Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Utah rated most dynamic economy in the nation

Read about it here.

Team Hoyt

Read about a dad and his son who have competed together in 206 triathlons (6 Ironmen distances), 64 marathons (24 straight Boston Marathons), and dozens of other distance competitions.

Oh, and did I mention that Rick was born as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, and that in triathlons his father pushes him in a racing wheelchair, tows him in a trailer behind or on a special seat on his bike, and pulls him in a raft during the swim?


Read about "CAN" here.

Hat tip to my son Jed for telling me about Team Hoyt.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

AFA shows class in defeat

BYU snapped the Air Force Academy's 30-game home court winning streak tonight 62-58. Air Force led by as many as 11 in the second half before the Cougars came back.

But it is what happened before the game that makes you proud of these cadets who represent all of us so well. ESPN tells the story:
After the game, Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik struggled to find the right words to describe his group of six seniors playing in their final game at Clune Arena.

"I'm so proud of them," Bzdelik said of the senior class that went 53-2 at Clune.

He'd give them all a hug if he wasn't afraid of catching the flu bug from them. Nick Welch and Matt McCraw had to go to the hospital Monday night and each received IV fluids. McCraw went back Tuesday morning for three more units.

The team also didn't get home from its Saturday afternoon loss to Texas Christian until Monday night because of dust storms and airplane problems in Dallas. The team could've taken the first flight out Monday morning, but gave up their seats to 18 military personnel trying to get back home to Fort Carson to see their families. They'd been in Iraq for the past nine months.

"It puts things in perspective," Bzdelik said.
Fighting to the end when you're sick, and giving up your seats to some vets fresh home from war -- it's no wonder they ran out of gas at the end to the fresher Cougars. But it also shows what makes this country what it is. Hats off to the Fighting Falcons!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Hypocrisy: An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore won an Oscar last night for his "documentary" on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."

His personal use of electricity and natural gas are proof once again that global warming is about a lot of hot air.

FOX Sports: BYU QB Beck most impressive at NFL Combine

Breakout senior season may lead to promising pro career. Read about it here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

2008 Election: Gladys Knight for President

"There's no doubt history is in the making with the 2008 presidential race. We may have either the first Black president, the first Woman president, or the first Mormon president.
"Why not kill three birds with one stone - elect Gladys Knight president and call it a day." --Lloyd Benson & Kyle Stephens, Sandstone Nevada Stake (hat tip to friend and neighbor Lynne Christy)

Hillary Clinton: less inevitable?

Geffen v. the Clintons. Hillary v. Obama. An interesting political season (I would say "year", but we're nearly two years out from the presidential election, and candidates have already announced and are running). Peggy Noonan opines on the latest developments.

Caroline's Page

I've linked to Tony Woodlief's Sand in the Gears almost from the first day of starting this blog. I've enjoyed most his posts about being a dad. Here's one.

And here are the signature photos at the bottom of his blog:

We both share having a sweet daughter named Caroline. Read his tender tribute to his Caroline, and later posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Not the war in Iraq. The Democratic majority in Congress.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Memo to Dems: Most Americans Want to Win in Iraq

Public Opinion Strategies survey shows:

Most voters think the country is going in the wrong direction (67%), that President Bush is doing a poor job (60%), and that Iraq will never be a stable democracy (60%).

No surprises there, right? But...

* 57% believe “The Iraq War is a key part of the global war on terrorism.”
* 57% “support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for its people.
* 50% want our troops should stay and “do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to their country” while only 17% favor immediate withdrawal
* 56% believe “Even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.”
* 53% believe “The Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw the troops from Iraq.”

“The survey shows Americans want to win in Iraq, and that they understand Iraq is the central point in the war against terrorism and they can support a U.S. strategy aimed at achieving victory,” said Neil Newhouse, a partner in POS. “The idea of pulling back from Iraq is not where the majority of Americans are.”

Hat tip Outside the Beltway.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Love That Dog

My little sister gave us Love That Dog for Valentine's Day. We read it together out loud last night.

Love that book.

Susan Creech describes the book and her inspiration:
Love That Dog is the story of Jack, his dog, his teacher, and words. The story develops through Jack's responses to his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, over the course of a school year. At first, his responses are short and cranky: "I don't want to" and "I tried. Can't do it. Brain's empty." But as his teacher feeds him inspiration, Jack finds that he has a lot to say and he finds ways to say it.

Jack is both stubborn and warm-hearted, and he can be both serious and funny. Although he hates poetry at first, he begins to find poems that inspire him. All year long, he is trying to find a way to talk about his beloved dog, Sky, and the poems
his teacher offers him eventually give him a way to do that.

Jack becomes especially fond of a poem by Walter Dean Myers titled "Love That Boy," and it is this poem that finally gives Jack a way to tell the whole story of his dog, Sky. In gratitude, Jack invites Walter Dean Myers to visit his class.

Walter Dean Myers' poem, "Love That Boy", has been hanging on my bulletin board for the past three or four years. It's at eye level, so I probably glance at it a dozen times a day. I love that poem--there is so much warmth and exuberance in it. (The poem is reprinted at the back of Love That Dog.)

One day as I glanced at this poem, I started thinking about the much-loved boy in Myers' poem. I wondered what that boy might love. Maybe a pet? A dog? Maybe also a teacher? And whoosh--out jumped Jack's voice.

Here's Waleter Dean Myers' "Love That Boy":

Love that Boy,
Like a rabbit loves to run.

I said I love that boy,
Like a rabbit loves to run.

Love to call him in the morning.
Love to call him,
"Hey there, son!"

He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk like his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he's happy,
When he sad, he grins again.

His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I'll get him by and by

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He'll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done.
Walter Dean Myers

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Outwitting the mullahs

I'm not computer-literate enough to understand all the content of this interview, but I know the interviewee and have regular contact with him. He is a computer whiz and gifted photographer who came up with a way to get around Internet censorship in Iran. He and countless other Iranians like him justify a sense of long-term optimism about the future of their country, even as they give the mullahs headaches and make them sweat (and perhaps curse with frustration). Read the interview here.

Vista v. Mac OS

Surprise. Mac OS is still the best. Take it from Apple. :-)

The Bear Story

My father-in-law used to read this James Whitcomb Riley poem to my wife. We don't read to each other half enough!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Root Causes

In Salt Lake City on Monday evening, 18 year-old Sulejmen Talovic came home from work, took a shower, drove to Trolley Square, and, using a shotgun and handgun, methodically killed 5 people, wounded 4, and traumatized thousands in seven minutes.


It was an act of terrorism. Besides the deliberate random killing, that seemed to be the objective: to terrorize. Heroes killed him and stopped his killing.

Why? Why do terrorists kill? A political statement? An expression of rage? Mental illness? Despair? A means to a glorious end? Forced "suicide"?

It isn't known (yet) where the 18 year-old got the weapons and ammunition. But those were only the means to an end. More important is - where did he get the idea that germinated into action?

For me there is no satisfactory answer.

Public radio podcasts

iTunes is free. Podcasts are free (mostly). Here's a sample of public radio podcasts under particular categories (919 at last count...). Give some a listen.

UPDATE: Subscribe to The News from Lake Wobegon ("A Prairie Home Companion") here.

Friday, February 16, 2007

On a lighter note . . . Harline is still open

Hat tip to BluePete on CougarBoard.

Still a Scaredy-Cat

Former President Jimmy Carter has said some provocative (translate: anti-Israel/Semitic?) things in his new book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, but is coming under fire for not engaging in a fair debate about his book.

Critics say President Bush is the worst president in history.

They have short memories.

Jimmy Carter was this country's worst president. And he's setting records for being its worst former president.

"Malaise Forever" indeed.


John Podhoretz:
Nobody who actually supports the troops says "I support the troops" any longer. The words "I support the troops" are now solely for those who oppose what the troops are doing.
Welcome to 1984.

U.S. House to America's enemies: "We're weak. You win."

Why is this woman smiling? The photo was taken after a nonbinding resolution rejecting the President's plan to deploy more troops in Iraq passed the U.S. House 246-182.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced, "The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home."

Quick translation: Cut off funding. Force U.S. troops to "end the fighting" (give up). And bring the troops home.

And then what?

Message to Iraq: "Democracy in your country isn't worth dying for."

Message to America's enemies: "We're weak. You win."

So why is she smiling?

For making the world more secure?



UPDATE: Proposed bumpersticker: "Support the Troops: LET THEM WIN"

UPDATE: WaPo slams Rep. John Murtha's cynical strategy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Bronco Way

Great piece in BYU Magazine on head football coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Go Cougars!

When are you coming home?

Accompanied by her mom on the piano, six year-old Heather Martin sings in her rural Oklahoma church a song written by her mom about her brother Shaun who is serving in Iraq. Hat tip to Donald Sensing.

UPDATE: The power in this song, like the WW II classic "I'll be home for Christmas", is an undergirding sense of worthwhile sacrifice and familial love. Unspoken is the real fear that he may be coming home in a casket.

With recent Congressional action, Shaun and other American troops may be coming home soon(er).

But - to what end?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pieces of the past

"Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies." -- The Little Prince

"Love looks forward, hate looks back, anxiety has eyes all over its head." --Chinese proverb

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they may have is not ours to rule." --Gandalf in Tolkien's Trilogy


THIS I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel-
That blue blade that the king's son bears,-but this
Blunt thing-!" he snapt and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

--Edward Rowland Sill

"The devil flatters us that we are very righteous when we are feeding on the faults of others." --Joseph Smith

"Our lives are the only meaningful expression of what we believe and in whom we believe." --Gordon B. Hinckley

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic! With God wonders are possible." --Unknown

"The mainstay of those without facts is ridicule." --Unknown

"Bad news doesn't get better with time." --Unknown

"It doesn't matter where you serve, but how." --Lisle Updike

"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." --Unknown

"My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure." --Sir Galahad

"To you from falling hands I fling the torch. Be yours to hold it high; nor let its flame diminish." --Axel A. Madsen

Instapundit on What the Left Will Fight For: Power

Blogfather Glenn Reynolds posted:
Top House Democrats, working in concert with anti-war groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a quick end to U.S. involvement in Iraq, and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options.

Led by Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and supported by several well-funded anti-war groups, the coalition's goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself.
How brave of them.

UPDATE: A simple question: "What will the left fight for?"

I believe the answer is "power."


Ice Storm in D.C. Cancels Hearing on Global Warming

Life is fully of irony.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Winds of change in Iran?

No one should underestimate the threat posed by the mullahs' regime, but there might yet be reason for optimism regarding the long-term future of Iran. For details, click here and here.

A hat-tip to Regime Change Iran for making this information available to us.

Monday, February 12, 2007

U.S. Budget Surplus: $38 Billion

Hmm. Per Dow Jones MarketWatch. Read all about it.

Gunman kills 5 at Trolley Square in SLC, 4 wounded, 3 critically

Shotgun-wielding young man in trench coat opened fire at a popular shopping mall. Hundreds traumatized. Gunman killed.


UPDATE: Off-duty Ogden police officer is first to engage shooter, 18 year-old Bosnian refugee, and he and other officers kill him within six minutes of first 911 call. Names of the victims are also released. Read about it here.

UPDATE: For a recent photo of the shooter, Sulejmen Talovic, click here. His family has no idea why he did what he did, and wants to remind everyone that just because they are Muslim doesn't mean they are terrorists. I agree. There should be no guilt by association here. But regardless of their ethnicity or religion, and regardless of Sulejmen's own motivation, what he did Monday night can only fairly be classified as a terrorist act.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Can't Blame White People - by Bill Cosby

Not an urban legend. Here's what he said.

A World Split Apart - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

On 8 June 1978, the date the revelation on priesthood was announced, Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave a watershed address at Harvard University titled "A World Split Apart" (and also "The Exhausted West"). Hard to believe it's been nearly 30 years. So much has changed. And so little.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Three visions: same temple?

After I posted some of Akiane's paintings, I was reading in Symbols in Stone (pp. 23-24) about John Taylor's 1845 vision of the temple of the New Jerusalem.

He dreamt that while he stood gazing with pleasure at the Nauvoo temple, "I saw another tower rising like unto the one that is on the west end of the temple, and immediately exclaimed to the person that I had before conversed with, 'why there is another tower.'

West tower of Nauvoo, Illinois temple

"And said I, pointing my finger, 'still further there is another, and yet another. We have not yet begun to see the whole.'" Then he saw a number of towers united with and part of a great temple.

Akiane's vision of "Supreme Sanctuary" (2006)

Circa 1844, Parley P. Pratt saw a similar vision of Zion (Symbols in Stone, p. 24): "In the midst of this city stood a magnificent temple, which, in magnitude and splendor, exceeded everything of the kind known upon the earth. . . . 'This' said the Angel . . .'is the sanctuary of freedom, the palace of the great King . . . .' . . . [There] was a large square surrounding the temple, and containing a square mile of land, enclosed with a strong wall of masonry, and ornamented with walks, grass plots, flowers and shady groves of ornamental trees, the whole arranged in the most perfect taste, and with an elegance, neatness and beauty, that might well compare to Eden."

Hmm. Three visions of the supreme sanctuary. All from the same source?

UPDATE: Here's what 11 year-old Akiane wrote about her painting, "Supreme Sanctuary": "In the new earth I believe there will be a place where each of us will be able to choose and create a sanctuary for worship. I believe that certain things will be somewhat similar to the earth and many things completely different. This is the garden and a mansion I would like to plant and build. In fact, the colors in the original painting are so unique and mysterious that it was almost impossible to reproduce them for the print reproduction."

Intel cofounder buys his first Mac

Les Vadasz. Smart man. Hat tip Home Office Lawyer.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

12 year-old prodigy paints heaven

Here is her home page, and here is a gallery of her paintings.

And here are four, "The Change", "Supreme Sanctuary", "Mother's Love [Mary]", and a self-portrait ("Akiane Painter"):

The Change, Age 11 (2006)

The Supreme Sanctuary, Age 11 (2006)

Mothers Love, Age 11 (2006)

Akiane Painter (self-portrait), Age 11, 2006

See a CNN video here.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Smith Fieldhouse 2/2/07: BYU men's volleyball experience

I went with my father-in-law to watch #1 BYU v. #2 Cal Irvine last night at the Smith Fieldhouse. The place was literally packed to the rafters -- over 5,700 people in a building with a listed capacity of 5,000.

It was so loud your ears rang, and you couldn't just hear it, you could feel it.

After the Cougars won the first game, a group directly across from us unfurled a banner that said, "God still cares about you."

Not to be outdone, a group of students next to us wrote a single letter on several pieces of notebook paper and held them up together: (top row, centered, letters in blue) "B - Y - U" (next row down, letters in black) "A - N - T - (in blue) B (in black) - E - A - T - E - R - S". The person with the blue "B" shook it up and down. Cute.

The Cougars swept the visiting Anteaters 3-0 -- the Y's seventh consecutive sweep (they've only lost a single game so far this year). The same two teams play again tonight.

Rodnei Santos goes up for a kill:

UPDATE: Anteaters win tonight's match 3-2. Maybe fans shouldn't have held up the "God still cares about you" sign last night -- pride goes before a fall. Interesting to see who's ranked #1 on Monday: BYU, who swept UCI Friday, or UCI who took five games to beat BYU tonight.

UPDATE: BYU's still #1 with 11 1st place votes to UCI's 3.

UPDATE: BYU was swept last night by Cal-Baptist 3-0. Does that mean God cares about the Baptists?

UPDATE: After going 9-0, BYU has now lost 4 straight matches falling 3-2 to Pepperdine on Thursday, and getting swept by the Waves 3-0 today. Does God still care about the Cougars? :-(

TGM's best popcorn in the world

I grew up having "PC" parties watching Johnny Carson with my family. This "recipe's" from my dad.

It is the best popcorn in the world. (It's not boasting if it's true, and it's easy to make.)

We use a Whirley-Pop popcorn popper, but you can use a wok or a large pot with a lid.

The secret is Nucoa no-burn margarine (a lactose-free, cholesterol-free margarine distributed by GFA Brands, Inc., Cresskills, NJ, and available at most grocery stores).

Put a whole stick of Nucoa no-burn in the Whirley-Pop with 3 kernels of popcorn. (It can be a store-bought brand -- doesn't need to be gourmet popping corn). Put the stove on high. (If you're using a wok or pot, put the lid on).

When the third kernel pops, pour in 2/3 cup of popcorn and start turning the handle to keep the popcorn moving (or shake the wok or pot back and forth over the heating unit).

When you don't hear any more pops, empty the popcorn into a large bowl.

Somehow the Nucoa lightly "butters" and "salts" the popcorn to perfection. The high heat also makes the kernels explode so they're light and fluffy.

Try it. You'll like it. And you won't be satisfied with microwave popcorn again.