May 18th, 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 836 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • First, a shout out to my “little” brother Mike. He is fighting the tough fight these days and still manages to worry about others’ challenges. Keep on Truckin’ Bro!
    • I am not sure how I missed it but a couple of years ago they made a movie about one of my favorite people, Fred Rogers and it starred one of my favorite actors, Tom Hanks!!!! I am so looking forward  to watching it!
    • I am experiencing one of those terrible impotent moments when everyone involved was perfectly correct and within their rights yet someone (namely me) gets injured.  This kind of thing is preventable. We are simpletons living in a ever more complex world where short-term gains are more important than doing the right thing.  Here is my example: I have had the same dentist and insurance company for over 5 years. With very few variations, I have a completely constant service record –  four cleanings per year with one exam and imaging session. Year in and year out. This year my insurance company decided to reduce its imaging coverage. Silly me, I didn’t notice the change in the 300+ page policy update I received. My first cleaning and annual check-up is now $580! What bothers me most is that even with my rusty programming skills, I am pretty sure I could have found every person who would have been impacted by that change in coverage and notified them of the change.  The insurance companies could provide tailored updates that said, this service you used last year us now going to cost this much. They have all the information. I suspect the cost of doing so would be negligible. Instead, the insurance chat lady is very sorry and the billing person at the dentist’s office is very sorry but I get to pay the bill.  I am, of course, able to file an appeal or even a grievance. But comes down to buyer beware. No point.  No one cares.End of Rant!
    • I have said it before but this old guy stuff, is not for sissies! It seems every week I get another reminder that things are not as they use to be. I guess that’s good because I can’t seem to remember very much. We have a tradition in our house for Mother’s Day. I make Eggs Benedict for breakfast. This year, I forgot to put the ham and cheese under the egg before covering it all with Hollandaise Sauce! And so it goes…
    • You can find out all about today’s history here.

This week’s Website Update: 

    • No new recipes this week.I did update the Greek Spaghetti Casserole recipe.
    • I am just a couple of new words away from a new Vocabulary Quiz! Keep the faith!
    • The Home Page quote this week is one of my all-time favorites. It comes from my hero,  Fred  Rogers: “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has or ever will have something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression”.

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

    • Week 2 for our vertical garden. So far so good. Both my new Bonsai trees appear be working towards becoming sticks:(
    • The work on repairing Darrian’s Tulip continues, albeit at a slower place than its original creation. 


    • Our family faced a new crisis this week. The details don’t matter very much but we shared the angst and the relief once again. These things happen to us all and how we react is the measure of our character. The best thing that I have ever been a part of is my family. Every day, I bask in the pride of their character, generosity, and kindness.   

Music Update:  

Here is some music that has crossed my path this week that I wanted to share with you.

For your listening pleasure:  This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • Jimmy cliff — The Harder They Come   I owe this one to my good friend, Kevin Bacon. This year Kevin started his own video blog called Kevin’s Monday Classics. Every week he showcases another vinyl record he has determined is a classic. This week it was the soundtrack for this very interesting movie by the same name. The movie and the album were released in 1972.
    • The Rolling StonesGimme Shelter — This is one of my favorite songs off one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands! I love  Merry Clayton’s backing vocals a lot!! This one was released on
      Let it Bleed” released in 1969.
    • Jimi Hendrix – Have You Every Been (To Electric Ladyland)— From the Vinyl!!!! Another favorite from the past There is just so much going on in this little song. It’s the title cut for one of Jimi’s best albums released in 1968.
    • Crosby Stills Nash & Young  — Ohio — This one was a rallying cry for the 4 shot down in a Kent State protest. This is from “4-Way Street” a live album from 1972.
    • Dave Mason — Just a Song — From the Vinyl!!!!  I loved Dave Masons music longer than I  have loved my wife and kids. Way back in Traffic, I feel in love. Even in that crowd of goats – Steve Windowed,Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood…. he stood out for me. When his, “Alone Together” ablum came out in 1970, I was righter with him singing along. It was decades before I realized just what an outstanding guitar player he is. This one is from that great first solo album after Traffic.
    • Joe Walsh — In the City — This is cut from “The Warriors” movie soundtrack released in 1979. I liked the movie too,byt not as much as the song. Its about a persecuted gang who have to make it from Coney Island back to their home turf while all the other gangs are gunning for them. 

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!