June 7th, 2018

“ Ni sa yadra” Wishing you a fine “Good Morning” in Fijian! Although technically, I think its good morning tomorrow there but you get the idea.

The Great American Read is still running. Did you get your vote in today??

At last! At last! The Jacarandas are blooming in San Diego!!! Just about everywhere you look you can see their bright purple or extremely royal blue (no one can agree on just what color it is!) lighting up our sky again signaling once again that spring has sprung, life is good and a damn good cup of coffee is still a damn good cup of coffee. Rejoice!

This week I learned some stuff:

• Today is “National Chocolate Ice Cream Day”!! So you need to grab a friend, perhaps a kid or two and go get yourselves some nice cool creamy chocolate ice cream today, maybe even a couple of times! How do you like yours? One one of the old timey not styrofoam but taste like it cones or a freshly made sugar cone, in a cup with some fudge and nuts and don’t forget your whipped cream and you have earned that cherry!
• Do you ever re-read books? I do and always have. The Great American Read has reminded me of a number of books that I just loved earlier in life, maybe more than once. One of those books was, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain. I just started it again yesterday but reading again is just pure joy. In the very first chapters he gives us the story about the whitewash and we get to witness Tom’s instant and complete infatuation with Becky. Mr. Twain captured that incredibly heaviness of adolescence so well!!! In one part of the story, Tom doesn’t even know Becky’s name yet but he finds himself lovesick lying under her window in the darkness holding the flower she sort of gave him next to his heart wishing he was dead so she would focus just on the poor dead boy with his flower under her window, when the maid opens the window and tosses out bucket of mop water. Please do yourself a favor, find a favorite old book and spend some time together.

Website Update:
• 2nd week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• New “UJT Music Trivia Quiz” !!!
• After having Ropa Vieja this week, I checked the recipe on UJT to see if I just had the slow cooker version or the real version and I found a busted link. A busted link is that 403 message you get when you click on a link. Please let me know if you ever find busted links on UJT. I try to keep all my links current but stuff happens.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• Still cannot touch the Wisteria in bloom painting. I started the String Of Pearls painting in class but was too hung over to do anything last Friday. I have another painting still banging around in my head as well.
• The New and Improved (meaning not broken) ceramic Glove came out great and its now at home serving his country as a trivet on the McCann kitchen island.
• Same story, different day on the Chewy acrylic painting.

• This morning I was clearing up some dishes thoughtfully left for me by “persons unknown”, and when i was done I flipped the switch to run the garbage disposal while glancing down the countertop at my old friend, “Bluey” who is our Siamese Fighting Fish who lives on the end of the counter next to the sliding doors. When you flip the switch to the garbage disposal you can feel the device rumbling and grumbling through its job below the sink. For the first time, I considered it from Bluey’s perspective. What must he think when the instant and short duration earthquakes occur? I wonder if he does what I do when the teutonic plates shake my pots and pans hanging from their holder above my island in the kitchen – stare at them and feel small.
• Some times I sneeze so hard that I almost see stars! I have what I think of as a strange allergy which causes me to sneeze hard like 3 -9 times in rapid succession followed by 2 or 3 of those helpless, “ah ha ah ha ah ha …almost sneezes”. I am helpless to do anything about it. It is so aggravating sometimes, especially when I very focused on a task like writing the UJT Update or a chapter in Artifacts and I just want to complete typing a thought. My face explodes in to the paper towels that grasp to my nose at the very last minute avoiding a disgusting spray of nasal god knows what from covering my desk causing whatever clever words I had in mind to flee for their lives or at least their dignity. Just as suddenly, several more follow before I settle down and let my brain cells realign. Though I cannot see my face as my being reconsiders for normalcy after the storm, I suspect I have the clever countenance of perhaps a befuddled tree stump upon my face.

Music Update:
As always, I try to make something in the UJT Radio mix work for everyone. This week features a lot of music from the vinyl… enjoy.
Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.
• The Grateful Dead — Uncle John’s Band — From the Vinyl !!!! This is one of my mostest favoritest songs ever, from one of my favorite albums of all time, “Workingman’s Dead” released in 1970.
• John Mayer — Daughters — It has been a while since I had heard this one when it came up on the radio this week. This was Grammy Song of the Year in 2005 and though John is not known for his wisdom this here is some pretty good advice. This cut is from his, “Heavier Things” album, released in 2003.
• Grace Slick, Paul Kantner and David Freiberg – Across The Board — From the Vinyl !!! This is is a cut from one of the incarnations of the Jefferson Airplane, Baron Von Tollbooth and The Chrome Nun. released in 1973. Pretty subtle lyrics but I think you will get the idea.
• James Taylor — Only A Dream in Rio — “This was one of the 10 songs that explain his life.” How cool is that!!! This man defines his life in terms of his songs! He went to Rio on a whim almost and ended up playing a borrowed guitar for 300,000 people who all were singing with him. He said it was the most amazing night he ever had playing. Released in 1985 on his “Thats Why I Am Here” album, this one suffers from a bit of the same problem as Ophelia below.
• Markia Hackman — Ophelia — An old friend of mine sent me a YouTube capture of Markia singing this song up on a London rooftop. I love her name! Its like her dad really wanted to name his child Mark and when they had a girl, he just went with the flow. The only thing I have issues with is her recording mix. And this is not an isolated case. If the mix is right, no matter how complex the lyrics or music, the mixer needs to find a balance so both can be appreciated. In this case her vocals are mixed way behind the music so the listener must either find the lyrics online to read along or completely concentrate. Both detract from the beauty presented. This one comes from her “We Slept At Last” album released in 2014.
• Dave Mason — Let It Go Let It Flow — From the Vinyl !!!! This is great cut from his “Let it Flow” album released in 1977. This boy just rights wise songs on a regular basis.
• Leo Kottke – Cripple Creek — From the Vinyl !!!! Leo has this amazing sound and is my very favorite 12 string player. Just fun to listen to.. Released in 1971 on his “ Mud Lark” album.
• Loggins and Messina — Danny’s Song — This is a real pretty gift from Kenny to his little brother, Danny upon the birth of his son, Colin. Released in November 1971, on their debut album, “Sittin’ In”. “…Everything is going to be alright…”

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