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, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

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

Conclusion

 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 Post.com at

 http ://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/anatoly-moskvin-clothed-female-corpses_n_1076009.html

 “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 lifenews.ru 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 MSNBC.com at

                       http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45171012/ns/local_news-orlando_fl/

                      “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 MSNBC.com at

                          http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45142278/ns/us_news-weird_news/

             “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
 http://www.bheadman.com/2009/10/neighbors-dog.html.

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 http://umfa.utah.edu/LeConteVirtual.  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.