December 2nd, 2016

Chào buổi sáng (“Good Morning” in VIET NAMMMMMM!)

I simply do not get it. Everything I know to measure puts the Clinton and Obama administrations way ahead of their contemporaries in terms of fiscal and social executive branch performances, given the context in which they took office. That leaves the unmeasurable emotional functions as the heavily weighted factors to account for the terrible anger and bitterness some people feel towards these leaders and their families. I think it says more about the people disparaging these men and women than it does about the subjects themselves. It feels personal, this incessant bitterness, not based on fact but like a long held grudge where no one remembers the root cause anymore. I just don’t get it.

I resigned this week from SDWS’ Board of Directors. After 5 years of providing the technical support for the organization, I am stepping down to return to painting and writing full time. I have a novel I have been postponing, lots of images floating around my head for capture on paper or canvas. It is just time I backed away. I am grateful for all the things that I learned and proud of what has been accomplished with my help but I am refocusing my energy in 2017.

I hope that I have shared with you not only the misery of editing my Grandpa Stories book but also the joy I feel going back over those chapters trying to connect with those times. I am working through the my life’s transition from Ozzy and Harriet, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver to Walter Cronkite’s serious demeanor as he presents the days helping of the Viet Nam war. Looking back to those days I can reconnect with those first feelings of uncertainty when the “American Way” maybe wasn’t as hopeful, righteous or beneficial as we all believed. Reliving those moments when we started asking hard questions and the demonstrating our discontent with the unsatisfactory answers, has been cathartic for me.

Under the heading of making lemonade out of lemons lets chat a moment about Trump’s lemon-esque selection for the Secretary of Education. Her most significant qualifications for the office is 1) she donated over 9 million dollars to Trump’s campaign, and; 2) she is a billionaire dilettante who can apparently spell the word “edjewkayshon” with a Christian accent. I am pretty sure that the Department makes no difference to any child in America other than absorbing tax dollars that could have been used to deprive someone poor person of reasonable compensation or equitable healthcare. Appointing some unqualified dip-shit to the role of secretary may pay interesting dividends in terms of finally figuring out what we want the Department of Education to provide for the tax dollars invested. Or she could be another unqualified disaster of the Trump Administration.

Trump’s appointments for Treasury and Commerce secretaries demonstrate his complete distain for the American people. I chose that word – distain – carefully. It means “the general attitude of something or someone being beneath consideration or not valuable enough for respect.” He chose these two individuals, who despite his constant haranguing of Hillary about her close ties to Wall Street, are actually from Wall Street! While true Trump didn’t take money for his campaign from Wall Street firms, it seems he got their support by promising to let these varmints and vultures guard our country’s financial regulatory chicken coop. Treasury will now be run by one of the Goldman Sachs pukes who helped us into meltdown over mortgages in the first place and then turned his profitable pillaging into another billion dollar opportunity running OneWest, one of the vulture mortgage foreclosure. He knows how finance works, at least how it can work well for him. He made money creating the mortgage mess and cleaning it up. With these to yo-yos at the helm of Treasury and Commerce, our nation can look forward to increasing gaps between the haves and have nots and more trickle down nonsense that will only benefit Trump and his ilk.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learned about the structure of Internet application programming such that you can enjoy the same page content readability on any device displaying the page.(For COBOL geeks, its just a concatenation and translation of Environment, Data and Procedure Divisions using Java, CSS and HTML stacks:) I am just too old for this shit 🙂
• I learned a bunch of new cool words doing this week’s Vocabulary Quiz, I hope you enjoy them as well.
• As part of my refocus plan for 2017, I am conducting some self study on writing as a craft. Going back over the Struck & White bible, “Elements of Style” and I learned from Noah about a Stephen King book, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, that I am thoroughly enjoying and recommend to everyone. Even if you are not necessarily interested in writing, I promise you will enjoy the read.. I was amazed to discover how similar our lives were through high school and specifically an horrible episode where he had an abscess in his ear lanced at about the same age as I did. I digress. Please get the book you will thoroughly enjoy this autobiographical anecdotes about one of our favorite authors.

Website Update
• Yippeee!!! A “new” vocabulary list!
• Added a great quote from Chet Atkins for you all.

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

• The character lesson I am giving myself as I diligently try to maintain legal speed whenever I drive continues. I find without the constant calculations as to how to progress faster, I find I am able to notice more of my fellow travelers. It seems most people are like I used to be. Rushing to gain some millisecond advantage over my fellow inmates of the interstate. Suddenly, I feel special:)
• I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them this week and found it totally enjoyable. I loved reading all of the Harry Potter books but middle movies just felt mostly like Harry whining about his lot in life. I love the new characters and the hope that there will be more books and movies to follow.

Music Update:
UJT radio this week provides another eclectic mix that I hope you will enjoy:
• Toto – Rosanna — From the Vinyl!!!! These guys put together the tightest music. I loved their tight crisp clean well produced music.
• Supertramp – Breakfast In America – Speaking of tight precise music, this title cut from their 1979 album.
• Stephen Stills – Black Queen – “This is a song about a card game…” Always been one of my favorite Stills tunes.
• Procol Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale — Remastered in 2007 this amazing song still haunts me. We skipped the lights fandango, turning cartwheels ‘cross the floor… the room was humming harder as the ceiling flew away… as the mirror told its tale that her face at first just ghostly turned a whiter shade of pale “.. hmmm I remember,
• Pink Floyd – Hey You (Live) – Another giant heaving hunk of musical magic by Gilmore and the boys.
• The Killers – Jenny was a Friend of Mine – From the Vinyl!!! There is something special about this guys. Their music is so powerful and raw.. it makes me listen.
• Joe Cocker – Just Like a Woman — A beautiful love song sung by one of the most interesting performers of my time. Bob Dylan wrote this song on Thanksgiving Day in 1965 while on tour in Kansas City. Of all those who have covered this song, this is my favorite…something about Joe’s voice…
• Blood, Sweat and Tears – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy – This band was a huge sound back when I enjoyed their music. The fought it out with another big band sound group Chicago Transit Authority (eventually just Chicago). Al Kooper founded the band and left when his bandmates wanted to limit his role to keyboard and composing and bring in an lead vocalist. Judy Collins knew they were looking for a singer and after hearing David Clayton-Thomas in a NY bar recommended that BS&Ts auction him for the lead singer role and as they say the rest is history.

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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