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)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Way We Were

I watched the movie “The Way We were” this afternoon. It triggered a flood of memories and thoughts. The movie was filmed in 1972-1973 and was released in 1973. I saw the movie when it first hit the theaters and a few times since then. The reason that the movie takes me back in time is not because of the film itself but because in the summer and autumn of 1972 I was 20 years old and was working on the congressional campaign of Wayne Owens. That was Wayne’s first election. He had previously worked as an aide to Senator Frank Moss, to Robert F. Kennedy and to Teddy Kennedy.

I worked as an unpaid volunteer for Wayne during that campaign. It was my first foray into politics.  I worked on the campaign for 5 months or so. I knocked on doors, I mailed letters, I delivered and installed lawn signs. I answered phones. Whatever needed to be done by a volunteer, I did it. I met Teddy Kennedy who came to Utah to campaign for Wayne. Current MSBC commentator Chris Matthews worked on the campaign as well. I met many people that I admired then and still do.

Now back to the movie. One Saturday in October 1972 candidate Wayne, Robert Redford, my first wife (who at the time was not my wife) me, and two or three others spent the day campaigning in various Salt Lake City locations. We went to several shopping malls and to the University of Utah Football Stadium before an afternoon game. All of us drove together from location to location in a small motor home. We talked politics and other topics. I asked Mr. Redford if he was working on any movies at the time. He told me he was working on a movie with Barbara Streisand. I asked him how that was and he said it was good.  I was impressed by him because he did not act like a movie star.  He acted like a citizen concerned about his State. He did not tell me the name of the movie and that was the end of our conversation about the movie.  As we campaigned that day the other campaign workers and I walked ahead of Wayne and Mr. Redford and brought people back to meet the candidate and the movie star. We spent 7 or 8 hours together that day. It was fun and exciting, a day to remember.

The movie came out the next year. It’s a beautiful movie. The cinematography is beautiful.  The soundtrack is beautiful and sentimental. It is  good love story constructed around political events during two of my favorite decades; the 1940’s and the 1950’s. Almost 40 years later the film still holds up.

After that October day, Wayne Owens was elected to congress. I got married, graduated from college and law school. Later Wayne ran for the US Senate and lost and a few years later he was elected to  Congress for another three or four terms When he was no longer in Congress he continued to be actively involved in the Mid East peace process and worked for King Hussein of Jordan. After his congressional career ended, he officed at my law offices for awhile. He was the founder of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Development.  In December 2002, Wayne was in Tel Aviv working on peace process matters. One day he was walking on the beach and collapsed and died.

Wayne was a hero to me. He was kind, gentle and smart. He worked hard for what he believed in. He stood up and fought for what was important to him. His death was a great loss for many, including me.

As I watched the movie today, I thought about that election, I thought about my college years, law school and my first marriage and I thought about Wayne Owens. I thought about the twists and turns of my life during the more than 38 years since that October Saturday. I thought about how all the experiences of my life, good and bad, have become a part of the fabric of my life. I am astonished to be 58 years old. These memories seem like they are of events of just a few years ago. I felt a certain wistfulness, sentimentality and loneliness as I watched the movie. The Salt Lake house has been quiet this past week. The Utah weather has not been good. It was probably a good day to watch the movie.

Why is the Lovely Sharon in Palm Desert?

Utah people often ask me why the Lovely Sharon spends so  much time in Palm Desert.  They ask me "What does she do there all winter"?  I have been asked that question dozens of time but I am still surprised when I get asked the question.  Let me explain the reason through photos. There is no editorial comment, just photos.   All of the photos of my Utah existence were taken this morning, Sunday March 27, 2011.  The Palm Desert photos were taken over the last several weeks.

The Salt Lake Yard:

The Palm Desert Yard:

The Salt Lake Garage:

The Palm Desert Garage:

The Salt Lake House:

The Palm Desert House:

The Salt Lake Golf Course:

The Palm Desert Golf Course:

Any further questions?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Watching Women

There are certain things that I like to watch a woman do. None of the things described below is meant to be racy, risqué or a double entendre. They are just regular things that for some reason or another I like to see a woman do. I know you must be thinking that this is one of the dumbest blog entries that I have every posted. But I don’t completely agree with that sentiment. I have posted plenty of dumb entries and I am pretty certain I will be posting a bunch more dumb entries in the future. This entry is merely one train car on the train of dumb blogs. If I have not already completely lost you, I am sure by the time you get to the end of this blog, you will either believe you have completely wasted you time or you might start thinking what things that you like to see a woman do.

I like to see a good woman golfer play golf. The Lovely Sharon is a very good golfer and I love to watch her play golf. Many of her friends in Palm Desert and in Salt Lake are very good golfers. I like to see them swing the club, I like to see their passion for the game, I like to see their disappointment over a bad shot and how they don’t over celebrate on a good shot. For them to hit a good shot is not such a rare ocurrence.  Hell, if I hit a good shot, which happens about three times a year, I do a stupid moon walk dance that is probably illegal in some countries. I usually couple this dance with turning my hat backwards and getting a very stupid grin on my face. I lift my arms and shake my shoulders in a spastic display of what looks like the complete loss of muscle control.   It is such an usual and uncommon experience for me to hit a good shot, that I imagine that I must feel like the first astronaut to walk on the moon, or the first man to come upon the Grand Canyon, or Sarah Palin when she first saw Russia from her front door. When the Lovely Sharon hits a good shot, she calmly puts her club back in her golf bag and moves on down for her next shot.

I like to see a woman on a ladder doing something. Fixing a vent, or replacing a light bulb or dusting something. Yesterday in Palm Desert, the Lovely Sharon had to check out some light bulbs on a ledge in our family room. I brought the ladder into the house. She climbed the ladder and was checking things out as I sat on the couch. She looked kind of cute up there. I then thought about the other times I have seen women on ladders and I realized they all look kind of cute up there. There is nothing risqué about my thoughts about this. I am not talking about looking at anything inappropriate. Just a woman in jeans or shorts or in Sharon’s case yesterday, golf clothes, on a ladder doing something that needs to be done. I think you will agree with me that there is nothing special about a man on a ladder. It is for that reason that I sat on the couch and drank a glass of ice water while the Lovely Sharon was on the ladder. I knew that my presence on the ladder would bring no particular joy or be of any interest to Sharon.  So I decided to celebrate her ladder adventure from the couch.

I like to see a woman reading a book while wearing reading glasses. Seeing her sitting in a comfortable chair with a book in her hands and glasses on her nose is just a nice sight to see. Most times younger women, just like younger men, do not need reading glasses. So the woman that fits this category for me is a more mature woman; late thirties on. This woman knows stuff about life and the world. She has opinions about things that matter. She may be single or married, she may work outside of the home or she may not. She is reading for knowledge or entertainment but she is usually a substantive person in her own right. I love to read and I have many male friends who are readers. But somehow to see a man read just isn’t as interesting as watching a woman read. Maybe its because the men moving their lips is a distraction (ok I know bad joke). But is true; watch a woman wearing glasses read a book compared to a man wearing glasses read a book. Who is more interesting to watch? 

I like to watch a woman buy shoes. If a man buys shoes, he walks into the shoe store or shoe department. Sees a black pair of shoes and within 3 minutes he has tried them on and completed the purchase. Go into Macy’s and find a nice soft seat in the ladies shoe department. Being married to the Lovely Sharon, I spend a lot of time in shoe stores and shoe departments and I have become an educated observer of women buying shoes. I, in fact, am a frequent buyer of shoes for Sharon.  The discerning woman shoe shopper often starts at the "on sale" shoe rack.  She pretty much picks up each pair of shoes in her size and the sizes near her size. She looks at the bottom of the shoe, the inside of the shoe and, if she at least sort of likes it, she tries it on. Frequently she will lift the foot with the shoe candidate off of the ground and turn her toes to the left and then to the right. Then she flexes her foot so the toes are pointed up as far as they can.   She then decides to put them back on the rack if they have been rejected or she sets them aside for future consideration. In my experience, there are at least two separate analysis undertakings before the purchase decision is made.  From here she continues through the “on sale” shoes. After that analysis is exhausted, she moves on to the shoes that are not “on sale” and the process continues. When the Lovely Sharon goes into a shoe store, she leaves no stone unturned. Every potential shoe purchase candidate is looked at and considered. It is almost like the purchaser of a thoroughbred horse looking at a horse. She checks the teeth, the hooves, the tail, and the eyes. She checks out the pedigree and then makes her decision. You don’t want to get home from the shoe store and realize you bought a nag.

There are a number of things I hate to watch women do and I have mentioned them in other blog entries. They include watching them (from behind) at a bank drive through or a fast food drive through. This is painful for me to do. It always makes me glad that I don’t have a anti-aircraft gun mounted on the hood of my car. If I did, I would no doubt use it.

So if you made it this far you are probably wondering why you bothered. Well I thought it was interesting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hong Dong and Not So Important Stuff

This is another miscellaneous mop up type of blog. Unrelated items of information that are probably of no interest to any person on the planet but me.

1.  Last night I reveived an email from the Lovely Sharon, who is in Palm Desert, explaining that she had a tiring, busy day and was unable to call me.  She explained how she had to (i) play 18 holes of golf in the morning; (ii) go for a walk after golf; (iii) play gin with the ladies after her walk; (iv) have dinner and cocktails with the ladies after gin; and (v) after dinner, the ladies went to one of the ladies house for cocktails and to see the house.  She left home around 9:00 am and got back home around 8:00 p.m.  I really felt sorry for her.  I left home at 6:00 am, went to work, left work at 5:00 pm. went home, washed clothes, made dinner, washed the dishes and responded to client email until 8:00. Then I went to bed

2.  Today is St Patrick's Day.  One of the best St. Patrick's Day I had was in Chicago.  It was a party all day and it was great to see the Chicago River dyed Green.  Its great that here at my law firm there are Jewish and Mormon guys wearing green clothing and acting real excited because its St. Patrick's Day.  Go figure I have on an aqua colored shirt because I don't have a green shirt. 

3.  In China, a man just bought a red Tibetan Mastiff dog for $1,500,000.  The dog may grow to be 285 pounds.  The owner is going to breed the dog at $15,000 a shot (ok it may not be the best word but you know what I mean).  The dog's name is "Hong Dong".  I suppose a 285 pound breeding dog ought to be named Hong Dong.  I think the dong reference means something else in Chinese.  In fact in Chinese Hong Dong means Big Splash.  I suppose that is also appropriate for a 285 pound breeding dog.  Sometimes you see people selling puppies on a street corner for $5.00 each.  Do you realize that you could buy 300,000 - $5.00 dogs for $1,500,000. I mean think about it, that would be like stealing candy from a baby.  What a bargain.

4.  Its hard  for me to do a miscellaneous blog without saying what a Hong Dong that Glenn Beck is.  He recently commented on how God or Gaia (mother earth) punished Japan and its people with its recent troubles.  Comedian Rush Limbaugh said the same thing. Brilliant boys. If Gaia means mother earth I would like to know what other mother phrase I could call these two buffoons.

5.  My yard had spring clean up this week.  All the fallen limbs are now gone and it is starting to look like I want be out in it doing stuff.

6.  Monday is my 7th Wedding Anniversary.  Coincidentally, its the Lovely Sharon's 7th wedding anniversary as well. 

Ok that is, back to work for me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I am an alumnus of the University of Utah for both undergraduate school and law school. I am Utah fan. “Who am I Sir a Utah Man am I sir”. By just writing those words I can hear the fight song in my mind. Unlike many Utah fans I do not hate BYU. In fact, I always pull for BYU unless they are playing the University of Utah. However, I am not a BYU fan. If they win ok, if they lose ok. I hope they do well but I don’t feel bad if they don’t. My law firm is by and large a Utah law firm and not a BYU law firm. In general, this firm bleeds Utah red and not BYU blue.

With that preliminary I will tell that this law firm, as well as me personally, have been “Jimmered”. We are fans of Jimmer Fredette, the amazing BYU guard and we want Jimmer and his team to win. (I call it his team rather than BYU because it is hard for a Utah man to use the letters “BYU” too often in one paragraph. We have been Jimmer fans for the last couple of years because his aunt Susan is our office manager. Susan is married to Jimmer’s uncle. Susan is a wonderful and effective and extremely pleasant office manager and person. She is one of a kind. Because of Susan we have all become little puppy dogs for Jimmer.  I read Jimmer articles, I listend to radio and  I watch TV reports about Jimmer, I watch his games on TV. I have been Jimmered. 

America has been Jimmered. When asked about Jimmer, President Obama said "Unbelievable. Best scorer obviously in the country. Great talent."

Matt James of NBC Sports wrote at (

“The name is a good place to start. “That’s the first thing,” says T.J. Fredette. “His name. Jimmer.’ It’s an original. It’s unique. You can do so much with that name.” Indeed, no name in college basketball, perhaps in all of sports, has been so discussed, so ubiquitous, so verb-ed, as that of Jimmer Fredette, the 6-foot-2 senior guard at BYU. He is the nation’s leading scorer. By most every organization and account, its best player. He is, without question, its most celebrated name. The fuse was lit two months ago. “It really blew up after that 47-point game against Utah,” continues T.J., Jimmer’s older brother, an aspiring rapper who became the family’s amateur spokesperson when the attention suddenly required a coordinator. “That’s when he hit the half-court shot. That’s when he got rock-star status.” It wasn’t just the half-court shot in that Jan. 11 blowout against the Utes, it was the subsequent TV highlights. It was the relevance of his Top 10 team. It was Jimmer’s non-reaction. Who was this guy? Who makes half-court buzzer-beaters and acts as if he just made a free throw? “I’m sure people thought he was cocky because he didn’t really celebrate,” T.J. says, “But he’s hit so many of those it’s not really surprising anymore. He probably made eight or 10 of those his senior year of high school. The court was smaller, but he would pull up and shoot from out there.”

“Two weeks later, Fredette scored 43 against San Diego State and the NBA’s Kevin Durant tweeted that Jimmer was the world’s best scorer. “Jimmer madness had begun. He went on “Pardon the Interruption,” talked with Jim Rome, hopped between national shows as if he was promoting a movie. Soon after, BYU said no to all regional radio requests. A mid-major was turning down publicity.

CBS picked up the Cougars’ rematch against San Diego State on Feb. 26 — the first and only time this season BYU appeared on network TV — and it got better ratings than Syracuse versus Georgetown or Florida against Kentucky. Last week, while the Big East Tournament was taking place at Madison Square Garden, the Washington Post sent its national college writer on the Jimmer beat, to the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Though he is in his fourth year of being a fantastic player, much of America has learned of Jimmer only the last few months: he grew up in northern New York near the Vermont border, and how his parents have remained together while amicably split on religion (his mom is Catholic; Jimmer, like his dad, became Mormon), and how his mother Kay insisted on the nickname Jimmer since the moment he was born, and how as a teenager he and T.J. would go to a local prison and play pick-up games with inmates who had earned the privilege through good behavior. The legend says that’s where Jimmer learned his mental toughness. The truth is he made a half-dozen prison trips at most, but it is a cool story and he is usually too polite to correct the convenient theory.

At the Mountain West Tournament last week, the Jimmer poster count rivaled a professional wrestling event, most of them demonstrating the various grammatical uses of the name.

“Teach me how to Jimmer” ... “Jimmer Time!” ... “You Got Jimmered.”

In the semifinal against New Mexico,  New Mexco's Coach, Steve Alford’s best idea for defending Jimmer was keeping him off the free-throw line. The Lobos did. Fredette shot just one the entire game. And still scored 52 points. He broke the school single-game scoring record and passed Danny Ainge as BYU’s career points leader.”

So sports fans I will be watching Jimmer during this March Maddness, I will be cheering for Jimmer and I will be pulling for his team. Next season, I will be cheering for Utah. 

Have a happy March Madness and get those brackets filled out.