August 11th, 2022

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine. I have decided to maintain the UJT will focus on Ukraine until we can all rejoice in the end of hostilities. It has been 166 days since Russia attacked Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:
• From last Saturday’s Good Stuff CNN newsletter, I learned that thanks to the government commitments of Nepal, their almost extinct population of Tigers have grown by over 100% since 2009. The Nepalese government’s steps to protect their habitat and punish poaching has made all the difference. Similarly, Thailand took the corageout step to completely shut down, Maya Bay, one of their more lucrative and popular tourists attractions in the country, to give the coral reefs there a chance to recover and renew. The Thai governent has established a regular rest and recover period for this vital resource, Can you imagine closing Biscayne Bay to swimming, diving and boat traffic for a year. That is roughly equivalent. Since 2018 the Australian government has invested close to 1.2 billion Australian dollars to protect the Great Barrier reef since 2018. Progress has already been noted with new Coral growth at both deep and surface areas of the reef. The government sponsored planing of corals and other protections are already showing results. Meanwhile the clever engineering scientists in Switzerland have developed a “Water Battery” that can store the equivalent of 400,000 EV batteries worth of electrical power. This new technology should alleviate a lot of instability in the power grids of the world.That is truly Good Stuff.
• We learned last week that Georgie had an aggressive form of cancer. This week we are making arrangements for her euthanasia at home. This is hard. You know its for the best and she will feel no pain or fear .. just peace and no longer panting for breath. But I cry every time picture her last moments and the details of arranging our best friends death. Each time I go through this, I am so tempted to make it the last time. But I won’t; As much as I hate this part, I love being adored for no reason. These guys are part of what makes life worth living. I just wish they lived longer than me.
• I got a new health care insurance policy this year and have been very happy with the change (lower cost for the coverage) but this week I found out that my policy includes a $225/per quarter OTC allowance. This allowance will cover my expensive but necessary AREDS vitamins which are currently the only treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration among a host of other products I can use. Woohoo!
• My continuing stained glass saga continues. I managed to burn up my trusty old soldering iron. I ordered a new one which kept me from doing much for the rest of the week.
• August 4th is the 223rd day of 2022. Just 145 days till Christmas! Today in 1929, Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio; Today in 1931, the first civilian prisoners arrive at the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.; In 1942 on this day, actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones, two-way radio communications, and Wi-Fi; In 1962 on this day, Vostok 3 launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev becomes the first person to float in microgravity; On this day in 1965, race riots (the Watts Riots) begin in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California; the last United States ground combat unit leaves South Vietnam. today in 1972; An air rage incident occurs on board Southwest Airlines Flight 1763 when 19-year-old Jonathan Burton attempts to storm the cockpit, but he is subdued by other passengers and dies from his injuries on this day in 2000; Today in 1858, Christiaan Eijkman, Dutch physician and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born; Born today in 1921, Alex Haley, American historian and author; Mike Hugg, English drummer and keyboard player and founding member of Manfred Man was born today in 1942; Ian McDiarmd,(AKA Emperor Palpatine) Scottish actor was born today in 1944; Erik Brann, American singer-songwriter, member of Iron Butterfly and guitarist was born today in 1950; Also born today in 1950, Steve Wozniak, American computer scientist and programmer, co-founded Apple Inc.; Viola Davis, American actress was born today in 1965; Chris Hemsworth (AKA Thor), Australian actor was born today in 1962; Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Carnegie Steel Company and Carnegie Hall passed away today; Jackson Pollock, American painter died today in 1956; Max Theiler, South African-American virologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate died today in 1972; Peter Cushing (AKA Baron Frankenstein, English actor left the stage for the last time today in 1994; Eunice Kennedy Shriver, American activist, founded the Special Olympics passed away today in 2009; And lastly, today in 2014, Robin Williams, American actor and comedian left us.

Website Update:
This week:
• Week 2 for our Vocabulary Quiz.
• Last week for our Musical Trivia Quiz
• I was unable to come up with any new recipes this week.
• The Home Page quote this week is actually two quotes one from another of my favorite funny brilliant men, Robin Williams, “There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.”. I have missed Robin since he left us eight years ago today. In my opinion, the world lost one its finest assets. Thank you Robin!

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I planted my my Weeping Willow trees. I hope it will be come the beautiful bonsai tree that I have in my head and I hope I live long enough to see it that way.
• I continue to struggle with my Stained Glass project prototype. I am glad I did this to perfect my technique before I have hundreds of dollars in glass in the mix. I have another tweak that I will make to my process this weekend.
• I am continuing my streak of slacking off on the paper edits of Grandpa Stories. I just haven’t carved out any time for more chapters.

Two weird things struck me this week. First, it says here in my calendar that I have a GRANDdaughter who is allegedly turning 25 years old tomorrow. Thats impossible! Unless I look in a mirror, I am still a young guy! How could my smart and beautiful granddaughter have got herself that old??! Happy Birthday, Darrian!

Secondly, it’s been a long time since I attended or even visited an Elementary School. My memories of my days in grades 1-6 are of easy classwork and lots of art and music. I think we sang songs every day through at least the fifth grade. In sixth grade at my school we started changing classes to prepare us for the structure of Jr. High. I had been reading avidly since I was four years old and loved history so most of the academic stuff was pretty easy. My favorite part of school was the singing. This week UJT Radio will feature one of the songs my classmates and I delighted in singing. We had to learn all the words by heart (long since faded in my head) and we got to sing as loud as we wanted. It was great! We also sang this one around campfires too. Almost everyone knew it, even the older folks. Do you have a song like “Streets of Laredo” still stuck in your head since Elementary School?

Music Update:
This week’s eclectic mix is another reflection of the parts of life that often mean the most.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

• Marty Robbins — Streets of Laredo — This is a honest to goodness American folk song freshly stolen from the Irish and Briish and covered to suit our untamed land. Tex Ridder first made it popular but almost everyone who is anyone has covered it at one time or another. Sing along if you remember….

• Pink Floyd — Another Brick in The Wall (Pt. 2) — Dark Side of the Moon has always been my favorite PF album but The Wall was a close second. Released in 1979, it was a huge hit for them. This is a 1981ish live version.

• Match Box Twenty — English Town — This is a deep cut from their album, “North” released in 2012.

• Grateful Dead — Touch of Grey — From the Vinyl!!!! It’s been just under a year since this bad boy hit the UJT airwaves! It’s really hard for a die hard deadhead like me to pick a favorite song by the Dead, but if someone put a gun to my head and said choose, I am afraid that this would be the song. It just features all the things I love about Dead music so well. This one came from their “In The Dark” released in 1987.…. “Oh well, a touch of grey.. Kind of suits you anyway… We will get by…” Just makes me smile every time..

• Dire Straits — On Every Street — This is a live version of the title track for their final studio album, released in 1991. It was to be the band’s last studio album. I was fortunate to watch them play it in Dallas later that year. I love how the band weaves and builds the voice, guitar, piano and sax up and around us like folding and unfolding a kaleidoscopic tapestry of sound. Commercially, it actually did very well selling over 15 million copies but nothing like “Brothers in Arms” which remains one of the industry’s top selling albums of all time. This version is from their 1993 live album, “On the Night (Live)”.

• Cat Stevens — Where Do The Children Play — From the Vinyl!!!! This one comes from his 1970 release, “Tea for the Tillerman”. I, for one, was heart broken and impressed by courage of Cat Stevens to totally change his life to pursue his adopted religion in 1977. He walked away from a very successful career and just became Yusuf Islam for 15 years. There was always something magical about his point of view.

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!