Recently Read Books

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  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
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  • 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)
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  • 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, December 31, 2015

Coffee Filters Redux

Here is a post from 2010.  It was one of my favorites.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Coffee Filters

I woke up at 4:17 a.m. I have a 7:30 a.m. phone conference with another lawyer in Salt Lake and some investment bankers in New York. Between now and then and I want to read the online news, read some email and documents related to the phone conference, write in this blog, and have a cup of coffee. Although, coffee is listed last in the list of tasks set forth above, in actuality, the first thing I want to do is make coffee so I can drink a cup while I do the other things. I walked into the kitchen put water in the black Cuisinart coffee maker and looked for the paper cone-shaped coffee filters. There weren’t any. We keep the coffee paraphernalia in a two shelf lazy-susan type of cupboard under the coffee pot. In this cupboard there is creamer, decaf coffee, regular coffee, travel coffee cups, sweetener and there are supposed to be filters. There are no filters. It is now 4:19 a.m. and there are no coffee filters in the coffee paraphernalia cupboard.

We have to have filters somewhere, but where? I look in the food pantry cupboard. I pull everything off the several shelves, guess what? No filters in there. I look in the drawer where we store baggies, garbage sacks etc. Surely there must be coffee filters in there. Oh contrar, there are no filters there. I then thought they must be in the storage pantry in the garage. I walk into the garage, open the pantry cupboard and I see all kinds of stuff in there but I don’t see coffee filters.

When we buy coffee filters at Costco, they come in 500 packs wrapped in clear plastic. You can’t miss them if they are on a shelf. If we buy the filters at a regular grocery store we buy the No. 4 cone-shaped Melitta filters in a green and red box. You know the brand. If you think cone shape coffee filters, you think of that green and red box. Those boxes hold a 100 filters. If you have a boxed stored, its distinctive green and red package is unmistakable. You see that box and you know what’s in it. I can find no green and red box of No.4 Melitta cone-shaped filters anywhere.

A scary thought comes to me, and I mean really scary. I need to wake up the Lovely Sharon (it’s now 4:30 a.m.), and ask her if we have any coffee filters. This is a highly risky thing to do. She does not like to get up early. She was at a birthday party last night attended only by women. Some 50 to 60 women were supposed to be there. Before the party I was told there might be some professional women golfers in attendance since the two birthday ladies were previously professional golfers. I was asleep when she arrived home so I did not hear the details of the party. It occurs to me that if I wake her up at 4:30 to ask if we have any coffee filters, the rest of the day will not go well. But I really would like to make me a cup of coffee. Yesterday’s filter is still in the coffee maker but it is still wet and filled with yesterday’s coffee grounds. There is no way I am gonna do a reuse. There have to be coffee filters somewhere in this house.

I am pacing around bare foot in a tee shirt and boxer shorts. They are nice boxer shorts. Sharon bought them for me for Halloween. They are black silk with ghosts and the words “Boo” printed all over them. Ok forget that, my shorts are not the issue here. The issue is the evasive coffee filters and my emotional dilemma of whether to wake the Lovely Sharon up or not. To be honest, I don’t know what to do. It might be safer to wake up a neighbor at 4:30 to see if they have any filters. But if I do that, I will have to put pants on. I really don’t want to put pants on at 4:30.

No I have three options, (i) wake up the Lovely Sharon, (ii) forget the coffee, or (iii) look one more time. If I go with alternative 1 what would be my strategy? I could tiptoe into the dark bedroom and nudge her awake. I have done this before and I must say, it usually does not go well if it’s before 7:30 a.m. She would not doubt ask “what?” in a sleepy but irritated voice. How would I respond? I guess I could say:

“Are you ok? You must have been having a bad dream? By the way do we have any coffee filters?”

If she was having a bad dream this could work. If she was not having a bad dream, I would be toast. I decide the “wake up” the Lovely Sharon alternative is in fact the worse alternative. I then consider not having coffee. This too is not an acceptable alternative. I decide to make one more search of the garage pantry.

I open the pantry door. I move stuff around, I look behind stuff. I see bottled water, chips, diet coke, crackers, and Fig Newtons. Hey wait, the Lovely Sharon is always hammering on me to eat better but yet I discover a hidden stash of Fig Newton cookies in the garage pantry behind a six pack of Perrier water. Maybe I “should” wake her up and discuss the Fig Newtons. What is she going to say?

“They are not mine. Someone must have broken into the garage and left them.”

I don’t think so, but I decide to let the Fig Newton issue alone and keep searching.

I see something. It’s not the Costco plastic package of filters nor is it the green and red Melitta box of filters. It’s an orange box of something. There are actually two identical orange boxes of something. The same size and shape as the Melitta box. I pick one up and read the label- Connaisseur # 4 cone coffee filters. There is a happy looking sun printed on the box. I know just how it feels. I now feel happy too.

I go back into the house and make the coffee. All things are right in Mudville. Now, on to reading the morning online news. Have a good day.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Stein Eriksen

Utah’s own, Stein Eriksen has passed away. The following is from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah ski legend Stein Eriksen died Sunday at his home in Park City, surrounded by his family, Deer Valley Resort said in a statement. Eriksen was 88.

Known for decades for his impeccable style and panache on skis, Eriksen won the gold medal in giant slalom and the silver in slalom at the 1952 Winter Olympics in his hometown of Oslo, Norway. After winning three gold medals at the World Championships in Sweden in 1954, he immigrated to the United States, working in Colorado, Vermont, California and Michigan before helping to develop Park City Mountain Resort.

He then became director of skiing at Deer Valley, where he served in the role for more than 35 years. A five-star lodge at the resort is named in his honor.

People kind of step aside when they see him coming. They don't do that with other people," longtime friend Jim Gaddis said in 2009, himself as a national champion racer for the University of Utah. 

"They'll say, 'There goes Stein.' People want to watch him. It's just amazing."

Considered a founder of modern skiing, Eriksen developed a forward somersault that is credited as the forerunner of the inverted aerials performed by freestyle skiers today, the resort said.

Eriksen's "celebrity charisma created a special ambiance whether within the Lodge, our restaurant or out on the mountain, that was warm and inviting," said Dennis Suskind, president of Stein Eriksen Lodge, in the resort's statement. "He was a real friend and will be missed."

"Stein has been an integral part of the Deer Valley family since the resort's inception and his presence on the mountain will be profoundly missed," said Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley president and general manager. "His influence in the ski industry and at this resort was infinite and his legacy will always be a fundamental aspect of Deer Valley."

Dear Stein, rest in peace.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bodies in Fridges

The Lovely Sharon and I have 3 refrigerator's; two in Salt Lake and one in Palm Desert.  We use it, like most people to store food that needs to be refrigerated or frozen.  However, I have run a cross several on-line newspaper articles about bodies in fridges.  Here are some of the chilling stories:

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say the body of a woman found inside a refrigerator in a Santa Ana garage last week had been there for over a year. The Orange County Register reports ( ) Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna says a couple who placed the body in the fridge told police the woman was Ricarda Reyes-Villalobos, a relative from Mexico under their care. They claimed they didn't report her death to authorities because of their immigration status.

The body was found Dec. 17 by a homeowner who had been cleaning the garage.The couple had been renting the garage before moving out in September. They told police they put the woman's body in the refrigerator when she died in August 2014. The Orange County coroner has not yet identified the body.

Another One
The body found inside an unplugged refrigerator in the backyard of a San Fernando Valley home that was doubling as a marijuana grow-house has been identified as a 30-year-old man from Van Nuys. Andranik Tadzhikyan was probably in the fridge for days, said homicide Det. Richard Wheeler of the Los Angeles Police Department. It appeared the Tadzhikyan had been killed sometime in the last week, then stuffed inside the fridge, he said Officers were called to the home in the 11000 block of Runnymede Street about 5:30 a.m. Sunday by the property manager, who had received an anonymous call that there was a body on the lot, Wheeler said.While checking the house, police found more than 100 marijuana plants and equipment for a grow operation, he said. There have been no arrests, but detectives believe they’ve identified the people who ran the operation and are looking into whether they are responsible for the body in the fridge.

Another One

Homicide investigators were responding to a South Los Angeles apartment after a man's body was found inside a refrigerator on Tuesday, according to LAPD.   Police were on scene where a body was found in a fridge in South L.A. on Nov. 10, 2015.  Workers were inside an apartment building in the 600 block of West 57th Street when they found the dead body about 10 a.m., according to Officer Mike Lopez with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section.

The victim was a man in his 40s, according to LAPD South Bureau homicide Detective Chris Barling, who was at the scene.  The gruesome find was made in an upstairs unit of a four-plex. There were no signs of forced entry or of a struggle in the home, from which a man had recently been evicted, authorities on scene said.

"There's no obvious signs of a gunshot wound or a stabbing, so we're still trying to determine what caused that death," Barling said. "It's suspicious enough that we're going to treat as a homicide investigation until further information comes to light to where we can really determine what caused his death."

 The man who lived in the home had not been identified, nor had the victim. It was not clear if or how they were linked -- or if they were the same person.  The body was discovered by workers who clear out homes where the residents have been evicted, Barling said.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Eve in Palm Desert

Christmas Eve in Palm Deseret.  One of my favorite things.  The Lovely Sharon and I went for a 5 mile morning walk that was delayed by non-fat lattes at the Coffee Bean on El Paseo.   As we walked down El Paseo (Palm’s Desert’s premier shopping street), we looked in the shop and gallery windows at the Christmas treasuries and the works of art wishing we were rich and famous and not just famous. Ok I know we are neither rich nor famous but I like that line.

The sun was out, the sky was blue and there were lots of colorful flowers. A far cry from a snowy morning in Salt Lake.  After our walk, we had breakfast at Spike’s restaurant at Ironwood Country Club.  It was nice to eat breakfast as various friends came into Spike’s for a coffee or something to eat.  One of the best part of being at the Club is the interaction with our club member friends.

After breakfast we watched some Christmas movies and I took a nap.  My favorite part of Christmas in Palm Desert is to have some down time, time to golf, time to shop and time to nap.

At 4:00 we went to an annual Christmas open house at the Murphy’s.  We enjoy the open house every Christmas Eve, and enjoy the cocktails and dinner.  We enjoyed talking to old friends and meeting new friends.

We rushed from the Murphy’s house to 6:00 Mass at Sacred Heart.  We arrived 30 minutes early, just in time to find a seat in the Church.  From 5:30 to 6:00 there was beautiful Christmas music played and the congregation was invited to sing along.  The Mass was beautiful and I was filled with Christmas Spirit and joy.

After Church, the Lovely Sharon and I had Christmas Eve dinner at Pacifica.  She had lobster tail and I had scallops.  We shared a nice bottle of Biale vineyard red wine.

As I lie in bed, I thought about Christmas and family and my beloved wife, the Lovely Sharon. Christmas in Palm Desert, no snow but my favorite place to be.

Sacred Heart Church Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Spirit

On Tuesday December 15, 2015, I took Trax to work.  Trax is the commuter train that runs throughout Salt Lake County.   I live some 20 miles from my office and I usually drive to work.  However, Monday December 14th it snowed in Salt Lake.  I mean it really snowed.  It snowed throughout the night and it snowed all day.  I must have had 15 inches or snow on my yard when I got home from work Monday evening.  Being the smart fellow that I am, I hired some guys to shovel my sidewalks and driveway.

When I left for work Monday morning, I thought about taking Trax but I drove to work.  It was a difficult and treacherous commute.  It took me at least twice the amount of time as it normally takes.  It was a prime example of white knuckle driving.  Unable to stop, I slid through a couple of intersections on the slick roads covered with ice and deep snow.  Luckily, I left for work at 5:30 am and there were not many cars on the road.  I was relieved to get to work in one piece and without a crash.

Monday night the forecast was for more snow on Tuesday.  I made the decision before bed that I would take Trax to work on Tuesday.

Our house is about a three minute drive from the Trax end of the line station in Draper, Utah.  Tuesday morning I was at the Trax station by 5:00.  It was snowing hard when I walked from my car to the train platform.  Although I was bundled in a long coat, a scarf, gloves and a fedora, it was cold, snowy and dark.  I was glad when the trained arrived so I could board and get out of the snow. I took the second or third train of the morning.  There only 4 or 5 of us on the train when it left the Draper station.
It was dark and snowy throughout our journey to downtown Salt Lake.  As we pulled into each station. More passengers, covered in snow and looking cold, boarded the train.  Every new passenger seemed relieved to get out of the snow and onto the train. No one seemed to have a smile on their face, only a look of relief to be out of the weather.

 I sat alone, since the train is not all that crowded at the time of morning.  As I tried to see out the window looking for recognizable landmarks in the dark, I began to wonder why I did not take the train the day before.  I concluded it was a dumb decision to drive. The snow on my black fedora started to melt as we rumbled down the tracks to the City and I started to warm up.

After about 45 minutes, the train stopped at the downtown Gallivan station.  This is a stop on Main Street between 200 and 300 South, adjacent to Salt Lake’s Gallivan Plaza, a downtown plaza with an outdoor ice skating rink and concert stage. 

As I got off the train I stood for a moment to look around.  It was beautiful. Snow was falling; big white flakes from a dark sky. The snow was piled up everywhere. Everything was covered in a pristine blanket of white.  The only sound was the sound of the train moving off to the next stop.  The street lights and street decorations were lit up.  I crossed to the east side of Main Street and passed by KUTV, a local TV station and through the ground floor window of the news room I could see Ron, Mary and Debbie from behind as they were brightly lit up doing the early morning news and weather.  After I passed the TV news window I could see the Christmas lights of the Gallivan Center. Festive holiday lights in contrast to the white snow.

As I walked through the block to my law office I was filled, for the first time this season, with the excitement of Christmas.  I thought about the Lovely Sharon, who was no doubt asleep in a warm bed in Palm Desert, California. I thought about Son Alex and my mother.  I thought about my father and the fact that this was the first time in my life that I would not see him or talk to him during the Christmas holidays. I thought about how much I missed him since his death in the autumn.

I felt like singing, Silent Night or O Holy Night or at least say something out loud to acknowledge my new found Christmas Joy and Christmas Spirit but I kept quiet and continued on to my office. 
It was a good day at work, normal stuff- phone conferences with clients, reviewing and writing contracts, and lunch with some financial planners.  But during the day I kept looking out of my office window at the snowy city below.  From time to time the clouds would move and I could see the Wasatch Mountains looking beautiful in their whiteness.

After work, I took the train back home.  It was crowded and people were talking or reading or listening to something on their head phones.  I pulled out my cell phone and looked through pictures of the grandkids and the Lovely Sharon. I was still thinking about Christmas.

From My Office 

From the Trax station Tuesday afternoon

My Back Deck Tuesday Afternoon