February 4, 2021

“Gud mawnin ”, or “Good Morning!” in Jamaican, an English-based creole with influences from languages of West and Central Africa spoken mainly in Jamaica. It is Day 336 since the first California Lock Down. We are struggling to vaccinate geezers (65+). The way they are going about it is just dumb! The state has everything they need to know to schedule over 80% of Californias. They could create an extract from the DMV to schedule every driver according to their vacation category and then let those that cannot make their appointment deal with the rescheduling. They could give priority to those citizens with handicapped designations at sites that do not require walking. This was a difficult logistics problem solved badly. So I am still hitting refresh on the scheduling website.

My son, and especially his friend Mike have been smoking meats for years. I love smoked meats but for some reason never felt the urge to do my own until now. I found this incredible website for “guy” gifts that specializes in a rather amazing array of DYI kits for the weaker sex (men!). I guess some ladies might enjoy some of these as well but I don’t think that was the intent of the MANCRATES.com’s business plan. This site has a unique appreciation for its market. For example, the assembly directions for my Smoker Kit include, “ Knowing geometry might not be your strongest skill, we have included a template that provides the exact angles needed to place the bolts in thirds. Just mark where the template says. ” In any case, I am now ready to start smoking meats for the first time! In fact we smoked our first brisket yesterday .. turned out pretty good but I have a lot to learn!

This week I learned some stuff:
• Even with a very good set of directions and a template, I can still make assembly mistakes but delivered box soon resulted in something reasonable similar to the pictures. So I was ready. All I had to do was trim the brisket, prep the coals, hang the meat and wrap it in foil when it reached an internal temp of 165 and then put it back in the smoker on shelves until it got to 200. Easy peasy – not exactly but a mere 10hours or so later I had my smoked brisket.
• February 4th is the 35th day of 2021!. Just 323 days till Christmas! Today in 1789, George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.; On this day in 1801, John Marshall is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States; Today in 1941,The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops; In 1945, The Yalta Conference between the “Big Three” (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) opens at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea; On this day in 1974, The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst in Berkeley, California; Today in 1999, Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot 41 times by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race relations in the city; Today in 1985, Nigel Bruce, (AKA Dr. Watson) English actor was born; Born today in 1902, Charles Lindbergh, American pilot and explorer; Sarah McLachlan, Canadian singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer was born today in 1968; Today in 1913, Rosa Parks, American civil rights activists was born; Today in 1947, Dan Quayle, American sergeant, lawyer, and politician, 44th Vice President of the United States was born; Karen Carpenter, American singer passed away today in 1983; Liberace, American singer-songwriter and pianist passed away today in 1987; And finally, Ossie Davis, American actor, director, and playwright passed on this day in 2005.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• A New UJT Vocabulary Quiz!!!! Yeah!
• Last week for Musical Trivia Quiz.
• This week I was too distracted by my new smoker to work out any new recipes

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I worked on my stained glass project a bit this week.
• This week I attended my 2nd watercolor classes of the new year. Whoopeee!
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

We spent our stimulus money this week. We replaced our 20 year old oven, refrigerator and dishwasher with American made products which was more complicated than you might think. We didn’t get the best price or some of the features offered by our trade partners but the money will go where it was intended to help out the economy. We also started a $35/week Farm to Table service to support local small farmers. We spent a little more than we were given but I felt an obligation and I hope it helps.
• This week I enjoyed one of my “all my might” naps, I really didn’t need the sleep but I did enjoy the nap. As a kid, my mom would have to threaten me with near death punishment even to fake a nap.

Music Update:

Once again, your fossilized DJ takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Led Zeppelin — You Shook Me — This one comes from their first album released in 1969. It features one of my favorites on keyboards, Nicky Hopkins. This was just an amazing record!!!
• Jude Cole — Right There Now(Album Version) — I haven’t heard this guy play a song I haven’t liked. I really think he is a great songwriter and artist. I hope you do too. This one is from his, “Start the Car” album released in 2005.
• The Doobie Brothers – It Keeps You Running – This is from their big sea change record, “Takin’ it to the Streets”, released in 1976. The first time I heard this was in the South China Sea.
• Jewel — Somewhere Over the Rainbow — A pretty song sung pretty from her “Jewel Lullaby” album released 2009.
• James Taylor — Boatman — For me there is just something magical about what James does. Perhaps more than any of his peers, James seems to delight in celebrating the subtleties of being a live human being. This one comes from his wonderful, “Hourglass” album released in 1997.
• Manassas — Johnny’s Garden — I have been a Stephen Stills fan for a long long time. I remember when I found out he formed a new band and had a new record out ”Manassas”. It was 1972, we were living in Virginia not all that far from Manassas. I got to see him perform this song in San Diego perhaps 45 years later ..and he told the great story behind the song. I still have the record though it is pretty beat up.

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!