February 10th, 2017

Labas rytas !! (“Good Morning to you all ” in Lithuanian!)

The first weeks of February are a mixed bag for me each year. My friend Larry has his birthday as did my dad and I lost my mom on February 7th. Bittersweet memories and thoughts of our own mortality get kind of mixed up in the rains of February for me.

Our six year drought here in San Diego is now officially over!!! Woohoo!! That was close, we almost returned to the desert we are supposed to be! (Don’t get me started on Las Vegas!).

Alas, Atlanta didn’t win the Super Bowl. I was very hopeful for the first half but they kind of fell apart after half time.

“They” (the people that used to work for us as statesmen) confirmed the “Education” Secretary this week by including first time in history, Vice Presidential vote. This woman has purchased a cabinet level position in the federal government for just over $9 million dollars in donations to the Trump Campaign. The hearings documented that she brings no other qualifications for the role other than that canceled check. She made no attempt to hide the fact that she is a privileged individual and is enjoying s new stage to demonstrate that fact. It was painful to watch her plastic smile and hear her vacant responses to questions from the committee.

We lost a great thinker this week. Hans Rosling, passed away and was a big thinker. He was a vigilant and wonderful agent of change. He could assemble global data and find facts that lead to truths that battled myths and misinformation.  He was a co-founder of Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans Frontièrs). He was a sword swallower. He helped developed software(through Gapminder – that he founded with his son and daughter in law), that assists  in assembling and interpreting global visualization of health and economic data helping us understand how our world is changing. Do yourself a favor and watch his TED talk from 2006 and 2009.  I think this is perhaps one of the most important presentations that I have seen in years. He may have been the very best presenters of statistical data ever. We will miss his fine mind at a time where the world  has rationalized misinformation as “Alt Facts”.

This week I learned some stuff:
• Tires. I am amazed at all of the choices we have out there for tires. They aren’t cheap but there can be huge differences between brands for the same width, aspect and diameter. The range for tires for our 2006 Saturn went from ~$80-$260/tire. How much of that is marketing value vs real “rubber meets the road” (I just couldn’t resist that analogy:) .. I don’t know. But when was the last time, someone mentioned that they got a $100 per tire difference in the ride into work that morning.

Website Update
• Week number two for the new Vocabulary Quiz!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for Dire Strait’s “One World” for your sing-a-long.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I selected my fine line editor and shipped my precious verbiage their way.
• I messed up and didn’t make my first watercolor class. I enjoyed the writers workshop thought. I started my new assignment from Stephen King too.

• Automated voice actuated answering machines are another device developed by an angry individual and inflicted on the helpless masses. The same mean spirited kind of person who developed bras, girdles, child proof caps, pop tops and high heels..clearly devices designed to frustrate and aggravate man and kind forever. You can tell they are insincere when they say that they are sorry they didn’t understand the work you just screamed into the phone for the 4th time. You feel the condescension oozing from every pore of its silicone being, when its tells you how much they appreciate your waiting for the “REPRESENTATIVE” that you have been begging for. The blackmail is transparent when they remind that the “REPRESENTATIVE” will take calls in the order in which they are received independent of any consideration of how much their system has damaged your fragile psyche. And I know they pic that music that seems to harmonize with the sound of dental procedures on purpose!!

Music Update:
UJT Radio comes to you this week with a selection spanning decades and vast musical styles but with the very best of intentions. We hope these tunes remind you of good times or inspire you to next times:
• ACDC – Thunderstruck – Every once and while you got just kick out the jams and for no particular reason.. just let the goose bumps crawl all over and smile .. like you were when this song first invaded your space. From their 1990 release, “Razor’s Edge” this one should do the trick, if you crank it up.
• Dire Straits – One World – From the Vinyl!!!! If there was an antidote to the blues, it would be the Dire Straits but they just treat the symptoms and perpetuate the feeling … so well:)
• Steely Dan -FM – “No Static At All”, well maybe a little.. this one is m4p format. One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE Steely Dan tunes. This is from 1978 soundtrack for a movie of the same name.
• Taylor Swift – Sad Beautiful Tragic — I knew it had been too long since I listened to the soft sweetness of her voice. Too many months had gone by since I have been dazzled by her musicianship. I had a hard time deciding between sweet songs for this one.
• Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy – The boys making timeless magic. I LOVE listening to old traffic music:)
• Dave Clark Five – Because – From their 1964 album, “American Tour”. Real pretty harmonies:) For me, it reminds me of sweaty slow dances in between rowdy dances to Twist and Shout and I’m in Pieces, Bits and Pieces sets.
• Dishwalla — Give – This is a nice one from an fairly obscure band that I think a lot of. This guy has a great voice and the band is very good. This one is from their, “Pet Your Friends”album released in 1995.
• Don Henley – Sunset Grill – From the Vinyl!!! One of the best voices in rock and roll singing a well produced song from his solo album, “Building the Perfect Beast”, released in 1984.

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! 

Under the Jacaranda Tree URL: http://www.jfmccann.com