Saturday, December 30, 2006

Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ

My daughter Kelly gave us a special guided tour at BYU's Museum of Art this afternoon. You can download a musical montage of the exhibit here.

Saddam hanged 12/30/06

"How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" -- Isaiah 14:12

Friday, December 29, 2006

"A Ford not a Lincoln"

Garry reflects on the late President.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The boys go Vegas - a new family tradition

At the last minute, we were able to get tickets to the Pioneer Purevision Las Vegas Bowl via friend Mark Russell in Oregon who hooked me up with former player (lettered in 1976) Roy Ward in Nephi, Utah.

Last year, we went to the game with my sons Jed and David, their friend Austin McMillan, and my nephew Gabe Davis. David and Austin are now on LDS missions.

This year, my son, Jed, nephew, Gabe Davis, his friend, Grant Holyoke, BYU 68th ward member David Douma, and I drove down Thursday morning, checked in to our room at Nellis AFB, and got to the game about an hour early. The stadium was already about half full with mostly BYU fans. Our seats were in the corner of the south endzone 8 rows up.

Before the game, Cosmo came up and high-fived us and others around us. A highlight of the pregame was a huge American flag held by airmen from Nellis that covered the field, and flyover by two F-15s out of Nellis during the national anthem -- they hit their afterburners just over the stadium. Cool sight against the cobalt blue sky. Screaming jets: "the sound of freedom".

The PAC-10's Oregon Ducks were apparently upset at having to play a mid-major conference team in a lower-tier bowl. Their head coach said he didn't believe BYU could compete in the PAC-10. It would be interesting to see how Oregon would compete in the MWC. They ended the season with four losses and got embarrassed by BYU. For my part, I think they wanted to win and played hard, but were beaten by a superior team.

After the game, we rushed the field.

I was able to slap the shoulder pads of linebacker Bryan Kehl and tell him "Great game, Bryan." I also came face to face with running back Curtis Brown. I asked him if he got his 100 yards (he needed just over 100 yards to become the first BYU running back to go over 1,000 for two consecutive seasons). He said, "Yes!" John Beck came by me and tapped me on my shoulder on the way to the trophy presentation stand, "Excuse me. I need to get by, please." I was able to talk briefly with Daniel Coats (lots of people were taking pictures of him with their kids -- he's married and has three of his own!). I said, "Thanks for all the good memories, Daniel." He said, "Thank you, sir." I was with a crowd surrounding game MVP tight end Jonny Harline while he was interviewed by KSL TV's Tom Kirkland.

We had a blast. We'll plan to do it again next year.

TGM at 80

I was in San Francisco in business recently and returned in time for my father's 80th birthday celebration. It took place beginning at The Belvedere in Salt Lake.

My mom had invited some of their old friends and wives for a surprise reception in the party room: Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, J. Richard Clarke, Chase Peterson, M. Russell Ballard, L. Tom Perry, and Richard G. Scott. Elder Nelson manned the piano for the group to sing "Happy Birthday" to my dad.

After the reception, we had family photos taken by Mark Philbrick, a catered family dinner, and went around the circle reciting something we had each memorized for the occasion. Our daughter Caroline sang. My niece Molly played the piano.

After dinner, we went to the Conference Center for the Christmas concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, and the Norwegian singing star Sissel. It was a magical evening.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A weapon of mass communication

One of my Iranian friends sent me an e-mail message today, asking how she could get back on Flickr, which is blocked by the government. However, a number of my other friends over there have figured out how to circumvent the block, and they show up regularly on Flickr, often presenting some dazzling images which are their gifts to the world at large. I suggested to my friend that she contact a computer engineer I know, who lives in another part of Iran and is himself an enthuiastic member of Flickr. I also mentioned something I am seriously considering doing myself, in order to strike a blow for Iranian liberty; it involves a software program called Psiphon, which is discussed at some length in this article.

Feedback is invited. I told my friend that I had been thinking about doing this for several weeks, and wanted to look into it a bit further before I download Psiphon into my home computer. I explained that I trust the Iranians I know, but that I want to be sure that using Psiphon will not open the floodgates and make my computer accessible to people I don't know or trust, who could plant a virus in it or work other kinds of mischief that I don't want to risk.

In a tangentially related matter, Mr. Ahmadinejad has his own blog, which I have mentioned here before. Anyone in the world can leave comments on his site. I have not done so, because I believe the man is a snake, and I don't want to contribute anything to his blog that might somehow suggest that I support him in any way. (His people are another matter; I have great respect and affection for the Iranians I know, who I believe deserve far better than their current regime.) But I seriously considered leaving a comment of my own a few days ago. As my readers doubtless know, he is sponsoring a conference to investigate whether the Holocaust actually took place, and its participants include such luminaries and noteworthy historical scholars as David Duke. So I wanted to leave a comment on Mr. Ahmadinejad's blog, to the effect that I apologized for mentioning this too late to enable him to avoid the expense and inconvenience of the conference, but that I knew of a link to a website that could address all of his doubts and concerns. The link in question would be to the transcript of the Nuremberg trials, which appears on my own blog, I miei cari amici. I would also point out to the Iranian president that none of the defendants in the Nuremberg trial -- not a single one -- ever denied that the Holocaust had in fact taken place, although all of them had been accused either of actively participating in it, or aiding and abetting those who did. Their famous defense, as we all know, was that they had simply been following orders.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Best of BYU Police Beat Fall 2006

The best of the best (only at BYU...) here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

7 December 1941 / 2006

At RealClearPolitics, classicist and historian Victor Davis Hanson compares the two. Money quote about our modern paradigm and paradoxes:
A stronger, far more affluent United States believes it can use less of its power against the terrorists than a much poorer America did against the formidable Japanese and Germans.

World War II, which saw more than 400,000 Americans killed, was not nearly as controversial or frustrating as one that has so far taken less than one-hundredth of that terrible toll.

And after Pearl Harbor, Americans believed they had no margin of error in an elemental war for survival. Today, we are apparently convinced that we can lose ground, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, and still not lose either the war or our civilization.

Of course, by 1945, Americans no longer feared another Pearl Harbor. Yet, we, in a far stronger and larger United States, are still not sure we won't see another Sept. 11.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Microsoft's next big thing: Zune

iPod it ain't.

From Playlist's online review: "This is an unholy mess."

But it was out before the Christmas rush...

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: According to CBS MarketWatch, iPod chargers are outselling Zune on Amazon. As WIRED's Cult of Mac blog puts it, a power cord is "beating down the latest iPod Killer".

Time will tell if Zune 2.0 will fare any better.

Bottled music

A street with bottles lined up in two rows with varying amounts of ballast. A guy wearing rollerblades with little plastic striker extension mallets. Performance art at its best. Amazing!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Insanely Great

I'm a Mac maniac (got the original in 1984). But just found this retrospective today. The Mac changed things. It still is.