A cheerful Saturday morning to all. For us here, both the temperature and humidity dropped during the night so it’s nothing but happiness. I am almost convinced that Adrianne, Vai, Vili, and Dinah too are awake at this early hour. Mid-morning they’re off to the airport for a week at Disney and Universal. We had dinner together last evening and the anticipation was running high.

****I need to point out that next week I WON’T post The Ramblings till Sunday. Next Saturday it’s Paddlefest 2021. It’s an annual thing, approximately 2,000 canoeists, boarders, and kayakers will go down the Ohio River, 9-miles, and end up at the ‘Nati’s riverfront. We leave the ‘starting-gate’ beginning at daybreak.

“Breaking News – Is that Canada has agreed to open the border on August 9th”, was the headline of a paragraph in last week’s Ramblings; quickly followed by the announcing of an immediate further thirty day pushback by the USA. Apparently America must have the final word.

Then, this week word came out that the Canadian Border Control folks authorized a strike. Thus making it – who knows how long – beyond mid-September before the border actually opens. This whole business is and has become so bizarre that one can only either scream or chuckle. Put me in the ‘scream’ camp.

Disaster – struck our Condominium building. Every 15 or so years our Energy Company, Duke, contracts to trim back trees so branches won’t disrupt power by falling across wires. Our street is lined by city planted trees on the strip between the curb and the sidewalks. Occasionally they’ll ask permission to go onto private property to clear and obvious problematic branch from a non-city tree.


5-weeks ago we paid a contractor to prune our four, 100 year old trees. They did a beautiful job. This week a hired by Duke Contractor from Alabama came through to do their thing. They proved to be ‘butchers’ but give it a couple of years and their ‘patients’ will be OK.

Then they got to our place. No notice was given, and by the time we caught wind of what was going on they had effectively killed one of our healthy, just pruned, trees.

Duke’s offer? Contractor will take down the tree. We get rid of the pieces and we manage the required stump-grinding, and we get a “gift-card” for a ‘replacement’ tree.

We’re now not allowing Duke or Duke’s contractor on our property. It’s going to be a Legal matter. Keep you posted.

Popeil Passed – at age 86. Ron Popeil, was the king of early television Infomercials; my favorite was his ‘Hair in a Can’ spray for bald spots’ followed by his catch line; “but wait, there’s more!”

I could not let his passing go by without this short SNL bit, here’s Dan Aykroyd:

Movie drought – It’s the norm in our household. Long periods of absolutely no movie theaters; other than occasionally seeing some kids cartoon with the kiddos on a special occasion.

Then two weeks ago we saw the documentary; “The Smirk Heard Around the World”. The theater was also showing another documentary; “Summer of Soul (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)”; Marcia had no interest, so this week I went to see it by myself – and absolutely loved it, didn’t want it to end.

1969 was part of a very rough time in our nation’s history. That summer the iconic Woodstock music festival did a lot to help heal. What we hadn’t heard anything about was that same summer, over six weekends in the heart of Harlem, NY was the Harlem Cultural Festival. In part to celebrate the many positive changes Black folk experienced during the era of MLK Jr., in part to heal. A range of Black musical groups and artists, performed to a collective audience of over 300,000. The whole event was filmed for distribution (more than forty hours of footage); but no TV entity wanted to air “a Black event” and especially not while the ‘hype’ of Woodstock was still building. So, for 50 years all the film and edited pieces sat in a vault. This was the film I saw.

Loving music from that period, seeing this was just such a blast! Seeing the likes of the artists I appreciated, performing while in their prime was something I could see over and over again. Interviews made recently with attendees and musicians rounded out what we heard and saw. As an example, even when musical acts were segregated there was a deeper change; “one woman, who was a teenager at the time, had never seen a female trumpeter who sang, danced, and led the band. That moment opened her eyes to what she could be….” (courtesyfeed.com)

Let me pop just some of the acts from the film in front of you: Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension (remember listening to; “Aquarius (Let the Sun Shine In)”?), Sly and Family Stone, The Staple Singers, Temptations, Nina Simone, Edwin Hawkins Singers, and a teenage Gladys Knight and the Pips who, now middle-aged, tells just how shocked she was seeing the huge crowd of Black faces and how this helped shape her career. And I could go on and on.

Currently it’s also shown on HULU…. Do yourself a favor.

Olympics – for 2021 just hasn’t caught my attention. It’s for a variety of reasons including actions by athletes in some of the sports I’d normally watch.

However, there are some ‘moments’ that really slip through the cracks. For example, were you aware that the Australian canoeing star, Jessica Fox, used a condom to fix the damaged bow of her kayak, stating “very stretchy much strong”; which helped her win Bronze?

But, on a more serious note, and something which the Olympics hopes to foster but actually which happens all too infrequently. This comes via Hillel Neuer of United Nations Watch: “Saudi judoka Tahani al-Qahtani was pressured to drop out of the match against her Israeli opponent, Raz Hershko, at the Tokyo Olympics.

Muslim athletes from Algeria and Sudan boycotted their bouts with Israelis.

Al-Qahtani stayed in. After Hershko won, the two embraced.”

Fini –
• Prayers for Pieter’s dear friend Jack S who is near passing. Also, brother Art’s best friend Steve J. who is embarking on a very difficult medical path.

• And thoughts with Kirstin’s best friend, Susannah, who lost her dad this past week. Kirstin using her training as an ‘End of Life’ Doula was able to give comfort and guidance as his passing neared. Proud of my daughter.

• This week we’re continuing to see Cancel Culture at work. We’ve seen Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben removed. The Indian Maiden on Land o Lakes is gone. Now in sports it’s the Washington Redskins and this week the Cleveland Indians. At this fast and furious pace of “people of color” removal, it won’t be longs and only ‘white faces’ will remain. So who are racists?

• A couple of weeks ago I wrote that as a wartime kid in Holland I would chew tar as a chewing gum substitute. This was after smelling the stuff at some road paving and memories flooded in. This week it was paving in our neighborhood. So I dipped my finger in some hot tar as a taste-test. Very stupid of me. Also, nasty stuff to get off. Pity my poor mom from those days.


• Beginning to spot articles with a similar message: “Climate Scientist Warn ‘next 20-30 years will be cold’”. Science is really NEVER settled, is it?

• Today’s beginning work generation are whoosies. In my day we’d make it into work the next day after partying the night away; stamp (now a wrist band) proudly worn and wearing clothes from the previous evening.

• Spotted this beast on one of my walks. The place is a specialty repair garage for Ambulances. I had never heard of this VA group. Made me wonder how many completely obscure government entities are there? For what purpose and exactly  what value do they bring?

Now I’m mentally preparing for a week of watching my best-bud, Rugby, who’ll require lots of neighborhood walks. Now, make it a great week. Value life, be healthy, and laugh a lot. Best till next Sunday!


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