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.