January 1st, 2016

新年快乐 !!!(Happy New Year to you in Mandarin!!)

I am still “rasslin” with this cold flu thing so my holiday was a bit subdued but great none the less. I am actually getting out of bed and for the past 2 days making it as well so improvements are happening. We collaborated on a nice Ham for dinner and I think everyone was pleased with their man gifts. The best gift is having all of us together again for one more Christmas. Jessica, Darrian and BJ had never tried my Coffee Licker that I made this year and all went back for seconds. I took a nice drug induced nap between the Eggs Benedict Bruch and the Ham Dinner and I am pretty sure I was not the only one napping. So our house was merry in a sleepy cozy way on Christmas. Santa’s selection of toys for the beasts was greatly appreciated, Georgie and Chewy both loved their respective toys but no one would let me try my idea of throwing the Catnip toy in the toilet to see if the horrendously mean Tommy the Cat would follow it.

Did you get to watch the Kennedy Center Honors this week??? Wow!! It was a great production from beginning to end but I must say Aretha Franklin blew everyone away when she accompanied herself on piano singing, Carole King’s “Natural Woman” as if she was 25 again!!! It was gratifying to see so many of our celebrities with tears running down their faces like mine. All of the honorees are spectacular leaders in their respective fields and have left indelible and definitely American marks on their chosen crafts. As much as I am grateful to the men and women in uniform throughout the world, I am just as proud of the amazing contributions my generation of Americans have made to the arts.

This week I learned some stuff:

I learned that even in retirement, planning my next year’s goals can be challenging although different. While I was working trying to find that balance between professional and personal goals in the time available given the goals of the organization and one’s own ambitions. Being Retired the goals of the organization and one’s ambitions you would think would be automatically aligned, especially when one talks to one’s self as much as I do. But planning is different without the endless energy of an young man or the significant resources available to a global enterprise. It is a worthy exercise none the less because our time here is all we have and our goal should be to spend it the best way we know how.
I learned Aretha Franklin plays piano and plays it well …who knew??!!!

Website Update
A “New” Vocabulary Quiz awaits you and the new year ?? Worthy?

Painting Update:
No painting done this week.

Writing Update:
I submitted my short story about the PHs, the EEs and their world to a magazine short story competition. What the hell, you can’t get rejected if you don’t submit.


One of my childhood friends who I tried to reconnect with later in life so far has successfully kept distant. I am sure that there are reasons that I no longer remember well nor care about at all. I have lived a glorious life that has fulfilled every dream I have had with most of the people who it has touched remembering me with fondness I think. So it has troubled me that my best friend as a teen has chosen to keep this distance. I kept sending letters every so often and Christmas Cards each year… until now. This year with the continuous flow of UJT Updates and all, I thought I would just forgo the whole Christmas Car thing. I actually didn’t even think about the fact that after my letters went unanswered, Christmas cards were the only way that I kept telling my friend that I cared and remembered him fondly. And wouldn’t you know it, not only did I get a Christmas card from him, but it included a sweet thoughtful inscription. Another gift of persistence? More evidence that nature adores balance? I don’t know but rushed to send a bottle of Sea Dog Coffee Licker with an invitation to receive the UJT updates to my old friend. I hope WE will keep it going.

Music Update:

A while back I put out one of my Unknowns for you all to help me figure out who the artist was. This one turned out to be, “Come to Jesus “by Mindy Smith. My friend Randy sent me the info but as happens sometimes, I managed to overlook his reply until now when I was searching past emails to see if I had played another song. So a belated Thank you to Randy and I have included another sweet song by Mindy Smith in this new year’s musical box lunch for you all:  

Mindy Smith – One Moment More — This woman’s beautiful voice kind of haunts me. From the first strum of her guitar my heart begins to ache to feel more of the love inside her songs.

Matchbox Twenty – These Hard Times — These boys find a way to reach inside me and find parts that I just didn’t know were missing. It all comes together for me when I listen to their songs.

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In the Dark – From his, “Born in the USA” album, The Boss knows how to make us relive those special private moments that seem so few within a long life.. This song is all about living your life with all your might. I double dog dare you to try to listen to it without dancing and singing along.

The Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight — I owe this find to my daughter, Jessica. These folks are really something special and fresh. The remind me a little bit of some awfully talented but very different people such as Prince, Rolling Stones, Springsteen and Joplin in a fine funky soulful way. Their new album(released last April) is entitled, “Sound & Color” and well worth a listen. I promise you will be hearing more from these folks.

Tommy Emmanuel – What a Wonderful World – I have featured this artist and his live album that was one captured down the street before on the UJT but listening to Tommy play this sweet old Satchmo tune on his guitar seemed like a good way to start out the new year.

Jimi Hendrix – Still Raining, Still Dreaming — From the vinyl!!! This one comes from Jimi’s Electric Ladyland double album and features his iconic, left handed upside down Stratocaster magic. This song reminds me of the continuum of life. No matter how great, magical or sad or horrible any given point where all our lives intersect is, that moment will pass and be seen differently as a future possibility or a past memory by everyone who was aware of it. Perhaps it’s just a long musical way of saying, Stuff Happens! or “It” is what “It” is, and “It” will always continue and change. Hows that for a old guy New Year’s reflection?! 🙂

Taylor Swift – Mean – This was the first TS song that I heard and I was struck immediately by two things – First, it was just a smart well written song and secondly, there was something musically unique and remarkable in total but I couldn’t put my finger on “the” thing.I still trying to figure it out and she keeps getting smarter and better.

Rod Stewart – Maggie May — From his, “Every Picture Tells a Story” album, this one was always one of my favorites from Rod. I really love the guitar intro by Martin Quittenton and then the great story of a young boy indoctrination by an older woman. Ronnie Wood on electric guitar and Ray Jackson just wails on the Mandolin.

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!