May 18th, 2017

राम राम (raam raam) !! (“Good Morning” in Bhojpuri, which is spoken in central India.)

Happy Birthday Joe !!! Joe Bonamassa turned 40 this week.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there is a new president. He and his cronies are hard at work to deprive mere mortals like you and me of as many possibilities and rights as are profitable for he and the rest of his one percenter ilk. Privacy previously afforded to us in Internet-land will be now available to your ISP to package and sell to the highest bidder. There is nothing you can do to protect your information without spending money. Some providers are insinuating that for a modest fee they promise not to include your information in what they sell. Right. You can assert some control by employing VPN services that hides your IP and browsing history. Your ISP will only see you connect to the VPN not what you do after it. There are good ones out there for about $40 per year that promise not keep the logs. To me this is kind of like having to put a special black box on your water main, so the water company won’t tell everyone how many showers you take.

This week I learned some stuff:

• I learned to live through another Mother’s Day with out the tiny little spitfire of a flawed woman looking out for me. My mom was a smart, funny and compassionate person who built in me the confidence I needed to always be ready to do and learn new things. She helped me find out how much I love to cook. She showed me how to be strong when things were not going well. She showed me we could make terrible mistakes and get through them to persevere and even prosper. She gave so much and took so little. I miss her often and thoroughly. I am grateful for all the moms I have known so far. Any damn fool can be a dad and never grow up but being a mom is much more serious business and not for the feint of heart!
• I learned that house plants are back in style. It said so right there in Woman’s Day or some such magazine. Well to me they never quite got out of style or maybe we just got out of style together. But I have always had some green in my spaces. The types of plants vary based upon availability and location some but there are always an African Violet or two, the odd Philodendron and of course my bonsai’s too – Ficus, Bougainvillea, Boxwood, etc. We always seem to end up with some interesting succulents too. Jess just got into plants kind of recently and has added some of her own to our green menagerie. We are now promulgating some succulents and African Violets. I recently found a PiggyBack plant which felt a little like a home coming of sorts – full circle. All together we must have 30-40 plants in pots or crocs converted into pots.

Website Update
• A new Vocabulary Quiz!!! Woohoo!!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “Blue Sky ” written by Dicky Betts (Allman Bros Band) and “Laundry Room” by The Avett Brothers for your sing-a-long pleasure.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I worked on a number of paintings this week that I could not decide were finished or not. Truth be told I am not a very good watercolorist. I enjoy it but my results do not compare to what is out there. Sometimes it works out better but never remarkable in my opinion. I try to remember that no one can see what I see so they cannot feel the disappointment when my skills do not match my vision. But I think the key is enjoying the ride – the joy when part of it looks like what is in your head and the terror when you think it is all going to fail.

• I started attending my wife’s, pulmonary rehab sessions. It has a been very educational and enlightening. It consists of 45 minute class followed by some exercises (treadmills, bikes, stairclimbers, some chair exercises with dumbbells. I have gone twice and enjoyed it both times. How weird is that …hanging with a bunch of geezers twice a week. What is next? Friday night Bingo??!!! 🙂
• As a boy we used to go out this oil spot in the road on Tamiami Trail called Monroe Station. It was pretty much equidistant between Miami and Naples and was run by this old KFC Col. looking guy by the name of Dixie. He lived out there and set up a little tourist attraction at his gas station. He had a little zoo with OPossums, an old Bobcat, raccoons, complete with a pig or chicken or two running around. My friends and I used to camp out down the road from Dixie’s and on Sunday mornings we would be waiting out front with our sleeping bags and other gear for my Mom to come pic us up in her Corsair Monza. We would share a sociable Yoohoo with Dixie while we waited. Dixie had a lot of complaints for a man who was living pretty much the way he wanted to for 50 years or more. His chief complaint after “them goddam lazy ass tourists who would honk their horn more than once when they wanted gas pumped”, was his “Roomatiz”. He got the Roomatiz almost every time we came – sometimes in his back other times in his knees or shoulders. I went to the doc yesterday and he told me I got the Roomatiz too. Now he called it some long ass fancy name, but I finally understand what that 12 year old witnessed sipping Yoohoo on his sleeping bag at Monroe Station so many years ago.

Music Update:
This week’s UJT Radio selections feature some new people for me that I wanted to share with you:
• Bob Marley — Buffalo Soldier — There was something magical about Bob. He moved people with his music.
• The Avett Brothers — Laundry Room — This is another cut from these boys. I kind of like what they do and the diversity of their music.
• Carly Simon — It Was So Easy — From the Vinyl!!!! This is is a deep cut from her “Secrets” album before she married James Taylor. Guess I am feeling nostalgic these days.
• Cold Play — Till Kingdom Come — A nice little love song to make you remember that feeling once again. We get so busy. So engaged in the things we do everyday. We can end up taking for granted the very things that make waking up the joy it should be every day. This song helps me remember why I am so very lucky.
• Bruce Springsteen — Glory Days — Another ass shaker from the Boss from his Born in the USA album. This one will make you smile with a tear in your eye.
• Arlo Guthrie — City of New Orleans — Just like his daddy before him, Arlo always helped me feel at home in my own country. Sometimes, perhaps like now, that wasn’t so easy. But there was always something soothing about his voice and phrasing… you just always knew it was going to be ok when you listened.
• Steely Dan — Chained Lightning — You just gotta get jazzing sometimes .. Do you know what i mean? Katy Lied was such a good album – so many incredible cuts to celebrate. Every time I listen it, I want to order another Cafe Colada and reset the Backgammon board for another game in Miami way to high humidity.
• The Allman Brothers — Blue Sky — This is a beautiful tune from James’ “Hourglass album. Its a gentle song of comfort for a non-believer, sincerely offering a hope they cannot grasp and loving them anyway. This one comes to us from, “Eat a Peach” released in 1972. I love the harmonic guitar work from Duane and Dicky Betts. After Duane passed, I always loved listening to Dicky play but it was like one hand clapping. This was Dicky Bett’s debut singing lead on a album and one of the last recorded songs that Duane ever played on. He was killed when his motorcycle lost an argument with at flat bead peach truck outside of Macon, Ga on October 29, 1971. Duane was 24 years old.

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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