January 6th, 2022

“Mwauka bwanji?”, or “Good Morning!” in Chichewa, a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The language is known as Chewa (chicheŵa) in Malawi, and Nyanja (chinyanja) in Zambia and Mozambique.

This week our immediate family had our first case of Covid. My grandson, BJ, came down with it 2 days after Christmas. Our Vice President of Heath, Hygiene and Cleanliness (VPHHC), Jessica, responded by disinfecting every surface in the house that he might have touched and the air in every room. I know the air disinfectant works because it smells just like the stuff the guy behind the counter at the bowling alley sprayed into the shoes we returned after bowling. The VPHHC has put us in lockdown. BJ is isolated inside his room and wears a mask even in there. She arranged for all of us to get tested as soon as possible. BJ has recovered – no fever or symptoms in several days. I think his isolation might end by Sunday but I am not sure. The VPHHC will let us know.

I hope you all got to see the Harry Potter 20th Reunion show on HBO/Max. I was good to see the people who gave us J.K. Rowlings’s stories so vividly. The candid shots of these little kids acting in a movie helped me realize just how special these people were as an ensemble. And the work that they did has such a massive following, I cannot imagine what trying to live a normal life with that kind of celebrity.

This week I learned some stuff:
• My daughter has been following this “Functional Physician” with the unfortunate moniker of Mark Hyman, MD. He created a number of unique terms to promote a new way to approach health. He is articulate, well informed and clear in his explanations. His book, “ The Pegan Diet” is much more a philosophy than a diet. There is lots of information but I think the most important part of the book are the paradigm shifts he proposes. For example, he treats food like medications. He explains the human body is a integrated set of systems that interact based upon the food we consume. If we consume unhealthy foods, then we are subject to chronic illness. If we consume heathy, whole foods we are preventing or at least inhibiting the occurrence of chronic illnesses. His approach also considers the impact our unhealthy manufacturing of unhealthy food is having on the planet. Enough said. I am finding his approach and information interesting and more than a little inspiring in the bottom of the 9th of my life. Maybe you will too.
• It’s been a Harry Potter Week! They released a 20year anniversary show featuring many of the actors, directors and clips from the films. It was fun listening to their anecdotes and reminisces. I also learned there is a new Hogwarts Battle of the Houses quiz show featuring Dame Helen Mirren as host, a selection of several hundred very diverse HP fans and lots of trivia questions featuring actors, clips and points for the house guessing. Gryffindor was loosing when i stopped watching. Speaking of Hogwarts Houses, which house would the Sorting Hat put you? My granddaughter used the Harry Potter fan club site questionnaire to determine that I am indeed a Gryffindor and even that my wand also had a Phoenix feather core. I also know what shape my Protonus spell will cast! Do you?
• This week I also managed to watch both Earth and One Strange Rock, which are both incredibly interesting documentaries about the planet we inhabit. Will Smith does a great job narrating them but unlike many of these kinds of nature film, there is no beating you about the head shoulders for being a wasteful. thoughtless human spoiling the planet. Even though we definitely deserve it, it was refreshing not to be hammered with every four minutes of film. The information is valuable and the presentation is immaculate. I encourage everyone to watch. It is streaming under the Disney+ service that includes NatGeo.
• January 6th is the 6th day of 2021. Just 362 days till Christmas! On this day in 1540, King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves; Today in 1847, Samuel Colt obtains his first contract for the sale of revolver pistols to the United States government; In 1912, New Mexico is admitted to the Union as the 47th U.S. state; Today in 1947, Pan American Airlines becomes the first commercial airline to offer a round-the-world ticket; On this day in 1994, American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked and injured by an assailant hired by her rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships; Today in 2021, supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attack the United States Capitol to disrupt certification of the 2020 presidential election, resulting in five deaths and evacuation of the US Congress; Joan of Arc, French martyr and saint, was born today in 1412; Today in 1878, Carl Sandburg, American poet and historian, was born; Tom Mix, American cowboy and actor, was born today in 1880; Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher, was born today in 1883; Today in 1912, Danny Thomas, American actor, comedian, producer, and humanitarian was born; Earl Scruggs, American banjo player, was born today in 1924; Lou Holtz, American football player, coach, and sportscaster was born today in 1937; Syd Barrett, English singer-songwriter and guitarist for Pink Floyd, was born today in 1946; Howie Long, American football player and sports commentator, was born today in 1960; Theodore Roosevelt, American colonel and politician, 26th President of the United States, passed away today in 1919; And finally, Dizzy Gillespie, American singer-songwriter and trumpet player, passed away today in 1993.

Website Update:
This week:
• Week two for new vocabulary Quiz!
• Last week for our Musical Trivia Quiz!
• I have 2 new recipes for you this week. A wonderful veggie dish that we all liked called, “Roast Mushrooms in Ata Din Din. I also tried a new Chicken dish called, “Chicken in Lemon Artichoke Sauce. Try them. We also made another batch of the Superfood Borscht this week! It was tasty and now that I can “leap tall buildings in a single bound” I can peek in condo windows! Oh Boy!
• The Home Page quote is from Mark Hyman, MD, ”Stay away from milk. It is nature’s perfect food – but only if you are a calf.”

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• On of the things I am committed to doing this year is to change the, “No change on the painting or stained glass front this week” statement usually in this spot. I am going to do more painting and stained glass work this year. If they open up the class room, I may even start doing some more ceramics. I feel better when I am creating.
• Grandpa Stories is once again making progress towards being republished. I have my pen and magnifying glass out and are finding crap I thought was already fixed:)

• This week it got down to 32 degrees in my neighborhood. Now, that is just uncalled for and I think perhaps, rude. I demand an apology! I will wait.

Music Update:
Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• The Allman Brothers Band — Can’t Take It With You — This cut comes from the their “Enlightened Rogues” album released in 1979, after the band disbanded in 1972. My brother Mike, reminded me. It’s a great album!
• Jimmy Buffett — Down at the Lan De Dah — This is a cut from his 2020 release, “Life on the Flip Side”. This guy has been like a drunken, stoned, unapologetic Energizer Bunny my entire life. At 75 years of age (as of Christmas Day), I often find myself in awe of my favorite actualized humans! Oh and by the way, according to an article in AARP, he is opening up Margaritaville Retirement Villages in Florida, the Carolinas and I think somewhere out west too.
• Jimmy Buffett — The Night I Painted the Sky — This is a cut from Jimmy’s other 2020 release, “Songs That You Don’t Know By Heart”. In addition to producing 2 albums, Jimmy, his daughter Delany, various members of the Coral Reefers and others put together a video journal of sorts about making the album. I love this record. It had so many of the songs that make my eyes tear up remembering. You can hear the years of misbehavior and being a troubadour creeping into the vocals on the record. This song has something of a prayer included in the story, “ … “the rockets in the air, and the people everywhere, put away their differences for a while…”. Maybe in 2022 we can find away to do more of that.
• Shawn Phillips — Ballad of Casy Deiss — We have featured this song on UJT Radio before but it tells a great story well. This song is from his “Second Contributions” album released in 1970. I love the rich array of instruments and his powerful vocals.
• Elliot Smith — Tomorrow Tomorrow — I don’t even remember when I found this song. Maybe it was from checking out iTunes, Listeners Also Bought section below the album or song you are listening too. When it popped up again in my play list I was really impressed. This on is from his album “Xo” released in 1998. Elliot left us far too soon in 2003 and had a difficult life but left us with some beautiful music.
• Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers — Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around — This is one of my all time favorite duets! This is the only song on her debut solo album, “Bella Donna (1981) that wasn’t written or cowritten by Stevie. It was a huge hit as a single too.

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!