July 30th, 2020

“Ŋdi na mi!”, or “Good Morning!” iin Ewe, a Niger-Congo language spoken in Ghana, Togo and Benin. . It is Day 133 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.

I am working my second stained Glass piece. It seems to be just as difficult as the first time, except I don’t have the due date that I did on that one. I took my time and really focused on shaping the glass pieces as closely as possible to the design. I am using the same design as the last time but with the intent of creating something that does not need a wooden frame to hide some of its flaws. There is one piece is particularly difficult. It is the top center piece which lower side which is shaped by the tips of the tulip petals. Those small intrusions into the glass are the most difficult to form. The two on the sides can be nipped and then smoothed by the grinder but that center point is very tricky because it is too narrow for the grinder it must be done almost completely by nippers and a stone. I am still developing my glass cutting skills and am not attempting to shape my 3rd version of this particular piece. It actually is very good for me as the glass and my current lack of skill calls for much more patience than I am perhaps known for.

This week I learned some stuff:
• You can grow California Poppies from seed!! I have always loved these colorful, delicate little flowers but have never been able to acquire any. I guess they do not do well in transport or packaging. This year I went to our local very cool nursery, City Farmers and found a seed package for them and planted them in a pot in my back yard. This week I got my first orangy-yellow blossoms!!! WoooWhoo!!
• Did you know that today is the International Day of Friendship?? With so much focus on Hate, Ignorance and Fear, I think celebrating friendship to be a particularly wonderful idea. I didn’t but of the many wonderful things that make humans unique and perhaps admirable is our ability to find and maintain life long relationships with other humans. If you are very lucky, you have created friendships in every aspect of your life = childhood, schools, clubs, work, sports and shared hobbies. I have been very lucky as I have enduring friendships from almost every aspect of my life. We do not always keep in touch as we perhaps should but every time we do touch it is as if no gap or space and time every existed between us. Another observation I have made about friendship is that I am always learning from my friends. I am always overjoyed with how well we know each other and yet how we surprise and delight each other with new things because or perhaps in spite of our history together. My time in the Navy created deep and abiding friendships that I lost track of, for the most part, almost immediately upon separation. My feelings for those people are real and yet for reasons I still don’t understand we all went our separate ways after coming so close for so long. I have only spoken to a handful of guys that I served with since my discharge. Its a mystery to me. Maybe we avoided continued contact because inside we thought the only thing we had in common was our service. I don’t know. But I still have a warm place in my heart for those guys and am grateful for their help in growing up in the Navy.
• July 30rd is the 212th day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 148 days till Christmas!). In the year 762, the city of Baghdad was founded; Christopher Columbus lands at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage today in 1502; On this day in 1733, The first Masonic Grand Lodge in the future United States is constituted in Massachusetts; In 1932, Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short; On this day in 1965, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid; In 1972, Apollo 15’s David Scott and James Irwin land on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover, Falcon; In 1974, U.S. President Richard Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of the United States; In 2003, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line in Mexico; Henry Ford, American engineer and businessman, founded the Ford Motor Company was born today in 1863; Buddy Guy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist was born today in 1936;Paul Anka, Canadian singer-songwriter and actor born today in 1941; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, and politician, 38th Governor of California was born today in 1947; Frank Stallone, American singer-songwriter and actor and Sly Stallone’s brother was born today in 1950; Kate Bush, English singer-songwriter and producer was born today in 1958; William Penn, English businessman and philosopher, founded the Province of Pennsylvania died today in 1718; Howdy Doody’s best friend, Buffalo Bob Smith, American television host died today in 1998; And finally, Gloria DeHaven, American actress, singer, and dancer exited the stage in 2016.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• A“New” Vocabulary Quiz!!!WoooHooo!!!
• Last week for our “New” UJT Musical Trivia Quiz
• This week I created a recipe for 15 Bean Soup using the bone and remaining pieces of the roast pork that I made late last week. Even the resident soup hater liked it!

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

• Have you ever had a Crunchy Peanut Butter lolly pop? Back when I was really short with an even shorter little brother, we were watching black and white TV (perhaps Red Skelton or Ed Sullivan) with our Grandma when she introduced us to this wonderful TV watching snack. During the one live commercial during the show, she went into the kitchen and came back with 3 big tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter, one for each of us. We sat there in the flickering light, slowly licking the peanut butter off our spoons. I don’t know about you, but I have always been a crunch peanut butter guy. Creamy is for sissys! Anyway, I digress. Till that day till last night, I have been known to award myself the embarrassing pleasure of this favorite TV viewing treat. I suspect that is the only reason, that today’s TV shows provide 6 or 7 commercials… to allow the slower moving baby boomers to mosey into the kitchen to get theirs. Yum!
• PVC Piping is still kicking my butt even with PJs adult supervision!! But I have a good feeling about this week’s attempt to fix my sprinklers.
• I watched a very violent but interesting Netflix movie called, “The Old Guard”. It’s about 4 immortals who secretly work behind the scenes to help mankind over the millennia. It’s well written and looks at death a different way. I think that most of us want to live forever.. be immortal 25 year olds would be just fine for us. This movie made me think about my mortality as not only a natural process but also a desirable outcome for us humans for the first time. I always have pondered it as the inevitable consequence of life. I am coming to the inescapable conclusion that mankind is not so different from ants. Generation after generation we seek to build something and perpetuate ourselves but for all that to work over time we all have to die so that others can follow and build upon what we have left. Hmm, some deep doo doo dat! My head hurts now.

Music Update:

Once again, you fossilized DJ takes you on 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:
• Queens of the Stone Age — I Want to Make It Wit Chu — My brother Mike turned me on to these folks and something about thier music just got to me. Mike told me he is bored sh*tless with TV and is spending most of his quarantine rummaging through Padora’s massive selection of music. I am glad, he has pointed out a number of new music tunes that worked for me. This is one of them, from their 2008, “Desert Sessions” album.
• Carl Verheyen Band – My Back Pages – A wonderful cover of one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs from their 1994 release, “Garage Sale”. Every time I listen to this guy I grow more grateful to his student, George Gomez for turning me on to his wonderful music.
• Sting — Fragile (Live In Berlin) — This was Sting’s donation to the “Songs for Japan” album released in 2011. This song was actually recorded in 1988.
• Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — 49 Bye-Byes / America’s Children (Live) — I think this is a Stephen Stills song dating from his Buffalo Springfield days. This version is first one I heard and is from their iconic live album.”4 Way Street” released in 1971.
• Bob Schneider — Oklahoma — This a deep cut from his great album, “Lonelyland” released in 2001.
• Bob Marley and The Wailers — Jamming — Just follow the smiles and eventually you will come to Bob Marley. This one was from one of the remaster compilations on “Legend” that came out in 2002.

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!