Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - April 8, 2007

Hi everyone!

Well, we're back to winter again - hopefully, not for long! Saturday morning found many of us gathered around our usual "spot" at Caffe Sole - Terri, Cass, Barb, Jackie, Mary, Jan and myself (really felt like old times!). Freezing drizzle (or snizzle as our weatherman back in Boston used to call it) kept us from walking but we stayed warm and cozy.

Book Report:

Cass shared with us that she has developed an interest in reading spy novels based on an article that she read in Vanity Fair Magazine - - She has read John Le Carre's classic, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and she is about to embark on a very ambitious read of Robert Fisk's The Great War For Civilization.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
It would be an international crime to reveal too much of the jeweled clockwork plot of Le Carré's first masterpiece, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. But we are at liberty to disclose that Graham Greene called it the "finest spy story ever written," and that the taut tale concerns Alec Leamas, a British agent in early Cold War Berlin. Leamas is responsible for keeping the double agents under his care undercover and alive, but East Germans start killing them, so he gets called back to London by Control, his spy master. Yet instead of giving Leamas the boot, Control gives him a scary assignment: play the part of a disgraced agent, a sodden failure everybody whispers about. Control sends him back out into the cold--deep into Communist territory to checkmate the bad-guy spies on the other side. The political chessboard is black and white, but in human terms the vicinity of the Berlin Wall is a moral no-man's land, a gray abyss patrolled by pawns.

The Great War For Civilization

From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
Combining a novelist's talent for atmosphere with a scholar's grasp of historical sweep, foreign correspondent Fisk (Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon) has written one of the most dense and compelling accounts of recent Middle Eastern history yet. The book opens with a deftly juxtaposed account of Fisk's two interviews with Osama bin Laden. In the first, held in Sudan in 1993, bin Laden declared himself "a construction engineer and an agriculturist." He had no time to train mujahideen, he said; he was busy constructing a highway. In the second, held four years later in Afghanistan, he declared war on the Saudi royal family and America.Fisk, who has lived in and reported on the Middle East since 1976, first for the (London) Times and now for the Independent, possesses deep knowledge of the broader history of the region, which allows him to discuss the Armenian genocide 90 years ago, the 2002 destruction of Jenin, and the battlefields of Iraq with equal aplomb. But it is his stunning capacity for visceral description—he has seen, or tracked down firsthand accounts of, all the major events of the past 25 years—that makes this volume unique. Some of the chapters contain detailed accounts of torture and murder, which more squeamish readers may be inclined to skip, but such scenes are not gratuitous. They are designed to drive home Fisk's belief that "war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death." Though Fisk's political stances may sometimes be controversial, no one can deny that this volume is a stunning achievement. (Nov.)

Podcast of the Week: Randy Cohen's Ethicist Column from the New York Times Magazine and NPR - or go to Itunes and search for The Ethicist. Cohen answers readers' questions on ethical issues each week.

Website of the Week: I am so excited about this find! Check out You can catalog your entire library on this site. I have attempted to keep journals of what I've been reading but I haven't been terribly consistent. This site really makes it easy and has so many tools to play around with. You can actually use this for book groups to keep track of what they're reading and I've actually set up a group called Saturday Morning Walkers - you can join this group and add your collection so that we can all have access to each other's catalogs.

Food and Cooking Report: Not much cooking going on in our house this week but here's a "restaurant runners" selection and a couple of restaurants:

Jack has a favorite meal that he orders from The Trattoria on Pearl - - the Fettucine Bolognese with Ground Beef and Veal is one of the best he's had. We love their Caesar Salad served with fresh white anchovies - yum! We figure we're among the Restaurant Runner's best customers - sure comes in handy sometimes - www.

I had dinner this week with Gaye at the Niwot Tavern - a great neighborhood place! - Gaye had the veggie burger which she loved and I had a great hamburger with grilled onions and onion rings - mmmmm-good! It was good to catch up with Gaye - we had a lot of wedding talk to cover. One of her sons was married last summer in California and her other son is getting married this summer in Ohio!

Last night, Jack and I had dinner with a business associate of Jack's - Dave recently moved to Boulder and we thought he might enjoy The Sunflower Restaurant at 17th and Pearl - - Dave had the Caesar Salad and Buffalo Steak, Jack had mussels (I tasted those and they were outstanding) and New York Strip Steak and I had the seafood special - Hazelnut Crusted Halibut with a Mozzarella Croquette topped with Asparagus and Tomatoes - it looked gorgeous and was delicious. I really like the atmosphere at The Sunflower - low-key, relatively quiet (important to me) and attentive service.

Random Cooking Tip - Are you ever puzzled by which type of potato works best for frying, baking, mashing, etc? Check out - to clarify that "burning" question.

Buyer Beware - For those of you who have Comcast as your cable and internet provider, don't be tempted by their recent offer to switch you from Qwest phone service to Comcast phone service. It will save you money but apparently will cost you in quality of service. Several people who made that switch were very disappointed. Check out this website -

Have a great week!


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