July 9th, 2020

“B’a’ntz q’ij!”, or “Good Morning!” in Mam, a Mayan language spoken in Chiapas in Mexico and in Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and San Marcos in Guatemala. It is Day 112 of the California Lock Down with the governor’s attempts to return to normal continue to be paused to a greater degree across the state. San Diego County has been placed on the Governor’s watch list (meaning increased restrictions will be placed should the 2nd wave COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. Please wear masks when in public and refrain from leaving the house if you can avoid it.

I spent this week finishing my first stained glass project. It is a pretty little tulip. It may have been the most frustrating creative experience I have had to date. It seems I underestimated the difficulty in every single step of the process. I discovered whole new levels of ineptitude on my part. Those folks on YouTube make it look sooo easy!!! I was making the piece as a present for my 47th anniversary. Let’s just say that I really, really hope that is indeed the thought that counts!

This week I learned some stuff:
• Life is harder without both your thumbs. Some idiot thought he could outwit the laws of physics and common sense by using his radial arm saw to do something it was not intended to do and discovered that saw blades do not care how well meaning your intentions are, if you touch them, there will be blood involved. So I spent almost an entire day at the ER getting patched up and the rest of the week, with this kind of combo cast/bandage thing about the side my leg covering my wounded thumb on my left hand. Which made my remaining tasks to complete the project by the 11th, even more challenging. But for better or worse, the deed is done.
• As reported last week, “Talking With Strangers” by Malcom Gladwell has delightedly made me think about things from a different perspective. He is so eloquent in his organization of his points, I felt a bit ashamed that I hadn’t recognized the barriers and appreciated the difficulties in communicating with strangers, prior to this. I think this function plays a huge part in exacerbating the worst of our human behaviors given specific context. I recommend it.
• July 9th is the 191st day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 169 days till Christmas!). On a personal note, on this Monday morning in 1973, a 21 year old sailor left the small apt that he and his girlfriend could almost afford, hitch hiked to his ship moored at Destroyer & Submarine Base, Norfolk to began a 48 hour work detail that would allow him to get married on Wednesday afternoon; In 1776, George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out to members of the Continental Army in Manhattan, while thousands of British troops on Staten Island prepare for the Battle of Long Island; The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law today in 1868; On this day in 1893, Daniel Hale Williams, American heart surgeon, performs the first successful open-heart surgery in United States without anesthesia; In 1922, He, who would become Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 second breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’; On this day in 1958, a 7.8 Mw  strike-slip earthquake in Alaska causes a landslide that produces a megatsunami. The runup from the waves reached 525 m (1,722 ft) on the rim of Lituya Bay; five people were killed; On this day in 1986, The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalizing homosexuality in New Zealand; In 1928, TV’s Dr. Ben Casey, Vince Edwards, American actor, singer, and director was born today; In 1932, Donald Rumsfeld, American captain and politician, 13th United States Secretary of Defense was born; Brian Dennehy, American actor was born today in 1938; Dean Koontz, American author and screenwriter was born today in 1945; Mitch Mitchell, English drummer who played drums in The Jimi Hendrix Experience was born today in 1947as was O.J. Simpson, American football player and actor; Jimmy Smits, American actor and producer was born today in 1955; Earl Warren, American jurist and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States died today in 1974; Ross Perot, American businessman and politician passed away today in 2019; And finally, Rip Torn, American actor, on this day in 2019.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• Week two for the “New” Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• A “New” UJT Musical Trivia Quiz WhoooHooo!!
• This week I decided to try a new recipe I found looking for something else. I added Braised Chicken in Grape Sauce to the Main Courses page. Give it a try, we thought it very tasty.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• This week I have attended a couple of Zoom watercolor classes. These are kind of off the book classes.. our classmates decided to carry on meeting even though the “official” class has ended.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• His Holiness, The Dali Llama celebrated his 85th birthday this week. His incessant messages of tolerance, equality, inclusion and kindness has always resonated with me. Unlike most world leaders, I have never found a reason to disagree wiht the Dali Llama. Happy Birthday! I also understand His Holiness will be releasing a new album of his chats put to music as well. Might be helpful in our second wave of lockdown.

Music Update:

Another tiptoe though the archives to share some things you might missed or never have heard or at least not heard recently. We lost one of the most talented artists of my generation this week. Charlie Daniels played violin and guitar with best of them – His own band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Marshal Tucker Band, The Youngbloods, and even Leonard Cohen. He was 83 years old. RIP Charlie.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Charlie Daniels Band — The Devil went down to Georgia — This was Charlies’ biggest hit and it is a doozy! It was release on his 1979 album, “Million Mile Reflections”.
• Bonnie Raitt — Nick Of Time — Its been a bit over 3 years since I featured this song on UJT Radio and we were overdue. A beautiful song written, sung and played by a beautiful lady. This is the title cut from her 1989 release that won the “Album of the Year” Grammy that year. In 2003, the album was ranked number 230 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
• Gary Clark Jr. — When My Train Pulls In (Live) [Solo Acoustic] — My daughter introduced me to this young man’s music. He is as soulful as he is a talented guitar player. At times he reminds me of male version of Tracy Chapman. This is from an EP he released in 2011.
• Olomana — The Lion — From the Vinyl !!!! I discovered this “local band” when I was living in Hawaii in 1976. I love their cover of this old standard. This cut comes from their first album, “Olomana”.
• Dave Mason — Feelin’ Alright — From the Vinyl !!!! Dave Mason wrote this one when he was part of Traffic. One of my all time favorites!! This was a single from their 1968 release, “Traffic”. Joe Cocker’s cover of this song was much bigger hit commercially.
• Louis Armstrong — What a Wonderful World — When this song was recorded in 1967, the president of ABC – Paramount Records would not let it be released in the US. I was released in Britain and became a number one hit. Most American’s didn’t get to hear this song until “Good Morning Viet Nam” came out. I really fell in love with it from the first time I heard it in the movie. HBO has a Special, “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind”. I was reminded of the song again. DVR the special it was really incredible. For me this is one of the most hopeful songs I know.

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!