Friday, October 31, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I saw this title on someone elses blog and immediately liked it. So what are the simple pleasures that make me tick? Here are a few of them:

Wood-burning fires
Clean cars
High definition TV
No phone calls
Diet Pepsi chilled just right
Starched dress shirts and laundered golf shirts
Red Meat cooked medium well
Sharp creases in my slacks
Bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Dixie Dregs, The Rolling Stones, BNL
Golf with my regular crew - it's relaxing
Sports on TV
Philadelphia sports on TV
Philadelphia Eagles
The smell of cleaning supplies
My cats and dogs who love me unconditionally
A good BBQ
Polished shoes (I get this from my dad who was very fastidious)
Remote control
A visit by Alec and Tiffany
A well-struck golf shot
Going fast on the freeway with no one around
A good book that is hard to put down
Fours Seasons Hotels
My iPhone
Being greeted with a smile
Funny people
Joe's Stone Crab at Caesars
Corn on the cob
Clean sheets
The smell of fresh cut grass
Playing tennis but I don't do it enough
Golf - requires 2 postings
Flying First Class
The Right to Bear Arms
Spending time with my sons
Being in Utah
Room Service
Pistaschio nuts
Lower taxes
Getting Jake's emails from Ecuador each Monday
My mom's cooking
Loyal friends
Janae who has always rocked my world
Leaving the dentists office
A steam bath
July in Las Vegas - hot and dry
The Super Bowl
The smell of an orange being peeled
Vanilla ice cream
Not wearing socks

And Blogging


I voted today. Early voting has been going on for a couple weeks and it ended today and I wanted to get in early before the crowds on Tueday. I don't do crowds. I don't do lines. I am just a tad impatient and do not like to stand around and wait FOR ANYTHING.

I found out today that there are other people out there like me. So we all stood in line together. I hated every second of it. It's easy to see how the elections get so screwed up. In Nevada you get a card and when you step up to the voting machine, you put the card in the machine and then follow the instructions on the screen. You touch the screen to vote and then press "next" and so on. Apparently this process can be difficult for some people, most of them democrats. If you are so stupid that you can't work a voting machine you are too dumb to vote.

My vote has been cast. Does it matter? The cynical part of me will say "No." The fact is, for the presidential election, winning the electoral college tally is surely more important than winning the popular vote as Al Gore found out it 2000. When Al Gore ran against George Bush he had 500,000 more votes than W and lost the election. I'm no fan of Gore, but that's just wrong man. Alas, it will take a constitutional amendment to eradicate the electoral college and we don't tred on the constitution very often - bottom line: the electoral college stays put. And that sucks.

I must confess my admiration for the presidential candidates and their repective running mates. They are road warriors. One day, Obama is doing a gig at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, the next day he's in North Carolina....Pennsylvania the next day...on Sunday he will be back in Henderson. McCain? Who knows where he is?

Nevada has a grand total of 5 electoral college votes.....sort of strange that the dems are giving NV so much time considering our rather low electoral vote total. Me? If I were running I would focus on Florida, California, Texas, NY, Ct., NJ, and the Great Lake states.....toss in a few other states here and there and a candidate could conceivably NEVER set foot in 1/2 of the states of the union and still comfortably win the Presidency. Does this electoral college thing stink to anyone else?

Bottom line - go and vote.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My love for Philadelphia is surpassed only by the love I have for my family. That the Phillies won the world series tonight made my heart swell. I am SO happy.

Our fine City of Brotherly Love has gone 25 years since celebrating a professional sports title of any kind. We've lost 7 finals during this spell - endured dozens of years of media scrutiny, jokes and through it all WE have remained steadfast in our love for all things Philly: Eagles, Phillies, 76ers and Flyers.....and cheesesteaks.

The history of the city is pretty cool too.

Go Eagles. We need to get on a roll.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pssst..... Proposition 8 is in California

I have received mass emails on Proposition 8....the problem with all these emails and people getting all worked up about it is: IT'S A CALIFORNIA ISSUE.

I looked through my sample ballot and Nevadan's get to vote on things like a room tax increase and some amendments to the state constitution. Nowhere did I see a question about that thorny issue of same sex marriage.

While I am personally against marriage if it's not between a man and a woman, I find it interesting that people use bible verses to argue their position to support this argument yet I don't see anyone using biblical verses to support death to those who work on Sunday, etc.

Just something to think about.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Me

It's not always sunny skies, and wide open green fairways for me. To wit...yesterday's round of golf illustrates just how far I am willing to go for our's all about sacrifice.

On a beautiful October Tuesday I was enlisted to play golf with some of our company underwriters - a couple of young guys from Des Moines, Iowa.

Usually I enjoy golf a great deal however yesterday's round was the equivalent of the Bataan Death March (BDM). As everyone knows, the BDM occured during WWII. Phillipino and American troops were forced by their Japanese captors to walk/march some 60 miles in tropical heat....most were tortured, many died.

Okay. So maybe the golf wasn't that bad....but it was still torture. It ain't easy being me.

The younger guy, probably about 24 years old, didn't know how to play golf - or at least he played like he had never played. He started off with a 9 on the first hole and it was downhill from there. When you play with people this bad, it tends to throw off your own game. Contrary to belief, I'm not immune to this sort of play and it affected me greatly. The one guy probably shot a 105 whilst his younger associate EASILY put up 150 shots and lost 2 dozen golf balls. By the 3rd hole, my brain was on autopilot. By the end of the round I was completely caught up on email and phone messages. I even started to make notes for my blog. It ain't easy being me.

Today I was forced to work late and then have dinner with colleagues at Fleming's. The dinner was delayed a bit because the chef wasn't happy with the way my lobster turned out so he boiled up another one. Delays, delays, delays.... I also fear the onion rings that came with the always delicious chipolte sauce may keep me up at night. It ain't easy being me. Burp (audible).

My passion for golf was rekindled during the past couple of weeks...not that there was ever a question of it disappearing, it's just that perhaps the passion has been napping for the past little while.

Last week Davey led our team to a 15 under score at the UNLV alumni tournament at Badlands. A nice first place trophy now adorns my desk. I also enjoyed taking my mom to TPC to watch golf on Friday. This week we teed it up from the tips on Monday and played the same course the pros did on Sunday. That was fun and I shot an 83. Yesterday's round sort of brought me back to reality but it was helpful from a business perspective. Two rounds in a row also made my joints ache something fierce. By bedtime, I had icy hot patches on both shoulders, and my right elbow and had washed down a half-dozen advil with a couple of diet pepsi's.

I also attempted to have Janae adjust my back. This sort of manuever is performed on my person by Dr. Dave all the time. He "releases" my hips, neck and back pretty much anytime Monday - Friday.

Alas, at night and on weekends, I'm on my somewhat comical attempts to "fix dad's back." Jake was always really good at stepping on my back (just as good as the Chinese gals - in my opinion) right as I laid down on the floor and exhaled.....he would use the ball of his foot and push down really hard and quick where one of my ribs met my spine - just off to the side. He would then move up one and do it again and then again on the other side of my spine - it usually took 4 maybe 5 repetitions to nail it. The mid-back area has always the worst part of my backaches since '97. This is when I threw it out hitting my golf ball from the north fairway bunker on #2 at Canyon Gate. On my follow through after the shot, my 9 iron caught the lip of the bunker - the club stopped and all my body parts kept moving. I could feel all sorts of pops. Nowadays, once I get the bones popped back in, I can pretty much release my neck, shoulders and hips by myself as long as Janae or one of the boys backs up the Range Rover and goes over my back real slow in 4-wheel drive. It ain't easy being me.

I have decided to vote early. Janae cast her ballot today since she is leaving tomorrow for St. Louis/NYC/Paris and Dubai. What a life. I am going to meet her in India in November. Taj Mahal baby.

It ain't easy being me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Life is Good

Did you happen to catch the BYU-TCU football game last night?

I didn't.

Seriously, I didn't even know that BYU was playing TCU until my son Alec called me at halftime and said, "TCU is beating BYU." I was like, "Wa, wa, whhhaattt?!?!?!?"

I wasn't so much surprised at the score, but at the fact that another game was snuck in on me during the middle of the week. Plus I had baseball to watch too. I'm not gonna lie, it's tough being a sports fan what with all the channels to monitor, the fact we have a pro golf tournament going on in town (more on this later), the debate discussions/blogs. Here's the deal, being tuned in to sports and world events is a 24 hour a day job and I'm obviously missing out on some things. My bad.

By nights end, BYU ultimately got their asses kicked by TCU - it was their first loss of the year. To say I was happy would be an understatement of gargantuan proportion. I savor each and every BYU any sport. My disdain for cougar athletics is comic in its scope. Water coolers at accounting firms and law office throughout the intermountain west sounded like this today,

"What the freak happened last night?" "Can you believe how TCU freakin' cheated?"

No doubt many, many tears were shed by the cougar faithful last for sure over the weekend when the new polls come out on Sunday. My guess: They drop to 19 although I'd vote 'em out of the top 25.

Wasn't BYU supposed to go undefeated? Play in the BCS title game in Miami? Bring back the ghosts of 1984? This brings me to another problem and it's a big one - a doozy: To the uneducated, TCU stands for "Texas Christian University" so there are underlying religious machinations at work here. I'm not going into that....I have enough trouble as it is keeping the rules straight, but shouldn't BYU always beat these guys? I need to think about this a lot more.

And so, as the Utes continue to steamroll through the Mountain West Conference I will, of course, look forward to the Holy War on November 22. The fact my tickets have lost 50% (or more) of what we paid for them means nothing to me. I simply want to see a massacre at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Will I storm the field? Of course not. I will simply be the smug guy dressed in red, with Indian headdress on, sitting in the MUSS (Might Utah Student Section) section of the stadium hoarse from hollering and cheering on my beloved Utes. Bottom line: I love college football.

I had a busy morning and early afternoon at work and then I made a break for it to take my mom up to TPC to catch some of the golf tournament. We had a great time. TPC has a private tent for members to kick back in and relax that is located on the 18th green next to all the other hospitality tents. The golf was great, the food and beverage were on-the-house and we were able to sit in the shade.

We wandered up the 18th fairway and came across another tent dedicated to our men and women in uniform. The army had a special display on the grass with a bunch of weapons and fully loaded humvees. I grabbed one of the soldiers and had him tell me about the weapons. The mortars can go a distance of 6 miles. This is where a large tube about 6 inches across and is about 5 feet long is braced into the earth. An 18 inch projectile loaded with propellent and gun powder is fired. I was jacked up but we couldn't obviously bother the golfers with this sort of noise and destruction. The other weapons were this new machine gun - Why the Iraqi's or anyone for that matter would want to piss off the United States is a salient question. We always have the best stuff.

I am fired up about my own golf game. I have a lot of golf scheduled during the next week. Tomorrow a casual round at TPC Las Vegas. MOnday is "The Blast" where we get to play the exact same course/layout as the pros did on Sunday. While they all shoot 63 and 64, I'll try to break 80. Company golf on Tuesday and Friday....hey, it's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Lastly.....A BYU Coed asked a store clerk, "Can I put this wallpaper on myself?"
"Yes, but it will look better on the wall," he said.

Life is good.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We had a pumpkin carving gig last night with me, Alec and our friend Karli. We heated up pumpkin seeds, carved pumpkins, ate pizza and laughed a lot. We had a great time. I haven't carved a pumpkin in years so I really enjoyed getting to do it - the texture and smell of pumpkins reminded me of when I was a kid.

I'm still trying to figure out how come Halloween came about. Think about it for a minute....we dress up our kids as little monsters, ghosts, goblins and have them go door to door where people, strangers even, pass out candy. As a kid, you have to pump your fist and scream, "YES!" Growing up in the '60's going door to door was actually a fun thing to do. Neighbors dressed up, many homes had their own crude versions of "Spook Alley," and we walked for what seemed like miles. The world seemed safer back then although I'm sure there were just as many lunatics in our suburbs as there are right now. They just kept to themselves more.

In 2008 the thought of trick or treating is sort of creepy. No one knows their neighbors anymore - especially in this 24 hour city. Many of our citizens are just downright strange having been kicked out of every decent city/town/state in the country. They flock to Las Vegas seeking jobs, streets paved with gold, and strippers for neighbors. Alas, the sharp pang of reality jolts them when they realize that even 115 degree "dry heat" is insufferable, jobs are scarce, the strippers (so I hear) are all students putting themselves through medical school and our streets are just as cruddy as those found anywhere else. Vegas has marketed itself better than any city in the world.

And so our youth are faced with this dilemma: Having been told "Don't take candy from a stranger," EXCEPT for Halloween. It's sort of like reading the bible and contemplating the following:

When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments, he discovers that the Israelites have created a golden calf. To punish the people, Moses gathers a group of men and takes the following action in the book of Exodus, Chapter 32:

"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand people died.

So... one minute we have God carving into stone, "Thou shalt not kill." Then the next minute we have God telling each man to strap a sword to his side and lay waste to thousands.

How does this reference relate to getting candy at Halloween? It means that the rules are always changing. Why is this stuff so complicated?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Holy War

Janae surprised me with 4 tickets today for The Holy War - BYU versus Utah on November 22. It's likely that both football teams will be undefeated going into this game and the winner of the contest will go on to BCS fame and fortune....and hopefully victory. A Utah - Florida game would be especially interesting. If that happens, Jake comes home early from Ecuador. It's his dream game.

Back to the Ute - Cougar contest.... I've set up some informal, yet inflexible rules:

1. We're tailgating. I don't care if it's 45 degrees or 25 degrees - we're doing the college tailgate gig. I'm thinking of going with a real charcoal grill, and simmering whatever it is we cook for a couple of hours.
2. We're wearing red. Lots of red. Blue is for wimps.
3. We may wear indian feathers - depends on if we can find suitable headgear - we're checking eBay at this very moment.
4. We may go shirtless, and paint our chests red. We'll have to get two more guys for the 'A' and the 'H' - not too keen on our ladies having to do that.
5. Shi'ite arguments will not be tolerated. This is the... "we beat Washington, and they beat....well, they are 0 and 5, but you know the logic.
6. The goal on this predicatably chilly fall day will be simple: Annihilate BYU. The thought of this makes me tingle and I want the Utes to make a statement to the BCS brass that there are some decent football teams out west.
7. We're buying a lot of stuff with a 'U' on it.

Go Utes

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Fun Tag

A laborious but fun tag....

My Age

Some of the Places I Have Been To

Places I Want to Visit

Favorite Places

Favorite Objects


Favorite Animal

Favorite Color

Birthplace - New Hampshire


Past Love

Best Friends (BFF) Mi Familia

Nickname - Dude, Duderino, Dudeski, Dude-ha,

First Name

Middle Name

Last Name

Bad Habit

First Job

Grandmothers Name

College Degree

What I'm Doing Right Now

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Last Revolution

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies....If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Thomas Jefferson wrote this in 1802. Now, 206 years later, we've hit rock bottom. Our financial markets are a mess, our currency, if used in England or Europe is a joke, our trade deficit continues to grow (this means we make less stuff to export and have to import more stuff to buy),our politicians lie like snake oil salesmen, we've mortgaged our energy future by relying on foreign oil, we tax everything yet we're 11 trillion dollars in debt (The nation's real tab, on the other hand, amounted to $53 trillion as of the end of the last fiscal year. That was the sum of our public debt; accrued civilian and military retirement benefits; unfunded, promised Social Security and Medicare benefits; and other financial obligations -- all according to the government's most recent financial statement of September 30, 2007), and we are fighting a war with the same weapons we had in Vietnam...with likely the same end result.

The revolutionary war that was fought from 1775 to 1783 gave the people of this continent freedom and less government. Our forbears were tired of England's heavy-handed rule. Quite simply, King George was an ass.

I'm not going to recite the entire Declaration of Independence right now but here are a few phrases that should raise your eyebrows and at least get you thinking about the political process. History ALWAYS repeats itself.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

There are some powerful words in this document.... dissolve political bands, government becomes destructive...right of the people to alter or abolish it...train of abuses...

Our government has failed. It's broken. There is no joy in this for me to recite. Our elected leaders should be ashamed of themselves. Over the years, we have created so much government that it is choking the free market economy. We've nationalized banking and insurance in the past week, and are on our way to doing the same thing to the automakers, and the airlines.

We need a new bubble.

Or a revolution.