July 16th, 2020

“Lačhi či tahrin!”, or “Good Morning!” in Romani, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in many parts of Europe. It is Day 119 of the California Lock Down with the governor’s attempts to return to normal continue to be rolled back further everyday as the numbers warrant.

We celebrated a very interesting anniversary. Kind of subdued this year as my wife wasn’t feeling very festive this year. However, I am happy to report that the “thought” did count and she professes to really like my sad first attempt at stained glass.

This week I learned some stuff:
• RBG (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg)was hospitalized this week. Please keep a good thought for her speedy recovery. We simply cannot leave those old guys on the court hanging around with out adult supervision!
• Through the magic of Facebook, I heard a tragic story about a colt that died from eating an apple. The article went on to explain that actually apples and carrots are bad for horses. Prior to reading this I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that carrots and apples were much loved horsey treats. My old guy memory is shaky but I have black & white memories of Hopalong Cassidy, Zorro, Matt Dillon and Roy Rogers feeding various horses apples, carrots and sugar cubes.
• Speaking of Facebook, I considered shutting down my FB identity for the umpteenth time (Flash Back! My mom seemed to have to scold my brother and I, for the umpteenth time to pick up our clothes or clean the cat box or stop bringing lizards home). Anyway, I digress. Oh yeah, thinking of quitting FB. It seems that all too frequently people feel the need to post pictures or videos of animals being mistreated by some cretin or another. In my head, I know that there are bad people doing crapy things to animals everyday. But the only thing that saves me from complete depression about it is that I believe those instances to be rare, quickly discovered and corrected. These posts of these images in FB make it impossible for me to escape the contradictions to my coping mechanisms. I didn’t this time but my tolerance is waning.
• July 16th is the 198th day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 162 days till Christmas!). In 1935, the world’s first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.; The heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis leaves San Francisco with parts for the atomic bomb “Little Boy” bound for Tinian Island today in 1945; On this day in 1962, Apollo 11, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida; In 1969, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died when the Piper Saratoga PA-32R aircraft ; On this day in 2015, Four U.S. Marines and one gunman die in a shooting spree targeting military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee; On this day in 1887, Shoeless Joe Jackson, American baseball player and manager was born; In 1907, Orville Redenbacher, American farmer and businessman, founded Orville Redenbacher’s was born today; In 1943, Jimmy Johnson, American football player and coach was born today; Rubén Blades, Panamanian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor was born today in 1948; Will Ferrell, American actor, comedian, and producer was born today in 1967; Larry Sanger, American philosopher and businessman, co-founded Wikipedia and Citizendiume was born today in 1968: as was O.J. Simpson, American football player and actor; Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady of the United States 1861-1865 died today in 1882; Harry Chapin, American singer-songwriter and guitarist passed away today in 1981; And finally, 2014 – Johnny Winter, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer passed away on this day in 2014.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• Last week for the “New” Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• Week 2 for our “New” UJT Musical Trivia Quiz
• This week I recycled old recipes to quite tasty results but didn’t any new ones to the UJT.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• This week I have attended a couple of Zoom watercolor classes.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• As regular readers of the UJT well know, my least favorite feeling in my life is that of helplessness. With all the BLM and other protests being conducted, I can only watch and empathize. It seems to me that ALL Lives Matter! If any of our lives and freedoms are denied then we are ALL compromised. American Citizens deserve equal protection under the law. It would be foolish for a geezer like me to engage with the crowds protesting in the streets but I can encourage the people who read my words to act on their American principles of freedom and fair play. We can find ways to work together to fix our broken country. To fix what is broken we should follow up with our friends, relatives and anyone else who will tolerate our actions to get the LARGEST AMERICAN VOTER TURNOUT IN HISTORY this November. We need to find those city, county, state and federal candidates for office that will truly work together to represent our interests over their personal ambitions and corporate influences. To accomplish this we must VOTE the current office holders out to the greatest extent possible. Their replacements must work together to dismantle the systemic flaws in our government. Specifically, we must eliminate corporate, PAC and special interest money from elections, fix gerrymandering, the electoral collage and establish term limits for any and all elected officials. All government representatives should be required to live with the same social and economic provisions that they have imposed on the rest of us in terms of medical services, retirement benefits and public safety. Our democracy is far from perfect but it is designed to be perfected as we learn. We have learned. Please VOTE in November!
• For many more years than I can remember, I have always lived by the adage that, “It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission”. Only now am I learning the source that brilliant stroke of leadership acumen!!! It was, of course, given to us by Grace Murray Hopper, one of my heroes, in fact. This extraordinary woman changed our world from forms and log books to automation and enhanced capabilities in all aspects of business. As a woman in the military in the 1950s she invented the basis for COBOL, the “plain English” programming language that exponentially enhanced our ability to automate business functionality while increasing accuracy and speed of the process being automated. She also had the vision o establish programing standards to ensure interoperability and integration at the functional level by disparate applications. Her accolades are too numerous to include here. Her naval career was one of the longest on record, surpassed only by Leahy, Nimitz, Rickover and Stewart. At age 85, RADM Grace Murray Hopper passed away quietly in her sleep in Arlington, VA on New Year’s Day 1992 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with many of our nation’s other national heroes.
• One of the Great Left Coast Poker, Smoke and Lies Society founding members is relocating his base of operations some where in the god awful eastern part of our country to be closer to the kids and grandkids. This is the third Gifted Riff Raft to wander off the reservation in almost a decade and half so we haven’t done too badly. We haven’t been able to get together since all this COVID-19 stuff hit so we are having to send him off in a distant sort of way instead of usual display of affection and poor judgement associated with such events. It’s not the cards, or the cigars or the smuggled liquor that makes our GLCPS&L thing work, its the deep and abiding friendships we have celebrated together for so long. Boatswain! Attention to Port, GLCPS&L Sgt at Arms is departing. Fair Winds and following seas, old friend!

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’s UJT Radio Program:
• Harry Nilsson — Coconut — This comes from his 1971 release, “Nilsson”. I always loved this silly little song, reminds me of a Calypso “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” kind of thing.
• Jeremy Blake — Lost Inside — I have no recollection as to how I found Jeremy’s music but I am awfully glad I did. This is soothing instrumental from his 2019 release “Soft Music to Do Nothing To”.
• Jackson Browne — Here — The more I hear of this record the more I like it. Even the deep cuts like this one are fairly outstanding. This comes from his 2014 release, “Standing In the Breach”.
• 3 Doors Down — When I’m Gone — This is another grammy winner Best Rock for 2002 when it was released on, “Away from the Sun:.
• Tab Benoit — Come and Get It — This is another deep cut from a great record. This one comes from his 2011 release, “Medicine”.
• Rod Stewart — Young Turks — This is a shout out to my baby sister who celebrated her birthday this week. She has been and will always be a huge Rod Stewart fan. This grammy award winner comes from his 1981 release, “Tonight I’m Yours”. Enjoy Doots!

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!