Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Three More Brothers and A Sister This Time

Another family of musical performers -- the Haygoods.

They are seven brothers and a sister, all apparently between the ages of sixteen and thirty-two, who are really exceptional musicians.  They play violins, saxophones, piano, harp and of course, guitars.  Tap-dancing is also part of the deal.

They aren't as polished as the Knudsens from yesterday, they're a little hokey too, but they are good and energetic though interestingly, singing isn't their strongest suit.  They do pop, rock, Celtic favorites and a little classical which was actually pretty good.  Pachobel, I think.  Of the three shows we've seen, we agreed that the Haygoods probably came in third, but that's not to big a problem.  They were dang fine.

Went to Silver City but it was closed.  The whole place.

Tomorrow is "Spirit of the Dance."  Can't lose, can we?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Six, Count 'Em, Six

Gotta love the Knudsen Brothers here in Branson.  They are one of the top draws and with good reason.

They do it all a capella, with sound effects and a perfect blend of voices.  They take it from the early days of rock to doo-wop, the Temptations, Motown, the Beachboys to U2.
One of them is also pretty funny doing some standup and comedy singing.  It was never boring.  Find them on UTube

I also learned while at the popcorn stand that they are also LDS!  I asked a girl who was wearing a Cedar City, Utah t-shirt if she was from Utah and this other woman behind the counter asked me if I also was.  When I said "yes" she asked me if I was in church Sunday.  When I recovered from shock, I realized that she wasn't rebuking me for not going, but was just saying that there had been lots of visitors on Sunday at the little Branson Branch that she couldn't remember.  She was the wife of one of the "Sixes".

Branson is a hot ticket for those of us in the retirement set but apparently it's a magnet for families during the summer.  The acts are clean and family-friendly and so far, they've been really good.  They are also considerably cheaper than those in Vegas so what you lack in big names and skin here, you make up for in quantity.

We're having a great time.  Glad we came.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shanghai in Branson, Who'd a Thunk It?

Yes it's great now that the luggage has arrived from Dallas.  There is not much worse than sleeping in your underwear and then putting back on the duds that you travelled in.  I didn't even have a hairbrush or deodorant.  I'm just sayin'.

We went to see the Chinese Acrobats tonight and let me just say one word:  "limber".  Furthermore, they didn't even grimace.  It was fabulous.  There were tumblers, balancers, drummers, jugglers, people who leapt through hoops, a girl who stacked up a bunch of chairs and a stool and balanced on that, and a sixty-year-old ballerina who balanced on one arm to Tchaikovsky.  All too amazing.

We talked to a woman who sat next to us who said that Wayne Newton tried out Branson but he didn't last because he was too RAUNCHY.  Wayne Newton  -- raunchy?  I guess it's all relative.

And speaking of relatives, who was sitting next to me but a woman from Bountiful.  Can you believe it? No matter where you travel, you can't get away from home.  Glad I didn't shout curses and epithets, but then there was no call to do so.  It was all terrific.  Can't wait for the rest of the week now that my clean clothes are here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Facebook Fracas

It all started out rather inocuously.  Lulu*, a Friend on Facebook wrote:

I just saw an article on MSN about the Cosbys and Obama. Sometimes I feel like the only one who is indifferent to the fact that Obama is black. Maybe it's a generation thing? If someone 'appears' qualified and competent, their race doesn’t matter.”

It continued on with other comments for awhile until "Zach” chimed in:

“There will be a lot less racism when the older population dies out. These old farts that I work with will, on occasion, drop the "N" word and also talk about mexicans. I usually don't say anything, but once I called a guy out because of how he described asians. I am a little more sensitive having a biracial relationship and having biracial kids.(by the way, Obama is biracial, but everyone calls him black).”

I, then, a  vision of decorum weighed in:

“Zach, I feel you've got some bigotry going on. some of us older people lived through the civil rights times and it meant alot to us. Don't put anyone in a collective to be dismissed. You may be giving up some of the best that is in us.”

Zachy then retorted with indignation and shock:

“I don't have any bigotry and I relay (sic) on the older population for an income. I sell hearing aids. I get a lot of racist comments from my patients. They think that I agree with them because I am white. All these guys lived through the civil rights movement as well, but it doesn't stop them from dropping the N word in front of me. And if you are commenting because I said old farts, then I apologize. I bet my definition of old is older then your definition. I feel some one in their seventies is young, eighties are getting up there, and ninety is old. I have a patient that is 103. See what I mean?”

I didn’t respond because I think everybody could see through it, but if I had, I might have said:

“Sputtered denial and back-pedaling is not evidence that you’re not a bigot, but your first comment is evidence that you are.  It would have been better had you just kept quiet and let the thing die. And just because you take money from your older clients doesn’t mean that you like or even respect them.  You use them.  That doesn't make you superior.  It makes you a user.”  

I still want to get him, though.

“Name changed to protect "Lulu's" innocence.  Zach is not a friend and I doubt he ever will be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thanks to the Ashtons, We Have Thanksgiving Point

Yesterday, was still Summer at Thanksgiving Point.  I'm no photographer, but how can you miss with a subject like this?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Ticket to Nowhere

I got a speeding ticket while on an errand of devotion, if you please, and if that were not enough, the ticket was totally undeserved.  I know what you'd say.  You'd say that everyone says that, but in my case it's true.

I was driving east off of I-15 concerned that I not be late for the funeral of my friend, Robert Matthews.  He was a very kindly, beloved, long-lived man, so of course he had lots of friends and I wanted to visit with his widow, Shirley, for a minute, and to see him one last time.

In the rear-view, I see the officer,  blue and red lights ablaze, urgently gesturing for me to pull over.  I comply.  I think for certain I've run a stop sign because there was nothing else it could possibly be.  Ha!

"Do you know the speed limit along here?" he asks.

"I don't know.  About forty maybe?"  I say.

"It's twenty-five and you were going fifty."  The sounding clunk was my heart sinking.  The squishy sound was my eyes bulging.  I am incredulous.

The street is right off I-15 and is a real boulevard.  Five lanes maybe or at least three really wide ones.  A main drag.  I sit in silence doing all things right yet still get a ticket for "only" ten over the speed limit.  Ninety dollars for the ticket and sixty for the online driving class.  No wonder Lindon City can afford the big-deal office building.

I had to drive to Lindon to pay the ticket and get the driving class going so it doesn't show up and clobber my insurance rates.  While driving down there, I build a full head of steam about what I'm going to tell them about their little money-making speed trap and how I hope their city dies on the vine from people avoiding driving through it at all costs.

When I get down there, however, everyone is so darn nice.  Even when I complain that it was a speed trap, the woman merely says nicely "I'm sorry."

I pursued it.  "That's a main road to State Street from the Interstate.  Twenty-five is ridiculous."

"Well," she says, still sweetly and without a note of sarcasm, "there are schools and rest homes all alone there."

"They should teach their children to stay out of the road," I respond lamely, making a stupid attempt at a joke.  She laughed.

The thing that really made me mad on top of everything else was my parting shot:  "The officer was really nice when he gave me the ticket, though, and gave great directions to the funeral address."

"Thanks for saying so," she said graciously.

I hate nice people.  They ruin all my fun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Circus Comes to Town

What a great idea for a book -- Water for Elephants.  It's about the circus.  It was good in some ways but not-so-good in others.

The circus part was good.  It talks about the early twentieth-century traveling circus and the train travel between venues.  That part was great as was the banter and talk between the performers and the working men who set up the circus and cared for the animals.  The brutality was not so good against people and animals.  I did like the narration by the old man together with the narration from his younger self, but I was a little put off by the author being female and the pie-in-the-sky ending.  I would have appreciated knowing a little more about how she got the story together and about the love story between the young vet and the circus performer.  It smacked of not being plausible which troubled the story for me.

I didn't like a couple of really lewd scenes, one of which kept haunting me for a couple of days.  Maybe that's what it takes to sell books but it's not my cup of tea.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spiders and Guilt - They Can Relate

I must have been four years old because we were living at 938 Kensington Avenue in Salt Lake City when I remember being in the backyard looking at my mother's flowers.  She always had a great flower garden.  This particular day, there was a big spider web bridging two rows of tall zinnia's with a big, fat yellow and black spider squatting right in the middle.
Then the tension began when mother came out into the garden.  She approached the spider.  I felt I should warn her but something stopped me.  I think I really was afraid of how my voice would sound as I shouted the alarm.  What if I startled her so that she fell right into the spider?  I sat in fear watching.
She came to the spider, felt the web, and started back a little saying something like "whoops!"  I don't think she was even afraid of that spider.
But it was years before I didn't feel guilty when I thought of the incident.  I felt I had somehow let her down by not warning her.  Silly as it sounds, the feeling really seemed legitimate for years.  It might even now a little.
Because of that, I think even today that little kids feel the emotions like guilt, embarrassment, shame, inadequacy and the like just like adults even when they're very small.  Do you remember anything similar?

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Good Life

See those tootsies?  They belong to little James Bennion Cannon.  Notice how the toes are kinda spread out?  That must mean that something exciting is happening.  Or at least something a little unsettling.  Regardless, It's a mighty cute picture.  That's James Bennion's mother, Lee-Ann, with him.  His father, Craig Cannon is somewhere else, but no one seems especially concerned about that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weird Experiences Along the Wasatch Front

Julia and I went to see Angels and Demons a couple of weeks ago and I was astonished to discover I liked it!  Astonishing because I did not like The DaVinci Code movie particularly.  I think this is because I didn't read Angels and Demons and I did read The DaVinci Code like half the world did.  There was too much in the book that I looked forward to that didn't appear in the movie, and further, the tone of the whole deal was much more menacing in the book which I liked.  Dr. Langdon, also, was not at all like the loveable guy Tom Hanks portrayed.  Oh well.  

But the most amazing point of the whole experience was that we saw a guy come into the movies wearing full LDS temple clothes with white makeup on his face.  He also had a little curtain he had fashioned out of white fabric attached to the back of his hat.  Weird.  I don't know what he was up to, but I don't think he accomplished his purpose.  Not many people paid too much attention so he just went on to go into his theater and we went into ours.  I don't know what movie he saw, but my son, Ben, suggested it might have been "Up."  Ha.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kelly and Some Guy, Sitting In A Tree . . .

Last Friday, Kelly Cannon, my niece of yesterday's fame,  made me remember how much fun it is to be a Cannon.

We were only about twelve miles outside of Cedar City when I remembered 1) I was hungry and 2) that she lives there.  Booyah.  Thanks to texting, we were reunioning in about fifteen minutes.  She is funny, smart, and extremely verbal just like most of the rest of us.

Further to that, we find her just days after she began to decide that she might be falling in love with her best friend.  "Might", the operative word, was there but I think it was decoration.  She glowed.  Love you Kelly.  The only person(s) allowed to demand that I remove this post is/are Kelly and her father.  I might also consider a petition from her mother.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is It Too Late to Change Majors?

Here's the deal.  Kelly Cannon, my niece, has a double major of math and English and I totally get it.

Just think.  There's alot of possibilities in English.  It's wide-open with possibilities.  It's always the wild frontier with discussion, thought, directions.  That's part of why we like it.  Controlled chaos.

Bur there's something vey satisfying about math for just the opposite reasons.  There's just one answer that can finally be found and order is restored to the universe.  And, with math, you can pretty much know when your homework is done.

Rudolph Reese was my Algebra teacher in high school.  He was a fussy, nice guy who used a chalk chuck and still always had chalk dust everywhere at the end of class.  Whenever he was teaching Algebra, I understood it.  I really think I almost thought it was fun.  But whenever I got home, it totally eluded me again.  The mistake I made was being to proud to ask anyone for help.  Particularly my father, who was a Mechanical Engineer, which made him almost a math major.

If I had it to do all over again, I'd maybe give math another shot.  Maybe I'd be good at it, too.  Maybe I would have changed the world with my input into the world of science.  Maybe I'd have made all kinds of money with my math skills and would be responsibile for turning the entire bad financial situation around for not just the United States, but the entire world.  We just won't know, will we?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The World Is Really Our Campus

Info alert:  during my visit to the Hogle Zoo on Saturday, I learned that our Zoo, for this brief moment in time, has the oldest elephant living in a US zoo at the same moment that we also have the youngest.  The baby above is five weeks old and the eldest is 49 years old.  While crowds stand ooohing and ahhhing at the baby, no one observes the cantankerous old beast with his/her wrinkly behind facing the crowd.  For the baby, there's the forms and the plastic box to find her a name.  I don't remember the name of the old one.  Pictured above is the baby.  I do not have a picture of the old pachyderm. 

What I learn from this is that when you're old, you need to use all the attention-getting devices you've learned over the years.  All babies need to do to get attention is eat, drink, poop, and plop over for another nap.  When you're old, you need to trumpet and stomp to be noticed.  Let this be a word to the wise.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Away From the Bright Lights of Broadway, We Find Aida!

Aida at Tuacahn in St. George was so much more than I expected.  The costumes were fabulous, the actors and dancers were so good, the singing was amazing and they actually had the Nile flood onstage.

Further to that, we were sitting on the front row, right in the middle.   I worried a little that I'd have to pick up my purse.   Carl is very, very good at selecting presents and tonight was our 43rd anniversary.

I was kind of surprised to like it so much because I remember when Aida first came out that the critics lambasted it.  Elton John did not come out of that one smelling like a rose.  But with some retooling, things are quite different now.

Actually, I don't remember hearing any of the music before, but it was still so good right from the beginning.   It usually takes awhile for me to get the hang of songs,  but I didn't have to this time.

Another wonderful surprise?  it was so uplifting and inspiring.  Somehow I didn't expect that from Rocket Man (I mean Elton John, incidentally), but that's what I got.  I promise.  We are always being entertained, but not so often inspired.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If Wishes Were Horses, Beggers Would Ride . . .

Here's a list of things I really want to do, but not enough to actually do them, apparently.

1.  Learn the circle of fifths so that I am instantly aware of how many sharps and flats there are in any given musical key.

2.  Sell many of my unused items on eBay.

3.  See what we have in the boxes in the garage and in the basement and organize them or unload them.  I especially would like to find my pre-198& journals.

4.  Go on a teaching mission.

5.  Visit Montreal for a protracted period of time practising French endlessly.

6.  Do some writing with the hope of completing and submitting a project.  Earning movie money would just be a bonus

7.  Exercise daily.  Pilates would be great.

8.  Lose thirty pounds.  Twenty.  Ten.

9.  Digitize all my files.  And learn to trust my retrieval options.

We shall never discuss this again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cold-Turkey Is Not Just Sandwich Meat Anymore

Withdrawal.  I'm not sure, but I think I know what it really feels like.  Not like cocaine, maybe, or heroin, but something a little like it.  Muscles really ache.  Nausea interjected with queasiness.   Sweaty and hot one minute and freezing the next.  Nasty ringing and sloshing in the ears.  Headachy with cotton wadded into the frontal lobes.  Indifference to fire alarms, screaming children and welfare of pets.

It all started when I went to the doctor a week or so ago.  All I did was complain that I was ballooning like a crazed clown.  (If you are literal-minded, the imagery is probably lost on you.)  I thought he'd prescribe a magic bullet, but instead he noted that the culprit was probably a little medication I've been taking for maybe 40 years. The condition for which I take it is annoying, but still requires respect.  So I do need the medication, but the doctor prescribed a smaller, less-likely-to-enfatten dose which he felt would suffice.  

But while in the office, I forgot to clarify how he envisioned incrementally lowering the dose, so I went from 90 mph to 10 in one step.  I considered periodically calling the doctor to find out what the plan really was, but I kept thinking maybe I'd beaten the worst of the beast and might as well continue on with the status quo.  Plus, waiting for his response somehow seemed intolerable at the time.  Also I think I forgot how to use a phone.  I was indeed wrong but that was then.  

A week out, I still feel like the walking wounded, but it's becoming more tolerable these days.  The first three days, however, were awful.

I bore you with this for two purposes.  One is to at least get some sympathy out of this.  The other is to alert anyone who might care, to the fact that there's nothing particularly romantic or worth it about coming down on the wrong side of drugs.  If this is a taste of what it's all about, I have a big, new sympathy for those who are really taking on the whole load of problems.  Rebellion has its place.  Taking charge of your own person is important in growing up.  But going this route isn't the smart way to manifest it.  

It might be easier just to jump out of a moving car.  I did consider it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dream Photo Nearly Taken

Great picture, don't you think? If you think you could do better, try it driving at 50 mph at night down a residential street, two granddaughters in the backseat, with your IPhone. By the time Carl got there with his big-deal camera, the moon was behind the clouds. So what would you prefer? Nothing or this little beauty?

Friday, September 4, 2009

"He was everything anyone would ever want in a friend, a father, and an eternal companion"

Funeral yesterday. It was wonderful. First of all, it was for Robert J. Matthews. He is as Christlike a person as there is. The place was packed so I'm not alone in thinking so. Plus, there were some wonderful talks aobut the Plan, about Christ, about Joseph Smith and Bro. Matthews love for all of them. And then Boyd K. Packer was there and spoke for a minute. He called Bob "a treasure." It was beautiful.

I've got some nice, nice memories of Bro. Matthews, too. Back in 1989, I was on a plane on our Israel trip on my way to the bathroom. I knew he was the writer of the LDS Bible Dictionary, and there he sat in his seat reading THE BIBLE DICTIONARY. I had to stop and ask "Why are you reading that?" He simply responded "To see what I once knew." Kinda funny. Kinda like him. He liked low-key funniness.

He worked for LDS Church Education, for a long time he was Dean of the College of Religion at BYU and had his PhD from BYU in Ancient Scripture. Now, most CES instructors are kinda show people, but he wasn't. Like they said today, he was as much at home talking to a student custodian in the hall as he was meeting a general authority. He knew answers to things that most people have no idea there are answers to. So it was wonderful asking him questions. But it wasn't the answers, it was the rapt attention he paid to the questioner, never in a hurry and never implying that the question was uninspired. Those sparkling brown eyes were with you and the smile, gentle and kind. He seemed almost excited that he was talking to you -- and he made everyone feel like that. He was a true teacher. He wanted to teach and tht was his living, breathing, constant purpose. He was always aware of his students, never his own importance or his students' awareness of him.

I do believe that our gifts come with us from the pre-earth life. And I do believe that Bro. Matthews gifts were strong when he came here, but were intensified to where he was when he died by a life well-lived and focused on Christ, in touch with the Spirit and with years of concerted effort on his part. Catching up would be impossible, but with the time I've got left, I'd like to find myself becoming a little more like Bob.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Day at the Beach

There were two conditions:

1. I will only push you on the swing once.
2. I will lift you up onto the twisty thing only once.

I sat on the bench listening to my audiobook, laughing, waving, looking watchful.

It was beautiful. The day was almost perfect. The only flaw was that the sky was a bit grey due to the fires in California.

Then the turn of events. After playing on the playground for a good, long time, they asked if we could go to the beach. "Will you not get wet?" I say not wanting their mother to be disappointed in my babysitting skills. Negative answer.

We get to the beach, and they wonder, "Could we get our shorts wet?"

My response, "If it happens, it happens, I guess."

The next thing I know, see above. Whatta day. They had the best time.

And their mother was not at all grumpy about the whole thing. Whew. No one could have resisted anyway. Not even Mom.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Just finished Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano". It was written in 1952 and is extremely dated in it's references to technology, but was fun anyway. It is about a United States that is run by machinery, by-and-large and by people with high IQs who think that the vast human wasteland that remains is happy with housing, income and nothing to do. I would recommend it to anyone who can overlook references to vacuum tubes and mechanical means and the lack of references to microchips. After all, it was 1952. Human interaction is quite dated as well, but overlook that, dear reader.

Vonnegut was inspired to write it when he was working for GE. That should interest my brother, Mark. He also says he took the plot from Brave New World which in turn was taken from We. It was also his first novel. I think it is also dead-on with its premise of what human nature comes to.

I read Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut about twenty years ago while travelling shotgun around Yellowstone Park. It was the summer I was wearing a wig due to my being in chemotherapy and was not especially thrilled with anything. I barely checked out the beauty of our great national park. For that I feel deeply guilty, but anyway . . .

I must read that one again, sometime, because that is Vonnegut's biggie and I barely remember the plot at all. All I remember is that I couldn't put it down. Sigh. Cooked brains is all the excuse I can give.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keeping the Peace at Home the Old Fashioned Way

Look, it's the Joads.
Maybe not. Maybe its us. Maybe its us at the River Front Old Fashioned Picnic last weekend. It's us as the first gang to wear these clothes. The significance of that cannot be lost on anyone who has sweated it up at any August picnic. These clothes were dry when we put them on. I'm sure they were anything but a few wearings down the road. Maybe even right after we took them off.

We do look good. It's Alison in the blue dress in the front, Julia, Sophia and I in the middle row and Brad and Carl bringing up the rear. I thought this would be great as a Christmas card with Christmas decorations photoshopped in, but Carl said we could do better.

I must say, this is pretty good, though. It'll be hard to beat.