Archive for May, 2023

05 27th, 2023

Have a great Memorial Day weekend. It might actually be good to display a bit of patriotism as we all are out and about grilling everything in sight. Tevita and Adrianne are having a pig roast, in part to celebrate their new home. We’re told that Marcia and I will be two in a group of about 30 expected folk.

Marcia will be bringing her famous and much sought after baked beans. The kitchen counter is filled with over a dozen cans of a variety of beans – all part of some ‘secret’ recipe.

But now, a bit of coffee. Thursday I was at Costco where they had $5 off of Peet’s coffee. Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend (brother Pete’s favorite west coast coffee) so I bought enough to carry us into next month and for our stay in Canada.

Now that summer is about to begin this weekend probably has been traditionally the ‘blowout’ sales season for beer sales. Anheuser Bush and their mainstay item, Bud Light for years were near the sales leader. While at Costco I noticed that the stack of Bud Light had the largest footprint of all the beers available. I also noticed that there was NOT a single case of the stuff taken from the pile. The scene made it appear as if they couldn’t give it away.

Actions have consequences!   

Think you can tame the national debt? Play the budget game – by The Washington Post

“Remember, this isn’t easy. You, and every player, have inherited a debt of $31 trillion. Without any changes, it’s projected to grow to a whopping $52 trillion by the end of the next decade.”

I played the game, here is my result: I am……the Classic Conservative. Apparently I believe in cutting both the size of the government and the programs it funds.

Unlike the ‘Classic Conservative’s’ archnemesis, the Big Tax and Spender, I am one who believes the federal government has to be smaller or else it will impede on the freedoms of our fellow Americans.

Unlike the Diligent Deficit Hawk, the ‘Classic Conservative’’ wants to cut taxes in addition to cutting spending, and we think the economy would grow for everyone if the government just got out of the way.

Click on the link here and play the game. Maybe you’ll be right in sync with our Potus & Congressional gurus – I hope not.

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Dissertation – The other day, I don’t even know how the subject came up, but Marcia fired across the room; “what purpose has your degree’s dissertation actually served?” I was taken a bit off kilter for it surely wasn’t the subject material; Appalachian Values; Are They Transferable From A Rural To An Urban Setting?. Now that I’ve reflected on the question some more I have the answer; the purpose was that; I did it.

All that goes into such a thing, the research, the focus, the writing, the defense; and how that all those have combined and thus served me over the years is the answer. The actual subject material was merely the vehicle.

Word of the Day; Niksen: a Dutch verb which means “doing nothing”, which can be roughly translated as “nixing”.

This week we observed the lifestyle of the generation following us. Being retired it appears that their lifestyle all seems a bit of over the top busy. Buried with work, buried with homemaking, buried raising kids, buried with ‘events’.

Recently I came across the concept of ‘Niksen’. The Dutch, in an effort to prevent burnout and institute ‘wellness’, have put into place what they call Niksen; a trend that means “doing nothing.”

It translates into a regularly scheduled (organized) intentional period of doing nothing. The concept seems to be catching on. Niksen is not laziness. It’s a way to stimulate productivity and re-engage your mind by allowing it to breathe. It is essentially a picture of purposelessness.

As a Social Worker wrote; “What’s beautiful about it and the art of living is that you have the autonomy and uniqueness.”

Steve Martin — One of my favorite celebrities is Steve Martin, comedian, actor, and an amazing Banjo player.

With the constant stream of news-ready negativity day in and day out I thought I’d post this little musical piece from Steve Martin. It’ll bring a smile to your face. Enjoy:

Etcetera –            

    • Lots of people happenings this week. Henry Kissinger turns 100. Bob Dylan turned 82.
    • Marcia had to spend time listening to the music from Tina Turner who passed at age 83

    • This past week would have also been Dr. Sally K Ride’s birthday. The first American female in outer space (1951 – 2012). Passed of Pancreatic cancer.

    • Yesterday I had my 6-week final checkup on the results of my eye surgery last January. Verdict? Quoting Dr. Miller; “the results could not have been any better!” I have a couple of small sight issues (curvature & depth) which should clear up over time.
    • Here’s one for the little people. This week the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Water Act only regulates wetlands that have a “continuous surface connection” to larger bodies of water. A farmer can no longer get ‘nicked’ by the EPA over a duck pond on their farm.
    • Mid-week I realized I could stream the FC Cincinnati vs the NY Red-Bulls for a jump into the elite final eight for the US Open tourney. How could I have known that the game would go into extra time with two additional shortened periods. Then would go into a 10 kick penalty shootout. By 11pm I go to bed happily knowing the home team had won!
    • Vili is leaving school — primary grades that is. Off to Middle School (Clark Montessori Highschool) next fall. Nice going kiddo!
    • Now that the Round the World solo sailing race, the GoGo2022, is over, There was a massive void. Bulent to the rescue. He now has me following the Imoca class 5-crew round the world race (this is the high speed stuff coupled with a couple of stops). Tense sailing, great watching as the “The Ocean Race” is on!

The Ocean Race 2022-23 – 10 May 2023, Leg 4 Day 17 onboard 11th Hour Racing Team. Malama sailing downwind in waves.

Ciao. Stay strong. Now post and then watch Marcia do her bean magic – appreciate Life and be sure to incorporate a little ‘niksen’ into it.


Hi-Heel Sneakers
05 20th, 2023

Drop this Rambling quickly and then head for East Fork Lake (about 45 minutes away), cowbell in hand, to watch row Dinah row. It’s another weekend and another regatta.

Now, I first should open up ‘Chatgpt’ to have the system inform me which would be the quickest, easiest, simplest way to make the best morning coffee. Since it’s A.I. it’ll be easy to also include best ground, coffee type, water temperature, and method of brewing etc, all for the sake of coffee perfection.

If I’m not happy with the A.I.’s ensuing answer it wouldn’t be all too crazy for me to run over to White Castle with my thermos. Yes, we do have our own coffee; just thinking of alternatives.

Hi-Heels Sneakers – Tuesday evening it was “Jazz at Fountain Square”. This week it was the Michael Mavridoglou Quintet with an evening of ‘60s Jazz, Soul, and Gospel. So what did all this all translate into? As an example, they played ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’ by Tommy Tucker written in 1964 – this number has been covered by folk such as Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Elvis, and Ramsey Lewis to name a few. It was a great evening.

5 of us, (two couples plus me) total strangers when we arrived, for two hours shared a table. And for that whole time had wonderful conversation alongside great music. Quite an evening. Here’s how Janis recorded ‘Hi-Heels’ with her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company – this definitely not a jazz rendition.

Also spotted on Fountain Square was this dog, a breed I’d never seen before. Talking with the owner, it turns out that it’s an Italian breed, a Cane Corso, and looks much like a Mastiff.


Climate Change – part one; 500,000 years ago – i.e. well before man, and when fossil fuels were still in the developmental stage, our area was massively affected by Climate Change, temperature and when accompanying glaciers reworked our landscape:

We [Cincinnati area] are a Landslide Area, one of the top four in the nation.” ~ Laure Quinlivan former anchor for the local ABC affiliate news and filmmaker – “Living With Landslides

Earl Pitts came out of the woodwork. Actually, he ‘musta’ happened on the scene because of the fact that our region is dead center in the world of racing and some of the guys were just ‘jawing’ around.

Days ago it was The Derby a little south of us. Then next weekend it’s the Indy 500 a little to the west, and all of this followed by a worldwide audience. So yes, these events are really hyped in these parts.

Anyway, I happened to record Earl‘s ‘take’ on it all, so have a listen:

A Canoe Life – At Vai’s Clark Montessori Highschool we attended their annual Festival. Marcia spotted, then went wild, and finally bought a bunch of raffle tickets, for a student made 13’ Canoe. We did not win.

Thursday evening she got a call. The gist of it was that the winner of the canoe took a pass, so another ticket was drawn. It was one of Marcia’s tickets! She had to yell (in delight) into a pillow so as not to scare the neighbors.

Yesterday afternoon we picked it up and it is gorgeous.

Art visited –. I promised a week ago that I’d fill in on his visit, so here’s more detail. Art was on business nearby and wanted to do brunch. He also wanted to make certain that Vaioleti would join our Brunch gathering at First Watch.

Now let’s go back in time. Vai was supposed to arrive in December 2008. In actuality she arrived August of 2008; she surely was a wee little micro-preemie.

At the time, Marcia and I were in Canada. Brother Art happened to be in Indianapolis for business. That next morning he drove to the ‘Nati and the ‘NICU‘ at Good Samaritan Hospital, there talked his way into the micro-preemie ward. He took a photograph of the 1-day old Vai and placed his Blackberry on the incubator as a size comparison. We’ve always loved that photograph.

Fast forward to last weekend.

Vai was surrounded by mom Adrianne, dad Tevita, and brother Vili as uncle Art pulled out of a bag a professionally mounted and framed copy of the picture he had taken that day. Mounted above the photo was the actual Blackberry which he had saved all this time. It’s stunning and an instant heirloom.

I saw a very emotional Vaioleti do some serious swallowing and give some serious hugs.

It was a beautiful moment!

Fin –

It’s common knowledge that Southwest Airlines has ‘grab-any-seat’ boarding (with a few exceptions). Now here’s a trick, for a mysterious ‘healing’ experience board in a wheelchair. It’s amazing how many people board a Southwest flight requiring a wheelchair and somehow get healed enroute, and walking off.

Cincinnati has the first pro Baseball team in MLB, The Reds. But immediately across the river we have the Florence Y’alls baseball team part of the Independent Frontier League. One of the crazy (but I love it) differences in that league is that any foul ball caught by a fan is an immediate out for the batter. Thought you’d want to know.

Last evening I listened to a live-stream of the opening performance of our May Festival’s 150th season; on my studio headphones – UNREAL! The Festival kicked off with Bach’s Manificat! Plus the premier of two commissioned works. The choral portion was by the voices of the local May Festival chorus, youth choir, and boys choir. I think I actually swooned. 

Just discovered that the ’fraddies’ and ‘nerdish’ at MIT have written and created a file which contains around 35,000 Japanese style 3-line Haiku’s – their subject? ……… each one written about the ‘killer’ luncheon meat we affectionally call “SPAM”! This Haiku came straight from the ‘can’:

SAS sent out
To destroy the SPAM missiles
Fear in Tel Aviv
— Angus

Now my final coffee and a little breakfast all with my feet up. Mid morning, assuming the weather (i.e.rain) clears, it’ll be a drive to East Fork Lake to watch Dinah race in yet another regatta. Row Dinah Row!

Ciao. Stay strong, appreciate Life, and just so you know, the A.I. was not much help with brewing my morning coffee.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.


05 13th, 2023

Happy Mothers Day Celebrating Moms Everywhere.

Well, well, seems like a day or two that’s all that has gone by and now it’s Saturday already. Maybe it was my anticipation for events later today, but that usually makes it appear that time has slowed. I should have had a conversation with Albert Einstein on the subject when I had the chance. Now it’ll have to be with Dr. Michio Kaku; but more on that later.

A morning mug of coffee anyone?
Sit back, relax, and enjoy these few moments of tranquility and leisure. Just do not discuss should these Ramblings put you back to sleep.

Word of the Day: apothegm: Just stating, “everything points to the number 42” is not an apothegm. An ‘apothegm is merely a short, sweet, phrase that incorporates a life lesson.

42 – Mid-2020, mid Covid, the Trump Whitehouse invoked Title-42 which allowed immigration officials to quickly return illegal aliens to their native countries for the sake of public health – 2.5-million illegal entrants were removed that way.

Yesterday Title-42 expired and according to NBC News; “DHS is now preparing a memo that will direct Customs and Border Protection to begin releasing migrants into the United States without court dates or the ability to track them…”

A week ago Jordan Neely, an out of control criminal type, was causing mayhem on New York’s subway. He was restrained and subdued, as a result he died. Turns out he had 42 previous arrests on his rap sheet.

Ok, good, finally, the number 42 shows up. But wait, here’s more….

Any of you ever read, ”The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams? No?
Well, in the ‘Guide’ the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and of Everything” was calculated by an enormous quantum supercomputer named ‘Deep Thought’ over a period of 7.5 million years. By then, no one remembered what the actual question was, and thus they were utterly stupefied when the computer (after 7.5 million years mind you) spit out the answer, which was……………………………………42.

It appears, that (much like the number 15) the number 42 is one of those cosmic numbers which keeps the Universe in balance and thus keeps us little peons guessing.

Vili and his Saxophone – have become a team. Last Tuesday evening his school, North Avondale Montessori, held their spring event with dancers, choir, bongo percussion, and a full band.

Like many of these events and my cynical self, I did not expect all that much. I was wrong! We all had a great evening.

Next year Vili will join Vaioleti at Clark Montessori High School. He’s already informed Vai that he won’t join her playing a steel drum, he’s going to try out for the school band and is hanging on to his Saxophone. He knows what he likes and what he wants.

”Anywhere you can dream is good, providing the place is obscure, and the horizon is vast.” ~ Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) writer (Notre-‘Dame de Paris, ‘Les Misérables’) Politician

A spectacle shown – as last week the ‘dream’ continued in London, but was it good? Much like an old movie house movie reel that kept on breaking, was as how I saw the coronation of King Charles. Never saw the full video, just a series of ‘stop-start’ photos.

I caught snippets of a figurehead, with no purpose, and a person who is not likable. I have no issue with a monarchy per se, but I interpreted this event as an over-the-top fiasco, a bit of a sad fairy tale. Considering what England has devolved into, what it has become; to me what I spotted was akin to an old Monty Python joke.

Platos allegory – In Plato’s famous ‘Allegory of the Cave’, a group of prisoners have been chained to the floor of a cave all their lives such that their heads cannot move. All they can see is the wall opposite them, upon which they observe shadows in constant motion.”

“The shadows are of people and objects moving behind the prisoners, which are projected onto the wall by the light of a fire that is constantly burning. But the prisoners cannot see any of this. For the prisoners, the shadows are their reality. It is the only reality they have ever known.

If they could turn around, they would see the world as it really is. But they are incapable of doing so.” (from article by Mike Bedard)

“Crazy” you utter, “Dirk, what in the world are you driving at”?

The video (10-minutes) mentions politicians and the news media. It mentions the overt slanting of their utterings. However, what’s even worse, what is even more insidious, is what they do NOT say.

As anexample, this week a Congressional Committee had a Press Conference which detailed and made available Bank statements (from 4-banks), e-mails, whistleblower statements; all detailing in depth the corrupt financial dealings of the Biden family. To date, “ABC, CBS, NBC devote(d) ZERO Seconds to Oversight Committee’s Bombshell Findings on Biden Family Corruption” (headline from an article by Debra Heine in ).

And so dear readers, that’s how we truly are the chained, kept in the dark, much as the ‘prisoners’ Plato wrote about.

Row, row, row that boat – Dinah is busily finishing her school year (think ‘tis the season of exams). At the same time, she is practicing 3-hours a day, 6-days a week rowing.

This has also meant that already this year one week she rowed locally, then in
southern Tennessee, followed by a weekend in Saratoga, New York, with more regattas to follow.

And what does she gain? Physical fitness, goal setting, life-long relationships, winning graciously – losing graciously, getting along, cooperating/sharing, time allotment, just to name a few. With all of that, I thought I’d share a write-up mom Cathy shared the other day.

Fin –
* I began by using the word ‘anticipation’. Here is what all that is about.
Brother Art had business in Columbus yesterday. This morning he’s
hightailing it to Cincy. I will be taking him, and Vai (by his special request)
to lunch. Next week I’ll be able to fill you in fully.

* Then right after lunch Vai has to perform at school, an all afternoon Clark
Community Festival. I’m hoping Art can stay a bit to watch. Marcia will join
at that time.

* The Flying Pig Marathon weekend ran on time as scheduled. Saturday with
the ‘half’ the 10 & 5K were held in absolutely perfect weather conditions. I
think we all got a little too smug. Because………..

* Sunday the full Flying Pig Marathon started exactly at 6:30. Ten minutes later it was curtains of rain blocking vision, thunder, and lightning. A 40-minute break and then it was round two. It was horrible. A cadre of weather people hunching over screens, the management team from the Boston Marathon, fire, and Police, were all in on one HUGE confab. In the end, most of the starting crowd of 20,000 finished – and all went well. Me? I sat in front of the ‘telly’.

* Never heard of it? It’s still going on so hurry down. The ‘Nati is hosting the
2023 APP Vlassic Classic Pickleball Open tournament. With almost 900
players it’s much larger than I had suspected.


* Yesterday (May 12 th ) in 1963, Bob Dylan walked off the set of the Ed Sullivan Show. His “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” was not to be sung. I guess Bob showed the ‘power-set’ who was in charge.

* Three Pedal offerings – A quickly-dying breed, stick shift cars can still be found in the US. Car and Driver compiled this list:  

* Tomorrow will be the 30th anniversity of the horrific Carrolton, KY bus crash on I-71 – killing 27 youth on a church outing. A drunk driver hit head on a school bus. The kids were returning from a day long fun trip at our nearby King’s Island ammusement park. Anytime I travel to Louisville a roadside marker reminds me of that horrid event. Don’t drink and drive!

* Citroen meet-up in Enschede / East Holland (my birth city)

Ciao. Stay strong, stop by and have a little of my self-made Sauerkraut (contains more probiotics than found in anything else) – appreciate Life.


Saturday morning, and with our just missing the coldest-May 1st-on-record the current change is for the better, temperature that is. The warmer weather makes for me to come out of the gate spritely and upbeat. So let’s get started, with a smile and sparkle in the eye – even more so now that my coffee is ready.

Word of the Day: dryasdust: A boring, pedantic speaker or writer. Dull and boring.

‘Dryasdust’, I hope not with this morning’s read. For us the town will be hopping, actually running. See, it’s the weekend of The Flying Pig marathon. Between the 5K, the 10K, and the full marathon, there will be 40,000 runners on the streets, add to that about 8,000 volunteers and 100,000 spectators and, yup, it’ll be a hub-bub of activity. Tomorrow morning I’ll be one of those ‘squeelers’ (keeping with the ‘pig’ theme) cheering the marathoners on.

The ‘Nati’s Jewel – has to be our Mercantile Library and yes, you may pronounce it MercanTILE or MercantTEEL (wanna sound local?, just call it “the Merc”). Founded in 1835 by a few young business types. since then it’s grown and also assembled a number of fine art pieces.

The Merc is a remainder of earlier of membership libraries (which were around before there were public libraries). Anyone is welcome and visits are free.

Over the years there have been an annual series of speakers. Looking back, how about Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (who grew up nearby). More recently notables such as Rabbi Isaac Wise, John Updike, Salman Rushdie, Robert Caro, David Brooks, Julia Child, and Doris Kearns Goodwin have given lectures.

With membership the events are open as is the ability to peruse amongst the more than 80,000 book collection – many of historical value from a bygone era – the oldest dates to 1641.

What is truly amazing is that the place has survived two fires and the space it occupies on the 11th and 12th floor of the downtown Mercantile Building has had the library there since inception. There under a 10,000 year lease (yes, you read correctly; ten-thousandyears)

Want to see a recent event on video? Click on this Crowdcast LINK.

All this woke Bud Light stuff and in-your-face virtue signaling advertising needs to chill. First, they came for Uncle Ben (a credit to his rice) and I said nothing. Then they came for Aunt Jemima and I said nothing. Then they came for Dylan Mulvaney, and I said, “Whatever.” ~ Ron Hart, libertarian op-ed humorist, this on Dailey Caller

G°G°R 2022 or ‘On the Minnehaha’ – The 36′ boat, Minnehaha or “The Laughing Waters”, is a very special older boat – it just finished a global circumnavigation of 30,000 miles winning the quadrennial 2022 Golden Globe 2022 (G°G°R 2022) race in first place. (this race started September 4, 2022 – finished April 27, 2023).

My own love for sailing has me quickly connect to these massive races. In 2000 it was the Vendée Globe, now it was the G°G°R 2022 which I could track and follow. Over the years I did some lake sailing and racing and it must be that these races fulfill a small piece of my wish list. Besides, I just love the sights and sounds.

Sailing solo with just two quick (video card transfers only) stops, South African sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer, the only female in the 16-boat race, won the race. First of the only 3 boats that completed the race.

1st place even after diverting 95 miles to rescue a fellow sailor who was bobbing on his life-raft. Finish sailor, Tapio Lehtinen, had 5-minutes to activate his EPIRB device, grab his logs & sim cards before his #6 boat, Astria, completed its Titanic-style maneuver. He then floated for 24-hours in a raft before Kirsten was able to rescue him. As an aside, he was later transferred to a cargo ship which had also responded.

Neuschäfer’s boat had to be reworked and retrofitted. By race rules, everything has to be as it was on the first Golden Globe Race of 1968. Sealed ‘emergency only’ gear and a couple of minutes a day of telephone contact only is mandated. No restocking of supplies — Kirsten even collected and used rain water for drinking. Even to where CD’s are not allowed only cassetes because the CD wasn’t available in 1968. Plus, all navigation is by the stars only – no GPS. To rework the boat she spent almost a year on Canada’s Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) town of Baltic where she worked alongside the locals to get her Minnehaha ready.

A while back Marcia and I spent time in Canada’s Maritimes including P.E.I. and, like Neuschäfer, also loved the place and its people. Enjoy the short video and music by P.E.I’s  folk singer/songwriter Lennie Gallant and townsfolk as backup singers.

Fini –

• A quickie from our corner of Chaos & Mayhem comes this visual of a wrong-way tow – nice try though.

• Former Budweiser Bud Light marketing vice president, Alissa Heinerscheid, following her Dylan Mulvaney fiasco has re-surfaced. This might be a limited trial run with, possibly, her new employer?

• Watching everything WOKE, especially with high school and college aged kids I can’t help but wonder. Wonder if kids these days could muster the fortitude of those of The Greatest Generation of WWII. Think of a young kid climbing into the Ball Turret on a rattling B-17 Bomber. Gunners were squeezed into a suffocating totally exposed bulb, withstood bitter cold, hours on an oxygen mask (ok, we’ve had two years of the mask thing), and cramped in a fetal position. Your thoughts?

• Dinah raced in Saratoga, New York at the Toga-Invitational. A first place in the 8-person and 4th in the 4-person boat. With 1,500 athletes registered that becomes ‘most excellent’.

• Does anyone have a cogent answer as to exactly why the IRS needs to spend $10-million on weapons and ammunitions? I certainly haven’t got a clue.

• Our dazzlingly amazing veep (alongside Dan Quale & Walter Mondale) Kamala is now our A.I. tsar. I suspect it’s due to her stellar performance managing similar ‘tsaristic’ duties as Border ‘bozo’ and abortion ‘goat’. To formalize, this week a meeting on A.I. was held in the White House Roosevelt Room – the room’s portrait of the great namesake man himself seemed to come to life; it appeared he began rubbing his temples.

• Dutch is my original tongue. During my school years I’ve had a discussion or two about the fact that The Netherland’s most northern Province, Friesland, has its own language which is more closely related to English than to Dutch. This week I came across a chart which clearly details just how I’ve been correct all along. ‘Checkmark’ for Dirk.

• Last Saturday as mentioned last week, we made an excursion to Ikea. Actually, Ikea ‘shopping’ is a day-long event, hence it’s no wonder they built a restaurant and the halfway point. That aside, the ‘gravadlax’ salmon salad was amazing!

Ciao. Stay happy, stay connected, run your own life’s ‘marathon’ in whatever form suits you best – just keep on going! Be safe and be healthy.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.