August 9th, 2018

“Mwaikaleni” Wishing you a fine Arabic “Good Morning” in Bemba (Chibemba), a Bantu language spoken in Zambia, Congo and Tanzania.

The Great American Read is still running. With company in town, I have missed some of voting.

Hanging with my grandson these last weeks. We had a lot of fun doing different things. His Mom, Dad and sister invaded San Diego on Sunday. It just great seeing them all again. Of course, the kids are growing like weeds. It has been awhile since we all of the grandkids in one spot and not to brag or nothin’ but they are handsome bunch of apparently nice people.

You all may remember my earlier report of some terribly uncalled for behavior by Mr. Gravity. Well, it seems to have longer consequences than first thought. Almost exactly one week from the moment the old rascal threw me to the ground, rocks no less, (yeah, it hurt!). I started to notice that my calf was not only not getting smaller and less painful, it had started to swell again. A deep redness started to spread out from the wound. My daughter insisted I go to the doctor. Any, I did that and ended up in the ER for some ultrasound, blood, tetanus shot and some IV antibiotics. Both my daughter and I were amazed at the speed we were treated and how quiet the ER was. I gonna call it another case of my good Karma but we may have just gotten lucky. I am now taking 2 more pills four times a day and hoping for the best.

Farmers Markets are really interesting to me. Strictly speaking here in California they are not just farm products. They include a lot of non-food stuff and food that has been processed – smoked, cured and even cooked. They also sell a lot of clothes, jewelry, other crafty stuff and even linens sometimes. The one I go to is in the neighborhood where the GLBT folks live so it can get even more diverse in its products and clientele. Its always good to taste different stuff and people watch at our Farmer’s Market.

Happy 21st Birthday Darrian Howard!!! We had a preemptive celebration this week when her, normally 1000 miles distant extended family was here. It was a pretty elaborate surprise Brouhaha with helium balloons bobbing on the ceiling everywhere, Moscow Mules, Hawaiian Sliders, Guacamole and Chips and (for Darrian) your traditional Happy Birthday Peach Apple Crumb pie with ice cream. It was a great way to celebrate a great kid growing up to be a great young lady. Happy Birthday, Sweet “D”!!!

This week I learned some stuff:

• Today is NATIONAL VEEP DAY!! WhooHoo!!! National Veep Day is designated to give recognition to the succession plan of the President of the United States. The earliest VPs were all great men of their own right – Jefferson, Adams, etc. Most of us are aware that selection of the running mate has much more do with enhancing the presidential candidate’s attractiveness to voters. As the two party system took control of our political system, the VP selection was more about politics than ability to run the country. Johnson got Kennedy the southern vote that he never would have gotten otherwise. Truman helped Roosevelt with the conservatives and midwestern states. Nixon was lively balance and huge help to Eisenhower as his VP. We got lucky in succession more often than not. We have had some great VPs we have also had some fairly terrible ones as well. Agnew went to jail. Cheney should have. No one ever understood what Dan Quayle was talking about. Mostly VPs are forgotten by everyone after the votes are counted. Adlai Stevenson, VP to Grover Cleveland once replied to a reporters question as to whether the president consulted with him by saying, “Not yet. But there are a few weeks of my term remaining.” So we celebrate today the incredibly mixed bag of men who are seldom remembered for anything good.

Website Update:
• Second week for our Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• Last week for our “UJT Music Trivia Quiz” !!!
• Circumstances forced me to do a quick and dirty version of an old recipe for Hawaiian Sliders and it tasted very good. I have added that recipe to the UJT.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I blew off all my classes again this week. I had more important things to do.

• We are a funny species!! As long as I can remember, the women in my life went into cleaning frenzies at the strangest times. I remember as a boy, watching my mom whirl around our apartment trying to get it ready for the maid who came in every 3 weeks or so. My wife would scrub down every place we ever lived after we had moved out. For the longest time, I just thought it was a “get our deposit back” strategy until we were moving out of a house that the owner told us that as soon as we moved he was going to replace the flooring (carpet to wood) and repaint the house inside and out different colors. She still killed herself cleaning as if her deposit depended on it. There have been other examples observed over the years as well. Most recently, my daughter, myself and my wife all got the bug to get our world more organized and cleaner. Don’t get me wrong we keep our world pretty organized and clean all the time but it appears our species wants to polish our world before observed by others. Anyway, our world is organized and buffed as it has been for some time. Bring on the visitors!!!

Music Update:
As always, I try to find something to make the UJT Radio mix work for everyone.

Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.
• The Shins — Phantom Limb — Another one from this “new to me” band. They just have a great sound. This one is from their, “Wincing the Night Away” album released in 2006.
• Gnarls Barkley — Crazy (Single) — Another song from 2006. If I grew up with the first name of Gnarls (pronounced Narls?), I think I might be crazy too.
• Savoy Brown — Sitting An’ Thinking — This short sweet little ditty comes from the boys “Looking In” album released in 1970.
• Lifehouse — Hanging by a Moment — This was their runaway hit from the debut studio album, released on October 31, 2000. It was the most played song on the radio the following year.
• Spooky Tooth — Waitin’ for the Wind — You got to be good if you are going to pull a handle like Spooky Tooth. When I saw them the drum lead in seemed go on for ever before Gary Wright’s organ attacked you. This one comes from their Spook Two album released in 1969.
• Badfinger — Baby Blue — There was a lot of rumors that Badfinger was just a band that Beatles formed to play with out all the baggage of their existing legal baggage associated with Apple and The Beatles brands. While Paul and George did help them, were just a couple of lads from Swansea, Wales and the other two from Liverpool. They lived, wrote, rehearse in a communal house in London. This hit comes from the George Harrison produced ablum, “Straight Up” released in 1971. Badfinger’s story is a pretty tragic one. Look up their rather extensive Wiki write up for more information.
• Moscow RTV Symphony Orchestra & Vladimir Fedoseyev — Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67: I. Allegro con brio — Probably the most well known opening chords of any music ever. This one comes from “Beethoven: Eroica and 5th Symphonies” released in 2008. Close your eyes and just let it wash over you like waves on a rocky shore.
• Joe Walsh — Rocky Mountain Way — This one comes to us from his 1973 release of his second solo album after leaving James Gang, “The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get”. Joe later has stated he never would have recorded the song if he knew it would be unescapable. Audiences everywhere, even after he joined The Eagles clamored for Joe to play this song.

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!

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