Archive for December, 2023

Saudade!

Morning all! And a Happy New Year! Our town (actually our piece of the ‘hood), this weekend, seems to be a bit less active than usual – seems it’s in a saudade mood (from my travels, referencing a mood as expressed in Brazil). There, saudade [sau·da·de], your word for our entry into the New Year; 2024.

This holiday week has been great with our whole gang together, lots of food, games, chats, and most importantly, Love. I hope that yours has been wonderful as well.

Oh, before I forget. Yes, the ‘wagons’ did make a stop here at our building, on the corner of Chaos & Mayhem

The Dutchman— For all my friends who have some inkling of the Dutch in you, here is your New Year’s gift from me. For everyone not Dutch, I’m sorry you’re not, but I’ll still gift you this song. Most versions are by Country singers, this one by Celtic Thunder.

Enjoy:

A Resolution – Over my morning coffee I filtered (pun) my New Year’s resolutions down to the one I can actually accomplish. I’ve made up my mind – it’s so recent that I haven’t even shared it with Marcia.

This coming year I resolve to attend the Western & Southern Tennis Open (beginning in 2024 it’ll be renamed “The Cincinnati Open”). There, it’s now news scattered far and wide, so I am on the hook. I’ve always enjoyed tennis. Never a “nutcase” on it but played it a fair bit – marginally. So, the question is, why go?

For the ambiance!

The city nearly lost its Western and Southern earlier this year. After the consternation of the possible loss dust settled, the Cincinnati Open will stay in the area for at least the next quarter century. This tournament is the final run-up of the New York Open. It brings the top players in the world.

The tournament has been around our town since 1899, has over 200,000 attendees, great food, great music, people from all 50 states and, as I’m told, here from 39 countries. Plus, a worldwide viewership of about 130 million. This thing is HUGE! And I want to be part of it at least once, and 2024 will be the year!

The photo shows the Main Court:

Election Update Line –This line from journalist Matt Taibbi: “Democracy Dies in Daylight” and it’s so true, especially as the end of 2023 is priming itself for a stunning start into 2024. Actually, the thinking comes from the Washington Post, when they pledged to save democracy, but now argue we need to be saved from it.

How, you ask?

How about this from Canada. A legitimate author in Canada wrote a book quite critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This past week this journalist/author, Ezra Levant, was fined $13,000 when a Federal Court sided with Justin Trudeau and ruled that his book, The Libranos, was illegal. The guarantees placed in Canada’s Charter of Rights, thus conveniently tossed aside by a small, appointed, and non-elected group.

Remember the adage, “innocent till proven guilty”?  But then, just how easy it is now for one person to erase the primary candidate of their opposition party off the ballot. And do so without any conviction on any charge, just inuendo and a ‘kangaroo’ committee. This was done this week in both Colorado and Maine.

Yesterday an unelected Federal Judge, days before going into effect (January 1). He blocked an Iowa law passed by the legislature last winter. The Law? Nothing to concern yourself about. It merely bans schools from using books depicting sex acts from school libraries and classrooms. It also blocks teachers in Iowa classrooms from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation issues with students through the sixth grade.

Best sentence of 2023 – August 8, 2023I wish politicians would look out for miners, and not just minors on an island somewhere.”Oliver Anthony, “Rich Men North of Richmond

Movie  – Several of us headed out to the theater to watch “The Boys in the Boat”. It was well done and a was worthwhile watching, although I appreciated the book more.

In line with the whole rowing theme, I spotted this quote: “In rowing, you move forward by looking in the opposite direction, I learned that it’s OK to look back, as long as you keep pushing forward.” –Arshay Cooper, rower, author of A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team.

Button-down Humor – lost a renaissance comedian early this past week, Tommy Smothers, at age 86, one member of a pair of brothers, Tommy and Dick Smothers. It was their mid Sixties, boundary-pushing political satire, which included veiled jokes about drugs, sex and American involvement in Vietnam. It also helped launch the careers of television and comedy institutions, such as Rob Reiner and Steve Martin” (The Hill).

Their anti-war satire comedy on primetime television riled President Johnson to the point where he called the President of CBS. Quickly the Smothers Brothers were told to cut it out. In turn they invited anti-war folk singer Pete Seeger on the show where he sang an antiwar song (the Seeger piece was cut from the show). With ratings on top of the CBS lineup the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was soon canceled.

As icons of the Sixties counterculture, it was Tommy who was invited to participate in the recording of John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance”.

Please No more Some things need to be put to rest and never to be revived. Some things happened in 2023 not to be repeated in this New Year. The perfect example occurred this past August. Subway restaurants offered a lifetime of Subway sandwiches if you were willing to formally change your name to ‘Subway’.

10,000 weak minded folks jumped on to this ‘amazing’ offer. One was picked. Subway followed up and even paid for the bureaucratic claptrap required to make the name switch.  I’m wishing ‘Subway’ the ‘winner’, a happy life.

New Year’s Weekend –

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne
.

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

May Marcia have a singularly GRAND time on the big ‘0’ Birthday she’ll be celebrating this week.

And may Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

7 Sentences from news articles which explain 2023; except for one – which one is fake?

1) March 24, 2023: “Well, I lost half a day of skiing.” —Gwyneth Paltrow

2) April 26, 2023: “There’s no failure in sports.” —Giannis Antetokounmpo

3) June 13, 2023: “Sell the team.” —Oakland A’s fans

4) December 1, 2023: “To hell with this place.” —George Santos

5) October 11, 2023: “Same, except exactly the opposite.” —Sam Bankman-Fried

6) February 24, 2023: “Bert Parks, “Miss America” was never the same without him; did he ever win?” —@padretom99


the Christmas Letter
12 23rd, 2023

God Bless Us, Every One!

Morning all! And a MERRY CHRISTMAS! As Charles Dickens wrote so many years ago when his Scrooge & Bob Cratchit commiserated together.

A not so secret, secret, is the fact that I’ve never been a barista (or hypercorrect, ‘baristo’). Therefore, I am a nincompoop, i.e. a ‘virgin’ in the multi-faceted language surrounding the ordering of a cup of coffee. Out of desperation I usually mumble something like “coffee black”. Should I get a quizzical look I’ll add “Americano”, and this normally gets the ball rolling. I finally have the solution! Study the attached pic in detail, then memorize.

Election Update – ”A judge has ordered that the opposition leader be reinstated on the electoral roll, clearing the way for him to stand in next year’s presidential election.” (per M.S.)

America? Judges in Colorado? The US Supremes?

NO!

Shh. Keep this correct answer quiet. Here, I’ll whisper it:

A Senegalese judge on Thursday ordered that jailed opposition leader Ousmane Sonko be reinstated on the electoral roll, clearing the way for him to stand in next year’s presidential election.

500 Miles – About a year ago Art and sister-in-law Jolene invited me to join a share app called Strava. Anytime I set out on a timed or distance measured walk, and remember to, I’ll activate Strava. Elevation, distance, route, time, it’s all mapped out and those details then shared with my Strava friends.

Anyway, Strava sent me an update a few days ago letting me know that using the app I had covered 549 miles this past year.

In honor of the 549 number, I decided to insert one of my favorites – Arlo Guthrie singing “City of New Orleans” which magically also covers 500 miles. This performance goes back to August 8, 1993, and was live at Wolftrap along with Pete Seeger; it quickly became a grand sing-along. Crank your volume up!

Best sentence of 2023 – August 8, 2023: “I wish politicians would look out for miners, and not just minors on an island somewhere.” — Oliver Anthony, “Rich Men North of Richmond

A Thought – This week I read an article titled; “Bills enacted, by congressional session”. The gist being that the 118th congress is quickly becoming the “do nothing” congress. Reasons given was Republican in-fighting and the 3-week hiatus changing Speakers.

I came away with a differing line of thinking. I will stick with the “do nothing” assessment but listen. Wouldn’t it be worth more to NOT enact new laws. Instead, if they were to work diligently ERADICATING previously passed laws. Erase laws which impede our well-being, our freedoms, our fiscal growth and, as a Christmas gift, affect a major reduction in the abhorrent growth of the bureaucracy. Now that would be something!

Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson: “[Most laws are] Democracy is no more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.

The ‘X’ axis being the Congress number, the ‘Y’ axis shows the number of laws passed.

The Egg Nog Jog 5K – The 5K last weekend was a solid blast. The weather was all anyone wanted. About 1250 people joined in the fun. Of the walkers (about a third of the entries) I came in at number 13. Since it’s a bit hilly in Mount Adams, my app told me I had climbed 14 stories, finishing the 5K with a pace of 14:51 minutes per mile.

This year they subdivided the categories by adding an “over 80” group. Turns out I was the only entrant in that category. This made me both a 1st and Last place contestant. How cool is that!

     

 

How interesting is this? – This past week US Steel Corp. agreed to be purchased by Nippon Steel in “an all-cash $14.9B deal, marking a significant move for the Japanese steel manufacturer”. What is interesting is that it was US Steel which was instrumental in our war effort for WWII. The same effort which eventually crushed the Imperial Japanese expansion efforts. Now it’s about as tight a friendship as anywhere. We’ve come full circle with this buyout.

At the same time it’s the US itself, on many fronts, i.e. race, politics, etc. that seems hellbent to pry and split our own society and citizenry apart. We clamor for the reversal of the direction our nation was heading in during the 70w and 80s. Sad isn’t it, former enemies such as Japan and Germany we now walk arm in arm with, yet on the home front we’re being pulled apart.

Does the fact that Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) appears to be building a bunker in Hawaii at a reported cost of $100-million play into what is currently happening?

Another thought – This one is mine. The past 3 years have seen massive growth:

1) of a rampant, unsustainable, and unimaginable Federal debt.
2) an influx of undocumented lawbreakers, poised to change the character of the whole nation away from the “Grand Experiment” as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
3) and this is the fastest growth of all, it’s the jumbled crazy letter mix of coddled self-identifying subgroups starting with the letters LGB – it’s now grown to “LGBTQQIAAP2S+”. Self-identifying also means that you’ll never ever run out of categories, there ‘ll always be another, and another.

Christmas Weekend – was slow coming and now it seems hyper–speed. We’re lucky in that our whole clan will be gathering – this alone makes it the best of times.

Also, much appreciation and thankfulness to all of you who have sent Marcia and I cards & the annual Christmas letter or, “The Blessings of the Christmas Letter.” We’ve learned a ton about broken bones and other various geezer ailments. These letters containing your news are great since it means that the next time we’re together we’ll have all of that ‘old-people-only-talk-about-medical-gripes’ stuff out of the way.

With the weakness on the International scene we’ve been displaying I suspect that 2024 might contain some ‘bumps in the road’. Especially since it appears that Xi, Putin, and a truckload of junior wanna-be tin pots might try their hand at pot (pun) stirring. Hence, pray fervently this weekend and then as 2024 kicks in, tighten your seatbelt.

Like Rowing? – Don’t forget that this weekend will be the release of the movie; Boys in the Boat. All the rowing aficionados in our family will gather at our Cinemark or AMC (depending where we can get tickets).

The descriptor as posted by the movie house is this: “During the height of the Great Depression, members of the rowing team at the University of Washington get thrust into the spotlight as they compete for gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.”


May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

Which was the largest contiguous land empire in history?
1) Ming Dynasty in China
2) Mongol Empire
3) The USSR
4) The Nazi Germany/Italy Axis
5) Qing dynasty
6) The Ottoman dynasty


Language at its best
12 16th, 2023

Lit-up Neighborhood & Santas

Morning all!

Ok, so this came to me mid-week. What came to mind is referred to as a; portmanteau, go ahead and look it up prior to reading further. For example, ‘motel’, the combination of ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’ is a portmanteau.

Using some of our newest, and pathetic, WOKE verbiage here are some examples of portmanteau and what the combined word should actually mean: Demisexual: being attracted to Bruce Willis’ ex-wife. Diversity: an urban area for divers. Intersex: keen on sex. Mansplain: large area of flatland owned by a male. Apostacy: attracted to anything dealing with mail. Pansexual: being attracted to metal cooking devices. Pronouns: being in favor of nouns. Or Transphobia: fear of crossing something. You get the idea.

My morning coffee is a routine and thus a habit. Consequently, my morning coffee habit is more of a ‘cofertine’ – the word combination of coffee + routine. There, portmanteau, your word of the day.

5K – Later this morning, 10 AM to be exact I’ll join in for a 5K. Over the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy late Fall event – the Mt. Adams “Egg Nog Jog”. It starts at the highest point on Mt. Adams and then loops around the side streets circling the ‘mount’. With a series of ups and downhills, it’s a fun time.

This past week did some timed practice walks. Luckily the weather has been great. In fact, I spotted a small handful of cars with their tops down, plus two folks on Vespas.

Since I couldn’t grab my camera quick enough this photo of the mural on the local scooter dealership (at the entry point to the Wasson Way Trail) will do to represent the real riders. Also, a lovely row of small houses from a new vantage point on a just completed extension of the trail.

      

 

WOKE awry – No idea whether you saw any of the Congressional questioning the Presidents of Harvard, Penn, or MIT.

There’s been an uproar following each of these folk to take a definitive stand on allowing actions complying with today’s WOKE and DEI acceptable pronouncements, which skewers any opposite views to their accepted views and allows for making Jewish students and faculty to be worried about their safety.

Net result? The President of Penn and the head of its Board both resigned. Harvard, which is listed as the worst University in acceptance/promotion of free speech had its Board stand 100% behind its President.

Considering this, I thought I’d attach this interview by Forbes of Alan Dershowitz – who’s a lifelong liberal Democrat, and who was a law professor at Harvard.

Luminaria – reappeared again last weekend as the neighborhood lit up. Wandering around our ‘hood last Sunday evening became the thing to do. A few houses had a fire pit going along with hot chocolate and s’mores.

While I did a bit of a solo walk. With her still not driving I then took Marcia in ‘her’ car and drove slowly all over the place.

Both of us were caught humming Judy Garland’s: Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh, why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

These photos I took from  the neighborhood web site since they’re substantially better than anything I shot.

      

     

A quote – “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato (born Athens, Greece 428/427 BC – died Athens Greece 348/347 BC)

Fun? – Apparently so, as last Saturday hundreds of Santas filled the streets of downtown and even flowed into Covington, KY during ‘Santacon’ 2023. This favorite local holiday tradition saw, apparently mostly inebriated, Santas flit from bar to bar. I wonder just how many were holding their hurting heads last Sunday morning wondering how much holiday cheer they spread drank.

    

     

 

White House’s 2023 aesthetically perfect Season’s Greetings –

If you’re in the ‘Nati head on over to Mt. Adams. There watch me huff and puff, claw and crawl, trying to make it up and around Eden Park’s Seasongood Pavilion. No laughter though!

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

BONUS POINTS:
Which one of these Washington DC Memorials contains a misspelling?
1) Jefferson Memorial
2) Albert Einstein Memorial
3) Iwo Jimo Memorial
4) US Navy Memorial
5) Lincoln Memorial
6) John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg Memorial
7) Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Marching In
12 9th, 2023

Life to the fullest

Morning all!
While waiting for the morning coffee to move from the ‘smell’ to the ‘taste’ phase, and prior to settling in to pen and poke The Ramblings, I got to thinking. It’s probably partly an aging thing but focusing on the bedroom wall color I understand that while Black is comforting it simultaneously creates a Cave vibe.

Probably not good.

However, I don’t understand why these hand-gesturing interior designer types are so opposed to Yellow or Red, two of my favorite colors; now crossed out for 2024. This brings me to my question, how about mixing the two to bring about my absolute favorite color, Orange? Huh?

Ok, let’s get started. Writing that is.

Day of Infamy – Thursday was the 82nd remembrance of December 7, 1941; “a day which will live in infamy” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Thursday evening, I took a 2-hour class covering the lead-up of that early Sunday morning event using documentation from both our and the Japanese sides as well as from the events at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii itself.

One of the guests in the class was a retired military member who was there at Pearl Harbor, who heard explosions, who saw the planes coming at him. For me it was oh so enlightening and a memorable evening. It was an honor to hear the shock still in that centenarian gentleman’s voice as he relayed (for probably the umpteenth time) what he experienced on what seemed to start out as a calm Sunday morning.

What I learned was that our intelligence network was nearly nonexistent. Our reliance on status and personal ‘priorities’ exceeded our duty; Dorothy Edgers, Saturday December 6, 1941, came across a message that Japan was targeting Honolulu complete with airfield and ship locations. Wildly concerned she went to her superior and was told; “Mrs. Edgers, why don’t you run along now, we’ll get back on this on Monday.

Four very senior US military officers and bureaucrats were pulled in for dereliction of duty. Any real punishment did not happen.

The officially accepted numbers were 2,403 dead and 1,178 wounded. Japan – 129 dead. The US lost 188 planes, and 159 were severely damaged. Japan lost 29 planes.

The similarities to the lack of intelligence leading up to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor is eerily similar. The absolute certainty that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” proved totally wrong; but off to war we went. The lack of intelligence, by possibly the world’s most intelligence savvy nation, Israel’s October 7, 2023, massacre is equally puzzling. Why is that? Ineptitude or purpose?

A quote – The Zuber family was making Pork roast for a summer Sunday lunch when mother Alice spotted a rising column of black smoke and heard explosions. They hid under tables. Alice began to pray; “Dear God please let my children die instead of being maimed.” She then told her daughters; “Don’t cry…..don’t cry. Don’t ruin the morale of our dads and soldiers.”

Mid-week — Was an outstanding evening. Beginning with a small-bite reception catered by a local creole restaurant, a full house of 550 of us enjoyed ourselves on spicy shrimp, sausage, and gumbo. The whole time a show band, The Hot Magnolias, played some funk, blues, jazz, and long-play ‘70s rock. It didn’t take long for us to get into the mood!

   

 

Right at eight o’clock, in the theater area of Memorial Hall, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band came on stage for their “Creole Christmas” evening. It was everything we could have wished for. Enjoy their final number prior to the short ‘encore’ set. Of course, the encore closed out with a rousing variation of their iconic; “When the Saints go Marching in….”:

Our Memorial Hall – is a Beaux-Arts style beauty that was built in 1908 by the Grand Army of the Republic. Thus, it began as primarily a fraternal place for survivors of the Civil War to socialize. Over the years, privately held for community purposes, it’s always done service to things military.

In fact, in 1919, at a gathering at the Hall discussions turned to the needs of the 200,000 returning WWI veterans just back from the ‘great’ war, many carrying lifelong disabilities and illnesses. Those discussions turned into something more formal and thus, Memorial Hall became the birthplace of the Disabled American Veterans – the DAV. The DAV quickly spread nationwide and in its 100 years of service has had over 1,000,000 members.

Seeing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in this historic venue made the whole event even more special. Even more memorable.

WWI Victory Parade

WWI Victory Parade

9th-regiment-ohio-voluntary-infantry-50th-anniversary-reunion

Fun? – Our town way up the ranks as a FUN town? That’s what the dear folk at WalletHub said. They ranked 182 cities including the 150 most populous cities plus at least two of the most populous cities in each state.

The evaluation consisted of three elements; 1) Entertainment & Recreation, 2) Nightlife & Parties and 3) Costs. Since I am usually in bed hours before these ‘elements’ were added, I was absolutely oblivious to any rankings (being asleep I didn’t care much either).

But, let it be said that the ‘Naty came in at position …… drum roll please …… number 11.

Yup, the beat continues – Of the many new religions which have cropped up these days, inconceivable Covid restrictions, LGB……+, death by nature’s CO2, plus a few I’ve probably missed, remember, this month on the front burner (pun) is the COP 28 (UN Climate Change Conference – “UNFCCC COP 28”) confab in Dubai.

84,000 people dealing with an essential plant food, CO2.

84,000 people from 196 ‘parties’ along with 475 lobbyists stormed into Dubai for COP28. Simple Flying’s headline shouted: “Private Jets Flock To Dubai For COP 28: Event Set To Have Biggest Carbon Footprint In History

If their nonsensical mumbo-jumbo verbiage, filled with horrid edicts, weren’t so abhorrent I’d laugh. Currently Dubai airport is filled with private aircraft – except for the REALLY important cadre of the most elite who flew in trailing aircraft loaded with the largest SUVs on the planet (required since these have the best necessary AC systems).

Probably not to be found on any of the COP 28 Power Point discussions is this slide from the CO2 Coalition of US-EPA Temperature Readings on hot days. Of the 1,066 weather stations in the US, 863 (81%) reported either a decrease or lower number of hot days. Nevertheless their ‘holy’ drum will keep on beating for panic.

Hannukah – Happy Hannukah to Cathy and her whole family. May joy be with you this year. As the blessing states, Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Make it a great week. Now I best get organized and go about the neighborhood a bit and show a little rizz. (“rizz” – the Oxford University Press word of the year in 2023). Treat life as a sacred gift.

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

Which of these U.S. President had the most children:
1) Franklin Roosevelt
2) William Henry Harrison
3) John Tyler
4) US Grant
5) Theodore Roosevelt
6) Thomas Jefferson
7) James Garfield


Maturing with Pizzazz
12 2nd, 2023

People who aged with grace

Morning all!
I was asked not long ago; “Dirk, who writes your Ramblings every week?” My response was that I’d been looking for volunteers for some time. Eventually, I asked the ladies from the nearby, Ms. Fernsby’s, women’s writing clutch. Long story short, call me meshugga, but I pen them myself.

As I wrote last weekend, I took Vili and Vai to hear some excellent music and from a New Yorker, 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. This week a short video of that afternoon concert was posted by someone else:

Beer Tunneling – Over the past decade of these Ramblings I have either mentioned or alluded to the deep German roots of our hometown. The influx of German immigrants began during the 1800s. In fact, it was not until the Great War (now labeled as WWI) that local street names were converted from the likes of “Berlin Strasse”, or “Heidelberg Strasse”, you get the drift. Additionally German would no longer be the primary language in schools and newspapers were magically showing up using English text.

One thing that did not change, not even budge, was beer production; German beers that is. This was way prior to today’s IPA beer flavor ‘du jour’. These were German beers after all, Lager Beers. Those beers required cold, long term, barrel stored conditions for the yeast to ferment properly.

So, predating the tunneling of today’s Hamas fruitcakes in and around Gaza, crafty German immigrants created a system of underground tunnels and storage caves right here in River City. Eventually, much of the city Center was sitting on top of this network of tunnels. The attached YouTube is a wonderful tour of these tunnels and storage caves. Enjoy!

Our ‘sphygmomanometer’ – It all began when Marcia’s arm began to balloon and the ‘medicos’ deemed her blood pressure a wee-bit high. Since no one wanted to tie her to a table leg to avoid her head floating and bouncing along the ceiling, balloon style, we opted for a better solution. Hence the sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure monitor) purchase.

I was put in charge of sourcing this little system. I’ll let you know that I am extremely proud of the result. Since Marcia will get her wrist operated on soon, I selected a monitor that would operate as close to her hand as possible; it fits on her wrist..

We now have a new, family, routine. This routine takes place just prior to breakfast and morning coffee. Both pressures are taken, hers and mine, and logged into a spreadsheet. Merely another routine to add further excitement to our ‘Golden Years’.

Staying Active – as this Rambling’s title says, “Maturing with Pizzazz,” till the very end. Recently we lost a dear aunt, Dodie, who epitomized this by staying active till her passing weeks, just prior to her 100th.

Mid week we lost two ‘huge-erians’. Sandra Day O’Conner and Henry Kissinger. Justice O’Connor was the first woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice passing at age 93. She resigned from the court in 2006 to take care of her husband who at the time was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Also parting from us was, twice over, Secretary of State to two Presidents, and hugely influential Henry Kissinger. His tenure was not without controversy. Still, over the decades he was consistently sought out as both a person with gravitas and as a sage. The following interview by The Economist was made with a 100-year old Kissinger.

If your interest is History, it’s a must listen. But, be forewarned, it’s a 50+ minute dialogue. If, you’re like the other, unnamed, person in our family, you should tab down to the “But, did you know?” section. That should help you.

But, did you know? – Earlier this week, over dinner, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa was having dinner when she began to choke. Luckily Senator Dr. Rand Paul of Kentucky was sitting nearby and performed the Heimlich maneuver on her, successfully!

She is one of many, many thousands of people, alive today, through the successful application of that technique.

But, did you know?

Dr. Henri Heimlich used a “Bronx cheer” noisemaker device to prevent the backflow of chest fluids while working in a Hospital Emergency Unit. This toy-as-a-‘tool’ became a standard usage device by medics during the Vietnam war.

In 1996 he moved his family to Cincinnati when he took the position of director of surgery at our Jewish Hospital. It was there where he began to study the dynamics of a choking patient. Realizing that when we exhale a breath of air a residual pocket of air remains in the lungs. Using that bit of air to create the channel to expel the lodged food was the solution, and voila, the Heimlich maneuver was born.

The two just mentioned treatment are just two of a myriad of therapies promoted by the good Docter. He lived in nearby Hyde Park where Marcia and I raised our kids. He died at age 96 (Dec. 17 2016) and is buried in nearby Spring Grove Cemetery not all that far from where my parents are also buried.

He is considered a ‘hometown’ hero.

Yup, on the corner again – Chaos & Mayhem that is. Thursday, as Marcia and I returned from some shopping I saw a plainclothes cop wander towards our neighborhood’s piece of blight property. This across from ours a bit. As an aside, this piece of neighborhood stain is owned by a New Jersey LLC slumlord – and for years we’ve tried almost everything to address the negativity it brings to the community; to NO avail.

Within minutes two unmarked cars, six marked cruisers, and four women cops in khakis but wearing ‘heat’ rolled up. I went over and talked with the cops to learn that they were conducting an “investigation” (these things are always very ‘secretive’).

All this means is that this one piece of ‘crap’ property has just eaten up for a sizeable block of time of most of the police resources in our precinct. Plus, the buried costs these calls, and situations, incur by the citizenry at large is seldom seen as an cost-item to address. Any ideas on how to create change? We’ve tried the Health Dept., Zoning, Police, Code Enforcement, Property Maintenance, Trash & Yard Waste, all to little avail. It’s really getting quite old!

Mid-week — we’ll experience an ‘immersive’ experience. That day, first thing in the morning, Marcia will have her Dexa scan. That same evening we’ll attend a Reception followed by the New Orleans Jazz sounds by the internationally recognized Preservation Hall Jazz Band showcasing their “Creole Christmas” evening. We’ll use the evening to usher in our own entry into the Christmas Season.

The day-after will be celebrated with much sleep!

I’m hoping we’ll get to enjoy the wondrous sound of Charlie Gabriel, who at a mere 86, is the band’s elder, play and sing the iconic song: I’m Confessin’. Charlie has toured with Aretha Franklin, and played with Lionel Hampton’s band, also with the likes of Charles Mingus. The band was the first integrated group even as Jim Crow laws prevailed in the deep South. When touring, players will switch out and me? Fingers crossed, I’m really hoping he’ll be on this segment of the tour, enjoy Charlie perform his magic here:

A great quote – All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much. – George Harrison – from “It’s All Too Much”.

[This quote as an early lead into Marcia’s BIG eight-“Oh-No, Oh-My” day!]

Make it a splendid week. Honor those who contributed to our current way of life. Greet those who pass you wherever that be. Treat life as a sacred gift.

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

BONUS POINTS:
Now, on the heels of our Thanksgiving Day food fest. Which year saw the term “Fast Food” be incorporated into the common lexicon (per the Merriam–Webster dictionary):

1) 1945
2) 1963
3) 1951
4) 1972