Archive for December, 2022

Merry Christmas
12 24th, 2022

Marcia got up early (due to the cold) and told me to just inform the thousands following these Ramblings that it’s; “too d*mn cold to type this morning”. Meanwhile, curled in a cozy cocoon under a load of blankets, I was too comfortable to even get up. Hence, The Ramblings are a bit late.

Two mugs of coffee and hearing the furnace blasting away, along with the outside temp a balmy 2° following the ice-cube -7°s yesterday, means that finally I am all set to go.

Which makes me think, what the ‘it’ is in the following sentence; “I wish it would warm up.” [answer: in Dutch so that you still have to look it up. I don’t want to make it too easy: in Dutch it’s termed an ‘onpersoonlijk voornaamwoord’]
Good luck 🙂

Now to put you in the mood:

WLW700am our local powerhouse 50,000 watt clear channel station was just awarded best AM station in the nation. A while back I detailed the amazing history of WLW especially its role during WWII – it’ll be worth your while to explore a bit.

Anyway, Marcia got up as mentioned and began listening to one of her favorite Saturday morning personalities on WLW, Gary Jeff Walker. His regular job is Bar Tender at a place in Northern Kentucky. Small banter delivered with perfect timing is what’s kept him on the air every Saturday morning for at least 15 years.

I paused my morning efforts to enjoy a bit of my coffee with her just in time to hear one of Gary Jeff’s regulars, a retired Lowe’s employee, Dick-from-Dayton. See, he has regulars call-in, folk such as a sweet little old lady from a nearby retirement home. Then there is Radio Rick, also from Dayton. Rick has a garage and basement full of vintage radios. He’ll discuss a new find or recently repaired classic radio. And, thus, it’s all totally listenable ‘stuff’. Bottom line; sure is a wonderful way to ease into one’s Saturday with a smile.

An early gift Well, I guess we all got an early ‘gift’ from the clown circus in Washington we collectively call our “representatives. And I am talking about, with a couple of exceptions, those in both parties; one exception being Senator Rand Paul from across the river.

Here he’s singing his version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ to ‘celebrate’ and detail our ‘gift’:

The Cincinnati gang – meaning Vili and Vai and Grandpa (Opa) went out for lunch mid-week followed by a 2½ hour work stint at Matthew 25 Ministries. Where we were seated in the workspace we stared at 15 or so pallet loads of donated Zest “hand sanitizer”, 12 to a box. We had to block out the barcode on every container and reseal/restack.

This atmosphere surrounding us doing our chore was like ‘party central’ and the time flew by. Down deep I think it’s good for them, both to appreciate what they have and what it takes to get stuff to them. Here, a few pictures to tell the story.


Matthew 25 Ministries is one of my favorite charities serving folks caught up in disaster zones. They are always among the first to be on scene delivering both truckloads and plane loads of necessities. Also, and this is important, their administrative costs are about as low as possible. Keep them in mind with your own giving. This solicitation is not sponsored :).

Egg Nog Jog 5K – was lovely. Since it was also open to folk in costume, I dressed like a (as brother George called it, and he would know) a retiree from a Fort Meyers Retirement Village. Somehow I placed first in the +80 class and I hope there were more than just two of us in that group. Here are the a few photos including one of the route map, for those familiar with the Mount Adams part of the ‘Nati.



Fini – This week we experienced our winter solstice. Looking up some numbers:
• Stonehenge – theorized by the ancients to track solstices will have experienced somewhere around 5,000 of them.
• On planet Uranus the approximate length for each solstice (in our years) is about 21.
• The last year the planet Neptune experienced a winter solstice was 1997.
• Marie Curie on the winter solstice of 1898 placed the atomic number of radium (her discovery) as 88.

Isn’t all this grand? You’re now a little wiser.

As many of you know, I struggle a lot with nonsense of what seems illegal edicts, laws, etc. Most of these put forth to empower one group for self-serving purposes, or for covering a miss-step, or illegality, or for increased power/$$$. I came across this meme which hit me between the eyes and thought I’d share:

Arrogance can give people strength beyond their wildest dreams, especially via the pen, especially via Social Media. How about this individual telling Elon Musk to “shut up and build rockets and self-driving electric autos….You don’t know how to run a social media company.” Of course a social media company (the same one Musk bought) was used to inform Musk.

This week my little Dell Chrome opened up with a new photo display (it changes every so often). This one was of Ecuador’s nearly 5,900 meter high Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. It was years ago when we were in Ecuador that Marcia and I rode bicycles down that volcano. It was quite the ride, starting out with a squeaky voiced; “here we go” (due to the altitude). The experience of a lifetime.

There will NOT be a Rambling next week since I’ll be doing my cross-country travel
so let me give you my thought for the New Year now; this from President Reagan:
We need only to believe in ourselves, in our country, and in tomorrow. Happy New Year.”

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward – please have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.


12 17th, 2022

OK, I’ll let this cat out of the bag and confess; “At heart, I am a Hodophile!. More on that later, but rest assured, travel is involved.

But, today it’s off to another happening, this one fueled by merely a single cup of coffee, plus two poached eggs and a slice of Dutch ‘Roggebrood’ followed by some water. As soon as this is posted Marcia and I will head for the hills of a slice of the city named Mount Adams. There I’ll join the 30 th Egg Nog Jog 5K. I’ve been part of this jog previously. It winds through a great neighborhood, has wonderful views of the city/river/and Kentucky, plus the hills – some down most up.

The social following the jog will be at a local pub, El Barril; where there will be an offering of Beer, Egg Nog, Bananas, and Bagels. All this explains the reason Marcia is coming along (hint: somebody is needed to taste the fare prior to the joggers returning). My bib number, 1481, means that well in excess of 1,500 of us will participate. It should be a great time!

Did I mention that there will also be a costume judging? My costume is not so much a costume as a wish. A wish for global warming to actually do its thing.

The Cincinnati gang – is trying to break out of the starting gate and head for the local Omnimax to see the new 3-hour long Avitar movie. So, you can imagine the smile on my face when I ran across a theater lobby placard from in a UK movie theater:

: “Dear Customer, due to circumstances beyond our control there will be no ads or trailers, so the movie will start at the time it says on your ticket. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. Vue Management.”

When Architects dream – wonderful things can happen. Earlier this week I
wandered the streets of our neighborhood of long ago, Hyde Park. Nestled
somewhere in the middle sits this jewel. Once a ‘starter’ home it’s been
remodeled and is as you see it pictured for probably twenty years. It’s still a
showstopper. Thank you Mr. or Ms. Architect.

The Snows – they are a’coming. At least they are in Canada near our place,
Northern Comfort. A few miles away are friends who post regularly, including information on the heavy snows which began to fall this week. We’re hearing it described no longer in centimeters, but being referred to as in feet.

Since it’s also hunting season, snow makes it both easier to track, but also more difficult to follow creatures in the woods. Next, I began to wonder, “just how easily or fast can a Moose get around in heavy snow”? Seeing this video, the specter of a speeding locomotive through the Rockies came to mind. Enjoy!

A Strong Woman and an Idea – I got this from the ‘Fascinating’ site. Now that we’ve got the James Webb Space Telescope out there doing marvelous stuff, and a moon visit on the horizon, I felt this bit to be worthy.

Back years and years, ca 1880 to be more exact. The director of the Harvard Observatory was not pleased with his staff (think Elon Musk and his Twitter crew). At one point he was heard to say; “my Scottish maid could do better.” And like a Musk who also skewered his staff, he showed them and did hire her, his Scottish maid Williamina Fleming. Would you believe it? She went on to discover many, many, thousands of stars.

I have used Twitter for about 15 years. Now, since Musk has fired about half of the Twitter staff, I’ve become convinced that the site runs smoother than ever. Just think what could happen were some President and a wise Congress reduced the Federal workforce by 50%? Possible?

”Once a government commits to the principle of silencing opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens ~ Harry Truman (1884 – 1972) 33rd President of the USA

”Me a Hodophile” – was mentioned in the beginning. Well, it’s true. In about a week a quick trip will begin. First, brother George and Sandy have their car and dog, Augie, at daughter Heather’s home in California – both need to be brought back to Florida. Currently they are visiting Heather and family for Christmas. Due to circumstances Sandy can’t drive back and will be flying home. See where this is going?

OK, so on the morning of December 27 I’ll fly to San Diego, California. There George will corner me at the airport and so the cross-country trip East will begin; George, Auggie, and me. What an adventure waits! Eventually ending up in Naples, Florida, where I’ll fly home on New Year’s Eve (if all goes as planned I’ll arrive home at 7:30PM, just in time to bring in the New Year).

Fini –

• As pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson never asked about his patient’s political affiliation or ideas. Now the ‘brain-dead’ imbeciles heading up the Detroit School system have removed his name from one of their high schools. Any wonder that the ‘system’ is totally broken?

• Read alongside the previous point, “freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear”; George Orwell.

At birth one of our grandchildren weight 1lb 14oz. Now a high school freshman I asked her about her favorite subjects. No hesitation there, Band and Literary Arts. “What then are you reading” I asked? “I just read and discussed Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. But right now I am really enjoying the Trojan Wars by Adele Geras and want to read her book, Ithaka”. Grandpa was both proud and amazed.

• The one question I have regarding this map put out by WHO/Unicef is what is going on in the UK?

• Truly exciting is the apparent breakthrough of a nuclear fusion reactor. For years the concept has been operational in military vessels. Just think something small enough for household use or vehicle travel.

• If Vincent van Gogh were living today, this is how he might be seen when hard at work.

• I came across this photo of Robert Wadlow (1918 – 1940), the tallest man on record, irrefutably so. He was 8’ 11.1” It gives a visual of just how much beyond the average 8’ 11.1” is.

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward – Make this Christmas an extra special one; you need it as do the rest of us.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.


Out and About
12 10th, 2022

Please take note that there is no (as in zero) Orange on this week’s post. Yesterday it was World Cup semi-final soccer & my Dutch team, the Orange (as in ‘Oranjeboven’), lost. Actually, the opposition, Argentina, outplayed. Dutch were losing two-nil with seven minutes to go and tied the score. Two shortened overtime periods kept the tie. Then came the Penalty shot shootout and that was the killer. Amsterdam is in a deep state of depression.

Hence, my morning coffee is not providing me with Saturday Morning joy from my orange mug – I left it on the shelf. Just can’t do it.

In football [soccer], the result is an impostor. You can do things really, really well but not win. There’s something greater than the result, more lasting — a legacy. ~ Xavier Hernández Creus (known as Xavi), widely considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time

Breaking news – this morning has it that probably the very best US Soccer Journalist, Grant Wahl, died suddenly while covering his eighth FIFA World Cup at age 48; condolences to his family and RIP to Mr. Wahl.

He collapsed while attending the media tribune at yesterday’s game in Qatar. Medical attention was immediate, but to no avail. I am not a much into conspiracy theories, but from what I read there is a spike in sudden deaths in that same age group. Sudden deaths at a rate that is well beyond the expected norm. If true, the question is ‘Why’?

Language – is so very interesting. Using soccer as the example of a ‘battle’, I’ll use this descriptor of a long-ago Dutch battle fought in 1672, in Dutch it’s written as “redeloos, radeloos, reddeloos” (in English that would be “reasonless, distraught, helpless). The English doesn’t come near to conveying the meaning and the rhythm that the Dutch language captures.

Marketing – has occupied my life for a chunk of it. Marcia says I drive her nuts whenever I stop during a shopping trip to then make some observation about a display or packaging. Likewise, the same goes for TV viewing; as the title of a Bonnie Raitt song goes: “The Boy Can’t Help It”.

From my perspective, marketing in the USA is on a downward path. Much of it is made so poorly that it’s unreadable and unwatchable. Much of it is loud, harsh, in your face, juvenile, and caters to whatever the ‘group du jour’ is.

So it was with some delight when I came across this advertisement made in Japan – Bach’s: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” set in a forest scene. And it’s for a high tech company.

I read where it took four days to set it all up and create –no shortcuts, no ‘green-screen’, no dubs. This was made for a newly launched cell phone offering by NTT Docomo, the largest mobile service provider in Japan. The shell of the new phone is wood and their idea was to use domestic woods that are produced from trees harvested from a maintained Japanese forest. The ad is calming and connects the earth to a high-tech product. Visually and audibly it pulls you in. Listen to this peaceful bit of beauty which, as an aside, also fits the season:

Oh, those Painted Ladies – It’s not a great mystery (at least to my immediate neighbors and my family) that my walking is wearing out the surrounding sidewalks a fair bit. In order that it not get boring I try to change my walking routes and distances.

Over the past week I had the opportunity to walk through one of the ‘Nati’s’ oldest neighborhoods, Columbia Tusculum which was established in 1788. What makes this a fun walk are the hills. I guess that subconsciously I was prepping for next Saturday’s Egg Nog Jog race held annually through the hills of nearby Mount Adams (and yes, I am registered to join the 1,500 or so participants for the 30th annual jog – Rain [Snow] or Shine).

More importantly, the Columbia Tusculum area has any number of Victoria era homes done up in stunning style. These ‘Painted Ladies’ did slow me down a bit as I tried to capture a few on my camera. Enjoy!

”Don’t Bring Me Down” – Were you aware that in Canada their legacy media outlets – nearly 90% of them – are almost fully subsidized by tax dollars. These are media outlets such as the CBC (TV & Radio), the Globe & Mail, and the Toronto Star, and even in little Thessalon the weekly ‘North Shore Sentinel’. It doesn’t take much insight to realize that for the subsidized media it’s not a good idea to “bite the hand that feeds you”. Watch the complete takedown of Canadian mainstream media by the British author and political commentator, Douglas Murray. Succinct and amazingly accurate:

Fini –

• From the World of Statistics, the time it took to reach one million users on their Social Media platform:
Netflix – 3.5 years
Twitter – 2 years
Facebook – 10 months
Spotify – 5 months
Instagram – 3 months
ChatGPT – 5 days

• This week two ‘bits’ caused me to pay a bit of attention. First, on an afternoon walk in nearby St. Bernard I spotted this posted in the rear window of a parked truck. The second was that while the Administration is pushing hard for gun control they just released an international arms dealer, Viktor Bout known as the “Merchant of Death”, who was locked up for conspiring to kill Americans. Stew on that for a bit.

• From England is this posted notice in their movie theater. You have to agree that it’s probably the most appreciated of all notices.

• Since I seem to be on a bit of a British bent. Don’t you just love these ladies self-defense gloves from ca. 1850 in London.

Our nearest Costco relocated 4-miles further up the Interstate. But, I think I have a solution. Earlier this week I took Tevita to the airport and thought I’d swing by the Costco in Florence, KY, that’s Florence Y’All. Not much difference in miles but more direct and quicker (assuming the river bridge isn’t backed up). However, since it’s located in Kentucky with differing laws, take a look at the department available to us. I am now sold on switching allegiance to this Costco outlet.

• The building adjoining ours is sitting empty. The LLC that had purchased it went ‘belly up’. A branch had fallen into a bush in front of the place and I went over to get it out of there. Getting closer, saw that it was a glorious 10-foot tall Firethorn (scientific class is Rosaceae).

• I’m certain that next year some new Tax rules will kick in. And, that with 87,000 new Tax inspectors that no one is safe. In that light I thought I’d share this bit: The Pentagon: “we don’t know where $2.2 Trillion dollars went”. The IRS to you and me: “You just sent $601.00 dollars from your bank account, don’t forget to report it!

• Then in the ‘for cuteness sake’ department here is a map and the most famous brand associated with each state.

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward – question it all and don’t let any person or government silence you.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.


12 3rd, 2022

We’ve made the transition from ‘straw ‘n pumpkins’ to the bright lights of the season. Marcia, as part of the transition, thought it a great idea to hang a string of patio lights in the sunroom. Now we realize that it should have remained just a thought. The reality is that now Marcia sits there happily knitting away, as if she were sitting in a lighted fish bowl. Hopefully we’re providing a bit of entertainment to walkers by.

Nevertheless here’s to a happy and fine Saturday morning to everyone. Since it’s early I made my coffee on the French Press and leave the pot sit till ‘Madame’ gets up. And so, we’re ‘marching’ on.

Caffè Vivace – our favorite Café by day and Jazz lounge at night became our haunt du jour last evening. We purchased tickets to see El Ritmo Del Mañana for an evening of Latin Jazz – the Christmas edition and their new album release party! Frosty never sounded so good!

All week Marcia and I plotted to get an early start since it’d been too long since our last taste of their fabulous African Peanut Stew (we were desperately trying to avoid them running out of stew). We weren’t disappointed; it was even better than the last time we had it.


The band was great, with the brass exactly like what we had hoped for. But, it was the gal, Zion Sosa, playing Congas and Beat Box who was amazing. It was exactly the start of the Holiday season I’d been hoping for.


”Everything depends on the individual human being, regardless of how small a number of like-minded people there is… on each person… and everything depends on each person, through action and not mere words, creatively making the meaning of life a reality in his or her own being…” ~ Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) Austrian psychiatrist

Viktor Frankl  Frankl was sent off to the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz where he lost both his parents. Just nine months after his release from the camps he delivered a series of lectures on the meaning and value of life: “Yes to Life, in Spite of Everything.” For these past 70-years the English speaking world has been oblivious to the existence of these incredible concepts and ideas.

Especially reading about the slippery slope on which Trudeau has placed Canada with an at will path of Euthanasia (with virtually little restraint) I thought it important to mention Frankl’s expressions on the true meaning of life. If you’re interested, it might be worthwhile to explore a bit more. Click this, it will lead you to an introduction.

Don’t Bring Me Down – the song which became a mega-hit back in 1979 by the Electric Light Orchestra popped up on my Spotify channel during one of my walks earlier this week.

The song was a last minute add-on to finish off their Discovery album with a loud piece; said Jeff Lynne who wrote it, as a dedication to the NASA Skylab space station which had come down from space.

Lynne continued working on the piece while the other members went out for a bite. With tape running an acquaintance popped in using the common German greeting of “Gruß” (Groos). Lynne kept that greeting in as a place-holder. Returning, the other band members heard ‘Groos’ as “Bruce”. It became the hook to the song and it’s probably the one bit you remember. Enjoy this early video of the song (and btw, unlike the sound the ELO was known for, this song had no strings and in the video the string players are shown as playing keyboards):

Cockwomble – One just has to love the Brits for their ability to use and assemble words found nowhere else in the English language. But wait, that’s not all. Many of these words have a very plain meaning, but the clever Brits by merely adding an adjective to what would be a noun can quickly turn it into a piece of derogatory slang. Hence a ‘cockwongle’ is someone who is obnoxious.

The common slang use is for a person, usually male, “prone to making outrageously stupid statements and/or inappropriate behavior while generally having a very high opinion of his own wisdom and importance”.

We just had our mid-term elections, does any of the above ‘ring out’? Didn’t we all vote for an array of cockwombles parading in front of us at meeting halls and on TV screens?

Two Cows – Here in three minutes is the most succinct description of all the various political, i.e. economic ideas, we are confronted by on a daily basis. Enjoy the look:

Fini –

• Last year Germany paid South Africa $800 million to stop using coal. Since then German imports of South African have increase eight-fold. Now, Germany is producing more carbon emissions per unit of electricity than South Africa. Is this climate imperialism?

• This week Canada’s PM, Justin Trudeau, spoke out on China’s extreme, Covid-19 related, lockdowns by saying this: “Everyone in China should be allowed to protest. We will continue to ensure that China knows we will stand for human rights with people who are expressing themselves.” Hey Justin, please advise what your RCMP goon squads were up to last February in Ottawa?

• This week the Netherlands embarked on a path to close up to 3,000 farms to comply with EU rules. These are multi-generational and profitable farms. This is NUTS!

• I am just wondering who exactly supervises the various VW marketing entities. Is anyone at corporate providing an iota of oversight or was this on purpose?

• Since the whole Epstein ‘Love island’ business has dropped away, I thought you might want a look at the list of visitors and realize that it’s only Ghisaine Maxwell who is sitting in jail.

• Who of my dear readers remembers the purpose of this little canister?

• One year and here are a few of the changes which have occurred between January and December:

Ciao. Stay strong; keep learning – and now that the Holidays are looming, party hearty (but safely)!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.