August 1st, 2019

“早 (ja2)” or “Good Morning!!!” in Teochew, a member of the Minnan (Southern Min) group of Chinese languages spoken in China, Singapore and many other countries.

Maintenance. Maintenance is often the difference between your safety, longevity, joy and the quality of life or the lack thereof. We all do maintenance to varying degrees of success and diligence. And suffer the consequences, should we fail to maintain ourselves or other critical components of our lives. I do as much maintenance as I can in the summer, mostly because I am and always have been a cold weather woosie. Now that I have what seems like a million summers behind me and but a few out in front, some maintenance tasks are like on an automatic internal clock of some sort and they have changed over the millennia. “Change” the oil in the car, became “get the oil changed” in the carS or change the strings on my guitar became change the strings on the kids guitars and so on. This week I am maintaining our Vial of Life (VOL)information. Its been a year since I compiled all the health care information for my wife and I and placed them on the fridge in their magnet held envelopes. We should update our VOLs any time a condition, doctor or Rx change but I am just not that good. Our medications have changed as has our health to varying degrees over the past year. If you haven’t got your VOLs done, you should. VOLs might be the difference between life and death should EMTs or other first responders be called your address to take care of an unconscious you being fussed over by an overwhelmed and perhaps hysterical family member in an emergency. They will see your Vial of Life sticker on your front window of your home (they are trained to look for them) and find your VOL on the fridge which will them about your medical conditions, allergies, doctors and prescriptions. This information will speak for you if you are unable and greatly increase your chances of survival. You can find out everything you need to know and download your own VOL form from here. And remind everyone you care about to create or update their VOL as well, as I am reminding all of my UJT folks here and now.

This week I learned some stuff:
• Today is World Scout Scarf Day!!! We any of you in scouting? I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. I was pretty good too. I even became a patrol leader as a Tenderfoot because of all my camping and fishing experiences. I probably would have made it to Eagle Scout except for discovering girls in there somewhere. Today in 1907, Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell gathered 22 boys from different backgrounds and led them on a 9 day adventure of example and instruction. By the time the excursion was over, each boy was proficient in first aid, camping, survival skills, and loyalty. Scarf Day began in 2007 and commemorates the completion of the first scout camp on Brownsea Island that year. Visit for more information about scouting activities in your area.
• On August 6th on your PBS stations(check your local listings for times) there will be a presentation of, “Woodstock – Three Days That Defined a Generation” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the event. Should be interesting.
• Enjoy the travel more than the destination. When you think about it, we all share the same destination sooner or later.

Website Update:
• Week two for our “New” Vocabulary Quiz!
• Finally a “new” UJT Music Trivia Quiz! Yeahhhh!!!
• This week I have added a “GRUNCH” of new recipes: A couple of new desserts for you – Chocolate Flan Cake. Ohhh Baby! I also did the Fruit Tarte Tantin with plums and it was even better than with peaches. I am going to try it with bananas soon! I also included a new recipe for Pablano and Black Bean Enchiladas. Sooo tasty! Lastly, I added a couple of new chicken dishes – Gnarly Chicken Recipe and Huli Huli Chicken as well as something that I call,
“A Packet of Fishy Goodness”. I must admit to liking the chicken dishes a bit more than the fishy one but all were good and the fish was a lot easier to clean up after! Lastly, I have added a new Fresh Zucchini Salad for you all to try. We liked it a lot! I experimented with another dessert that did not work out as well. Back to the drawing board! The Chocolate Flan Cake took a couple of tries to get the way I want it. When it’s ready, I will share it with you. Enjoy!

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I have started two new ceramic projects. One is a street number sign for the front of the house and the other is a large ceramic salad bowl, like for Macaroni or Potato salad. If they glaze well they both should be cool.
• I have done about 8-9 sketches in prep for painting but haven’t gotten my brush wet. I got a set of Golden Artist Watercolor paints for my birthday. Many of the artists in my class and my teacher have said how much more vivid their paints are. I have just started to experiment but I think they are right. I am thinking about how bright I might make one or two of Chris Spain’s images. Anyway, that only happens if I get the paint on the brush and the brush on the paper.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• Its official! I got another “old guy notice”. An “old guy notice” are those undeniable indicators that you are in fact a living fossil. This one is my newly acquired freezing any time someone like my wife gets out from under her quilts and covers and turns the thermostatic down to 69 degrees. I now keep a permanent sweatshirt in my office and have started drinking hot tea while watching TV at night to reduce the teeth chattering. Oh yeah …thats another thing .. I am outliving one of the crowns on my teeth! Who knew! There is only one thing worse that getting old … and that is not doing it.

Music Update:

Once again this week, I have created a very nice collection of song samples that I think celebrate life in a grand way!

Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.

• James Taylor — Another Day — This is one seemed fitting as I was trying to re-read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” which was kind of required reading in the late 1970s when it seemed so insightful. Today, I found much of it as self-justifying drivel but there was one nugget in the pile. “Traveling some where is always better than arriving.” After all we all have the very same destination so we should find the best ride and route. This song is kind of like that. It comes to us from Jame’s 1997 release, “Hourglass”.
• Moody Blues — Lovely To See You Again — From their, “On the Threshold of a Dream (Digitally Remastered)” that originally released in 1969. I also have a live version that I got when we saw them at Escondido’s Center for the Arts in 2002. I am lucky enough to have been feeling this way about my friends for years and years!
• Led Zeppelin — Ramble On — This is a deep cut from their “Led Zeppelin II ” album released in 1969. We were all so jazzed by Jimmy Pages Guitar and Robert Plant’s vocals, we all most missed the references to “The Hobbit” 🙂
• Bruce Springsteen — Spirit in the Night — From the Vinyl!This is a clear demonstration greatness from Bruce’s iconic first album, “Greetings from Ashbury Park: released in 1973. He just blew us all of us away! His poetry was so refreshing and moving and the E Street Band oh man!
• Michael Hedges — Spare Change — I just love everything this sound. I can close my eyes a float downstream. This is another great demonstration of why it is so much important to travel than arrive. After all, the song always ends for all of us sooner or later. This is a tight and sweet instrumental! This one comes from his 1986 release, “Aerial Boundaries”.
• Venice – Very Real — I have had the privilege to see this song performed in concert. It’s just as spooky, tight and sweet live as it is here. This cut from from their, “Garage Demos Part 1 – Slow Stuff” released in 1995.
• Peter Frampton – Do You Feel Like I Do – The first time I heard this song was in the South China Sea. We had just left Kaohsiung, China and one of the guys had bought Frampton Live. Was almost as amazing as the Thai Stick we had discovered. This one come from his 2016 release, “Acoustic Classics”. He still plays sooo well!

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!