October 7th, 2016

Bondia! (A fine Tetum “Good Morning” greeting that you might receive in East and West Timor, Indonesia)

This week one of America’s treasures celebrates his 68th birthday this Sunday. A song writer above all else, Jackson Browne has been giving us beautiful music for decades. On a personal note, Jackson Browne has this ability to write songs that just stick with me some how. I am so grateful for all his work.

Big doings in the world this week. We had another debate that said little or nothing except to re-enforce that our current method of selecting candidates is skewed and flawed. Just because our system maybe the best in the world, is more of a condemnation of other systems than a celebration of ours. Who decided that 3rd parties must have polling exceeding 15% to get on the debate stage??? The answer is the CPD. They have a very well written webpage that explains it all to the unwashed masses. Prior to 2000, there was some multifaceted criteria that was applied to the candidates to determine if they should be invited to participate but they switched to the polling level method for greater transparency. I have no real issue with the polling method, just the arbitrary level set. Perhaps they should just do a poll on who should participate in the office level debates (as opposed to internal party primary debates) and see who American’s want to consider. I don’t know but I sure wish we had some substance to consider.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I am not typically much in favor of movie or TV show remakes but this week I was treated to two that I enjoyed. I think the remake of Westworld by HBO into a TV show and the Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze/Gary Busey’s 1991 movie, “Point Break” were both impressive.
• I learned that when it comes to sexual bias, I believed I again was equal in my association of rational and emotional to men and women. My test results confirmed that my estimate was correct. I cannot figure out the mechanics of how the test works but it is interesting. I will never forget my first awareness of sexual bias. I was running a team in Banking for EDS. Our team delivered training among other products associated with this large financial institution software and services EDS had built. I was monitoring one of our classes. This very experienced banker had been getting relatively low scores on class feedback sheets so I sat in to see if I could spot a problem. It didn’t take long. The class consisted of mostly women VPs from the 2 banks that were early adopters and development partners for the system. Whenever the instructor was describing a process that involved a teller and a bank officer, it invariably referred to the teller as “her or she” while the bank officer approving the transaction or making some decision, was always a “him or he”. The reaction in the class was visible. Sometimes the class members body language would change when the instructor made this unconscious excursion into sexual bias. The students reactions on the feedback were mostly related to the instructor being out of touch with current banking methods. Anyway, I found this week’s test interesting and going through process has helped me recognize and quality the bias in me that all of us carry to varying degrees. Check it out for yourself and see what you can learn: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/research/

Website Update
• I added a new “old” quote. I found this quote by Leon Brown back in 2014. I was trying to figure out how long ago I had published Sailing to Philadelphia on UJT and I found that I told a new friend, Nick Simmons, about it in an email where I shared the UJT with him. We lost Nick just over a year ago… A great guitar player, watercolor artist and teacher, friend and creative force… he is missed.

Writing and Painting Update:
• Still working sketches. At some point, I will have to actually get paint on the paper to meet some of my goals. Completed the edit adjudication for Part1 and am starting on GPS Part II.

• Westworld opens up that whole, “what is life or my life about?” “Men in Black” forces us to ask the same question.. is my reality “real” or is all this just part of some weird universe inside of locker C18 in some cosmic bus station. If this life as I know it is not real, it would seem to be more like Westward were the patrons seem to get their gratification doing horrible things to the hosts. On some days, I actually hope that what we are living isn’t real until at some point the nobility of our existence is once again proven. 9/11 was a horrible day to be real until the nobility of our existence became clear in the donations of blood, the long trails of construction crews all streaming into NYC or you saw all the people set aside their differences to help our humankind healing. That happens all the time inside our own little realities. Children are born, dogs make us happier, friendship makes us greater, hate makes us less, love makes us more… and so for what its worth. I think this is the real deal and enjoy testing it sometimes.
• Sometimes its just a random thought or sometimes a song will come on but suddenly I am immersed in my own demise and sense of loss. Mindy Smith has this beautiful song called, “One Moment More”. Its about the end of a love affair, I think. But when it came up on my iTunes rotation this morning, I was struck by how I will leave this world wishing for one more moment to love the way I do. Then I breath again, and get my moment but I know that some day I won’t and that makes me unbelievably sad sometimes. Do you ever have moments like that?

Music Update:
This week I was face down in GPS edits so I didn’t get much musical time. But I hope you enjoy the selections.

• Phoebe Snow – Harpo’s Blues — This lady hits full mood mode with her sweet voice and its menage a toi with the sax and piano on this tune. “I’d hate to be a grown up… “
• Bob Schneider – Oklahoma – Something about this guy..works for me. I hope you enjoy his music as well.”Fly away… “
• Jackson Browne – Standing in the Breach – Often featured on UJT, thank goodness Jackson is such prolific songwriter that I could find a great song to feature in celebration of his birthday. This one is the great title cut from his latest album. Not bad for a 68 year old dude!
• ZZ Top – La Grange – Everybody gots to have a little La Grange misbehavior in them and if you don’t now .. save up:) 🙂
• Tom Rush – Shadow Dream Song — Jackson wrote a lot of songs that were hits for other artists. Tom Rush recorded this 1968 on his Circle Game album. This is a spectacular record that features Joni Mitchell, Jackson and James Taylor songs recorded before any of them were known or had recovered their first solo records.
• U2 – Volcano – Another amazing tune from their Songs of Innocence album. Everyone should have this record … you cannot beat the price – free:)
• Venice – Everybody’s Changing – I get to see these boys in another backyard concert again this weekend with the Lads Dad and his lovely lady Jan(Thanks brother Joe!)…so I had to feature a cut from their new great record of covers called Brunch Buffet. This one is by a band I had never heard of before, Keane. Check it out.
• James Taylor and Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia — This is like a Christmas present to this old boy, two of my favorites singing a duet and playing guitar together on a wonderful tune and a great story to boot! Kind of like dying and going to heaven… enjoy.

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