Friday, December 3, 2010

Why Don't I Ski? --Good Question, Stupid Answer

Mt. Shasta 1960 Snow Gear

People are often incredulous when they learn that I’m from Utah yet I am not a lifetime, avid skier.
The fact is that in the day when I was learning to ski, ski clothes were not made with space-age fabric and insulation, but with good old crap that got wet, froze and was miserable to move in. Most of the day on the slopes was was spent standing in front of the huge lodge fireplace trying to get warm and meet cute guys, in that order. 
There were no lovely ski lifts either that I remember.  There was the “T”-bar that  was a suspended track with a chain hanging from above that dragged you with a bar that you willingly caught between your legs that froze to your butt and which was dicey to get loose from at the top of the hill.  
We would often ride to the canyons and back in the back of a pickup truck buried under piles of blankets laughing ourselves silly, miserable as you can imagine, hauling along food, good and bad cheer, and wondering what we had gotten ourselves into again.

We would generally rent our skis, but one day, I broached the possibility of buying some.   So Dad  excitedly hustled to the basement and and brought out  his vintage laminated wood skis that were tall enough to reach his wrist  as he reached his arm up as far as he could.   I wanted to cry.  He thought we’d probably want to replace the old, crusty, dried-up leather bindings.
When my other brothers and I griped the Christmas baby-brother, Rex got his season pass, skis, boots, bindings, and full ski outfit, mother simply said  "You had each other.  Rex had no one."
Of all the stupid things that all parents have ever said, and we all must confess that we’ve said stupid things, in my humble estimation, that is the stupidest that a parent has ever uttered with a straight face. I love you, Mother, but you cannot ever make me take that back.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Sex Talk -- The Basis For Life, the Bedrock of All Parental Trauma

Brad got a nice refresher from Ali, his six-year-old on his sex ed talk that we had so many years ago when he was eight the other day.  She told him that he has no womb.  She knows this because of a book she checked out of the library. 
Brad and Julia apparently don’t feel the initial sex talk I had with him him went well enough so many years ago provided a decent enough pattern, so they’ve allowed Ali to do it for herself it would appear.
I really didn’t do a very good job. I actually used paper and pencil with him for some unbelievable reason.  I have no defense.  It just seemed like a good idea at the time.  
Brad and I I were parked in my Volkswagen Beetle outside of Peruvian Park Elementary School for appropriate privacy, I remember, and I stammered and stuttered through the whole thing.  At the last minute I remembered talking about the rabbits we’d been raising and I recall saying “Didn’t it ever occur to you knowing how baby rabbits were made?” 
And he responded, “Yeah, but then I thought, ‘That couldn’t be.’” And our conversation was over.
Ben’s sex talk was even worse. I just kept talking to him waiting for  some
response to come over his face. It never came.  He stayed perfectly stoic.  I asked him later about it, years later, and he tried to comfort me by saying he knew most of it anyway. I knew it was a lie, but I took comfort from it anyway.
It’s amazing more of our children are not in analysis from the way we raise them. We probably ought to just give them books and let them learn about the Facts of Life on their own anyway. Didn’t most of our parents do a pretty lousy job of it, either by omission or blundering through.  
Friends had it all wrong, by-and-large, but at least they weren’t so traumatizing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gratitude is Me For Carl

It's been an awful year for Carl and his health.  He has been the picture of health all his life,  so this has not been easy for him or for me.  i don't know what I'd do without him either so I'll hang on as you see me doing here.

The above picture was taken by our good friend and ward member, Kimball Ungerman, a couple of weeks ago.  Thought you'd like to see it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
~George Herbert

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Popcorn - A Filler

I was working on something else and got sick of working on it (it's on Grandma Peterson, the anti-semitic semite), and I wanted to find a picture, so here's this instead.  Could be worse.  We could be unable to leave our house due to the abounding snow that never arrived.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Megamind, Maybe

We went to see Megamind with the little people, ages six and eight, and I did enjoy myself, but thought it was a little beyond them.
Maybe I did underestimate them but I kept wanting to explain things. For one thing the bad guy was just dropped  into a prison and was bad by default "Superman babylike". Also he had a magic watch that made him look like anybody he wanted to, so that was a little bewildering as he became people at will for rather subtle reasons. Also, "good guy" got tired of being good, so he just faked his own death, which isn’t okay in my book.  Substitute "Bad guy" was just a doofus. 
The female interest ultimately falls in love with the original "ambivalent" bad guy who is serving time in prison having given himself up, and then he is suddenly made town hero without too much explanation being made.  We six-year-olds aren’t stupid, but we don’t go for coming up for explanations in our cartoons or for messed up cross-purposes.
It really was quite entertaining, but even as an adult I don’t think I would’ve gone by myself.
One of the tests of a good kid movie is that Ali quotes lines afterward. She quoted none after Megamind.  I couldn’t think of any either.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is a Paradox?

Here you go.  I like to teach, I like to amuse and further I like to render others incredulous.

Doesn't the above do all three quite facilely?  A paradox you say?   Also good advice?  Confusing, also to those easily rendered confused, so my advice is not to place these around your home if you have friends who smoke if you value your carpet and furniture.

The obedient won't use this ashtray.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Updike Improves On Shakespeare, Haha

Oh my stars.  Of   course John Updike is about the  finest writer we’ve got around today, but who would have guessed he would have presumed to write a prequel to Hamlet, of all things, and have pulled it off beautifully in the hilarious Gertrude and Claudius?
He even answers some of the wilder questions in Shakespeare’s play, changes some of the names to keep you guessing, makes motives really interesting, and I think makes Shakespeare proud.
If you’re not familiar with Updike I don’t think this is where you’d like to start with him. And if you’re not familiar with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, you probably don’t want to start here either. But if you’re familiar with both, I think this’ll give you a really good time. Like I said, I love John Updike, and I do like Shakespeare and this blend is a  beaut. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One of the Truly Inspired

Gabriel Garcia Marquez has retired from public life due to worsening lymphatic cancer. Recently, he sent this farewell letter:

He is from Columbia, is considered one of the finest writers of 20th century.
"If for a moment God were to forget that I am a rag doll and granted me a piece of life, I probably wouldn't say everything that I think; rather, I would think about everything that I say.
I would value things, not for their worth but for what they mean. I would sleep less, dream more, understanding that for each minute we close our eyes, we lose sixty seconds of light.
I would walk when others hold back, I would wake when others sleep, I would listen when others talk.
And how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream!
If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, throw myself face first into the sun, baring not only my body but also my soul.
My God, if I had a heart, I would write my hate on ice, and wait for the sun to show. Over the stars I would paint with a Van Gogh dream a Benedetti poem, and a Serrat song would be the serenade I'd offer to the moon.
I would water roses with my tears, to feel the pain of their thorns and the red kiss of their petals... My God, if I had a piece of life... I wouldn't let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them.
I would convince each woman and each man that they are my favorites, and I would live in love with love.
I would show men how very wrong they are to think that they cease to be in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they cease to be in love!
To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on his own. I would teach the old that death does not come with old age, but with forgetting.
So much have I learned from you, oh men ... I have learned that everyone wants to live at the top of the mountain, without knowing that real happiness is in how it is scaled.
I have learned that when a newborn child first squeezes his father's finger in his tiny fist, he has him trapped forever.
I have learned that a man has the right to look down on another only when he has to help the other get to his feet.
From you I have learned so many things, but in truth they won't be of much use, for when I keep them within 
 this suitcase, unhappily shall I be dying."

He truly is a hero of mine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sophia Is Baptized, Ali Accompanies

 Sophia has been baptized. She said she was nervous, but she didn’t seem it.  She was as cool and pristine as always.  she only required one dipping, too.
Ali was the one to deal with.   She knew from the beginning I was going to be accompanying the song after the confirmation. She asked if she could be on the piano bench right beside me. Of course I agreed.  What harm could she do?  What harm indeed?
She confirmed this with me often. And I continued to agree not realizing that in fact she planned to sabotage the situation -- unknowingly, of course.  
When it was just about our turn, I informed Ali, and  she almost took off. I grabbed her arm just in time. Soon we were serenely  seated on the piano bench. The chorister began to wave her arm and I began to play. Then my horror, Ali placed her hands  firmly right on top of mine. I could barely move my hands. She left them there for the entire first verse. She is strong for a six-year-old.
She played around for the second verse for which I was grateful but she returned her task for the third verse.
I don’t think I humiliated Sophia on her special day. I don’t think Elmer Nelson, my piano teacher, from age ten to twenty took note in the celestial kingdom.
But I do think the world  ought to take special note,  pun intended, of Alison Aukschun.   she is definitely someone with whom making music is magic time.  It’s hard work, you must be alert and there are no advance warnings of anything.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Not Necessarily Appropriate For Sunday, But Isn't Truth Always Good Every Day?

These are good.  I know how to fold fitted sheets, but I'll not argue with most of these.  And they are clean aside from the occasional asterisk.  Based in many are causes I could march behind.  Love them on many levels.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Words Are Better Than Music

When I first started hearing about  how women talk so much more than men. I thought I was on moon.
My father was the King of Talk. My brothers are almost as adept as he and I am no slacker myself. And versatility, (BS) is the Watch Word in every conversation.
One of the most famous conversations we’ve ever had was around the dinner table when we had silenced Dad for ten minutes as he figured out how many soccer balls it would take to fill the Marriott Center down at the BYU campus.  Good times.  
My mother was always silent during these and most conversations. 
We would talk about anything. Not just sports, not hunting.   Vulgarity was frowned upon  and fighting wasn’t acceptable, and things didn’t get personal, but we had a great time. 
I still love to talk my brothers. In fact they are my favorite people to talk to. The tragedy is they’ve ruined my life by being too busy. Mark”s on his mission. Scott has a stupid job. Rex is a Bishop plus he has a stupid job too and Brent works at the car wash even though he could retire, too.
I had my colleagues at LDS Church Education, and they were pretty fun, but they were usually pretty narrow-minded.  They’d get pretty scared at some topics.  Others would not be, though, and I would gravitate towards those because I love to talk about possibilities as regards to God, His minions, His worlds and His potentials and my brothers and my dad would all love to get into that stuff.  Wild speculation of any sort was just the best.
Words to me are music, and the words of my father and my brother are symphonic. And that’s not hyperbole.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Artistic License Forms At Home

 it would be my best guess that my granddaughter thought she was only being helpful and perhaps being decorative  when she labeled my piano room with Post-it notes.   She  would surely never consider it insulting to my intelligence. She knows I know what a piano is and she also knows I know what a  room is. 
I just think she thought it was something pretty and also something fun to do.  I happen to agree with her and so I think I’ll leave it up for a while. Maybe a good long while.  I happen to like  her style.  Thanks, Sophia.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Mormon "100"

Billy Barty
Here’s a list that requires a little understanding before reading and quoting.  It’s a list of the 100 Latter-day Saints who have had the most influence on the world.  They are not necessarily famous, heroic, celebrities or “big deals”.  They might not be generally well-known, liked, or had a high or continuing level of church “activity’. and their influence was judged as to its impact on the world and not just on the Church.  Remember, however, since the Church membership is close to 14 million, that is no small influence.  
Though we do claim them, the “Mormon 100” lists no one who died before 1830’s official organization of the Church.  
We are also instructed to not quibble too much about the rankings.  
BTW, Mattie Hughes Cannon was one of my great grandfather’s wives, and I have it in writing she was jealous of my great grandmother!

1. Philo Farnsworth - inventor of the television
2. Joseph Smith, Jr. - founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
3. Brigham Young - 2nd President/Prophet of the Church; led Saints to Utah
4. Marvin Harris - inventor of the transistor radio
5. Alan Ashton - inventor of the modern word processor
6. Nolan Bushnell - Father of Video Games; inventor of "Pong"
7. Harvey Fletcher - inventor of the hearing aid, stereophonic sound, the audiometer, more than 20 other inventions
8. William Clayton - inventor of the odometer
9. Jonathan Browning - revolutionary gunsmith; inventor of the repeating rifle
10. John Moses Browning - revolutionary gunsmith; inventor of the automatic shotgun and many other developments
11. Lester Wire - inventor of the electric traffic light
12. John Taylor - 3rd President of the Church
13. Alvino Rey - inventor of the electric guitar
14. John Gilbert - silent film star
15. Thomas Stockham - father of digital sound recording (CDs, DVDs); led the 1974 technological effort to recover sound from the 18-minute gap in Nixon's White House tapes
16. Paul Boyer - received Nobel Prize for describing the mechanism of ATP synthesis
17. Ezra Taft Benson - 13th President of the Church; U.S. secretary of agriculture
18. Lino Brocka - most influential filmmaker in the history of the Philippines
Which of these individuals are among the 100 most influential Latter-day Saints of all time?
Emma Smith - wife of Joseph Smith
Eldridge Cleaver - Black Power revolutionary
Drew Major - inventor of NetWare -- corporate computer network; founder of Novell
Esther E. Peterson - one of America's most effective consumer and women's rights advocates; establish such regulations and practices as truth-in-advertising, truth-in-packaging, nutritional labeling, and unit pricing
Stephen R. Covey - author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Gordon B. Hinckley - 15th President of the Church
James Cruze - Hollywood film director
Lorenzo Snow - 5th President of the Church
George Romney - President of American Motors; governor of Michigan
Gerald ("Jerry") Molen - movie producer
Emmeline Woodward Wells - an early leader of the women's rights movement
Joe Hill - labor organizer
Spencer W. Kimball - 12th President of the Church
Don Bluth - director of animated films
Ab Jenkins - "Mormon Meteor"; race car driver, designer; held world land speed records between 1932-56
Alex Oblad - fundamental work in catalysis and contributions to the production of high octane gasoline and synthetic ammonia
Alma Richards - Track and field star; first Utahn to win a gold medal in the Olympics (1912, Stockholm); In all, won 63 national and regional championships
Anne Osborn Poelman - author of the definitive textbook in neuroradiology
Anne Perry - mystery writer
Arthur Henry King - scholar
Avard T. Fairbanks - sculptor
Billy Barty - actor; founder of Little People of America
Bruce R. McConkie - apostle, author
Carlyle Harmon - major improvements in disposable diapers
Colin Low - Canadian documentary filmmaker and IMAX technology pioneer
Cynthia Garner - first woman to appear on Fortune Magazine's cover
Danny Ainge - pro basketball player
Dave Wolverton - science fiction writer, long-time head of the Writers of the Future contest
David O. McKay - 9th President of the Church
Donny and Marie Osmond - entertainers
E. Park Guyman - developed a patented solvent extraction process that has the potential to convert American tar sands into billions of barrels of high grade asphalt and crude oil
Earl Douglass - Geologist, dinosaur fossil hunter
Ed "Big Daddy" Roth - Hot rod designer and creator of anti-hero, pop culture icon "Rat Fink"
Edwin Catmull - computer animation pioneer; co-founder of Pixar
Ellis Reynolds Shipp - one of Utah's most distinguished leaders in the practice and teaching of medicine
Elouise M. Bell - English professor and literary scholar
Emerson Tippetts - contributions to synthetic textiles
Eugene England - literary critic; English professor; pioneer in study of Mormon letters
Ewart Swinyard - developed drugs to suppress epilepsy
Fawn Brodie - author of No Man Knows My History
Forrest S. Baker III - film producer; founder of Feature Films for Families
Gene Fullmer - boxer, held Middleweight titles in 1957, '59
George Albert Smith - 8th President of the Church
George Hill - coal research including development directed toward the transformation of coal for liquid automobile fuel
Gideon O. Burton - English professor and literary critic
Gladys Knight - singer
Glen A. Larson - television producer
Harold B. Lee - 11th President of the Church
Harvey Greenfield - member of the Jarvik-7 team that developed first artificial heart
Heber J. Grant - 7th President of the Church
Henry Eyring - chemist and researcher noted for work in molecular reactions; received highest awards in chemistry, including Joseph Priestly Medal and the Wolf Prize
Homer Warner - development of computer sciences to a fine art in medical diagnosis, particularly for heart ailments
Howard W. Hunter - 14th President of the Church
Hyrum Smith - founder of Franklin (as in Day Planners) and partner in Franklin-Covey
Ina Coolbrith - California's first poet laureatte
Ivy Baker Priest - U.S. Treasurer, whose signature appeared on U.S. currency from 1953 to 1961
J. Edwin Seegmiller - helped develop amniocentesis, to learn about the health of fetuses
J. Willard Marriott - hotelier
Jack Anderson - Washington muckraker; Pulitzer prize winner
James T. Fletcher was appointed twice to be Director of NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) by Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan
Jean Westwood - first woman to serve as chairperson of the National Democratic Party
Jim Parkin - pioneered artificial ears through cochlear implants
John Bennion - English professor and author; "Burial Pool"; Breeding Leah and Other Stories
John Dixon - pioneered laser surgery
Johnny Miller - PGA golfer; won 24 major tournaments; in golf Hall of Fame; Designs golf courses
Jon Huntsman - billionaire industrialist
Joseph F. Smith - 6th President of the Church
Joseph Fielding Smith - 10th President of the Church
Kathleen Burton Clarke - first woman director of the Bureau of Land Management
Kieth Merrill - Latter-day Saint filmmaker and early IMAX pioneer
Kim L. O'Neill - patent in 1997, monoclonal antibody that quickly, accurately and inexpensively detects cancer at early stages, by measuring Thymidine Kinase 1 (TK1)
Laraine Day - actress
Marie Windsor - actress; a director of the Screen Actors Guild for 25 years; founder of the Screen Actors Guild Film Society
Marriner S. Eccles - Banker; helped create World Bank and International Monetary Fund as well as structure the Federal Reserve System; Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., is named after him
Martha Hughes Cannon - first woman elected as a state senator in the United States
Mary Lythgoe Bradford - author and essayist
Melvin Cook - development of slurry blasting agents which have replaced dynamite
Michael Austin - literary critic; teaches Eighteenth-Century British Literature, World Literature, and Rhetoric at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; has written about Mormon literature
Milton Wadsworth - new methods for the beneficiation of minerals
Mitt Romney - director of SLC Olympics and Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts
Nephi Anderson - (1865-1923) the most prominent fiction writer of the "Home Literature" period of Mormon Literature. Author of Added Upon (1898); Dorian; John St. John; Marcus King, Mormon, more
Orson Scott Card - writer
Paula Hawkins - first woman senator from Florida
Pete Harman - co-founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken
Randy Bachman - rock musician, of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Guess Who
Raymond F. Jones - popular Campbell-era science fiction writer
Reva Beck Bosone - (1895 - 1983) first woman member of U.S. Congress from Utah
Rhonda Fleming - actress, philanthropist
Richard Dutcher - filmmaker
Richard Rich - animation director
Richard Thomas - head of the National Academy of Science Committee on Toxicology
Sarah Melissa Granger Kimball - (1818-1898) Early suffragist and women's rights activist
Scott Woodward - selected by the Egyptian government to study the DNA and lineage of Egyptian mummies
Sheri Dew - CEO of Deseret Book; member of Relief Society First Presidency
Sterling Van Wagenen - filmmaker and film teacher; co-founder of Sundance Film Festival
Suzanne Bransford Emery Holmes Delitch Engalitcheff - socialite
Terry Moore - actress; USO star; wife of Howard Hughes
Terry Tempest Williams - environmentalist, writer
Tracy Hall - synthesis of diamonds
Tracy Hickman - fantasy author; co-author of the popular Dragonlance series
Waldemar Young - Hollywood screenwriter
Wayne Quinton - developing artificial kidneys
Wilbert L. Gore - Developed waterproof fabric Goretex.
Wilford Woodruff - 4th President of the Church
Willam F. Christensen - Ballet choreographer and company director; founder of Ballet West; choreographed more than 50 ballets, including the first "Nutcracker"
Yuki Saito - Japanese singer/actress
Four BYU music students invented LAN or Local Area Networking which spawned Novell becoming an international leader in networking software
Zenna Henderson - early female science fiction writer
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