April 20th, 2023 
“ 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 in the end of hostilities.  It has been 413 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:
My week was filled with bright spots. Our handsome lad, Murphy, returned from Doggy Collage with his diploma. We managed to pay our taxes on time.  I also got signed up for the Wednesday Ceramics class. I was able to make it to Old Town Trolly station 2 times this week – the day before I was supposed to meet my friend DD to go watch the Padres vs Brave game and then of course on the actual day of the game and then on the actual day It is good to have an inexhaustible supply of self-defined humbling humor. 
The smell in my backyard is sooo wonderful!! The Wisteria is doing its very best this year. We have a new family of Common House Wrens that moved into a birdhouse that our Texican relatives brought us. We pretty much have at least one bird family move in each spring.  
I re-watched the original Matrix movie. I had forgotten how many insightful moments it provides about the choices we make in life. Which would you have chosen? or Dare I say,  which have you chosen in your life – the Blue or Red pill? I have always been a blue-pill kind of guy. 
April 20th is the 110th day of 2023. Just 257 days till Christmas. On this day in 1861, Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia; Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces, today in 1861; On that same day, in 1918, Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims, his final victories before his death the following day; the Bay of Pigs invasion failed today in 1961; Today in 1972, Apollo 16 lunar module, commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke, lands on the moon; Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine, CO; William Phillips with a handgun barricades himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself today in 2007;  Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race today in 2008; The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and beginning an oil spill that would last six months today in 2010; Derek Chauvin is found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd by the Fourth Judicial District Court of Minnesota today in 2021;Adolf Hitler, Austrian-born German politician, Führer of Nazi Germany  was born today in 1889; Today in 1920,  John Paul Stevens, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States was born; George Takei, American actor born today in 1769; Today in 1951,Luther Vandross, American singer-songwriter and producer was born; Chief Pontiac, American tribal leader passed away today in 1961; Steve Marriott, English singer-songwriter and producer for Small Faces and Humble Pie died today in 1991; And lastly,  Benny Hill, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter passed away today in 1992.

This week’s Website Update:
Week two for our Vocabulary Quiz
Last week for the Musical Trivia Quiz 
This week I added a couple of new recipes for you – Skillet Fish with Bacon and Twice Baked Potatoes. Both dishes enjoyed a great deal of praise around here.
The Home Page quote for this week is from, Mark Twain,  “ Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” 

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass, and Painting Update:
I dug out my ceramics tools and refreshed my watercolor stuff. Hope to start doing more of both this week. 
I am continuing my streak of slacking off on the paper edits of Grandpa Stories. I just haven’t carved out any time for more chapters.

Today is 4/20/2023! About this time in 1966, I was spending $5 (a not small part of my after school job paycheck) on a matchbox of pot. I was risking a felony with real prison time if I got caught with it. Today, we have a code, a day to celebrate, and can buy pre-rolled joints for about the cost of that matchbox legally. Which I guess is a good thing given how few of us have record album covers to clean the stems and seeds out. I wonder if rolling doobie skills have faded like cursive handwriting? Anyway, join the miscreants that blazed and glazed the trail to get us to the point where 4/20 makes us smile legally. 
The longer I live, the more I realize just how little consideration it takes to make another person’s day better. Just a handwritten letter, card, or timely phone call or yes, even sincere texts or emails, can and do make a difference in another life. We just have to try it. Never having walked in others’ shoes, we have no real idea what our actions will mean to them both good and bad because we never fully understand their context completely. So any kind word or thought can be extremely comforting. Just as any thoughtless words said in anger can be devastating. I always try to be at least aware that my actions have consequences that I could not understand. I try hard to remember that it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.
With so much Bluing and Redding rhetoric flowing, I have sometimes been overwhelmed with the disdain my conservative fellows view me, their liberal counterpart. Whenever I am so overwhelmed by others’ self-righteous assessment of my wrongness, I do what that famous detective said, “When your theory falls apart, check your premises”. So I read the definition of liberal in the dictionary and I feel better about myself.  

Music Update:
Another week of joy and music to share. Enjoy:
This week’s UJT Radio Program: 
Montgomery Gentry — Something to Be Proud Of — This is a request from my baby sister. She is kind of a sweet redneck:) I had never heard of these two brothers, Eddie, and Troy Gentry but I liked it. This song reminds both of us of some of Toby Keith’s work. This is the title cut from their 2004 release.
Toby Keith — American Soldier — This song always chokes me up. I feel that embarrassing swelling of pride at having served whenever I hear this one. It’s like no feeling I have ever known. It’s embarrassing because I didn’t join thinking I was doing this important patriotic sacrifice. I didn’t think of it as a significant thing at all. Just seemed like a good idea at the time. This is from his Shock’n Y’all album released in 2003. I like this song but its not my favorite on that album!
The Tedeschi Trucks Band — These Walls — There is just so much to like about this song!!! The soulful vocals and the harmonies with their guitars. It’s just wonderful (and I got new speakers too). This is from their album, Revelator released in 2011.
U2 – This is Where You Can Reach Me – This is a deep cut from their latest album. This is from their 2014 release, “Songs of Innocence”.
John Prine – Illegal Smile – Seems fitting on 420 to join John in a celebration of our roots.  This is from his first one, John Prine, released in 1971.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young  — Find the Cost of Freedom — This is a beautiful acoustic/harmonies cut from their live album. “4 Way Street” was also released in 1971. 

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!