December 9th, 2016

早晨 (jóusàhn)(A nice Cantonese “Good Morning” to you!)

This week was the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. My friend Larry’s dad was a skipper of a tug boat that day. He never spoke to me about that day. I am not sure if he ever said anything to Larry about it either. Our movie technology has given us a glimpse of the horrors and the bravery experienced that terrible day. We should remember these dates not for the the terrible acts of one group of people towards another but for the bravery and generousness shown to each other in aftermath. We should work to find a way to get the bravery and generousness into our relationships earlier so we can avoid the war and terror. We should use December 7th and September 11th as the reasons to reach out to comfort our enemies until they are no longer enemies. It is against our weakness and fears we should fight. We should identify and eliminate the things that we do that inspire such horrible ambitions in others. We have put men on the moon so I know we can solve our challenges on earth, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry and care for the sick. Imagine if all the resources we put towards defending our fears were put towards solving real challenges…I wonder how many of our fears would be real.

I got to do some automobile maintenance this week. The SUV that we gave BJ (who doesn’t have his license yet) battery ran down due to no usage had to have its terminals cleaned up and get recharged. Darian’s Cube had the dreaded “Check Engine Soon” light come on so we replaced the air filter that the oil change lady told us about a couple of months ago. She also has some kind of airbag indicator light flickering but Jessica’s online research says its probably that connection to the seat probably just got unplugged. The filter change had the desired effect but the trickle charger is not trickling fast enough so I may have to do something else. All I can say is that unlike when I was a kid and young man working on Chevys and Veedubs these vehicles are like space craft with their flux capacitor out of alignment.

I am still struggling with Christmas gift selection. I try to give meaningful or at least thoughtful gifts to folks. Sometimes that is a challenge. Meanwhile all the Christmas decorations are going up. The dinner is planned and shopping goes on. Tis the Season..Ho..Ho Ho.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learned enough about modern car maintenance to appreciate that balance between effective application of technology to increase the reliability and clean operation of the vehicle and a deepening sense of personal ineptitude.
• I learned reading a book on my Kindle app on my phone is still kind of magical and cool. Still loving the Stephen King’s, “ On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. Its only 288 pages so I make myself put it down because I don’t want it to be over too fast.
• The biggest threat to long term relationships is taking the relationship for granted. Just because you have been with someone for a long time does not mean you deserve to be that lucky forever. You have to re-earn that privilege every day. You have to expect that the automatic communications you had with your partner early on may be just as easily become automatic miscommunications as time passes. You think that you know each other so well that you forget that you both are constantly changing as you each face life’s new challenges. This is hard work. You cannot get lazy and expect to be happy in long term relationships.

Website Update
• I was late doing the promotion of the “new” vocabulary list last week! I got it up there by the afternoon but it was a couple hours after I sent the UJT Update.
• Added a great quote from General George Marshal, author of the very successful Marshall Plan after WWII that was intended to restore our enemies to viability so future wars could be averted.

Painting Update:
• The way my painting process works is that I have an image pop into my head and it stays there for a long time like haunting me unless I get it out of my head and on to paper as a drawing or painting or something. I had one of those this week.

• This living within the speed limits is not for the less than diligent. Some damn fool keeps trying to speed up!!
• ATT Uverse has this new benefit (at least in our area) where you can go to their website and buy movie tickets on Tuesday where they will give you one ticket free. I was like 62 when I signed up for AARP the first time and discovered it has so many side discounts and stuff. I am trying to teach myself to ask whenever I go to pay for something, “Does AARP have a discount for that?” because they have so many.

Music Update:
I got to see John Mayer on Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday night. I found out he has a new album coming out early in 2017 which is amazing given all the touring he has been doing with Dead & Company. I only caught part of his song but it sounded pretty cool. I also caught the end of the SHOWTIME special on Bruce Springsteen as well. I just love that man’s music period! Its just a coincidence that Mr. Stephen Stills shows up twice on this weeks list :
• Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run — I think Born to Run was Bruce’s (oh yeah and da boss….first name bros:) 3rd album and was probably his big “Breakout” into superstardom but for those who had been on the ride since “Greetings from Ashbury Park” it was a forgone conclusion.
• Billy Joel – Captain Jack – A brutal condemnation of the loss of souls and dignity to heroin, this song was darkness on, “The Piano Man album.
• Crosby Stills and Nash – Southern Cross – This one is about the peace to find in oneself without discounting the need for someone else. Its a beautiful song and I thought it always pointed out that we cannot love others without loving ourselves as well.
• Grand Funk Railroad – Heartbreaker — Its all kind of fuzzy to me now but around the time when free love was fading and the composting of Disco was beginning this 3 piece band broke loose with its simplistic but very loud sound and blew us all away. This was the first song I ever heard by GFR.
• Super Session – Harvey’s Tune – Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills accidentally put this record together on a 2 day recording session organized by Al Kooper. Stills was called in after Bloomfield failed to show up for the second day of recording Kooper had booked. The whole thing cost like $18k to make and became one of the most critically acclaimed records ever.
• Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill — This is one of those songs that parked themselves in my heart the moment I first heard it and has never left. I hope you enjoy it.
• Tracy Chapman – Fast Car — A beautifully dark song about young woman trapped within a life and only her dreams to take her away.
• Wham – Everything She Wants – This was probably the biggest hit by George Michael before he went solo. His keyboard, vocals, songwriting and production skills were evident and both critically and commercially successful. This was back when no one knew he was gay even though he obviously was a dyed blonde:)

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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