December 30th, 2021

“Hau’oli Makahiki Hou”, or “Happy New Year” in Hawaiian.

Here on the southern tip of the left coast, we have shifted into winter! I am wearing sweat pants. Our weather is stormy wet for about 3 days then sunny then back to wet. We really need the wet part. And the best news of all is that mountains are getting many more feet of snow which will really come in handy this spring and summer.

I hope Santa was good to you. Everyone at our house was very pleased. Even the critters! Georgie got a new toy and treats and Toothless, the cat, got some new bling. During the rainy days this week, I rewatched “Guardians of the Galaxy” again. Groot is still the coolest of the bunch…just sayin.

This week I learned some stuff:
• This week last year, we lost our friend Jack. It’s hard to believe a year has passed. I have lived a pretty much a regret free life. So far. As I get older, they seem to creep in. For example, I wish I had done a better job in journalling and writing the names of people and dates on the back of family photos. I am afraid I am not passing on much information about my family as I could have. I wish I had listened more and said less. I hope everyone I love knows that I love them but I am sure I didn’t say it enough or at the right times.
• December 30th is the 364th day of 2021. Just 369 days till Christmas! On this day in 1813, British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York; Today in 1903, a fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois kills at least 605; In 1916, the Russian mystic and advisor to the Tsar, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin is murdered by a loyalist group led by Prince Felix Yusupov. His frozen, partially-trussed body was discovered in a Moscow river three days later; Today in 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is formed; On this day in 2006, the former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein is executed; Rudyard Kipling, Indian-English author and poet, Nobel Prize laureate, was born today in 1865; Today in 1914, Bert Parks, American actor, singer, television personality, and beauty pageant host, was born; Bo Diddley, American singer-songwriter was born today in 1928; Del Shannon, American singer-songwriter and guitarist was also born today in 1934; Today in 1937, Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born; The Monkees’ Michael Nesmith, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor, was born today in 1942 and shared his birthday with fellow Monkee, Davy Jones born in 1945; Jeff Lynne, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer, was born today in 1947; Tracey Ullman, English-American actress, singer, director, and screenwriter, was born today in 1959; Heidi Fleiss, American procurer, was born today in 1965; Tiger Woods, American golfer, was born today in 1975; Sonny Liston, American boxer, passed away today in 1970; And finally, Rita Levi-Montalcini, Italian neurologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, passed away today in 2012.

Website Update:
This week:
• Starting the new year with a new vocabulary Quiz! YEAH!
• Week two for our Musical Trivia Quiz!
• I have no new recipes for you this week.
• The Home Page quote is from George Addair, ”Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” George said it a long time before we heard, “Luke let go of your fear”.

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.

• Did you know that there is a weird news site out there? It specializes in capturing news events outside of the norm. For example, this week 2 Zebras were returned to their herd at the Atlanta Zoo. Well, that doesn’t sound too strange until you realize that they escaped over 4 months ago. Missing 2 Zebras wandering around the greater Atlanta area for months might be the most tangible evidence that we are looking at our phones just too damn much!

Music Update:
Once again, yours truly takes you on another meander through the dusty cobwebs of my music library. I got 2 new records for Christmas! Thats right, I said RECORDS.. vinyl Whoo hoo! I have set up my configuration to play them and create digital copies of the songs.

This week’s UJT Radio Program:
• Al Kooper and Shuggie Otis — Shuggie’s Shuffle — This cut comes from the their “Kooper Sessions” album released in 1969, a little bit after the famous Super Sessions with Kopper, Stills and Bloomfield. Shuggie was 15 years old when they captured this jam. This guy is the real deal in blues.
• George Benson — Breezin’— George introduced me to instrumental Jazz. On Thursday’s nights, one of Miami’s FM station would do kind of a Venus Flytrap session, where this apparently very loaded dude would whisper into the microphone and play all this great Jazz music. This is the title cut from George’s 1971 release. It became a cross over hit for George.
• Cake — Mustache Man (Wasted) — This is a group that my brother Mike, told me about a while back. It took me a bit to fit them into the rotation. These guys play tight unique music. This cut comes from their “Showroom of Compassion (Deluxe Edition)” album released in 2011.
• Stevie Wonder — Visions — From the Vinyl!!!! This completely brilliant song was released on his iconic, “Innervisions” released in 1973. Stevie, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and a few others had this magic that they shared through the songs that they wrote.
• John Prine – Illegal Smile — You all just sing along now with us on this one. This song was kind of anthem for us newly minted wannabe hippies back in 1971. It was released on John’s first album, “John Prine”. Not to brag but, “NOT ILLEGAL ANYMORE HERE” 🙂
• Derek Trucks Band – Sahib Teri Bandi – Maki Madni – This is a cover of a song written by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a Pakistani vocalist. Derek Trucks band released it on their 2006, “Songlines” album. There is something hypnotic about it for me.

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!