Remembering Easter break with a couple #TBT photos from 1997

Posted By on April 18, 2019

It is Thursday before Easter  and besides thinking about a Throwback Thursday post, it is also Maundy Thursday – the day in which Christian’s commemorate the Last Supper. Condo1718in1997_IMG_2673It also reminds me of the times we would get together with our families on or around Easter. Sometimes it was with my parents and other times with Brenda’s parents – a few time at their condo in Florida (1997 #TBT photos).

It is also a reminder that I need to get my project in order since our Canadian renters will be heading home and it will be time for me to head down and clean up. I have been thinking about it and getting my “work-wagon” Honda Odyssey van ready for the trip; I’ve also noticed the pile of stuff Brenda keeps adding to for me to take south. Condo1718SinkFaucet190319I do have the base of the vanities, sinks and faucets ready to go, but still need to coordinate the other items I’m going to need for the master bathroom remodel. I’m half looking forward to it and half feeling overwhelm with things to do at home too – it is spring.

HowardFamTwinsGame190416As for the #TBT tie into this post, I thought of my nephew Justin, wife Keity and growing kids the other night after seeing a photo on Facebook mentioning they were at the Minnesota Twins game and that Madelyn and Evan were on the jumbotron at Target Field. Now that we don’t drive to Wayzata to visit Katelyn, Drew and Annalyn anymore, we don’t see the Howards as often … but still get the occasional text message and phone call from Justin. What a great family.

The Howards – Justin, MomH, Aaron, Jackie and DadH in 1997

How far left will Democrats go as they campaign for president?

Posted By on April 17, 2019


It was a struggle to contain my frustration as I watched Senator Bernie Sanders pitch his version of Democratic Socialism to a “townhall” Q & A hosted by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum of Fox News on Monday night. I “SO” hope that the American people have far more commonsense than to head further down a path that has failed in every country it has ever been tried. On the contrary, for all the challenges we have with our  system that embraces free markets and capitalism, it has demonstrated success in lifting the quality of life for all – it is what attracts millions from ArtLaffereverywhere else to come to America. Let’s not lose that risk-reward motivation and competitive edge.

I keep looking and listening for a simple sound bite that will make sense people from all backgrounds. Below is a paraphrased comment from Art Laffer (of Laffer curve theory) when discussing overly punitive progressive taxes and taxes on wealth. He commented that “the more earnings and wealth government takes from achievers, the more it deters them from working harder and taking risks. The more government provides and gives to workers, the less motivated they are to take risk, achieve and work harder.”

Competitive markets work and capitalism naturally advances a society, where socialism and a heavy reliance on government provided services reduces competition, improvement and innovation … and almost always proves to be the least efficient provider of goods and services. If America’s current system is leaving too many people behind, let’s improve our free-market , incentive based system and not go to a punitive based government controlled system. Competitive markets,  risk – reward and capitalism work … and is the only economic system proven to improve the quality of life for all willing to participate.


Replaced the rear shocks the Honda Odyssey this past weekend

Posted By on April 16, 2019


Besides finishing the painful tax filing this weekend, I replaced the rear shocks in my 2002 Honda Odyssey  “work-wagon” and Florida vehicle. It is still the lowest mile vehicle we have, but unfortunately it is showing its age … especially the rusting under carriage. Still it runs well and is reliable … knock on wood.

I’ve been noticing the chatter when going over bumps lately and a glance at the passenger side rear shock indicated the oil damper had leaked out – the shock no longer returns to position. Below is a quick glance at the bad shock on top and the “still acceptable” but replaced shock on the bottom. The good shock will return after being compressed … the bad one is dead.

The Notre Dame de Paris burned – April 15, 2019

Posted By on April 15, 2019


One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in Paris, France was gutted as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France burned. The entire roof and main spire collapsed (below) along with what looks like significant 1024px-North_rose_window_of_Notre-Dame_de_Paris,_Aug_2010damage to the rose windows.

The heart wrenching images and video flooded social media streams and newsfeeds at people watched the huge structure engulfed in flames. 1280px-Notredame_ParisIt is so sad to see an historic landmark, an architectural piece of art, that stood for centuries destroyed. Very few Americans can relate to structures over 850 years old and built in medieval times – from 1163 to 1260.  The Catholic cathedral was modified throughout history and was damaged during the French Revolution, but underwent a 25 year restoration in 1845. Again in 1963 it required a renovation again, but this time partially to clean the centuries of soot and grime … and then again in for 9 more years of cleaning from 1991-2000. What a loss to see such a famous cathedral go up in flames – we can only hope it was accidental?


Music Monday: The Rascals and “A Beautiful Morning”

Posted By on April 15, 2019

TheRascalsGreatestHitsSince I drifted to the 1960s for Music Monday last week, why not stay in that decade for one more week? A_Beautiful_Morning_-_RascalsSpring is now definitely here in Ohio and we have had several “beautiful mornings” … even though today is a shockingly cold (37 degrees)taxday.” 

With that introduction, how about “A Beautiful Morning”  written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and recorded by The Rascals in 1968. The single topped out as #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a Million Seller on June 28. The “beautiful” sentiment was needed in 1968; it was a very turbulent time in America. As far as the songs album release, it first appeared on Time Peace: The Rascals’ Greatest Hits.

  The Rascals – A Beautiful Morning | 1968

The (Young) Rascals: Felix Cavaliere Eddie Brigati Gene Cornish Dino Danelli

American exceptionalism and competition on local display

Posted By on April 14, 2019

8553506-elranchogrande_2010-29-04_2It is hard to believe our local El Rancho Nuevo Mexican Restaurant has been around for 9 years now (photo from opening in 2010) … but as the competition has increase, entrepreneurs have had to step up their game. This restaurant is one of the greatest small business example of why capitalism works: with increased local competition, their product had to improve. In the 9 years we have eaten there, MouthWashDispenser190407_mI’ve watched the quality of service improve (it was always good), food quality to be appropriate and the innovation, improvements and cleanliness stay ahead of the competition … of which there is plenty. All the local Mexican restaurants have had to compete for customers, making those that survive FAR better for customers (private ownership and competition works; capitalism vs socialism). 

El Rancho Nuevo, at least at this particular Cincinnati-Dayton Road location in Liberty Township, Ohio continues to innovate with small thing like bathroom improvements. It is so nice that I expected someone to hand me a towel. The cleanliness and pleasant smell was wonderful; the sinks have new waterfall faucets and there is even a mouthwash dispenser for those of us who enjoy salsa, but don’t want co-workers and customers to suffer when we return to the office.

It is this kind of next generation “legal immigrant owned” business in America that will succeed; it is a shining example of private ownership, free markets and small business competition that prove capitalism will work for next generation just as it has the previous – it is an example of rewarding smart-hard work and what sets the US apart … and one of the reasons America is exceptional. I’m so impressed to have such a noticeable example in our own backyard. 


Gender roles and a repair estimate for our Honda Pilot

Posted By on April 13, 2019

Even in today’s gender-neutral world, there are duties, either said or unsaid, that married couples still assign to each other. One of them in our house assigned to me is taking care of our automotive issues … especially the ones nobody really wants to do.

One of this past weeks’ tasks was to take our 2006 Honda Pilot to the claims adjuster at a body shop (it was backed into while parked). Although “waiting” is something few people enjoy, there was a comfortable waiting room to read the morning newspaper … and of course tweet about it (now that’s disturbing; what have I become?)

Original Tweet (more…)

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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