June 2nd, 2022

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine. I have decided to maintain the UJT will focus on Ukraine until we can all rejoice in the end of hostilities. It has been 98 days since Russia attacked Ukraine.

We had a quiet house this week. Jess and the kids went to Florida to attend their cousin’s wedding. It will be the first time in 5 years that our kids have gotten to see the Florida branch of our tree. Sean and his wife and kids are joining them. It will be a grand time for all I hope. “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” (that is a quote from old black & white cowboy TV and movies). I am the designated feeder of the beasts (2 kittens, Georgie the dog and Koi) while Tippy has been made the designated scooper of the poop in the cat boxes. I happy to report that all beasts got fed and all pooped was scooped without accident. And everyone had a great time at the wedding.

I honestly cannot remember, how I discovered Mary Gautheir. It probably one of my very fine friends who heard “Mercy” and figured it would work for me. It did and has since the firs time I heard it. I do not enjoy listening to all of Mary’s songs. She has a way of making a hard thing harder to hear because of the clarity of her songwriting. When I found her book this week, I just had to read (is doing audio books reading?) it. Mary Gautheir’s autobiography is called, “Saved by a Song” and was published in July of 2021. It’s a very personal journey through her life that explains what inspired some of her songs and how some of her songs explain her. She reminded me how much has changed in my life time. As a young boy, music was an occasional feature that popped up in my life. By the time, I became an old man, we are surrounded by music. It’s in the elevators, dentists offices, grocery stores, radio and even tv ads. She appreciates how personal the decision is when we discard a song as simply background noice and when we connect with that, “pull off the road and listen” song. You might be surprised if you reflect on what songs are your “pull off the road and listen songs”. Mary says that those songs are like X-rays into our soul. I think she might be right. She is an interesting woman with an interesting story to tell. Given that I finished her book on Memorial Day, I found the stories about Songwriters With Soldiers (SWS) particularly meaningful. I am not sure that all of the ills of man can be addressed effectively by song as Mary proposes, but nothing else we have tried has worked. You may not be a fan of her music but I hope that doesn’t stop you from reading her book. It just might change your life. That’s the nature of books.

This week I learned some stuff:
• June 2nd is the 153rd day of 2022. Just 215 days till Christmas! Today in 1692,Bridget Bishop is the first person to be tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; she was found guilty and later hanged; Today in 1835, P. T. Barnum and his circus start their first tour of the United States; In 1924 on this day, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States; Today in 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey becomes the first British coronation[7] and one of the first major international events to be televised; In 1997 on this day, the last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles; Today in 1938, the House Un-American Activities Committee begins its first session; Today in 1967, Timothy McVeigh is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, in which 168 people died. He was executed four years later.; Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing today in 2004; Born today in 1731, Martha Washington, First Lady of the United States: Born today in 1904, ohnny Weissmuller, Hungarian-American swimmer and actor; Sally Kellerman, American actress was born today in 1937; Charles Miller, (AKA the Saxaphone player on WAR’s Lowrider) American musician was born today in 1923;Stacy Keach, (AKA Mike Hammer) American actor was born today in 1941; Charlie Watts, English drummer for The Rolling Stones, songwriter, and producer also born today in 1941; Charles Haid, American actor (AKA Andy Renko on Hill St. Blues) and director was born today in 1943;Marvin Hamlisch, American composer and conductor was born today in 1944; Jerry Mathers, (AKA The Beaver) American actor was born today in 1948; Today in 1955, Dana Carvey, American comedian and actor was born; Zachary Quinto, American actor and producer (AKA Spock – bet you thought he was hatched!) was born today in 1941; Lou Gehrig, American baseball player passed away today in 1648; Andrés Segovia, Spanish guitarist passed away today in 1987; Today in 1990, Rex Harrison, English actor passed away; And lastly, today in 2001, Imogene Coca, American actress and comedian passed away.

Website Update:
This week:
• A new Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• Last week for the Musical Trivia Quiz
• I was too busy herding cats this week to come up with any of new recipes.
• The Home Page quote this week is from one of my favorite rascals, Hunter S. Thompson said, “Life has become immeasurably better since I was forced to stop taking it seriously.”.

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I am still not happy with the first version of Lori’s Barn and did a new sketch. My daughter thinks its good but the way I did the trees behind the barn did not work for me. I am still working on Chris’ Sunset in the mangrove images. I also am still experimenting with the neurographic images. I am not in love with it yet. In order to help me visualize my new stained glass project (2 – 45” panes to go in the master bedroom suite over the bathtub), I did a detailed to scale (1/8 in =1 in) drawing and then painted it in watercolors. These panes will be supported by and sandwiched between 1×4 in wood with a dado slot of the glass to fit. This will add a lot of support and prevent the glass from twisting in the soft lead came. I am cutting the templates this week and starting a scaled peice to perfect my techniques before starting on the big boy. Wish me luck!
• 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.

Do you sometimes cry when nothing has happened and there is no one around? When something on TV or maybe a song comes on the radio connects you to a sad moment or the sadness of knowing how few moments we really get in this life of ours. Perhaps, a lost loved one crosses your mind carefully touching all the things you miss the most about them, as perhaps a loving mother might choose the best fruit to bring home for her family. Sometimes for me, it’s a patriotic thought of when you were very proud of our country. Or maybe it just empathy for another person or an act of kindness remembered in that moment. These feelings can be overwhelming. They bring those tears that embarrass even when we are alone. I do. I always have. Mostly when spending time alone but it has occasionally happened in front of others. I don’t know about you, but I am very grateful to enjoy feeling this much in my life and I feel grateful for the people and times that have given those moments to me. A gift I can never repay.

Music Update:
This weeks mix is just like the one I promised on April 19th but failed to update the page on the UJT. I have warned you before about my editors drinkin’ !Anyway, the selection left up from May 12th was quite nice and the one I had already picked out for last week was good as well. So i decided to recycle the 19th’s list this week. Confused? Good! I find that the gift of music is that it can transport you instantly into that place where that piece became significant for you. Enjoy the Ride!

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• The Beatles — In My Life — This is one of my very favorite songs from Rubber Soul, released in 1965. It’s is brilliant in its timelessness. I first heard this as a 13 year old boy who was just beginning to understand that my life was not forever with many less places to remember that I have today. This song still moves me.
• Brewer and Shipley — Too Soon Tomorrow — From the Vinyl !!! I learned about harmony in a church choir as aa young boy. For me it was just magic and magnificent. These hippies do great harmonies. This is another favorite cut from their iconic album, “Weeds” that came out in 1969. A great song and album!
• Bruce Springsteen — Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? — From the Vinyl !!! This one was the song that captured my heart. The moment I first heard this song, I knew something wonderful had happened. This unapologetic kid from NJ made all this amazing music. I loved every song on the first Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band album, “Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J.” released in 1973.
• Howie Day – Collide – I made a somewhat impromptu trip down to Norfolk one time while working in DC and my friends dragged me to Howie Day playing in Williamsburg. I had never heard of Howie Day but he put on a great show and I have loved his music ever since. This one is from the CD I bought that night, his 2005 release, “Stop All the World Now”.
• AirStream – AirStream — This one is a great song you probably never heard before. As far as I know these guys were a one hit wonder band. But I liked the song. Its from their 2004 release, “Keep Your Wig On”. I hope you like it too.
• Jimmy Buffet — He Went to Paris — I have seen the Jimmy and the boys in the Coral Reefer Band sing this one many times. It’s originally from his 1973 release, “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean”. This version is from 1985 kind of “best of” release, “Songs You Know By Heart”. I love a good song/story that leaves mixed feelings and tear in your eye.

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!