Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom:

“Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.” — Jim Fiebig

This week we sat for Vaioleti a bit. I’ve noticed that, since my recent birthday, it takes a fair bit of bodily maneuverings to crawl off the floor (play position) and into an upright stance (item retrieval position). Hence this week’s quote, but, since I am now standing upright I might as well pour my morning coffee.

Passing of a landmark – my college years were, for the most part, self funded; something that was a bit difficult working at a 125¢ per hour on-campus college job. Secondarily, my church affiliated school proved it’s mettle by implementing a large variety of rules. Not just rules, but the serious ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ type of rule – nothing in the middle. For example, the Fox Trot was the devil’s own, a country dance was ok. Smoking was a non problem, but alcohol just “greased” the skids to hell. So what was a young and earnest college student like me to do? Why, embark on a side career of tending bar of course.

While not exactly super lucrative tending bar did have an array of side benefits, especially working at places such as a Steak House restaurant and the club house of a private golf course. Most importantly, while the kitchen staff got thirsty I was always hungry; so quickly a barter system would be established—see where this is heading? It was the perfect solution, cool refreshments for sweat soaked chefs and solid food for an always hungry college lad.

Moreover, I now had a marketable summer-time skill. And this is where the story is heading.

It so happened that the ‘Nati was headquarters for the national bartenders union. This means that, other than slopping beer in a college pub, you would be expected to be a “member-in-good-standing” of the hometown union to ply the honorable bar tending trade. The benefit being ready/steady work, even for a summertime college student. And here is where my story begins.

One of my summer work assignments was a two week stint at a local mainstay, a veritable institution, Grammer’s Restaurant and Bar. Since 1872 the place had been a community bastion in Cincinnati’s historic Over the Rhine area. The regular daytime guy had some surgery and I was assigned, by the union, to fill in.

Day one went swimmingly. Right after opening a couple of guys in need of their morning “fortifier” (shot of Vodka) sat down. Then soon the early business lunch crowd entered (these were the days where a business lunch consisted of much drink plus a little food that was then pushed around the plate). Eventually, all that was left were the few of the early morning Vodka guys who were now asking for their afternoon “fortifiers”. Then it was time for me to perform the all important “counting the till” function.

I forgot to mention the single most important instruction I received. I was to never remove the small wrapped stack of twenties from their far right slot in the till.

By day two I was an old hand and the day sped by. When it came time to count the drawer I quickly created stacks of bills on the long wooden bar—while all the while keeping an eye on the afternoon “fortifier” characters sitting a ways away. I was now so familiar with the place that, without looking, I had only to reach behind me to grab the next stack of bills.

KABOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!

The last thing I saw were a few wide-eyed customers popping straight up from their seats. That horrific boom ricochet off the ceramic floor, the leaded cut-glass front, and the tin ceiling. I lost all ability to see as a wave of tear gas enveloped the cash register, the bar, me, and then the rest of the restaurant. The tear gas cartridge activated by my removal of the stack of twenties carried the equivalent of either a .32 or .35 caliber round.

It took the combined effort of three fans to clear the mess. About an hour later Grammer’s managed to get back to some semblance of normalcy. With grins the police accepted my lame story. And yes, I did work at the place for my remaining eight days.

Sadly, this week Grammer’s Restaurant and Bar closed—permanently!

Animal Planet – Spring is finally here. Our whole clan has been hibernating for way too many months. Then, Thursday, the temperature popped to 71, yes I said 71, and we took advantage of it. So, after school Cathy took Marin and Dinah, and I took Vai to the Zoo.

It’d been since last autumn that I was at the place last and upon driving into the parking lot I was amazed that the rows were completely covered by a series of roofs. I couldn’t help thinking that this was a nice touch to keep visitors cars cool in the summer. It wasn’t until later that I found out that this was a huge solar panel array—the largest people accessible array in the nation.

Cincinnati has one of the top zoos in the land; with this they’ve advanced another notch. The claim is that the 6400 panel array will provide enough power to furnish 20% of the zoo’s needs during peak times, be off grid and in sell-back mode during low use periods. It’ll generate enough electricity to power 200 homes each year; that’s enough to power your Wii for 95 million hours (maybe its 95 ‘gazillion’). Anyway, I was impressed!


Closing – This evening will be the full crust or full sap moon. But, it gets better. The perigee (small separation of the earth and the moon) also happens to be the smallest distance between the two bodies for the past couple of decades (356,577 km). What this means that this evening the moon will be extraordinarily large; think scene from a sci-fi “B” movie large. I hope that you’ll have a cloudless sky, if so, look early in the evening, and enjoy the sight.

Make it a great week

Cheers,

Dirk

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