Monday, August 30, 2010

My Point Exactly

I read this in the City Weekly and thought it summed up what I was trying to say a few days ago.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Big Box Blight or the Costco Quandry

OK, so I probably read too much of the SL Trib this week.  I seem to be on the cheesy headline express here.   My point is that it is a blight on society to buy perishable goods in bulk if you are just going to throw most of it away.

You go to Costco, you see 50 lbs of lettuce for $3.99.  Now you know one head of lettuce at the "neighborhood grocery" costs double that.  You get the 50 lbs and only eat 1 pound before it goes bad.

You think "what a waste" but the next time you are in the Fresh Market you look at lettuce and it is now $6.99 a pound.  You wait until your next Costco run and then pick up the 50 lbs bag.  You ask yourself how can they do that?

The truth is someone is being asked to farm 8 billion acres of lettuce and make only $.01 a head but they will sell Costco a trillion heads of lettuce.  All that plowing, all that fertilizer, all that harvesting equipment, all that packaging, transportation and refrigeration (the average meal travels 1500 miles to your plate) just so you can eat only a portion of it to throw the rest away. 

Seems like a huge waste of time, materials, money and energy. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Time for a Tire Change on My Motorcycle

Last night I put new tires on my KLR. Both front and rear. Both are Dunlop 606 full dirt tires. I have run only the 606 on the rear in the past but this last time I tried a 50/50 tire, a Kenda. I didn't like it. It was fine in the pavement but when I got on the dirt, particularly with a load, it seemed to have a tendency to break out in front of me, as if I was going to go down. Not a good feeling.

Here are some pics of the dirty deed. The front came off and went on well. Its a 21 inch tire on a skinny wheel. The rear objected more. Its a fat wheel that is only 17 inches. I also have a bead lock on the rear. I fought with it and with a little help from the shop forman (Bob) I was able to wrestle it into submission.

Did I mention that Bob has a really awesome shop with lots of tools, like the lift the bike is on and the tire changer.  He also has a welder a metal chop saw, lots of grinders, drills and hand tools.  He also offers great 60s blues music and libations.  What more could you want from a man cave?  Oh yea, did I mention the two vintage Harleys he is always tinkering with and the 3 vintage British bikes (2 Triumphs and a Norton - the yellow bike in the first picture.  The MG in the second pic is another project Bob works on inbetween bikes).  My lowly KLR looks like a cast off next to these
Bob and I went on a ride afterwards and all was well. The new tires felt really good. Nothing like new rubber under you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Go Lynx Baseball

Well, things seem to be going wrong all over so I thought I would share this story I read recently about a local sports team.

The Salt Lake Lutheran Lynx baseball team almost had to cancel their season because they had less than 9 players signed up to play.  The coach asked the student body, all 55 of them, if someone would join the team to make up a squad.

They got enough responses so that they could field a full team with 3 subs (12 players in all).  Some had never played baseball or softball before.  The pitcher hadn't pitched, ever, until the day before their first game.  One kid had never been to a baseball game. 

The coach didn't hold tryouts, he just played catch with them.  If they could catch the ball they played infield, if not, outfield. 

This would be disheartening for most.  Especially since they lost their first game 39 - 2 and their second game 24 -2.  But these kids say they're having fun.  They enjoy learning the game and look forward to the next contest.

They didn't appear to have any dreams of playing pro ball, they weren't looking for scouts in the stands, they just wanted to play baseball.  I thought those days were gone, when guys played because it was fun. 

Although the Lynx are from Salt Lake Lutheran High (4020 South 900 East) they are practicing at Lindsay Gardens (8th Avenue and M Street), upper field, and will have their games there most likely.  If you want to make sure call the school before a game and ask where they will be playing. I talked to Patty, she was very helpful.  Their phone number is (801) 266-6676.

The Lynx's next 4 games are all at Lindsey Gardens (8th Ave and M St.), upper field on Wednesday, Sept 8 at 4:00 pm vs. St. Joseph, Wednesday, Sept 15 at 4:00 pm vs. Intermountain Christian, Friday, Sept 17 at 4:00 pm vs West Ridge Academy and Friday, Sept 24 at 4:00 pm vs. Christian Heritage.

"Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today!

We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.

Oh, put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be centerfield.

Well, I spent some time in the mudville nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
You know I took some lumps when the mighty casey struck out.
So say hey willie, tell ty cobb and joe dimaggio;
Don’t say "it ain’t so", you know the time is now.

Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride.
Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all - a moment in the sun;
(pop) it’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye!"

Lyrics to song "Centerfield" by John Fogarty

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Day in the Sunset

Nothing much going on.  I am burried in this project I am doing for my client, my wife is busy with work and between these things and harrassing our senior to get to school on time so she can graduate, we barely had enough time to steal a bit of yesterday afternoon for ourselves.

We had ambitions of getting in a long bike ride or a hike.  Both things we like to do but the day dragged us both down enought that that sounded like too much work.

We ended up going to our favorite shake shack and ordering two shakes to go.  I had peach and my wife had mocha with butterfinger crunch and hot fudge. She has always been like that.  She is Dutch so all things chocolate are always good. 

Like Emeril said about garlic; someone asked him about what to do if he put too much garlic in a recipe.  He said he didn't know because he had never been there.  I figure my wife would never say there was too much chocolate.

We took our shakes up to a spot on the bench and watched the sun set.  It was a very relaxing half hour.  A much needed break from our day. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Its a Dad's Life

This is way to close to home. I'm the guy on the rider mower.  Enjoy

It's A Dad's Life - Watch more Funny Videos

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mosque in Manhattan

I get why people are angry about a mosque going up near the site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. 

The problem is that we are a culture based on equality for all.  Our country was founded on the principal of religous freedom and if we forget this we are likely to forget other fundamental principals of life.

It is easy to get angry at something that sounds wrong but we need to let all people in the US practice their religious beliefs wherever they desire.  If we chip away at this right, we all suffer.

We can't make exceptions.  We can rationalize away a right this fundamental. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Personal Responsibility 101

8 people were killed this weekend in Southern California when a desert rally truck left the course and plowed into the crowd.  The people killed were at the edge of the course, within 4 feet of the trucks competing and there were no barriers.

I have watched with horror for many years the Baja 1000 where the exact same thing occurs.  Not that people get killed all the time, but some do, but that spectators stand so close to the trucks traveling over uneven ground at 70 miles an hour.

The talk in the press is that the driver of the truck should be proscecuted for manslaughter.  That is rediculous.  If you tried to cross the freeway and a truck couldn't stop and hit you, should the driver be proscecuted?

People need to take personal responsibility.  They need to know the dangers and take reasonable precautions.  This is the same attitude that allowed a couple from the east (the guy was from the UK) to rent a jeep in March in Las Vegas and ride into the Grand Escalante Staircase National Monument with a leather jacket, dress shoes and no concern about the weather. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Help Pakistan Flood Victims

I get why people are angry at Pakistan.  We are spending tons of money, lives and political clout to bringdemocracy to a part of the world that many there see the US as the enemy and who want to kill us. 

The floods have taken many lives and the aftermath threatens to take more from disease and hunger.  We should help those in need.  Many innocent people are dying.  We should not let politics prevent us from helping our fellow men, women and children. 

Others have said Pakistan is corrupt and any aid we send will just be diverted and not get to those who need it.  This is a cop-out.  Relief organizations know how to get around this. 

If for no other reason but to show the Pakistani people we care we need to help.  Please consider making a donation to the Pakistani relief effort.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I was reading a blog from a friend of my brother's who lives in Indiana and he said he was going to a cornhole party.  I've been accused of having a dirty mind but I am not the only one who thought this meant something perverse.

I asked a friend from Nebraska what was meant by a "Corn Hole Party".  He looked a me sheepishly and said it was a derogatory term for something not spoken of in mixed company.  My suspiscions were confirmed.

I still couldn't believe this seemingly updtanding citizen would be so brazen about his perversions.  I wracked my brain to think of another explanation but couldn't come up with one.  It appears I was stuck in the mud.

I shut my door in my office and hesitantly typed "Corn Hole" into a search engine.  I was afraid I would be scarred for life by what would come up.  I was supprised and relieved.

The first entry directed me to the American Cornhole Association's website ( and no, you aren't going to go blind if you go to the site.  It turns out Cornhole is a bean bag toss game like horseshoes.  It's also called Corn Toss or Soft Horseshoes.

I guess I should get my mind out of the gutter.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lame Discipline

Did you know that in Utah it is OK to stay in the left lane of a multi-lane road and let others pass you on the right?  I had no idea.

About 10 years ago I learned to drive in the United Kingdom.  I had been driving in the US for over 20 years.  I had to learn a lot of things besides just driving on the other side of the road.  In the UK it is illegal to pass on the left (the equivalent of our right) on a multi-lane road.  The British are very committed to their lane discipline.  You are to stay to the left unless you are passing and then you are to return to the left immediately. 

I thought the same thing was required here in Utah and that Utah drivers are just without "Lane Discipline".  Not so.  Here in Utah you can coast along in the the left lane to your heart's content on a multi-lane road unless you see one of those pesky signs saying "Stay Right Except to Pass".

I looked at the Utah Drivers Handbook (you can get it online by going to public  There is nothing in the handbook saying you have to stay to the left on a multi-lane road except to pass.

There is one interesting thing in the UDH that seems to encourage this lack of lane discipline.  On page 12 it says you can pass on the right on a multi-lane road.  "Are you kidding me?" I thought, but, there it is in pictures for all to see.  (I can't figure out how to copy the image and put it here or I would).  

Doesn't that seem a bit weird?  Why should it be OK to stay in the left lane?  Shouldn't we have a single direction code of conduct so we all know to stay on the left until passing on the right rather than encourage multi directional passing so we don't know where someone will come from?

How often has someone just put on their blinker and leaped out in front of you without really knowing you were there?  I believe not having a standard code about staying left leads to a lax attitude toward driving that leads to people doing what they want without looking in their mirrors first.  I know it sounds like a stretch but if we don't teach a strict code in driver's education class we won't have disciplined drivers.

The drivers in the UK have to go through a lot more than we do to get a license.  As a consequence they are, on the whole, better drivers.  They have a sense of duty and obligation to the road, almost a professionalism, that doesn't exist here, especially in Utah. 

As roads get more crowded we will need to adopt this attitude or a lot more people will die.  We all are trying to get somewhere and to think you are the only one on the road is ludicrous.  Please slow down, look in your mirrors and be courteous.  I know that goes for me as well.  I promise to try.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Fastest Thing on Earth

This past Sunday I went to the Southern California Timing Association's annual National event at the Bonneville Salt Flats known as Speedweek. 

I've lived in Utah for almost 40 years and have never been out to Bonneville Speedweek.  I guess it's like living in New York and never going to the Empire State Building.  Lots of people aren't tourists in their hometown.

The cool thing about this event is that it isn't one event, it is hundreds of events.  Each minute detail for a vehicle can garner its own land speed record.  There are classifications for production cars, motorcycles, trucks and other vehicles.  Within each vehicle classification there is a motor designation and production designation.  You can challenge the world speed record in any of these categories or sub categories, such as a vintage (1949 to 1981) American made production car with a 300 to 350 c.i. engine without modifications or something as obscure as a pre 1960s 175 cc motorcycle of Japanese origin. 

Each vehicle has to go through the tech people.  They are very thorough and are looking for safety issues as well as differences that would give one racer an unfair advantage over another.  We were there for only about an hour all together and we saw a discussion over whether it is safe for a 230 lb guy who just barely fit into a dragster, to a guy who's motorcycle was disqualified because he build an oil cooler with fins and his classification didn't allow any alterations that would provide him this aerodynamic advantage. 

It was tech overload.  We walked up and down the pits and were able to stand right next to cars that went 400 mph.  We also saw lots of 1930s roadsters cut down to resemble (or actually were) 1950s hot rods.  Everybody was riding everything.  It was a sensual trip to wander and take in the sites.

The people who built these machines were very approachable.  They wanted to talk about their vehicles and each time we stopped we spent a half an hour talking about their classification, how they did and what they wanted to achieve this year.  Everything from getting into the 200 mph club (going at least 250 mph or breaking a 200 mph+ record) to breaking the record for a pre-WWII motorbike of 66 mph.

We then wandered to the start line.  Where else in a major sport could you stand 5 feet from a competitor as they started off without knowing the President?  It was exhilarating, scary and interesting to watch them prepare and go through their routine.  Another sensory assault that made this a wonderful experience.

All in all I don't know why I didn't do this before.  I like cars, trucks and motorcycles and this is a world class event in my own back yard.  All I can say is it was way too long a wait for this.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  So much to see so little time to see it all.   Next year I'm going out for the weekend.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A New Car

I borrowed my son's new Mercedes today.  Actually he wanted to borrow my Durango to haul some things and he left me the Merc.  It is a wonderful car, but I didn't realize there were so many perks to borrowing a Mercedes.

First of all people don't expect you to drive considerately in a Mercedes.  All those selfish things I used to do in my Durango that I rationalizd as "its a big truck they'll get out of my way" come a lot easier in a Mercedes.  I don't even flinch when I switch lanes without signaling and I believe I am expected to cut across three lanes of traffic without looking.  After all, I have to get into that lane. 

I can talk on my cell all the time, people expect it.  They think I am doing some big deal.  I don't want to let them down. 

Also I can park wherever I want.  It is expected that I would take up a reserved space or park on a red curb, and if the car gets a ticket - I don't have to pay. 

If my son comes to return my Durango he will be out of luck, I am on a road trip to Vegas.  He can pick the car up at the Lucky Lady Tow Service on Tropicana Blvd sometime this weekend. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stats are Cool

Thanks to Max's suggestion I found out I have an international audience. My blog has been viewed more than once from Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Brazil and a smattering of other single entries from around the globe.  Thanks to everyone for taking an interest in my blog. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

What is Facebook?

I don't get Facebook. I know I'm closer to being able to collect social security (If there is any left, but that's another blog topic) than most Facebook participants are to turning 30, but I can't seem to get into the groove (as we older folks say) of the whole Facebook thing.

I signed up. I don't have that many interesting photos of me and I don't really want to reveal a lot of personal information so my Facebook page is rather bland. I use email, texting and this blog for cyber communication so I don't get to my Facebook page that often.

I get on Facebook mostly to see what my kids are doing; sorry kids. I like the pictures they put up and the comments from some of their friends I know. I guess it's like hanging out with them without having to start turning off lights at 9:30 so I can go to bed.

Is that it? Is Facebook like cyber hanging out? Is it a way to talk casually with others, tell them about your life and share pictures and stories without traveling or making something for potluck?

I would appreciate it if someone would ping me and let me know, or better yet tell me how to update my Facebook status (if that is even the correct terminology). I'm tired, I think I'll turn out the lights and watch Perry Mason before I go to bed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pat's BBQ - A Review

We went to Pats BBQ just south of 21st South and west of West Temple yesterday for an early lunch. I've heard lots of good things about this place and wanted to try it. I was disappointed. I know it had a lot to live up to but I thought it could have been better.

Maybe it was that I have created a lot of good BBQ myself. I know it takes a lot of time and effort and I haven't made it for commercial production, but from Pat's reputation, I expected more than what I got.

The food was good, it wasn't great. It was like chain restaurant food. High quality chain restaurant food. It compared to Good Wood in Draper (a project from the local Chilli's Restaurants). The BBQ was done well but with a factory or institutional quality. I had both the ribs and chicken so I wouldn't base my opinion on just one dish. The ribs didn't have any bark, you know, that black crispy outside that says it has touched flames for a long time. Both the ribs and chicken had a standard sort of flavor. The rub was good but not distinctive. The cole slaw was standard without any flair. The corn bread was dry although my wife liked it.

It was as if a little white boy took out a sheet that told him exactly what to do and he followed it to the letter. I will bet my culinary expertise these was no brother drinking whiskey into the wee hours of the morning tending the fire and mopping the ribs as a true pit master would.

The atmosphere was funky and lived up to its reputation but the food was just good. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hospital Jeopardy

We went to the emergency room last night, it turns out nothing serious and all is better today.

While we were there we had a long time to wait. As each new case presented itself we tried to determine their ailment. They were far enough away that we couldn't hear but we could see their gestures and sense their pain.

One guy showed up with his right fist blown up to the size of softball. We assumed that wall wouldn't do whatever it did, ever again.

A girl showed up looking very faint and had to sit in a wheelchair. My wife thought dehydration, I thought drug complication. Another two girls showed up, apparently without ailments and not obviously intoxicated, but they had two Murray police in tow. That was interesting.

The rest were common run of the mill stomach aches, babies won't stop crying and the typical large cut. No GSWs (gun shot wounds) I asked.

At least the time went by faster.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hollywood as Subversives or What's All the Fuss

I followed the Federal District Court ruling striking down Proposition 8 last week with interest but was not suprised.

Judge Vaughn Walker in Perry v. Schwarzenegger held that California's denial of same-sex marriages was irrational and that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. Justice has this thing where they have to consider constitutionally based principals like equality and protection for all rather than devisive fear mongering.

Politics aside, why was everyone aghast at this ruling? We have been getting alternative relationship role models for a while. Hollywood TV has many examples over the years of plot lines that showcase equal opportunity relationships.

I was watching Perry Mason (1958) a few days ago. Perry was on a cruise with his able personal secretary Della Street and asked myself, where is Perry's wife? Apparently Perry didn't have one or she left, died or he is just "comfortable being a bachelor". Paul Drake of the Drake Detective Agency was also on the cruise, as he often accompanies Perry on out of town assignments.

What about Andy Griffith (widowed - hangs out with Barney, Floyd, Goober and the guys), I Dream of Jeannie (married to NASA and his goofy friend), My Three Sons (a bunch of guys in the house with an ex-Navy cook?), Beverly Hillbillies (granny, Jed and cousins Jethro and Elly Mae), Mary Tyler Moore (single girl with close neighbor Rhoda), McHale's Navy (again guys in the Navy), Hogan's Hero's (and guys in the Army)? Not a hetrosexual couple in sight. They tried to cover it up with girlfriends but ultimately the characters went back to their "friends".

Even a show like Bewitched seems normal on the surface but they changed Darins in the middle without an explanation. And what about Batman - two rich guys out at night in costumes? Tell me that would pass Proposition 8 scrutiny.

Hollywood was way ahead of its time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Putting the Economy in Drive

President Obama was delivering a speach in Detroit last week and he used a car analogy for the economy that I thought was pretty clever.

He said "If you want to move forward you put the car in D (the insinuation was to Democrats), if you want to go backwards, you put the car in R (Republicans).

Its geeky but funny.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Salt Lake - My Kind of Place

Salt Lake is a really great city. I am writing this here, in my blog, because this secret won't get around and we won't be innundated by outsiders.

I came to Salt Lake in the early 70s as a teenager. I have lived in many other parts of the US and the world and I always come back to Salt Lake.

It is a quirky place sometimes, with an omnipresent dominant culture that I often find myself at odds with. I am a Blue in a sea of Red and I really don't like to even ride through Utah County.

But all in all there isn't any other place on earth I would like to be. My family is here. I went to school here, and I have found a career here. I can be in the wilderness in a half an hour from my front door. We have world class skiing, mountain climbing, desert camping, lakes, open spaces, motorcycling, rafting, hang gliding, rock climbing, mountain biking and most other things outdoors. In the spring I can get in 10 runs on the slopes in the morning and 9 holes of golf in the afternoon.

The business climate is better than most and is geared toward the small business owner. We like to promote buying local and our cost of living is low compared to most. We have access to an international airport and our workforce is honest, well educated and motivated.

We do a good job of educating our kids, even though our teachers are paid dirt (I hear they actually receive a cup of dirt a week). Our air and water are clean and for the most part (you wouldn't think this from some of my previous postings) our government does a good job protecting us and planning for the future. We have a world renowned Medical Center in the University of Utah and some part of Utah consistently ranks among the best places in America to live/bring up kids/work.

For those of you who think I haven't tackled the elephant in the room, not being Mormon hasn't created much strife for me. I don't buck against the tide, I go with the flow. I don't bristle every time someone asks "what neighborhood do you live in" meaning what ward do I go to. I don't throw my non-Mormonism back at them so I get along with most people I work with. So what if they think I am Mormon.

Most Mormons I know are wonderful people. They are kind and giving, believe in hard work and helping others. They try to work things out and they are not mean or disrespectful. Of course there are exceptions everywhere, but on the whole, I like Mormons. Some of my best friends, and loved ones, are Mormons.

Salt Lake is the kind of place you want to tell everyone about but not have them come here. You want to keep it the way it is. In fact I would like to go back to the days when I arrived in 1974. We weren't ever mentioned in the outside world for our natural treasures.

We also didn't have a complete freeway to Las Vegas, we had to fly to Denver to get anywhere and we felt like the red-headed step child. OK maybe not that far back, but it would be nice to see Salt Lake retain some of its small town charm and not grow into just another big city.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wallace Stegnar - A Conservationist

I saw this special on Wallace Stegner on PBS last night and it really hit home with me.

Wallace Stegner was a wonderful writer and proponant of protecting wild places for all to enjoy. Back in the 60s, when he was active, he was called a conservationist.

Now he would be called an environmentalist. The problem with being an environmentalist today is that it has such a political connetation to it. It means you are a wildly left wing, communist, tree hugging, live in the woods off the grid, kind of person. In the 60s a conservationist just wanted to protect the great outdoors.

Wallace Stegner was a great champion of keeping the West as a wild place. He was instrumental in elevating Canyonlands and Arches National Monuments to National Parks, he was a friend of Ansel Adams (those neat pictures of Yosemite), Edward Abbey (Monkey Wrench Gang) and Morris Udal (Secretary of State in the 60s who fought to protect the West from over commercialization).

Wallace Stegner was a very prolific writer of all things Western. He was described as having written about the day-to day West; the life of a cowboy, the changing seasons, the life on a ranch in Montana. I believe he was a great influence on Edward Abby's writing, they have similar styles. If you want to read any of his books just look him up on the web. I have read "A Gathering in Zion" about the Mormon migration and "Beyond the 100th Meridian" about John Wesley Powell's trip down the Colorado River. Both worthy reading.

In December 1960 Wallace Stegner wrote what is now called the "Wilderness Letter". Here is a passage from that letter:

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we polute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it. Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment. We need wilderness preserves--as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds--because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed. The reminder and reassurance that it is still there is good for our spiritual health even if we never once in ten years set foot in it. It is good for us when we are young, because of the incomparable sanity it can bring briefly, as vacation and rest, into our insane lives. It is important to us when we are old simply because it is there--important, that is, simply as an idea.

You can read the complete letter by going to the internet and simply typing in "Wallace Stegnar Wilderness Letter". The letter is a fantastic tribute to the benefit of having wild places just for the sake of having them. He refers to a lot of places in Utah in the letter. It is about 5 pages long but it is well worth reading. He uses the phrase "the geography of hope". Isn't that a great way to sum up why we need wild places? This letter is a tribute to what I believe is a necessary part of life. Protecting our sanity has no political agenda.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pay to be Special

The Utah Department of Transportation is allowing people to pay to use the HOV lane. This isn't an HOV lane, it's a toll lane.

These HOV lanes were originally built to ease conjestion. They were intended to reward people who had more than themselves in the car or truck with their own lane. When traffic backed up they could cruise by, feeling environmentally smug.

Now UDOT will let you buy a pass that allows a single occupant to pay a toll (up to $1.00 depending on how busy the other lanes are) to use this lane.

This defeats the whole purpose of the HOV lane and it is a bait and switch use of taxpayers money.

It defeats the purpose of the HOV lane because now anyone who has the cash and wants to feel special can pay their way into this lane. This will result in this lane being just another lane clogged with single occupant vehicles and the only one who will benefit is UDOT by its revenue. We should change the name to SOL (Special Occupancy Lane - not the other version of SOL).

It's a bait and switch because the public was told this HOV lane would be used to cut down on pollution and give those who have more than one occupant in their vehicle an easier ride. Now it is just a toll lane.

Shame on you UDOT. You are sending the wrong message with the toll lane. You're saying that it's OK to continue to ride alone in a vehicle and pollute the air as long as you can pay for it.

Today was a yellow air quality day. I remember when we didn't have "air quality days". Maybe we should work to reduce our impact on the air rather than try to pay our way out of the inconvience of being stuck in traffic with all the other single occupancy vehicles.

If this were really "The World According to Pedro" we would be able to mount grenade launchers on our cars and fire at will at those with no consideration for others while driving. This would free up the freeways, reduce polution and make my commute a whole lot more fun.

Just a Thought.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bear Scare

We went camping last weekend and had an unannounced visitor in camp. We didn't see him (most likely her) but we heard her (or him) and we were told he/her was there.
First let me show you the pictures of the night before. We were at a small lake just below the Skyline Drive, east of Ephriam, Utah. It had just rained and at this altitude (over 9000 feet) the rain created a lot of mud. We decided not to make camp and sleep in the truck. When we got up the next morning everything was covered in mud.

That was Thursday night/Friday morning. We got out of there and found a much dryer place and camped Friday and Saturday night.
Saturday night I went outside in the middle of the night and heard something crunching around in the bushes about 10 feet away. I was going to get my light but I was tired so I just went back to sleep, in our tent trailer (translation - no hard sided camper to protect us). In the morning my wife said she heard some grunting in the night but didn't want to wake me.
After breakfast a dog came through camp with a radio collar. When his owner came by in a truck he said they were tracking a bear that had been around our camp since sun up.
It was a good thing we were leaving that morning.