July 15th, 2021

“ ከመይ ሓዲርኩም (kemey Hadirkum)”, or “Good Morning!” in Tigrinya, a South Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Before I get too far into this weeks UJT, I would like to offer a shout out to my babysis, the youngest in our particular layer of family and who has always been my favorite youngest sister! Happy Birthday Doots! All the best of the day! I hope Rod Stewart drives by and smiles for you. 

We had a spectacular 48th wedding anniversary this week. It took some doing but for an old grumpy guy, I seemed to have pulled it off. This is one of those something old, something new kind of deals. So the menu was a mix of old favorite dishes (iceberg wedges with bacon and bleu cheese drizzled; Chateaubrian and grilled asparagus wraps) but for this year I added an espresso Crème Brûlée. A friend of mine gave me a couple of bottles of very special Merlot that matched the menu perfectly. A good time feast for sure! The invites worked and my bride liked the roses too!

This week I learned some stuff:
• Oh I am just so proud!!! Our girl, “ALEXA” is all grown up and polite! As most of you are aware I mean well but am perhaps not the brightest bulb in the pack. I have been known to bump into furniture and apologies. I often can be found standing still in an empty room, having forgotten completely the reason for my entry. The list goes on… But of my foibles is expressing gratitude when I receive help from any quarter. So if doing stained glass soldering and a seam flows together particularly well, a bystander might overhear me congratulating my soldering iron. So it should come as no particular shock to your systems that when Alexa responses to my requests for a timer while I am cooking or “Alexa, what is that actor’s name who plays Mr. Bean?”, I reply with a heartfelt, “ Thank you Alexa” which has been met with an electronic shrug until now! This week, when I thanked her for her timer help, she responded, “Happy to help!” and later after being thanked, she said, “My pleasure.”. Now if I can just get Harry (our Irobot vacuum) to start saying, “Pardon, Coming Thru” Or even, “Make a hole you tossers!” life would be grand!
• Our wonderful continuing adventure in Grandparent Land normally limited to just a 50% capacity is entering its 3 week of 75% capacity. This week we have Chloe’s big brother in house! Asa is just as dazzling to be with as his sister but they are very different. All of us are loving the visits and regretting we don’t do it more often. The local grandkids are having a lot of fun hanging with their younger Texas versions. I just feel so proud of my kids for the kids they built.
• Many of you know of my continuing addiction to espresso coffee (please note that their is no X in the word). As a young man, I got strung out on, “Cuban Coffee”. It made it possible for me to be a dad, a student with an overload night class schedule and a full time maintenance man for some Miami International Airport aircraft hangers. Anyway, the only other way I know to get more caffeine into your system is through and IV. Cuban coffee is a dark flavorful sludge of steamed brew and sugar. I have grown up to the point where I am now a straight shot kind of guy. I have replaced the sugar with a half teaspoon of Key Lime juice sometimes. The moral to this story is as follows. If you like coffee, buy your own espresso machine and learn how to use it. Don’t buy a cheap one. Treat yourself and buy cheap elsewhere. I still say that the best pre-ground espresso coffee is Bustello but there are many others to choose from. Enjoy.
• July 15th is the 196th day of 2021. Just 163 days t ill Christmas! Today in 1799, the Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign; Today in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon; Today in 1834, the Spanish Inquisition is officially disbanded after nearly 356 years; Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union today in 1870; Today in 1955, eighteen Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by thirty-four others.; On this day in 1966, the United States and South Vietnam begin Operation Hastings to push the North Vietnamese out of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone; Today in 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter gives his “malaise speech” that calls out Americans as addicted to cheap but limited fossil fuels, calling for alternative renewable sources of energy and a sense of community to make the changes needed; Twitter, later one of the largest social media platforms in the world, is launched today in 2006;Robert Bruce Merrifield, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, was born today in 1921; Alex Karras, American football player, wrestler, and actor was born on this day in 1935; Jan-Michael Vincent, American actor was born today in 1945; Also today in 1945, Peter Lewis (founding member of Moby Grape), American singer-songwriter and guitarist was born; Linda Ronstadt, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress was born today in 1946; David Pack, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer was born today in 1952;Forest Whitaker, American actor was born today in 1961; Jason Bonham, English singer-songwriter and drummer and son of Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John was born today in 1966; General Tom Thumb, American circus performer passed away today in 1883; And finally, Martin Landau, American film and television actor passed away today in 2017.

Website Update:
Restarting the cycle this week:
• Week 2 of our New Vocabulary Quiz!!!!
• A New Musical Trivia Quiz!!!!
• I added some recipe this week – I updated both the Chateaubriand and Grilled Asparagus Wraps and added Lemon Horseradish Sauce and Espresso Crème Brûlée.
• This week’s Home Page quote comes from Harry Bosch, fictional character of author, Michael Connelly, “A Child Case! Child cases haunt you. They hollow you out and scar you. …. Child cases let you know that the world is full of lost light.”

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• Well, we put the final touches on Chloe’s tulip project. I also wrote up some notes to help her on future projects and assembled a tool kit featuring everything she needs except glass and flux. I also returned to my other stained glass project. as well. I am going to try to get to my watercolor classes this week too.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

Weird-Stuff-O-Meter:
• I learned this week, that Canada has just as much to be ashamed of in their treatment of indigenous tribes in their part of North America as the United States does in ours. In recent years in areas surrounding, “Residential Schools” that indigenous people were required to attend by the Canadian government. Just in case, US Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, announced that an initiative to investigate US policies and practices behind a similar Native boarding school system in the US. Harry was right, lots of lost light in this sad world.

Music Update:

Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band– Shame on the Moon — This is just a great song sung well. It’a from their 1982 release, “ The Distance” and feature Glenn Fry singing harmony.
• Jimi Hendrix – Have You Ever Been (to Electric Ladyland) — From the Vinyl!!!! This is the song that sealed the deal for me and Mr. Hendrix. I LOVED his earlier Purple Haze album but I was ready for Electric Ladyland to be the great record it was for me. Every song on it held some special weight in my rapidly changing life as I contemplated leaving everything behind and going into the Navy. It was released in October of 1968, just as disenchantment with my life began to grow leading me to exit into the Navy in August 1970 and Jimi to exit the world less than a month later.
• Bruce Springsteen – Into the Fire — This sad song comes to us from his “The Rising” album released in 2002. This song was written and dedicated to the 343 NYFD Firefighters who ran into the fire on 9/11. It makes me cry every time I hear the song.
• Dishwalla – Every Little Thing – This one of my favorite “obscure” bands. This is a sad one from their, “Opaline” album released in 2002. For me, it’s all about continuing to reach out for someone and watching them get farther and farther away.
• John Prine — Paradise — We said our good byes to John last April. The first time I heard this song, a young fella from Colorado was covering it in a little bar on Olney St called, “The Red Mule”. I fell in love with the song and during a break the young man told me it was from John Prine. John Prine – Paradise – This is another great song from John. I hope they , “… let my ashes float down the Green River Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’…” This one is from his self titled album released in 1971.
• James Taylor and Mark Knopfler — Sailing to Philadelphia — This one is written by Mark and played on James’s “October Road” album released in 2008. Just two of my favorite players singing their song.

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!