Friday, February 21, 2020

The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness

My book for February was The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by by Harlow Giles Unger. Drew give me the book for Christmas. It fits into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents.

Monroe led a remarkable life. This resume includes:
  • 5th President of the United States;
  • 8th United States Secretary of War;
  • 7th United States Secretary of State;
  • 12th and 16th Governor of Virginia;
  • 4th United States Minister to the United Kingdom;
  • 5th United States Minister to France;
  • United States Senator;
  • Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation from Virginia, and;
  • Served in the Continental Army.
While he was the ambassador to France, Monroe as involved in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase. As President, he established the Monroe doctrine. Monroe also signed the Missouri Compromise during his second term as President essentially kicking the slavery debate fifty years down the road.

I found three other fascinating stories in the book. First, the collapse of the Federalists left Monroe with no organized opposition at the end of his first term. He ran for reelection unopposed. Without an additional organized political party, a lot different groups, including states, were nominating people in a very chaotic fashion. I hadn't through about what would happen without the political parties. Second, with a number of people jockeying to be president next during his second term and no organized parties to keep everyone focused, Monroe became a lame duck president; he struggled to move anything forward. Third, Monroe and Hamilton also challenged each other to a duel.

Although the author is probably a little too enthusiastic about James Monroe and his place in history, I enjoyed the book. Over the years, I have come to view all biographies with a certain amount of skepticism...

Thursday, February 20, 2020

iPhone 11 Pro

Before Thanksgiving, I started having problems with the lightning connector on my iPhone. This is the same problem that I had with my iPhone 6 in late 2016... This created a number of issues including connecting via CarPlay in the Volvo. I finally got frustrated enough on Monday to upgrade a new iPhone.

iPhone 11 Pro

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Brettnacher Home and Orchard Site

Sharon and I came upon this marker while we were hiking at Sea Ranch.

Brettnacher Home and Orchard Site

Marker 39B-14

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This site is located on the lower part of the Azalea Loop Trail, Sea Ranch, California. The Sea Ranch Archives Committee has identified twenty-six historic sites scattered about The Sea Ranch. They have constructed trail markers with information explaining the significance of each place. They were placed as part of The Sea Ranch 50th anniversary being celebrated from Memorial Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 44' 21.7" N 123° 29' 08.8" W.

Brettnacher Home and Orchard Site

Nicholas Brettnacher purchased 100 acres from Sonoma County Landowner William Biller, where her planted potatoes, hay and orchards. He sold the property to Gualala hotel owner Cyrus Robinson, who maintained the orchards but continued to live in Gualala. The two trees in the meadow are said to be the last orchard survivors.

Brettnacher Home and Orchard Site

Monday, February 17, 2020

Knives Out

Sunday night after our hike, Sharon and I watched Knives Out on the AppleTv. The film received a Best Original Screenplay nomination at the 92nd Academy Awards. It was also selected by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2019.

The whodunit follows a family gathering gone awry. After the family patriarch's death, a master detective is called to investigate. The film features an ensemble cast, including: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stansfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.

When the movie ended, Sharon said "that's was horrific..." I liked it more than she did; I would give it a C+ or a B-. After the rave reviews that we heard about the movie lately, we were both more than a little disappointed. In particular, Sharon was not fond of Daniel Craig's southern accent. I read that they are going to make a sequel?!?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park Hike

Sunday, Sharon, Tiber and I hiked in Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park. We covered 6.04 miles in two hours and thirty-four minutes. From the Long Valley Trail, we took the Hidden Valley Trail to the East Ridge Trail. We stopped briefly at the American River to let Tiber take a dip. We had lunch at the movie set for the 2003 movie "Love Comes Softly."

On the way back, we took Cronan Ranch Road to the West Ravine Trail. I was frankly amazed at how well Tiber did...

Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Hike

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Crown - Season Three

Saturday night Sharon and I finished watching season three of The Crown on Netflix. We finished watching season one in April of 2018 and season two in May of 2108.

Season three covers the time period between 1964 and 1977. It begins with Harold Wilson's election as prime minister and ends with the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Events depicted include: the unmasking of the Queen's art adviser Sir Anthony Blunt as a Soviet spy; Harold Wilson and Edward Heath's respective times as prime minister; the Aberfan disaster; the Apollo 11 moon landing; the 1969 Investiture of Prince Charles; the death of the Duke of Windsor; the death and state funeral of Winston Churchill; and Princess Margaret's affair with baronet and gardening expert Roddy Llewellyn and suicide attempt.

Olivia Colman stars as Elizabeth, along with main cast members Tobias Menzies [Prince Philip], Helena Bonham Carter [Princess Margret], Josh O'Connor [Prince Charles] and Erin Doherty [Princess Anne]. John Lithgow [Wiston Churchill] returns in cameo appearances.

Although I was initially unenthusiastic about Colman as Queen Elizabeth, by the end of season three, I was drawn in and fully onboard.. This season is very good. I am looking forward to season four late this year. I was disappointed to hear that they will wrap up everything in season five, rather than finishing with two seasons...

Friday, February 14, 2020

2020 Valentine's Day

After Sharon and Janie spent the day in Napa shopping and wine tasting, Sharon met me for dinner at Plan B. There was a fixed menu. Sharon had crab fritters, a butter salad, poached salmon and a chocolate mousse, while I had Kumamoto oysters, soup, pork tenderloin with prawns and a raspberry cheesecake. While I probably shouldn't have, I was surprised how busy the place was!

Over the last year, we have had a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls move into our neighborhood. Sharon has adopted them as her totem. I got Sharon a stuffed Wild Republic Audubon Birds Great Horned Owl and the book [The Great Horned Owl: An In-depth Study] as well as a printed list of Alexa commands to control SmartThings.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Greater Sacramento CIO/CTO Forum

Wednesday afternoon, I hosted the Greater Sacramento CIO/CTO Forum at the Adventist Health Building. The group of 20 IT leaders did a roundtable talking about their organization and their challenges for the coming year.

I asked our Senior Vice President of Mission Expansion to provide the group with an overview of Adventist Health. Afterwards, the JLL Senior Director and I took the group on a quick tour of the building. The JLL leader talked about what a "Well Building" is.

Quest Technology hosted the group for drinks and food at Q1227. This new restaurant is located near Paul Martin's.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Mayfly 2019

After being profoundly sad in 2018, last year was joyful! Additionally, I have had the pleasure to experience a wide variety of career opportunities and challenges. Yet, last year was somewhat unique.

Peloton • LondonStonehengeNew BuildingShenandoah ValleyRideoutDisneylandJack's 21st birthday • Joyful: Drew & Shannon's Wedding, Baby LeeProject GreenArmy/Navy Game • Sleep Divorce

You can find my previous Mayfly summaries here!

What is this?

Monday, February 10, 2020

Nancy Ingram Nooter

I met Nooter for coffee while we were in Washington DC. His mom passed away last week.

Nancy Ingram Nooter, 92, noted African and Native American art scholar, collector, teacher and artist, died peacefully at her home in Washington on February 4, 2020 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.

She and her husband of 72 years, Robert H. Nooter, have been longtime supporters of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and many of their works of art are on display in both museums. She conducted field research in Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania on the art of the Swahili Coast, prehistoric rock art, silver jewelry and the carved doors of Zanzibar.

She co-authored, with Warren Robbins, “African Art in American Collections” in 1989, one of the most comprehensive books on the subject. At the National Museum of African Art she curated exhibitions and wrote and edited catalogues and display captions, organized the first docent program and established the Summer Institute for young African art scholars and instructors. She also taught classes on African art at American and Georgetown Universities and at the Smithsonian Institution.

Nancy was also an artist in her own right. She studied under Gene Davis in Washington and Fred Conway in St. Louis, Missouri. Her works have been exhibited at the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, the Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock, Ark. and many are owned by collectors in the U.S., Europe, West Africa and South America.

Born as Nancy Lane Ingram in Jeffersonville, Indiana on November 30, 1927, she was one of three children of Marion Lane and William Austin “Navy Bill” Ingram, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973 for his accomplishments as a football player and head coach at the US Naval Academy and three other universities. She grew up in Los Gatos, California and attended UC Berkeley where she met Robert H. Nooter. They married in 1947 and moved to St. Louis, Missouri and later lived in Uruguay, Liberia, Tanzania and Washington, DC during her husband’s career with the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank.

She received her BA and MA from George Washington University in cultural anthropology. She was a Member of the Board of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, a Council Member of the Society of Women Geographers, and a member of the Cosmos Club. She is survived by her husband, Robert H. Nooter and four children and their spouses, Thomas H. Nooter (Alice Schlesinger) of New York City, Anne N. Ruch (Scott) of Kansas City, Missouri, William W. Nooter (Elissa Free) of Washington, D.C. and Robert I. Nooter (Barbara) of Potomac, Maryland, as well as son-in-law, Dr. Allen Roberts of Los Angeles, California, husband of Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts who died in 2018. She is also survived by twelve grand-children and nine great-grand-children.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that gifts may be made in her name to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 4

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 3For the first morning on this trip, Sharon and I had breakfast in the concierge lounge. After packing up the room, we got an Uber to the Georgetown campus. We met Jack for Mass at Gaston Hall.

From the Mass, we walked to the Healy Family Student Center for a light farewell breakfast in the social room. Afterwards, we walked back to his apartment and then up to the Safeway on Wisconsin. Sharon and Jack spent an hour successfully buying groceries. The three of us were just barely able to carry all of the groceries out of the store and catch an Uber back to Jack's apartment.

We walked to the tombs and then Booeymonger before deciding to say goodbye. Sharon and I caught another Uber back to the hotel. Checking our bags with the bellman, we had a late lunch at Cafe Deluxe across the street from the Marriott. We both had Ahi Tuna Nicosia [olives, tomatoes, green beans, egg, crispy capers, roasted fingerlings, herb vinaigrette]. We ate here once before at the end of our long 2017 East Coast Fall trip.

Sharon and I caught an Uber to Dulles about 2:45 pm. It was only a 40 minute trip on a Sunday afternoon.

We caught a 5:45 pm United flight nonstop from Dulles to Sacramento. We had a nice exit row in a newer 737-800. Although long at almost 6 hours, it was an uneventful flight. We were disappointed that we couldn't watch the Oscars.

We landed in Sacramento about 8:40 pm and were home just after 9:30 pm.

It is hard for me to believe that Jack is going to graduate from Georgetown in three months! Between now and then, Jack has two major trips planned. During the semester break, he is going to France and Belgium with Professor Skuba's class. At Easter, Jack is going to Miami and Jamaica with Sophia and her family.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 3

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 3After a pretty late night, I set an alarm for the second day in a row. I ran for 50 minutes and four miles on the treadmill at the hotel.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I caught an Uber to Farmers Fishers Bakers at the Georgetown waterfront. We met Jack for brunch at 9:45 am.

The three of us walked towards campus afterwards and connected with Jack's girlfriend Sophia. We met her when we are in Georgetown in early November last year. The four of us took an Uber to Capitol One Arena.

I have talked about seeing a Hoyas basketball game since Jack started at Georgetown. I have been particularly interested since Patrick Ewing took over as the head coach in April of 2017. Ewing played basketball for four years at Georgetown and was in the NCAA Championship game three times.

We watched the Georgetown Hoyas play the De Paul Blue Demons. With the Hoyas trailing by double digits, they rallied to win the game by the score of 76 to 74. Jahvon Blair was the high scorer for Georgetown. Blair had 30 points on 11 for 18 from the field, 4 for 10 from three and 4 for 5 from the free throw line.

At one point, the Hoyas were 1 for 10 from three point range. They then hit 5 of their next 10 to finish 6 for 20.

Overall, it was an entertaining game.

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 32020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 3
Sharon wanted to go to Crimson View. She claims she had the best hotdog ever there last summer, but it didn't open until later. We popped into an Irish Pub before deciding to head to Dacha. We went to Dacha in November with Jack and Sophia. From there, we headed back to L'Annexe for a drink and hors d'oeuvres.

We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and dressed. Meeting Jack at his apartment, the three walked to the Senior Parent Auction. They had silent and live auctions to raise money for the senior class. The event was held at the Georgetown Hotel and Event Center on campus. This was the first time I have been inside this building.

Somehow, I made a large tactical error. Although I was dressed business causal without a jacket, everyone, and I mean everyone else, had a coat on... Sharon bid on a couple of silent auction items, but we ended up heading out before they started the live auction. I was a little grumpy because I never really got any lunch or dinner.

Walking back to Jack's apartment, Sharon and I caught an Uber back to the hotel. We finished the night with a couple of snacks from the concierge lounge.

Friday, February 07, 2020

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 2

2020 Georgetown Senior Parent Weekend - Day 2Setting an alarm, I got up a little after 7 am and ran four miles on the treadmill, while Sharon slept in. Afterwards, I got cleaned up and met Nooter for coffee at Bourbon Coffee on L Street. It was pouring rain. We had a nice visit. Intellectually, I have always enjoyed Rob's company.

Swinging back by the Marriott, I grabbed Sharon. It had stopped raining so we walked into Georgetown. We had a leisurely lunch in the lounge at the Bourbon Steakhouse in the Four Seasons. We both had the hamburger special.

After lunch, we walked to campus and picked up our packet for the Senior Parent Weekend. We attended a lecture by Professor Charles Skuba titled Globalization 2020 and U.S. International Trade Policy. We went to a lecture by same professor at the GAAP weekend almost four years ago. Jack has a class with him this semester that will be spending spring break in France and Belgium.

Leaving the lecture, we caught up with a Jesuit Heritage Walking Tour with Father Matthew Carnes. The tour focused on the university's Jesuit history and tradition.

From there, we walked up to the Leavy Center. We ran into Jack just as he was leaving work. Jack and Sharon spent some time getting the cap and gown that he will need for graduation.

We reconnected with Jack at the Healy Family Center for the President's Welcome Reception. This was the kick off for the weekend with a welcoming address by President DeGiola.

Sharon, Jack and I finished the day with a dinner at Ristorante La Perla. Sharon and I had walked by this restaurant when we were in Georgetown last November. After splitting an antipasti, I had LASAGNA PARTENOPEA [Fresh seafood lasagna stuffed with crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp & prepared with a champagne sauce], Jack had GNOCCHI ALLA NAPOLETANA [homemade potato dumplings with marinara sautéed with parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheese] and Sharon had a rabbit special. During dinner, we had a nice talk about Jack's future.

We walked back to the hotel after dinner. Jack eventually took an Uber back to his apartment.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

2020 Georgetown Senior Parents Weekend - Day 1

Up at 5 am, Sharon and I took off for the airport at 6:30 am. We caught an 8:30 am nonstop from Sacramento to Dulles. I was surprised how empty the airport was. With the plane only about 2/3s full, we upgraded to a nice exit row. It was just the two of us in the three seats.

Although they expected a bumpy flight due to the weather on the east coast, it wasn't too bad. Taking off a little early, we were on the ground in Dulles just after 4 pm. We were shocked to find our luggage already there when we got to baggage claim.

We caught an Uber into Georgetown. The trip took 54 minutes (4:45 pm to 5:39 pm). Checking into the Georgetown Marriott, we got an odd room in the business wing on the hotel.

With Jack organizing a welcome party for new employees at The Corp, we had the night to ourselves. After getting settled in the room, we walked into Georgetown and had a drink and a snack at L'Annexe.

We then walked back into the West End for dinner at Nobu. We shared Yellowtail Jalapeño, Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Salmon Avocado Sushi Maki and Eggplant with Miso.

We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our first date! An email that I wrote Wallen and Nooter afterwards is here.

Sharon and I finished the day with a nightcap in the hotel bar. Still feeling like we were on West Coast time, we watched some television in the room before we crashed.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Super Bowl LIV

For the first time in a number of years, we organized a Super Bowl party. The group included the Gainsleys, Janie and her friend, Tim and Kathy, Tom and Eric, Kevin, Leah, Lydia and Amelia.

For the first time since 2013, the San Francisco 49ers were back in the Super Bowl playing the Kansas City Chiefs. With the 49ers leading 20 to 10 late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs exploded for three touchdowns. The Chiefs won the game by the score of 31 to 20.

As I said before the game, Mahomes scares the crap out of me, but I refused to bet against the 49ers… I had the following small bets for the game:
  • 49ers +1 1/2 @ -105;
  • Mostert Rushing more than 67 1/2 yards @ -170;
  • D Samuel Rushing more than 17 1/2 yards @ +135; and
  • Nick Bosa MVP @ +1600.
I only won the Samuel rushing prop.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Little Women

Late Saturday afternoon, Sharon and I saw Little Women at the Country Club Cinema. This is part of our continuing effort to see all of the Oscar nominated films. I have now seen all nine of the movies nominated for Best Picture. Sharon saw the film in early January with Tom.

Little Women is a coming-of-age period drama film written and directed by Greta Gerwig. It is the seventh film adaptation of the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. The film stars Satires Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper, and Meryl Streep.

At the 92nd Academy Awards, Litte Women received six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Pugh), and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was chosen by the American Film Institute and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of 2019.

This is a well done film with excellent performances by an all-star cast. I couldn't stop wondering why Gerwig chose this as her next project. She could have made anything. I would love to hear an explanation of why she chose this project. I don't expect it to win any Oscars.

A number of random things ran through my head while watching the movie.
  • How do you keep from burning down a wooden house when using a bunch of candles?
  • I am planning to write a book when I retire. I can't imagine reading a book with a ink pen and paper. I have gotten to the point over the last forty plus years that I can only write looking at a screen with my fingers on a keyboard.
  • Even in the 19th century, the process of publishing a book was extremely laborious (setting the type, etc).
  • My ex-wife is the youngest of four sisters roughly 12 to 15 months apart. Based on the stories I heard, they had a much different set of dynamics...