Monday, February 28, 2011

Hippie Happening

I haven't had much to talk about lately, but last night was an experience. 

Tim DeChristopher is going to be tried in Federal Court for disrupting a Federal bid auction for oil & gas leases.  He bid on leases he didn't intend on paying for, to demonstrate that leases should not be granted close to a National Park (Arches in Southern Utah) and that the continual pursuit and use of petrochemicals is killing our planet.  Tim's trial started today in Salt Lake City.

Last night the Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City held a solidarity meeting in support of Tim DeChristopher's actions.  A few hundred people showed up; mostly older, long graying hair, jeans and tie-dye shirts.  They had made banners with the number 70 on it, Tim's bid number. 

There was one speaker who was particularly powerful.  Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.  Sorry if you're too young to really appreciate the significance of this.  Peter Yarrow marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, he was at the Chicago National Convention when all hell broke out in 1968.  Peter, Paul and Mary are famous for singing such protest anthems as Blowin in the Wind and If I Had a Hammer.  They also popularized such folk songs as Puff the Magic Dragon and Leaving on a Jet Plane.  They embodied the hope and optimism of the 60's.  They were an anchor where all seemed unhitched.

Last night's event was a throwback to those days, a true peace rally.  We sung We Shall Overcome and This Land is Your Land and of course Blowin in the Wind.  We sang one song that was really reminiscent of the 60s. It's title is Have You Been to Jail for Justice. The chorus goes: Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand; Cause sitting in and lyin' down are ways to take a stand; Have you sung a song for freedom? or marched that picket line? Have you been to jail for justice? Then you're a friend of mine. Peter Yarrow gave a rousing speech about why we need to question our leaders and why we are being very American for doing so.

Maybe it is the lack of sleep but I want to march on the capital and participate in a sit in.  The 60s were a time of profound change that affect us all in a good way now because a few had the courage to stand up to the status quo.  All those feelings came back.  I was really young in the 60s so I was an outside observer, not a participant.  This brought back all those desires to be involved and be part of something big.  It was history in the making and I'm glad I was there.

Friday, February 18, 2011

All is Well

I've been sucked in.  My new employer is having a convention in Las Vegas.  We have spent the past 10 days working to put it together, strategize and handle all the challenges of getting 150 people from around the world into one place, motivated and come together. 

There always those who want just a few minutes of your time.  You try to squeeze a few meetings into the tight schedule I set.  I wake up tired and go to bed exhausted.  I will need a few days to recover and then I can plow through the month's worth of work I need to get done next week.

I love it.  I am demented.  I need therapy. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Car Surfing

I saw this story on the news yesterday about teens "car surfing".  That's when a kid climbs up on the roof of a car going 30-50 mph piloted by a buddy.  If the driver were a professional and you had worked out a plan beforehand of signals and what would happen if the unexpected were to happen and if you were wearing protective gear, this might be fun.

In most cases the kids are high and there is no plan.  They aren't wearing safety gear and things happen.  Some kids get killed.  Kids - don't try this at home.

Things are made worse by "ghost riding".  This is where the driver puts the car on cruise control and climbs up on the roof himself or herself.  This won't end badly, will it?

The article said this concerning trend was probably started with the movie Jackass (2002).  I don't think so.  Not that I would admit this to my kids, but I have been known to use a car as a vehicle for stupid stunts.  That was in the 70s.  There was a movie in the 80s called Teen Wolf (1985) where Michael J. Fox climbs up on a really nice van and surfs into the school parking lot.  In Footloose (1984) Kevin Bacon is fooling around in pick up truck beds driving side by side on dirt roads. 

This has been going on for a lot longer than they think.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Epic Day

It snowed last night, 11 inches at Solitude with a 98 inch base. 2-3 inches of the lightest, fluffiest, greatest snow on earth on my driveway. The sun is out, the wind is non-existant and it is a weekday.

Unfortunately I have a meeting planned for 10:00 so I am having as much fun as you are. Working for a living sucks!

The trip into work was made even less enjoyable by the drivers around me.  The roads were just wet but they were going slow.  This was compounded by some who had snow on their cars.
To the snow covered morons - take a minute before you leave to wipe off your car.  Your blocked vision and attention to getting your windshield clear while driving diminishes your otherwise pathetic driving skills to the point where you are, more than usual, a danger to all around you. 
I could be cutting turns in the powder right now. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Anarchists Came Over Last Night

We had our kids over last night.  All 7 grandkids were in attendence.  It was great.  It is wonderful to see them growning and interacting.  They really do like each other.  They also seem very comfortable at our house.

There are two in particular that are especially comfortable with each other and everyone else.  They are cousins.  They are two of the triplets.  Not real triplets, they were all born in the same year, in fact in the same quarter, to each of our kids (or their spouse in the case of our son).  They have grown up together and get along well.

These two I refer to are particularly close.  They go to the same preschool.  Their mothers are sisters and get along well.  They live within a mile of each other.

They also are full of personality.  They are not shy and they both have a flair for the comedic.  When they get together they are a hand full.  I don't know how their preschool does it but when I go to pick them up, everyone knows them.

When they arrive they always ask for the other.  If they are alone they are ok.  They respond to direction and appear to play well with the others.

When the other shows up, all bets are off.  They blast from room to room finding as many toys as possible and dragging them out in to the living room. Scattering the legos all over the place.  Asking us to read a book and then getting another and then getting another until we have a stack on the coffee table, which eventually gets shoved off for a game or a stuffed animal. 

I don't mean this in a negative way.  I really love them and they are a blast to watch.  I enjoy their energy and I try to keep up with them for a bit.  I fade quickly and they are off to terrorize another room. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

European Terrorist Alerts

I pulled this off an email.  All credit goes to John Cleese of "Monty Python" fame. 

By John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved."  Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross."  The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance."  The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in  1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Anti Democracy

What the h--- happened in District 57?  Sould we really stand by and watch this happen to our fundamental way of governing?

Craig Frank has been serving the constituants of District 57 in Orem for the Utah Legislature for 8 years.  Last year, while the Utah Legislature was out of session, it was discovered he didn't live in the district he represents.  This is against the Utah Constitution.

I understand and support the Utah Constitution.  I agree a representative at the State level should live in his or her district to be a representative.

The problem is that Rep. Frank, all his constituants and the State Office of Voter Registration thought he did live in his district.  Only after many years of this misconception was it discovered, by comparing a State legislative district boundary map with the official map was this error found.  At least one election had been fully competed under the eroneous map description.  So, but for a map error by the keeper of the map, he did appear to live in his district, people in that district thought he lived in that district and in fact he was elected to that district because he supposedly lived in that district.

Now the Utah Legislature got involved.  Instead of accepting responsibility and rewriting the boundaries, they declared him ineligable as a Representative.  Rep. Frank was pressured to resign so his position could be filled by the Legislature with someone who did live in the area.  It turns out the Legislature can call together a committee of deligates and appoint someone for that seat.  64 people appointed another person for that seat. 
A lawsuit was filed by the 1500 or so people who live in the affected part of the district, who now don't have a voice in who their representative is.  The lawsuit was obviously a tactic to get the Legislature to consider them in their decision, because the lawsuit will be decided long after this process has moved on.

This is reminescent of the abuse Senator Robert Bennett suffered at the hands of the delegates last election.  Other candidates were chosen instead of the veteran Senator Bennett to represent the Utah Republican party in the last election, without the public vote.  The republican deligates appointed two candidates and Bennett wasn't one of them.  It turns out a majority of voters would have voted for Senator Bennett to be in the primary, but they never got a chance to say this.

I know I am probably making this too simple, but I think the Utah Legislature took the easy (chicken) way out with Representative Frank.  It makes you wonder if there was an ulterior motive behind all this.  This appears all too clean, to easy.

Our democratic process, the foundation of our country, was established to give us all a vote.  It is the most unpatriotic thing to prevent votes from being heard.  People in other countries die trying to vote because they believe so strongly in this premise.

We should not stand for this.  We should not tolerate the ignoring of one vote.  We should not allow the democratic process to be hijacked like this.

You have a voice.  You can let your representative know how you feel and how you would cast your vote for any of the bills being considered and any of the issues before them.  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.

I am a strong proponant of personal involvement.  I have written my representative many times and sometimes I get a response.  I feel like I am part of the democratic process.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Job

 I started a new job today.  I haven't had an employer for almost ten years and I am working to adjust to it.

I have been an independent contractor for a while, enjoying the benefits/drawbacks of that business model for a while.  I could go skiing or travel when I wanted but if I didn't work I wouldn't get paid.

I also felt like I was static.  I wasn't moving forward.  I wasn't part of something bigger with goals, dreams or aspirations.  I didn't dream of growing my firm to be sold to a larger firm.  I just provided services to a few clients and kept my head above water.  I did ski a lot.

One of my clients grew to the point that they needed full time help.  They made me an offer last month, and  after some back and forth, I took it.

I now have someplace to go each day.  I have goals and objectives.  I am not just a hired gun, but part of the team.   I can see my future with this company and I hope to be here a while. 

I will miss the ability to come and go as I please.  I already turned down a ski day on Friday.  I didn't think it was a good idea to take a vacation day during my first full week of employment.