Archive for the 'Family & Friends' Category

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


Bombogenesis
03 12th, 2022


Morning all; on the verge of Spring we have another so-called “bomb cyclone” weather phenomenon. And yes, I did look up whether or not there is such a thing. There is! It’s a winter storm that is created through a process called “bombogenesis”; a storm which will see a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, plummeting by 0.71 of an inch of mercury or more within 24 hours.

When I talked with Marcia last evening she described it as a “white blanket of death” which had started to fall. That explains it better.

Here in Austin it only turned cold and very windy. All the overwintered plants we took out a week ago are back in the garage. And, oh yes, I only packed clothing for a 60 – 80 degree range; not good!

For those in the path — of the ’bomb’ cyclone I captured some seaside shoreline sounds, magically generated by my little bedside Marpac sound generator. I am hoping that this will improve your mood.

Best project – has been the Doggy Door. If for no other reason than not having to get up every time Piper-the-dog wants to head into the yard. So, this project took center stage early on. Initially it was bit of coaxing to get her to use it; the video below shows her very first attempt. But, by day three she had become a fearless pro. The process was totally satisfying.

     

     

Quote of the week –

Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important. ~ Mark Manson, author

This week’s quote could be a guide for those fighting for Freedom everywhere, whether truckers in Canada or citizens in the Ukraine.

As I spotted elsewhere: “The spread of communism starts when people are silenced. Free speech is the first freedom citizens lose”.

Fini –

• As a walker, I recently read that the longest continuous walking path in the world is: 22,387Km.

• Probably photo shopped. But these days I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

• Vili had a school project. He studied and then made a class presentation on Bob Dylan. Scored a solid ‘A’. Kudos Vili!

• Dinah has been back on the water training as a member of her rowing team. While walking in Austin, I spotted her competition’s digs.

• Teaching Derek the fine art of grilling, and that adding the right herbs and spices is much more than a good thing. Good times!

  • Surgical instruments from Roman times. These look like they’d be in use today.

  • Now can’t wait for my favorite breakfast; multi-grain toast, loaded with fresh Avocado, and sprinkled with ‘Everything but the Bagel’. 

Best till next weekend – homeward bound on Tuesday.

Dirk


Cough, Cough
03 5th, 2022


Morning all; Even though it’s still dark and quiet this week’s Ramblings will arrive a little later than normal. Changing time zones does that you know.

I started setting my watch while still in the air heading for Kirstin’s. Let it be known that my Casio Pro Trek is the best watch I’ve ever had (a gift from Jason a few years ago). With over 30 city settings and the ability to set time via longitude and latitude means only one thing – deadly accuracy.

45-minutes of trying had my time set several hours off, That evening at Kirstin’s here in Austin, had me work on the thing another hour; to no avail.

I downloaded the manual and poked around a few You Tubes. So, when I finally got it correct, to the minute, in Austin’s Central time zone it was almost a bit of a let-down, A ho-hum moment. What I have learned to do is keep looking at the thing just to make certain it hadn’t changed time zones on its own.

First three days in Austin — I realized the evening prior to my leave-at-dawn flight that my sinuses were set to explode with the beginning of a cold. It had been so long since I had one, that what was left from the Cold Alka-seltzer Plus tablets years ago were now mere ‘bits’ in swollen packages.

Even though I am still searching for new, secret, locations where Kirstin hides the Kleenex, I am definitely on the mend. “Plink, Plink, Fizz” thank you very much.

Tools in hand – Actually, I’ve already gotten a pretty decent jump on the “To-Do” list. Simple stuff like dragging potted garden plants from their winter storage in the garage into the yard; with the help of Derek. Then, it was on to the slightly more complex, repairing a kitchen cupboard hinge.

Most noticeable was the setting in order of the backyard Pergola – this was celebrated by Kirstin and I making use of the place. Anyway, there are a dozen or so items on the list. Most fun will be dealing with the security camera/lights above the garage door.

Quote of the week –

”I do not want my picture in your offices, for the President is not an icon or a portrait. Hang your kid’s photos instead – and look at them each time you are making a decision.” ~ Volodymyr Zelenskyy President of the Ukraine

Recently I read (forget where exactly) that everything reported about war by governments, mainstream media, much alternative media, and by the ignorant public at large, is little more than lies and deceit. Assuming that to be correct (and it probably is), it’s an opportune time to quote Orwell one more time:
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.” George Orwell, 1984

Fini –
• Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas made mention that this past week 15 Russians and 15 Chinese were apprehended crossing the border illegally. The question is why, and how many more actually made it? Why are we not controlling our border?

• Last weekend I made my way through a new section of the walking trail. Something new to explore and to see.

• One way as a reminder that you’re living in a city founded by German immigrants. Just look at the signs and the buildings.

   

• The current administration had our AG write a letter to the DOJ asking them to monitor parents who seek change (especially with School Boards promoting Critical Race Theory style agendas) and view them as Domestic Terrorists. Now 14 States are using Freedom of Information Act channels to have the AG turn over communications with the National School Boards Association. Just thought you’d want to know.

George Chakiris starred in the 1961 movie; West Side Story. He was Bernardo and a member of the Sharks. Turns out he was born in a house I pass weekly on my exercise walks – on Sherman Avenue. Apparently his father, a Greek immigrant had a sweet shop in the front of the place. Currently it’s a home contracting business.

• Russia’s attack on the largest European Nuclear Power Plant, the Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine has now been labeled a War Crime. Since the ‘world’ appears to speechify mostly, what exactly does this mean?

Best till next weekend – after which I’ll finish my taxes.

Dirk


NEW WORLDS
02 26th, 2022


Morning all; What a week it’s been — and it’s not over yet. Pray for the people of the Ukraine as another ruthless dictator tries for an early start towards domination.

KHARKIV, Ukraine — is one of Cincinnati’s nine sister cities around the world. It is under attack after Russia invaded, without provocation, the Ukraine this week.

Delegations from the two cities met and signed documents; and as a result Cincinnati and Kharkiv, have been sister cities since September 11, 1989. Over 2,500 Cincinnati citizens have visited Kharkiv as a result, and currently there is a Cincinnati student-art exhibit there.

Buildings in our town are showing the colors of Ukraine as a symbol of solidarity. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, 20-miles from the Russian border, is being targeted.

All of this begs the question, how and to what use are the millions of dollars we pump into the United Nations spent; has anyone heard a peep from them? Why has Putin not yet been cited with “crimes against humanity”? In fact, why do we continue to support the UN and its featherbedding ‘diplomats’?

Our current diplomatic – link in Europe is our Foreign Relations ‘expert’, Kamala Harris. She’s been recorded with the following gem; “Within the context then of the fact that that window is still opening, although, open, although it is absolutely narrowing, but within the context of a diplomatic path still being open.”

I cannot but marvel at this perfectly created ‘word-salad’.

Quote of the week – My favorite this week is from Elon Musk on Twitter to Senator Elizabeth Warren who commented on Musk (and other Billionaires) not paying enough in taxes;

”Will visit IRS next time I’m in DC just to say hi, since I paid the most taxes ever in history for an individual last year. Maybe I can have a cookie or something….” ~ Elon Musk

Canada – watching as it devolved into an updated version of a banana republic. Prime Minister Trudeau hob-nobs much better with the Devos crowd than with his own people. So, rather than meeting with the very folk, citizenry who only wanted discourse, he set on a path of sending in his ‘jackboots’.

   

I should point out that during the Ottawa protest not a single business was looted or burned down. The homeless were fed by the truckers of the Freedom Convoy and the streets were kept spotless. The street in front of Parliament was turned into an ice rink for kids. Veterans maintained security around the statues. These were the people called demagogues and treated like scum. No request to communicate was even answered.

Dutifully the police, military style, obeyed and crushed the protest rally. In a nation where 95+% of the mainstream media is on the public dole (to the tune of over $1.2-Billion) reporting following the party line is the standard.

There were exceptions (very few). So when Trudeau’s RCMP Calvary trampled an elderly woman on a mobility scooter – who turned out to be an elder in the Mohawk nation, things didn’t look so good. And, this event was reported world-wide by a number of alternative news sources.

Birthday – with just a day (and year) apart from mine is former Beatle, the late George Harrison (February 25, 1943). Musically the best Beatle and known as ‘the quiet Beatle’ – something I share with him in my family; I’m known in our family as ‘the quiet one’. Correct – yes?

Thursday I had a day worth remembering and was showered with more love then I could have conjured up in my wildest dreams. Pictures have already been shared with family, but here are a couple for everyone. Enjoy!

   

Fini –
• G.K. Chesterton is one of those who can encapsulate thought brilliantly, such as: “You do not know a tyranny until it is on top of you; until it has you in a trap. The tyrant is not present until he is omnipresent.

• Years ago, on a business trip in Egypt, I visited the pyramids in Giza. Actually climbed down the shaft to the funerary chamber. This week I came across this cut-away of what all is inside the structure and thought you’d appreciate.

• Professional MLS soccer’s season is starting today. This evening at 6:00PM our team, FC-Cincinnati will be playing Austin-FC in Austin. Last time I was in Austin I swung by their brand new (it was still under construction) stadium. Now, I am missing seeing this opener by just a few days. Grrrr!

   

• On my favorite walking trail it passes along the backyards of some houses. This family painted their fence and cut a couple of holes in it so that their two (pretty ‘yippy’) dogs can also see what’s going on. Reverse Zoo maybe?

• Painting by numbers can also make for a stunning picture. This was done by Kirstin to hang in the cabin. Since were here and not there we hung it here. Pretty sweet, don’t you agree?

     

• This past season our Bengal’s did pretty well. The “Who Dey” cheer was heard everywhere. Now, from the UK, comes this virtual Pub.

This evening Marcia and I will head for our favorite teeny-tiny hole in the wall Italian place – Biagio’s Bistro. After which we’ll walk two businesses over to the city’s best alternative movie theater. There we’re going to see Bill Murray read poetry and music by world renowned cellist Jan Vogler “rock the Acropolis in Greece” in a movie titled: NEW WORLDS: THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION.

It’s touted as; “a timeless mix of music, literature and poetry”. Murray will also be joined by piano and violin. Held at the 2,000 year old stage of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus it’ll feature music from Bach to van Morrison, Whitman to West Side Story. Marcia and I are both psyched and pumped!

OK, I know I need to complete my Taxes – just haven’t done it yet.

Best till next weekend – from Austin.

Dirk


Roads do End
02 19th, 2022


Morning all; Saturday morning and 10-days before what seemed an eternity away last October 20th – it’ll be March 1st. It’s really HAPPENING! Our official harbinger of spring’s arrival!

 End of the road – is an reality; for everything. This week for me will be some kind of formal  notification as I celebrate (think; ‘march towards’) my birthday. This birthday has me ponder the iconic phrase by President Abraham Lincoln who started his Gettysburg Address with; “four score and seven years ago”. For me, I’ll be reminded that I am well underway clawing towards that number.

At Christmas time  – Kirstin introduced me to a book titled ‘A Beginner’s Guide to the End’ by B J Miller, MD and Shoshana Berger. It’s a wealth of understanding, a fount of knowledge, and easy to read. Whether we’re 20 or 80 we are all subject to the fragility of life itself. The book handles it.

The chapter on Hospital entry, processing, staying, and discharge is a beauty. Have an ‘easy-to-clear-up’ issue and it’s like going to a Fast Food restaurant and quickly emerge with a ‘Happy’ meal.

Need more and it becomes something like a top-of-the-line French place such as The French Laundry where the menu registers $$$$$. That place comes complete with a maître d’, a sommelier, wait staff, bar staff, sous chef, chef, dessert baker, busser, etc. Plus, a myriad of cutlery, glassware, and dishes; all with a specific function, all much more than merely baffling, overwhelming, and perplexing: hospitals are like that. The book gives you ‘hacks’ to make the process do-able.

What a great gift that was. I thought I’d share on the day after I updated my own Living Will.

This ‘shocker’ hit our news cycle this week. Oh, the HORROR of it all:

Quotes of the week – for my Canadian friends and readers – and for thinking folk wherever.

The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command ~ George Orwell ‘1984

And for anyone who needs a smile [read it carefully it is NOT a typo and it’s deeper than you think]:

will Trudeau fidel while Canada burns? ~ Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert comic strip)

I’ve been asked why my focus on Canada? I love Canada, I love Canadians. We have property in Canada and we’ve lived in Canada. It is through a demagogue Prime Minister who functions little beyond that of an adolescent teenager that I’ve watched, almost in mere weeks, this great nation, devolve into an ugly statist system.

Exactly, what is it I’m talking about? This couple of minute Press announcement by Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister will explain. This is how her government is retroactively managing what had been a legal protest; initiated without any legislative sanction. A protest declared illegal retroactively by Canada’s current administration, on the basis of being publicly identified by the media, using stolen data from a fundraising website; all without a shred of direct knowledge of any violence.

Trudeau has launched a digital gulag whereby any Canadian citizen can be ‘erased’ without a shot being fired. It is also something of concern to all free peoples. Merely two months ago, no Canadian ever thought this could happen to them – with this ‘play’ bills can’t get paid, Credit Cards won’t function, ATM’s sit silent, and Savings accounts are locked! Totally OK and normal; in a free society?

Word of the week – For my friends in Canada as they watch their Government run rough shot over and negating their Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms comes this word:
“Hew” ~ the word has changed from shaping something to conforming or adhering to something, as to “hewing to the line”!
Quiz: Unscramble the letters LOPCMY into a word meaning to conform.

Fini –
• A week ago marked the anniversary – February 9, 1969 – of the Boeing 747 airliner. My absolute favorite to fly. The most special run was to Beijing, with brother Pieter where we had seats 1A and 1B. Marvelous – thanks again Pieter!

• Every so often Marcia tries to breach the subject with one of the grand-kids – to little avail. So, who remembers taking a ‘typing’ class in middle or high school?

• One more Ontario, Canada bit. Last week’s Super Bowl in LA’s SoFi center had it filled – most being maskless. Meanwhile it’s “illegal” to have more than 10 people in your home in Ontario.

• We had a Super Bowl party. It was an all-out food event. Amongst the edibles brought to the party was this from the Charcuterie tray brought by Marcia – the only bits left when everything ended. OK, what are you looking at? What in the world are these things anyway?

• Looking over on my desk I am reminded by Elon Musk’s words: “If you give yourself 30 days to clean your home it will take 30 days. But, if you give yourself 3 hours, it will take 3 hours.

• Back into a groove on my exercise program, walking, resistance workouts, and swimming. This was last Tuesday.

• Thursday we’ll be enjoying a dinner at Montgomery Inn (the Boathouse one for you aficionados). Can’t wait. Eating at the place is always a special joy!

Dinah won her indoor rowing race held this week. Fastest novice! Proud of you kiddo! Race held at the Boathouse as it is their winter training center (same as the place noted above)

Finally, this from Victor Hugo: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent

Maybe I’ll next spend a little time working on the very special birthday gift from brother Pieter. Yes it’s a Rubik’s Cube, but instead of 9-tiles per side, this one has 25! It is also made up of photos from my past. On second thought, it’ll be better to just look at it some more.

OK, actually it’s now Tax time – the official end to 2021.

Proceed!

Best till next weekend.

Dirk