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)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Important Stuff I have Been Thinking About

I have been home alone quite a bit for the last 45 days or so and have had plenty of time to think about important things in life. Ideas that need to be explored. Questions that need to be answered. Maybe it will expand your horizons and bring a certain amount of enlightenment to you if I share some of these intellectual and, yes, somewhat mystical ideas, questions and comments with you. Maybe you should not read this essay unless you are relaxed and are enjoying a nice warm cup of herbal tea, or a glass of that special wine. For those of you in a contemplative mood consider the following:

Just how big is a “rounded teaspoon”? I cook fairly often and I find myself frequently making a recipe that calls for a rounded teaspoon of something. I struggle with the concept of exactly just how high above the top edge of the spoon do you go for a properly rounded teaspoon. If you think about it, the volume of spice, or flour or sugar that can be put in a teaspoon can vary tremendously depending on how high you pile it. Does the word “rounded” mean literally what it says “rounded”? I doubt it because if you attempted to make the volume of content exactly round it would fall out of the spoon. Does rounded mean a slight arc above the sides of the spoon? I really don’t know. What is the difference between a rounded teaspoon and a heaping teaspoon? I suppose these culinary mysteries will continue to challenge me.

I just read an article about a Russian Billionaire who bought an island just to house his art collection. I know how the fellow feels. If you have the art and you have the money what’s wrong with spending some of your personal wealth for the beautiful and important things you love. I am thinking about doing the same thing. In this economy my “wealth” has plummeted but I still have enough to buy some things. I have decided to buy a new toaster. My current one does not seem to be doing the trick for me. I don’t want to go crazy so I think I will buy a two slice toaster as opposed to the more expensive and luxurious four slice toaster.

I just read another article that reported that Walmart is going get involved in the war on terror. What does that mean? I imagine while in Walmart you will be hearing announcements like: “There is a blue light special in the diaper department, just go through the body scan and pat down on aisle 13 and grab a couple of bags of diapers made in Malaysia by workers making a dollar a day. If you see anyone that looks suspicious, please let a store employee know. If you see an unattended shopping cart, please notify security immediately”. I think we may be over reacting on everything.

I send a fair number of notes and cards to folks. I think a nice note received in the mail is a little more special than an email even if the email expresses the same sentiments as the written note. Don’t get me wrong, a thank you email or other nice sentiment sent to me by email is well appreciated but I do love to send and receive a note or card delivered by one of God’s own, a member of the US Postal Service. Because I send cards by mail, I buy a fair amount of stamps. The post office has a big variety of wonderful stamps. Stamps that are colorful or historical or whimsical. Stamps celebrating a particular season or holiday. Wonderful stamps are indeed available. A month or so ago I bought some special stamps in addition to the just regular first class stamps. I bought stamps that say “Love”. I bought a sheet of stamps with the black and white photo of old time singer Kate Smith. Finally I bought a sheet of stamps of famous sailors who are each depicted in a black and white photo. In retrospect these were not very good stamp choices.

The persons who in the group of appropriate addressees for the Love stamps is fairly small. I mean I may like someone or even really like someone but do I really want to express the sentiment of Love to such addressee by affixing a stamp that explicitly expresses the concept of Love on the envelope? Not really. So who do I send the Love stamps to? Certainly the Lovely Sharon in a proper candidate. But do I put a Love stamp on the thank you note I send to the yard guy for his good work for the last season? No, I don’t.

The other day I made my car payment and without thinking, I put a Love stamp on my payment to GMAC. I like GMAC, I appreciate their loan that allowed me to buy my Buick Enclave, but I cannot honestly say I love GMAC. Once I put the stamp on the envelope, I was locked in. I could not throw a properly addressed and stamped envelope away could I? So I mailed it. When GMAC gets my payment mailed in an envelope with the word Love on it what social obligations do they have to me? Are they obliged to send me a thank you note? Do they reduce my next payment? Do they invite me to the company picnic next summer? I mean the tax payers bailed out GM and its GMAC subsidiary with millions if not billions in loans and guarantees. As a tax payer I was one of those people helping with the bailouts, right? After I help with the GMAC bailout, I send them an envelope with Love written on the stamp. They must be wondering what I am after.

I have also had a conceptional problem with the Kate Smith stamps and the Naval hero’s stamps. What do I really do with them? They are too unusual to use on regular bills and who would you be sending a note to that upon receipt would think ”What a nice stamp with Kate Smith on it” or “ Wonderful,, Bud sent me a card with a stamp that has William S. Sims on it”. One of the Naval heroes stamp is a black guy whose first name is Doris. Really, a naval hero named Doris? Makes you wonder what is up with the “don’t ask don’t tell” controversy when we have already celebrated in our stamps a fellow named Doris.

The other thing I have been thinking about is the Tea Party leader who suggested that only property owners should be allowed to vote. According to this fellow, if you don’t own property, you should not be allowed to vote. You don’t have enough vested in things to be able to vote as an American citizen. Regardless of your political leanings, do you really want a political movement that wants to take away the right to vote? Remember in the beginning of our country’s history, women could not vote, blacks could not vote and for the most part only white property owners could vote. Is that what the Tea Party wants? Why does this kind of thinking not outrage all of us.? I think I am going to send this guy a letter telling him he is crazy and un-American. I think I will put a Kate Smith stamp on the envelope. Wait, maybe I should put a Love stamp on the envelope. The mixed message between the content of my letter and the Love stamp might drive him crazy.

Kate Smith and I send you holiday wishes.

No comments:

Post a Comment