A happy Halloween Saturday (for some of you) for the rest, as with our gang, it’ll be celebrated on Monday. I’ve discovered the perfect solution for those who want to fulfill their role as ‘treaters’, but who have a wide array of concerns, i.e. kids with all sorts of allergies, or have climate, and even gender fears. Does this treat pass the ‘sniff’ test?

In the meantime, I’ll pour me a coffee. I should mention that we can’t wait to finish off our disappointing Italian Roast – a couple of days ago at Costco I got a 3-pound can of Tim Hortons. I also tanked up. Gas in these parts seems to fluctuate between $3.799 and $3.599 and one nearby station proudly advertises $3.999. Costco was marked at $3.399 – you just ‘gotta’ love that place. Oh, and by the way, I did pick up one of their Roaster chickens; Marcia goes absolutely wild whenever I come home with a Roaster.

Heads up for next weekend! Next week will be a busy one, Marcia and I both have our eye exams. More importantly, Thursday we’re off to watch the “Head of the Hootch” regatta in Chattanooga. The web site for the ‘Hooch’ touts 173 teams rowing and just over 2,000 athletes. Should be a great time watching Dinah and team compete – cowbells at the ready.
It does mean that, depending on our Air BnB internet connectivity and happenings, these Ramblings might miss my personal production deadline. In other words you might NOT see a post next Saturday.

Bedo – Organizing a bit now that fall is upon us and winter ‘hot’ on its heels I brought out of our storage space my old Merrell hiking boots. These looked and felt great until I took a step or two and realized that one half of the one sole was no longer attached to the rest of the boot.

Along my regular walking route is a small shoe repair shop which has been there at least 40 years, the kind of place you remember from childhood – sight, smells, and everything else. Anyway, I took them there and yesterday day I picked up my boots which now look better than new!


I started this section with “Bedo” of Bedo’s Leatherworks and there is a reason. I Googled around, just to discover all that goes into shoe repair. As a somewhat aside, last February brother George and I shopped at an ECCO shoe store and to test the proficiency of the staff George asked if they could point out the “vamp” on a shoe; sadly, they had no idea. But George knew, since in his early youth he was a mentor to Al Bundy of Married… with Children fame (maybe it was the other way around) – nevertheless, this was a time where you knew your product.

That is when I happened upon Bedo who doesn’t only repair but totally restores shoes and video tapes the process. I found it both entertaining and fascinating and much more complex than you think. This particular video shows what all it takes as Bedo restores a pair of English made Dr. Martens safety boots:

Indiana & Ohio – Decades ago we’d go to a church couples, weeklong, family camp. Once during that week, as kids were put down, four or five of us guys would gather together for an evening of Rail Baron an Avalon Hill bookshelf Game. Often on these game nights the play would last till the crack of dawn.

One of the players, T.M., was a management accountant for a very large company, but his heart was always with trains, and he’d usually end up the winner.

Years passed and he left his company for the lure of self-employment, managing (spoiler alert) a railroad company. He set up the Indiana & Ohio short-line railway with a single old GE diesel locomotive, a few retired train engineers willing to work part time, and a handful of miles of track.

When he sold the line and retired, he’d amassed a small fleet of engines and 150+ miles of track. Tracks were made up of miles here and there from the ‘Nati to the other side of the state, Athens and points west & north. He’d also secured all necessary cross-over rights from the ‘big boys’.

That’s when a large national short line company made him a worthwhile offer. T.M. had always opined that the game was extremely accurate in how it mimicked the nations growth of its railways and certain company dominance.

This week, I crossed over some tracks on a hike and sitting right there, idling very nicely and at least 25 wagons in tow was an Indiana & Ohio locomotive. Good to see that huge mass of steel painted with T.M.’s chosen color scheme. Good memories of some excellent all-nighters with friends.

Recipes – Last week I posted a video of the Harira soup recipe I want to fix. Couple that with the fact that in today’s world just about anything is being digitized – much for free. Couple these with this site – Open Culture – which has made available thousands of vintage recipes.

“Early cookbooks were fit for kings,” writes Henry Notaker at The Atlantic. There you’ll find “Europe’s oldest [cookbook] and Rome’s only one in existence today.” He wrote; “[it] offers a better way of knowing old Rome and antique private life.” And continues; “It also offers keen insight into the development of heavily flavored dishes before the age of refrigeration.” I think it worth a view, and if you test some please share your culinary adventure!

Possibly 90% – of the population has at one time or another shuffled or split a deck, or even held a chip or two made by the US Playing Cards company, of that I am certain. The company started in 1867 and then morphed into USPCC in 1885. It built its national reach from the city of Norwood. As an aside, Norwood with its own Mayor, Fire and Police departments is completely surrounded by the city of Cincinnati (the city of Cincinnati has several of these city-within-a-city arrangements).

My only ‘still in its shrink wrap’ deck of their product, is of Iraqi’s most wanted characters as part of our wartime propaganda campaign.

Almost daily I either walk through or drive through Norwood. Always the corporate USPCC office tower has poked over top of streets and houses.

Then the change, US Playing Cards moved across the river into Erlanger, Kentucky, and vacated their Norwood property. As Bob Dylan would sing; “the Times they are a-changing”.

Norwood too is not sitting back, much progress on the old Playing Card site. However, paying proper homage, the tower stays. Here is a look as to how it all looks today:

Fini –

Tuesday evening we’ll be enjoying an early Christmas gift (thanks Adrianne & Tevita). We’ll be downtown to see the Tina Turner Musical. Marcia and I saw her in a live performance way too many years ago and her music has always ‘grabbed’ us, so we’re absolutely delighted. As an aside Turner, 93, now lives in and is a Swiss citizen and had a personal hand structuring this production.

• Is this weird? Last evening a delivery service showed up. It seems that someone in the building had ordered a bag of ice. Marcia kept on mumbling; “it’s a bag of ice. Good grief, it’s a bag of ice.”

• The Harira Soup I was going to make a week ago is on hiatus; it’s now my ‘Harira hiatus’. Illness forced a postponement of the family wide, by-the-firepit, dinner.

• Elon Musk

• I believe that, for a variety of reasons (all of which make perfect sense to me), we should vote on just one single day, mail by necessity and request only. Lots of reasons for my first choice, the most being that it prevents shenanigans, i.e., voter fraud. However, since Ohio does have early voting Marcia and I took advantage and on Tuesday we did the deed.

• Margaret Hamilton was an early coder. It was her manual code verification that got Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. This photo is of her standing next to the printed copy. Yes, there was a time when humans had to verify the automated.

• Just to keep you aware of what our Open Border policy wreaks. Rough numbers mind you, but then who’s counting; over the last two months just over 8,500 Americans have died from Fentanyl poisoning (most ingredients from China and smuggled product crossing from Mexico). Put that in perspective; this equals about 2,000 mass shootings during that period, or two hundred and fifty mass killings per week!

• Mentioning things seen on the web. Though simple, the graph below is totally powerful and should explain much of what you need to know.

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy (and safe) this weekend – especially since the bars here will be hopping as the Bengals are playing on TV; Monday Night football!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.


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