Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

Snow????
11 12th, 2022

We’re finally entering the season of frost, this Saturday will be the first. Some light flurries with no accumulation, but hey, it’s a start.

The chart below is of the average US temperatures for the month of October 26, 1895 – 2022 (at all US Historical Climatology Network Stations – red line, the 10- year Mean Average = 64.0). The climate hype we hear daily continues to be a hoax.

It will also mean that my morning coffee will be even more of a welcome greeting than it normally is.

Possibly it’s caused by overhearing too much on Marcia’s Police scanner, but this insight by Dr. Sowell came to mind. He’s older than me so I must listen:

Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born,
while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves do today?
; Professor Thomas Sowell

Politics – are over for this season (well, except for the counting games being played in several states). So I too am done with all of it (for the time being).

For the foreseeable future I will focus on LIFE! Family, nature, exercise, study, observations, these will be the emphasis of my Ramblings.
Let’s get started!

Tina – Marcia is still ‘over-the-moon’ crowing not just over having seen the Tina Turner Musical, but also on buying her first (ever) “merch” item, a Tina Turner shoulder bag. She’s even been spotted approaching total strangers to have them agree that; “yes, that is a totally awesome bag”. The latest was yesterday where she demanded that exclamation from the check-out clerk at Aldi’s before she’d leave the store (he complied).

The picture below was taken the very moment she purchased the bag.

The show itself was terrific and the playlist left us drained. It was our loge seats that added a dimension to the experience which we hadn’t counted on. The size of a small room, plush seats, coffee table and a glass of Bourbon, plus an usher who mentioned that if we needed anything he’d be right outside. Wow!!!

     


Head of the Hootch – in Chattanooga was wonderful. The Hooch regatta with over 2,000 rowers is a massive undertaking, and from our vantage point was executed beautifully.

     

In her division of 47 boats Dinah’s team of 8 took second place (doing so by just 1 second). The day before the race she was running a temperature which broke during the night. Teammates advised her to call it a day. However, she is a ‘beast’ and was not to be shorted on this experience. She raced again on a 4- man crew that same afternoon (her first race in the smaller boat). They finished well up the ranks in this event.


The Art Museum – in Chattanooga was a stop we had to make. Rather
than me blathering on and on, take it in visually (after all it is a museum).

     

     


Steel Drums – are a highpoint in Vaioleti’s school day. She’s moved up the ranks and is now a member of Clark Montessori’s Extempo Steel Band. Like Art which must be seen, Band’s must be heard. Have a listen to how Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire sounds on Steel Drums:

Yesterday Marcia and I were at one of our favorite stores for veggies and wine; Country Fresh Farm Market where to our delight we were greeted with this newly installed display cooler.

Fini –
* Now that Putting is tossing the Nuclear Bomb talk about like it’s nothing, I thought you’d appreciate seeing this comparative chart:

* Someone we know very well, grandson Viliami, managed to once again bring out his favorite Dinosaur for Halloween – the dinosaur was a HUGE success.

     

* Yesterday – 104 years ago – the sound of explosions and gun fire stopped as the “war to end all wars” World War I came to an end on November 11, 1918. We’ve all read the descriptions, the tales of the horrors of mustard gas, and (for the first time) a complete photographic history documenting wartime. Yet it’s the artist who brings the human perspective of the events of that time into play.

* Time moves on. For the first time Derek voted in an election.
Congratulations big guy!

* On our way to Chattanooga we found the time to make a quick stop in
Frankfort, KY (the Capitol) and the Buffalo Trace Distillery. We discovered
their “Handy & Schiller” barreled Old Fashioned Bourbon. Boy, what a find!

     

* I could not let the week go by without showing what a proper Sushi and Sashimi meal looks like. Ours was at Sushi Nabe restaurant – a family owned authentic restaurant in Chattanooga:

     


* To end these Ramblings with something to get you talking over your
morning coffee. Have a peek at the effects of the Ames Window (you have to look till the end.

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy – appreciate Life
Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.
Dirk


Halloween & More
10 29th, 2022

A happy Halloween Saturday (for some of you) for the rest, as with our gang, it’ll be celebrated on Monday. I’ve discovered the perfect solution for those who want to fulfill their role as ‘treaters’, but who have a wide array of concerns, i.e. kids with all sorts of allergies, or have climate, and even gender fears. Does this treat pass the ‘sniff’ test?

In the meantime, I’ll pour me a coffee. I should mention that we can’t wait to finish off our disappointing Italian Roast – a couple of days ago at Costco I got a 3-pound can of Tim Hortons. I also tanked up. Gas in these parts seems to fluctuate between $3.799 and $3.599 and one nearby station proudly advertises $3.999. Costco was marked at $3.399 – you just ‘gotta’ love that place. Oh, and by the way, I did pick up one of their Roaster chickens; Marcia goes absolutely wild whenever I come home with a Roaster.

Heads up for next weekend! Next week will be a busy one, Marcia and I both have our eye exams. More importantly, Thursday we’re off to watch the “Head of the Hootch” regatta in Chattanooga. The web site for the ‘Hooch’ touts 173 teams rowing and just over 2,000 athletes. Should be a great time watching Dinah and team compete – cowbells at the ready.
It does mean that, depending on our Air BnB internet connectivity and happenings, these Ramblings might miss my personal production deadline. In other words you might NOT see a post next Saturday.

Bedo – Organizing a bit now that fall is upon us and winter ‘hot’ on its heels I brought out of our storage space my old Merrell hiking boots. These looked and felt great until I took a step or two and realized that one half of the one sole was no longer attached to the rest of the boot.

Along my regular walking route is a small shoe repair shop which has been there at least 40 years, the kind of place you remember from childhood – sight, smells, and everything else. Anyway, I took them there and yesterday day I picked up my boots which now look better than new!

     

I started this section with “Bedo” of Bedo’s Leatherworks and there is a reason. I Googled around, just to discover all that goes into shoe repair. As a somewhat aside, last February brother George and I shopped at an ECCO shoe store and to test the proficiency of the staff George asked if they could point out the “vamp” on a shoe; sadly, they had no idea. But George knew, since in his early youth he was a mentor to Al Bundy of Married… with Children fame (maybe it was the other way around) – nevertheless, this was a time where you knew your product.

That is when I happened upon Bedo who doesn’t only repair but totally restores shoes and video tapes the process. I found it both entertaining and fascinating and much more complex than you think. This particular video shows what all it takes as Bedo restores a pair of English made Dr. Martens safety boots:

Indiana & Ohio – Decades ago we’d go to a church couples, weeklong, family camp. Once during that week, as kids were put down, four or five of us guys would gather together for an evening of Rail Baron an Avalon Hill bookshelf Game. Often on these game nights the play would last till the crack of dawn.

One of the players, T.M., was a management accountant for a very large company, but his heart was always with trains, and he’d usually end up the winner.

Years passed and he left his company for the lure of self-employment, managing (spoiler alert) a railroad company. He set up the Indiana & Ohio short-line railway with a single old GE diesel locomotive, a few retired train engineers willing to work part time, and a handful of miles of track.

When he sold the line and retired, he’d amassed a small fleet of engines and 150+ miles of track. Tracks were made up of miles here and there from the ‘Nati to the other side of the state, Athens and points west & north. He’d also secured all necessary cross-over rights from the ‘big boys’.

That’s when a large national short line company made him a worthwhile offer. T.M. had always opined that the game was extremely accurate in how it mimicked the nations growth of its railways and certain company dominance.

This week, I crossed over some tracks on a hike and sitting right there, idling very nicely and at least 25 wagons in tow was an Indiana & Ohio locomotive. Good to see that huge mass of steel painted with T.M.’s chosen color scheme. Good memories of some excellent all-nighters with friends.

Recipes – Last week I posted a video of the Harira soup recipe I want to fix. Couple that with the fact that in today’s world just about anything is being digitized – much for free. Couple these with this site – Open Culture – which has made available thousands of vintage recipes.

“Early cookbooks were fit for kings,” writes Henry Notaker at The Atlantic. There you’ll find “Europe’s oldest [cookbook] and Rome’s only one in existence today.” He wrote; “[it] offers a better way of knowing old Rome and antique private life.” And continues; “It also offers keen insight into the development of heavily flavored dishes before the age of refrigeration.” I think it worth a view, and if you test some please share your culinary adventure!

Possibly 90% – of the population has at one time or another shuffled or split a deck, or even held a chip or two made by the US Playing Cards company, of that I am certain. The company started in 1867 and then morphed into USPCC in 1885. It built its national reach from the city of Norwood. As an aside, Norwood with its own Mayor, Fire and Police departments is completely surrounded by the city of Cincinnati (the city of Cincinnati has several of these city-within-a-city arrangements).

My only ‘still in its shrink wrap’ deck of their product, is of Iraqi’s most wanted characters as part of our wartime propaganda campaign.

Almost daily I either walk through or drive through Norwood. Always the corporate USPCC office tower has poked over top of streets and houses.

Then the change, US Playing Cards moved across the river into Erlanger, Kentucky, and vacated their Norwood property. As Bob Dylan would sing; “the Times they are a-changing”.

Norwood too is not sitting back, much progress on the old Playing Card site. However, paying proper homage, the tower stays. Here is a look as to how it all looks today:

Fini –

Tuesday evening we’ll be enjoying an early Christmas gift (thanks Adrianne & Tevita). We’ll be downtown to see the Tina Turner Musical. Marcia and I saw her in a live performance way too many years ago and her music has always ‘grabbed’ us, so we’re absolutely delighted. As an aside Turner, 93, now lives in and is a Swiss citizen and had a personal hand structuring this production.

• Is this weird? Last evening a delivery service showed up. It seems that someone in the building had ordered a bag of ice. Marcia kept on mumbling; “it’s a bag of ice. Good grief, it’s a bag of ice.”

• The Harira Soup I was going to make a week ago is on hiatus; it’s now my ‘Harira hiatus’. Illness forced a postponement of the family wide, by-the-firepit, dinner.

• Elon Musk

• I believe that, for a variety of reasons (all of which make perfect sense to me), we should vote on just one single day, mail by necessity and request only. Lots of reasons for my first choice, the most being that it prevents shenanigans, i.e., voter fraud. However, since Ohio does have early voting Marcia and I took advantage and on Tuesday we did the deed.

• Margaret Hamilton was an early coder. It was her manual code verification that got Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. This photo is of her standing next to the printed copy. Yes, there was a time when humans had to verify the automated.

• Just to keep you aware of what our Open Border policy wreaks. Rough numbers mind you, but then who’s counting; over the last two months just over 8,500 Americans have died from Fentanyl poisoning (most ingredients from China and smuggled product crossing from Mexico). Put that in perspective; this equals about 2,000 mass shootings during that period, or two hundred and fifty mass killings per week!

• Mentioning things seen on the web. Though simple, the graph below is totally powerful and should explain much of what you need to know.

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy (and safe) this weekend – especially since the bars here will be hopping as the Bengals are playing on TV; Monday Night football!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Just a Good Week
10 22nd, 2022

Dog Tag – This week I managed to stick to my 5 to 6 mile daily walks. One of those was my walking home from some shopping at Trader Joe’s which is very near 7-miles away. Marcia drove the shopping home and she got to thinking. Thinking about the fact that I normally don’t carry any ID on me; long story short, arriving home I was informed that she’s going to get me a ‘dog-tag’.

Coffee’s done! Coffee time!

Deep thoughts – Walks have been switching between music and podcasts. Yesterday it was a discussion between Dr. Jordan Peterson and Dr. Karl Friston on Perception: Chaos and Order. Living on the corner of Chaos & Mayhem (please smile here), I perked up immediately. More than that though, it was of interest since Dr. Friston, a British neuroscientist at University College London, is one of the most highly cited scientists of all time and I wanted to listen these two intelligent people ‘fire’ back and forth.

I wasn’t disappointed. Barely two minutes into the hour and a half discussion came the first ‘zinger’. Friston walked through a concept of Free Energy; he sees ‘Free Energy’ as in part being the concept of Surprise. Surprise as one way we begin to bring sense-making (energy) to the brain as it views Chaos about it and we start to grapple with what we hadn’t known previously. Wow!

Deep Enjoyment – I mentioned that I’d been switching between Podcasts and Music; hence, now a bit about my week in music. I’d been familiar with Jon Batiste since I watched him perform on Austin City Limits. It was some of the ‘bits’ he performed in-between his popular stuff which I wanted to explore further; so, Spotify to the rescue. Let me first say that I can be fairly cynical and that much of what is out there in today’s music I view as unlistenable, i.e. as crap.

My deep dive into the music of Batiste had me awestruck. His origins in New Orleans come through as he goes seamlessly into both Jazz and Dixieland. I fell in love with his classical piano, and his last century Swing interpretations. He didn’t stop there though, as I realized I’d was listening to Batiste recordings of R&B, Soul, Gospel and even Salsa music.

Talking later with Kirstin she asked if I had heard him perform the Beatles song Blackbird. I hadn’t and she sent me a link. Here it is. Enjoy:

And, since I’m in the mood, have a listen to the ‘blow your socks off’ finale of his Austin City Limits performance; Tell the Truth:

Appennine Colossus – is a 40-foot tall sculpture was created by the Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne on the grounds of the estate Villa Demidoff in Vaglia, Tuscany in Italy around 1580. The interior has a series of spaces built in, large enough to accommodate some intimate concerts. It represents the personification of the nearby Apennine Mountains. It was recently restored and opened for public viewing. When I ran across this bit of news, what struck me is that at a time of only manpower and limited tools such amazing works of art were produced. Thought I’d share.

Harira Soup – This evening the ‘Nati part of the Pastoor clan will gather to celebrate a Fall Dinner (thanks Cathy). I wanted to contribute and have selected a vegetarian version of what I’m told is Morocco’s most popular soup. Reading the list of herbs and spices began my mouth watering. Guess what I’ll be working on beginning at noon. Next week you’ll get a full report!

Here is the full recipe:

Quote of the Week:

In 1948 when Al Gore was born, earth had 130,000 glaciers. Today, just 73 years later, only 130,000 glaciers remain. ~ Annonymous. [Gore also predicted (1992) that we had just 10-years to save the world. He was not close to being a billionaire before he became a climate activist.] Follow the money.

Fini –

• Good grief. I had no idea what people were talking about with, “Indigenous People’s Day”, I just found out that it’s the replacement for Columbus Day. So:

• My growing up hero, Sir Winston Churchill. This photo is of a young Winston, then a 2nd Lieutenant of the 4th Queem’s Own Hussars, Beaumont Barracks in 1895 at age 21 (it seems his pay, then, was £300 per year).

• For my Canadian friends forced to buy beer from a very limited selection, from government controlled official Beer and LCBO stores; reflect on the sign at a gas station I spotted on a recent walk.

• Nothing specific, just for interest’s sake – Median Household Income in the USA by Ethnic Group:

• When a former Mayor of a small town heads up the DOT:

• This is how Tesla caught the employee who was leaking confidential information to the press in 2008. Elon Musk explains, cunning isn’t it?

• Brain size between a human (left) and a Dolphin (right).

• Nearby is a small apartment building busily at work to ‘gheto-ize’ the neighborhood. Amongst a variety of stuff was this parking in the yard, by undoing a chain. It’s illegal, the LLC owners do nothing, police can’t do anything, but Dirk could. One morning this week, at 5:30, tools in pocket I reset the chain so that the clasp could not be undone. Car has not been parked in the yard since.

Then, lest I forget:

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy – take care of your health!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


BLINK
10 15th, 2022

It’s Saturday morning and our town is alive! FC Cincinnati clinched a spot in the playoffs and will be playing later today, and Blink is in full swing.

I managed to drag myself to the Blink opening evening parade on Thursday and then, last evening, went into the city with the Ongoleas to catch the start. I love this stuff! More on Blink below.

But first, a bit of coffee. I emptied our can of Tim Hortons blend. See just how totally useful Tim Hortons containers can be?

Tucking in the cabin — It was Donn & Marlene who were the last to close up. They were also the only ones who experienced the fall colors. Therefore, I was thrilled with the fact that they stopped by Northern Comfort to document that all was well. Thanks guys!

       

BLINK – Our city’s immersive Arts show is back after a Covid hiatus: our nation’s largest outdoor light festival. Expected are a million and a half visitors to the event; all wanting to experience and to be part of the more than 100 installations. It’s an amazing event of block after block of music, large-scale projection mappings, murals, and interactive light sculptures. It spans 30 city blocks, across the river and into Covington Kentucky – about a mile and a half of sites to see.

Thirty artists including international artists from 14 nations submitted works. One which is amazingly impressive is the work of an Australian artist who worked remotely from her studio in Melbourne. She wanted dancers to be part of her display and used local school students to perform; their dance routine was then melded into her work along with reflective visuals from Australia.

Since BLINK is a visual experience – here are several short YouTube bits to give you a flavor and let you in on the experience. Guess which one of these I recorded.

A couple of photos to start and show that we were all ‘eyes and ears’ as part of the show.

       

Overview of last evening:

Honoring the people of the Ukraine

250 strong, Drone show:

Scene from on the Ohio River banks:

And for those with a bent for something from Greece, how about 80,000 square feet of art from Greece:

Wrap Up video (love to see you at a future BLINK):


Fini –
• This week it was wishing Paul birthday greetings (he’s one of the very few October folk on my ‘rolodex’ (remember what a ‘rolodex’ is?)

• Finally for this ‘Fini”, instead of a blurb on crazy political shenanigans or matters to better control us little people with outrageous climate spewing Let me just finish with this:

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy – and support the Arts (we all need those to enrich our lives)!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Hieronymus
10 8th, 2022

It’s Saturday the 8th of October everyone! This means it’s merely 11 days (October 19th for those struggling with adding/subtraction) till “Investor Education Day”. These days when many of your investments (especially stocks and as of late, housing) are taking it on the chin, you might want to spend the day educating yourself.

”The same thing happened today that happened yesterday, only to different people” ~ Walter Winchell

Then, let me add this brutal quote from Louisiana Senator Kennedy:

”I have hope for my liberal friends. Jellyfish have survived for 165 million years without a brain” ~ John Kennedy

In the meantime, the coffee is done, I am relaxed, and there is a ‘nip’ in the air. Creek Bank Printing has a mug with the following thought; “for some of you…the wheels on your bus do not go round and round …” Let me add to their thought, “I think my bus’ wheels are going round and round; therefore I’ve had my coffee”.

Last weekend’s block party — was a huge success. Weather was spectacular. The street was filled with happy voices. We’d never seen so many little kids on the block. Marcia’s baked beans disappeared immediately. And, best of all, ‘Our Duck’ the Deux Chevaux stayed the whole weekend. For that whole time it became ‘our ‘daily driver’ (even an overnight in the driveway).

                 

In fact the gathering was so good that when the discussion happened to turn to Kayaks I ended up detailing the historic past of the Folbot brand and that of our old 17′, two person, canvas Folbot. Net result is one of my old neighborhood friends, Ken, and I have had a few back-and-forth mails this past week – end result, he’s exploring getting a Folbot for his place on Lake Superior.

Hieronymus Bosch – Completely by happenstance I came across the most detailed overview of the Dutch painter I’d ever seen, Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516) [his real name was actually; Jheronimus van Aken]. Born in the small Dutch town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (now usually called ‘den Bosch’). He painted mostly in oils painted on oaken wood panels. It was his painting of Hell that brought him immense attention and he became well known and widely copied.

The video that I watched dealt with his other hugely popular work; The Garden of Earthly Delights which is a paneled triptych altarpiece.

Other interpretations exist, actually, there are many and most of these are totally different. To me this one is the most cohesive and comprehensive.

Prior to Hieronymus painters mainly did recognizable religious and portraits. A painter’s bread and butter was portrait work – they were the photographers of their day. However starting during the 15th century it was a time of change – from the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance period. There came Hieronymus, and boy, did he upset that apple-cart!

Below I’ve posted the video I’ve now watched twice over and it’s a masterpiece. Set aside some time and learn about this fascinating historical painter who definitely ‘moved the needle’. As an aside, our neighborhood friend, Rosalie’s, husband was born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, small world isn’t it?

Fini –

• I spotted early statistics resultant from the pandemic. This is one of those; per the National Federation of State High School Associations, the number of participants in high school sports dropped by 320,000 after the lockdowns.

• This past week marked the anniversary of the wedding of 26 year old Anna Nicole Smith and 89 year old billionaire Howard Marshall in 1994. It ‘details’ were blasted around without pause for multiple news cycles. The pair were still newlyweds when, after just 14 months, the senior member of the union died in 1995.

• Dutch farmer update: Continuing on their globalist track the Dutch government (in conjunction with the cabal in Brussels/Davos) just announced that the confiscation of farmer’s land will be speeding up. 500 to 600 farmers will be forced to sell their land to the state in 2023. Stay tuned as both anger and protests mount. If memory serves right wasn’t it Mao in China who also seized farm lands?

• Last time we had Pride Month I spotted a photo of a western group of Transgender activists with a large banner touting transgender people in solidarity with Palestinians (more likely it was an anti-Israeli statement they were making). This past week a gay Palestinian, Ahmed Abu Markhiya, who had escaped into Israel was found decapitated in Palestine. Apparently he’d been hunted down and smuggled out of Israel. My question; why not a single peep by western politicians or human rights groups. Picture is that of a small vigil for Markhiya in Israel.

• I came across this photo of the oldest complete Christian Bible in the world. It’s Ethiopian, written on goat skin, illustrated, and apparently dated to be from around the early fifth Century AD.

• Finally for this ‘Fini”, I could not let it pass without a reference to the non-stop ‘Climate Change’ barrage; Greenland ice has recovered from an earlier (in recent history) low in 2012. It’s now accepted that the earlier loss was due to “natural variability” and not human CO2 emissions.

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy – cling to life its precious!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


It’s a Meme Day
10 1st, 2022

Happy 1st of October everyone! And I am sitting here with a shot of Bourbon. Bourbon? Yup, see, when you’re reading this I’ll also be enjoying my morning java. But, since it’ll be a hugely packed day I am laying the groundwork for this week’s Ramblings Friday evening – and enjoying a bit of Bourbon doing so. Make sense?

This afternoon (Saturday that is) we’re having a block party. The focal point will be in front of our old home. Street blocked off, 25+ homes represented, foods, a desert truck, and adult beverages. This will go on till 10PM and there is rumor of a party after the party.

In the meantime, I am picking up ‘Our Duck’ the Deux Chevaux. Marcia is doing her baked bean specialty as part of the dinner fare, and then we’re both driving it into the thick of things. If the weather is as promised I’ll even have the top down.

This past week — I realized that in just five months I’ll have another birthday – that’s less than half a year. I am Panicking!

Five months is way too short a time to recruit an evil mini-me, a Klaus Schwab (he of the World Economic Forum) type, as a new add-on cast member to play alongside Peter Sellers the main character in a favorite movie of mine Doctor Strangelove, by Stanley Kubrick. It’s the movie I plan to watch on my special day next February.

Had I only been a year younger I would have selected another Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange. However turning ‘fourscore plus one’ years of age also means that some things must remain, sadly, just a memory. Its comments on juvenile delinquency, gangs, social, and even political subjects, would be too much.

Watching that movie once more could lead to me exhibiting untoward outbursts should, heaven forbid, I be shipped to ‘The Home’.

The Three Amigos live across the street from us (truth be told, there are really four amigos). It’s cute how each has a different body type (as a student of these things, Marcia will be happy to detail).
It’s the start of a new month and it appears they’re moving out – so sad; but, then maybe we’re wrong.

Venice, (Nokomis) FL – was hurricane Ian’s ‘bulls-eye’. I am willing to place odds that the piered, thatch roofed, and on the water Pop’s Sunset Grill in that town is the only place left standing. And that the ‘gentleman’ who plied Cathy and Marcia with free whiskey shots is still on his seat at the bar. Really, the odds are pretty good!

In all seriousness, prayers go out to all who have been impacted by this storm. George and Sandy’s home in Naples came through unscathed, they even kept power. Think that walls made of concrete and rebar, with underground utilities, made a difference?

Chaos & Mayhem corner – Barely a week goes by without something new and exciting. This week it was the re-lining of the stormsewers on and next to our property. This 30-second clip was taken from our balcony (we smelled the chemicals most of the day):

Honkey Tonk Woman – Last week’s Ramblings had details on a wonderful evening with our Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Well, Sunday I and a small group of fewer than 50 met up with players from that evening. Included were the Rolling Stones’ Saxophonist, Tim Ries, and the pianist, Phil de Greg with his Trio.

           

Two hours of fabulous music. This included the Stones’ great hit; Honkey Tonk Woman, like you’ve not heard it before. Listen (volume up) and pay attention to the marvelous Upright Bass solo!

LS-325 – began service landing troops and equipment on Utah Beach in Normandy on ‘D’ Day, June 6, 1944 when our troops breached the beaches as our first move into Nazi held Europe during WWII. Then LS-325 made many hundreds more ferry runs. Now it’s the oldest perfectly functional Navy ship afloat and the only remaining LST (Landing Ship Tank) left.

Thursday I walked to the riverfront and spent two hours exploring the ship. Volunteers keep the ship operational and crews of 50 volunteers rotate service, they eat sleep aboard. Even the ship’s 40mm guns were fired. Talking with many of these old-timers was a true privilege. For me it was a wonderful day.

                             

Memes – are often in your face, often subtle, messages. The good ones make you smile and make you think. Take a moment by each and explore whether or not there is a deeper or broader meaning. I see them as a newer version of the editorial cartoons of yore.

                                         

Fini –

• The women of Iran are protesting the regime’s horrific treatment of women. It started when a student displayed her hair by removing the hijab. She was murdered while in custody. This beautiful piece of protest art is ever so powerful:

• Looking at weather reports I spotted a subtle change in the manner weather is reported in Canada. Any opportunity they can find to hammer home their preferred view and reason for the ever increasing carbon tax.

• Small talk at the check-out at Trader Joe’s seems to always have the cashier ask very personal questions. Or is that just me?

• The crews tuck-pointing the old LeBlond smokestack have a bit of a climb to get to their ‘office’. Hats off to these guys.

     

Walking through the core of a ghetto area I spotted this written on the door of a derelict-looking building. Maybe some good things are actually happening inside.

• Schrödinger’s plates. Plates are both broken and not broken until the door is opened

• Preparedness. The staging area for arriving power/line crews near the Villages in FL prior to Ian’s arrival. They were ready!

• Living in a city with huge diversity often opens up one’s eyes, I spotted this church sign which was new to me.

• We live on a road commonly used by funeral processions. Occasionally we see this hearse pass by. I’ve told our Duck that when it grows up it too can handle such important work.

     

Yellow Pages were delivered to our building. What are they for?

Ciao. Stay strong, stay involved, and be happy – life is precious!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


A Master Class
09 24th, 2022

Happy autumn everyone! If I look hard enough, then I could well say; “fall is in the air.” That ‘fall’ thing didn’t start here till late this past week.

Morning Coffee Trivia: Since it’s still dark and the coffee just beginning to perk, I thought it an appropriate time for the following quotation; “a yawn is a silent scream for coffee.” (author unknown)

Quote of the week

The GOP is promising to repeal the law hiring an extra 87,000 IRS agents.
The Libertarian Party will do you one better and FIRE the existing 92,000 agents also.”
~ Todd Hagopian

Powering the EVs – Living in southern Ohio we’re aware of the goings-on in the south-eastern (Appalachian) part of the state; this is a huge coal-producing part of the country.

With the massive push for an immediate ‘leap’ into a bright new world of electric vehicles, it is this area which is busily providing the necessary fuel for a constant flow of the electricity to power them. Nice going guys.

The scam – powers on as California’s governor, Gavin Newsome signed 40 Climate bills this past week.

These new climate measures argue that “renewable energy sources can be expanded from one-third of the state’s power input to 90% in just over a decade, partly by spending $54 billion that California has allocated to the task of fighting climate change”.

No worry though for the $$-millions this ‘track’ will cost the California citizens.

As a reminder and example; Al Gore is (STILL) wrong on Artic ice.
2008 Gore predicted an ice-free Artic by the summer of 2013
2022; at the peak ice-melt, Artic ice extended more than 5-million square kilometers.
Just so you know; climate on earth has always been changing – naturally! These predictions for human ‘cause-of’ are a hoax. Learn that!

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that this planet is used by other planets as a lunatic asylum.” – George Bernard Shaw

     

Fentanyl update — Tracking the epidemic numbers of fentanyl poisoning over the past month. Based on NIH data, 154 Americans die each day.

Just so that it is clear, that’s the equivalent of 38 mass shootings every day. Backing out a bit, in the last 3 weeks, 3,171 Americans died from fentanyl poisoning, or the equivalent of 792 mass shootings or another 9/11 horror.

From China, through Mexico, and into the USA seems to be the pathway on how the stuff gets here. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a press conference on September 15th agreed with Vice President Kamala Harris’ (she, who as ‘border tsar’ has never stepped near the place) statement that the border was “secure“.

Sadly, the clown-show continues. And, our headlong dash towards the abyss keeps picking up speed.

Repeat:

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that this planet is used by other planets as a lunatic asylum.” – George Bernard Shaw

It was a Mater’s class – especially when it comes to the Saxophone. Thursday evening Marcia and I went to an evening concert and dinner featuring the music popularized by The Rolling Stones. Held in our old neighborhood’s vintage (now converted) movie theater it was an intimate setting for a full house of maybe a bit over 150 people.

It was beyond our expectations. Marcia went so far as blurting out that it was her best concert EVER.

Two longstanding members of the Stones’ touring band, Tim Ries (saxophone) and Bernard Fowler (vocals) joined our local jazz big band, the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.

All the music played was recorded by the Stones and written by Cincinnati native, Matt Harris. Pieces such as Wild Horses, Under my Thumb, Ruby Tuesday, Street Fighting Man, and concluded with one of my personal favorites; You Can’t Always Get What You Want. WOW!! Double “WOW” when considering that this performance came after just a single, short, 2-hour rehearsal!

     

At the conclusion the crowd exploded, we did too. Enjoy my feeble attempt to record the finale:

Outspoken defender of Israel Hillel C. Neuer a Canadian-born international lawyer, writer, and the executive director of UN Watch; a human rights NGO and UN watchdog group based in Geneva, Switzerland. His organization assembled the attached chart.

Looking at this it makes me wonder why in the world are we the world’s major contributor to this do-nothing hateful confab called the UN? During this week’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this entity continues to register condemnations of various nations. Does one nation jump out at you? (these numbers are from the years 2015 – 2022)

Fini –

• Amazing technology going back over the centuries. This clock at Prague Orloj was installed in 1410 and is the world’s oldest operational clock.

• Senator Rand Paul of neighboring Kentucky reminded us this week that; “the Constitution wasn’t written to restrain citizens’ behavior. It was written to restrain the government’s behavior.”

• There’s a new teacher in town. Teaching in shop in a manner I never envisioned when as an ‘eager to try new things’ teen, I too took shop.

• Watching Senate hearings with benches filled with uniformed people, stars, ribbons, ‘ad infinitum’, I am reminded from history that; Lincoln fought our Civil War with just his cabinet and a single personal secretary. He did not have a White House bureaucracy numbering thousands. I’ve read that firing 75% would not damage the necessary functioning of government one iota.

• Repeat from last week: with the mid-term elections just on the horizon. I spotted this by Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch; “Early voting is bad public policy.” I agree wholeheartedly!
Just this week Pelosi put a stop to ’mail-in voting to take effect two days after the November election.

• Just asking a question; Pedophile enabler Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty over 250 days ago of child trafficking. Her little ‘black-book’ is being held somewhere. Important government officials know exactly who flew into Epstein’s pedo-isle. How come that the FBI has made no arrests, leaked no names, no homes have been raided at dawn with CNN waiting across the street, no mobile phones confiscated. Yet a pillow manufacturer gets detained and his life disrupted as he was surrounded by 3 SUVs filled with G-men at a Hardees Drive-Thru. How come?

• At the Hyde Park Farmers Market I came across one of Cincinnati’s finest in Blue – actually Cincinnati’s Best. If you don’t believe me click on the photograph to enlarge it then look closely. Puts a smile on your face doesn’t it?

Ciao. Stay strong, stay involved, and be happy – life is precious!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Prost!
09 17th, 2022

It’s a big one – weekend that is. Half the family will be off Apple picking. The other half (me) is off to the City’s Octoberfest Zinzinnati. I think that 120 varieties/brands of beer won out over three or four varieties of apples. Especially when that is in combination with 30+ food vendors and 30 musical acts (yup, it is the largest Octoberfest in the nation and second only to the original in Munch, Germany).

Besides, who can resist joining thousands doing the ‘Chicken Dance’, or watch the “Running of the Wieners.”

But it’s now still dark outside and my coffee is done; I can still wish that I didn’t have to get up and pour my own mug, can’t I? A delivery service similar to the way beer is served would be wonderful!

Morning Coffee Trivia: As just said, it’s morning and time to enjoy my coffee. I accept that it was Ulla Suoraniemi (coffee training expert in Helsinki) who thought that; “Coffee is the answer……who cares what the question is.”

Politicians vs Preachers – I’ve watched too many Senate hearings and the like. At each the amount of ‘double-speak’, obfuscation, ‘twisting in the wind’ all make someone like me cynical.

Hence, local boy Earl Pitts, to the rescue. He related in his own, story telling way, how it’s all the same whether politician or preacher. Here, listen to his words:

Thursday excitement Thursday evening is when we’re off to an evening with the CCJO (Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra) our town’s premier 17-piece jazz group. That in and of itself would be great, but for this season’s opener two members of the Rolling Stones touring band will join on stage.

Saxophonist Tim Ries and vocalist Bernard Fowler will join in with some of the Stones’ greatest hits. Hits that were all written by Cincinnati native Matt Harris!

The venue is the old converted Redmoor theater just down the street from our former home in Hyde Park. It’s a small venue and has an excellent chef on site—yup, it’ll be a dinner and music evening. Should be a fabulous time.

     

THE Corner Just to show how the ‘beat goes on’ at the corner of “Chaos and Mayhem”. Last week I posted a picture of a police cruiser securing our driveway while exploring what went on with a ‘Shot-Spotter’ notification of shots fired on an adjacent street.

This is a photograph taken this past week from the exact same angle, of Police and Fire (medical) on a call – it was a mental health issue a couple of doors down (cutting and the like). As they say about New York, but also applies at C&M, “the city (corner) never sleeps.”

Fini –

• I’ve been listening to a lengthy discussion on Economics. A preferred trend is to view wealth/poverty/trends through the lens of ‘time required’ as a cost; thus a constant throughout history and location is achieved. Using that, here is an example; “For the time it took our grandparents to earn the money to buy one song in 1955, we get 19,750 songs today.” This can be applied just as readily as work required to buy a pound of sugar in the mid-1800s versus today (1 to several hundred). Interesting stuff indeed.

• Spotted on the internet in response to the travel crisis: “Thoughts and prayers to the people of Martha’s Vineyard who are under a state of humanitarian crisis (125 National Guard were dispatched) thanks to the presence of 50 illegal immigrants.”

• Talking about dispatching authorities, this week the ‘My Pillow’ guy, returning from some Duck hunting in Iowa was surrounded by a series of massive black SUVs filled with FBI agents while sitting at a Hardees drive-through. The search had them confiscate a cell phone and discover an array of contraband found scattered in his car (proudly displayed). Confiscation of cell phones has become a ‘thing’ for every one of these raids (except for anyone named ‘Hillary”).

     

• Ever wondered what all the little spots on a QR code mean? I have and finally found the answer – which I still barely understand.

• Also seen, and something I made note of since the mid-term elections are just on the horizon. I spotted this by Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch; “Early voting is bad public policy.” I agree wholeheartedly!

• While in Canada I made plans to head for an evening of Poetry reading held at a restored Round Barn – one of a remaining handful of the exquisite structures. Vernon, who was the reader, came down with Covid and the event postponed. This past week Marlene and Donn attended the rescheduled event and she took this spectacular photo looking straight up the canopy of the barn. Isn’t it amazing?

• Almost every evening this week I’ve tuned in to watch the latest SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral. Every day it’s been scrubbed late into the countdown due to weather. Last evening was no different. Tonight is the night?

• Look at the attached photo. How many of you are old and wise enough to remember why the two little triangles were part of the radio’s dial at the 1240 and 640 positions. No cheating, but if you can’t stand it anymore, look up ‘Control of Electromagnetic Radiation’ or CONELRAD.

Ciao. Stay strong, stay involved, and be happy – life is precious!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Oh for Seasonal Change
09 10th, 2022

Should I begin by saying “Feliz Navidad” this Saturday morning? It was just announced in a news clip I came across that there are retail establishments with aisles decorated for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and – would you believe it – fully lit up Christmas trees. Let the Season begin (this with daytime temps in the mid-eighties)!

Anything to pull attention away from the slide into a recession, etc.

Morning Coffee Trivia: In 1953 (the year I arrived in North America) a guy by the name of Delbert E. Phinney of Seattle Washington invented the coffee-cup lid. It’s been stated that; “Coffee drinkers of the world will (would) be forever grateful.” Please tell that to my burned upper lip caused by the little opening in the ‘lidded’ coffee I purchased on my way home from the North Woods a week and a half ago.

A grand and classy grandmother left us this week. What was lost in a world of continuing chaos and mayhem (not only on our corner — see below) was the stability and continuity this lady exemplified. RIP Queen Elizabeth II.

In school in Toronto, on the day not long after her coronation, the new Queen came to visit Canada; we were each given a copper medallion inscribed with the details of the event. As a young lad having to walk home for a mile or so along a farm lined road I began tossing up and catching my medallion. All went well until it disappeared into the adjacent field. Searched for about half an hour; never did find my medallion.

That was my memory of someone who exuded both dignity and humanity. This same week I also caught a speech given by our ‘Veepness’. Think there is a comparison?

Now watch a minute of the exciting, motivational, and energizing words as offered by our Vice President:

Socialized Healthcare – for three weeks I was at our Northern Comfort place in the woods. It had been a long time so, with some eagerness, I visited with friends and neighbors. All of you probably know that when you get to be my age, often much of the discussion circles around health issues. These visits were no exception.

Canada has a government managed health care system. Here I could get off on some ‘screed’, but I won’t. I think the following Quote-of-the-Week will suffice:

”The essence of a government health care system – for people who have never lived under it and don’t know – is waiting, waiting, waiting. You wait for everything. You wait for years for operations that are routine in America” ~ Mark Steyn; author and radio/television presenter

California ‘Logic’: when a California gasoline ‘logic’ will possibly be implemented in our state, I will be ready. Of course I am making reference to the demand that gasoline and diesel engines be scrapped and only EV vehicles sold; all this in the very near future.

And, and this is the most critical part, the plan is to do so when rolling blackouts and AC shutdowns are the ‘modus operandi du jour’ [for Madame Kamala, this means; a method of functioning or working (at least for) today.] in that State

The attached photograph is of what will be my newly sourced replacement vehicle:

Fini –

• Question found on the internet shortly after seeing another SpaceX launch; if NASA launches a spaceship with only women as crew, will it be considered an unmanned flight?

• Even though it’s almost disappeared from our media, the Dutch farmer rebellion and protest is still very active. This past week the Dutch Agriculture Minister who was leading the radical Climate Agenda was toppled from his position

• Continuing with my Dutch ‘bits’. The Dutch city of Haarlem this past week became the first city in the world to ban meat advertising in public.

• Now that grandson Marin is working in the world of vertical farming, I bought some of their product at a nearby Whole Foods. Both Marcia and I were blown away. We had no idea that there would be such a taste difference and increased product longevity (although the little tomatoes disappeared in short order). Wow!

• Mid-week there was gunfire on the street running behind ours. Marcia heard it and with Shot Spotter the police had the exact location. Net result? Our street quickly had a number of cops ensuring that no ‘perp’ jumped a fence and thus come storming onto our ‘fiefdom’. The picture shows how our driveway was secured.

Ciao. Stay strong, stay involved, and stay happy. Later Marcia and I will be off to nearby St. Bernard for their St. Clemens festival and pig roast. Last evening we missed a performance by Stagger Lee. Today it’ll be Buzz Bin a high-energy all-90’s cover band. And, even better, I’ll be able to grab a beer and some Goettawurst.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


I’m Baaaack!
09 3rd, 2022

A great Saturday morning to everyone. Mid-week I drove back from the North Woods in Canada. The biggest shock was the 20-degree temperature and humidity jump (although nothing like the 100+ degree temperatures my brothers in California are experiencing).

I started the truck and left Northern Comfort at exactly 4:30AM. By 6:00AM I arrived at a deserted Border checkpoint. From that point on the homeward push was on, pulling to a halt in front of our Condo at four in the afternoon.

I’ve paid a bit of a body ‘re-set’ in the days since. Yesterday I did join the brothers for our morning Zoom, exercise session – so maybe I am getting back to normal.

Morning coffee trivia: I believe I am correct when I mention that when we smell coffee at the beginning of our day, it will help us properly wake up. My coffee has been made and I’ve downed my first cup. All is well.

”You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda

why ‘solo’ in the woods? Having a cabin also means that there are requisite things to do (as I discovered seeing the 2 to 3 foot grasses surrounding the place). So there were an array of chores.

However, 3-books later it also means that the peace and quiet was something to relish. Then the walks and paddling ventures by kayak were more than just a bonus. All of this while being surrounded by nature’s choir – everything from yodeling Loons to chattering Otters (with Crows and Ravens providing the base lines). Can’t forget the close-by ‘tail-slap’ from a Beaver diving into its lodge either.

So, rather than chatter on and on, here is my stay in Northern Comfort in picture form. Enjoy (and be certain to click on each to expand your view).

Some of us were heading north, others preparing to head south




dinner at the Outpost
      

Rib Roast and games at the nearby Wharncliffe Community hall


      

reading time
      

Animal Kingdom
        
      

paddling




cooking
      

views
      



time with family & friends


      

work never ceased
 

And as always, the one that wasn't caught!


Fini –

• Brother George is celebrating his Birthday today.

• This past Thursday my mother would have been 111 years old. Kirstin wrote some beautiful words which I think worth repeating. Thanks Kirstin.

On September 1st, 111 years ago, my grandmother, our Omi, was born. I came across her obituary again recently and I was reminded not only of what an incredible human being she was, but also of her fortitude and the similarity of us becoming fairly young widows with sons to raise. In fact both of our youngest sons were age 11 when their dads died. Over the past few years whenever I’m feeling down I think of her and the courage and strength she had to help get me through. How I would love to be able to sit with her now over a cup of tea and talk about how she was able to get through those times. I truly don’t know how she managed, alone with 4 boys in a new country. And if you happen to know my dad and uncles, you know it wasn’t easy! We’re celebrating you today, Omi. Happy Birthday!

• Cleaning out my mailbox after returning I had received an update from our local 17-member Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra and their evening later this month featuring two members of the Rolling Stones’ touring band. BAM! Tickets were secured immediately!

Ciao. Stay strong, stay involved, and stay happy. Keep on storming the castle.

Pray for Peace.

Dirk