April 12th, 2018

“ subha bākhair) صبح بخير” “Good Morning” in Urdu, just in case you might want to wish one of the 100 million Indians and Pakistanis who speak Urdu good morning:)

As a teen and later in my 30s I suffered mightily from allergies. I gobbled Seldane like a madman (until the told me that while great for allergies, it was gobbling my liver up too). But then I moved to Europe and have enjoyed a relatively peaceful not allergenic life. Until Friday night. My eyes suddenly and horribly began to itch. I started pumping in this sort of tears stuff and got to enjoy 10-20 second just boring but no itching. I slept terribly due to a brand new flow of mucous running around my head. I woke up even more miserable but attempted to do my chores. but ended up at my local CVS (i.e. nearest drugstore to my location the minute I decided I needed help). The pharmacist fixed me up with their “non-drowsy” allergy meds. The good news is I am no longer itching or sneezing. The bad news is that I feel like I am on speed without the good part of that. Ugggg…

It’s time to renew my KPBS membership. I have been a life long fan of PBS meaning that I have endured their endless fundraising but also enjoyed their amazing programming. I believe that unlike almost all of the other news outlets, PBS provides the most balanced unbiased views of what is happening. I did file a complaint during the election that I thought their coverage of the election was unbalanced – that like most of the American press and other morons, they were distracted from substance by the shenanigans of charlatan and liar who had no dignity or character to lose. If you don’t find PBS Programming interesting and entertaining then you are not watching or listening to enough of it. I encourage you to give to your PBS station but you are welcome to donate to mine(KPBS) if you prefer 🙂

This week I learned some stuff:

• Amazing!!! For those of you who say that the government is not effective at anything I beg to differ. They collect my taxes before I collect my pay and the processed my meager refund such that it trickled into my account (I think it was ashamed) within a week of filing my taxes.
• Today, we celebrate “National Grilled Cheese Day!!!” Did you ever have some mean old lady try to slip a slice of tomato into your grilled cheese sandwich???!! I think it should be felony to take a wonderful invention such as the grilled cheese sandwich and do something damn near healthy with it! I have been testing for years and it is truly impossible to put too much cheese on these grilled beauties! So today, get your favorite bread – rye, sourdough, wheat, or even white and pair it with your favorite kinds of cheese and just go for it. Soup is fine on the side but nothing too spectacular because this Thursday, it is all about the GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH !
• From time to time, given no particular circumstance, the people that I have lost in my life will come to me, in glimpses. Often it will be some mundane clip of a advertisement or movie or TV show but it could be a clip of music just as easily. But I will remember the person and my first reaction is to cuss at them in my mind for leaving me so soon. My mother, brother and father are the most frequent visitors but I also am visited by my old friend Mark who committed suicide so long ago or a beautiful young man who died so needlessly at such a young age, Joey, working for the Dade County Water Dept. Sometimes they visit me and remind me that goodness has nothing to do with how long we get to live. I choke up for them all. My eyes get misty for them and there is swelling from my soul to my heart when they visit. I try to live up to their expectations or at least what I imagine those to be. But I know I fall short only to try again, harder tomorrow. When they come I am grateful for the visit and sad at the same time. I have learned to hope that when I go, that I can continue to linger as a warm happy thought on a pretty day for all those that have been my friend. I know that others have much grander hopes for themselves after they have lived this life. But I have learned that the key to happiness for me is to have reasonable expectations and try to just enjoy the ride.

Website Update:
• Last week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!!

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I started two more watercolors this week. One is of my Wisteria in bloom out back. The other is the String Of Pearls painting. I made progress on the trivets too. I glazed peace sign. I haven’t started the one of Urge II, my former trusty VW Bus. The Blue Meany has been started although I decided that Glove must be its own trivet.
• The weird/ugly ceramic Remote Control thingy is still being worked. I am not sure if I reported it or not but the metallic glazes did not do well so I took another path. Researching it, I found that those little bottles of enamel we painted our models with as boys, is the best most durable paint to use on ceramics. I also epoxied some copper bonsai wire to use as the antenna on top. Its still weird and ugly but a strange sort of progress is being made.

• Spring is here! Not only are the flowers in bloom but we got our first fly of the season in the house this week. Drove me crazy! Made me an insect murderer, again!
• The good folks at Apple have decided I have enjoyed my Mac Mini (Late 2009) long enough. The newest version of their MAC OS, High Sierra cannot be installed on my old Mac Mini. Of course, they will continue to support my Mac Mini running El Capitan for another year or so, probably to allow me time to save for my new machine. But if I want to do my taxes on Turbo Tax, I had better have a High Sierra capable machine. How weird is that!!! The good folks at Turbo Tax want you to use their online version (less expensive to provide and support than local apps) and Apple wants you to buy newer devices. See how wonderful it all works out for them! GRRRRR!
• My grandson BJ, is a very talented young artist. He took art and drama classes in High School and has continued his education in art in college. He gave us all some really nice sketches for Christmas. But I noticed none of them were signed. When I asked him about it, he told me he didn’t have a signature. Evidently, they no longer teach cursive writing in school. Everything is done with a keyboard for the most part. In just two generations we went from having our penmanship make up some measurable portion of the grade on any homework assignment turned to not even teaching it. Anyway, I suggested that he design his signature mark like any of the other art he produces.

Music Update:
Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.
• Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia — Guardian Angel — From The Vinyl!!! This is an amazing virtuoso cubed performance captured on their live album, “Friday Night In San Francisco”.
• The Wallflowers — Beautiful Side of Somewhere — Just Bobby Dylan’s boy’s band doing good things from their “Rebel, Sweetheart” album.
• Seal — Kiss from a Rose — From the Vinyl!!! Released in 1994 on his self titled album, this is just a great song. Every time I hear this song, I am taken back to a Sunday morning, driving too fast on the Autobahn in the snow when we were living in Germany. Singing to the steering wheel … pure joy!
• Pink Floyd — Us and Them — From the “Dark Side of the Moon”, this one was way ahead of it’s time or maybe we have always been about us and them? It seems us humans cannot thrive without a bad guy or imagined “fate worse than death” on the horizon. Wonder what it would take to change that???!!
• Vance Joy — Lay It On Me — I am so jazzed!! Vance has a new album out called, “Nation of Two” and it is so good!!! He was even on James Corden’s show a couple of weeks back. This guy is the real deal and pretty to look at too!
• Steve Miller Band — Kow Kow Calculator — A truly spectacular demonstration of LSD enhanced song writing. This one is from their 1969 release, “Brave New World”. Nicky Hopkins is on keyboards.
• John Mayer — Something Like Olivia — This is a deep cut from John’s Born and Raised album released in 2012.
• David Crosby — Hero — A beautiful song from his “A Thousand Roads” released in 1993.

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