Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

A sticky roof
05 21st, 2022

Saturday morning, and aside from our little family sitting around waiting for the Covid wave to pass over, all is great (caused because Marcia refused to allow me to smear Goats blood on our front door). I discovered that the ‘Covid wave’ wasn’t all that horrific in that I managed to catch up, I mean really catch up, on sleep. Marcia is in the same straights.

Coffee Trivia:
Coffee dates back to the 9th century. Goat herders in Ethiopia noticed their goats seem to be “dancing” after eating berries from a particular shrub. They reported it to the local monastery, and a monk made a drink out of it. The monk found out he felt energized and kept him awake at night. It’s believed that’s how the first coffee drink was born.
Plus: were you aware that coffee and word games are an excellent combination to sharpen your vocabulary?

This past week I refilled my morning coffee and walking back to the front I heard the last piece of some advert on the radio – which included the sound of a Fog Horn. Before that horn sound could fade, my mind’s eye had me, with total clarity, back to my summer stint on Mackinac Island in the late sixties. Several times throughout that summer the nearby fog horn would sound – desolate, solitary, lonesome, and even eerie. Whenever it sounded it was the only sound to be heard. The mind is an amazing thing!

Just so you too can again capture this iconic sound, I put a one-minute Fog Horn audio clip below. The horn you hear is that of a big one, the Sumburgh lighthouse at Sumburgh Head, Shetland (northern Scotland). It is the oldest lighthouse in Shetland and was the sound used in Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” (film – 2019).

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.” ~ George Carlin

So Stuck …. On a roof – Aging brings along many changes. Some changes we recognize and deal with, others, we pretend to not exist, or if they exist, they are dealt with much less severely than reality would dictate. All this takes place on just about every front, whether medical, physical, or mental. Yet we plod on.

This past week on our brotherly Zoom exercise session George displayed a patch on his forearm. Turns out he miss-stepped on his ladder (luckily only on the second rung) and scraped his forearm on the house’s exterior stucco.

This leads to the next story. Possibly the ‘Nati’s most influential and arguably most popular live Radio host is one, Bill (‘Willie’) Cunningham. He’s also an attorney and knows literally every local and state political entity, business guru, and sports figure. He’s in a position where something will come up and then, on occasion, he’ll pick up the phone and call our Governor – and get through! His wife is a retired Federal Judge (that too plays a small part as you’ll see).

Visible here is where the whole, life changing, aging thing happens. And deep down we know it’s the same to us all; whether yours truly or even a ‘Willie’ Cunningham. Listen to his interaction with a 911 emergency dispatcher:

Entertainment –
Last Saturday I mentioned that I got tickets to see Willie Nelson and Family in early August! I also discussed how thrilled Marcia is with this.

Having lived in the world of Marketing I know the importance of building anticipation and excitement. Hence, mid-week I sent her this little YouTube to do just that. And felt that you too, my faithful three-strong readers, would appreciate:

3-years ago – Mother’s Day to be exact, I gave Marcia a small Orchid plant. After blooming it looked like it was ready to die. Yet, the following year it bloomed again, and has been doing it every year since.

Last year it had two blooms, white with a purple edge. This year it produced six (6) buds and now the first three flowers have opened and the flowers are a wonderful purple.

Some folk just have a green thumb!

Fini –
• Today is the 141st day of the year 2022 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 224 days remaining until the end of this year.

• Major deep thinkers such as George Clooney, Bill Gates, Greta Thunburg, and others will be meeting in Davos, Switzerland this week. Much news reporting from their deliberations will deal with the “end of the world.” I just want them to know that the ancient Maya civilization believed that the end of the world would happen on December 21, 2012. There are now 3,438 days since this fabled cataclysmic event.

• Today in 1881 the American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons. Ours became part of the International Federation of Red Cross Societies.

• And, also on this day in 1932 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a solo air crossing of the Atlantic. Today, possibly 10,000 people will make their own first air crossing of the Atlantic.

• 1979: Dan White who had gone to see NYC Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk to ask for his old job back, when they refused to give him back his job he shot and killed them both. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter (rather than first degree murder) after his defense lawyers argued his mental state at the time of the killings was one of diminished capacity due to depression, caused by his consumption of sugary junk food. White’s defense was labeled by the press as “the Twinkie defense.” It took from 1979 to 2011 for Twinkies to disappear in bankruptcy (then get reborn in 2015). Enjoy!

Sears was the Amazon of its day. In their catalog they labeled products using descriptions as “good”, “better”, and “best”. Anyone know what Amazon will be remembered for?

• Success to Dinah and her teammates as they participate in an invitational Sculling Regatta (8X & 4X boats). I’m putting an extra $100 bill in my pocket to cover gasoline costs to the lake.

Best till next weekend, be healthy; and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Laughter and sleep
05 14th, 2022

Saturday morning, and for most of the week I shuffled between chair, bed, couch, and back to bed. Mid-week I did a four-mile ‘leisurely’ hike. Felt good and then slept for 10-hours. But, I do believe I am better. Now Marcia is doing the couch thing, and a couple of days ago Adrianne joined the fray.

The other day I spotted this Kentucky license plate. Since seeing this thing was hot on the heels of my health ‘event’, I took special note. I am registered as a ‘parts’ donor, but seeing this plate I was nothing but impressed. I think that these should be made available in every state, gratis, and as a public service.

In the meantime:

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” ~ Irish Proverb

But, then there was a happy little family – Last evening Marcia spotted a little family out on a jog. Mom, Dad, and two young kids between ages 5 and 9. One small hiccup in this world of bliss. The youngest, a little girl was on a bike. She was done in and aside from whining; she got off of her little bike and just lay on the ground.

At this point Dad’s ‘fuse’ snapped, he picked up the bike and dumped it into the corner trash bin. And off they went. As Paul Dudley White (1886-1973) once said; “A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”

I recorded the ‘bike-in-the-trash’ moment. Ten minutes after I took the photo Mom and daughter returned, retrieved the thing, and moseyed on home. And so, Marcia and I were witness to one little family, all exercised out, begin what was sure to be the start of a glorious weekend.

Entertainment – is all about us. This week Kirstin saw the Dave Matthews Band in concert – her most favorite group. Adrianne and Vaioleti went downtown to catch Leon Bridges pour out his soulful sounds – Vai’s Christmas gift. This weekend Garth Brooks will fill the stadium twice over, and tomorrow The Who will fill the soccer stadium – returning to town after a 40-year hiatus.

The last time The Who played here 11 people got trampled to death and the event prompted a complete nationwide restructuring of the whole ‘general seating’ concept. This time a sizeable chunk of the monies generated will be poured back into the community in the form of Scholarships.

But, there is more (as I alluded to last week). Marcia does not have any sort of out-of-control ‘bucket’ list. But she does have a list and even has a 1st place item on it. Number 1 is her seeing Willie Nelson in concert.

After a fair bit of research I got tickets to see Willie Nelson and Family in early August; and snagged seats 16 rows behind center stage! She is over the moon and I too am beyond pleased.

Now I’ll ease back a bit and hum; “Whiskey River” before I continue Rambling. At the same time remind everyone that yesterday, May 13th, was Stevland Hardaway Morris’ birthday. You know him professionally as <u><b>Stevie Wonder</u></b>.

Chaos and Mayhem – Life continues at a hectic pace here on the corner of Chaos and Mayhem. Even after a number of years we realize we haven’t got room to get jaded.

This week I noticed a flurry of activity and people in reflective vests along with 5 trucks busily at work shutting down traffic lanes. Then, I realized that most of their effort centered on the manhole hidden in our grass/bushes at the edge of our dumpster enclosure.

A rope ladder was tossed over the edge of the hole. One worker in very heavy duty chest-high waders climbed into the shaft. Then a camera on four wheels was lowered in. After their start next to our place the whole ‘enterprise’ moved slowly, from cover to cover, down the street. I should have gone downstairs to retrieve a pair of bag-chairs to better take it all in – outside in the fresh air.

Fini –
• Did you know that when <u><b>Elon Musk</u></b> started his first company – Zip2 in 1995. He had over $100K in student debt, a computer he built himself, and a few thousand dollars.

• Kirstin spent a couple of hours donating both Blood and Platelets this past week. Proud of you girl.

• Student smarts:

• As a retired sales type, I’ll say it again; “It’s all in the marketing”:

• Mentioning our waste dumpster enclosure. This week I watched how it’s emptied. Usually the event occurs Thursday mornings around 3:30AM. For some reason this time it was during daylight hours.

     

• During my college years one of my favorite newspaper go-to items was always the editorial page and the Political cartoon. Locally we had a world class cartoonist, Jim Borgman, who has also perfected the Zits comic.

• Now that the Political Cartoon has met its demise, Meme’s have taken over. Slowly I have come to appreciate the power of the Meme. Here are a couple; with minimalism comes a statement.

     

• Spotted locally, a Hot Sauce vending machine.

• This week the New York Times mentioned that Apple will no longer support the iPod. Safely stored away is my 20GB model A 1040. This, for years, was my faithful companion on cross-country and overnight flights (along with my sound cancelling Sony head set). Now it’s a museum piece.

• Prayers are with my cousin Guilaume and his wife Maryse in France. Peace and comfort with you Maryse.

Best till next weekend, be healthy; and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Saturday morning, and after two days of lounging about and mostly under cover bed time, I am very ready to move on. Especially since it appears that I have begun to take on, what in our household we refer to my newly discovered doddering walking style, the ‘Joe Biden shuffle’, as my own. However, my body hasn’t quite caught up to my mental wish list.

Our weather too has been crappy with thunder and wind storms, plus I can’t forget the rain. In that light, please re-read my coffee reference card and this time first hit the audio track below to gain some additional mood. Enjoy:

For each of my three readers who might, beyond all odds, be keeping track of my Fitbit activity progress scorecard – this has been the worst week in four years. I thought you deserved to know.

But, even with all of this going on – a Happy Mothers Day to all the ladies. This afternoon we’re (the ‘Nati gang) are going out for ‘Drunch’ (same as Brunch only in the period between lunch and dinner). We’re gathering at something called Oakley Kitchen. This is a food hall where spaces are made available to start-ups to test their acumen, and acts like a food court in reverse. Various restaurants are in the middle with patio seating and seating around the perimeter. Plus, as expected, yes there is a bar.

The idea is very cool. The removal of the weighty barriers to enter the market, renting a space and building out a new location, here companies can prove the demand for their product or concept and grow their business prior to the normal massive upfront costs normally incurred.

Pops and more Pops (part ‘deux’ – the adventure) – from last week was as good as we had hoped it would be; starting with music from Cincinnati’s own, the Isley Brothers. We had a stage full of musicians begin the performance with Isley’s “It’s Your Thing.” By the way, that number was first recorded at the old King Studios which is less than a mile from us.

Rather than me trying to detail the adventure Broadway star and one of our Pops concert soloists, Brian Stokes Mitchell, shared, I’ll let him explain – it’s much better than anything I could do:

As you’re aware, one of our favorite local groups is the husband and wife team going under the name; Over the Rhine. What they shared was just how moved they were to be performing with the Pops in Music Hall. When years ago as a young couple they lived in a small apartment about six blocks away and in the shadow of Music Hall; an area which until recently was a pretty rough part of town.

Also, they shared that while living in that little apartment they had a standing gig at Sudsy Malone’s — closed in 2008. Sudsy Malone’s was a Laundromat which served beer and had space for ‘punk’ and ‘metal’ bands, even a stage for karaoke (do two loads of laundry and the show was free – genius!).

When feeling crappy – and crashing immediately after dinner also had me wake up at some very strange times. The other morning I woke up at shortly after 1 o’clock. Turning on the TV I ended up watching our four returning astronauts land in the middle of a pitch black Atlantic Ocean. I then woke up at an early morning hour, and again turned on the TV to watch a Space X rocket launch, leaving to place another batch of Starling satellites. This whole space thing is becoming so common that it’s almost like watching a Greyhound bus trundle down the highway.

Keep those feet moving – Since I am cutting these Ramblings short, let me at least get your Saturday started with a SHOUT. Listen to comedian Sinbad introduce The Isley Brothers perform “Fight the Power”:

Fini (a massive ‘Fini’) –
• Happy Mothers Day weekend

• Today in 1945 Germany signs an unconditional surrender ending the WWII fighting in Europe.

• This past week back in 1994 Channel Tunnel linking England to France was opened. About 10-years later I left Paris’ Gare du Nord railroad station for England traveling through the channel tunnel. Ahh, for the memories.

• Reflecting on what all we have become so totally accepted and standardized; what all we have become so totally dependent on. Think mobile phones, digital cameras, all our travel. All our digitized storage from precious art to literature. The ability which allows this to happen and become commonplace is absolutely dependent on the integrated circuit. Yet the concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, was first published by Geoffrey Dummer in 1952 (a mere 70 years ago).

Best till next weekend, stay safe, stay healthy; and keep on storming the castle.

Pray for Peace.

Dirk


A Popping good time
04 30th, 2022

Saturday morning, for us here I’ll be an active one. Actually, the whole weekend will be an active one.

What I did want to share is that this past week I had a family member from each side of our family spend some time in a hospital. Last Monday neither of them had listed on their calendar spending time in a hospital bed as an ‘event’ entry (both now home, recovering, and doing well).

Another family member was tested Covid positive and is home in bed with a temperature. What it reminds all of us is just how precious and fragile life is. How it should be valued, treasured, and cherished.

Personally I’ve been more physically active than I’d been in years. Not so much to extend life; but to be able to celebrate my life to the fullest during my time.

”Life is a moment
Is just a moment in time
So many rivers
Which one do I cross?”
~ Vicentico & Willie Nelson; lines from their duet: Sólo un Momento

Should Willie Nelson not place high on your listening list; directly below is a thirty second clip of the song, Sólo un Momento.

On the other hand, I’d urge you to skip listening to the audio cut and proceed directly to the embedded video of the whole song – personally I think you’ll be glad you did.

Pops and more Pops – 45 years ago the Cincinnati Pops grew out of our Symphony Orchestra. Over that period, and here let me toss out some stats: an estimated 30 million people have viewed eight national telecasts of the Cincinnati Pops on PBS, and the Orchestra has more than 100 available recordings, 56 of which have appeared on the Billboard charts, a record unmatched by any other orchestra, and sales of over 10 million units. In fact, the Pops received an invitation to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the only American orchestra to play the opening weekend. They are GOOD!

The Pops usually performs at our Music Hall. And, every few years Marcia and I need our Pops fix. This is the year, in fact tomorrow is the day! Celebrating the conductor, John Morris Russell’s, 10th anniversary with the organization it’s a playlist of all his favorite ‘stuff’.

As the advertisement goes; “but there is more!” One of our more favorite performing groups is the husband and wife team going under the name; Over the Rhine. OTR will also be performing with the Pops – a ‘twofer’. Now, how good is that?

Busy grandkids, busy parents – The pandemic is quickly sinking out of sight over the horizon. Part of what that means is that the activity scene is in hyper drive. Vili is busily getting ready for a band performance in mid-May – he is Saxophone.

Dinah spends three hours a day after school – 6 days a week rowing. Last weekend she along with Jason and Cathy headed for Knoxville, TN for a massive Regatta – almost 500 rowing teams.

She and her team bounced between first and second place, one semi-finalist heat was a photo finish (1/10 of a second over 2,000 meters). At the end of the day, several races in both 4-person and 8-person boats, Dinah went home with a Silver and a Bronze medal. How about that for a ‘newbie’ to the sport.

     

Entering the world as a micro-preemie Vai has shown early prognosticators what can be achieved. Last weekend at a meet, she was doing Shot Put and Discus toss. Combined her school in both Field and in track came in first place combined with around a dozen schools participating. Here are a couple of clips showing the event – both of Track & Field activities. Vai is shown doing the discus.

OK, enough from a proud grandpa!

Fini (a massive ‘Fini’) –
• Happy Birthday today to Marlene – many, many more! Likewise to Willie Nelson, his 89th today.

• Want a wee bit more detail regarding CO2 in our atmosphere and what would happen if CO2 were to vanish. Take a moment to study the attached photo. What it really says that dropping CO2 to near zero (which we couldn’t do) and mean we’d look like Mars.

• What is now going on in DC? A “Disinformation Governance Board”? Our newest propaganda arm, a scary boondoggle headed up by a ‘Russian Collusion’ hoaxer and ‘Hunter Biden Laptop Denier’, Nina Jankowicz. She calls the Musk purchase of Twitter as “troubling.” Is 1984 is creeping up fast (or is that ‘disinformation’)?

• Parking phenom. A while back Marcia and I put the car in a paid parking lot downtown. It was 7:22 PM and I by happenstance I bought 2-hours of parking time. We never looked at a clock until we returned to the car and started it. The car’s clock read 9:22 – 2 hours Dead On to the minute!

• This coming week, May 4th, it’ll be the 52nd anniversary of the Kent State massacre. On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired upon and killed four students at Kent State University and wounded nine, one paralyzed for life. With the Vietnam War raging, then as now, the USA was a deeply divided nation. As has been said, that event was the end of American innocence.

• Times have changed, at least in our country. This photograph taken in 1910 shows West Virginia coal miners coming up after their 14-hour shift.

• This week the Cincinnati Reds won a baseball game!

• Remember when people could dress this way for fun and comedic effect?

• This week the ‘Bird’ was Freed! As was posted on Twitter; “an African American immigrant who manufactures electric cars is now protecting free speech for everyone and somehow the (ed. progressive) community is somehow mad.” Elon Musk apparently drew and posted the timeline displaying his stance on matters:

     

• And finally, also spotted (but ‘spot’ on); “If college debt is to be forgiven the universities need to pay for it.”

• Wait a minute, nearly forgot. We have a new addition in the household.

Best till next weekend, stay safe, stay healthy; stay involved, and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


A Plummeting Masquerade
04 23rd, 2022

Saturday morning and a picture perfect morning it is. A couple of days ago M & D drove north to check out their summer abode. So, here is the difference a few hundred miles can make. We’re breaking into summer weather today with an 80-degree temperature. While their view of the lake looks out over a lake of ice. Snow pack was still on the ground and their first night they got another 3” of the white stuff.   Brrrrrrr!

”The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” ~ Anais Nin

Last Wednesday afternoon, at our areas busiest mall, 10 to 12 young males pulled up in two cars, stormed into the place and the Louis Vuitton store, brushed staff aside and seconds later had absconded with approximately $400,000 of goods. They were last seen heading north on I-71 direction of Columbus.

Never at a loss for ideas, I recounted that a while back one of the ‘Nati’s noted Marketing gurus, one Jerry Galvin, had a plan for the betterment of the city’s shopping public. He even went so far as creating of a series of promotional ads.

Had his plan been implemented Vuitton would possibly still have in their possession $400,000 worth of very expensive handbags. Here is an early ad:

Is the party over? – And here I thought that the masquerade party we’ve all reveled and indulged in for the past year and a half was over and done. I said, over and done. But, hold on, not so fast Dirk. It appears that a few places, notably LAX airport, just can’t get enough of all the communal fun; are they continuing with the masquerade ball?

80th Anniversary – of the Doolittle’s Raid attack on Tokyo, the heart of wartime Japan, took place this week. Mere months after Pearl Harbor a scheme was developed to launch 16 loaded B-25 bombers off the deck of an aircraft carrier out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. One of the ‘snippets’ I gleaned is that the B-25 normally requires a runway of 1500 to 2000 feet for ‘wheels up’ – they launched all 16 on a ‘runway’ of 400 feet, and did not lose a singe plane.

One of the flyers on the raid, Maj. Tom Griffin, lived in Cincinnati and in early 2013, at the ripe age of 96, was interviewed by one of our local radio personalities. Maj. Griffin passed in February of that year, then leaving just 4 remaining raid members – out of 80.

Discover the importance of a bottle of 1896 Hennessy V.S. cognac (Doolittle’s birth year) to the members of the Raid. How they navigated “shooting a sun line“and were dead on accurate!

Attached is the link to the 38 minute interview from 9 years ago; Click here for an amazing conversation (it’ll open on a new page there click the ‘start’ arrow).

                 

Fini –
• Beginning to spot small ‘bits’ and memes spouting to end property tax at age 65 – and “let seniors stay in their homes”. Think we’ll see a groundswell?

• On the other hand, of all things that never happen, possibly this (such as the above) never happen most.

• When things are very small! Some small things seem very large.

• From The Economist/YouGov March 26 – 29. Eye opening:

• A grandpa – grandson adventure. This week I took Vili and his Sax to Buddy Rogers Music repair center. Twenty minutes later we were back on our way with a perfectly functioning (i.e. sounding) Saxophone. Thanks Buddy.

• Thursday evening we celebrated Jason’s birthday by going for dinner to Pepp and Delores for Italian like never before – homemade pastas that were stunning. And complete with an after dinner sip of Limoncello infused with Thyme liqueur. Happy Birthday Jason.

• This week the Dutch will be celebrating Koningsdag and my cousin and her choir will be singing all day long.

     

• Yesterday the President flew a 4-engine Boeing 747 aircraft, plus another with more equipment for around 3,000 miles each way to sign an executive order on Climate Change; let that sink in! And so the game continues.

• Kudos to Kirstin. She was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” of their local school system. Proud of you kiddo!

• Now that The Ramblings have been written, it’s time to focus on preparing to head out to the other side of town for Vai’s Track and Field meet. Marcia and I will watch her doing the Shotput and the Discus throw. Should be a good time.

Best till next weekend, stay safe, stay healthy; stay involved, and keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


 

Easter weekend is here. Friday morning midnight people began climbing the steps leading to The Church of the Immaculata – almost the highest point in Mt. Adams. Any opportunity I have to play tour-guide, the church is (using Roman Catholic Easter parlance) one of the ‘stations’ on my guided tour – I love giving those tours.

Since 1859 the faithful have climbed the steps leading up to the church. News reports informed us that this year there were people from every State and from overseas. Next year I should plan to take the 45-minute trek.

Regatta – Springtime in the mid-west means that weather is all over the map. Last Saturday, the day of the Regatta where we saw Dinah rowing, weather-wise we had all the hallmarks of a ‘Terra Nova’ Arctic exploration.

When Marcia and I got home mid-afternoon, it took hot chocolate, hot shower, and a night under the comforter to bring our core back to temperature. That said, Dinah was thrilled with the event. She received a choice oaring slot. And of nineteen entries she and her team came in First Place in the 4-man boats and Second Place in the 8-man races. Marcia and I found an outdoor fire pit, so yes; we survived and actually had a great time.

                 

Bearly fun – Yesterday, Marcia was most eager to race out and pick up her winning bid from an on-line auction. A small, made in Japan during the late 1930s granny bear that knits; and the movement still works beautifully.

The place for pick-up was near Lunken Airport, thus a perfect starting point for me to head out with her and then walk home through the historic neighborhood of Columbia Tusculum (touted as Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhood).

Columbia Tusculum scenes —

                 

     

Matt’s 5K Pursuit – last Sunday was a wonderful event. The crazy weather from the previous day (the day of the Regatta) had moved on and was now perfect. Scroll down to last week’s Ramblings to see the route map (all inside Spring Grove Cemetery) and the place where my parents are buried (red dot); my plan was to wave when passing. What I didn’t realize is that things look quite different when approached from another direction. You can guess; I missed waving when passing.

The ‘Pursuit’ raises funds for all the regional K9 needs – dogs and training. And there are almost 100 dogs needed by various policing agencies in our area so it’s a huge effort to maintain this need properly. In appreciation most of these animals and their human partners were present and acknowledged. Also, a series of demonstrations were given where the K9s were put through their paces; awesome!

The following video clip I took and shared with some family members. But it was my event highlight so here it is again. Passing close overhead in roared a State Patrol helicopter; on board was a police handler with his K9. Some distance away by the tree line was hidden a person of interest. Look closely after the landing and you’ll see the dog leap out, race off to the area pointed to, and seconds later had cornered its quarry.

     

Fini –
• This morning Turkey season is starting in Kentucky. I suspect that every Turkey around wishes that Ben Franklin’s wish had won out and that the Turkey had been selected as our national bird rather than the Bald Eagle. In that case Eagles would be hunted and Turkeys protected.

Happy Birthday to Vili and we’ll celebrate with the family on Easter Sunday (his special day is on Monday).

• Kirstin received an award as “Volunteer of the Year” from their school system. Very proud for what she’s been giving back to her community!

• Quote by Elon Musk; “Convert Twitter San Francisco HQ to homeless shelter since no one shows up anyway.” Then this one; “69.420% of statistics are false.”

• Dr. James E. Olsson; “Somebody explain to me why only about 5 to 10% of us know what the hell is going on.” And continuing with; “Go out in public and chit chat with the average person like I did just yesterday. 90% of them have no clue what is going on.”

• Referencing the “A typical driver will save about $80 a month from not having to pay gas at the pump, if they just buy an electric car” statement by the President, some wag countered with; “Milk is cheap if you just buy a farm and a bunch of cows.”

• From the ‘more true than not department’ comes this gem: “Chinese third graders are learning multi-variable calculus. Our third graders are being taught that “men can have babies.” This will not end well.

Anyone over the age of 50 will know what this is:

• Interesting (to me): This place looks a lot like our parent’s brand new home in Scarborough (bought in 1953) for somewhere in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. My brother spotted the article in the Toronto Star. Crazy!

Best till next weekend, stay safe, stay healthy, stay involved, Pray for Peace.

Dirk



The weekend is here, a very cold and wet weekend, weather wise tucked between two very nice weeks. Supposedly, this morning we’ll even have a quick snow shower.

A couple of days ago I set out for Costco – some wine and a gasoline fill-up (over-the-moon with their $3.519 per gallon price). The exit person (think “guard”) marked up my receipt showing $140.00.

You start out thinking it’s max a $60.00 minor pass to grab savings on ground beef, some Tylenol, and Soy milk – but it usually results in dreams of endless neighborhood parties at our Condo requiring the likes of 6 lb jars of lobster spread, cheese nibbles, fancy never tried before (amazing) crackers, and Lemoncello chocolate almonds. The whole demanding a filled up the fridge ~ Peter Sibner (slightly edited by me)

Regatta – I got a bit of a jump start on my Ramblings, thanks to Dinah. Today at East Fork Lake (nearly an hour away) she and her fellow rowers are part of a major regional Regatta staged by her team: Cincinnati Rowing Club. She’ll be participating in four races against teams from all over, including competition from cities such Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago; 1290 athlete rowers, the farthest coming from Gonzaga, Washington.

After a wonderful spring which put everything into full bloom and a coming week with daytimes in the mid-seventies, we’re having the possibility of cold rain complete with snow flurries today. So, for Marcia and me out comes the winter wet-weather gear complete with knit hat and gloves; can’t forget the umbrella either.
     

Play Ball – Well well, it does appear that finally Baseball season is here. Our town, at its base, is a baseball town. This is due to having the nation’s first professional team (now starting season 141) and “one of only five 19th-century teams still playing in its original city.” Also, the Reds were the first to begin to have games broadcast on radio, and to offer night games under the lights.

All this means that the city stops completely for Opening Day this coming Tuesday; starting with a two hour long parade beginning at Findlay Market. My plan (as a retiree having plenty of time) is to walk into the city, watch the parade, then either walk home or take the bus – using my ‘geezer’ pass. Tuesday should be a blast. Marcia thinks I am nuts!

What a hike — Gorgeous afternoon last Sunday and Cathy, Dinah, and I hiked nature trails in the ravine Nature Preserve areas by their house. As the photos show, the area is wonderful for exploring. It was Cathy who suggested that in one area I remind her to point out a city sign posted there; picture below.

Turns out that the area we walked had been an escape route in the mid-1850s for a group of 28 escaped slaves coming out of Kentucky. From this point it would become easier and easier the further north they went; some as far as Canada. Cathy pointed out that a few of the still existing structures from that period still have tunneling underneath as back up escape paths.

     

The photos of our two plus hour hike display what a fun afternoon it was. Nearing the end I rested by sitting on a branch. Dinah wanted to take a photo of her Opa – GQ style. Nah, it didn’t work.

Where we were, is also the highest point of the local geography. It was just about at that point that I looked down to step over and to the side of some brush stumps. That is where I spotted a fossil. Here I was, the city’s high point (my watch said 685’ elevation), and I find the fossil of a sea shell. I suspect that since our area was about as far south as the glaciers moved during the last ice age that 2,000’ to 3,000’ of ice acted as a formidable ‘bulldozer’ (it is also a reason why our hillsides are so unstable). BTW, the fossil is about the size of your thumb nail.

In Love Again – 2021 was the year that Kirstin introduced me to two music artists both of whom have become part of my go-to listening entities. She and I went to see a group going by the name; the Black Pumas, and was immediately enamored.

Previously I had seen a recorded Kennedy Center performance where Philharmonix with Ben Folds introduced an artist with the name of Jon Batiste and in small print was the name Kishi Bashi. Well, Kirstin saw Batiste, had me see his performance on Austin City Limits and I WAS HOOKED!

Hence, those two became my listen-to artists for the year 2021.

A couple of weeks ago Cathy and Jason went to see a little known act across the river in Kentucky. It was the same Kishi Bashi; Kaoru Ishibashi (Kishi Bashi) a singer with incredible range and who plays violin. His band mate is an electric banjo player Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees – you’ll recognize him in the video. They talked me into exploring a bit further, and I did. You must listen/watch and I urge you to fire up the sound-bar should you have one – plus, do not miss observing the faces on the various Nu Deco Ensemble members, Here is Kishi Bashi performing his Atticus in the Desert

Assuming that you have the time, I attached a second piece also with the Nu Deco Ensemble. This one is a love song titled; I am the Antichrist – to you:

For me, musically 2022 is off to a great start! Wow!
Ps. I do believe J & C could have invited me along.

Fini –
• Tomorrow morning I’ll be doing the Matt’s 5K Pursuit. The 17th year of this fundraiser for the Matt Haverkamp Foundation & ongoing K9 work. It’ll loop through our nearby Spring Grove Cemetery; in fact it’ll pass my parents grave sites (red dot on the route map). Picking up my bib on Thursday I felt I had some excellent escorts standing by me.

     

• Have you been paying attention over the years? Question, most people know that President Reagan loved Jelly Beans and always had a jar of them in the Oval Office. Which flavor was his favorite? ‘Googling’ is cheating! (answer at bottom)

• On my almost daily walks I keep traversing the urban landscape. I’ve seen it all, gloriously painted Victorian ladies housing stock, even vehicles with bullet holes. Homes and places neat as a pin. Then, on the other side…..:

• Vai had her very first multi-school Track and Field competition. She’s been training in Discus and Shot Put. For a newbie placing well into the middle of the pack on her first outing – she was more than pleased. Nice going Vai!

• Not to be outdone was Vili. His montage was submitted as one of 5 students to represent North Avondale Montessori in Thursday’s city-wide art competition. Be sure to take a second look at the “Picture of the Week” page. Personally I see New York tenement housing – possibly from his recent trip to that city?

• Is it just me or am I wrong assuming that the National Oil Reserves were meant to be used in a National Emergency? Are bad policies now considered an emergency?

• From British TV pundit Neil Oliver: “Any medic who has to ask me if I might be pregnant is not coming anywhere near me with an x-ray machine.”

• Elon Musk – new member of Twitter’s Board of Directors tweeted: “Great Work by Tesla Texas Team!! Built and delivered first Giga Texas production cars & threw a killer opening party.” I think that Nikola Tesla still is an important influence with Musk.

Best till next weekend, stay safe, stay healthy, stay involved.

Dirk
*** answer: Licorice ***


Traveling
04 2nd, 2022


Morning to all my Saturday morning person readers. I say “person readers” out of respect to our new Supreme Court nominee since I, like the person up for nomination, am not a biologist and thus feel unqualified to define the readership.

This week, with my neighbors away on vacation (Adrianne & grandkids), I took Rugby-the-dog on many a walk. Upon their return he seemed extremely happy to finally see the rest of his ‘pack’. I believe that part of his joy lay in the fact that my walks offered him more distance with fewer sniffing stops.

In addition, it presented me with witnessing the nuttiness of our weather. One day it hit eighty, the next day a short snow flurry. I am amazed that I am not walking about with a case of the sniffles.

Bureaucracy bar none — Question? Who exactly runs our nation? I believe that our governmental infrastructure, and accompanying bureaucracy, has grown beyond functionality. Earlier this week it was proposed by the administration to hire (‘require’?) an additional 87,000 IRS agents; and just so you understand fully we’ve been informed not to expect refunds for months on end.

The ancient Greeks understood all of this and found an answer. In that light, have we created our own ‘Gorgons’, a ‘Medusa’ for each overgrown bureau? An entity where nothing and nobody can stare into a department without turning into stone? Does our term ‘to stonewall’ even apply?

Bumper Cars – Way back in 1895 in my state of Ohio there were only two cars on the road (properly registered). Somehow they managed to find each other and properly crashed into one another. Some skeptics claim that only one car was involved in an accident and it hit a tree, I prefer the first tale.

The joy in $$$ earned – by the health care industry primarily due to the way Covid-19 was presented and managed – worldwide. Words such as ‘lockdown’, travel restrictions, masking, and Zoom have become part of the everyday lexicon (even the word ‘Passport’ has taken on new meaning). Almost made illegal were any and all attempts to treat Covid-19 as symptoms were first noticed using a variety of widely available prescriptions; it was rest at home until too sick and then be admitted to the hospital.

So here is what was paid out to hospitals, State by State, for each Covid-19 case dealt with. Remember that the $$$ amount shown is per patient. Not included is how the bottom line of Maderno and Pfizer were affected.

While we were bombarded with a daily drumbeat of cases and the raw numbers of deaths attributed to the contagion, here from World Health Organization and John Hopkins Covid Resource Center are the actual survival rates.

Traveling in Style –

The Graf Zeppelin is a ship with a soul. You have only to fly in it to know that it’s a living, vibrant, sensitive and magnificent thing ~ written by British journalist Lady Grace Drummond-Hay (shown seated in the Graf’s lounge)

Most of us have known of the burning of the huge airship, a Zeppelin named Hindenburg, while landing in Lakehurst, NJ. What most don’t realize was the level of comfort and safety the Zeppelin airships offered beginning in the late 1920s.

The Graf Zeppelin was 100 ft wide and 776 ft long. It had a crew of 36 and carried 24 passengers who were afforded amazing comfort. The Graf Zeppelin had nary a single injury. It made regular crossings of the Atlantic and into Brazil. In the end of its ‘run’ it had made 590 flights totaling over 1 million miles which included a “round the world” trip – Lakehurst, NJ from start to finish, flying time 12 days, 12 hours, and 13 minutes accomplished in 21 days (20,651 mi covered).

On its second flight it also transported ‘Susie’, an eastern gorilla which had been captured in the Belgian Congo. After touring the US, Susie went to Cincinnati Zoo in 1931 where she lived until 1947.

Fini –
• Today is ‘baby-brother’ Art’s birthday. He’s the last of the brothers’ still plowing forward while in his prime – the last of us still in his sixties.

• Later this week two ladies who’ve been a joy in my life celebrate their birthdays, Dia and Jeannie (Neaners) P.

• Have you ever sat at a railroad crossing waiting impatiently for the train to cross? Consider yourself lucky it wasn’t for the Norfolk & Western train of 500 coal cars that travelled 157 miles between Iaeger, West Virginia, U.S.A and Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1967 – it was 4 miles long, pulling 42,000 tons of coal.

• Adrianne and the grandkids vacationed in New York City. Little did they realize that we can send a person to the moon in much less time than it would have taken them to make their trip from the ‘Nati’ by Stagecoach.

their incoming flight seen from my favorite viewing spot

• Possibly, since writing about travel’ and the German ‘Zeppelin’, today marked the day – April 2, 1917 – that Woodrow Wilson had America enter World War I.

• And finishing up this ‘travel’ version of the Ramblings is this factoid; the purported world’s shortest street is 6 centimetres (2.4”) long. It is in Scotland.

• This especially for our family numismatist, Jason, comes this piece of history. Today in 1792 Congress authorized the minting of the $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins (as well as the silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime). Any of these in your collection?

Best till next weekend. Travel safely!

Dirk


Originally…..
03 26th, 2022


Morning all; here it’s a chilly morning (hovering at 40 – with a 5-minute snow shower). All this means that my fresh pot of hot java tastes extra good. This morning I want to thank you, my readers, for sticking with these Ramblings. I know it’s a chore to get up on Saturday morning to get a weekly ‘fix’. Oh wait, that’s me, writing this stuff. Well anyway, thanks for reading; I’m still having fun plowing on.

I just noticed an itch on my head and touching my scalp noted that I have a small crust at that spot. Late afternoon yesterday I found myself leaning under our microwave replacing the cook-top light on its underside. I also remember whacking my head on the corner of one of the kitchen cabinets. It’s amazing how quickly one can put ‘two and two’ together.

This leads me to Segway into some reflections I had earlier this week. From this (and tied to me whacking my head) comes this short YouTube on the human brain. Enjoy!

Then, in my morning mail came notice that it was time to sign up for Paddlefest 2022 in August. Last August I did the 10-mile kayak run on the mighty Ohio River (but owned by Kentucky).

Taxes — As you know from a week ago, my taxes are done and have been submitted. This also means that I’m in much better shape to enjoy the annual blossoming of spring as plants put on their grand display. Here are two examples from just this week.

     

The joy of Kabuki Theater – is missing this go-around of the Confirmation Hearings. Especially missing is the stream of slanderous dives into the nominee’s high school yearbooks. This go around it’s much more boring. However, there are some snippets embedded deep within these quotations:

Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has if you count the tail as a leg. When they answered “five,” Lincoln told them the answer was four. The fact that you called the tail a leg did not make it a leg. ~ Thomas Sowell, Professor Emeritus

When every Judicial nominee calls herself an “originalist”, the method cuts no ice. If everything is originalism, nothing is.” ~ Adrian Vermeule, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

Steel Drums – Thursday we couldn’t wait to head out to Vai’s school to listen to a concert as she and her Steel Drum band mates put on quite a show. Listen to this piece called “Shut up and Dance” and keep in mind that everything you hear are percussion instruments. Great stuff!

Time with the grandkids – from performing some public service (with Adrianne & Vai), this was sorting Adult Diapers at Matthew 25: Ministries. And with at least as much fun, cleaning and taking a ride in ‘Our Duck’, the little Citroën Deux Chevaux.

     

Fini –
• Here in Ohio we’re still struggling to settle on the Congressional redistricting. Until the courts approve we can’t be certain when exactly our mid-term elections will happen. This also means that we can’t predict when exactly the next Covid-19 variant will emerge – but rest assured it will show up just in time, that’s a certainty.

• A ‘remember when’ moment. Remember when, for weeks on end, we were bombarded on a daily basis with salacious news of Trump, someone named ‘Stormy Daniels’, and an attorney named Avenatti? Well you might have missed (since the news didn’t bother to inform), that the 9th Circuit ruled the Daniels lawsuit frivolous and that she owes Trump nearly $300,000.

• Any one of you ever shake the last bit from a jar of Paprika? Ours has been hanging about the kitchen for at least a decade.

• Last weekend Kirstin led a Bridesmaid Party, outdoors in Leander, TX. Good to hear that this was her leading the ladies in a calming Yoga session rather than some raucous event. Good for you Kirstin.

• About six years ago we went to a Lenten Fish Fry at the Eagles Hall in nearby St. Bernard. I ended up requiring a Heimlich when a piece of bread got stuck. Last evening Marcia and I went to the place for the first time since that event. It was great! It reminded me of all the Fish Fries we’ve been missing in Wharncliffe and Thessalon on our Canada seasons.

• Often we talk about “the good old days.” This photo (colorized by Marina Amaral) shows a Sunday afternoon in Gordonton, NC in 1939. It sure did seem a lot calmer, but then, summer heat does promote more sitting around.

• Also remember that the Pleistocene Ice Age is still cooling. The previous ice age (the Karoo) lasted 100M years, the Pleistocene is only a mere 1.6M years old. No reason to panic – yet!

Best till next weekend. Let’s hope that wiser heads prevail as this week progresses. Don’t forget those caught under ‘jackboots’ throughout the world.

Dirk


The Big One
03 19th, 2022


Morning all; Marcia was already up with coffee made when I woke up – must be a celebration in honor of the first day of spring; to you all, a happy Saturday and happy springtime. And, I do hope you caught sight of the full moon, the worm moon, a couple of days ago, it was a lovely sight.

Our Zoo as well as our nearby Spring Grove cemetery are both also registered Botanical Gardens and the latter also an Arboretum. And, by the way, both are located a mere neighborhood away. Now, in short order, they’ll both be in full bloom (pun intended).

Taxes — Yesterday, shortly after 2:00PM, I sat at our dining room table (where I am sitting now) ‘hunting & pecking’ away on this week’s Ramblings. Anyway, all of last year’s required paperwork was quickly encircling me.

About the time that Marcia announced dinnertime I was in the final throws of completion as I plowed through Turbo Tax 2021. One small hiccup, a final page showed me as the ‘recipient’ with an address that had the State of residence as CA. I couldn’t change. I also couldn’t correct it.

After dinner I had a ‘Live Chat’ technician on the hook for nearly two hours. Eventually she overrode that piece. Finally, everything was accepted and e-mailed to both the State and the Feds. This morning I am staring at two new emails from Turbo Tax with the header; “ACTION NEEDED!” Then in smaller text; “Your 2021 Personal return was rejected. This happens from time to time, but we’re here to help.”

Now what? Now, how much more time is required dinking around further? Didn’t I hear, year after year, that in the near future we’d do our taxes on a Postcard? It’s been said that nothing is as certain as death and taxes. I know I’m on the way towards the one, but the other too seems to be accelerating.

After two weeks – in Austin, fine weeks I must say, I am home. Kirstin claims that we got everything on her to-do list done. If so, I had a blast doing it. The list was varied. From a chip in her windshield, a replacement ‘key’ to her gas fireplace, to more involved stuff like a doggy-door (Piper-the-dog thinks it wonderful) and the powerwashing the final side of the backyard fence (a neighbor sent a text to her making note of it).

     

Aside from that, the time spent with Derek, Kellen, and Kirstin was wonderful. This included watching two, vintage, Sherlock Holmes movies. But, the event which garnered the most high-fives was Derek backing their freshly washed car into the garage with me in the passenger seat. This was a first! It was accomplished spot-on perfect!

And, rest assured, there was some time for a bit of relaxation.

A century of The Big One – This month in 1922 under the call letters of WLW AM 700, “The Big One”, began broadcasting. Started by Powel Crosley Jr who wanted a radio in every Crosley car sold and a cheap radio set in every home (the $7 Harko radio) began broadcasting.

To make it even better he set up a state-of-the-art studio for a complete live broadcasts as well as starting live baseball sports broadcasts. Dubbed “The Nation’s Station” it jump started the careers of many, including Red Skelton and Jazz biggies such as “Fats” Waller. It’s truly a wonderful story.

At 5,000 watts, it was billed as the first ‘super power’ station. Eventually it was granted to increase the output to an unprecedented 500,000 watts. To give an idea of what that was like, locals reported receiving the signal through their teeth fillings, it could be heard off-shore in the Pacific, and it was the only station mentioned by Hitler as being a pain in his side. The four tubes pushing out this power were transported three or four per train box car.

Today, no clear channel station can operate beyond 50,000 watts. The last time the old tubes were used was at midnight New Year 2000 when fear of computer disruption was widespread. The old tubes were fired up and the station ran for 15-minutes using the old technology while the computer century crossover was checked.

Fini –
• If you remember what this little widget was used for, then you’re as old as me.

• This past week the Irish were feted. This is how the ‘Nati handled the event (we also had a parade).

• A bit actor named Jussie Smollett was convicted of a felony hate crime hoax, sentenced, and a day or so later released from jail while awaiting his appeal. Meanwhile, un-convicted folk, mostly charged with ‘trespassing’ on January 6, 2021 are still in pre-trial detention. Nah, it’s nothing political.

• A ‘remember when’ moment occurred this week when Zelenskyy received a standing ovation from congress. Wasn’t it a short couple of years ago when the same Zelenskyy told the same Congress that there was no ‘quid pro quo’ on a call with Trump and he wasn’t believed? Just thinking.

• We’re watching how the Polish people have been accepting and welcoming to the refugees from Ukraine. In that light, I thought it to be interesting to post a map I found marking every Catholic Church in Poland. Could this be a player?

• This past week the women’s NCAA swimming competition was held. As expected, the Trans competitor won handily. This whole ‘adjustment’ on how sport records can be made and broken would be even better if we went a step further and move towards holding Trans-Species races. This photo of world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, coming in second explains fully. Wouldn’t the world be just electrified watching a cheetah win?

• What exactly is going on as we watch the inflation rate creep (jump) up?
2017 Trump – 1.7%
2018 Trump – 1.65%
2019 Trump – 1.7%
2020 Trump – 1.4%
2021 Biden – 14%
2022 Biden – 14.9%

A side door adjacent to where I was sitting at my gate for the flight home, I spotted this. A black wall with a heavy duty, four steel hinged door, a lit sign when in use, two strobe lights (green & blue) contained in a box set up for speaker, a secure electric entry, and a sign stating; “CBP Outbound Search”. This next to a gate used mostly for smaller commuter style aircraft. Any conspiracy theorists with an idea?

• I am watching unions trying to gain foothold at places like Starbucks and Amazon. At a time when our administration is promoting ‘unity’, isn’t a union all about division? Isn’t it a wedge between employer and employee? Assuming work and pay are acceptable why pay dues to a union? How it works negatively to the extreme is the spectacle witnessed these past months between players and owners in MLB?

• And, on top of it all, I have started up my exercise routine after what turned out to be pretty well a two-week hiatus.

Best till next weekend. Stay happy, stay healthy, and keep of all those oppressed and in fear in your hears and mind.

Dirk