February 24th,  2024

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine.  I have decided that the UJT will remain focused on Ukraine until we can all rejoice at the end of hostilities.  It has been 739 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • It’s been so long since I have felt well, I think I have forgotten what “normal’ feels like:) But I think I am there. I am up doing stuff – chores and projects again. Life is good!
    • 2024 is a leap year so we get to enjoy one more day of February. Moron what I learned about later. February 24th is the 55th day of the year with just 304 days till Christmas. You can find out all about December 28th in history here.

This week’s Website Update: 

    • No updates to the quizzes this week.
    • I have some new recipes that I  am working but none of them seem to be ready for prime time. Stay tuned.
    • The Home Page quote for this week’s wisdom is from Charles Spurgeon: “Six feet of dirt, make all men equal.     

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass, and Painting Update:  

    • Once again, the holidays impacted my class schedule. I did work on my notebook and design for the new kitchen piece.


    • I mailed in my Ballot for the California Primary.  Before doing that I spent the time i needed to review the candidates and the proposals. KPBS and some others do a good job of consolidating election information (positions, campaign funding sources, etc). That I find helpful. I hope that everyone eligible votes and everyone who votes will do their due diligence before doing so. But I realize that we are arrogant complacent people who take their fortune of being born in the country for granted. I know that some will rationalize not voting by saying the votes don’t matter. I know that some will just vote for whomever their particular flavor of talking heads instructions.  The are comfortable getting their “information” from. They believe the “news-tainmennt” that best matches their fears and sense of superiority. Still others have given up in the face of the power of effective campaign funding.  I hope that you all will take this opportunity to research the people wanting to be elected and their position on the issues facing us.
    • Several years ago now, I became an avid fan of British TV crime shows. To be honest, the plots and writing do not appear to be the attraction. I admit Brit’s bad guys and cops all seem to add a thick coating gf gentility and penuche on top of the universal good guys and bad guys typically found in these kinds of shows. But more than that, I have found the quaintness of the villages in shows such as “Father Brown”, and “Midsomer Murders” is attractive to me for some reason. Perhaps it is because I have been to the UK and seen it both from an urban and more rural perspective. I don’t know but I find myself rewatching episodes paying more attention to the scene details more than the plot. Everything in the “old country” is just so ancient that it seems omforting somehow?

Music Update:  

Last week one of my favorite performers passed away after a long battle with stomach cancer. His loss took a bit for me to process. Toby Keith’s music, songwriting, and performances captured our hearts ( or at least mine) quite by surprise. He was more country than my usual musical diet but his music dragged me across the line. His beautiful voice, and connection to feelings shared by most of us, endeared him to millions. In many ways, he reminded me of another favorite that left us all too soon – Dan Fogelberg.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • Toby Keith —  Baddest Boots — Not many songs in Toby’s catalog are shareable here as samples but I have a couple and encourage you to seek out more. This guy was a huge talent and deserves your exploration. This one is from his “Shockin’ Y’all album released in 2003.
    • Toby Keith — I  Love This Bar — This is the last cut from “Shockin’Y’ all” and perhaps the one I identify with the most. In the early 1980s,  I was living out of my 1968 microbus,” Urge 2” parked outside of my Grandma’s house in Miami, Fl, trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  One day, I was doing my laundry at a laundry mat on Bird Road and to kill time between washing and drying I wandered down to the little bar on the corner of Ludlum and Bird, called. “Sids”.  Being financially embarrassed at the time, I was delighted to learn that Sids had a happy hour at lunch, great sandwiches, and even smoked fish at very reasonable prices.  I was back later that night and almost every night the entire time I was in Miami. I made great friends and learned a lot about being alive at a time when I really needed the lesson. Anyway, maybe you had a bar like that in your life?
    • Tom Lehrer Be Prepared — This guy is more than a little amazing. Magna Sum Laude graduate from Harvard. After achieving his master’s degree in mathematics was drafted as an enlisted man and rose to 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” in which he 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 you enjoy this and find more of Tom’s work. Originally released  in 1953 on “Songs of Tom Lehrer, I consider it a classic.
    • Dan Fogelberg — Souvenirs  —I loved this song from the moment I first heard it. Like Toby, Dan’s voice and words connected right to the parts of me that don’t often come out to play. This one is the title cut from his 1974 release. Not many know that Joe Walsh produced played various instruments and did backup vocals for this record for Dan.
    • Dan Fogelberg — Same Old Lang Syne — This is an autobiographical glimpse into Dan’s life in Peoria, Il. If you have ever reconnected with an old lover after time and life passed, you will feel this song as well.
    • Dan Fogelberg  — Leader of the Band/Washington Post March — We all have our own leader of the band one way or another. This one makes me think of my dad a lot. This one is from his 1981 release, “Age of Innocence”.

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!