September 16th, 2016

Lachhi tjiri rat! (A Romani “Good Morning”)

There is so much that I want to share with you all this week. It is hard to know where to begin.

This week I learned some stuff:
• When I was growing up in Miami, I was good friends with a wonderful greek family. It was a tough time for me and my friend’s mom kind of looked out for me (all of us boys really). Our little group were inseparable and I was a constant fixture at their house. I went off into the Navy and during my enlistment, Dean lost his dad, Doc Chimakis but his mom carried on as the lovely matriarch of the family. As life takes you down different roads, I sort of lost track of my old friend and his family. I got nostalgic this week believe or not trying to remember a recipe for Chateaubriand…which lead me to when was the last time I cooked it .. which took me down a Google path to find The Golden Ram which was a restaurant that Doc Chimerakis owned where I worked the broiler. Anyway, I stumbled over Poppy Chimerakis’ obituary. She passed in January 2014 at the venerable age of 84. They even had one of those memorial presentations that showed pictures of my surrogate family back in the day. Poppy was a gentle soul who made the world a better place.
• I learned about Living Trusts and how important it is to have one if you own property or have kids.
• I am enjoying reading, “Charlie Wilson’s War” by George Crilie, who is a long time 60 Minutes producer, even more than I enjoyed watching the thoroughly enjoyable movie starring Tom Hanks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts!! There are things in the book that wouldn’t work as movie ingredients but really fill out the texture of this bit of “Boiling Frogs” American leadership. Some of you may know of the “Boiling Frogs” but I should explain. In my sorted past as a leader within a corporate bureaucracy, I observed that often such organizations and the leaders within them can take on some of the same attributes as amphibians. That is to say, they can be put into position at room temperature water and if the heat is raised gradually they can find themselves boiled before they recognize the problem as fatal. To counterbalance this tendency in our organization, I sort of formed a covert leadership team who had the courage and vision to act for the cause to minimize the consequences of lethargic approval processes etc. Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA Afghan Desk Lead, Gus Avrakotos conducted a decade long war on behalf of an unaware US government and citizenry that eventually bankrupted the Soviet Union into dissolution. Its a great true story about Steroidal – Incredible Hulk-like Boiling Frogs!!

Website Update
• I added a few recipes that I haven’t made yet. Tonight, while you all are pondering the wisdom of wasting your time reading this weekly excursion into silliness, I will be cooking a Spanish Tapas Dinner for the gang here in Chula Vista. I am excited about making Gazpacho (a long time favorite of mine) and an assortment of Tapas. There will be Sangria to wash it all down. Then further into the weekend I am going to cook a French dinner that I have not cooked in a long, long time. For starters we will be having Vichyssoise and Escargot(something that Darrian has never had and is curious about) followed by Chateaubriand with haricot vert and a medley of new red and white garlic scallion buttered potatoes. As I said, it has been many moons since I have orchestrated this level of culinary “dancing like no one is watching” and I am excited. I might even spring for a bottle of wine worthy of such a spread. If it all goes to hell in a hand basket, I will quietly take the recipes down and go back to making really good grill cheese sandwiches.
• I added another quote or two to the UJT Kitchen Drawer.

Writing and Painting Update:
• Painting still is a step too far this week. I have my paints and easel set up outside and a sketch started but did not progress from there. I am still attempting a painting project for my Christmas gifts this year but time is running short.
• I have done it now..going into full editorial mode to push to the end… er again!

• I am planning a trip over to Las Vegas for next week to catch up with some old friends. To me Vegas always hit pretty high on my Weird-Stuff-O-Meter. I really have never really understood why but I have never been a fan of the whole Las Vegas “thang” but I suppose I might place a bet or two. Wish me luck!
• I found this very strange website – It has all this death, grave and life information including pictures of the headstones, memorials and bios for famous people or just regular people. I found my dads grave but not my moms or grandmothers so its not complete. But I learned that Anne Frank, George H Bush, PFC Wesley Phelps (WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipient) and I all share the same birthday. I also learned that Brad Delp, lead singer for Boston was born on my birthday in 1951. He was said to be the nicest man in Rock and Roll but suffered from terrible depression and committed suicide in 2007. Anyway its weird, free, and maybe for some, interesting.

Music Update:
Another week and another set of UJT Radio eclectic mix. This select spans a couple of decades and several genres to nudge you out of your comfort zone for a few minutes or maybe no… hopefully ..grow your comfort zone in new ways. Anyway, enjoy.

• Steely Dan – Rose Darling — A deep cut from Katy Lied and one my my favorites.
• Talking Heads – Life During Wartime – This ain’t no fooling around:)
• Matt Kearny – All I Need – This is a very sweet loves song and this guy always impresses me.
• Carl Verheyen – My Back Pages – A wonderful cover of one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. Every time I listen to this guy I grow more grateful to his student, George Gomez for turning me on to his wonderful music.
• Bruce Cockburn – Deep Lake — This is just such a pretty song.. like fishing on a clear blue mountain lake with nothing biting and being ok with just being alive for this moment.
• Sting – When We Dance – A lovely song of Sting trying to convince a woman who is leaving him to stay. I am such a hopeless romantic that I appreciate desperate love expressed well.
• Nickelback – Far Away – Another romantic song that resonates with me. This is a deep cut from their, “All the Right Reasons” album. This one is an m4p file so you might have to fiddle with it to play(or just go to iTunes to hear it) but I think its worth it.This one is just for you Steve!
• Love – Always See Your Face — From their, “Four Sail” album released in 1969. This is a bit time stamped but it makes me smile. I hope you enjoy 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!