November 8th, 2018

“ K’abį́ nezų!” Wishing you a “Good Morning” in Chipewyan, a Northern Athabaskan language spoken in parts of northern Canada !!!

I had fun carving the pumpkin and doing the 20 yard dash to the door for the Trick or Treats. The costumes seemed much more elaborate this year.

Everyone got the opportunity to vote. I hope everyone found a way to get their votes in this year. I am proud of my record of voting in every singe election that I could, even when I was living outside the US. Here in California we have an excellent vote-by-mail system. This year nearly 1.5 million more voters are registered to vote in this mid-term than in 2014. Over 76% of those eligible to vote have registered to do so. I hope they all do! Our shitty campaign finance laws has hosed our country much more than anyone thought. The only check that can balance that inequity is the individual voter investing their vote carefully, thoughtfully and reliably. Please do the work. Research the candidates and issues that are asking for your vote and then vote your conscience. It is the only hope we have of fixing this mess. Thank you for voting.

This week I learned some stuff:

• November 8th is a NATIONAL CAPPUCCINO Day ! Yeah!!! Nice steaming cup of that creamy nectar will put your whole morning in a new prospective. For our Cuban friends, I always liked Cafe con Leche better but don’t tell the Italians, they will get all huffy about it 🙂
• Most of us remember that iconic monologue in “Jaws” by Robert Shaw as Quint describing the sinking of the Indianapolis (CA-35) as a survivor. As horrifyingly entertaining as it was, it was not very accurate. Indianapolis sunk just after midnight on June 30th, 1944 not June 29th as Quint reported. Survivors reported that there were some shark attacks but injury, dehydration and salt water poisoning killed most of the men who survived the sinking.

Captain Charles Butler McVay III, was the skipper of the USS Indianapolis when she was struck by torpedoes. Indianapolis had just finished a refit in San Francisco. Her top secret mission was to deliver nuclear components (parts for Little Boy and about half of the world’s U235 available) as quickly as possible. Little Boy would be the first nuclear device used in combat when it was dropped on Hiroshima. The Indianapolis set a new record for the fastest transit for a vessel of her kind getting the components from San Francisco to the Army Base at Tinian island. She was ordered to return to Leyete after delivering the components but as her mission was top secret, she had no escorts, was maintaining radio silence and was not expected Leyete. Nor was the Captain made aware of any Japanese submarines operating in the area, though they had been spotted earlier.

Indianapolis was struck by two torpedoes on her starboard side, exploded and sank in 12 minutes. About 300 sailors went down with the ship, the remaining 900 men were adrift for four days before they were spotted by a routine scouting PBY. Of those who survived the sinking, only 316 survived the exposure, dehydration, salt water poisoning and shark attacks that followed. They went into the water with few lifeboats and almost no food or water.

Captain McVay survived but was court-martialed for “failing to zig zag” and allowing his ship to be torpedoed. None of the remaining survivors felt their Captain was at fault. The skipper of the Japanese submarine !-58, stated that the zig zag maneuver would have not hampered his ability to sink the unescorted heavy cruiser.

Admiral Chester Nimitz remitted Captain McVay’s sentence and returned him to active duty where he reached the rank of Rear Admiral before retiring. Many of the families of the lost sailors remained bitter and harassed McVay for years. Finally, on November 6, 1968, McVay used his Navy issued revolver to shoot himself. He was 70 years old.

In 1996, a sixth grade student began to research the sinking of the Indianapolis for a history project. That assignment eventually led to a Congressional investigation which resulted in a Resolution that exonerated Captain McVay. President Clinton signed the resolution. In 2001, the United States Secretary of the Navy ordered that McCoy’s official navy record be cleared of all wrongdoing.

Website Update:

• Second week for the “New” Vocabulary Quiz.
• Last week for the Music Trivia Quiz.
• I added a couple of recipes for you all this week. A new cocktail that a friend told me about is in the Libations, Cocktails and Drinks pages. The tasty mind bender is called, “ The Gypsy Wife” and I found it to be a delightfully refreshing cocktail that even made me look cultured. Also I have added two new curry dishes for you to try out in your neighborhood – Caribbean Coconut Beef Curry and Jamaican Chicken Curry.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• As Stephen King advised in his amazing book on the craft of writing, I write every day. Some days I write more of my new novel. Some times its just a poem that came to me. Sometimes its just writing something for my workshop or the UJT Update. But everyday I write something. I feel lessened if I don’t get it done. Oh, speaking of Stephen King. After a long sabbatical from his writting, I am back into it and Oh My! I finished the last of the Mr. Mercedes series and just started on the The Gunslinger. Sometimes his choice of words and descriptions just leaves me breathless! Another thing I have noticed since I first read, “The Stand” in 1978 is that his vocabulary has grown immensely as has mine 🙂
• Encouraged by my silly little ceramic pots, I have started two other projects. One is an interesting little box 4 x4 and the other is the sort of Fish wind-chimey thing that I mentioned last week. They are drying now and getting ready for their first firing.


• I finished another painting this week. Its so hard to say that. For me the toughest part about painting and drawing is being able to declare something “done”. The hardest lesson to learn for me as an artist is that what shows up on the paper is never going to be as good as what showed up in your head. While I think as time passes I am getting closer, I am sure I will never get there. So every time, I have ever part of the paper covered with pigment I face the dilemma, “Well, I will let it dry and then go back over the leaves, or the face or the building and so on…” Many times these “last adjustments” have actually hurt the painting. So I try to get to the point where I think the image on the paper represents what I wanted to do, force myself to sign it and put it away. I painted what I think is a lovely painting a couple of years ago, “ The Pensive Girl”. I saw it stashed in my closet last week and thought, “ I should take it out of the frame and rework more darks into the background.” And so it goes…

Music Update:
Here is another musical smorgasbord for you to feast upon. I know that not every dish will be your favorite but I hope you will sample it all.
Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.

• Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention — Zomby Woof — Another incredible Zappa story surrounded by perfectionist music. This one comes from their “Overnite Sensation” album release in 1973.
• Matchbox Twenty — I Believe in Everything (Bonus Track) — This one is a deep cut from their album, “North” released in 2012. I think we must be due for a new album soon.
• Bob Schneider — Big Blue Sea — This one comes from his. “Lonelyland” released in 2001. This guy had a pretty interesting life. An Austin boy raised in Germany, learned piano and guitar very early. Mom was an opera singer.
• Bob Seger and The Silverbullet Band — Hollywood Nights — This one will get your ass to shaking! Well, it always got me up and moving. Released on their, “Stranger in Town album released in 1978.
• Eric Johnson — Cliffs of Dover — This instrumental comes from his “Ah Via Musicon” album released in 1990. This boy has mad guitar skills 🙂
• The Who — Happy Jack — This is one of the mellower cuts from their amazing “Live at Leeds” album released in 1970. I remember listening to this album full blast going 90 miles an hour in my friend Dino’s golden GTO.
• Jackson Browne – Love Needs a Heart(Live) – This song was a deep cut but always a favorite from his iconic album, “Running on Empty” released in 1977. I came back to Miami with a new baby, got a job at the airport, and went to school at night. We were so young! I rode this 1955 Schwin Hollywood to the airport and school because our car was always busted.
• Barcelona – Numb – Another cut from their 2007 release, “Absolutes”. This band is just so impressive to me. I really like Brian Fennel’s songwriting and voice. Sometimes he reminds me of Freddy Mercury.

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!