June 25th, 2020

“नमस्ते (Namaste)!”, or “Good Morning!” in Hindi, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in India, Fiji, and a number of other countries.. It is Day 98 of the California Lock Down with the governor’s parameters for continuing to relax limitations with new rules have been exceeded. So starting Monday of this week, CA will take a pause in its restart.

We celebrated our grandson BJs twenty first birthday last Friday. It was fun. We learned about Sangria, Tequila Sunrises and sang” Happy Birthday” just as exuberantly and poorly as last year. BJ picked Charlies Philly Cheesesteaks as his main course and Grandpa’s homemade Mac & Cheese for the side. Jessica made this really difficult Chocolate Mousse Cake that featured both White and Brown Chocolate. I think it was the best cake made in this house in years!

This week I learned some stuff:
• This week a 2nd Lieutenant, Armol Narang, graduated from West Point. She is the first devout Sikh to graduate from the institution. I learned that Sikh faith is the fifth largest religion in the world. I had no idea. I have know Sikhs in my professional life and found them to smart, helpful and excellent team members at all levels of the organization. But to be honest, I never asked any of them, about their religion. Truth be told, I seldom ask anyone about their religious beliefs. It simply does not matter to me. If you are honest, kind, compassionate, hard working and funny, we are going to get along and your gifts and intelligence will be admired and respected by me. What religion you happen to believe that helps you be that kind of person doesn’t matter to me nor does your sexual preference or your hair or skin color, or your accent or place of origin. I am interested in the person before me all of those factors might contribute but they are not part of my adjudication of my affection and admiration. And I like the turbans.
• We keep loosing more bees. I am not sure if thew average person is aware of how important bees are to food production. One in every three bites of food eaten worldwide, depends on pollinators like bees to be produced. Conglomerates fly bees to different locations to pollinate their crops and manage commercial beehives. Even these professions have seen 40-50% losses due to colony collapse disorder in recent years. Scientists think perhaps one of the most prolific pesticides in partially to blame. The EU is considering a two year ban to gauge the effect. This problem has gotten so serious, scientists are try to develop new pollinating technologies to fill in for the missing bees. The most success they have had is using chemical altered soap bubbles released from autonomous drones to pollinate plants. This is our plan B. Hand pollination or forced is very expensive and wasteful of pollen grains where the bubble method is much more precise in application. Of course, there are issues with drones. Unlike bees, they struggle in wind and rain.
• June 25th is the 177th day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 183 days till Christmas!). On this day in 1788, Virginia becomes the tenth state to ratify the US Constitution; Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn; A photograph of the June Days Uprising in Paris is believe the first instance of photojournalism was taken today in 1848; On this day in 1910 The United States Congress passes the Mann Act which prohibits the interstate transport of women for “immoral purposes”. The Mann Act’s ambiguous language would be used to selectively prosecute people for years to come; In 1943, Jews in the Częstochowa Ghetto in Poland stage an uprising against the Nazis; On this day in 1947 “The Diary of a Young Girl” (Anne Frank) was published; North Korea begins its invasion of South Korea today in 1950 beginning the Korean War; George Orwell, British novels, essayist and critic was born today in 1903; Peyo, Belgian author and illustrator and creator of “The Smurfs” was born today in 1928; Clint Warwick, original base player for The Moody Blues was born today in 1940; today is Carly Simon’s birthday; Founding member of King Crimson and Foreigner, guitar and sax player, Ian McDonald, was born today in 1946; Anthony Bourdain would have been 64 years old today; Chief Justice Warren Burger passed away today in 1995; On this day in 2009, within hours of each other, we lost Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• Last week for our “New” Vocabulary Quiz.
• Week 2 for the “New” UJT Musical Trivia Quiz.
• This week I tried a new cold soup perfect for hot summer evenings. In the interest of full disclosure, my Avocado Soup was received with mixed reviews by my non-soup loving audience. I thought it was bright and refreshing but it was not a full chorus of agreement around here.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• The only watercolor painting I have done in weeks is a card for my grandson’s birthday. Looks like the summer semester is going to be all Zoom classes. I am going back to learning Stained Glass I think. Since I finished the table outback, I am going to set a stained glass work area to practice my glass cutting.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• This was a tough week for me. It has been for a while now. This week my brother, Pat would have been 65 years old and we celebrated another Father’s Day without my dad being around. I know life happens like this if you live long enough but I sure miss them.

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 we celebrated Brian Wilson’s 78th birthday! Brian wrote created over 40 top hits with his brothers and cousin, The Beach Boys!

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Beach Boys — Sail On, Sailor — The boys were kind of burnt out in So California and had an amazing experience in Holland when visiting on tour in1970. So they decided to spend about a half million dollars and move 4 tons of equipment to Holland to record this album. This was their 19th studio album, released in 1973 an has served as tremendous inspiration for a number of very talented folks.
• Bambi Molesters — Point Break — This is a great surf band from northern Europe somewhere thousands of miles from California. I haven’t played them in awhile. In spite of their name, their music is serious stuff.
• Blood Sweat and Tears — You Made Me So Very Happy — This song was a big time favorite of mine. I always loved David Clayton Thomas’ vocals and their big band sound. This one comes from their 1969 release, “Blood Sweat and Tears”.
• Wilson Phillips — Hold On — This is just a huge beautiful hunk of sweet girl harmony!!! This was a big hit for them from their self titled album, released in 1980.
• Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — Ohio — All the civil unrest and protests across our country connects me to an early time when all we had to worry about was War, Racism, Prejudice and Equal Opportunity disparity. But the only pandemics we had to worry about were stupidity and greed. This one comes from their 4 Way Street album, a live album released in
• The Derek Trucks Band – This Sky (Album Version) —  I love how he makes his guitar sing. For me this song, sounds like whispering to the universe that is echoing across time from the 1960s. This one is from his “Songlines” album released in 2006.

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!