November 25th, 2016

Hyvää huomenta (A fine“Good Morning” in Finland!)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day feast full to overflowing with the love of family and friends. I hope that you got to say all those things unsaid and got feel the joy of being fortunate no matter what circumstances surround you at this moment.

Trump continues to live up to the horror expected at least in terms of the people he is selecting to run the various departments of the government. After pledging to “drain the swamp’ in Washington by removing outsider big money influences from the halls of the government, the collection of selectees so far indicates that they will be moving from the halls to the offices. We are going to have a fine collection of former lobbyists, a Bear Sterns veteran and a long time politician who was too much of a bigot to be approved for a federal judgeship by his colleagues in the Senate running things. The most encouraging thing we learned so far is that he was able to be in the same room with Mitt. Oh Joy!!

Last weekend Trump’s new chief strategist gave a speech to a while supremacist group in our nations capital. This speech epitomizes the hate speak that has infested Trumpworld since he wouldn’t rent apartments to “those” people back in the 1960s. If you haven’t seen this speech, I apologize in advance for the insult it caries to all thinking and compassionate American’s everywhere but it must be shared to inspire us to new greatness as individuals and citizens united in our commitment against this shameful darkness sweeping our country. I am ashamed of what is said here and ashamed that soon it will be given official voice and power.

I have reached a philosophical peace with our newly elected miseries. America appears to need to suffer the consequences of its most horrific election ever so that new leaders will be inspired and given the contrast darkness, are found that can take us forward to the next level. At least that is the hope that I feel when I read what individuals like Elizabeth Warren and Donna Frano have to say as they tirelessly rail against the “wrongness”. I believe that the darker the back drop the more these kinds of souls will shine and lead us once again so we will find our way to a bright future for all people on our planet. I have begun my personal commitment to return our country to the open free society that values all life independent the circumstances of that persons birth, sex, age, sexual orientation, or religion and to help it grow to a place where none of these things matter, ever in the way we treat and respect each other. Like the preacher in the wilderness, I may perish but I will not relent nor will I relinquish my personal responsibility to end this treat to all that I love and cherish about the United States of America.

My long standing aversion to listening to nothing but bad news has forced me into kind of retreat from keeping up wth media reporting. Sometimes that has consequences. I missed a story that I do care about. In addition to loosing Leon Russell, we lost Leonard Cohen. Leonard Cohen was Canadian poet, novelist singer, songwriter and painter that came to America to be discovered. He was very prolific artist who wove his art gracefully through out the fabric of our lives. Leonard’s songs are some of the most covered by other artists of anyone in the business. If the sixties folk music world had a soundtrack, “Suzanne” was one its the folk anthems. Leonard was “discovered”, adopted and promoted by Judy Collins. Leonard lived a life that enriched the world he lived in – singing to the solidarity movement under marshall law in Poland; He worked for years writing, “Hallelujah” which was largely overlooked when he released it in 1982 but has now become a phenomena all on its own. That one song is subject of a book and covered by over 200 different artists. Leonard was a spiritual man who loved life until it was taken from him. When you gather your families for Thanksgiving, keep a good thought for Leonard.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learned how to brine a turkey this week. I wanted to try it to see if I noticed a significant difference in how tasty or moist the Turkey turned out. I did not. For me, brining isn’t worth the time or trouble. I will go back to just cooking my turkey’s in a oven bad. Comes out perfect every time.
• I learned that getting a jury duty summons for the week of Thanksgiving is not as bad as I first thought. It seems at least in my area, all trials postpone jury selection until after the short work week.
• I learned a lot about playing card design this week.
• I learned a new cookie and Dutch Apple Pie recipe.
• I learned that its fun to think back about Thanksgivings in the past. For example, 43 years ago this Thanksgiving, I cooked a huge “vegetarian” pot pie for Thanksgiving. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in Norfolk, Va on a little street not too far from Old Dominion University. Our guests were other US Navy refugees far from home. As with most things that I do in life, I got lucky with my first “meatless” main course. I am using all these quote marks because while the intent was good the execution was a bit flawed. It wasn’t until dinner was over and everyone praised its wonderful flavor, that I realized that the flavor was mostly due to the Beef Bouillon that I used in the dish and that most of that was due to the grown up and dehydrated cow it was made of… oh well. It had lots of veggies too!

Website Update
• Last week for the “new” vocabulary list!
• I added a quote to the site. Edward Everett Hale was a clergyman who lived from 1822 to 1909 and gave us many wise quotes to ponder during and after his passing. “ I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. “ It seemed fitting to me given the way our nation is changing.

Painting Update:
• Continued to wade through the exhaustive edits on GPS. I promised myself to be done by Christmas (hmm that sounds vaguely familiar 🙂 .

• Listening to the rumors, of lists of muslim immigrants and illegals given executive order protection to remain illegally are being created by the new American authorities, I envision a new “underground railroad coming soon where loving American families will be hiding and transporting “muslim or other persons non grata secretly to safe havens until its safe and sane again.
• As the UJT faithful know, I have a new goal of always driving the speed limit. I have reported my progress and the challenges to that objective in a few UJT updates. This renewed commitment has caused me to focus more on me as driver. I am afraid I still have onside dialogs with the “Twits” a head of me in the right turn lane who have forgotten that the green arrow means that they can go. Or the “Morons” of dubious ancestry that feel like that must be the email that they have waited all their lives for and decided to office automate our mutual traffic light such that they are the only care that gets to make a left turn this time. Even though it no longer matters to a speed limit law abider like myself, I enjoy giving dirty looks to the “God-gave-me-the-right-to-the-left-hand-lane-to-do-any-speed-I-want” people who insist on joining forces with the high speed “dweebs” like my former self to make highway driving perilous for other, less entitled, drivers. This new focus allows me to enjoy what a completely useless and futile gesture it is to verbalize one’s distain but I am pretty sure that I cannot stop myself.

Music Update:
UJT radio this week provides another eclectic mix that I hope you will enjoy:
• Leonard Cohen – Suzanne — Just a beautiful poem written and sung by a beautiful soul.
• Laura Branigan – Gloria – This is the closest I get to enjoying a disco tune. But this woman’s voice is a force to be reckoned with! She also had a job as Leonard Cohen’ back up singer for a time.
• Snow – Informer – This week I watched a very silly but well written comedy called Sisters. There is little to no danger of any kind of Academy recognition for this one but I laughed at it silliness and recognized this one hit wonder that I hadn’t heard in a long long time.
• Vance Joy – Best That I Can – This guy just gets to the unsaid parts in a way that just moves me.
• Grateful Dead – Uncle John’s Band — From the Vinyl !!! This is one of my all time favorite Dead songs. I love the light floating melody, the harmonies and the lyrics. Its just pure Dead magic that was even better live.
• John Mayer – Who Says – Battle Studies is such a completely innovative production. The music is impeccable but its all the bells and whistles that are included that makes it a very uniquely valuable product for Mayer fans. He included 3 videos and the album can be heard in its entirety via the Battle Studies combat manual which is sort of a synchronized MTV experience, the demo cuts, a bunch of photos from the recording sessions, an interesting iTunes interview and videos included in the the album .
• Tom Petty – To Find a Friend – This is a cut from his Wildflowers solo album. Just an acoustic Petty song but I enjoy those and how you do too.
• Tom Rush – Urge for Going — A beautiful Joni Mitchel song sung by one of 60’s folk world’s favorite singer/songwriters.

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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