneider

January and February we were told that for the citizen on the street Face Masks were of no benefit. This past week we’re advised by these same ‘experts’ that the only sure way to avoid the dreaded virus is hand washing plus the wearing of a Face Mask (only now these items can’t be found anywhere).

Churches are closed – the new and improved sacrament is ‘virtual’. Even with a funeral those grieving are limited to ten (the ten very best grievers) and they are properly spaced graveside. At the same time, a few blocks away, an abortion clinic is operating in ‘business as usual’ fashion (3,000 guaranteed deaths a day nationally).

Two hours a day are taken up with the ramblings of our President, who insists he mix ‘hope’ with ‘hopeful-projections’. The shoring up specifics he leaves to the experts; these, by and large, are ‘expert’ at painting only the worst case scenarios. They have already been installed as our new WuFlu Rock Stars – have you gotten your Dr. Fauci Bobblehead or a magnificent imitation Dr. Birx scarf yet?

Really now, could we not also have input from the nation’s best constitutional law and Economic experts. I’d like to get a more complete picture. And, while at it, how about some experts from the field trying out experimental ways to take the bite out of this virus (think of Hydroxychloroquine trials being conducted) – the silence on this subject by the CDC, NIH, and the like is deafening.

This well-staged event is then followed by an hour of Junior High Journalistic trainees who confuse the gathering and reporting of news with their 3rd hour debate class – through wildly swinging raised arms and, “me, me, me”; all the while looking for a ‘gotcha’ bit.

Flatten the curve – and we’re all pulling to do just that; even though the whole curve thing is based on a projection of a single model. Yet, for most of the nation the hospitalizations model has little reality. Our hospitals here aren’t under stress. Yet the Ohio National Guard filled up a parking lot with equipment in order to transform our convention center into a 500 bed hospital.


Hours of overtime were issued in order that the Mercy and Comfort (both 1,000 bed hospital ships) could be made ready and positioned ASAP. By mid-week all was a go. Yesterday the one had 12 patients and the other 3.

A day ago the head of our board of county commissioners held a press conference. She started by saying that overnight she was, “gut punched” by the news of two individuals dying due to Covid-19 – the first Covid-19 deaths in an area of almost a million people and after the virus running rampant for 3-months. After all was said and done, almost as an afterthought, it was mentioned that both had “underlying causes”. Sad, but good grief.

I have lived through other stressful world events: HIV, H1N1, SARS (had to fill out paperwork enroute upon returning stateside), mass shootings and 9/11 and our response to all of these was never a total shutdown or even a partial one other than air travel for a short period after 9/11.

Remember when President Obama and Joe Biden held daily briefings on the H1N1 pandemic? Neither does Andrew Pollack who presented that insight. [More than 12,000 Americans died of H1N1 US in 2009, and 275,000 were hospitalized]

On the scanner, Marcia reported that there is now a stream of calls revolving around stabbings, fights, and domestic altercations. It must be the pressure stress and of being cooped up. Thursday, close to the nearby Belvedere building, a guy was beating up on a woman in the middle of traffic. He could be heard yelling; “pay me my money!” The police came and that situation was resolved.

It’s not easy to ‘flatten the curve’.

Tale of Two Cities – Social Distancing is the only way to go when talking with all my neighbors and friends; and we all practice it (we’re very good sheep). Ok, the distance fluctuates between 3 and 6 feet, but we do it. Why, yesterday was an organized a neighborhood 5:00PM Front Porch Pour Happy Hour. Chairs placed on porches and in yards and a new ‘togetherness’ ensued.

Meanwhile the ‘homey-boys’ in a nearby house threw a party, guys wearing saggy-pants streamed in. The music thumped, hugs and secret handshakes ensued. Eventually the ladies started porch twerking. However, it was when basement-wall urination started taking place that Police were called. A while later a strapping policeman pulled up on his bicycle (cruisers seem to have also been affected by Covid-19). He dealt with the situation with good-nature and (for a while) things broke up and some left – high-fiving the cop on their way out. Social distancing apparently is interpreted differently. Will the outcome also be different or is it all part of the ‘soup’ we’re in?

But we try – As gloomy as our news is and as our outlook is (or so the TVs blare). People want the best. Parents with little ones walk by and wave. Even at 6+ feet the nods are a bit more frequent. And, it’s Springtime and hope does spring eternal. Even banners of hope have been positioned.

Collective Grief – It’s Kirstin who steered me onto an amazing interview with David Kessler on Grief. Kessler co-authored with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross dealing with her ground-breaking work on Grief and Dying.

The collective national grief we’re currently part of is dealt with head on, and the Podcast (attached) should be part of your weekend. Enjoy!

David Kessler and Brené Brown on Grief and Finding Meaning – Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

Fini – This week it’s one of those Birthday specials; Dia and Jeanne P.

Walks are as invigorating as ever. And, now that I’ve discovered the new walkway to our old part of town I can be seen on it at least every few days.

In music, we lost Bill Withers this week. Songs such as “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t no Sunshine” are iconic.

Under the ‘Really?” column; this headline from The Guardian in the UK; “Nightingales at risk due to shorter wings caused by climate crisis”. Seriously?

Under the “smile” column; “New York To Raise Taxes On Coronavirus Causing It To Flee State” (I presume primarily to FL). And also, a sign next to a Meeting Hall: “Procrastinators Anonymous Meeting Postponed Indefinitely”.

Lastly, some good things happening in the World:

Make it great week, stay safe and healthy!
Dirk


Self-Isolate
03 28th, 2020


Saturday morning here in these parts; here we’re in a (partial) lockdown. Now that the crisis of the Coronavirus or Chinese Coronavirus, or WuFlu or Corvid-19 (take your pick) is raging about us, it’s all that can be talked about. Serious? Sure, but the cataclysmic calamity and ruin is mostly raging throughout the business world and thereby our world. As far as pandemic events go along with accompanying loss of life, there have been much worse.

Back to Saturday morning, and this means that it’s coffee for me and a feet-up pre-dinner glass of Jonge Jenever by my friends and family in Europe. All of us, similarly isolated and under lockdown.

Thinking back I believe that about age 14 or 15, I was already ‘self-isolating’ with frequency (air quotation marks inserted here). Now, at the ripe old age of 78 I am told by a similarly aged Doctor, Doctor Fauci, that I must ‘self-isolate’ all over again. The circle remains unbroken.

Dr. Fauci, could be a ‘mini-Ming’ to Ming the Merciless, the arch nemesis character of Buck Rogers movie fame. With Fauci, everything that comes out is ten-times worse than what you thought, but presented with a soft smile and in such a kind manner. I should mention that, giving credit where credit is due, the “Ming the Merciless” connect came from Dennis deYoung, musician and the lead vocalist of the band Styx.

While checking my TD Ameritrade site for a good deal on Cruise-Line stocks I remembered coming across this a week or two ago;

” Can you imagine being so f’d up on a cruise that you’re hoping to hit an iceberg?” ~ comedian Dennis Miller

Meanwhile from the wonderful world of statistics;

”Does it bother you more that there are more (Americans) who blame Trump for a virus; or that 68% of Americans aren’t sure if Corona Beer is the cause” ~ MLB Pitcher Curt Schilling

Sizing up the political and medical scene it’s evident that we’ve lost the ability to use logic and are drowning in historical ignorance. Now I best get back to checking out what the NIH (National Institute of Health) is up to these days, spending $40-Billion a year by artfully skipping past ‘lightweight’ research on things like viruses, instead grinding away at the ‘heavies’; drunken monkeys, soap operas, tailgating, and Shrimp on treadmills.

Safety Net – On March 18, Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune wrote a column titled: “With little or no safety net, jazz musicians watch their gigs disappear as coronavirus spreads”. The article brings to the forefront those on the front lines of economic devastation in these pandemic times (a good read).

The reason for me paying attention is that Reich interviews two Jazz musicians; guitarist Andy Brown and singer Petra van Nuis a husband and wife duo. Petra was a classmate of our Kirstin at SCPA (School for Creative and Performing Arts) and Petra’s mom is a longtime neighborhood friend of ours. It’s a worthwhile article connected to the linked title. The YouTube is 15-minutes of quiet Jazz the two recorded at home now that their gigs have dried up.

Listermann – Listermann Brewing Company is a small, nearby, Craft Brewery serving primarily the Xavier University crowd. With Basketball having ground to a halt and now most students having vacated the grounds, what to do? Well, they’re open, the grill has take-out, and they’re selling beer making supplies. And, most importantly, bring your empty Growler for a refill to then enjoy back at home. Yup, people are making it work these days.

Springtime – I’ve managed to get in a daily walk through the neighborhood and the surrounding areas. It was a good week to manage that since spring had everything in full bloom. And the springtime smells have been heavenly.

     

The Toy Cannon –Thursday baseball great and Cincinnati native Jimmy Wynn “The Toy Cannon” passed. His passing occurred on the very day Major League Baseball season was supposed to open. Wynn’s career centered around Houston (minored with Cincinnati). However, what is remembered in these parts is that once, in old Crosley field, he hit a home run into the history books by hitting the ball onto the nearby Interstate 75 highway.

Baseball – No activity other than Baseball absolutely grinds the city to a halt other than Opening Day here in the ‘Nati. Baseball’s oldest professional baseball team has a warm spot in the hearts of this town and it’s a huge deal. Traditionally the first pitch opening of the new baseball season was handed to Cincinnati. Even now it happens, even if by mere minutes of the start of other games.

However, it’s the lead-up activities which makes most everything stop. Biggest of that is the two to three hour parade winding through the city. The ‘Lockdown” and the postponement of Opening Day and has made it all into a nothing day. The pictures below are from last year, just to give you a ‘feel-good’ moment.

     

Fini – This week Marcia lost her Aunt, Naje (Nellie Jane). She lived healthily and lovingly for 95 years and Marcia adored her. Naje’s sister, Dodie, will dearly miss her since the two sisters lived together during these last years by sharing an apartment at an independent residential center. Aunt Dodie is well, but this loss will be difficult for her to deal with at age 97.

Mid-week brother Art will celebrate his birthday – at home! Even so, have a good one guy.

How low can it go?

And I have my fingers crossed that the trials underway with the anti-malaria drug chloroquine bear fruit. New York has started trials.

Make it great week, stay safe and healthy!
Dirk


Pandemic or Panicdemic?
03 21st, 2020


So, what is it? Haven’t figured it quite out, guess it’s the time of day. But I’ll go with the fact that it seems to be a combination of both; pandemic and panicdemic.

I’ve already poured my morning mug of coffee. This morning its primary goal is as an immune booster.

”(Senators) Loeffler, Feinstein, Burr, and Inhofe. The Four Day Traders of the Apocalypse” ~ Dennis Miller

Meanwhile people such as ‘everyman’ John Bleakley writes;

”Remember all the restaurants and small businesses that you’ve asked for years and years to donate to your clubs, events, and organizations? They’re calling in a favor. Answer the call.”

If true that those Senators did use the Corvid-19 tragedy to line their pockets they should be punished to the law’s full extent; and it does appear that they did.

Marcia and I have decided to order out more often than normal and apply a decent tip.

A new way – Marcia now keeps a calendar listing the special senior hours for ‘Q-tips’ (cotton swabs) like us. A number of places have begun to open early for such as we, to do early shopping ahead of the ‘thundering herds’ hot on our heels. I suggested we set up a little business to take advantage and do some shopping for others. It was voted down.

Tents – Across town an array of large ‘party’ tents have sprung up to perform drive-through virus tests. The initial run on the early ones had the powers-to-be mandate appointments. My plan is to just drive up to one just to see if the F-150 can pass through before I formally set up an appointment – better safe than sorry.

     

Spotted – It would appear that nearly everything catching my eye these days has a medical spin. I see vehicles boldly proclaiming “Mobile Mammogram” or “Bloodmobile” with some regularity. However, this was a first, and I thought the graphics spectacular.

Reminder – That with all the spin regarding this virus is that in fact it did start in Wuhan. It is also a fact that the Chinese authorities arrested 8 people (Doctors and journalists) for “spreading rumors of a local outbreak of unidentifiable pneumonia, previously identifying it as SARS.” That was into December and it wasn’t till January that the Global Times began to write about a new virus. The Chinese initially tried to hide and downplay what they had. They lied!

And, it wasn’t till nearly mid-January that the World Health Organization came aboard to begin detailing what was on hand while still praising China for its ‘transparency’.

Fini – RIP Kenny Rogers. Spinning the radio dial, I’d invariably stop whenever I came across one of his songs, especially “Reuben James”. Also, his interviews as a ‘fixture’ at Willie Nelson’s (plus Neil Young, and John Mellencamp) Farm Aid; especially the 1985 event was a joy to listen to and memorable.

The quarantine plods on. Paying particular attention to the 5-foot rule, Marcia and I have managed a daily walk; she around the block, and me my regular 5-mile jaunt. With the gym closed my lap swims have ground to a halt.

The quarantine and school closures also is difficult on the kids. This note Vili wrote (with some frustration) makes it plain that the days are not a vacation.

Spring is definitely here and many flowering shrubs in bloom, having said that, it’s been raining almost every day. Still, with a gap here and there, it was enough to gets some outdoor time.

Having said that, the other day a Tornado headed straight for us. As sirens wailed there came a point where we were at the door ready to dive into the basement. A couple of miles from us it dissipated – whew!

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Marcia’s aunts, Naje and Dodie and with Dia’s mom. With all the current restrictions on care facilities, it’s not easy on the residents and their families as well as the staff of these places.

Make it great week, stay safe and healthy!
Dirk


Reckoning Day
03 14th, 2020


Well, not quite. Shopping yesterday we did get enough coffee to last through a season in Canada. So, with fresh coffee poured I want to wish everyone a good Saturday morning; even though we’re putting up with the most draconian measures in my memory.

In the meantime, starting in the East there was a run on toilet paper. A recent edition of the Business Insiders thought that maybe; “the apparent stockpiling comes as governments and suppliers have warned citizens not to do exactly that.”

”an Australian news tabloid circulated an issue with an extra eight blank pages. “Get your limited edition one-ply toilet paper newspaper sheets” ~ The Northern Territory News (NT News – Australia), March 4, decided to preempt an inevitable joke about the news industry when the country’s demand for toilet paper rose

All of this possibly due to “fears over the novel coronavirus prompting people around the world to clear supermarket shelves of daily necessities, especially toilet paper” (Business Insider).
Before worry sets in, I best enjoy my coffee first. And No, we’re not considering a one-sheet rule.

Costco – A trip to Costco had been on our horizon. We’d heard the place was busy so yesterday we arrived about 20-minutes after the store opened – to a FULL parking lot and with barely a shopping cart in sight! A helpful customer who did not get toilet paper gave me his. At the entrance we were informed that there was NO toilet paper or paper towels – and there were folk like the guy who gave me his cart, who upon hearing that bit of news turned around and headed back out. Panic is a serious thing.

Let the shopping begin, and off we went into the thick of it without a thought of Coronavirus or even Wuhan. It was Marcia who took note an initiated a brilliant ‘counter-move’. She realized that the line heading towards the checkout actually snaked all around the store by first going the exact opposite way. After discovering the line’s very tail end I put our cart in line – empty, and began the slow shuffle forward. Meanwhile Marcia raced up one isle and down another. Every so often she’d spot me and swung by to make a deposit in our quickly filling cart.

I began (actually by ‘ending’ the line) at the store’s side wall next to the dog foods. Then followed my newly introduced ‘friends’ to the store’s back wall and across to an approximately mid-point. At that instant it was a sharp left, where, in the far distance I spotted the registers. About 30-feet out a smiling Costco employee placed us into a secondary line and we were quickly ‘processed’.

Draconian Intervention – By now you’re all aware that, as a nation, we’re now at a standstill. Schools have closed all sports activities are at a standstill, Library and church doors shut. But is all that necessary?

Social Media and the 24/7 news cycle see the importance of promulgating their ‘news’ and their agenda – more sales, more ‘clicks’ and if Trump can get a whack to boot, so much the better. The politicians are between a rock and a hard place and will get a negative ‘hit’ no matter what, especially our current President who, much like President Reagan, is saddled with a 95% negative media coverage.

Between April 2009 and January 2010, 57-million Americans had been infected by the Mexican Swine Flu (also known as the H1N1 virus). 257,000 had been hospitalized, 11,690 had died including 1,180 children. It wasn’t until October that then President Obama declared it a public health emergency.

Here’s how the AP reported this emergency when Obama decided to play golf that very same day: “President Barack Obama sought to look both calm and in command, striking a balance between informing Americans without panicking them.” See the ‘subtle’ difference compared to how the screeching voices are heard these days?

Its people like Dr. Marc K. Siegel, a Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, a Medical Director of Doctor Radio at NYU, and contributor to a wide array of media whose latest book; False Alarm, Profiting from the Epidemic of Fear receives little solid press. And yet, he’s one of many who view the Wuhan Coronavirus as no more than a serious flu which can be managed and see it not as a new Bubonic plague or another Ebola event. We got to get real and live our lives peacefully, yet in part, by hitting back at the panic and fear mongers.

Oratory Festival – Vili, our third-grader was one of 15 kids (grades 1 through 3) selected to represent their classes in a school wide oratory festival. Topics were varied and represented the urban variety found at his North Avondale Montessori School. Topics as diverse as; “Save the Bees, “bullying”, “Australian Wildfires”, “Why Recess is Important”, “Homeless”, “Having Cerebral Palsy” to “Freedom for People to Wear Their Hair the Way They Want” were put forth front and center. Vili’s topic was “Ocean Pollution”. As grandparents sitting there, pride comes to mind. But it’s more than that, there was also hope. Hope watching these youngsters take a serious topic and address it well. Marcia and I headed home with a smile on our face.

Fini – Remember that today is Pi Day, the day to celebrate the mathematical constant Pi. March 14, expressed numerically, matches the Pi number’s first digits, 3.14.

Then, yesterday was Friday the 13th. With some it’s beware for bad luck kind off day. People having that concern; are you aware that Friday the 6th and Friday the 20th are just as rare? Soon you won’t have a single ‘lucky’ day left.

Brother Art and Jolene were supposed to be here this weekend. Friday they cancelled. There were just too many closures to take a chance following a cross-country trip.

Neighbors and friends Barb and Bulent were supposed to be here next week. The plan being was to travel to Louisville and Bardstown, Kentucky for a few days of Bourbon tasting. Again, closures made that mini-vacation untenable and I cancelled our reservations.

But, there was good news. At Costco I filled up – with a smile on my face. Actually, at the ‘Y’ I was talking with some gents of my age and the question of the cheapest gas we could remember came up. I thought I had it with 25¢ per gallon. One of the group beat me; he had crossed the river into Kentucky and filled up at 18¢ a gallon.

Remember that selling your 401K in a panicked market only lines the pockets of those who don’t.

Marcia, listening the the ongoing blather on the virus asked, who exactly are the ‘elderly’ they keep talking about. Without hesitation I gave her the answer; “anyone who is a year older than me.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Marcia’s aunts, Naje and Dodie.

Make it great week, stay safe and healthy!
Dirk