January 20th, 2022

“Gumåron”, or “Good Morning!” in Elfdalian, a North Germanic language spoken in central Sweden. .

As the rest of the country enters the most frigid part of their winter, we are back in shorts and t-shirts once again. I am styling in my new psychedelic Crocs that my daughter got me for Christmas! You really come to appreciate this place watching Buffalo kick the Patriots butt in 5 degree (wind chill to -7) weather. It feels so good to be warm and comfy watching the evil emperor Belichick getting his ass handed to him by Buffalo’s relentless and skilled football team.

I finished Dr. Mark Hyman’s, “The Pegan Diet”. Reading his book is like drinking from a firehose. He is passionate about his cause – to save the planet by changing the way humans live in it. A noble cause but I suspect many will find his overwhelming logic. data and argument …well overwhelming. I thought it was fascinating. if somewhat repetitive in some of the messaging. The book is structured into individual principles that are well explained, justified and thorough in covering their respective topics. You will not wonder why about any of the points he makes. Each principle is summarized and clear articulate “take aways” are provided just in case you missed the 5 o 6 times he made the points in he chapter before. I recommend the book and suggest that we would all be a lot better off if we simply got on with living as it described. I am making changes. I will let you know if what I learned has the expected results.

This week I learned some stuff:
• Without really realizing it I have been living a very sedentary life for the past several years. I started pulmonary rehab this week and after two 1 hour sessions of minimal exertion, I found myself crying out when I tried to stand up. It is embarrassing to think that 10 years ago, i was walking 3-5 miles 3-5 times a week. Now walking and doing light exercise for an hour sends me whimpering as I swallow my Naproxen, wishing my neighbor was a heroin dealer.
• I have come up with a design for the stained glass panels I’m going to build for the master bathroom windows. These panels with be installed in two identical windows that make up the corner of the room over the tub. Each panel is going to be 1/2 of a sunset in the upper right hand corner will be a large half circle that radiates beams of different colors and textures outward. A simple but elegant design that I am excited to begin.
• For the first time in a long time, I picked up a paint brush. I finished a painting that I started long ago and began one I am going to call, “Reveille in Mangroves” using Chris Spain’s wonderful photo of the screaming crane as inspiration. WooHoo!!
• January 29th is the 20th day of 2021. Just 348 days till Christmas! Today in 1788, the main part of First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay, beginning the British colonization of Australia; Today in 1887, the United States Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base; On this day in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner are sworn in for their second terms as U.S. President and U.S. Vice President; it is the first time a Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 20 since the 20th Amendment changed the dates of presidential terms; Today in 1961, John F. Kennedy is inaugurated the 35th President of the United States of America, becoming the youngest man to be elected into that office, and the first Catholic; On January 20th, 1981, twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States of America, Iran releases 52 American hostages; On this day in 1986; in the United States, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time; In 2009 on this day, Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America, becoming the first African-American President of the United States: Today in 2021, Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America. At 78, he becomes the oldest person ever inaugurated. Kamala Harris becomes the first female Vice President of the United States; Harriot Stanton Blatch, U.S. suffragist and organizer, was born today in 1856; Today in 1888, Lead Belly, American folk/blues musician and songwriter, was born; George Burns, American actor, comedian, and producer , was born today in 1896; DeForest Kelley, (AKA “Bones” on Star Trek) American actor, was born today in 1920; Slim Whitman, American country and western singer-songwriter and musician, was born today in 1923; On this day in 1956, American comedian, political commentator, media critic, television host, and producer was born; Today in 1980, Philippe Cousteau, Jr., American-French oceanographer and journalist was born; Johnny Weissmuller,(AKA Tarzan) American swimmer and actor, passed away today in 1984; Today we lost Audrey Hepburn, British actress and humanitarian activist in 1993; And finally, Etta James, American singer-songwriter , passed away today in 2012.

Website Update:
This week:
• Week three for our A new vocabulary Quiz! WhooHoo!!!
• Week two for our new Musical Trivia Quiz!
• I have a couple of new recipes for you this week. First the Swedish Cucumber Salad I made last week and Beef Bourguignon that I fixed this week.
• The Home Page quote this week is from Martin Luther King Jr., ”I have decided to stick with love. Hate is just too great a burden to bear.”

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I am painting just not attending Zoom Classes… I love the people but hate the format.
• Grandpa Stories is once again making progress towards being republished.

• Pickles are your friend! They have been with us a long time. One history has them being developed by the builders of the Great Wall of China, while others claim that they were first made in the Tigris Valley of Mesopotamia, using cucumbers brought originally from India. Most are made from putting cucumbers, whole or sliced in a solution of brine and letting the ferment till sour. Variations include using a pickling lime (not that lime the other one) which makes them crunchier than brined ones. There is even something called a, “Koolickle” which apparently is a dill pickle soaked in a mixture of Kool Aid and pickle brine. Which sounds kind of scary to me. They are a low calorie, probiotic rich and provided moderate amounts of Vitamin K. I have been told that pickle juice can also be a pregnant lady’s drink of choice. So eat a pickle and ponder the universe.

Music Update:
Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library. This week I have a lovely mix of new and old that I hope you will enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Greta Van Fleet — The Weight of Dreams — These guys continue to impress me with their very Led Zeppelin-esque sound. This is a cut from their newest album released in 2021, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” seems destined for greatness.
• Tom Lehrer — Be Prepared — This guy is more than a little amazing. Magna Sum Laude graduate from Harvard. After achieving his masters degree in mathematics was drafted as an enlisted man and rose the the rank of “corporal without portfolio” in his career with the NSA. He also played piano and wrote parodies of dark, and often off color topics that my mother, for one, found hilarious. To be fair I did too. For my 4th grade “show and tell about what I learned over the summer” I knew every word by heart and proudly sang this song for my class… landing my mom in serious hot water with my teacher. He did have one popular hit of sorts called, “The Elements” which is recites all the names on the periodic table to the melody of “Major-General’s Song” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. I hope enjoy this and find more of Tom’s work. Originally released in 1953 on “Songs of Tom Lehrer, I consider it a classic
• Jimmy Buffett — Delany Talks to Statues — Jimmy has always been able to capture my feelings. His music has alway said things that I wish I had said. This one is about his youngest daughter, Delany who I think produced this wonderful retrospective pandemic album released last year called, “Songs You Don’t Know By Heart”. Its a great album filled with many songs that I do know by heart and have sang along with for years. But there are others too … like this one.
• Elton John — Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters — This one is just a very pretty song that I fell in love with when it first came out in 1972. This is from his “Honky Chateau” album.
• The Blue Stones — Magic — These guys are from Windsor, Ontario right across the river from Detroit. They have a Steely Dan kind of vibe for me. This one is from their first album, released in 2018, “ Black Holes”. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did when I first heard it.
• The Rolling Stones — Waiting on a Friend — This week the great and perhaps one of the most unsung guitar players (other than my friend George), Mick Taylor celebrated his 73rd birthday, He helped out on this song released on “Tattoo You” in 1981. He got his break when he was just 17. He went to see John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers play and Eric Clapton never showed. So John gave the 17yo a chance to replace Eric Clapton and he did. The rest, as they say, is history. Congrats Mick and thanks for playing lead guitar on one of my favorite Stones songs. By the way this song also features Nicky Hopkins on piano and jazz sax great, Sonny Rollins.

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!