January 14th, 2021

“Buenos Dias”, or “Good Morning!” in Spanish, a Romance language spoken in Spain and most of South and Central America. It is Day 301 since the first California Lock Down. We just started to vaccinate healthcare people this week. There are just 5 days more days of national shame to endure (Inauguration Day!).

Has a friend ever fallen off your radar? They were there and then they were unreachable. That happened to me recently. It’s been some time since we heard from one of our oldest friends. I am worried. He was the only friend, (so far, knock wood!), that contracted COVID-19 and it pretty much kicked his butt around the block for a month or two but last time we checked he was recovering nicely. Then he went off the screen just before Christmas. So keep a good thought for for my MIA friend.

Lost Friend Update: My friend Jack Keller would have been 69 years old yesterday had he made it past 2020. I haven’t been able to get any information about what happened. But in my heart, I know I am a little less rich than I was before December 28th. I met Jack in Frankfurt Germany in 1998. We had just won the Deutsche Bank Y2K deal and were recruiting our butts off to meet our deadlines. Jack did a good job but there was something about him. A confident compassion that made him an astute reader of humans and a good leader but also created connections with those around him. I moved to Switzerland in 1999 and Jack followed. Together with some very special people we were able to get the DBPB Services Y2K program back on track in time for the millennium. Many nights walking home, we would stop at this little mom and pop bar we called “Dads” and drink too much and tell stories. He was there for us when one of our dogs got cancer and had to be put down. When he moved back to the states to work on NMCI, I followed. He helped me through so many tough times over the years. We both knew it was a debt I could never repay. When I called an audible and sent a pick up team to help another old friend finish his house in the woods, Jack was there. We played a lot golf, went a lot of places and had us a time. But my most cherished memories of Jack involved just hanging out him with his Vodka and OJ, me with my scotch, smoking stogies and just enjoying the company. One trait that Jack shares with many if not most of my friends, is his generosity of his time and spirit. This is dark side of life that no one really tells you about. The time of life when you have lived longer than sone of the reasons you loved living. Fair winds and following seas my friend. You will be missed.

I am not going to try to talk about the whole attack on the Capital thing. It is a scary time for our country and our people. We should be alright if everyone just takes a breath and knuckles down to the business of recovery from the damage.

After Christmas, I started working on my ambitions for 2021. At the risk of ridicule and razzing I have added this document to the UJT on the hopes that it might be entertaining and the exposure might inspire me not to mess up too bad. So do what you will! 🙂 Oh and by the way, my ambition about changing my drinking habits took a hit this week but I will get back on track next week.

This week was a big week for birthdays. Rod Stewart turned 76. My mom would have been 91 yesterday. Jack Keller would have been 69. Cousin It from the Adams family had a birthday and Pat Benatar turned 70 this week as well.

This week I learned some stuff:

• I went through another recipe to try to enable lactose intolerant people to enjoy the dish. I learned some valuable lessons. While adding vanilla and sweetener might make Silk taste better on our Cheerios it does nothing for a Zuppa Toscana! Oh yeah and read the label before you add your milk alternative. It tasted good. I won’t lie, not as good as Zuppa with heavy cream.
• January 14th is the 14th day of 2021!. Just 344 days till Christmas! Today in 1784, the United States celebrates, Ratification Day – Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris; On this day in 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill begin the Casablanca Conference to discuss strategy and study the next phase of the war; Today in 1967, the Human Be-In takes place in San Francisco, California’s Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love; In 1973, Elvis Presley’s concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history; On this day in 2011, Former president of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees his country to Saudi Arabia after a series of street demonstrations against his regime and corrupt policies, asking for freedom, rights and democracy, considered as the anniversary of the Tunisian Revolution and the birth of the Arab Spring; Mark Antony, Roman general and politician born today in 83BC; Benedict Arnold, American-British general was born today in 1741; Albert Schweitzer, French-Gabonese physician and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate was born today in 1875; Hal Roach, American actor, director, and producer was born today in 1926; Andy Rooney, American soldier, journalist, critic, and television personality was born today in 1919; Tom Tryon, American actor and author was born today in 1926;; Julian Bond, American academic and politician was born today in 1940; Faye Dunaway, American actress and producer was born today in 1941; T Bone Burnett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer was born today in 1948; Lewis Carroll, English novelist, poet, and mathematician died today in 1898; Humphrey Bogart, American actor died today in 1957; Donna Reed, American actress passed away today in 1986; And finally, Alan Rickman, aka Professor Snape or Marvin the Depressed Robot, English actor passed away in 2016.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• Week 2 for the UJT Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• A new Musical Trivia Quiz !! WooHoo!!
• This week I added My Ambitions for 2021 to The Kitchen Drawer. While you are in the Kitchen Drawer look around, you might find something else that makes you smile. I also added a new Chicken Cacciatore slow cooker reciepe that was tasty and the Lactose intolerant update Zuppa Toscano recipe.

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I am still trying to make a stained glass project worthy enough to give to Mary, my stained glass benefactor. Jess and Tippy say I am too critical of my work but I really want her to like the piece I give her. I will keep working on it
• This week I intend to sign up for my watercolor classes again!
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• I am angry. I know its irrational but I am still angry at my my mom, dad, brother and Jack for leaving me when they did. Inside I know that they didn’t get a vote in the end but when I am alone in the dark, sometimes I miss them so much that I get angry and afraid. I should not be left here with no adult supervision.

Music Update:

Once again, your fossilized DJ takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library. Making these selections each week is more work than one my think.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Rod Stewart — Forever Young — This one goes out to my baby sister who baked a cake celebrating Rod’s birthday this week. This song seemed fitting some how. From his 1988 release, “Out of Order”.
• Pat Benatar — We Belong (2002 Remaster) — This is another birthday tribute to hard rocking lady who lit up our music world for a while in the 1980s. This one come from her 8th album “Tampico” released in 1984 and is just a really pretty love song.
• Doc Watson – Blackberry Blossom – This one is the traditional bluegrass version played live back in 1979, I think. He was a helva picker that Doc was!
• The Police – Roxanne — This the song that rocketed The Police and in particular their bassist songwriter, Sting to stardom. The story is that band was barely surving and were so desperate for work that they took a gig at a bar in Paris. Driving from Holland in Andy Summers Citron with all their gear, the boys had to cram themselves in to one motley hotel room across from a neon lit Sex shop. The gig fell apart so the boys were stuck for the night and Sting saw this peeking poster of Cyrano de Bergerac who was famed french swordsman with a huge nose and an equally huge love for his cousin, Roxane. Inspired he wrote the song that changed everything,
• Joe Bonamassa – Happier Times — This is from his wonderful “Live from the Royal Albert Hall” album released in 2009.
• Spoon – Rhythm and Soul – This is a deeper cut from their “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” released in 2007. These guys are something special. Quirky but special.

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!