A good Saturday morning to everyone – Its happened; Hello Fall. This also means that I prefer my coffee just a tad hotter. Mid-week I spotted our neighborhood’s official announcement that the season had shifted.

From their Canadian Thanksgiving stay up north, this picture taken yesterday by Bulent tells the whole story. The ‘winter in white’ is back.

Things I learned this week – Last Thursday evening I watched the ‘Town-Hall’ TV events. I really don’t know why. On ABC (hosting Biden) Stephanopoulos sounded as if he was ‘cooing’ to a newborn. On NBC (hosting Trump) Savanah Guthrie made it sound like she was screaming at an ex-lover; Guthrie asking 43 questions leaving 10 for the Town-Hall participants. Both were sorry state of affairs; this I learned.

It was telling that neither ‘moderator’ touched the 600-pound gorilla in the room; that From Hunter Biden’s own computer hard drive it appears ‘Don’ Joe B & crack-smoking sonny boy Hunter were caught red-handed for being in the bag to China, Russia, & the Ukraine to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. This needs to be verified and as yet is only conjecture. However, the FBI took possession of the drive last December and I suspect that confirmation will be forthcoming.

Message below by Dr. Gad Saad (bio underneath)

Dr. Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing, holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption, and advisory fellow at the Center for Inquiry. A Jewish Lebanese-Canadian, he lives in Montreal Quebec.

Election Prognosis & Projection:

  • • Zogby Analytics – President’s approval is at 51% (no President has lost an election with an approval rating of over 50%)
    • 56% of Americans gauge that they’re better off now than four years ago. With lower numbers than this, Presidents got re-elected in 1984, 1992, 2004, and 2012
    • Any President with an approval rating of over 75% in his own party primary vote typically gets reelected. Trump’s is at 94%
    • Voter enthusiasm gap, i.e. how enthusiastic are you about your candidate. Trump has an 20-point edge

The Incredible Story of a Blind Supreme Court Clerk – The personal story this young woman offered at this week’s Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing is staggering. It makes me even prouder of the work our Adrianne is doing, especially seeing the heights to which her population can climb – literally nothing can stop them. Please do yourself a favor and watch Appellate Attorney Laura Wolk’s short story.

Electric Avenue mural – I know I’ve written about my use of our area’s new Wasson Way hiking-biking trail. Now it’s even better with the just completed new ArtWorks mural, adding color and smiles to all along the trail. The Electric Avenue mural was designed by artist Christian Dallas. Then throughout a better part of the summer it was brought to life by two teaching artists who led a team of eight youth apprentices who painted the mural. It spans close to 300 feet and is WONDERFUL.

Concert – Last Saturday Marcia and I brought chairs and headed over to a nearby neighbor’s house. There to gather with others and listen to members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra give an outdoor presentation of Bach’s works. It was so good to be outside and with people and music (though we did forget to bring some wine). Definitely the highlight of our weekend.

Love that background stuff – especially from the world of music. Last week I mentioned the passing of guitarist Eddie van Halen. I thought I’d share this little detail. Michael Jackson’s signature album was Thriller. As the Thriller album was being worked on, Quincy Jones, then Michael’s Manager approached van Halen about playing lead guitar on Billie Jean and Beat It; which he did (these became the second and third singles released from that album).

van Halen later told that he approached his own Manager who advised against doing the gig; there was no money involved. van Halen really wanted to do it; “I did it as a favor” free of charge, but he did suggest that Michael could give him some dance lessons in return.

Recording the guitar solo; his playing had the control room’s monitor speaker literally catch on fire.

Thriller stood at the top of the music charts for 37 weeks.
There is a lesson-learned in all of this. van Halen saw something as good for him and for those around him, forgoing immediate ‘payback’. Apply that line of thinking to your own situations and your own opportunities as these present themselves in your life.

Fini – Hot off the press and important for people in nursing homes. President Trump just announced he’s reached an agreement with CVS and Walgreens to deliver vaccine to nursing homes for free.

It’s happening. Courts are getting involved with the eradication of some of these crazy, over the top, last minute voting ‘rights’ wrinkles. Michigan just learned from the courts that ballot harvesting is illegal. Ballots must be in by November 3 – for those not in the know, that’s Election Day.

Just in case you’ve never used an Excel Spreadsheet, today is a day you should make note of. Today in 1979 Visicalc was released. It was the very first spreadsheet computer program for personal computers. I remember using these early programs, one floppy disk-drive for the program and another to place the data. And, should you think that to be ancient history, remember that by then we’d already seen Man visit the Moon – and did so without the use of the iconic spreadsheet.

Mentioning 1979, that was the year of our nation’s, OPEC caused, gas shortage. Marcia and I recollected coming home from Michigan in our VW Campervan with our babies. By the time we reached Bowling Green in northern Ohio we were running on fumes (and had tried several stations to pump, all without success). So, I pulled into a motel for the night. By 5:00AM I was third in line at a nearby BP station – not yet open. Eventually I tanked, max 10-gallons. We barely made it home. Just glad that these days Trump is so hot on keeping us energy independent.

Also; today in 1989 at the start of Game 3 of the World Series in San Francisco, there was a major earthquake. The Loma Prieta earthquake which collapsed bridges, caused 67 deaths, had 4,000 injured, and $7 billion in damages.

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

Your Vote counts.

Dirk


Fall has arrived

10 10th, 2020

A good Saturday morning to everyone – first mug of Java has disappeared quickly. Next little break will pour ‘numero’ two (second mug that is).

Once upon a time there were two pant-suited and jacketed politicians who held a debate. Let’s call these two; Steve and Abe. They debated seven times, and each debate lasted three hours. The first got one and a half hours, the other got one hour, and then two fifteen minute rebuttal/wrap-up time periods each. Most importantly, there was NO moderator. Did you grasp all of that, seven debates allowing for a total of 21-hours? Each making their case and again; there was NO moderator! That amount of debate time allowed for each to hone their craft and sharpen/tighten their position. Abraham, the loser, gained a reputation for his “A house divided against itself cannot stand” words, which reverberated throughout the seven districts of Illinois.

Stephen was Senator Stephen A. Douglas and the ‘loser’ for the Illinois the 1858 Illinois state election campaign Senate seat was Abraham Lincoln; eventually one of our most revered and beloved Presidents.

So dissimilar to today’s “debates” where the “you have two-minutes” and a rebuttal of “fifteen seconds” orders are barked; with questions assembled by a biased hack ‘moderator’. The whole thing is now a joke with barely enough time to utter a carefully rehearsed one-line sound bite.

“I want to ask the American people, how calm were you when you were panicked about where you were going to get your next roll of toilet paper?” ~ Senator Kamala Harris; during the Pence/Harris debate

How many steps from the Presidency is this woman potentially? Is this for real?

Personal Injury Note – This week I’ve been fighting something my mother referred to as ‘lumbago’ (an old popular term for lower back pain). It just seemed to become a part of me; no announcement, no request. I just got out of bed mid-week and ten minutes later found me ‘walking’ from chair to couch to floor, then to repeat. Even so, I did manage to get my minimum five-miles per day of walking in; round of applause please.

Yesterday, arriving back home, I felt lucky that a cop hadn’t pulled me over for my careening drunken movements ‘walking’ on the sidewalk – crossing a street was even worse since there weren’t any light posts.

An end – The Boeing 747 was my favorite plane to fly on. And, my favorite 747 flight was the one where brother Pieter and I did Japan and China on old ‘Pan Am’ (Pan American World Airways); seats 1A and 2A!

As an aside; I learned that the original plan was to have it configured as a double-decker. However, they couldn’t get it certified that way since they couldn’t evacuate in the required 90-seconds; hence the immediately recognized ‘bubble-nose’ resulted. But, the immense efficiency of the 747 really brought costs down and started the world on the path of flights for the masses.

Thursday was the day where British Airways flew the final flights for their three remaining 747s; the last of these glorious machines left in passenger service. I watched them take off from Heathrow on Sky News.

Luckily Amazon Prime has begun its freight operations at our airport, and with many international carriers having converted 747s to freighters I can still muster over to the viewing area to catch sight of one gliding in. Amazon Prime Day is this coming week; and we aren’t even members — how’s that for a plug?

Bulent comes through – My friend and neighbor is currently at his north woods camp enjoying a late autumn and the corresponding color. He inspected Northern Comfort and judged the place as “sound”. All is well, even the tarp covered boats not only survived last winter’s snows, ice, and winds, but also spring and summer. Not certain if this is because I did such a good job ‘tucking’ them in or if I was lucky and bought high-quality tarps. Let me not take a chance, so, thank you Harbor Freight.

Nevertheless, I (phrased kindly) am still not happy with the border lockdown due to the Wuhan mess. Everything better be open no later than next season.

Halloween – No matter whether Halloween will be celebrated legally or not, we’re plowing forward. Marcia has arranged the décor and the prep work (candy purchasing) is progressing. Even in the sunroom our ceramic pumpkin greets all passers-by. Donn see what’s giving it its ‘spark’?

Fini – Yesterday, from the Washington Times I learned that; “Nebraska is the only state in the nation with a ‘unicameral’ legislature’ — a zero party, zero partisanship House, absent a Senate where bills are presented and debated without the typical Republican versus Democrat bickering, and then sent along to the governor for signing, or not.” See, one is never too old to learn.

Tomorrow, we’ll be wishing Paul a very happy birthday. He keeps on trying but finds it difficult to catch up to ‘moi’ and he’s no better gaining on his sister.

Tuesday I’ll join in on a discussion (via Zoom) at EmpowerU. A ‘twofer’, first up is Civil Rights Attorney Robert Newman who’s sued the City of Cincinnati. And secondly is Averel Meden. She’ll be discussing how the Ohio States’ $26 billion K-12 public education system monies are doled out. Aside from public education, the state has 5 school choice programs. Averel’s agency operates a network of Protestant and Christian schools who advocate for a parent’s right to choose the best education for their children. Both speakers will hold my interest.

Concert later today put together by nearby neighbors who passed this note around: “Kim and I will be joined by some of our dear friends and colleagues from the Cincinnati Symphony this Saturday October 10 at 3 pm in the afternoon for a CSO in ‘Your Neighborhood Concert’ in front of our house!
Bring a chair, picnic blanket, snacks, drinks etc. for a socially distanced 45 minute performance on Rose Hill Ave.”
Guess where Marcia and I will be.

RIP Peter (Peter Stambrook) who I didn’t know as a London born Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. No, I knew him as a teammate who, as we’d both run the length of the soccer pitch would trip, fall, roll, bound up, and still beat me. That’s the Peter I knew.
RIP Eddie Van Halen (Edward Lodewijk van Halen); guitar god. He was from the city of Nijmegen, also in my own birth country of Holland. Cancer is a beast.

After almost 50-years of friendship our friend Bill Melvin is moving to be with his kids in the NY & NJ area. Aged 94 and he’s giving us a little lunchtime talk during a luncheon in his honor which Marcia and I went to. He’d sold his car (don’t need it in NY), and a lifetime of model aircraft he’d been building — some are in museums and decorate homes and corporate lobbies. Many more years of health and joy Bill, it’s been much more than just a pleasure.

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

Dirk


Fall has arrived

10 3rd, 2020


A good Saturday morning to everyone. Overnight Marcia and I became survivalists.

We had almost run out of coffee. The only place carrying out ‘go-to’ brand of White Castle coffee was Costco; and they informed me that it was now no longer being carried. The search was on.

That afternoon I came home with a 2.5Lb canister of Duncan Donuts branded coffee. Not bad, but it wasn’t White Castle restaurant quality.

Yesterday we were back at Costco and I felt like a Homing Pigeon heading for the coffee isle just to “have a look”. There, at the end-of-aisle display was a double skid of, you guessed it, White Castle coffee. I loaded three 3-Lb bags of the stuff into the truck. Last week we celebrated our 50th, our coffee stash will now last till our 75th.

“Coffee is the best medicine.” ~ anonymous

Even during the days of the Wuhan-Covid this quote has power.

Personal Injury Attorney – OK, I am not making fun of, or trying to create a SNL skit. It’s just a bit of, maybe call it; karma. Yesterday, Steve Barnes of the famed Cellino & Barnes law firm and one of the nation’s key personal injury attorneys died; he was killed while piloting his own small plane. “He was always a fearless advocate for his clients,” the statement from former partner Ross Cellino read.

I suspect his estate will now become a client of the firm he founded.

Wedding – Last week we had a great time watching niece Taryn Cody Pastoor & Alexander Scott Sun get married. And as I wrote last week; “this will be our first Covid mandated Zoom wedding”. After Marcia and I together with our whole Cincinnati gang had our, socially distanced, Anniversary Dinner we gathered at A & T’s place to watch the wedding on their large screen.

So, and this is the beauty of today’s technology, we watched their exchange of marriage vows. Only, some of the witnesses were physically there, some were watching from Taiwan, some watched from locations in Pennsylvania, some from places in Europe, and we in Cincinnati. “Plus one” you say? Yes “plus one”. Kirstin joined from Texas in a most unusual way.

She experienced difficulties joining in and ended up calling Adrianne. The solution those two came up with was brilliant. Kirstin was on Face-Time with Adrianne. She handed her phone to me. I held it close to the screen on my laptop (it was used to power Zoom to the TV) and framed it properly – and so she too was part of the ‘circle’ of friends and loved ones. It was lovely.

Anniversary Celebration – was magnificent. The dinner at Wiedemann’s Brewhouse with accompanying band and great weather was all we could have hoped for. Afterwards came the wedding. Then Kirstin in Austin joined in as she powered up a “Tribute” show of video clips made by family and friends, plus photos from over the years. The only problem being that it was too much fun and some of it was lost due to us laughing. That evening both Marcia and I, almost at the same time, made note that our bellies hurt from laughing as hard as we did. Thanks to everyone who participated, it was delightful, amazing, and fantastic; truly a wonderful surprise! To Kirstin, for the hours of work putting it all together – THANKS.

And, we cannot forget the wonderful Peach desert made by our Fourth-grade Viliami – magnificent!

Fini – For the past 4-years we’ve become used to condo living, especially this year when we couldn’t get to Northern Comfort in Canada. We complain on occasion, but there is also a bunch to appreciate. This week we looked out the front door and the carpets in the lobby and stairs were busily being cleaned.

Mentioning cleaning. Marcia ‘begged’ not to get her anything for her Anniversary due to our limited space. Anniversary day, to her delight, brought her a new Dyson ball vacuum.

This week, October 3rd, 1942 Germany launched the first V2 rockets into England. Many of these things were launched from the farm fields beyond the outer beltway (de singel) of my city in the Netherlands. These things were pre-programmed and pretty crude. Occasionally one would fail and begin to circle over the city until its fuel ran out, then crash and explode. I remember, that as a kid, playing on the pile of rubble of what had been a home less than a block away. Some of these events are still very real and very vivid.

On a much more positive note, also on October 3rd, but 1990, it’s The German Unity Day, the National Day of Germany. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification when the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were unified. For the first time since 1945 there was now a single German state. Remember President Reagan’s; “Tear down this wall!” line from a speech in West Berlin on Friday, June 12, 1987, calling for the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to break the dividing wall between the west and communist east Germany. That began this change.

And, on this day in 1995, O.J. Simpson got acquitted after; “the Trial of the Century.”

And, this is now our best way to view the annual highlight of our regular season at Northern Comfort. Still, its a serious loss not being there.

Now back to my League of Women Voters newsletter to review my selections for later this week when Marcia and I will vote early — IN PERSON.

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

Dirk


49 + 1 = 50

09 26th, 2020

A good Saturday morning to all. As erstwhile candidate Beto would say from atop a kitchen counter; “Hola, ¿cómo estás?” OK, that’s enough of that. Blatantly, I haven’t had any coffee yet.

I despise having to wear those horrid masks when going into stores. Unless you wear a specialized, fitted, medically certified one, they’re useless. The versions you see most commonly block larger than .3-microns; while even the largest Coronavirus diameter is 0.14 microns – people, 0.14 microns is smaller than 0.3 microns and thus will blow right through most masks.

So I’m advocating we start weaning ourselves off the silly things. I recommend that everyone, for the next couple of weeks, wear a veil. Wedding stores are probably hurting these days and will be happy to sell some.

Veils; this gets me to the area of weddings – how’s that for a super smooth segue!

“Our wedding was many years ago. We’re finally beginning to wonder when the celebrations are about to start.” ~ Anonymous

Wedding – Today is the wedding of Taryn Cody Pastoor & Alexander Scott Sun. Taryn is our niece. And this will be our first Covid mandated Zoom wedding. The happy couple will be socially distanced in the backyard of Art and Jolene with a handful of family present. Certainly a colossal difference over what was planned many, many months ago. Even so, were all wishing the happy couple the beginnings of a wonderful life together.

One of the many little social graces that have sprung up over the past few years is something called; “pass it forward”, AKA “Pay it Forward, or AKA “Random Acts of Kindness”.

Marcia and I grabbed hold of this little bit of social kindness, and since today is also our wedding day (50th) we’re passing the special meaning of September 26th on to Taryn and Alex. Take to heart the words of Helen Rowlan; “Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning a handspring, or eating with chopsticks: It looks easy until you try it.” Keep smiling!

Apples – Fall is here! Apple picking time is here! Last weekend the whole of the Pastoor clan drove out to one of the nearby Apple orchards and equipped with bags packed and ate to our heart’s content. Jonathan and Delicious seemed to the varieties we gathered.

The fresh air, the fresh fruit, the gathering of the clan, meant that the whole event was one of pure joy!

EmpowerU, Ohio is an entity I am connected with. It offers a ‘smorgasbord’ of classes on an amazing series of topics; many on topics minimally covered anywhere else – these days it’s all on Zoom. So, on Thursday, I enjoyed an hour and a half lecture/discussion on the life, writings, and person of our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson. Once loved by folk of all stripes, now, in today’s social-media ‘climate’, more controversial – all akin as it was during his lifetime.

He wrote the first cover of the Declaration of Independence. Amazingly, he wrote this when only 33-years of age. He hated being edited, yet had the ‘group-of-five’ work his material over. Then he sat back at times, and argued at other times, as the 1st US Congress fleshed it out further.

As the founder of the University of Virginia that institution became his pride and joy. He was so involved that on his deathbed he penned his “Resolution of the Board of Visitors”, basically laying out the principles for the school’s curriculum. He’d be shocked to see how the place is managed today – since he was shocked enough to write the document after seeing the campus during one of his last visits there.

Lunken Airport – and it’s SkyGalley restaurant was the destination for Marcia and I for lunch last Saturday. That restaurant has been around about as long as we’ve lived in town and it was closing. It was one of those nondescript style eateries which never really stood out, but you were always happy being there. You know the kind of place I’m talking about.

But what is Lunken Airport? Close by, it is our area’s general aviation facility. Brother George soloed there. For a month or two when it opened it was the worlds largest airport. It was home to the first government approved flight school in the US. And American Airlines was born at the place. And, years ago, as I was taking the kids on a bike ride around the property, we made it just in time to see President Ronald Reagan land there. Yup, Lunken has some serious history.

Covid-19 Update – Just so that you remember that close to half the Covid-19 deaths were residents in Long Term Care facilities. And that it’s these 5 governors who required that these facilities take in Covid-19 patients:
** Cuomo (NY)
** Whitmer (MI)
** Newsom (CA)
** Murphy (NJ)
** Wolf (PA)

Fini – Remember when we were told that our lockdown would last two weeks? Well, the original Border closing to Canada was to last one month. It has just been extended for the sixth time. The latest (and probably not final) edict being; “The Canadian-American border, which has been closed since March 21 in an attempt to curb the COVID-19 spread, has been extended through Oct. 21.” It’s “Woe, Canada” for those of us seeking travel north of the border.

As of late, newscasts are spewing forth with a range of nonsense. On that idiot list is a situation called; “critical race theory.” Look closely at this photo and think for a bit. Then remember the affirmation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of an America in which people are “not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Last evening it was leaked that it seems that later today Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett might get the nod be nominated to the Supreme Court. If so we’ll find out a lot more about her; other than that she is a strong Constitutionalist. After what partisans put Justice Bork through, then Justice Thomas. Their appointments were child’s play compared to what Justice Kavanaugh and his family was put through. These politicians tried to absolutely destroy him and his family. Each time it seems to only get worse with the personal attacks and lies. It was staggering the depth to which he was abused; I hope she gets a fairer, more honest, hearing. I hope that she has a ton of courage.

This week the Senate Intelligence Committee released an 87-page report which is making it look as if everyone except President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in 2016. It’s amazing that only one news entity reported on it!

This evening it’ll be dinner to celebrate our Anniversary – outdoors at the nearby Wiedemann brewhouse. This followed by a race home for the Zoom wedding. Somewhere during the day, I’ll try to walk a couple of miles. Whew, busy day – but good!

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

Dirk



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A huge (as in ‘YUGE’) thanks Marin.

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

Dirk


Start of Normalcy

09 12th, 2020


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

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

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

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

Any Benefits? –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirk


109

09 5th, 2020


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

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

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

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

Speaking of Nancy Pelosi;

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

Ponder that for a minute!

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirk


Cringe

08 29th, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The singer is superstar Tenor Christopher Macchio who afterwards said;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirk


wang dang doodle

08 22nd, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dirk


A Break

08 14th, 2020

A break from the corner of Chaos & Mayhem.

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

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

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

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

Dirk