September 17th, 2020

“K’abį́ nezų”, or “Good Morning!” in Shanghainese, the Chinese dialect spoken in Shanghai. It is Day 182 of the California Lock Down. San Diego county is trying so hard to start back up, with new normal rules… haircuts, fitness centers and nail salons are opening but given the recent increases in cases, we maybe heading back to tighter controls. Meanwhile, our political “leaders” are failing to compromise enough to get desperately needed aid package through Congress. It reminds me of two idiot gangs arguing on the forecastle of a sinking ship about whether we should all work together to bail water.

Last Friday, 19 years ago, we all woke up to a horrible new normal where commercial aircraft become weapons and innocents become primary targets. So much has changed since then. I kind of block it out the best I can because its just so sad to contemplate.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I think my census work is winding down in my area but its hard to tell really. We seem to have organizational and technical hiccups that fail to deliver cases and approved working hours reliably. But doing the gig has been as interesting and challenging as I had hoped when I signed up.
• The Great Left Coast Poker, Smoke and Lies Society had our second game since the pandemic started this week. We moved the game to our old venue. And it good to be hangin’ wit my peeps!
• September 17 is the 261st day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 99 days till Christmas!). Today in 1630, the city of Boston, MA was founded; On this day in 1787, the United States Constitution was signed in Philadelphia; In 1849, the abolitionist, Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery; On this day in 1859, Joshua A. Norton declares himself “Norton I, Emperor of the United States.”;Today in 1862, American Civil War: George B. McClellan halts the northward drive of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American military history: On this day in 1908, The Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as passenger, crashes, killing Selfridge, who becomes the first airplane accident fatality; Today in 1925, Frida Kahlo suffers near-fatal injuries in a bus accident in Mexico, causing her to abandon her medical studies and take up art: The novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding is first published today in 1954; In 1852, Alice Brown Davis, American tribal chief of the Seminole was born; Arnold Palmer, American golfer and businessman was born today in 1929; In 1976, The Camp David Accords are signed by Israel and Egypt; Billy the Kid, American gunman is born today in 1859; Warren E. Burger, American lawyer and judge, 15th Chief Justice of the United States was born today in 1907; Hank Williams, American singer-songwriter and guitarist was born today in 1923; Red Skelton, American actor and comedian died today in 1995:And finally, “Cokie” Roberts, American journalist and bestselling author passed away today in 2019;

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• Week 2 for our “New” Vocabulary Quiz
• Last week for the UJT Musical Trivia Quiz!
• This week we stuck to mostly old favorites. We had sushi party, made Gyros with really, really soft Pita bread, and managed to enjoy some fairly messy but very tasty, Philly Cheesesteaks. Yum!

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• This week I managed register for my Art Class for the fall semester without actually attending any of them.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• Some of you may remember but most of you won’t be aware that I have been a collector of Thorne Smith books since I was a teenager. Thorne Smith gave a man of his station (stuffy banker) and his time (too old for shenanigans) by the name of Topper. Then he added a couple of swinger ghosts and their St. Bernard. Thorne Smith wrote many humorous novels that place perfectly reasonable people in complete unreasonable situations. I would be surprised if any of you have read any of his books. As they are all out of print and can only be found in Used Books Stores. But some of you who are approaching a certain tender age group might remember a fantasy sitcom that originally ran from December of 1953 to July of 1954 called, “Topper” or like me have seen the reruns of both the series and the 1937 movie that severed as the basis for the series. Anyway, 89 years ago this month, “Turnabout” by Thorne Smith was published by Doubleday. “Turnabout” was one of President Regan’s and Rock Hudson’s favorite books. You can follow this link to download a copy in your favorite electronic format. So raise a glass of your favorite libation and toast Thorne Smith this month.
• Every week I bring the faithful followers a briefing on what happened on this day in history. Together, we remind ourselves of momentous beginnings or endings or events in between in our history of man’s struggle on planet earth. I provide samples of the births and deaths of individuals who contributed to those struggles one way or another. For me, the most striking conclusion that I can reach studying all of these achievements, failures, miracles of birth and inevitable passing, is with all of these lessons and all of these brilliant humans, we seem to learn very little over time. Even at a glance you can detect repeated patterns “historic” events and the celebration of the lives of individuals whose achievements resulted in the failures or deaths of others. Learning this fact, just reenforces my long held opinion that we celebrate the wrong things for the wrong reasons and consider the right things as “pollyannaism” or so unrealistic as to make any real attempt an act of predetermined futility. The closest thing I can find that represents what I believe should be our focus, as the most intelligent beings on the planet, are the pursuit of space travel, scientific efforts promoting ecology and sustainment, medical remedies and the politics of freedom for all. But in comparison to what effort and resources are expending in defending one class or nationality or religion or tribe from others those endeavors are insignificant. We get what we invest in – war, hatred, prejudice, povety, sickness, divisiveness and repeat, generation after generation. I often thought about those names I mention each week. How they lived or became “great” enough to be remembered. I don’t think I would like to be on that list of humans who successfully failed grandly in furthering peace and prosperity for all.

Music Update:

Once again, your 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:
• Natasha Bendingfield – Unwritten — This lady knocked it out of the park commercially with this, her first single which is a title cut for her 2nd album. This song is just so well written and thoughtful. I hope you like it enough to check out some of the other songs by this very interesting woman.
• U2 – Song for Someone – From their free 2014 release, “Songs of Innocence”. The more I listen to this album the more impressed I become.
• Jackson Browne — Walls and Doors — This one came back up in the rotation this week. I hadn’t heard in a while. It’s another thought provoking song by our old dear friend Jackson Browne. Tis one comes from his latest endeavor, “Standing in the Breach” released in 2014.
• Les Paul and Friends — Slippin’ into Darkness — This song is sooooo soulful and fun. Lisa Fischer does the vocals and she did not hold back. This comes from compilation Les put together back in 2005.
• Jack Johnson — Questions — Its been a while since I heard this song. I can almost see Jack singing this one for his 3 kids. This one comes from his 2006 release, “Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies For The Film Curious George”
• Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — Find the Cost of Freedom — This is from their 4 Way Street live album released in 1971. Everything about this song is pretty except the subject.

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!