Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And The Inspector Clouseau Award Goes to . . .

I read this in "the Greatest Newspaper Ever" this morning. It was then confirmed on the news so I guess it wasn't a misprint.

First, do you remember the beginning of the movie "The Pink Panther"? Peter Sellers plays the bumbling Inspector Clouseau as a young cop on the beat in Paris. He is walking in front of a bank and all of a sudden the alarm goes off. Chaos ensues as the robbers exit the bank, guns drawn. Clouseau, being the helpful soul and keen observer he is, notices the men need to get across the street quickly so he stops traffic and waives them across.

Earlier this month a Utah Highway Patrol deputy (she is not the one up for the award) was shot in the performance of her duty. The assailants were identified and tracked to a home in Salt Lake. The SWAT team was called in and several other agencies besides the Salt Lake Police helped evacuate the neighborhood so the suspects could be surprised without harm to the local citizens.

The problem was that the suspects were sleeping at a different house two doors down from the SWAT team target house. They, along with the family who lived in the house, were awakened by the police to be evacuated. Someone official talked with these two men (the suspects) and told them to go with the family and get out of the neighborhood so they could be safe. The men (suspects) fled with the family.

Now doesn't it defeat the purpose if those conducting the containment can't recognize those they are trying to contain? Wouldn't it have been better to have copies of pictures available to all who were at the scene. It is often said perpetrators visit the scene of the crime. CSI even did a bit on their show about it by reviewing recordings of a crime scene to see if they recognized anyone.

The good news is that the suspects were captured 24 hours later despite help from the cops. Way to go Barney Fife.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Let's Get Involved

While we still wait for the young girl to get things together to get her license (she passed the test on Friday and didn't go to school yesterday - sore throat) I thought I would do my public service announcement and encourage everyone to get involved in the legislative process.

The Utah legislature is in full swing up at the big round building on the hill (not the tabernacle). They are merrily pronouncing such important things as the end of 12th grade (today I read Buttars has withdrawn his bill on this for this year), the end of noisy aftermarket mufflers (thanks Rae) and the desire to remove a constitutional amendment on affirmative action. Did I also mention they want to pass a law that requires Utah legislator's approval on any national health care bill, they want the Governor to choose the Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court and they want Martin Luther King Jr Day to be shared with John M. Browning the inventor of the Browning Rifle? What should we call it "Cause and Effect Day"?

I read in an opinion letter in the "Greatest Newspaper in the World" that a characterized the Utah legislature as trending over the past 20 years from clueless to mean to dangerous. It seems this year they are continuing that trend.

I know you think nothing you say or do will affect a legislator's vote but we have this new medium that allows you to communicate instantly with them. So what if they don't immediately drop their BOM and take up your cause. You have a duty to let them know exactly how you feel. If you live in this state it is your obligation to know what the boys (and girls) on the hill are up to and let them know if they aren't representing you. How else will they learn about views other than what they are told on Sunday.

Now you are saying to yourself "that sounds good but how do I get a hold of them?". I just happen to have the answer. I learned about this cool website that will give you all the information you want. Go to This is the website for the Utah legislature. You can look up your legislators, current bills being considered by number and key word search and you can listen to the current debates and follow the ones you want with a daily agenda. You can even refer to the Utah Code if you think the legislators are not following the law. (only 12 of the 111 legislators list themselves as lawyers - by comparison 10 have no education beyond a high school diploma - no they aren't the same ones).

If you see a topic in the newspaper that excites your civic ire, don't just grumble about it, email your representative.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It Is Finally Here

Our youngest finally passed her driving test. Wahoo!

This means her Mom and I are finally free from the years of taxi service. We are now officially out of child duty. We can start controlling our own destiny and don't have to restrict our commitments to times when we don't have to pick her up or drop her off.

You know the commerical (I can't even remember what they are selling) where the family is gathered outside the home to see the son off for college? The scene is tearful as the son pulls away in a taxi. Thoughts of missing him and letting go filter through your mind.

The next scene shows the parents in their bathing suits measuring his room for a jacuzzi. Aparently the separation anexiety doesn't last long.

Just watch out for a white Hyundai speeding with a pretty blonde texting and doing her hair.

I have to go, I have to measure her room

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Utah Legislators III

I knew it was too much to ask that all the crazy, unreasonable legislation would be presented at the beginning of this year's session.

This morning in the "Best Newspaper in Utah" a report on the legislature indicated the following proposal for a bill was circulating: Since John M. Browning, the inventor of the Browning rifle and native Utahn had a birthday in January (he's dead) we should consider celbrating his birthday and contribution to society by combining it with Martin luther King Jr. Day.

Does that strike anyone else as horribly insensitive? The Civil Rights leader, who was slain by an assassin, should share his rememberence with the inventor of a gun? Why don't we declare a holiday for Ghandi/Charles Manson or Albert Schweitzer/Jack the Ripper. I know Mr. Browning wasn't a serial killer but the proposal by the Utah legislature makes about as much sense.

I read in the same paper a letter to the editor (which often seem much more reasonable than some of the factual items being reported) describing the Utah legislature as transitioning over the past 20 years from clueless to mean to dangerous. I feel like this about this year's crop of proposals from our legislators.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Funny Pics

I think she has some subliminal issues with men that came out in her spelling.

This is why terrorists aren't as effective as they could be, I think he meant Jews.

Now that is a Constitutional right.
Hey, if we are going to have health care reform shouldn't it cover all parts of the body?

Exactly my point.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Led Zepplin Saved My Motorcycle

I have a 1988 Kawasaki KLR 650. It is a terrific dual sport bike. It goes anywhere and it takes a beating. Its dignified and somewhat sexy. Through a series of discussions on bike trips it was named Raquel after the actress Raquel Welch.

During our last trip Raquel started burning some oil, like a quart every 100 miles. It didn't smoke but I had to keep filling it with oil. I rode it about 500 miles like this, a real testiment to its toughness.

When we got back we took it into the shop and diagnosed the problem. It appears I didn't seat the air cleaner as well as I thought and some of the outside was introduced to the inside. This isn't too good for the piston and rings.

By the way, the shop is a fully equiped motorcycle repair facility owned and operated by OC Bob. He is a gentile, patient, guy's guy who has owned more motorcycles than I have seen. He is presently the proud owner of 3 Harley Davidsons, 4 dual sports, at least 3 road bikes and several antique British road warrriors. He knows his stuff.

I took the KLR apart and ordered the parts more than a month ago. I installed the new piston and rings and was on the road to getting the head on. I was tightening down one of the bolts holding down one of the cam shafts and the bolt broke off in the head. It was late at night and I was frustrated so as things often go, it went from bad to worse.

As I was removing the other cam shaft bolts and beating myself up for breaking the bolt, I dropped one of the bolts in the drive chain tunnel. It seemed to go a long way down. I took a light and a magnet and tried to get it and I think I pushed it farther into the abyss. I had to call it a night.

The next morning I owned up to dropping the bolt into the engine and started to disassemble the necessary covers and parts to get to it. With some good natured ribbing and a pile of direction from OC Bob (we call him OC because he has a fettish for oil coolers. All his bikes and vehicles are getting fit for one and I think if his dog stops for more than a few minutes she will have one also) I thought we were progressing.

Then another gremlin slowed our attempts to pull off the flywheel. We mashed two nuts into the flywheel and it looked like it was going to be another long day.

You know how you don't really know when your fortune will change until you look back? We were listening to our local ancient rock station that plays "blocks" on the weekends. Mostly they played pop hits from the 70s and 80s, stuff that is better off in the background. Just as we were staring into the guts of the KLR pondering how much a new engine would cost (to OC Bob's credit the talk of scrapping Rachel's engine was coming soley from me) they put on a block of Led Zepplin. Whole Lotta Love, Ramble On and Good Times Bad Times came on in succession. Everything seemed to fall in place. By the time the block had finished we had removed the flywheel, extracated the pressed in nut and found the bolt I dropped, laying there as content as can be.

It may seem like just a silly coincidence but I believe in the power of Rock and Roll. I believe that block of Led Zepplin allowed us to get our stuff together and we were sent into the zen groove we needed to get things going. Whenever things get tough, get the Led out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Utah Legislators II

I saw this in the paper today. The Utah legislature wants to put the green lane to better use. You all are familiar with the green lane, it is the far left lane installed on our main thoroughfare, I-15, to relieve congestion and reward those who are conserving by car pooling. The theory is that when the traffic starts to back up during rush hour those cars with more than one person inside (dogs, dummies, blow up dolls and pregnant women are excluded) can use the green lane (they call it the HOV or High Occupancy Vehicle lane) to smuggly glide past those planet munching narsisists who have only themselves to talk to in their vehicle.

Now the forward thinkers (but if they are turned around and not looking ahead are they still forward thinkers?) are proposing a way for the single occupancy vehicle (SOV) to use the green lane. The first proposal I heard a year ago was that you could buy a month pass for $50 so you could buy your way into the HOV lane.

Way to go legislators. Why encourage conservation. Let's just see how much money we can wring from the selfish public. The planet will still be here when we run out of fossil fuel, why not get our part of the pie now. Each time we have a short fall in the budget we just build another lane onto the freeway and charge more. The next lane could cost $100 and then $200 and then $500. Balancing the budget could be a thing of the past.

Of course that would favor rich people so why not do something we call can pay for. Their latest scheme is to charge per ride. You have a transponder installed in your car and every time you want to go into the EOV (Elitist Occupancy Vehicle) lane you get charged. If the traffic in the other lanes is light you will get charged only $.50, as the traffic picks up the charge goes up to $1.00 or more. The article said they capped the charge at $1.00 for now because they didn't want to scare anyone away from using this option.

Does any one of our legisleezors think about any long term effects or are they so focused on the present that they can't see beyond the next fiscal year? I wish I lived in Oregon where kayaks are plentiful, people are concerned about the environment and green is not just the color of money.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How About Them Legislators

Ah the joys of living in Utah behind the Zion curtain. We have a legislature that is single minded about their lack of progressiveness. Some of the items up for consideration and that have been passed by the Utah legislature during the 2010 session:

1. Chris Buttars, our friend and protector of the Western American Small Town Biggot (an endangered species) wants to eliminate 12th grade from the public school system. Presumably because he never achieved such lofty educatin' he don't see no reason why we should be payin' for it.

2. The legislature passed a non-binding referendum declaring global warming inconclusive scientifically and requesting the government quit imposing strict CO2 thresholds. The problem is that if global warming were real the icebergs being shed from our glaciers at an alarming and historic rate would not be able to reach the end of the earth and couldn't fall off. It's like if a log in the woods falls and hits Senator Buttars on the head and no one was there to hear it would it really do any damage?

3. Some right thinking simpleton from Provo wants to relax the requirements for booster seats for kids ages 5-8. That means kids don't need to be in a booster seat if they are over 5 and their trip is less than 4 miles. Aside from the obvious DUH! response to this attempt to reverse many years of trying to convince the public that restraints are a good thing in a fast moving 3000 lb object piloted by a distracted, drowsy, potentially impaired operator whose last instructive learning experience concerning driving was most likely more than 10 years ago, are they really trying to change a law in favor of choice and against public safety where children are involved? I thought one of the few things we could count on in Utah, except when it came to education, was that we put our family and kids first, particularly with respect to safety. I hope no one is taking this moron seriously.

The fun ain't over yet.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Driving Test

I had a bad day today. I won't go into it but suffice it to say that I blew a gasket. Oh well, all is back in place and I have retreated to the sanctity of my den.

Here are a few questions from the Utah driving test that I think they should include:

1. The Proper Way to Merge is:

a- signal, slow down and let the car in front of you ahead, or
b-speed up and cut the car in the other lane off, or
c-ignore the merging lanes until you and the car next to you have to come to a complete stop and wait like you are at a stop sign for the other to go?

2. Signal Lights are:

a-necessary to indicate your future travel when changing lanes or turning, or
b-only to be used as an after thought when you have already made the change or turn, or
c-cute little lights that make your car look cool at night if you don't put on your lights?

Just guess what it was that made me volatile today?

Happy driving in happy valley.