June 14th, 2018

“ Dumêlang” Wishing you a fine “Good Morning” spoken in one of the languages of South Africa!

I am doing all the last minute things I do when I publish the UJT Updates with a slight ding in my brain. Seems someone was celebrating his 66th birthday like it was his 21st and it left a mark that must by its very nature ..wear off. And so it goes…. But self-inflicted damages aside, it was a spectacular birthday for me. I was surprised and humbled by all of the well wishes I received via a wide variety of methods. I enjoyed a wonderful Lobster and Steak dinner at Ortega’s which was new place for us to explore. They made our guacamole at the table. It kind of reminded me of the old days in the best restaurants they would make your Ceasar’s Salad or Flambé your Chateaubriand at the table. It was followed by traditional pineapple upside down cake and presents (Jess painted me a picture of a Giving Tree!!! in acrylics!!). Then entirely too much scotch as we watched remake of “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis. Thank you all for a lovely time!

The Great American Read is still running. I confess for a multitude of reasons, I did a crappy job of voting this week (except for the local elections). Did you get your vote in today??

WoooHooo!!! I harvested my first salad for the family from my pallet garden!! I harvested the outer leaves from my red and green leaf lettuce and added some Marjoram flowers for good measure. I also used about a cup of Cilantro to make Cilantro-lime rice. Garden to table in less than 15 minutes with no preservatives!

We lost the smallest giant in recent popular history at the end of last week. Jerry Marin, the last munchkin, passed away in San Diego at the age of 98.
You knew Jerry as the munchkin that handed Dorthy the big lollipop in “Wizard of Oz” but you also knew him as the Hamburggerler and Mayor McCheese in the old MacDonalds ads. RIP Jerry..thanks for making magic real for this little guy for the first time.

Another tragic talented man who had overcome so much only to cash in before his time leaving a hole in our world… leaving us feeling helpless and wishing there was something that we could have been done. RIP Anthony Bourdain.

This week I learned some stuff:

• We got a “twofer” this time. Today is not only “National Bath Day” but also “National Strawberry Shortcake Day” … So you now what you have to do right? Take a nice hot bubbly bath with a friend so you can share some strawberry shortcake !!
• As I mentioned above, this week I turned 66 years of age, I ought to know better by now. I am just amazed at the life I have led and the wonderful people that I have managed to find along the way. I am grateful to everyone who has made this such a lovely but strange trip! I am definitely enjoying the ride.
• This week I made some skirt steak fajitas and though I loved all the ingredients when I got it together, it just came off a bit bland to me. Don’t misunderstand, it didn’t suck but it wasn’t impressive either. I will continue to tweak it and publish it when and if I finally get it right.

Website Update:
• Last week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• 2nd week for New “UJT Music Trivia Quiz” !!!
• I added a new pasta recipe this week. Spaghetti de Limone is a lovely meat free dish that works as a main course or a side dish.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• Still cannot touch the Wisteria in bloom painting. The String Of Pearls painting seeming to take forever, especially since we are on summer break in class.
• The New and Improved ceramic Glove was wounded in battle! He lost the tip of his finger while being abused in a wanton act of kitchen cleaning. The appendage was reattached but his spirit is wobbly, I have to report.
• Same story, different day on the Chewy acrylic painting.

• SCROTUS is now pursuing a policy that inflicts Tariffs on our neighbors and allies and removes sanctions from our proven adversaries. That makes sense how??!!
• I have been fortunate enough to visit Singapore many times in my life. It is an amazing place filled to the brim with smart people (the average Singaporean middle school child already has command of at least 3 languages!). But it is being attacked by multiple waves of stupid this week. I fear this lovely island nation will suffer double digit loss of IQ points until the attackers depart to dumb down other places. I will consider the summit taking place in Singapore on my birthday to be a rousing success if we manage to get past it without the use of nuclear weapons.
• I have never been a member of a political party since I was 18 years old and joined the New Party of Florida in protest against the War in Vietnam. Ever since the War ended, I have remained an Independent. I am much more of humanist than a capitalist in that I believe in learning and following the approach that gets us closer to the goals I believe in (i.e. We all learn to live together without starving, butchering or murdering each other or the planet we live on.). I have resisted the urge join the Democratic party who tends to support more of the issues and methods I agree with than do the GOP. I say “tends to” support because with few exceptions they mostly oppose the GOP point for point and when they do actually win a majority, they tend to squander it by getting lost in their own petty politics. And I don’t think I should join one party because they are not the other party. I have listened to and read enough about the Libertarian party to gain little faith in their mantra, “Just get rid of most of the government and taxes and everything will be all right…”. It feels to me like there is a unsaid “… for us” that comes after that statement, meaning not for anyone who needs to be helped by the government that we don’t want to help any more. So I am left on my own. A fairly well informed and patriotic citizen without governmental or political leadership. We may have the best system of government today but it remains deeply flawed and is being run my even more flawed individuals that we and the Russians put into power. How weird is that?!!

Music Update:
As always, I try to make something in the UJT Radio mix work for everyone. This week features pretty wide mix from instrumental music… to Hip Hop Rap … Something for everyone to enjoy.

Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.

• Tony Joe White — Rainy Night in Georgia — Born in Oak Grove, Louisiana, Tony Joe was the first “swamp rock” musician I had ever heard of. He had a huge hit with “Polk Salad Annie” in 1968 and has been making music ever since. This one he wrote and released in 1969 but as with a lot of his music, was made famous by someone else. In this case Brooks Benton’s cover of Tony Joe’s song went to number one for awhile in a number of markets. At 74 he is still playing his own brand of swamp music. Oh yeah, I was almost 60 years old before I realized that Tony Joe was a white guy! His music is so soulful, I just assumed he had to be black. Check out the players with him on his 2006 Release, “Uncovered”….Weeeha!
• James Wilsey — Insomnia — It had been over a year since I had heard this one when it came up on the radio this week. There is something haunting about this hillbilly sounding guitar player. This one was released on his “El Dorado” album in 2008.
• Tommy Emmanuel — Mona Lisa — This is just Tommy doing that Tommy thing from his 2005 release, “Endless Road”.
• Bruce Springsteen — Nothing Man — This whole album, “The Rising” from 2002 is just amazing to me. I think this song is a wonderful poem talking about living with the guilt of survival. Bruce can takes places we cannot want to go but must visit to find all of us. Remarkable music.
• Dishwalla — When Morning Comes — This is a deep cut from their 2002 release, “Opaline”. I love how this music builds than the crashes down like a warm wave in moonlight.
• Toto — Rosanna — From the Vinyl !!!! These boys just played tight music!!! This one is a favorite singing to the steering wheel song. Big smiles all around. From their “Toto IV” album released in 1982.
• Dire Straits — On Every Street — It has been a couple years since I featured this wonderful song by DS. This was the song that made me fall in love with them. We saw them play in Dallas. One of the very best concerts I have ever attended…and Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been to some great concerts!!! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. This was the title cut for their release in 1991.
• MC Hammer — Pray — My library is not very rich in HipHop/Rap kinds of songs. No hate here .. just not my thing. But this one is in there. This cut is from his “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em” released in 1990. I just like it.

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