Recently Read Books

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  • 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)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Size 7 1/2 Ladies Golf Shoes

We closed up our Palm Desert place for the summer. I drove down to Palm Desert the Thursday before Memorial Day for a weekend of golf and packing. I drove back to Salt Lake on Memorial Day and Sharon arrived back in Salt Lake yesterday.

On the Sunday before I left for Salt Lake, I packed my car. I hung a few golf shirts on a rack in the back seat; a couple of pair of shorts joined them. Of course I packed my golf clubs, a couple of new boxes of balls and a few books. I made room for some wine and boxes of food from the pantry. I thought that I made good use of the space in my car so I relaxed for the evening.

The Lovely Sharon told me she would check out my packing job and if there was any room left she might carefully put in a couple of pairs of her golf shoes. She has about 120 pairs of golf shoes. I thought, there is not much room left in my car so what harm would there be in including a couple of pairs of her golf shoes.

I got up early on Memorial Day to drive to Salt Lake. Eager to hit the road before sunup, I approached my car. It seemed a little more cramped than when I had finished my packing the night before but it was early and the light wasn't that good. The Lovely Sharon walked me to my car and gave me a kiss and a hug. I wouldn’t see her for a few days so I gazed in her eyes to say goodbye. As I looked romantically at her, she said,

“Don’t open your back doors before you reach Salt Lake.”

I asked why? She quietly said, “Oh no reason, but just be careful.”

I drove back to Salt Lake arriving about 6:00 pm. After getting a bottle of water from the fridge, I started my unpacking of the car. I opened the back door on the passenger side and for the next three minutes I watched ladies golf shoes pour out of my backseat onto the driveway. I just stood there in almost a religious awe as size 7 ½ ladies golf spikes flowed out of the car, like sand being dumped on a driveway by a dump truck. As the size of the pile diminished in the car and grew on the driveway, I had to step a couple of paces back so as to not become entombed. I have seen some movies where people were buried alive and I did not want to be the subject of a future film so I just backed up. The shoes continue to flow, albeit a little slower than the initial velocity. They were red, black, blue, white (make that numerous pairs of a wide variety of shades of white), two tone, three tones, sandal types. The variety was staggering.

When at last the rumbling of the cascade of shoes stopped, there was an eerie silence in the neighborhood. It seemed that even the birds were quiet. Realizing I was now out of harms way, I set my bottle of water down, and began the cleanup. I picked up each of the 164 shoes which make up 82 pairs of golf shoes that were piled in the driveway. I took the shoes into the garage where I built a golf shoe pyramid which would welcome the Lovely Sharon home.

Moral of the story: Next time I will hide my car keys when I am done packing the car.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Amy Mickelson

Like many of you, yesterday I learned that Amy Mickelson has breast cancer. The news reported that major surgery is upcoming for her. I was stunned by the news. This beautiful woman, who always seemed to have a smile on her face, with beautiful kids and a famous husband, how can this happen? Unfortunately it seems to happen to too many women, from every walk of society, every day. Think about it, I am certain you personally know at least three or four women who have had to deal with disease on some level. The enormity of the fear and uncertainty that these women and their families have to deal with when learning they have breast cancer is hard to put into words. Will they live? Will they be able to resume normal activities, what will treatment be like?

I remember the panic I felt a couple of years ago when my dear wife had some abnormalities in her breast that required closer analysis through testing. Lucky for us everything seems ok but I can tell you that each year when she gets her mammogram, I am very nervous waiting for the results. As a boy, my 16 year old sister died of cancer. It was not breast cancer, but its toll on our family, especially my parents, has lasted for more than 40 years.

As for Mrs. Mickelson, she seems like someone we know. We see her on TV, we see her with Phil, we see her with her children and we see her with the crowds of golf fans. TV has made pro golfers, and in some circumstances, their families, a part of our life. She is from Sandy, Utah. As a Utahn, I consider her one of ours. I pray for her and her family and I pray for all women and their families who have this battle to face. You may want to say a prayer too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shut Up Already

Here is my list of people I am tired hearing from or hearing about. It contains politicians (Republicans and Democrats) entertainers, professional athletes and others that are famous for no reason whatsoever. I just wish they would go away. You probably have your own list and I may very well be on it.

Dick Cheney, John Edwards, Rod Blagovitch, Michelle Backmann, , Elliot Spitzer, Arlen Spector, Joe the Plumber, Sarah Palin, Octomom, Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens, Michael Vick, Brett Farve, Paris Hilton, Hulk Hogan, ex wife Hogan, daughter Hogan, Wanda Sykes, Mel Gibson, John Daily, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Angelina Jolie, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Sergio Garcia

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Black and Blue

One day a couple of years ago, my wife, the Lovely Sharon and I played golf with another couple. I wore a nice pair of black shorts and a great blue shirt. When we got to the golf course I saw that the other fellow also had on black shorts and a blue shirt.

For the entire round the other poor chap and I were told by our wives that black and blue clothes don’t go together. What were we thinking? Didn’t we look in the mirror?

During our round of golf, the Lovely Sharon told me about my clothing faux pas for twelve holes and his wife did the same to him. Then the ladies seemed to silently agree to a hand off of sorts and for the final six holes his wife told me how bad I looked while the Lovely Sharon provided him with similar condemnation.

The seamless timing of when each wife started criticizing the other husband’s selection in golf attire almost had a choreographed feel to it, like they had practiced this hand off. I am pretty sure if it had been filmed from above it would have looked like synchronized swimming. But I think it wasn’t planned, it was just a god given talent that women seem to have; an inherent instinct. I didn’t even realize it had happened until three holes after it started. That’s when I realized the fashion advice I was receiving was now being provided by his wife while my wife had moved on to him.

By the way, last week I played golf with my buddies in Salt Lake while the Lovely Sharon was still in Palm Desert. I wore a nice pair of black shorts and a great blue shirt. I really looked good.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bookshops

I love to spend time in a bookshop. I love to walk up and down the aisles, looking high and low on the shelves for a hidden gem or something that catches my eye. Generally, I am not looking for a best seller, rather my eyes search for some obscure subject or some specific topic that I have a new found interest in. If I am out of town, I look for something of local interest.

It is interesting to people watch in a bookshop. Generally, the customers are not smiling. Its not that they are unhappy, its just that they are serious as they look for a specific title or just browse to see what's there, old or new. I like the shops where there are soft chairs to sit and spend a few minutes glancing through an interesting book.

I read a lot of information on the internet but what pleasure there is in holding a book in your hand, making notes in the margins for items of importance that you know you will never get back to, or just putting in your bookmark when its time to stop reading.

I have been to London five or six times and everytime I have ventured into Hatchards Bookshop on Piccadilly. This wonderful shop was established in 1797 and has four or five levels seemingly containing everything. I always seem to find a couple of English history books that I probably could not find in the US. I once bought a book at Hatchards about walking through the Yorkshire Dales.

Here are a few other book shops that I particularly like:
Denver: The Tattered Cover.
San Francisco: City Lights, Adobe Books, and Borders on Powell Street
Rome: Anglo American Bookstore (near Spanish Steps)

As a native of Salt Lake City I would be remiss if I did not mention The King's English Bookshop. This small, independent bookshop is a wonderful place to spend an hour or two.

Also in Salt Lake is Ken Sanders Rare Books with its extensive collection about the West.

Treat yourself, turn off the TV and find a bookshop to wander through. Buy your spouse something you want to read. Buy your mom a book. Heck, buy yourself a book. I know you will feel good when you walk out of the shop with a book or two in your shopping bag.

If you have a favorite bookshop, leave a comment and I will check out your favorite shop if I am nearby.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mooning Amtrack

30th Annual Mooning of Amtrak
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Laguna Niguel, California

Everyone has a hobby. Golf, swimming, hiking, scrap booking or what have you. Well it seems that for the last 30 years a growing group of folks have been Mooning (yes I mean pulling your pants down and showing your bare butt mooning) Amtrack trains. A crowd of 10,000 is expected to be showing their collective moons to Amtrack train riders in Laguna Niguel as the California town celebrates the 30th anniversary of the "Mooning of Amtrak."

This year local officials threatened to call off the event after some local residents complained of public drunkenness. After a bit of negotiations, however, the city council has relented and the event will go forward, but with new rules: No more public consumption of alcohol and no more urinating outdoors. Oh well, every worthwhile and important venture or activity must have some rules.

Check out the website for this civic event: http://www.moonamtrak.org/ and you can see photo’s of the participants, train schedules, and helpful historical information.

It is nice to be involved in a community activity isn’t it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Son of the Game

On March 25, 2009, I wrote about the books of James Dodson. Mr. Dodson, wrote for Golf magazine for 20 years. He has written a number of wonderful books. I have been lucky to have developed, at least on my end, a friendship with Mr. Dodson, although we have never met or even spoken. I was bold enough to send him an email a year or so ago and since then we have corresponded by email a few times. Mr. Dodson’s newest book, A Son of the Game has just come out.

After reading A Son of the Game, I can honestly say that if you have a son, a wife or friends that means more to you than you can express, you need to read this book. If you love to play golf with your son, your wife or your friends, you need to read this book. If you have made life altering decisions about the direction you are headed, you need to read this book.

It’s a book about golf but it really isn’t. It’s a book about a journey through a portion of one man’s life and the people who affected that journey; a son, a wife, old friends and new friends. It’s a book about the simple pleasure of sitting on the porch of an old hotel, petting a big orange cat while talking about life. Its a book about walking and talking with your friends about life, golf and philosophy. It’s a book about loving your kids and worrying whether your advice to them is sound and hoping they will make the right decisions. Most poignantly, it’s a book about going home.

Returning to his beloved North Carolina with an idea in the back of his mind about moving back to live and work, he walked through the village of Pinehurst. Hearing church bells in the distance, Mr. Dodson wrote:

“In the near distance, I heard the hourly carillon serenely drifting from the bell tower of the historic Village Chapel, its steeple rising through the longleaf pines. I knew this stately hymn, I realized, “Blessed be the Tie That Binds,” a bittersweet anthem from my vanished boyhood. But for the life of me, having been away too long, I couldn’t recall the words.”

I know you will love the book. It will make you think about your own life. It will help you remember the words of those anthems you remember.