Good morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.” — Colin Powell

Welcome to Springtime. Exciting stuff, especially when within days the Forsythia, Magnolia, and Daffodils were all in bloom. The Pear trees are in bud and throughout my evening walks my steps seem to have taken on more of a bounce.

This also meant that, reciprocating saw in hand, I tackled last year’s growth of Elephant grasses. All winter long the clumps of 8’ high stalks have swayed gracefully in the wind. All winter I kept telling Marcia that they lend interest to an otherwise dreary looking back yard. Now it was time to prepare them for a new growing season. They were dried out, brittle, and as I found out, very sharp.

I should point out that a guy handling a reciprocating saw, really any kind of saw, increases their macho-ness by a factor of ten; highly increased levels of ‘macho’ leads to placing the brain in ‘Park’ and much non-thinking behavior. “What, me wear gloves”? “Naw”!

This morning my ‘macho’ has dissipated and the penalty of my brain-less behavior is now reality. Have you ever had to deal with approximately 500 paper cuts on your hands? I quickly discovered that touching any cold surface is heavenly. Touching any hot surface, especially my mug of steaming morning coffee, is absolute torture.

Another sign of spring is that it appears we have a nesting pair of American Kestrels in a nearby tree [according to my field guide this is the smallest of our Falcons]. Vinnie van Gogh, our oversized Siamese scaredycat, is now quite content to forego outdoor scavenging for calm window sitting. Should sister-in-law Jeanne visit again over the next few weeks we’ll just have to prevent her from racing the ATV in our side-yard so as to not frighten mom Kestrel.

It’s interesting, but I am taking note that with age there comes a surge in activism. This week I found myself testifying before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) against a requested rate increase by our energy company, Duke. Duke has a request in for an $86 million rate increase in delivery charges to cover for a storm related fiasco last September that left us without power for a week.

My stand was that Duke is an unresponsive and inept corporation which had forgone proper ongoing preparations in lieu of immediate profits, all to boost shareholder dividends, which then led to the scandalous outages. I have no idea if I made any difference. Let me just say that it felt extremely satisfying to blast a front row of Duke corporate black suits and a second row of black suited lawyerly types busily passing notes to the suits in the front row. This all while three sets of television cameras were rolling. Fun stuff, if you can claim it ‘fun’ that so far this winter our utility bills are already $1,200 more than a year ago.

As I wrote last week, I was heading out for our Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The weather was perfect, sunny with just a snap in the air. The four marching bands strutted beautifully and the two bagpipe bands were stunning (remember that I pushed hard to have a piper (or pipers) play at our wedding—Marcia nixed that idea big time). There must have been 5,000 Shriners and they all rode their wee-little mini bikes, old scaled down model T cars, new tiny Corvettes, and six-foot long ladder fire trucks, all making wonderfully tight little figure eights—except for the contingent rumbling along on huge Harley Davidson bikes.

My personal favorite was the local DeLorean car club, about thirty strong, idling by in a tight formation with their vehicle’s “Gull Wing” doors wide open. Marin was at the perfect age for a parade. He was completely “in the zone”, wearing beads tossed at him from various floats and eating tossed candies. I had assumed that 2-year old Dinah was as happy as her brother. That myth was broken after I saw the photo I took of our little group after I invited one of the passing clowns to join in. Click on the accompanying photo and look closely at her lower lip on the enlarged version.

Make it a great week everyone. Sunday I am planning to attend a three hour long organ-music extravaganza featuring four of our city’s best church organists. This is a celebration of the music of Johan Sebastian Bach on his 324th birthday. At my age I have come to the conclusion that it is best to help celebrate the birthday of one who is a tiny bit older while I still can. I believe Marcia feels differently, either about three hours of organ music or celebrating a 324 year old; which of the two it is I am not certain. I’ll ask her after she gets up.

Cheers,

Dirk

PS. The NCAA basketball tourney’s are in full swing. “March Madness” has hit our town. So, to my neighbors, Xavier University’s, “Go Muskies!”

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