November 4th, 2021

“Manuia te taeao”, or “Good Morning!” in Tokelauan (Gagana Tokelau), a Polynesian language spoken mainly in Tokelau and New Zealand.

It’s Halloween time! A good friend of mine’s porch has been invaded by a bat. Evidently, this bat is as fond of her as the rest of us. But the feeling is NOT mutual. I know that people often find bats to be scary. Just like ever other species, except for man, they are an important part of every ecosystem. In the case of bats, they eat incects, lots of them. I have always found them to be interesting, intriguing and often so ugly to be cute. So I encourage us all to be tolerant of their intrusions into our otherwise well controlled lives. Here is a video that might inspire some additional considerations for these furry, nocturnal, airborne mammals – Baby Bats

This week I learned some stuff:
• This week I was randomly selected to apply for a study of heart health and aging and how technology may help us live longer by detecting heart related anomalies earlier, assisting us in pursuing healthier habits and maybe even living longer. The study is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and Apple. It includes people over 65 who are willing to us an iPhone and/or Apple Watch for the duration of the study. There are two groups – iPhone App only group and iPhone + Apple Watch group. Once you have applied and agreed to the massive and detailed data sharing agreements, you are randomly placed in one group or the other. I was placed int he Apple Watch Group. I could have borrowed an Apple watch but elected to buy one at a very reduced price for the study. I just started but so far, the app, the new watch and the stuff I am being introduced to are all impressive. This comes at a good time for me as I have been out of sorts and not following the health habits I used to do so easily. If you would like to be invited to the study let me know, I will submit your name.
• I know I have mentioned my enjoyment of the TV series, Longmire. I really did enjoy those episodes depicting the life and times of Walt, Henry, The Greatest Legal Mind of our Time, Vic or Branch. and the other interesting denizens of Absoroka County, Wyoming. I truly did but not near as much as I have enjoyed reading all of Craig Johnson’s books. His grasp and gift of imagery and thought are nothing short of spectacular. He slides the most incredible stuff in between Walt’s actions and plot twists; Walt, hung over, half listening to a elderly lady’s well intentioned and unhelpful condolences about Walt’s wife recent death. Walt searches the edges of the winter barren plains’ edge for “ …that first ray of light that shoots over the horizon like a hopeful thought …” . Oh my!
• She is back! She is back! She is Back! Oh Lord thank you!!! Our erstwhile daughter has returned from her Texas sojourn! And not I minute too soon. We missed her and all the things that she does to take care of the old folks!
• November 4th is the 308th day of 2021. Just 50 days till Christmas! Today in 1847 Sir James Young Simpson, a Scottish physician, discovers the anesthetic properties of chloroform.; On this day in 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men find the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings; In 1942, disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel begins a retreat of his forces after a costly defeat during the Second Battle of El Alamein. The retreat would ultimately last five months; Dr. Jane Goodall observes chimpanzees creating tools, the first-ever observation in non-human animals on this day in 1960; Today in 1979, a group of Iranian college students overruns the U.S. embassy in Tehran and takes 90 hostages; Ronald Reagan is elected the 40th President of The United States, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter today in 1980; Today in 2008, Barack Obama becomes the first person of biracial or African-American descent to be elected President of the United States; Will Rogers, American actor and screenwriter was born today in 1879; Gig Young, American actor, was born on this day in 1913;John Basilone, American sergeant, Medal of Honor recipient, was born today in 1916; Today in 1916, Walter Cronkite, American journalist, voice actor, and producer was born; Art Carney, American actor, was born today in 1918; Born today in 1937, Loretta Swit, American actress and singer; Loretta Swit, American actress and singer, was born today in 1946; Ben Harper, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born today in 1969; Andy Rooney, American author, critic, journalist, and television personality passed away in 2011; John D. Hawk, American sergeant, Medal of Honor recipient passed away today in 2013;And finally, Uriah Heep’s Ken Hensley, English rock singer-songwriter and musician, passed away on this day in 2020.

Website Update:
This week:
• Last week for our new Vocabulary Quiz
• Week two for the new Musical Trivia Quiz
• I am working on a number of different recipes, none of which are ready for prime time yet.
• The Home Page quote comes from one of my favorite authors and thinkers, Mark Twain, “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

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. It is going well.

• Recently given all the hubbub, I decided to re-read Ann Rand’s book, “Atlas Shrugged” and found the experience even more frustrating and infuriating than I did the first time. She oversimplifies gigantic themes as her characters ramble incessantly. almost incoherently at times. As a philosophy, her opinions would provide decent compost. As a book, I suspect if prepared right (ripped to shreds), Atlas Shrugged would be excellent kindling for a bright fire to read a worthy book by.
• We really do need a new political party or six (Shout out to DD, who has been saying this almost every Thursday for years). Our two party system as been subverted and prevented into a system that simply produces pandering fools and self-serving morons. Both of them!! The Republicans are allergic to any truth and fact that doesn’t further the cause of old christian white people. The Democrats appear to be allergic to the very intelligent cooperation they were elected to pursue. Neither party would recognize statesmanship or leadership if it smacked them in the face. This weeks circus in Congress and the latest election results are so depressing. Are people really listening to what these people are saying they will do??? The newly elected bozo in Va, is going to make sure that white people aren’t portrayed too badly in the history books! I honest do not believe this system can be fixed and am pretty sure it is so rigged that no other party could muscle its way in. I really am beginning to lose hope.

Music Update:
Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Ben Harper — Walk Away — This is another wonderful example of Ben’s musical diversity. This one reminds me of Stacy Chapman. This sad song comes from his “Welcome to the Cruel World” released in 1994.
• Rob Thomas — Streetcorner Symphony — This is huge single from his 2006 release, “Something to Be”. This is just a great song full of love and hope!!! “Can you feel it?? …. hold tight it will be alright…” On top of all that some very tight music too.
• Adele — Easy on Me — Next Sunday, Adele will be interviewed by Oprah and put on an open air concert for us on live TV. This song was the first release of the new album “30” to be released this year. Six years since “25” her voice is still huge! She reminds me of younger Barbara Streisand without the stage fright!
• Jack Johnson — Talk of the Town — This is a deep cut from the “Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies For The Film Curious George” released in 2003. I particularly like the guitar work and harmonies provided by Kawika Kahiapo on this cut.
• Los Lonely Boys — Diamonds — I was just cruising down the music highway on my way to selecting the next set for UJT Radio when these boys just popped into my head! I fell in love with these guys sitting my friends dinning room in Norfolk. He played some new music that he found while building me what we used to call a mixed tape (now mix CD I guess) for my long drive back to DC. I fell in love with the guitar work and harmonies these brothers put out in “Heaven” off their first album. This cut is another slice of greatness from their 2006 release, “Sacred”. Check it out!
• Joe Cocker — Marjorine — From the Vinyl !!!! This is a deep cut off Joe’s iconic, “With a Little Help from my Friends” released in 1969. The world is a sadder place without Joe. I miss him.

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!