May 21st, 2020

“Qilachxizax̂! ” or “Good Morning”in Aleut, an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in parts of Alaska. It is Day 63 of the California Lock Down (i.e. Some relaxing of shelter in place + some retail opening + Face Masks are Required in Public).

The table in the back yard is finally finished. It came out pretty good. The tile and wood trim match those used on the grill island. I installed some lights under the wisteria pergola and they really add a nice glow to the back yard. I also replaced one of my sprinkler syphon valves that had come apart after 20 years. So it’s been a productive week for projects.

I seem to be spending more time in the backyard even when I am not working on projects elsewhere. I listen to audio books and enjoyed watching the mom and pop bird flying to and from the little bird house under the wisteria. The babies would make nonstop chirping noises till they all left this week. I miss them. But the humming birds and dragon flies are keeping things interesting. The bat house remains vacant though.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learned that it is better to go to a specialized lawn irrigation store than Lowes for sprinkler valves. There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of standardization in that business so its pretty likely you will get a valve that will not work well. I finally cut out the valve I wanted to replace and took it to the specialty store and the fixed me right up.
• May 21st is the 142nd day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 223 days till Christmas!). On this day in 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, DC; Today in 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Le Bourget Field in Paris completing the first trans Atlantic flight; On this day five years later, Amelia Earhart was forced to land due to bad weather in Ireland thus completing the first trans Atlantic flight by a woman; In 1935, Japanese geisha, Abe Sada, is arrested for asphyxiating her lover and carrying around his severed genitals in her handbag for two weeks; Today, in 1966 The Ulster Volunteer Force declares war on the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland; Today in 2017, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performed their final show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; Fats Waller, singer-songwriter and piano player was born today in 1904; In 1923, Ara Parseghian, American football player and coach was born today; American comedian, actor and US Senator, Al Fraken was born on this day in 1951, Sammy Davis, Jr. passed away today in 1988; John Gielgud, (my favorite butler, Hobson with Liza Minelli and Dudley Moore’s in “Arthur”) English actor passed away today in 2000.

Website Update:
• A “New” Vocabulary Quiz…Whooo Hooo!!!
• Last week for the “New” UJT Musical Trivia Quiz !!!!
• I tried a new Bacon Ranch Potato Salad this week.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• I still haven’t gotten back into painting much since they switched to virtual classes. I did start a sketch of something I am calling “A Raindrop’s Perspective”. It’s a very cool concept but I am pretty sure I don’t have the skills to pull it off or the sense not to try.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• I heard some very disturbing things this week about my fellow man. It seems that there are people out there who view this whole pandemic as some sort of con game designed to take away their freedoms. I find this baffling. It’s like being suspicious of left handed people or brown dogs or considering the entire International exploration of space as some sort of get rich scheme for “them”. I truly do understand need desire and need to get the economic systems back up and running. But I hope we are serious about learning at the same time. We can come out of this thing with a lot more common sense and pragmatic approaches to problems that have plagued us for decades. One of the most distinctive characteristics American’s seem to have in abundance, is the ability to look at problems differently and to consider the opportunities surrounding ever obstacle. I hope we keep those perspectives as we try to unwind this problem and its after effects.

Music Update:

Another tiptoe though the archives to share some things you might missed or never have heard or at least not heard recently.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band — Like a Rock — The thing about Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band is they sang our lives. In one way or another and at one time or another, their music has connected to our lives individually or collectively. This one is the title cut from their 1986 release.
• Matchbox Twenty — Bed of Lies — This one is from their iconic album, “ Mad Season” released in 2000.
• The Lumineers — Ho, Hey — This was the first song I ever heard by these guys and it was so funky and had that distinctive “shitty bar” mix going for it, I just had to fall in love. This is from their 2012 release, “The Lumineers”.
• Ima Robot – Greenback Boogie — I first heard this as asnippet intro used on the TV show, “Suits”. It caught my ear and would not let go. I hope yo like it too. This the title cut from their 2010 release.
• Jefferson Airplane — Comin’ Back to Me — This is probably one the first love songs that really captured my heart. It probably was just timing but I remember feeling Marty Balin’s lyrics and gentle melody. This one comes from their Surrealistic Pillow album, released in 1966.
• Jean-Luc Ponty — The Gardens of Babylon — Jean-Luc is another one of those fabulous players who wanders around some of the best music (Al diMeola, Frank Zappa, Elton John, Jon Anderson, Stanley Clark, etc.) of our time, in the background mostly, like Nicky Hopkins. This on is from his Imaginary Voyage album, released in 1976. I have the vinyl but am still too lazy to record it yet so this is the iTunes version.

That’s it… Do the best you can;  Laugh every chance you get;  And always remember …  The best is yet to come!  As always, thank you for being my friend!