Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orange Man Donald Trump and Freedom of the Press

Orange Man Donald Trump has announced he did not like what the Washington Post had to say about him so he is banning Washington Post reporters from Trump campaign events. Here we are in a free society with first amendment rights and freedom of expression but if the Orange Man does not like what you write, you are out.  The Orange Man has banned various other media outlets and reporters over the last year, including:

Washington Post
Huffington Post
Foreign Policy
Fusion, Univision
Mother Jones
New Hampshire Union Leader
Des Moines Register
Daily Beast

He is also in a fight with the Morning Joe crew,

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron has said that Trump’s action “is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press.”

Trump wants to  'open up' libel laws so he can sue media and collect money.  Here is an article from Politico on 2/26/16:

Donald Trump said on Friday he plans to change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations.

During a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, Trump began his usual tirade against newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, saying they're "losing money" and are "dishonest." The Republican presidential candidate then took a different turn, suggesting that when he's president they'll "have problems."

"One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected," Trump said.

Can you imagine if Trump had to pay something every time he told a lie or half-truth?  The Orange Man may have to sell his plane

Trump ally Roger Stone said that a Trump administration ought to shut CNN down because they peddle propaganda and censor reporting that does not suit their narrative. According to Stone,"When Donald Trump is president, he should turn off their FCC license. They’re not a news organization; they’re about censorship.”

So there you have it, if the Orange Man is elected president there will be a true threat to freedom of press. 

Pretty scary stuff if you ask me.

Donald Trump stuff just gets better and better- or worse and worse.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Early Summer Sunday Morning

Its 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.  I am sitting on a soft chair on our peaceful front porch. The sun is out but it is cool.  It rained hard yesterday afternoon and evening.   It is nice to be sitting here looking at the colorful baskets of flowers sitting in the porch and the steps to the sidewalk. Some of the leaves are still glistening with moisture from yesterday’s rain or the early morning dew. A humming bird keeps flying back to the feeder which is about 15 feet from where I am sitting.  He inserts his long narrow beak into one of the yellow plastic flowers and withdraws some of the sweet water.  He seems to look at me before he flies away.  Probably wondering what I am doing.  He leaves in a quick manner but a few minutes later he is back and the overall scene is replayed.

Some 100 feet away from the porch is the golf course at the Hidden Valley Country Club.  The grass is green, a beautiful early summer green, highlighted in some areas by the sun, next to darker green in the shade.  I suppose I could be playing golf but it feels right to be sitting on the porch watching nature around me. I can golf another day.

I have the Sunday New York Times on the table next to me.  I have read most of it but I still have the Book Review section and the Arts & Leisure section to read. I always save those two sections for last. I have a note card and a pen to jot down books to look for, movies and plays to consider and artists to check out on Google.

I have my Ipad ITunes playing as I am listening to jazz and to Josh Groban singing songs from musicals.  I have listened to “Try to Remember” about 3 times. It is a song that always makes me feel nostalgic for an easier time, a simpler time.

My wife. the Lovely Sharon is in the bedroom, just on the other side of the brick wall of the porch.  She is still wearing a short black robe over her jammies as she is going through her makeup drawer and straightening up whatever it is she thinks needs straightening up.  Its hard to think of her just sitting around, as I am apt to be doing at any given time, she is always busy doing something that she knows needs to be done but inevitably I don’t realize it needs to be done.

I made us scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns a couple of hours ago and then cleaned up my kitchen mess.  She offered to help, but I told her no, that I would do it.  I finished cleaning the kitchen and since then have been sitting on the porch.

We have been working hard on the yard the last couple of weekends and I think I will just bum out today.

Just as I was about to post this, friends Jackie and Randy Rogers called to me from the golf course and I scurried to the fence to say good morning. After a short greeting they went to the green to putt out and I walked back to the porch.

ITunes just changed to Miles Davis; an album he recorded in Paris. I need to post this and then finish reading the New York Times.

A lovely early summer Sunday morning.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Quotes from Donald Trump and Others

I think you can judge a man's character and what is in a man's heart and soul by his words. We say what we think about. We act upon what we say. We inspire others to be better, to do better by our words.

Lincoln, FDR, JKJ, Gandhi and Churchill have inspired the world to act through their words. I have set forth below quotes of Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump for your consideration:

Bobby Kennedy Quotes

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope ... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."

If we would lead outside our borders, if we would help those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind, we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men within our own nations — barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance.

"Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired."

Ronald Reagan Quotes

"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph.  And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."

"No arsenal ... is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

"The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated."

"There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder."

Donald Trump Quotes 

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”

“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”

"Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [Republican rival Marco Rubio] referred to my hands: 'If they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee."

“Who knows?" –Donald Trump, when asked if he would start a war with China as president, New York Times interview, March 25, 2016

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's, like, incredible.”

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever." –Donald Trump, insulting Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly over questions she asked during the first Republican primary debate

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists."

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?" –Donald Trump on Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina

"A person who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10." –Donald Trump

"Women: You have to treat them like shit." –Donald Trump

“A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States'

'I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”.

“The judge has an absolute conflict” in handling the case because he is “of Mexican heritage.”

My Last Thoughts

I really don't have to add anything to this post, just read the quotes and think about them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Is Trump Still Mentally Ill?

This post is a follow up to my most recent post where I wondered if Trump is mentally ill.  In that post I made several references to Trump claiming on many occasions that he did not say what he in fact previously said.  He is at it again. Now he claims his various comments about the bias of a federal judge have been “misconstrued”.

The Washington Post has written that:

Trump has repeatedly argued in recent weeks that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel should recuse himself from presiding over two lawsuits against the Trump University for-profit education business, in which Trump is a central party, because "he's a Mexican." Trump's suggestion that the judge's ethnic background posed a conflict of interest that made him unfit to preside over the lawsuits stunned political observers and prompted prominent members of the Republican establishment to sharply denounce his remarks.

So now that Trump is getting hammered by the press, Democrats and Republicans, he again comes up with the claim that what he said is not what he said, and that everybody else in America has misconstrued his words.  Oh, then I guess that must be ok Donald, so I suppose that those of us who read and heard your plain words that the judge was a Mexican and therefore could not be fair should now just say “never mind”.

I suppose that your comment that a Muslim judge would be bias because of your anti- Muslims comments, was also misconstrued.

It would be appear to me Donald that based on your analysis that the only judge that would treat you fairly and without bias would be someone like you. I suppose a call should go out for an asshole.

Oh Donald, just because you tell us a red shirt is blue does not make it blue.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Is Donald Trump mentally Ill?

I am not a Trump fan. I am not a Hillary fan.  For the first time in my voting life, starting in 1972, there is not a presidential candidate that I want to be my president. That thought alone makes me sad.  That thought alone make me frightened for the future of our country.  I initially thought Trump was an uninformed showman and dismissed the possibility that he could be the Republican nominee for president let alone that he could possibly be the president of the United States.  Now it is apparent that he will be the Republican nominee and there is a good chance he will be elected president. I no longer think Trump is a joke.

Trump may or may not be a racist.  He may or may not be uninformed about foreign policy.  He may or may not care about constitutional rights for minorities.  He may or may not care about the rule of law.  Each of those things scare me but more and more I am thinking that Trump is unbalanced, maybe even mentally ill.

It seems that every day his asserted positions change from those he expressed the day before.  Not only does his position change but he claims he never said what he previously said. 

When Trump was in New Mexico last month for a rally, the Republican Governor of New Mexico (Susana Martinez) did not attend the rally.  That caused Trump to go on a bizarre rant during the rally about Governor Martinez allowing large numbers of Syrian refugees into New Mexico and that she was not doing her job as governor.   Over and over he said “she was not doing her job” as Governor. He said that “maybe he would run for Governor.”  Apparently, since Martinez has been governor only ten Syrian refugees that have come to New Mexico but her sin was not coming to his rally.  Nine days later Donald Trump says he wants Governor Martinez’s endorsement. He stated

“I’d like to have it,” (her endorsement) the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Thursday. “I respect her. I have always liked her.”

Does that sound like he likes her or has always respected her? Did he forget what he said at the rally?

Over and over again, Trump has said something and then reversed his position, sometimes several times in 2 or 3 days and then claimed he never said what he said. It is not a mere point of a person having a heart felt change of a position after thoughtful consideration, he has claimed that he never said what he previously said. 

Is he a liar or is he in fact delusional?

In the middle of a campaign Trump has continued to take time to allege that a federal judge presiding in a civil fraud case against Trump is unable to fairly preside in the case because the judge is “Mexican” and Trump wants to build the wall. In fact, the judge is an American citizen born in Indiana.  Trump followed that up by saying that if the judge was Muslim he too would be biased against Trump.  If Trump is elected president, who would he nominate as judges, old orange men with goofy hair?

Trump’s behavior is not merely “just politics”.  I believe he has some problem. If your son, daughter, friend or spouse, over and over told you something totally different that he or she previously said and then claimed he or she never previously said what they in fact said, you would wonder if they had a memory problem or a psychological problem. 

Are they a serial and pathological liar or are they mentally ill?  It would seem to be one of those options.  Which would be worse for a president of the United States to be; a serial and pathological liar or mentally ill. 

Trump does not talk about coherent policy positions rather he personally insults and attacks people.  In the last year how many times have you heard Trump insult and personally attack someone that did not totally support him or agree with him? Dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times? 

Liars, cheaters, criminals, losers, involved in the Kennedy assassination, sleazebag, blood coming out of “wherever”, Mexicans” are rapists, let’s kill the family members of terrorists, regardless of international law I will make the military do what I tell them. John McCain is not a war hero “I like people that weren’t captured.”

It is not just that I might disagree with Trumps’ political positions, I disagree with most of my friends, I genuinely believe something is wrong with Trump.  As people used to say about strangely acting people, he is not right in the head.

Conservative, Republican Columnist Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal has referred to Trump as a “Crazy Man”.  

This week, TV journalist Mika Brzezinski said Trump looks “Unhinged”.

Delusional? Crazy Man? Unhinged? Mentally ill?  I don’t know for certain, but to my untrained eye it certainly feels that way.

If Trump were your six year old son, you would put in him time out.  If he were your grandpa would you be thinking about putting him in a home?  Maybe.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Coffee Filters Redux

Here is a post from 2010.  It was one of my favorites.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Coffee Filters

I woke up at 4:17 a.m. I have a 7:30 a.m. phone conference with another lawyer in Salt Lake and some investment bankers in New York. Between now and then and I want to read the online news, read some email and documents related to the phone conference, write in this blog, and have a cup of coffee. Although, coffee is listed last in the list of tasks set forth above, in actuality, the first thing I want to do is make coffee so I can drink a cup while I do the other things. I walked into the kitchen put water in the black Cuisinart coffee maker and looked for the paper cone-shaped coffee filters. There weren’t any. We keep the coffee paraphernalia in a two shelf lazy-susan type of cupboard under the coffee pot. In this cupboard there is creamer, decaf coffee, regular coffee, travel coffee cups, sweetener and there are supposed to be filters. There are no filters. It is now 4:19 a.m. and there are no coffee filters in the coffee paraphernalia cupboard.

We have to have filters somewhere, but where? I look in the food pantry cupboard. I pull everything off the several shelves, guess what? No filters in there. I look in the drawer where we store baggies, garbage sacks etc. Surely there must be coffee filters in there. Oh contrar, there are no filters there. I then thought they must be in the storage pantry in the garage. I walk into the garage, open the pantry cupboard and I see all kinds of stuff in there but I don’t see coffee filters.

When we buy coffee filters at Costco, they come in 500 packs wrapped in clear plastic. You can’t miss them if they are on a shelf. If we buy the filters at a regular grocery store we buy the No. 4 cone-shaped Melitta filters in a green and red box. You know the brand. If you think cone shape coffee filters, you think of that green and red box. Those boxes hold a 100 filters. If you have a boxed stored, its distinctive green and red package is unmistakable. You see that box and you know what’s in it. I can find no green and red box of No.4 Melitta cone-shaped filters anywhere.

A scary thought comes to me, and I mean really scary. I need to wake up the Lovely Sharon (it’s now 4:30 a.m.), and ask her if we have any coffee filters. This is a highly risky thing to do. She does not like to get up early. She was at a birthday party last night attended only by women. Some 50 to 60 women were supposed to be there. Before the party I was told there might be some professional women golfers in attendance since the two birthday ladies were previously professional golfers. I was asleep when she arrived home so I did not hear the details of the party. It occurs to me that if I wake her up at 4:30 to ask if we have any coffee filters, the rest of the day will not go well. But I really would like to make me a cup of coffee. Yesterday’s filter is still in the coffee maker but it is still wet and filled with yesterday’s coffee grounds. There is no way I am gonna do a reuse. There have to be coffee filters somewhere in this house.

I am pacing around bare foot in a tee shirt and boxer shorts. They are nice boxer shorts. Sharon bought them for me for Halloween. They are black silk with ghosts and the words “Boo” printed all over them. Ok forget that, my shorts are not the issue here. The issue is the evasive coffee filters and my emotional dilemma of whether to wake the Lovely Sharon up or not. To be honest, I don’t know what to do. It might be safer to wake up a neighbor at 4:30 to see if they have any filters. But if I do that, I will have to put pants on. I really don’t want to put pants on at 4:30.

No I have three options, (i) wake up the Lovely Sharon, (ii) forget the coffee, or (iii) look one more time. If I go with alternative 1 what would be my strategy? I could tiptoe into the dark bedroom and nudge her awake. I have done this before and I must say, it usually does not go well if it’s before 7:30 a.m. She would not doubt ask “what?” in a sleepy but irritated voice. How would I respond? I guess I could say:

“Are you ok? You must have been having a bad dream? By the way do we have any coffee filters?”

If she was having a bad dream this could work. If she was not having a bad dream, I would be toast. I decide the “wake up” the Lovely Sharon alternative is in fact the worse alternative. I then consider not having coffee. This too is not an acceptable alternative. I decide to make one more search of the garage pantry.

I open the pantry door. I move stuff around, I look behind stuff. I see bottled water, chips, diet coke, crackers, and Fig Newtons. Hey wait, the Lovely Sharon is always hammering on me to eat better but yet I discover a hidden stash of Fig Newton cookies in the garage pantry behind a six pack of Perrier water. Maybe I “should” wake her up and discuss the Fig Newtons. What is she going to say?

“They are not mine. Someone must have broken into the garage and left them.”

I don’t think so, but I decide to let the Fig Newton issue alone and keep searching.

I see something. It’s not the Costco plastic package of filters nor is it the green and red Melitta box of filters. It’s an orange box of something. There are actually two identical orange boxes of something. The same size and shape as the Melitta box. I pick one up and read the label- Connaisseur # 4 cone coffee filters. There is a happy looking sun printed on the box. I know just how it feels. I now feel happy too.

I go back into the house and make the coffee. All things are right in Mudville. Now, on to reading the morning online news. Have a good day.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Stein Eriksen

Utah’s own, Stein Eriksen has passed away. The following is from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah ski legend Stein Eriksen died Sunday at his home in Park City, surrounded by his family, Deer Valley Resort said in a statement. Eriksen was 88.

Known for decades for his impeccable style and panache on skis, Eriksen won the gold medal in giant slalom and the silver in slalom at the 1952 Winter Olympics in his hometown of Oslo, Norway. After winning three gold medals at the World Championships in Sweden in 1954, he immigrated to the United States, working in Colorado, Vermont, California and Michigan before helping to develop Park City Mountain Resort.

He then became director of skiing at Deer Valley, where he served in the role for more than 35 years. A five-star lodge at the resort is named in his honor.

People kind of step aside when they see him coming. They don't do that with other people," longtime friend Jim Gaddis said in 2009, himself as a national champion racer for the University of Utah. 

"They'll say, 'There goes Stein.' People want to watch him. It's just amazing."

Considered a founder of modern skiing, Eriksen developed a forward somersault that is credited as the forerunner of the inverted aerials performed by freestyle skiers today, the resort said.

Eriksen's "celebrity charisma created a special ambiance whether within the Lodge, our restaurant or out on the mountain, that was warm and inviting," said Dennis Suskind, president of Stein Eriksen Lodge, in the resort's statement. "He was a real friend and will be missed."

"Stein has been an integral part of the Deer Valley family since the resort's inception and his presence on the mountain will be profoundly missed," said Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley president and general manager. "His influence in the ski industry and at this resort was infinite and his legacy will always be a fundamental aspect of Deer Valley."

Dear Stein, rest in peace.