Happy Saturday morning:

a ‘struggle’ thought (one which should apply to everything we embark on):

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” ~ Frederick Douglass

Right about the time I finish this post son-in-law Vince will still be in the water as part of his first leg of the Woodlands Ironman race in Houston, TX. The race will have begun.

While I peck away on my keyboard, watch a soccer game, do some shopping, Vince has embarked on an adventure which will have him cover a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Woodlands. Then immediately set out on a 112-mile bike race through the rolling farmland of east Texas. Finally his day will finish with a 26.2-mile run.

Go Vince!

Track him here  click on the “Athlete Tracker” tab and enter his bib number: 2179

from: www.ironman.com

Up and Down week – At least as the temperature goes. And, I believe I have the early beginnings of a scratch in my throat and some sneezing. Early on it was humid daytime highs well into the eighties and a morning low above the 70 mark. This morning it was 40 and the heat was on.

This is all so wrong!

Some of you will attribute this to “Climate Change”. Me? Not so certain. However, I should point out that I am seeing definitive proof of Climate Change ———– on Venus!

NASAThat’s right, Venus. The big red spot of swirling wind that’s been observed since the year 1800 is shrinking fast. Once as big as Earth it’s downsizing by 580 miles per year and is now less than half of its original size. Click on the photo for a jump to NASA’s site to see the photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Moniker – Deep down I believe that every guy would wish for his own moniker — it’s probably a man thing. Ronald Reagan would straighten up when addressed as “Dutch.”  In music think Dizzy Gillespie, Ringo Starr, or a Bo Diddley. In the Mafia world it’s a free-for-all; “meatball”, “Johnny Bandana”, “The Claw”, or “Baby Fat Larry.” And in sports we hardly know the real names.

So, back to Dirk. There actually was a summer, many, many years ago when I was known as “Mac.” Playing around our cow-pasture which was quickly becoming a subdivision in Toronto I was Mac.

The problem was that Mac actually applied. My English was horrid and beautifully accented which meant that the other kids could not grasp my real name. But, with several newly immigrated families who had come from places such as Scotland and Germany, those kids could barely be understood or understand. Hence, for that one summer we were all collectively referred to as’ “Mac.”

“Hey Mac, hurry, come over here” and we all came running. In my young mind that name had some direct and powerful connection to cowboys or other mysterious person. I was quite proud of that nickname.

Hans Litten – Some evenings turn into lovely events. Last Thursday was such an evening. Marcia had retired early and I opted to watch a BBC documentary on Hans Litten.

Little known, Litten was a young attorney who absolutely demolished Adolph Hitler during a court interrogation as Hitler witnessed on behalf of some SS storm troops at their trial in the mid-1930s.

As soon as Hitler rose to absolute power many of the German intelligentsia and artists were herded into the first of the Nazi camps – Sonnenburg. Knowing of Hitler’s hatred for the man he was singled out for constant torture. The only thing they could never break was Litten’s dignity.

It was such a powerful story which explored man’s inhumanity to man and the will to survive even if it was no more than by keeping the freedom of one’s thoughts.

Powerful stuff. Glad I stayed up.

Animal Planet –Up north our neighbors have reported in. The frost is leaving the ground and it’s a soggy and muddy mess. Cold, rainy, some sleet, and the cold winds coming from Lake Superior means that we’ll refrain from heading up to Northern Comfort for a few more weeks.

Fini – So, the time has come for me to stand up and grab another Kleenix. Then, start to get ready for fresh air and the soccer field

Make it a great week everyone, stay safe.

Cheers.

Dirk

From the Archives

Saturday, May 20, 2006 

Morning all:

Interesting, this morning the cats were in full attack mode. Normally they can hardly be seen, but this morning it was a different story. I finally had enough and went downstairs. Here they were again, this time walking circles around their empty food dishes. One night without food and you’d think they were on a fast track to starvation. Therefore, the order in which everyone got their morning due was cats first, Shang second, and only after that did I grind some fresh coffee.

I am doing my post and the cats are nowhere to be seen. That is true ‘thanks’ for you.

Would you believe it, a few weeks ago Adrianne experienced a near 8 point earthquake in Tonga. It was quickly realized that about the only nation not notified about a potential tsunami as a result of that quake was the very place where the quake originated. Last Tuesday, just as Tonga was finally undertaking its first ever tsunami emergency exercise, a 5.8 point earthquake hit the country again. I just wonder how the Tongans managed to create an earthquake with such precise timing?

As Garrison Keillor normally starts on his weekly A Prairie Home Companion radio show “It was a quiet week in….” well, it was a quiet week in Cincinnati: quiet, except for the daily pounding of the rain that is. Storm after storm blew through, daily, and for over a week. And Mother Nature was somewhat of a tease about the whole thing since it consistently looked like change it-was-a-coming. Twice I got caught on my evening walk, leaving the house under clear skies only to be about a mile or so away when out of nowhere the skies opened up again.

But, this weekend promises to be spectacular, so I guess that I have been living right after all. From the sheer pressure of Shang’s huge brown eyes staring at me, which by the way only see in black and white, I caved in. Along with some chores (laundry to the cleaners) I will be taking him for a morning walk around our Lunken Airport hiking trail—six miles.

Since I seem to be on a what-am-I-doing-this-weekend theme let me just barge right on. My plan is that this evening I’ll join the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival production of Richard III. It is a bit of a dark play dealing with a man who is commonly represented as an icon of evil, an ogre of insensitivity who was horribly disfigured who led England in The Wars of the Roses. And, this is only for Marin and Derek, (pssst. it’s a secret only between us three) he ate live frogs for breakfast! There is also another side to the character, one of being a reformer in the rough pre-Tudor era 500 years ago.

As an update, things are progressing nicely in Ocoee. Now that Vince’s brother and his wife had their baby this week I think that both Vince and Kirstin are more eager than ever for Derek to have a new brother/sister join the ranks. In the meantime Marcia plods on with laundry, play, cleaning, cooking, etc.; isn’t that what we celebrated last weekend—Mother’s Day?

Make it a great week everyone and take the time to reach out.

Cheers,

Dirk

5/20/2006 07:39:00 AM

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