August 17th, 2023 

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine.  I have decided that the UJT will remain focused on Ukraine until we can all rejoice at the end of hostilities.  It has been 532 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

I imagine all my blathering about exercise, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness is just boring the crap out of those of you stubborn enough to read about it.  I kind of look at learning stuff as a “Pay it Forward” kind of thing. That is the way I share all this stuff with you folks. Here is another source of good information about fruits and vegetables that will overinform you too:) Of course, they may help you eat more fruits and veggies too.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • Michelle Obama is an amazing person! I am enjoying her book,” Becoming” so much. Its a memoir well worth reading. I am a little over halfway through. I always thought she was something special from the few times I have heard her talk but I really had no idea. I encourage everyone to read her book. I promise that you will not be bored. When I picked up this book, I guess I expected to get the “fly on the wall” view of a man I deeply admire, Barack Obama. But this book is about that fly- a singularly impressive,  independent, scholarly (Princeton & Harvard Law), attorney, daycare organizer, Community Relations director for the University of Chicago, a planner and sworn enemy to chaos, and perhaps most importantly a mom.  Yes, you do get a lot of insight into the former president, but that is not what this book is about.
    • Rats laugh. Who knew!!! Not just when they are playing but also laughing when they are tickled. You can tickle a rate?? I repeat who knew? A team in Berlin is studying play in animals to learn about brain function. I wonder if they cry when they hear any song by The Avett Brothers??
    • We decided to wait till the day after the carpet installation to start returning our room. That turned out to be a bad idea. Sleeping on the mattress on the floor allowed me to wake up with a very sore back. Jessica and BJ both woke up sick so we are going into the weekend surrounded by half-assembled furniture and boxes of crap all over. “And So It Goes…”
    • I met with my oncologist this week it’s been almost a year since we learned that I had cancer. He told me that radiation and hormone therapy is doing the trick. I have 4 more hormone treatments left. 
    • August 17th is the  229th day of 2023. Just 129 days till Christmas.  On this day in 1585, the first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh under the charge of Ralph Lane lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.; Today in 1896,  Bridget Driscoll became the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed in a collision with a motor car in the United Kingdom; The novella Animal Farm by George Orwell is first published today in 1945;  Pioneer 0, America’s first attempt at lunar orbit, is launched using the first Thor-Able rocket and fails. Notable as one of the first attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country today in 1958; On this day in 1977, the Soviet icebreaker Arktika becomes the first surface ship to reach the North Pole; Today in 1978, Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey, France near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine; Today in 2008, American swimmer Michael Phelps becomes the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games;  Davy Crockett, American soldier and politician   was born today in 1786; Mae West, American stage and film actress was born today in 1893; Today  Mark Felt (aka ‘Deep Throat’), American lawyer and agent, 2nd Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was born in 1913; Maureen O’Hara, Irish-American actress and singer was born today in 1920; Luther Allison, American blues guitarist and singer was born today in 1939; Robert De Niro, American actor, entrepreneur, director, and producer was born today 1943;   Sib Hashian, American rock drummer for Boston was born today in 1951; Richard Hunt, American Muppet performer was born today in 1951; Sean Penn, American actor, director, and political activist was born today in 1960; Donnie Wahlberg, American singer-songwriter, actor and producer was born today in 1969; Otto Stern, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate  passed away today in 1969; Vivian Vance, (AKA Ethel Mertz) American actress and singer  died today in 1979;   Finally, we lost  Pearl Bailey, American actress and singer  today in 1990.

This week’s Website Update:

    • Last week for our Vocabulary Quiz
    • A New Musical Trivia Quiz  !!  
    • I have added some new recipes for you all. Carne Picanha with Farofa is a Brazilian steak and egg dish. Roasted Chic Peas are a fast easy and healthy snack to prepare for movie or sports watching. Lastly, I had an all-out summer veggie dinner this week with Gazpacho and a new Summer Corn salad you should try. I also worked up a Cucumber Avocado Salad as well. Yum!
    • The Home Page quote for this week is from Michelle Obama,  “ Bullies ate just scared people hiding inside scary people.”

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass, and Painting Update:  

    • I am ashamed to say that I have neglected some of my bonsai trees. I have lost 2 Junipers because I missed a watering day and was late watering on some of our hottest days:( It’s sad to lose a tree like that. I mean you lose trees for lots of reasons but this is the most painful.  
    • The impact of new carpeting and sink has exacerbated the excellent job of procrastination I have perpetrated on the stained glass project!!! I really wanted to make something happen this week.  Maybe next week.
    • I now remember why I put down my red pen while doing the paper edits! So I lied when I said that “I am happy to report that I have taken up my red pen for the paper edits on Grandpa Stories”. After all this time I hope I can find the source document file. 


    • For my entire life, I sort of looked at those who press their religious beliefs with disdain. Early on as a teen after attending bible camp, I avoided, “Jesus Freaks” who would accost strangers with, “Do you know Jesus? I suppose I wasn’t able to empathize back then. Now that I am older I recognize what an unselfish act it is for the Hare Krishnas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others who come to my door or greet me on the street or in the airport. I now recognize that I am receiving a gift that has been paid for many times. I am courteous, kind and actively listen to what they are sharing. I admire their conviction if not their messages. I even read the pamphlets they sometimes leave with me. I like how kindness makes me feel.

Music Update:  

Here is a new batch of music for you to try out.  Enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations — For me, this was the song that lit up the skies with Brian Wilson’s genius! Pet Sounds is one of the most influential musical gifts we have received from Brian, his brothers, cousins, and Al Jardine (the lost Beach Boy – the only one in the band who wasn’t a Wilson or related to one). This one is the title cut from their 1966 release  
    • The Kinks — Lola —  Peter’s music was always special to me. The bass is amazing in this song as well. This one was released on my birthday in 1970 on an album called, “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One”.  
    • Bob Dylan — Shelter From the Storm — This song was Bob’s contribution to the “Songs for Japan” album released in 3022 but was originally on his 1975 release. “Blood On the Tracks”.
    • Tab Beniot  — Long Lonely Bayou —  Tab won my heart the very first time I heard  “Medicine” and the more of it that I listened to the more I loved it. His album, “Medicine”  was released in 2011.  
    • David Bowie — Space Oddity  — This was released in 1969 as a single and didn’t do well in the charts but its audiences kept growing and growing,  And his audiences are still growing into their 3rd generation today.
    • Bob Seger – Glenn Song — This is a tribute to Glenn Frey released for free on the anniversary of Glenn’s death in 2017. It’s just a beautiful song sharing how it feels to lose a good friend too soon.
    • Youngbloods – Darkness, Darkness – I had finished my song sample selection for this week but forgot to shut off iTunes and this one came up next. It stirred such a warm feeling of nostalgia in me that I just had to tack in on the list. It’s my favorite cut from their 1969 release, “Elephant Mountain”.

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!