October 21st, 2021

“Sanibonani”, or “Good Morning!” in in Zulu, a Bantu language spoken mainly in South Africa .

One way I try to be a better planetary citizen is to keep informed planetarily. Each month, I get a newsletter from our old friendly billionaire, Bill Gates. He doesn’t get as much press coverage as he used to, but Bill, like Jimmy and Roslyn Carter, manages to keep themselves busy helping humanity on the biggest scale they can manage. Bill’s latest posting deals with the successes of the COVID-19 pandemic response. It’s a matter of perspective. If you live in a wealthy high income country like the US, you enjoyed a response that enabled the vast majority of citizens to be vaccinated twice within months. If you live in a low income country, 2% are vaccinated so far. AND THAT IS AN UNHEARD OF SUCCESS!! Most vaccines have taken decades to reach third world citizens. It’s a very complicated issue that the Gates Foundation has been working on for a long time. But we can leverage what we learned from COVID to respond more effectively in the future. Bill quoted his friend, the late Hans Rosling used to say, “The world can be both bad and better.” If we work together and work smarter, we can all be safer and happier.

It’s getting to be soup weather out here in San Diego. The other morning, when I was letting Georgie out for her morning patrol of the perimeter, we were both shocked to find the temp had dropped below fifty degrees. So this week we will enjoy some of my soul warming Zuppa Toscana! I love autumn! Winter not so much.

This week I learned some stuff:
• We are not quite back to normal around here yet. I was painting the front porch table in chairs the same color as the trim on the house, when I discovered it was not a suitable color for our table and chairs. I will repaint them white this week. BJ almost single-handedly rearranged our back yard to its original configuration. He also helped me clean our new filter for the pond. Our pond is still crystal clear a month after cleaning. I think some of the fish might meet each other for the first time.
• I have discovered the joys of my Roku Channel! It provides access to a vast array of older TV shows, both American and British. I just finished an almost 2 week binge of Wycliff, a British Cop Who Done It series from the 1980s I think. Now I am enjoying The Rockford Files with Jim Garner. If you have Roku, explore it.
• October 21st is the 294th day of 2021. Just 65 days till Christmas! Today in 1540, Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait now known as the Strait of Magellan; On this day in 1797, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched; In 1854, the British Secretary of War send Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses to the Crimean War; Thomas Edison applies for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb on this day in 1879; Today in 1940, Ernest Hemingway publishes his novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls; the first kamikaze attack damages HMAS Australia as the Battle of Leyte Gulf begins today in 1944; Today in 1973, Fred Dryer (AKA Rick Hunter) of the Los Angeles Rams becomes the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game; the General Conference on Weights and Measures defined metre as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second, today in 1983; On this day in 1994, North Korea and the United States sign an Agreed Framework that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections; Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and engineer, invented dynamite and founded the Nobel Prize, was born today in 1833; Mary Blair, American illustrator and animator for Walt Disney, was born on this day in 1911; Dizzy Gillespie, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader, was born today in 1917; Today in 1928, Whitey Ford, American baseball player and coach; Robert Parker, American singer and saxophonist, was born today in 1930; born today in 1940, Manfred Mann, South African-English keyboard player and producer; Steve Cropper, American guitarist, songwriter, producer, and actor, was born today in 1941; Carrie Fisher, American actress and screenwriter, was born today in 1956; George McGovern, American historian, lieutenant, and politician today in 2012; And finally, Edith Kawelohea McKinzie, Hawaiian genealogist, author, and hula expert, passed away on this day in 2014.

Website Update:
This week:
• A “new” Vocabulary Quiz! Wooo Hooo!!
• Last week for our Musical Trivia Quiz
• I have no new recipes for you this week. But last Sunday was National Pasta Day!!! I have always found comfort in the company of noodles!
• The Home Page quote comes from the late, great, Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. “Optimism is a force multiplier.” And for the record, General Powell didn’t die from getting vaccinated. He died because others didn’t.

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• No change on the painting or stained glass front this week.
• Grandpa Stories is once again making progress towards being republished. I am learning the new toolset and it is going well. My goal is to re-edit 3 chapters each day. It is a goal but going pretty well.

• It’s been a long time since I had to part with my Taylor guitar. I still miss playing it but remember why it’s gone when I struggle to do simple tasks with my fret hand. One benefit of buying a Taylor is an apparent lifetime subscription to their very fine Wood and Steel magazine. This very impressive periodical is a wonderful demonstration of craftsmanship adapted to the 21st century and planetary and corporate citizenship. It also provides information about their products, people and activities as a company. If you have never seen Wood and Steel, try to find one. Your local guitar shop might be a good place to start. You do not have to be a guitar player to enjoy this top quality magazine, but it makes it more enjoyable. Bob Taylor, a kid from El Cajon, CA, started building guitars in high school in his garage and wood-shop class. Now I consider him to be an expert in identifying and developing cost effective material sustainability.

Music Update:
Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library. This week’s selections bear greater scrutiny than simply humming along or tapping one’s foot. I owe Alannah Myles an apology! I have been misspelling her name for many years!

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Jackson Browne— Shaky Town — This one comes from his iconic, “Running on Empty” released 1977. Do you remember there was this underground network long before internet? It was pretty much world-wide but just in 10-15 mile increments. CB Radio was a present from our friends, the truckers, and came with its own language. Shaky Town was CB for Chicago.
• Crosby Still Nash & Young — Triad — This is another cut from their live album “4 Way Street” released in 1971. I think David Crosby wrote this tune. It’s really a pretty song about pushing limits.
• Don Felder — Heal Me — This is a pretty song filled with sadness and hope. This one is from his solo album, “Road to Forever” released in 2013. Oh yeah, and the boy can play guitar!!!
• Eric Clapton — I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine — Eric’s version of this wonderful song from Bob Dylan is just so sweet and subtle. I am not sure who is playing the accordion, but they do a great job of giving this version a swampy sound. This comes from Eric’s most recent solo album, “I Still Do”.
• Tom Rush — Tin Angel — This came up in the rotation and stunned me with Joni Mitchell’s lyrics’ brutal sadness sung so well by Tom. This one comes from his “The Circle Game” album released in 1968. He covers 3 of her tunes on that album.
• James Taylor — Knock On Wood — This was a huge dance and sing along song way back when I was dancing. Like Phil Collins, JT cut a record of cover songs you should check out. Released in 2008, “Other Covers” is an outstanding album of old favorites. I couldn’t remember either, so I looked it up, “Knock on Wood”, written and released by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper in 1966.

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!