April 26th, 2018

“ Qilachxizax̂” “Good Morning” in the Eskimo-Aleut spoken in Alaska.

“School House Rock” was one of the things I enjoyed most about watching cartoons with my two kids growing up. We kids would get up ever Saturday Morning and watch together munching on our cereal. We liked all of the cartoons but my favorites were different than my kids. I liked “Cow and Chicken” and “Rude Dog” a lot. Sean was more into transformers and super heroes. Jess was a good sport about it and liked what we watched mostly. But this week Bob Dorough, the mastermind behind “Conjunction Junction” and “My Hero Zero” passed this week at 94. Thanks Bob!

Balance is what I have always sought in my life. Most of us notice when lives are out of balance. Mother nature does a good job of raising those flags. Unfortunately, we humans do an even better job of denying or ignoring those flags. As nature seeks balance even this act of denial has a place in the universe. In most cases, we can tell at a glance. How does the person in question look? Well rested but alert? Well fed but in shape? Confident yet Curious? Friendly but aware? What do we see when someone is obviously ill at ease, perhaps un-groomed or overweight or obviously unhappy or inattentive to their surroundings? Our perceptions put us on alert or trigger our compassion, depending on our own grasp of balance. This is a gross oversimplification of the complexities of our society but it has served me well over the years. It makes for a tougher look in the mirror now that I am an old fat guy who has lost his mission in life. The work has been done, my kids are built as is my house. I face some of the toughest decisions of my life now, like, “What should I do today?” This stuff is not for the faint of heart. You keep busy and live with the fact that very little of what you do these days really has much import in the grand scheme of things. So the search for balance continues and you stray and return. And so it goes..

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 they processed my meager refund such that it trickled into my account (I think it was ashamed) within a week of filing my taxes.
• Who knew that April 26th is the national date to celebrate so many worthy causes and events!!! Today, we celebrate “National Pretzel Day, so eat a nice hot pretzel while you celebrate National Audubon Day and Help a Horse Day!!!” Lastly, April 26th is also the birthday (in 1900) of seismologist and physicist, Charles F Richter who is most famous for inventing the Richter Scale. So on April 26th, we celebrate National Richter Scale Day. Whew!

Website Update:
• Week two for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• I added a really nice recipe for grilling your veggies, pork roast and a leg of lamb.
• I added the lyrics for “The End Has Only Begun” from Lifehouse.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• The more I look at the painting of the Wisteria in bloom the less I like it. I am going to set it down and work on other stuff and com back to it later. The String Of Pearls sketch is pretty close. I have another painting banging around in my head as well.
• The Blue Meany and Glove trivets had the their first firing this week. Glove suffered a broken finger in the process. I am going to glaze it and try to glue it together after that. It took my whole ceramics class to get the Blue Meany trivet glazed.
• I started the detail work on the Chewy acrylic painting this week. I must be making progress because I now hate a piece of canvas!

• I grew up in a small town in almost the most southern part of the US. Miami would grow to be a big town but when I was growing up, we still had moonshiners south of Cutler Ridge, most of the colored folks lived up north in the Grove or Richmond Heights or Ghouls down south. Here and there at the rural filling stations you could still find two sets of bathrooms and water fountains. For a growing city, Miami (or Miama as the rednecks called it) was firmly set in the Deep South! I think I was about 8 or 9 years old the first time I got to see Meadowlark Lemon, Curly and the rest of the Harlem Globe Trotters whip ass on those Washington Generals. I am not sure but it might have been the first time I ever was in a room full of people where every one was equal for a couple of hours. Have you ever seen them? It was magical and so funny. There were several points where I was laughing so hard that I had that same terrible feeling when someone tickled you too long. I was afraid I might wet myself. The Globe Trotters are a great big wonderful slice of American magic. There story is amazing mostly because there is a story. Google “The Harlem Globe Trotters” and learn about how in the 1920s, 5 negro kids from the south side of Chicago and a jewish promoter from London, (first coach and promoter, Abe Saperstein) came to create a world wide sports/entertainment phenomenon that still continues today.
• This week in 1800, the frugal John Adams signed the bill that simultaneously moved the Capital of the United States from Philadelphia to its current location as well as funded the creation of something called the Library of Congress. Originally, its intent was just to be the library for Congress but it has grown to become the repository for all things Americana and it is still growing by the addition of some 12,000 articles each day. Our Library of Congress has grown to be one of largest and well managed repository of information in the world.
• Sincerity. You know it when you hear it and miss it when you don’t. Even if the person talking to you might fail to do what they say, if they sincerely intend to but lose their way or misjudge or make mistakes that keep them from their stated goal you can take stock in their sincere desire. On the other hand when a person speaking offers just the right words, with no vesting of thought or real passion, you can hear that too. When those fluffy words fail to materialize into deeds, even if the deeds are not what you would have done, don’t you feel cheated by their dishonesty? I do. Because others believed and joined in that stated ambition without reservation. I could tell full well that the speaker had no sincere intention in doing anything other than gain adoration or at least remove obstacles from their hidden agenda. I get embarrassed for my peers at how easily they swallow the pandering. I get angry for them too for even they deserve honesty. It is too easy to say, “Well, they got what they deserved.” No one deserves to be deliberately lied to and manipulated by those they entrust to leadership roles.

Music Update:
Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.
• James Taylor — Mud Slide Slim — From The Vinyl!!! This record was just one of the greatest unsung albums of all time. “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon” was released in 1971. This song features some really fine guitar work and has some amazing players helping out.
• Fleetwood Mac — Go Your Own Way — This great song written by Lindsey Buckingham from their iconic 1976 release, “Rumors”. Just some fine work.
• John Prine — Spanish Pipedream — This here is just some good advice put to music and storytelling. No one does that better than John Prine. This one is from his “ John Prine” released in 1971.
• Bonnie Raitt — Ain’t Gonna Let You Go — This one showcases the girl’s guitar chops in addition to her great singing and songwriting skills. This one comes form her latest, “Slipstream” released in 2012.
• Sheryl Crow — I Know Why — This is just a beautiful song sung beautifully. From her Wildflowers album that I got from some fund raiser from Darrian’s school, released in 2005.
• Lifehouse — The End Has Only Begun — I Love this guys song writing!!! This one comes from their “Lifehouse” album released in 2005. Some songs just make goose pimples on my arms when I first hear them. There is something so compelling about Jason’s lyrics and the harmonies that flow through this tune.
• Miles Davis and John Coltrane — “Round Midnight — Two giants dancing in the deep darkest night. Just lean back and listen to them shuffle into jazz greatness. Not for everyone but then that is the nature of greatness, isn’t it? From a 2000 compilation of Miles live performances.
• John Mayer — 3×5 — This was the song that caused me to fall in love with John Mayer’s music. I was traveling south to SeaTac on the I5 when I heard this one on the radio. Stuck in a traffic jam anyway, I pulled off and bought two CDs of Johns and one of Jack Johnson’s which I had also heard for the first time that morning.

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