January 31st, 2019

“Saba7 el khayr” Wishing all a fine “Good Morning” in Lebanese Arabic, a variety of Arabic spoken mainly in Lebannon.

This week I heard from a UJT follower from the UK. We worked together in Spain about a million years ago. Later, after I moved to Europe, he invited me to this very interesting Multiple Host Ball, held every year in Bath in the south. It was a two day affair that included a formal ball, a “fancy dress ball and of course, a pub crawl. John, his family and friends were very kind to the visiting Yank and his lovely bride. We had a spectacular time. I was very grateful to have attended this rather exclusive event. Later, his wife arranged for a surprise birthday party for John’s 40th birthday and we made the trek from Germany to attend. It was a wonderful and well attended affair held in a large elegant tent (like the wedding party in Harry Potter). Anyway, John replied to the UJT Update this week to inform me that he was making his plans for this year’s 55th Multiple Host Ball and was reminded of our visits. It is amazing to me how two improbable strangers meet and become friends that span multiple continents and decades. But then, I have always been a lucky guy.

This week I learned some stuff:

• Even though the Grateful Dead has been pretty much defunct since Jerry Garcia passed in 1995, their following has continued to grow. They have lots of young fans who were not born when the Dead was touring but because of the extensive collection of live concert tapes have become fans anyway. Amazing!
• I will be glad in another 719 days when I might be able to watch the evening news without gagging. I miss hearing the news of the day but I cannot abide SCROTUS’ (So Called Ruler of the United States) self promotion via main stream news outlets.
• !YAD DRAWKCAB LANOITAN .yad doog a si sihT January 31st honors everything backward. National Backward Day is an opportunity to reverse our ways, our direction or simply our shirt. Dessert for breakfast, perhaps? There are many ways to celebrate this fun day, so just let your imagination be your guide. Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward. Not only did the artist and inventor write from right to left, but he also wrote his letters backward.

Website Update:
• A New Vocabulary Quiz. YEEAAHH!!!
• Second week for the “New” UJT Music Trivia Quiz!!!
• I added a few more paintings that I finished this week to the Things to See page.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I finished a couple more paintings of Chris Spain’s photos. I also finished the painting from hell (otherwise known as the “String of Pearls Plant” painting). It seems like I was painting little green dots for ever and ever and ever (dots = pearl leaves) I want to finish my Flamingo but I am not sure I will have time before the semester ends.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.


• The government got funded again. Woopee!!.. Our “Leaders” are spineless weasels unwilling or unable to figure out and then do the right thing. I am sorry that the government workers got slammed in this stupid pissing contest. I think 50% of them should just quit.
• Just lately after having struggled mightily with my own inadequacies, I have found a way to make my watercolors and poetry work better. With that there has been some pretty positive commentary, that I don’t quite know what to do with. I critique both my paintings and poetry regularly and for the most part people are nice but they always have a large number of suggestions on how I might that particular painting or poem better. Over the past 3 months or so, I have gotten a lot less specific suggestions and more just complimentary encouragement. It’s feels weird and a little uncomfortable. Almost like, no one is supposed to get my stuff till after I kick the bucket. Anyway, I am having more fun doing it so I will keep on even if it does feel weird to me.

Music Update:

Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.

• Jimmy Buffett — The Pascagoula Run — Someone told me that Jimmy did a half time show for one of the playoff games and sounded like crap. I hope that is not true because I have always had a soft spot for the guy that explained the art of being a gifted rascal to us all. This one is form one my favorite albums, “Off To See The Lizard” released in 1989.
• Fleetwood Mac — Over My Head — This one comes from our dear friend Christine McVee the truly unsung member of this great iconic band. Released in 1975, “Fleetwood Mac” was released with this as its single.
• John Schneider — Tokyo — A deep cut from his “Lonelyland” album released in 2001.
• Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight – I think that these folks are an acquired taste and will not be for everyone. There is something truly free and interesting for me in their music. This cut come from their “Sound and Color” album released in 2015.
• Lifehouse — Learn You Inside Out — To me these boys are the tightest band around these days. This come from their “Who We Are” album released in 2007.
• John Mayer — All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye — John put together a sweet sad song after his break up with one starlet or another. This one comes from his incredible “Battle Studies” album released in 2009.
• Vance Joy — Georgia — This one is a sweet song from a relatively new artist that I simply find sublime. This is a tight song that I like to close my eyes and let the visions pass through. This cut comes from his, “Dream Your Life Away” album released in 2014.
• The Shins — So Now What — This is another one of my more eclectic choices. But I like this sound a lot. It seems so full. This is off their 2007 release, “Heartworms”.

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!