July 6th, 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 885 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • Happy 248th Birthday United States of America!!!!! As I was coming into conscienceless this morning, I contemplated all the places I have spent the 4th. Probably, the weirdest was aboard the USS Quellet (FF-1077) which was moored in Singapore for the 200th year celebration. I am pretty sure we were the only people celebrating the 4th on the island. It was just weird. I also contemplated my history of thought on our nation.  I would like to repair some notions I have had about our country’s founding, the people who did it and some other dubious judgments I have made along the way. My first critical mistake was judging some of the most brilliant men in human history by making apples-to-oranges comparisons about what they “should have done” vs. “what they did” as they were changing and improving the human condition more than any other group of people ever. When I read the 1613 Project I learned somethings that I, “this marginal performer in the 21st century” that as personal character flaws in some of my heroes.  Some of my righteous indignation was misplaced. Like the author Nicole Hanna Jones, I applied moral judgments available to me because of my place in history. I was forgetting, “ the art of the possible” within their times. It’s true we should have learned the truth about the origins of slavery as children and we should be angry that we were not. But these brave men have nothing to be ashamed of in a fuller context and I have been an ass to think otherwise for so long..As long as I am apologizing to the universe on my past wrong thinking, I would like to apologize to President Richard Nixon on two points. First, we now know he was not the very worst president ever and secondly, I never gave him credit for attempting to begin a US – Chinese relation on a positive footing. It took others years to screw it up.
    • We had another milestone at Casa McCann this week but that is someone else’s story but it was a good thing.
    • You can find out all about today’s history here.

This week’s Website Update: 

    • I still didn’t have time to upload the new recipes this time.
    • The Home Page will have a quote from Anonymous: “ When your loyalty to a felon is greater than the love of your country, you are the problem”.

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

    • I think I might have lost my oldest bonsai this week. I say I think because it is a Bougainvillea which is known for dropping all their leaves and starting over from time to time. This plant has made it through so much, I hope he makes it. Keep a good thought…. 


    • Memories. Talk about weird stuff. Since I have gotten older, some memories are clearer but most get fuzzy around the edges. This week I remembered a story that my mom told me. When I was 4-5, my mom, dad, and new baby brother went to dinner at a pretty fancy place out on Key Biscayne. I think it was some kind of deal or coupon thing because it was not our “normal” thing to go out to dinner. They gave the table a little cake (cup cake?) if you were celebrating a birthday. My mom said when the brought out the cake they sang happy birthday but that they sat me on a piano bench while this man played the song and I guess everyone sang along. Anyway, it seems that Richard Nixon was a frequent guest of this place and liked to play the piano. Given that later in life, I kind of thought of that mice man as the anti-Christ, it seemed a bit hypocritical on my part. My kids were both surprised when I told them the story ad I think they thought I was making it up. But that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Music Update:  

Next week my bride and I will be sharing our 51st wedding anniversary! For a while there I thought it was our 52nd but I checked my math. Whew! I don’t want to get that one wrong.  To be honest, I think that fact amazes everyone who has ever known us.  As Neil Young said on CSN&Y’s album, “4 Way Street”, “…We have had our ups and downs but we are still playing together”. I think that is a perfect summary of our lives together. I am and always will be grateful for all the love and patience Tippy has given me. Anyway, to celebrate, all this week’s songs are from that time.

For your listening pleasure. This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • George Harrison — Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)—   This was George’s first hit after “All Things Must Pass” This one is from his, “Living in a Material World” album released in July of 1973.
    • Roberta Flack   Killing Me Softly With His Song — This beautiful song has controversial origins. My favorite is that a folk singer-songwriter, Lori Lieberman, was so inspired by seeing Don McClean in concert that she wore this great song. She recorded it in early 1972 but all the songs on her album were credited to another songwriting team who wrote the rest of her songs on that album. Roberta’s version was a huge hit from her “Killing Me Softly”  album released in 1973.
    • Paul Simon – Something So Right — Paul was singing for a lot of us at this time. This is a great song released on his, “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (Bonus Tracks Edition)” album released in 2007.
    • The DoobieBrothers — Long Train Runnin —  This is a favorite from their first album, “The Captain and Me ” released in 1973. This one got our ass shaking to music from our 8-track.
    • Jim Croce — Bad, Bad Leroy Brown — This is just a Jim Croce story sung well! It is from his, “Life and Times” album released in 1973.
    • Seals and Crofts— Diamond Girl —   These boys were just different. I think either you loved or you hated them. I loved them! Their songwriting and harmonies were so warm. This one is the title cut from their album released in 1973.

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!