November 16, 2017

“Nii’óóke’” You might be greeted by this phrase if visiting the Arapaho’s in Wyoming or Oklahoma.

I hope all the Veterans (and their Families) out there were honored and were able to find some good things to remember about their time in service. The days that I got out of the Navy (I did it twice actually-but that is another story)are some of the happiest-sad days of my life. I was happy to escape the grasp of the mindlessness of US Navy bureaucracy but sad because I knew, especially the second time, that as tight as I was with the people I served with, many of those contacts would be lost. Out of the hundreds of sailors I served with and the 30 or so I was close too between my two ships, I was only able to keep connected with a few for the first couple of years and then after that really only one. I still think about them often and wish them all well but the sadness of that last time seeing them lingers still 40 years later. I will always be grateful to the Navy and the people who served with me.

Its been hard for me to watch the news on TV all the way through for some time now. Maybe its just the media surrendering to the baser instincts of market share or ratings or maybe I am just more sensitive in my old age. But it seems to me that most news programs are just one bad news item after the next, with the weather thrown in so you don’t get suicidal in the first half hour. You really have to work to hear something positive. I do that. I work to find positive things to celebrate every day. One of the places I go regularly is or Ted Talks. Here is a Ted Talk I found uplifting: Stop me if you heard this one before: Two guys from the Netherlands go to Rio de Janeiro to make a documentary on favelas … “ All kidding aside, this Ted Talk made me feel good all over. Take a few minutes each week and visit and enjoy some good news.

Today is National Fast Food Day!!!! The United States is the Fast Food Capital of the planet. White Castle was founded in 1921. American Fast Food restaurants are located in over 100 countries. Merriam-Webster dictionary first recognized the term “fast food” in 1951. The first Happy Meal was served in 1979. If you can hold out till Saturday, you can celebrate National Princess Day and take your little Princess to a fast food restaurant. Now I get White Castle Cheeseburgers in the frozen food section of my local store.

This week I learned some stuff:
• My college chose to take Friday as their Veterans Day holiday. I learned that when I pulled in to the empty school parking lot.
• I learned that my favorite Oatmeal Cookie recipe is much better when I used caramelized pecans. Oh My!
• I learned my very smart, very cool and very sweet 18 year old grandson is not immune to his chromosomal dumbass gene passed down from generation to generation of my family tree. Last Friday, he caught that dumbass wild hair and drank a bunch (way too many but in his defense they were different colors!) jello shots at what I think was his first college party. As I said, he is a great kid and he is blessed with great friends who brought him home. His mom and sister swarmed around him. They held his head as he puked again and again into the little plastic trash can recruited as soon as his friends got him in the door. They set up an little treatment center about 15 feet from the front door. His mom sat up all night to make sure he didn’t choke on more puke even though she was pretty sure there was nothing but air in his entire digestive track by the time he lost all consciousness. He was still down there when I came down in the morning but was gone before I finished my second cup of cuban coffee. Didn’t see him again till dinner time. Chagrin augmented his normal quietness, making it deeper. Short soft answers to softball questions. He did it as good as any of this ancestors. I hope he is done exercising that muscle, good friends, Mom and sis may not always be there to help as much as they might wish to be.

Website Update:
• Last week for the New Vocabulary Quiz.
• Oops! I forgot to include the link for the Overnight Fruit, Chia and Oats snack. I discovered the error when I updating the recipe to warn against using “light” yogurt. I also found a typo in the UJT Update for 11/09/2017 – the Alanis Morissette song was appended to the song description above it.
• This week I added the lyrics for “So Begins the Task ” from Stephen Stills. Enjoy singing along with Stephen and Judy Collins!

Writing and Painting Update:
• I finished(?) the Pumpkin Painting some more and started a new one of Chewy. We will see.
• I got to my Pastel class. I needed some light color pastel paper so I stopped by my favorite art store and by the time I left I had obtained a new pastel delivery system – little pats of color delivered with like make up brushes to the paper. I saw it demonstrated on a YouTube video and thought I would try it. I am not sure why but not feeling connected to that medium since Chewy passed.

• Back in 1977, I had just finished my last dance with the US Navy and returned home to Miami. I was the proud Dad of an amazing two year old boy, working at the airport as a maintenance supervisor and going to college at night. My job finished at four pm, which put me in the bumper to bumper traffic on the Palmetto Expressway. I was already a big fan of NPR. They had a story-time show every day from 4:30-5:00. Every day, I got a new chapter read by a soothing voice. It made the time stuck in the terrible traffic bearable. I loved that show until we moved out of Miami for the last time. I had forgotten all about it until recently my great, wonderful, stupendous, local San Diego Library started providing ebooks you could download that were read to you. My daughter Jessica was the first one to get addicted to them but I fell soon after. There is something relaxing about being read to. I wonder if it is a neural connection from way back when my mother used to read to me as a little boy.

Music Update:
Click here for week’s UJT Radio program:
• Stephen Stills and Judy Collins — So Begins the Task — These two old friends got together last year and started touring and recording. This comes from their new album, “Stills & Collins”. Stephen always a great guitar player continues to grow smoother. Judy’s voice always sweet is just wonderful. “ Who Knows Where the Time Goes” is beautiful in such a special Judy Collins way. This happens to be one of my all time favorite Stills songs.
• Phoebe Snow — Easy Street — There is just no one like Phoebe. Her soulful bluesy beauty just shines on this sad song.
• Paul Simon — Still Crazy After All These Years — From the Vinyl !!!! This guy is a giant talent packed into a little man. He has the creative heart of a lion, knowing that what he has to sing about is important even when no one else could see it right away. Paul Simon has walked away from great success only to find new success in a different sound.
• Toto — Its A Feeling — From the Vinyl !!!! These boys always played such tight jazzy music. This is a deep cut from their “Toto IV”.
• Vance Joy — First Time — I just love this guy! He may be the best new songwriter of our time. This one is a deep cut from his “Dream Your Life Away” album.
• Yes — Roundabout — They released this one way back in 1971 on their “Fragile” album. Steve Howe and Jon Anderson wrote this when they were on tour in Scotland.
• Zephyr — I Am Not Surprised — From the Vinyl !!!! My friends Dino and Mary Ann turned me on to this band when the Navy messed up and took me back home to Miami for a brief moment in 1973. Candy Givens’ soulful singing with a teenaged Tommy Bowlin playing guitar.
• The Beatles — A Day In the Life — From Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This song always haunts me about John… A crowd of people stood and stared .. They had seen his face before…” Reminds me if that scene outside The Dakota when John was shot.

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!

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