June 15th, 2024

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine.  I have decided that the UJT will remain focused on Ukraine until we can all rejoice at the end of hostilities.  It has been 864 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • A big shout out to one of my favorite “peeps” – Heide Hoffmann, my fellow Gemini and long-time compatriot on the side of angels is having her birthday this week too. Except for a couple years we worked together in Germany (she was the brains of the outfit) we have had 1,000s of miles between us. But she has been and always will be one of my closest friends. She helped me discover I could write a book and then worked hard to get it done! Happy Birthday, Heide!
    • It’s been a big week for movies! My daughter, Jessica, signed us up for a Lord of the Rings marathon of sorts. All 3 of the movies over 3 days. It had been a long time since either of us had seen them so we went for it. I love the story -ever since my wife and I read one book after the other together when we were first married (we didn’t own a car or even a TV in those days). Those lovely nights we spent together in different chapters of the Middle Earth saga are some of my fondest memories of our long marriage.  Two kinds from Miami, spending those cold Va winter nights inside under the blankets lost in the saga. The movies are well done and the scenery of New Zealand is breathtaking!  But make sure the seats are comfy .. all of them are over 3 hours in the uncut versions. We have a free streaming service called Tube that offers lots of old tv and movies. I found one of my all-time favorite funny movies on there this week- “Captain Ron” !! This classic stars Kurt Russel, Martin Short, Mary Kay Place, Meadow Sisto, and Benjamin Salsbury.  It came out in 1992 but I didn’t know about it till 1999 when I was living in Germany. It was also a favorite of my friend, Jack. During our rather pleasant exile to Deutschland, we would drink a bit too much watching the video. And so it goes.
    • I turned 72 this week. I never expected to get this far along in age. My youth was spent in reckless, fearless abandon for the most part. Those are not typical attributes for those getting to 72, I don’t think. I have always claimed to be a very lucky guy. We had a great feast to celebrate.
    • You can find out all about today’s history here.

This week’s Website Update: 

    • This week I was too busy to do many new recipes. I did come up with one but adjusted so ferociously after the first batch of Shortbread cookies that I will hold off until I try the next iteration before I post it.! 
    • The Home Page will have a quote from another of my heroes, Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”. Ah the ”F” word.  The very idea of Failure strikes fear into the hearts of managers everywhere.  Leaders have to trust their instincts and principles will persevere when they fail, and because they are leading failure is enviable or they are not leading. Even in failure they are learning and moving forward, adjusting as needed

Writing, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass, and Painting Update:  

    • Our marigolds have bloomed!!  Just one so far but it is a start. Everything else appears to be happy. We are also growing 2 kinds of Tomatoes in pots as well. They are just starting to flower.
    • My first attempt at putting a patina on the Tulip didn’t turn out that great. I am going to take it off and try again.


    • The American people have surprised everyone who thought us inferior or vulnerable, so far. In the past, our faith in each other and our way of life was thought to be naive and even foolhardy by those who wished to inflict their will upon us.  They were wrong. And perhaps we may yet surprise those outside our borders again  Our country has not faced an internal enemy since the civil war of the 1860s. America is facing  a terrible foe developing within our borders now. The signs are all there if you pay attention. We are considering an individual who has failed to abide by our laws to head the Executive Branch responsible for enforcing and defending those laws. The despicable habit of judging others simply because they are different has inflected the land. Our diversity has enabled our way of life. This same diversity is being attacked on all sides by money and power.  The new credo seems to define “good” as white, wealthy, Christian, and selfish.  We have discovered a flaw in our form of democratic government. It can be manipulated by small numbers of well-placed, unscrupulous individuals. Patient zealots have found a way to inflict their “views” on the rest of us.  They have already succeeded in dividing our country. Observe the attack on voter’s rights.  The ultimate check and balance our forefathers envisioned comes down to the decency of the common citizen voting their conscience. If these nefarious efforts succeed, they threaten our way of life and even our humanity.  I implore you to do whatever you can to stop any and all efforts to limit access to the polls and education.

Music Update:  

For your listening pleasure. This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • The Beatles — Birthday —   This one comes from their “The White Album”. The idea originated with Paul but everyone added something. It was just made up on the spot. Later John would cauterize it as “garbage” but I always liked it herky-jerky mashing of rifts. And it is my birthday this week:) Did  you know up until this year, you were legally bound to pay one of the biggest media companies in the world a fee if you sang “Happy Birthday” in public? It’s true!
    • The Foo Fighters   Learn to Fly  — This is a catchy tune that locked on to me very early on.  This one comes from their,” There is Nothing to Loose” album released in 1999.
    • Dire Straits – On Every Street (Live Album Version) — This is a song from a great album, “On the Night (Live)” that was released in 1993 . I think watching them perform this song live has been one of the best musical experiences of my life.
    • Jimmy Buffett — One Particular Harbor —  I fell in love with this song the very first time  I heard it. I think it is good that Jimmy taught us a little Tahitian along the way. I hope that Jimmy is enjoying his harbor or his beach chair on the moon. He gave us so much. This one is the title cut from his 1993 release.
    • John Mayer — Perfectly Lonely John is a very gifted songwriter and performer. This album, “Battle Studies” released in 2009 was ois one of his best.
    • The Fray — How to Save a Life (New Version) — I really do not know much about this band but I loved this song from the first time I heard it.  This is the title cut from their 2005 release.

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; Always remember… The best is yet to come! As always, thank you for being my friend!