April 30th, 2020

“Selamat pagi” or “Good Morning Iban, a language closely related to Malay and spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is Day 42 of the California Lock Down (i.e. Shelter in Place order + Face Masks are Required in Public).

Its been a big week in our little corner of the world. CA is working CA Priorities, opened the beaches this week. That is to say you can swim, surf, boat, fish or kayak, walk or run at some of our beaches. But you cannot park cars or lay on the beach and of course, gather into groups. Which when you think about it is still a significant restriction. Doods like to gather to share points of view about the gnarly, totally tubular ride they just had. Oh well, baby steps.

We had a birthday this week. My youngest child, Jessica celebrated in a socially distant way. We managed a special dinner of boneless Prime Rib, Baked Taters and grilled veggies, followed by cake and ice cream. I miscalculated the cooking time (note to self – boneless roast cook faster than bone-in), so the roast more medium than medium rare but it was still quite tasty. Sweet!

This week I learned some stuff:
• When Sean, Jenny, Asa and Chloe visited(which seems like a very long time ago now), they presented us with this very cool colorful bird house that they made for from plywood and Jenny’s retired TX license plate for the roof. We mounted on the pergola under the wisteria. We have an abundance of birds that bathe in the pond’s waterfall and eat from the feeders. So I was social distancing my ass off in our back yard, insuring my isolation by puffing on a decent stogie when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. As I looked closer, I found that a nice young feathered couple had moved in to the TX bird house. We often get nests in the wisteria (and sometimes a raccoon or two) but this is our first birdhouse tenant. So Proud!
• April 30th is the 121st day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 244 days till Christmas!). On this day in 1492, Columbus received his commission to explore from Spain; In 1789, George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States; Today in 1803, The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation; in 1900, the US makes Hawaii a territory; On this day in 1927, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. In 1945, newly weds, Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun, commit suicide in the Führerbunker in Berlin as the Russians approached In 1961, the Russian Submarine, K-19, is commissioned as the first nuclear capable submarine; Today, in 1973, the White House announced that counsel, John Dean has been fired and H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman have resigned; In 1975, Communist forces, take control of Saigon; In 2004 the world learns of the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison when US media releases photos; Cloris Leachman, American actress and comedian was born today in 1926;Big Bang Actor, Johnny Galecki has a birthday today; Legendary railroad engineer, Casey Jones was killed when his passenger trail collided with a freight train on this day in 1900;

Website Update:
• WoooHooo !!! A New Vocabulary Quiz
• Last week for the UJT Musical Trivia Quiz !!!!
• No new recipes this week.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I picked up my paint brush for the first time in weeks to create a birthday card for Jessica. It turned out pretty good, especially since I haven’t painted in so long. I really liked the image so I did it in a larger format which turned out almost as good as the card.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• The absence of national leadership is appalling to me. I thought I was used to moronic behavior at the highest levels of our national institutions. But nothing makes it more glaringly apparent than a mutual threat to our nation’s (and the rest of the world) peace and security. The current national and international COVID-19 strategy is for every one go off and do whatever in their part of the pool. If ever their was a role for the America’s Federal Government to lead the country and the world this is it. Superlative tweets, ill-advised blurts and blustery gestures will not suffice. Apparently there is a failure to grasp the simple fact that “we” cannot just take care of “us” at any level in a pandemic. The whole is only as healthy as its weakest link. Without critical national and international leadership, each nation and state can and will have different strategies and approaches, they will individually compete for scarce resources and if any of these diverse remedies fails, the health of the nation and the world will suffer. I am holding my breath with a horrifying image of Americans defending borders of states, counties and cities in fear of other Americans who may spread the disease again and again. At the same time, I stand in awe of the courage and commitment of healthcare and other essential service providers being demonstrated everyday all over the world.

Music Update:

Another tiptoe though the archives to share some things you might missed or never have heard or at least not heard recently.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Tony Joe White — Ol’ Mother Earth — This is a deep cut from his 1973 release, “Home Made Ice Cream”. This little acoustic song said the right things that are even more true now!
• Steely Dan – Time Out of Mind – “Gaucho” was one of Steely Dan’s jazziest records and for me one of their best. Their music is so tight that their critics describe Fagen and Becker as perfection obsessed and their work consummate 1980’s bachelor pad music! This is a pretty deep cut from their 1980 release that I hope you enjoy.
• Vance Joy — The Best That I Can — I just love this guys music. Somehow he says what is in my heart but mostly cannot say out loud. This one comes his 2014 release, “Dream Your Life Away”.
• Mike + The Mechanics — Taken In (Remastered Version) — These guys don’t seem to have been as popular as they probably should have been. This one was written my Mike Rutherford and comes from their self-titled first album released in 1985
• Bob Seeger and The Silver Bullet Band —You’ll Accompany Me — This one comes from their 1980 iconic record, “Against the Wind”. Its a great song even if it does seem to resonate like a stalker’s anthem right up there with Police’s “Every Breath You Take”:)
• Dire Straits — Private Investigations — I love the guitar work on this song inspired by Raymond Chandler. This one comes from their, “Love Over Gold” album released in 1982.

That’s it… Do the best you can;  Laugh every chance you get;  And always remember …  The best is yet to come!  As always, thank you for being my friend!