October 14th, 2021

“Jó reggelt (kívánok)”, or “Good Morning!” in Hungarian, a Uralic language spoken mainly in Hungary.

Otis! Otis! Otis! 2021’s gloriously, fabulously Fat Bear!!! The good news for bear lovers everywhere is that it was an obesely blubbery competition this year. Given their eating accomplishments, our big furry friends can hibernate and give birth to a new batch of spring cubs. Happy hibernation to Otis and to all those not quite as big!

Looking back over my life now, my accomplishments, both successes and failures, were equally important to me. The concept of embracing failure as a development tool was one I was fortunate to learn early on. It gave me the courage I needed to try bold things and grow when they sometimes failed. But there is a fine line between trying your best, coming up short and learning from it. And making the experience so self-depreciatingly damaging as to lose its value and perpetuate a false value judgement. Many very, “successful” people are ridiculously hard on themselves and often those closest to them as well. Instead of recognizing this flaw, we stand in awe of their social and monetary “wealth” and “success”. You can be as lonely in a Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park. Someone considered unsuccessful can be living happily in an overcrowded, modest suburban home or urban apartment filled children, laughter and love. The ones who never learn to fail and forgive themselves never actually know what they are missing. And to me, that is sad.

This week I learned some stuff:
• We are recovering from the disruption of positive change around here these days. The house and yard look great, but that means we have to figure out what to with all our less than great “stuff” all around. Our daughter is off helping her brother and hanging out with her niece and nephew in Texas starting this week. My son and his bride are touring the southland for about a week to celebrate their anniversary. Darrian came home last weekend for her first visit since leaving for college up north. And BJ quit an unhappy placement at the high end bakery he had been working at and is searching for his next opportunity while going to college. So we are quivering dangerously close to another “empty nest” arrangement for the next few weeks. I am not sure Tippy and I will flourish without the adult supervision usually available.
• October 14th is the 287th day of 2021. Just 72 days till Christmas! Today in 1884, George Eastman receives a U.S. Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film; On this day in 1888, Louis Le Prince films the first motion picture, Roundhay Garden Scene; In 1908, the Chicago Cubs defeat the Detroit Tigers, 2–0, clinching the 1908 World Series; this would be their last until winning the 2016 World Series; John Flammang Schrank shot and mildly wound former president Theodore Roosevelt. With the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still within it, Roosevelt delivers his scheduled speech on this day in 1912; Today in 1947, Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to exceed the speed of sound; the Cuban Missile Crisis begins when an American reconnaissance aircraft takes photographs of Soviet ballistic missiles being installed in Cuba today in 1962; Today in 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence; the Soviet Presidium and the Communist Party Central Committee each vote to accept Nikita Khrushchev’s “voluntary” request to retire from his offices today in 1964; On this day in 1982, U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaims a War on Drugs (seemed like a good idea at the time); Dwight D. Eisenhower, American general and politician, 34th President of the United States, was born today in 1890; E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright, was born on this day in 1894; W. Edwards Deming, American statistician, author, and academic, was born today in 1900; Today in 1916, C. Everett Koop, American admiral and surgeon, 13th United States Surgeon General, was born; Robert Parker, American singer and saxophonist, was born today in 1930; today is also Harry Anderson, American actor (Night Court) and screenwriter’s birthday; Erwin Rommel, German field marshal, committed suicide for his part in the attempted assignation of Adolf Hitler today in 1944 in a deal with Hitler to protect his family; And finally, Bing Crosby, American singer-songwriter and actor, passed away on this day in 1977.

Website Update:
This week:
• Last week for our “new” Vocabulary Quiz
• Week 2 for our Musical Trivia Quiz
• I haven’t created any new recipes this week.
• The Home Page quote comes from former President John F Kennedy. “Sometimes the majority just means all the fools are on the same side.” Harsh but accurate.

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• No change on the painting or stained glass front this week.
• Grandpa Stories is once again making progress towards being republished. I am learning the new toolset and it is going well. My goal is to re-edit 3 chapters each day. It is a goal but going pretty well.

• Recently, a Museum of Happiness newsletter informed me that last Sunday, Oct 10th, was World Mental Health Day. The article described the disparity between “the haves” and “have nots” globally for accessing mental health services. Like almost everything else in our unequal world, the disparity in this area is perhaps even more shameful. Plastic surgeons can organize a two-week visit in some centrally located Third World village and perform 100 cleft pallet repairs and have a significant impact on those helped. But we all know mental health isn’t like that. It takes time, a wide diversity of techniques and technologies. It also requires the awareness and willingness to bring those needed resources to bear. This is simply another example of bad planetary husbandry and organization borne out of the fundamental flaw in our competitive based model. We humans have one life to live. All of us. We can live that life anyway we wish. But as a species we have chosen “Survival of the Fittest”. That choice condemns entire populations of us to varying degrees of misery. It is in our nature to be just as kind, giving, supportive and nurturing as we are cruel, thoughtless, arrogant and selfish. We simply have elected to follow the wrong side of our nature. Our various religions perpetuate this failing perspective by reducing our personal accountability for it. We need, and will have, a fundamental change. And I fear that what changes may not be our choice.

Music Update:
Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library. This week’s selections bear greater scrutiny than simply humming along or tapping one’s foot. Each of these songs is poetry put to music and might need to be read to be appreciated for their full beauty.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Sarah McLaughlin — Song for My Father — I promise every father wishes to be remembered like this. Such a beautiful song – written, played and sung superbly. This one is from her “Shine On” record released in 2014.
• Blitzen Trapper — Stranger in a Strange Land — “… and so all my love songs fall on wasted ears…” Give a listen to this sweet simple song from their “American Goldwing” record released in 2011.
• Manassas — Johnny’s Garden — From the Vinyl!!!! Following the nasty break up of CNS&Y, Stephen Stills ran into a Burrito Brother in Cleveland and the rest, they say, is history. Stephen gathered a flock of eagles in Miami’s Criteria studios to jam. This was one product of that auspicious moment. Stephen performed in San Diego at the Belly Up. I was lucky enough to be present and learned the story behind this favorite song of mine. Anyway, this cut is from the first Manassas album released in 1972.
• Shane Smith and The Saints — Coast — I just love everything about this song! Well written and I love the vocals, guitar, fiddle. All of it works for me. This the title cut from their 2013 release. “… I got three chords and I speak the truth To Willie Nelson, that’s a country song…” Yes Sir!
• Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — Don’t Let it Bring You Down — This came up again in the rotation and made me smile some for so I included it again this week. This one is a lesser know cut from their iconic “4 Way Street” live album, released in 1971. Neil Young gives one of the best intros you will find in rock & roll music.
• Alana Miles — Rockinghorse — This is the title cut from her second studio album released in 1992. This lady captured me with her very first hit single, “Black Velvet”. I like the acoustic guitar work on this one too played by David Whipper.

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; Always remember… The best is yet to come! As always, thank you for being my friend!