canapé lit deux places?

06 22nd, 2024

Happy Saturday morning. And actually, this week’s title; ‘canapé lit deux places’ is a bit of a lie. These past weeks crisscrossing Europe I slept well and did so comfortably. In fact, these past weeks have been beyond expectations and memorable to the extreme.

Even down to remembering that back at home we were getting close to running out of coffee. So, in downtown Berlin, I popped into a nearby Aldi’s (a ‘Nord’ branch one) and picked up a 1,000g bag. Schlepped it around for a week, and yes, entering the USA it was given a quick test for nasty drugs, but this morning I am sitting here drinking a wonderful mug of Barissimo’sCaffé Gustoso’. Good stuff.


The most difficult ‘bit’ is catching up on the time and sleep deprivation – but I’m managing both. The other is shifting from temperatures hovering in the high 70s to being subjected to a week-long onslaught of high humidity coupled with real-feel temperatures between 101 and 105F. My body isn’t yet willing to accommodate.

Marcia keeps extending her arms – palms out, hands wiggling, and tossing out the words; “So Sorry”. That’s our current favorite way of saying; “No More”. Seems she has heard the many, ongoing stream, of my travel tales one too many times.

In all honesty it’s been difficult to not get caught up with the retelling of one happening after another.

Hence, I will just relate one bit (and possibly add to this a little on subsequent weeks). Let me know if that satisfies.

The Polynesian – community in SW Ohio is having a festival this evening in Beavercreek, OH. Tevita, our master roaster, is doing a pig. Vaioleti and Viliami are involved in dances (complete with Polynesian dress), Vili in the Polynesian intimidation Haka dance, and both in the working of Hawaiian Poi balls. This proves that there is absolutely no slow-down with our life here in the ‘hood’.

The trek home – As you might guess, detailing my crossing the pond on the way home tells my tale in reverse order – so be it. Subsequent weeks will have details of a different single stand-out event. So, stay tuned as my tale unfolds.

These days all of Europe is wrapped up in the UEFA EURO 2024 soccer tournament. One of the many cities hosting is Munich. We, Kirstin, Derek and Kellen, and Moi, were there for the German-Scottish match. The ‘Tartan Army’ ruled the city. Whole city squares were wrapped in song; “No Scotland No Party”.

A day later I was on a train heading for Amsterdam and my flight home (Kirstin and the boys flew out of Munich). Boarding I had a table seat and except for a few Germans the wagon was filled with partying Scottish lads heading for their team’s next venue.

When I say “partying” it’s serious stuff. They were awaiting my arrival with a cold brew on the table. And a never-ending stream of ‘brewskies’ kept on coming. Singing in the aisles and hugs all around. What a time!!!

Oh, oh, a problem. First, a broken train ahead of us had us stuck in a tunnel for 40 minutes. An hour later the train again stopped. This time for Police up the track time to clear drunks of the same track (this is a bullet train mind you). Traveling and massive delays are not conducive to efficiency and deadlines.

In this case I missed my connection to Amsterdam from Dusseldorf – and that was the LAST train of the night. Horrid for catching my early morning flight.

With some help from my compatriot partygoing Scotts and a German lady who came from a village a few kilometers from where I was born, I was parked in front of the Station’s, Deutsche Bahn railroad manager. 20-minutes later I was on a pre-paid (courtesy of Deutsche Bahn), new Mercedes taxi van which dropped me off at Terminal 3 – Schiphol airport Amsterdam at 3AM.

      

Life is AMAZING!

I won’t bore you with the details of delays and other hiccups and lack of Customer Service concerns by United Airlines. Let it be said that my scheduled 3:00PM return to the ‘Nati’ was magically moved to 9:00PM.

Now – Welcome back to my readers. Thanks for hanging in

May Peace prevail! Shalom.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:
Question, answer in subsequent weeks. French Huguenots favored:

1) John Calvin
2) City of Berlin
3) Dutch Poffertjes
4) Soccer
5) Gouda Cheese
6) EV Bicycles
7) Rocky Road ice cream


Cancel?

05 18th, 2024

Cancel?

NEXT 4 WEEKS THE RAMBLINGS WILL BE ON HIATUS!!! Out of country travel means I have little choice. See you in late June.

Happy Saturday morning. And face it, no matter what, mine is ‘light-years’ better than Kentucky’s Governor’s morning was yesterday. He woke up to an aide saying: “Sir, we just arrested and placed into cuffs, the number 1 golfer in world as he approached our PGA tournament’s entry gate.”

I hope Andy Beshear’s morning coffee was a double espresso – if not, it should have been.

But, carrying on, yes, Morning has Broken this by keyboard legend Rick Wakeman, today on this his 75th Birthday.

Marcia keeps on promoting – her insight that people say these weekly Ramblings are a bit lengthy. Huh? These Ramblings have never become a ‘chapter’ read. But there is a purpose in being a wee bit more expansive.

What I’ve concluded over the past decade of this epistle is that just quickly detailing a point can actually be counterproductive.

See, should you embark on a bit of, as Ricky Ricardo famously said, ‘splaining’.  Then you’ll discover, in short (pun) order I might add, that coming to grips by calling out ‘uncle’ does have a purpose – it teaches decision time; stop short or plod on.

As proof, read or listen to most anything uttered by a politician. Read a legalese disclaimer accompanying any new purchase. Listen to anything put out by a group wanting to achieve something requiring your pocketbook – be it a new park, a new stadium, even in increase for education. Then you’ll quickly discover that they have fully mastered the fine art of ‘splainin’.

See, there is value in all of this.

“WHAT?”    “HUH?”

 

Spotted on ‘’X’ — When a fly falls into a cup of coffee:

The Italian – throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.
The German – carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it, and makes a new cup of coffee.
The Frenchman – takes out the fly and drinks the coffee.
The Chinese – eats the fly and throws away the coffee.
The Russian – drinks the coffee with the fly, since it comes with no extra charge.
The Israeli – sells the coffee to the Frenchman, sells the fly to the Chinese, sells the cup to the Italian, drinks a cup of tea, and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.
The Palestinian – blames the Israeli for the fly falling into his coffee, protests the act to the UN as an act of aggression, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives, and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, Frenchman, Chinese, German and Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give his cup of tea to the Palestinian.

 

Apolitical – As most of you know, I am quite apolitical. So, this is nothing about politics.

With all the never-ending court cases in New York and in Georgia regarding a prospective national candidate, I made an observation.

When all this hoopla first started, I remember this little guy being rolled around the neighborhood in his little pram. My, my, how time does fly.

Our Nation’s Aunt – Ever notice how the ‘hamster-wheel’ news-cycle spins faster and faster. Especially when they get a hold on whatever the subject ‘du Jour’ is. Then obscene things can happen.

This event happened a few years ago, but now the ‘what’ and ‘how’.

Over the last few years, the BLM hucksters got a lock being able to proscribe to the general population what could and could not be uttered, seen, or promoted – they held a lock on it all.

During the fever pitch height of the ‘movement’ politics busily erased all memory of Aunt Jemima of the pancake mix fame to future generations.

There were several ‘aunts’, most notably one Nancy Green who was born a slave in Kentucky (1834). At age 56 she was hired as the marketing face of the pancake brand. Her debut at an exposition in Chicago, and over the years traveled across the country. On tour she would be the hit of the event with storytelling, making pancakes by the hundreds, to such a point that often extra security had to be brought in.

She earned a great income and was awarded a lifetime contract. Throughout, her financial independence allowed her to become a leading advocate against poverty and in favor of equal rights for all. She passed away in 1923 at age 89. Nevertheless, her image had to disappear.

Isn’t it a shame that we’re so hell-bent on erasing our past, and give little mind as to how disrespectful this is? Cancel culture is a horror.

Ben’s Idea – Just in case you were unaware, Benjamin Franklin developed a new alphabet. He added a couple of vowels and dropped six consonants (c, j, q, w, x, and y). If you have difficulty deciphering the sentence below, you’ll understand just how well Franklin’s efforts took hold.

?i am, m?i diir frind, iurs afeks??netl”i, — (I am, my dear friend, yours affectionately), taken from a letter Franklin wrote.

Having said that, the Tongan alphabet has just 17 letters – think they co-opted Franklin’s idea?

 

QUOTATION:

“All that we don’t know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing.”
and
“Sheer Playfulness and Deadly Seriousness are my closest Friends.”

Phillip Roth ~ American Author (1933 -2018) Novelist and short-story writer

May Peace prevail! Shalom.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

Question, which one of these Ice Cream flavors is NOT in the top ten of popularity for 2024?

1) Butter Pecan
2) Chocolate
3) Vanilla Chocolate Chip
4) Mint Chocolate Chip
5) Strawberry
6) Black Raspberry
7) Rocky Road


Plans Awry

05 11th, 2024

Plans Awry

Happy Saturday morning. A lot of things are labeled as “fluid” these days. Most I view as claptrap. But the ongoing morning ‘fluidity’ coffee provides is something to celebrate.

For my part, I didn’t manage to see the aurora. I thought about heading up to our roof garden at around about three AM. Two problems with that plan. First, I didn’t get passed ‘go’ (got sidetracked by the bathroom). Two, the building’s roof garden hasn’t been planted yet.

Did any of you see the Northern Lights this morning? For many northern states and Canada last night and this night are supposedly the best since 2005.

My ‘friend’, Al, informed me that I might have an identical Voice Message from Dr. Kaplichnik waiting for me. One with Kaplichnik perchance substituting “Ramblings” for Comic Strip. Possibly a little on the ‘edge’, but effectively referring to authors such as Al and I; “crazier than a pair of Loons”, is far beyond the pale.

Marcia – had her 1-week post-op visit; and all is well. The key word of that day and visit was Patience. The medical definition of ‘patience’ means; we have no clue how long before all is as it was. Which in layman’s terms means that nerves operate on a totally independent schedule. Independent from medical intervention or owner’s deepest wishes.

But Marcia does love the breathable surgical tape strips they put on the incision. Thank you, 3M.

Thoughtful Quotation for these times – especially now that our Media’s daily barrage of video showing lots of impertinent ‘lost’ kids on College campuses is being pelted at us. I even saw one of the little dear’s ‘glamping’ on her University’s Square bemoaning the fact that the University wasn’t supplying her food and water.

As my cousin from France would have said: “Sooo Sorry.”

Anyhow, this is what the great satirist P.J. O’Rourke (1947-2022) once wrote especially well; “you can judge the momentum and heft of a political movement by how many attractive women attach themselves to it.”.

In 1968, it was reasonably clear that the anti-Vietnam set was full of the cool kids. But, as we would have said in the language of that time – these days, you don’t see too many ‘swell lookers’ in those keffiyehs.

Cicadas – Were you aware that two broods of periodical cicadas are emerging across the US? periodical cicadas burrow underground for up to 17 years. This year, for the first time in over 200 years, there is a special event.

This year, trillions of cicadas from Broods XIX and XIII—underground for 13 and 17 years — are surfacing together. This for the first time since 1803. Just think, the last time this occurred, Thomas Jefferson was our President.

The mid-west will host and Springfield, Illinois will be the epicenter. Day trip anyone?
This little video clip is well done and explains beautifully. It’s worthwhile watching. Enjoy:

My Flying Pig 5K – Monday morning a mail in my in-box exclaimed (loudly in Bold):

Congratulations on crossing the 2024 Flying Pig Finish Swine, Dirk!
Another Pig weekend in the books! Thank you so much for joining us, we loved watching each one of you soar across the Finish Swine.
We hope to see you at the next Flying Pig event!

But there is more to that story. I didn’t race. I did volunteer the next day for the full Marathon and that was a blast!

     

 

Boy, was I ready for the 5K. Mother nature was not. A 3-hour delay for the storms to clear happened. As luck would have it, that morning we also had a major backup in our bathroom.

3-hours to kill and a blockage to clear; PERFECT. I drove home, and got bathroom fixed

Then headed back into town. The first of my problems was that the FREE parking was now a pay lot as it was getting ready for a Reds game. Plus, long lines of Reds fans trying to get into the area.

My second problem was due to me outsmarting myself. ‘Save on weight’ I schemed; therefore, left my wallet at home – now no money to park. Meters were close enough to have made it back to the start in time, and I had plenty of quarters in the car. Problem, meters now only take credit.

Let it be said, I’VE HAD BETTER SATURDAYS!

Before I forget, have a very Happy Mother’s Day celebration.

At the same time, it might not be a bad idea to stop a moment to reflect on your special mom who might not be with us anymore.

Should you end taking Mom out for a Movie. Did you know that early on, Popcorn was banned in theaters? Today, with the price charged for the stuff it probably should be. Just thinking.

May Peace prevail! Shalom.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

Homo Sapiens historically have generated a lot of statistics. Which one of the following numbers is NOT correct?

1) We’ve been in existence on the Earth 0.0067% of its existence
2) Estimated number of people who have ever lived; 117 billion
3) Years Homo Sapiens have been the only human species; 40,000
4) Human Species that have lived on Earth: ~12
5) Fossils of early humans that have been discovered; 6,000


Pigs in Pink?

05 3rd, 2024

Pigs in Pink?

Happy Friday evening. It’s an early evening as I prepare for a busy weekend. Hence NO coffee. Still, let me point out that in one short week I’ve fallen in love with Cuban coffee (it’s almost a reason to move to Little Miami).

Marcia – surgery went well. Full anesthesia and still an out-patient procedure had us arrive at 7:00am last Monday and home shortly after 10:30 in the morning. My brothers mailed her a set of kneepads to help her get ready as her desire to scrub the floors returns. The ‘reveal’ as of today

      

Quote –Never murder a man who’s committing suicide.” ~ Richard Nixon (37th President of the United States of America)

Our current President’s call-out was to return the nation to normalcy, this after the turmoil of the Trump Presidency and the pandemic. Might be good to take a close look just to see how well the new ‘normalcy’ is working out.

Building on all the aforementioned is a statement by psychologist and tenured Professor Jordan Peterson weighing in on the college campus happenings by saying: “The situation at the Universities is far worse than you imagine….The parasites and scavengers have taken over the whale carcasses.

The Kentucky Derby – is always full of hype and hoopla. Louisville, being our downstream neighbor means we get a heavy stream (pun) of both.

Personally, I am tolerant of the sport. Throw a ‘Derby’ party and I’ll be there, if not, I might just forget that the event happened.

What I will complain about is our media’s proclivity to blur over the video with an ongoing, hyper and ‘uber’ loud, audio stream by the announcers, i.e., non-stop prattle – this goes for most any sport. Watch the short video to see how much more interesting a horse race is when the announcer remains a bystander who is merely conversant:

Jazz on First – was last Sunday. As time moves on, I find myself appreciating Jazz more and more, especially as performed by our local core of Maestros. Last Sunday the afternoon’s intimate performance setting was named: “Springtime in Paris.” This in honor of a French singer, Valérie Graschairek, a keeper of the great tradition of swing and scat. She’s an amazing and mesmerizing chanteuse. Valérie sang popular American traditional pieces, some of the best from Brazil done in Portuguese, and of course great French tunes in her native tongue. It really was a joyful afternoon:

Gladys the Gorilla – Last week you were treated to see how the broken arm of the Zoo’s gorilla, Gladys, was set and had her broken arm placed in a printed, titanium, cast. Here is the rest of the story.

Eleven-year-old Gladys, born and human raised at the Zoo, got into a ‘kerfuffle’ with a pair of younger females (still called a ‘cat’ fight?). The result was a break at her elbow.

This week you’re treated to see just how the situation was managed. Along with a few words from the medical team members – both Zoo and Children’s Hospital:

This ‘Ramblings’ is being posted Friday evening. Earlier I picked up my ‘bib’ for my Saturday morning 5k race, which is a precursor of the full Flying Pig marathon which runs Sunday morning. The full ‘Pig’ will have about 20,000+ runners and is rated as being the nation’s best. For the full marathon, Adrianne, Vai, and I will be at the Start line at 6:00am to volunteer both the Start and Finish.

And to close this week, an advertising billboard Marcia spotted – just to leave you with a smile.


May Peace prevail! Shalom.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

The wearing of pants, ubiquitous today, was considered uncivilized in what countries?

1) Rome
2) Scythians
3) Greece
4) Persia
5) Gaul
6) Lydia


‘pa pa pa pa’

04 27th, 2024

‘pa pa pa pa’ Read the rest of this entry »


I will Survive

04 12th, 2024

I will Survive

Don’t be shocked! I am writing on Friday evening after a busy day (yes, this Rambling will be short – or as Marcia would say; “quick and easy.”)

But yes, I plan to make coffee, but since wanting to head out well before 7:00 I’ll pour my ration in our coffee thermos – leaving the remainder for Marcia when she gets up.

The reason is that Dinah will be in the first heat of the morning she’ll ‘row’ at 8:16. East Fork Lake, the regatta’s venue is 47 miles away. Add parking and depending on where I can park it’s a walk or a bus-shuttle to the water’s edge.

I will survive!

Hunger – Well, not quite. But Marcia did make note that the refrigerator is substantially bare. Add to the fact that I’ll be at the regatta all day Saturday and then on Sunday morning my flight for Punta Gorda will be ‘wheels up’ at 7:00am exactly.

So, now being an expert Marcia, while I was out bustling about, placed a grocery order with Kroger. The ‘goodies’ will be delivered between 7:00 and 8:00 Saturday evening.

She will survive!

Verdin – Or, The History of Carillons, Bells, Clocks and How They Are Made
Two French immigrant brothers in 1842 started a Bell and Clock making business here in Cincinnati. Now the sixth generation still runs a thriving business providing outdoor clocks and bells, to City Squares, Churches, Universities, and businesses – around the world.

Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to participate in an EmpowerU class where a representative from Verdin spent an hour and a half discussing the wonderful history, growth, and community impact of this company.

Verdin has survived!

St. Francis de Sales catholic church – in 1896 started work to obtain a bell for the under-construction church steeple. Verdin provided the largest cast bell in the US – 7-feet high, 9-feet in diameter, weight 37,000 lbs., and a 640-lb clapper.

They ended up using a ship-propeller foundry out east. The finished bell was barged along the coast, up the Mississippi, and up the Ohio River. Here a team of 14 horses pulled it up the Gilbert Avenue hill and over to the church in Walnut Hills. The same sized horse team was used to hoist ‘Big Joe’ as the bell became known.

The first ringing caused damage to both the steeple and nearby homes. It was said that the bell could be heard 15 miles away. Currently (as can be seen on the photo I took) the steeple is undergoing major renovation. Let’s hope we’ll soon hear this magnificent beast, “Big Joe”.

(see the worker standing on the bell; where’s OSHA?)

It (steeple & bell) did survive!

Political hacks steering the ship – Rober F. Kennedy, JR. in his own post on ‘X’ wrote: “would almost be funny, except that the butt of the joke is the impartiality and integrity of our political institutions.
This post was in response to the 5th denial by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to have independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, JR be assigned a Secret Service detail as has been done for 32 candidates since the murder of his father.

Kennedy’s attorney responded by letter: “Your disregard for the safety of Mr. Kennedy and others in his environment is contemptible. Failure to provide him Secret Service protection forthwith lays naked your political motivations and lowers the esteem of our great nation.”

Pray he’ll survive!

Ok, it’s going to be 9:00pm so post I should, then sleep. May Peace prevail! Shalom.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

Which Prices are still Rising?

1) College Textbooks?
2) Auto Insurance?
3) Airline fares?
4) Food & Beverages?
5) Energy?
6) Hospital Services?
7) Used Autos & Trucks


A Path – social and natural

After an early to bed, this coming after yesterday’s mid-afternoon nap, it’s now morning. An exciting new day and fresh coffee. Marcia must have had similar thoughts since we’re now both up and both have a steaming mug of coffee poured. Plus! She’s telling me that Steel Cut Oats will be breakfast. Yum!

Today, a week from now I’ll be heading out to watch Dinah participate in a nearby Regatta at East Fork Lake. She still loves her sport and is very good at it. With summer plans this’ll probably be the only one of her events I’ll be able to attend.

Then early Sunday morning I’ll head for the airport and it’s off to southern Florida to meet up with Sandy and George ————– aaaaaaand, a visit with my first cousin from France, Guillaume. This coming week he’s making the rounds with Pieter and Art out west.

So, looking forward to catching up from over the decades. Hence, unlike the comic’s Monty character – there’ll be no melancholy beach walks in Florida for me this trip.

Melancholy – You might say, Dirk, this whole bit on ‘melancholy’ is not at all like you, what’s going on?

Well, actually, it’s the reverse. This week I started and finished doing my taxes. And, as a bonus, Turbo-Tax informed me that both Federal and State filings were accepted.

So, while the journey might have been a bit ‘melancholy’ (more like a pain in the rear) affair, the outcome, although not jubilation, was certainly gratifying.

‘Jubilation’ would have come into play had the paperwork ended up pointing towards a large check heading my way – it did not.

Meals – and these are now beginning to arrive on ‘Wheels’. After some meetings and phone conversations, he who calls me, “his Homey” is finally situated with a weekly delivery of Meals on Wheels.

Yesterday around noon was the first delivery. He’s thrilled, and we’re all equally thrilled. Maybe the thrill of it all guided me to yesterday’s afternoon nap.

Working with Service agencies for those in need has pointed out the many plusses we have in our society. There is a wealth of help for those in need.

On the other hand, there is also a lot of bureaucratic process burden placed on the needy and those trying to gain them access. This I’ve known (inherently) and now discovered firsthand. Place a few wrinkles along the ‘aid’ path and a paved walkway quickly becomes a barely marked trek through a deep forest.

Having said all of this, the first successful stop (and now a steady source of proper food) has been reached successfully. And, to keep his independence he’s cleared a major hurdle. Nice going my friend.

Newsday – Reading (actually ‘devouring’) what Marcia labels as “way too much” news, one consistent topic makes no sense to me. Squatters!

Florida with more common sense than most States will evict squatters within hours. On the other hand, there are other states where it takes weeks and months to get rid of them – viewing the squatter as a legal tenant after 30 days can cause a property owner to get charged and penalized for shutting off the utilities and changing the locks.

“Squatters rights you understand” I say sarcastically.

So, I have a question; seriously, in some States does a bank robber become a proper cash-withdrawer, with all the rights to the accounts after a requisite 30 days?

Could this also carry merit when it comes to events in Washington DC?

Dachau – Wasn’t that a horrific Nazi concentration camp you ask? Yes, it was. I try to grab a class that has interest to me at a great local non-profit; EmpowerU. Earlier this week a class featured a woman who published as a book, a memoir her mother kept – hidden – with instructions to not make it public until after her passing.

So, for 1½ hours we listened to a stunning tale delivered by the lady’s daughter Susan Slonim Servais and encapsulated in her now published book; Escape from Dachau.

The course’s writeup stated: “Kathe Mueller Slonim was 11-years-old when her father Adolf was sent to the Dachau concentration camp. When Adolf’s cousin, Max, learned of Adolf’s internment, he set out to rescue him. As a Jew and thus, now former German government official, Max’s risky plan was to use his expired Third Reich papers to get through checkpoints he encountered en-route to Dachau…….”

OK, now, why this ‘driving’ interest in Dachau you might wonder? Here, I’ll let the ‘cat out of the bag.’ This early summer I am joining Kirstin, Derek, and Kellen (he’s graduating from Highschool this June) and travel to Europe.

Our plan is to visit the haunts I remember and the family members we’ve kept in contact with over the years. Plus, some time in Germany, primarily Berlin and Munich (München) in the Bavarian region. Dachau is almost a suburb of München and this will be a definite stop on the trip.

A ‘Foul’ Mouth – Actually a ‘Fowl’ mouth, but first this. Over the years the White House and the Presidents have had an affinity for a variety of animals. Our current President seems to appreciate attack dogs (as a now healed number of Secret Service agents can attest to).

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt kept a menagerie including a Hyena. Thomas Jefferson had Bear Cubs. Calvin Coolidge had a Racoon.

But, one of the strangest animal pets events dealt with President Andrew Jackson, his grey Parrot, Poll, and the passing of said President. As quoted from the observations of one of the attendees, a Reverend William Menefee regarding Poll the parrot: “excited by the multitude and… let loose perfect gusts of ‘cuss words, causing some to be “horrified and awed at the bird’s lack of reverence.” He continued mentioning the doings of Poll as follows; “ “Before the sermon and while the crowd was gathering, a wicked parrot that was a household pet got excited and commenced swearing so loud and long as to disturb the people and had to be carried from the house.”

Ah, for the love of family pets. Or is it ‘pests’?

May Peace prevail! Shalom. As one of the Social Workers I’ve been dealing with these past weeks keeps on reminding me; “enjoy next week’s eclipse, just DO NOT look directly at the sun!” I think it’s a thing with her since we’re almost directly in its path.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:

What was Harrison Ford’s first credited film?

1) Dynasty
2) Indiana Jones
3) Star Wars: A New Hope
4) A Time for Killing
5) Witness
6) Apocalypse Now
7) Blade Runner


Flying, Marching, and Wonder

Twice this week (I don’t know why) I slept in long enough so that by the time I surfaced Marcia had the coffee ready. Actually, I think I could get used to this ‘minor’ shift in my routine. But, this morning I did the honors.

Corner of Chaos and Mayhem – makes it seem like we live in the bull’s eye of a disaster zone. And yes, stuff does happen with fair frequency. But there are also periods of enjoyment (if not tranquility).

This week was such a week. See just how lovely and peaceful the place looked much of this Spring.

Yesterday – Was a day like any other day where if ‘good intentions’ not acted on means then nothing will happen.

Back in 1870 Roman Catholics in town began a tradition which has continued ever since. Beginning at midnight, Good Friday morning, begins the walk up the three-hundred-and-fifty steps up Mt. Adams and into the Holy Cross Immaculata Church at the top – saying a prayer on each step.

By now you have guessed what didn’t happen. I had plans but didn’t follow through. I missed my opportunity. A glorious day. Great temperature. No excuse!

I was not one of the 15,000 faithful expected to climb the steps yesterday.

Sky-Diving Beavers – It seems that the Beaver population of Idaho was losing the turf battle with people, pets, and other wildlife, this was in the 1940s. Like most everything else in nature, Beavers are a critical component in our ecosystem, creation of wetlands and bogs especially.

It was shortly after the War that Utah Fish and Game employee, Elmo Heter, came up with a plan. Move the large rodents to their remote Chamberlain Basin area. The problem being that there were no roads into the area; hence, no Uber for the Beavers. The novel solution is explained in the little video.

PS. I believe that I read that 47 out of the 48 Beavers received their ‘Parachutist’ merit badge.

Five years ago – this Easter Weekend we watched in disbelief as our screens filled with the sight of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral going up in flames. Five years have gone by and still no real explanation as to the cause. Even ‘Quasimodo’ has not resurfaced with a proper explanation.

What is amazing is that key components survived, even the stunning art of the three Rose stained-glass windows dating back to 1225. Anyway, the rebuilding is almost complete (90%) and on schedule to be completed this year – and that done in 5 years is beyond admirable.

A New Season began with a Parade – The hometown baseball team (the Cincinnati Reds) started their new season with a city-wide holiday, a 2-hour long parade, and much HOPE.

Armed with bag-chairs Adrianne, Vai, Vai plus ‘moi’ joined the massive throng. Rather than me blathering on, click on the attached photos to enlarge and get a feel of the event. What’s missing is the sound of a dozen or so school Marching Bands, Bagpipers and Drums, and on and on; but still, you’ll enjoy!

                                                              

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Have a blessed and happy Easter Sunday (remember it’s much more than chocolates, marshmallow, and bunnies – none of which have any relation to the day).

This weekend, sit back and enjoy Charlie Daniel’s rendition of “He’s Alive

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:
Did the USA have a ‘president’ prior to George Washington? If so, who?

1) Samuel Huntington of Connecticut
2) Thomas McKean of Delaware
3) John Hanson from Maryland


Astonishing Things

03 23rd, 2024

Astonishing Things

Not sure what caused it, but this week just seemed to fly by. Now the big question, why is it then that this morning our coffee brewing seems to take forever?

As Philip Roth once stated: “All that we don’t know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing.

Intersession – The two-week period Vai & Vili’s school has immediately before spring break; kids can choose from a list of offerings for a ‘deep immersion’ study. Vai chose ‘ceramics’ at Queen City Clay. Last evening was the conclusion, an event titled – “Ode to Evolution.” Some amazing art was on display. Vai’s main piece was a ‘Whale-Shark’ and hers was selected as one of a few to be sent out for further display.

     

 

Appetizers served at the event were nice, but it wasn’t dinner. Not certain how [:)], but afterwards we all ended up at Cancun Mexican Restaurant. It was the first time Marcia had been out for a whole evening thing – and she LOVED it.

Neuralink – We love to look back on great innovation, great art, great breakthrough and almost revere those who spearheaded those events. Currently our generation has just such an individual among us – Elon Musk. Think of SpaceX, Starlink, Tesla-cars, Tesla-Truck, the self-landing Falcon spaceships, the Big Bore. Taking a failing ‘Twitter’ and restructuring it into a non-biased social media format renamed ‘X’. And now Neuralink.

As an aside, with all Musk’s innovations, breakthroughs, and massive employment I find it inconceivable and fail to understand why government continues its overt badgering of Musk.

August 29, 2020 Elon Musk released this little video on his vision of the possibilities offered when intersecting computing with the human brain. Below is that short video:

Now move forward a short 4 years later, March 20, 2024 featuring Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old quadriplegic learning to use his newly implanted Neuralink.

What makes it even more stunning is the fact that alongside the Neuralink they’ve developed a robot to perform the surgery. The procedure, done with the robot, can be managed without anesthesia and almost as an outpatient event.

Truly, what was seen as a futuristic dream is now reality and something transformative in no more than a handful of years. (the latter is my guess).

Here, let Mr. Arbaugh himself describe just how transformative Neuralink is for him. Then remember, what we’re seeing is merely the ‘Model-T’ equivalent to any vehicle we’re currently driving. Or, something Orvile and Wilber Wright ‘flew’ to what we all fly in each and every day. Such change is only accelerating on a multiple of fronts.

Names? – This week about 300 million people in countries along the old Persian Silk Route are holding the annual 13-day celebration of Nowruz; a celebratory renewal expressing harmony with nature.

To me it seems that not all about ‘Nowruz’ is in sync. It appears that the festival can be written about as; Nauruz, Nauryz, Navruz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Norooz, Norouz, or Novruz. Seems to me that step one expressing ‘harmony’ could be the coordination of just how to refer to the festival. Just thinking.

 

Government out of Control – As many of you know, I LOVE the sound of Bagpipes. Turns out that 17-year-old Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean, of Concord and Londonderry, New Hampshire also really love Bagpipes. Difference being that they actually play them. They decided to attend a Bagpipe event a bit north in Quebec.

Don’t know why, as a reigning in of so many things we assumed would be free in a ‘freedom’ loving nation. But, somehow we actually require a CITES certificate (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) approval for bring a bagpipe across the border, this by the US Fish & Wildlife, but we do.

Just one of the myriad of lost ‘freedoms which continue to tie us down, tighter and tighter.

Returning through the Vermont border crossing the lad’s Bagpipes were quickly confiscated. Sure, their CITES certificate was valid, but is only recognized at 28 entry points and Vermont wasn’t one of the 28. The closest recognized entry port to their crossing point was Logan Airport in Boston.

Now just realize that, say 500 or so, honorable illegals tromp through any southern border point, each carrying a Bagpipe, then they’d be welcomed in. They’d be requested to play their pipe, and be asked to please march in with style.

And, if you think that the southern border is ‘guarded’ by a different Border Patrol from the one in Vermont, then you’d be wrong.

As we quickly march towards the abyss and into the dustbin of past empires.

PS. There was enough of a hub-bub where politicians got pressured and the fine young lads finally got their instruments returned.

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Health, comfort, and joy for all this coming week.

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:
Over the years certain behaviors were accepted which we would frown on. Similarly, some events would be punished severely, for which we’d hand out a slap on the hand. Which during earlier times would be punished severely.

1) Slicing and taking Peat blocks
2) Theft of Pineapple
3) Taking a Sugar Beet
4) Netting Eels
5) Picking flowers
6) Digging up Turnips


Funiculi, Funicula

03 16th, 2024

Funiculi, Funicula!

Happy start to the weekend. Spring is definitely underway. Sunshine, shorts weather, clocks fast-forwarded, and Tornadoes.

Thoughts with the many in the middle part of our State who got blasted by some nasty storms and Tornadoes.

We were warned repeatedly during Thursday’s Radio and TV newscasts. Waking up yesterday morning I heard that locally several hundred people were without power. It seems that I am the only one who never heard the Thunderstorm and Lightning storm which blew through our area shortly after 1:00am.

Luckily our power stayed on, and Mr. Coffee had no issues yesterday and even a bit ago.

Redlegs – Yesterday, March 15, in the year 1869 something brand new startup became a brand-new enterprise. The nation’s favorite pastime was introduced to its very first Professional Baseball team, the Cincinnati Redlegs.

This town goes bonkers with most media hyping the start of a new Reds baseball season weeks before opening day. Plus, on the morning of opening day there is a 2+hour long parade weaving from Findley Market to end near the stadium.

Let me assure you – the fun is well underway:

Paul Simon – Do you, like me, love the music created by Paul Simon? Last Sunday I went to a jazz performance featuring many of Simon’s works. Each carefully re-arranged for a jazz performance. It was wonderful!

Simon came out of the ‘Folksinger’ mold where Lyrics come front and center. Hence, we were told that to put each piece into a jazz styling took some serious work and each had to be carefully selected. They did a great job; pieces such as these: America, Mrs. Robinson, So long – Frank Lloyd Wright (a favorite of mine), Love Me Like a Rock, Cecilia, and Scarborough Fair, to name but a few. As I said earlier, wonderful!

During the performance they were next going to play Simon’s “50-ways to Leave Your Lover.” Now, it so happens that the chorus of that piece is one people love to sing along. As the musicians were preparing one of them stressed; “NO singing, remember we are serious jazz musicians.” At the same time, he was handing out sheets printed with the words to the chorus. Guess what happened and it was a blast.

Funicula – While I was enjoying outdoor springtime and my jazz concert, Adrianne, Tevita, and the kids were at a baptism in Pittsburgh. While there they took advantage and rode one of the very few remaining Feniculas – otherwise known as an “incline railways” – two counterbalanced rail cars made these system work.

Cincinnati and the hills surrounding the city core had 5 of these ‘inclines’ between the years of 1870 and 1948. The last of these going up Mt. Adams stopped operation in 1948. The Mt. Adams incline rail was 945’ long and carried streetcars and automobiles.


The reason I am relating all of this is because of an occurrence going back several decades. I had business in Pittsburgh. It was a day with two short stops and a perfect opportunity to take our three ‘kiddos’ with me. And, as you might guess, I decided to give them a ride on the Pittsburgh Funicula (incline). Got tickets, the two older ones bounded aboard. This left me and the youngest, Adrianne. She got super scared, panicked, and wouldn’t budge.

Now, as a parent with two already aboard and one protesting frantically, what do you do? Long story short, I did not get arrested. I have little recollection of how exactly I managed to get her aboard, but all four of rode the contraption. Now 30+ years later, she rode it again! I suspect that this time she rode the incline without fuss. And yes, her kids, Vai and Vili, loved the ride – no fuss.

Chaos & Mayhem — Is our corner filled with creative ways to provide views beating anything on Radio and TV. Earlier in the week Marcia was on the phone with her sister. During that one conversation, in a space of about 5-minutes, five marked cruisers, sirens wailing, blew through the corner – thus keeping alive  our censorial corner affectionally known as Chaos & Mayhem.

The screaming cruiser business was not pictorial, so here was another moment, a bit more quiet.

And, on my walk yesterday I came across the fact that Easter is almost upon us:

A Lighter Note: Did you hear about the fellow who fell into a re-upholstery machine?

Not to worry, he’s OK, he’s completely recovered.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day – “Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!”

May Peace prevail! Shalom and Sláinte

Dirk

BONUS POINTS:
Tomorrow we’ll all be Irish. To prove just how Irish, how would you say “Yes” in Gaelic?

1) Sí ?
2) Ja ?
3) Oui ?
4) Tak ?
5) Tá ?
6) ‘Io ?