Side by Side

02 27th, 2021

Hey, it’s Saturday morning – the sun will come out, the temperature should climb to near 60, and it’s dry….I am HAPPY!
Now, coffee, and then a quick start on The Ramblings.

Excited about Zoom – Actually two differing Zoom sessions. First is the ‘Brothers Zoom’ (NOT to be confused with ‘Brothers Grim’), where under the expert guidance of athlete sis-in-law Jolene we’re doing 45-minutes or so of demanding stretching and exercises. I am emphasizing the ‘stressful’ portion since we’re using floor exercises, stretch-belts, and a pair of 10Lb weights. Sweat is part of this twice a week event.

Then, this coming Tuesday I’ll Zoom to connect for a class with Empower U. That evening it’ll be National Security Affairs Professor Stephen Knott, who holds this post at the United States Naval War College. He will present material from his book Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth; Secret and Sanctioned. We’ll examine the impact of Alexander Hamilton on the founding of the United States. I do know that Hamilton fighting alongside Washington became appalled by the inefficiency of the government under the Articles of Confederation and by the reluctance of the states to contribute to the war effort; now I look forward to Knott’s insights. Should be one fine session!

On the subject of learning. During an earlier session I shared a question which must have prompted something. A week ago, totally unexpected, I received from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University a book; 50 Core American Documents. It’s almost a study guide and I love it. Actually, I love learning!   

If you want your very own copy text me and I’ll organize

Title IX – On occasion I receive differing historical input from a Brazilian lady, Marina Amaral. She shared a photo of this mosaic of Roman women playing sports and exercising. It’s an amazing floor mosaic from a Villa Romana del Casale in Sicili from early in the 4th century.

Now that women are losing the ability to have their own venue to excel (as we believed was guaranteed in Title IX), I thought it appropriate to show just how it’s taken 1600 years to come to the conclusion that women must be subservient to men. Hence, on day one of our newly installed ‘progressive’ administration it was not Covid that took center stage. Covid can now only be considered a faux pandemic since it was immediately put on hold; No, the most critical piece of business that first day was an Executive Order granting males full access to women’s private spaces and sports.

Side by Side The other day picking up Vili after school I took special note of the marble bench placed under the flag pole. It honors Lieutenants John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun. Both grew up in our neighborhood, in 1928 both attended this school and were in the same 3rd grade class, both became pilots in WWII, (one flying bombers, the other covered the bombers flying a Tuskegee Red Tail P51 – they flew Side by Side); one was White the other Black. [as an aside, I’ve had the privilege meeting and talking with both of these men, these two fast friends were out-and-out heroes]

We live in a multi-racial part of the city and the Block parties and socials fun events have always had everyone interacting. Fast forward, our kids and then the Cincinnati grand-kids attended this same (now) Montessori focused Public School. During the time that our kids went there our kids mixed, studied, played, and hung together. They made friends, black and white, as kids do. Color played no part. Finally, and similarly throughout our nation, it seemed to be that the end of any vestiges of the Jim Crow era had finally come.

What I am seeing now is a change that started a few decades ago, and it’s frightening. We’re watching ‘silos’ of isolation and thereby segregation being formed – Black Americans wanting separate dorms and their own graduations as example. Our neighborhood views itself as absolutely “Progressive”, yet what I see is property upon property Virtue Signaling as they form one little separatist island after another complete with yard placards filled with glowing platitudes. I suspect that the idea is that without these signs one cannot move about or feel safe.

Now it’s the raising of the ugly head of ‘Identity Politics’ which has similarly emerged. Whatever spin is put on, this it’s racism, pure and simple. As a ‘lifelong liberal’ Smith College staff member Jody Shaw, a Whistleblower said; “This is the essence of critical race theory. In order to make “progress” in “combating racism,” everyone is reduced to a stick figure.” All of this dark bigotry and racism has crept into Schools, government, and corporate America all under the guise of preventing racism – such malarkey.

Taking it even a step further, Thursday the ‘Equality Act’ passed the House, and the detail in it is frightening – you should read sections of it.

” You can be sure anything that comes out of D.C. does the opposite of its name.” Christopher Bedford, The Federalist, February 25, 2021

Someone smarter than me has noted that; “slowly we inch to the abyss”.

Fini – Wednesday Dinah is celebrating her Birthday. It would appear that later today we’ll be at a proper outdoors venue to celebrate as a family.

This month 20 years ago, February 2001, Al Gore made an amazing prediction. He stated flat out that by 2021 we would all be dead due to Global Warming. Whoops, sorry Al, still here.

Once we pass and burden future generations with another $1.9-trillion debt, ostensibly required to fight the hardships and needs of Covid-19, remember that merely 9% is focused on dealing with Covid-19. Really think that this bill, the COVID-19 relief bill, is all about Covid-19 assistance? It might be a good time to give your Representative some serious input. Here is a portion of the Bill’s text.

This morning it is the 348th day since the 15-day shutdown to “Flatten the curve” began. To celebrate this ‘near’ anniversary, last evening Marcia and I went out for some craft beer and Lenten-based Fish & Chips. It was our “Friday-F-the-Mask night” at the local pub; seems like a few others had the same idea.

   

Now that another birthday came and went I am treading new turf; ‘entering a new era’ so to say. To some I am now a “wise elder sage”, while to others I am now merely a “tottering old fool”. Personally I think it is a little of both.

Make it great week people, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk



I hope that this Saturday morning finds you well. Other than a cold morning, I slept well enough to get a late start on this week’s ‘Ramblings’ – it’s not quite 6:30. Having said that, Mr. Coffee just ‘beeped’ so the day has begun.

“ Talent returned to God.” ~ Mark Steyn who adjusted Rush Limbaugh’s popular tag line, “Talent on loan from God, in his memorial post on the passing of Limbaugh

The Title – The title of this morning’s post, “What If We Ignore the Government?” is a direct copy the title of an article written by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey and the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.

The article is a series of ‘What ifs’. “What if when government fails to protect inalienable rights, we simply ignore it?”
“What if we have other inalienable rights such as the freedom of speech, the right to assemble peacefully, the right to worship, the right to travel and to self-defense, the right to fairness from the government, the right to take chances, the right to own and enjoy property, and the right to be left alone?”
“What if government workers join in a massive civil disobedience of local and state rules governing personal behavior on private property? What if the governors who have been controlling us realize that they have no real support and thus have become toothless?”
“What if we ignore the government at our peril? What if when government tramples our rights, we alter or abolish it? What if the time to do that is coming? What if that time is here? What if — as Jefferson wrote — when the people fear the government there is tyranny? What if when the government fears the people, there is liberty?”

Yesterday was the first day back at school for Vili, and I was asked to pick him up. Let me also say that for the past year I’ve only worn a mask occasionally to gain entry to a store and such – hence I lack any muscle memory grabbing the thing. So, yesterday I skipped the few blocks to the school, and joined a throng (mostly grandparents) trying to spot what’s theirs. That’s when I realized I seemed to be the only one not wearing a mask. That’s when the wise musings of Judge Napolitano flashed by as a pang of ‘guilt’ struck home; Lord Fauci and our very own Governor, ‘Whiney de Wine’, had done their jobs well. And, you know what? No one said a thing. It was exactly what I remember from past years, a smile of recognition and a skip home with a happy kid.

Surgery 2021 – Brother George had surgery on his spine mid-week; a procedure which a decade ago would have had him hospitalized for most of a week (or more). But, times have changed.

The procedure took a couple of hours. Recovery took a couple of hours. And, he walked out of the hospital. Part of the recovery process is that he was to walk about the house at least once an hour. The photo shows his progress yesterday, the second day after surgery. George had not seen numbers such as those for the past three years. He’s thrilled. Sandy is thrilled. I am thrilled; as is the rest of the family. Amazing!

When the weather has you locked in – then I’ve discovered ways to find things that please. I had been listening to Canadian radio and my favorite music show hosted by guitarist Randy Bachman. The show had a number of pieces performed as duet by people who had gotten together when normally you wouldn’t think of them as a pair; think Willie Nelson singing with Ray Charles as an example.

After the show, Marcia sound asleep, I stayed up and explored by taking it a step further. Remember Freddie Mercury of Queen? Mercury, singing songs such as, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Fat Bottomed Girls‘, and ‘We are the Champions‘, while prancing about the stage in a sleeveless undershirt and skin-tight jeans, that’s who. That’s when I came across a duet of Mercury with opera singer Montserrat Caballé singing his ‘Barcelona’. The duet is amazing and the piece a triumph. Enjoy!

Fini – Thought with the people of Texas and their weather difficulties. Kirstin had frozen pipes and through a number of phone conversations and a series of texts complete with photos she came through unscathed. Also, there is a Hospital less than a block away and her home is on that ‘grid’, hence, she never lost power.

The ‘Nati’ has never been competent in snow removal and road clearing. In fact, it sucks! On a walk when I got to the place in the street where the Cincinnati boundary ends and St. Bernard starts up. Guess which place starts and which stops.

The few times I’ve been through Bristol it’s seemed like many small Appalachian towns. These days it’s seen as being a bit different; a more compact version of Cincinnati, OH ~ Covington, KY. See, rather than a river separating each, one side of Main Street Bristol is in Virginia and the other in Tennessee. And in Virginia bars and restaurants have to close by ten O’clock. On the Tennessee side they can stay open till 2:00AM. The whole business is, as some wag has said, a perfect metaphor of covid absurdity.

Here is another reason not to send your kids to an Ivy League school. Many tens of thousands of dollars dumped into some black hole to achieve what? This kind of absolute nonsense is what: Harvard researchers claim COVID-19 wouldn’t have been so bad if US paid reparations.

Last long weekend part of our local gang went into the hill country of South-East Ohio for a few days away; a few days to get out of town for some restoration. Well done, mission accomplished.

Careful wording is critical. This signage on a dumpster is motivating.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk



After an enjoyable week, I’ll wish you much contentment this Saturday morning. Here our week had Mother Nature give us a blast of winter; like nothing seen for over a decade. Currently she’s taking a breath, then to return for most of next week – with a vengeance. Or so they say.

Monday into Tuesday predictions are for 12” of more snow. But then, last week’s 10” snowfall was supposed to be a 2” to 3” event. So here we are, our supercharged weather teams making note of some “pressure system” off of the far corner of Australia. Then, weaponized with cameras on satellites, the ‘tracking’ and ‘analysis’ begins; multi colored charts emerge on TV screens, complete with a myriad of lines. At that juncture, the whole thing proves to be dead wrong.

I’ll continue to trust St. Bernie as my predictor. Snow at his feet; then it’s cold. Grass at his feet; then it’s tolerable. His shadow also plays a part, I just haven’t figured out that part. Coffee anyone?

Last week I did mention forthcoming birthdays. Well, they’re still forthcoming, but I’m starting to take note, especially since I’ll be involved. In the meantime I thought I’d share this truism:

“After turning 35, men must make a decision; to either get really into World War 2 history, or really into smoking various meats.” ~ Anonymous

I opt for both!

The focus on aging (a pun that is related to smoking meats and therefore is intended) dictates that I share this short video, especially since the ‘aging’ thing played such a part in last weekend’s Super Bowl. Enjoy!

Political Theater (of the Absurd) – is so rampant all around us that it’s actually becoming difficult to see what’s ‘up’ and what’s ‘down’, what’s ’white and what’s ‘black’.

To illustrate:
• Lord Fauci praised Cuomo as he lied to the Feds about his nursing home victims. Cuomo gets a literary prize.
• House Managers were caught using fake ‘evidence’ at the impeachment trial.
• Biden halted Deportation flight of African Criminals because it’s Black History month.
• Trump accomplished a breakthrough Peace accord in the Middle East – the Abraham Accords – BLM gets nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Changes in Masking; Biden’s “100 days of Masking” has now it’s become indefinite. Add to that, wearing masks inside, wearing multiple masks.
• At Davis, Russia’s Putin spoke; the “future course for the western economies is obvious – one only has to observe the return of (former Fed head) Janet Yellen to the U.S. Treasury; of (former IMF head) Christine Lagarde to the ECB and (former ECB head) Mario Draghi as PM in Italy, to understand that a full blown ‘reflation trade’ is underway”.
• Lockdowns continue even though a study in Frontiers in Public Health on the data delivered by 160 countries has found no correlation between death rate and stringency of lockdown measures. These continue even though horrible damage occurs with the separation/isolation of human beings through the application of masks, distance maintenance between people, stay-at-home orders and business closures. Yet, slowly we march on down that path – worldwide.
Women’s sports took it on the chin when our new administration thought it important enough to, on their first day, allow males to compete wherever they wanted.
• Originally touted as the new “Town Square” public debate has been silenced by our wave of big Tech overlords; Facebook, Google, Twitter. Competitors have been silenced, even a President silenced. Disney pushed aside one of their biggest stars, pushed aside for ‘daring’ to present her heartfelt viewpoint.
• April of last year that CNN claimed that a year and a half timeframe of producing a vaccine would raise safety concerns: “Eighteen months might sound like a long time, but in vaccine years, it’s a blink”. Glossed over is the fact that these vaccines have been released as ‘Experimental’ and any problems have been glossed over. Now, with coronavirus variants emerging the problems are mounting:

  • the Chinese vaccine Sinovac has been found to be only fifty percent effective in Brazil.
  • South Africa suspended use of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca after researchers found that it provided ‘minimal protection’ against mild to moderate coronavirus infections caused by the new variant – 10% effective.
  • A number of countries hundreds of elderly people died after having received their shots. This side effect became so troublesome that some governments – Norway, for instance – has issued new advisories and guidelines concerning vaccinations for older individuals.

• Try crossing the border into Canada (and it’s been suggested by the Feds to do the same for passage into Florida) and we get quarantined for two weeks in a hotel – at our own expense. Yet, do the same by crossing illegally at the southern border and with virtually no questions asked get put up in a hotel at taxpayer expense, then released.

Much of what we’re experiencing has not been seen since the time of the Spanish Inquisition when, then expressing a differing viewpoint or failure to comply would see you burned on a stake.

Fini – Today in 1936 the very first Social Security check was put into the mail. This was not very long after when it was still possible to place a stamp on your kid and mail him off to Grandma’s home.

Earlier, on this date in 1633 Italian Philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating the Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

This past week, Good News! The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an internal investigation and they’ve cleared the CCP of any blame in the coronavirus outbreak. As Professor Saad added; “Also the ‘Himmler Appreciation Society’ has cleared the Nazis of links to the Holocaust”.

One more piece of insight, this by Mike Cassiop; “I am old enough to remember when closing schools for one school day was considered a difficult decision due to loss of a day of education and students missing lunch/parents having to miss work. But I guess missing 1.5 years is OK when fear and hysteria rule the heart and mind.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk


Tuba Skinny

02 6th, 2021


Happy Saturday on this week after the full ‘Wolf’ moon. February in these parts is the coldest and darkest time of the year. The news reported that for the first time this 2021, in every State people woke up to frost. This truly is the month of the ‘blahs’, of feeling funky. Hence these very special morning Ramblings.

“Music is a means of communication, of connection” ~ Simon Gronowski

This morning it’s not just to erase the ‘blahs’, but much, much, more. Later in the month it’s grandson Derek, our “Mr. Tuba”, who’s celebrating a ‘breakthrough’ birthday – this special Ramblings is for him. Follow that by a day and it will be mine, mine will be the year prior to one of those ‘blowout’ birthdays. Because of that, I want to introduce you to a gentleman who teaches us all how to age with grace and joy – this special Ramblings is for me.

If you’ve ever heard of Simon Gronowski it’s probably because of a New York Times article. The article talks about the fact that Gronowski, during the height of the Covid lockdown in Brussels (his home country is Belgium) Gronowski would throw open his front window and play his favorite music into the neighborhood –shortly this became a thing. Did I mention that he is a pianist and absolutely loves New Orleans style Jazz? 

Gronowski, a Holocaust survivor, mentioned in the NYT interview that it’s been his wish to someday sit in with the band Tuba Skinny. And quoting Shaye Cohn, the de facto leader of the band; “with a little help from some friends, including our technical advisor, Russell Welch, we were able to collaborate from afar”.

So, this morning’s Ramblings are written to give you a bunch of pleasure, happiness, and especially lots of Joy!

This special Ramblings is for you all.

Now, ease back, grab a hot mug of coffee, put your feet up and listen to this concert by Tuba Skinny, If you can, port it onto a Big Screen and possibly a sound bar – in any case pump up the sound. Also, do read the footnotes underneath.

A) Shaye Cohn, Cornet, and as the nominal lead she counts off the tunes and cues. Watch how cleverly she cues the solos for the remote musicians.

B) Erika Lewis, has been the outstanding vocals (and percussion) for the band. She moved to Nashville to prepare a solo album and there required Thyroid surgery (success!). She managed to link in. Since her songs from yesteryear are right in Gronowki’s ‘wheelhouse’ her rejoining the band was Huge!

C) Simon Gronowski was a youngster when he and his older sister Ita and mother, Chana Gronowski, were rounded up by the Nazis and herded aboard convoy train #20 for Auschwitz-Birkenhau. This train was special in that it halted shortly after departure by some resistance fighters. During the chaos a large number of deportees aboard managed to escape. In an act of love, as the train began to move again his mother urged young Simon to jump out and run. He escaped deportation that fateful day, April 19, 1944. His mother and sister stayed and didn’t make it. Gronowski became a Dr. of Law and a Jazz pianist. He taught himself to play piano to honor his sister who played piano.

D) Stay to the end of the concert and listen to the interview of Gronowski and his translator — his grandson.

E) Do yourself a favor and read the New York Times article mentioned earlier.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk


Curmudgeon with Smile

01 30th, 2021


Happy Saturday morning and here the snows have melted (more on the way overnight). I’m sitting in the dark playing a bit with the coffee mug while waiting for a moment of it cooling. This reminds me; are our troops still guarding the fences around the capitol? They are our troops are they not? We’re sure this isn’t some foreign Trojan Horse Horde planning to take us over?

The two-inches of snow we got Thursday evening caused complete havoc. I’m serious; HAVOC I tell you! The city alone had over 40 wrecks including a couple of police cruisers. This doesn’t include any of our 23 ‘burbs’.

Seems like our whole fleet of ‘salt’ trucks was incapacitated. Actually the trucks were fine, their drivers were all Covid quarantined, self-quarantined, and binary quarantined (they’re politically correct). Hence the drivers were ‘recruited’ from behind their city desk jobs.

At one point a cops had a truck blow by them in their lane when they were outside of their vehicle – spraying salt. With lights on they followed, and now the truck driver really ‘made tracks’. At one point as the cruiser got near he lifted the truck bed and turned that sprayer on and covered the cruiser.

Pretty soon the ‘po-po’ had this driver in the pokey.

Turns out the driver had around 30 previous traffic citations and did not have a valid driver’s license. But hey, these are the days of Covid and you got to do what you got to do.

Possibly the activity on our corner of Chaos and Mayhem is expanding outward.

‘Sempo’ – This week was International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27). Many of us know names of heroes whose actions saved many from transport to the Nazi extermination camps. Names such as Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler have entered our lexicon, but how many of us know of Chiune “Sempo” Sugihara? ‘Sempo’ was a Japanese Diplomat, fluent in Russian and stationed in Lithuania. Told not to, and disregarding orders, he spent evenings and weekends generating travel visas. These legal visas enabled the bearer to train through Russia to Siberia and to places from there. It’s been estimated that he enabled as many as up to 6,000 Jews to gain their freedom.

Any idea why Hollywood has never taken interest in ‘Sempo’ and his amazing life and the amazing good he accomplished?

“one should not do a good deed with the expectation that you will be rewarded, but for the good deed itself.” — Nathan Lewin (quoting his Rabbi)

Vendée Globe – Last week I noted that my twice a day Vendée Globe update is a constant fixture! Now you’re saying “lawdy, lawdy, he’s at it again!” Not so. This last piece is on aging.

The first ten boats are in and it’s one of my favorite boats, “Yes We Cam”, I want to mention. Then I’m completely done.

The oldest skipper in the fleet (Jean Le Cam, age 61), on one of the older boats (2007) “Yes We Cam !”, managed to cross the ‘kine’ in 8th place and came in 4th overall (from a starting fleet of 33 boats). This 4th place finish on a 25,000 mile, 80 days of nonstop sailing, “Everest of Yacht Racing” journey is amazing. Oh, and that was that after an 11-hour search he rescued another skipper from his life-raft bobbing in the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean,  whose boat had sunk.

The two sailed together on “Yes We Cam !” for a week before offloading his ‘passenger’ onto a French Navy vessel.

Now that he accomplished his remarkable finish, ending each little audio or video update with his signature staccato “clack clack clack” (loosely meaning, “go go go”) is what I’ll remember most. Le Cam is a French icon, their hero, and absolutely loved as “King Cam”. It was great seeing an oldie-but-goody do so well.

Lord Fauci – As the Wuhan-Flu rolls merrily along, Ohio is rolling out the vaccine in a most chaotic manner; it’s an ongoing pathetic attempt which would have bankrupted any private sector company had they done the same. Meanwhile, ‘Lord’ Fauci keeps on with one pronouncement after another. Couple that with the approval Ivermectin for early Covid treatment (allowed conveniently a few days after Trump exited). Now we’re hearing we might want to double up on masks. Triple anyone?

So rather than me getting on to a rant about it all, I’ll let Professor Saad provide some input.

Gad Saad is a Lebanese-Canadian evolutionary psychologist and professor in the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University – Montreal, and is a master expressing his thoughts; sarcasm at its best.

Well that didn’t last long – the honeymoon period with the new administration that is. I’m beginning to make note that the questions to Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, are becoming a bit more substantive.

And the answers are dutifully made note of by an eager Press Corps. Surprising that no one has gotten dizzy:

Fini – This week I was notified through “My Chart” to sign up for a Covid vaccine. This time, I went on-site within an hour after being notified. This message was displayed: “As vaccine shipments are received, additional timeslots will be added. We apologize if you are unable to make an appointment today due to limited supply.”

We were a major test site for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the way the rollout is going even their drug will be out and a brand new fourth well underway before we too get a turn to get ‘poked’.

This past week WWII Navajo Code Talker John Kinsel turned 100. Happy Birthday to a true hero.

A full week into the new administration and through ‘Executive Order’ Misogyny is alive and well:

This week I learned the word for Avocado comes from the Aztec word “ahuacacuahati” which is translated as testicle tree. Your week would not be complete without this ‘snippet’.

The reason for my Avocado interest is that a breakfast slice of toast with Avocado I am now sprinkling with something I picked up at Trader Joe’s. Thank you Kirstin!

These days I hear more about Sepsis as a quiet but deadly killer for all ages. I came across this “signs to watch for” poster and thought to park it here as a public service:

Now that we’re rejoining the “World Climate Change” money grabbing bunch, let me end with a quote from Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace:

“We do not know the long-term future of weather and climate, never mind the future state of politics or civilization.
Therefore in order to remain sane and not pessimistic and grumpy, it is best to emphasize hope over fear. Neither is certain, but the former is much more enjoyable.”

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk


Pondering Pills

01 23rd, 2021


Saturday morning and it’s a meager 18 degrees. Coffee is piping hot though. Last Thursday I did a two-hour walk in shorts and a (very) light windbreaker; it was sunny and pushing 50-degrees. What a difference a day makes.

It’s a new era and I want you to make note of this for reference in a year or so from now:

Stock market is above $30K
The USA is energy independent
Gasoline is right around $2.00 per gallon
No new wars during the past four years.

“When that trial ends senators will have to decide if they believe Donald John – Donald John Trump incited the erection – insurrection – against the US.” — Senator Chuck-Schumer (as quoted by the Dailymail, UK news article-9177191)

I suspect that the Senate will have to think long and hard on such weighty matters.

Joke of the Day – North Korea this week reviewed Australia’s rights record at the U.N.

“DPRK is concerned about rights in Australia. We recommend to Australia. 1) End racism, 2) Cease inhuman treatment in detention centers. 3) Ensure the right of all to participate in elections.”

And we continue to pay (our Chinese borrowed) dollars to fund this clown-show?

OK, no more on political matters, there is more to life. I just want to give my condolences to our girls as a new ‘glass ceiling’ was just placed over them. This, as our new President unilaterally eviscerated women’s sports, and women’s privacy. If we’re on this ‘equality’ kick why not do several things, such as getting rid of weight classes in boxing – wouldn’t it be fun to see a heavy weight whale away at some feather weight?

I can tell already, we’re in for a wild ride.

Quatman’s Café in Norwood was our dinner place this week. They’re known for their cheeseburgers, and yes, Marcia and I each had one along with a side of onion rings. However, the item that draws me the most is their homemade Mock Turtle Soup, love that stuff. And again, I wasn’t disappointed.

In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carrol created a character called Mock Turtle, who notably said, “Once I was a real turtle.” Carrol even ‘concocted’ a song where Mock Turtle sings;

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!

Lockdown Insights – Marcia made note that yours truly had never bothered with taking pills, but with the lockdown that all has changed. It’s changed to the point that I am now the proud owner of pill-organizer. Without realizing I have started to buy a new type of pill during each pharmacy visit; slowly going through the Element Chart (aka – the periodic table of elements). Pills with contents such as Zink, Potassium, and Magnesium now find their way into my organizer. It’s a whole new hobby!

Vendée Globe My dear wife flat-out states that I am totally-over-the-top absorbed by this once in four years, 25,000 mile around the world, non-stop, solo with no assistance, sailing race. The fleet of 33, 60-foot IMOCA class, boats left Les Sables d’Olonne, France last November 8th. It appears that the first will return to les Sables d’Olonne this coming Thursday. So far one boat sank in the Indian Ocean (boat broke in half, skipper was safely rescued after being in a life-raft for 11 hours) and 7 more have retired. Not bad considering that they have fought gales of 45 knots and wave heights approaching 50 feet in the Southern Ocean and rounding the three major Capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).

What is now a lifetime ago I raced in sailing for a number of years (thanks Mike and Pat) where I handled the jib and the spinnaker. Most of my sailing was done on the Highlander Class sailboat. In comparison to the IMOCA think of me sailing on the equivalent of a Stearman biplane trainer and then these boats akin to a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. However, I remember the thrills and excitement as if it was yesterday. The photo is not our boat but it was taken on Lake Norman, NC where I took part in the nationals.

The one-minute video below was taken by the French Navy which was patrolling the area near the Kerguelen Islands to prevent illegal fishing in those territorial waters during the 2016/17 race.

This one-minute video below was made by French-German skipper Isabelle Joschke. A petite woman, Isabelle, was doing amazingly well. However, as she rounded Cape Horn the hydraulics on her Keel gave out and she had to retire – is now sailing slowly for a port in Brazil.

Since the Vendée Globe is comprised of professionals and those participating for various charity causes, it sports the latest in boat designs as well as 20-year old sailboats. This means that the boats are spread out over 5,000 miles; the final one coming home in about a month. Now the excitement is building as six boats have opportunity to climb the podium in that they are less than 150 miles apart. And, most importantly, each ship returning – first to last – is given a hero’s welcome by many thousands (maybe with Covid not this year); after all, fewer than 100 have completed this adventure.

My twice a day Vendée Globe update is a constant fixture!

Marcia, just to let you know, starting Friday I’ll be watching the America’s Cup race (aka; the Auld Mug).

Fini – This week the broader Pastoor family expanded by the birth of Bryn Corinne Thrall-Pastoor. Mom and Bryn are both healthy (dad Conner too). Bryn at 8lbs 13oz and 20.5 inches sure is a cute little chunk.

Happy belated birthday to Joel. Sunday it’ll be Cathy’s turn for the same, and then followed by Kirstin on Wednesday. Whew, what a couple of weeks.

See How the Vaccine Rollout Is Going in Your State by clicking on this New York Times link – this from January 22, 2021

President Trump joined with former Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Polk, and FDR as having accomplished the most during their term. Both Lincoln and Trump did so while fighting constant opposition and a biased media. Trump also did so while fending off flagrant abusive impeachment charges and a pandemic.

January 23, 1957 and for the first time ever tossing a Frisbee became a pastime (eventually morphing into Frisbee golf).

And, also on this date in 1984 many young boys’ donned bandannas as Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Sheik to win the first WWF title; he escaped from the Sheik’s “camel clutch”. It was and amazing event to see; to all of us watching on our little Sony Trinitron TVs.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk


Exercising and finds

01 16th, 2021


Saturday morning and we’re told snow-showers are on the way; am still not sure what exactly is meant by that. In the meantime, the coffee is nice and hot. This reminds me to say that I miss the daily 2:00PM Espresso break I enjoyed at Kirstin’s. That was so much easier since she has a Nespresso machine (instant results), while ours requires much set-up. Spoiled aren’t I?

“ Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” — Milton Friedman

And it would appear that we’re on a quick path to get a few of them.

Vaccine – Seemingly our State’s plan to distribute the COVID vaccine is to not have a plan. The start is with 80-year olds. These dears, beginning now, are to man their phones and start calling numbers to see if they can get inoculated. There is a trick though. They have to first go onto a web site (not yet complete) and do a twenty-question like test to find places and numbers to call.

The scheme is akin to giving monkeys a typewriter and hope that (at least one) will actually write the book.There a song from the old (1946) movie Gilda with Rita Hayworth, called; Put the Blame On Mame:

They once had a shootin’ up in the Klondike
When they got Dan McGrew
Folks were putting the blame on
The lady known as Lou
That’s the story that went around
But here’s the real low-down
Put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame
Mame did a dance called the hoochy-coo
That’s the thing that slew McGrew
So you can put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame

Anyone qualified enough to create another stanza? One where the boys put the blame on ‘Mame’ only this is where the city blames the county, the county blames the State, and, the State blames the Feds? See where this could go?

Lockdown desperation – has reached extremes. Marcia is at a point where I can hardly talk her out of the house. Me, I too find myself doing things I normally don’t. The latest is contemplating on how many different model Citroën’s have shown up in the Adventures of Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy (by the Belgian cartoonist; Hergé). This would include the lovely Citroën model DS, the Traction Avant, and best of all, our delightful Deux Chevaux.

                              

Art’s Gift – this Christmas has to be one of the most thoughtful ever. Art had shipped to each of the brothers a pair of 10-pound weights. Yesterday these were used for the first time as he organized the four of us to get together on Zoom for an organized exercise program.

Art and Jolene’s daughter, Taryn, was asked to generate a ‘geriatric’ strength program and so we started. Aside of the physical benefits it’s also a twice-a-week opportunity for the four of us to just socialize a bit.

Yesterday, with Art in California, Pieter in Portland, George in Naples, and me in Ohio it came off without a hitch. Cool stuff. THANKS Art!

Fini – This past week was Marcia’s Aunt Doris’ Birthday. She’s a strong 97.

Nearby is an old Fire station, now unused it’s been made useful again as a museum and meeting place. Love how they’ve spruced it up.

Also from a walk this week, I came across this sign which does really reflect the historical roots of our town.

Just in case you only think of Pyramids and Egypt, other cultures also built similar structures. This picture is of Pyramids from the ancient Nubian kingdom of Kush (now Sudan). These almost 5,000 year old pyramids have substantially steeper slopes than those found in Egypt. BTW, years ago I did get to visit the Egyptian pyramids and was awestruck!

With 25,000 troops in DC this week I think all should be quiet. Not to worry, the photo below is not current; it’s only from the previous inauguration when a little rioting was a minor concern.

By default this week seems to contain an inordinate amount of Car ‘stuff’, so I might make it a theme. Mid-week while walking past the VW dealership I spotted this beauty.

A warm glow enveloped me as I gave thought to our 1971 VW Westfalia Campervan. Bought new ($4,000 including tax & an AM radio) it served Marcia and I well as our little family took shape.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk



It’s Saturday morning and I am pretty well settled in after returning from visiting with Kirstin, Derek, and Kellen. Anything new happen while I was gone from these Ramblings during the past couple of weeks?

Kirstin had a to-do jobs list (much shorter than I expected).

This left us time for much tea, much chatting, and much binge watching – two shows, Escape to the Chateau and towards the end of my stay, Alone.

Both got me into the thick of the occurrences, happenings, and adventures. So, couple all of that with a massive (should have called it; ultimate) Mediterranean Party Appetizer Platter from Costco which Kirstin kept sitting around her kitchen island; made for some seriously fine times. Then, can’t forget our daily 2:00PM Espresso break.

And, just so that won’t think we were just a pair of ‘couch-potatoes’, we (most days) managed to trek about her neighborhood to the tune of 5 to 6 miles each day.

Last Saturday our whole gang (minus Piper the dog) did one of the Austin area nature trails; lots of crossing of creeks. At one point it was going over a small dam. As a joke I pretended that I had to crawl across the dam and sent the picture to Marcia. Her immediate response was that; “some people never get beyond age 40”. So much for that!

   

“Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.”

“They blame those who remain silent, they blame those who speak much, they blame those who speak in moderation. There is none in the world who is not blamed.” — Buddha

at Chùa Linh-So’n Temple

   

Covid-19 gifts – Actually two gifts. On Thursday I received a note from my nearby YMCA branch along with a heartwarming drawing.

Yesterday, I got a postcard from the State, letting me know that they understand just how ‘crappy’ I feel (I don’t, however I’d feel even better living my life without notes regarding my possible ‘crappyness’, i.e. Anxiety, Stress, & Isolation). Just to let me know how deeply personal this card was it was addressed to: Dirk Pastoor Jr. or Current Resident.

   

Which card would you appreciate most?

Also, on the State’s postcard, anyone even know what that partially shown yellow piece of equipment is? Asking for a friend.

Birthdays – A week ago Marcia had her birthday (with a great celebration at Adrianne’s home with the whole ‘Nati gang there). Next month it’ll be my turn. This places the two of us ‘square-dab’ in the mature range. Hence I thought it appropriate to share this YouTube:

Fini –A-woman and Amen” this was the manner in which the opening prayer concluded during the first session of the new 117th Congress. I recently spotted this truth; “If you say A-woman then Amen, you’re A-moron”. Unreal and way beyond any satire I could muster.

Walking the aisles of Kirstin’s nearby H-E-B grocery store I spotted this employee removing the 6’-spacing and directional floor stickers. I do believe I spotted the beginnings of a return to normalcy.

Two Sundays ago in the year 1496, Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tested his concept of a flying machine. Then in 1793 Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in North America. Then also around this date, but now in 2020, I flew nonstop to Austin in a plane loaded with about 180 people. Thought you’d want to know.

The iconic iPhone was unveiled by Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs on this day in 2007. Doesn’t it seem like it’s been around forever?

Then, in the wonderful world of Social Media, Marcia’s account got blocked for a couple of weeks. Her crime? She posted “WOW” in response to some point made. The original point was deemed politically correct, her “wow” comment was therefore offensive. I do believe this was Marcia’s first run-in with the new First Amendment interpretation popular these days.

After this week I think it appropriate to end with the lyrics of Loudon Wainwright III’s song; “Dead Skunk”

“Dead Skunk
Crossin’ the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn’t see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are

You got your
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road…..” ~ Loudon Wainwright III

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk


It’s Boxing Day

12 26th, 2020


Happy Saturday morning as the Brits and Canadians flock to the stores on Boxing Day; I’m just here enjoying my coffee. Yesterday morning our ‘Real-Feel’ temperature was 3-degrees; and that shut me down for the day.

That “shut-down” on Christmas was actually a good thing. We’d had our family gathering and now it was a period of proper music, some choirs on the ‘Telly’ (staying with the British theme); and seeing Marcia bustle nearby wondering about dinner after she realized that the ‘protein’ centerpiece was absent. The resultant dinner was great anyway.

Mid-week we’d gathered as family as we’d always done and it was wonderful. My personal edict that I’d rather live life instead of cowering to live for life, stayed true. Just so you know; we all had a brilliant (another Brit expression) time. I believe that the tin-horn potentates we call Governors are in the game to affect obedience. As the late astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, once said; “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

Christmas – the season didn’t just rush in this time, it didn’t just blow in and then was gone. It was well paced and that whole time the weather helped and made it seem like late autumn. This year I was able to enjoy it to the utmost.

Last weekend I walked by a small garden plot and took this photo of some gorgeous ornamental cabbages in glorious color.

The next day I cut through the adjacent small community of St. Bernard where folk were busily preparing for an evening of ‘neighborhood’ and ‘community’ including the magic of Santa, luminary; as well as flags, a manger scene, and much hot chocolate. There is so much to say about small town America.

     

Marcia and I didn’t miss out either as we went on our evening neighborhood walking tour. We’d already eaten so skipped the food-trucks. But, we saw plenty of decorations. Marcia, after a hot-toddy brimming with Woodford Bourbon, even got to sit on a naughty Santa’s knee.

”Life and consciousness are the two great mysteries. Actually, their substrates are the inanimate. And how do you get from neurons shooting around in the brain to the thought that pops up in your head and mine? There’s something deeply mysterious about that. And if you’re not struck by the mystery, I think you haven’t thought about it.” — Charles Krauthammer

Last Evening — Last evening was as perfect a way to close out Christmas Day. Marcia had gone off to bed. Somehow I tuned in on a one-hour long radio interview with a Daniel Krauthammer son of the brilliant thinker and columnist, the late Dr. Charles Krauthammer.

The discussion centered on a memoir Daniel’s dad had been working on and which during his last weeks asked his son to finish and publish. He was specific on his desires and his son struggled to be true to his dad and still bring out points he felt important and pertinent. This was especially so when it came to religion. And so I sat mesmerized and my Sudoku game sat idle.

Charles Krauthammer was an observant orthodox (including strict observance of Shabbat) Jew. Yet, he celebrated much of Christmas, both the secular and the religious. And here, on Christmas night I heard discuss the age old struggle many of us find ourselves facing time and again; the story in its simplicity surviving in a world which continues to shove it deeper and deeper into a corner.

Nearing death, Charles Krauthammer the orthodox Jew told his son that he did not have an answer as to what was next. What he did know is that us, living on a rock floating somewhere in infinity somehow brimming with not just life, but life cognizant of that knowledge is not just happenstance. Krauthammer seemed ready for the next step.

To me the celebration of Christmas, sitting by myself in my dimly lit living room, at that moment became surrounded by a warm glow. Yes, I had a great Christmas.

A Great Christmas Gift – from brother Arty to his brothers. He sent all of us 10# gym weights. The plan being that we all Zoom twice a week for a (30) minutes workout session.

His daughter, my niece Taryn, is Director for a company which staffs corporate wellness centers nationwide. So, at least this is the plan, she’ll be asked to generate a ‘geriatric’ strength program for the four of us.

Actually, I am ‘pumped’!

Fini – recently noted; ‘Dammit I’m mad’ spelled backwards is still ‘Dammit I’m mad’.

A crazy week of sports in the ‘Nati. This from our favorite local pundit, Willie Cunningham: “I must be living in a Star Trek time warp. Buffalo Bills win the AFC East. Cleveland Browns are 10 and 4 heading into the playoffs. Xavier hits a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win as the UC Bearcats whip Tulsa. Now.. Bengals are beating up the Steelers on MNF.. Am I dreaming???”

This week in 1808 Ludwig von Beethoven conducted and performed in concert at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, with a premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven himself playing the piano). This must have been as much of an event as watching the Beetles during the ‘60s or the Rolling Stones for the past century.

I am still watching the Vendee Globe sailing race, now about halfway through the 24,000-nm event. I believe their motto is; “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails”. That statement can apply to all sorts of scenarios,

A wit who put out a meme regarding the proposed fiscal bill; “Instead of sending Pakistan $10-million for Gender Programs…why not send them a million liberals with Gender Studies degrees?”

More wit; “this is that magical time of year when Walmart opens up their 3rd checkout lane of the 87 they never use.”

Yesterday on this day in 1977 Charlie Chaplin died. He’s quoted saying; “I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.”

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

NEXT WEEK – POSSIBLY A POST LATE SUNDAY. In TX on Saturday and traveling Sunday morning

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dirk


MERRY CHRISTMAS

12 19th, 2020


Happy Saturday morning. Just climbed into my chair and sipped my first coffee – waiting for my mind to snap into gear. While that is happening, with our curfew still in place, I’m noting that it’s deadly quiet outside, no traffic at all. I wonder how many cars are now sitting in their driveway idling, waiting patiently for the 5:00AM end of curfew to then race out. Something like that must be happening.

Ponder this; often the way we see things in the here and now turn radically different down the road. Example; years ago a Dr. Felix Rey was the Doctor who treated Vincent Van Gogh’s ear. In 1889 Van Gogh painted Rey’s portrait. Rey thoroughly disliked the final product. As a result the dear Doctor’s mother then ended up using that painting to patch a hole in their chicken coop (early example of recycling).

Salvaged and now at the Pushkin Museum its value has been placed to be in excess of $50 million. Can you think of any current example which might, down history’s road, be similarly viewed?

Possibly, the reverse of the above can also be true. Here is an early photo of my dad and his brother ‘stepping’ out around 1936. Next to it I placed one of a male model proudly wearing the best of today’s fashion offering. Take your pick.

     

Covid-19 —

My daughter just told me she licks her friends at nursery. Exactly what you want to hear during a global pandemic” — Helen Carr (the kid’s mom)

Our friends Barb and Bulent in Canada, they too are at wits end with the whole Covid lockdown bit. Barb, I think in desperation, is now reading a 10 billion-page book on the history of Europe; lots of minutiae. This caused a mail asking me if I knew who the first Count of Holland was without diving into Google. I had no idea. The next day she sent me a picture of Count Dirk I. I pasted a recent photo of moi next to the one she sent thinking there was some resemblance. Agree? Note the Caspian style hat that I’m wearing, thinking that Count Dirk the First might have come from a place such as modern day Kazahkstan. Who knows?

   

Operation Warp Speed was ridiculed early on when first President Trump introduced it as being just a pipe dream. Starting earlier this week the first vaccinations were being poked into people. Truly AMAZING.

I found a calculator (in the LA Times) where you could click on State and County, click on age, any conditions, and up pops exactly where you are in the long line of people waiting for the vaccine; I did that. So here is the result; In our county, I am in group B1 and have 76,474 people in front of me – spacing 6’ apart that’s quite the line.

This is especially for those of you living in extremely restricted States; those with over-the-top lockdowns, ill-conceived closures, etc. Remember that if you allow the government to break the law or just create an edict and pretend it’s a law, during an emergency, it will create emergencies to further break the law.

Americans have always been a totally courageous people. Yet today there seems to be a prevailing attitude. Our society today seems to be filled with fear, fear of illness, fear of our ever changing climate changing, fear of the people around us, fear of variety in thought and speech, and we can’t forget the fear of dying from the R’ona

What’s happened in the last half century? When did we ever climb into little cocoons to isolate ourselves, to isolate our towns? When last did we kill our commerce, kill our businesses, and kill the education of our kids?

Sailing sailing, over the bounding main – I might as well admit it, Marcia thinks that my following (obsession for?) this year’s Vendée Globe race is idiotic. The Vendée Globe race is held every four years. Little known in the USA it begins in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. Thirty three Imoca Class boats (60’ open cockpit virtually unsinkable monohull yachts) set sail to eventually return to Les Sables-d’Olonne after two and a half months and circumnavigation the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).

This year it’s 27 men and six women skippers who will cover the 24,000 Nautical Miles. Sailed single handed, nonstop, it’s really several races in one considering that older Imoca boats sail alongside the latest generation of carbon fiber foiler equipped entries.

Now, about 15,000 miles into it, six boats have abandoned the race (one broke in half and the skipper floated in a life raft for 11-hours before being rescued) and are spread out over about 4,000 miles.

Skippers will send in short videos and the race committee itself airs two updates each day. These updates try to convey weather issues, how individuals deal with the loneliness, sleep deprivation, breakdowns and needed repairs, sights (mostly sunrises/sunsets, Dolphins and Albatrosses), food and food preparations, and so forth.

The short video below is of Sam Davis and her boat; Initiatives-Cœur – a charity operation providing heart surgery for kids in the developing world. Sam had to abandon the race when her boat’s keel got damaged after hitting something at dinnertime (she broke a couple of ribs when the impact tossed her about). Sailing on, Initiatives-Cœur was repaired in Cape Town South Africa and, although no longer in the race, she is continuing, all in an effort to keep promoting the charity.

Anytime I do try to tell Marcia about some Vendée bit she starts up with a; “la la la la la, can’t hear you, la la la la la” sing song. It’s not her thing. However I am totally hooked.

Fini – Last week I mentioned the Abraham Accords; the normalization between Bahrain, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Israeli. I mentioned that these Accords were truly a historic diplomatic breakthrough. Well, I forgot to mention that The Sudan was also part of these Accords and feel I need to correct that bit.

Since soon a lot of information the media casually forgot to mention, which will soon be buried even deeper, causes me to remind you that President Trump, some months ago, granted a full pardon to Susan B. Anthony, who was convicted of illegally voting in 1872. I know the coverage of this event was missed due to the fact that the media was busily describing Trump’s hatred for women and other matters.

Thought you’d want to see the list of SHAME – Those countries in the U.N. General Assembly which voted NO regarding the Human Rights abuses by Iran. Here’s the list:

A little piece of detail from The Beatles. Paul McCartney recently mentioned that; “we were writing songs that were memorable. We weren’t writing them to BE memorable, but so that we could remember them!” As James Woods once said; “amazing how self-effacing the Beatles were”.

Keep your eyes and ears open on further news on more brilliant business strategies staged by one Hunter Biden. Could be fascinating!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone. It’ll be a little different this year as far as the celebrations go, but the spirit and the meaning will be the same and especially now, be more important than ever. Again, a MERRY CHRISTMAS to each and everyone of you.

Make it great week, keep the peace, be happy, stay safe, and be healthy!

Dirk