Good morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD – 180 AD)

Last night Marin and Dinah spent the evening here along with dad Jason. The whole bunch was tossed out of their home due to a book-club meeting Cathy was hosting. I guess they now know where they fit into the pecking order. I had a wonderful time and now will grab my morning coffee and savor the memory.

Have you ever played Solarquest? Marin introduced me to this fun solar-system version of the old Monopoly game. Kindergarten must be a bit different these days. Most times he was collecting rent or paying for a space station or moon he’d just purchased, all on his own. I was more than impressed. I really don’t remember very much detail about my own experiences in the big “K”, but I know it wasn’t collecting an $865 rent payment and making sure what I was given was correct.

We’re still in the ‘destroy’ or ‘pack-away’ phase of Marcia’s mid-winter Spring Cleanup. Prior to shredding I rescued a couple of old water bills since they point to one reason for our current national nightmarish problem – bloat. All week we’ve all been reading about the “Spendulus” package. All week we’ve been reading how ‘Red’, ‘Blue’, or ‘Purple’, the new congressional cast of characters is; “catching the same flak about Congress’ plan to spend the economy back on its feet….voters want to know “where are the jobs, mortgage help and health care.”” (CNN – 2-11-09)

People are seeing amazingly little to actually spark the economy, but lots of dollars to grow government, increase governmental power and thereby governmental dependence. By the way, the new ‘transparent’ congress immediately broke its own promise to have the bill viewable on-line for 48 hours prior to any vote. The winning vote was cast without any of our elected leaders having read the bill’s contents – they couldn’t have in the few hours between compromise and passage. However, of one thing we are all certain, the ‘pig’ is alive and well in almost every congressional district.

This is turning into a rant, so back to the water bills; I found a bill from November of 1985 covering water treatment/delivery and sewer maintenance for a period of 3 months: $29.09. By November of 1995 this same bill was now $77.65. Our most recent bill, now as lightly using empty nesters, was $226.17. The water itself, thanks to Mother Nature, comes free from a huge trough called the Ohio River. The treatment and delivery should be fairly stable and the maintenance portion has been charged for right along. Doubling fees in ten years I can see. An over seven-fold increase in two decades, hmmm.

During my weekend spare time I’ve gotten (somewhat) serious about tracing our genealogical roots. It all started with a call and request from my niece’s hubby Gene, who also is on a quest. Building on material already prepared by family members has allowed for a jump-start, especially a lot of work by Marcia’s dad. A distant cousin had prepared a bound record which my uncle in the Netherlands got to my brothers and me. Then my ability to read Dutch has allowed me to get into Dutch language sites using Google NL which is one of many of the overseas Google offerings.

Already the “names only” portion has everyone going back 4-generations accounted for, and one small crooked finger snakes back 13 generations (this gets to the 14th century). I’ve probably spent about 18 hours on the project. In genealogical study efforts it means that I’ve barely started to scratch the surface. The plan is to first lock in the names, and then complete historically pertinent dates and data on each. Should I complete that, it would be fun to fill in life details which allow the names to become real people and move beyond just the “begats”. Thanks Gene for kick-starting me on this path.

Tomorrow morning my flight leaves at 6:45 for a few days with George and Sandy in Naples. Mid-week I’ll be in the Orlando area and next Saturday help celebrate Derek’s 6th birthday at his party. I’ll post on the Sunday.

Today, over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards will be distributed world-wide. Some folk hate the sentimentality of the day, others (the guilty ones) pick up 6 foot tall Ecuadorian roses and 3-pound boxes of chocolate. In any case the lore (can you see my genealogy mode kicking in) of Valentine is interesting in that, in every version, he gets killed.

The most popular is the one about Saint Valentine, a priest, languishing in prison and falling in love with the jailer`s daughter. On the day he is supposed to die he writes her a letter and signs it `From your Valentine` this letter supposedly inspired the whole phenomenon.

Another legend has it that Valentine was a priest during third century Rome. The Emperor, Claudius II, outlawed marriage for young men, as he believed that single men made better soldiers.

Valentine felt this was not fair so he continued to perform marriage ceremonies for young couples secretly. When the Emperor found out what Valentine was doing, he was put to death.

Make it a great week. But, seeing how this holiday thing works, you may want to reconsider being the start of a future holiday.

Cheers,

Dirk

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