January 3rd, 2019

“早 (gâu-chá)” Wishing all a fine “Good Morning” and a “新年快乐
(Xīnnián kuàilè)” “Happy New Year” in Taiwanese with Romanization.

I got a new watch for Christmas this year. This means that I now have 3 ways to determine what time it is on my body usually. Every room in our house has a clock. Most of the electronics and analog devices tell us what time it is. My car knows what time it is and in any time zone I wish to watch it run while I am driving. Its in the upper corner of every computer or tablet we use. It is everywhere we are and nowhere else. Its important to realize, or remember that time is a tool or weapon that man invented for himself. No other being (that we know of) has decided to measure every “moment” as man has. The way we have implemented it seems designed to create stress and pressure for everyone practicing that religion. Perhaps many of the advances we have made in science and engineering would not have been possible in a world where man’s concept of time was bed time, or winter, or harvest time or time to go hunt and gather. Maybe not…but I think it would may be an even more interesting and fulfilling way to live.

This is a good time to take stock. Inventory your skills and resources map them to your goals and adjust for any gaps. Then don’t worry about it too much. You don’t have to take everything seriously. Some of it can just be for the hell of it. The key, I think, is leaving a path filled with more smiles than frowns and above all, enjoying the ride. Happy 2019 my friends!

This week I learned some stuff:

• We celebrate NATIONAL FRUITCAKE TOSS DAY across the United States. National Fruitcake Toss Day is annually observed on January 3. Many people receive fruitcakes as gifts sometime during the holiday season. Some people eat the holiday bread. Others may re-gift them. There are those who sneakily throw them away and others who will do so openly. But on the third day of January, another type of fruitcake person comes out of the woodwork. These are the characters who have hoarded them, stored them and hid them so they can celebrate National Fruitcake Toss Day. Compete with friends by seeing who can toss a fruitcake the farthest. Use #FruitcakeTossDay to post on social media.
• I have noticed that my drinking habits have changed. Perhaps I self medicate more than I used to but that in and of itself is not too concerning as my intake has fluctuated from nothing to heavy and back again. No the thing that might be concerning is that it seems I like it even more than I used to. I mean the taste. Perhaps its that I have more time to focus on nothing in particular so I like to watch my TV in the evenings and have a cocktail. But I noticed that if I am drinking the scotch I like I will have more drinks than I used to. Which in turn gets me drunker than I used to. So being the new year and all, I thought I would find out if I have become an Alcoholic when I wasn’t looking. I found this “Am I an Alcoholic? ” test online. Its takes about 5 minutes to answer the 26 questions and at the end they give you an indication of your level of risk for becoming an alcoholic. The self test indicated that I was “At Risk for developing a problem with Alcohol” based upon my answers. A sobering thought that I will have to contemplate.

Website Update:
• Whoo Hoo… A “New” Vocabulary Quiz.
• Second week for the new UJT Music Trivia Quiz!
• I added two new recipes this week. As with many of my cooking adventures these days, these came from accidentally discovering some new cook on CreateTV. My new discover is a lovely woman from New Zealand by the name of Annabel Langbein who has a show called, “Free Range Cook”! She has a pretty home on the coast with a big garden. Anyway, I saw most of her preparation of a Mediterranean Baked Fish that I liked and while I failed to find that recipe on line, while looking I found another that intrigued me called, “Huntsman’s Chicken Pie. In the first case I really wan’t sure what all ingredients and amounts she used so mostly created mine from the glimpse I had of her fish and it turned out wonderful. The chicken dish started with her recipe. I changed it a lot. The way she had it was more like a chunky chicken soup with dumplings on top, which is fine if we called it, “Huntsman’s Chicken and Dumplings” but when I think of a pie, I imagine a crust with thick filling beneath it. I cut back on some of the liquids but not enough it was still pretty soupy but very tasty. Nice time I make it, I am going to put in a layer of parboiled toasted Coriander rice at the bottom. That should absorb the excess liquid and give it the “pie” body that I want. So for now it is called, “Draft Huntsman’s Pie”.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• School is still out for the holidays. At the end of the year and New Years day I did some paintings that I am pretty excited about.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.


• I think I have warned every one about the danger that worn Crocs become. Once their tread wears smooth they become skis on the smallest amount of liquid of any kind. I still like them a great deal and mostly recycled them when they got to smooth to wear. At some point I started to re-purpose them into hanging planters. I plant small plants – succulents or flowers in them and attach them to the posts that make up my arbor. They look cool. I decided to paint them this week. As I was laying out the sketch I remembered various footwear that I have enjoyed over the years. Let me see, as youngster I had a bright red raincoat with matching red boots! I would wear them on hot August in Miami days waiting on the rain.My grandma made me take them off before I died of heat stroke. Then later in Jr. High, Weejuns and Hush Puppy style desert boots became fashionable. After my induction into full hippiedom in High School, I wore these really cool black leather boots that just fit under my bell bottoms. After joining the Navy I enjoyed Clogs at first then was stuck on very comfortable hiking boots until we moved to Hawaii and into flip flops. During my professional life I went back to Weejuns and Wingtips to go with my suits. Sneakers when I was off. Now in retirement, its sneakers unless I am dressing up in long pants, then it is Crocs. Its funny what you remember, sketching some shoes screwed to a post.

Music Update:

Well, the radio program for you today on UJT Radio is an eclectic mix of genres – oldies to be remembered reverently and new music to be discovered. Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.

• Jack Johnson – Dreams Be Dreams — This is one of my favorites by JJ!!! .. Its a really good advice .. don’t let your dreams just be dream .. make them goals and work at them.
• Bruce Cockburn — Foxglove — This is a very pretty instrumental by a songwriter known for his completely excellent and thoughtful lyrics. This cut is from his, “Speechless” album of wonderful guitar instrumentals released in 2005.
• Micheal Jackson — Billie Jean — This is from his monster album, “Thriller” and was his second best selling single from that album after “Beat It” released in 1982.
• Stevie Wonder – Too High — From his iconic album, “Innervisions” released in 1973. Oh my… this man makes timeless music.
• Joe Cocker — I Shall Be Released — The Band was the first to record this great old Bob Dylan song but Joe did it even more soulfully. This comes from his “Little Help From My Friends” album released in 1969.
• James Taylor — Sweet Baby James — From the Vinyl!!! This one came up this week on the rotation and greeted me like an old friend. I have sung this song at so many different stages of my “adult” life – young fool, a serious and strong young man, new parent, middle aged world traveler and now finally, old fart; And it still makes me smile. On one of his live albums, he gives an intro that explains that he “writ” this one on his way to North Carolina to meet his brother’s new baby boy, “James”. He said he wanted to come up with a song to make his namesake, “Lil Buckaroo” sit up and smile.
• The Eagles — Desperado — From the Vinyl!!! I think this my third copy of this record. The other two were sacrificed to overplaying and loss of motor skill whilst consuming celebratory levels of Tequila Sunrises in altered Monopoly games that are some what fuzzy to recall, just now. Without a doubt my favorite Eagles record right up until, “Hotel California” was released. This title song set the stage for the whole album and took us all back to a romantic time of outlaw cowboys and wide open spaces. Though it was never released as single, it has always been recognized as a great song. Eagles’ “Desperado” album was released in 1973.
• Gavin DeGraw — I Don’t Want to Be — There is just something about this guy that I like a lot. This cut is from his. “Chariot” album released in 2003.

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!