November 19th, 2020

“Ma-ayong aga”, or “Good Morning!” n Hiligaynon (Ilonggo), a Philippine language spoken mainly in Western Visayas in the Philippines. It is Day 245 of the California Lock Down. Each day the numbers worsen and more restrictions are put in place to help protect us. There is progress on vaccine development so the months ahead of us will be much better than the next several weeks.

Have you ever been to a party where some obnoxious drunk who just showed up and simply will not go home no matter how many subtle and not so subtle hints are made. Our national situation seems like that to me. He won’t shut up, stop embarrassing himself and those around him and simply go away.

This week I learned some stuff:
• My grandson got his first paying gig as a artist. I don’t know the details but evidently there was a really large zoom meeting where his work was given a lot fo positive feedback. Well Done BJ!
• My younger brother just celebrated his birthday and I need to find a present. We have been doing the back and forth texting about events in the family, music and other stuff. And under the heading of other stuff, he sent me these pictures of his hobby. He assembles these tiny (the size of a key) metal models of very complex machines, I had never heard of them until he sent me the pictures. It turns out that my grandson BJ has built some and reports as does Mike that working the metal pieces into their proper configuration is challenging and though stressfully rewarding. We got Mike, the Millennium Falcon from Start Wars and within days he had the completed model. It is impressive! Oh and Hobby Lobby!! That place is scary cool!
• Not to get too morbid but every once and awhile I ponder my death. It’s not a fear but an anxiousness and curiosity that makes me contemplate the enviable event that awaits all of us. I have never been this old (took me years to get this way!) so I am not sure if my curiosity is part of the normal process of getting ready for ones passing or not. This time, unbidden, the thought about what I will miss when I am no longer alive invaded my awareness. It was interesting to me because my list included nothing I worked so hard to obtain – the things I leave behind. No, my list is about experiences and people that bring me joy. There is of course a twinge of sadness with this contemplation but thinking about them in that context makes me enjoy them all the more.
• November 19th is the 310th day of the year (because 2020 is a leap year – but there still only 36 days till Christmas!). Today in 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony for the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; On this day in 1942, Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR’s favor.; Today in 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the 6th War Loan Drive, aimed at selling US$14 billion in war bonds to help pay for the war effort; In 1950, US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes Supreme Commander of NATO-Europe; On this day in 1959, The Ford Motor Company announces the discontinuation of the unpopular Edsel; Today in 1979, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran; In 1998, The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton; Also in 1998, Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist Without Beard sells at auction for US$71.5 million; In 2006, Nintendo’s first video game console with motion control, the Wii, is released.; Tommy Dorsey, American trombonist, composer and bandleader was born today in 1905; Peter Drucker, Austrian-American theorist, educator, and author was born today in 1909; Indira Gandhi, Indian politician, 3rd Prime Minister of India is born today in 1917; Larry King, American journalist and talk show host was born today in 1933; Dick Cavett, American actor and talk show host was born today in 1936; Meg Ryan, American actress and producer was born today in 1961; Adam Driver, American actor was born today in 1983; Charles J. Watters, American priest and soldier, Medal of Honor recipient died today in 1967; Stepin Fetchit, American actor, singer, and dancer passed away today in 1985;And finally, Charles Manson, American cult leader and mass murderer passed away today in 2017.

Website Update:
This week we made the following changes:
• A New Vocabulary Quiz!!!!!!
• Week 2 for our UJT Musical Trivia Quiz
• This week I have added a childhood comfort food recipe for you folks – Baked Apples!! I had the occasion to make the Pork Gyros with Tzatziki sauce and Tandoori Chicken this week. I don’t make them often but they were very tasty. Oh! I found this new cooking blog that I am excited about. I will be trying them next week so we might be seeing some new real special UJT recipes soon.

Writing, Ceramics, Stained Glass and Painting Update:
• I have finally got all the stuff I need to start my new stained glass design. Whoohoo!
• This week I managed to attend one of my watercolors classes.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• Maybe its because I have been on my own for so long. Or maybe it is just remarkable, But the US Census Bureau has some of the nicest people working for the organization. For most of my time working as an enumerator, all of the systems – payroll, travel and normal administrative stuff was backed up to the point where I had almost run out of work before my paystubs and travel expenses were completed. But every query I made, or request was met with almost joyful response and eagerness to help. And the follow up! These individuals, just voices on the phone, made sure that I got the answers to my questions in situations where other organizations might have required me to pursue resolution. The poll worker experience was not very different. Everyone has been so nice. I enjoyed both gigs a lot. That might be just because I am bored with my self and happy that someone found a use for me that results in compensation and recognition or it could be that these folks enjoyed going to work as much as I did.

Music Update:

Once again, your fossilized DJ takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my library. This week features a number of, perhaps more eclectic, favorites that I hope you will enjoy.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Adele — Hello — This is another example of this lady’s amazing voice. This is cut from her album “25” released in 2015.
• The Byrds — So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star — Blast from the past comes to us from their “Younger than Yesterday” album released in 1967. I got this from one of their greatest hits complications. I am amazed how many of their songs are just over 2 minutes long.
• Crosby, Stills & Nash — Southern Cross — One my favorite songs written by Stephen and Rick and Micheal Curtis. Originally released in 1982 on their “Daylight Again” album, this version comes from a 1998 compilation album called, “Carry On”.
• Blitzen Trapper – The Tree (feat. Alela Diane) — This one comes from their 2010 release, “Destroyer of the Void (Bonus Track Version)”. It’s another strange song from another strange band but I like it a lot and I hope you do too.
• The Beatles — Here Comes the Sun — This is a deep cut from their iconic, 1969 release, “Abby Road”. Kind of feels right like maybe our national mistake and the pandemic are coming to end.
• Neil Young — Old Man — This one comes from his 1972 release, “Harvest”. This is just a great coming of age song for me filled with lots of memories of my pulling my head out of my teenaged butt and finding out I could make a pretty good man.

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!