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)

Friday, October 30, 2009

What the Heck

I have been busy at work and have traveling for a while and have not been able to provide you with any extremely humorous or insightful information. During that time I have read, heard, seen or thought about things that make me say “What the Heck?” Here are some of them:

Chastity Bono is becoming a man. As you know, she is the daughter of Sony and Cher. Remember her when she was the cute little blonde tot appearing on the Sonny and Cher show? Her conversion from woman to man is not what makes me say What the Heck. Oh “contrar”, we are frequently seeing men becoming women or women becoming men, so this is not so unusual. Although I must say I am still trying to figure out how they give a woman a “Johnson”, if you know what I mean. When a man wants to become a woman, a simple Swiss Army Knife can do the job. Ok, back to what made me say What the Heck. In this morning’s Huffington Post internet news website, there is an article with a headline that says “Chaz Bono’s Sex Drive Is Up.” Now that is a What the Heck. Is this really news? If my friend Gordon’s sex drive is up I really don’t want to read about it in the Salt Lake Tribune. Can you imagine the conversation with your Mom when she calls?

Mom: Hello Dear how are you?
Me: Fine
Mom: Anything new?
Me: The Lovely Sharon is out of town, the war in Afghanistan is turning more deadly and Chastity Bono’s sex drive is up.
Mom: That’s nice dear, your father says hello.

The John and Kate thing definitely makes me say What the Heck. I will be honest, until a few months ago, I had never heard of John and Kate. I had never seen their show, never knew they had a show, I had never even heard the names John and Kate mentioned together. Then as news articles started appearing mentioning John and Kate and their marriage difficulties, I wondered who they were. I finally asked the Lovely Sharon who John and Kate were. She told me they had a TV show and a lot of kids. The show was about feeding and dressing the kids and stuff like that. I thought Sharon was pulling my leg. You mean actual people are watching a TV show about feeding kids and cleaning the house? I watched an episode that was totally about John making Korean food while Kate was sending email while laying in bed.  Come on, is this the stuff worth spending time on? I cook most of the meals we eat at home. So if you think watching John cook Korean food on TV is entertaining, you should come over to my house and watch me make Risotto in person. It would be like going to the live theater. Hell, I would even give you a glass of wine. Every night there is some news article about John dating, Kate upset, John clearing out the bank out and being ordered to put the money back. Kate had a boob job. John tells the TV network they can’t film any more shows because it is not good for the kids. (These people have so many kids; it is like a litter of puppies.) John and Kate have exploited these kids for years and now he says it is not good for the Kids? Last week there was a news story that John may be dating the OctoMom. Remember her? She was the woman who popped out eight kids at one time while already having a bunch at home. If there were a case for mandatory sterilization, these people should be first in line. I have gone from a virgin, not having heard of these people to now, I know more about them and see them more often than I do my parents or sister. I need to change that.

I read a news story the other day about a young woman who was violently raped and then subsequently denied health insurance because she had a preexisting condition. That is a very serious What the Heck. These insurance companies who want no competition, they extol the virtues of free enterprise, they want no government regulation and they want to deny health coverage because a woman was raped. When I read about this I wonder how any person, Democrat or Republican, could oppose a health insurance option of last resort for people who at the mercy of these corporate jackals. If this is your daughter, would you still say, no public option, the government should not help people get health care coverage. I think not. If this was not a family Blog I would refer to the health insurance companies as “those Bastards”.

One last What the Heck. Last week the Lovely and Sharon and I went to Napa for wine tasting and to a concert in a small town east of San Francisco. We had a lovely time. The concert was by Josh Groban who sang at the home of one of our friends. It was a special evening. One evening we were getting cleaned up and were dressing for dinner. Sharon saw one of my black dress shoes on the hotel room floor. She was putting her makeup on, spied the shoe, turned to me and asked “Did you bring both shoes?” I just looked at her with a What the Heck look. I can’t imagine ever asking her if she brought both the left and the right shoe of a matching pair. Only a woman would ask a man this. A man would never ask a woman or a man if they brought both shoes. A woman would not ask another woman if she brought both shoes, but a woman would definitely ask a man if he brought both shoes. I was totally offended at the question.

When the Lovely Sharon turned back to her makeup, I checked my suit case and was relieved to find the other black shoe.

What the Heck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Off the Beaten Track

Three or four time a year I drive from Salt Lake City to Palm Desert, California. It is about 660 miles from our Utah house to our place in Palm Desert. On most of these trips I drive alone. My favorite part of the drive starts in Primm, Nevada (the border between Nevada and California on I-15). A few miles up I-15 on the California side is the Nipton exit. From this exit to Twentynine Palms, CA (“29 Palms”) is approximately 200 miles of two lane road, one in each direction, across the Mojave Desert. This is wild, isolated desert. Many of the readers of this blog have taken this road and know the area well. When I first took this route, I didn’t like it. I thought it was boring. But now that I have been going this way for more than 12 years, I love it.  I have probably made 100 or more trips counting back and forth. I am awed by the isolated beauty. This area pretty much looks like it did a hundred years ago. There are gigantic Joshua tree cactuses, coyotes, hawks, snakes and other critters.

As you drive through the Mojave Valley Preserve, the first town (if I can call it a town) that you come to is Cima. There only a few buildings standing, most of which are empty. This town started as a railroad town in 1906. There is a general store - post office which seems to be open some of the time. The Lovely Sharon and I stopped here a few years back, bought some stamps and talked to the Irene, the Post Mistress. She looked like she was in her 80’s but seemed very nice and we had a pleasant conversation.

We stopped at the Cima Post Office because I had recently purchased some postage stamps in Salt Lake that were motorcycle pictures and other stamps that looked like baseball cards. I told Sharon that I thought I would save these pretty stamps rather than use them. She responded by asserting that they were not collector stamps and that every post office in America probably had them for sale. When she said this we were 30 or 40 miles from Cima so it got me to thinking. You got it, when we got to the ghost town of Cima, Ca, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, I stopped at this teeny old wooden post office, walked in with the Lovely Sharon and met Ms. Irene. After our greetings and introductions, I casually asked Ms. Irene if she had motorcycle or baseball card stamps. When she said no, I just looked at the Lovely Sharon with a “In your face" smile. Nothing else needed to be said. We did buy some nice Indian blanket stamps.

A few years back my friends Steve and Cathy hit a cow in the early morning light just outside Cima. It totaled their car but thank goodness they were not hurt. The highway patrolman who was called to the crash site told them he was going to shoot the cow to put it out if its misery. He walked close to the cow,point blank, aimed his gun, shot and missed. He had to take another shot to finish off the cow. I think the crash, the gunshots and the overall experience was pretty tough on Steve and Cathy. The worse part of the experience was that my friend Gordon and I were waiting in Palm Desert to play golf with Steve latter that day.   He called us very shaken up while sitting in a crashed car in the middle of nowhere witnessing the assassination of a cow by a trooper who couldn’t shoot straight.  With great sympathy Gordon and I asked Steve if that meant golf was off for the day.

The next town you come to is Kelso, a ghost town and defunct railroad town. The town was built as a railroad station because of its location and nearby springs that provided abundant water. Starting off as what was a simple train depot in the 1920s, the town of Kelso boomed briefly to as many as 2,000 residents in the 1940s, when borax and iron mines opened nearby. Gold and silver were also discovered in the nearby hills of what became known as the Kelso district. The town shrank again when the mines closed after about a decade. Kelso was a base of operations for the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (now part of the Union Pacific). Trains were watered and "helper" locomotives were attached to assist the regular trains in climbing the steep Cima Hill. The distance between Las Vegas and the connection with the Santa Fe line at Daggett was too far for trains without a meal car, so Kelso was a convenient spot for a restaurant stop. The depot building itself was built in 1923 using a Spanish "California mission" building style. It contained boarding rooms for railroad employees and a restaurant for both employees and passengers. It also had a telegraph office and waiting room. Later, a restaurant nicknamed the "Beanery," that served home-style meals was housed in the building. The depot remained in operation until 1986. It was recently renovated to become the Mojave National Preserve's visitor center. Renovation was completed in 2005 and is now open to the public. It’s a beautiful old train station absolutely in the middle of nowhere (see,_California)

From Kelso it is about 40 miles to Amboy. You pass the 600 foot high Kelso Sand Dunes and a number of beautiful rock formations. Seven miles or so out of Amboy you turn on to the National Trails Highway and historic Route 66. Before you get to Amboy you pass the Shoe Tree. The Shoe Tree is a tamarisk tree in which people throw their shoes. There are probably a couple of hundred shoes in the tree. Amboy has the famous Roy’s Restaurant (at leaast the sigb "Roy's" is famous). For interesting photos and info about Amboy check out:,_California

From Amboy it is about 60 Miles to 29 Palms, home of the 29 Palms Marine Base, the world’s largest Marine Base. On the way you pass dozens of abandoned squatter shacks all the same size, the same design and all abandoned. It’s almost eerie to see them standing in the desert, with windows gone, doors gone and no signs of human activity. You can almost hear the wind howl through the empty shacks. You can imagine the odd snake or lizard or scorpion crawling through or resting inside protected from the blistering sun. Who built these, why did they build them. Where did all the residents go and when did they go. Does anyone own these minature homes now?  Do you remember the movie "Dawn of the Dead? Maybe those folks live there.

Twentynine Palms is called the Mural City as many of its commercial buildings have murals painted on them. There are a bunch of barber shops in town, all advertising Marine haircuts. Apparently the Marine Corp has built an Iraqi village in the middle of the desert for training purposes.

If you have not taken this 200 mile adventure, it is worth doing. Don’t just speed through. Look at the beautiful country, the desolation, the rock formations, the abandoned buildings, and the railroad. Keep an eye open for critters. It makes you feel like you are in a different time. You can visualize folks in the 1950’s driving past Roy’s in Amboy when there were taking Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. Remember the Nat King Cole song:

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Naked Guys

I don’t know what’s going on these days but there seems to be a lot of people walking around and doing stuff butt naked. Recent news stories:

• In August 2009, a 51 year old Philadelphia man turned himself in after being identified in home surveillance cameras of two homes he burgled while naked. In one home he stole a laptop. Maybe he needed it to make an online clothing purchase.

• In October 2009, police in Louisiana arrested a 50 year old man who broke into a house. He was caught on a home surveillance camera. During his break in, he was naked, he cooked a meal, ate it and finally took a shower.

• June 2009, GOLDEN, Colo. – Authorities said a naked intruder startled a woman in her home west of Denver, then fled in a sheet to another home where he was discovered wearing women's clothing.

• Dec . 30, 2008 PORTLAND, Ore. - The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said an 88-year-old woman fended off a naked intruder by grabbing the man's crotch and squeezing. Deputy Paul McRedmond said the man got into the house Tuesday through a sliding door. He backed the woman into her living room and pushed her face down onto a chair. That's when the woman reached behind and squeezed. The man tore free and fled.

• In Denver, a fellow tried to break into a pizza shop by going down through the vent over the oven. He was naked as a jay bird. He got stuck in the vent. When employees arrived out the restaurant for the day, there he was suspended in the vent, his legs hanging out. If you don’t believe me about these naked burglars check out :

OK, here are a couple of stories where it wasn’t a burglar who was naked:

•   In August 2009 in Jackson, Michigan  as an intruder rummaged through his living room and his two children slept upstairs, Tim Maynard stood near a doorway, naked and armed with a baseball bat. The burglar came toward him and Maynard swung, breaking the man's jaw and sending him stumbling out a sliding door.”

• September 2009 - LAKE WORTH, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a 91-year-old South Florida man jumped out of bed naked and held an intruder at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

I read a several news stories about naked people ordering food at the McDonald’s drive thru. Google “naked man at McDonald’s drive thru”.  I order a sausage burrito every day at McDonald's, maybe next week I will try out ordering one while in the buff.

• A 40-year old  man in Tallahassee, Florida was tasered and arrested for walking his dog in the nude (him, the dog had a collar on). Apparently the man become belligerent and refused to obey police orders, which led to the tasering. When asked what he was doing, the man told the officer, "Allah told me to watch a Bruce Willis movie and walk the dog".

You know I was thinking about watching a Bruce Willis movie tonight.  Maybe the Dog next door might want to go for a walk.

Ok, you will love this one. Naked Dude orders taco from truck. See

Ok that’s enough of the naked news. I need to get going for the day. I am going to rake the yard. I will of course be naked so drive by if you want to and I will give you a friendly waive.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Neighbor's Dog

My next door neighbors have a Collie (hereinafter referred to solely for purposes of this blog entry as the “Dog”). Hey I am a lawyer and we talk that way even in everyday life: “To Wit”, “Party of the First Part”, “notwithstanding anything else contained herein to the contrary” etc. If you are bothered by my use of such language, (i) please provide me with thirty days written notice of your opposition to the use of legalese in this blog, (ii)  in such notice describe with specificity the exact language you object to, (iii) fully explain why you object to such language, (iv) describe in detail what adverse effects such language has on you and your life, and  (v) finally explain in detail the specific damages or remedies you seek for my use of such language. If you cannot or will not take such action, then please shut the hell up.

OK back on point. The Dog is an outdoor dog and is, on most days and at most times, confined to the neighbor’s backyard. Over the last several years, the Dog and I have become good friends. We talk about current events, sports, women, the healthcare crisis, fire hydrants and other interesting stuff. Sometimes when he is in his front yard and I am in my front yard, we chase cars together. I can't tell how funny it was when we got a neighbor's Buick.   One day last summer we both bit the mailman. Neither the Dog nor I are currently receiving mail.

Although we have a lot in common there are some things I do that he doesn’t do and there are some things he does that I don’t do. For example, he doesn’t have backyard parties, he doesn’t play golf, he doesn’t mow the lawn and he is not bossed around by the Lovely Sharon. As for me, I normally don’t hump legs, pee in the back yard or drag my butt on the ground to scratch an itch. Ok, usually I don’t drag my butt  on the ground but sometimes you just need to scratch that lower body itch and the butt dragging technique is fairly effective.

The neighbors, who are very nice neighbors and lovely people, don’t seem to have a lot of interaction with the Dog. I kind of feel sad for him as he always looks lonely. Maybe it is just my imagination, but it seems like he is in solitary confinement. He looks at me with such sad eyes until I walk over to talk to him. A couple of years ago I started buying doggie treats to give to the Dog. Every time I go out in the back yard or the back deck I give him two treats. He loves it. When he hears my door open or sees me in the yard, he will walk over to our dividing fence and stare at me until I walk over and pet his head and give him his two treats. For a year or so I gave him these little pork chops treats. He loved them.

One day I was at the grocery store looking for a new variety of treats. I spent about 20 minutes analyzing the various choices, different shapes, tastes, sizes, textures; a wide variety of choices that frankly were too many for me. I tensed up making the choice. I finally went with “Beggin Strips”. Curly strips that looked like bacon, tasted like bacon and smelled like bacon. The cartoon dog on the cover of the package looked like he loved em. He was smiling and had his arms wrapped around his tummy. I absolutely knew the Dog would love these treats. I bought two large packages. I was set for a couple of months. When I got home I opened the Beggin Strips and walked out to my patio. The Dog heard me and strolled over to the fence. With pride and excitement, I approached the Dog. He looked at me, I looked at him. He smiled at me, I smiled at him. The moment of truth arrived. I took one of the Beggin Strips out of my pocked and held it out. The Dog looked at it cautiously, smelled it and finally took it in his mouth. He bit the Beggin Strip once, stopped, let it linger on his tongue and then opened his mouth and let the Beggin Strip fall to the ground. It fell into the dirt. He didn’t look down at it, he looked at me with a “What the hell” kind of look. I pulled at the second Beggin Strip and presented to him. He sniffed it, looked at it and then turned his back on me and then walked away. My hand was still outstretched with the offending treat in my palm as he walked away.  Totally rejected by the Dog and feeling dejected, I walked back to my house.

The next day I went back to the grocery store and spent another 20 minutes before I settled on the mini hotdogs treats. I bought two bags and headed back home. With trepidation, I approached the Dog with two mini hotdog treats in hand. I must admit I was nervous. I felt like Bill Clinton telling Hillary about Monica or former Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig telling his wife he was just wide spreader. I expected the worst. We did the dance again. I looked at the Dog, he looked at me with an “Ok , this better be good look” on his face. I held out my hand with the mini hotdog. He looked, smelled and finally let the mini hotdog slide into his mouth. At first there was no chewing. He just left it on his tongue. But then, drool started dripping out of his mouth in long strings. His eyes smiled, his tail wagged and finally he started chewing. Quickly, hungrily he snarfed down the mini hotdog. He looked up and silently asked me for the second hotdog that he knew I had in my pocket. He got it, he ate it, he loved it and all things were now right in the universe.

Two weeks ago, I ran out of the mini hotdogs. I have checked five times for the mini hotdogs but sadly, I now realize my grocery store no longer carries them. Finally I spent about 45 minutes looking for alternatives. I got the chills when I saw the bags of Beggin Strips. I didn’t even touch them. I avoided looking at them. I bought a package of turkey and apple flavored wholesome bits (I am not certain what makes them wholesome).  The Dog doesn’t love them but he tolerates them. So I am covered for a few weeks.

During the last couple of years, the Lovely Sharon has criticized me, made fun of me, and generally disowned me for going to the store to buy dog treats for the neighbor’s Dog. She keeps asking "You are buying dog treats and we don't even have a dog"? She has seemingly considered my dog treat buying actions and my angst arising out of the question of what treats to buy, as totally bizarre and over the edge behavior. I cannot say she is wrong. Like an alcoholic sneaking a drink or a dieter sneaking a doughnut, I found myself sneaking my dog treat purchases so that the Lovely Sharon didn't know what I was doing.

When I arrived home after work tonight, the Lovely Sharon had just got home from the grocery store. She had removed all her purchases from the plastic (not paper) store bags. As I observed the items she had bought, I could only smile when I saw that she had purchased two bags of doggie treats. I said nothing. I held my breath and walked down into the Bud Cave. When I sat in my leather Bud chair, I very quietly said “YESSSS!!!” She is now part of the Dog Treat Brigade.

I hope the Dog likes her selection.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Enough of these Ads

I am not a prude but I am getting pretty tired of  the erectile disfunction ads on tv. They are especially prevalent during sporting events.  I suppose guys are so tied up in tv sports they are unable to get involved in romance.  Or maybe they are tied up in sports, because they can't get involved in romance.  Boston Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is marrried to super model and all around goddess Giselle.  Can you imaging her walking into Tom's man cave in her teeny lingerie with a seductive look, and Tom saying, "Sorry babe I gotta watch NASCAR."

You have seen the one ad where a couple is on the beach sitting in separate bathtubs looking at the sunset.  No wonder the fellow couldn't perform, he must have been exhausted after hauling two cast iron bathtubs to the beach from who knows where.  Can you  imaging even trying to lift one end up by yourself.  If it were me in the situation I can picture getting the following instructions from the Lovely Sharon:

"Listen and listen good buster. First, you are going to drag those two cast iron bathtubs 200 yards across the sand to the edge of the water.  Then you are going to make 40 trips from the hot water spout to the bathtubs with a five gallon can of hot water to fill up each tub.  Then you are gonna come back and get me and walk me to the tub and help me get in.  Then you are gonna go back to the car for wine, wine glasses, cheese and flowers.  Then you are gonna get in the tub and say romantic stuff to me.  When you are done with all that stuff, I expect a pretty stong romantic performance out of you.  Got it?"

Whew, no wonder the poor sap needs a couple of pills.  They could use the same advertisement for high bood pressure pills or for using aspirin to prevent heart attacks.

The other erectile disfunction add that you see a lot is the one where the woman looks seductively at the man, then tosses her magazine away.  His eyes brighten up and he throws the tv remote out into the yard. When your kids or grandkids ask you why he threw the remote in the yard what do you say?  "Its an old world mating ritual."  I think not, you make up some lie.

Today I was in the drive thru at McDonalds for my morning Sausage Burrito. I was listening to the Dan Patrick sport talk radio show when an ad for "adult toys" came on.  Adult toys at 7:15 a.m., oh please.  When your kid or grandkid asks you what is an adult toy what do you say:  Well son, that would be the 38 foot long, 500 horsepower Winnebago, with a built in shower, two tv's and  room for a family of five."

OK enough of that.  Some of you know of the Lovely Sharon's golf shoe collection and about the wedding golf shoes I bought her.  Her wedding golf shoes and a brief article about them are featured on the following website:  Check it out.   The shoes in the picture are her actual shoes from photos I took at Ironwood golf course. It is so nice to be married to a woman with famous feet.  I guess I can wait on the romance pills for a few more months.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Prize

As everyone knows by now, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since the announcement of the award, there has been significant public outcry, approval, disapproval and uncivil dialogue about the prize. I cannot believe the amount of vile statements that has been generated by the award of the Nobel Peace prize to Obama. Calm down people, it is a prize given by a group of judges in Sweden to someone they believe was worthy. Maybe he was worthy, maybe he wasn’t but what bearing does this award have on our personal life, none. Obama did not apply for or seek the award, he said he was surprised. Here is his comment on the award:

“I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 93 individuals and 23 organizations during the last 90 years. Recipients include Henry Kissinger (an architect of the Viet Nam War), Yasser Arafat, several Arab leaders and Israeli leaders (whose countries have been at war forever), the International Atomic Energy Agency, a president of South Korea. Do you think these were worthy recipients? Maybe yes, maybe no, but who cares. It’s an award.

With all of the issues we as Americans have to deal with, wars, economic disasters, foreclosures, health care disaster, tsunami’s, global warming why is anyone spending one minute bitching about the awarding of a prize by some group in Sweden. It was done, its over, you may not agree but who gives a crap? Let’s spend time on something that matters. I imagine the same people critical of the prize being awarded to Obama would have thought it was just peachy if George Bush would have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. I imagine that the same people praising the awarding of the prize to Obama would have spewed vile criticism if the prize had been awarded to Bush.

Let us spend our energy and our time on things that really matter. Let us get over this hateful, ever growing partisan warfare by the right fringe and the left fringe. Let us have meaningful debate over critical issues but let us do so without such vile personal attacks on those with whom we disagree. This personal attack methodology of political dissent seemed to hit full stride during the Clinton years, continued in the Bush years and in my view seems worse than ever.

This blog is suppose to be humorous or touching or something other than overtly political but I can’t tell you how tired I am hearing the barrage of hate, not just differences in opinion, but hate, we hear every day from those who disagree with one matter or another. Hate begats hate; hate causes retribution and revenge. For those who support President Obama, work to get him reelected and his programs approved by congress. For those who disagree with the President and his programs, work to get a new administration in 2012.

If you disagree with this blog entry, leave a comment, call me or send and email. We don’t have to agree with each other but we don’t have to be enemies because of our disagreements.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's Happening?

I have been taking a bunch of pills over the last four or five weeks to treat several different issues. I think the pills, or the combination of the pills, are turning me into a Milquetoast. (Definition: A milquetoast is a weak, ineffectual person. It is derived from the character Caspar Milquetoast from the comic strip The Timid Soul.) If you are silently thanking me for providing the definition; you are welcome.

On Thursday I played golf with my regular group. After the round I realized that I did not insult, belittle, or harass anyone in my group. I complimented my fellow players on good shots and commiserated with them on bad shots. When I realized this, I was abhorred over my lack of rude behavior. Although the fellows in the group have a strong bond and love each other, we are not known for being polite to each other on the golf course. But here I was being nice to everyone for the entire 18 holes. It almost makes me ill to think about. I am surprised someone didn’t ask me to turn in my Man Card.

After golf, we paid and collected our bets. Instead of staying for the Club’s Thursday Evening Home Style Cooking dinner of chicken fried steaks, gravy, mashed potatoes and what have you, I ordered a salad to take home which I ate while drinking a glass of ice water. As I ate dinner I didn’t watch the news or ESPN, I watched Entertainment Tonight. After dinner, I straightened up the kitchen including pushing my chair to the table. If the Lovely Sharon reads this bog entry I expect her to pat me on the head when she gets home because she hates it when I leave my chair out from the table. For her it’s like finger nails on a black board. For me it’s a strategic placement of the chair in a way that only looks haphazard.

When all of this is done, I descended down into the Bud Cave, to watch TV. There is a Nebraska- Missouri football game on but I end up watching the movie “27 Dresses” about a perpetual bride’s maid.

During the movie, I gather a bunch of cords, instructions and ear pieces etc relating to several electronic devices such as Ipods, cameras, phone’s, blue tooth headsets, etc which are in a tangled mess in a drawer in my coffee room. (Yes the Bud Cave has its own windowless room that has a sink and storage shelves, clothes hamper etc where I make coffee every day. Its perfect. I clean it about every six or eight weeks. The Lovely Sharon cleans it every time she walks in the coffee room. Each time muttering and shaking her head.) But I digress, back to the tangled mess issue. I take this tangled mess of stufffffff and separate each item into a pile. Camera stuff here, Ipod stuff here, you get the picture. I am embarrassed to tell you what I did next. Sharon is not home, she is in Palm Desert. The neighbors cannot see me. No one is looking. Only I and the Almighty know what I did next. I put each pile into its own separate baggy and placed each baggy neatly and orderly into the drawer. I am pathetic.

What’s going on here? Has the combination of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol pills turned me into someone who could be a host on a TLC channel home makeover show? Frankly I am nervous. I fear that I may start contemplating window coverings or area rugs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


When I was kid, at any given time I had a one pair of low cut, black converse gym shoes. I used these shoes for playing, for walking, for running, for bike riding, for cutting the lawn, for digging up night crawlers for almost everything. I also had church shoes, baseball cleats and snow boots that I used as necessary. For everything else, I wore my black converse. Today, a person cannot engage in athletic or sporting endeavors without the correct shoes and correct outfits.

If you want to walk, you need walking shoes. If you want to run, you need running shoes. If you buy running shoes, you have to figure out if you need pronation shoes, supination shoes or neutral shoes. If you play basketball, you need basketball shoes. If you play tennis, you need tennis shoes. If you ride a bike, you need bike shoes that may or may not be attached to your pedals. If you engaged in more than one activity, you need cross training shoes.

Yesterday I was looking at a Herrington Enthusiasts Catalogue. You probably get this catalogue also. They offer a wide variety of shoes for use when you are driving your car. These shoes run in price from $59 to $180. Options include: the Lake Como Vented Driving Moc, the Lake Como Nardi Driving Moc, the Piloti Lusso driving shoe and numerous other models of shoes specifically designed and manufactured to be used when you are driving your car.

Come on, do we really need special shoes to drive our car? If I go to the grocery store, I wear my driving shoes in the car, my vegetable selection shoes in the vegetable section, my meat shoes in the meat department and my special checkout line shoes when paying for my groceries. Heck, there would be no room in the cart for groceries with all the shoes I need to bring along. If I stop at the library on my way home, I need my very quiet library shoes.

Yesterday I was going to go workout at the gym. I was going to walk on the treadmill, jog on the treadmill, ride a stationary bike, lift weights and use a rowing machine. I could not decide on what type of shoes to wear and I don’t have cross training shoes. So instead of working out I put on my car driving shoes and drove to Dunkin Donuts for half dozen spudnuts and a quart of milk. I guess I need to buy cross training shoes.

The Lovely Sharon is very big into shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, workout shoes, walking shoes, hang out shoes, dress shoes, sandals, slippers, you name it she has em. As many of you know, her collection of golf shoes is second to none. She is the Imeldo Marcos of golf shoes. (OK I admit it; I buy some of her golf shoes for her). If she doesn’t buy a new pair of golf shoes every couple of weeks I get the shakes. I go through a withdrawal that I can’t cope with and then I go and buy her a pair of Footjoys. I bought her wedding shoes for her, handmade, white leather, Italian golf shoes with red roses embroidered on them.

I do long for the days of yore when we only needed a single pair of black converse gym shoes and yet our life was still simple, fulfilling and wonderful. We were not unfulfilled because we did not have a pair night crawler digging shoes.

The next time the Lovely Sharon asks me to vacuum the Bud Cave, I can, with a straight face, tell her that although I would like to do so, I do not have a pair of vacuuming shoes so she will have to handle it on her own.

Monday, October 5, 2009


“Women”. Just say that single, solitary word to any man and he just looks at you, rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders. If you are a male by just saying to another male that five letter word, “W O M E N”, the guy you are talking to knows exactly what you mean. You don’t need to add anything else. You and he have a DNA link, a commonality of experience, an instinctive bond and timeless knowledge of what is meant by saying that single word. “Women.” This common bond of shared knowledge and understanding no doubt started when humanoids first stood upright and began walking on hind legs. Long before fire was invented. You know very well that when the first male humanoid stood up and started to walk, the first male in the history of the Earth to walk on his hind legs, his female companion who is still using all four limbs to propel herself, looked up and asked “And where do you think you are going?”

All men know that we cannot understand or anticipate what the women in the sphere of our existence are doing, what they are thinking or how they will react to our statements and actions. Remember the blog entry I wrote on August 17th called “The Boss”. Well the Boss is not just your wife, it’s all women.

Today was an interesting day in regards to my interactions with Women. Consider the following:

- The Lovely Sharon left for week in Palm Desert (the weather there will be in the 80’s this week and the weather here in Salt Lake will be in the 50’s so she is gone). I will be working here in Salt Lake all week. Before she left, she told me to keep the kitchen clean, dust and take my pills. I am pretty sure if I left for a week I wouldn’t have the courage to tell her to keep the kitchen clean and dust.

- In response to my Narcissist blog entry of Sunday, my ex-wife (and still dear friend) responded from Brazil, (some 6,000 miles away) that I should knock off eating sausage burritos from McDonald’s. It was nice to hear from her, but the command to knock off the burritos from 6,000 miles away from someone who I have not been married to for 8 years made me sit up straight. I am thinking of sending her an email telling her to knock off eating Brazilian iguana burgers.

- Ms. X, the wife of the Lovely Sharon’s ex-husband, responded to my Narcissist blog by telling me she really didn’t call me a Narcissist (she is highly educated and smart person so I think she is trying to trick me). Maybe she is trying to hypnotize me through the blog so I will forget what was said.

- I walked into my seventh floor office after lunch today and Sheila, a legal assistant (not my legal assistant) is wearing a black outfit, standing in the corner of my office and looking north out my window. My office is on Second East and Second South in downtown Salt Lake. I asked Sheila what she was doing. She said she was looking down toward First South to see if she could see if there was a dead body in front of the old DeCondi’s furniture store. I said ok and started working on a merger agreement. After about 12 minutes with Sheila still in my office looking out the window I asked her if she saw any dead bodies, she said “No, not yet” but she did see a really tall guy who was getting a ticket from a policemen, on Third East. She ultimately left my office and I am sorry to say, no dead body was to be seen.

- Lyndee, another legal assistant at my office brought homemade cookies today. They were beautiful and were sitting on her counter in front of her cubicle. I went to get one and she said “No Way” and moved them away Ok she knows I have the blood sugar problem but it was just another example of another woman controlling a man’s life even if she is not married to that man

- After work, I went to the Tree House Athletic Club for a short workout. I was looking for a parking space and driving slowly down the rows in the parking lot. There was an open space at the far end of the row. A lady in a huge GMC SUV passed the open space and drove toward me. Since she passed the open space I thought great, she is just driving through the row on her way out and I will be able to get the open parking place. Then she stopped and right in front of me she did a three point turn of her GMC that turned into a seven point turn, reversed her course and drove to the empty space. I just sat there in stunned silence looking at her. For me it was like an out-of-body experience where I was looking down at myself and the seven point turn from some higher vantage point. I am pretty sure I could hear a voice whispering "Don't look at the white light."   She ultimately got turned around, parked her car, got out, gave me smile and a friendly wave and walked off. Dumbstruck at what just happened, my soul reunited with my body, I smiled and waved back.

I have been home by myself tonight. I made a manly dinner. I am in the Bud Cave wearing a torn tee shirt and my boxer shorts watching Monday Night Football. I yelled at the TV when stupid plays were made. I played my guitar and sang Hank Williams, Jr. songs, loud and off key (that is how I sing, loud and off key). No women were telling me what to do, taking my parking place, changing the channel or looking for dead bodies. I have been in total control, doing what I wanted to do; doing manly things, no woman bossing me around.

Oh, by the way, after I made myself dinner I cleaned the kitchen and now I have to remember to take my pills before bed time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Narcissist

On Friday I went to dinner at Hidden Valley Country Club where I found myself talking to the current wife (referred to hereafter as Ms X) of my current wife’s (the Lovely Sharon) ex-husband. Go ahead and figure out that chain of who’s who. For a few minutes between our table and Ms. X’s table there had been some mention about this blog whereby Ms X pronounced that she had not read the blog nor even heard of the blog but believed I was a narcissist for writing a blog. The way she said narcissist it sounded a like she was saying I was a leper or animal molester. I initially disagreed with her about me being a narcissist because I knew I was not taking legal or illegal narcotics of any kind. Then I remembered I was taking pills for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So I thought maybe those pills are narcotics and therefore I am a narcissist after all.

Later when looking at the definition of narcissism on the Webster Dictionary on line I learned that narcissism means (1) ego, egoism; and (2) love of or sexual desire for one’s own body. Although the Lovely Sharon is in Palm Desert for more than half the year and during that time I learn to make do, I was pretty sure that Ms X was not asserting that I was a narcissist for writing a blog because I had love of or sexual desire for this overweight, broken down body. That leaves definition number (1) ego, egoism. Now I had to check Webster for ego and egoism which were defined as follows:

     Ego: 1(a) a doctrine that individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action, (b) a doctrine that individual self-interest is the valid end of all actions; and (2) excessive concern for oneself with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance.

     Egoism: (1) concerned with the individual rather than society; (2) taking the ego as the starting point in philosophy or (3)( a) limited in outlook or concern to one's own activities or needs, or (b) self centered, selfish.

So, it was pretty apparent that Ms X’s assertion of my narcissism for writing a blog was not a compliment; although maybe she was referring to egoism definition number (2) that the ego is the starting point in philosophy, but I doubt it.

Last night at dinner in our kitchen I asked Sharon about the narcissist issue and she said that blogs were generally about the writer’s life and therefore by definition, were narcissistic. She then added the caveat that despite her general assertion, she wasn’t saying my blog was narcissistic. My rebuttal was that following  her definition to the logical next step anyone who wrote an autobiography is a narcissist; anyone who gives their personal opinion in a newspaper column or editorial is a narcissist’ and anyone who writes a letter to grandma telling her what was going on in their life is a narcissist. I then made a fatal error in my logical argument when I proclaimed that if I used her logic, what would she think if I said that blondes were generally dumb but I wasn’t saying she was dumb. Yes, you can imagine that the conversation went downhill from there. The dinner conversation stopped like the end of an old 33 1/3 rpm record on a Motorola turnstile where you can just hear static as the records spins aimlessly around. I eventually slithered down into the Bud Cave.

This morning I thought more about this entire narcissist issue and concluded that I have a few options as to the blog:

     A. I can terminate the bog;

     B. I can from hereafter only discuss matters in the blog that have no direct relationship to my life such as (i) junior high school English curriculums, (ii) historical studies of small towns in mid-western states and (iii) the life of some fellow named Bob who is married to the Lovely Thema; or

     C. I can say screw it and blog on in my own narcissistic manner.

I choose C so:

This morning I woke up at 5:00 am, brushed my teeth, made coffee, read the news and then wrote a blog about what a narcissist I am.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ted's Head

Former baseball great Ted Williams was frozen, or at least his head was frozen, after his death.  For some reason his head was severed from his body in connection with the cryonics process.  I knew about this when it occured a few years ago. There was a big fight between members of Ted's family over the freezing issue.  I am still wondering why the head was removed from his body because I thought that the purpose of freezing the deceased was to keep him frozen until they could find a cure for what killed him.  If Ted was dethawed and brought back to life, he would look fairly odd without his head.  Where would he put his baseball hat?   Where would he wear his sun glasses.  How would he listen to his Ipod?    He arranges to meet a blind date at a restaurant. She says "I will wear an orchid in my hair so you will recognize me."  He says "I will be the guy without the head." 

Anyway the news about Ted is as follows:

"The New York Daily News is reporting that Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams' severed head was mistreated at an Arizona cryonics facility, according to details from a new book.   In "Frozen," Larry Johnson, a former executive at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., writes that Williams' head, which had been severed and frozen for storage, was abused at the facility. Johnson claims a technician took baseball-like swings at Williams' frozen head with a monkey wrench. Williams, the last player to hit over .400 in a season, died in 2002 at age 83 and had his remains sent to Alcor for cryogenic storage in the hope that future generations would develop the technology to revive him."

What kind of person would be wacking on a frozen head with a monkey wrench? (Ok there are a couple of guys I golf with on Thursday that might). What would the guy say when, after getting home from work, his wife asks him "How was your day dear, anything interesting happen at the office?"   His response "No same old stuff."

This is not the guy you would want to house sit your cat while you are out of town.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Old Friend

Last night, the last day of September, 2009, I was pleased to meet an old friend for dinner. My friend Mike lives in Minneapolis but came to Salt Lake yesterday to visit an ailing uncle. I have only seen Mike a handful of times in the last 30 years. We met, became acquainted and ultimately became friends in high school. We played football together, we were in the chorus and the Madrigals together and on a couple of occasions sang duets while playing the guitar. As he said last night, "we hung out together".

After high school Mike went to the Air Force Academy and then served our country as a fighter pilot for 15 years. He has been a commercial airline pilot since his retirement from the Air Force. Mike was always a smart, kind, hard working person who set his goals and achieved them.  I have always been proud of him.

I arrived at the restaurant first and after a few minutes at my table I looked up to see him walking toward me with the same smile and clear eyes he had in high school. We talked of common experiences, old friends and old memories. We talked about each of our divorces and remarriages. He described what it felt like to pilot an F-15 fighter jet. As we talked of things past and present, it was hard to believe that we had seen each other only four or five times in the last 30 years but yet, there was no gulf or awkwardness from our divergent paths in life and our separation in time and space.

We spent two hours together but it seemed like only a few minutes. As I left the restaurant and walked to my car in the light rain and cold night air, I thought of how integral friendships are to the fabric of our lives. As I drove home, I thought back on the last 38 years. The friends I had, the friends I have. How we have shared in each other’s joys and sorrows.

Our lives are not measured by momentous or thundering occasions and events, rather our lives our measured by the ever quickening daily activities that we engage in. Work, families, friends, errands, chores, yard work, recreation and the little things that we do each day shape us and become the history of our lives. Most folks won't invent some wonderful product or write a meaningful book or paint a revered painting.  We will just get up, go to work and come back home.  We will just fill in our spare time with the simple pleasures of life and trying to bettter ourselves, our families and our friends.

Hug your family, hug your friends, they are what life is about.