May 11th, 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 434 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Recovering is the name of the game. I am doing so, slowly but with determination. The morning after the last abbreviated UJT was sent out, I awoke to the haunting morning dove song that has accompanied me my entire life. As a teen in Miami, just learning how to misbehave, the incessant cooing call helped me celebrate my first hangover, until later in the morning the Redheaded Woodpecker or maybe it was a Flicka took the watch in the tree outside my bedroom window. I remember Morning Doves calling to me as we were embarking on early morning fishing trips in Indiana and Virginia as the morning mist burnt off the lake. Hearing them in the trees as I made my kids’ first sets of bunkbeds. Hearing them as I used Urge II,  our ’68 VW bus, as our workshop while living in motels and apartments. That singular sound is woven through most of my early rises and all nighters.  Hearing them today comforts me somehow.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • Ever so slowly, step by step, I progress back to my normal.  I continued the closet and office clean up projects including the associated Good Will runs.  I managed to start a letter (thats right! A letter! – envelope, stamps, remembering cursive!) to a dear friend. I shopped for the glass I will need for my next stained glass project. Later in the week, I even cleaned out our pond filters (with help from my grandson BJ). The Koi are happily swimming around in crystal clear water to the sounds of both waterfalls fully flowing again.
    • Toilets can be humbling. They are actually fairly impressive bits of engineering. Not the least of which is perfecting the designs of the parts such that they are almost universally interchangeable and simplified to the point that even bozo’s like me can fix them when needed. But they are not idiot proof! I reserve the right to laugh out loud when my gifts for ignoring the obvious reach impressive heights as with fixing the worn out flapper valve on my toilet. I struggled for an hour trying to adjust my pull chain length correctly. I just couldn’t seem to find the sweet spot where the flapper came down and sealed off the tank so it could fill. I was, I am embarrassed to say, contemplating a plumber visit when I finally noticed that my excess flapper valve change was being sucked into the tank drain keeping the flapper from sealing!!! Duh! I snipped the excess chain and Viola!! No more leakage! I tried to keep my laughter down as my wife was still sleeping.
    • We are in a tough spot in our country. Our pandering leadership is surpassing even my tolerance for democratic process ineptitude. One party appears to be content to continue to foment misinformation and “righteousness” in lieu of truth, fact, vision, direction or anything like character. While their counterparts are so busy, playing the, “We’re Not Them” song as loud and often as it can, they appear to have forgotten why that is important. The historic facts are not hopeful. Each time a GOP President is elected to office, the rich get richer and we get more people living below the poverty line. When ousted, the country is in greater debt and weaker as a nation. The Democrats never clawback anything like the wealth and power amassed by the previous GOP administrations pillaging, so each subsequent election is no longer a level playing field. Add in the fear, bigotry and loathing being so successfully funded and executed by the Christian Nationalists supporting the GOP, our future and that of our kids appears bleak.  It reminds me of the plot of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. The world is divided into 2 sides – the government and the followers of the Book of Bonkonon. The one exists to perpetuate the other. Its an much deeper and amazing novel but to me it seem to boil down to that one point. Back in the 1960s when it was published, we believed that governments role was to create enemies that justified the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned us about. Today, we simply do not have enough, certainly not enough skilled, courageous leaders available to address the perpetuated flaws being exploited in our system:
      • Removal of corporate funding of political parties, issues and individuals
      • Term limits for every elected and appointed official, no exceptions.
      • Equal taxation applied to all income, independent of income source or organization type
      • Strictly enforced code of conduct in all branches of government with the delivery of minimal real consequences (not just censure) such as General Population prison time, fines and loss of assets gained.
      • Elimination of all forms of Estate Taxation – Tax our citizen’s fairly, once, when they are alive.
      • And so it goes…..
    • May 11th is the 131st day of 2023. Just 234 days till Christmas.  On this day in 1889, a U.S. Army paymaster and escort of 11 Buffalo Soldier was attacked by bandits resulting in the theft of over $28,000 and the award of two Medals of Honor; Today in 1997, Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format; Today in 1888, Irving Berlin, Belarusian-American pianist and composer was born; Salvador Dalí, Spanish artist was born today in 1901; Today was Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian’s birthday in 1911; In 1941, Eric Burdon (Animals), English musician was born; On this day in 1889, John Cadbury, English businessman and philanthropist, founded the Cadbury Company passed away; We lost  Lester Flatt, American singer-songwriter and guitarist on this day in 1979; Bob Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist followed in 1981; Finally, famous spy, Kim Philby, British-Soviet double agent died in 1988.

This week’s Website Update:

    • A new Vocabulary Quiz!!! Woohoo!!
    • Week 2 for the New Musical Trivia Quiz 
    • This week I created a new version of an older recipe – Abuello’s Mexican Meatloaf V2 is in the house! I also added a new one – Mini Wontons in Red Curry- Yum!
    • The Home Page quote for this week is from, Janis Joplin,  “I tried to be normal once. It was the worst two minutes of my Life!” 

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

    • I also managed to paint a card for a friend this week. It’s not very good but I am glad to have done it. Haven’t made it to Ceramics class yet. Tools in the car.  
    • 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.


    • As I mentioned last week, a big part of being ill, is the “stuckness” one feels. I ended up spending a lot more time scrolling through FB. I noticed for some reason FB kept showing me Reels (i.e video clips) of graphic animal kills – lions, alligators, snakes, and sharks all brutally killing baby somethings – seals, giraffes, wildebeests, elephants, and so on…Being sick –  just kept clicking no more of this feedback… Guess what? They listened and I was then treated to apparently endless parade of cleavage and butt cheeks until my “no more of this button” seemed to stem the tide. Now they figured out my secret decoder ring to my hopeless romantic heart  – service member deployment homecomings; K9 service dog retirements; dogs rescuing people; people rescuing dogs … soggy paper towels filled with empathy and celebration of joyful moments! Being sick is  terrible but equally powerful are the feelings associated with becoming un-stuck even it happens slowly.
    • Clarence Thomas is an apparently shameless, inexhaustible pile of hypocrisy that should be enjoying the confines of prison as opposed to the protected and hallowed halls of SCOTUS. For that matter, what other jurors perjured themselves during appointment testimony on their Roe V Wade positions? No one would lie for the Congressional Record right? I mean that is against the law? What is the word I am looking for?? Oh yeah! Fraud!
    • This week our country endured its 201st mass shooting since the first of January.  I am having a hard time living with that fact. In my opinion, that is just morally wrong. Meanwhile our “leaders” diddle each other trying to find a way to pay our debt while preserving the corporate and wealthy individual tax protection gifts put in place by Trump.  Preferring to play political tiddlywinks while innocent people are gunned down across our nation. I  AM SO SICK OF HEARING, “We are praying for the victims and their families” !!! We do not need anyone’s prayers! Our elected officials need to stop being politicians long enough to do something important.  Watching the carnage on TV, i flashed back to this post I made over six years ago. I thought we might watch it again.

Music Update:

Another week of joy and music to share. It started it out with just one guitar instrumental and just persisted. Enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program: 

  • Laurence Juber — Places I Remember  — For me sometimes, there is nothing quite as beautiful as an acoustic guitar, played well. This is a cut from his, “LJ Plays the Beatles” released in 2000.
  • Paco De Lucía, John McLaughlin & Al Di Meola — Manha de Carnaval — Three of the very best doing their very best for us. This one is from their. “Guitar Trio – Paco De Lucía/John McLaughlin/Al Di Meola” released in 1996.
  • Tommy Emmanuel – What a Wonderful World — Tommy has been doing this for a long long time. He has just a delightful touch! This one is from his, “Live From the Balboa Theater” released in 2011. It was a concert performed right here in San Diego!
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio — Linus and Lucy — This is just a great song that helped me grow up!. We watched every year! It is from their, “A Charlie Brown Christmas (Original 1965 TV Soundtrack) [Expanded Edition]” released in 1965.
  • Bruce Cockburn  — Islands in a Black Sky — This guy has become one of my all-time favorites! His songwriting is what caught my eye when Jimmy Buffett first covered his “Pacing the Cage”, but then I really came to appreciate him as a guitarist when I heard his “Speechless” album of acoustic guitar music released in 2005. This song was originally released in 1996 on,  “The Charity of Night” album.
  • John Denver — Season Suite: Late Winter, Early Spring (When Everybody Goes to Mexico) — Released in 1986, “Rocky Mountain High” was an amazing album beyond his beautiful mega-hit title cut. This one is a deep-cut instrumental that showcases John’s skills as a guitarist.


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!