January 27th, 2022

“Добро утро (Dobro utro)”, or “Good Morning!” in Bulgarian, a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Bulgaria.

As the representative branch of our government once again fails to represent their constituents miserably, Electorial gerrymandering and other techniques used to dilute or restrict the effect of our most powerful tool as citizens – voting will persist a bit longer. I wonder if we will remember what they did or did not do come election time. With the ridiculous arrangement of voter precincts, I wonder if it will matter enough. I was almost through high school before I found out what gerrymandering was and how it affects our elections. Population dictates how many Representatives we have for each state in the House. How that population is organized into precincts organizes that population into groups voting for a particular Representative. Somewhere along the line clever (notice I am not using the word Smart) political organizations figured out that if they set the boundaries around people who looked, felt and believed the “right” way, they could get more representation in the legislature and even local governments. Thats when the two party horse trading tango started, where the boundaries are agreed to between the parties. To me it seems like it should be simple. Agree on the population for the state and the number of representative precincts that is and apply a grid to the map for that number of precincts. No diddling required. They do it with mobile telephone towers.. maybe we could borrow Verizon’s map?

Did you happen to watch the Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs playoff game last Sunday?? I figured out that I have been a pretty avid pro football fan since approximately 1965. I was watching when Broadway Joe and the NY Jets beat the Colts in 1969 in Miami. I was the only Dolphins fan on board my ship and I cleaned up on their 17-0-0 season in 1972. I was a Bears fan when Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, Jim McMann and Refrigerator Perry, Walter -Sweetness- Payton and Mike Singletary took them all the way to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl 46-10 in 1986. I have watched the Rüsselsheim Razorbacks take on the Stuttgart Scorpions in Germany in 1999. So I have earned my football fan creds! Last Sunday’s Game between the Bills and the Chiefs was the best played game of football in my 60+ years of being a fan. Not being a Bills or Chiefs fan, I didn’t have a stake in the game. Both teams played stellar football that fine day in Kansas City. Everyone on that field should be proud to have been a part of it. I fear the Super Bowl has no hope of matching that game in terms of great play.

This week I learned some stuff:
• The drama cycle of pulmonary rehab continues. Go to Rehab, return a muscular cripple. repeat until next time. I don’t need Kleenex to stand up like did after the first session but it still hurts.
• I am making progress on the big Stained Glass panels I am building. I bought a piece of 1/4 in plywood to build the panel on. I attached 2 pieces of 1×2 to the bottom and side to give me a 46 x 46in work place for my panel. I designed the panels on vellum and have begun to pick the glass and cut out the patterns.
• It felt good to do some painting last week. I continued work on my attempt to recreate the beauty that Chris Spain caught with his camera.
• January 27th is the 27th day of 2021. Just 341 days till Christmas! Today in 1785, the University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States; Today in 1880, Thomas Edison receives a patent for his incandescent lamp; On this day in 1943, the Eighth Air Force sorties ninety-one B-17s and B-24s to attack the U-boat construction yards at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. This was the first American bombing attack on Germany; Today in 1945, the Soviet 322nd Rifle Division liberates the remaining inmates of Auschwitz-Birkenau; On January 20th, 1967, astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of their Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. This was the same day that the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom sign the Outer Space Treaty in Washington, D.C., banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, and limiting the usage of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes; Today in 1976, the Paris Peace Accords officially ends the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict’s last recorded American combat casualty; In 1996 on this day, Germany first observes the International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Today in 2010, Apple announces the iPad; On this day in 2017, a naming ceremony for the chemical element tennessine takes place in the United States; Lewis Carroll, English novelist, poet, and mathematician, was born today in 1832; Today in 1850, the father of labor union collective bargaining and the American Federation of Labor (AFL), Samuel Gompers, English-American labor leader was born; Hyman G. Rickover, American admiral, was born today in 1900; William Randolph Hearst, Jr., American journalist and publisher, was born today in 1908; Elmore James, American singer-songwriter and guitarist , was born today in 1918; On this day in 1919, Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor, creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks was born; Today in 1940, James Cromwell, American actor was born; Mikhail Baryshnikov, Russian-American dancer, choreographer, and actor was born today in 1948; Frederick the Simple, King of Sicily; passed away today in 1377; Today we lost Thomas Crapper, English plumber and businessman in 1910; André the Giant, French professional wrestler and actor left the stage today in 1993; Jack Paar, American talk show host and author, passed away today in 2004; Today in 2009, John Updike, American novelist, short story writer, and critic passed away; J. D. Salinger, American soldier and author passed away today in 2010; And finally, we lost Pete Seeger, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist today in 2014.

Website Update:
This week:
• A new vocabulary Quiz! WhooHoo!!!
• Week three for our new Musical Trivia Quiz!
• I have a couple of new recipes for you this week. First the Mongolian Beef and Broccoli that I made last week. I also made a really nice Lemony Kale Stew thing kind of by accident
• The Home Page quote tis week is from Martin Luther King Jr., ”You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I am painting again!
• Grandpa Stories is once again making progress towards being republished. It is taking me longer this time because I have to use a page magnifier to see the print well enough to read.

• Yesterday morning, I got up plugged in my phone and watch to charge. Over the next hour or so I had my coffee, worked on my calendar and email, then I had visit the bathroom. I forgot to put my watch on! I felt guilty. The little guy gets such a kick out of me washing my hands long enough. Oh well, next time!
• Every once in a while I seriously contemplate a world without me. I never imagined a world without my Mom or Dad, my brother Pat or my friend, Jack. It was just kind of thrust upon me, surprising me, some than others. I often wonder if they passed feeling fulfilled and satisfied with the life they were leaving behind. I never got to ask them. For the record, when I lay down for the last time, I will do so feeling grateful for the time that I have shared with so many wonderful people in so many wonderful places. I hope that before but at least, shortly after my passing, that I will be forgiven for my many mistakes and misadventures. But that day is not today and I have things to do and experiences to share yet.

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 — Heat Above — This is another cut from their newest album released in 2021, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” seems destined for greatness. Awesome!
• Jerry Garcia — Sugaree — From the Vinyl!!! There is a special place in my heart for Jerry. A gentle soul who lived his life full blast petal to the floor. His style of play was unique and his family played some of the best music I have ever seen live. This is from his first solo album, “ Garcia” released in 1973.
• Jimmy Buffett — Chanson Pour Les Petits Enfants — It’s impossible for me to pick my “favorite” Jimmy Buffett album but this song was released on “Volcano” and I am so glad he chose to reprise it on the “Songs You Don’t Know By Heart”. It’s even more intimate. Like some crazy old uncle telling bedtime stories to the short people in the house.
• Pink Floyd — Brain Damage – “ …The lunatic is in the hall.“ from, “Dark Side of the Moon”, released in 1973, another of my favorite all time records! Alan Parsons produced this classic. I LOVE the lyrics and the background singers really make it work.
• Josh Smith & Joe Bonamassa — Over Your Head — Two giants in the guitar playin “bidness” just playing high powered music for you. This the title cut from Josh;s album released in 2015.
• Jethro Tull — Reason For Waiting — Dusted this song off and let it remind me how much Tull moved me. This one comes from their 1969 release, “Stand Up”. When you opened the album a wooden cabin carving thing stands up! Hey it was 1969, we were easily entertained.

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!