October 4th, 2018

“Chào buổi sáng” Wishing you a “Good Morning” in Vietnamese. Vietnam is on my bucket list. I once ran along the coast in the South China Sea but I never went ashore. I would like to fix that before I go belly up.

This is the last two weeks to Vote for your favorite reads!!! The Great American Read is still running. I am still voting. Are you? You only have until October 18th to vote for your favorites!!!!

Have you ever hears of HAL-3? Or the Seawolves? I watched a tearful documentary this week called, “Scramble the Seawolves” on PBS. They were a Navy Unit that was established and disbanded in Vietnam during that war. The unit was established on April Fools Day, 1967 and disbanded on March 16, 1972. They were a helicopter squadron that formed the airborne side of a highly effective jungle warfare tactical triangle that also included US Navy Seals and River Patrol Boats/ The Seawolves’ Huey Helicopter Gunships ran cover fire for Seals and PBRs, rescue and MEDIVAC missions in the Vietnam War. By the time the unit disbanded American public opinion was broad brushing disgrace not only on the political leaders that perpetuated the war but the individuals who followed orders and fought it. They were forced to hide their heroism and metals. It wasn’t until Ross Perot Sr. and Ross Perot Jr. hosted a 2014 reunion at the Circle T Ranch outside of Dallas, Texas with Police escorts and the whole works, that these brave and unsung heroes got the recognition that they so richly deserved. If you would like to learn more about this highly decorated Vietnam war unit, please check out their website and perhaps view the PBS documentary on October 1st (check your local PBS listings) about the Seawolves. I think that our country may not always act honorably, but the Americans who follow their leaders’ orders deserve our respect and admiration.

September 29th would have been Col. Harry Shoup’s 101st birthday! Who was Col. Shoup? There are a number of versions and speculations on what happened that night on November 30th , 1955 but here is the one I like the best. Harry was the USAF Crew Commander responsible to respond to NORAD’s Red Phone. The Red Phone was the device used when the Pentagon or the Commander USNORTHCOM would use to put NORAD and the Strategic Air Command on a higher alert status in 1955. Evidently, Sears advertised a misprinted phone number in a Colorado Springs newspaper telling children that they could call Santa directly at that number. Col. Shoup took the first of those calls from a little girl on the Red Phone. Or so the legend goes. Once the Col. figured it out that call was not a alert change or a practical joke, he took the little girl’s call for Santa very seriously. Harry ordered that anyone getting calls about Santa that night, to provide a location and status to the caller. The USAF had been issuing communiques about the current location of the Jolly Elf and his reindeer since 1948 so providing the status was not too big a leap. Here is NORAD’s “Col. Santa” memorial page.

This week I learned some stuff:

• Wow! Another Twofer National Holiday !!! Today is, National Coffee WITH A COP DAY!! And it is NATIONAL VODKA DAY!!!! So… go get a cup of coffee with a cop and spike with Vodka.

Website Update:
• The last week for our “New” Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• We have a brand new “UJT Music Trivia Quiz” !
• This week I added some new recipes for you to try!Yum!!! I found a grilled chicken dish that was tasty and a change from my normal grilled chicken sandwiches. I also added a really good Tuscan Peppery Beef Stew kind of thing that I think you will like if you try.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I got back some of my creative juices this week! I finished two micro-memoirs, a chapter in the new book, 3 paintings and a couple of coil clay pots (my first ones and it shows!).

• Do you remember the first time that you felt grown up? Was there some event that caused you to think the words, “Wow! I am not little kid anymore.”? It happened back when you were still definitely a little kid but some signal came to you, albeit premature and inaccurate, that you had finally grown up. Boys and girls may have several of these moments in life. There are. of course, the standard ones – When coach tells you to buy your first jock strap or mom comes home from the store with your new “training bra”. But there are also personal ones that are special only to you. For me, it was the first day of 6th Grade English with Mrs. Brown at Coral Gables Elementary. She informed us that we would all need to buy fountain pens because all assignments had to be handed in ink, double spaced. Up till then I think everything had been done in pencil. So that night after school, my mom took me to Woolworths or maybe Jeffersons to buy my first one. I was very practical. All the pens that had dark cartridge reservoirs might make it hard to see your ink level. The Scripts cartridge fountain pen that I chose had a silver tip, cover with pocket clip and a clear barrel. I had seen the other grown up kids and even men, with their silver clips holding their fountain pens in their shirt pockets. Even though my pen came with two full cartridges, I got my mom to buy me an additional package of five more. The next morning I put my new fountain pen into my shirt pocket and went to school – all grown up! By 5th period English, I had a big blue spot at the bottom of my shirt pocket and in my stained hand wrapped in a wad of paper towels, was my brand new, all grown up, leaky pen. Life can be so cruel to young men!
• One year ago, on October 1st a C&W concert was attacked from a Las Vegas hotel room window. The shooter was equipped with legal obtained weapons and accessories that enabled him to kill 58 people and wound 869 more. Stephan Paddock, a 64 year old “regular guy” using a perfectly legal accessory for his rifles managed the rain over 1,100 rounds down on the crowd attending the concert below his hotel room. The NRA successful lobbied to get the bill banning bumpstockj outlawed killed at the federal level and only 11 states have made them illegal so far. So that means that anyone who wants to kill a bunch of innocent people can buy them online for about $200. Of course, these once obscure devices made famous this way, started to fly off the shelves. There is a rule processing through the ATF that would ban the sale of these devices in the US and require those that own them to destroy them. In my opinion, this is a shameful example of how democracy as we know it is now failing. NRA money buys more influence in our government than public outrage and they are not the only ones purchasing political power.
• The passing of an old rock and roller is not all that weird in and of itself. But co-founder of the Jefferson Airplane, Marty Balin’s passing at 76 this week, gave me pause. First of all, Marty and Grace Slick sang my songs as everything was changing in my world. They were there when I went from All-American-Lad to anti-war/establishment hippie. They helped me understand that being different was OK. When Volunteers came out, I was learning how to make a stand for what I believe in. They played the sound track to my initiation into the very strange lives that girls and women lead. But I think if, we had asked Marty or Grace, none of us expected to get old. We never doubted our invincibility or that we would be those same people, at that time, forever. Paul Kanter, died in 2016. Now Marty. Grace has traded her microphone for a paint brush and lives just north of me somewhere (Malibu, I think). Perhaps that is the weirdest thing of all, getting old…quietly, with youthful hearts and souls trying to learn to accept that “no one gets out alive.” RIP Marty Balin and thanks for the music!

Music Update:
Here is another musical smorgasbord for you to feast upon. I know that not ever dish will be your favorite but I hope you will sample it all.

Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.
• Jefferson Airplane — Comin’ Back to Me — A pretty Marty Balin song from their second album, Surrealistic Pillow released in 1967.
• Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers — This is the title cut from their 1973 release. Reportedly the title and inspiration for the song happened when a garbage truck woke Marty Balin and he saw a big sign for “Volunteers of America” on the side.
• Boxing Gandhis — Piece the Valley — This is a song about quiet desperation. About a soul who gets lost with a gun. I thought of this song as I was recalling the tragedy in Las Vegas. This one should be listened to closely. This is a deeper cut from their album,”Howard” released in 1996.
• Daryl Hall and John Oates — Maneater — This was a big hit when it was released on their H2O album released in 1982. Inspired by Daryl’s hanging with Edgar Winter in the crazy city of excesses in the 1980s – NYC.
• Bruce Cockburn — Deep Lake — I know I featured this beautiful instrumental over a year ago on UJT Radio. But when ever it comes up on my rotations, I just get lost…its so peaceful it makes me almost wish for snow to watch fall in the moonlight. Close your eyes… just let it all go .
• Leon Russell — Stranger in a Strange Land — This one always makes me smile. I miss Leon, the world is a sadder place without him. This one was a deep cut from his, “Leon Russell and the Shelter People” album released in 1971.
• Tab Beniot – Sunrise – Some sweet blues from the Big Easy!! This one is from his great album, “Medicine” released in 2011.
• Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me(The Ecology) – This one comes from his “What’s Going On” album also released in 1971. It seems that this recording seems lower than most, so you may have to turn it up to hear it 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!

Under the Jacaranda Tree URL: http://www.jfmccann.com