July 22nd, 2016

早晨 (jóusàhn)! (A fine Cantonese“Good Morning” to you !!!)

Twenty-seven years ago this week I lost my Dad. My Dad and I spend most of our lives somewhat estranged. Mostly due to the overwhelming force of my mothers anger and sense of betrayal that she felt at his hands and that she permeated my brother and me with since they split when we were young boys. We had a reconciliation of sorts after I graduated boot camp. But it wasn’t until I was to be new father and my wife and I were on our way to Hawaii that Dad and I really put it together. From that moment to the moment of our last meeting, my father and I were very close. It wasn’t typical of most father son relationships. Too much time and wear and tear had gone on for that. It was more like forming a new old friendship of equals. I think we both found that we could be as open as we wanted with the other and were not afraid to show our flaws and celebrate our uniqueness with each other. It was special. So on that day in 1989 when I learned that smoking had finally killed him, I felt especially alone. Like a little boy who finally understood that his dad was not coming back. Now my heart swells with pride of ownership of a friendship with one of the world’s finest gentleman rascals. I am smiling Dad…Thanks!

I confess it was just an excuse to see my old friend hold my guitar in his hand one more time. George visited me at my little house on Florida Street a couple of years back. He was accompanied by Laura and her royal highness, Ms Sophie. We whipped up some martinis, shared some stories and George played, “Blackbird” on my trusty Walnut Taylor for us. I don’t think my guitar ever sounded so good before (especially when my already feeble skills started to scatter into the abyss of crappy carpel tunnels and other nerve issues in my hands). So this weekend, I arranged to visit George under the pretense of taping a demo of the Taylor as I prepare to sell it on Ebay. It was great! We grabbed a quick lunch at Habit Burger Grill and I got to visit his studio above the garage for the first time since he moved back home after the fire. He has all of these amps and guitars. And he kindly walked me through what he had and demonstrated them for me. I had so much just hanging with him, I didn’t want to leave but Southern California traffic out of LA can be life changing so after we toured the reconstituted house, visited with Ms Sophie, did the one take 5 minute iPhone video of my guitar and chatted about the citizens of his amazing studio, it was time to go. Thanks George for the help and the visit. Oh yeah .. and the word for the 20’x20’x20’ framework for the Wisteria to grow along the back of my house is called an, “Arbor” 🙂

This week I learned some stuff:
• In addition to refinishing our bed where the beasts had scratched it entering and exiting from the bench we keep at the foot, I am also refinishing a night stand freshly stolen from our daughter. In its former life, it was a very blonde looking finish that is lovely but will clash with my sensibilities and the rest of the bedroom set. So I am staining and refinishing it. I am on my 7th pass of staining, buffing with steel wool and finishing with more stain. The wood is much darker but not dark enough yet. To be dark enough, I might have to do another 7 passes! And so it goes…

Website Update
• Last week for the “New” Vocabulary quiz!
• In spite of the loss of my quotes I am enjoying replacing them. I got to read the wisdom of Tecumseh again..if its been awhile, take a moment to refresh your soul – visit the UJT Kitchen Drawer

Writing and Painting Update:
• I have reassembled all of my painting stuff and set up the easel out back. I am quivering on the edge.
• I received some good advice and suggestions from an old friend about finishing the “GrandPa Stores” revision once and for all. So I will be pursuing that goal again shortly. I was inspired by the people and company suggested to help me publish.
• I was inspired to write another poem this week. That hasn’t happened in a while. It is on the Things to Read under Poetry and New This Week. I haven’t even opened that page is so long. I am almost afraid to read what is there. Soooooo…I went a little crazy and updated the entire page with reading any of the poetry there, like to do so would be some kind of voyeuristic act perpetrated on my innocent self… hmmm wrong section! This should have been included in the Weird-Stuff-O-Meter below.

• How do they know?? Maybe the security company sets a parameter in the tiny but completely autocratic and controlling CPU of the smoke detectors such that they run out of battery life at precisely 3:39 am!!?? Once you realize that ice pick like beep isn’t the failure warning on the defibrillator they are trying to use to save your life in the dream you were having as come to consciousness. It is only then that you realize that “THEY” got you again with the smoke detector batteries! You promise faithfully (at the time) that this time you will put it in your calendar to change the batteries “pro-actively” by scheduling the maintenance ahead of the demonic clock inside their CPUs. Maybe next year you won’t be frantically searching the junk drawer in the kitchen in your skivvies to find either the book that will remind you how to make it stop beeping (because screaming isn’t working) or the #%#%#@@!! 9 volt battery you are sure you left there just in case of such an emergency. And so it goes…
• I listed my first item on Ebay!!!(http://www.ebay.com/itm/252466378209?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649) It wasn’t very hard to do but I am not sure its going to sell because I priced it from my heart. It feels like I putting one of my kids up for sale!

Music Update:
On of the cool parts of going up north to see my friend George is getting a couple hours on the road with my music. I whip out my Shuffle and drag it across some dusty rows of the music library and find out that I am still in love with some of these old tunes that I haven’t heard (or played for you) in awhile:

• Shawn Phillips – Song for Sagittarians — From the Vinyl!!!! This eclectic and gifted artist happens to be the guy who taught George Harrison how to play the sitar. This cut is from his, “Second Contributions” album which is actually his 4th of over 20 albums. I think Shawn has magnificent voice and maybe the most excellent song writer that you probably haven’t heard of since I featured this song a little over 2 years ago on UJT Radio. Bill Graham described Shawn as, “the best kept secret in the music business”. I whole heartedly agreed until George introduced me to Carl Verheyen, just this year! I wonder if Bill had heard of Carl??:) Enjoy.
• Joe Bonamassa – Further on Up The Road — This yet another live capture of this wonderful tune. This one is from his Live from the Royal Albert Hall album and features our friend Eric Clapton.
• Matchbox Twenty – Disease — From their, “Exile on Mainstream” album. This record is one of my all time favorites… these guys are just “bitchin’ “!
• MC Hammer – You Can’t Touch This — When this popped up on the Shuttle, I just smiled. At the time it came out, I was probably like most “white folk” .. I didn’t get it …more flash than cash or substance opportunist but this grew on me. I hope you like it but can live without it 🙂
• Venice – The Go to Guy — From their “What Summer Brings” album released a couple of years ago. I got to see them play this with Brother Joe at one of those cook back yard deals we do from time to time.
• Taylor Swift – Style – Pondering 43 years of marriage .. I guess I just connected with this whole idea of our love never going “out of style”. Oops my romantic bent is showing..
• Peter Gabriel – Steam (Radio Edit) — This one is from this 1992 “Us” album. I read somewhere that this one is all about a smart sophisticated woman in a relationship with a man who isn’t. I am not sure about all that but I like the song.
• David Guetta, Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over — This one always feels like it should have been a Madonna song. Kelly does an amazing job with and I love the piano and rhythm. Have fun with 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!