Archive for November, 2023

Pleasant thoughts
11 25th, 2023

Each day filled with gratitude

Morning all!
Not certain how it was for you, but here, at least for me, the week flew by. This also meant drinking a bit more of Dunkin’s than normal, so soon I’ll be opening and grinding a new bag of coffee. This go around it’s Peets Coffee, ‘Major Dickason’s Blend’.

Next week looks to be a bit more on the usual side, primarily the twice weekly exercise regimen.

Last Sunday, as I wrote last weekend, I took Vili and Vai to hear some excellent music and from New York one of the nation’s master alto Saxophonists, Jim Snidero. Sitting closeup to the band I could see just how intent these two were by the whole experience. It was lovely.

Thursday morning — I participated in the 114th 10k/5k W&S Thanksgiving Day Race. I joined 12,000 others for this event which is both one of the oldest and largest Turkey Trots in the nation and receives a lot of local hype. What made it even better was the fact that the finish was at the new stadium for our MLS (soccer) team – FC Cincinnati. We all got to get on the pitch and coming through the tunnel each got a screenshot on the two large stadium screens. Question; Sandy, since my mug has now been on the big screen should I be hiring an agent?

I felt good and in the “Over 80” category came in first place with a 14.51 pace. Considering the race starts quickly with the Liberty Hill climb and 12,000 people trying to occupy 3-lanes of roadway without tripping over one another, I felt upbeat.


Turf Upkeep — Before the start of the race I walked a bit around the stadium. Getting the ‘Pitch’ ready for this evening’s game requires almost perfect grass. Aside from the grooming and watering they had these machines working away. I am not certain, but I suspect that this is a robotic system of special lights facilitating growth of the field. Pretty stunning.

A great quote – “Common sense is not so common.” – Voltaire

An early gift – for Marcia. There is a very special show series in town, the Longworth-Anderson Series, which combines various musical acts, with a reception featuring local craft beers and foods from a number of restaurants (including Marcia’s favorite, Dewey’s Pizza). I wanted to take her to see singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Rhiannon Giddens. She’s on the program this coming March. Then came a shock, that event was sold out. Sold OUT! This was in October when I checked – who would’ve thought!

Plan ‘B’ was put into play, an evening with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans doing a “Creole Christmas”. However, since their performance is December 6th, it necessitated an early gifting for Madam. She happily got the tickets Thursday evening at our little Thanksgiving gathering. It’ll be a very good time!

P.S. Marcia, with her new hip, refuses to use a cane. So, I attached the tickets to a cane which she’ll find impossible to just park in a corner. Take a very close look at that very special ‘walking stick’ to see why.

The Health of Gratitude – Now that we’ve parked and packed our Thanksgivings for another year and begun to try and max out our stash of credit cards, I read up a bit more on ‘Gratitude’.

It’s the Royal Society Open Science May 23, 2018 which states; “the ability to experience gratitude to others is a fundamental feature of human cognition.”

In fact, expressing gratitude actually changes the brain. Noted neuroscientist Glenn Fox, Ph.D. in studies on gratitude states that practicing gratitude is not, “a magic bullet, Fox added, it’s the regular practice of being grateful that makes a difference: “You know, it’s like water cutting rock through a canyon, it’s not done all at once.”

But expressing gratitude and journaling the occurrences has amazing results, from people who experienced the Holocaust, to those with advanced cancers, heavy workloads and personal struggles. In fact, you just might say it establishes overall better health for everyone.

And the effects pour over into nearly all facets of life, even by grateful people being less materialistic. And, with the onslaught of Black Friday adds I was bombarded with yesterday, that is something we all could benefit from. Much of my reading can be attributed to Dr. Joseph Mercola and especially this article written by him:

September Song – Remembering that this past week was the 60th anniversary of the murder of President Kenedy. As a remembrance I decided on music. The song below was President Kennedy’s favorite; ‘September Song’. In fact, His close aide Dave Powers wrote; “that JFK sang “September Song” after dinner at his family’s Palm Beach mansion on Saturday before he went to Dallas. Powers noted that he sang it “better than usual” that night.”

With Marcia’s big-0 birthday fast approaching, so I think it is also appropriate to play it for her. As a bonus, this rendition is sung by one of her absolute ‘faves’, Willie Nelson!

“Masting” – of Oak trees is a once every while event. It’s when these trees fruit much more than normal. In these parts it’s definitely a ‘masting’ year and it’s the Oaks dropping so many Acorns that on my walk it’s a constant crunching underfoot.

The little acorns aren’t all that bad since they crunch easily. However, it’s the large Bur Oaks where some avoidance maneuvers are a necessity; either that or deal with the pain of the things getting underfoot. The Squirrels and local Deer are ecstatic. And no, we do not practice ‘balanophagy’ (the practice of eating cooked acorns) so we have little use for the things.

I forgot to mention — that Marcia and I escaped the whole Turkey hullabaloo. We ordered a Chicken / slab of Ribs meal for 2 to 4 people from Montgomery Ribs – so perfect! Enough so that we had chicken and salad for dinner Wednesday evening. Then the ribs and salad with Cathy and Jason and their vegetarian goodies for Thanksgiving – wonderful! This left a huge Apple pie for desert.

Make it a great week. As I wrote last week, remember, smiling is easier than snarling.

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

Last chance to choose the Minnesota 2023 Golden Turkey (money waste/grab) winner! Relay your guess to me. Then the real reason for posting this is this Question: What are the top ranking ‘2023 Golden Turkeys’ for your State?

Here are the current top 4 money grabbing boondoggles for Minnesota — one of them is the winner:

1) A palace for politicians (State Office Building)
2) Empty train to Duluth
3) Tim Walz’s crib
4) Flying squirrel research

Happy Thanksgiving
11 18th, 2023

But a black day follows

Morning all!
This week my ‘Jeeves’ role and Uber driver side-gig was in full swing as Marcia’s road-to-healing continues without pause. She’ll have her Carpal Tunnel surgery early January (her first 80th gift?). She’ll have a DEXA scan shortly. Then, the pièce de résistance; at the insistence of the surgeon who (while using a loud voice) said she required a family practitioner for her Pre-Op (it had been six years without).

She now has her own personal ‘Doc’.

A little sip of my Dunkin’s java and I’ll continue.

After her visit with the surgeon, I went on a walk. The light went on and I changed my route to swing by my doctor’s practice. Informing the front desk that I was bringing them a new patient I was offered either a male or female doctor. I signed her with Dr. Trout, the lady Dr.

By happenstance, arriving home, Marcia was on MyChart and said, “so you signed me up with a Dr. Trout?” I told her that I had told the office folk that in response to their question of which Dr. she’d want that, “Marcia had just “landed a Trout!” Marcia was in shock.

Also got her a little office time the following day for a ‘meet-n-greet’. Outcome, she loves Dr. Trout!

Ps. On her MyChart, while reading the surgeon’s notes, Marcia spotted that in brackets he had put that she (“had fired her last Doctors”). Marcia is now a marked woman.

Power Shopping – time is very near. In fact, next Friday is Black Friday – the absolute holiest of all our holidays. In preparation I have just purchased a new Blood Pressure Monitor, the wrist cuff model no less.

Actually, at the previously mentioned ‘meet-n-greet’ it was discovered that Marcia’s blood pressure reading was a wee bit high. The old monitor had bitten the dust, so it was time to start shopping.

Neighborhood ‘jawing’ around, the topic naturally came around to this annual, dreaded, shopping phase of life in America. I say “dreaded” because I challenge you find a guy looking forward to it. Of course, local stick-your-nose-into-everything-and-I-have-an-answer guy, Earl Pitts, had to offer his input:

‘tis the Season – and the Dutch are gearing up and preparing for the ‘intocht van Sinterklaas’ (Santa’s arrival). As has been done for ages, on the evening of December 4 clogs, some milk, cookies, and a carrot or two for the horse will be placed by the fireplace.

For all the cute little towheads (and all others too) the wait for their gifts is on. Then on the morning of December 5th, all kids will be up before dawn to see if ‘Sinterklaas’ had stopped by and if it was goodies or a lump of coal sitting by the hearth. A dreaded lump of coal for those with a blemish on their score card delivered by ‘zwarte Piet’ (black Peter, Santa’s assistant). Or even worse, it could be a trip over zwarte Piet’s shoulder in an empty coal sack, and off to that dreaded land of horrors, Spain.

Shalom – With all that is going on in the Middle East. And, as the seemingly cyclical rise of antisemitism rears its ugly head once more, I thought I’d give a push for peace and Shalom. Share some of what all lies behind the Hebrew word Shalom. In English we use the word as a casual expression of ‘peace’ both coming and going.

But from the book of Exodus, it’s realized that it is much more where its translated as “make it good.” And the Apostle Paul fleshes out the greater meaning when he ended his letter to the Thessalonians, by using ‘shalom’ in the modern English translation; “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”

Think about this more expansive meaning while reflecting and listening to Itzhak Pearlman, playing his most requested, Main Theme from Schlindlers List:


A great quote – A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.“.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday event – Sunday I am taking the youngest grandkids, Vai and Vili, to a small nearby church, the First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati. Tomorrow afternoon it’ll be a concert; a really good jazz trio – all three are tenured music professors at the University of Cincinnati. Then, from New York, saxophone giant Jim Snidero. Joining in will also be a 12-piece orchestra featuring some of Cincinnati’s finest string musicians. I am so looking forward to tomorrow afternoon!

From Snidero’s Bio: “Grammy award-winning alto saxophonist, composer and author Jim Snidero encapsulates what is both unique and compelling about jazz. Hailed as an “alto sax virtuoso” (Downbeat) with “mind-boggling” improvisation skills (The Guardian), and “an alto saxophone sound that is one of the richest and purest on the planet” (Stereophile), he has amassed over 16 million streams on Spotify and Apple music presenting acoustic jazz of the highest caliber………….” And on it goes. As I said, “I am so looking forward to the concert and to spending time with the kids tomorrow.”

Tax Prep – I am being reminded almost daily by brokerage firms, banks, and various characters on the television/radio newsy programs that NOW is the time. The time to get my taxes in order. And here I thought all along that NOW is the time to get my final decrees and wishes in order – have I misunderstood all this time?

Thanksgiving – I just can’t finish this ‘Ramblings’ without wishing everyone a great Thanksgiving. Please do take a moment or two to reflect on all the blessings and gifts you must be thankful for. Me, I am starting my Thanksgiving morning by joining in doing a 5k (the 114th annual Thanksgiving Day Race). The fun finish to this event is that the finish line is on the TQL Stadium’s pitch of our professional soccer team, FC Cincinnati. I thought this would be a cool way to start my Thanksgiving.

Make it a great week. Try something brand new. Yesterday we, on a whim, I bought some White Thai Eggplant at Jungle Jim’s which I fixed for dinner last night. It was received 50-50, one raved while the other somewhat tolerated. But both of us ended up happy about the experience. Remember, smiling is easier than snarling.


May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

Walking has absolutely plummeted across America (per a study found on Axios). Just between 2019 and 2022 walking has dropped a startling 36% (per a StreetLight Data report). This data used travel behavior based on anonymized data from mobile devices, vehicle GPS systems where one “walking trip” is any trip taken by foot that is more than about 820 feet (250 meters) from start to finish.

Your task, name the three cities which tied for last place.
1) San Diego, CA
2) Boise, ID
3) Portland, OR
4) New York, NY
5) Orlando, FL
6) Las Vegas, NV
7) Ogden, UT

Boom Boom
11 11th, 2023

Once there was an election

Morning all!
Several times over the last couple of weeks Miss Marcia accused me of carrying my morning ‘Tintin’ look a bit too far – something about my morning hair. To which I can only reply with a short, “Mille Sabords” (Billions of Barnacles) using Tintin’s best friend, Captain Haddock’s, catchphrase. Yes, truth be told, I love Hergé’s delightful comic character, Tintin.

Now, before I straighten out my hair I want to wish all friends and family veterans a very special day. In the meantime, join me by enjoying a great mug of java. Now, a short pause where I relish my coffee and then I’ll work on this week’s Ramblings.

Power Pole – very near the Corner of Chaos & Mayhem, another pole bit the dust. That’s why a bucket truck showed up and the cops blocked the street. Our vantage point makes it all better than TV.


Okay, so I’m Bragging – Last Sunday Matthew 25 Ministries held their “Hunger 5k” to which I had signed up. Here are my results:

1st Place in my bracket
Time 45:18 which is 14:35 minutes per mile.
522nd place out of 1,225 overall.


******* Just as you allow your head to swell too much, a kick in the pants tends to shape one up. This morning from Outlook comes this story, the ‘kick’ in my pants. The Outlook  headline: “This 92-Year-Old Just Became the Oldest Person to Hike the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim.” Just the ‘kick’ I needed to snap me back into being a more humble self,

On Tuesday (a no school day due to elections) I took Vai & Vili back to ‘Matthew 25’ for some volunteer work. They do get the floor workers. The three of us were part of minimally 60 people in the section we were assigned to. Always fun, and also makes you feel somewhat productive.


And what would a morning of volunteering be without lunch with Opa. Chick-fil-A won out (notice the live flowers on the table in a fast food restaurant!)

We had an election – As a conservative, non-affiliated, independent, curmudgeon I wanted to share the outcome of the event in song.

For my Republican friends, listen to how it sounded as results began to stream in (performed by John Lee Hooker, 1-min):

For my Democratic friends, this is what I heard throughout the night (performed by Koko Taylor, 1-min):

A great quoteThere’s winning and there’s losing, and in life you have to know they both will happen.” – Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Ensuring Fair Elections – Formally our elections are to statutorily occur on; “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November”; what we have today, by being all over the map, is to make a joke out of that law. In my state early voting begins 30 days early, all other states it falls between 3 and 46 days prior to what is legally mandated. Add to that some States allowing the mailing of ballots when these are guaranteed not to arrive till days after election-day’. The whole sets the scene for election shenanigans.

To ensure election integrity, that all elections are Fair, Free, Honest, and Transparent [i.e.: One Citizen, One Vote] there are groups currently actively working to ensure that this happens. Nationally there is the “Election Integrity Network”, ‘EIN’, which includes a 20-state coalition. EIN also partners with entities such as the “Virginia Institute”, “America First Legal”, and “The Heritage Foundation”. Here in Ohio, you can explore the “Ohio Election Integrity Network” at , They’re always looking for volunteers.

Currently I see the trend being that the current early voting scheme is a mess. The way it’s heading, soon we’ll opt for a ‘two-fer’ vote – two election cycles voted on one single day. Why not?

Wednesday morning thought – occurring shortly after realizing that enshrining abortion rights in our constitution passed with a 57% Yes vote. What follows is a paraphrasing of an article. From an article that is much akin to my own thinking:

“For millennia the order for humanity, to have marriage, family, and children, the very necessities for a civilization to function and perpetuate itself is now a consumer lifestyle choice.”

“The current basis of our entire society is the freedom to become whatever you want, created realities be damned. You don’t want to be uniquely bestowed, see the authority of your ‘Telos’ as Aristotle would say, with the power to bring new human life into the world? Then we can kill that life whenever it is created in your body.”

“Abortion is now the sacrament of this total freedom and atomized individualism.”

Yesterday 45-years – ago, November 10th the Great Lakes ore freighter, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, sank with the loss of 29 crewmembers. June 1975 Canadian folksinger, Gordon Lightfoot released his tribute song: “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. That song has probably exposed more people to that horrible night when the Fitzgerald sank than anything else.

My own knowledge occurred one evening in the Northwoods by our cabin, some wine, and a campfire. One of our neighbors, Wayne, had invited his brother over for the evening, and thus, here is my story. For a period, Wayne’s brother was a helmsman on Great Lakes freighters. The day of November 10th he was the helmsman on duty on the SS Arthur M Anderson another freighter sailing on Lake Superior. Ten to fifteen miles in front of them sailed the Fitzgerald.

Near Whitefish Point on the southeast side of the lake the captain of the Anderson ordered his helmsman, Wayne’s brother, to steer for the safety of a cove. The Anderson stayed in radio contact with the Fitzgerald till about 7:00pm and was the last to communicate with them. Listening to that tale while a warm fire crackled in the background made that evening surreal.

This week Aunt Dodie achieved the peace she sought and she went home. My memories of her are her sharing, her warmth and love.

Make it a great week. Live your life to the fullest for it glides along ever so swiftly. Be happy. Remember, smiling is easier than snarling.
May Peace prevail! Love to all. Dirk

Look at these seven listed Breweries. Prohibition (1920 – 1933) was devastating to the beer industry.

Still quite a number survived by moving into differing industries – from ceramics to ice cream.

Your task, name the one listed Brewery which did NOT survive.

1) Coors
2) Pabst Blue Ribbon
3) Monroe
4) Blumer
5) Christian Moerlein
6) Yuengling
7) Lion

How Far is Far
11 4th, 2023

Far Away & Stop Sticks

Morning all!

Well, well, by this time we were supposed to be in Michigan. Turns out most of the sibs headed out of town and as a result, we’re here, tucked in, in the ‘Nati.  Actually, my attempt at being ‘cutsie’ is a bit off center.

Marcia’s mother had four sisters and a brother. From that group, one, Doris (or the preferred ‘Dodie’), is still living. Aged a couple of months shy of being 100, sharp as a tack, sweet as can be, and a joy to be with, is Aunt Dodie. Looking back at a life well lived, she’s decided move into hospice as she’s ready to “head home”. Hence, Marcia’s two sisters and hubbies are in Chicago to be with her.

Dodie, we love you dearly and may your homecoming be a joyful reunion. God bless.

Aunt ‘Dodie’ is second from left. Marcia’s mom is on far left

A 5K –This morning I am sipping a single, small, cup of coffee. And there is a reason. Since we were now home the folk at Matthew 25 Ministries (one of the nation’s premier humanitarian aid and disaster relief organizations – Charity Navigator rating 100%) advised that I could still participate in today’s ‘Hunger-5K’ which starts in a couple of hours.

Wednesday morning I signed up to participate. Wish me a good event.

‘Stop-Sticks’ & a pair of cuffs – Thursday mid-afternoon police stopped a car immediately next to our little balcony. They swarmed the car, ‘stop-sticks’ placed by the tires, driver taken out and immediately hand-cuffed. Three officers went through the vehicle with a fine-tooth comb and items were placed in large envelopes.

They then drove the stopped car across the street and parked it, everyone then left in the two gathered cruisers and one unmarked car. Don’t know what it was all about. Don’t know where it all started to eventually end up by our back door. All I do know is that you can see a pair of ‘stop-sticks’ laying on the cruiser’s hood. The Corner of Chaos & Mayhem is alive, well, and active.


Smooth as Silk – finally I happened to tune in to our go-to (i.e. listen-to) radio station, WLW700 – the Nation’s Station. Amidst an array of obnoxious stream used car-lot ads, I heard this. Have a listen to how a promo ad should run.

It’s a promotional ad for one of the station’s better voices, Bill ‘Willie’ Cunningham. Willie is an attorney whose wife is a retired Federal Judge. Willie has access to most anyone to interview – business leaders, State Governors, Sport personalities, you name a category and he’s got it covered. The whole show is a cut above the rest.

Distances – How far away is something? The nearest star to our sun is Proxima Centauri, a mere 4.2 light years away. The attached delightful short video from the UK starts with our sun being represented by a Golf ball (earth would be a grain of sand). The video’s host then proceeds to travel the scaled down corresponding distance to reach Proxima Centauri (also represented by a golf ball).

As you watch his travel, remember that our fastest man-made objects are the two Voyager probes (Voyager I and Voyager II both launched in 1977). Currently they’ve just left our solar system and will take 14,000 – 28,000 years to clear our galaxy and head into deep space,. So, staying with the scaled down golf ball representation, think of the guy’s travel being done on a kid’s old-school Big Wheel (my conceptualization).

What Vince and I used to chuckle over during a phone call was who’d be the first to be able to come out with; “that’s Yuuuge!” during our chat; whether it be something work, kids, travel, or achievement related. I believe that he’d agree that the more we understand the majesty and sheer size of the Universe that it’s even more “Yuuuge!” than we can even imagine.

Thou Shall Not Fall – Daughter in Law Cathy has a radio show. As an administrator at Pro Seniors Inc. she manages a public service interview radio show.  The show runs Thursdays at 2:00pm on WMKV 89.3fm.

Thursday’s show interviewed a representative from Trihealth Senior Services, the topic was fall prevention in seniors. I was unaware that this topic was being discussed prior to tuning in. On the other hand Marcia (who pirouetted on the driveway with disastrous results) is fully convinced that Cathy and I planned it as some major collusion scheme?

Sorry, a small glitch caused me to miss the first minute of the show:

A great quote “The best way to make a dream come true is to wake up.” – Dame Anna Wintour

The Hypeour FC-Cincinnati Major League soccer team is in the thick of the MLS Playoff Cup playoffs. This evening’s best of 3, game number 2 will be held at Red Bull Stadium in New York (game 1 was held here which we won 3-nil). Hopefully, this 40-second video of the pregame Pyrotechnical show for MLS Cup Playoffs at our team’s stadium (TQL Stadium) will get everyone excited. The views are great.

Make it a great week. Stay upright. Stay vertical. This week, on a crisp clear night, head to a park away from lights and look up at the skies. As the majesty of it all takes a hold it should help to clear the ‘whirring’ of your mind’s daily struggles. Remember, smiling is easier than snarling.

May Peace prevail! Love to all. Dirk

BONUS POINTS: did you appreciate these were actual proposals never realized? Which one’s did you know something about?

The architect Buckminster Fuller proposed erecting a two-mile wide, weather-proof dome over Manhattan in the 1960s.

The original proposals for the Lincoln Memorial included pyramids and giant staircases; architect John Russell Pope.

In the 1950s, the U.S. government (the Energy Department) proposed building a port in Port Thompson, Alaska using nuclear weapons; Physicist Edward Teller backed the plan as an example of a “peaceful” application of nuclear weapons.