November 26th, 2020 – Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

“Bouônjour à matîn”, or “Good Morning!” in Jèrriais (Jersey Norman), the variety of Norman spoken on the Channel Island of Jersey. It is Day 252 of the California Lock Down. Each day the numbers worsen and more restrictions are put in place to help protect us. There is progress on vaccine development. They are testing it on animals now … well, at least one weasel that lives in a big white house was given and emergency dose. Just 54 days till we get the stain out of the White House (Inauguration Day!).

One side benefit to cutting the cable is that a large number of old shows that I grew up with are available. I enjoy watching Perry Mason a great deal. This black and while hour long weekly show literally created the legal procedural drama that is so prevalent today (i.e. Bull, All Rise, etc.). The thing I really get a kick out of is location filming showing the cars, people and US (mostly Los Angles and San Diego) landscape circa late 1950s and early 1960s.

This week I learned some stuff:
• For some reason, I have struggled to get into the “Santa’s Workshop” mode this year. Each year I try to create something and send it out to my friends. I have done, Kahlua, pickled jalapeños, cookies, plant hangers and paintings. This time of year I am usually a flurry of activity. I don’t think I can blame my lethargic approach to the holidays on the pandemic but maybe. I seem to most content sitting on my butt or cooking up some new fangled dish. Go Figure. I am going to try to turn it around this week.
• A good friend of my lost 30lbs in just a few months! I need to do that and more. But I am not going to get Covid-19 to do it. He is on his way back from his illness but he reports a completely ‘no bueno’ time of it.
• It seems each week I find a new limitation. This week I went to the DYI center to pick up some dirt. I had to get some guy to help me get the big bags of it into the car and BJ had to take it out. Sheesh!
• I am getting ready to complete the last Longmire book from Craig Johnson(he has written a bunch) and took a few minutes with my coffee one morning to look for my next book in my favorite library in whole world. Doing that I found an autobiography that I put a hold on. I don’t know much about Mathew McConaughey, except for his acting which I have always enjoyed. Reading the memoir’s description about his book, how he used 35 years of event diaries to write it and his descriptions of what is in it, I figured out what it was that I liked about the man. Mathew McConaughey is one of those rare individuals who is comfortable in his own skin at any given moment. I think very few people are. I believe when it comes right down to it most of us are either too in love with what’s coming or too damaged by what has happened to be ok with themselves at any given moment. None of us succeed at everything we attempt nor do we have to let our success or failures affect this minute right here. It’s a choice. But one way or the other most of us do just that and it makes us uncomfortable. I think spending some time learning about his triumphs and tragedies would be an excellent ride. Though I am pretty sure I will hate him in the end because his, “Greenlights” will probably be much more interesting and read better than “Grandpa Stories” 🙂
• November 26th is the 317th day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 29 days till Christmas!). And did mention? There is only 54 days and counting till the mistake in the White Houses leaves, finally! Today in 1778, Captain James Cook becomes the first European to visit Maui; On this day in 1779, the first national Thanksgiving Day is observed in the United States as proclaimed by President George Washington at the request of Congress; Today in 1842, University of Notre Dame is founded; In 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon become the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years; On this day in 1942, Casablanca, the movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City; Today in 1968, United States Air Force helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescues an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire. He is later awarded the Medal of Honor; In 1970, In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) of rain fall in a minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded; Today in 2000, George W. Bush is certified the winner of Florida’s electoral votes by Katherine Harris, going on to win the United States presidential election, despite losing in the national popular vote; Bat Masterson, American police officer and journalist was born today in 1853; Richard Hauptmann, German-American kidnapper and murderer was born today in 1899; Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, created Peanuts is born today in 1922; Larry King, American journalist and talk show host was born today in 1933; Rich Little, Canadian-American comedian, actor, and singer was born today in 1938; Tina Turner, American-Swiss singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress was born today in 1939; Sojourner Truth, American activist died today in 1883; John Browning, American weapons designer, founded the Browning Arms Company passed away today in 1926;And finally, Stephen Hillenburg, American animator, voice actor, and marine science educator(Sponge Bobs Creator) passed away today in 2017.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• Week 2 for the new Vocabulary Quiz.
• Last week for our UJT Musical Trivia Quiz
• This week I have added a new soup for me – Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup. Yummy! On the run up to Thanksgiving, I enjoyer a dish that I haven’t had in a while – Transylvanian Goulash. It is a delightfully flavorful dish featuring tender pork in a pretty red sauce of contrasting notes and textures. If you haven’t made it yet, you should consider it.

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I have finally got all the stuff I need to start my new stained glass design. Whoohoo! I have to teach myself how to do circles. Now if I could just store up some initiative !
• This week I managed to miss my watercolor classes again!
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• The folks at the Census Bureau were very particular that I should get this form when I leave so I can apply other Federal jobs. So I got the thing. Then they sent me a link to USPS job search thing. So I figured, “Why not?” so I applied for a job as a Rural Assistant Mail Carrier. A week later they got back to me to start my background and DMV checks. The favorite part of being a Census guy was roaming around the rural areas of our county…we’ll see.

Music Update:

Once again, your fossilized DJ takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my library. This week selections are perhaps even more eclectic than usual. but all favorites that I hope you will enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Paul Simon — You can call me Al — Paul Simon has been a force in the music biz for a long long time. This was the single from his 1986 release, “Graceland”. I never heard this song until I saw the video with Chevy Chase which made about as much sense as the lyrics but it is great song that kind of grabs you and won’t let go.
• Patty Griffin — Top of the World — This song has been featured on the UJT a number of times since I found it somehow in 2014 or so. Neither Shazam nor I could could figure out who wrote or sang this song so I always listed it as an “Unknown” artist. It always bugged me because it is just such a great song. It reminds me a lot of something Joan Baez might have done. So I spend some more time with my friend Google and I turns out it was a rather huge hit when the Dixie Chicks covered it. Now that I know who she is I will be looking into more music by Patty. In the meantime, please enjoy “Top of the World” from her 2013 release, “Silver Bells”.
• Pink — Sober — I got this one via the purchase of “Songs for Japan” that 2011 earthquake fundraiser album. I had never heard of Pink. I am ashamed to say that I sort of lumped her into that big glittery pile of artists who I think of the politicians of music… meaning that they will do anything commercially advantageous. But I was wrong about this woman. Listen or read along with her lyrics and you will see what I mean. I also like Jimmy Harry’s understated guitar work on this song too. This one comes from her 2008 release, “Funhouse”.
• David Pack & David Benoit – Think of U (Song 4 Kaitlyn)— This one comes from Davids, “Secret of Movin’ On released in 2006. I fell in love with his music with Ambrosia and continue to enjoy the tightness and beauty of his songs as a solo artist.
• Louisiana’s LeRoux & Tab Benoit — For What It’s Worth — This cover of the Buffalo Springfield standard, is a bluesy cajun version from their 2007 release, “Power of the Pontchartrain”. Pass the hot sauce, Cher.
• Cat Stevens — Where Do The Children Play — This one comes from his 1970 release, “Tea for the Tillerman”. I, for one, was heart broken and impressed by courage of Cat Stevens had to totally change his life to pursue his adopted religion in 1977. He walked away from a very successful career and just became Yusuf Islam for 15 years. There was always something magical about his point of view.

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!