July 29th, 2016

Kube lazhin! (A fine “Good Morning” as a Nupe might sayto you uf tis passed each other on the street in Niger, the largest state in Nigeria)

As most of you know, I haven’t been looking for a job in quite awhile. I didn’t intend to stop working when I did, but couldn’t find anything that really peaked my interest as much as my volunteer work for SDWS. But last week, I suddenly happened across two different opportunities that may be of interest. The most exciting one is working on the implementation side of a global cloud services company. I also have an interview for what could be an interesting Government consulting gig this week as well. I will let you know what happens.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I had another one of those embarrassing moments this week. I never have been very good with names. I am pretty good with faces but remembering names and context of how I might have engaged with people sometimes are just out of memory. This week I had yet another occasion to enjoy humility when a lovely young lady entered a room full of people spotted me and lit up with a big smile. She came right over to me and said, “James! It is so nice to see you again.” Again, the face was familiar but as to the other information I was at a total loss. I guess I am out of practice in covering my embarrassment, because she followed up with, “You don’t recognize me at all do you?” I apologized and told her that I knew the face and smile but had lost everything else. It turns out we had worked together at EDS at both Commerce Point and the NOC here in San Diego. I always feel terrible when this happens. These sweet people have hung on to their memory of me somehow and I feel I have let them down because I failed to do the same. I think by the end of our meeting this lady was happy she ran into me again as we swapped stories about mutual acquaintances and experiences. At least I hope so..

Website Update
• Whoohoo!!! A “New” Vocabulary quiz!
• I add another quote or two to 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.
• My new editor is on holiday and will contact me upon his return.

• Comparing the to political conventions has been interesting. I know it will come as no shock to anyone that I find the clarity of purpose, tone and character of the Democrats much more inspiring than the fear mongering, pandering and frankly, embarrassing behavior presented in Cleveland. I found the information provided in Philadelphia helpful. Though I never liked Hillary, I admired her efforts to address the out of control rise in cost of healthcare during her husband’s presidency. Through the picture painted during the convention, I found other reasons to admire her. It is unlikely that I will ever be as excited about Hillary as I came to be about Bernie. But watching the two conventions, I am much more comfortable with Hillary as a choice. I am grateful to the GOP convention for helping me to double down on my complete and utter distain for the party and its chosen candidate for this election. I am not sure the original founders of the Republican Party, Amos Tuck, Horace Greely, Charles Sumner and Salmon Chase who couldn’t standby while their Democratic party counterparts allowed slavery to infect the settler states coming into the union in 1854 would recognize the GOP today. In only their second election as a party, their candidate, Abraham Lincoln, won the day and led our country through its greatest challenge. This was a party of proud brave Americans who had the gumption to stand against the most horrible of institutions that still haunts our country to this day. I wonder how they would feel about the slanderous descriptions of our country pandered to the fearful to inspire such racist and divisive demagoguery. I know that there are still proud brave Americans in the Republican Party but their voices have been lost in the hysteria of moment. America has much to be proud of not the least of which is the messy but continuing process of improvement. I have been as frustrated with that process as anyone but this week I was reminded that is just the nature of the beast. We must endure the painful too-ing and fro-ing of democracy’s changes. I think that the very diversity that makes us great also fuels the messy tug of war between the haves and the have nots that can only take place in a truly free society such as exists in America. Can there be any greater challenge than to lead a country of 200+million souls to compromise enough to overcome the inequities of the influence of the 1%’ers, the challenges of both international and domestic terrorism, the continuing carnage caused by lax state by state gun control, the re-skilling and other adaptive support needed to change the economies of coal production and other environmental factors, and so on. Taking on the remaining work needed to meet and overcome these challenges is not for the faint of heart and will take more than fear mongering slogans to achieve. It will take understanding, compassion, due diligence, principled compromise and perseverance.

Music Update:
I really enjoy finding a unique mix set of just 6 songs that helped me through this week. Some weeks its hard to pick and some weeks they just fall from heaven. I hope you like this week’s selection:

• Alanis Morrisette — Everything — My friend Jack was the one who introduced me to this interesting songwriter. She is so expressive and insightful.
• Bob Schneider — Come With Me Tonight – This was the first Bob Schneider song that I ever heard. Now I am just a huge fan
• Country Joe and Fish — Feeling Like I Am Fixin to — I guess most folks only every heard about these boys was from Woodstock the movie. I got to see them play at least 5 times and enjoyed each time immensely. They just had a good time.
• Dan Fogelberg — Make Love Stay — From the Vinyl!!!! I always loved Dan’s beautiful voice and romantic themes. We lost him much too early.
• Dave Mason — World In Changes — From the Vinyl!!!! Dave always seems to find the right words and music to fit my thinking and feelings. I can just listen to one of these old songs and I am brought back to those times when I still had so much to learn and yet knew so much that it was real hard to figure out what I didn’t know.
• The Derek Trucks Band — Soul Serenade (Live) – Who couldn’t use a little soul serenade??? I sure could. I could listen to Derek Trucks play that guitar ..
• Grateful Dead — Fire on the Mountain — From the Vinyl!!!! This week The Dead and Company came to town. I couldn’t go but I hope they had a great show. John Mayer is sooooo talented and has been a dead head since his days in high school (what was that like last summer .. Sprout!) But make no mistake, John is a grown up great guitar player and fully appreciates Jerry for the magic man he was.
• Eric Johnson — Forty Mile Town — I discovered this Austin born guitarist when I was living in Dallas. I got to see him one time when he was touring with this retro sixties show and he played so many classics by Cream, Hendrix and The Beatles. This is an original tune off his “Ah Via Musicom” album from 1990.

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!