October 8th, 2020

“Goedemorgen”, or “Good Morning!” Dutch (Nederlands), a West Germanic language spoken mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium.. It is Day 203 of the California Lock Down. San Diego county is trying so hard to start back up, with new normal rules… I still haven’t gotten used to the mask. I still mouth thank you when someone does something sweet as I am walking by not realizing that they can’t see my gesture. Everywhere I go, I have to get out of the car twice. The first time to get out and the second time to get the mask that I have forgotten, AGAIN!

I have had me a week or two. I spend all of last week in some of the prettiest country that I have seen in my travels! Mendocino County is a beautiful place filled with generally very friendly people. The days were long but the sights were breath taking. I saw a lot of critters that I don’t get to see much of in my world. Up in the rural hills and on the mountains, everywhere it smells as if a skunk was recently hit by a car. That smell comes from the incredible amount of high grade marijuana that is being grown. Not everyone who lives there grows pot but their neighbors do. I went to one small enterprising farmer’s place and the only thing more impressive than his pot plants was the corn growing in his veggie garden! I promise you, I am not kidding – At 6’2” I would not be able to reach the tallest ear of corn on his stalks! I will be editing the pics I took of the critters and scenery and putting them on UJT sometime this weekend.

If you ever had anything to do with Texas or if you enjoy the presence of a real character, you really should make a point to see “Ann” on Great Performances. She is a truly remarkable woman and I thoroughly enjoyed her story shown on PBS. Here is one of my favorite quotes from former Texas Governor, Ann Richards: “Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did …except she did it backwards and in high heels!”. If you think of that metaphor, in broader terms, you will realize, as I have, that the female of our species are the most undervalued assets available to address our planet’s problems. Us old white guys have to hurry up and get out of the way so they can fix the broke stuff like every mom, daughter, sister and grandma has been doing for generations, whenever we let them.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I did not know there was a beastie called a, “Mammoth Sheep”. I met this fine specimen up north and was very impressed with its noble carriage and soulful eyes and expression.
• A couple of things I recommend you to look into. I think i mentioned the first time I bought a whole Ribeye from Costco. Well I did it again and if you enjoy ribeyes, you should look into doing it for your family too. For about $150 you get 2 wonderful steak dinners, a standing Rib Roast and beef for stir fry for 5 people. Or you can go for creating your own Ribeye Cap Steaks which go for almost $20/lbs in butcher shops. It is not as difficult as you might think. There are a number of YouTube videos that will show you exactly what to do. It takes me about an hour to butcher and wrap up the dinners for the freezer. If you have the space in your fridge for it, you can dry age your beef before your butcher it which adds a whole new dimension of flavor to your steaks. The other thing that I recommend that you do right now is to check out refinancing your primary residence. With the recent reduction in interest rates and changes to the VA loan programs, many Americans can save significantly on their mortgage cost by refinancing using new terms without significant out of pocket expense. One word of caution though, once you contact anyone about doing this, you will be inundated by lots and lots of lenders wanting to “help” you. Not all of them will be honest. They will promise lots of things .. like no payments for months, for example. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. But for most people who have financed their primary residences in the past 10 years, fairly significant savings can be found under the new terms and conditions.
• September 24th is the 282nd day of the year (because 20 is a leap year – but there still only 78 days till Christmas!). Today in 1956, Don Larson of the New York Yankees pitches the first perfect game in World Series history; On this day in 1967, Che Guevarra and his men, are captured in Bolivia; In 1970, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wins the Nobel Prize in literature; On this day in 1982, after its London premiere, Cats opens on Broadway and runs for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000; Today in 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security; Eddie Rickenbacker, American soldier and pilot, Medal of Honor recipient was born today in 1890; Frank Herbert, American journalist, photographer, and author (Dune) was born today in 1920; Paul Hogan, (Crocodile Dundee) Australian actor, producer, and screenwriter is born today in 1940; Jesse Jackson, American minister and activist was born today in 1941; Chevy Chase, American comedian, actor, and screenwriter was born today in 1943; Al Davis, American football player, coach, and manager died today in 2011; Paul Prudhomme, American chef and author passed away today in 2015.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• A“New” Vocabulary Quiz!!!!
• Week 2 for our New UJT Musical Trivia Quiz!
• This week we stuck to mostly old favorites so no new recipes for you

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• This week I managed avoid attending all of my classes.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• We just have to get better and saying things with just our eyes. In a world filled with masked faces, we still need to convey affection, admiration, sympathy and emphasis but with just the upper half of our faces. Oh yeah, and if you are an “eye roller” you are so busted! 🙂
• The Census will be done by September 30th, no make that October 5th, hang on, I meant to say October 30 for sure.. ah… let me get back to you…. and so it goes. My supervisors and managers keep saying we are going to get thousands of cases to investigate but yesterday I got to revisit 3 cases that should have been closed weeks ago.

Music Update:

Once again, your fossilized DJ takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my library. This week features a number of, From the Vinyl!!!!” favorites that I hope you will enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• James Gang – Funk #49 — From the Vinyl!!!! This was the first song that indoctrinated me into the Joe Walsh lifetime fan club member. Joe has made tonal history in ever band he has played with and on his solo efforts. His use of skill, cutting edge and ancient gear as made him a huge influence on Rock and Roll guitarists his entire career. He achieved this songs raunchy sound with an old, refurbished Tele and soft nylon guitar pic.This was from their second album released in 1970, “James Gang Rides Again.”
• Joni Mitchel – The Circle Game – From the Vinyl!!!! This was released on her iconic, “Ladies of the Canyon” album also released in 1970. It features a great poem and background harmonies by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the original recording. This live version is from her “Miles of Isles” with Tom Scott and the LA Express released 4 years later.
• Les Paul and Friends — Fly Like an Eagle — Les Paul and Steve Miller’s dad were friends and Steve grew up around the tv and recording studio. The first few minutes are when Steve was just a little guy running around and got caught with the mic on talking with Les. This is from Les’ collaboration album, “American Made – World Played” from 2005.
• Los Lonely Boys — Heaven — My friend Randy turned me on to these brothers a while back. I love their sound! This one comes from their first album, “Los Lonely Boys” released in 2004.
• Seal — Don’t Cry — I had just moved to Germany when “Seal” his first album was released. I am not sure but it may have been a gift from my daughter. In any case, the beauty of his voice, his poetry and the incredible production skill on that record, was a total inspiration for me. I would put the CD on and do my best to sing a long. I didn’t care if I was alone or had a car full of people. I just loved the songs that much. I hope you do too.
• Steely Dan — Parker’s Band — From the Vinyl!!!! As you all know there are many bands, performers and kinds of music that I love. But Steely Dan holds a special place in my musical heart. This short little ditty comes from their iconic, “Pretzel Logic” released in 1974. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in depth. I particularly love the guitar and sax work.

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!