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)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Women - Redux


Monday, October 5, 2009


“Women”. Just say that single, solitary word to any man and he just looks at you, rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders. If you are a male by just saying to another male that five letter word, “W O M E N”, the guy you are talking to knows exactly what you mean. You don’t need to add anything else. You and he have a DNA link, a commonality of experience, an instinctive bond and timeless knowledge of what is meant by saying that single word. “Women.” This common bond of shared knowledge and understanding no doubt started when humanoids first stood upright and began walking on hind legs. Long before fire was invented. You know very well that when the first male humanoid stood up and started to walk, the first male in the history of the Earth to walk on his hind legs, his female companion who is still using all four limbs to propel herself, looked up and asked “And where do you think you are going?”

All men know that we cannot understand or anticipate what the women in the sphere of our existence are doing, what they are thinking or how they will react to our statements and actions. Remember the blog entry I wrote on August 17th called “The Boss”. Well the Boss is not just your wife, it’s all women.

Today was an interesting day in regards to my interactions with Women. Consider the following:

- The Lovely Sharon left for week in Palm Desert (the weather there will be in the 80’s this week and the weather here in Salt Lake will be in the 50’s so she is gone). I will be working here in Salt Lake all week. Before she left, she told me to keep the kitchen clean, dust and take my pills. I am pretty sure if I left for a week I wouldn’t have the courage to tell her to keep the kitchen clean and dust.

- In response to my Narcissist blog entry of Sunday, my ex-wife (and still dear friend) responded from Brazil, (some 6,000 miles away) that I should knock off eating sausage burritos from McDonald’s. It was nice to hear from her, but the command to knock off the burritos from 6,000 miles away from someone who I have not been married to for 8 years made me sit up straight. I am thinking of sending her an email telling her to knock off eating Brazilian iguana burgers.

- Ms. X, the wife of the Lovely Sharon’s ex-husband, responded to my Narcissist blog by telling me she really didn’t call me a Narcissist (she is highly educated and smart person so I think she is trying to trick me). Maybe she is trying to hypnotize me through the blog so I will forget what was said.

- I walked into my seventh floor office after lunch today and Sheila, a legal assistant (not my legal assistant) is wearing a black outfit, standing in the corner of my office and looking north out my window. My office is on Second East and Second South in downtown Salt Lake. I asked Sheila what she was doing. She said she was looking down toward First South to see if she could see if there was a dead body in front of the old DeCondi’s furniture store. I said ok and started working on a merger agreement. After about 12 minutes with Sheila still in my office looking out the window I asked her if she saw any dead bodies, she said “No, not yet” but she did see a really tall guy who was getting a ticket from a policemen, on Third East. She ultimately left my office and I am sorry to say, no dead body was to be seen.

- Lyndee, another legal assistant at my office brought homemade cookies today. They were beautiful and were sitting on her counter in front of her cubicle. I went to get one and she said “No Way” and moved them away Ok she knows I have the blood sugar problem but it was just another example of another woman controlling a man’s life even if she is not married to that man

- After work, I went to the Tree House Athletic Club for a short workout. I was looking for a parking space and driving slowly down the rows in the parking lot. There was an open space at the far end of the row. A lady in a huge GMC SUV passed the open space and drove toward me. Since she passed the open space I thought great, she is just driving through the row on her way out and I will be able to get the open parking place. Then she stopped and right in front of me she did a three point turn of her GMC that turned into a seven point turn, reversed her course and drove to the empty space. I just sat there in stunned silence looking at her. For me it was like an out-of-body experience where I was looking down at myself and the seven point turn from some higher vantage point. I am pretty sure I could hear a voice whispering "Don't look at the white light."   She ultimately got turned around, parked her car, got out, gave me smile and a friendly wave and walked off. Dumbstruck at what just happened, my soul reunited with my body, I smiled and waved back.

I have been home by myself tonight. I made a manly dinner. I am in the Bud Cave wearing a torn tee shirt and my boxer shorts watching Monday Night Football. I yelled at the TV when stupid plays were made. I played my guitar and sang Hank Williams, Jr. songs, loud and off key (that is how I sing, loud and off key). No women were telling me what to do, taking my parking place, changing the channel or looking for dead bodies. I have been in total control, doing what I wanted to do; doing manly things, no woman bossing me around.

Oh, by the way, after I made myself dinner I cleaned the kitchen and now I have to remember to take my pills before bed time.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Holding Hands - Redux


 This was originally posted

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Holding Hands

Most days I drive the 17 miles from my home in the southern end of Salt Lake County to my office in downtown Salt Lake City by way of surface streets rather than by way of the freeway. I generally avoid the freeway on my way to work because frequently there is a car crash or some other event that slows traffic down to a crawl. My return home at the end of my business day is generally also accomplished by way of surface streets. 

Each morning I leave my home between 6:15 and 6:30. In the summer it is that time of day when the night has left but yet the sun has not yet come up. Its dawn, when the sky is starting to lighten up but the moon, the stars and some of the planets are still shining. As I drive to work the sky continues to lighten. When I look out toward the western part of the Salt Lake valley, I see the sun is shining on the Oquirrh Mountains and the adjacent west side neighborhoods. The moon has such beauty at this time of morning that I occasionally will pull over to the side of the road just to look at it.

My usual route is to drive down 1300 East from 10600 South to the Van Winkle Expressway at about 5200 South. Each day I pass the same homes, schools and businesses. I have come to know and recognize their normal early morning look. I recognize the cars in their driveways. I can see if the newspapers have been delivered or whether the paper boy is running late.

For the last month or more, I have driven past an elderly couple walking on the west side of 1300 East between 6600 South and 6200 South. This couple intrigues me. They appear to be in their late 70’s. Every day he is dressed in long gym shorts and a white tee shirt. He wears a hat. The same type of hat that the golfer Byron Nelson wore. In his right hand he holds a walking stick.

His female companion, who I assume is his wife, wears a white blouse. She wears what, during my boyhood, were called pedal pushers, but in more recent time are referred to as capris. Hers appears to be denim.

Each day I look forward to seeing this couple. I wonder about them. I have passed them no less than 30 times this summer. Here they are walking down the sidewalk before the sun comes up; wearing essentially the same outfits each day. The most remarkable thing is that every time I see them they are holding hands. Each day they walking down the sidewalk he with his hat on his head and holding his walking stick holding hands with a handsome elderly lady.  Are they an old married couple, 50 or more years together whose hands now fit together?  Their hands aging over the years, transforming from the hands of young people to the weathered, leathery hands that come with age.    Or are they experiencing new love, joined together after previous spouses have passed on. Are they holding hands to protect each other from the physical imbalances that the elderly sometime have to deal with or is it an expression of love? They don’t seem to be in conversation when I pass them. They are just silently walking together before the sun comes up.

As I pass them I am flooded with memories of my father’s parents, my grandfather and grandmother. Whenever they drove together in a car or a pickup, he had his left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand resting lovingly on her knee. It was though his touch of her knee provided a reassurance to each of them; that things were alright and they were together.

I hope that in twenty years I am holding hands with the Lovely Sharon, walking down a sidewalk somewhere. Communicating silently through our hands, no need for words, watching the morning sky and content to be walking with the woman I love.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Hard Rain

Tuesday, I got home from work around 3:30.  I put on some shorts and a tee shirt, put on my Ipod and went out to work in the back yard.  It was hot and mostly sunny as I cut up some falling limbs.  As I worked, I could see a couple male deer across the creek, may be 25 yards from where I was working.  It is always special watching the deer in our yard.  One of the two deer had a large rack of antlers and the other was smaller with a smaller rack.  I finished the job after some 90 minutes and went back in the house to shower and clean up for the evening. 

The Lovely Sharon made dinner.  We were both tired and we ate in relative silence.  By 6:30, the clouds had come in in such intensity that it was almost dark.  The clouds looked ominous and it looked like we were in for heavy weather.

After dinner, I headed down to the Bud Cave to relax while the Lovely Sharon crashed upstairs on the family room sofa.  At 7:00 o’clock it started to rain, a hard rain.  I decided to watch the rain outside sitting on a chair on our lower covered patio.   As I sat there and watched the rain, the thunder started and the lightening followed. Our house was right in the middle of what became a huge rain storm.  There were numerous crashes of thunder followed almost immediately by lightning and it rained as hard as I can remember for a Utah rain.  I was happy to be nestled against the house, feeling protected from the elements as the rain came harder and faster.

As I looked down into the back yard, I spotted two deer in the trees down by the creek.  I assumed it was the same two deer I saw earlier when I was working in the yard.  They looked nervous in the thunder and lightning and moved quickly from tree to bush and bush to tree.  After a few minutes I could no longer see them through the brush and the rain.

Around 7:30 the rain slowed down and the sky lightened.  What a wonderful summer thunderstorm, that reminded me of some of the thunderstorms I saw as a boy.

As the rain finally stopped, I ventured back into the Bud Cave.  I was glad I watched the storm from the patio.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nicole Kidman in Black and White

I have always been a fan of black and white photos.  Here is a terrific black and white photo of Nicole Kidman I ran across on Huffington Post.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Drive Redux

Repost from  November 2009

The Drive Part 1

Last Thursday evening I had just packed my car for an early morning drive to Palm Desert anticipating a Thanksgiving holiday with the Lovely Sharon in our beloved desert. Now it is 5:30 a.m. Sunday, November 22nd and I drinking coffee from a plastic coffee cup at the Rose Motel in David City, Nebraska. Let me take you back a little and share with you the chain of events that brought me to this sterile motel room with four of its seven lights burned out and bed sheets that don’t fit the bed.

On Tuesday, the Lovely Sharon was called back to Nebraska from Palm Desert to be with her mother and family; the second trip in less than a month. In October, the family was told that her mother had nine to twelve months left. This time frame was subsequently shortened to two-four months. Sharon had arrived in Palm Desert on Saturday, November 7th and on Monday, November 16th she received a call advising her to make another trip to Nebraska, her second in three weeks. By Tuesday afternoon she was in a hospital room in Omaha with her mother.

Our plan was that I would drive to Palm Desert on Friday, November 20th and Sharon would fly back to Palm Springs from Nebraska on Saturday and we would spend 8 or 9 days together. During the last 60 days or so we have been apart for more than forty days as a result of one obligation or another. During the last week we kept in touch by phone and I was kept up to date on events in Nebraska. Sharon’s mother received last rites and was transferred from Omaha to her home town of David City by ambulance. There wasn’t much more that could be done in Omaha. On Thursday night after returning from the hospital in David City, Sharon called and told that me she better stay in Nebraska for awhile longer. This did not surprise me as throughout the week I told her that if it looked like she needed to stay, then she must stay and I would either go to the desert or remain in Utah for the holiday. After her call I decided to go the desert.

Within 30 minutes of the initial call, Sharon called back and told me her mother had just passed away. I told her I would be in Nebraska by Saturday night for Sunday rosary and the Monday funeral. I unpacked the car with the Palm Desert items and I repacked for a trip to Nebraska. I could have flown although flight options were limited and prices were high as a result of Thanksgiving. So I decided to drive. Straight through it was 900 hundred miles but I had two days in which to get there. I decided to take the two days, and drive through country I had not seen for awhile, thinking about life, death, family and friends. I set out for Nebraska on Friday morning.

Friday’s drive through Wyoming was not particularly scenic until I reached Medicine Bowe. Although there is not much to see in this town of 275, the nearby Medicine Bow Mountains and grazing antelope are of interest. Finally, I drove into Laramie. This is high altitude plains with strong winds. When I stopped to fill the tank in Laramie I was standing on ice and a cold wind made me shutter while I cleaned the car windows. I grabbed a steaming cup of coffee and headed off to Cheyenne followed by Nebraska. Did you ever notice that restaurant coffee almost always tastes rich and flavorful, better than you make at home, but gas station coffee is just hot. You don’t savor it; it just reminds you that you have some place else to be. When I reached Pine Bluff (the border of Wyoming and Nebraska) it was dark and I was tired. I had not driven through Nebraska in almost 50 years, which I last did with my parents when I was seven or so and I decided I did not want to do so now in the dark.

I stopped for the evening at a town named Sidney. Was Sidney a first name or a sur name? I don’t know. I have always wondered what prompted a town to be named what it is. Who made the decision that would last forever. Salt Lake City? That’s easy, just look to the west desert. Some towns are named after trappers such Ogden, Provo and Fort Bridger. Some are named after explorers or adventurers such San Francisco (Sir Francis Drake). The town of Sidney, Nebraska was an unknown name on the map but I was tired and it was dark so I stopped. The motel was nice, relatively new and clean. I checked in and then walked across the parking lot to a restaurant.

The restaurant was full of people, life and conversation. Although I was alone, with my reading spectacles and a roadmap, it was nice to hear voices around me after a day of driving. Parents telling kids to eat their food, men flirting with the waitresses and old couples talking about the day in quiet tones and few words as though a lifetime together allowed for the communication of thoughts with few spoken words.

Back in the room I looked at the map and decided to take a route out of the way, off of the interstate through the backs roads of Nebraska. I decided to drive to the Sand Hills Golf Club a renown golf course designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore in an isolated part of the sand hills of Nebraska. This course was built in 1995 and since that time has been ranked in the top ten courses in America and the best course in the last 50 years. Sharon, her father and her brothers, were preparing for the funeral and the burial and were generally tied up with matters than I could not help with so I had a day to deal with before I reached David City. I thought of the uncertainties of life, that I may never again have time to drive that way and so I decided to head north toward Mullen, Nebraska, population 459.

The Nebraska sand hills span almost 20,000 square miles (one-fourth the area of Nebraska), it is the largest sand dune formation in the Western Hemisphere. Following the last ice age, wind took hold of the loose sand, blowing it into vast dunes, now covered with prairie grasses, reaching up to nearly 400 feet in height and stretching vast miles across the landscape.

At Ogalla I left the interstate, drove through town and onto highway 62. I left the flat lands of Nebraska for the rolling sand hills. Heading north for a 100 miles or so, I drove through rolling prairie, no doubt looking like it looked a hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, with the exception of  a few farm houses, popping up from time to time like desert oasis. Many of the farm houses were in compounds surrounded on four sides by thick evergreens to protect the inhabitants from blowing snow and blowing sand. Not much corn here, mostly grasses in hues of muted light browns and yellows. The season’s grasses had for the most part been cut and were in gigantic rolls, haystacks or bales most of which still in the fields to be moved. Every so often I passed a herd of cattle, seemingly unaware that I was passing by. I passed  a few cars, a few big rigs and a few pickup trucks. It felt like it was me and the rolling hills together but alone. I stopped from time to time just to look around and feel the wind in my hair. I finally reach Highway 2, the town of Hyannis where I turned right for Mullen.

I stopped at Mullen to ask for directions to the Sand Hills Golf Club. I was told to head down Highway 97 for about 10 miles and if I came to the Dismal River, I had gone too far. I headed down Highway 97 on the lookout for a sign. Finally I saw a small sign that read “Sand Hills Golf Club”. As I turned off 97, there were signs that said private road. Since I was out in the middle of nowhere and I had made a 150 mile detour, a private road sign was not going to stop me. I drove down the road for a couple of miles but came to a locked gate that looked like a cattle gate. The road meandered through tall grass covered sand dunes so you couldn't see what was on the other side of the dunes.  I back tracked and went down a couple of sandy side roads but still no golf course. I saw a house down a sandy lane and drove up to it. As I got out of my car I saw a teenage girl walking up the front steps of her house. She was carrying a shotgun in her right hand. She stopped and looked at me but said nothing. I asked her where the golf course was. She said “just a minute” and she went into her house. A few seconds later a man came out and asked me what I wanted. I told him I was driving from Utah to David City and took a detour just to see the Sand Hills Golf Club. When he told me it was closed for the season I asked him if there was a sand hill where I could stand on just to see the course. He looked at me for a few seconds and said I could follow him in his truck to a vantage point. So I did. We drove a few hundred yards down a sand road where he stopped his truck. I got out of my car and there it was, the famed Sand Hills Golf Club spread out and meandering through the seemingly endless sand hills of Nebraska. The holes did not run parallel to each other but end to end routing through the hills and valleys surrounded by native grass which by this time in late November was dormant. I took a few pictures, thank my guide and headed back to highway 97 where I turned left back to Mullen.

Photo by Patrick Drickey

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Tender Hour of Twilight

I have not read as much as usual over the last month or so.  I finished a book entitled The Tender Hour of Twilight (Paris in the 50’s, New York in the 60’s- A Memoir of Publishing’s Golden Age). The author was Richard Seaver. The book was published in 2012 and I don’t recall how I became aware of the book but I did and I ordered it on line.  Seaver died before the book was published.  He had written a memoir of more than 900 pages and after his death, his wife, Jeannette, edited into a very readable 440 pages.

Seaver, an American, graduated from the University of North Carolina, move to Paris in the early 1950’s. He  and others  put out a literary quarterly and eventually became book publishers.

The book is an interesting history of Paris in the 1950’s, especially literary Paris and artistic Paris.  Seaver, met and fell in love with Jeannette, a beautiful French girl and the love of his life.

In the 1960’s the Seavers moved to New York where they continued life and business in the world of publishing.

During his career he was involved with books that, at the time, were deemed scandalous and were banned in many countries.  The books included Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and D. H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Seaver is called the discoverer of author Samuel Becket. He published the autobiography of Malcom X.

I suppose what I liked best about the book was the picture it painted of Paris in the 1950’s and New York in the 1960’s.  Not just a personal history of Seaver, but a history of the times, presenting the flavors and colors of Paris and New York.

 Here is part of a review of the book from the Washington Post that can be found at

 While a young man (Seaver)  in Paris, preparing a Sorbonne thesis on James Joyce, he happened upon — and was bowled over by — the fiction of a middle-aged and virtually unknown Irishman. With dogged persistence, Seaver urged the work of Samuel Beckett on his friends, with some of whom he edited a small English-language magazine called Merlin. In due course, Seaver and his colleagues printed Beckett’s short stories in the magazine, translated some of his French fiction into English and published the early novel “Watt.”

In “The Tender Hour of Twilight,” Seaver looks back on these two heady periods of his life. In the first half, he re-creates the excitement of living in Paris as a young man, growing fluent in French, traveling around Europe and falling in love with several free-spirited young women. “Thirty cents a day would get you a hotel room — not with bath, mind you . . . The room had a bed, a basin, a table, and a chair. Around the corner were the public baths, where for a few francs you could take a scalding-hot shower. Payment by the quarter hour. . . . If your budget was really tight, you could take a douche double, two for the price of one, the sex of your co-showerer up to you, no questions asked by the management.”

In those days, 25 cents would buy you a liter of red wine from a cask — if you brought along your own bottle. Over that gros rouge and cheap pasta dinners, the Merlin crowd would gather to discuss their magazine and how they might finance another issue. The regulars included founder Alexander Trocchi, who became a heroin addict and wrote “Cain’s Book” (published by Grove); poet Christopher Logue, now remembered for his modernized versions of several sections of “The Iliad”; Patrick Bowles, co-translator with the author of Beckett’s “Murphy”; and the elegant Austryn Wainhouse, who rendered the major works of the Marquis de Sade into English. As Wordsworth wrote of his own time in Paris, “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive / But to be young was very heaven.”

 In these pages, Seaver describes meeting the disturbingly walleyed and intimidating Jean-Paul Sartre, being charmed by Orson Welles and becoming friends with the painter Ellsworth Kelly (whom his then-girlfriend tried to seduce, even after Seaver pointed out that Kelly was gay). But none of these eminences prepares Seaver for Brendan Behan, the former Borstal boy and a legendary drinker even by Irish standards. Shortly after Behan storms into Seaver’s life, the playwright asks — at 4 in the morning — if there might be “anything to eat handy?” While devouring Camembert cheese and sausages, he solemnly intones, between mouthfuls, that “food . . . is the great enabler.” Seaver is impressed by the phrase but asks his unwelcome and temporary roommate what it means. “To get on with the drinking,” Behan slurs back. “Without food you pass out much too quickly.”

If you’re at all interested in modern literature, Paris, the 1960s or the “golden age of publishing,” you won’t want to miss “The Tender Hour of Twilight.”

I thought the book was terrific and highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 4th of July

I like the fourth of July. It’s a celebration of not just our independence from England but it’s a celebration of the United States today.  It is a celebration of freedom, a celebration of what is right about America and a celebration of our right to criticize what we think is wrong and to criticize those governmental leaders we don’t agree with.

It’s a celebration of our friends and neighbors who are our fellow citizens.  It is a celebration of summer and a celebration of family.   It’s a day of barbeques, parades and patriotic music.  It’s a day when we wear red, white and blue. I might look goofy in those colors but when I wear them in honor of our country it is ok to look goofy.

Freedom of speech and freedom to choose a religion, or to choose to have no religion, are wonderful gifts of the Constitution. I will celebrate those gifts tomorrow.
When I hear “America the Beautiful” sung I get goose bumps and I usually join in the singing, loudly and pretty much off key, but that is ok with me.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

I like to see all of the American Flags that are raised on the 4th of July.  The 13 stripes representing the 13 colonies who took the risk to claim independence and the 50 stars representing the bond that we all have.   

In Utah the 4th of July is usually hot and sunny and will be again this year.  I hope to go for an early morning bike ride, followed by golf with the Lovely Sharon and then crash on the back deck. Listening to fireworks (hoping the neighbors don't set anything on fire), feeling the warm summer evening air on my skin, and feeling thankful to be an American.

Happy 4th of July my friends.