June 23rd, 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 118 days since Russia attacked Ukraine.

This week had been a busy one as I came out of my COVID isolation (tested negative on Saturday!) We a a great combination Father’s Day and BJ’s Birthday Dinner on Juneteeth! It was great and because everything was grilled no huge kitchen mess or heat. We had grilled lobster tails, skirt steak and grilled veggie skewers! Yum! We topped it all off with cocktails and store bought Tuxedo Cake. Double Yum!

This week I learned some stuff:
• June 23rd is the 174th day of 2022. Just 194 days till Christmas! Today in 1894, the International Olympic Committee is founded at the Sorbonne in Paris, at the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin; Today in 1917, in a game against the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ernie Shore retires 26 batters in a row after replacing Babe Ruth, who had been ejected for punching the umpire; In 1926 on this day, the College Board administers the first SAT exam; Today in 1942, Germany’s latest fighter aircraft, a Focke-Wulf Fw 190, is captured intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales; In 1960 on this day, the United States Food and Drug Administration declares Enovid to be the first officially approved combined oral contraceptive pill in the world1: Today in 1969, Warren E. Burger is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court by retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren; U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about illegally using the Central Intelligence Agency to obstruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the Watergate break-ins and that same day in 1972, Title IX of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 is amended to prohibit sexual discrimination to any educational program receiving federal funds; Today in 2013, Nik Wallenda becomes the first man to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope; Twelve boys and an assistant coach from a soccer team in Thailand are trapped in a flooding cave, leading to an 18-day rescue operation today in 2018; Today in 1894, Alfred Kinsey, American entomologist and sexologist was born; Born today in 1925, Art Modell, American businessman and long time owner of the Cleveland Browns football team was born: Born today in 1927, Bob Fosse, American actor, dancer, choreographer, and director; Richard Bach, American novelist and essayist was born today in 1936; Robert Hunter, American singer-songwriter and guitarist for the Grateful Dead was born today in 1941; Today in 1948, Clarence Thomas, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States was born; Ed McMahon, American game show host and announcer passed away today in 2009; Peter Falk, (AKA Columbo) American actor today in 2011; Today in 1977, Wernher von Braun, German-American physicist and engineer passed away; James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist and songwriter, founding member of The Pretenders passed away today in 2015; And lastly, today in 2021, John McAfee, British-American computer programmer and businessman, founded McAfee passed away.

Website Update:
This week:
• A new Vocabulary Quiz ! Woohoo!!
• Week 2 for our Musical Trivia Quiz!!!
• I was able to come up with a couple of new recipesthis week – Chicken Shawarma, Veggie Skewers and Grilled Lobster Tails.
• The Home Page quote this week is a Zen Saying, “Each day you should sit in Nature for twenty minutes unless you are really busy then you should sit for an hour”.

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I added bonsai trees to the UJT Update artistic category. I think beating up on little trees is an art form. Right? Well coming out of my COVID haze, bonsai maintenance is all I had the energy for this week. Although Chris Spain posted another great shot in Facebook  that might attempt to recreate in watercolors this week.
• I finished up my attempt at capturing Chis Spain’s wonderful image of what I think is a Ibis in the mangrove. Not my best work but I loved doing it, especially the sky just after sundown or just before sun up. Thanks Chris.
• 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.

I hope all you daddys and grandpas out there had a great Father’s Day. I did. Over the years, I have pretty much taken over the cooking duties for our local clan. For most of the holidays, my kids and grandkids just suffer through very limited participation in the meals prep and cooking area. But for some reason, on Father’s Day it bugs them. I love to cook and letting me cook what is often one of the better meals during the year, is a joy for me. But I can tell it bugs them watching me work over the grill or stove like any other day.

Fathers Day always falls just before my little brother Pat’s birthday. Pat would have been 67 this week. I miss him often but during this week every year I tend to get a bit mushy in moments. To add to the mix, I watched the PBS Masters special on Brian Wilson, which is really the story of 3 brothers with Brian being the only one left. Its a moving show for any beach boy fan who fell in love with the music of the Beach Boys. I don’t have all of the challenges nor the genius of Brian Wilson but I know what it’s like to miss my brother. I am grateful that my other younger brother and I keep in close contact. Pat and I pretty much cared from a distance once we got older and had families. Just one of those things. But he knew I loved him as much he loved me. So if you have a brother, and you haven’t said it in awhile share your love. Tomorrow comes with no guaranty.

Music Update:
This weeks mix is another reflection of the parts of life that mean the most.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Kate Bush — Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) — This is pretty amazing story. This song comes from her 1985 release, “Hounds of Love”. Kate originally wrote the song under the title of “Deal with God” but got a lot of pushback from EMI so changed it to “Running Up That Hill”. David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, discovered Kate when she was a teenager. The only time this was performed live was with David. You can watch the video here.
• The Boxing Gandhis — Piece in the Valley — This is a song about quiet desperation. About a soul who gets lost with a gun. I thought of this song as I was recalling the tragedy in Las Vegas and all the tragedies like that since this song came out. While our “Congressional Leadership” masturbates with the NRA funding instead of doing their jobs, our children are dying. This one should be listened to closely. This is a deeper cut from their album,”Howard” released in 1996.
 • The Beach Boys — Sloop John B – “Pet Sounds” has to be considered one of the greatest records of all time. Brian Wilson worked on it when he could no longer tour with his brothers and they pulled it all together when they came home. This is one of my favorite songs and seeing Brian this week made it all come back. “Pet Sounds” was released in 1966.
• The Derek Trucks Band – Chevrolet (LIVE) – This has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it. Some super sweet blues music from a new master of the craft. I hope you enjoy it too. This is a live version from their 2006 release, “Songlines”.
• Alan Parson’s Project – Can’t Take it with You — This comes from their theme album,“Pyramid” released in 1978. I agree. I think the pyramids were an excellent attempt to take it with you.
• New Riders of the Purple Sage – Glendale Train – Ever before the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia used to hang out and play gigs with a rather interesting character by the name of David Nelson (no not Ricky’s older brother). They both wandered around and formed different bands. NRPS included some of the original GD members on their first album but slowly became their own sound. I like this story about the benefits and perils of train robbery a lot. I hope you do too. Jerry Garcia plays slide on this one. This one is from NRPS’ first album, “New Riders of the Purple Sage” released in 1971.

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!