Friday, December 30, 2005

My score on SL Trib Utah Trivia quiz

Looks like my knowledge was good enough for an 80. That makes me a "true news hound". War me! [Tribune Trivia 2005]

The end of the Main Street Battle and the convergence of Paris and Salt Lake City

The Main Street Plaza thing is going to end with the passing of a court deadline and no action by the ACLU (SL Trib).

Having actually been to Paris several times over the last 20 years, I can say that the Plaza is more like Paris now that it was when free speach was allowed for that brief time between appeals. I've never actually seen beligerent people shouting religiously inspired insults at wedding parties in Paris. But maybe I just don't go to the right parts of Paris. My aunt got beamed in the head by a frisbee at le Tour Eiffel once though. That was cool.

And, moreover, Paris is more like downtown Salt Lake City now that there is a McDonald's every 3 blocks in Paris too. The first time we went to Paris (I was 14 and had lived in Germany for 2 years) we were all excited because there was a McDonald's on the Champs Elysees and we hadn't seen a real hamburger and a coke with ice in it for 2 years

I have to say that I got pretty wrapped up in this thing back in the day. The main thing I learned from this was that the LDS church didn't have very good lawyers for the first contract.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Can any good thing come from West Jordan?

It turns out that the answer is a resounding "yes". The best luge sleds in the world come from West Jordan Utah.

This guy Randy Parker from West Jordan has some serious engineering talent and some serious issues with authority. This makes him the ideal luge sled maker in, well, the world. From his soundbits in Dick Harmon's article today it sounds like Parker actually takes a strange kind of delight in staying one step ahead of the nefarious FIBT ( le Federation International de/du Bobsled et Tobogganing, we'll know the US has arrived when the acronym switches to the English order). Everytime Parker comes out with some new faster sled, the FIBT declares some part of it illegal and Parker eagerly works around it. Sounds like he is having the time of his life.

My question for the FIBT: why can't you people spend more time doing something more productive than declaring plastic parts on sleds illegal? You could start with something like, I don't know, maybe making sure that out of control bobsleds don't come careening down tracks during luge competitions. Or maybe you could spend some time finding a few thousand dollars (or Euros if you are more comfortable with them) to pay Noelle Pikus-Pace's medical bills.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kill 'em all

The BLM is planning to kill off a bunch of invasive non-native plants, like tamarisk and russian olive, on public land. It is about time. Tamarisk is the only part of my pioneer heritage that I don't like. The URL probably has forms for public comment but appears to be unresponsive. I suppose they are too busy shooting feral cows with copper clad bullets to keep their servers running.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Griffall and Joye slide through to Olympics

Preston Grifall and Dan Joye finished one tenth of a second faster over two runs than Niccum and Quinn. Congratulations to Griffall and Joye and we'll look forward to tracking your performances during the games.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

This day in Utah Basketball

BYU rolls over Weber State. I like the "acutally shoot the ball in the first 20 seconds of the shot clock" offense. But we need to work on avoiding bricks within 4 feet of the rim. Not only is that embarassing, but it could cost you the game against better opponents. Memo to Austin Ainge: nice no-look pass in the first half, but when our guys have like 6 inches on their guys in the paint, quit hoisting up 3's and pass to the inside.

Utah wilts at home like a glacier lillyin the hot hot Arizona sun. Outscored almost 2 to 1 in the second half, at home?

ASU-nation is still talking about the "disasterous home loss to UVS[C]" in what is "one of the most embarrassing defeats in the history of the ASU program." That about puts it in perspective. Nice work UVSC. However, today, Los Wolverinos lost to Boise State in Boise.

And finally for all you USU fans: USU loses to Hawaii at Hawaii. Tough break.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cheering against the heart warming come back story, sort of.

Christian Niccum and Patrick Quinn have luged their way into a luge-off with Preston Griffall and Dan Joye for a spot on the 2-man luge team. Hmm. Christian Niccum has a really compelling come-back story. But I think I got to cheer for my fellow Utahn and hope Preston Griffall and Dan Joye keep their spot. Well, I suppose it wouldn't be the end of the world if Griffall and Joye had to wait another 4 years to represent.

Clever Orwellian solution to athiest lawsuit against trooper memorials

You may recall that in Orwell's 1984, crosses were refered to as "t"s So it was Charing T Station rather than Charing Cross station etc. Pauline Barney of West Valley has solved the lawsuit problem. The crosses are, obviously, t's which stand for "trooper" and have no religious meaning whatsoever. If some see them as crosses and get offended, well, that's their problem.

Nice work Pauline.

Shooting Aggresive Feral Cows with Copper Bullets from a Helicopter all in a day's work for the BLM in Escalante. Except this time around the helicopter crashed. Copper bullets were used to avoid the risk of lead poisoning in the California condor which inhabits the area.

Fascinating. The wild west, but with helicopters and non-poisoning copper bullets, is still alive in at least one part of the state.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pop quiz: What kind of event could put Gayle Ruzicka and Rocky Anderson on the same stage?

Answer: The opening of the Church of Scientology Mission in Salt Lake City (at 353 E 400 S in SLC).

The guest list alone is enough for the Scientologists to show that they are more open minded than the Unitarians and that's no small feat.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Time for the USBSF and USOC to step up.

Dick Harmon reports in today's Deseret News that Noelle Pikus-Pace has been left alone to pay the medical bills that resulted from her being hit by a bobsled sliding out of control down a track (during the women's skeleton competition). Rebuilding her leg cost $20,000 so far. But it worked, she appears to be back in world-class form. She'll need about $5,000 for a new sled. The family has opened an account at Zion's Bank if you like to chip in a few bucks or more.

Trial lawyers have contacted her and want to take her case. They think that they can get her $3M. The Pikus family decided to wait and see if the responsible parties would step up and take care of the financial damage first. Well, USBSF and USOC, now is your chance.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A few reasons TO live in Eagle Mountain thinks (as prompted by a few Eagle Mtn residents) that it has been a little too negative in its coverage of Eagle Mountain. We'd like to strike a more balanced position by giving a few reasons why we might live in Eagle Mountain and then hopefully some people who do live there every day will chip in a few other reasons...

  1. Easy access to the West Desert. I love the West Desert, it is big, empty and undeveloped. Living in Eagle Mountain would put me about 5-10 minutes from the Pony Express trail and lots and lots of empty space.
  2. Big lots for houses. I am old fashioned in the sense that I would prefer a 2,000 sq foot house on 1/2 an acre to a 3,000 sq foot house on .22 of an acre. I like being able to leave my blinds open and use my windows for letting natural light in and looking out at the weather.
  3. Views of the Wasatch range. It confuses me that people live on the East Bench for the views because all you can see is the city and, even worse, since your view is to the west, then you have to do something to get shade in the afternoon and evening. A view from an east facing porch with the house behind you (to provide shade) to the west is the only way to go. In Eagle Mountain, you'd have the space and the location to get a beautiful view of the mountains off your east facing porch.
  4. Chance to be a founding member of what could be a succesful community.
  5. The town seems to have a good web presence and enough young people that community decisions involving technology are going to go the right way.

Well, that's the ones I came up with. If you actually live there, then you might have some more. AND, you might be able to tell us if traffic really is that bad day in and day out.

Not a bad day a Val D'Isere

Ted Ligety (Park City) finished third in the slalom and 10th overall (it was a "super combined" event). Steve Nyman (Orem) finished 10th in the downhill and DQed out of the slalom after hitting what the coach called a "funky hole" in the 7th gate.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another reason not to live in Eagle Mountain

In addition to the "subtle" racism amongst some neighborhoods and the not-so kidnapped mayor, there's the problem of transportation. Sadly, Eagle Mountain does not have the road infrastructure to support the growth. Sadly, the state owns most of the roads and the state transportation commission said "gee that's too bad but you created the problem so deal with it." One way to solve the problem would be to quit granting building permits. But, sadly, "[the city founders] took on debt for infrastructure and the payment schedule requires growth to pay that money back. It is not realistic to stop growth now after the debt has been incurred."

So Eagle Mountain needs more roads, the state won't build them and the city has to keep granting building permits. Sounds like it will get worse before it gets better.

And another thing, when you (well, when I) think of Eagle Mountain I think of right-wing survivalist compounds and Bo Gritz. So its odd that such a right-wing city would embrace debt and look to non-local government to solve it's problems. Nice work.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

This day in Utah Basketball

UVSC beats ASU?! Wow. Congratulations to the Wolverine program! Biggest upset of the day (since the Zags ended up winning).
Utah beats SUU by 14. No surprise there. There is hope for the Utes after all.
BYU beats Northern Kentucky by 19. Let the rebuilding continue.

Utahns in the Winter Olympics

Noelle Pikus-Pace, Orem, skeleton
Ted Ligety, Park City, alpine skiing
Erik Schlopy, Park City, alpine skiing
Steve Nyman, Orem, alpine skiing
Garon Thorne, Orem, 2 man luge
Preston Griffall, Salt Lake City, 2 man luge

So Orem is well-represented, that's good to see. I am sure I am missing people, so we'll update the list as our research team identifies more athletes. We'll cover all of them leading up to the games and then keep the Utah medal count updated during the games.

Pikus-Pace is back, almost.

And finished 20th at a race in Austria. Her coach says she is fine (after having her leg broken by a runaway bobsled earlier this year) and just needs to get he confidence back. That could be good news for the Utah medal count (see AP Wire | 12/09/2005 | Pikus-Pace happy despite finishing 20th)

Kelvin Bailey Fiction Wing at the Eagle Mtn Library?

The Provo Daily Herald suggests that instead of naming city hall after the former mayer, the city should put his name on the fiction wing at the library.

Friday, December 09, 2005

More dirt on Eagle Mountain

First off, the Eagle Mountain News is a well-written local-town blog (picked it up from slcspin). I like it.

Second off, Eagle Mountain is an odd place. The former Mayor faked a kidnapping while mayor after pheasant hunting trip. The story he told his wife about being kidnapped was for her ears only and not for the police (according to Eagle Mountain News). This story has resurfaced because the interim mayor proposed renaming the city hall after the not-exactly-kidnapped mayor.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Concentrations of Mormons, Baptists and Christians in Utah and Alabama

Every time I see a reference to "Utah is dominated by the Mormon church" I think to myself, well, what about the Baptist domination of Alabama? How come nobody ever talks about that? So this time around I actually looked up some numbers. Turns out that Utah is (or was in 1990) 71.8% Mormon while Alabama is only 51.4% Baptist. That's 1 in 2 versus almost 3 in 4 in Utah. All data from I guess domination by a church requires a majority of greater than 51.4% but less than 71.8%.

Interestingly, Utah as the lowest percentage of Baptists in US at 2.4% but has the highest percentage of Christians at 79.6%. I don't think my former Baptist neighbors would be surprised by the first number, but I think they might dismiss the second because Baptists don't always agree that Mormons are even Christian. Alabama rolls in at 70% Christain.

I wonder what the numbers are like now. I would guess that Utah is less LDS on a percentage basis than in 1990 (and that's a good thing in my book, while in Alabama I saw that the dominant religion doesn't always shine in its dominant role.).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

This day in Utah Basketball

BYU works over BSU in an empty Marriott Center. My kinfolk in Boise will have to wait until next year. Bring on Western Kentucky!

Utah gets creamed by Colorado. Priceless. Welcome to life after Andrew B.

BYU women roll on to 6-0. Be careful! The volleyball team started n-and-0 for a suitably large value of n and then lost to Utah at home and then lost in the first round of the NCAAs!

Oh, and the Jazz won.

What would you put in a museum of blogging?

and how would you design the space for it? This is, as near as I can tell, the question that my brother is tackling for his M. Architecture thesis. He decided to go all meta on the topic so he's built a Blog about his ideas for a blogging museum in which he's putting his thoughts and inviting comments and discussion on the topic. I know he'll need some advice on the technical aspects of archiving blogs in a meaningful way, but he's still in the very artsy phase (or so it would appear) of the project. He's just put up an interesting post about public space online an in the real world.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Boy Scout Story of Type #3

There are only 3 kinds of Boy Scout stories in the news: (1) scout leader is a pedophile, (2) scout killed/lost on hike and (3) scout saved a life. I like stories of type 3 the best and here's a good one from Farmington.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Avalanche Update: 4 people caught in Human Triggered Slide in Park City

The details from the Utah Avalanche Center:

Headlining the avalanche news from yesterday was a skier released slide in No-Name bowl off the Park City ridgeline, a north to northeast facing slope at about 9800’. Details are still filtering in, but it appears that with eleven tracks already on the slope, a skier released the entire bowl 3-5’ deep and possibly 600’ wide. The slide not only engulfed the skier, but his three partners waiting for him below. All were partially buried, with one near-complete burial, but everyone came out miraculously unscathed.

Looks like the ol' "well there were 11 tracks on the slope already so it must be safe" thing didn't work out too well in this case. Glad everyone was ok.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Curb-side Green Waste Recycling now Available in Orem

Oh this is good news. Wow. With the Arts/Recreation tax and now green waste recycling, Orem is getting to be quite a progressive town by Utah County standards. We've even got a city councilperson that blogs somewhat regularly. Makes me proud to be an Oremonian.

Ever done the white rim trail?

I (along with other adults, of course) am thinking of taking a group of 14,15 year old scouts biking around the White Rim trail in Canyonlands NP this summer over 4 days. Problem is that I haven't done it before. If you have, do you think it is challenging but not overwhelming for 14,15 year olds? We may do backroads in CApitol Reef instead. I've done them and they are fine.

Athiests must not believe in using public relations firms

Because the decision to sue over crosses on public land that memorialize Utah highway patrolpersons killed in action is a pretty stupid decision from a public relations perspective. I have it on good authority that some churches (including one that most, well, many, people have heard of) even retain PR firms while maintaining pure devotion to their moral values. Perhaps failing to believe in God biases one to fail to believe in PR firms too?

Close Nutty Putty cave or require adequate equipment

There are proposals floating around to close Nutty Putty cave. The Utahania editorial board would like to officialy support the proposal to close the cave unless someone can be found to manage it in such a way that people can't go in without proper equipment and training. Like most BYU alum, I made a trip to the other side of Utah Lake and went into Nutty Putty at night with a group of friends. We were completely unprepared and many people did many stupid things. But, fortunately, only like 1 in 800 people have to pay for their stupid decisions in Nutty Putty so it was no big deal.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Racism alive and well in Eagle Mountain?

According to the KSL (who likely picked up from the SL Trib?), an Eagle mountain development recently removed ""Black race population percentage significantly below state average" from their web site. I drove through Eagle Mountain on my way to a scout campout the other day. That's a funky place and it's good to know that my internal "intense-bizarre-conservative" meter was correctly sensing the wierdness.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A deal 1.5 years in the making!

I have finally won a WordPerfect cycling jersey on eBay. After 1.5 years of bidding futility (these things don't come up that often either), I am the winning bidder at less than $35. Since all my rides pass right by the former WordPerfect campus in north Orem and WordPerfect paid for the last 2 years on my bachelor's, I thought it would be appropriate to represent when I ride the ol' bicycle.

Monday, November 21, 2005

That was the J. House campaign!?

Etan over at slcspin has been going on and on about how poorly run the Janneke House campain was. I finally clicked over and saw this post:On Being Progressive and LDS and read some of the other posts. wow. That is an embarassingly poorly run campaign. But, it seemed that Cliff Lyon dominated the campaign blog and may have over ruled Janneke House on how to pitch the campaign. Whether or not that happened, it makes a young candidate seem even younger when the campaign blog is that dominated by the campaign manager. why did Cliff just run himself? Also, could someone tell me how to say Janneke?

The strategy of making the LDS religion an issue and then pitting "a young democrat Mormon against her former Stake President" is just baffling. To buy into the stereotypes of conservative republican Mormons in order to pitch your candidate as a young democrat Mormon is confusing. I'm glad it didn't work and I don't even know anything about her stand on the issues or her opponent.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

MacZealots brave bare-chested brawls and drug deals all night for Utah Mac Store opening.

I made up that part about brawls and drug deals based on KSLs reportage of uban blight meets urban renewal at Gateway. Anyway, the grand opening seemed to go off without a hitch and MacZealots bonded in line all night.

One lingering question after the big game.

Is Utah's backup quaterback (sorry, I can't remember his name, I don't follow U of U football) really that good or is BYU's secondary really that bad?

Fortunately, Utah's starting quarterback is too injured for a "who should start the bowl game" debate.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I am a good, no, make that "great", parent

...because my two year old twin girls think the BYU cougar is "Daddy's cat" and yesterday they told my wife that they were "playing football" when they were throwing a ball back and forth in the living room. Fortunately, BYU returned to a succesful passing game for my girls' first real year of learning football (they were too little to get much out of football last year).

Solving excercise problems at BYU

Katherine Fajen points out that excesive amount of "flabby butts and back fat" on BYU campus can be blamed on the "five old treadmills, four ellipticals and four stair-steppers for almost 30,000 students!". The horror.

Memo to Katherine: if you want to run, climb stairs, walk etc, Go Outside! Provo has some of the best trail running within 5 minutes of a university campus in the world. The stairs between the Fieldhouse and Richards Building make a fine excercise station. Why, just the other day I saw the men's volleyball team running stairs and puking in the bushes in that very place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

BYU Cougar for sale

An enterprising Utah fan has placed a picture of the BYU Cougar for sale on ebay. Seller claims "has had all shots. Has been neutered, will be neutered again Saturday." Proceedes from the sale go to sub for santa. Current price is $26.00.

Update (11/18) The cougar was posted by, your friend and mine, Tom Barberri who now works with FM 97.5 and the price is up to $37. Back when I used to listen to Tom on KALL 700 or whatever it was, Tom really was the only voice of reason on some issues. Glad to see he's got a new gig.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why Pete Ashdown will lose in Utah. And that's too bad.

Today in BYU's faculty parking lot I observed a car with three bumper stickers: "Leave no billionaire behind", "more tree less Bush" and "Pete Ashdown".

People, get this into your liberal heads: Bush has a 61% approval rating in Utah. Associating rabid anit-Bushism with Pete Ashdown is not going to get Pete Ashdown more votes.

So, I am going to buy some Bush 2004 bumper stickers and some Pete Ashdown stickers and put them on my rig (what Utah County conservative couldn't trust the bumper sticker on a 92 dodge pickup?) to start getting the right association going.

Update: You can get some high quality republican stickers at freedomhq and you can get your Pete Ashdown gear at CafePress.

Mourning the Loss of an 1848 Black Locust

An 1848 Black Locust was murdered in Salt Lake County today. I am an old-tree tree-hugger. Old trees take, well, a long time to grow. My favorite old trees (at the moment) are: the big tree in bicentenial park in provo, the tree in the middle of Cove Fort and the tree in front of Zion Lodge in Zion NP. (if you know any more, let me know to add to the list).

Squabling or normal legislation? Legislation for sure.

The DesNews calls it squabling over the food tax. John Valentine calls it rational, deliberative discussion that is part of the normal legislative process. Whom to believe? The president of the senate or a D-News reporter that has a deadline to meet before going home? I go to go with the President of the Senate on this one.

Blast from the Past: BYU's Bendix G15

The Daily Universe is doing a retrospective of BYU news from the 1960s. Today's articles included a piece on the new Bendix computer for the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The Bendix G15, which went for $55,000, does an astounding 50 floating point operations per second (flops)! These days, the Fulton Supercomputing Center at BYU has a machine, MarylouX, that does about 1 trillion flops.

To put that in perspective, if each computer moved one inch for every floating point operation completed, then the Bendix would move about 2 feet in 1 second and MarylouX would move back and forth from here to the moon 32 times and be almost done with the 33rd trip in 1 second. That's progress.

cold fusion meets 9/11 conspiracy theory at BYU, great.

A BYU physics professor, Steven Jones who studies metal-catalyzed fusion has decided that it is time for a "serious investigation" of whether or not it was demolitions charges and not passenger planes that cause the collapse of the twin towers in NYC.

And, he's got the paper accepted in "Reserach in Political Economy" for 2006. Research in Political Economy analyses "society in a manner that is consistent with classical Marxism". What?! A BYU professor publishing in a Marxist journal? What would the McCarthy-ites have to say about that!

Shouldn't BYU have some way of saying "you can't publish your stuff in Marxist journals that and then go talk to the press about it while waving around your University credentials because it is embarrasing"?

You may remember Steven Jones from the cold fusion days in Utah. While Jones wasn't one of the main "we have cold fusion" guys (that honor goes to S. Pons and M. Fleishmann), he did support their claims. The claims turned out to be incorrect.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Life is good in the vocal minority

So my favorite issue for Orem politics, the CARE tax, passed on Tuesday. It is interesting to note that 88,619 residents of Orem will have to pay a tax to support recreation and the arts because 5,016 people, or just over 10% of the registered voters, voted for it. Fortunately, the opposition was not succesful in mobilizing its base.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How many cars are burned in France on an average day (before the riots)?

It turns out that French gendarmes were a little tardy in responding to the riots because...
initial nights of unrest did not seem particularly unusual in a country where an average of more than 80 cars a day were set on fire this year even before the violence. according to the New York Times.

Thanks to crack web analyst Joel Self for finding that quip. By the way, Joel will be graduating with an MS in Computer Science in a year or so. If you are looking for a good technical person, Joel is your guy.

We are ready to call the races in Orem

At 9:12 pm Tuesday Utahania news is ready to call the races in Orem. Based on our sophisticated statistical model, Utahania now predicts that Jerry Washburn will be re-elected as mayor in a landslide. Karen McCandless (our blogging city counselor, go Karen!, she learned to link pages this week, its been fun), Shiree Thurston will both be reelected to the city council and Dean Dickerson will win the third spot.

And, best of all, the CARE tax will pass by almost a 2-to-1 margin!

Wohoo! We are even more excited to live in Orem for a long time.

You heard it here first.

Orem Election results for 2005

Get 'em while they are hot

Sunday, November 06, 2005

YAEF-CARE: Don't rob Orem of its Soul

This is one is a little more specific in calling out the Utah Taxpayer's Association and you know I like that. My favorite thing about the anti-CARE tax signs is that the initiative is called "CARE" so the anti-CARE people can't say "Vote NO on CARE" because that's like saying that you don't care about your town. So they are left with "Vote no on the arts tax." So are you the heartless luddite that's going to vote "no" on the arts?

Friday, November 04, 2005

YAEF-CARE: Yet Another editorial in favor of CARE tax

The DesNews weighed in in favor of the CARE tax in Orem. I liked the arguements except I noted a conspicuous lack of recreation initiatives in the list of initiatives in the editorial. Let's not forget that the "R" in care means recreation and that means more trails. For what it is worth, I still support it even if it is "just" for the arts.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

How to die in the wilderness: Keep toothpaste in your tent

Any newspaper article that starts out "When Troy Larsgard set out for a camping trip last weekend, he never imagined his dedication to dental hygiene would cause him so much trouble" is going to be good. This is no exception.

It turns out that bears really do prowl Rock Canyon near Provo and BYU campus and that they like toothpaste. These guys were camping near Rock Canyon campground from the sound of it and the bear came for a visit around 3am. They scared it off and ignored the impression to "throw everything out of the tent."

The bear came back at 9am (these guys sleep in late for backpackers) and tore through the tent. "The bear entered the tent, and while Brent pulled his sleeping bag over his head..." That's great. There's a bear coming into the tent and this guy just pulls the sleeping bad over his head like its a bad dream.

Then "it turned to my brother and sniffed him in the ear and that's when I really started getting pretty nervous" Um, I think I would have gotten nervous when the bear entered the tent, but then again, I am usually 3 miles up the trail at 9 am and not still in the tent.

Another editorial in favor of CARE tax.

Larry Myler, who is developing "Midtown Village" on State Street supports the CARE tax. I was particularly pleased to see Larry point out that the long term cost of the tax is probably zero becaues of the increased revenue due to out-of-Orem visistors. Besides, you have to give Larry a lot of credibility on this one because he is like the only person doing anything to keep State Street from sinking into a dirty dangerous agglomeration of abandoned strip malls and storefronts.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Misinformation about CARE tax use in Orem

It has come to my attention that someone is claiming that the tax will benefit 2% of the population. A cursory analysis of the data suggests that this is pure hogwash. If you are going to use numbers people then at least make sure they make sense.

2% of Orem's population is 1,700. City Councilman Les Campbell points out in the Daily Herald that he has been to SCERA events with more than 1,700 people in one place at one time. He also mentions that the golf course had 1,400 golfers on one day over Labor Day weekend. Finally, SCERA reported seeing 125,213 in 2004. If we assume that all of those people were Orem residents (which they weren't, but we will get to that in a minute) then to get less than 2% of the population in the SCERA we would have to have seen 1,699 people go to the SCERA 73.7 times each during 2004. Not likely.

Now, suppose that only 1/3 of the people who go to SCERA are from Orem. Then we have two new issues. First, 2/3 of the people who visited SCERA are visiting from somewhere else. That's 82,640 people-visits to our fair city. Not bad for the local economy I should think. The remaining 1/3 is from Orem so that leaves 41,297 visits from Oremonians. To get less than 2% of the city participating in SCERA (which seems like kind of a moot point now that we got 82,640 other poeple to visit and hopefully leave money in Orem, but we will press on) we need each Orem visitor to go to SCERA 24.3 times. That's twice a month. Also doesn't seem likely, but maybe it is. If it is, then good for them and I am happy to support the arts at SCERA and I might even have to go myself and see why 1699 people are going twice a month all year.

Vote "yes" early and often for Orem's CARE tax

The proposal is to levy a 0.1% sales tax on ourselves (when we shop in Orem) and on other people when they shop in Orem. The money would support cultural arts and recreation. There are two reasons to vote for this tax. First, it has a snappy name. It is not as good a name as "ZAP" in Salt Lake, but CARE isn't a bad name for a kinder, gentler community like Orem.

Second, for the low low cost of $30 a year or less per family (see caveat below) we can do cool stuff as a community. Doing cool stuff as a community does two things for us. First, we get to enjoy the cool stuff. Second, other people from other cities come to our fair city and enjoy the cool stuff with us. Ideally, they also spend some money while they are here.

Caveat: I made up this number. I guessed that a family would spend $30,000 a year in Orem. This guess seems a little high to me, but even with a $30,000 estimate, the tax comes out to $30. If the math seems a little complex here, then another example might help. If a family spends $5,000 in Orem then they would pay $5. If the spend $10,000 in Orem then they pay $10. Etc.

Monday, October 31, 2005

What do athiests tell their kids?

Scott G. Morris, in a courageously personal op-ed piece in the trib, points out that one of the self-serving paradigms of religion is that "the religion into which I was born is the really true religion." Fair enough. So what does Mr. Morris tell his children? Were they born into "the really true" non-religion?

Mr. Morris appears to be a fan of absolute truth, and if that's the case, then all of the children born into families that possess the truth, and I think he's claiming that athiesm is that truth, are in the awkward possition of living with a self-serving paradigm.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Well, does she float?

A religious discrimination lawsuit in Sevier county is windng its way into anothe appeal. The claimant had this to say: "At trial, Jensen testified that she was raised Mormon but no longer has a religion, and said she is not a witch. ". I believe that the good people at Monty Python gave the test for witch-ness in The Search for the Holy Grail.

BYU Football must be on the rise.

Because opposing coaches are starting to play the age card. Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry says of BYU's offensive line "They're 30 years old and weigh 400 pounds. Funny how our coaches play the age card when we are loosing and opposing coaches and the media play it when we are winning.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Utah has...

The most computers per capita, but is the 5th "hungriest" state. (according to the US Census Office and the US Dept of Agriculture). So maybe we should spend less money on computers and more money on making sure everyone has enough to eat?

Snow down to 9000 feet in Orem predicted by the NWS. Nice job. The clouds have since dropped and I bet it snows down to 6000ish feet tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Percentage of Population with HS Degree vs Educational Spending Per Capita

I admit it, I read Freakonomics and loved it. One more chart and I'll get back to my day job. This chart is particularly interesting because it indicates that: while Utah's educational spending is among the worst in the nation on a per capita basis, Utah has 4th highst percentage of its population with a HS degree. It would seem to me that education systems from other states should be flocking to Utah to see why it is that Utah can spend so little on education yet obtain some of the best results in the nation (see caveats below). Education spending per capita and % of HS diploma holders in the population seems to be poorly corrolated.

The graph is divided into four regions based on a comparision with Utah. States in the top left region are states that spend less per capita on education than Utah but get more graduates. There are none. States in the top right regin are states that spend more and get more graduates. Those states are, interestingly enough, Alaska, Wyoming and Minnesota. States in the bottom right region spend more on education than Utah but have a smaller percentage of HS diploma holders. This includes most of the states and includes the national average. And states in the bottom left quadrant spend less on education and have fewer HS diploma holders.

Caveat: I am not argueing for less or even the same amount of spending in Utah. I would like to see more money spent on education. The data do suggest however that we are getting the most bang for our education buck, by far. Also, the percentage of the population with a HS diploma may not be the best measure of educational success.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Poverty and Education in Utah, by County

In which we look at education and poverty data for the nation and for Utah broken down by county. I'm neither a social scientist nor a statititian, but the data clearly say "what's up with San Juan and Morgan counties?" The data on high school education rates suggest that Utah has a smaller percentage of the population with less than a high school education. The notable exceptions are San Juan and Uintah counties. San Jaun county has 30% of the population with less than a high school education and Uintah county has 20% of the population with less than a high school education. The national average is 19.8 and the Utah average is 12.30. There appears to be no correlation between population and education.

Next up, we take a look at the relationship between education and poverty. Not surprisingly, low poverty rates are well-corrolated with populations that have a low percentage people with than than a high school education at both the national and Utah levels. The outlier in the Utah data is San Juan county and the county at the low end (least poverty, least people w/out High School education) is Morgan County.

Snow down to about 10000 feet in Orem

The snow level from the last storm was 10000 feet which is about 1300 feet below the top of Timpanogos. This is not the lowest snow of the year. The lowest previous snow level was about 8000 feet and happened on the day of the primary elections if I remember correctly.

Monday, October 24, 2005

2 Utahns on Women's Skeleton Team

Lyndsie Peterson from Taylorsville and Noelle Pikus-Pace from Orem are both on the team and Tristan Gale from Salt Lake City will take Noelle's place until Noelle is ready to compete again. Way to represent the home state. We'll try to get some interviews together that focus on the Utah angle.

2 Utahns on Women's Skeleton Team

Lyndsie Peterson from Taylorsville and Noelle Pikus-Pace from Orem are both on the team and Tristan Gale from Salt Lake City will take Noelle's place until Noelle is ready to compete again. Way to represent the home state. We'll try to get some interviews together that focus on the Utah angle.

No Jinx, no jinx, byu women's volleyball still undefeated, no jinx, no jinx.

My favorite post-game quote was from the Coach (guess where his accent is, it is fascinating to listen to him on TV): "This was by far the toughest match we have had [er, um, well, ] in conference play [at least, that is]." My comments added in square brackets. I was just reading his mind as they continue to trounce the MWC.
[BYU NewsNet - V-ball beats UNLV, San Diego State]

Last weekend in Utah Football

BYU unsurprisingly lost to Notre Dame. There were two surprises in this game: first, our offense did surprisingly well (at times) and, second, our secondary is terrible. Not only does our secondary fail to turn around and look at the ball in an effort to avoid pass interference calls, but they can't seem to keep up with anyone. As they become fully invested in Bronco's program, they will get better.

Utah won a huge game at UNLV. Yes, I did just use "huge game" and "UNLV" in the same sentence. A stunned silence must have fallen on the Rebel faithful at Sam Boyd Stadium (which is smaller than my high school stadium in Montgommery Alabama) as the beleaguered Utes avoided last place in the MWC by hanging on against UNLV. Not since BYU beat Wyoming in a thriller for the 1996 WAC championship has Sam Boyd stadium seen such a huge game.

Urban Meyer: bye week.

Alex Smith: went 8-for-16 for 92 yards with an int and a fumble. Brutal. By the way, the 49ers will honor hall of famer, and BYU alum, Steve Young at the Nov 20 game against Seattle. Maybe Steve can give Alex some pointers? Alex will do fine eventually. The NFL is alot different than the mighty MWC but he'll adapt soon enough.

Luke Stahely: New to the list, but may not stay long. Luke is trying out for the Arena Football League in Utah. Luke's a quality guy I hope he does well and can avoid returning to cell phone sales in the mall. Anybody that goes from Doak Walker award winner and alround BYU celebrity to selling phones deserves a break. Go Luuuuuke!

USU: Oh, I think they lost to Boise State, but my sister can fill in the details if the Aggies were indeed playing the Broncos (she did her MS and BS at USU and is working in some kind of lab that I don't understand at BSU, so she's connected).

Wolf Mountain Rises from the Ashes

A new Wolf Mountain ski resort will soon be in place near Eden. The old Wolf Mountain is now the Canyons and used to be Park West. . I suppose that the new Wolf Mountain people are betting that the name "Wolf Mountain" wasn't the problem with the old Wolf Mountain.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Distribution of Poverty in Utah by County

It turns out that poverty in Utah is mostly found in counties with small populations but that about half of the small counties have poverty rates below the national average and the other half have poverty rates above. The most populous counties in Utah have poverty rates below the national average. The poverty line for a family of four in 2000 was an income of $18,104 or less. That works out to be $8 an hour-ish. The state-wide poverty rate is 9.7 while the national average is 12.1. But, 10 of 29 counties in Utah have poverty rates above the national average. The 10 counties are: Piute, San Juan, Grand, Iron, Sanpete, Duschene, Wayne, Carbon, Sevier and Uintah. All numbers taken from the the 2000 census.

The poverty rate in a county tends to fall as the county population increases, but the corrolation is weak both at the National and Utah state levels. The scatter plot below shows the correlation between county population and poverty rates. Note that the county population is shown using a log scale.

The 6 most populous Utah Counties (Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, Cache and Washington) have poverty rates below the national average. Piute county has the highest poverty rate at 15.3 and is the second least populous county with 1,435 people in the 2000 census. There are notable exceptions. Daggett county has 921 people (lowest in the state) but has poverty rate of only 8.1 (7th lowest in the state).

Noelle Pikus-Pace may compete after all

KSL reports that Noelle is hoping to recover in time to compete in Torino. Well that would be great and we wish her the best! I think it would be appropriate for us to pray, according the religious traditions of our choice, for her speedy and complete recovery in time for the games.

Why the Green Party is a Load of Garbage.

I recently noted Jen's Green Journal [in Utah] in my continual perusal of the web find the latest and greatest Utahania. Reading far left diatribe reminded my why I think the Green Party is a load of garbage. I'll try to be brief. The executive summary is that my first encounters with the Green Party at a young age were not entirely positive.

On August 31 1981, a car bomb exloded outside the Headquarters of the United States Air Force in Europe. Fortunately, at 7:20 am, my dad's secretary had just bent down to open a drawer and wasn't killed by the flying glass. This bombing was conducted by the Red Army Faction. "Coincidentaly," the Green Party rose to national prominance in Germany at the same time the Red Army Faction disbanded.

One morning, I remember watching a peace protest (interesting juxtaposition of ideas isn't it?) parade go by our house in Ramstein. They were Greens they didn't like Americans. I am American. The Greens spray painted their stupid peace sign and anti-American graffitti all over Ramstein (well, not everyhwere, mostly just around the base).

How can someone who is American align themselves with people like this and remain logically consistent? It seems to me that if you are a Green, then you shouldn't even want to live in the United States. So why stay?

The US military was in Europe to give the communists something to think about before they come over the wall and took over Europe too. It must have worked, because Western Europe is still Western Europe and communism has since gone away. (Lest you think I am a raving anti-communist a la Cleon Skousen, I have a great picture of me standing in a group of Russian Air Force Cadets in a town square in Smolensk taken on April 25 1986 (the date is easy to remember because it was day 1 of the Chernobyl meltdown). We had a great chat about life, being in the military etc. They appeared to be good people)

I suppose that if we had all sat back in our sunflower gardens and just thought happy thoughts about eachother and tried not to be afraid then things would have turned out the same?

Get poor Charlie off of the UTA!

The Utah Transit Authority is about levy a burdensome tax on the people of Utah in the form of a 25 cent fare increase.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Greg Ostertag: Whatever you do, don't buy a suit coat!

As you know, David Stern has imposed a bussiness casual dress code on NBA players who ride the bench during a game. Greg O. is openly defiant, says he doesn't own a suitcoat and doesn't plan on buying one. As a lukewarm Jazz fan, I can say that Greg's plan is an excellent idea. Now we need to get David Stern to hand out lifetime expulsions from the NBA for breaking the dress code...

You can't make this stuff up.

A semi-truck overturned this afternoon on I- 80 near the mouth of Parley's Canyon and spilled 42- thousand pounds of knitting yarn across the roadway. [from KSL]

Bad news for Noelle Pikus Pace

Oremonian and American Skeleton star Noelle Pikus Pace was knocked out of the Olympics today when a rookie bobsled driver failed to stop and slammed into her a 60 mph. That's one less Utahn in the Olympics. That will hurt our medal count in Italy.

I feel truly bad for Noelle. I can barely muster the discipline to train to run a half marathon slowly. I can't imagine the kind of commitment these Olympic athletes have to complete their training. And then to loose it all cause a guy couldn't stop a bobsled. That's rough. Serious condolences Noelle and get better soon. You can't come down on the bobsled driver too hard, I am sure he feels bad enough already. Sad deal.

Democrats* in SLC are web-illiterate?

SLCSPIN's commenter points out that the Salt County Democratic party has gone out and got themselves a new website [slcspin: Website For Salt Lake County Democrats]. Problem is that there website is even less functional than Senator Hatch's website. In my high-quality safari browser, the links on the SL County's democratic website don't work.

I put an asterisk in the title for Pete Ashdown. Hard to say that he's web illiterate. Someday when he has some time to waste he could teach me how the net really works.

Utah not in a housing bubble, but energy prices aren't a big threat

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that housing prices remain stable and that the biggest threat to an increased cost of living is natural gas prices if we have a cold winter. Um. Wrong. Because Questar owns half of its own natural gas, they have only requested a 13.37% rate increase and that is considerably less than the 48% increase predicted by the feds and quoted in the "well-researched" article.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Garon Thorne or Preston Griffall: Slide! Slide on to Victory!

Garon Thorne and his teammate Matthew Mortensen took an early lead in the USA luge men's doubles qualifier Tuesday at Lake Placid. Preston Griffall and his teammate are just behind Matthew and Garon for the last remaining spot. Normally, we'd cheer for both teams with Utah connections and indeed we are now, but only one will make it. So slide on and represent!

Slow news day part 4

KSL reports: Car fires more common than you think. Please, Mayor Anderson say something, anything, that will give us something else to talk about other than the frequency of car fires!

Slow news day part 3

KUTV reports: Man falls to his death while trying to save puppy (thanks to Joel for spotting this one).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Slow news day part 2

This just in: UDOT continually monitors roads for damage "the good news is that UDOT is aware of the [bad road] conditions too" and the bad news is that there's probably no money to do anything about it. (SLCSPIN got the first slow news day article: Eagle mtn residents mostly happy)

Saint George Half Marathon 2006

The Saint George half marathon will be run January 14, 2006. Registration deadline is January 9 by 6pm online at Best of all: all finishers get a medal! I wish we did Volksmarches in Utah, but we don't so half marathons will have to do. (If you are interested in organizing a Volksmarch in Utah, contact me and let's do it).

BYU Women's Volleyball team now 15-0

Not to jinx anybody or anything, but there's an undefeated season in the works in Cougartown.

Last week in Utah Football

BYU: another quality win (the nice thing about Coch Mendenhall's first year is that any win is a quality win). CSU should have known that BYU would run the ball because getting the game done before midnight would get the cougar faithful home before the Sabbath. Now if BYU can just keep it rolling with a win at, um, Notre Dame this weekend. Ok, I'll settle for not being shut out in a respectable loss. Coah Mendenhall's combination of scriptural phrases with football in the media is an interesting idea and I am curious to see if it has negative consequences in the long run

Utah: another punishing loss. Even I sort of feel bad for how far they have fallen. I think I hear the U of U football tradition calling as the Utes sink into another hapless season of mediocrity as the MWC teams line up to exact revenge for last years' lopsided Utah wins. Coach Wittingham will get this figured out, the question is whether or not the Ute faithful will give him time. If you think BYU fans are rude to their team in a loosing season (which they were) then you got to think that Utah fans will be worse.

Urban Meyer: Wow. Even I feel bad for how badly things are going at Florida. Coach Meyer is a quality guy (except for running up scores in the MWC last year, but he probably had to do it to stay high in the polls. Still.) and a wealthy guy, he just may not end up being a popular guy in Florida.

Alex Smith: I think SF must have had a bye week. But it is the NFL and I just don't care about the NFL enough to dig into it.

USU: lost to someone. Better luck next time.

Friday, October 14, 2005

New Ski Resort out by Kennecot != Alta/Snowbird/Brighton/Solitude

As you may be aware, Kennecot Land (owners of the big hole in the Oquirrhs) is revealing plans on what it might do with a 93,000 acre parcel west of SLC. The current plan includes a ski resort that tops out at 9,300 feet. The lead planner, Peter Calthorpe says: "Balancing east and west in this community might be a really healthy thing on lots of levels." Um. Peter Calthorpe must not be a skiier, or skiing was not one of the levels he was thinking of.

Here's the deal: a resort in the Oquirrhs which in on the wrong side of the lake (to get lake effect snow) and which is only 9,300 feet high will not balance all or even one of the resorts on the east side of SLC.

In 20 years I might have the following decision to make: Drive 30 minute to ski the sweet sweet powder at Alta or drive 50 minutes to ski the crud in the Oquirrhs. Hmm. I guess I'd end up at Alta, again.

Why fire alarms in the Merrill Engineering Building were always so interesting.

ABC news reported on PrimeTime that their interns could "walk unchallenged to the building that houses the nuclear reactor at the U of Utah" at 12:30 am. Well, yeah, 12:30 AM is when the engineering student body is just starting to get warmed up on their lab projects. I didn't know that you could get a tour. We just knew that when the red light was on outside the door that the reactor was doing its thing.

When I was a student in the Merrill Building, the fire alarm system experienced several false alarms each summer. it wasn't just the nuclear reactor that made fire alarms interesting. It was also the small oil refinery and small semiconductor fabrication line that made us a little more earnest than usual to get out--even though we know it was probably just another false alarm.

Shipping Nuclear Waste through Utah = Atomic bomb tests?

Paul Rolly makes most coherent arguement I've heard yet about the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. The short version is that a DOE official's response that storing waste at Yucca Mountain is a "good idea because there are fewer people in the west" is uncomfortably similar to the testimony given in the court cases involving downwinders in Utah and Nevada in which the testers waited till the wind was blowing east because the population was smaller to the east. That was a bad deal and people are still dying because of it. Let's not do it again.

The link between Utah and floods in the Sacramento Valley (California)

The link is, paraphrasingly slightly, that settlers in Northern California (north east of Sacramento) didn't pay their rent to the Mormon landowners for a sawmill and some land that the Mormons left in haste to return to defend Salt Lake City against Johnson's army in 1857. Orson Hyde sent a scathing letter back to the tenants that said "You shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder and with earthquakes with floods..." Mark McLaughlin in Today's Sierra Sun finishes the story "His scathing indictment, dated Jan. 27, 1862, was compelling at the time. The Carson, Washoe and Sacramento Valleys were all under deep water; the result of heavy rain melting the mountain snowpack. "

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Vote for Urquhart: He Knows his Tunnels

The Des News reports that after seeing the Yucca Mountain site Steve Urquhart said: "Right now, it's just a big tunnel, a big hole, and I've seen tunnels before" If I person hasn't seen a tunnel before, then they shouldn't run for office. Yet another qualification for the new challenger. Steve is opposed to storing nuclear waste in the west, by the way. Orrin Hatch appears to support Yucca Mtn as an alternative to Skull Valley (in Utah). But his press release was too long and didn't say anything about tunnels so I didn't have the attention span to follow it on a Thursday afternoon.

Liberals like Taxes at BYU

Seen in the BYU NewsNet concatenation of titles: "I'm a liberal, Taxes do good,"

Good luck Preston and Garon!

Two Utahns including one Oremite are sliding for a spot on the US Olympic luge team. Good luck and don't die!

Utah has...

the highest number of homicides in 4 years.
the highest fertility rate, youngest median age of first marriage, highest percentage of married households
the sharpest increase in alcohol related traffic deaths but still has the lowest rate of traffic deaths involving alcohol
the top state government web site (thanks for all your hard work Phil, oh, and all the Utah state IT people too I guess).
I guess Utah is has lots of children, a good government website and the probabilities of getting murdered or killed by a drunk driver are going up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

UVSC leans left compared to Utah County?

The Trib reports that UVSC is more well known and 3/4 of Utah County residents think UVSC is becoming more liberal. No! Realy? I would guess that most organizations, especially any affiliated with higher education (maybe except BYU, but only maybe) lean left of Utah County. The other exception would be Bob Jones University.

55% of the respondants said that Michael Moore's appearance hurt the school's standing in the community. I agree with that, but I am saddened by it. I thought Moore's appearance was a brilliant idea. It got the students actively debating a political topic. With current voter apathy levels, anything (which is moral and ethical) that gets students (or alumni) talking about politics with passion is a great idea. I did watch some of his talk on TV. It was disorganized and rambly.

The president of the Faculty Senate at UVSC says:

My perception of the faculty is that we are not liberal folk. There are some, but most at this institution are very representative of the community.

I know a few faculty at UVSC and I would agree with her and I would add that UVSC is a good school now and it is only getting better.

Laura Hamblin may well be one of those "liberal folk" at UVSC. You may recall that her son Blake Donner died in a tragic caving accident on August 18. Hamblin tells the Trib:

I love the idea that Blake came out of my body when his life began and that part of him is going back into my body [as a tatoo made from his ashes] with his death, I do feel closer. And I put it on my left ankle so I would always remember to choose the left.

Choose the left? What's that supposed to mean? Choose the right is a common phrase in LDS parlance. Dr. Hamblin has most of her degrees from BYU, you'd have to assume that she's familiar with the culture. Putting in a few "liberal folk" into the conservative confines of Utah County isn't such a bad thing.

Just to bring this thing full circle, she has a few poems in an anthology I read in my Mormon Literature Class back in 1989 at BYU. I don't remember the poems, but now I am curious and I'll go look them up to see what she has to say.

SLC: Behold! Your future...

An anonymous comment on SLCSPIN's post about RSL in Sandy claims: "Sandy is nothing but another anonymous, characterless, boring, bland, sprawling suburb consisting of chain stores, strip malls, 6-lane streets, 10-acre parking lots, and cul-de-sacs full of cookie-cutter stucco homes." To which I reply: Citizens of Salt Lake City! Behold your future! Except with realy old earthquake unsafe cookie-cutter brick homes instead of cookie-cutter stucco homes.

Why Real Salt Lake Couldn't have a Stadium in SLC

Not everyone is excited about RSL's planned stadium in Sandy. It is pretty obvious why the stadium couldn't be in SLC and why the Mayor there didn't do everything he could to get the stadium there. The stadium couldn't be in SLC because if it were built in SLC, then the city council and/or Deseret News would use it for the public execution of women who attended school. Duh.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Babbitt: Grand Staircase NM "poorly executed" but a good idea.

Bruce Babbitt recently told the SLTrib (ahead of his book tour visit to SLC) that the Grand Staircase NM was a good idea but was poorly executed. Really? You may recall that the National Monument was signed in by President Clinton one morning on a nice desk strategically placed in front of the Grand Canyon (in Arizona) to create the new monument in Utah. Meanwhile, in Escalante Utah which suddenly found itself inside a hugh National Monument and it wasn't clear what that meant, President Clinton was burned in effigy (which is disrespectful and rude, but man, that's a tough spot to be in)

Lack of public input aside, I think the president ought to at least visit a place at least once before he declares it an area of unusual value or beauty. I've actually been in and through alot of monument before and after the declaration and I'll tell you why it was a success. It was a success because nothing has changed--except there's some "Welcome to Grand Staircase NM" signs next to the road and I think there's a new visitor's center.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Real Salt Lake: New Stadium for Team with 2nd Worst Record, 2nd Highest Attendance

The new stadium will be announced Wednesday. I am pulling for Sandy since it is a shorter drive for me. Given all the people in SLC who have lived in South or Central America or Europe for even a short period of time, I am not surprised that their attendance is so good. Personally, I have a hard time watching MSL in the US after having ingested a steady diet of the English Premier League while in England for a summer.

Message to Mayor Anderson from brother of first Iraq Casualty

Oblogatory Anecdotes has a message to Mayor Anderson to be read at the "Freedom Forum" this Wednesday. It reads as sincere, productive and frustrated all at the same time.

South Jordan Library is now open!

The grand opening was surprisingly well attended. We rolled in at 10:02 for the 10:00 am opening and you can imagine our surprise when the parking lot was full. A cub scout pack did the flag ceremony and those in the know say they did a great job.

Our two year olds loved the children's section. The children's librarian read them some books which they really liked. We think of the South Jordan library as an extension of our twin girls' grandmother's living room because, in reality, it is. And they love going to "Grandma's library"

It was standing room only. A few mayors spoke. While the mayors' talks were um, slow, I am extremely impressed with the vision and forsight of the South Jordan city government.

Then the library council chairperson spoke. He pointed out that all the great technology isn't the point. The point is the books, learning and ideas. I like that. The the librarian spoke, she talked about what she wanted to accomplish with the design and was very passionate about her library. Oddly, that's exactly what I would have said if I were the librarian and I had to speak (ok, she asked me what I would say if I had to talk and that's what I told her I would say :)).

Last Weekend in Utah Football

BYU: huge emotional win in New Mexico. Homecoming is this weekend against CSU. Last time we played CSU for homecoming was the Great Homecoming Massacre of 2003. My wife and I left at halftime because BYU was already down by like 21 at the half. Let's hope for better this year. We took our then 1 year old daughters to the game and didn't want to expose them to the filth that was happening on the field.

Utah: Lost a close one at CSU. You had to know that the Utes' luck at CSU would run out eventually. In 2003, they won at CSU on a flukey defensive touchdown late in the 4th quarter and needed an interception even later in the 4th quarter to seal the deal.

Alex Smith: Welcome to the NFL. I guess the NFL defenses are a little faster, stronger and smarter than the competition he faces in the mighty MWC and against Pitt. Not to worry though, I think he'll do just fine after a few games and/or years of getting pounded at SF. Ty Detmer, who did win the Heisman by the way, didn't do all that well in the NFL either.

USU: Beat SJSU. Got their first WAC win. Nice work.

The Taliban in Arizona?

It appears that the Taliban has metastized to Arizona! In today's SLTrib, it is reported that the second plantiff in the lawsuit against SLC's executive order to extend benefits to unmarried employees in committed relationships is a Christian Group in Arizona!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bluff offered $100k to change name

KSL reports that the town of Bluff has been offered $100,000 to change its name to a gabling website's name. Naming towns of utah in exchange for rewards is not unprecedented. The town of Bicknell (near Capitol Reef NP) is named after Thomas Bicknell who promised a library to the first frontier town to take his name. Unfortunately for Blanding (near Natural Bridges NM, sort of) Utah, Bicknell's decision arrived first and Blanding is named after Bicknell's wife's maiden name. Blanding got a library too though.

Must resist temptation to lob potshot at Mayor

Yesterday, I resolved to quit lobbing potshots at the Mayor of SLC, he's really not that bad. However, SLCSPIN's article on the next Freedom Forum is sorely tempting me to break my resolve on day 1. Must resist. Must resist.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My last negative comment on Mayor Anderson and the Taliban in Utah in particular

... is that does telling a newspaper in the UK that living in SLC is somewhat Kafka-esque and like living under the Taliban (a) encourage people in England to visit or do bussiness in SLC or (b) discourage people in England from visiting or doing bussiness in SLC? If you live in SLC, then you know that the mayor isn't all that serious and SLC is a great place to live. But if you live in the UK, then it is likely that all you've heard about Utah is that it's backward and dominated by Mormons. The Mayor's comments, even if given in jest, seem to reinforce the stereotype.

Anyway, I got to quit lobbing potshots at the Mayor and spend my time on more productive things. Mayor Anderson did some good things with shopping carts and flags at crosswalks during his first term (remember when he used to actually address issues in the city?) and he's just sort of drifting this time aroundn. His treatment of the Main Street issue was first-rate.

Opening for my Mom's New Library

I'd like to invite everyone to the opening celebration for my Mom's new library in South Jordan this Saturday starting at 10 am. Fortunately, the library isn't in Salt Lake City so you don't have to fear reprisals from the Taliban if you check out the wrong stuff. The interior feels cozy like a Barnes and Noble complete with comfy chairs tucked away for quiet reading (except you don't have to feel guilty about reading the books without paying for them!). They've got bean bags all over the place and the reading areas are arranged to take optimal advantage of the natural light coming through the large windows. The Utah outdoors travel section has all the right books (and I assume the other sections do too). Even more fortunately, the county didn't spend so much on the architecture that there's no money left for books.

Folk dancers and conservative economics

Seen on the RSS feed for today's BYU newsnet: "Thanks to folk dancers, Conservatives ruin economy". I am still working on how folk dancers have caused conservatives to ruin the economy. I thought that spending money like there's end in sight is how the (apparently not-so-fiscally-conservative) conservatives ruin the economy. ... BYU's RSS feed is generated by taking the titles of the letters to the editor and seperating them with commas which makes for entertaining reading (not to mention the entertainment value of the letters themselves).

Adam Gladwell = Ammon Gladwell

Previously, I wrote about a BYU student Adam Gladwell who was killed in a car accident. Ammon's real name is Ammon not Adam and here is his obiturary. And it brings back strong memories of meeting my former teaching assistant's parents at his viewing in South Jordan. The world would be a better place if these students were still with us.


BYU is gearing for re-accreditation in 2006. If you have ever been curious about how BYU would describe itself, now is your chance to find out. The draft for review and comment is now available.

Highlights from the (6 page) executive summary include:
"BYU is located 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah, on what many feel is an attractive, well-maintainted, and well-furnished 560-acre, 3319-building campus." They got that right. In all my travels to various universities in the United States and Europe, I am yet to see a campus more beautiful than BYU. Of course, Cambridge University has better architecture, but BYU has better grounds and interior space and isn't entangled in a city. Ok, our architecture is mostly terrible, but the grounds and setting are perfect.

"The university provides direct financial support for research and creative work" Got that right too. Internal money at BYU is wonderful and allows the faculty to pursue low-cost high-risk research because they don't need to follow funding trends at the national level so closely.

"Assets are more than ten times greater than liabilities" Didn't know that, but interesting.

"One need not be a member of the [LDS] church to apply or be admitted to BYU. However, approximately 98 percent of BYU students are church members. The remaining 2 percent come from more that 20 other faith traditions. Multicultural students compose 9 percent of BYU's daytime student body" No surprises there. One needn't walk for long the BYU sidewalks to figure that out.

From the table on page XIV we find that the average GPA for admitted freshmen is 3.73, the average ACT score is 27.15 and the average freshman has passed 1.4 AP exams. Well, I got admitted to BYU in 1989 on a 3.30 GPA (my senior year was not kind to my GPA) and a 29 ACT score and having passed 3 AP exams (and failed 1 :) ). I suppose I could still make it in today, whew.

"Between 1996 and 2005 BYU hired 704 permanent faculty--over one-third of the total faculty" That's a lot.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Taliban in Utah = a few members of the City Council?

Mayor Anderson took a few minutes to clarify his Taliban comments. The Taliban was really some of the members on his city council (accoding to KSL).

Fair enough, let's pursue the idea a little. How many deaths can we attribute to the SLC council? Good thing we don't have a stadium for Real Salt Lake yet because it would have been used for executions. I suppose Portland, Denver and Las Vegas are live under the Taliban too because you can't buy alcohol for visitors using city funds there either.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Orem Municipal Election Results

Election Results for 2005 Orem City Council Primary elections.

The battle for Main Street is over

It would appear that the City and Church's deal to trade land on the West Side for easements on the Main Street Plaza will hold up in court. This was one of Mayor Anderson's more brilliant moments in office. I thought he handled this issue like a true statesman.

Rocky Anderson on Utah, Kafka and the Taliban

Quoth Mayor Anderson: " 'I truly feel like we're in the middle of a Kafka novel sometimes, with a little bit of Taliban thrown in.'" Would the Taliban portion be the obnoxious street preachers or someone else? The Mayor needs to remember that his constituincy can read the papers in England just as well as they can read the papers in the US.

High-tech homes for people 55+ in Saint George. But why?

Suppose I buy a high-tech home in Saint George (when I get a little older of course). My high tech home has a web server in it cool. But what will I do with it? I will... "control lighting and entertainment system, access security systems from remote locations and be alerted by e-mail to any problems." Hmm. Sounds delighfully boring and I bet it will be broken within 6 months.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Who to vote for in Orem City Council Primary

We live in North Orem. We think traffic in Orem, and in our neighborhood is terrible. That's our main issue. We didn't worry about development anymore since our neighborhood is almost built out. We'll worry about education when our kids grow up.

Our picks for Orem City Council are: Kelvin Clayton also lives in North Orem. Also worried about traffic. Karen Mcandless. Has a real blog. Ready for 8th north to get widened and more roads on 1600 North. Supports Utopia. Makes good decisions about traffic. Shari A. Thurston.

Photo: Fin Valley in Arches NP

Taken on Eric and Mike's Unofficial Moab Half Marathon in 2003. We were unpleasantly surprised to find that the race didn't start until 10 am. That's late. So we picked up our tshirts, turned in our numbers and ran our own half marathon in Arches (we ran Devil's garden loop and sand dune (I think) arch). We were done before 10 am and it was plenty hot by then. Getting there: Get off i-70 at crescent junction. Go south toward moab. Turn left into Arches NP. Drive to the end of the park, about 17 miles. Hike or run the trail to Fin Valley. Go just after or during sunrise for best results.

Utah/Idaho Baptists give aid at Camp Williams

I wish this story would have recieved more attention. As it was, the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention aid was tucked beneath the fold, so to speak, on a piece about the LDS church declining a FEMA refund. The Baptists declined a refund too. And if I were a good Baptist (or even a mediocre Baptist) from New Orleans that had been evacuated to Salt Lake City, I would like to have seen my fellow Baptists at Camp Williams too.

The battle is brewing for the Sandy gravel pit. We lost but won our battle in Orem

Boyer co and walmart want to turn the 100 acre site into a big shopping center. Other people want to turn it into a park. The classic battle. Hell hath no furry like a home owner facing uncertainty about development.

Since I don't live in Sandy and I already have my house built, I am strict conservationalist now (just like Robert Redford with Sundance). I vote leave it as a park.

A similar battle was fought for the LDS welfare farm orchards that used to be in my backyard. The fight went something like this:

residents: we want the owner to sell it to the city and the city to make a park out of it.
city: we can't afford it. Do you have several million dollars handy to buy it?
[pause while residents look around the room at wealthier residents who also live near the orchard. No signs of check books being drawn]
residents : No. Hey, let's pass a bond!
city: it is unlikely that other people in orem will want to fund a park for you.
residents: Hey, land ownder, maybe you could donate it to the city?
land owner: we will sell it to the buyer of our choice.
residents: hmm, maybe we could rezone it to recreation land?
city: you can try, but it won't happen. it is already zoned for residential.
residents: alrighty then. Thank you for seeking our input, I guess.

And now there's a great new neighborhood being built in the orchard. And, what do you know, the new neighborhood is bringing in great families that are revitalizing our community! So we didn't just save our community by developing the orchard we made it better.

The battle is brewing over benefits for all live-in dependents in SLC

Ethan over at SLCSPIN has an enlightening discussion of the recent counter-proposal for benefits for live-in (but not married) dependents of city employees. Briefly, Mayor Anderson's proposal is for same-sex couples only and the city council includes everyone. I wonder if the city council is really trying to be equitable here or if they are trying to frame a legal fight using the wording of Utah's recently passed constitutional ammendment that defines marriage and disallows recognition of other domestic unions with similar legal effect. I am quite sure that Rocky's proposal is a careful set up for a legal battle.

On this issue, I wonder if it possible to be "homo-isotonic" (rather than homophobic or homophillic) and oppose all benefits for non-married live-in dependents?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

BYU: Adam Gladwell Killed in a Car Accident

Adam Gladwell was killed while attempting to render aid in a car accident. That makes 9 students and 1 faculty killed on the highways this week and 2 still in the hospital. Let's try to be a little more careful out there people.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

More about the USU van accident.

T.R. Grover runs an excellent USU blog up in Logan (well, USU is in Logan, I assume that TR is too) in which he writes that not all of the UHP claims are widely believed or appreciated especially up in AggieTown and there's some good arguements to cast doubt on the findings so far. But, since when has the media actually gotten a story right? So you've got the UHP making early hypotheses public and then you run it through the media filter which adds even more noise.

Tough deal. Two students I know have passed away in my short career so far. Its a difficult thing to see all that potential gone.

Home sales trends in North Orem Utah

The wife and I may or may not buy a different house in the next 3-5 years, so we are interested in house price trends. Since we are looking to buy a house more expensive than the one we have now, we hope that home prices stay flat or drop (because our present house will increase in value more slowly than a house with more value).

Here are the trends done as linear fits to the data for the last 4 years (drumroll please...):

In which the sales price trend looks remarkably flat and the number of homes sold is rising a little more quickly. I am no economist, but I would say that the data suggest that demand is rising but supply is keeping pace. Good for me!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Photo: Provo River on a Snowy Morning

Taken on an early morning run with Eric Mercer on the Provo River Parkway. How to get there: Got off I-15 at Provo Center Street, go west almost to the entrance to the Utah Lake state park. Turn right, then take another quick right into the trailhead parking lot. Photo taken about 1.5 miles east of the trailhead. Go early morning after a light snow for best effect.

Ceiling tiles at the University of Utah

This is mostly an experiment to see if I can get some asbestos class action lawsuit traffice going, but the story is true.

When I was at the University of Utah, it was decided to replace the ceiling tiles. This took like 3 years or more but the rumor was that the contractor lifted the first cieling tile, observed asbestos in the ceiling and let the university know that they'd be back after all the asbestos had been abated. The university didn't want the class action lawsuit so we enjoyed asbestos abatement tents all through the building for the next few years while the asbestos was abated. I believe there are now ceiling tiles at the University of Utah CS department.

Louis Vuitton Utah Man Purse Collection

A fine assortment of man purses including a fanny pack the bags include the Comanche, Mohican and Huron. You'd think with a name like "Utah" that they'd at least name the bags names like Ute, Navajo, Ouray, Goshute or even Anasazi. But when you are only charging $855 for a fanny pack, its hard to afford the market research you'd need to name the Utah collection after tribes with Utah connections. Besides, the kinds of people who actually know which tribes come from which parts of the country and not likely to be the kind of people who spend $855 on a fanny pack.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Almost worth going to Temple Square to see how this turns out.

Various LDS choirs have obtained the proper permits to sing on the sidewalks outside conference this weekend. It should make for some good video to have the street preachers sreaming at nice LDS kids trying to sing.

Photo: Cairn on slickrock pass betwen Big Spring and Squaw Canyons

Taken in November on our 6th aniversary hike in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. I like the low-angle light in the desert this time of year. How to get there: Take I-80 to Crescent Junction, get off and go south past Moab to the entrance to the needles district of Canyonlands NP. Drive like 18 miles to the visitor center. Pay your fee. Drive to the Big Spring canyon trailhead. Hike about 2-4 miles (distance on the NPS map). Negotiate the slickrock pass (scrambling to about 4.5). Photo taken on Squaw canyon side of pass. Hike back to trailhead. Go in November, December or January for best light and temperatures.

Speed a factor in USU van crash?

It looks like the USU van that crashed
may have been going 95-100 mph.

I spoke with a collegue at USU today, she's in a different department but it sounds like the whole campus has been affected by this thing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for Tori Schmanski Oct 11 from 630-830pm at 65 E 1600 N in Orem

I am pleased to invite everyone to a benefit dinner for Tori Schmanski that will be held at the LDS chapel at 60 East 1600 North in Orem. We will be accepting $3 donations per person and $15 per family. You may, of course, donate substantially more and you don't have to stay for dinner if you don't want to.

We are planning for 300 people. We may run out of food. If we do, don't worry: everyone will get a chance to donate even if they don't get a chance to eat spaghetti :) The Schmanski's have a page about how to make donations by buying pray4tori merchandise online if can't make it to Orem in person.

Photo: Aspens near Timponooke

In memory of Spring and Summer, here is a picture of one of my favorite aspen stands. The cool thing about this stand is that the aspens are quite tall and there's lots of open space between the trees for free wandering through the woods. The aspen stand is located west of the Timponooke trail off a side trail that starts at the north end of the first meadow along the trail (the one with the stream in the middle). If you carry on south and west long enough, you will end up back at the Timponooke campground.

The next "permanant" bridge to Bridal Veil Falls.

The last bridge to Bridal Veil falls (a waterfall in Provo Canyon on the way to Sundance Utah. You man recall that Jon Kraukaur dropped an ice axe through his calf while ice climbing here--as described in his book Into Thin Air) was destroyed in an avalanche along with most of the tram house (including the bench I sat on on a date at Bridal Veil Falls at which time my wife decided I was marriable) in 1996. Interestingly, I was skiing the paved Provo Canyon parkway that day in the epic snowfall. I would have skiied Sundace nordic center, but my nissan sentra couldn't make it through the snow. Fortunately, I didn't ski through the avalance path that night. But I digress.

There's a new bridge. Any bets on how long this one will last? I'll have to go see the placement and make an informed guess later.

Serious kudos to the people that made it happen.

Now that's good governance!

Apparently the Mayor of SLC didn't know that there was a city policy against using tax payer money to pay for alcohol. I guess the mayor spends too much time on national and international issues (such as the Iraq war or global warming) to be troubled by city-level issues and policies.

Its not quite the scandal that KSL is making it out to be, but it does raise an interesting point:

Do the citizens of SLC want their mayor to use tax money to promote the city as a city with an active alcohol-based nightlife? I like that SLC is a strange place. I don't live in SLC, so I don't get to vote on it. But it will make an interesting campaign point if remember by the time the next mayoral election comes around.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Photo: Jailhouse rock in Capitol Reef National Park

Taken from a Cessna late in the evening (as you may have guessed from the shadows). In the bottom left corner you can see the road to the desert overlook. We took this picture when my Dad and I flew down to scout out hiking spots for the scouts. I was trying to help them visualize topographic maps. I figured a picture would be helpful. I think it was but the flying was great either way.

How to get there (on the ground) Get off I-80 at the road to Hanksville. Go south to Hanksville. Turn west toward Fruita. Drive into Fruita and check road conditions at the NPS visitor center. Drive back to the west and turn north onto the Cathedral Valley road. Ford the Freemont river in you vehicle if it looks safe to do so. Drive to the South Desert Overlook. Get out of your car and look at the overlook. Marvel that you can be so close to your car yet feel so isolated.

How to get there (in the air) fly down to Fruita, if you go on a Saturday morning, stop by the Richfield airport for fuel and sourdough pancakes on your way to Fruita. From Fruita, fly around to the south, north and east for best views. Avoid flying into scenery while viewing scenery. Go late in the evening in marginal VFR conditions that clear up right as you hit the waterpocket fold for best results.

My take on... the morality of stem cell research

This question came up in a comment. These ideas have been percolating in my head for a while. Here they are. I invite opposing views from responsible citizens.

I don't know the BYU policy on stem cell research. I don't think any of our labs are set up to do stell cell research but I think that's because we don't have a medical school. To my knowledge, the LDS church doesn't have a stand on stem cell research. Some LDS people strongly oppose it others support it. Orrin Hatch, one of Utah's senators, supports stem cell research and is openly, actively LDS. Steve Urquhart, who is running against Hatch in the next election cycle, opposes stem cell research and if I had to guess, I'd say he's LDS too.

Personally, I support it. I think you avoid the "stem cell research is destroying a human life" issue when you restate the arguement against abortion. The typical arguement (as I understand it) is that abortion is immoral soley because it is the murder of a human. And abortion isn't immoral when the fetus isn't a human yet. In that case, it is something like clipping of a hangnail. But if the fetus passes the "is a human" test, then abortion is murder. Using this arguement against abortion, stem cell is a research because (a) the embryo is a human and must not be murdered (this is, I think, where the Snowflake people come from.) or (b) conceding that the embryo is not human begins the process of saying that later and later term fetuses are not human and thus abortion becomes OK later and later in the pregnancy. I think people who hold this arguement don't like conceding (b), even though its perfectly rational, because deep down inside they know abortion is wrong even if they can't be rational about it. I am ok with that, but I rind that must faith and moral beliefs can be given a rational foundation (given the right set of axioms and inference rules, of course).

So I have a different arguement against abortion in which the morality of stem cell research is different. That arguement is based on a great article in the Enisgn (the official LDS church magazine, published monthly, anyone can subscribe) about abortion in which the author explained that abortion is immoral when it "undoes" the consequences of choosing to create a life. And in this definition of "immorality" abortion is immoral even if the fetus isn't officialy a human yet. Also, abortion is moral (but not required) when the woman did not choose to create the fetus or when the life of the mother or fetus is in serious jeopardy and the choice to create the fetus must be undone. In this framework, the morality of abortion is based on the principles of choice and consequence and stem cell research does not pose a dangereous threat to the theory of morality of aboration. And, stem cell research is OK when the person who decides to create the embryo decides that using the embryo for research is an acceptable use for the embryo (sharp readers will note that this is the weakest part of my thinking, we'll have more to say on that at the end). Thus we see that a correct understanding of why abortion is wrong avoids potentially irrational arguements against stell cell research and may explain why otherwise "normal" LDS people (like Senator Hatch) can support stem cell research and still be respectable in the LDS church.

So, I, personally, at the end of the day, give great great deference to the embryo parents that created the embryos. And it kills me to see good people like Steve Urquhart almost tell in vitro parents what is and is not moral in their decisions about the disposition of their unused embryos.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Photo: Mesa near Bicnknell Utah

Taken November 2004 after a scout trip. It was snowing hard that night when we drove into the first campsite location (Sunglow campground) so we drove into Fruita in Capitol Reef and camped in the NPS campground there. In Fruita, it was a light rain with no wind. On the way out the next day, we saw this.

RAP tax in Utah County? How about transportation?

I guess I am a little reluctant to support new taxes until we sort out the taxes that we are going to need to pay to support transportation needs in Utah county. A recent drive through Lehi (on the way to camping last weekend) suggests that Lehi is ardently ignoring its transportation needs on the west side.

A recent drive through, well just about anywhere, in Orem suggests that Orem residents are ardently ignoring their rapidly decaying transportation infrastructure. I say "Orem residents" because the city recnetly proposed a bond to fix the roads and the bond failed.

So if we can't find it within ourselves to tax ourselves to support our transportation infrastructure, then why should we find it within ourselves to tax ourselves to support the arts?

As a fiscal conservative, it kills me to say this, but I'd like to see both taxes pass.

I heard my tradition calling at 9:17 in the First Quarter, but then I couldn't hear it anymore.

The wife and I attended the BYU-TCU game. Well, we sat through the first half, and then went home because we don't have very long attention spans. At 9:17 in the first quarter, I heard the BYU football tradition calling. It was fun. We were passing for long TDs, scoring all over the place and even playing some nice defense. Just like when I was a student and Ty Detmer was the QB (and every offensive holding call was no big deal, it just meant 10 more yards on Ty's passing yards record).

But at 9:15 in the first quarter, TCU ran the kickoff back for a 100 yard return ending in (not surprisingly for a 100 yard return) a touchdown. I couldn't hear my tradition calling any more. And then we managed to fritter away the game in the last quarter and quietly loose in over time.

I am still a big Bronco Mendenhall fan and, assuming that we can figure out special teams, I am confident that I will hear my tradition calling again. Bronco is young, he'll need some time to get the whole thing figured out, but LaVell was young when he started too. The ideal scenario would be to keep Bronco around for 20-30 years and win another national championship (I am assuming that the BCS will go away, it has to) or two. | 3-game Y. homestand wasn't good beginning

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Camping on the Playa

So we took the twin toddlers camping out on some playa near Five Mile Pass this weekend. Playa is a flat expanse dirt in which nothing grows. Loosely speaking. The main problem with playa is that it gets hot and windy. We avoided the hot part by going late in the evening in September. Lets just say we didn't avoid the wind part. Ashley loved it she played and played and ran around in the tent and outside the tent. Megan did great until it got dark. We had glowsticks and Megan seemed to take alot of comfort in holding a glow stick in the dark. We left the fly off the tent because the tent was already severly deflected in the wind without the fly.

Overall, good idea. Glowsticks were great, wind was annoying but the kids slept through it, watching the stars in teh tent was a big hit. Wish we'd had some kind of heat source in the morning.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The BYU MOA has an exhibit of the Photographs of Rodney Smith. As a big Ansel Adams fan, I was intriqued by another exhibit of high-end black and white photography. Adams' work takes the cliffs, trees and mountains to a whole new level . Smith's work takes people, places and things to a whole new level. I loved it. Highly reccomended. Plus, there's a really fascinating picture of Cyndi Lauper in the exhibit. The Lauper portrait makes you think the Cyndi is a credible artist that spent significant effort pursuing her dream.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A deal was signed today that will allow the Legacy Highway to be built north of Salt Lake City Utah. How long will it be before the Good Mayor Rocky Anderson weighs in on the issue? I bet it will be at or before 9 am Thursday September 22. Of course, he might have made his comments already ... if only he had a PR person. I think he's still got enough time left on his current term to work through 2-4 more public relations people.

As always, I love Rocky Anderson as someone else's mayor. I like a politician that says what he wants when he wants to and doesn't pay attention to the consequences (apparently) of his words or actions. I do like the honesty. It is refreshing although Rocky and I rarely agree on the issues.