February 3rd, 2022

“Јакшылыкту таҥла (Ĵakšılıktu tañla)”, or “Good Morning!” in Altay (Алтай тили), a Turkic language spoken mainly in the Altai Republic and Altai District in the Russian Federation.

As I started this week’s update, the eastern seaboard is being buried in snow. They are expecting over 3 inches in the Tidewater Va area. Having lived there a good number of years, I can tell you that 3 inches will be incredibly beautiful and paralyzing. The city for all intents and purposes will shut down because they don’t have the snow removal capabilities of say a Buffalo, NY. I have been stranded in my house with my friends looking out at the blanked beauty that used to be our street. I have to say though, as pretty as it is, I am much happier writing about it in my gym shorts from San Diego.

The terribly slow process of reclaiming my fitness continues. Twice this week I filled all three circles on my Apple Watch fitness thing. I am actively working to manage a diet that is 75% mostly organic plant based and 25% mostly organic, free range, grass-fed or wild caught protein. The terrible part is the painful reminder from my body just how poorly I have been behaving. By the tine I get home from my hour long sessions, I am already tightening up to the point where cooking dinner is a challenge. I “endeavor to persevere” to quote my favorite Josey Wales character, Chief Lone Watie (aka, Chief Dan George).

This week I learned some stuff:
• I heard about a new word game to pay on my phone. Words with Friends got old for me. But this one seems interesting.
• This week we celebrate GroundHog Day! Punxsutawney Phil will make his appearance in search of his shadow in Pennsylvania this Wednesday. That is if they have dug him out of all the snow they got last weekend.
• This week we also celebrated Lunar New Year with at least 1.5 billion of our closest Asian friends. This is the year of the Tiger. The Lunar New Year is roughly equivalent to a combination of our Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a celebration of family and hope for our new beginning. Personally, I was born in the Year of The Dragon. What lunar year were you born into?
• February 3rd is the 34th day of 2022. Just 334 days till Christmas! Today in 1690, the colony of Massachusetts issues the first paper money in the Americas; Today in 1809, the Territory of Illinois is created by the 10th United States Congress; On this day in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing voting rights to male citizens regardless of race; Today in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect an income tax; On this day in 1945, as part of Operation Thunderclap, 1,000 B-17s of the Eighth Air Force bomb Berlin, a raid which kills between 2,500 and 3,000 and dehouses another 120,000; Today in 1959, Rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed in a plane crash along with the pilot near Clear Lake, Iowa, an event later known as The Day the Music Died; In 1961 on this day, the United States Air Forces begins Operation Looking Glass, and over the next 30 years, a “Doomsday Plane” is always in the air, with the capability of taking direct control of the United States’ bombers and missiles in the event of the destruction of the SAC’s command post.: Today in 1971, New York Police Officer Frank Serpico is shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survives to later testify against police corruption; Today in 1995, Astronaut Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle as mission STS-63 gets underway from Kennedy Space Center in Florida; Gertrude Stein, American novelist, poet, playwright,, was born today in 1874; Today in 1894, Norman Rockwell, American painter and illustrator was born; Pretty Boy Floyd, American gangster, was born today in 1904; James A. Michener, American author and philanthropist, was born today in 1907; Joey Bishop, American actor and producer, was born today in 1918; On this day in 1935, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, American blues, soul, and funk singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born; Today in 1943, Shawn Phillips, American-South African singer-songwriter and guitarist was born; Frank Oppenheimer, American physicist and academic passed away today in 1985; and finally, today we lost Ben Gazzara, American actor and director.

Website Update:
This week:
• Week two for our new vocabulary Quiz!
• We have a new Musical Trivia Quiz! WhooHoo!!!
• I found this really interesting recipe for a Citrus Upside Down cake that I want to try. I will let you know. I updated the Roasted Vegetable Salad recipe.
• The Home Page quote tis week is from Winston Churchill, ”Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

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. I just finished editing chapter 38!

• One my favorite actors passed away this week, WKRP in Cincinnati’s Dr. Johnny Fever is no longer taking your requests. WKRP was a favorite of mine. “Soap” also pushed a lot of our boundaries but WKRP was one of the best at making us laugh at ourselves. Several episodes are memorable for me. The one Les Nessman and Herb Turlec do a Thanksgiving promotion giving away turkeys. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that domestic turkeys are essential flightless birds when they threw them out of the helicopter the results were not good. “Oh the humanity!” The other episode still seems apropos to todays world. The station owner is Arthur Carlson is being pressured by a local Christian organization to not play certain heathen songs. Arthur is conflicted. So he allows the evangelist to review thier play list. The guy tells him that John Lennon’s song, “Imagine” must not be aired because it questions heaven and hell and God. Mr. Carlson reputes this saying, “The song just says, ..”imagine there is no heaven ..”. WKRPs playlist remained intact. Howard Hessman just had one of those completely believable faces and demeanors. RIP Johnny!
• Have you ever noticed that 2x4s are not actually 2 inches by 4 inches? Well, they aren’t. Somewhere along the line is lumber milling business it was decided to mill the lumber to a smoother finish. I am guessing it would have been expensive to change the process that milled the unfinished lumber to be enlarged so that the final finished lumber was actually 2×4 in. But that is just a guess. And it is not just the trusty 2×4 that lost its size, pretty much all framing stock has.
• Everybody is often wrong. Think about it. Whenever Everybody seems to agree on something it turns out to be wrong. Everyone knew the world was flat or that women were incapable of any task not related to raising children. They were wrong. It seems that enough of an “Everybody” exists who feels that climate change is a fabrication put in place by liberal tree hugging do-gooders who want to deprive wealthy people of their rightful profit. This version of Everybody believes that the scheming scientist are in cahoots with those “people”. But this week, I was heartened to learn that Australia had pledged 1 Billion Aussie dollars towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef from further damage due to climate change. I am not sure how they will be able to do that given that most of the root causes are not adjustable in Australia at the reef. But, “Good on ya Mate!”

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:
• The Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Wind Cries Mary — I always love Jimi’s voice and this song features his vocals as much as his wonderful guitar work. This a cut off his debut, “Are You Experienced” album released in 1967. I have played Johnny A’s cover instrumental here before but the original is amazing! I was just entering my ‘Service Week (Week 4)” of Navy bootcamp 52 years ago when we got the news of his passing. He was just 27 years old.
• Bob Dylan — Hurricane — Ruben “Hurricane” Carter’s story and just one of the jewels you can find on Bob’s 1976 album, “Desire”.
• Jimmy Buffett — Twelve Volt Man — Another one from “Songs You Don’t Know By Heart” that came out last year. This is an old time favorite of mine. As much as I loved it when it came out in 1983) on One Particular Harbor, this elderly version makes me smile with a tear in my eye.
• Paul Simon — You can call me Al — From the Vinyl!!! Paul Simon has been a force in the music biz for a long long time. This was the single from his 1986 release, “Graceland”. I never heard this song until I saw the video with Chevy Chase which made about as much sense as the lyrics but it is great song that kind of grabs you and won’t let go.
• Gordon Lightfoot — Carefree Highway — This is like an old friend I haven’t heard in a long time. Back when I teaching myself guitar and mixing sound for a band, I bought the book and learned how to play this one. This comes from his wonderful, “Sundown” released just as I was exiting the Navy in 1974.
• Led Zeppelin — What is and What Should Never Be — This one of my favorite tunes from their flashy hit filled “Led Zeppelin II” album released in 1969.

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!