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, March 24, 2012

March

It has been a quiet month.  I have not seen the Lovely Sharon for a month and I am not scheduled to hook up with her for a couple of more weeks.  The time apart is sometimes hard for me but I think she deals with it pretty well.  Friday through Sunday seem to be particularly quiet.  I read a lot and since the weather has been better, I have spent some time working in the yard.  I put on some jeans and a ball cap and put my Ipod on an arm band and listen to an audio book.  I just finished listening to Sideways.  Do you remember the movie? It is about a trip to the Santa Barbara wine country by two buddies.  The movie is good but the book is substantially better.  I really enjoyed listening to it.

During this quiet month in Utah I try to keep busy.  I have had two dinners with friends Norm and Terry.  They are dear and longtime friends.  Our conversations frequently concern politics and the economy.  Both Norm and Terry are well informed about national issues, and unlike most of my friends we agree on more than a few issues.  I also had a wonderful dinner at the home of good friends Rick and Kim.  A wonderful couple who I think invited me to give me something to do.  It was a lovely evening, good food and conversation.  I also had dinner at the home of one of one my dearest friends Monsignor Moore.  I have known Monsignor Moore for almost 10 years.  I love our conversations about history, politics and religion.  I also had a nice dinner with Lisa a friend of almost 40 years.  We have had an interesting history together, some nice and some tragic.  She is an impressive survivor.

I have played no golf for a month.  I have been very busy at work.  I do like my law practice.  It is challenging, interesting, and fulfilling.  I am always learning something.  I think I am a good problem solver and I think that is something that I bring to my clients.

 I have read 6 or 7 books in that last four weeks but have not listed many of them of them above. In addition to the books I have watched a whole slew of movies. 

So that is my last four weeks and my next two will likely be the same.


 I am currently reading a book about Afghanistan since 1979.  It has been 30 years of war.  We need to get out of that war.  Things will never change there and we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for no good reason.  If it were up to me I would get us out of there immediately and spend those dollars here at home.

Well I better finish I am watching movie about Egypt.




Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Nice Spring Day

It is that time of year again.  Its early Spring. The temperatures in Salt Lake City have been well above normal and this week I have been spending after-work time raking in the back yard and picking up limbs and sticks blown out of, and off of, the trees over the winter.  The Lovely Sharon and I have a park-like backyard with a creek and many trees. Although it is a substantial amount of work, I love our back yard.  It gives you space from neighbors.  It gives you a chance to see all types of birds and crazy squirrels running up and down trees and jumping from tree to tree. I will venture to say that our backyard is fairly unique compared to the normal subdivision back yard. As I get older it is more work, hard work, but I seem to appreciate it more all of the time.  I often find myself with a camera in hand taking pictures of the lawn, covered in snow, or covered in leaves or adorned in summer green.

Although I picked up the fallen leaves off the lawn last autumn before winter, after a mild but windy winter, there are so many fallen limbs and sticks on the lawn, piles of pine needles under the Austrian pines and plenty of leaves in the non-lawn portion of the backyard (the wild portion) that I have plenty of work to do before the Lovely Sharon gets back to Utah and starts planting flowers. 

Yesterday I worked at my law firm from about 6:30 am until 1:00 p.m.  Then I came home, changed clothes, put on my Ipod and headed down into the back yard. I worked with a rake for a couple of hours bagging leaves and piling up limbs and sticks to be dealt with later.  I was bent over for a good part of that time using my gloved hands to fill one plastic bag after another.   Although I was far from done, after getting up early, working in my downtown office for more than half a day then working in the yard, by 4:30 I was tired and decided to call it a day.  We have a couple of benches in the back yard so I used my gloved hand to brush the leaves and dirt of winter off one of the benches and sat down.  I sat there for maybe 20 minutes, looking at the creek that had only a sparing amount of water in it, not enough water to flow.  As I sat on my bench I looked across the creek to an area of live trees and fallen trees.  I can only describe this area as wild.  Long before the Lovely Sharon and I married, she owned all of what I could now see, but over the years she sold most of it to the neighbors.  I sat on the bench tired, but a good kind of tire, listened to a smooth saxophone on my Ipod and watched two dark squirrels chase each other throughout this Eden I was looking at.  I wished I had my camera but I was too tired to walk to the house, take off my muddy shoes, get my camera, but my muddy shoes back on and return to the bench.  It is unlikely that a good photo of the squirrels could have been taken as they were some 40 yards from me, they were moving fast and the light was dim.   I then thought that some of the bare fallen trees looked picturesque but I concluded that I was too tired to create art and was better served to just observe the nature around me. So I sat and watched.

 
(From November 2008)


I finally stood up. gathered my rake and my gloves and the rest of the yard tools I had brought down from the shed and made my back to the tool shed and the house.  I replaced the tools in the shed, in a not too orderly way, knowing that I intended to use them again soon.  I took off my muddy shoes and headed into the house.

The house was dimly lit since it was a cloudy afternoon and the lights were off, and very quiet since I was the only one there.  I sat down in my leather chair in the Bud Cave and turned on the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.  I soon fell asleep, but only for 15 minutes or so, a catnap I suppose it was. I thought I might just sit in my leather chair for the evening and watch basketball but it felt lonely in the house and I was hungry so I decided to take a quick shower and head over to the club for dinner thinking I might see someone I know.  I ended up having dinner with dear friends Norm and Terry.  The conversation was about politics and current events undoubtedly my favorite topics.  By 8:00 I was tired.  We said good night and I headed home. Once home, I turned on the basketball tournament; more for the companionable noise rather than to actually watch a game.  I finished reading the most recent issues of both the Atlantic Monthly magazine and Harper’s magazine. Then lights were turned off and I went to sleep.

A pretty good day; law practice work, yard work, observing nature and dinner with friends.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Important Stuff

I have been thinking about important things lately.  No just kind of important but very important things.  I bet most of you have not thought about these important things.  If not, you need to do start thinking about important things.

What makes ketchup “fancy ketchup”?  Some ketchup has the phrase “fancy ketchup” printed on the bottle.   What does that mean?  Go on to the next paragraph.

Some mixed nut containers reference the nuts as “fancy mixed nuts”.  Some nut containers reference the nuts contained therein as “extra fancy mixed nuts’.  I must say I am perplexed and have no current understanding why some nuts are referred to a mixed nuts, others as mixed fancy nuts and others as extra fancy mixed nuts.  If I buy just mixed nuts, what am I missing? If I give mixed nuts as a gift to a friend are they silently thinking “why didn’t he give me extra fancy mixed nuts or at least fancy mixed nuts?”  If I decide that for the rest of my life, I buy only extra fancy mixed nuts, at my funeral, will I be praised for being kind and helpful and only a partaker of extra fancy mixed nuts?  People will stand over my open coffin looking down at my dead face and say “he only bought extra fancy mixed nuts”

Take your clothes to the cleaners.  What sign to your see?  I will tell what sign you will see, “Professional Dry Cleaner”.  What the hell does that really mean?  Is there any chance you will drop your laundry off at a cleaners that advertises that it is an “amateur dry cleaners”?  If there is not a sign that the particular dry cleaners is a professional dry cleaner, should we assume the dry cleaner is amateur? I don’t think so.  If you pay them to clean your clothes, I think by definition, a paid dry cleaners will be a professional dry cleaner.  Its hard to picture me telling the Lovely Sharon, that “I will be back in a few hours I am going to try to find an amateur dry cleaners to clean my clothes.”

OK, now we move on to Tide laundry detergent.  In the old days you bought Tide.  There was one kind of Tide, a powder that came in several different sizes of boxes.  However, have tried to purchase Tide lately?  It is now incredible complex and the choices seem to be endless.  So when the Lovely Sharon sends me to the store for Tide I have the following choices:

Tide Pods; Tide with Acti-Lift; Tide Plus Bleach; Tide Plus Febreze Sport; Tide Plus Febreze; Tide Free; Tide Plus Downey; Tide HE with Acti-Lift; Tide Coldwater; Tide Boost Original Duo Pac;, Tide Total Care; Tide Free for Coldwater; Ultra Tide; Ultra Tide with Bleach; Tide HE Plus Febreze Sport; Tide HE Free Free; Tide HE plus Febreze; Tide HE Plus Downey; Tide HE Coldwater; Tide HE Free for Coldwater; Tide HE Plus Bleach; Ultra Tide HE; Ultra Tide HE plus Bleach; Ultra Tide Free; Ultra Tide Plus Febreze; Ultra Tide Plus Downey; Ultra Tide for Coldwater; Ultra Tide HE Plus Downey.

Now that’s a lot of Tide Choices.  It drives me crazy. Which one is best for me?  I am thinking about hiring a chemist to assist me in determining what Tide I should buy.

I have been thinking about other important stuff but I will save them for another day.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Honored with Sculpture in Missouri

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/rush-limbaugh-missouri-state-capitol_n_1321433.html

WASHINGTON -- The Hall of Famous Missourians in the Missouri State Capitol is filled with the busts of famous people from the Show-Me State. There are political figures (Harry Truman, John Ashcroft), writers (Laura Ingalls Wilder), musicians (Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker) and even a game show host (Bob Barker). Right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who is currently embroiled in controversy after he called a female law student advocating for contraception coverage a "slut," will soon be joining that esteemed group.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Recent Bird Photos From Palm Desert

I took the following photos at Ironwood Country Club during the last month:











Pillow Quest

I am in Salt Lake and the Lovely Sharon is in Palm Desert; 660 miles from me. Yesterday I went shopping.  Not a leisurely, strolling type shopping but shopping with a purpose. I needed a new mattress pad and new extra firm pillows.  I bought firm pillows a couple of months ago but they seem to be mushy and flat already.  I can’t say I like mushy, flat pillows, I find them not only physically uncomfortable, but emotionally disturbing.  It is as though the life has gone out of them.  They lie silently on the bed mushy, flat and dead.  I need new pillows, firm, no, extra firm pillows.  The last few sets of pillows I have bought were “Chaps” brand.  They are not a good brand, don’t bother with them.  My Palm Desert pillows are nice and extremely firm, just the way I like them.  So I decided to go on a pillow pilgrimage.

Like all pilgrimages, I was need in of guidance. I called the Lovely Sharon in Palm Desert.  I told her about my mushy, flat and dead Salt Lake pillows and asked her what pillows she bought in Palm Desert. The Lovely Sharon, like a true pilgrim guide, advised me what to do.  She advised me to start my trek at TJ Maxx on Draper Parkway.  I told her that not only did I need pillows but I also needed a new mattress pad.  She told me that there was a good chance that TJ Maxx would have not only the pillows that I so desperately sought but an appropriate mattress pad.


With enthusiasm I drove to TJ Maxx.  I parked my car, and walked into the store.  As I entered it took only a few seconds to orient myself and locate where the pillows were located.  There a number of pillows but not a great number.  I checked them all out but located only one extra firm Ralph Lauren pillows.  I decided to go to Maceys.  However, I did find a pretty nice looking mattress pad at TJ Maxx’s so I bought it.  As I was walking back to my car, I felt happy that at least one of my chores had been accomplished.  I could, with a sense of satisfaction, check the mattress pad off of my lists of things to do.

From TJ Maxx’s I drove a few miles north to Maceys.  As fortune would have it, as I walked through the door, I was immediately in the pillow department. And what a pillow department it was.  There must have been a couple of hundred pillows of all brands, sizes and degrees of firmness.  There down pillows, synthetic pillows, foam pillows and other types of composition.  After seven or eight minutes I found the mother lode, a two pack of extra firm Ralph Lauren Pillows.  Just what I was looking for.  I snatched them up immediately.

As I walked to the checkout desk, I wandered through the sheet and pillow case department. I can honestly affirm that in my entire life, I have never bought pillow cases and sheets on my own.  I don’t know what got into me but I started browsing through the pillow case and sheet department.  The first thing I notice was how many brands, colors, thread count and packaging options there were.  The other thing I noticed was how expensive some of the items were.  I looked for affordable items, good thread count and colors that were acceptable.  I am embarrassed to say that I looked through sheets and pillow cases for some 15 minutes.   It did not seem like a manly endeavor.  It seemed liked something I would stand around watching while the Lovely Sharon looked for sheets.  But for some unknown reason, I was in to this pillow case and sheet thing.  Maybe the quest for mattress and pillows had expanded in scope to include sheets and pillow cases.  After much consideration, I settled upon a single package containing a fitted sheet, a flat sheet and two pillow cases.   As I left Macey’s, it occurred to me that on this wintery March 3rd day, while other men were skiing or snow shoeing or doing outdoor chores. I had been shopping for mattress pads, pillows, sheets and pillow cases.    As stated above, a manly endeavor indeed.

After Maceys, I decided to go to Costco.  I needed nine volt batteries, bottled water and a few other things.  I found a pair of kaki’s and a black sweater each for $14.95.  I go to Costco with Sharon in Palm Desert and when she is in Salt Lake, I go to Costco in Salt Lake with Sharon.  I can tell you that going to Costco by myself is ok but it is just shopping.  Going to Costco with the Lovely Sharon is fun.  It is an adventure.  We go up and down each aisle looking at everything.  To shop at Costco, or for that matter, to shop anywhere with the Lovely Sharon is totally different than shopping by myself.  When I shop alone, I have a list, I know what I want and I don’t mess around. I go in, I find what I am looking for, I get it and then I get out of there.  Shopping with the Lovely Sharon is entirely different. Every item in the store is inspected, considered, touched, held up, scrutinized and then put back to its original location. When the Lovely Sharon shops, no stone is left unturned.  The possibility of overlooking a good buy, a treasure does not exist when shopping with Sharon. She checks out everything.  I remember once I accompanied to purchase a greeting card.  When I look for a card, such as an anniversary cars, I look at a couple, I pick one up, conclude its ok and buy it.  The Lovely Sharon picks up and reads every card.  It is like a medical researcher looking for a new gene trigger that may cure cancer. The particular trigger that may shut off the bad cells.  The researcher has to consider each possible gene trigger.  He or she cannot just be satisfied with the first one.  They consider all possibilities.  Very similar to the Lovely Sharon looking for greetings cards.  It makes one wish they had brought a three legged stool to relax on while her analysis process is completed.

 Anyway, Costco by myself is not nearly as fun as Costco with the Lovely Sharon.  Maybe her headstone should be graved with “She was fun at Costco”.    Not a bad headstone if you ask me.

All in all it as a nice but quiet day.  I was lonely, but I my pillow quest was successful.  Next weekend, I think I am going socks and boxer shorts.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tony Bennett

I awoke around 4:00 am, made some coffee and turned on the computer.  I am listening to Tony Bennett.  What can you say about Tony Bennett? One of the greatest interpreters of the great American Songbook. Born in 1926 as Anthony Dominick Benedetto, Tony (I can call him Tony because I have been listening to him for most of 59 years) has been singing for audiences since before 1950.  Think about it, a career of more than 62 years.  The good songs never get old and the great performers never go out of style. Apparently Frank Sinatra said that Tony was Sinatra’s favorite singer.


 Tony has 17 Grammy’s and has sold more than 50 million records and released some 70 albums.  What a body of work.

 Tony is an accomplished painter


Some of my favorite Tony Bennett albums are:

MTV Unplugged:Tony Bennett
Perfectly Frank (Sinatra songs)
Duets: An American Classic
Duets II

Coffee, Tony Bennett music and a dark Bud Cave except for my desk lamp. A nice way to start the day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rush Limbaugh is an Asshole

What the hell is wrong with Rush Limbaugh.  On national radio he called Sandra Fluke, a law student, a “slut and a prostitute” because she testified before Congress in support of contraception funding as part of health care insurance.  The day after he called her a slut and prostitute, Rush Limbaugh demanded that Fluke release tapes of her having sex in exchange for the contraception that she argued should be covered by employers.   Does your wife use birth control or has she used birth control?  Have your daughters used birth control.  Have your granddaughters used birth control?  If so, are they sluts?  Are they prostitutes? Should videos of them having sex be posted on the internet?  Don’t you find Limbaugh’s comments outrageous? 

Do you remember when Limbaugh said in 2009 that he hoped Obama would fail?

Do you remember in 2005 when Limbaugh read a quote from his self-described “mistress” on national radio?

Do you remember Limbaugh has been married four times?

 Do you remember before Limbaugh’s drug use and addiction became known, Limbaugh had condemned illegal drug use stating that "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. ... And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”

Do you remember when Limbaugh said he would leave the country if President Obama’s health care plan became law.  It did become law and yet Limbaugh is still here.  Too bad.

Do you remember when Limbaugh said NASCAR fans to do not like Michelle Obama because she is an "uppity black woman"?

Limbaugh is an asshole, no make that a total asshole. 

 I cannot believe that anyone would continue to listen to this cancerous, former drug addict.  Is this what conservatism is about?  Is Limbaugh the voice of the Republican party?  He is an example of family values? If you are a Republican do you want to be associated with the comments of this man.

 Don’t listen to him. Don’t buy products of companies that sponsor his show. Limbaugh is an evil, despicable person.