Archive for May, 2022

Saturday morning. The coffee tastes great. The rains have moved off (or so I think). I will be spending quality time with my four-legged buddy, Rugby-the-dog, while the rest of his pack is off roasting a pig in points north. So life is good.

Happy Memorial Day weekend. As the just-out-of-school kids say; “let the summer begin.”

Coffee Trivia:
Oxford is the place where England’s first coffeehouse was established in 1652. Within 25 years, England had 3,000 coffeehouses. It didn’t take long when, in 1675, King Charles II of England banned coffeehouses because he believed people gathered there to plot against him. The idea wasn’t so far-fetched: both the American and French revolutions were plotted in these places. So, exactly what does go on in Starbucks?

” I’m a morning bird. I love getting up before it’s light out if it’s possible. I wake up, I have a black coffee. I’m an 86-year-old man. I try to work out first thing to get it over with. When I do it, I feel good because I have the endorphins all day.” ~ Ellie Kemper

Quatman Café – was ‘revived’ again ~ it never really closed; it was ‘revived’ by Marcia and Dirk because we stopped by for dinner. Best in burgers, but since it was Friday I had their fish sandwich special – I’m a traditionalist.

Like any meal at Quatman, it would just not be done right were it not kick started with a cup of Mock Turtle Soup; there is none better.

Chaos & Mayhem – Quick question; does having four uniformed Police officers and two members of the MHRT Team on the condo building premises qualify as a ‘Corner of Chaos & Mayhem’ moment? If they stayed for over an hour would it?

The happenings; one of our neighbors returned from a very extended period away. Upon the return he busted in on the the individual who had stayed back. What he saw was a totally untenable lifestyle the other person had established (for those in the know — it was powered by Bagels). There, I believe that encapsulates the events that must have brought all this to a head.

Overheard from one of the Officers; “you’ll have to leave immediately.”

Can’t be too happy though, since I don’t have a clue as to what lies at the other end of that tunnel. But so far so good!

Sarasota bound – Last weekend I went to watch the Mid-West Regional rowing Regatta at close by East-Fork Lake. Over 500 rowers from as far away as Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis all convened. 9th (moving to 10th) grader, granddaughter Dinah is a rower. Dinah’s 8-man crew boat won their class (by a substantial margin). She and her boat were invited to the rowing Nationals in Sarasota, Florida (June 9-10-11-12). THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL!

Imagine rowing 2,000 meters sitting in a 60’ long boat (almost that of a city bus), in a ‘shell’ which weighs 200 pounds, is under 24” wide, on a seat that slides, and rowing with oars that are over 12’ long. Then go all out for around 7 minutes at about 14mph. Depleting all your aerobic capacity all while listening to a Coxswain urging you to do more and to do it better.

That’s the sport Dinah has sought to involve herself in – practicing 3-hours per day, 6 days a week, almost year round.

And she is good at it!

Bottom line; Marcia and I are heading for Sarasota, Florida to watch her compete. We both are beyond excited.

The following was an 8-person women’s boat using a camera on the Coxswain at a race held earlier this year. It shows the absolute physicality of the sport. I also think it was taken at the same Sarasota venue Dinah and her crew will race at.

Some family members have seen these pictures taken at last weekend’s Regatta, but here they are again for anyone else. Dinah is wearing the white baseball-cap.

                             

Fini –
• The WEF in Davos Switzerland was a huge success. At least it was so based on the many participants concerned about the world’s climate. You can count just how many convened when you count one or two participants to each of the private planes parked on every available piece of tarmac at Davos.

• The ‘deep thinking’ bunch did it right. And the well-armed police presence made sure that none of the participants were cornered by independent journalists asking any ‘awkward’ questions.

• Our live Saturday morning radio host, Gary Jeff Walker of 700WLW, just interviewed a regular caller who lives 3-miles West of Indianapolis. The guy says that when the Indianapolis 500 race (tomorrow) is running that the windows in his house vibrate.

• This week we had another obscene and horrific mass murder event. What’s happened since the 1970s after which all this crap started? Prior to that we just didn’t have random mass murders. And, I remember as kids we were all over the neighborhood running around with cap pistols and BB guns. What changed? Other than the family unit being torn apart as part of the ‘War on Poverty’ and ‘the Great Society’ policies of the 60s, males being marginalized and the government acting like the financial father figure. Also add the complete 180° about face regarding the management of Mental Health issues; facilities closed and really never replaced. I could add more such as the overbearing presence of Social Media.

• There’s more. I was reading that the U.S. is 3rd in murders throughout the world.
If you remove
1) Chicago
2) Detroit
3) Washington D.C.
4) St. Louis
5) New Orleans
The U.S. is then 189th out of 193 countries in the world.
(as an aside, all 5 mentioned cities have strict gun laws and a similar political makeup)

• There is a storm raging on Saturn – it’s hexagonal in shape. Look closely at the picture where an outline of the USA was placed in the middle to give a size perspective.

• Mentioning perspective. SpaceX has launched a number of their rockets and brought back the first stage booster to be reused on a subsequent launches. Look closely at the photo below and the two people standing next to the landing legs for scale. Wow!

Best till next weekend, be healthy; and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


A sticky roof
05 21st, 2022

Saturday morning, and aside from our little family sitting around waiting for the Covid wave to pass over, all is great (caused because Marcia refused to allow me to smear Goats blood on our front door). I discovered that the ‘Covid wave’ wasn’t all that horrific in that I managed to catch up, I mean really catch up, on sleep. Marcia is in the same straights.

Coffee Trivia:
Coffee dates back to the 9th century. Goat herders in Ethiopia noticed their goats seem to be “dancing” after eating berries from a particular shrub. They reported it to the local monastery, and a monk made a drink out of it. The monk found out he felt energized and kept him awake at night. It’s believed that’s how the first coffee drink was born.
Plus: were you aware that coffee and word games are an excellent combination to sharpen your vocabulary?

This past week I refilled my morning coffee and walking back to the front I heard the last piece of some advert on the radio – which included the sound of a Fog Horn. Before that horn sound could fade, my mind’s eye had me, with total clarity, back to my summer stint on Mackinac Island in the late sixties. Several times throughout that summer the nearby fog horn would sound – desolate, solitary, lonesome, and even eerie. Whenever it sounded it was the only sound to be heard. The mind is an amazing thing!

Just so you too can again capture this iconic sound, I put a one-minute Fog Horn audio clip below. The horn you hear is that of a big one, the Sumburgh lighthouse at Sumburgh Head, Shetland (northern Scotland). It is the oldest lighthouse in Shetland and was the sound used in Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” (film – 2019).

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.” ~ George Carlin

So Stuck …. On a roof – Aging brings along many changes. Some changes we recognize and deal with, others, we pretend to not exist, or if they exist, they are dealt with much less severely than reality would dictate. All this takes place on just about every front, whether medical, physical, or mental. Yet we plod on.

This past week on our brotherly Zoom exercise session George displayed a patch on his forearm. Turns out he miss-stepped on his ladder (luckily only on the second rung) and scraped his forearm on the house’s exterior stucco.

This leads to the next story. Possibly the ‘Nati’s most influential and arguably most popular live Radio host is one, Bill (‘Willie’) Cunningham. He’s also an attorney and knows literally every local and state political entity, business guru, and sports figure. He’s in a position where something will come up and then, on occasion, he’ll pick up the phone and call our Governor – and get through! His wife is a retired Federal Judge (that too plays a small part as you’ll see).

Visible here is where the whole, life changing, aging thing happens. And deep down we know it’s the same to us all; whether yours truly or even a ‘Willie’ Cunningham. Listen to his interaction with a 911 emergency dispatcher:

Entertainment –
Last Saturday I mentioned that I got tickets to see Willie Nelson and Family in early August! I also discussed how thrilled Marcia is with this.

Having lived in the world of Marketing I know the importance of building anticipation and excitement. Hence, mid-week I sent her this little YouTube to do just that. And felt that you too, my faithful three-strong readers, would appreciate:

3-years ago – Mother’s Day to be exact, I gave Marcia a small Orchid plant. After blooming it looked like it was ready to die. Yet, the following year it bloomed again, and has been doing it every year since.

Last year it had two blooms, white with a purple edge. This year it produced six (6) buds and now the first three flowers have opened and the flowers are a wonderful purple.

Some folk just have a green thumb!

Fini –
• Today is the 141st day of the year 2022 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 224 days remaining until the end of this year.

• Major deep thinkers such as George Clooney, Bill Gates, Greta Thunburg, and others will be meeting in Davos, Switzerland this week. Much news reporting from their deliberations will deal with the “end of the world.” I just want them to know that the ancient Maya civilization believed that the end of the world would happen on December 21, 2012. There are now 3,438 days since this fabled cataclysmic event.

• Today in 1881 the American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons. Ours became part of the International Federation of Red Cross Societies.

• And, also on this day in 1932 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a solo air crossing of the Atlantic. Today, possibly 10,000 people will make their own first air crossing of the Atlantic.

• 1979: Dan White who had gone to see NYC Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk to ask for his old job back, when they refused to give him back his job he shot and killed them both. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter (rather than first degree murder) after his defense lawyers argued his mental state at the time of the killings was one of diminished capacity due to depression, caused by his consumption of sugary junk food. White’s defense was labeled by the press as “the Twinkie defense.” It took from 1979 to 2011 for Twinkies to disappear in bankruptcy (then get reborn in 2015). Enjoy!

Sears was the Amazon of its day. In their catalog they labeled products using descriptions as “good”, “better”, and “best”. Anyone know what Amazon will be remembered for?

• Success to Dinah and her teammates as they participate in an invitational Sculling Regatta (8X & 4X boats). I’m putting an extra $100 bill in my pocket to cover gasoline costs to the lake.

Best till next weekend, be healthy; and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Laughter and sleep
05 14th, 2022

Saturday morning, and for most of the week I shuffled between chair, bed, couch, and back to bed. Mid-week I did a four-mile ‘leisurely’ hike. Felt good and then slept for 10-hours. But, I do believe I am better. Now Marcia is doing the couch thing, and a couple of days ago Adrianne joined the fray.

The other day I spotted this Kentucky license plate. Since seeing this thing was hot on the heels of my health ‘event’, I took special note. I am registered as a ‘parts’ donor, but seeing this plate I was nothing but impressed. I think that these should be made available in every state, gratis, and as a public service.

In the meantime:

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” ~ Irish Proverb

But, then there was a happy little family – Last evening Marcia spotted a little family out on a jog. Mom, Dad, and two young kids between ages 5 and 9. One small hiccup in this world of bliss. The youngest, a little girl was on a bike. She was done in and aside from whining; she got off of her little bike and just lay on the ground.

At this point Dad’s ‘fuse’ snapped, he picked up the bike and dumped it into the corner trash bin. And off they went. As Paul Dudley White (1886-1973) once said; “A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”

I recorded the ‘bike-in-the-trash’ moment. Ten minutes after I took the photo Mom and daughter returned, retrieved the thing, and moseyed on home. And so, Marcia and I were witness to one little family, all exercised out, begin what was sure to be the start of a glorious weekend.

Entertainment – is all about us. This week Kirstin saw the Dave Matthews Band in concert – her most favorite group. Adrianne and Vaioleti went downtown to catch Leon Bridges pour out his soulful sounds – Vai’s Christmas gift. This weekend Garth Brooks will fill the stadium twice over, and tomorrow The Who will fill the soccer stadium – returning to town after a 40-year hiatus.

The last time The Who played here 11 people got trampled to death and the event prompted a complete nationwide restructuring of the whole ‘general seating’ concept. This time a sizeable chunk of the monies generated will be poured back into the community in the form of Scholarships.

But, there is more (as I alluded to last week). Marcia does not have any sort of out-of-control ‘bucket’ list. But she does have a list and even has a 1st place item on it. Number 1 is her seeing Willie Nelson in concert.

After a fair bit of research I got tickets to see Willie Nelson and Family in early August; and snagged seats 16 rows behind center stage! She is over the moon and I too am beyond pleased.

Now I’ll ease back a bit and hum; “Whiskey River” before I continue Rambling. At the same time remind everyone that yesterday, May 13th, was Stevland Hardaway Morris’ birthday. You know him professionally as <u><b>Stevie Wonder</u></b>.

Chaos and Mayhem – Life continues at a hectic pace here on the corner of Chaos and Mayhem. Even after a number of years we realize we haven’t got room to get jaded.

This week I noticed a flurry of activity and people in reflective vests along with 5 trucks busily at work shutting down traffic lanes. Then, I realized that most of their effort centered on the manhole hidden in our grass/bushes at the edge of our dumpster enclosure.

A rope ladder was tossed over the edge of the hole. One worker in very heavy duty chest-high waders climbed into the shaft. Then a camera on four wheels was lowered in. After their start next to our place the whole ‘enterprise’ moved slowly, from cover to cover, down the street. I should have gone downstairs to retrieve a pair of bag-chairs to better take it all in – outside in the fresh air.

Fini –
• Did you know that when <u><b>Elon Musk</u></b> started his first company – Zip2 in 1995. He had over $100K in student debt, a computer he built himself, and a few thousand dollars.

• Kirstin spent a couple of hours donating both Blood and Platelets this past week. Proud of you girl.

• Student smarts:

• As a retired sales type, I’ll say it again; “It’s all in the marketing”:

• Mentioning our waste dumpster enclosure. This week I watched how it’s emptied. Usually the event occurs Thursday mornings around 3:30AM. For some reason this time it was during daylight hours.

     

• During my college years one of my favorite newspaper go-to items was always the editorial page and the Political cartoon. Locally we had a world class cartoonist, Jim Borgman, who has also perfected the Zits comic.

• Now that the Political Cartoon has met its demise, Meme’s have taken over. Slowly I have come to appreciate the power of the Meme. Here are a couple; with minimalism comes a statement.

     

• Spotted locally, a Hot Sauce vending machine.

• This week the New York Times mentioned that Apple will no longer support the iPod. Safely stored away is my 20GB model A 1040. This, for years, was my faithful companion on cross-country and overnight flights (along with my sound cancelling Sony head set). Now it’s a museum piece.

• Prayers are with my cousin Guilaume and his wife Maryse in France. Peace and comfort with you Maryse.

Best till next weekend, be healthy; and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Saturday morning, and after two days of lounging about and mostly under cover bed time, I am very ready to move on. Especially since it appears that I have begun to take on, what in our household we refer to my newly discovered doddering walking style, the ‘Joe Biden shuffle’, as my own. However, my body hasn’t quite caught up to my mental wish list.

Our weather too has been crappy with thunder and wind storms, plus I can’t forget the rain. In that light, please re-read my coffee reference card and this time first hit the audio track below to gain some additional mood. Enjoy:

For each of my three readers who might, beyond all odds, be keeping track of my Fitbit activity progress scorecard – this has been the worst week in four years. I thought you deserved to know.

But, even with all of this going on – a Happy Mothers Day to all the ladies. This afternoon we’re (the ‘Nati gang) are going out for ‘Drunch’ (same as Brunch only in the period between lunch and dinner). We’re gathering at something called Oakley Kitchen. This is a food hall where spaces are made available to start-ups to test their acumen, and acts like a food court in reverse. Various restaurants are in the middle with patio seating and seating around the perimeter. Plus, as expected, yes there is a bar.

The idea is very cool. The removal of the weighty barriers to enter the market, renting a space and building out a new location, here companies can prove the demand for their product or concept and grow their business prior to the normal massive upfront costs normally incurred.

Pops and more Pops (part ‘deux’ – the adventure) – from last week was as good as we had hoped it would be; starting with music from Cincinnati’s own, the Isley Brothers. We had a stage full of musicians begin the performance with Isley’s “It’s Your Thing.” By the way, that number was first recorded at the old King Studios which is less than a mile from us.

Rather than me trying to detail the adventure Broadway star and one of our Pops concert soloists, Brian Stokes Mitchell, shared, I’ll let him explain – it’s much better than anything I could do:

As you’re aware, one of our favorite local groups is the husband and wife team going under the name; Over the Rhine. What they shared was just how moved they were to be performing with the Pops in Music Hall. When years ago as a young couple they lived in a small apartment about six blocks away and in the shadow of Music Hall; an area which until recently was a pretty rough part of town.

Also, they shared that while living in that little apartment they had a standing gig at Sudsy Malone’s — closed in 2008. Sudsy Malone’s was a Laundromat which served beer and had space for ‘punk’ and ‘metal’ bands, even a stage for karaoke (do two loads of laundry and the show was free – genius!).

When feeling crappy – and crashing immediately after dinner also had me wake up at some very strange times. The other morning I woke up at shortly after 1 o’clock. Turning on the TV I ended up watching our four returning astronauts land in the middle of a pitch black Atlantic Ocean. I then woke up at an early morning hour, and again turned on the TV to watch a Space X rocket launch, leaving to place another batch of Starling satellites. This whole space thing is becoming so common that it’s almost like watching a Greyhound bus trundle down the highway.

Keep those feet moving – Since I am cutting these Ramblings short, let me at least get your Saturday started with a SHOUT. Listen to comedian Sinbad introduce The Isley Brothers perform “Fight the Power”:

Fini (a massive ‘Fini’) –
• Happy Mothers Day weekend

• Today in 1945 Germany signs an unconditional surrender ending the WWII fighting in Europe.

• This past week back in 1994 Channel Tunnel linking England to France was opened. About 10-years later I left Paris’ Gare du Nord railroad station for England traveling through the channel tunnel. Ahh, for the memories.

• Reflecting on what all we have become so totally accepted and standardized; what all we have become so totally dependent on. Think mobile phones, digital cameras, all our travel. All our digitized storage from precious art to literature. The ability which allows this to happen and become commonplace is absolutely dependent on the integrated circuit. Yet the concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, was first published by Geoffrey Dummer in 1952 (a mere 70 years ago).

Best till next weekend, stay safe, stay healthy; and keep on storming the castle.

Pray for Peace.

Dirk