Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Canadair Region Jet February 21, 2013 Redux


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200

Last night I was on a plane. I was just on a plane last Thursday and again on Monday of this week.  Now again last night.  I am too often on a plane. This was a different flight than the one described below in the blog entry entitled “Not Another On-Time Departure”.   The plane I was on last night was a Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200.  I am on this model of plane a lot. It is possibly the most uncomfortable plane one could fly on. If the government forced prisoners to fly on this plane, the government would be sued for cruel and unusual punishment.
It is very smallplane.  The seats are narrow.  It is hard to fit carry-on luggage in the overhead bins.  There are 12 rows of 4 seats (Seat A, Seat B, Seat C, and Seat D.)   Row 13 has two seats, Seat 13A and Seat 13B.  Next to 13A and 13B is the lavatory which is essentially the size of a large microwave oven.  Once you are in the lavatory you almost have to back out of it in order to get out of it.  It is very difficult to even turn around in this lavatory.  You have probably heard of the Mile High Club (of which I am not a member) well I am pretty certain you are not going to join the Mile High Club in this bathroom unless they have solo memberships.

Seat 13B is without a doubt the worse seat in airline history.  It is literally in the lavatory. You can hear and smell everything that goes on behind the folded door to the lavatory.  I have been assigned to Seat 13B more than once.  On one occasion, I am pretty certain the guy in the lavatory, who just inches from where I was eating airline peanuts and drinking a diet coke, asked me if I had any spare toilet paper. Maybe this is a lie but it feels true.

The seating plan of the Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200 is as follows.


There is a website  called the Seat  This is a real website. I did not make it up.  This is what it says about the Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 200:

The Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) is configured with all coach seating and every seat is a window or aisle; there is no middle seat anywhere.  No video equipment or audio in-flight entertainment is installed and power ports are not equipped on this plane.

The least desirable jet in the fleet, since there is no chance to upgrade. This plane is so small that window seat passengers can really feel the curvature of the fuselage intruding into their shoulder and leg space.

 Did you get that? This plane is so small that window seat passengers can really feel the curvature of the fuselage intruding into their shoulder and leg space.  Tell me you want to sit in a window seat on this plane.

The aisles are so narrow that if you are seated early during the boarding process, say in row 3 or 4, which are the rows I try to book, every boarding passenger crashes into you as they walk by.  People do not take their purses, satchels or other bags off of their shoulder strap as they walk past so you are literally struck by each person’s bag as that person walks by.  If you have to get up to go to the lavatory during the flight, when you walk down the aisle to the back of the plane, yes back by seat 13B, you crash into almost every passenger behind you in seats B and C of each row.

I always try to book a seat on row 3 or row 4 so that if the plane goes down, I die first. On this flight I was sitting in Seat 4C, fourth row back on the aisle.  The plane left as scheduled from the gate but inasmuch as it was snowing hard in Salt Lake, we had to get de-iced.  That delayed us 15 minutes or so.  I have been de-iced more this winter than any for a long time. 

Once we were airborne I started reading my Economist magazine.  I was reading an intriguing article about “mass dissatisfaction” in Bangladesh. Apparently, a large number of people in Bangladesh are not just pissed off, they are very dissatisfied. I suppose if a friend meets a friend for coffee in Bangladesh and the first friend asks the second friend “How are you?”, the second friend will answer, “I am very dissatisfied”.  They must have recently flown on the Canadair CRJ 200.
The guy next to me in 4D was clipping his nails.  The guy in 4A asked the flight attendant for "lots of napkins" because he really had to blow his nose.
Anyway, as I was reading the mass dissatisfaction in Bangladesh article, I heard the guy in 5D (the window seat behind me that, to quote the Seat Expert, “is so small that window seat passengers can really feel the curvature of the fuselage intruding into their shoulder and leg space”) ask the guy in 5C what he did for a living.  The conversation went as follows:

5D:  What do you do?
5C:  I am in the milk business.
5D:  You are in what business?
5C:  I am in the milk business.
5D:  Are you a farmer?
5C: No I market milk.
5D.  Wow, that is very interesting, I love milk.  If I don't have at least two glasses a day I don't feel right. Very  cool.
5C: Well it is an interesting business.
At this point I silently offer a Prayer ("Beam Me Up Scotty, There is no Intelligent Life Here").
5D:  I have always wanted to be in the cheese business.
5C: Really?
5D:  Yeah, Have you seen how much some of those cheeses cost?  I can't afford to buy most of them. Whats the big deal they take some spoiled milk and add different flavors and then they sell it for a bundle.  I would really like to get in the cheese business.
The conversation between 5D and 5C went on in this general manner for the entire flight.  I learned that 5D sold software to call centers and other businesses.  His company's software is what comes on your phone when you call any business and the recorded message says, "This call may be monitored for quality assurances." No wonder the guy wanted to be in the cheese business.
We landed on time and I was picked up at the airport curb by the Lovely Sharon.  It was nice to see her.  I wish I had brought her some cheese.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sex With Cows and Other News

I read a lot of on-line news; CNN, Los Angeles Tines, Huffington Post Wall Street Journal and MSNBC to name a few.  Yesterday's Huffington Post seemed particularly weird.  Check out the following news stories:  (I am not making this stuff up):

Here is the actual title of the Story

Reid Fontaine, Michael Jones Accused Of Sexually Abusing Cows

A farmer in Herkimer County, N.Y. couldn't figure out why his cows seemed more anxious than usual. When they weren't producing as much milk as usual, he set up a surveillance camera.What he saw shocked him: two men were rolling in the hay with his livestock, reported.The farmer, whose name has not been identified, contacted authorities who conducted their own investigation. As a result, Michael Jones, 35, and Reid Fontaine, 31, were arrested for misdemeanor sexual misconduct, reported.  Authorities said Fontaine attempted to have sex with several cows while Jones filmed the encounters, according to
The pictures of two cow lovers are also in the article. Here is the Link
Here is a story about a republican lobbyist who is trying to get a law passed by congress that would make it illegal for a gay many to play football in the NFL.  As it turns out the lobbyist has a gay brother.  I wonder if he will try to pass a law to keep his brother from working in his job:

GOP Lobbyist Behind Anti-Gay NFL Bill Has A Gay Brother

Here is the Link
Kim Kardashian had her breasts lasered:

Kim Kardashian Removes Stretch Marks On Breasts With Laser Treatment On 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'

There is an actual video of her breasts getting lasered. I mean this is something to see but is it news?


Virginia Republican Says A Pregnant Woman Is Just A 'Host,' Though 'Some Refer To Them As Mothers'

I think in the original Alien movie the humans who had alien monsters pop out of their stomachs were called "hosts".  Well maybe its the same thing.


Well enjoy the news.  Maybe your life isn't so crazy after all.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Pictures from Ironwood Country Club

Most times I play Ironwood Country Club I have a camera with me and take a number of photos.  Many of the photos are the same as those I have previously taken but the beauty of the course is always powerful.  As many of our friends know, the Lovely Sharon and I were married on the 14th hole of Ironwood's South Course.  I have taken so many photos of that hole but I keep taking more.  Here are a couple I took a couple of weeks ago:

Here is the Lovely Sharon on the 12th tee box

 After a long drive

Winter days at Ironwood Country Club, perfect

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ted Nugent is a Racist Prick


You probably heard of a Ted Nugent.  He is an old washed-up “rock star” (and I use the term rock star liberally since he never was big time).  He is ultra-rightwing, anti-President Obama who has made numerous hateful public attacks on President Obama. At a gun show in January 2014Nugent said:

"I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured, subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America."
President Obama’s father was black.  His mother was white.  He was raised by his white grandparents. He went to Columbia University for his undergraduate degree and to Harvard Law School.  He was the President of the Harvard Law Review.  He has been a college professor, a state senator, a US Senator, an author and the President of the United States.  President Obama is a dutiful husband of a beautiful accomplished wife and the doting father of two beautiful daughters.

But yet Ted Nuget calls him a “subhuman mongrel”.  I have always thought Nugent was a total dick, but when I read his recent comments, I was sickened by him and those like him.  

I understand people who disagree with President Obma’s political views and agenda. For example, his recent budget does not cut cost of living increases of social security for the elderly.  The republican congress wants to cut these cost of living increases.  At the same time the republicans continue to support tax breaks for hedge fund managers. I wonder if my anti-Obama republican friends who have retired are opposed to future increases in social security based on cost of living increases.  May be they are, maybe they aren't but my point is that we all have different political and social views. I get that.
What I don’t get is the continued racist attacks on  President Obama by the Ted Nugents of America and there are plenty of them.  A few years ago there were tax credits given for the purchase of electric vehicles, including electric golf carts.  The tax credit first became available in connection with the first George W. Bush stimulus package and it was continued in the Obama administration.  One day a couple of years ago at Ironwood Country Club I saw that an acquaintance of mine had a new golf cart.  I complimented on his new toy and he replied it was a “Coon Mobile”. What would he have called it if he had purchased it during the Bush administration?  I don’t know but here he was referencing the President Obama as a coon.  I was embarrassed to be a member of the same club as this person.  I was pleased when he eventually left the club.
After his January racist comments, Nugent has received plenty of criticism, including criticism from some republican politicians.  But yet he cannot bring himself to apologize to the President. Here is his “apology”:

“I do apologize – not necessarily to the President – but on behalf of much better men than myself, like the best governor in America, Gov. Rick Perry, and the best attorney general in America, Greg Abbott of Texas.”

Nugent has been campaigning for Greg Abbott.  So racist Nugent gets public criticism for his hateful rants but apologizes to the white, male republicans for whom he is campaigning rather that the black President he attacked.

In 2007 Nugent said this from a concert stage: “I was in Chicago last week. I was in Chicago and said, "Hey, Obama you might want to suck on one of these (a machine gun”) you punk." Obama, he's a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun. Let's hear it for him.”

It is very interesting that republican candidates ask Nugent to campaign for him.  A republican congressman invited Nugent to the recent State of the Union Speech. Nugent is on the Board of Directors of the NRA.    

Get on Google and search for Nugent’s statements over the past 6 or 7 years.  How anyone could ask him to campaign for them or ask him to be on a national board is incredible. 



Sunday, February 9, 2014

A View From the Porch

Porches.  I love them. I have loved them since I was 8 or 9 years old.  My parents’ house, the house I grew up in, was next door to my grandparents’ house.  For a boy it was wonderful living next door to your grandma and grandpa.  I would wander next door to their house and would walk in the back door. I never knocked I just opened the door and walked in. My grandparents had a nice big porch.  The porch always had a porch swing, the kind you buy at Sears that had a metal frame with the seat bottom hanging from the frame by a chain.  My big sister, my cousins Nancy and Susie and I often sat in the swing talking and watching cars drive down 1500 East.  This swing was a place I often sat to watch summer thunder storms.  Maybe that was a mistake because of the metal construction of the swing but the porch was covered and I never thought about being fried by lightening.

My grandfather told me that when his house was first built, this area of Salt Lake City was rural and he sometimes shot pheasants from his front yard.

Houses with large porches always look like houses where families live, where there are Sunday dinners and summer evenings listening to crickets and other bugs.

The house that the Lovely Sharon and I live in Salt Lake has a nice porch.  In the summer we sometimes sit on the porch talking, watching humming birds and looking at the Hidden Valley Country Club golf course across the street.

I found these photos of porches on the internet.

Our Salt Lake Porch and Views from our Salt Lake Porch

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Random Thoughts Comments and Observations

Super Bowl
The Lovely Sharon and I attended a Super Bowl Party in Palm Desert at a friend’s house. I am not certain how many people were there, may be 50 or so, but it was great fun and great food. We knew most of the people at the party so it was nice to talk to lots of different people over the course of the game.  As for the game; what a dud.  I liked both teams but wanted Denver to win.  I was not disappointed that Seattle won but I was disappointed in Denver’s performance.  When Denver’s first offensive play resulted in a safety, my first thought was that Denver had no chance. Seattle totally dominated all aspects of the game and was certainly the better team.  Although Super Bowl TV ads our fun, I usually can’t hear the ads at the parties so I watch them the next few days.  Some were good, but I did not think they were best I have seen.

I am embarrassed to admit, that I did know who Bruno Mars was before this Super Bowl.  When I told some people at the Super Bowl party that I had never heard of Bruno Mars, they were dumb founded and told me I was an idiot. Agreed.

The most surprising thing about the Super Bowl is that this was the 48th Super Bowl.  I remember the first one and I cannot believe it was almost 50 years ago.  I must be really old.  I think I have watched all of them and actually attended Super Bowl 12 with my father.  That game was in New Orleans and Denver lost to Dallas. I wanted Denver to win.  One of my Utah friends, Golden Richards caught a touchdown pass for Dallas in that game.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Death by drugs.  What a loss of a talented actor. Whether it was suicide or an accidental over dose, it is horrible thing to happen to him and to others.  I think we all have firsthand knowledge of a friend or relative unable to get out of the vicious cycle of drugs.

Sochi Olympics
I would not want to be in attendance.

Baseball Spring Training
It is hard to realize that baseball spring training starts within the next two weeks.  It seems like the World Series just finished a month ago.

Bob Dylan

For some reason I was surprised Bob Dylan was in a car ad during the Super Bowl.  The Times They Are a Changing.

Chris Christie
He had to know what was going on.  I think he shot himself in the foot.

Miley Cyrus
I am tired of seeing headlines about her.  If there is a Miley Cyrus story, I avoid it.

Sand Hollow Golf Course - St. George Utah