March 30th, 2017

Mwaikaleni !! (“Good Morning to you all ” in Bemba a Bantu language spoken in Zambia, Congo and Tanzania.)

I am back on the creative side of the mind set these days. I have been painting (poorly, I am afraid but diligently), reviewing the fine line edits on Grandpa Stories and ramping up to get Artifacts started in earnest.
I am reading an appallingly good and interesting book. Most of us know by now that the history we studied in public schools in the 1950s and 60s was; how shall I put it? Complied from the positive spin section of less than complete non-fiction side of the academic world. “The Peoples History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is particularly disturbing for those of us who sort of bought into the whole, “Manifest Destiny” vision of our country. I am still in the first depressing chapter that is describing the acts of atrocity perpetrated by the European discoverers and early settlers in the new world. I fear it will not be less depressing when I get to the whole part about slavery. I am not all about self flagellation but I definitely feel a lot of showers coming on. Our forefathers committed some fairly terrible acts to establish our great country.

Our Garage is now a thing of beauty and Funky Sway:) Jess has re-established our exercise room and I can now find anything I need to commit my own fairly terrible acts of mechanical repair, furniture repair, door repair, bat house construction, etc. because all that stuff has been organized until it pled for mercy! Really, its a nice place to be our garage:)

This week I learned some stuff:
• My brilliant and talented friend and author, Donna Frano took me to “how-to-get-stuff-published-right” school this week. In addition to connecting me with Noah Chin (our now shared editor) gave me a number of other excellent resources and rationale for them as well. Grandpa Stories Redux is almost ready to inflict on the planet and all this stuff will really be handy when I get after Artifacts later this month.
• I learned that the reason Obamacare is failing is that our leadership in congress failed to fund the law as passed. If they had funded the law, the insurance companies would have been afforded more time to capture the economies of scale needed to perpetuate a health care system that covers all Americans, supports wellness, and health care services for all health issues even if they existed prior to a current policy’s coverage. I consider this to be an act of deliberate political sabotage that put peoples lives in danger. This is another catastrophic failure on the part of the legislature to do its job.

Website Update
• Last week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “Medicine ” by Tab Benoit because I thought you all might need some help with the Cajun parts in your sing-a-long pleasure.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I worked another painting this week. This time I tried to paint a lovely photo take by Roger and Robin Grace on one of their any bike rides for cancer. It is a beautiful photo but I am not happy with the painting.

• Everyone felt a sigh of relief and a weird sort of pride when Ryan’s and Trump’s Health Care was pulled. This is just dumb. Don’t misunderstand me, after 7 years of whining and bitching, the Republican slammed together a half-assed plan. Their attempt to replace Obamacare was ill-conceived and would have been devastating for Americans everywhere had it passed. But it is still dumb to feel relief or pride at its failure. It failed because even the half-assed Republican plan was “too generous”. This is yet another example of legislative constipation brought on by too much private interest (the 1%’s) money influencing our governmental decision making. These political money machines just spent $10million making sure that a new an improved Scalia rejoins the bench. Just what we need another Supreme Court Justice bought and paid for soon using the same failed system and justification. The Obamacare sabotage is still in place. These same yahoos who stopped Ryan and Trump may succeed in stoping the stopgap funding passed in the original Obamacare act again — Which means premiums will go up, people will not be able to afford the health policies, their policies will lapse and the emergency rooms will be treating people who should have been seen less expensively and sooner. And these same dumb sons-of-bitches that caused it all in the first place will still have their jobs but not doing them. Are you pissed off yet? I am.

Music Update:
This week’s UJT Radio selections for you are: yuppie
• John Mayer – Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey — Raise your glasses to practicing self pity and self-loathing with all your might for a while. I am not sure if you ever been down this road that Kris Kristofferson and now John wandered with me but I don’t recommend it; even though there has been some great music stumble out of those sad hungover days.
• Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – Right Between the Eyes – This a pretty song written by Graham Nash with lovely harmonies and brought to us live from their iconic live 4 Way Street album.
• Cream – Badge – I remember the first time I every saw Eric Clapton and Cream play, I was completely befuddled by the fact that Eric appears to be almost asleep and yet could play all of these amazing songs.
• Leo Kottke – Monkey Lust – From the Vinyl!!! This is one from his Mudlark album and its short but crazy. Hey ..we have all had the Monkey Lust right?
• Tab Benoit — Medicine – Been awhile since I had me some of dat good ole down home Cajun stuff. Tab does it about as good as anyone. Bring me my medicine baby…
• Led Zeppelin – Ramble On – I think this one comes from their second album. I think I have some very pleasant memories of listening to album in my friend Duane Tannenbaum’s garage painting day glow pictures in blacklight. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant take us on a little journey.
• Steely Dan – Night by Night – From the Vinyl!!! The first time I heard this deep cut from SD, it was played by my buddies in Somerset. I fell in love with the song and the grown up cool musicians my friends had become. We had so much fun making that music.
• Grateful Dead – Casey Jones – This one comes to us from one of my all time favorite Dead records, Workingman’s Dead. It was an anthem for misbehavior for many of us back in the day.

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! 

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