Past/Present/Future

01 28th, 2023

Jump starting the day a bit since I have to travel out of State to do some Costco shopping – into Kentucky. Actually it’s not as bad as it sounds since our regular location closed and opened up further to the north, it’s now actually better (I think) for us to head into KY. What we won’t do just to re-supply our coffee stash.

And yes, our truck has heat. The costly six-hour ‘fix’ (a dealership bills on) was handled for $288. And, the place which Marcia had panicked about proved exemplary, efficient and personable.

And, the other reason for the Costco morning run is to beat the “Who Dey” Bengal crowd getting ready for tomorrow’s AFC Championship game.

This town has gone football crazy!

Birthdays and more –It seems like this week’s been an ‘event’ cornucopia. Cathy and Kirstin both have celebrated their birthdays. Just as meaningful is that this week, 5-years ago (2018) Tevita became a US citizen. That day was truly a big one for the whole family. If in doubt, just look at the pride shown in everyone’s face.

“It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.” ~ Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958 founder of Delco, Dayton, OH)

Vince’s Legacy –This year it’s coming up on six years since Vince’s passing, but what a wonderful legacy he left his family – direct and extended families. His legacy goes much beyond just letters inserted after his name [Vicente Briones, University of Central Florida with a BSME and Professional Engineer (PE) license designation, LEED AP]. Vince’s passion for environmentally friendly engineering became crystal clear as became a driving force in the formation of the US Green Building Council, Central Florida Chapter and the green building movement. Those efforts are now in the form of an annual scholarship award to a worthy student from his alma mater.

Yesterday, on her birthday, Kirstin was invited to present this year’s scholarship award in Orlando. It’s significant enough in that Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, was there for this year’s presentation.

     

“An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn’t take his education too seriously.” ~ Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958 founder of Delco, Dayton, OH)

This Week’s Lesson – For some time I’ve followed the efforts and work of a Marina Amaral, Brazilian, best selling author, Forbes under 30 list, artist and openly declared Asperger/autistic person. She researches history and using those insights to colorize early historical black and white photographs.

Currently she’s researching the early beginnings of photography; Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) who with a partner created a new form of visual communication, the first commercially viable photographic process: the daguerreotype.

So, here is where her research is leading me to? In 1849 a person by the name of James Presley Ball (1825-1904) opened a new daguerreotype studio in Cincinnati, Ohio – “Ball’s Daguerrean Gallery of the West” right here in Cincinnati! Oh, and what I hadn’t mentioned is that Mr. Ball was a Black free man.

James Presley Ball was a “fierce outspoken abolitionist who had learned the daguerreotype process a few years earlier in Virginia, from another Black free man, John B. Bailey”. At this pre-Civil War time, here in Cincinnati (then considered America’s outpost of high culture in the West) he “held photo exhibitions and oversaw the creation of a 2,500-square-yard panoramic mural put together by a team of local Black artists, depicting the horrors of slavery.”

Ball was a hugely successful individual, traveler, and ended up photographing notables such as Frederick Douglass, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, and more importantly, he captured American history by photographing images of children, blacks and whites, the poor and the privileged, even wounded soldiers.

Now my takeaway of all of this; especially to you who hated history while at school. Take some time and discover, round out if you will, your understanding of what is today and how it came about. Dig around and discover.

     

(a wounded soldier and Frederick Douglass taken by James Presley Ball)

Fin – This week we approved sending tanks to Europe and the Ukraine. I think I am beginning to see a pattern here. And it’s NOT any strategy that I see! What I see missing is any concerted effort to organize an equitable peace. From our government it appears to be more, more, and more — weapons and war.

This past week, seventy years ago in 1953, three provinces in the Netherlands flooded with untold deaths, with village after village flooded. This then became the massive Dike building works to prevent such a disaster.

And yes, we did spend a few hours sorting at Matthew 25 Ministries. As you can see, we had a great time volunteering.

     

Ciao. Stay strong; look back even as you look forward, stay connected and safe.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Reflections in a Meadow

01 21st, 2023

Yesterday was a busy one. Really busy, especially since the first part of the week ‘slid’ past like chilled molasses. Bottom line; I slept in and Marcia is still out. Seven AM and little Mr. Coffee just alerted me that it’s ready; now, first my mug of coffee.

Since my keyboard efforts are still horribly slow. And since immediately after posting I have to run (not literally, explain shortly), this week’s Ramblings will be somewhat shorter than what you are used to.

Which does lead to a question; let me know either by comments or mail if you prefer a bit shorter Ramblings stretching into the future.

The “Logging” Road – Now that winter is here, our F150’s heat has called it quits. Through the fluke of some horrid engineering a problem, which I now realize has been around for at least a decade, has raised its horrid head and (with the fancy title of) the Heater Box Actuator broke.

The part is a mere handful of dollars. To get the old out and the new in has Ford dealers – with a straight face – tell you it’s a six hour job. Translates into $1,000 to $1,4000. Predicament? with my eye situation I can’t drive and with the cold, Marcia won’t. It needs fixing!

Some decent research and I’ve found an independent garage willing to tackle the situation. Once at the place, friendly staff, shop is pristine; but it’s the driveway to the place Marcia noted with consternation. The shop (and several businesses) sit behind the Rumpke Recycling center. Where the drive is still a joint one it’s wide and paved. As soon as the Rumpke trucks pull into their facility that same drive turns into what I view as a “logging” Rd in our part of Canada – complete with the, requisite, water filled pot-holes.

We’re dropping the truck off shortly after posting this since we need Adrianne to haul us home and she’s also got stuff going on. So here is the lineup:

Dirk – Navigator w/ minimal sight (mostly quite minimalist)
Marcia – Driver ‘sans’ heat
Adrianne – Uber driver par excellence.

What a cast; Marcia is in a bit of a panic.

Jeff Knoop’s passing – came as a shock. We knew that he had one of those insidious terminal diseases, his being Pulmonary Fibrosis. Younger than us, his passing did come as a shock. Jeff and his wife, Mary Anne, have been friends and neighbors since our kids were toddlers.

Early in his career he headed up the music department of a large neighboring school system. Loved, absolutely loved, classical music with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana near the tippy-top of his favorites list; I’ve inserted this full rendition by UC Davis California in his honor:

Yesterday was Jeff’s funeral, held at Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary. I mention the name since it’s our areas;

“…. only dedicated natural burial ground in the Cincinnati area. We are here to provide a “green burial” alternative for the Tri-State while offering compassionate care to individuals and families as they grieve and process the transitions of life and death……..

Before there were contemporary conventional cemeteries with graves organized in carefully measured rows and marked by gray cement headstones, there were natural burial grounds and practices that did not include chemical embalming, varnished caskets with velvet lining, or concrete vaults. A natural burial is a return to a tradition that provides a simple, less wasteful, non-toxic means of dedicating one’s physical form back to the earth to rejoin the soil with dignity and minimal environmental impact.

I found it to be a wonderful and comforting and participatory service. It was so much more personal and embracing than those I’ve, and we all, have gotten accustomed to.

Marcia on the other hand made it very clear that for her cremation and then placed on the mantle is what she thought as best. My question (not asked) is; “just how many ‘elves-on-a-shelf’ do we need?”

For both of us it’s a bit of a ‘starting-the-discussion’ point, and that isn’t all bad.

Now, if everything goes as planned it’ll be a couple of hours of volunteer work at Matthew 25 Ministries with Adrianne, Vai, and Vili right after lunch.

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward, stay connected and safe.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Marcia got up early (I smelled the coffee) and so ‘one—eyed’ Dirk is giving this Rambling keying a go. A bit of a struggle, but hey, here goes; left handed “hunt’n and a peck’n” on the keyboard.

Yesterday I had my one week after surgery checkup. The Doctors are delighted. The reason they are so happy is that 75% of the gas bubble inserted in my eye is still intact (apparently this is a cheerable situation). Legally, I am still blind as a bat in my right eye.

Actually, I too am thrilled. Prior to surgery about 85% of my vision was a pitch-black void. A smallish crescent moon-shaped curve gave me some peripheral sight. A week later I have vision from left to right, it just looks like seeing the world through a frosted-glass window.

I am told that over the next five weeks I’ll ‘see’ (pun intended) a marked improvement – with continued improvement for a period of up to nine months.

In the meantime my life is being dominated by eye drops. It wouldn’t surprise me if I found myself trying to eye-dropper coffee into the eye for continuity’s sake.

Plus, I can’t forget to mention my sleeping position of choice and one approved by the medicos. It’s something I’d seen in WWI movies of troops sleeping in trenches; I’ve built a ‘trench’ made of pillows. It works!

Cross Country sight – on George and my travels a couple of weeks ago we drove into the town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Huh? Why promote that little town?

See, somewhere around the summer of 1974 Marcia, toddler baby Kirstin, and I visited brother Art who was stationed in El Paso at White Sands Missile Range. From there we were heading to visit my old college roommate in Albuquerque. NM. All this ‘vacationing’ done in our, then brand new, VW ‘Westfalia’ campervan bus.

15-miles outside of Art’s base we sucked a valve in the engine – 2,000 miles outside of a measly warranty period.

What took most of the morning I managed to hitchhike back to base. There, after some phone calls (remember, no mobile phones), located a garage in Alamogordo and secured a tow to the place. Three days later Art picked up the van and delivered it to us in Albuquerque where we’d traveled to via Greyhound bus.

This is the kind of adventure Marcia really never got used to, even after 51 years of marriage. Aaah for the memories!

Freezer Bowl. This weekend it’s the 41st anniversary of the freezer bowl. The Cincinnati Bengals were in the playoffs. Game day the actual temperature was –9 degrees and with wind gusts of 35mph the real feel temperature touched –59 degrees.

Watch these two delightful very short clips to help revive some memories of years ago. Fun stuff.

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward, stay healthy and safe. Have an enjoyable Martin Luther King Day – personally I think he’d preferred that the kids stay in school and take the day to focus on the likes of Frederick Douglas, Thomas Sowell, Booker T. Washington, Justice Clarence Thomas, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Bessie Coleman, Mary W. Jackson, and I could go on and on. But then, doing so would give kids a ‘leg up’, it’s substantially better to have them stay home, to game, mall, or ‘hang’ (as on a street corner) for yet another day.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


It’s a New Year

01 7th, 2023

Adventures galore!

Over the past two weeks:

A cross-country flight

A cross-country drive

A detached Retina

A visit to our Front Line Trauma center

Surgery at one of the premier eye centers — CEI

Moping about as the surgical block lifts

Thrilled as surgery appears successfull !!!!

Thanks for all who are part of these Ramblings

For You In Appreciation


Merry Christmas

12 24th, 2022


Marcia got up early (due to the cold) and told me to just inform the thousands following these Ramblings that it’s; “too d*mn cold to type this morning”. Meanwhile, curled in a cozy cocoon under a load of blankets, I was too comfortable to even get up. Hence, The Ramblings are a bit late.

Two mugs of coffee and hearing the furnace blasting away, along with the outside temp a balmy 2° following the ice-cube -7°s yesterday, means that finally I am all set to go.

Which makes me think, what the ‘it’ is in the following sentence; “I wish it would warm up.” [answer: in Dutch so that you still have to look it up. I don’t want to make it too easy: in Dutch it’s termed an ‘onpersoonlijk voornaamwoord’]
Good luck 🙂

Now to put you in the mood:

WLW700am our local powerhouse 50,000 watt clear channel station was just awarded best AM station in the nation. A while back I detailed the amazing history of WLW especially its role during WWII – it’ll be worth your while to explore a bit.

Anyway, Marcia got up as mentioned and began listening to one of her favorite Saturday morning personalities on WLW, Gary Jeff Walker. His regular job is Bar Tender at a place in Northern Kentucky. Small banter delivered with perfect timing is what’s kept him on the air every Saturday morning for at least 15 years.

I paused my morning efforts to enjoy a bit of my coffee with her just in time to hear one of Gary Jeff’s regulars, a retired Lowe’s employee, Dick-from-Dayton. See, he has regulars call-in, folk such as a sweet little old lady from a nearby retirement home. Then there is Radio Rick, also from Dayton. Rick has a garage and basement full of vintage radios. He’ll discuss a new find or recently repaired classic radio. And, thus, it’s all totally listenable ‘stuff’. Bottom line; sure is a wonderful way to ease into one’s Saturday with a smile.

An early gift Well, I guess we all got an early ‘gift’ from the clown circus in Washington we collectively call our “representatives. And I am talking about, with a couple of exceptions, those in both parties; one exception being Senator Rand Paul from across the river.

Here he’s singing his version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ to ‘celebrate’ and detail our ‘gift’:

The Cincinnati gang – meaning Vili and Vai and Grandpa (Opa) went out for lunch mid-week followed by a 2½ hour work stint at Matthew 25 Ministries. Where we were seated in the workspace we stared at 15 or so pallet loads of donated Zest “hand sanitizer”, 12 to a box. We had to block out the barcode on every container and reseal/restack.

This atmosphere surrounding us doing our chore was like ‘party central’ and the time flew by. Down deep I think it’s good for them, both to appreciate what they have and what it takes to get stuff to them. Here, a few pictures to tell the story.

     

     
Matthew 25 Ministries is one of my favorite charities serving folks caught up in disaster zones. They are always among the first to be on scene delivering both truckloads and plane loads of necessities. Also, and this is important, their administrative costs are about as low as possible. Keep them in mind with your own giving. This solicitation is not sponsored :).

Egg Nog Jog 5K – was lovely. Since it was also open to folk in costume, I dressed like a (as brother George called it, and he would know) a retiree from a Fort Meyers Retirement Village. Somehow I placed first in the +80 class and I hope there were more than just two of us in that group. Here are the a few photos including one of the route map, for those familiar with the Mount Adams part of the ‘Nati.

     

     

Fini – This week we experienced our winter solstice. Looking up some numbers:
• Stonehenge – theorized by the ancients to track solstices will have experienced somewhere around 5,000 of them.
• On planet Uranus the approximate length for each solstice (in our years) is about 21.
• The last year the planet Neptune experienced a winter solstice was 1997.
• Marie Curie on the winter solstice of 1898 placed the atomic number of radium (her discovery) as 88.

Isn’t all this grand? You’re now a little wiser.

As many of you know, I struggle a lot with nonsense of what seems illegal edicts, laws, etc. Most of these put forth to empower one group for self-serving purposes, or for covering a miss-step, or illegality, or for increased power/$$$. I came across this meme which hit me between the eyes and thought I’d share:

Arrogance can give people strength beyond their wildest dreams, especially via the pen, especially via Social Media. How about this individual telling Elon Musk to “shut up and build rockets and self-driving electric autos….You don’t know how to run a social media company.” Of course a social media company (the same one Musk bought) was used to inform Musk.

This week my little Dell Chrome opened up with a new photo display (it changes every so often). This one was of Ecuador’s nearly 5,900 meter high Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. It was years ago when we were in Ecuador that Marcia and I rode bicycles down that volcano. It was quite the ride, starting out with a squeaky voiced; “here we go” (due to the altitude). The experience of a lifetime.

There will NOT be a Rambling next week since I’ll be doing my cross-country travel
so let me give you my thought for the New Year now; this from President Reagan:
We need only to believe in ourselves, in our country, and in tomorrow. Happy New Year.”

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward – please have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Hodophile

12 17th, 2022


OK, I’ll let this cat out of the bag and confess; “At heart, I am a Hodophile!. More on that later, but rest assured, travel is involved.

But, today it’s off to another happening, this one fueled by merely a single cup of coffee, plus two poached eggs and a slice of Dutch ‘Roggebrood’ followed by some water. As soon as this is posted Marcia and I will head for the hills of a slice of the city named Mount Adams. There I’ll join the 30 th Egg Nog Jog 5K. I’ve been part of this jog previously. It winds through a great neighborhood, has wonderful views of the city/river/and Kentucky, plus the hills – some down most up.

The social following the jog will be at a local pub, El Barril; where there will be an offering of Beer, Egg Nog, Bananas, and Bagels. All this explains the reason Marcia is coming along (hint: somebody is needed to taste the fare prior to the joggers returning). My bib number, 1481, means that well in excess of 1,500 of us will participate. It should be a great time!

Did I mention that there will also be a costume judging? My costume is not so much a costume as a wish. A wish for global warming to actually do its thing.

The Cincinnati gang – is trying to break out of the starting gate and head for the local Omnimax to see the new 3-hour long Avitar movie. So, you can imagine the smile on my face when I ran across a theater lobby placard from in a UK movie theater:

: “Dear Customer, due to circumstances beyond our control there will be no ads or trailers, so the movie will start at the time it says on your ticket. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. Vue Management.”


When Architects dream – wonderful things can happen. Earlier this week I
wandered the streets of our neighborhood of long ago, Hyde Park. Nestled
somewhere in the middle sits this jewel. Once a ‘starter’ home it’s been
remodeled and is as you see it pictured for probably twenty years. It’s still a
showstopper. Thank you Mr. or Ms. Architect.

The Snows – they are a’coming. At least they are in Canada near our place,
Northern Comfort. A few miles away are friends who post regularly, including information on the heavy snows which began to fall this week. We’re hearing it described no longer in centimeters, but being referred to as in feet.

Since it’s also hunting season, snow makes it both easier to track, but also more difficult to follow creatures in the woods. Next, I began to wonder, “just how easily or fast can a Moose get around in heavy snow”? Seeing this video, the specter of a speeding locomotive through the Rockies came to mind. Enjoy!

A Strong Woman and an Idea – I got this from the ‘Fascinating’ site. Now that we’ve got the James Webb Space Telescope out there doing marvelous stuff, and a moon visit on the horizon, I felt this bit to be worthy.

Back years and years, ca 1880 to be more exact. The director of the Harvard Observatory was not pleased with his staff (think Elon Musk and his Twitter crew). At one point he was heard to say; “my Scottish maid could do better.” And like a Musk who also skewered his staff, he showed them and did hire her, his Scottish maid Williamina Fleming. Would you believe it? She went on to discover many, many, thousands of stars.

I have used Twitter for about 15 years. Now, since Musk has fired about half of the Twitter staff, I’ve become convinced that the site runs smoother than ever. Just think what could happen were some President and a wise Congress reduced the Federal workforce by 50%? Possible?

”Once a government commits to the principle of silencing opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens ~ Harry Truman (1884 – 1972) 33rd President of the USA

”Me a Hodophile” – was mentioned in the beginning. Well, it’s true. In about a week a quick trip will begin. First, brother George and Sandy have their car and dog, Augie, at daughter Heather’s home in California – both need to be brought back to Florida. Currently they are visiting Heather and family for Christmas. Due to circumstances Sandy can’t drive back and will be flying home. See where this is going?

OK, so on the morning of December 27 I’ll fly to San Diego, California. There George will corner me at the airport and so the cross-country trip East will begin; George, Auggie, and me. What an adventure waits! Eventually ending up in Naples, Florida, where I’ll fly home on New Year’s Eve (if all goes as planned I’ll arrive home at 7:30PM, just in time to bring in the New Year).

Fini –

• As pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson never asked about his patient’s political affiliation or ideas. Now the ‘brain-dead’ imbeciles heading up the Detroit School system have removed his name from one of their high schools. Any wonder that the ‘system’ is totally broken?

• Read alongside the previous point, “freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear”; George Orwell.

At birth one of our grandchildren weight 1lb 14oz. Now a high school freshman I asked her about her favorite subjects. No hesitation there, Band and Literary Arts. “What then are you reading” I asked? “I just read and discussed Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. But right now I am really enjoying the Trojan Wars by Adele Geras and want to read her book, Ithaka”. Grandpa was both proud and amazed.

• The one question I have regarding this map put out by WHO/Unicef is what is going on in the UK?

• Truly exciting is the apparent breakthrough of a nuclear fusion reactor. For years the concept has been operational in military vessels. Just think something small enough for household use or vehicle travel.

• If Vincent van Gogh were living today, this is how he might be seen when hard at work.

• I came across this photo of Robert Wadlow (1918 – 1940), the tallest man on record, irrefutably so. He was 8’ 11.1” It gives a visual of just how much beyond the average 8’ 11.1” is.

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward – Make this Christmas an extra special one; you need it as do the rest of us.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Out and About

12 10th, 2022


Please take note that there is no (as in zero) Orange on this week’s post. Yesterday it was World Cup semi-final soccer & my Dutch team, the Orange (as in ‘Oranjeboven’), lost. Actually, the opposition, Argentina, outplayed. Dutch were losing two-nil with seven minutes to go and tied the score. Two shortened overtime periods kept the tie. Then came the Penalty shot shootout and that was the killer. Amsterdam is in a deep state of depression.

Hence, my morning coffee is not providing me with Saturday Morning joy from my orange mug – I left it on the shelf. Just can’t do it.

In football [soccer], the result is an impostor. You can do things really, really well but not win. There’s something greater than the result, more lasting — a legacy. ~ Xavier Hernández Creus (known as Xavi), widely considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time

Breaking news – this morning has it that probably the very best US Soccer Journalist, Grant Wahl, died suddenly while covering his eighth FIFA World Cup at age 48; condolences to his family and RIP to Mr. Wahl.

He collapsed while attending the media tribune at yesterday’s game in Qatar. Medical attention was immediate, but to no avail. I am not a much into conspiracy theories, but from what I read there is a spike in sudden deaths in that same age group. Sudden deaths at a rate that is well beyond the expected norm. If true, the question is ‘Why’?

Language – is so very interesting. Using soccer as the example of a ‘battle’, I’ll use this descriptor of a long-ago Dutch battle fought in 1672, in Dutch it’s written as “redeloos, radeloos, reddeloos” (in English that would be “reasonless, distraught, helpless). The English doesn’t come near to conveying the meaning and the rhythm that the Dutch language captures.

Marketing – has occupied my life for a chunk of it. Marcia says I drive her nuts whenever I stop during a shopping trip to then make some observation about a display or packaging. Likewise, the same goes for TV viewing; as the title of a Bonnie Raitt song goes: “The Boy Can’t Help It”.

From my perspective, marketing in the USA is on a downward path. Much of it is made so poorly that it’s unreadable and unwatchable. Much of it is loud, harsh, in your face, juvenile, and caters to whatever the ‘group du jour’ is.

So it was with some delight when I came across this advertisement made in Japan – Bach’s: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” set in a forest scene. And it’s for a high tech company.

I read where it took four days to set it all up and create –no shortcuts, no ‘green-screen’, no dubs. This was made for a newly launched cell phone offering by NTT Docomo, the largest mobile service provider in Japan. The shell of the new phone is wood and their idea was to use domestic woods that are produced from trees harvested from a maintained Japanese forest. The ad is calming and connects the earth to a high-tech product. Visually and audibly it pulls you in. Listen to this peaceful bit of beauty which, as an aside, also fits the season:

Oh, those Painted Ladies – It’s not a great mystery (at least to my immediate neighbors and my family) that my walking is wearing out the surrounding sidewalks a fair bit. In order that it not get boring I try to change my walking routes and distances.

Over the past week I had the opportunity to walk through one of the ‘Nati’s’ oldest neighborhoods, Columbia Tusculum which was established in 1788. What makes this a fun walk are the hills. I guess that subconsciously I was prepping for next Saturday’s Egg Nog Jog race held annually through the hills of nearby Mount Adams (and yes, I am registered to join the 1,500 or so participants for the 30th annual jog – Rain [Snow] or Shine).

More importantly, the Columbia Tusculum area has any number of Victoria era homes done up in stunning style. These ‘Painted Ladies’ did slow me down a bit as I tried to capture a few on my camera. Enjoy!

”Don’t Bring Me Down” – Were you aware that in Canada their legacy media outlets – nearly 90% of them – are almost fully subsidized by tax dollars. These are media outlets such as the CBC (TV & Radio), the Globe & Mail, and the Toronto Star, and even in little Thessalon the weekly ‘North Shore Sentinel’. It doesn’t take much insight to realize that for the subsidized media it’s not a good idea to “bite the hand that feeds you”. Watch the complete takedown of Canadian mainstream media by the British author and political commentator, Douglas Murray. Succinct and amazingly accurate:

Fini –

• From the World of Statistics, the time it took to reach one million users on their Social Media platform:
Netflix – 3.5 years
Twitter – 2 years
Facebook – 10 months
Spotify – 5 months
Instagram – 3 months
ChatGPT – 5 days

• This week two ‘bits’ caused me to pay a bit of attention. First, on an afternoon walk in nearby St. Bernard I spotted this posted in the rear window of a parked truck. The second was that while the Administration is pushing hard for gun control they just released an international arms dealer, Viktor Bout known as the “Merchant of Death”, who was locked up for conspiring to kill Americans. Stew on that for a bit.

• From England is this posted notice in their movie theater. You have to agree that it’s probably the most appreciated of all notices.

• Since I seem to be on a bit of a British bent. Don’t you just love these ladies self-defense gloves from ca. 1850 in London.

Our nearest Costco relocated 4-miles further up the Interstate. But, I think I have a solution. Earlier this week I took Tevita to the airport and thought I’d swing by the Costco in Florence, KY, that’s Florence Y’All. Not much difference in miles but more direct and quicker (assuming the river bridge isn’t backed up). However, since it’s located in Kentucky with differing laws, take a look at the department available to us. I am now sold on switching allegiance to this Costco outlet.

• The building adjoining ours is sitting empty. The LLC that had purchased it went ‘belly up’. A branch had fallen into a bush in front of the place and I went over to get it out of there. Getting closer, saw that it was a glorious 10-foot tall Firethorn (scientific class is Rosaceae).

• I’m certain that next year some new Tax rules will kick in. And, that with 87,000 new Tax inspectors that no one is safe. In that light I thought I’d share this bit: The Pentagon: “we don’t know where $2.2 Trillion dollars went”. The IRS to you and me: “You just sent $601.00 dollars from your bank account, don’t forget to report it!

• Then in the ‘for cuteness sake’ department here is a map and the most famous brand associated with each state.

Ciao. Stay strong; keep pushing onward – question it all and don’t let any person or government silence you.

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


Musicality

12 3rd, 2022


We’ve made the transition from ‘straw ‘n pumpkins’ to the bright lights of the season. Marcia, as part of the transition, thought it a great idea to hang a string of patio lights in the sunroom. Now we realize that it should have remained just a thought. The reality is that now Marcia sits there happily knitting away, as if she were sitting in a lighted fish bowl. Hopefully we’re providing a bit of entertainment to walkers by.

Nevertheless here’s to a happy and fine Saturday morning to everyone. Since it’s early I made my coffee on the French Press and leave the pot sit till ‘Madame’ gets up. And so, we’re ‘marching’ on.

Caffè Vivace – our favorite Café by day and Jazz lounge at night became our haunt du jour last evening. We purchased tickets to see El Ritmo Del Mañana for an evening of Latin Jazz – the Christmas edition and their new album release party! Frosty never sounded so good!

All week Marcia and I plotted to get an early start since it’d been too long since our last taste of their fabulous African Peanut Stew (we were desperately trying to avoid them running out of stew). We weren’t disappointed; it was even better than the last time we had it.

     

The band was great, with the brass exactly like what we had hoped for. But, it was the gal, Zion Sosa, playing Congas and Beat Box who was amazing. It was exactly the start of the Holiday season I’d been hoping for.

     

”Everything depends on the individual human being, regardless of how small a number of like-minded people there is… on each person… and everything depends on each person, through action and not mere words, creatively making the meaning of life a reality in his or her own being…” ~ Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) Austrian psychiatrist

Viktor Frankl  Frankl was sent off to the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz where he lost both his parents. Just nine months after his release from the camps he delivered a series of lectures on the meaning and value of life: “Yes to Life, in Spite of Everything.” For these past 70-years the English speaking world has been oblivious to the existence of these incredible concepts and ideas.

Especially reading about the slippery slope on which Trudeau has placed Canada with an at will path of Euthanasia (with virtually little restraint) I thought it important to mention Frankl’s expressions on the true meaning of life. If you’re interested, it might be worthwhile to explore a bit more. Click this, it will lead you to an introduction.

Don’t Bring Me Down – the song which became a mega-hit back in 1979 by the Electric Light Orchestra popped up on my Spotify channel during one of my walks earlier this week.

The song was a last minute add-on to finish off their Discovery album with a loud piece; said Jeff Lynne who wrote it, as a dedication to the NASA Skylab space station which had come down from space.

Lynne continued working on the piece while the other members went out for a bite. With tape running an acquaintance popped in using the common German greeting of “Gruß” (Groos). Lynne kept that greeting in as a place-holder. Returning, the other band members heard ‘Groos’ as “Bruce”. It became the hook to the song and it’s probably the one bit you remember. Enjoy this early video of the song (and btw, unlike the sound the ELO was known for, this song had no strings and in the video the string players are shown as playing keyboards):

Cockwomble – One just has to love the Brits for their ability to use and assemble words found nowhere else in the English language. But wait, that’s not all. Many of these words have a very plain meaning, but the clever Brits by merely adding an adjective to what would be a noun can quickly turn it into a piece of derogatory slang. Hence a ‘cockwongle’ is someone who is obnoxious.

The common slang use is for a person, usually male, “prone to making outrageously stupid statements and/or inappropriate behavior while generally having a very high opinion of his own wisdom and importance”.

We just had our mid-term elections, does any of the above ‘ring out’? Didn’t we all vote for an array of cockwombles parading in front of us at meeting halls and on TV screens?

Two Cows – Here in three minutes is the most succinct description of all the various political, i.e. economic ideas, we are confronted by on a daily basis. Enjoy the look:

Fini –

• Last year Germany paid South Africa $800 million to stop using coal. Since then German imports of South African have increase eight-fold. Now, Germany is producing more carbon emissions per unit of electricity than South Africa. Is this climate imperialism?

• This week Canada’s PM, Justin Trudeau, spoke out on China’s extreme, Covid-19 related, lockdowns by saying this: “Everyone in China should be allowed to protest. We will continue to ensure that China knows we will stand for human rights with people who are expressing themselves.” Hey Justin, please advise what your RCMP goon squads were up to last February in Ottawa?

• This week the Netherlands embarked on a path to close up to 3,000 farms to comply with EU rules. These are multi-generational and profitable farms. This is NUTS!

• I am just wondering who exactly supervises the various VW marketing entities. Is anyone at corporate providing an iota of oversight or was this on purpose?

• Since the whole Epstein ‘Love island’ business has dropped away, I thought you might want a look at the list of visitors and realize that it’s only Ghisaine Maxwell who is sitting in jail.

• Who of my dear readers remembers the purpose of this little canister?

• One year and here are a few of the changes which have occurred between January and December:

Ciao. Stay strong; keep learning – and now that the Holidays are looming, party hearty (but safely)!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk


A Nonet & Discord

11 26th, 2022


If it ain’t got the lick, it ain’t slick ~ Miles Davis

More on Miles in a bit; but first, a happy and fine Saturday morning to everyone. Here in these parts it’s actually a bit too warm for the last of November. We’re finally back to enjoying Tim Hortons coffee in the morning. The Italian stuff we were drinking is so far back in the ‘rear mirror’ that it’s almost forgotten. So, let’s get started, a little late this morning, but I’ll see if I can play ‘catch-up’.

Thanksgiving – has to be my favorite holiday. It has the best of everything minus the ‘formality’ of the others. Everyone in our ‘Nati clan was ‘on deck’ and Kirstin in Austin joined in a live stream.

She was even able to be part of our after-dinner session of “watch the music videos of the Eighties”. These were the very first music videos made and hence, much hilarity ensued. Meanwhile Marin and Vili were immersed in games of Chess (later that changed to Marin & dad Jason).

Tevita, once again, proved himself the master of the kitchen and the bird. Adrianne and Vai were not to be outdone and as desert produced stunning pies made from scratch; Pumpkin and Apple.

We also paid homage to the Pacific Islands and their ritual of having a cup of Kava as Tevita provided a bowl of the stuff. Marin described it best; “it feels like your mouth does hours after leaving the dentist when the Novocain fades;” meanwhile he proceeded quaffing the stuff like there was no tomorrow.

I hope yours was as good a day as ours.

a Nonet – Last Sunday I went to the little First Unitarian Church to listen to, see, and hobnob with nine world class jazz musicians. They played portions of a ‘break-through’ long play recording which, when released in 1957, became an international hit; Miles Davis’ “The Birth of the Cool” (pieces were being composed by Davis when he was just 22 years old).

When I say hobnob I mean hobnob, especially at intermission when the church puts out a nice spread of cheeses and wine (the cheap stuff of course) and all form little groups to learn and share a bit more.

     

When I say “world class’ that is very true. Four of the musicians are PhD professors of music at differing Universities. The Trombone player, Marc Fields, was trombonist with Ray Charles – yes the Ray Charles. It really was a very special afternoon.

15-years – it’s the end – For fifteen years Marcia and I annually made the short trek to the North Avondale Montessori school for the yearly Grandparents Day event. For fifteen years we dutifully listened to a few speeches, were honored to some music, and then the highlight – a visit to the classroom(s).

For fifteen years, without interruption, we’ve been privileged to be with a room full of excited young kids show off their accomplishments. Always it’s been both a hub-bub of activity and a stridency of happy voices whether guiding us to a specific classroom or pointing out accomplishments.

As a sixth grader this is Vili’s final year. And, he is the final one of our crew to graduate from North Avondale Montessori. Not certain, but in a real sense I think I’ll miss this annual ritual.

Two important quotations – These have greater import observing the national and international goings on. Both quotations were originally uttered a hundred or more years ago. Reflect on them for a moment:

”Truth always rests with the minority….because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion.” ~ Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (Danish theologian, philosopher, poet, social critic – 1813 – 1855)

”There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” ~ Aldous Huxley (English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly 50 books. 1894 – 1963)

Fini –

• I spotted this photo taken around the same time I was growing up. Look at dad sitting on the stoop, were this to occur today I would not be surprised if he wouldn’t be reported to a Child Protective Services agency. We were much more available for an occasional broken bone, and this served us well preparing us for our adulthood and the ‘knocks’ life tosses at all of us.

• Climate scientists predicted, twenty years ago, that snowfalls would be a thing of the past. This week at 66-inches Orchard Park shattered New York’s statewide 24-hour snowfall record. Follow that science.

• Reading the above, you should note that more snow is proof of climate change and less snow is also proof of climate change.

• Finally at the end of climate ‘stuff’, this was the cover of Time – April 8, 1977

• Photo of the ancient library of Tibet – only 5% has been translated.

• Just in case you’ll be traveling across the country and want to look ‘in’, here’s a guide to wearing the correct color of Jeans by state.

• Assuming the numbers are correct it would cost $100-trillion to produce enough batteries to power Europe for a winter. It would take industry using today’s technology 400 years to build them. It would destroy Europe.

• Numbers compiled in 1632 in London showing cause of death in the city. Pretty eye opening!

• Marcia and I had dinner at our favorite pub, Gordo’s. I spotted this happy couple enjoying an ‘intimate’ evening dinner (circa 2022). I tried, but couldn’t capture the guy with his mobile in hand. For my casual, i.e. quick, reader; yes I am being sarcastic!

• On a recent walk I detoured slightly to go by the old abandoned King Records studio. It’s beginning to look like some work in the creation of making it a ‘destination’ place is slowly starting.

*I’m old enough to remember these. How about you?

Here’s wishing Sandy a quick return to full health. We all have your back!

Ciao. Stay strong, keep learning, and be happy – stay active!

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk



It’s a beyond a; “brrrrrrrr” it’s cold Saturday morning (18 degrees). I think it so because the fall-winter transition came on so suddenly; lovely warm days starting off with brisk mornings, one after another. Yup, the change came very quickly.

To get a bit of a jump start on these Ramblings I sped up getting coffee ready with a single mug using my French Press. The Mr. Coffee is at the ready – i.e. ‘fully loaded and armed’, waiting for Marcia to emerge from the comfort of her warm cocoon (I suspect that’ll be a while).

describing the doctor – as “wielding his blade with the combined forces of science and butchery” ~ Bono on his eight hour surgery repairing a ‘blister’ on his Aorta.

This quote from an interview earlier this week with Brené Brown in Austin Texas. It was in Austin’s historic Paramount Theater in front of an audience of 1,200 – actually it was 1,199 plus our Kirstin who also attended.

Kirstin was properly excited when she discovered that she was one of 1,200 able to be part of the audience at the Brené Brown – Bono conversation (hundreds more weren’t able to get in).

Initially, when she told me I’d have to listen to the Podcast when it came out had a bit of a feeling of ‘ho-hum’. I guess I was expecting a long trope of biographical markers. I was so wrong, when I listened to the Podcast a couple of days ago I realized this was about as good a discussion and interview as I’d heard in some time. It was lively, spiritual, warm, informative, and insightful; i.e. it was lovely.

After all of that, take some time this evening, put your feet up and let me also share with you. First, pour yourself an Irish whiskey or a Guinness. Then ease back and enjoy, just click on the link below.

Direct link if QR code proves problematic: <b> https://bit.ly/3gqO77o </b>

Shampoo – Marcia, fresh from her knitting group brought me a gift. It’s a bar of shampoo, specifically for folk with oily hair (which she claims I have). The wrapper had that ‘old-timey’ look, which in the world gravitas means ‘authenticity’, i.e. this had to be the real McCoy. And as you can see by the picture, this stuff has changed my life!

So you don’t lose track – the corner of Chaos and Mayhem is alive and well. People do ask when it’s been a bit of an extended period without an update whether or not all is well; rest assured nothing has changed. This past week (give or take a day or two) is a quick listing of the happenings. Twice over hurried or distracted drivers, completely oblivious to the slight, but well-marked, curve in the road pretended it was perfectly straight. This resulted in the sideswiping of a parked vehicle. Both events caused a roadway closure while tow truck and brooms did their magic.

Four houses away there was a day-long traffic backup as another section of the storm-water drain was rebuilt using a spray-on technique. It’s the smell of the stuff that gives advance notice.

Across the way this car without plates blew into the driveway and was quickly shuttled off to behind the house and covered with tarp. Their neighbor is of the opinion that nefarious activities are taking place there.

Almost at the same time this sturdy looking buck popped on down the driveway directly in front of us – shades of Canada. Marcia saw him crossing the street into our side yard and then cross over between houses. Remember we are a mere three miles away from a metropolitan city center and not on some open space.

Happy now?

CCJO – Thursday we attended the 10th anniversary of the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Held at the old Redmoor Theater (walking distance from our first home in the ‘Nati).

It was one of those special evenings especially since the Redmoor also offers a complete bar and kitchen.

The CCJO band is comprised of musicians, top names, who have performed with Ray Charles, the Temptations, Arturo Sandoval, Tony Bennett, the Glen Miller and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, as well as the king of Funk – local hero Bootsy Collins, and many more. Plus, several are tenured professors of music at our local Universities. It’s world class entertainment created by folk who love their craft.

Apologies for the first 10 seconds of ‘shaky camera’ syndrome as my hand hit the rail next to my seat.

Fini –

A while back I wrote about great times playing the board game of Rail Baron. Now there is a new game which could be of interest. The game explores/simulates an alternate history of WWII. Had the USA not entered the war in 1941, how would the conflict have evolved?

• The current Administration is trying to quickly pass the Respect for Marriage Act. My quick overview is that it’s mislabeled and should be called the; “Destruction of Marriage Act”.

• Canada too is busily at work, with the aid of the medical community, to make life ‘easier’ and ‘more meaningful’.

• Marcia looks forward to the annual local Weaver’s enclave. This year was no exception. Remarkably I found her the one item which became her ‘must have’ – see me smile?

• It only makes sense that various groups join forces and consolidate their input/outreach. It might seem to be a bit incongruous, but just think it through; it’s brilliant!

Citroën, aside from being such an iconic piece of France, has the potential of revolutionizing the world’s Holiday travel. This was a mid-1950s Citroën DS (a time when American carmakers were mainly worried about chrome and the size of fins).

• A great bit of marketing from across the pond in the UK.

• On a cold weather hike I found myself wandering Spring Grove Cemetery. It took a bit, but I did ‘uncover’ my parent’s marker.

Rather than droning on and on about the CO2 being the death of mankind nonsense, I think wearing buttons such as this to be the better information sharing solution.

• Just thought you’d be interested that at the last COP27 meeting held in Egypt, FOUR HUNDRED private jets came to deliver all those important climate delegates.

• Enough said:

• Ok, and this is it: I seem to be important enough so that when I called to set up an appointment for my annual physical they scheduled me for this coming Monday at FIVE (5pm). Marcia claimed that this time did not coincide with dinner, so she’ll come and sit in the waiting area after which we’ll head to Gordo’s Pub for dinner. I’m game.

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

Keep on storming the castle. Pray for Peace.

Dirk