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.