November 23, 2017

“સુપ્રભાત (suprabhat)” You might be greeted by this phrase if visiting Northern India, Bangladesh and Fuji.

Happy Thanksgiving!! I am trying to be grateful for all the wonderful moments I have enjoyed this year but to be honest it is very hard. From my family’s perspective, it has been a terribly painful year so far. I believe this year will be considered historically catastrophic for our country as well. So love the people you love with all your might and hold them dear to you for nothing is guaranteed. I am thankful my many gifts and friends in my life.

Today, I am going to enjoy a wonderful Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings with my family which is a long standing tradition. Hopefully, I will also be watching Detroit win on the TV, which is not necessarily a tradition. I really enjoy doing all the cooking and baking for this special day. Everything is always so tasty. I think Turkey is really just tasty heroin as it makes me nod on and off all afternoon, dreaming of the next two to three days of left overs.

In addition to being Thanksgiving day, today is also National Juke Box Day!!!! I am not sure if even my kids would remember what a Juke Box is though they have heard my stories. I am almost positive my grandkids would have no idea what I was talking about. I actually had 3 favorite Juke boxes in my life. The first was at the Southwest Miami Boys Club pool and ping pong room. It was my very first juke box and the first time that I got to make the musical choices. My favorites was, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” by someone named Brian Hyland and was a big hit in 1959! My second was the Juke Boxes they had at the booths of the Howard Johnson’s at the Coral Gables Bus Station. My little brother, Pat and I would get “Clam Dogs” with my Grandma Margret pretty regularly there. While waiting for those hot fried clams to come out from the kitchen, my grandma would let Pat and I pick some songs to play. My last favorite Juke Box was at the 19th Hole Bar on Red Road in Miami. I was home on leave from the Navy for my best friends wedding. Tippy and I ended up singing along with John the Bartender and the 20 or so Kris Kristofferson songs on their Juke Box long past closing time. Do you have any Juke Box memories?

This week I learned some stuff:
• With all the work I have been doing on our family disaster planning and emergency evacuation or shelter in place kit, I reconnected with some of my “Back to the Earth” philosophies I cherished so deeply as a young man. I even check out a copy of what used to be my bible of sorts, “One Acre and Security – How to live off the land without ruining it” by Bradford Agier. I have been enjoying reading through the means that Brad shared with us in that book such as Bee Keeping. This version of the book has been updated and annotated as things have changed since it was originally published in 1972. It is fascinating to me to read and capture the differences.
• I learned that my favorite Grilled Pulled Pork Rub is just as good when used on a pork butt cooked in a dutch oven. The resulting pulled pork barbecue sandwiches were very tasty!

Website Update:
• HooooWeeee and YeeHaw!!! We have a New Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• This week I added the lyrics for “What About Me?” from Quicksilver Messenger Service. A lesser know hippy anthem. Considering it was written in 1965, I wonder really, how far we have come? I also added the lyrics for a deep cut by our old friend Mark Knopfler called “Beryl”, who was his favorite British author. Enjoy singing along!

Writing and Painting Update:
• I finally finished the Pumpkin and Chewy paintings. It is hard for me to like my work. The finished product never matches the vision in my head.
• I finished another chapter in Artifacts. Its going slower than Grandpa Stories but this is the tough part where you just have to fill in from between the beginning and the end OR in the case of this book, from the middle to the beginning and then on to the end.

• When do we stop. Over the past few months, it seems we have gone from one man-made or natural disaster. We all sympathize and empathize. Some of us take out our wallets and give some thing. Many work our personal connections to try to help these causes get the little bit of help each of us can give now, which if enough of us do can add up to a whole lot. Local Leaders are reporting that 40% of Puerto Rico power grid has been restored but they really do not not have any way of figuring out exactly how many of the homes and businesses have power restored. Is 50% enough to take the requests for help down? It sounds like mother nature just uncovered a bunch of other stuff that has been broken for a long time down there and up in DC too. All of the murdered victims in Las Vegas have been buried. The perpetrator is dead and we still have no idea why he did it. We know he shouldn’t have been able to do it so efficiently (Buttstock!!). Should we stop chasing the injustice after the last body has been disposed of or when the case is closed? Another moron with a gun and grudge against his mother in law walked in and killed a church full of people in a small town in Texas. As tragic as that is, the saddest part is that the only thing that will be remembered is that another guy with a gun at church chased the bad guy and shot him a couple of times before the bad guy killed himself. So I need some help figuring out what to hope for in our future. Should we be trying to return to “normal” when normal seems so very flawed? I think we need to keep working for something more, for our children.
• With all the awareness of how the mistreatment of women in private, corporate and public lives. Some defenders of the status quo have found it “convenient” or in the worse case, “for self promotion reasons”. The point is that the “collective we” have allowed this behavior to be woven into the fabric of our society. In most cases, women simply expected some sort of sexual consideration at the hands of peers, employers and even total strangers in the course of everyday life. We elected a president who bragged on tape that he assaulted women without any thought as to the way these women felt as they tried to earn their living. Another distasteful aspect of this fact, is that we all knew to varying degrees but we let the stories of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill and countless others 1990s. Thousands of police officers have been dismissed and prosecuted for mistreatment and rape of women who were typically young, helpless with histories that included drugs or other crimes. I am beginning to think that this stuff is another horrendous form of Bias. similar to racial bias but perhaps even more subtly woven into the fabric of our society. We must be diligent. We must install clear definitions and fair consequences for these behaviors where ever they are perpetrated. Help your profession, community, and political networks create and keep the pressure. We must not step away from this issue without thoughtful remedies being put in place to eliminate this cancer that has permeated our society for so long. We owe it to our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. We are better than this.

Music Update:
Click here for week’s UJT Radio program:
• AC/DC — Thunderstruck — We lost Angus Young’s older brother, Malcom. this week. Angus was the front man in the school boy’s uniform while his big bro wailed behind him. These boys kicked up a lot of dust over the years and this song always makes me smile. I loved it when they included it as the music behind getting the USS Missouri ready for battle in Peter Berg’s “Battleship” movie.
• Matchbox Twenty — Our Song — This is a deep cut from their “North” album.
• Jude Cole — Believe in You — From Jude’s 1995 release, “I Don’t Know Why I Act This Way”. I love exploring this guy’s music. This song has such a subtle guitar rifts gently through the song. It reminds me a little of some of the rifts Mark Knopfler’ weaves into his music.
• Mark Knopfler — Beryl — This is a song about Mark’s favorite British author, Beryl Bainbridge. He thought she got a raw deal being snubbed for an award until after her death in 2010. This one comes from his 2015 release, “Tracker”. By the way, Beryl also painted – not bad for a working class girl from Liverpool.
• The Lumineers — Charlie Boy — These guys always remind me of some bar band who sings sad ballads over the top of noisy drunks and just flat out don’t care what people think so they put their music out there for us. This is a deep cut off their debut album released in 2012.
• Stephen Stills & Judy Collins — River of Gold — Another cut from their new album together. This is just a beautiful song sung by old friends reminding themselves and us of a time when we were all less, old less tired, less heavy and less anxious about a much longer future. Judy’s voice is just a clean and clear as it was when I was young boy trying to understand.
• Tedeschi Trucks Band — Bound for Glory — This almost sounds like a revival song you might hear coming out of a tent in a big empty field with all kinds of “Alleluias” coming from the congregation.
• Quicksilver Messenger Service — What About Me? — This song kind of goes to my Weird-Stuff-O-Meter point about what should we do now? Now that we know about “us”. The “great” United States of America cannot get the lights back on in Puerto Rico or the protect a child singing hymns in church on Sunday or people watching a concert in Las Vegas. Our leaders want to solve the non problem of corporate profitability while we are enjoying the largest homeless population since the great depression. So yeah.. maybe it is time for change.

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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