June 1st, 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 850 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • This past weekend was Tippy’s birthday as well as Memorial Day. Tippy loves a Cuban dish called Ropa Vieja. This year in addition to the Maduros, I made Congri (black beans & rice). I make every year. I think it is the most complicated recipe that I make with any regularity. It’s well worth the effort as everyone I know finds it very tasty.
    • This week I was lucky enough to spend a few hours playing poker with some of the GLCPS&L gang.  It seems that we struggle to pull it together more than we used to but every time we manage to pull it off it has a recharging effect on my old butt. I have lived long enough to cherish those moments when we get to bask in the warmth of true friendship.
    • Here is a shout-out to my eldest grandson, BJ!! He is going through one of those times when you get a lot of opportunities to make lemonade from what life is serving up. It has been a scary, painful time. He has responded with that quiet strength that impresses all those who get to see it action. Keep on keeping on BJ!
    • You can find out all about today’s history here.

This week’s Website Update: 

    • This week I came up with a non-dairy dish I call, “Feta-Andouille Pasta Casserole”. Everyone thought it was tasty. I also tried a variation on one of my favorite sides – Black Beans and Rice.  It’s called. “ArrozCongri”. Give it a try.
    • The Home Page quote this week is one of my all-time favorites. It comes from another hero of mine,  Andy Rooney: “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person”.

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

    • Week 3 for our vertical garden. It seems to be doing well so far.
    • I finished cutting, foiling, and soldering for the repair of Darrian’s Tulip. I have to install a new lead came frame and then patina the whole shebang and we will be golden. My daughter and my granddaughter say they are both going to do some stained glass this summer. Maybe it’s contagious!


    • I was always “that guy” who could eat everything they came across and not gain an ounce. In fact, it was difficult for me to put on weight. Before boot camp, I was 6’ 2’’ tall but only weighed 150ish. It got better in during my training. I came out I was about 196-200 lbs. Until my mid-20s. Things I ate and drank stuck with me. I gave u p drinking Foster’s Lager and returned to my normal weight but since then I have struggled to manage my weight. For the past 2+ decades, I have tried to maintain a diet and exercise regime that would get me to and keep me at my desired weight. I am still working on that but over the past 2 years I have improved some but I have more to go..another 30 lbs.  And so it goes…

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:

    • Wings — Listen to What the Man Says   John Lennon was taken from us a long time ago now but he and his brilliant work suck the air out of our collective rooms, I sometimes forget that Paul and Linda formed a pretty wonderful band after the Beatles.  This is a cut from their “Venus and Mars” album released in 1975.
    • ExtremeHole Hearted— This song has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it.  This one is from their Extreme II: Pornograffitti” that came out in 1990. Through the miracle of the internet this week, I was able to catch an interview with Nuno Bettencourt who said the song was spontaneously written as he was trying out a new 12-string guitar he had ordered. He just started playing the tune and finished the song 10 minutes later in the toilet.
    • Phil Collins    Take Me Home — This was a huge hit single from his “No Jacket Required” album released in 1985. The combination of his great voice, outstanding percussion work. and production skills made Phil the giant in the industry. It’s a great song from a great album.
    • Little River Band — Reminiscing — This one is from their album, “Sleeper Catcher” that came out in 1978. Some of my friends thought it was too “smarmy or soft” but I always liked it. I hope you do too.
    • Blitzen Trapper — The Tree (feat. Alela Diane) — This is a great song from their great album, “Destroyer of the Void (Bonus Track Version)” released in 2010.  Just a pretty song sung pretty.
    • Sheryl Crow- Lifetimes – This is one of my favorite love songs.  This song is from her 2005 release, “Wildflower”.

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!