Memorial Day: Focus for Memory

Mason Memorial Day ParadeCincinnati is my mailing address though
I definitely do not live within the city limits. The area where I live is governed by township trustees and not inside any city limits at all. The city of Mason is the closest and people even sometimes speak of where I live as “the Mason area”. I’ve been to a few Mason festivals and such but I don’t make a habit of it and I don’t consider my self a Masonite. When the subject of Memorial Day parades came up and a friend mentioned that Mason had one, it struck me that I’d never been and that it was where I ought to go this year.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeThat turned out to be easier said than done. The actual attending was easy enough but finding out when and where was a real challenge. Every town in the area seemed to have at least one Memorial Day related event on every news site’s calendar — except Mason. The friend who had first mentioned the parade eventually came up with the time and route but I’ve no idea from where and the information was accompanied with, “I swear, it’s like they don’t want people to know about it!” Armed with the hard earned information, I made it in time to walk to the staging area and make it back to a big bend in the route before step-off time.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeThe parade had Grand Marshalls (more on that later), twirling flags, and a marching band…

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day Parade…lots of Girl and Boy Scouts — including one pretty big group carrying a really big flag — and beauty queens.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeA sizable portion of the crowd, including me, followed the parade to Rose Hill Cemetery where a few ceremonies were scheduled. On the way we passed a fellow leaning back and watching the parade with a WW II veteran’s cap on his head. Someone a few spots in front of me reached out to shake his hand and say thank you. I was one of several people who took the cue and did the same. Yes, I know the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day and I sometimes chastise those who don’t. But most, if not all, of these thank yous were personal and exempt from any holiday protocol and they’re all too rare.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeToday’s parade had three Grand Marshalls. Frank Weishaupt, who was in the white Mercedes and is in the first picture, represented World War II veterans. The next picture is of Frank Huffman, Jr., who fought in Korea. The third picture is of John Looker who served in Vietnam and who was also today’s key note speaker. John was wounded more than once. On the day that he received his last and worst wound, eleven men in his unit were killed. Most of his speech did not even reference his own experiences but he ended by reciting the names of those eleven men. Personal? Yes. Appropriate? Very.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeWhen the speeches were over, two women came forward and placed wreaths on waiting stands. Seven uniformed men, who had been sitting to the side, then stood and fired three volleys as an eighth gave the commands. When they were done, a trumpeter standing next to them played taps as another, many years his junior, stood apart and echoed each note just a couple of seconds later. A benediction followed and brought things to a close. With my memory well focused, I walked back to town and to my car.

dedmhDoug Dickey was a high school classmate of mine who joined the Marines not long after graduation. In March of 1967 he gave his life to protect his comrades and for that was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The citation is here. One of my recent trip journals included a photo of his inscription on the Medal of Honor Memorial in Indianapolis. On March 22 of this year, a portion of Ohio Route 47 was designated as the Pfc. Douglas E. Dickey Memorial Highway and just over a week ago, on May 18, signs marking the highway were unveiled. An article on the unveiling is here.

Tasting Cincinnati 35 years of age, Taste of Cincinnati is “the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival”. It started as a one day affair in 1979 but within just a couple of years had grown to two. Since 1988 it has filled the entire three day weekend of Memorial Day with food, drink, and entertainment. When it expanded to three days, it moved from Piatt Park (Garfield Place) to Central Parkway. Since 2007, its home has been several blocks of Fifth Street around Fountain Square.

Taste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiMy attendance has been spotty but when I do go I sort of target the winners and I did a pretty good job of that this year. At left is this year’s Best Entree, a very tasty Honey Sweet & Sour Shrimp from Arloi Dee. It was preceded by the Best Appetizer, Thai Taste’s Crab Rangoon. I’d also try the Best Dessert but that would be later.

Walking between the rows of booths exposed me to all sorts of tantalizing aromas and sights and I yielded to a Third Place Pulled Pork Sandwich from Giminetti’s Bakery. Third place is pretty impressive and it tasted mighty fine but, largely because of what I came to next, I didn’t really need it.

Taste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiWhat I came to next was the Taste Experience. New this year, the Experience features some of the area’s top tier restaurants along with Les Chefs de Cuisine, the regional chapter of the American Culinary Federation. The restaurants generally do three hour stints while Les Chefs are there through the full weekend. I decided to try the Rigatoni Bolognese being offered by Palomino for $3 but, when told I could have it and the Pear Bread Pudding for $5, I just said yes. Considering the ladies doing the serving, it’s surprising I didn’t go for ten of each.

Taste of Cincinnatitoc08Shortly after arriving, I had registered for a Christian Moerlein brewery tour. As tour time neared, I returned to Fountain Square to board the shuttle. On the way to the brewery, we passed Piatt Park, site of the first nine Tastes, which was occupied today by the March Against Monsanto.

Taste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiI had expected a tour of the rather new Moerlein production facilities so was surprised to learn that the tour involved the lagering cellars beneath the brewery. The building now occupied by Moerlein was home to the Kaufmann Brewery before prohibition did it in. I’ve been here before but it’s always interesting to visit the massive hand dug cellars and see what several decades of use as a trash bin produces.

Taste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiThough there really wasn’t a tour, someone was on hand in the brewing area to answer questions. The taproom officially opened today and will be in operation regularly on weekends.

It always thought it a little embarrassing to attend a “taste” event in a city that was once a leader in beer production — and consumption — and find nothing but the likes of Budweiser and Miller. Christian Moerlein and owner Greg Hardman have changed that in a big way. Moerlein is a presenting sponsor of this year’s event and Moerlein booths were plentiful but there was no monopoly. Miller and Bud were there and so were folks like Rivertown, Great Lakes, and Bells.

Taste of CincinnatiTaste of CincinnatiAfter the tour, I returned to the festival area for two specific reasons. Food trucks have become increasingly popular in the area. Taste of Cincinnati added a Food Truck Alley this year and that’s something I hadn’t yet seen. And then there was that Best of Taste dessert. There were definitely some inviting food trucks in the “alley” but I was saving what little room I had left for the Vanilla Bourbon Bread Pudding at Blue Wisp. A color coded living statue made the place easy to find and the excellent bread pudding was the perfect finish to a day of epicurean delights.

My Apps – Chapter 6
Easy Thumbnails

Easy ThumbnailsMy first attempt at writing this post got all bound up in explaining why I do thumbnails the way I do. As I rearranged the second paragraph for the third or fourth time, I heard my own echo from long ago, “If it’s this hard to write, it’s going to be a bitch to read.” That’s usually a pretty good signal that a basic rethink is in order. When I stepped back, I quickly realized two things. One, some of my reasons are truly arbitrary and naturally hard to explain, and two, nobody cares. There aren’t many who care if I do something, fewer care how, and the number who care why has to be near zero. If someone does want to know why, just ask and I’ll be happy to explain and ‘fess up to the arbitrary bits. For now, I’m just going to talk about how I do them and how Easy Thumbnails fits in.

In the very early days I experimented (i.e., thrashed around) but settled down by my fourth trip and subsequent trip journals have used 100 pixel square thumbnails. At first, I just used my graphics editor (PhotoWise or PhotoPlus) to re-size the image after I’d cropped it to the desired area. As my workflow developed, I started doing this as a batch after all the editing was done. When the full sized photo’s editing was complete, I would save it, carve out the thumbnail, save it, then move on to the next picture. Once a page’s photos were done, I would change some settings and scrunch all the thumbnails in a single pass. Then I came upon Fooke Software’s Easy Thumbnails. Batch processing in PhotoPlus (PhotoWise was long gone by this point) had always been rather awkward whereas it was Easy Thumbnail’s strong suit. The only settings I’ve ever used are size and quality but pictures can be renamed, rotated, and some other characteristics, such as brightness, altered. All pictures in a directory are processed with “Make All” or a selected subset processed with “Make”.

I stopped using Easy Thumbnails in the middle of 2012 but it was not because of any flaws or shortcomings. It is true freeware and has been rock solid. I started using a different program because it simplified workflow but Easy Thumbnails is still on my computer and I won’t hesitate to use it if the need ever arises. I also would not hesitate to take a serious look at other Fooke products if appropriate. I own and am happy with CSE HTML Validator but if I am ever in need of a replacement, Fooke Software’s NoteTab will be the first place I look.

My Apps – Chapter 5 — Life After Frontpage Express

Book Review
Greetings from the Lincoln Highway – Centennial Edition
Brian Butko

Greetings from the Lincoln Highway cover The Lincoln Highway turns a hundred this year. Brian Butko’s Greetings from the Lincoln Highway turns eight. At first glance, the 2013 Greetings… looks an awful lot like the 2005 Greetings… with a soft cover and a “Centennial Edition” banner on the front and it’s a fact that, in many ways, it is the same. It has the same organization with an introductory chapter and a chapter, with map, for each state the highway passed through and a very high percentage of the words and pictures in those chapters are the same, too. Another thing that remains the same and which accounts for the small in percentage but large in number changes is the care and attention to detail. Butko probably didn’t catch everything in the book that the passage of time has altered but he sure tried and he sure got a lot.

Most of changes are tiny and hard to spot. A lot are downers; Diners and motels that were operating in 2005 but have been closed or worse. Some, like the growth of Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor from 140 to 200 miles, are positive. A few changed words handle the bulk of these updates though some are more involved and a few include a photo change. New photographs are easier to spot than new words and I suppose a larger fraction of photos than words were changed but that’s just because the word count is higher that the picture count. The majority of the book’s graphics remain the same. Though I in no way benefit from the sale of this book, in the interest of full disclosure I need to say that I contributed a half dozen or so of the new photos.

Greetings from the Lincoln Highway insideAside from the occasional new photo, the most visible changes may be in the statistics and maps at the front of each state chapter. Here population numbers from the 2010 census replace those from the 2000 census and the maps get a line for the Proclamation Route. The Lincoln Highway Proclamation Route was a list of cities published by the Lincoln Highway Association on September 14, 1913. Shifts started happening almost immediately and a detailed route was never signed or published that matched the September 14 announcement. But several of the cities dropped in 1913 fought unsuccessfully to return and many have fought more recently and more successfully to be recognized. Butko acknowledges that by including the ephemeral route. All of the quotes from postcards and other period communication that appeared in the margins of the original are still there and a few more have been added.

Greetings from the Lincoln Highway is almost universally accepted as the best book available for anyone wanting to travel or otherwise interact with the Lincoln Highway of today. And it’s more. That’s something I had forgotten. “The Good, the Bad and the Muddy”, the book’s opening chapter, not only introduces the Lincoln Highway, it provides a nice overview of the early days of motoring. When the book moves on to the individual states and a more concentrated Lincoln Highway focus, it offers both history and guidance. It is not a lay-in-your-lap turn-by-turn guide book but the text and maps contain most of what is needed to travel any alignment of any segment. Doing it for real is certainly best but there are enough pictures that doing it in an easy chair ain’t too bad.

Greetings from the Lincoln Highway — Centennial Edition, Brian Butko, Stackpole Books, 2013, paperback, 11 x 8.5 inches, 288 pages, ISBN 9780811711746

Main Street across America coverI’m reading this book for the third time. I read it around 2005 when I was dabbling with short drives on the Lincoln Highway to my east. I reread it in 2009 when I was getting ready to drive the Lincoln from the east edge of Illinois to the west coast. My current read is in anticipation of another long, hopefully full length, drive of what Drake Hokanson calls Main Street across America. I never read the original, only the pictured Tenth Anniversary Edition which is now fifteen years old itself.

I’m reading the book primarily because Hokanson’s appreciation of the road puts me in just the right mood to appreciate it myself but there are other reasons, too. One is that, like Butko’s book above, much of the original remained in the anniversary edition and provides its own glimpses of the highway when it was only three-quarters, rather than a full, century old. Lastly, it’s a chance to appreciate Drake Hokanson. It you think the Lincoln Highway is largely forgotten now, imagine what it was like in 1988. Hokanson didn’t invent a new road like Carl Fisher and his buddies but he did kind of invent the remembering of it. And that’s pretty cool.

The Lincoln Highway — Main Street across America — Tenth Anniversary Edition, Drake Hokanson, University Of Iowa Press, 1999, paperback, 10.6 x 9.4 inches, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0877456766

American Songline in Hayesville

Cece Otto - AmericanSonglineThis is another short Lincoln Highway related trip that begins with music. Actually, it’s all about music. The reason for the trip is this afternoon’s Cece Otto American Songline concert in Hayesville, Ohio, and it started yesterday with a Carey Murdock concert in Van Wert. The journal for the trip is here. This will be the only blog entry related to the trip and will serve to hold any and all comments.

Bambulance Chasers

bambulanceSince people who record logs on the web are “bloggers”, I’m thinking that those who chase ambulances on the web might be “bamulance chasers”. Of course, prior to Wednesday I didn’t even know they existed. Two days earlier I was in an accident. In stop-and-go traffic on I-71, I realized that the car in my rear view mirror was not going to make this particular stop in time. Bump to the back of me, crunch to the front, there I was. Stuck in the middle. The next car in line stopped in time but not the one after that. Five cars at the side of the expressway with varying degrees of damage but no injuries. The officer arrived. He collected a bunch of information from everyone, cited the guy that hit me, and sent us on our way.

That was Monday. On Tuesday morning I spoke with the fellow’s insurance agent and made a Wednesday appointment for an estimate. The appointment was for 9:00 AM. At 8:07 my cell phone rang. It was a clue that I’d made a big mistake on Monday but I didn’t immediately figure that out.

The call was from the Collision Follow Up Agency or something along those lines. I answered a few questions, the call ended pleasantly, and I headed off to my appointment. Things went quite smoothly in getting the estimate started and getting a loaner car but I got another call while there. This time it was from the Follow Up Collision Agency or something along those lines and things finally clicked. I quickly informed the caller that there were no injuries in the accident and, as I now sort of expected, the interest diminished greatly. Thinking back, I could see that the same “no injuries” equals “no interest” exchange had occurred in the earlier call which I’d actually thought was from a legitimate government agency.

The back story also quickly became clear. I almost never answer my home phone unless I recognize the caller ID. Conversely, I almost always answer my cell phone because the only people with that number are people I’m actually given it to. At least that had been the case. Without thinking it through, I’d given the investigating police officer my cell phone number. It went on the police report which went on the internet Tuesday afternoon. I would get four more calls on Wednesday and two on Thursday for a total of eight. All were polite and none even hinted at a hard sell. One caller was more or less saying goodbye after a single word from me. He announced that he was from the Up Collision Follow Agency or something along those lines and I answered “OK”. There was a chuckle in my voice and he caught it.

“I guess I’m not the first”, he said.

“Nope. You’re fifth.”

For the sake of completeness, I volunteered that there were no injuries but I’m sure that wasn’t necessary. It was a short call.

Physical mail took a little longer. On Thursday, three pieces of accident related mail appeared. Two were duplicates except for my middle name being on one and not the other. Friday brought another matching pair. The black envelope was in the red bag which was hung on my door sometime Thursday.

The phone calls seem to have stopped with the two on Thursday. I left home before the mail arrived on Saturday so I don’t know if more solicitations are waiting in my mailbox. My impression is that the flurry is over. There are new police reports posted and other potential clients to call. Ambulance chasing may look a little different than it once did but it’s far from dead.

Book Review
The Grand Design
Hawking and Mlodinow

The Grand Design coverIf you think this looks like it belongs here, you haven’t been paying attention. No, books about cosmology, quantum physics, and beyond aren’t what I typically read and I’m clearly not qualified to review them. I was given the book as a gift, I read and enjoyed it, and I intend to tell somebody about it.

Note that I said “read and enjoyed”, not “read and understood”. I suppose it is a sort of “Quantum Physics for Dummies” but quantum physics is not really a field for dummies. The way the book worked for me was as history and as a glossary. Bits of the history of mankind’s progress in understanding his world is scattered throughout with references to folks like Archimedes and Newton and Einstein. There is a real glossary at the back but I felt as if the body of the book gave me a glossary level understanding of things. As I read about string theory, multiverses, no-boundary conditions, and the like, I may have understood the definitions but fell a little short of fully comprehending the concepts. I don’t mean that I was constantly shaking my head and moving on in bewilderment. I simply mean there were no “ah-ha, of course the world needs quarks” moments.

There are frequent almost folksy attempts at humor or lightness. Some bring on a smile; Many don’t. But I think they all do their job as reminders of just who this is written for. I did not have a thorough understanding of quantum physics when I finished my reading but I did have confidence that others do. I guess that’s really what I got out of the book. I think there’s something of a tendency for us “civilians” to dismiss stuff like multiple universes as crazy talk but there really are people who can get their heads around the theory and I find that reassuring. Maybe some of the ideas really are half baked but the truly wrong ones will eventually be found out and the half right ones will be improved upon. That’s what science at this level is; Admiring and appreciating guys like Newton and Einstein while working as hard as you can to find their mistakes.

granddesign_cryI started off admitting that this book was really out of place here. I do a lot of my reading over meals in restaurants and it was rather out of place in some of the joints where I eat, too. I quickly worked out a way to carry the book that cut down considerably on the funny looks aimed my way.

The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow,  Bantam, 2012, paperback, 6 x 9 inches, 208 pages, ISBN 978-0553384666

Dayton Remembers

Great 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkAt right is a very old light bulb with some very old water inside. The bulb was in a Dayton, Ohio, high school during the 1913 flood and a microscopic hole allowed water to get inside. The worst natural disaster in Ohio’s history struck on March 25, 1913. On March 23, 2013, a permanent display, devoted to the flood, opened at Carillon Historical Park. I saw the exhibit for the first time yesterday.

Great 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkGreat 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkAn existing building was greatly enlarged to house the display though it’s almost impossible to tell the new from the old. The original building was nearly filled by the Rubicon fireless steam engine. The NCR (National Cash Register) owned engine had been a big help in the flood recovery so adding the display to its home seems appropriate.

Great 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkGreat 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkThe 1913 flood wasn’t the first for Dayton. The city stands at the convergence of three rivers and a creek so flowing water is ever present. Some actual photographs of the 1866 flood are on display with a larger image of from the 1898 flood as background. There were also major floods in 1828 and 1847. The TV screen with modern style reporting of 1913 weather may look a little corny but it is an effective way of describing the wind, rain, and temperatures that gave rise to the flood.

Great 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkGreat 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkMany personal stories and artifacts help make up the exhibit. Katherine Kennedy Brown’s diary, with a large “The Flood” headlining the record of her experiences, is one. Another is the dress Grace Hall had made for her wedding. Trapped by the flood, Grace was rescued by her fiance but the dress was left behind. Read the placard here. The three-dimensional map beyond the dress was made by NCR in 1914 to show the extent of the flood. About fourteen square miles of the city were under water at the flood’s peak.

Great 1913 Flood Exhibit at Carillon Historical ParkAttics often figure prominently in floods and they certainly did in this one. “Remember the promises you made in the attic” became something of a rallying cry after the flood. A recreated attic is part of the exhibit but I didn’t expect much when I stepped into it. The moving light patterns on the solid floor looked about as corny as the derby-wearing weatherman. Maybe so but it is also just as effective. As I stood in the small space listening to the sounds of water coming from the dark hole that led the lower parts of the house and the creaking of the structure as water pressed against it, that concrete floor became a lot less solid and I had just a tiny sense of what it was like fearing that one of those creaks would change to a crack.

dayflood9The exhibit loops back to the Rubicon where the story of the birth of the Miami Conservancy District is presented. Many also consider this the birth of modern flood control. Under reminders of those “promises made in the attic”, Daytonians organized and financed a project that has succeeded in keeping Dayton dry to this day. It’s impossible to say just what this hotbed of invention would have become without the flood but it’s fairly easy to guess what it would have become without the MCD.

Carillon Historical ParkCarillon Historical ParkCarillon Historical ParkAlthough the carousel and 4-D theater were here when I visited last year, I didn’t actually see them. The carousel is filled with Dayton icons such as the Wright brothers’ dog and a Huffy bicycle. The animatrons in the theater tell of Dayton history with the help of some seat shaking, wind blowing, and a few dashes of water. The Wright brothers are there along with John Patterson, Charles Kettering, and Colonel Deeds. One of the reasons I’ll be coming back next year is shown in the third picture. Work has just begun on the Carillon Brewing Company which should open by the end of 2013. The brewery will produce and sell beer using historic tools and methods.

The flood was also the subject of an earlier blog entry,  a guest post from