April 14th, 2022

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine. I have decided to maintain the UJT will focus on Ukraine until we can all rejoice in the end of hostilities. It has been 49 days since Russia attacked Ukraine. As with all of these human failures, there are reports of atrocity that seem premeditated. An unexploded missle that hit a school, had the words, “ for the children” written on the side in Russian. War is just the shittiest feature homo sapiens have that distinguishes it from other citizens of our planet..

Tomorrow is Good Friday so every one got a couple more days to file their taxes(the 18th). Forgive me for missing the start of Ramadan this year. It began on April 2nd and will run through May 2nd. I located glass big enough for my stained glass Sunflower project this week.

That means today is Thursday and once again since August 6th, 2005, the Great Left Coast Poker Smoke & Lies society will be meeting for another celebration of friendship and camaraderie. It is impossible for me to put into words, how much this semi-weekly gathering means to me. I am a richer man for having participated and with the second mortgage, I hardly miss the money:)

This week our, “if you purchase this set today we can have it to you by next Thursday, February 7th…” family room couch and love seat arrived. The delivery guys came in (on 2 different days the same week), unwrapped, installed the legs, packed up most of their wrapping stuff and left. Unbeknownst to me and my furniture buying advisor (my daughter). the new stuff is just a little bigger in almost every dimension than the set we are replacing. This factor set the stage where 3 adults and me, try to agree on the placement of the new stuff mixed with the old table and easy chair. With lots of 
“tooing and froing” with 3 of us suggesting postions and 1 of us doing all the pushing, the possibilities seemed a lot more endless than acceptable ones and labor to move the crap all around another 5-6 times. My daughter, the main “tooer and froer” was very patient with us till she wasn’t and we decided that position was perfect. Then problem became do we need to change out the tables. After talking it over we decided that 1) we liked the tables and 2) the way I used them was unacceptable. Here I will digress. Somewhere in back in the dark recesses of my checkered past, I started to eat my meals in front of TV. Back when if you missed a network TV moment or episode, it could be years before it made it to reruns! This habit apparently is easy to get into, hard to stop and very bad for you. Today, we stream it all, any time we want we can see whatever has happened in any show. The “we want to watch” part just has to happen when not eating. In discussing, our new set up and the tables, I determined that the main objections the family had with the tables was: 1) The handsome tiled look was impossible to keep clean if you eat in front of the tv; and 2) the missing footings were scratching the tile floor. Once, it was discovered that the tables work fine esthetically, if we could solve these other two issues. Solutions: 1) Remove the table, disassemble the tiles and power wash it. Afterwards food will not be placed on the table; 2) Replaced the rug under the coffee table while we look for replacement table feet. Our “tooer-and froer” had a lot more patience than we deserved.

We have two kiddos in our particular sewing circle who are graduating from college this May. Both of these young people are impressive individuals and I am glad they find a way to tolerate my old self. Congratulations Darrian and John (AKA, The Lad)!!!

This week I learned some stuff:
• April 14th is the 104th day of 2022. Just 264 days till Christmas! Today in 1775, the first abolition society in North America is established. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage is organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush; Today in 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln lives till the following day; Also on the same day, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and his family are attacked at home by Lewis Powell; In 1894 on this day, the first ever commercial motion picture house opens in New York City, United States, using ten Kinetoscopes, a device for peep-show viewing of films; Today in 1912, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 23:40; Today in 1929, the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix takes place in the Principality of Monaco. The race was won by William Grover-Williams driving a Bugatti Type 35. I was able to attend in 1972; In 1935 on this day, the Black Sunday dust storm, considered one of the worst storms of the Dust Bowl, swept across the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles and neighboring areas; Today in 1986, the heaviest hailstones ever recorded (1 kilogram (2.2 lb)) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92; Today in 1999, a severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history;Born today in 1904, John Gielgud, English actor, director, and producer: Born today in 1921, Thomas Schelling, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate ; Alan MacDiarmid, New Zealand chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born today in 1927; Frank Serpico, American-Italian soldier, NYC police officer who exposed corruption in the force and lecturer was born today in 1936; Deep Purple founder Ritchie Blackmore, English guitarist and songwriter was born today in 1945; John Singer Sargent, American painter passed away today in 1925; Burl Ives, American actor, folk singer, and writer died today in1995; We lost Don Ho, American singer and ukulele player today in 2007; And lastly, today in 2021, Bernie Madoff, American mastermind of the world’s largest Ponzi scheme passed away.

Website Update:
This week:
• Last week for our new Vocabulary Quiz.
• Week two for our Musical Trivia Quiz.
• A new yummy recipe was posted on the UJT this week! A new Oven Fried Chicken recipe. I discovered the wonders of powdered buttermilk as a marinade for chicken. The experts say it makes no difference but my taste buds say different.
• The Home Page quote this week is from famous UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden, ”Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I am painting again! I began to paint the lovely image Lori took that I am calling, “Lori’s Barn”. It is fun to be painting again. It feels like finally scratching an itch you have lived with for so long you forgot that it was there. I also dug up another painting that I started earlier this year that I am currently calling, Chris’ Crane. Its a lovely mangrove shot with a big old what appears to be a Blue Heron standing on the top of a tree backlit by a gorgeous sunset. Chris Spain always finds and takes the most amazing shots. Lastly, my old friend Heide and I have been exchanging emails recently and she shared with me a very interesting technique developed by Pavel Piscarev, PhD. that helps the subconscious emerge into a physical representation through drawing and coloring representations of their connections. These drawings creates interesting art. I now taken a couple of classes on how to do it via YouTube and am attempting my first piece. I will let you know how it goes. I will say the examples that I have seen have been very interesting.
• I have paper edited 3 more chapters of Grandpa Stories. Progress towards being republished. Paper editing might be just a little fun as I relive the stories! Maybe it just sucks a little less.

• Its amazing to me how much impact adding these two cute little bundles of soft fur and furious curiosity has affected our family dynamic. Suddenly, everyone is acutely aware of where Georgie and where the kitties are. At first they were terrified of the big old dog but then their curiosity got the better of them and they started getting closer and closer. They are less tolerant of Dirty Harriet, our Irobot vacuum cleaner. Hades, the braver of the two (Gandalf is the careful one) will follow Harriet around as she does her circult. Harriet doesn’t seem bothered. For her part, Georgie has tolerant and maybe a bit curious. Jess and Tippy are afraid she will be jealous if the kittens pay too much attention to me, her pet human. But so far that has not happened. We discovered Cat TV on YouTube and it became an immediate hit. The kittens will jump up on the shelf with the TV and swat the birds and chipmunks till something more interesting to them happens. I find it kind of meditational to watch the birds feeding on their little VW Microbus feeder. I still haven’t worked out how to get the kittens to ride on Harriet as she attacks the room. But I will work on it.

Music Update:
Today UJT Radio also returns to its normal waltz through my musical archives with a eclectic selection for you.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Big and Rich – 8th of November — It has been awhile since a song has made me cry. American soldiers entered Viet Nam for the first time when I was almost 13. Marines landed on the beaches near Da Nang and LBJ launched a carpet bombing campaign in the north that same March. Operation Hump lead by US Airborne’s 1st Battalion, 503 Infantry Regiment , 173rd Airborne Brigade. They were conducted a search and destroy mission to clear the area of VC when 1200 VC overran their position. By the time the VC withdrew that night, 49 American soldiers had died and another 83 were injured. An estimated 700 VC perished in the battle as well. By then reports by Morley Safer and Walter Cronkite from Viet Nam had already turned my deeply patriotic young mind against the war. I think I just was as shocked as Walter that our government would be so deceitful and arrogant. I guess you could say it kind of broke my heart. The next day the eastern seaboard of North America went dark in the largest power failure in history that plunged over 30million Americans and Canadians into darkness. 200,000 New Yorkers were caught in subways on their commute home. So the news of this particular battle never got the attention it should have. I was not familiar with Big and Rich, till I stumbled across the video on You Tube. I like the guitars and harmonies a whole lot. This song is from their 2005 release, “Coming to Your City”. The video features Kris Kristofferson intro that is very moving.
• The Lumineers — Flowers in Her Hair — Hearing this song came up on the rotation this week made me smile. This is the song that drew me to The Lumineers. It is from their, 2012 release, “The Lumineers”.
• Bruce Cockburn — Islands in a Black Sky — This is a great instrumental by one of my favorite songwriters. It’s kind of like when John Denver did that instrumental suite on Rocky Mountain High. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. This song comes from his 1996 release, “The Charity of Night”.
• Fleetwood Mac – Sara – One of my favorite FM songs. Watching them play this song is concert is on my highlight reel. Stevie and the whole band just kept building the sounds and it rolled over us like a wave of music. This is from their 1979 release, “Tusk”.
• James Taylor – Highway Man — This one is a deep cut that reaches back to 1971 when James put out one of my favorite albums, “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon”. “ …. Sweet misunderstanding, won’t you leave a poor boy alone … “
• Sheryl Crow – Everyday Is a Winding Road – This one was the very first thing I heard by Sheryl. The whole thing just grabbed me … the bongos, the lyrics and the guitar work. This comes from her album, “Sheryl Crow” released in 1996.

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!