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)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Wonder What These Women Were Saying?

"Then I told him, get your own damn coffee."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Park City Parade of Homes

I had a nice day last Saturday. I woke up around 4:30, washed a load of clothes, read several on-line newspapers, made breakfast for myself, read the Salt Lake Tribune; all before the Lovely Sharon got up. After she was up, I went to Einstein’s Bagels and bought her a cup of coffee and brought it back to the house to her. She prefers the Einstein’s coffee over home made coffee. The coffee has to be just so. I put it in her favorite travel mug. For just a fill up of a travel mug, Einstein charges $1.13 including tax. So I walked into Einstein’s, deposited $1.13 on their counter and waved at them. I then go to the coffee bar and put a little half and half in the mug. Then I fill the mug about half full with neighborhood roast decaf and then top the whole thing off with non- decaf Hazelnut flavored coffee. I then put the lid on the travel mug and head home where I hand the Lovely Sharon her coffee.

The Lovely Sharon is not a morning person, and she was still in her robe, bare feet and hair askew when I handed her the mug. Despite barely out of bed, she looked kind of cute. As I handed her the mug she mumbled something to me. It sounded like she said “When is Thanksgiving”. But after thinking it about it, I think she said “Thank You”. She then looked at me in that way that signaled that she wanted me to do something. I know the look; it is as obvious as a pointer dog standing on 3 legs pointing a pheasant in the brush. You cannot see the bird but you know its there. Same thing with that “look” of Sharon. You don’t know what she wants, but you know she wants something.

She finally said, “You know, (the words “You know” were spoken softly, maybe even sexily (sort of like Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President”) the Park City Parade of Homes is on today. Do you want to go? Will you go with me?”

I responded with “I don’t want to go but I will go with you since you asked me to.”

She said “Well if you don’t want to go you don’t have to go.”

I chortled back, “Even if I don’t want to go, I will go because you asked me to go.”

For the next several minutes we discussed, in the ways of the great philosophers Nietzsche, Kant, Descartes and Confucius, why not only had I agreed to go to the Park City Parade of Homes with the Lovely Sharon, which I had done immediately as recited above, I should also “want to go” to the Park City Parade of Homes.

The Lovely Sharon indicated that philosopher Nietzche had reasoned there are two types of morality: a master morality that springs actively from the "noble man", and a slave morality that develops reactively within the weak man. These two moralities do not present simple inversions of one another. They form two different value systems: master morality fits actions into a scale of 'good' or 'bad' whereas slave morality fits actions into a scale of "good" or "evil". I should be the Noble Man and want to go to the Park City Parade of Homes.

It was hard for me to understand but after careful explanation by the Lovely Sharon, I realized that not only would I willingly go to the Park City Parade of Homes with her because she asked me to go, but now I also realized that I wanted to go to the Park City Parade of Homes. Her careful explanation of things made me, in the way of philosopher Rene Descarte’s reasoning, come to the realization that:

“something which I thought I was seeing with my eyes is in fact
grasped solely by the faculty of judgment which is in my mind”

The Lovely Sharon can be described as nothing less than a Master of sublime reasoning.

OK, enough of the metaphysical aspects of my new reality that I wanted to go to the Park City Parade of Homes. I headed to the Bud Cave to shower and she headed to her bathroom to do the same. We agreed to meet in the kitchen in 30 minutes all cleaned, dressed and ready to go to the Park City Parade of Homes, where we both wanted to go. I showered, shaved, washed my hair and dressed. I thought I looked nice as I was wearing black silk Tommy Bahama type shorts, white anklet type golf socks (I know men are not suppose to call any socks anklets but heck, that is what they are) and one of my favorite tee shirts. The shirt was a light purple tee shirt with the words “Collings Guitar” on the left breast and a picture of a Collings Guitar on the back. I have a wonderful Collings Guitar and so does Son Alex. These wonderful instruments are true works of art. I love the tee shirt.

When I arrived in the kitchen at the appointed time, the Lovely Sharon was there and I must say she looked beautiful in a Jamie Sadock ladies golf outfit. She looked ready for the links. She looked me over and her focus stopped on my wonderful purple Collings Guitar tee shirt. It had been hanging in my closet and had been freshly washed.  I knew she thought I looked good.

She said “there is a spot on your shirt.”

In disbelief I told her that it was freshly washed and dried. She said “none the less, there is a spot on it, go and change.”

I did as instructed. I found another nice, deeper purple, tee shirt with no words on it. I checked it out and was pleased to see no spots on it. I tucked it into my black silk shorts and ascended to the kitchen from the Bud Cave. She looked at me like she just saw a dog get run over. She said “You are not wearing that tee shirt and in fact you are not wearing any tee shirt. We will be going into expensive and nice homes and you need to wear a golf shirt.”

We did the Nietzche thing again and I realized that not only did I want to go to the Park City Parade of Homes, I wanted to wear a golf shirt and so I went back down to the Bud Cave to select a golf shirt. I must say, I was nervous in my selection process. I had to find a golf shirt that would not only look good with my black silk shorts, it needed to be a shirt that would pass muster with the Lovely Sharon. I selected an orange golf shirt that had never been worn. It still had the tags on it. I put it on and then looked in the mirror. It looked good to me. I think my golf buddies would like it but I wonder what response I would get from the Lovely Sharon.

For the third time since my shower, I ascended the stairs from the Bud Cave to the kitchen. I walked to the Lovely Sharon and turned around; much like a prospective bride models a wedding dress for her mother. I almost leapt with joy when the Lovely Sharon said “You look ok.” But then she looked at my white golf socks (my anklets”). Apparently I had not pulled one of them all the way up and it was bunched low around my ankle. Sharon bent down and straightened it and said “OK now we can go.”

I let out a sigh of relief and headed to the garage door. On my way out I grabbed a “Black Chicken” Zinfandel Wine golf hat from the Biale Winery and put it on my head. She looked at me, shook her head and said “no way buster that makes your face look like a basketball.”

I took off the hat.

The houses at the Park City Parade of Homes were nice and there were a lot of visitors. By the third home I realized that I was the only man not wearing a tee shirt, and one of only 10 men not wearing a golf hat.

As we drove to Kamas for dinner after 8 hours of looking at homes and going to the Park City outlet stores, I looked over at the Lovely Sharon in the passenger seat of my Buick Enclave. She looked just as lovely as she had looked in the morning and I realized, just as Descartes had realized, I am lucky to be married to the Lovely Sharon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Rant

I understand that we are difficult economic times both for our federal and state governments and for each of us as individual citizens. I am personally feeling the global financial meltdown. I am opposed to needless federal, state and local government regulation and I am opposed to needless government spending. But with that said I am alarmed at comments and actions of many right wing politicians.

Utah Republican Party Vice Chairman Lowell Nelson and Secretary Drew Chamberlain stated on a Utah radio program that they would do away with Social Security, Medicaid and public education. If you don’t think that is a little frightening, I would be surprised. These two men have the roles of getting Republican candidates elected to office in Utah. Do you really want leaders with those beliefs? Do we really want to do away with public education? Nelson said we have socialized public education and it could be done away with. If “socialization” means that citizens at large pay for the common good then of course it is socialized. Should we do away with public libraries? Should we do away with public law enforcement and fire departments? These too are socialized. What about the military, should we do away with a government funded military? Where do you stop? In a time where we are attempting to compete in world markets with China, Europe and other competitors do we really think it is a good idea to do away with public education? Are those beliefs the belief’s you want from political leaders?

Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry is another frightening person. Two years ago or so, while he was governor of Texas, he talked about Texas seceding from the United States. Do you remember that, he actually discussed Texas not being a State in the United States? Do you really want a President who gave thought to his state leaving the Union?

Presidential candidate, Michelle Bachman has promised to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency. We have all complained or ridiculed various EPA regulations of one sort or another. But do we really want to get rid of restrictions on industry disposing of chemical and other waste in our rivers, our lakes, our oceans and our air. Is that a good thing? Do we believe that if left on their own that these industries will do the right thing?

It appears that there are many claiming to want to not just reduce excessive regulation and eliminate non helpful regulation but to essentially eliminate government and give industry and financial institutions the power to rule or at least to provide no restrictions on them. If you have a vicious dog, do you let him run loose in the neighbor without restriction? I have a hard time believing that Goldman Sachs or British Petroleum or others of that ilk are going to conduct their business for the good of the citizen. I have a hard time believing that Hospital Corporation of America or Blue Cross are going to make decisions for my individual good. They will make decisions for based upon profit. We all seem to hate Obama Care. The rally cry is to do away with it. Do we really think the Obama Care requirement that a person cannot be denied health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition should be done away with?

I get the feeling that many are essentially proposing a society of tribes rather than have a government that attempts to deal issues facing the collectively “we” in America. I keep thinking of the old adage, “be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Damn Raccoons

The Lovely Sharon and I have a wonderful backyard. It is large, bordered by a creek, has a nice lawn and dozens of trees. In a portion of the backyard there is a wild area with no lawn. The are large trees, medium size trees and small trees. When I am in the backyard it feels like I am in a park or even a canyon habitat. We have squirrels that are chattering all day and evening, jumping from tree to tree. We are visted often by deer (see We share the yard with hawks, hummingbirds, a pair of Mallard ducks and other birds. We have a hammock tied to two trees that are perfect hammock hanging distance apart. In short, its a special place. But hold on, "Houston we have a problem". For the last few weeks those pesky, smart, devious, midnight marauders, also known as raccoons have been not only visiting the backyard, but have been on the upstairs patio deck and wreaking havoc.

I married the Lovely Sharon some seven years ago and moved in to her house after we were married. She has lived in the house now for more than 25 years. She has had raccoon issues before. One evening before we were married, I was visiting her and she walked me out to my car when I was leaving. We walked through the garage to my car which was parked in the driveway. She had two cars in the garage, her red Mustage convertible and her black Ford Explorer (she has since sold the Explorer). As we walked passed the Mustang we heard a noise under the car. We peered under the car and were surprised by a raccoon that was hiding out under the car. We pleaded, beg and entreated the animal to come out and leave the garage, but to no avail. He stayed put and just stared at us. The Lovely Sharon (this was before she was the Lovely Sharon, she was just Sharon at the time), grabbed a broom and tried to prod the raccoon out from under the car. He refused to budge. She started poking him with the broom. All that did was make him mad. He started grabbing the end of the broom. That is when things got really interesting. Sharon was holding one end of the broom, yelling at the raccoon, he was holding the other end of the broom making whatever sound an irritated raccoon makes and there was a standoff that lasted a couple of minutes. I backed off the action, not wanting to get killed with a stray swipe of the broom or by the teeth or claws of an incensed raccoon. Those of you who know the Lovely Sharon know that she is quiet and by and large a calm person. But I know how tough she can be and I figured she would best the raccoon at some point. I was right, she kept at it and ultimately the raccoon gave up, dropped his end of the broom and fled the garage.

Another time the Lovely Sharon was squirting off the deck and the hot tub building and stuck the garden hose in a space that was under the deck but above the hot tub roof. The space is not more than 18 inches high at the highest point and some three or four feet long. It is open on both ends. Sharon was standing on the patio stairs with her head about the height of the north end of the space. She stuck the hose in the space to squirt out the leaves and cobwebs without looking inside. What she didn't realize was that there was a raccoon relaxing in the shade in the small space. He was probably napping when she stuck the hose in and let the water go. To say the least, the raccoon was very surprised and starting screaming. When he started screaming in the dark space, it scared the Lovely Sharon and she started screaming. I was standing by watching this event (its normal for me to stand around watching the Lovely Sharon work, its my hobby and I am good at it). So there I was watching Sharon jumping around screaming and listening to the raccoon screaming and then the raccoon shot out of the south end of the space (the end away from Sharon). What the raccon failed to take into account was that the south end of the space was about 8 feet or so above the bottom level of the patio. He shot out of the darkened space and found himself in mid-air. Do you remember the Road Runner cartoons with Wiley Coyote? If so, you likely remember that when Wiley Coyote ran off a cliff, he did not immediately fall to Earth. He was suspended in air. That is until he looked down and realized that he was no longer on terra firma but was in open air. As soon as Wiley realized he was in the air with no ground support, that is when he would plummet to Earth. Well that seemed to happen in this case with the raccoon. He shot out of the space and was now 8 feet or so above the bottom patio. He seemed to stay their in mid-air until he looked down. Then he let out even a lowder, more terrifying scream and fell to the patio below. He landed on four feet and ran away.

There have been other raccoon stories with the Lovely Sharon but we have not seen any in the yard for a couple of years. However, recently we seem to have been visited after bed time by one or more raccoons. We bought a new hammock a few weeks ago. We hung it, tried it out and were generally pretty happy with it. It came with a black pillow that was about 4 feet long. One day we walked down to the hammock and the black pillow had scratches and tears on it. We looked the next day and the damage was worse. Then we notice that a red blanket covering an ottoman on our top deck had been damaged. Then we noticed other signs of critters on the deck.  Finally Sharon bought a baby gate and installed it to block the intruder's path onto the deck. We have not notice any more signs of the raccoons on the deck. However, each day it seems like another rope on the hammock has been cut with a claw or chewed through. There are probably 6 ropes hanging off of the hammock, dangling straight down to the ground. It actually looks artistic. The two trees holding up a hammock with ropes dangling to the ground. At this point it is too artistic to lay in the hammock. Without the ropes supporting the hammock, one would not want to attempt to relax in it.

The only way for the raccoons to do what they are doing to the hammock, they have to actually be in the hammock. The image of a bunch of raccoons swinging in a hammock late at night going "weeeeeeeee", and chewing ropes and untying ropes is something I would, frankly, like to see. The Lovely Sharon is a little more irritated over recent raccoon actions than I am but she has had more one-on-one fights with the raccoons.

We decided not to get another new hammock this year. I suppose we will reconsider the hammock next spring

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Recently Read Books

This summer I have concentrated on yard work and reading. Surprisingly I have not been playing much golf. I have been reading a lot and listening to books on my Ipod this summer. Here are some of the titles I have read or listened to that are not listed above:

Ernest Hemmingway - To Have and Have Not
David Hosp -              Betrayed
                             Among Thieves

I really enjoy the way David Hosp writes.  He is a practicing lawyer in Boston.  A few years ago I read another book he wrote called Dark Harbor.  The main character in Innocence and Among Thieves is Scott Finn, a Boston lawyer.  I really like this character. If you are loooking for a book pick up one of Mr. Hosp's gems.

I am now reading Blink.  At the advice of one of my partners, I have also just ordered (i) Rogue Waves, and (ii) Finding Everett Ruess.

If you have any suggestions for a book, please email me or leave a comment on this blog

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Budorian Calendar

August is here. In the Bud calendar, the only true calendar, the seasons are as follows:

Spring - March 1 to May 31
Summer – June 1 to August 31
Autumn – September 1 to November 30
Winter - December 1 to February 28

We are currently using the Gregorian calendar, at least most of us on the planet are. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar today. It is derived from the Julian calendar and was named after Pope Gregory XIII who decreed the new calendar on February 24, 1582. The years in the Gregorian calendar continue from the Julia calendar which began from the traditional birth year of Jesus, the ‘anno Domini’ (AD) era, sometimes referred to today as the ‘common era’ (CE). The change occurred to correct the Julian calendar which was slightly too long and consequently Easter was slowly drifting forward in the calendar. The solution was the addition of the leap year and the subtraction of ten days from the Julian calendar. The leap year rule states:  Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year.

Without leap year, apparently Easter would ultimately fall on Halloween and Pope Gregory decided that kids already get enough candy on Halloween and if they got Easter candy around the same time it would not be good for their teeth and it would make them hyper-active due to an enormous sugar rush. So he adopted the Gregorian Calendar

Ok, enough of the Gregorian Calendar. As stated in the first line of this blog entry, the only true calendar, at least for the Northern Hemisphere, is the Bud Calendar. It can also be referred to as the Budorian Calendar. In order to prove that Budorian Calendar is correct let me ask you some questions:

1. When it is December 12th and the snow is 12 inches deep on your front lawn do you say, what a lovely autumn day? Of course not, you say it’s a cold winter day,

2. When it is June 2nd, the kids are out of school, its 85 degrees, the sun is shining and the grass is green do you say what a nice spring day? Of course not, you say what a lovely summer day.

I could go on for the other two seasons but I think you understand my point. So with all of us now agreeing the Budorian Calendar is the only true calendar, we now realize that we have only 27 more days of summer ahead of us. Say it at loud a couple of times: “There are only 27 more days of summer left.”

That is spooky. Where has the summer gone? I have not done most of the things I planned to do. I am still working on the wild part of the yard removing small trees, bushes and weeds. It looks like that before I am done, the leaves will be turning to their dazzling autumn colors and then they will start falling. Then I will have to rake them and bag them. Then the leaves will be gone and it will snow. Then I will have to shovel the snow. Then it will be spring and I will have to do spring clean up. Then it will be summer and…….

I am 58 years old. After considering the speed of the seasons, I think I will be 68 in about seven weeks.

So my advice is sit on the patio tonight with a glass of wine or a cold lemonade and look at the trees, look at the lawn and look at the flowers. Listen to the bugs, birds and squirrels chirping or singing or making whatever noise they are making. Watch the dusk come and feel the summer air cool down. Think about how wonderful summer is. Don’t think about the debt crisis, the democrats, the republicans, or the tea party. Think about planning at least one more barbeque with friends and family. Think about how good it feels to walk barefoot on your lawn on a summer evening. Think about how goofy your men friends look in shorts.

Most importantly, give thanks to me for developing the Budorian Calendar.