Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Five Stories of 2009

I am not going to do the typical scandal ridden or famous person bio piece that is so common this time of year. I don't want to pander to the typical review of big stories that we all have seen this week. I want to list the top 5 things that affected me this year. This is the World According to Pedro and I am Pedro.

Number 5 - My family (some of them - they know who they are) started smoking again. Now I am a reformed smoker from way back. I quit several years ago because I thought I was going to die if I kept going. It hurts to see them doing this to themselves. But they are adults and have free will. I hope they will find other ways to channel this need in the coming year.

Number 4 - The disappearance of Susan Powell. This has hit me hard because there is a body out there that hasn't been found yet (my opinion - of course we are all innocent until proven guilty). This, also my opinion, is just another bad marriage gone wrong except there are family members who are in limbo, clinging to the hope that Susan will walk through the door some day. I don't think that will happen and the longer this goes on the more uncertainty these folks will feel. I feel sorry for them and the pain they need to go through every minute of every day.

Number 3 - The Death of Billy Mays at 50. He was the latenight TV pitchman with the black beard and screaming voice that advertised such things as Oxy Clean, Mighty Putty and the Awesome Auger. Who didn't want these products after Billy enthusiastically extolled their virtues and demonstrated their herculean claims. As a person who worked in an industry based on sales I saw good and bad salesmen and women. The truly great were able to get their point across without criminal claims and were always able to humble themselves when needed. I appreciate a great salesperson with a talent for the dramatic. The era of infomercials has lost a great voice.

Number 2 - The U of U beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. I know this was almost a year ago but it was in 2009 and this was a sweet, sweet victory for a school that, until the Urban Myer dynasty, toiled in the shadow of the Smurfs of BYU. I went to the U (the real University of Utah) when BYU was named national champs. I suffered through the years when BYU was sending premier quarterback after premier quarterback to the NFL and all the U players did was watch the NFL on TV. In my mind the 60 minutes where the U was dominating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl was even bigger than being ranked number 2 in the nation. It was truly sweet to see the U come up big in a huge game on the national stage.

My Number One Event of 2009 - Is a three way tie -
1. The birth of my sixth grandchild, Saige, in February - She is the most calm child I have seen. It must be because I am getting old and see only they good things in my grandchildren, but she usually just sits there (now she is 10 months old and is very aware of her surroundings) and observes while the other 5 run rampant around the house. Her sister uses her as a cushion when she lays on the floor and Saige doesn't complain. She is wise beyond her years, and
2. The announcement that our 7th grandchild is on the way. What is better than 6 grandchildren? Seven. We knew something was up when the kids asked to see us and they said the grandkids had something to tell us. It was a really fun evening, and
3. My Wife Earning Her Masters Degree - We got married young and she worked two jobs and took care of three small kids when I went to school. I didn't think the disparity in our education was a factor in our relationship but I can see how it might have been. Now she has earned this distinction, the first of her siblings to do so. I am so proud of her I can hardly contain myself. Of course my way is to kid her about it by saying stuff like "You are doing that now because you have a Masters Degree" Wonderful job honey.

That is it, the World According to Pedro in a nutshell (no pun intended) for 2009. May you all have a prosperous and wonderfilled 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movies for New Year's Eve

If you are tired of the silly displays of self generated enthusiasm from such hosts as Casey Kasem, Dick Clark and Donna Summers hoping you will "Rock In" the new year why not find a movie and time your viewing so that you can watch the ball drop from Times Square just as the credits role. Here are some fun movies that may take the sting out of a otherwise boring night.

1. Captain Ron (1992) - Kurt Russel, Martin Short and Mary Kay Place have fun on the high seas while trying to get their boat back to the US from the Caribbean. There are some great lines hidden in this gem.

2. Uncle Buck (1989) - This is John Candy at his best. Particularly watch the scene where Buck goes to the elementary school meeting with the vice principal. Just watch Candy's reaction to the VP's comments. It's classic Candy.

3. The Great Escape (1963) - This movie has a whole bunch of people in it including James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn and David McCallum to name just a few. It also has Steve McQueen in the starring role and one of the best of its time motorcycle chase scenes. The English have adopted this as their New Year's cinematic anthem much the way we play "Its a Wonderful Life" at Christmas here in the US.

4. The Breakfast Club (1985) - This is a great study in teenage rebellion in the '80s. It has all the great Brat Pack members; Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheety and Anthony Michael Hall. There are some really funny lines in this movie. If you grew up during this time you will be able to pick out each of the character's personalities among people you knew in high school.

5. O Brother Where Art Thou (2000) - A Coen Brothers classic tale of the Odyssey by Homer told in a 1930's setting. Great music and cinematography. George Clooney is really good as the leader of a band of escapees from the prison farm looking for buried treasure.

6. The Big Lebowski (1998) - Another Coen Brothers offering about a slacker just trying to do the right thing. Jeff Bridges used some of his own wardrobe to style the Dude's look. This movie may take two or three viewings to see the full complexity of the characters and get all the good lines. It reminds me a lot of Napolean Dynamite - but grown up.

7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - This is a great old/new western. It was created as a new look at the old westerns at the time but it has become a classic. The interplay between Paul Newman and Robert Redford is wonderful, and so is Katherine Ross. This movie was shot in Utah and shows off a lot of scenery.

8. A Few Good Men (1992) - This legal drama about a young lawyer challenging the establishment is really funny. Despite Tom Cruise and the overacting of Jack Nickelson it is wonderfully directed by Rob Reiner so that all the components come together and make up a better story than you would think. It too has some funny lines.

9. Remember the Titans (2000) - Denzell Washington takes a tired theme, the underdog overcoming adversity, and turns it into one of the best sports movies ever. The soundtrack is beautiful and plays well into the racial tension theme in the movie. It's about growing up in the '60s and seeing people for who they are, not what they are.

10. Stand By Me (1986) - This Rob Reiner adaptation of a Stephen King short story gives you that warm feeling of youth and adventure you sought when you were 12. Many other teens coming of age movies have been made but in my opinion this is the best. Look for a lot of up and coming stars. Even the narration is done by a famous guy. This is a great Saturday afternoon movie.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Farm Wisdom

I got this from a friend and I obeyed the blog etiquette requiring me not to publish it immediately.

-Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
-Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
-Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.
-Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
-Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
-Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
-Do not corner somethin' that you know is meaner than you.
-It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
-You can't unsay a cruel word.
-Every path has a few puddles.
-When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
-The best sermons are lived, not preached.
-Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
-Don't judge folks by their relatives.
-Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
-Live a good, honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a 2nd time.
-Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.
-If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
-Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
-The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
-Always drink upstream from the herd.
-Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
-Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
-Live simply ~ love generously ~ care deeply ~ speak kindly ~ leave the rest to God.

And remember:

When you quit laughing, you quit living.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Funny Stuff

Here is a glimpse into my psyche. You can probably guess my political leaning. These are from a local cartoonist who usually exposes a little more than we feel comfortable with but is right on point. I thought these were really funny. Have a great day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Hutspa

What a genius. A guy in Nashville, TN took advantage of the season to don a santa suit and rob a bank. That is brilliant. He concealed his identity, yet he didn't stand out. No one would look at him and say "what is that guy up to".

Once he was finished (I assume it was a man) he could slip out of the bank. No one would think to follow him. He could disappear at the nearest Walmart or shopping mall.

Except for the illegality of his actions, he should be applauded. He used a seasonal disguise to overcome a huge hurdle for the common bank robber. Even at Halloween people have become wary of costumed revelers entering a bank, but not Santa.

Wait a minute, now we have to be leary of Santa? We can't trust anyone when Santa can rob a bank. What next? Will the Easter bunny pull a gun if the kids get too close during the Easter egg hunt? Will gnomes rush a 7 Eleven and loot it? Will Cinderella pick your pocket when you are getting your picture taken at Disneyland ( I don't mean the outrageous ticket price, I mean the direct method)? That is a bad Santa.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Crazy Justice Revised

Wonderful News. The boy held in Brazil from his American father has been released. He is on his way home to the US with his father. Just when things seem really messed up someone comes to their senses and the right thing prevails.

I think this happens more than we think. Justice moves glacially slow but in the end it usually makes sense if you know all the facts. The problem I have observed is that we want a result too fast or we don't know all the facts. So when you see a result that seems out of reason, wait, or look more closely.

I believe the Susan Powell ordeal will look reasonable when it all shakes out. For the meantime we should let the police do what they do best, help them if we can, and pray for the comfort of the family. No matter how this turns out the family will look upon this Christmas as a hard time. They deserve the benefit of our patience and not to be pre-judged.

Just my opinion.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crazy Justice

Things seem weirder than normal with respect to the law recently.

Joshua Powell is the husband of Susan Powell. Susan has been missing for more than 2 weeks and all Joshua can say is he went camping in a snow storm with their kids (4 and 2 years old) at midnight and when he got back she was gone?

He is still able to come and go as he pleases because the cops don't have enough (any?) evidence so he isn't a suspect. Her family finally today offered a reward to find Susan. It seems that the cops aren't doing all they can or they thought Susan really walked away from her kids. It is weird that more information hasn't been forthcoming.

The next crazy justice thing that comes to mind is Brian David Mitchell. This is the nut job that (allegedly) kidnapped Elizabeth Smart. His accomplice Wanda Barzee has been convicted but Mr. Mitchell continues to be remanded to the psycho ward because he sings in court. I think we should send him to Gitmo for a few week's vacation and let him enjoy some of the extra curricular activities like the therapeutic water boarding pool or the ear splitting disco lounge.

Another strange legal case is the poor American student in Italy that was convicted of killing her roommate in a fit of sexual hedonism. The weird thing is that she was convicted despite her defense insisting that the Italian police messed up the investigation and contaminated the evidence. The international press continued to suggest that she would not be convicted because of the poor job of investigation yet she was found guilty. There is no accounting for the Italian judicial system. Thank the Lord we live in the good old USA.

The most dishartening example is the guy who's son remains in Barzil 7 years after his ex-wife died because the wife's new husband is fighting custody. The ex-wife took the boy to Brazil without authorization from the dad and the boy has remained there ever since despite an international law that says kidnapped kids (custody battles where the kids are removed without one parent's permission is considered kidnapping) must be returned. Recently the Brazillian Supreme Court denied a motion to return the child to his father in the US. This was only the latest in a series of legal attempts by the father to get his son back over the last 7 years.

Of course living in the US provides us some inalienable rights that people in other countries only dream of, except maybe for Utah County. Recently there was a news report of kids from Provo coming up to Salt Lake County to buy heroin in mass quantities. It seems they would take orders from their friends "borrow mom & dad's car to run an errand" as the Salt Lake County officer interviewed said, and buy bulk heroin.

That is really weird, not that Utah County has a drug problem, you would need drugs to live there for any length of time (it seems Utah County has the highest incidence of prescription drug abuse also) but it was a Salt Lake County cop who was interviewed about the drug bust.

Utah County law enforcement must be too busy collaring old ladies with out-of-control weeds or scary rapping drive through order teens at McDonalds. Go get'em guys in blue. Blast past the van full of heroin to get the guy who through his gum wrapper out of his car.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Airline Traveler's Rights

Airline travellers now have new regulations on their side. No longer will we be shuffled onto a plane and held on the tarmac waiting indefinitely to take off. Right!

Congress announced new rules that airlines must follow when getting passengers on their way. You see the airlines measure an on-time departure (the stat that is published regularly to the travelling public) as any time a plane leaves the jetway within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time. Did you catch that - within the time the plane LEAVES THE JETWAY. They would play fast and loose with this stat by pushing back from the jetway and then sit on the tarmac for hours. Not nice but looks good in print.

Now rules require that if passengers are on the tarmac for more than 2 hours the airline has to give them food and water and have operating toilets, the plane must return to the jet way if on the tarmac for more than 3 hours. 3 HOURS? Are you kidding me?

That's like the Viagra warning about contacting your doctor if a certain medical condition exists for more than 4 hours. Sounds like a reasonable warning but in practice would drive you crazy if you had to wait that long.

If I am out on the tarmac more than two hours I'm going to open a can of whup-ass. I'm going to pee my pants just to soil their seat. I'm going to . . . . . just kidding TSA. I don't want to be profiled as a trouble maker and get "detained" next time I fly.

Unfortunately my pessimistic mind thinks the only change that will occur will be that we will be charged more for a ticket to offset the cost of enforcing this regulation. I'm really glad congress is looking out for us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tid Bits

This being the shortest day of the year I will keep it brief. You don't want to waste those daylight hours reading this blog.

First - Max is right about Powell/Hacking. I hope West Valley's finest caught this early and were looking in places they looked for Lori Hacking to find evidence. Seems kind of weird they haven't found anything yet or dear Joshua would be in a small cell in an uncomfortable position.

Second - An article in "My Favorite Newspaper" listed a good last minute gift for granny and grandpa was a $15 bus ride to Wendover. They get meals and gambling. I know this is meant to be kind but does it seem like senior dumping to you, or is it just me? Why not just get them a Costco Card? They can eat from the samples every Thursday all year long?

Third - If you don't have anything else to watch today you can enjoy the estrofest when Barbara Striesand joins Oprah on her "I'm leaving the world and taking it with me" tour. Good luck.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Got The Inversion Blues

I have a slight headache, my nose is stuffed and I feel just a little under the weather, like I am about to get a cold. I think we have an inversion.

It usually gets us this time of the year. I would bet the air quality is poor or bad. It sort of sneeks up on us slowly so that we don't open the door and say we can't breathe, rather we say "that's why I feel terrible".

Enjoy the soup we have for air. If we don't get to clearing up our global mess the air will be like this more often.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Electronically Challenged

It seemed as if the world (at least my world - this is the world according to Pedro) had a short yesterday. Did anyone else experience the same thing?

First our home phone was out. I thought it was because of the weekend storm. Then our internet wasn't working. Then it worked but I couldn't get some of the major websites to show up. Then my computer went into automatic upload mode, meaning it kept clicking on one site and opened it about 5o times before I had to shut it off.

I rebooted the computer and the wireless router several times. Things seemed to get better toward the evening but they were still slow. This morning I got on without trouble and things seem back to normal. I guess someone got the big paddles out and gave the internet and my computer a big jolt. Well I'm glad to see all appears to be on track.

It was weird not having that connection. All day I had work that I wanted to get to but I couldn't access my email. What did we do before the internet?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me or does Christmas seem a little blah this year. More than usual. In my travels this week everyone seems preoccupied with running around getting things. This time they seem less concerned about what they are getting but about how they are going to pay for it. That "worst economic climate since the great depression" thing seem to really have taken its toll on everyone. There seems to be no bounce in their step and they seem uptight, frustrated. Not so much as to go postal, but just enough to suck all the fun out of the season.

The commercials on TV and the radio are non-stop and senseless, although I can't say they are any different from any other year except they seem closer together. I am going to go postal if I see another RC Willey add for a $2.99 Big Screen TV ( or was that $299?).

Anyhow, if I can, I am going to take next week a little slower and try and find some peace and joy for the season. I will most likely have to fine tune my powers to totally eliminate my sight and hearing. No really, if I just was able to be a little less driven by anxiety and a look around once in a while, I might not miss as much as I regularly do. Just a thought.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Elk Hunting in the Book Cliffs

I haven't posted for a few days because I was asked late Thursday night to go hunting with a few friends. It appears the guy who set the trip up had a death in the family (my condolences) and couldn't go at the last minute. I thought what the heck.

We drove to Roosevelt and spent the night at the Best Western, right next to the JB's. Since the elk have a particular habit of moving only at dawn and dusk and the hunting area was 2 and a half hours away (this wasn't explained to me until I was in the truck) we had to get up at 4:00 in the morning.

We get up, drive the 2 and a half hours down the dirt road, unload the quads in a hiding place because the thermometer in the truck read -15 degrees F and none of us was going to ride a quad in that weather, and start hunting before 7:30 am. We see a herd of about 6 elk but after tracking them for 2 hours they got away. Elk are wily animals.

The rest of the day we four wheel, shoot guns and generally play around until dusk. Then we get ready for the business of hunting. We set ourselves in position, remain perfectly still and wait. The it comes, our friend radios us that he has spotted five elk and they are moving toward him (we had a lot of gear).

I couldn't wait for the moment when we would plunge our hands into the still warm carcass to clean the innards in the process of harvesting an elk. There is something visceral about bringing down a big animal that goes way back. I don't mean trophy hunting, I mean the chase, the out-witting, the triumph over the animal to provide for your family.

Alas it was not to be. The elk came within 150 yards and the shot was taken. It just grazed over the animal's back. At that point all the animals looked up, said 'WHAT THE #$&@?', and ran like hell. I ran toward the shot to see if there was a blood trail (maybe he just wounded the poor thing) and as I was running full tilt the ground came out from under me. I had hit a downed tree and fell flat on my face. I was a good thing there was a foot of snow on the ground and I was wearing all the winter clothes I own. No harm no foul and no one saw me, therefore I could reasonably argue it didn't happen.

Well that was the closest we got to getting an elk. The next day was just as much fun, but without the result we were looking for and without the face plant.

There is something truly wonderful about being out with your guy friends. You have a quest, you are braving the elements, you forget the niceties, you don't eat well, you don't bathe and you continually think of ways to laugh at your surroundings, events and each other. I know I sound like a neanderthal but I feel the same sense of comradary when I am out motorcycling. We are hunting in a pack, although on our motorcycle trips the object of our quest is a little more ethereal.

Well now it is back to civilization and I am a little better off for the adventure. The tale would have been even taller if we had succeeded in our quest, although not as much fun for the elk.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blah, Blah Blah

I woke up this morning to FM 100's tenth day of just Christmas music. I can't believe I am so sick of Christmas music by the 10th of December.

The Tribune did its regular job of using spell check instead of an editor. In a sentence about the St. George pilot who crash landed his plane next to I-15 they put the word "spends" in the wrong place and then repeated it in the same sentence later on. It was as if they switched phrases in the sentence and didn't bother to proof read it.

I had to drive about 50 miles around the valley this afternoon. Most people are not paying attention. Not like usual, they seem more distracted, probably the FM100 music. A few were trying to keep those of us with somewhere to go from going over the speed limit by moving into the outside lane just as we approached. Also there was this one guy who could see I was trying to move in in front of him so he sped up and blocked me. I guess he had nothing better to do. If I had my surface-to-air missle launcher mounted on my battle cruiser as I have dreamed of often, there would be nothing left of him but a smoking pile of rubble.

Its not that I wish anyone any ill will, I am just grumpy. My wife would say more than usual. Happy Holidays (We can't say Merry Christmas - we might offend those who believe in Kwanza).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Food for Comfort

Isn't it wonderful to travel back in time by just sitting down to dinner.

Tonight we had a bit of nostalgia on a plate. We delved back in time with that basic of food groups, the comfort food. That food that you ate when you were younger, poorer and didn't know as much as you know now.

Since then you have tasted many of the great dishes of the world. You have dined out at fancy places where the menu is in a foreign language and the prices require a loan to get to dessert. You have sampled the exotic.

But we always come back to the food Mom used to cook. We always have a need to recapture that warm goodness that was part of a meal where the ingredents and cooking method were simple.

I haven't named any specific food because they are all different for each of us, but they create the same feeling. They usually have some ingredients in common; lots of fats, meat and sugar if you are talking about a desert. And of course they are served in mythic portions. Often they were sloppy and took a bit of work to get through, but the journey was worth it.

Even though we didn't say it often enough, thanks Mom for cooking all those meals.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Fiscally Challenged

I was reading "My favorite paper ever" and came across two examples of people someone should have been watching.

Number One - Moab school district needs to lay off one-fifth of their staff because when their long term financial director died they uncovered a number of "irregularities" leading to a significant shortfall in their budget. Shouldn't someone have been watching him? The independent accounting firm hired by the district said, when questioned about the discrepancies, that it was hard to get information from the financial director. Nice Job.

Number Two - The psychiatrist called in to evaluate David Mitchell, the psycho that kidnapped Elizabeth Smart, charged the state $500,000. This was at a reduced rate of $425/hour. Wasn't someone watching this guy. Maybe the independent auditing firm who so carefully reviewed the Moab school district's finances.

I don't know what more to say. Good luck, I am going to get a job as an accountant or psychiatrist for the government. I don't feel too insignificant and ineffective after reading those stories.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ah, Sweet, Sweet Powder

We had a just a skiff of snow last night. It was just enough to coat the driveway and leave tracks when I drove the car over it on my way to work this morning.

This afternoon I went to shovel it and there wasn't enough to shovel, so I brushed it. I got my shop brush out and was able to move it off the driveway. Why, you ask, is this significant.

Well for those who are not privileged enough to live and ski along the Wasatch front, this my friends is the "Greatest Snow on Earth". That isn't me boasting, it is actually emblazoned on our license plates.

This snow I moved was so light and so cold that it hadn't melted all day and I was able to brush it away without a bit of effort. Even if I had a few broom fulls of show piled up, it came off the drive without leaving any trace.

24 inches of that white gold makes all thoughts of doing anything but calling my ski buddy up at 7:30 in the morning and telling him I'll meet him at the mouth of the canyon, disappear. This assures us we are standing in our skis less than 5 deep when the chair lift opens. That is the way to start a powder day.

Over the summer we forget how wonderful skiing here in Utah is. We forget the days when we can glide through the deep powder down a 60 degree slope as if we are floating through the air. It seems almost effortless. You have to stop at the bottom just to admire your tracks, but not too long, there is always another run to make before it gets tracked out.

It has been said "there are no friends on a powder day". That means you just ski, until you can't move, you don't wait for anyone. It is even better if it is still snowing. That means only the diehards are there, and it seems there are more and more of them every year.

I always tell people from out of town I ski only when the conditions are optimum; it snowed last night at least a foot, the sun is likely to peak out between the clouds and it is a weekday. Any other time is just warming up.

When we do get those days, and there are a number of them here each year (Alta gets over 700 inches of snow each year), your mind is on nothing else. Your heart races as you hurriedly assemble your gear and you can't get breakfast down quick enough. If it is really dumping you put the gear in the car the night before and you take a bagel and a cup of coffee with you.

So as we brace ourselves for another storm tonight I can only hope that it will be one of those epic ski days tomorrow. And if anyone at work wonders where I am I tell them I have something wrong with my eyes - I can't see myself going to work today.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Number Seven

You may not know it yet and you will all find out soon directly from the pregnants, particularly since no one reads my blog, but we are going to be grandparents again, for the seventh time.

Our son and his wife came over last night and they, along with their 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter (sorry 3 and 1/2 as she often reminds us) told us they are going to have a baby. We are ecstatic.

The really cool thing about grand kids is that you can love them without having to do any of the discipline and any of the hard work of training or educating. You just show up with open arms and say stuff like "You are wonderful" and "You can have all the candy you want if you ask your mom".

The other really wonderful thing about being a grand parent is seeing the wonderful people our kids have become and the wonderful partners they have chosen. I really do have a wonderful life.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Had A Great Day

We had Bubby (our youngest Grandson) over last night. It was wonderful to focus on one at a time. He was very comfortable at our house and didn't want to go home in the morning. It was great scooting along the floor with him on my back, watching Thomas the Tank Engine for the millionth time and snuggling with him. They grow up so fast.

I then went to the garage and fiddled with my KLR. My hands are dirty and scraped, I really didn't do anything and I was in the cold most of the time, but I really enjoyed it. There is something really satisfying about tinkering with a mechanical device. The motorcycles has really replaced my waning desire to work on cars. They are fun to ride and they do need some simple maintainence on a regular basis. It is something I can do without a menchanical engineering degree or a lot of sophisiticated tools.

It was a good day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

Breaking News - Your Cat May Not be as Lazy as You Thought

Let me start out by saying I am not a huge fan of cats. That said I still think this article in the front section of the Salt Lake Tribune (My Favorite Paper) is a lot funnier than it was intended to be.

The article describes a study of 50 cats fitted with cameras that had their activities tracked while their owners were out of the house. The article draws the conclusion from the camera pictures that the cats were't as lazy as originally thought because they spent only 6 percent of their time during the study sleeping.

The rest of the time was spent interacting with other pets (12%), climbing on chairs (8%), looking at TVs, DVDs or other media (6%), hiding under tables (6%), playing with toys (5%) and eating or looking at food (4%). The most time consuming CATegory (sorry) was looking out of windows at 22%.

First of all that only adds up to 69%. What did the cats do for almost a full third of the time that wasn't recorded? Maybe the study monitors (probably old ladies) were sleeping? Secondly if I was looking out the window, looking at TV's DVDs or other media, hiding under tables or eating or looking at food you could safely say I was being lazy.

I think I need a cat nap.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is That Senator Roberto Bennettito?

Today the paper announced the withdrawal (a week after he declared he was in) of Fred Lampropoulos in the race against our three term republican stalwart Robert Bennett. Fred L. (I had to look to spell his name the first time, I'm not going to keep doing it) isn't a lightweight, he has made millions in the medical devices industry and I am sure along the way paved a very nice path for his good name in the greater Salt Lake City community.

There are a couple of scary things about this. First, Fred L. said he has "business commitments that prevent him from seeking the GOP nomination". Does that sound a little fishy? I would have thought that a CEO of a multi-national corporation would have checked his calendar before making a public commitment to something like running for senator.

The second thing that seems scary about this is that Fred L. isn't the first local celeb to bow out. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (I had to look at how to spell his name also) declared himself a candidate for Robert Bennett's senate seat and then dropped out so he could be with his daughter through her tough personal crises.

Now I don't wish any ill will toward the AG's daughter and I think that is noble for him to put his family first, but doesn't it sound like the caliber of reasoning put forward by Fred L? Something that you can't really check up on and maybe they should have considered before declaring their candidacy?

I'm not saying that our esteemed senator is handling things like a mafia turf war, that's how politics is handled back East. In fact if I want any kind of professional success in this great valley I insist I am not saying anything of the kind.

At well over 6 feet tall and weighing less than a pee wee football player, Robert Bennett doesn't have the swagger or presence of a Suprano. He doesn't walk around with sun glasses on inside or have an entourage of "associates". In fact I don't think Utah Woolen Mills even knows what a "Gambini Style" suit is.

But I do want to be on the safe side. So, just to be clear - any inference that you may draw from this blog that could possibly be construed as casting an unfavorable light upon Mr. Bennett is purely your own paranoid delusion and you are solely responsible for its content.

I think I'll move to Bolivia and leave no forwarding address.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Republican Dialog, London Fog, Dopey Dog and Ule Log

I had a few things rolling around in my head for the past few days so I thought I would clear them all at once.

I was in a bookstore and saw this title "How Obama, Congress, and the Special Interests are Transforming . . . a Slump into a Crash, Freedom into Socialism, and a Disaster into a Catastrophe . . . and How to Fight Back. Aside from the obvious "This is all those liberal, commie, Obama lover's fault" bent to this book it struck me as funny that it was on the "Bargin" rack with a 50% off sticker on it because either it wasn't selling well or the economy had affected book sales so badly that everything lost value. I choose the first.

Speaking of choices, I went to my favorite coffee hangout (not St@&%ucks) and ordered a London Fog. The girl hadn't heard of it so I wondered if it was a popular as I thought. For those who haven't heard of a London Fog it is an Earl Grey Tea bag steeped in a half cup of boiling water and then you pour a half cup of steamed soy milk over it. Its creamy and spicy and hot, delicious for these cold days. It doesn't even need much sugar.

I was on my run yesterday and I hit a dog. I wasn't in my car, I was jogging by the side of the road when a big lab saw me from his yard and ran at me perpendicular to my running trajectory. The weird thing was he just kept running. He T-boned me so I essentially kneed him in the side. He just looked up at me and ran back to his yard. He isn't going to live long if he tries that with a car.

The last bit of random information I want to impart on you is that the present value of all the items in the holiday song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (you know "on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . a partridge in a pear tree') is $87,000. Someone keeps track of this stuff and claims it is a measure of the economy to view the cost from year to year. Of course this year the value is up from last year. Great, another thing to worry about. Besides not being able to afford them, and the obvious "its just a song" things could get messy with the twelve lords leaping, eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummers drumming, eight maids milking, seven swans swimming, and six geese laying and all the other stuff.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arkansas Cops

I'm back to ranting again.

I read in the paper this morning where an Arkansas cop was fired because he didn't activate his camera on the stun gun when he tased an 11 year old girl. AN 11 YEAR OLD GIRL!!!!!

Are you kidding me? The cop was called to the home because the mom couldn't get the girl to do her homework and the girl was getting belligerent. OK so she was kicking and screaming. OK so she ended up kicking the cop in the goolies. But if you can't get an 11 year old without a gun under control without tasering her maybe being a peace officer is not the job for you.

The really sad thing about this is that he was fired because he didn't follow procedure, not because he used a taser on an 11 year old girl without a gun. The really funny thing is that the mom called the cops because she couldn't get the girl to do her homework.

I don't know if the Arkansas chamber of commerce has thought of it but maybe they could use the tag line "Come to Arkansas where you are safe from unruly 11 year old girls who don't do their homework". It really is different down there.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Goin' to Calvary

We went to Calvary Baptist Church yesterday (11th South between State and Main). Kermut was there. There was a lot of singing, praising and general thankfulness for the blessings the Lord has showered upon us. Rev. France Davis has an amazing gift for telling it like it is. You feel spiritually uplifted when you leave his house.

The folks at Calvary Baptist also know how to dress. Sometimes when I go to church elsewhere people are so casualed out (is that a word?) they look as if they are going to Walmart (you've seen the blogs - it ain't pretty). At Calvary Baptist I feel like I have to wear a suit, not out of obligation but out of respect. You can see all sorts of suits and dresses and hats that you don't normally see. Most people don't dress like that anymore.

Did I forget to mention the choir? They are the soul and backbone of all that goes on at Calvary Baptist. This Sunday they had only 20 or so people, their full choir wasn't there, nor was their children's choir. Throughout the service the music is central to the worship. Everyone is clapping, praising and jumping with the Lord. You can't help but leave with a smile.

A lot of people gave their testimony and thanked Calvary Baptist for being their church home. I am thankful that Calvary Baptist is a beacon for our community and they boldly proclaim the Word as Gospel. They are working to overcome the cultural, religous and racial barriers that have often separated us in this community. They are a force for good and we all benefit from their work. Thank you Rev. Davis for your leadership and tireless work in the name of the Lord. May God continue to bless you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

DVD Recommendations

I went to the dollar movies (it cost $2.00) and saw Julie and Julia. This is the story of Julia Childs and a young Queens wife who sets out to make each of Julia's 524 recipies in her cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" while blogging about it. Not an emotionally significant movie but it was fun.

That got me thinking about what movies I would put in the same category. Those movies that have a message but aren't what you call an epic, ones you can watch over and over because they have substance but not crass or even intense. These movies have quoteable lines and are void of objectionable subject matter that you wouldn't mind showing your grand parents or grand kids.

Here are some of my favorite movies, one for each of the 12 days of Christmas:

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Jimmy Stewart at his best in this story about Christmas and a man who thinks he doesn't have friends. Its a classic (B&W) .

2. Family Man (2000) - Nicholas Cage and Tia Leone. An updated version of It's a Wonderful Life.

3. Bruce Almighty (2003) - Jim Carrey surrounded by Bible lessons. Oh yea, Jennifer Aniston is also in it.

4. Princess Bride (1987) - Billy Crystal has a cameo.

5. 50 First Dates (2004) - Adam Sandler is not that goofy and Drew Barrymore is.

6. Elf (2003) - Will Ferrell is pure joy to watch.

7. Toy Story (1995) - Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are so good you forget you are watching an animated movie.

8. Ground Hog Day (1993) - Bill Murray is really funny without being gross.

9. Back to the Future (1985) - It has a flying Delorean and Christopher Lloyd.

10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - If you don't believe in Christmas you need to watch it. Besides it has a positive protrayal of a lawyer, even if it was more than 60 years ago.

11. The Russians Are Coming (1966) - Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint and Alan Arkin. This is just funny. It also is a wonderful depiction of life in a simpler time. You can also see Martha's Vinyeard before it was taken over by the uber rich.

12. Oceans 11 (1960) - This is the coolest movie I know of. I'm not talking about the 2001 remake with George Clooney. I'm talking about the original with the Rat Pack - Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Cesar Romero, Joey Bishop and many other big names in the 60's. This is a great portrait of the original cool guys in a very different Las Vegas.

Enjoy and let me know what you think or if you have favorites that I didn't include. By the way for that person who has my name for the book exchange, I don't have a copy of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Made It!

I guess all those hours of blogging paid off, or maybe it was the senate investigation, the call to the DA's office or the threat of a civil rights lawsuit. In any event I have made it to the top of the Srossi Blog Roll. I want to thank my brother and daughter-in-law for their help in educatin' me in the ways of the internet and blogging.

This doesn't mean I am hanging up my posts. I am now energized to continue expressing my views and observations daily. I pledge to try my best to make a daily entry on my blog. I owe it to all of you.

And not to disappoint you I have been saving these words of wisdom for a special occasion. I want to pass on the Tao of Navin.

If you are of the same generation as I am you will remember a treasured bit of celluloid starring Steve Martin as Navin R. Johnson who was adopted at birth by a poor black family in the south who leaves home at 18 to seek his fame and fortune. The name of the movie is "The Jerk" and was released in 1979.

Before Navin leaves on his adventure, his dad gives him three bits of wisdom. 1. Lord loves a workin' man, 2. Don't trust whitey and 3. If you got it, go to the doctor and get rid of it. If you've seen the movie you will know that these were meant to be nonsensical and silly. I think they have merit.

1. Lord loves a workin' man - If you work hard you will be rewarded. That is a universal sentiment. You can create your own success by working hard. That makes sense.

2. Don't trust whitey - This sounds racist but if you interpret it outside of the racial context it makes more sense. Look at whitey as "the man". We are often told not to trust the establishment. Question what those in power are saying, think for yourself, trust yourself. A good rule to live by.

3. If you got it, go to the doctor and get rid of it. This is meant as a reference to pre-aids sexual contact with less than honorable women but I maintain it also has a broader application. When faced with a decision you can make a choice or you can stew about it. If you let it fester it won't get better. To make a good decision today is often better than making a perfect decision later. If you don't deal with something the problem won't go away. Going to the doctor is a good euphism for making a decision.

There it is, the Tao according to Navin. Enjoy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Still Shut Out and What Was That Thing Over Gibraltar

My post for Thursday didn't come up yet. I'm feeling discriminated against. I'm going to call the NAAIDWP (The National Association for the Advancement of Internet-Disadvantaged White People).

At T-Giving yesterday I got schooled by my Daughter-in-law and brother. Both are much more internet savy than I am. Apparently unless you change the date of posting, if you start a post one day and finish it the next, it will appear as if it were written on the first day. So much for my complaint that one of my posts was not posted on the correct day. It also appears that the alert box in called a Blog Roll and that I can keep track of who is blogging and who is visiting my blog. Who knew.

As side note my son and D-in-law schooled me on the proper terms for In-N-Out Burgers - it appears it isn't monster style, its animal style. Also there is a secret menu, but they wouldn't tell me anything else.

I was reading the paper yesterday and it appears a Swiss adventurer has been watching Toy Story one too many times. The paper reported that Yves Rossy (that's Rosseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, not Rossi). ditched in the Atlantic while trying to fly from Morocco to Spain. The thing is he was using jet powered wings, about 4 feet in width, sort of sounds like Buzz Lightyear? It also appears he wasn't flying as much as falling with style because half way through the flight he hit turbulence and clouds so thick he had to ditch in the water. Maybe next time he could go to before he takes off.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I was going to just put up a cheerful message of thanksgiving but since this is my blog I will vent first.

Now someone is messing with me. My Wednesday blog congratulating the Utah legislators, posted Wednesday morning about 10 am, is now listed as being posted on Tuesday, even though I checked it just after I posted it yesterday (Wednesday). This wouldn't normally irk me but I am on the quest for the top. I want recompense. I want whoever is in charge of this blog posting order to show him or herself and take my verbal onslaught as they so rightfully deserve. The senate investigation is still going forward and I am meeting with the local district attorney to file criminal charges as well as a civil suit. I will be avenged!!!!!!!

With that out of the way, it is Thanksgiving. I want to say I am thankful for my wife, my kids, my grandkids and my family. I have a wonderful life. I want to thank all of you for giving me the chance to be part of your lives and your work to reconcile when we fall out. I love you all no matter what.

I am also thankful for my ancestors. This morning as I was thinking about all the things I was thankful for my thoughts gravitated toward my grandparents. All of them are gone, the most recent about 15 years ago. It was a wonderful time when I was little and was loved so much by them. They are the ones that gave me the heritage to be in this country, live the life I live, and have the family I have. I wish I knew their grandparents so I could see where they came from.

I am truly blessed and very thankful for all the blessings I have. Have a happy thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Way to Go Utah Legislators

Seriously, what does it take to make this blogging thing work fairly? My Monday and Tuesday posts have not been recognized (they have been registered in the blog, but they don't appear in the alert box) and others with earlier posts are moving ahead. I feel as if my civil rights are being voilated. I am going to call Ron Yangich.

Spking of civil rights, I have a double edged comment. On the one hand I do applaud the Utah Legislators, headed by former Utah Governer "Grandma" Olene Walker, who are pushing ethics intiatives to bring integrity to the governmental process.

On the other hand there are those who make the rest look bad. Some Utah legislators are opposing the ethics initatives because they infringe on their civil rights. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. What it infringes on is their ability to make money at the tax payer's expense.

Jello Haiku

OK, This blog alert thing is beginning to bug me. My post from yesterday (Monday) still isn't recognized and the Gearheads pulled ahead of me by posting on Sunday. I wish no ill will toward the Gearheads, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the posting sequence. I'm going to call Senator Bennett and launch a full investigation.

I saw an article in the Tribune for Jello Haiku. There is a competition held in SLC each year and several dozen people bring their Haiku molded in Jello. What is next Lasagna prayer readings?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Its Real!

Before I get to the really big news, just an update on my quest to the top. A minor setback, I am still number 3 and my Sunday post has not been recognized yet. I'm not dismayed, I will pull myself up from this hiccup and continue my quest. Onward and upward to an unparalleled plateau of power and prestige.

This is the really big news - Real Salt Lake won the MLS Cup! Sweeeeeeeeeet. They were a sub .500 club in the regular season and barely made it into the playoffs but they managed to pull it together at the right time and make it happen when it counted the most. Great job guys, thanks for bringing SLC its first national championship since 1984 when the Zoobies (BYU Cougars football) were handed a national championship in NCAA football because they cried about not getting enough respect through their lightweight schedule.

Not that I am bitter about this, just that I happened to be going to the U of U at the time and we were referred to as "Bo Diddly Tech" by Bryant Gumble. I think I put that all behind me over the last 25 years, but I still get all riled up every year the U plays the Zoo, I am still not able to say BYU in any other way than making it sound like a swear and I can't help refering to the 2008 Sugar Bowl where the U crushed Alabama every time the subject of the rivalry comes up. I guess I may still harbor some ill will toward our rivals to the south.

Back to my point. Real Salt Lake did what the Spazz couldn't. Do you remember the 1996-97 basketball season when the Utah Spazz met the Chicago Bulls (Micheal Jordan's team) in the NBA Finals and Micheal put the game and the series away with a stellar show of power in the Delta Center (now the Energy Solutions Arena) even though he had a temperature of 102? It was like watching the ball roll through Billy Buckner's legs in the 1986 World Series (OK I am a Red Sox fan and I may have some sports related issues).

We should embrace Real Salt Lake and thank them for bringing Salt Lake to sports prominance again after a long drought.

That also reminds me of my favorite Jazz joke - Why don't you buy a car from Stockton to Malone Honda? Because they won't get you the title. Unfair but funny.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope and Meat

I saw a glimmer of hope in my aspiration to be at the top of the Srossi blog alert box. I am third! And in all fairness to the blog gods I have been counting my days blogging since my first blog made last Saturday, this being the 8th day since then. In actuality I have been consistently blogging since last Thursday so this is my 4th day. I feel a rush of adrenlin to stay the course so I can achieve my goal.

If you didn't notice it, In-N-Out Burgers of SoCal recently opened an outlet in Draper. It was all over the news. Meat eficinados gathered the night before outside the establishment so they could be the first to say they had a double/double or monster style burger. I am a huge fan of INO but always had to wait until we traveled to Vegas or St. George to partake.

I did take to the "replacement" burger joint that opened last year in Fort Union; 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. That place was packed for the first six months and then, as the SLC dining out faithful will often do, they find other newer options to lavish their attention on.

Well when INO announced their grand opening less than a 4 hour car ride away I instinctively checked my cash situation and headed for the car. Of course this was Saturday night at 6:30 pm (for those who haven't noticed this is optimum feeding time for the dining out faithful) so I was frustrated by the prospect of waiting 4 hours or being turned away.

I thought of an alternative plan; go to 5 Guys. The line moved quickly and I ordered the Bacon Cheese Burger (2 patties which they call out to let the cook know how many meat slabs to get ready) and their humongous fries. My order was ready in a flash and before I knew it I was swimming in the meat lovers pond. The fries were there only as a diversion.

Long live the guilty pleasure that is two freshly grilled beef patties, slabs of cheese, grilled onions, bacon and a mound of crisp garden vegs. In the immortal words of Doug Hefrenen (King of Queens) "If loving meat is wrong, I don't want to be right".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Legislators in Utah Should Drink Liquor

Well it's day number 7 and I am still not properly represented on the blog alert box on the Srossi home page. I guess I will have to continue my diatribe until I am victorious.

"Liquor Caps Will Stay Put" is the headline. The story goes on to say that no more liquor licenses will be authorized so they can prevent kids from getting ahold of liquor. They site a study that shows that 21% of kids under the age of 21 polled said they got their liquor at a restaurant, bar or nightclub. That all sounds reasonable.

OK one thing I did notice is that restaurant was lumped in with a bar and nightclub. They are way different, but I digress.

On the next page a graph shows the results of the study cited above. The category where the fewest kids reported getting their liquor? You guessed it - at a restaurant, bar or nightclub. A full 60% of the kids reported getting their liquor at home or at someone else's home. More than 35% said they got liquor at a park, beach or other public event location and even those who confessed to getting liquor said more often they got their liquor in a car (30%) than in a restaurant, bar or nightclub.

BTW - I did notice the percentages added up to more than 100%, I assume this wasn't because those administering the study were also drunk, but that the kids could give multiple results.

Now I am not trying to minimize the fact that 21% of kids under the age of 21 polled said they got liquor in a restaurant, bar or nightclub. I just don't like the fact that the legislators are using this as logic to restrict the number of liquor licenses. If they truly were concerned with kids getting ahold of liquor they would work to reduce their ability to get liquor at their home, at someone else's home, at a park, beach or public event location or even in a car before they restrict liquor licenses.

As I have said before it is good to know that someone is watching out for my moral fiber while I drink.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Peru, Oprah and Buttars

I'm still on my quest to get my post at the top of the alert board. It isn't going as well as I had hoped. My post from yesterday is still not acknowledged. Well here goes

This just in from the international section of the SL Trib. "Gangs Kill Folks for Fat?". It appears gangs of houdlims in Peru are killing people and extracting their fat for use in cosmetics. ICKKKKKKKK. It appears a gallon of fat may be worth up to $60,000. So if you are fat don't go to Peru. I think I'll go by the liposuction clinic and see if they have any left overs, maybe I can sell a gallon or two on eBay.

Speaking of Peru - Did you hear the HUGE news? Oprah is quitting!!!! Wow, talk about end of the earth. She is going to concentrate on her new network. I guess Ted Turner can't be the only one who can go weeks without leaving his universe. Oprah won't have all those royalties and endorsements flowing in so she will have to cut back on some things like buying small countries and giving away a major car manufacturer's backlog inventory. Good luck Oprah, write if you get work.

Speaking of their own universe - Chris Buttars, that poor embattered State Senator in Utah who has been critisized for his stand on opposing gay marriage, and who by the way offended every African American by making a racial comment about a bill last year is at it again. Max writes that he gives Buttars credit for following the politically safe trend even if it is against his past statements. You see Buttars came out in favor of legislation prohibiting discrimination based on "sexual choices". This sounds like a huge reversal but not so fast. It appears the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) also supported this legislation. Based on my past observations of Chris Buttars, I don't think he did any independent thinking. I don't think he has that much of a grasp on reality. I think someone from the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) spoke to dear Chris and convinced him not to make waves for them in their support of the legislation. I think Mr. Buttars is just doing what he is told. If you get a chance look at the interview he conducted after the announcement. It seems he is just saying what he has been told. It truly is nice to live in your own world. I know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm going to try and post every day so I can get the top spot on the alert box on

Its not that I am competitive and need to be number 1. Although many have given me the hand gesture that suggests I am.

Its not that I am vain or ego centric, the world really does revolve around me. I am sure that when I leave a place everyone waits around in suspended animation until I return. If a log falls outside of my hearing I'm not sure it makes a sound.

Its just that what I have to say is so truly important that I think everyone should read it and make insightful comments. Also I know that you are all reading this intently awaiting your chance to chime in on what I have to say. I don't want to disappoint you by making you wait. You should have the benefit of my insight as soon as I commit it to my blog. Now isn't that truly humble and giving of me?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Double Dipping

I read this article a few days ago and I thought at first they had a point. I then read the rest of the article and found out the point was on their head.

The article exposed the hideous practice of "double dipping". A state employee retires after the required 20 years with the fire department and as he or she have been paying into the state run pension, they start collecting their retirement checks.

We all know state wages are enough to put anyone into the lap of luxury so there is no need for a second job when the pension (only part of the regular salary) starts rolling in (sarcasim).

These state employees then go back to the state and get jobs as teachers. The article indicated the state legislature was going to stop this practice because the state pension fund didn't have enough money to support the payouts. They also insinuated this was wrong in some way.

I am all for someone not getting paid twice for the same thing, which is what I thought the article was about. Typically double dipping is about, for instance, someone who gets a car allowance from the state and then turns in the gas reciepts for reimbursement (never happened in our state - again with the scarcasim).

First, this example is not double dipping and second the proposed legislative action is stupid for several reasons:

1. The retiree is entitled to the pension. He or she paid into the fund and retired after the required amount of time. No other job should void their pension. If they aren't able to work for the state they will just work elsewhere. They won't give up their pension.

2. They are a trusted state employee. Why would you give up someone you know and trust for an unknown quantity.

3. The pension fund is smaller because it is tied to the stock market, not because these retirees are taking out of it.

Thank goodness we have the legistlature to look after us.

Why Don't They Help

I as getting onto Trax yesterday and I tried to pay for my ticket. Last time I used Trax I put in a $20 for two round trip tickets (cost $8) and got $12 in useless Susan B. Anthony dollars.

This time I was smart and brought dollar bills. The machine wouldn't take them. In fact both machines wouldn't take my dollar bills. The machine kept saying "Bills Not Accepted" as I tried to cram the dollar bill into the slot.

I guess I now know the use for the dollar coins. I had to track down a bus driver who took my dollar bills and gave me a ticket.

My question is if they want us to use Trax and they want us to pay for it, why don't they help?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Square Root Day

Today is 3 3 09, take your favorite number out and find its square root.

Happy Square Root Day

Friday, February 27, 2009

If I Have to See Gene Rayburn's Face One More Time

Just wanted to thank Max for posting. Not that I didn't enjoy opening the website and looking at Gene Rayburn's face, OK it was about to drive me to drink - more. It's just that it reminded me of the good old days when things were better but not really. Color TV was a novelty, on all three channels, the phone was cool when you were home to answer it or use it and a computer was something NASA used to put men on the moon.

Here is a link to a U-Tube video that has the same sentiments:

I could have tolerated the Match Game posting by Max a lot longer if Farrah Fawcett's pic was in it.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Awesome Speech Mr. President

I just finished listening to the address President Obama gave to congress on the state of the economy. It is really nice not to have to turn off the speech until it is over to hear the political analysis to get a real view of what was said without cringing.

It was also creepy to watch the congress as they applauded the speech points on renewable energy, education and healthcare. They flopped faster than a short stack at Denny's. Where where they last term????

The speech did inspire me to do my best, help my fellow American and sacrifice a little for the common good. It was also encouraging to know that there is a road map and a plan, not just catch up and management by crisis - have I said too much?

I applaud your efforts Mr. President. I will do what you ask. I hope you can do what you say you want to do. We are in a whole lot of trouble if we don't get this right.

I Know How to Save the Economy

Have you heard that joke - I know how to save the economy, turn off all your tvs and radios and quit reading the paper. Today in the Salt Lake Tribune there was another example of poor wording causing an unintended (I hope) interpretation of a story.

The headline, front and center on the front page reads "Utah BAGS $53M in Stimulus Plan". Isn't that great. Our Senators went huntin' and they came back with a great big ol' buck of a prize. I'm sure they can't wait to show their kill to their friends down at the tractor pull.

All scarcasm aside I don't think even the writer and editor who previewed this headline ("I'm assuming someone looked at it before it was printed beside the writer) intended the level of hickdum I proscribed above.

Still, couldn't they have shown a little sophistication by writing a headline that didn't conjure up an image of a hayseed in his camo overalls?

It seems someone on the website did think it was better to be less cute. If you go onto the Tribune's website the only headline for this subject is "Utah to get first stimulus cash this week".

Thanks to the web editor (is there someone with this title?) for having some common sense. Now when are the rest of the editors going to get it?

Just my opinion.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Legislature Got it Right

Chris Buttars told a news crew that homosexuals are the greatest threat to the world. Hasn't he heard of global warming, the Taliban or killer bees? But I digress.

Today the Legislature, in particular Sen. Waddups (the same Sen. Waddups that wanted to capture scanned information from bar patrons) punished Sen. Buttars for his comments. He was removed from his prestigous position on the House Judicial Committee. Buttars used to be the chairman and now he can't even get in.

I'm not saying that I am glad for this Legislative version of a public spanking, but I do think it took good judgement on the part of the Legislature to realize that Sen. Buttars' poor judgement was not going to stop, and with a high profile position like the chair of the Judicial Committee, he could have done a lot more damage to the Legislature and its reputation.

Maybe also Gov. Huntsman's support of equal rights for non-one man-one woman marriages is rubbing off on the Legislature. If they listened more to the Governor and less to the "concerned citizens" they meet with each year from a predominant religous group we would all be better off.

Why can't we all just get along.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Its A Beautiful Day 2

I just wanted to comment on how much fun I had today. My kids and their kids and some other kids went for a short hike just above the city.

The view was fantastic, the company was wonderful and it was so close. I didn't know you could get away so easily. In just a few minutes we were above the valley and into the forest, so it seemed.

The hike, which is probably really easy most of the time, was complicated by snow, but even so the 2 year olds did it without much trouble at all (we carried them some of the way).

The really great thing about this hike is that it ends at a lake so there is a feature to gaze at when you are catching your breath. Also there are potties at the beginning (but not at the lake - but the hike is short).

The other really cool thing is that no dogs are allowed. You don't have any annoying hounds pawing at you while their owners stand idly by thinking you enjoy this as much as they do. No thanks. Also there isn't the doggie byproduct that seems to follow them everywhere which their owners are supposed to pick up but don't.

Anyhow I started this to just tell you how wonderful the walk was. We should keep it up. It was a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Its a Beautiful Day

Today we had a wonderful time at my church. We got to enjoy some singing, some clapping and some preaching. We also got to see why Senator Robert Bennett is the chair of so many committees. You don't get to that position without being able to shovel copious amounts of manure at people and make them ask for more.

Senator Bennett was polite, respectful and said all the right things. It was weird seeing an aging, bald white Republican in a predominantly African American church talking as it he himself had elected President Obama.

It is a beautiful day when we can all get along. Let's hope Senator Bennett remembers those feelings when he is on the floor of the Senate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

President's Speech

Last night we got another look at our President. In his speach to the American people he encouraged Congress to act in the spirit of cooperation and not fight over the details of the Stimulus Package.
He did more than that though; he called on the Republicans to stop whining to push their own agenda (he told them directly they are the do nothing Congress they are complaining about). He told them he would listen to debate but not go down the road of misleading hype. He also opened up the floor for questions in an effort to encourage healthy debate.
Unfortunately he got the same sort of rumor mongoring questions aimed at giving the President a chance to duck the issues. These are the same sort of questions the press has asked for the past 8 years.
The press should be a force for uncovering the truth. They should ask intellegent questions designed to elicit information the public needs. The press has an obligation and they should meet this obligation rather than continue to pander to the past President's style of telling us what he wants us to hear and saying it often enough in the hopes that eventually we will believe it. Nor more stupid questions.
The good news is that our new President is smarter than that. He will make them rise to the challenge as he did last night. He responded to these stupid questions with the information he felt we needed to know and pointed the answer, in no uncertain terms, to those who needed to hear the hard truth, as he saw it. Hopefully someone in the press corps will catch this and ask more intelligent questions in the future.


Monday, February 9, 2009

And while I'm here...

This lady with the 14 kids is really creepy. There is something wrong with implanting 8 embryos when you already have 6 kids, no apparent trust account and no stable relationship with a partner. And does anybody else notice the significant work she has had done on her face? Can anyone say self absorbed?

Addendum to One step....

I just realized why my ranting and raving about the electronic snooping of the high minded moral majority won't ever go anywhere. Most Mormons want to keep their "special" sacrament observances private, or as my dad used to say "Never take only one Mormon fishing, he'll drink all your beer."


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One Step Forward, At Least Three Back

I couldn’t believe what I read in the paper this morning. The Utah Legislature is contemplating electronic scanning of licenses to verify age for consumption of alcohol.
On its face this doesn’t sound that bad. It could make evaluating an ID for authenticity a thing of the past.
Despite my first impression that “wow, Big Brother will have all our names, addresses and how often we imbibe”, I reasoned in my own head that our esteemed leaders will be sensible about it, and it will cut down on underage drinking in clubs.
The next few sentences washed away any illusion that the Utah Legislature was thinking with anything but their seats. They want to employ this method of checking ID in restaurants as well, and they want to store the information so that, in the words of the article, “law enforcement could access [it] for accident investigations or in the event of a traffic stop” or “if the restaurant patron left the restaurant and went to a bar, the bartender could know the customer may have already been drinking and might need to be watched more closely”. You’re kidding, right?
Do you get that same creepy feeling that there was a camera in that public restroom? Hasn’t the Utah Legislature heard that the days of unbridled trampling of the US Constitution are over?
We have come so far. Gone are the days that we have to sign in, fill out our order and hand it to the clerk at the liquor store. Gone are the days when we have to bring our own wine to a restaurant or pay large annual fees to join a club to drink.
Do we really want to become known as the state that scans your grandmother’s ID if she orders a drink with a meal in case she busts out and drives to the nearest bar for a few more? Do we really want the financial burden of the constitutional challenge to every DUI arrest that the accused was profiled from their drinking habits? Haven’t we suffered enough in the recent past over the “Zion Curtain” sneeze guard child protector shield in restaurants aimed at preventing young impressionable eyes from seeing the bad man (or woman) mix the bad drink?
After the Olympics, or maybe because of them, the spotlight that appeared trained on the absurdity of our liquor laws was dimming. There was even the excitement that the talk of doing away with the private club requirements might take away some more of the ridicule.
It appears we are back on the same track. We appear headed back into the glare of the spotlight of national ridicule at light speed. This won’t just affect our pride, it will most likely result in loss of revenue because those on the outside won’t want to deal with our “peculiar” habits.
I wonder if this is what the Legislature talked about with representatives of the Mormon Church in their yearly “we’re not trying to influence anyone” meeting?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don’t Break Two or More Laws At Once

My father taught us one rule that has stuck with me for more than 30 years. That rule is; don’t break two or more laws at once. It sounds kind of mundane but it had a huge impact on me.

What he was really saying was if you are going to break the law, don’t be stupid and flaunt it or compound it so you will get caught. For instance, if you were going to drink and drive, don’t speed or fail to put your headlights on because you will dramatically increase your chances of getting caught. Or more simply, if you are going to drive a car that is seriously late on its registration renewal make the headlights are operating properly. My brother’s favorite example is; if you are going to transport illegal herbage in the car, don’t flip a U turn in front of a cop. Yes it really was my dad that taught me this.

At the time I didn’t think much of this but I often refer to it and change my course of action so I don’t do two or more illegal things at once. I have said on more than one occasion “If I hadn’t followed Dad’s advise I would have gotten caught __________________________”. I also comment how often others seem to get caught violating this simple principal.

For instance take this guy driving along I-15 who made an illegal lane change in front of a cop (although it doesn’t seem like it, it is illegal to change lanes on the highway without signaling). The cop pulled him over and smelled the odor of marijuana. He called the pot sniffing dog over and they found 50 sealed bags of the green gold. The guy and his girlfriend are going away for a long time because he violated the dumb criminal principal.

One final note, it seems this guy compounded the problem beyond just illegal lane changing with 200 lbs of dope in the car. The smell couldn’t have come from the sealed bags so the guy was smoking while making an illegal lane change with 200 lbs of dope in the van. He deserves to get caught.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When None of the Idiots Have Guns, only Guns will be Idiots

Why do we hold onto this mystique of a bygone era? The frontier days where a person needed a gun because there was no law enforcement have been gone for over 100 years. We fanaticize that we can protect ourselves and our families if we only have a gun. Of course we want the latest, most high powered automatic killing machine to defend what is rightfully ours. The problem is that there is a disconnect between this dream of self defense and the reality that guns are very dangerous weapons that carry a very serious consequence with their use.

My first point is that you don’t need an assault weapon to defend your house. The purpose of a fully automatic weapon is to kill a lot of people in a very short period of time. This isn’t homeland security, it is war. You need to be trained to go to war and you need to know the difference before you can buy an assault weapon (that’s my opinion, but apparently not the law).

My second point is that this vision of defending your family against an assailant doesn’t play out in public. The Trolley Square shooting was the perfect place for a gun toting citizen to open fire on a crazed maniac bent on killing innocent people but none was to be found. An off duty police officer (translated – trained to use a gun) was the first line of defense who prevented further carnage. The same is true of the many campus and school shootings. Where were all the defenders of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

I think there were there. I think when faced with the reality of shooting a person they couldn’t bring themselves to it. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, I just mean that this is an example of the disconnect between the dream and reality. We should leave the defense of human life to the professionals.

My third point is that without this reasonableness in our gun ownership laws we have amateurs caught in situations that have potentially dire consequences.

I read in the paper today (surprise) that a toilet in a restaurant in Salt Lake took one in the bowl because a legally licensed weapon dropped from the owner’s holster while he was pulling up his pants. The gun fired and the toilet was hit. Luckily there was no one else in the room at the time. Someone could have been killed because a person with a license and a concealed weapons permit was careless.

I also heard about a similar situation from a person who attended the Gun Show this past weekend. Everyone with a weapon has to check in before entering the main hall. My friend was in line to do this and about 10 people ahead of him, a gun discharged. The owner was pulling his gun out of its holster and it fired. The bullet hit the cement floor and ricocheted who knows where. This truly is a miracle no one was hit.

My point in all these points is that we need to bring the dream of gun ownership and reality of what guns do, closer to each other. We need to stop reinforcing the “Old West” illusion of self protection; we need to restrict those guns that are meant only for war to the professionals and we need to require more training and testing for those who have guns. We don’t let a 10 year old, who can buy a car, drive or a person who gets his or her private pilots license fly a 747.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Its Your Money

Isn’t it nice that congress is so concerned about the us. They worked hard to pass the $700B Economic Stimulus Act and get some of that money into the hands of the banks so we could all benefit from the boost in confidence. Now they are proposing a plan to further separate the bad loans those banks made from the good loans and they want more transparency in how Mr. Obama will spend the remaining money. They really are taking good care of the American people.

The reality is that over $300B was given to the banks without any requirements at all. The facts suggest that credit has not become more readily available, retailers have had a dismal 4Q and no one really knows where the money went.

The Fed yesterday proposed a plan to let banks separate bad loans into “Bad” banks (a completely separate entity) where the American public’s meager equity interest lies from the bank’s good loans. This will give the banks more incentive to loan if they aren’t bothered by the pesky bad loans. Isn’t this like saying to a person in Bankruptcy that they can keep the car, house and goodies, all their income and not get a black mark? The Bankruptcy Court will just separate those pesky debts and loans into another entity so the debtor can go out and spend more to stimulate the economy.

This morning I saw an article in the newspaper (aren’t most of my tirades prompted by something in the newspaper) where our esteemed senior Senator Orin Hatch was calling for more control and transparency in how the Obama administration distributed the rest of the Economic Stimulus Package. Isn’t that like a burglar saying he wants to make sure the police handle his stolen items in a reasonable manner?

This is your money they are so casually throwing around. You do have a say and you can complain to your Senator or Congressman or Congresswoman. Or you can just whine about it like I do and think there is nothing we can do about it. This is what started the civil unrest in the 60’s.