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)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Few Reviews

I am putting on my amateur critic’s hat and giving you my review of some movies and books I have recently seen and read.  Inasmuch as very few people agree with my opinions and views as to any subject, this blog entry will have limited appeal to anyone except the criminally insane.  I doubt the criminally insane will agree with my views but since they are in fact insane that may find appeal in just reading them and discussing them with the voices inside their head.   The “Bud Rating Scale” is a 0 through 10 point scale as opposed to the normal 4 star scale the professional critics sometime use.  With that preamble here we go:

Midnight in Paris.  This movie was written and directed by Woody Allen.  Woody does not act in the film.  I have wanted to see the movie for quite a while but for some reason I never took the time to see it at the theater.  I watched it on cable on demand over the holidays.  I loved the filmt but the Lovely Sharon thought it was just “ok”.  I give Midnight in Paris 7 points.  I liked the opening of the movie which was several minutes of shots of Paris accompanied by Sidney Bechet's jazzy “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere”.  I like the movie’s sound track which includes songs by Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, Louis Armstrong and Glen Miller among others.  I like the midnight time travel to the 1920’s Paris.  Paris in the 1920’s has always been one of my favorite time periods and locations.  I have read a number of books and articles about the artists, writers and philosophers who congregated in Paris between World War I and World War II.  Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald (and his wife Zelda), Salvador Dali, Josephine Baker and other personalities from Paris of the 1920’s are characters in the movie.  I liked the cinematography and I liked the dialogue.  I liked the movie so much I am going to buy the dvd and also download the sound track from Itunes.

My Week with Marilyn. This film is based upon two books written by Colin Clark about his interaction with Marilyn Monroe during the 1957 filming of the Prince and the Show Girl.  This was another film I ranked a 7 Pointer, almost 8 points.  I have been to England 5 or 6 times and it is one of my favorite destinations.  So I am inclined to like things English.  I loved the period automobiles in the film. I have been watching Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theater.  The actor who plays the head butler in Downton Abbey, Jim Carson, plays the pub owner in My Week with Marilyn.  Now that is interesting.   Michelle Williams portrayal of Marilyn is terrific.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I have not read the book but I did see the Swedish version of this film and have now seen the English language version. I thought Daniel Craig and the rest of cast did a fine job, but the plot and the cinematography were equally dark.  I suppose the film is a favorite of the professional critics but for me I give it 5 points.  The tattooed and body pierced investigator, was smart but seemed to have had a dark and miserable life.  The whole thing was depressing for me.

Lucking Out (My Life Getting Down and Semi Dirty in Seventies New York) – James Wolcott.  Mr. Wolcott writes a column about film, books and other cultural events for Vanity Fair Magazine. He is a good writer and I enjoy his magazine columns but this book gets 3 points from me.  I was glad when I arrived at the last page.  There are no chapters in the book, instead there are several long sections so even the layout of the book was a source of irritation for me.  The book was a description of Mr. Wolcott’s interaction with various writers, critics, musicians, theater people and dancers during the 1970’s when he wrote for the Village Voice.  I suppose if you were one of the in-crowd of these cultural “giants” the book might have been more significant.. But for this Podunk lawyer from Utah, the 1970’s was the time I graduated from high school, graduated from college, graduated from law school and started law practice. I was very busy in that decade.   Pauline Kael, the film critic for the New Yorker during the 1970’s, who is the subject of an entire section of the book, was not someone I knew of during this period and now that I have read about her, it strikes me that I did not miss much.  The book has significant section describing the punk music scene and the porno scene in 1970’s New York.   I have read a few reviews of this book that were highly favorable, I did not particularly like it, did not feel it enhanced my life and did not find it entertaining.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Movies

I like movies.  I watch them at theaters and I watch them at home.  I don’t like the blood and guts movies and while I am not prudish, I don’t like movies with and overabundance of profanity.   I like action movies, I like mysteries, I like chick flicks (by this I mean movies like “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle”), I like film noir, I like movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s, I like comedies.  It is hard to create a list of favorite movies since I can’t remember all of them, but here are some I have enjoyed over the years:

 Bogie Movies: Casa Blanca; Maltese Falcon; The Big Sleep; and Key Largo

Tom Hanks Movies: You’ve Got Mail; Sleepless in Seattle; Cast Away; The Man with One Red Shoe; Saving Private Ryan, Angels and Demons; The Da Vinci Code; Philadelphia; and Forest Gump

 The Thin Man Movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy

Most but not all of the James Bond Movies

The Indian Jones Movies

Clint Eastwood Movies: Grand Torino; all of the Dirty Harry Movies; Absolute Power; In the Line of Fire, Play Misty for Me

 Movies with Book Themes: The Jane Austin Book Club; and 84 Charing Cross Road

Denzel Washington Movies: The Pelican Brief; Remember the Titans; The Bone Collector; and John Q

Robert Redford Movies: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; The Way We Were, Barefoot in the Park; All the President’s Men; Three Days of Condor, Havana; Out of Africa; A River Runs Through It (he did not act in this film)

Foreign Language Films: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Belle de Jour

Most but Not All Woody Allen Movies

Kevin Kline Movies:  The Big Chill; Silverado; Dave; Life as a House; The Emperor’s Club; French Kiss; and In and Out

 This is only my first batch of Favorite Movies.  I will come up with some additional movies and categories and post again.  If you have some favorite movies or favorite categories, post them on this blog or email them to me.  Happy Holidays

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Christmas time.  It is already here and it gets here faster each year.  I have been thinking about what I like about Christmas and what I don’t like about Chruistmas.  I will start with the negatives.

I don’t like the fact the retailers start their Christmas push at Halloween.  It always bothers me that when I go to Kmart wearing a skeleton outfit to pick up Jaclyn Smith household item, like an 8 inch fry pan, there are already artificial Christmas trees out.

I don’t like the entire gift buying process.  If I had my druthers, I would do away with the entire gift buying tradition.  I would limit gifts to something you personally make, to words (letters, poems and stories) you personally put together and to good deeds you personally do.  So in the “Bud Christmas World”, the gifts you give would come from your own hands, from your own brain, or from your own heart. You can buy toys, electronic and gift cards anytime of the year.  For Christmas it would be nice to give and receive gifts of your own creation.

I don’t like it when Christmas Trees are called Holiday Trees.  They are Christmas Trees so call then Christmas Trees.  I have many Jewish friends and I work at the “Jewish” law firm in Salt Lake City. I respect and admire my Jewish friends and the Jewish culture and history.  But a Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree it is not a Holiday Tree.  This time of year is also Hanukkah (‘Chanukkah, or Chanuka”), also known as the Festival of Lights, an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. This is a special and important time for my Jewish friends.  The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of the Menorah. I respect and appreciate this tradition. The Menorah is a Menorah, it is not a Holiday candle stand.  A Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree.

Ok, now for the things I like about Christmas.

I like Christmas music.  I don’t want it to start in November, but in last week or two before Christmas I like to hear it.  In the few days before Christmas I like to sing Christmas songs at Church, in the stores, with friends and family or just by myself.  I like Christmas songs sung their traditional way.  I don’t like Silent Night or White Christmas jazzed up.  When I hear them I want them to sound just as they sounded when I was a boy. 

I like to go to Church during the Christmas season.  Not just once but a couple of times.  I like to hear the speakers talk about being a better person, helping those who need help and about having joy in your heart.  I like to sit in the Church and think about what I should do to be a better person, to help the unfortunate, to be nicer to the Lovely Sharon, to family friends and even strangers.

I like to hear someone read the biblical description of the birth of Jesus.  It’s a simple story.  The words are not fancy, but there is a warmth and peace in the words that I never tire of.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world and everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at ight. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.

I like to hug my friends and family and say “Merry Christmas”.  For me it is just another way of saying I love you and I am so fortunate to be your friend or relative.

I like to watch Christmas movies.  I like the old ones and I like many of the newer ones.  I like the Christmas movies that are on the Lifetime TV network.  In all of these movies, there is conflict or disaster or some other tragic thing or event.  The main characters are sad or angry.  Things are bad.  But events unfold in the movie and life becomes better.  New love is found, families reunite, people begin to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  As the viewer of Christmas movies, I always feel good at the end of the movie.  Remember the sheer excitement and joy Jimmy Stewart portrayed at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, that is what Christmas is about.

I like that people wear red and put on Santa hats and wear them to the grocery store. I like to see a Christmas wreath attached to the front of a car.
I like that in most years I have some time between Christmas and New Year to relax, to be with the Lovely Sharon for more than 3 or 4 days at a time.

To my friends and family and to those I come in contact with I say:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
Christ the Saviour is born!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This Stuff Bounces All Over Like a Ping Pong Ball

I have not written for a while and this entry is a potpourri of random thoughts.

1.  Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my Hidden Valley Country Club men’s golf group.  I have written before about these wonderful men and dear friends.   Wives joined the men last night for a festive dinner.  Unfortunately, the Lovely Sharon is in Palm Desert so I attended the dinner on my own.  We had dinner at an American Legion hall that I had never been to.  It is a blue collar facility that serves great steaks in a festive Christmas atmosphere.  The place was packed.  There were about 17 of us in our group and we talked, sang karaoke and just had a wonderful time. Our pal Steve got hold of the karaoke mike and it was impossible to get him off of the floor.  At one point, he even had three young women (not part of our group) acting as his backup singers.  Steve, and his wife Cathy are dear friends and wonderful people.  Cathy just started a new blog, check it out 

2.  Although I am not a huge Mitt Romney fan, today’s New York Time Magazine had a pretty good article about Mitt. Look at

3.  Only in Utah (from the Salt Lake Tribune):

Utah duck hunter shot in buttocks by his dog
By Bob Mims, The Salt Lake Tribune.  Published: November 30, 2011 02:05PM

There’s probably not a whole lot more humiliating than being shot in the buttocks by your canine buddy. Box Elder County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kevin Potter says that’s what happened at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge while two duck hunters were getting set up for a morning on the water.

"One of the hunters was inside the boat with the dog, and the other hunter was in the water,” Potter said. “The guy in the water had put his 12-gauge shotgun across the bow of their boat.”

It turned out to be a doggone recipe for a painful end to the day’s outing.

“The dog got excited, was jumping around inside the boat and then it jumped on the gun. It went off, shooting the [decoy setter] in the buttocks,” Potter said.

The wounded hunter was transported to Brigham City Community Hospital about 9 a.m. Sunday, where doctors removed the bird shot and released the 46-year-old Brigham City man to nurse his wounds — and pride.  The dog and any ducks within range at the time of the accident were uninjured.

4.  I am going to read Noel Coward's play "Private Lives", a 1930 comedy.  I don't know what made me want to read the play but I am going to track down a copy and read it.

5.  I like Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaugh who tragically died in a plan crash in 1990.  I have some buddies in Chicago who attended his last concert. Check out the following vido clip of his terriffic Pride and Joy -

6.  My book list at the top of this blog does not include all of the books I read.  I probably read or listen to 8 or 10 books for each one I list above.  I just finished reading  "Garden of Secrets Past" by Anthony Elgrin.  It was a fairly good read and is his fifth mystery, all of which are related to English Gardens. His web site is

7.  I watched one of the great "Chick Flicks" yesterday, "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.  I have watched this movie at least 10 times in the last 30 years. I still get teary eyed in the climatic final scene in which Cary Grant real izes that Deborag Kerr had been hit by a car on was unable to walk.

8. I have two wonderful nieces (both of whom, I might add, are University of Utah graduates).  Samantha's husband Tim is an accomplished birder and has a fantastic website.  Check out:

The listing of these totally unrelated topics probably made your head spin.  That is how my goofy brain works.

Best Wishes

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It is Thanksgiving again.  I woke up around 4:30 and made me a cup of coffee and read the online news.  The Lovely Sharon is still asleep and, except for my desk, the house is dark and quiet.  I like this time of day.  It gives me time to catch up on overnight national and world events, to plan my day and to think about life.  Today I am thinking about Thanksgiving, what it really means to me.  

Thanksgiving is a time to spend a week or so with the Lovely Sharon.  Golfing, shopping, doing things together and not doing anything but not doing them together.

According to the Bud calendar, Thanksgiving is the end of autumn.  I think of the summer fun I had.  I think out how fast the last year has gone by.  I think of how many leaves I have raked in the last few months and how many are still on the ground waiting to be covered with snow.

Throughout the year I try to be mindful of and reflect on my good fortune to have the family and friends that I have. Friends who are happy to see me after months apart.  Friends who want to help me and who I want to help.  Friends who you can discuss politics with and still be friends.   Each year through the realities of life our friends and family members face illness and death.  We never know who might be next. I have lost a few friends to deaths this last year.  Tragedies and illness have taken them.   I miss them.  I think about them.  I have friends that face uncertain futures due to illness.  I worry for them.

I am Thankful to be an American.

I am Thankful for my son Alex.  I am Thankful for my parents.  I am Thankful for my sister Tanya and her wonderful husband Scott and their lovely daughters, my nieces.  I am Thankful for my stepsons Shawn and Nick and for Nick’s beautiful and special wife Allie.  I am Thankful that Nick and Allie consider me to be one of the Grandpa’s of their children.

I am Thankful that I am relatively healthy.

I am Thankful that I am still excited about life and the things around me.  I am Thankful that seeing a bird or deer or the autumn leaves still excite me.  I am Thankful that I still want to learn about life, history, current events and the things around me. 

I am Thankful to be married to the Lovely Sharon.  She drives me crazy some of the time and I know I drive her crazy all of the time, but when I am eating Thanksgiving dinner today with dear friends Ray and Kay, I know I will have a tear in my eye as I give Thanks to life with her.

To all my friends, I truly am Thankful for you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jon Huntsman

If I was supreme allied commander of all things politics I would “arrange” for Jon Huntsman to be the 2012 Republican nominee for President. Why you ask?

First and foremost, he is not a right wing crazy.    At Republican debate at the Reagan Museum he said:

"When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, to call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science," Huntsman said. "By making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off."

“To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming,” read a tweet from his personal account. “Call me crazy.”

According to the New York Times, the tweet puts him in direct conflict with both the conservative base and presidential candidate Rick Perry, who has said both that evolution is “just a theory that’s out there and that climate change is based on data that has been manipulated by scientists.

Second he looks at things in more of a reasonable rather than solely partisan manner.

He accepted this past summer’s debt ceiling compromise was appropriate.
He has express support for civil unions
He does not advocate “curing” gay people
His campaign is not one of personal attack
His political donations history reflect donations to republicans and democrats

Third, he is informed and Experienced.  

Unlike Herman Caine, he knows that China has had nuclear weapons since the 1960’s.  He served in a number of mid-level and later higher ranking jobs in Republican administration. He was Deputy US Trade Representative and US Ambassador to Singapore. He was elected Governor of Utah in 2004. He was re-elected with a huge margin in 2008. And then he left that job to accept the important post of US Ambassador to China offered to him by President Obama. The Senate approved his nomination unanimously.

Fourth, He as Personal Integrity.

He has changed his positions on some issues, who hasn’t?  But when he does change his position he it appears that he has had a true change of personal views on the issue rather than swaying in the wind for political expediency.  There is a difference between a change of personal opinions and being a flip flopper.  There is no merit or virtue in refusing to modify positions to reflect a true change of heart or being educated as to the true facts.

Unlike some of the current Republican nominees, Mr. Huntsman has not been accused of sexual abuse.  He has not dumped wives on their sick beds for current mistresses.

Fifth. He has a proper View (according to me) of Afghanistan

In last night’s debate he said:

“I take a different approach on Afghanistan," he said. "I think it's time to come home. I say this nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan: We had free elections in 2004, we uprooted the Taliban, we have dismantled Al Qaeda, and we killed Osama bin Laden." "I say this nation's future is not Afghanistan," he said. "This nation's future is not Iraq. This nation's future is how prepared we are to meet the 21st century's competitive challenges. That's economics, that's education. I don't want to be nation-building in Afghanistan when this nation so needs to be built."

I completely agree with that sentiment. I think we should turn off the light in Afghanistan immediately and bring the troops home.  No more American deaths, no more American injuries, no more American money spent in Afghanistan


 With all of that said, I don’t think there is a chance in hell that Mr. Huntsman will be the Republican nominee.  The ultra- right wing, so called “Christian Right”, will not permit it. Mr. Huntsman is not crazy enough, right wing enough or uniformed enough to be the Republican nominee. One of Rick Perry’s   supporters (a religious right Pastor) has called the Mormon Church a cult and most of the Religious right agree.  The same Pastor called Catholics a cult.   I guess I am a double cult member since my heritage is Mormon and the church I now attend with my dear wife, is Catholic.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some of the News

Ok, its time to comment on the news.

            1.         Can we please stop talking about Kim Kardashian.  She is so heartbroken that her 72 day long marriage is over.  Apparently one of the primary causes of the end of the marriage was that he wanted to live in Minnesota. Alright so she has some justification for divorce.  In Utah legal grounds for divorce are mental cruelty, physical cruelty, abandonment and the fact the other spouse wants to live in Minnesota.  OH PLEASE. Does anyone really give a *#@% about this woman, her family or her life.   I feel more stupid by just watching a TV “news” story or seeing the headlines of an internet news story in which her name is mentioned. I say we form our own Tea Party or our own Occupy Wall Street Party for the dedicated purpose of boycotting all things Kardashian.  We will call our party the “I Am Sick to Death of the Kardashians Party”.   We will not say her name.  We will not buy products she endorses.  We will not watch the TV network on which her TV reality show is broadcast.  We will not buy magazines in which stories about her are written.  Fellow citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike, I implore you to join me in this endeavor. We can disagree over which current Republican presidential candidate is most idiotic, but let us agree on this Kardashian boycott.   Stand up right now and shout we with me “NO MORE KARDASIANS.”

2.         The following story was this morning’s Huffing at

 http ://

 “Police in Russia have taken a man into custody after discovering that he had at least 20 dressed-up female corpses hidden in his apartment. Authorities believe that historian Anatoly Moskvin, 45, would sneak into cemeteries during the dark of night to dig up the dead bodies, then dress them up in his apartment, according to The Telegraph. Photos taken by the tabloid publication indicate that Moskvin clothed the remains -- all belonging to women who died between the ages of 15 to 25 -- in women's clothes to look almost doll-like.  Some sources report that as many as 26 corpses were found in Moskvin's residence.  Moskvin, who speaks 13 languages and is considered a genius, is well known locally for his fascination with graveyards, having visited more than 750 of them. He is said to have been writing a book about the cemeteries of the region, according to BNO news.  Police were tipped off to the hoarding of human corpses by the Moskvin's parents, who live in the Nizhny Novgorod apartment with their son and discovered the bodies upon returning from vacationing at their summer home.”

 The guy is 45 years old and still lives in an apartment with his parents.  That tells you right there that he does not have both oars in the water.  For most parents when they come home from a holiday, they may find the house a mess or that the kids had a party or something was broken.  But these poor parents come home and find the bodies of 20 dead women dress liked dolls scattered throughout the apartment.  What is the son going to say when he got caught by mom and dad?  “They are not mine; I don’t know where they came from.”

 3.         Did you see Rick Perry’s recent New Hampshire speech?  It’s been on all the news.  It is truly weird.  There are conflicting reports of whether he was drunk or not drunk.  I for one hope that he was drunk, if not, then his behavior was really spooky.

             4.         The following story was on at


                      “Authorities have identified and charged a 67-year-old man they say urinated in a bank tube after he couldn't get a money order. The suspect's name has not yet been released.   Investigators said another customer unknowingly picked up the bank tube and was then covered in the liquid, which they believe was urine.   A man pulled into the drive-up teller at the RBC Bank in Palm Coast on Thursday, deputies said, and urinated in a tube when a policy upset him. The customer behind him had no idea what he had done.  "It's a disgusting act that nobody should have to go through. You go to the bank to make a deposit or withdraw. Nobody should have to go through this," said Maj. Dave O'Brien with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.  Investigators said they knew who the man was because he's an RBC customer and may have done the same thing once before at a branch in Port Orange.”

             What, he might have done this before?  He might have done this before and they didn’t arrest him, the first time? 

Can you imagine his online dating personal description:  I am a young 67, vigorous and active.  I like walks on the beach and fine wines. I like poetry.  I like peeing in bank tubes at the drive up window.”

            5. The following story was on at


             “A Portland woman who bought a horse, killed it, gutted it and posed naked for photos inside the carcass broke no laws, Oregon authorities decided.  And she says she can't understand people's interest in her. "No idea why people care," Jasha Lottin, 21, told Seattle Weekly, which published photos that she had posted on the Internet.  Lottin and her boyfriend had taken over care of the 32-year-old horse, which they said was in declining health, KOIN-TV reported. They told Washington County sheriff's deputies that they shot it near Portland with a rifle and gutted it, then Lottin stripped and climbed inside. She also posed outside of it, covered in its blood, and with parts of the horse's organs. She posted the photos on the Internet, and a man in North Carolina who came across them reported them to deputies, the Weekly reported.  Lottin reportedly told investigators that they wanted to humanely kill the horse and eat it — and she wanted to feel what it would be like to be inside the dead horse.  Investigators decided the couple had violated no laws. But Lottin's mother said her daughter has received death threats, KOIN reported.”

            I really don’t have any comment on that story. I don’t know what to say.  I have many friends in Palm Desert who are from Oregon.  Some of them seem a little off balance in life. I am going to look at them in a new light.

That’s all for now.  I am gonna go read the news.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today is the Day

Today is the day. Later today, the Lovely Sharon will be leaving for Palm Desert not to return for some seven months. Good for her, not so good for me, although I should have a fun week here in Utah this week raking a new batch of fallen leaves (if you cannot tell, that was written with extreme sarcasm). Last night we had a final dinner together at Hidden Valley Country Club. Fish and chips for her and Asian Ribs for me, accompanied by a nice bottle of Biale’s, "Black Chicken Zinfandel". After dinner, we adjourned to couches near the fire place at the club and had a very romantic discussion. The discussion was centered on phantom income and its associated tax consequences in partnerships and limited liability companies. We followed up that conversation with the tax consequences of income generated by trusts depending upon whether the trust income is distributed to the trust beneficiaries or retained by the trust. For the Lovely Sharon, being married to a lawyer is a “dream come true”. We could have discussed flowers, poetry or Wuthering Heights, but no, we sipped our fine red wine and discussed the tax consequences of tax pass-through entities.

After our tete-a-tete we drove home in relative silence. After the discussion we just had, what more could be said? It would have been all downhill from there. Once home she went to work getting things organized for her departure and I descended to the Bud Cave where I started reading a new William F. Buckley biography.

As I sat in my leather chair, I could hear her moving from room to room getting last minute tasks completed. It was difficult to concentrate on the book as I contemplated her absence from Utah for the next seven months. Although I get to Palm Desert a good number of times during the seven months, there is also a fair amount of time when I am in Salt Lake. During that time I read a great number of books and articles, I watch TV, go to movies on my own and have numerous conversations with the Neighbor’s Dog. He is a good listener as I talk to him while feeding him treats. He loves the mini hotdogs or sausages in a blanket. If you did not get a chance to read my essay about the Neighbor’s Dog check out

This year I am going to be more active after work and on the weekends when I am in Utah. I am going to organize more dinners with friends, I am going to work out more often, visited book stores and visited art museums and galleries. There is a currently a showing of LeConte Stewart paintings at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. I think I might go Saturday to see it. Here is a link to a LeConte Stewart website  A great Utah artist.

This was supposed to be a sensitive, reflective essay about a summer now gone and a last evening with the Lovely Sharon. It was not suppose to be hilarious or political. But frankly, I cannot help myself, I must write something hilarious and political, just a simple list:

Rick Perry
Herman Caine
Michele Bachman
Newt Gingrich

There you go, you cannot get much funnier than that. Now I feel better.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Autumn Musings

Yep, its that time of year. (In Utah we can say "Yep" and we do say Yep.  If you lived in New York or Miami Beach, you no doubt don't hear a lot of Yeps).  It is time to rake the leaves. The days are cool, very cool.  In the morning it is cold.  Yesterday at 8:00 I drove to get the Lovely Sharon a mug of coffee (a shot of half and half, then some Neighborhood decafe topped off with non-decafe hazelnut) at Einstein's Bagles.  It was 27 degrees. It was cold 

The Lovely Sharon has been cutting down flowers the last several days, to get the yard winterized.  All of the patio furniture is under wraps for the winter.  We moved Rudy, our rubber plant of several years, from the back deck into the house where he will remain until May.  A couple of other large plants were moved into the house as well.  This last week Sharon turned the outside water off. I devoted Friday afternoon and several hours yesterday to raking the leaves.  There are still a lot more leaves to rake and plenty of leaves in the trees but rather than wait for all of them to fall, I try to make a little progress day by day.  While I was raking Friday, I could see a deer in the brush about 40 yards from me. We looked at each other for a few minutes and then we each went about our business.

I marvel at the effect that Autumn has on my senses. The vivd colors of the leaves in their journey from green, to yellow, red or orange and finally to  brown before disengaging from their trees and floating to the ground.  A beautiful changing palette of color. The changes in the temperature on my skin when I am out of doors. The aromatic smell of fallen leaves.  I have always loved the smell. Autumn is more quiet than summer.  I continue to hear the squirrels but not many birds.  They are off for warmer environs.  No sounds of lawn mowers or edging machines.

If you look at the pictures above, you will see a lonely looking garden bench in the upper left hand corner.  Friday afternoon, in the midst of raking leaves, I sat down on that bench.  I looked around at the yard.  I looked above the branches of the trees and I could see blue sky.  I looked at our house on the hill above me.  I thought about how fast the last five months have gone by.   I thought about friends past and present and about family. I thought about Son Alex and pictured him as a boy rather than the 28 year old man that he is.  I thought about how fortunate I am.  I thought about the Lovely Sharon and wondered how she puts up with me.  I turned 59 a week ago.  I am stunned by that thought.  Although my body feels 59, my mind feels 30. Although I look at the future and at current events and goings on, I find myself more reflective than in years past.  I find myself wondering if I am doing enough for people, if I am giving enough of myself to helping those around me. I need to do better.  After a several minutes of such contemplations I arose from the bench and bagged up each of those piles of leaves.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Photos

Yesterday was a beautiful Utah Autumn day.  The Lovely Sharon is out of town.  I visited my mother and father, I visited the grandkids and had lunch with Son Alex. I took a few photos of the Autumn colors.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vanity Fair

I love magazines. I read a wide variety of magazines.  My favorite, without a doubt, is Vanity Fair.  I have read Vanity Fair for 20 years.  It has great stories, photos and blurbs about clothing, cars, products, music and books. When a new issue arrives, I like to sit in the Bud Cave, with a cocktail or a cup of coffee and dig through it. I am reading the magazine this morning with the music of trumpet player Chris Botti playing in the back ground.

When I read Vanity Fair, I typically have at my side (i) a colored pen for underline interesting passages in the articles; (ii)e a pair of scissors to cut out blurbs referencing websites to check out or books to read; and (iii) a small Moleskine note book to scribble notes.  (If you don’t know Moleskine note books check them out on Google.  They are terrific small notebooks handy for pocket or purse.  You can buy them at Barnes and Noble.)

The current issue of Vanity Fair is terrific:

 - An article by regular contributor James Wolcott describing his literary obsession with Norman Mailer and Mailer’s assistance in helping Mr. Wolcott obtain employment at the Village Voice newspaper in the early 1970’s.

- An article about the current tea party with references to the founding fathers.

- There is a regular feature in most if not all issues entitle “Letter from London”.  This month’s letter from London concerns the famous Savile Row tailoring company, Anderson & Sheppard, the tailor to kings, dukes, movie stars, and many others.

- An article about Kathleen Harriman, the daughter of Averell Harriman, who was once the fourth wealthiest man in America.  I have read a couple of books about Averell Harimann over the years.  This article is based upon a letters, journals and other materials kept by Kathleen.  During World War II she went to England with her father who served as FDR’s conduit to Churchill.  What an interesting life she led. She was in her 90’s when she died this past spring

- An article about Johnny Depp.

- Tbe last page of Vanity Fair is always a series of questions asked of well-known people and their responses thereto.  The interviewed person this month is Bishop Desmond Tutu.

- The wonderful photographer Annie Leibovitz photos are often in Vanity Fair

- The notes I made to myself from this month’s issue of Vanity Fair include:
  • read Boomerang (about the debt cris) by Michael Lewis;
  • see if there is a biography of Bennet Cerf, the founder of Random House publishing company;
  • buy Chef Mario Batalie’s new book Simple Family Meals, From My Home to Yours.
If you like magazines check out Vanity Fair.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bacon - Maple Doughnuts

The Lovely Sharon encourages me to eat better.  I need to watch my weight, deal with diabetes, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.  I think I have found the perfect food.  The following recipie was in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract

11/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
8 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled

Heat oven to 375 degrees and position the oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the doughnut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and baking soda with a whisk. Melt butter in a small pot over low heat. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, buttermilk, eggs, maple syrup and maple extract. Whisk until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture into the flour and stir, using a large wooden spoon, until completely combined.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, divide the batter equally (using even pressure) between the pans, filling about halfway full.

Alternatively, you can use a gallon-sized resealable plastic storage bag.

Fill the bag and using scissors, remove 1/2-inch from one of the bottom corners and proceed filling the pans as described above.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until doughnuts spring back when lightly touched. Remove from oven, invert doughnuts onto a rack and cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, maple syrup and maple extract in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Dip the top of each doughnut into the glaze and lift, allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. While glaze is still wet, sprinkle with bacon crumbles. Place on a platter and serve. These doughnuts are best served fresh.

Servings » 16 large or 64 mini doughnuts

That is the beauty of Utah. The front page of the LifeStyle Section of the newspaper has a recipie for bacon-maple dougnuts.  If you were reading the New York Times or the LA Times, you would be stuck with some dumb french food recipie or some Thai food recipie.  Not in Utah, we provide recipies of the good stuff, bacon-maple doughnuts.  No wonder Brigham Young said "This is the Place".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Mother

Yesterday was my dear mother’s birthday. She was born 83 years ago on October 8th in rural Louisiana to Newton and Mary Ficklin.  She was the little sister to five brothers and one sister.  She moved to Utah in 1945 with her parents and some of her siblings. She has always referred to Louisiana as “back home”.     She married my father in 1948.  My mother is an interesting person and always has been.  She has always been active in associations of many types.  In the 1960’s, together with my father and my  aunt and uncle, she formed a bowling league.  I don’t mean she formed a team, she formed an entire league.  They called it the Mardi Gras league and it was in existence for many years.  Every year at the time of Mardi Gras, all of the league members wore costumes to bowling night and bowled in their costumes.  Usually one of the local TV stations would come to their costume bowling night and film the action for broadcast on the news. She was a good bowler and was the league women’s champion for more years than one.  She also bowled in ladies leagues.

My mother was the president of a local and the Utah State garden association.  She was a relief society president.  She was on numerous committees.  She was asked to be on committees and in associations because she was a person who got things done.  I pride myself on being self-motivated and a person who gets things done, but I attribute that trait to my mother and father who were both that way. 
My mother is fun.  Not everyone is fun but she is and has always been. People genuinely like being around her. She was always up for an event or activity. She played bridge and still plays bridge. When I was a boy, she would shoot baskets with me, play tetherball, play ping pong and do so many other things with me. I do not believe I have ever beat her in ping pong.

She volunteered countless times throughout her life for organizations, charities and just to help neighbors.
Yesterday on her birthday she met another lady at the theater to see an afternoon play.  She has always loved plays and musicals and has attended hundreds over the years at the University of Utah, the Grand Theater, the Hale Theater, the Capital Theater and even in New York the couple of times she traveled to New York.

My mother has always loved to learn.  She taught herself the basics of Spanish and for many years, to my amusement, she carried an English-Spanish Dictionary in her purse.  I always wondered if she ever pulled her dictionary out of her purse to ask a Spanish speaker person some question.   “Senor, por favor me puede decir wheer que es el cuarto de baño?”  (Mister, please can you tell me where the bathroom is?)
My mother has always loved to travel. When I was a boy we never had any money but we always went places.  

More important than my mother’s activities and her joy for doing things and being involved in activities, she is a good person; a very good person.   She taught my sisters and me honesty and she taught us kindness.  She taught us to be helpful to others, whether they were people we knew or people we did not know.  She has a spiritual side but has never been one of those persons who believed her beliefs were the only right beliefs.  She went to church but was never a sheep that followed anyone or any dogma blindly. 
She was never afraid to express her opinion on any matter, political, religious or any current event.  I learned that from her.  My little sister Tanya is the same way.

At 83 she is still interested in the world around her.  She will call me from time to time to ask me a question about things going on. She called me once and asked what the Tea Party deal was about.  She will call and ask me what I think about something that is going on internationally or nationally. She asked me why some people are so upset and hateful toward gays.  She has never been one to condemn or be judgmental toward a person because of that person’s beliefs or actions, unless that person was mean or hateful.
I have gone to Mormon Church and I have gone to Catholic Church and have l learned good things at both churches and I disagree with some doctrines of both churches. There is a place in my life for religion but there is a bigger place in my life for the spirituality of trying to be a good person. I try, but for those who know me, you know I am not always successful in this endeavor.   As I look back at my life, I realize that I did not need church to teach me the golden rule or to teach me to be honest or to teach me to be kind.  I was taught those things at home.  The teachings at home were conveyed by words but more importantly, by the actions of my parents

My mother has always taken care of her family.  In 1966, my 16 year old sister died of cancer after a battle of more than a year.  For that entire time my mother was by my sister’s side.  During the long stays in the hospital, including the last five months of my sister’s life, my Mother was at the hospital 15 to 18 hours a day.  When she left the hospital after a long stressful day, my father would replace my mother at my sister’s bedside.  My father has had health issues for 20 years and my mother has been his care giver.  Sometimes she has been overwhelmed by the things and events she has had to deal in her life with but she has never given up.
My mother has always expressed love to me and my family.  How important it is for each of us to hear the words “I love you” from our spouse, our children, our parents and our friends?  I am not sure I can remember ending a conversation with my mother or leaving her house that she did not say I love you.  Yesterday when the Lovely Sharon and I were leaving my mother and father’s house, my boyhood home, she told me she loved me and she told Sharon she loved her. These words are not some mantra or habit that carry no meaning, like saying amen at the end of a prayer, but these words have meaning and  are important to my mother and they are important to me.

Any things about me that are good, if there are any, came from my mother and my father.  Those many things about me that are not so good derive from my own shortcomings and failures.  I have said something before many times to many people and I feel compelled to repeat it here, I was born of goodly parents.
Happy Birthday Mother, I love you.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Autumn, my favorite time of the year. After a most difficult past seven days, it is time to write of something that brings some joy to me. Utah autumns are beautiful.  No wonder Brigham Young said "This is the Place". He no doubt moved here for the beauty of the autumn.  It has been more than ten days since I first notice the trees on the Wasatch Mountains surrounding the east side of Salt Lake City have started to turn colors. Reds, yellows and oranges. Reminders that the days of summer are gone and winter is but a couple of months away. It has been unseasonably warm in Salt Lake this year. Normally, our temperature would be around 72 degrees but for the last several days it has been more than 85 degrees. The sky has been cloudless for most of the past 10 days. The blue skies of autumn somehow seem a little different to me than the blue skies of summer. I don’t know why, they just do.

The golf course at Hidden Valley Country Club is spectacular in the autumn.  Sometimes it is difficult to concentrate on golf as you look at the colorful mountains, the turning trees.  The deer seem more active, meandering through the course eating the fallen apples.

The Lovely Sharon and I have a park-like back yard and some of the leaves are starting to turn yellow. A few have already drifted down from their summer home on their respective tree to the still green grass below. I won’t be raking for another couple of weeks and for now will let the few leaves that have fallen be picked up by the lawn mower.

Autumn has always seemed like a new beginning to me, rather than a sign of the end of the year. It is probably because autumn marks a new school year. I was always happy to start a new school year from elementary school through law school. I always liked buying new supplies to start the new year. What would my classes be like? Would my teachers and professors be interesting and helpful in the learning process? Would I do well in my classes?

I like football. I played football at Granite High School so many years ago and autumn brings me back to memories of those long ago days. I remember gathering with my teammates to watch the first year of NFL Monday Night Football. It seemed thrilling to watch football on TV on a Monday night. I still like watching Monday Night Football.

The squirrels are active now, getting supplies stored up for winter. Sharon told me there was one on our deck yesterday. She looked at the squirrel and the squirrel look at her. I think they had some unspoken communication going on. He was no doubt looking for parts of cushions or something else to provide insulation for his winter home. The Lovely Sharon not doubt communicated “No way buster, get off the deck”. I am familiar with her non-spoken communication. I have frequently read her thoughts when she has communicated “no way buster” to me.

Well I better go shower and get ready for the day it is almost 5:00 a.m. I woke up around 3:30 and read for a while and then decided to write something for the blog. Nothing of substance, but something to help get me back to some form of normal life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Doug and Beckie

Last Friday, our hearts were broken. Many of us received such unbelievable news, unbearable news, from a phone call network of friends. We were stunned. We cried, we ached. We could not comprehend the news we heard. Our dear friends Doug and Beckie were gone. They had a long list of golfing friends and acquaintances from Hidden Valley Country Club and the devastating news was relayed from friend to friend. People were not being gossipy, they were dumbfounded, they sought understanding, they sought answers, they sought solace and they sought closure.

Over the last ten years, my wife Sharon and I have had many golf rounds and dinners with Doug and Beckie. We have been at their house in Salt Lake and their home in Palm Desert. They have been to our houses here and in Palm Desert. By and large, their friends were our friends and our friends were their friends.

Beckie had a long association with the ladies at Hidden Valley where she was involved with golf, with bridge and with an investment club. She had been the president of the Hidden Valley Ladies Association. For most of her life Beckie had been active in many things, socially and as an owner and operator of small businesses.

Beckie was tough. You could not push her around. But she had a soft and gentle side as well. Nearly 10 years ago, a time before I married Sharon, I needed a ride to St. George. Sharon was in St. George at a ladies golf tournament or some other ladies activity. I was still courting Sharon and she told me to come down to St. George on the weekend. I did not want to take my own car since Sharon had her car with her. I wanted to be able to ride back to Salt Lake with her at the end of the weekend. I wanted to ride home with her and convince her I was the guy for her. Beckie heard that I was looking for a ride to St. George and she called me. She asked me to ride down with her since she was heading down for the weekend. I cannot tell you what an enjoyable four hours we had. We talked non-stop about lives and loves and work and friends. We talked about golf. We talked about life changes and we walked about family and friends.

Beckie was the boss at her house. She told Doug what to do in all matters and he did them. If you asked Doug to do something or to go somewhere, whether you were asking just him or asking him for the both of them, he would always respond with, “I have to ask the apple of my eye and then I will get back to you.”

She made the house decisions, the business decisions and the family decisions. Not so different from many of us men, whose most frequent phrase is “Yes Dear”.

Doug Boudreaux. If you just said his name, people had a response, they had an image. They had a visceral reaction. For some people it was a good response, for some it was not so good. Those people did not know the inner Doug. For his friends, the words “Doug Boudreaux” made us smile. We seldom called him Doug whether we were talking to him or talking about him. To us, he was “Boudie”.

How many times on the driving range or in the clubhouse did I hear his pals say things like:

“Is Boudie playing today”?

“Where is Boudie?”

“Did you hear what Boudie said on Thursday?”

I met Boudie in 1988 or 1989. Boudie, Gordon Staker, Guy Toombes and I formed the “Staker Group”. For the first few years it was not much of a group. It was just the four of us who played golf together a couple of times a week. We were truly friends. Over the years the Staker Group expanded, it contracted and it expanded again. Currently there are some 20 men who are either full time or part time members of the Staker Group. The Staker Group is just about diverse as a group can be. Our members are contactors, lawyers, accountants, financial planners, business men, psychologists and real estate professionals. We are Caucasians, Asians, Greeks, and Hispanic. We are made up of Mormons, Catholics Protestants and the anti-religious. Our group includes Mormon Bishops and recovering alcoholics.

Boudie was a fixture in the group. If you were in the Staker Group you have been insulted by Boudie more times than you can count. You insulted him back as many times. As bizarre as it seems, the love for each other was expressed in many ways, man hugs and compliments but particularly in insults. We worried about each other, our wives and our children.

When one of our Staker Group members lost a baby just after birth, it was Doug who talked to him. It was Doug who talked about the afterlife with him.

As most of you know, Doug and Beckie lived on the 8th hole of the Valley Nine at Hidden Valley. If Doug was not playing with us on a particular day, we would hit our tee ball and then head over to his yard, walk through his gate and sit on his patio. We would call out for him to come out and join us on his patio. Over time it came to feel like our patio. Doug and Beckie would come out and sit with us and we would talk for awhile as other golfers passed us by, no doubt wondering why there were golf balls on or near the green. Most of the time the passing golfers just left our balls where they were and we would eventually finished the hole. Doug and Beckie would offer us a cocktail, a soda pop or a glass of ice water. Whatever we wanted they would give it to us. Sometimes if Doug was not at home, Beckie would come out and listened to our jokes and lies. She would roll her eyes and laugh at us. One day, we had sat there for four or five minutes but had not yet seen or heard Doug or Beckie inside the house. Finally, we heard Beckie’s voice through the open window. She said “Doug you better get out there, I don’t think they are going away.” The door opened and there was Doug with his smile, saying “Can I get you boys something?”

Doug, had a skill, a God given talent if you will, to say a word, a phrase or a comment that was either hilarious or disgusting or both. Over the years some of his comments became legendary. His comments became known as “Boudieisms”. There were stories about shop goggles. There were stories about Doug telling a single golfer who inquired about joining our players on the first tee that Doug did not need any more friends. He told the fellow he had enough friends and he didn’t like most of them. The fellow just turned and walked away. The general problem with the Staker Group is that we enjoy the disgusting stuff a lot. We repeated it. We told his stuff to others. Sometimes we claimed a Boudieism statement as our own. Each of us has our own special Boudieisms. Most of the Boudieisms are best left for the golf course or for sitting around the patio with our pals.

On last Saturday morning at 7:30 am, members of the Staker Group gathered on the first tee of Hidden Valley golf course with drivers in our hand and tears in our eyes. It was the appointed time for the regular Saturday game. We took off our hats and listened to the mournful prayer of one of our Bishop members. Golf was not too important that day.

On Sunday September 25th, the Staker Group gathered together at Gordon’s house to celebrate Doug, to celebrate our friend. We repeated Boudieisms that cannot be said here. We laughed and we cried. We gave man hugs throughout the evening. We listened to another prayer for Doug and for Beckie, for their children, for their grandchildren and for their friends. We sang Amazing Grace, off key to be sure, but this simple song was sung with conviction and emotion by some 13 saddened men. As the sun set, we quieted down and softly spoke of Doug and how we would miss him. I think our gathering together helped each of us a little. If Doug had been there he would have had us laughing. As for me, as I drove away in my car, my tears had dried but the ache in my heart remained.

The passing of Doug and Beckie has shaken each of us to our core. I think we each have asked ourselves if we could have said something or done something that might have changed events. We will never know. We will forever wonder “What if?”

Neither Doug nor Beckie were perfect people. They made errors and mistakes and in some instances bad life choices. Just as each of us are not perfect persons. Each of us has made countless errors, mistakes and bad life choices. But they were good people. They were good friends. They loved their children and their grandchildren. They were loved by their friends. I am proud to call them my friends. They are forever a part of my life. They are interwoven in the fabric of my life. My memories of times together will stay with me. I will remember them in life, I will miss them dearly.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sounds and Smells

What a blessing to have a sense of hearing and a sense of smell. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the joy, the happiness and the emotion these senses bring to us. The memories they conjure up for us cannot be overstated. I, like most of us, have favorite sounds and favorite smells.

I like the sound of the basketball swish. I like the sound of the golf ball dropping into the cup.

I like the mournful sound of the music of trumpet player Chris Botti early on a Sunday morning when the house is dark and the Lovely Sharon is asleep in her bed and I am reading in the Bud Cave.

I like the sound of cat purring beseeching me to rub it.

I like the sound of a toddler laughing. We don’t have to teach a child to laugh; there is just something in the human makeup that allows us to appreciate something funny.

I like the sound of a church bell calling the faithful to a Sunday morning service. The church bells at St. John the Baptist in Draper, Utah were made in Belgium. When you are walking into the church when the bells are ringing it makes you want to do good, to be better.

I like the sounds of the Lovely Sharon’s shoes on the oak stairs as she descends to the Bud Cave. She never slowly walks down the stairs. It is always a semi sprint with her heels clapping hard on the hardwood stairs. I know she wants me to do something or to tell me something. It is never a bother or a disruption.

I like the sound of squirrels chattering in our backyard. Of late, they have been loud and never seem to stop. I think it is driving the Lovely Sharon crazy but since I am already crazy, I like it.

I like the smell of hot, fresh bread.

I like the smell of chicken cooking on the grill.

I like the smell of a lawn freshly cut. It reminds me of highs school football.

I like the smell of two-by-four boards as they are cut with a circular saw. It reminds of me of my father who spent his life as a contractor carpenter.

My favorite smell, well that’s easy. My favorite smell is the natural aroma of the Lovely Sharon. The smell of her neck. Not her perfume, just her.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The New Golf Swing

I am not a great golfer. I love golf and have in the past been a better player than I am now but I have never been a great golfer. My lowest handicap of my life has been a 10 and I was not a 10 for more than a few months. I was a 12-13 for several years, but 10 or 12 years ago, I developed arthritis in my upper back causing my back bones to fuse together and as a resuklt it has become difficult to make a turn. Because of the difficulty in turning back on the backswing and turning through on the down swing, I have lost distance. In order to attempt to regain distance, I have tried 327,000 different golf swings. I might be exaggerating it might only be 325,000 golf swings. I have tried so many variations and techniques that I have forgotten my authentic golf swing. You might recall my blog essay I think we each have an authentic golf swing, the one we were born with. It can be refined, it can be developed but I think it is hard not to have swing characteristics as an adult that you had as a child, but none-the less, many of us seek the elusive better swing, longer drives,  and more accurate iron shots. It is as though we are each, in our own way, a Ponce de Leon, looking for the Fountain of Youth somewhere in Florida.

(For those of you who do not understand the Ponce de Leon reference, you should have not skipped so many history classes in high school. From Wikipedia - Juan Ponce de León y; (1474 – July 1521) was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named. He is associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth, reputed to be in Florida.)

Sometime in early August, I was hitting golf balls on the practice range at Hidden Valley Country Club. I was trying to see what new golf swing I could find. I tried something different (lifetime swing change number 325,001). I started hitting the ball pretty well. It seemed to be going further and straighter. I could do it over and over and the new swing seemed to worked for me. Was I was excited? No I was damn excited. When I arrived back at the house, I sprinted inside to share my discovery with the Lovely Sharon. Ok, I am a chunky 58 year old man with a bad back so maybe I did not actually a sprint. It was more like the waddle of a fast three toe sloth. I located the Lovely Sharon in the Bud Cav. She was writing cleaning advice to me in the dust on my desk. Sometimes I wonder how dumb she thinks I am. She can only write “Dust Me” so many times on my desk before I finally realized that a human wrote the words “Dust Me”. It was not my desk crying out in pain experiencing a stigmata causing words to appear. Since I finally realized the writing was done by human action, I was pretty certain it was the work of the Lovely Sharon. We are the only two who live in the house. I did not think a burglar would break in and write "Dust Me" on my desk in the Bud Cave.

Despite her pathetic attempts at secret writing, I continued to be excited to share my new golf swing with her. I took the Lovely Sharon in my arms; we were so close I could smell her wonderful natural bouquet. My mouth was smiling, my eyes were smiling I could hardly talk. She looked at me with questioning eyes and she finally broke the silence (I was still unable to talk in all of my excitement) and she asked “Did we win the lottery?” I should my head to indicate that no, that we did not win the lottery. I kept smiling.

She then asked if I had cured cancer. I again responded with a no but then added “It is something better”. She asked what could be better than winning the lottery or curing cancer. I told her that I had a new golf swing. Her eyes rolled. I mean they really rolled. They went back in her head so far that only the whites were visible. I thought she had suffered an attack of some sort before I realized that in the last 7 years of marriage, I have undoubtedly told her that I had a new golf swing more than a 1,000 times. She has actually called the cable company and had them remove the Golf Channel from our cable line up. When the pupils of her eyes were back to where they are supposed to be, I told her that this time it was different, this new swing actually worked. With a lack of conviction, she responded with a quiet “We’ll see”.

The next 8 or 9 rounds of golf, I played well, I shot my lowest scores of the year, I hit the ball straight, and for me long. I was in a state of bliss. The Lovely Sharon was happy for me.  She was happy for her as she contemplated a married life without ever again hearing the words “I have a new swing”.

My golfing life has been great the last month. I had finally found the key to success. Bad golf was behind me.

Yesterday in Sunday Couples  golf at Hidden Valley the Lovely Sharon and I were paired with Bill and Martha, two wonderful friends and great golfers. They have won many tournaments over the years. Bill played particularly well yesterday. I was excited to play with them and decided not to say anything about my swing, but rather, I would let my clubs do the talking. I shot 104. It was my worse round in five years. Let me repeat that: “I SHOT 104”. In truth it was more than 104 as the Lovely Sharon took pity on me and gave me a couple of 6x’s when I should have had a couple a more 7x’s. This was a painful round of golf. Sharon, Bill and Martha tried to be kind. They tried to be supportive and, they made the appropriate sounds of condolences each time I hit the ball. They treated me like you tip toe around a friend with an incurable disease. You know he is a gonner but you say something like. “You look nice in that hospital gown”.

I cannot tell you how glad I was to have the round come to an end. I doubled bogey the last hole and frankly, I played so poorly that the double bogey felt like a birdie.

It is Labor Day. I slept in until 6:00. Late for me. The Lovely Sharon is fast asleep upstairs in her bed, no doubt dreaming of her own wonderful golf skill. I am at my desk in the Bud Cave. Its dark outside and the only visible light is the small green shaded banker’s desk lamp on my desk. I have decided that after I shower, I am going to Hidden Valley Country Club and look for a new swing.