Greetings from the corner of chaos and mayhem; this week we had the police at our door, but that’s another story (all’s good). Now, it’s Saturday morning and for the first time since last year it actually feels like autumn. And, we saw our first tree decked in red (missed the best color in Canada). That said, the cooler weather makes this morning’s coffee extra special.

“The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”~ Mark Twain

Being in the thick of the political ‘funny’ season I thought I’d bring a bit of a different skew on the subject of history.

But first – I do realize that following two weeks of postings on our favorite outdoor market, Findlay Market, there must be a bit of boredom setting in.

So, no photos of the color and yes, even the ‘smells’ of the place. Well, maybe one more.

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The attached photo shows exactly one of the key reasons we head out for the place, Blue Oven Bakery (located on a small family farm). For us, every week it’s a different variety loaf of bread to buy; this week it was a 2-pound Country French bread. Gorgeous isn’t it?

The Miami and Erie Canal – So, I walk 3.5 miles each morning. I also tie my shoes using Daniel’s ‘secret’ shoe lacing technique – laces do NOT slip loose. Well, last Tuesday I forgot and the one lace got undone. I walked a half block with a ‘floppy’ lace before spotting a curb by a little flower bed, a perfect place to place my foot on to fix my shoelace (in deference to my age) – I also looked up.

Here, in little St. Bernard, a place where I’d been walking for the longest time, I happen to stand next to a historical marker. I happened to be standing exactly where the Miami and Erie Canal – when in 1845 after 20 years of construction –  it ran the 249 miles from Toledo to Cincinnati. To make it work a series of lakes were dammed, 108 locks built, and 400 boats all pulled by mule teams plied the waters.

None of this takes note of the hundreds of mills whose water-wheels were also powered by the canal’s waters. Ice was brought down from the north to the many breweries (the ‘Nati was a German town after all) and to the packing plants in ‘Porkopolis’ (our moniker at the time).Kids would skate it in winter and honeymooning couples made trips to nearby towns in spring.

I love reading about this kind of stuff, so thanks for humoring me. Now you can break out in a rousing chorus of; “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal (click on the song’s title).

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Hard Core History – These weeks we’re being peppered. Our shoulders bent by both facts and fiction; intrigue, mystery, collusion, and subterfuge. It’s our political season. Sparta

Yet a millennia ago was a time when, at the top of the Asian and European worlds, were the Assyrians and the Persians. They too had their Pattons, their Winston Churchills, their Calvin Coolidges, their Reagans and Thatchers, their Napoleons, Thomas Jeffersons and yes, even their Neville Chamberlains. They had rulers who viewed their rule as a ‘Family Business’, — as do the Bushes and Clintons of today. And of course, they even had their own versions of the Kardashians.

Like today, where some folk think that we have ‘peaked’ and have begun a decline, just so at that ancient time some felt that they had reached that point. Around 450 BC the Greek historian Herodotus wrote that they (the Persians); “had climbed the ladder in wooden shoes and descended in silk slippers” – in other words, they had lost their mettle, people no longer pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they had gotten soft; sound familiar?

I love history. So, these days on my walks I am listening to a 10-hour long Podcast titled “Hardcore History” – really a Masters level course. The podcast by Dan Carlin is beautifully made contemporary with great juxtapositions to the events of current times; the lives of the “King of Kings” epically come to life through Carlin.

The mind’s eye is drawn to Biblical-era coups, conspiracies, and to the horrific aftermath of ancient combat. We watch the unfolding of the amazing lives of the likes of Xerxes, the emergence of the city states such as Sparta and Athens, and that of Darius the Great and his successors.

Similarly, with changes in weaponry and technique, but constant in intrigue, we can see in our modern times the epic battles of WWI and the role in setting the stage for the Great Depression and WWII. The eventual conferences and pacts, and alliances on to the melt down of the Middle East – right back to Persia and Assyria (only now called Iran, Iraq, and Turkey). It is all so very little different. In a cruel sense it is all so lovely.

See why I look forward to my little walks in history?

Animal Planet – Even though the daytime temperatures have been high seventies to low eighties and sunny, autumn is here. Animals know it, plants know it, and so do the trees. Flowers in spring and summer are magnificent. Trees in the fall with their coats of red, orange, and brown and their ‘offerings’ are beyond belief.

‘Offerings?”, yup, and here we get some wonderful examples. Take a look at the photo. From the mighty Oak tree come the little acorns, the Buckeyes from the Ohio buckeye tree. And at just a smidge under2-inches across is the Bur Oak’s impressive wooly acorn; put two in your pocket and everyone gets excited. Is that an offering or what?

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Finis – At this point the race is on. It’s off to Armleder Park for a soccer game. Then out into the country side for a 45-minute drive to the Orchard for some serious apple picking.

Earlier I mentioned that this is the political season. I promised myself I wouldn’t go there. So I lied. Here goes; “Hillary would lie to you about the nearest Chinese restaurant”, Charlie Gasparino (one of my favorite business news personalities).

Remember, look forward to tonight’s ‘Hunters’ Super-Moon – it’ll be about 7% larger than a normal full moon.

Cheers.

Dirk

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