June 15th, 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 at the end of hostilities.  It has been 469 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

I turned 71 a couple of days ago. I caught part of the Arnold Schwarzenegger mini docuseries on Netflix this week. Arnold and I never saw eye to eye in terms of politics but I always respected him as a sincere person (unlike most of his peers). I believe he is acting in good faith. The man I saw, was grateful for his good fortune, regretful of his mistakes, and reasonably wise in his outlook. I encourage you to watch it. If nothing else he has had a fascinating life. I have also been enjoying his latest work, “FUBAR”. It’s a series on Netflix too about a guy who is trying to retire from the CIA so he can win back his ex-wife but for various reasons gets dragged back into the work. Its well written and funny, 

This week I learned some stuff:

    • Grits is a whole grain. Who knew? The folks at cardio rehab recommend we eat one egg/day with whole grains if we can. The egg is a mighty creature in terms of protein and other goodies. The cholesterol concerns really only kick in if you eat a lot of eggs every day. I have my egg in the mornings on top of grits. Yum!
    • June 15th is the 166th day of 2023. Just 199 days till Christmas.  On this day in 1215, King John of England puts his seal to Magna Carta; Today in 1502,  Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Martinique on his fourth voyage; Today in 1648, Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony; Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity today in 1752; Today in 1864, Arlington National Cemetery is established when 200 acres (0.81 km2) of the Arlington estate (formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee) are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton;  United States President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America, making them the only American youth organization with a federal charter; Charles Manson goes on trial for the Sharon Tate murders today in 1970; Microsoft retires its ubiquitous Internet Explorer after 26 years in favor of its new browser, Microsoft Edge today in 2022; John Fenn, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born today in 1917; Waylon Jennings, American singer-songwriter and guitarist was born today in 1937; Today was  Harry Nilsson, American singer-songwriter’s birthday in 1941; On that same day but in 1951, Kansas’ Steve Walsh, American rock singer-songwriter and musician was born; Jim Belushi, American actor was born in 1954;  Helen Hunt, American actress, director, and producer was born today in 1964; Wes Montgomery, American guitarist and songwriter passed away today in 1968; Ella Fitzgerald, American singer and actress died today in 1996;  Casey Kasem, American radio host, producer, and voice actor, co-created American Top 40  died today in 2014; Finally, we lost the great,  Matt “Guitar” Murphy, American Blues guitarist in 2018. 

This week’s Website Update:

    • Last week for our Vocabulary Quiz 
    • A new Musical Trivia Quiz!! Yeah!!
    • This week I didn’t add any new recipes but I did go back and fix and older one. I have started a new process. When I want to cook something posted on the website, I go review it. More often than not I will find at least typos and I have even found recipes that I failed to include all the ingredients in the list or instructions. I fixed Grandpa’s Stuffed Poblanos. If you see something, please say something!
    • The Home Page quote for this week is from, Emile Zola,
      “We are like books. Most people only see our cover, the minority will read only the introduction, and many people believe the critics. Few will know our content.”  

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

    • Completing the stained glass templates last week illustrated some flaws in my design so I am redoing them this week! Whoopee!
    • 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. This might be becoming a habit! 


    • I have always been accused of having an unrealistic view of our world. I believe in the innate goodness in humans. This view is accosted from every direction. The state of international politics, the “news”, social media, and the opinions of friends and acquaintances all have challenged my beliefs. “Humankind: A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bergman is a well-written treatise that substantiates something I felt and believed with a great deal of empirical information and logic. I discovered Homo-Puppy. If you would like to learn about them, I encourage you to check it out.
    • I noticed that I have begun a new ritual. My normal ‘get my coffee’ routine now includes putting in my hearing aids in and cleaning my glasses. Before this, it was not unusual for someone who loves me to snatch my glasses off and try to scrub off the dead bugs and other debris on my glasses that I just accepted as part of my deal. Now that my eyesight is iffy, I cannot abide anything on my glasses and clean them at least once a day. Hmmmm. 

Music Update: 

Another week of joy and music to share. As a birthday treat for me, I have select 6 of what I think are the most beautiful songs I know. I enjoy many songs but few are truly beautiful. Enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • Don McLean — Vincent —  I have seen, “Starry Starry Night”. I was commuting to NYC from Dallas every week and took an afternoon off to go to the Museum of Modern Art. I have been fortunate to have seen many of Van Gough’s paintings over the years but he painted this one when he was in an insane asylum and it has always been special for me. This is “the other hit” from his album, “American Pie” released in 1971. 
    • Paul Sookey — The Wedding Song — Paul wrote this for his best friend, Peter Yarrow (from Peter, Paul and Mary) and played it at his wedding to Mary Beth McCarthy in October 1969. It’s from his, “Paul And“ album released in 1971. 
    • John Denver — Rocky Mountain High — I know I featured this song just a little while ago on UJT but it still is one of the most beautiful songs I know. Its the title cut from his iconic 1972 release. 
    • Simon and Garfunkel — For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her —  This song came out just as I was moving into puberty when everything was SO heavy.  It was released on “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” in 1966. 
    • Sarah McLachlan — Angel — Sarah was inspired to write Angel when she read a Rolling Stone article about Jonathan Melvoin, the keyboard player from Smashing Pumpkins, who had died at age 34 as the result of a heroin overdose in his hotel room  To me, I tear up every time I hear her sing it, It is a beautifully sad song. This is from her, “Surfacing” album released in 1997.
    • Phoebe  Snow — Poetry Man — I don’t remember how I first heard of Phoebe but I fell in love right away. This was the song that got her her first record contract. This is from her first album, “Phoebe Snow ” released in 1974.

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!