December 12th, 2019

“Mwaramutse!” or “Good Morning” in Kinyarwanda, a Bantu language spoken in mainly in Rwanda.

I know I said that there would be no UJT Updates from this week to the first week in January 2020 but that was a misstatement. First, I made the time to do the email this week. Secondly, I will be updating the site whenever I can and have something to change but I won’t be publishing this blog email thing until I get back from Tx. So if you visit the site during the holidays, don’t be surprised if you find changes to music, recipes or other stuff (corrections more than likely).

There was a terrible volcano eruption this week on White Island, NZ. Please keep a good thought for all those folks who have been impacted by mother nature’s fury. I have a dear friend who lives approximately 400km from there and have sent her an email but I am not sure what the situation is there so she may not even get it for awhile.

I guess by now, everyone has figured out how I feel about SCROTUS and his cadre of miscreants but I am afraid these impeachment hearings are not having the effect desired by the administration’s opponents. I won’t pretend to have listened to all of it or even most of the public hearings – As I have gotten older, I find my tolerance for political posturing and windage has been reduced and I never could stand it much anyway. I have heard enough though to take away a very negative impression of the whole process and the “leaders” performing in the circus. Our representatives stand up on TV and bluster past each other on every point. If either side as a substantial point the other side never addresses it choosing instead to simply bluster louder pointing in some other direction where they wish the public to look. It seemed to me that morons in the House on both sides of the isle, are treating the American public like 2 year olds they want to distract from eating the dog’s biscuit, with various forms of “Look Over Here Dear!”. Instead of conducting an honest discourse on the serious allegations that have been made against this administration, both sides are content to simply repeat their party’s chosen mantra with increasing volume and frequency. If nothing else, this performance demonstrates how far our political “leadership” has slipped in terms of character, courage and honesty. I used to believe that the American people deserved more from their governmental leadership but now I am not so sure. Perhaps these bozo’s are simply a reflection of how far we, as a people, have slipped in terms of character, courage and honesty. I hope not because that is not a comforting thought.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learn a lot from dreaming. I am one of those fortunate folks who remembers some of what my mind was upto while my body was recuperating. Last night, I dreamed about some events that personally affected me. I remembered the “Town Hall” meeting that Dick Brown held at NMCI in San Diego right before he took his $54million bonus. I was completely unimpressed with Dick’s performance and his evasive answers to questions. I “grew up” in EDS with real leaders that took on the tough questions. I remember just shaking my head as a left the building. Following that was my memory of a meeting that I had with Micheal Jordon, Jeff Heller and Mike Koehler to work out some key elements of the during the NMCI P232 contract project. It was my first and only time to meet Michael Jordon and I was completely impressed with his grasp of the information and the questions he asked. During my time at EDS, I had a few opportunities to talk with Jeff Heller and very early on, he became my hero in terms of business leadership. I was overjoyed when Jeff came out of retirement to help Michael Jordon dig us out of the the hole that Dick Brown dug. Mike Koehler fit right into that group as well. His leadership at NMCI made all the difference. His success since NMCI has dazzled even some of his early fans like me. I get very nostalgic for the opportunities that I have had to work for and with great leaders that I have known at EDS. The thing that made that particular company great was a long, long list of principled stewards of people and business who lead the way for me and others to discover what we could accomplish as a team.
• December 12th is the 346th day of the year (leaving only 13 days till Christmas!). On this day in1862, the USS Cairo was sunk on the Yazoo River during the American Civil War. The Cairo was the first armored ship sunk by a controlled mine; In 1917, Father Flanagan founded Boys Town, a farm/village for wayward boys;1941, Adolf Hitler declares the imminent extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery; In 1963. Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom; In 2000, The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore; In 2012, North Korea successfully launches its first satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, using an Unha-3 carrier rocket; In 2015, The Paris Agreement relating to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is adopted; On this day in 1915, Francis Albert Sinatra was born; Bob Barker was born to MC “The Price is Right”; In 1943, Dicky Betts of the Allman Brothers was born today; Hank Williams III, 3rd generation country songwriter and guitarist was born in 1972; Ian Stewart, Scottish keyboard player and manager, co-founder of the Rolling Stones passed away on this day in 1985 and we also lost on this day, Lawton Chiles, soldier, lawyer and politician and the 41st Governor of the State of Florida.

Website Update:
• The next “New” Vocabulary Quiz will be in 2020.
• The Music Triva quiz will be back in 2020.
• I put up a new recipes that I think you might enjoy. Try the Sweet Potato Banana Magic with your Christmas dinner this year.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• With the backyard project and the fact that we had no classes during the Thanksgiving holiday week, I didn’t do much painting or ceramics this week.
• Grandpa Stories is still not re-published.

• Squatting. If you want to squat (sit on your heels) for any length of time in your old age, don’t play football in High School. My assembly of my new Bar-B-Queue island is helping to remind me that this old guy stuff is not for sissies! But we “shall endeavor to persevere” as described by Lone Watie in “The Outlaw Josie Wales. That movie, like so many of Eastwood’s work is packed with great quotes in dialog.

Music Update:

I have no theme in mind for this weeks UJT Radio Selection. These are just a few of the musical textures that enrich our lives so much. Ain’t Life Grand!!!

Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.
• Traffic — The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys — I got to see Dave Mason and his band do this one not so long ago. It was like seeing an old friend after too long apart and still finding the same things make you both smile. One of my all time favorite tunes by a great band.
• The Byrds – Chestnut Mare — I am not a fan of “talking songs” but this one always made me moved me so much the first time I heard it as a very young man and still does today.
• John Mayer —Who Says — A cool little diddle from John’s space case period when he was struggling with figuring out how to live with all the goods and bads of being a very successful rock star. But its still a cool, well written and played song that I love to listen to.
• Ohio Players — Fire — This is the title song of their 1974 release. It’s just funky and makes me smile.
• The Everly Brothers — I’m Tired of Singing My Song in Las Vegas — This is a deep cut from their 1972 release, “Stories We Could Tell”.
• Led Zeppelin — Babe I Gonna Leave You — This is their first album with the Hindenburg zeppelin crashing in flames on the cover. These guys just blew us all away. I had heard of Jimmy Page from his Yardbird days but I had no idea who the others were. This was one of those records made to be played VERY LOUD!!!!
• Donovan – Season of the Witch – Wow!! I always thought that Donovan wrote this song but I learned today it was cowritten by a truly great but almost unheard of musician by the name of Shawn Phillips!! Me and maybe a couple hundred others have loved Shawn Phillips since the early 197Os. He has a great voice and is a gifted guitar player as well. He was the first one to give George Harrison sitar lessons! Patchouli oil, Sandalwood incense smoke, tie dyes t-shirts, day glow posters on the wall, beautiful carved candles and hand crafted leather belts holding up our worn bell bottoms on our skinny asses… this song brings it all back with a smile.

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!