June 8th, 2017

Ni sa yadra !! (“Good Morning” in Fijian.)

San Diego skies are now in full “June Gloom” mode providing a wonderful slate grey background for the glorious royal blue-purple Jacaranda blossoms. The temps creep up into the 70s in the afternoons and backdown to the 60s in the evenings. Hummingbirds flit everywhere. Its good to be here now.

BJ (eldest grandson) and John (Dad’s Lad) both graduated with dignity and grace. They are both off to higher education but the summer after high school should always be a joyful quarter 🙂 We had visitors from out of town which kept us busy but they have all gone home. When you get to be a certain age, the only thing better greeting visitors is saying goodbye, so you can return to your geeezerly ways without witnesses.

Our president announced his shortsighted idiotic decision to withdraw our nation from a global leadership cooperative to reduce human impact on the only planet available for rich people to enjoy their wealthy selves. This is even dumber than his usual moronic performance. He took careful aim, and successfully hit our national foot on his first shot. I applaud the many real national leaders who took perceptive action as a result. I am enough an optimist to believe that eventually the misguided who elected and support this menace to mankind will recognize that SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of The United States) just loves the sound of his own voice and his reflection in the mirror. The only enjoyable thing about that FB announcement was I could participate with a “frownyface” and the word, “MORON” and get to see it float across his stupid face as he lied.

This week I learned some stuff:

• I learned that I don’t know how to react to information about serious illness or other indicators of impending death of older people. I mean, we are all going to die. We will all die of the same thing. Our hearts will stop beating. Now the reasons that happen will be wide ranging but in the end we all share that common fate. It is a fact. Most of us wish the impending death was some how delayed – a week or a month or years? But I don’t think we should be sad about the death itself. We should be concerned about the quality of life until death occurs. Can we share something ? Can we help them to have a better life until they die? Recently, I put into my Living Trust that I want a DNR and party for all my surviving friends. I will be wondering what music will be played at the party as my lights go out.
• I learned, again, I must manage my expectations for my old body better. If the body parts that I have working still don’t fall off, then they will hurt much more often than when I was younger. I was trimming my Crape Myrtle tree in my backyard to allow the flowers below it to get some sun. I decided to take on a bigger branch than I usually cut with these big pruning clippers and it was a tough hunk of wood. Anyway, I pulled and the limb pushed back and pop …my bicep in my right arm just blew up in a storm of pain. Now if I lift my arm or hold something in my right hand, I get to enjoy as much pain as a want. The next day I woke up with a fist sized purple red bruise like I was punched in the bicep. I never had a bruise from the inside out before!

Website Update
• New Vocabulary Quiz!!! Woohoo!!! I also realized that I never changed the date on the old list( meaning it said April 27 but it was really May 18th’s list). I am sorry.. it is simply impossible to get good help these days!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “Within You and Without You” from The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bands album and “Angry Eyes ” by Loggins for your sing-a-long pleasure.
• Added a new quote from a fictional character. From the novel, “The Magicians”: The bartender at the Fillory pub where the Magician’s met Humbledrum, the sardonic bear, said.” We have lived too long… All the great days are past”. With the horrible down turn in Americanism, this horribly depressing quote seemed apropos.
• This week’s Interesting Human is JK Rowling. Hers is a truly magical story of rags to riches and generosity in the modern age.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I signed up for 2 new art classes last week. One is a pastels class. Many of you may remember that I worked in pastels for a little while in 2012 but stopped when the teacher went insane. She is gone so I am going back. The other class I am taking is a ceramics class. I am going to make a series of Bonsai pots for my trees.
• I got two paintings critiqued this week at my watercolor class. Last week I mentioned a portrait of my son Sean and the other is a still life where I captured an image my koi. I like how they turned out enough to frame and mat them. I forgot to mention that the Koi Pond painting was done on special 600grit artists sandpaper. It was very interesting. I am going to buy more of that paper I think.

• Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released over fifty years ago on May 26, 1967. From before that day to this one, those fabulous four lads from Liverpool began to change the world. Fifty years! If that fact doesn’t convince you that time is a meaningless construct that we have imposed upon ourselves, you will be destined to regret more than you rejoice. For me, The Beatles taught me to look at the problem differently. The music was how they packaged it but their message was always clear – We do not have to look at things that way. We can learn and be more if we start to consider new ways of being. There is an excellent PBS special on the making of the Sgt. Peppers album. It is amazing how far they pushed audio technology in the course of making that album with George Martin. Join me in celebrating some of the best gifts that mankind has ever enjoyed. Be kinder than you were yesterday. Hum “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, as you make your way this afternoon and see if it doesn’t change your day.
• SCROTUS chose to tweet a critique of London’s Sadiq Khan mayor chastising him for “political correctness” in response to the mayor calling for calm after the Manchester attack. Khan’s only response was to state, “ I have more important things to do that respond to Trump’s ill-informed tweets. Others had plenty to say. My favorite was from J.K. Rowling, who tweeted, “It’s called ‘leadership’, Donald. The terrorists were dead 8 minutes after police got the call. If we need an alarmist blowhard, we’ll call.” I was already a huge fan of this fine lady but now my affection borders on deep abiding love.

Music Update:
This week’s UJT Radio program features3 magic that I want to share with you:
• The Beatles — Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band — This is of course the title cut of this icon paradigm shift album. George Martin’s brilliance shines just as bright as the lads throughout this record. He was everywhere, mixing, writing, technology and he even played instruments on a few cuts.
• The Beatles — Within You and Without You — This one is pure George Harrison. He wove this tapestry of indian musical instruments out of his love of music and his new found spirituality. Many people were exploring metaphysical eastern religions during this time but for George this was the beginning of a lifelong path. The musical theory surrounding this song is quite complex and innovative accord the the recent documentary on this album on PBS. I just think it is a beautiful song and it was always one of my favorites.
• Steely Dan — Time Out Of Mind — A jazzy smile from the boys. This one is soooooo tight and sweet. It is from one of my favorite and yet unsung SD albums, Gaucho released in 1980.
• Traffic — Hidden Treasure — This is a deep cut from “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” album. Chris Wood’s sweet flute is featured a lot on this song. You can almost smell the Sandalwood incense that we would be burning when listening to this one.
• The Everly Brothers — Stories We Could Tell — From the Vinyl!!!! Don and Phil Everly brought the beauty of harmony home to me when I was just a lad. This cover of a great John Sebastian song does it for me every time. It’s the title cut on their 1972 release. This record features 28 musicians!! For me, this song has always been kind of a story teller’s theme song.
• Tedeschi Trucks Band — Until You Remember — These folks played a hell of a tribute to Greg Allman when he was first diagnosed with Liver Cancer. They are carrying the southern blues baton forward into the future. This one is from their Revelator album release in 2011.
• Loggins and Messina — Angry Eye — I fell in love with these boys as songwriters back in the days of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. As soon as they shared their wonderful harmonies and great playing as a duo hit my heartstrings, I was lost. We all know them as great song writers but this jam features their musicianship front and center. The great sax and later flute solos are done by Jon Clark.
• Rolling Stones — Waiting On A Friend — As you know, this has always been one of my favorite Stones songs. I have featured it here before. I always love the bromance aspect promoted by the video promoting the song but when it came up this time, I was really struck by Sonny Rollins great sax solo. This one is from their 1982 release, “Tattoo You”

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