December 28th, 2023 

“ Dobroho ranku”, or “Good Morning!” in Ukrainian, an Eastern Slavic language spoken mainly in Ukraine.  I have decided that the UJT will remain focused on Ukraine until we can all rejoice at the end of hostilities.  It has been 665 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.

This week I learned some stuff:

    • I hope you enjoyed a happy and safe holiday. We got to see our favorite son and youngest granddaughter right after Christmas. Chloe just got her learner’s permit so her dad decided it was a good time to take a road trip. After a few days, they took off in Chloe’s “new to her” (passed down from her aunt Jessica) car to return to Texas. 
    • The plumber got sick so we won’t have our shower back in service till next week sometime.
    • Four years ago today, we lost our friend Jack Keller. Those of us who were lucky enough to name Jack amongst our friends should raise our glass and toast our departed friend tonight.
    • We had a very rare honest-to-goodness thunderstorm here in Jacaranda Land this week.
    • December 28th is the  355th day of 2023—just 5 days till Christmas.  You can find out all about December 28th in history here.
    • Nuclear fusion, probably the only thing that can save our species and planet, has now been replicated 4 times! This is the hope of our children and grandchildren. Unlike fossil fuels nuclear fusion creates energy without pollution and unlike nuclear fission fuels, does not create nuclear waste. Humans may be able to create a world where the environment can recover from past pollutants and enjoy virtually free limitless energy. If we can keep from killing ourselves and the planet long enough. 

This week’s Website Update:

    • A New Vocabulary Quiz!!.  Week two for the Music Trivia Quiz.
    • This week I realized that I never published my Sausage Stuffed Portobello recipe.
    • The Home Page quote for this week’s wisdom is from Leonardo  da vinci: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.     

Writing, Ceramics, Bonsai Trees, Stained Glass, and Painting Update:  

      • No more ceramics class or watercolor classes this year.
      • I have become a hoarder I think. My office is kind of packed to shoulder height with assorted crap- works in progress if you will.
      • This week’s dream-inspired creativity was centered on cooking and prioritizing and planning my projects.


    • I hear all this stuff about AI. I am not sure we can go very far down that path until we are no longer defeated repeatedly by scotch tape!!! It just seemed that this year the wrapping of the gifts was measurably more challenging. Immediately after pulling the tape from its dispenser it securely fastens itself around your fingertip while you are trying to hold the fold in the paper with the other!!! And that’s another thing… why do we call it a dispenser when in fact you are dispensing the tape?!!! In 2024 I propose we challenge our AI technology to either stop the tape from wrapping around your finger or a way to include a valium to be dispensed with the tape!!! What Say You???

Music Update:  

Here is a new batch of music for you to try out. What did you all think of the newly released Beatles’ song, “Now and Then”?? I liked it. Perhaps, it enjoys the same loving nostalgia that “Equal Strain on All Parts” by Jimmy Buffett released just after his death. But the caliber of work on both is exemplary, in my opinion.  I also wanted to apologize for the inadvertent addition to the posted playlist. I fixed it but it was out there for a bit.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:

    • John Prine — Paradise —We said our goodbyes to John in April 2021.  The first time I heard this song, a young fella from Colorado covered it in a little bar called, The Red Mule on Olney St in Norfolk, VA. I fell in love with the song and during a break he told me it was from John Prine. I hope this came true for John, “… let my ashes float down the Green River Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’…” Paradise is a cut off his debut album, “John Prine” released in 1971. Thanks John”
    • Tommy Emmanuel    Tall Fiddler — This is a deep from his “Endless Road” album released in 2005.
    • Bruce Cockburn  — Lovers in a Dangerous Time — This guy has just captured me as a fan. His songwriting is so strong. He has an interesting mind. This one is from 2007 release, “Anythng, Anytime, Anywhere”.
    • Bob Weir— Jump for Joy — My brother Mike shared this one with me. I had never heard it before.  This is from his 1976 solo release, “Kingfish”.
    • John Waite — Missing You — This song always connects me with a dark sad period of my life. I remember driving my 1968 Microbus, Urge down the highway with this cranked up, singing along with tears streaming down my face. This is from his “No Brakes” album released in 1984.
    • Johnny A. —  Get Inside — I have no recollection of how I came to know about Johnny A but I have enjoyed his music a lot! This is the title cut from his  2004 release

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!