November 29th, 2018

“ Gumåron!!” Wishing you a “Good Morning in Elfdalian, a North Germanic language spoken in central Sweden.

We had some rain here in southern California for Thanksgiving. We were all pretty thankful for that except the folks in Paradise trying to recover bodies. We are back into Santa Anna conditions by Sunday but there is a sliver of chance we might get more rain by the end of the week. We have had approximately 1/3 the normal rainfall this year. The Woolsey Fire is 100% contained. The Camp Fire is 95% contained. Between them almost 250,000 acres have burned with over 14,000 building destroyed. Help if you can by donating to the American Red Cross at this site. All donations will help alleviate the suffering and are tax deductible for you.

This week I learned some stuff:

• November 30th is National Mississippi Day!! We celebrate the home of the Delta Blues and the 20th state to join the union. Remember learning to spell Mississippi??? Seemed like such a great accomplishment. If you haven’t been to Mississippi, you should go. There is good fishing throughout the state and if you go in summer time you can enjoy all the heat and humidity people in Sweden have to pay for in saunas!
• TV has changed all of our lives. Some would argue either good or bad, I am more inclined to accept that it is both at the same time. I remember our first TV. As I recall, we got a second hand one from someone who was moving. It was about 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall with a radio and turntable in it (neither one worked) and a huge (14-16 inches) black and white TV. We had an antenna the perched on the top and we could get all 3 channels in our area if you got the antenna just right! It seemed to work best when my little brother Pat was holding on to the tip. We watch all the Saturday morning cartoons with him standing to the side holding the tip in his fingers. But I digress! There is far too much bad about tv and the way we have implemented it as a technology to list here. I would like to just point out that there are a couple of reliably good things – Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Painting with Bob Ross, Create TV, Saturday morning cartoons and my new favorite, “National Geographic Channel” to name but a few. From time to time, you can mine some fairly potent wisdom as well. The other day on an unmemorable show, I heard the following jewel, “Apology is not weakness. Weakness is what generates the need for apologies.” I know Gibbs’s as a rule about never saying you are sorry but this was better, I think. During a commercial that I heard watching “Da Bears”! beat “DA Lions” on Thanksgiving, I heard, “ If you are not the lead dog, the view ahead never changes.” Which I thought had some merit. So in spite of the crappy tv model implementation and the shameless agendas of shows purported to be “news”, there may be some redeeming features in this media but you have watch it for fifty years or so to find it. I just wonder if we could have solved those pesky problems like world hunger or homelessness, if we invested half of the money, energy and creativity that we put into television commercials!

Website Update:

• Second week for the “New” Vocabulary Quiz.
• Last week for the New UJT Music Trivia Quiz.
• I have heard some people complain about all the left over turkey and what to do with it. Not a problem at our house – ever. As a boy, I remember my mom unwrapping the carcass in the middle of the table on Friday night, we would all take a small dish of Mayonnaise and simply pull pieces of meat, dip it in the mayo add a little salt and pepper and we had ourselves a party. We also loved warmed up turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce on open faced sandwiches. But after a half century or so, you might have tried all of the normal ways, I added a recipe for Chili Verde Turkey Tacos for you all to try. They were real good.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I have to figure out how to get the “new and improved “Grandpa Stories” MS Word source into the format that the folks at Smashwords and Blurp will accept. I decided I am just going to replace the old source with the corrected version.
• I did do much painting or writing this week. Just wasn’t there for me. I did manage to update the 2018 Christmas thing that I send out each year. It seemed harder to do this year.

• I am amazed at how clever advertising has gotten. I just heard a commercial where they guaranteed, “Upto 100%” of what the product was supposed to do. Amazing!
• I tried reading, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marque. This book was highly regarded during, “The Great American Read” but for me it was a slog. The author really loves the sound of latin names consisting of 3 words. The plot is a bit convoluted as well. I just had to give it up and move on.

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.

• Tears for Fears — Everybody Wants to Rule the World — When this song came out in 1985, it just blew me away. This has always been one of those ‘Turn it up full blast and sing to the steering wheel” songs for me. This comes from their second album, “Songs from the Big Chair”.
• Kris Kristofferson — The Silver Tongued Devil and I — This one takes me way back to when I went home on leave and fell in love. This song was on the jukebox and made me smile every time it was played. Released it 1971, it was the title song for his second album. Alright, here comes the chorus, sing along with me, “…the silver tongued devil and I…”
• Dave Mathews Band — Sweet Melissa (Live) — Dave and the boys singing at their benefit concert in Atlanta in 2007, “Live at Peidmont Park”. Greg Allman joins in on this one.
• Bryan Adams — The Best Was Yet To Come — From his, “Cuts Like a Knife” album released in 1983. There was always something about this guy’s voice… Sadness is sadder and joy, more joyful when he sings it.
• U2 — Sleep Like a Baby Tonight — A spooky tune from the boy’s free album, “Songs of Innocence” given to us all in 2014. “… tomorrow dawns like someone else’s suicide…” Oh my!
• Jethro Tull — Locomotive Breath — Here is a blast from the past and one of my all time favorite songs. Some seriously fine musical work on this one. Every one gets lost in Ian Anderson. He kind of takes the air out of the room with his monster talent but just listen to the music on this cut. The piano, guitars, base and drums are all just first rate!!!. This comes from their iconic album, “Aqualung” released in 1971.
• The Byrds — Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There is a Season) — Another of my all time favorite songs! The Byrds biggest hit released in 1965 as the title cut of their second album. The song was written by Pete Seeger in the 1950s and features almost a word for word adaptation from the Book of Ecclesiastes of the English version of the Bible. A beautiful and inspiring song.
• Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band — Mainstreet —This great song comes from their “Night Moves” album released in 1977. If you have ever been alone in your life and enjoyed the pleasure of just watching someone unattainable walk on by, then you will feel this song in your heart.

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!