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)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Carson Daly, Jim Nabors and Forces of the Universe

Friday I was at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert.  My tee time was at 9:24 am.  I decided to drive the golf cart to the club early, have breakfast at Spike's (the halfway house) and read the paper.  The Lovely Sharon said she would drive the car over later as she was still getting gussied up for the day. So I headed over to the club. 

When I got to Spike's I ordered the All-American Breakfast- two eggs scrambled, hash browns, link sausage and toast. I order the same breakfast everytime I eat breakfast at Spike's.   As I ate breakfast, I read the Desert Sun (the local paper) and I said "Good morning" to various friends who came into Spikes for coffee or something to eat. A pleasant but normal breakfast event at the club.

As I was walking out of Spike's I saw a Desert Golf Magazine on the top of a stack of newspapers and magazines on a cupboard.  I picked it up and was looking at the cover as I walked out of the restaurant toward my golf cart.  I saw that Carson Daly was on the cover of the magazine.  Carson is a well known TV and radio personality and is the host of the popular TV program "The Voice".  I had never met Carson but I had seen him a time or two at the Club inasmuch as his parents are members.

I was concentrating on the cover of the magazine as I was walking and when I looked up, there was the real life Carson standing there in his golf clohes.  He had apparently finished playing the front nine and was getting a water refill for the back nine.  I looked at him standing there, I looked at him on the magazine, I looked at the real him again, and then I looked back at him on the magazine.  I finally said hello and we spoke for about 3 minutes.  He was very gracious and nice.  He went on to the 10th tee to finish his round with his foursome.

The interesting thing to me was not that I saw Carson Daly at Ironwood Country Club, I had seen him there a couple of times in the past.  The interesting thing was that somehow, through my mojo or the power of the universe or the alignment of the stars and the planets, I was looking at Carson Daly on the cover of a magazine and when I looked up there he was in the flesh.  I suppose I should say there he was in his golf clothes and golf shoes. But still, it was cosmic occurence. It is kind of like finding the image of Jesus on a pancake, or the image of the Virgin Mary on a tree stump. 

An even better example is the time I was standing at the urinal in the men's room at a night club/restaurant in Honolulu and realized that the fellow next to me at the adjacent urinal was Jim Nabors.  Jim Nabors was the star of Gomer Pyle, USMC, a TV series in the 1960's.  Before that he was on the Andy Griffith show.  If you recall, Gomer was famous for saying "Golly".  Well as I was standing there at the urinal, I looked at him, he looked at me, we nodded to each other in some sort of acknowledgement that he, a star and me a nobody, were answering the call of nature at the same time at the same restaurant in beautiful Honolulu.  I couldn't help myself, I had to look down at the part of his body that he was holding, which was the same part of my body that I was holding.  After a brief and I hoped, a non-obvious peak at Jim's neighbor, I zipped up and said "Golly".  We both washed our hands and walked out of the rest room to our respective tables.  That too was a cosmic event.

Anyway, I diverse, back to Carson Daly. After Carson had left for the 10th tee. I had not moved and was still standing there looking at the magazine cover with Carson on the cover. I thought about the forces of the universe that had brought him to me just as I was looking at his photo on the cover of  a magzine. What were the odds of that happening. Astronomical no doubt but yet it still happened.

It  occured to me that I should return to Spike's immediately and see if there was a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue or a Victoria's Secret Catalogue in that stack on the cupboard.

Who knows.  If it worked once, it might work again.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

George W. Bush Presidential Library

The George W. Bush Presidential Library was dedicated in Dallas this week.  I am a fan of presidential libraries but have never been to one.  Whether you liked a particular president or did not, the preservation of presidential papers, photos, research access and the presentation to citizens of the history of the US and the worldduring the president’s term of office is important.  I am one who believes that history is important.  I believe what happened in years past guides us or should guide us in the future. The two libraries  I would most like to see is the Reagan Library and the Clinton Library.  I would however like to see the Bush Library in Dallas.

To celebrate the Bush library dedication, all of the living presidents attended.  Don’t you think that one of the wonderful things about America, is that our former presidents have not be killed in coups or exiled in other countries, but they continue on providing service of some sort to America.  Bill Clinton and Senior President Bush have worked together on several projects and matters for the public good.

I was never a big fan of George W. Bush but I think he was a good person who tried his best.  President Obama spoke at the dedication.  “To know the man is to like the man,” Obama declared.

He praised Bush for his resolve after 9/11, his compassion in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa and for his support in backing immigration reform. “We are reminded of the incredible strength and resolve that came through that bullhorn as he stood amid the rubble of Ground Zero,” said Obama.

I love these photos:

Maybe one of these days I will get to visit one or more of the presidential libraries.


Friday, April 26, 2013

The New Republic Magazine

I just finished reading the April 29, 2013 issue of The New Republic magazine.  This is one of half dozen magazines I subscribe to and read religiously. Some people call me St. Bud since I read religously. .  Anyway, back to The New Republic, I learned a lot of interesting information in this issue.  Consider the following:

             There is a glut of empty big box store buildings in the US.  These large one level buildings were previously used for Walmarts, Kmarts, and various supermarkets.  These huge empty buildings are eyesores.  This article is about the reuse of these empty, ugly buildinds.  In McAllen, Texas, a 124,500 square foot former Walmart building has been converted into a public space that includes a library and art gallery.  A new outside circular fountain has been added. I further learned there are several websites where people post information about big box reuse and a woman named Julia Christensen has written a book about big box reuse.  One former Kmart big box is a Spam (yes Spam the mystery meat) museum. It would be lovely if all of the empty big box stores could find new uses.  Julia Christensen book is:
            There is an article about places where right wing people can hang out, assemble or live together. Some real estate promoters who are Congressman Ron Paul devotees, are developing a gated community called “Paulville” where the home owners will be limited to followers of Ron Paul. There is a community in Idaho called “The Citadel” where all the homes are made of poured concrete to survive and prevail in the face of natural disasters. These places remind me of Jonestown and other communes.  I find them scary.  The diversity of America is one of things that makes us great.

            There is an article about how a bunch of former Obama administration staffers are make a financial killing as consultants.  Big surprise, former government employees selling access to the government. see

             There is a really good article about the saving of ancient manuscripts from Islamist destruction in Timbuktu.  The article si called The Brazen Bibliophiles of Timbuktu - How a team of sneaky librarians duped Al Qaeda. People of the Islam faith hiding and saving historic manuscripts from radical Islamists.  Here is the first paragraph of the article:
"One afternoon in March, I walked through Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Studies and Islamic Research, stepping around shards of broken glass. Until last year, the modern concrete building with its Moorish-inspired screens and light-filled courtyard was a haven for scholars drawn by the city’s unparalleled collection of medieval manuscripts. Timbuktu was once the center of a vibrant trans-Saharan network, where traders swapped not only slaves, salt, gold, and silk, but also manuscripts—scientific, artistic, and religious masterworks written in striking calligraphy on crinkly linen-based paper. Passed down through generations of Timbuktu’s ancient families, they offer a tantalizing history of a moderate Islam, in which scholars argued for women’s rights and welcomed Christians and Jews. Ahmed Baba owned a number of Korans and prayer books decorated with intricate blue and gold-leaf geometric designs, but its collections also included secular works of astronomy, medicine, and poetry."
   It is an article worth reading.
            There is also a reference to a book entitled The Bankers’ New Clothes by two economists which discusses the banking system.  I want to read that book
Check out The New Republic magazine.  Each month has interesting articles and book references.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Things I Like Redux

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things I Like

Each of us has things, books, actors, songs, concepts that we really like. Each of has things we like to do. These things might give us pleasure, they may be helpful or they may evoke a rush of warm memories. Being the narcissist that I am, I will share some of my favorites with you. I am no expert in most of the things that I like, but who cares, I still like these things even if I don’t know why.

I like the Art Deco design style. I am not certain that I can even give you a helpful definition of Art Deco but I am pretty good at recognizing something that is Art Deco. Art Deco was a popular design style in 1920’s and 1930’s. There are Art Deco buildings, furniture, cocktail shakers and a whole slew of other products that were designed in the Art Deco style. I like Art Deco Murals. My favorite office building is the Chrysler Building with its beautiful top. The Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Buildings are both Art Deco projects. Many of the small hotels in Miami’s South Beach are great examples of Art Deco. If you like Art Deco, check out: or

I like zinfandel wine. Not the sweet soda pop white zinfandel, but the deep rep, full bodied red zinfandel. The Lovely Sharon and I search out and buy Zinfandels as often as possible. We like Biale’s several varieties of zinfandels, particularly Biale’s Black Chicken. We like some of the Rosenblum and Rombauer zinfandels. I like the way a nice zin looks in the glass as you slowly move the glass about. I like the rich fruity smell of a zinfandel. I like to walk through a wine store and look at the labels and wonder what treasure may be contained in a particular bottle.

I like movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s. I like the "Thin Man" series of movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. I like Humphrey Bogart movies of this era. I like "The Philadelphia Story" with Cary Grant, Kathryn Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart.

I like dogs; all kinds of dogs. I like to rub their head and ears. I like it when they roll on their back and beg you with their eyes to rub their stomach. I like it when they slide their head under your hand so you feel obliged to pet them. I like the fact that whenever, you come home, they are sooooo happy to see you.

I like golf courses. The Lovely Sharon is a very good golfer. I am a hack, getting worse. But I like the looks of a golf course. I like to read about golf courses. I have read a number of books on golf course design and architecture. I have numerous coffee table type photo books of golf courses. I like to know who designed the courses I play. Some of favorite golf course architects/ designers are Alister Mackenzie, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and Tom Fasio. Some of the most renowned golf courses were designed by Donald Ross but I have never played one so until I do, I can’t include him in my favorites.

I like to read history. I like to read the speeches of Robert F. Kennedy. I like to read anything written about or written by Winston Churchill.

I like to read about, listen about and discuss politics.

I like Swiss Army Knives.

I like silk boxer shorts.

I like books. I like to walk down the aisles of bookstores and libraries. I like to hold a book in my hand and feel it. I like it when I am finished reading for a session and I put a bookmark in my book knowing where to start up next time.

I like the song “The Way You Look Tonight”. I like to hold the Lovely Sharon in my arms and in my awkward way, slow dance listening to this musical gem with the scent of The Lovely Sharon dancing around me.

I like road trips. I like to get in the car and drive.

I like to talk to my son Alex. He is smart, knowledgeable and always has something of interest to say.

I like chick flicks. "Sleepless in Seattle", "You’ve Got Mail", "The American President", "When Harry Met Sally". I have seen each of them many times and will no doubt watch again.

I like my guitars. I have a Martin HD 35 and a Collins 02M. They are beautiful handcrafted, acoustical works of art. I like the rich full sound they each make. I like to pick one up and finger pick a riff. I like to turn them over and let my eyes caress their beautiful rich, dark wood backs. I like to feel their smoothness on my fingertips.

I like movies with Denzel Washington, George Clooney, and Tom Hanks. I like movies with Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and Julia Roberts.

I like Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. Their songs and musical styles are timeless yet they take me back to another era. A time when life seemed safer. When it was easier to tell who the bad guys were. A time when life seems less complex. I like the lyric "I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places".

I like people who are passionate about something even if I don’t share their passion or even if I disagree with what they are passionate about. This world needs more people who care deeply about something. People who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand on something. People who are not afraid to put their name on something they care about.

I like people who do what needs to be done without having to be asked to do it. No one was better at this than my mother and father. If something needed to be done, if someone needed help, they were there.

I like to make risotto. I start with a chopped onion, saute it in olive oil until its soft and golden. I brown the rice a little and then slowly add chicken stock to allow the rice to absorb the liquid. The theme of the risotto changes depending on what I have in the fridge or the cupboard. I might add chicken or scallops or diced ham. It may be a vegetable risotto. Sometimes I add a pinch of saffron.

I like to read the paper while I am eating eggs benedict at Café Beaux Arts on El Paseo in Palm Desert. I like to sit in the sun at one of their open air windows, reading and watching the people stroll down the sidewalk.

There are many more things I like but this is enough for now. If you want to share any of your favorite things, leave a response on this page or send me an email because truly one of things I like is to know the favorite things of my friends.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lovely Ladies From YesterYear


I love vintage - retro photos.  Here some beauties from years past.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Law Enforcement

Law enforcement personnel in the Boston explosion and investigation - federal, state and local alw enforcement- were fantastic.  Risking their lives to protect the citizens and locate the evil doers, these men and women are true heroes.  I am surprised that the location and apprehension of the bombers was completed so quickly.  Watching TV the last two nights was like being there.  The TV coverage, the broadcast of the photos and videos of the bombers certainly speeded things up.

I also thought the words of the Mayor of Boston, the Governor of Massachussetts and President Obama were well spoken and helpful to the citizens of Boston and all Americans.  Mitt Romney was in attendance at the interfatith memorial in which President Obama spoke. Mr.Romney praised President Obama and his speech.  Romney was interviewed on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” where he praised the President’s address to the victims.

“I thought the President gave a superb address to the people of this city and the state and the nation," Romney said. "It was an inspiring day."

I think that in times of disaster the words of our leaders are important.  We need to be soothed, we need to be instructed, we need to be encouraged and we need to be inspired in times of collective grief.

I thank God this portion of the Boston tragedy is over.  I suppose there will be continued significant efforts to determine if others were directly or indirectly involved.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Horrific Week

What a horrific week.  The bombs at the Boston Marathon, the explosion in Texas and the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass the gun background check law.  Sometimes it is hard to get up in the morning without a fear that some other tragedy will occur whether caused by an evil intentional act by some monster or some horrible accident or natural disaster.  My heart goes out to the injured and killed in Boston and Texas and to their the families. How sad, how horrible.
I cannot get the Martin Richards family out of my mind.  From what I have read, the Richard family was extremely close and was loved and respected in their Dorchester community.  The family went to the marathon together and by the end of the day, Martin was dead, his sister had lost a leg and his mother a severe head injury. 
In these times of tragedy it is impossible not to think of our children and grandchildren and put ourselves in the position of the Richards family and shudder at the thought of their loss. Its almost too much to bear.


Monday, April 15, 2013


The Lovely Sharon and I are friends with Ray and Kaye, whose family included, until recently, a beautiful Golden Retriever named Hannah.  A few days ago the Lovely Sharon told me that Hannah had passed away.  When I heard the news I felt an immediate pang in my heart.  I had known Hannah for a number of years, may be eight or nine. We met Ray and Kaye at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert.  We have been good friends since we met.  Ray and Kaye’s place at Ironwood was a couple of doors from ours.  We visited them at their place and they visited us at our place fairly often.  When I was doing something in my garage, it was not uncommon to see Ray and Hannah walking past.  I always ventured out of the garage to say hello to the two of them. 

 Eventually, I started buying dog treats to have available for those occasions when Ray and Hannah walked by.  After a few times of getting my treats, it seemed to me that once Hannah was on her leash she looked forward to walking past my house.

Ray and Kay sold their place near ours in Palm Desert but bought one a few blocks away and we have visited them at their new place a few times. On each visit, we were greeting by the wet tongue and wagging tail of Hannah.

 The death of a cherished canine companion feels more than the death of a pet.  It’s the death of a family member, a confidant, a creature that provides unconditioned love to you.  No matter how short of time you might have been gone from your house, when you get back home your dog is as happy to see you as if you had been gone for days.  Your dog senses when you are sad or sick and offers you a wet kiss or a nudge with a wet nose to cheer you up or to see if you are ok.

I like this poem I found about dogs
Unconditional Love.

When a dog offers you his heart
Accept it with a smile
For his love will last a lifetime -
Which is such a little while.
When a dog offers you his heart
Take it gladly and with pride
For he will be a faithful friend
Ever by your side.
A dog loves you because you're you -
Not for how you speak or what job you do
You could be short, tall, thin or fat
Or ugly as sin, he doesn't care about that.
A dog knows if you're good or bad
He can see inside your soul
When he decides you're okay
To earn your love is his main goal.
When you're sad, he'll comfort you
And kiss away each tear
You may even wake up in the morning
With a cold nose in your ear.
When eventually the time comes
And the lights in his eyes dim
A new star will shine in Heaven
In remembrance of him.
You'll gaze up at the midnight sky
And you will hear him say -
"I'm so glad you were my human
We'll meet again some day!"
So, if this poem has caused a tear to fall
That's because you love the dog who's giving you his all
Go travel on together, happily paw in glove
He's the only one who'll ever give you unconditional love.
When a dog offers you his heart
Accept it with a smile
For his love will last a lifetime -
Which is such a little while.

By Hazel Harris-Lane

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Utah Artist Valoy Eaton

I have posted the art of Valoy Eaton on this blog before.  Mr. Eaton is a Utah artist.  I have one of his original works.  His paintings look like Utah.  They look like the Utah of my boyhood and in rural areas they look like Utah today.    Here are a  couple paintings from Valoy Eaton:

Somewhere in Cache County, Utah (northern Utah)

This is Called "At the Mailbox"

This is called "A Warm Day"

Friday, April 12, 2013

Breasts, Bras and Scientific Studies

I just read an article concerning a French study about breasts and bras. Unsurprisingly, the study was conducted by a French university and not by Brigham Young University (“BYU”).

The following is from the Huffington Post, see

Women who go braless may actually have the right idea, new research suggests. According to the results of a 15-year study in France published Wednesday, bras provide no benefits to women and may actually be harmful to breasts over time.

"Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity," Jean-Denis Rouillon, a professor at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, told France Info.
Conducting the study at the university's hospital, Rouillon measured and examined the breasts of more than 300 women, aged 18 and 35, taking note of how the additional support provided by bras affects the body over time. (It should be noted the study does not mention breast size.) Overall, he found that women who did not use bras benefited in the long term, developing more muscle tissue to provide natural support. As France's The Local notes, Rouillon also noticed that nipples gained a higher lift, in relation to the shoulders, on women who went braless. When bras are worn, the restrictive material prevents such tissue from growing, which may actually accelerate sagging, the study concluded.

Capucine Vercellotti, a 28-year-old woman who participated in the research, found that she breathes easier without the constraints of a bra.
"At first, I was a little reluctant to the idea of running without a bra, but I got started and after five minutes, I had no trouble at all," Vercellotti said, according to the Agence France-Presse.

A few comments about this study:
            1.         The person who came up with the idea for such a study is a genius.  I can imagine him explaining his breast and bra analysis to his wife. “Honestly, honey, I have to do this for work, why else would I be inspecting and thinking about women’s breasts?”
            2.         Without really knowing it, most men have been researchers on similar studies since they were about 13 years old.
            3.         I like to posts photos with my blog entries, but I am pretty sure that if I post photos with this blog entry, I will not hear the end of it from the Lovely Sharon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Favorite Walks Redux

Here is a repost from February 23, 2011

Do you have a favorite walk? I am talking about walks not hikes. Is there one place or street that you really like to walk? I do. In fact I have a few. I think you always feel better about life after a nice walk in a favorite spot. Here are a few of my favorite walks.

City Creek Canyon, Salt Lake City. I like to walk up City Creek Canyon. The paved road is 5.75 miles long up to Rotary Park. The Canyon goes further than the park and there are hiking trails available for the adventurous soul. You start this walk by parking your car at the gate. Cars may only go up the canyon every other day. Even on car day you basically need a pass or reservation to drive up the canyon. Days that are not car day are bike days. You can walk the canyon on bike days and car days. Frankly, I prefer walking on car days because there is so little traffic where as there a zillion bikes on bike day. The walk up and down City Creek Canyon is terrific. The road is adjacent to the creek all the way up. There is a water treatment reservoir and a couple of small lake type reservoirs. After about a mile, you feel as though you are in the wilds, miles away from civilization when in fact you are only a couple of miles from downtown Salt Lake City. There is a distance marker about every half mile or so you know have far you have walked. There are deer and other critters up the canyon. I have walked around snakes on the road and one year there was a mountain lion up the canyon. If you live in the Salt Lake area you should take the time to walk City Creek Canyon.

Columbus Avenue, San Francisco. I like to start at the Transamerica Pyramid and walk down Columbus Avenue to the Cannery at Fisherman’s Wharf. You walk through the edge of China Town and through North Beach. There are numerous small restaurants and shops. I always like to stop in the City Lights Bookstore which has been around for more than 50 years and was a hangout for Allen Ginsberg and others of the 1950’s beat generation. Through much of the walk you can see Coit Tower high on a hill on your right as you are walking toward the Wharf. You pass Washington Square and the St Peter Paul Cathedral. More than a few times I have bought a Sunday newspaper and a cup of coffee and sat on a park bench in Washington Square reading and watching people do tai chi exercises on the lawn. Adjacent to Washington Square is Moose’s restaurant which I have eaten at a few times. It now has new owners and I have not been there since the ownership change. On Columbus Avenue the smell of coffee is everywhere and you find yourself stopping for a cup at one of the shops. I always stop at Biordi Art Imports to see their wonderful Italian pottery. I have bought a few pieces at Biordi’s over the years. As you walk down Columbusyou pass "The Stinking Restaurant" which is famous for garlic dishes. As you continue toward the Wharf, you pass bocce ball courts where you can see old men in caps and light jackets playing bocce ball. It has the feel of another country and another time. Finally you get to the Cannery and the Aquatic Park where people are flying kites and sitting on benches and walls and waiting in line for the Hyde Street Cable Cars. It’s a great walk.

Ocean Avenue, Carmel, CA. I have walked Ocean Avenue 20 or 30 times over the years. I always start at the top of Avenue and walk down the right hand side almost to Carmel Beach. When I get a street or two from Carmel Beach, I cross the Avenue and head back up the other side. The Carmel Avenue stroll has to be taken with a lover. You need to window shop while holding hands. You need to walk into art galleries and together pick out paintings and sculptures you would buy if you only had the money. You need to put your heads together in bakery windows trying to decide which baked delicacy has the fewest calories although you both know the answer is “none”. The last time I walked Ocean Avenue was in June 2010 during the US Open Golf Tournament. The Lovely Sharon and I had just played golf at course a few miles away. We were not scheduled to attend the US Open until the next day so we headed over to Ocean Avenue. It was a sunny afternoon and the Lovely Sharon and I took our time on the Avenue looking at shops and looking at people. When we walked by the Portobello Café there was an open table in the sun next to the sidewalk. We sat down and had a glass of wine and lingered in the afternoon sun. We started a conversation with the fellow at the next table and we were pleased to learn that he was one of the owners of the Cafe. After we were fortified by the wine we left the pleasant surroundings and headed up Ocean Avenue. More window shopping and strolling into shops as we walked. I think we actually bought something but I cannot recall for certain. I must say it was a memorable day, perfect weather, accompanied by a beautiful woman and in no hurry to do anything.

El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA. El Paseo is not far from our place at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert. The street has shops, restaurants, galleries, shoe stores, coffee shops, jewelry stores, day spas, and palm trees. In the center island of the street are various sculptures that seem to be replaced with other sculptures from time to time. The main shopping street is about a mile long. I have written before about eating breakfast at Café Des Beaux Arts, my favorite place for breakfast. Last Friday night (or was it Saturday night) the Lovely Sharon and I had dinner at Mama Gina’s Italian Restaurant. My favorite gallery to visit is the Coda Gallery although I do like to go into most of the galleries. I bought a bronze sculpture some years ago of a young boy in a swimsuit. I bought because it reminded me of Son Alex who, at the time, was about the same age as the sculpture boy. To this day, when I look at the sculpture in my Ironwood place I think of Son Alex who is now in graduate school at the University of Utah.

I am out of time but other walks I like are Madison Avenue in New York, Bond Street in London and the walk from Piazza Navona to the Spanish Steps in Rome. If you have a favorite wall leave a message.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Audrey Hepburn in Rome

I love Rome.  I have blogged about it before.  I love Audrey Hepburn.I have blogged about her before.  This month's Vanity Fair Magazine has an article about Audrey Hepburn's years in Rome.  Her son is coming out with a book of photos of Ms. Hepburn in Rome.  This is a terrific article with great photos. Check it out.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Venice, a New History

The Lovely Sharon and I were in Italy a few years ago.  We spent time in Rome, Tuscany and Assisi. After a couple of days in Assisi we had several days of holiday left before we were to fly out of Milan.  We decided to go to Venice.  We didn’t have reservations but we ended up in a fine old hotel on the Lido, which is another island near Venice.  We spent a couple of days exploring the Lido and Venice and had a wonderful time.  Since that time I have had affection for Venice. 
I recently read a review of a book entitled Venice, A New History by Thomas A. Madden.  I ordered it from the library and it came in last week.  The book is about 425 pages long and I am only up to page 160 but I can tell you it’s a terrific book if you like history, which I do.  The book starts with the how islands at the top of the Adriatic Sea were created, when and why they were settled, their commerce, their religious intrigues, and their political intrigues.  I am only up to the year 1210 so far but I have learned a lot of things I didn’t know or that I had forgotten.

The first paragraph of the book sets the tone of the rest of the book and reads as follows:

No one forgets a first glimpse of Venice. Whether arriving by plane, by boat, train or car, there is that startling moment when one looks across the waves and finds what should not be there—stone towers, rich churches, and packed buildings rising up out of the sea.  The extraordinary beauty of Venice only adds to its improbability.  How does such a city exist?  Who were the people who built it and why did they think it worth such unyielding efforts?

So far I have learned that islands in the Venetian lagoon were formed from the melting snows of the Alpine area of northern Italy that deposited rock and silt into the northern Adriatic Sea, which the currents of the sea turned into banks of sand and dirt that were parallel to the shore. These banks were called “lidi”, hence the name of the Lido.  I learned that as various warring tribes invaded the cities on the shore, the locals moved to these lidis (“islands”) and built their cities of refuge.  The book indicates that Venice was founded in 421.

I have learned that the original patron saint of Venice was Thomas of Amasea who, according to legend, killed either a dragon or a supposedly possessed crocodile.  Atop one of the columns at the beginning of San Marco Square is a statue of St Thomas with his foot on the slain crocodile.  Thomas was replaced as the patron saint of Venice after two Venetians stole the remains of St. Mark from a church in Alexandria, Egypt and brought them back to Venice.  So St. Mark became the patron saint of Venice and San Marco Square was dedicated to him.

One of the interesting things in the book is how often people were stealing the remains of one saint or another.  Such remains, called “relics” were supposed to bring certain status and blessings to whatever community looted them from somewhere else.

The book discusses the seagoing merchants of Venice and the surrounding area and the lengthy and intriguing relationships of the Venetians with the rulers of the Roman Empire, whether out of Rome or Constantinople and with the various popes.  I just finished reading about the Fourth Crusade.

It is a good book and I recommend it if you like reading history.  I have inserted below a few photos I took in Venice.

No Matter Where we Go, the Lovely Sharon is Looking for a Treasure

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our Ninth Anniversary

The Lovely Sharon and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last week in the same manner we do each year.  We drove our golf cart out to the 14th hole of Ironwood Country Club’s South course where we got married.  The day we were married we played 18 holes of golf, freshened up in the restroom and got married near the waterfall on the 14th hole in our golf shoes and golf clothes.  Watching us take our vows of perpetual golf and a life together were some 30 friends and family members who drove golf carts to the site of the ceremony.

 This year’s anniversary celebration followed the pattern of the other years; the Lovely Sharon organized a bottle of Champaign, a bucket of ice, Champaign glasses, some cheese and crackers and grapes and put them in our golf cart.  This year she also brought along her Ipod and a small portable Ipod speaker. I did nothing, the same as each year, in organizing the celebration.  Once the cart was loaded, we drove in the late afternoon sun out to the 14th hole.  Once there, I popped open the Champaign, poured it and waited for the bubbles to settled down and poured some more.  We gave each other a quick kiss and clinked our glasses in a toast.

After a few sips of the bubbly, the Lovely Sharon got the music going and to my pleasure the song she put on was our song, “The Way You Look Tonight”.  With the sun lowering in the western sky but the warmth of desert still upon us, we danced on the grass to the music.  The only witness to our dance was a solitary duck in the lake in front of the 14th green


As I held her in my arms and did my normal clunky awkward attempt at a slow dance, I thought about the marriage ceremony, about our marriage and about the beautiful location we were at.  It is unbelievable that she has been bossing me around for nine years already. I know it sounds cliché, but it really does seem as though it has only been a couple of years since March 21, 2004 when we said our “I do’s” to a chorus of howling coyotes.  When I look at her today, I can’t believe how lucky I am that she agreed to drag me along in life.   She has put up with all of my faults and short comings with patience and kindness. She is as lovely as she was the day we wed.


After our dance, she remarked at how lucky we were to have gotten married at a location where each anniversary we could celebrate at the actual place of the ceremony.  As I thought about it, it occurred to me that each year as our anniversary neared, I indeed looked forward to our golf cart drive to the 14th hole and our Champaign toast.

 After awhile, we said goodbye to the duck and we slowly drove around the golf course to the 6th hole, the fifth hole, and the fourth hole with their beautiful lakes and palm trees. It was quiet and peaceful.  We saw birds, the desert in bloom, especially the bright yellows that come out each spring. 
Finally, we drove back home where we made dinner, lit candles and tiki torches for a romantic dinner on the patio. We talked about everything and nothing if you know what I mean. We shared a bottle of red zinfandel and toasted some more.   I cleared the table off as she sat at the patio table enjoying the evening. She looked lovely in the candle light.


What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Weekend Redux


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Weekend

It has been a little quiet around the homestead the last couple of months. The Lovely Sharon and I have been in different cities for about 43 of the last 50 days. We were together in Salt Lake for 3 or 4 days in the end of October and together in Nebraska for 3 or 4 days before Thanksgiving. I was in Salt Lake for Thanksgiving and she was in Nebraska. So with that limited one- on-one time, I sent her an email yesterday morning, Saturday December 5th. Knowing that she was going to a holiday gala at our Palm Desert country club Saturday night and knowing that I was going to thaw out a frozen meal for dinner and then watch the dust in the Salt Lake house grow (it kinda looks like a Chia Pet - one of the plants advertised on TV that grow to look like the head of Abraham Lincoln), I asked her to send me a sexy email that I could read on a lonely, cold night in Salt Lake. (Hey I might be 57 but I am not dead yet). So yesterday evening I opened my email and sure enough there was one from the Lovely Sharon. I thought oh boy this will be great. Well the email consisted of a normal greeting, then a 5 or 6 word “come hither” type message and then ended with a reminder to deposit funds into her Salt Lake bank account. That was it.

I thought man, that wasn’t quite like I had hope for. It was kind of like a husband giving his wife a romantic anniversary card accompanied by a vacuum as a gift. It was kind of like someone giving you tickets to an NBA game and you discover that your seat is three rows from the top. It was kind of like a beau taking his best girl on a long promised romantic picnic but first having to stop to rotate the tires on his car. I mean it was nice, but not quite what you had hoped for.

I mean for gosh sakes, the only visitor I have had in this house in the last seven weeks was the furnace repairman who visited me three times over the Thanksgiving holiday to repair a broken furnace. I am telling you it has been so quiet here that I found myself looking at his butt crack above his belt line when he was bent over working on the furnace. (OK that may be an exaggeration but I think you get the point). By the way, for three days it was so cold in the kitchen that I could store the uncooked meats on the granite counter tops. When I cooked, I wore an overcoat, gloves, as scarf and a hat. But the furnace is now fixed (thanks to Manwill Plumbing owned by my friend Jim Manwill). I am shamelessly hoping that this plug of his business results in a reduced bill.

The other night I got a phone call from a telemarketer in Florida wanting to sell me a cruise. I asked him where he was from, where he went to high school, the names of his wife and kids. It was nice to talk to someone. After our lengthy conversation, none of which involved the cruise, I think he put me on the “do not call” list. I stopped paying bills on time just so the bill collectors would call.

I bought a new IPhone last week. Just for fun I put it on vibrate, put in my pants pocket and called myself from my home line. After seven calls I started to feel like I was stalking myself so I stopped. Although the vibration in my pants was nice.

I suppose the good thing with this time apart from the Lovely Sharon is that I have had time for productive things. I have been using Photoshop to take my friends heads off of photos I have stored on my computer and put them on animal bodies. That is a good use of time. My friend Gordon looks great as an armadillo. My friend Steve R. looks very loveable as a llama.

It has also been fun to stack books all over the floor of Bud Cave. It looks like stalagmites growing from the floor to the ceiling.

One thing that has been a challenge is that I am reading one book, listening to an audio book in my car and listening to still a another audio book on my Ipod when I walk on the treadmill. Usually it is not a problem for me to keep all the plots and characters straight but in two of these three books there are characters named Jenna. I have never known anyone in my life named Jenna and now two of the three books I am involved with have a character named Jenna. In one book Jenna is the heroine, a nice woman who won the lottery and collected $290,000,000 ($150,000,000 after lump sum discount and taxes). The other Jenna is a scheming little trollop trying to steal the husband of some poor woman. I find myself confused over which Jenna is the rich one and which one is the trollop.

Yesterday I did one thing that, I must admit, was wonderful for me. I delivered poinsettia plants to my beautiful daughter-in-law (and held grandbaby Kendall Marie), to my friends Norm and Terry, to my sister and to my parents. I was lucky enough to find them all at home so I visited a few minutes at each house. That was really nice for me.

This morning I woke up early, I put a load of wash in the washing machine at 4:45 and watched from my window as the snow is falling, covering the street in front of my house in white. The only light outside at this hour is a single street lamp and the two lamps on the columns at the end of my sidewalk. There is something nice about the look of snow falling with no one around and the dim street lamp illuminating the snow, the street and the lawn.

Today I will pay the bills, and yes I will write a check for the Lovely Sharon’s account, put a few more friends heads on animals and watch NFL football. But for now, I am going to make me a cup of coffee and read about Jenna, the rich one (I think it is the rich one but it might be the trollop).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bacon-Maple Doughnuts Redux

Originally Posted October 12,2011

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".