Moby Dick

Moby Dick (Kindle Gold Edition)Moby Dick by Herman Melville

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Throughout reading 97% of the book, I had planned on giving it 5 stars, despite the encyclopedia of whale hunting it contained, until I got to the denouement. The denouement was too short and unconvincing. It reminds me of Magnolia, long-ass, boring movie that I loved, but when you get to the end, you hear someone in the audience shout out, "All this for flying frogs?" Melville ought to have spent more time fleshing out the denouement and less time reciting all of the research he did for the book. Usually, authors do a ton of research to inform them and get the nuances right, but they don't include their background research in the actual novel. Melville threw in all of his research into the book as well. Much of it was interesting, but I could've lived without it. When he was writing, not reciting research, it was gripping. He has an excellent command of the language that was poetic at times. And then there were the out of place stage directions as if he decided it was a play 90% of the way into the book. Overall, I enjoyed the book, I even enjoyed the quirkiness where Melville didn't know what he wanted the book to be exactly. I just wish he'd cut out 50% of "Everything you never wanted to know about whaling and never asked."

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Blood Brothers


So, I wrote this novel (not an especially good novel) when I was 22. A LONG time ago. And now it is available on Amazon.com for KINDLE (which you can read on not only a Kindle device, but your Mac, PC, iPhone, Blackberry, Android phone or iPad). If you're interested, you can get it at the following link.

There are some quirky events in the book, several of which happened to me in real life, too. ;) There is supposed to be a description of the book, but for some reason Amazon didn't enter that on their page. It's about two best friends, Matt and John, who have known each other since they were children. Matt is dying from leukemia and is bitter that John has his whole life ahead of him. But life doesn't always play out like we expect it to.

Available at Amazon.com

If you're interested in a FREE eBook copy to review (and you promise to leave feedback on Amazon.com after you've read it), leave your email address in the comments and I'll email you a PDF of the book. THANKS!

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I just bought an iPad! This is my first post from my iPad.


Caprica - the Apple vs Microsoft fight lives on

Am I the only one to notice the Apple versus Microsoft connection in the new Caprica pilot? No one else seems to have mentioned it.

First, there's Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) who is very much a Bill Gates-ian type of character heading up a massive I.T. company who lives in a huge modern mansion on the shores of what is likely somewhere in Vancouver, but could as easily be in the Seattle area. He's going to become the show's antagonist.

Graystone steals from his main rival a very important piece of technology and steals key programming from his own daughter, much like Bill Gates stole the Apple system and made a cheap, upside down, backwards copy of it, we all know and despise called Windows.

The protagonists in Caprica are led by Graystone's daughter who has joined a monotheistic cult, following the one true god. The symbol of this cult is an infinite loop, which as any Apple fanboy can tell you is an unspoken symbol of Apple, Inc. as the address of Apple's headquarters is 1 Infinite Loop.

At the end of Caprica, we see Graystone's daughter (or what's left of her) trick her father by faking a collapse and later escaping with the technology he's misappropriated.

So, in the end Caprica boils down to a contest between Graystone's massive I.T. company, with military contracts and a majority standing with the population of Caprica and the followers of the one true god who "think different-ly" than the rest of society.



It's time again for NaNoWriMo!


Shitty City

In other news...

Sandy mayor Tom Dolan announced today that Sandy will officially change its name to Shitty. The mayor felt the city needed a name that more truly reflected its nature.
"Sandy was a pretty shitty name already, so we might as well call our city Shitty," said Shitty resident Ledawna Dew.
Also, since Real Salt Lake is no longer located in Salt Lake, they will be changing their name to Real Shitty.



Well, what can I say about YAZ!? This short-lived iconic '80s band, which only existed for 18 months from 1982-1983, launched some of the most influential music to flow out of that decade. I discovered them as a sophomore in high school, probably introduced to them, or at least their lesser known songs, by my best friend Tom Rasmussen while riding around in his rickety old, green Ford Pinto. He had their two albums constantly playing on his car stereo with a huge set of speakers set up in the back of the Pinto.

I didn't know at the time I encountered them that they'd already broken up. I didn't know until recently that they'd broken up before their second album was even released, nor that they'd never even performed the songs from the second album live in concert. I just knew when I heard they were reconnecting for a concert tour that I had to be there, wherever there was. Fortunately, they came stateside and I found myself in the Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A. on July 8 for their second concert in the USA on their Reconnected Tour.

So much of my teen angst growing up gay and Mormon in Utah was tied to the music of Yaz. Their music was so different from most in that time, sure it was synth pop, but it had soul. Most other bands of the era were cold, dark, or on the other extreme so very bubbly. Yaz had wound such a great contrast, the cool detachment of Vince Clarke's synth mixed with the warm, warm bluesy, soulful voice of Alison Moyet.

Vince Clarke founded Depeche Mode, but left because the other band members thumbed their noses at his song "Only You," which became one of Yaz's most tremendous musical moments. I can't imagine Dave Gahan singing "Only You," though. It was serendipitous, as Moyet captures the raw emotion of that song like no one else could. "Looking from a window above, it's like a story of love. Can you hear me?" I could hear Alison and it was like she could feel all the solicitude and solitude that came from being a gay Mormon teenager who was in love with his best friend who was hopelessly straight. "All I ever knew, only you."

I remember listening to songs like "Winter Kills," and "Mr. Blue" and aching with the pure agony of melancholy. Fortunately, while I still connect with the emotions these songs evoke, I no longer feel such intense pain. While I was a depressed, repressed teen, I've managed to grow into a singularly happy, successful adult.

And happily, Yaz wasn't just disconsolate, emotional tunes, they created some of the best dance hits of all time, which still get played in clubs worldwide even now.

So, I found myself at the Orpheum, wondering if Yaz would be as amazing live, whether they would sing the songs I wanted to hear. Moyet and Clarke did not disappoint. I was brought to tears at least 3 times during the concert. The first time was simply the moment Alison and Vince stepped on stage and began to perform "Nobody's Diary." I cried for that 16 year-old gay boy whose outlet was listening to Yaz and dancing. "For the time we had, I don't want to be a page in your diary, babe."

Again, I was brought to tears when the third song came up, "Mr. Blue," which was always one of the most emotional songs for me and comforted me when I was a lonely teenager. "I'm here to stay with you and no matter what you do, when you're lonely, I'll be lonely, too."

The rest of the concert was one of the best parties I've ever attended, like singing along with a crowd of your best friends to all your favorite songs. Yaz performed 21 songs (and they only ever released 23), so they sang nearly everything. The two songs they didn't perform were "Softly Over" and "And On," both songs from their second album "You and Me Both." I really think they should have gone ahead and performed all 23, but 21 songs is better than you get at a lot of concerts.

The final time I cried was during their first encore song, the song that started it all, the song Vince was willing to give up on Depeche Mode for. It makes me cry even now listening to it again: "Only You." And I cried because the party was nearly over.

Yaz left us upbeat with their crowd-enthusing dance hit, "Situation," the nine-minute 12" version. And we left the emotional roller coaster of an evening with Yaz on an emotional high.

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This is my favorite song du jour. It's from The Ting Tings. No, it's not their gateway drug, "Shut Up And Let Me Go," featured in iTunes commercials. Proving they're no one-hit wonder, they've also got the scorchers "That's Not My Name" and "Traffic Light." The latter is my current chocolate mocha swirl. It's so different from their other beats, with such stripped syncopation, and singer Katie White sings so sweetly.

Check it for yourself on YouTube:

Apple iTunes

And here are the lyrics for Traffic Light:

Don't you be a traffic light
Don't you be a traffic light
With all things said
You turn to red
Don't you be a traffic light

And don't you be a round-a-bout
No, not another round-a-bout
We've come so far
Yet back to the start
Don't you be a round-a-bout

Oh now baby don't misread the signs
If you just turn the key then things will turn out fine

Let's not have a break down
No, not another breakdown
You're on your own a long way from home
Let's not have a breakdown

Don't misread the signs
If you just turn the key then things will turn out fine

You're pushing me, you're breaking
Over taking me, you're racing
First placing me, not chasing me back home

Don't let me down

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Shawn: My mother just feels misunderstood.
Me: No, we understand her clearly. That's the problem.

Shawn: I wonder what that Qwest guy is doing in our neighborhood.
Me: He's on a quest.


Mormons Make Me Want to Puke

PUKE! Mormons makes me want to puke.

My nephew on his Mormon mission in Germany just wrote an email to his parents:
Well, I am happy that Grandpa is in a better place as well. I agree with you… with some people, you can just sense their testimony, even if they haven’t always lived like they had one. I felt that way about Grandma Gummy as well. Even though she wasn’t active, I always had the feeling that she did have a testimony of the truth. Grandpa is certainly very happy now, even though we miss him. Grandpa will get to see his parents, grandparents, and other he knew. He will be with his son again as well. I’m sure Johnny will be very happy to see him. I seem to remember Grandpa mentioning once that Johnny would always come to him when he came home. I think that Johnny did that again when Grandpa came home. I know that it was a joyous reunion, and it will be a joyous reunion for us as well, when our time comes.

That is just wrong on so many levels. Least of which is, even if there is life after this one--which I rather doubt lately, my father does not deserve to see Johnny again.

I need to go throw up now.


Racism? Really??

I'm getting really tired of Barack Obama claiming anyone who is against him is a racist. The latest, Geraldine Ferraro being called a racist by the Obama campaign. Obama’s campaign has been called a “historical candidacy” not by Ferraro, but by Obama’s own campaign. All she said was it wasn’t historical because he was a man from Illinois. Obviously it’s historical because he’s the first credible African American candidate for president. Obama’s wife Michelle made the ridiculous comment that she’d NEVER been proud of her country until now. Why now? Because people are turning out to vote for a MAN from Illinois? No, because he happens to be an African American man. Obviously, by the same stroke, Michelle Obama is a racist.


Hillary Wins Big

Hillary Clinton has won the biggest states and all of the "bellweather" states that are so important in a general election. Obama has cobbled together wins in places like Iowa and Vermont. For the good of the party, Obama should quit now and agree to be Hillary's VP (if anything).


Obama Love?

Barack Obama does NOT have as wide appeal as the mainstream media tries to make it seem. If he had as much appeal and momentum as they like to claim, he’d be up much more than 92 delegates. Obama is only 0.07% ahead of Clinton at this point. Calls from "journalists" in the mainstream media for Hillary to end her campaign now are very, VERY premature.

Hillary Clinton will not end her campaign this week. Sorry haters.

To see how crazy Obama followers are, please visit: Is Obama the Messiah?


Separate But Equal Is Never Equal

"With respect to what Barrack Obama said, it’s just simply not true. Civil Unions are lesser than marriage."
-Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco



09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

If you don't know what this number signifies, that's okay. It's interesting to think that this small sequence of numbers/letters can cause such a ruckus.



Mormons Can't Do That!

I was reviewing the stats of my various websites and blogs today and I noticed someone found my blog by searching google for the phrase: "is it okay for mormons to have phone sex." I'm not quite sure how they found my blog with that phrase since my blog has never discussed phone sex.
My knee-jerk reaction was to think "Hell no! Mormons can't do that." But after thinking about it for a minute, I suppose it depends. If you're married and the person you're having phone sex with is your spouse, then I guess you could have phone sex, but with Bush and Dick listening to all your calls, would you really want to?
But if you're unmarried or the person with whom you're having phone sex is not your spouse, then dear readers, the answer would be no, Mormons can't do that.

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Precipitous Withdrawal

I was listening to NPR on the drive home from work this afternoon and heard Pres. Bush say, "I hope the Democratic leadership will drop their unreasonable demand for a precipitous withdrawal" [of troops from the war in Iraq].
I wonder if Bush even knows what the word "precipitous" means. I bet he doesn't. I think some speech writer wrote that and he has no idea what he's saying.

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A New Utah Holiday

So, the new unofficial holiday in Utah is May 23rd. What's May 23rd, you ask? May 23rd is the day that the first IKEA in the Intermountain West opens in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, namely Draper, Utah.

Of course, I'll be taking the holiday off from work to attend the rites associated with the grand opening of this wonderful Swedish, iconic store.

I felt the need to post the grand opening date as the majority of the hits to my blog lately seem to be coming from people searching for the grand opening date of this store, as I've commented on IKEA here in the past.

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Music: Pain (My Love Is In Vain)

I thought someone out there reading this blog might like a musical interlude. This is one of the greatest rock bands ever, The September When, of Norway, fronted by Morten Abel who is still recording solo albums although TSW is unfortunately broken up long since. Here's some live concert footage from 1991 featuring one of my favorite songs "Pain" and "The Beauty Of It Is."

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Mitt Welcomes Romney

I was reading the newspaper the other day and saw a photo of Mitt Romney at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire. In huge letters, the banner behind him said "New Hampshire Welcomes Mitt Romney." But in small letters at the bottom it said, "Paid for by the Romney for President Exploratory Committee, Inc." So really, Mitt Romney was welcoming himself to New Hampshire.
This reminds me of how Mitt takes all the credit for rescuing the Salt Lake Olympics. Friends who worked on the staff at the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee tell me leaders there had already formulated a plan to "rescue" the olympics, but they needed an outside figurehead to make it appear as though everything was cleaned up by getting rid of the old leaders. Mitt didn't rescue the olympics. He didn't even come up with the plan. But he sure welcomed himself to all the credit.

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Norwegian "Rice Cream" Pudding with Raspberry Fruit Sauce

Someone recently requested this recipe after I mentioned it on another entry of my blog. So, I thought I would share it here in case anyone else wants it.

Norsk Riskrem
Serves eight
4 cups Whole Milk*
8 Tbs. (1 stick) Butter or Margarine
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Pearl Rice**
1 pint Heavy Cream
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 Tbs. Sugar
1. Put milk, butter and salt into large pan. Bring to a boil, watch carefully as it begins to boil and remove from heat before milk boils over.
2. Add rice. Turn stove down to low and simmer approximately one hour covered with a lid until rice is tender and has thick consistency.
4. Stir approximately every fifteen minutes during this time period.
5. Whisk cream, vanilla and sugar together.
6. After rice cooks approximately one hour, stir in cream mixture.

Raspberry Fruit Sauce:
1. Use Danish Dessert, Raspberry flavor (available on the baking aisle of most grocery stores).
2. Follow directions on box for Fruit Sauce.
3. Serve rice warm or chilled with warm Raspberry sauce poured over the top of Rice Cream.

*You may adjust the amounts in this recipe, but maintain a 5:1 ratio for milk and rice—5 parts milk to one part rice.
**NEVER use long grain rice. You may substitute medium grain rice if you are unable to find pearl rice.

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Ding Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead

HURRAH! Thank god we have at least one politician in Utah with some honesty, self-respect and willingness to represent the people and not his own pocketbook.

Today, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon said it didn't make sense to gamble the public money on a new soccer stadium for Real Salt Lake. Of course, Dave Checketts had a hissy fit and acted all childish because we wouldn't just open our pocketbooks and hand him all our money.

I'd really like the public to finance my personal business, too, but it won't happen. Why does he deserve special privilege?

Dave Checketts said he'd sell the team and he'll have a buyer lined up by Friday. Another round of HURRAHS! Good riddance. We can do without the likes of Checketts in this town.


Closet geek

So, the long-awaited season three premiere of Battlestar Galactica finally aired last week. I'm usually not really into sci-fi shows, but I was first curious about the new Battlestar Galactica series because I watched the original series as a kid back in the late 70s and early 80s.
Also, it doesn't hurt that the new show is a really well-written drama nor that it has one of the hottest casts on TV.
I was intrigued by the storyline for the season premiere. The obvious parallels were there between the humans resistance against the cylon occupation and the Iraqi resistance against U.S. occupation. Although, the TV show made you see the side of the humans (Iraqis) and sympathize with why they would stoop to terrorism to fight against their oppressors. There were also less obvious parallels with plight of the Palestinians and their oppression by the Israelis.
I thought it was interesting how a TV show could help one see the other side of the issue and make one sympathize with the side which most in the West wouldn't normally side with in the real world.
They even had the cylons talking about how they had come to help the humans. As if. As if the Bush administration really went to Iraq to help the Iraqis! :P
Anyway, I guess I'm a closet geek since I'm so in to Battlestar Galactica.


KSL is the Taliban of Utah

Salt Lake Tribune - Madonna may be crossed off local TV schedule:
Madonna's controversial depiction of a crucifixion during her worldwide concert tour won't be KSL's cross to bear if it airs on television in November.
The Mormon-owned TV station (Channel 5) has decided not to air an NBC broadcast of the pop singer's "Confessions Tour" concert if it includes a segment in which the Material Girl hangs on a mirrored cross wearing a crown of thorns.
"We make every effort to operate within the community standards," said KSL station manager Greg James. "This is clearly something that if the event occurs in that show it would - in my opinion - not be keeping within the [holiday] season and within community standards. And we would be compelled not to air the program."

I'm very tired of KSL acting like the Taliban of Utah and censoring what we can watch on TV. Just say no to censorship!

I doubt the controversial bits of her concert are even all that bad. People always work themselves up into a lather over things they haven't even seen.


Join the Homosexual Intifada

I believe that straight men can become gay through prayer and/or therapy.

GO GAY! :)



I just read a really great quote, which I wanted to share:

"Every gay and lesbian person who has been lucky enough to survive the turmoil of growing up is a survivor. Survivors always have an obligation to those who will face the same challenges." - Bob Paris


Bush Makes Shit Up to Elect Republicans

CNN.com - Plane plot involved energy drink, MP3 player, official says - Aug 10, 2006:
Terrorists planned to use MP3 players and energy drinks to blow up as many as 10 jetliners bound for the United States, authorities said Thursday.

President Bush said the arrests are a "stark reminder" that the U.S. is "at war with Islamic fascists."

• The U.S. raised the terror threat level to "severe" for all flights leaving Britain for the United States. Britain raised its alert level to "critical."
I was just saying to a friend last week that we should expect some sort of "terror alert" in the next couple of months because there's a major election coming up. I didn't expect it to come this soon. Remember a couple of years ago there were all kinds of terror threat levels before the presidential election and as soon as Bush was re-elected, they all went away.

You know they just make this shit up to help Republicans get elected, right?


Keith Christensen Voted to Rescind Gay-Protection

Salt Lake City Council Rescinds Gay-Protection Law:
Church Makes Historic Move, Urging Members to Attend City Council Meeting

January 24, 1998

It was less than a month old on January 13, when the Salt Lake City Council rescinded the ordance that prohibited discrimination "against an otherwise qualified employee or applicant based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation or disability."

"Having these words does not protect people from discrimination," said Bryce Jolley, a City Councilman who led the effort to repeal. He and Councilmen Carlton Christensen, Keith Christensen and Roger Thompson voted to scrap the fledgling law. Councilwomen Joanne Milner and Deeda Seed and Councilman Tom Rogan voted to keep the law.

As I said in a previous post, Keith Christensen, Rocky Anderson's choice to replace him as mayor, is no progressive.


Checkpoint set on 300 West

From the Deseret Morning News | Checkpoint set on 300 West:
Salt Lake police plan on holding another court-approved administrative checkpoint Friday.
Between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Saturday, all vehicles traveling on 300 West between 1050 South and 1300 South will be pulled over to check for valid drivers' licenses and registrations and to check for possible DUI's and other violations.
Clearly the SLC police dept. is targeting the gay bar Todd's Bar & Grill, which is located right at 1051 So. 300 West, with this "court-approved administrative checkpoint." The article mentions another checkpoint last month. It makes one wonder where that one was. The article doesn't state the location of the last checkpoint. Why are the police targeting Todd's?

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Keith Christensen is Not a Progressive

On Monday, Mayor Rocky Anderson held a joint press conference with Republican Keith Christensen to announce Christensen as Rocky's choice to replace him as mayor of Salt Lake City. This reminds me too much of eastern European dictators who announce their successors. If Rocky endorsed him after he'd already entered the campaign, that is one thing, but to announce it together like this just seems wrong in America.
The last time a Republican was elected mayor of Salt Lake City was in 1971. In an attempt to overcome that stigma against Republican mayors in Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson said party politics don't matter when selecting the best person for the job and said Keith Christensen is a progressive.
I'm sorry mayor, but obviously party politics do matter when selecting a mayor, otherwise a Democrat wouldn't have been elected every time over the past 35 years.
And most importantly, Christensen can't possibly be a progressive if he's a Republican. Republicans are the most regressive people in America.


Rejoice! Rejoice!

So, the word on the street is that Rocky Anderson is going to announce tonight at his Town Hall meeting that he will not be seeking reelection as Salt Lake City's mayor. REJOICE! REJOICE!
I can hear the chanting now: "No more years! No more years!"


No Royal Treatment for Checketts

It occurred to me today where Dave Checkett's royal tantrum came from after the county council didn't bow to his wishes and give him our money to build his stadium.
It can all be summed up in the name of his soccer team.
Réal Salt Lake... or translated into English "Royal Salt Lake."
The fact that he named his team "royal" shows what he's thinking.
If his team is royal, he is the king. And now he's upset that his subjects are not bowing to his wishes and forking over their monetary tribute in the form of taxes to pay for his new stadium.
Fortunately for us, he's only king in his own mind, otherwise we'd have to start a new revolution to overthrow King Dave.


Jeffrey Nielsen is Not the Only Mormon for Gay Marriage!?

I received an email this morning from someone calling himself "Captain Moroni" with a link to the website: www.LDS4GayMarriage.net

The Captain wrote:
If you haven't visited our site recently, you'll see that we've added and updated our essays promoting civil same-sex marriage. With the elections soon coming up, our information may be of help to you in your efforts to secure equal civil rights for lesbians and gays. Our site promotes same-sex marriage from a doctrinal, libertarian, and common sense perspective. Please visit our site and offer any suggestions for improvement. Please consider putting a link to our site if you haven't done so as of yet. Help get the word out. Thanks.

Upon visiting their well-minded, but ugly website, I found some interesting points:
  • The Brethren have said that the ONLY official doctrine of the Church is the scriptures. They've stated that when the Brethren say things in accordance with the scriptures, that that is correct doctrine and when they say things not discussed in the scriptures, that they are simply expressing their private opinions and when they say things contrary to scripture, we are to ignore their words. Click here for references.
  • The Prophets HAVE said things that are wrong - Brigham Young saying that there were people on the moon and sun for example. Joseph Fielding Smith said that God would never permit man to travel to the moon or send spaceships to other planets. President Hinckley also forbade GA’s and missionaries traveling over the Y2k change due to the anticipated failures of a lot of electronics. Nothing happened anywhere in the world. Click here for references.
  • It is therefore clear that not everything coming from the mouths of the Brethren is given by inspiration and we are to only accept those sayings which agree with scripture.
  • The ONLY way for something contrary to scripture or not discussed in scripture to become official doctrine is for it to BECOME scripture.
  • The issue of whether to accept or reject the Church's policy on Civil Same-Sex Marriage is therefore whether or not it is in agreement with scripture.
  • D&C 134:4 and 1 Cor. 10:29 say that it is wrong for people to let their religion/morals prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others.
  • The D&C states that the Constitution was divinely inspired and set up to maximize personal freedom so that we can have the most freedom to exercise our agency (101:76-80) and any laws that violates constitutional principles are evil (98:6,7).
  • The Loving case, allowing mixed race marriages, showed that laws based on subjective morals are wrong.
  • The Court also stated that such laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution's Equal Protection clause which states that the laws of the land have to be applied equally to all and not be discriminatory.
  • Since Civil Same-Sex Marriage is clearly a right/liberty, opposing it is clearly contrary to scripture and therefore must be rejected per the clear teachings of the prophets.

They actually flesh out each of the points above. I'm just posting the highlights. For more in-depth info, visit LDS 4 Gay Marriage.


Send Orrin Down The Hatch!

Move your lazy hand over and click on this link, scroll down and then vote for Pete Ashdown.

If you do, Pete might get a nice big, fat check from Senator Barbara Boxer to help in his campaign to send Orrin down the Hatch.

You might not know this, but Pete Ashdown apparently organized the first underground rave dance party in Utah. This is the kind of person we need in the Senate! Before you get all whacked out about the evils of raves, I can attest, as someone who attended one of Pete's first raves in Utah, they were harmless good fun.

We need Pete! We don't need someone in the Senate like Hatch who gives cocaine users get out of jail cards.


Lose-Lose Deal

Go out of town for a few days and all hell breaks loose.

Republican Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis has finagled a deal to get county tax dollars for the Réal Sandy soccer stadium in exchange for providing an increase in ZAP taxes to raise money for a downtown cultural arts district. Isn't that called extortion?

Curtis needs to stop holding Utah taxpayer dollars hostage to fulfill his own plans. This needs to stop!

Curtis is clearly abusing his power in the Utah legislature when he uses extortion and backroom deals to take taxpayer dollars primarily raised in downtown Salt Lake City to enrich Sandy City.

I thought for sure Sandy voters would kick Curtis out of office after the Guzzlegate scandal that he was clearly in the center of a couple of years ago. But then Sandy keeps re-electing that dolt Tom Dolan as mayor, too. So, I guess that was too much to hope for.

Seriously though, we need to focus our attention on getting him voted out of office in the next election cycle.

Stop the insanity!


You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Apparently, Ann Coulter has been caught plagiarizing others' works in both her recent book and in her regular newspaper column.

You mean to tell me she couldn't make up all that hate speech!??

Hopefully, this is the nail in the coffin which finally gets her off the airwaves and her column canceled.

Oh! And she is under investigation for voter fraud in Florida, a third degree felony.

Syndicate May Look Into Alleged Coulter Plagiarism On Its Own ...

Olbermann hosted plagiarism expert to spell out allegations ...

Ann Coulter Voter Fraud


Calling on Evil Spirits

It seemed funny last week how I casually posted on the what ifs of Nancy Workman still being county overlord... errr... mayor, and how she would throw money at the Réal Sandy soccer stadium. Then a few days later, she came forward to encourage residents to lobby the county in favor of the stadium. It was almost like my blog was an incantation to raise the dead.

We hadn't heard one peep out of her in months or maybe even a year and then suddenly after I mentioned her, there she was spewing forth into the public realm again.

Perhaps I was having a prescient moment when I thought about and later blogged about what it would be like if she was still large and in charge. Well, she's still large...

So, in honor of the former overlord and the dawn of the dead, I have written my own incantation to raise the dead Nancy Workman:

Do it for the kids
For the KIDS
Nancy Workman
For the kids
For the KIDS
Do it for the kids
Nancy Workman
Nancy Workman
For the kids
For the KIDS
Do it for the KIDS
Nancy Workman
Did I mention our soccer kids?
Our soccer kids

It's best to recite this incantation with arms raised and dancing in a circle.


Imagine if Nancy Workman was Still County Overlord... I Mean Mayor

Gosh! Imagine if Nancy Workman was still county mayor. (God Forbid.) When Sandy came to present their original funding scheme to get the Réal Sandy soccer stadium built, she would have said, "Wait! Can't we give you more money? What can we do to spend more money?? (And plaster my name all over the project)..."

Oh, I know. Let's subsidize a huge development 3 times the size of the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake. Who exactly is going to profit from this Mondo-Gateway development, anyway? Why can't they pay for it themselves? How about these anonymous developers pay for the infrastructure upgrades for the Réal Sandy stadium while they're at it, since having the stadium next to their development will bring them big bucks.

Thank goodness we have someone fiscally responsible running the county. Thank you Mayor Corroon.


Sandy City Politicians Need to Lay Off the Crack

Wow! Is this really the best they could come up with?

I just read the proposal from Sandy City regarding their public funding scheme for the Réal Sandy (Salt Lake?) soccer stadium. I really, honestly thought they'd come up with something better than this. They only managed to lower the county contribution from $87 million to $76 million. Really? Is that the best you could do?

And adding in Sandy City's miniscule contribution, the entire cost to taxpayers: $96.5 million!!

So, Sandy thought they could get people on board by saying this would just be a part of a 136-acre development... a new downtown at the south end of the valley. Is that what they thought?

I'm really shocked. It's mind boggling. I don't think Sandy is going to get the stadium with this deal.


The Best News Ever

I just received the best news ever. :)
My former boss at the not-so-Grand America Hotel was fired!!!!
He was such a Dick, I mean his name was Richard... Richard made my life a living hell. So, I was so pleased to hear he'd been fired. There is some justice in the universe after all. :)
He was the "Creative Director" but didn't have a creative bone in his body. He hardly ever even did anything besides sit behind my coworker Amy for 8 hours every day looking over her shoulder telling her every change to make to designs. Talk about uncomfortable!
I can't even begin to tell you all the creepy, weird, asinine things he did. WORST BOSS I'VE EVER HAD. Even worse than Nikki at the Sundance Film Festival and that's bad.
I became seriously depressed while working at that job because he was so awful. I dreaded going to work each day.
If you see a guy named Richard applying for a job at your company with "Creative Director" of the Grand America Hotel on his résumé, slam the door in his face.


Religion a Branch of Politics

The great 9th century philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi once said that "religion was just another means of controlling the masses and should be viewed as a branch of politics."
This is especially evident when looking at the Republican party today.


I didn't know I was making a doc about the definition of marriage

While reading my email this morning, I saw the one from the Daily Utah Chronicle I receive every day (or once a week during the Summer) with their top headlines. One headline stood out, "Former U student creates documentary about the definition of marriage."

I'm also working on a documentary film about another topic entirely, but had actually considered making a documentary about the history of marriage. So, that one intrigued me.

Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link and found it was an article about ME.

Unfortunately, whoever wrote the headline didn't read the rest of the article since it mentions the real topic of my film. Having been interviewed many times before, I was not at all surprised to find that it contained a few factual errors.

It's always interesting to see how other people organize the remarks you make in a long-ranging interview, picking one or two comments out of context.

Read the article here: Former U student creates documentary about ???

How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay

Boy: Mommy, is make-up just for girls?
Mom: Make-up is for girls and really fabulous boys.

--Eckerd, Rockaway Blvd & Liberty Ave, Ozone Park

From Overheard in New York.


If One Can Question God, Why Can't One Question Mormon Church Leaders?

Jeffrey Nielsen, was interviewed on RadioWest on KUER the other day regarding his firing from BYU. In the interview he said:
"I've never thought we [Mormons] believed in the infallibility of our [Mormon church] leaders. That's not a part of our doctrine. I think it's a social practice. We find examples in the Bible of people questioning god. And god, I think, didn't damn them for it. He changed his mind. I'm thinking of Abraham and Moses as two examples. I mean, if we can question god, we can certainly question another human being."
Good point, Brother Nielsen.

Academic Freedom Non-Existent at BYU

In light of Jeffrey Nielsen being let go at BYU as an instructor in the Philosophy department for expressing his views on gay marriage in an op-ed piece for the Salt Lake Tribune, I see that BYU still struggles with Academic Freedom, which is a basic tenet of institutions of higher learning and BYU does not understand this important aspect of a university.
Although, I'm not at all surprised that BYU let him go as everyone expected it the moment they read his op-ed piece. According to the Tribune, "BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the decision to let Nielsen go came from the philosophy department.
'The department made the decision because of a recent opinion piece that publicly contradicted and opposed a statement by the First Presidency,' Jenkins said. 'Such contradiction is in violation of university policy.'"
I beg to differ, Ms Jenkins. BYU's "Statement on Academic Freedom" specifically states: "...
exercise of individual and institutional academic freedom must be a matter of reasonable limitations. In general, at BYU a limitation is reasonable when the faculty behavior or expression seriously and adversely affects the university mission or the Church. Examples would include expression with students or in public that:
  1. contradicts or opposes, rather than analyzes or discusses, fundamental Church doctrine or policy;"
If you actually read Jeffrey Nielsen's letter in the Trib, you'd see that he very carefully analyzed and discussed the Church's stance on gay marriage. He didn't just contradict it. But no one at BYU probably even read his op-ed piece. That's standard operating procedure at BYU. Condemn first without all the facts.
Like when Julie Stouffer was on MTV's the Real World New Orleans. They kicked her out of BYU based on hearsay while specifically stating that no one at BYU had actually watched any of the episodes of the Real World. If they had, they would have seen an admirable young woman who was shown going to church on Sundays, reading scriptures, having fun while being a good Latter-day Saint and good role model for her roommates and young people all across America. By kicking her out of BYU, the Church only hurt their own image among America's youth.
Good luck with that Mormon church. Let's see how far this attitude gets you. Back when I was still active in the church, they talked about how they were losing huge numbers of youth who were leaving the church. That won't be changing any time soon.


Jeffrey Nielsen's Response to BYU Firing

June 13, 2006

Daniel W. Graham, chair
Department of Philosophy
Brigham Young University

Dear Dan,

I regretfully read your letter of June 8 informing me that because of my opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune of June 4, you have decided not to rehire me to teach the philosophy courses I had already been scheduled to teach through next year. I have only the utmost respect and admiration for you and for the students, faculty, and staff in the Philosophy Department at Brigham Young University. In my experience, the students and faculty have always been engaged and lively participants in the academic pursuit of truth. Now let me address some of the issues you expressed in your letter.

Church leaders have consistently opposed same-sex attraction and gay marriage. I have never agreed with this position believing that it was based in misunderstanding and in a purely human bias of cultural place and time and not reflective of divine will. Yet I have never publicly, or in the classroom, opposed their policy. Yet when church leaders take a political stand on a moral issue, then I am not only engaged as a member of the church, but also as an American citizen. As an American citizen, I publicly expressed an honest opinion contradicting a political statement by our church leaders. I fear for the church and the university if the time comes when the members of the church, including faculty at BYU, are not allowed to disagree, either in public or private, with political positions taken by the church. If such conformity is required, then we deserve to be called neither a church nor a university.

I also strongly disagree with the implications of your statement that faithfulness and loyalty to the church and church leaders never permits expressions of disagreement, or questioning of our church leaders - especially in an academic setting. Unquestioning acquiescence and blind loyalty to leaders in positions of power over human beings have no place in any institution of higher learning that values the pursuit of truth and search for justice. And in my mind, what is philosophy but the quest for truth and justice. I believe that there is great potential at BYU that will never be realized if the faculty, in certain areas of study, are limited in their research and work by the necessity of arriving at pre-approved answers given by church leaders.

Finally, when it comes to the sustaining of church leaders, I will always argue for the privilege of church members to examine, question, and dialogue with each other and with their leaders in order to genuinely sustain and support church doctrines and teachings. I do not believe that sustaining leaders requires either silent acquiescence or unquestioning conformity, but it does require active engagement with one another and with our church leaders, regardless of our place or position within church leadership hierarchies. If sustaining our leaders is to be real and genuine - not a sham as are elections in totalitarian governments - then members must be free to examine, question and benevolently criticize. Ultimately, I strongly believe that every person possesses the privilege to speak and the obligation to listen.

Again, I have only respect and admiration for you. I have enjoyed our association, and I also wish you the best.


Jeff Nielsen


Paper Tiger, Zarqawi Dead?

First the Pentagon creates this legend or myth of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq and then when it's politically expedient, they kill him off. As people started questioning whether Zarqawi was even a real person, the Bush administration conveniently kills him. He's becoming a liability and no longer an asset. Once one of the excuses for going to war, now it's become useful to kill off the fictional character in order to look good going into the midterm elections.

From the Asia Times:

Before January 2003, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was little known. Zarqawi stopped being a non-entity on February 5, 2003, when he was spectacularly catapulted onto the global stage - six weeks before the start of the Iraq war - by US Secretary of State Colin Powell's weapons of mass destruction speech at the United Nations. Powell used Zarqawi to link Saddam Hussein's secular Ba'athist regime to the "Islamic terror network", and thus partly justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In Amman, Jordan in February 2003 practically nobody knew Zarqawi outside of Jordan - even though in 2002 he had been the target of a CIA disinformation campaign tying him to the theocratic regime in Tehran. But soon the Bush administration was to invest him with the aura of an "international man of mystery" - the world's most dangerous man after Osama bin Laden.

Soon Zarqawi started being characterized simultaneously as al-Qaeda's top operative in Iraq, and the number one promoter of civil war in that country.

Although the full weight of the Bush administration described Zarqawi as "a very senior al-Qaeda leader", strangely enough there was no meaningful Zarqawi connection whatsoever when one sifted through the terror information in the global media between September 11 and Shock and Awe in March 2003.

Senior former CIA agents say that Vice President Dick Cheney "blew up" when a report proved no links between Saddam and Zarqawi. No wonder: it was always a propaganda stunt.

The truth is more straightforward. Zarqawi had no connection either with bin Laden or with Saddam. Secular Saddam hosting an Islamic radical, of all people, at a time when the American campaign against the "axis of evil" had reached a fever-pitch is a ludicrous proposition.

In a suspect email allegedly found by the US Army in a raid of "an al-Qaeda safe house" in Baghdad in early 2004 - which immediately showed up at the website of the ultra right-wing Project For a New American Century - Zarqawi allegedly writes to bin Laden asking for his help in detonating a civil war between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq.

The email - good timing - was found exactly at a juncture when the Bush administration could not disguise any more the lack of evidence linking Saddam and al-Qaeda. There's only one problem - or several, for that matter. Al-Qaeda was actually encouraging total cooperation among all factions of the Iraqi resistance, Sunni and Shi'ite, secular Ba'athist and Islamic. The email could not possibly have been written by a mujahideen like Zarqawi. The characteristic, elaborate Islamic phraseology was not there. No mujahideen in his right mind would complain of his imminent martyrdom, as it's implied in the text. And to top it all, for the many different strands of the resistance, Allawi's administration is just a temporary nuisance in the long road of a national liberation struggle. So the plot didn't fly, and it was scrapped after a few days.

So, first Zarqawi was used as a justification for the Iraqi war; then he became the reason for why there was no peace. Instead, what sources close to the resistance tell Asia Times Online, is that Zarqawi is a minor player: most Iraqis, Shi'ite and Sunni alike, reject his brutal methods, and even Islamic clerics who support the resistance but criticize Zarqawi's methods are routinely denounced by Zarqawi as "collaborators".

One American psy-ops operative recently leveled with the Australian newspaper The Age: "We were basically paying up to US$10,000 a time to opportunists and criminals who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq."

But not a single source, anywhere, claims to have actually seen "Zarqawi" since late 2001 in Afghanistan. Ask the Pentagon. Ask the CIA. Ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No one, on the record, is able to independently verify that "Zarqawi" actually exists. There are no photos - only that same CIA-owned black and white. The CIA doesn't even know how tall or how fat "Zarqawi" is. All the literature on "Zarqawi" since late 2001 springs from dubious "confessions" by prisoners and "statements" by all sorts of people claiming to be "Zarqawi".

Even more extraordinary is that everybody and his neighbor is after Zarqawi: the Pentagon; the CIA; the Mukhabarat-lite intelligence services of Allawi; the Mehdi Army of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr; the bombed residents of Fallujah, where he apparently is hiding; not to mention millions of Iraqis who would bless the heavens above for a shot at laying their hands on a $25 million bounty. Just like bin Laden, nobody can find Zarqawi. Why?

The truth may be that the real one-legged, squat, tattooed thug Zarqawi is dead, but a composite Zarqawi lives. He may have been created by a faction, or factions of the Iraqi resistance as a mobilizing factor, a dashing neo-Saladin rousing the masses against the infidel occupiers.

Or better yet, he may have been created by US military intelligence. This American "Zarqawi" is definitely a Hollywood improvement on the original: tall, urbane, highly articulate, and with agile legs.

Zarqawi was extremely useful to defuse attention from the Abu Ghraib scandal: the Berg video showed up at the height of Abu Ghraib. The "Zarqawi" in the video does not speak Arabic with a Jordanian accent. His legs seem pretty normal. And crucially, he wears a golden ring, which for an authentic jihadi would be the ultimate affront.

If multi-purpose "Zarqawi" did not exist, he would have to be invented. The "Zarqawi" myth straddles pre-invasion and post-invasion, so the neo-cons can use it to justify just about anything. Cheney and Rumsfeld may keep exhuming Iraq's "long established ties with al-Qaeda" and may justify the de facto occupation because "Zarqawi", "linked to al-Qaeda", is still there.

Read the entire article at Asia Times Online.


Gays Marry, Civilization Does NOT Collapse

As they like to say in Massachusetts, gay people have been marrying for two years now and the Commonwealth is still intact.

But you may argue, that has only been two years. Just you wait! Society as we know it in MA will be destroyed!

Well, in Scandinavia gay people have been getting "married" (civil unions) for over 16 years and society has not been devastated.

KCPW featured Darren Spedale on their Midday Utah show today (titled "Midday" at 9am, though???).

Spedale and William Eskridge have a book titled "Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? : What We've Learned from the Evidence" on bookshelves now.

This study of same-sex marriage distinguishes itself by avoiding molten rhetoric and grounding its analysis in empirical data from Scandinavia's 16-year history of legal registered partnerships. In clear prose that explains legal minutiae and precedents in lay-reader-friendly terms, the legal scholars apply to the domestic debate the history and statistical evidence of government-sanctioned same-sex marriage in Denmark (since 1989), Norway (since 1993) and Sweden (since 1995). They also offer stories of same-sex couples and a concise history of the movement for same-sex marriage rights internationally. The authors build a convincing case that shoots down spurious interpretations of the Scandinavian data, such as same-sex marriage destroying the institution of marriage and victimizing children. In bringing the issue home, the authors prescribe an incremental process to legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States that involves a "menu approach" where a variety of options are available, including full marriage rights for all. Though the book has its share of dry moments, its reliance on hard data makes it stand out in a crowded field.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States often claim that allowing gays and lesbians to marry will lead to the downfall of the institution of marriage and will harm children. Drawing from 16 years of data and experience with same-sex unions in Scandinavia, Gay Marriage: For Better or for Worse? is the first book to present empirical evidence about the results of same-sex marriage (in the form of registered partnerships) from the Nordic countries. Spedale and Eskridge demonstrate that conservative defense-of-marriage arguments that predict negative effects from gay marriage are invalid, and the Scandinavian experience suggests that the institution of marriage may indeed benefit from the enactment of gay marriage. If we look at the proof from abroad, the authors argue, we must conclude that the sanctioning of gay marriage in the United States would neither undermine marriage as an institution, nor harm the wellbeing of our nation's children.


Mormons for Gay Marriage

Not all Mormons blindly follow the bigoted dictates of their church leaders, thank goodness.

Jeffrey Nielsen, a professor at the Mormon church's Brigham Young University, has an editorial in today's Salt Lake Tribune in favor of gay marriage.

Among other things, he says:

I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral.


Truly, God would be unjust if He were the creator of a biological process that produced such uncommon, yet perfectly natural results, and then condemned the innocent person to a life of guilt, while denying him or her the ordinary privileges and fulfillment of the deep longing in all of us for family and a committed, loving relationship.

...virtuous moderation and loving kindness require us to exercise caution before making constitutionally binding discrimination against a whole class of people based only on fear and superstition. In fact, when we examine the statements opposing gay marriage, we find few reasonable arguments. It is not enough to claim that we should oppose gay marriage because historically it has never been recognized. This is the fallacy of appealing to tradition, which was also used to fight against civil rights and equal treatment of women.

Further, to say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage and the family without giving any reasons why is the fallacy of appealing to fear. Indeed, once you get past the emotion, it is quite an unfounded claim.

How could the union of two committed and loving people negatively affect my marriage? I believe that quite the contrary is true; namely, legalizing gay marriage reinforces the importance of committed relationships and would strengthen the institution of marriage.

Ultimately, any appeal to religious authority to create law is misplaced. Our Founding Fathers were inspired by their study of history to separate constitutional authority from religious belief, recognizing as they did the potential for tyranny in unchecked religious influence.

Read the entire article.


Lobby Congress Against Mormon Marriage

Personally, I think it's rather hypocritical of the Mormon Church to lobby Congress to amend the Constitution to forbid gay marriage. Weren't they persecuted for their form of non-traditional marriage a little over a hundred years ago?
How soon they forget. I say we should remind them that they don't want to be persecuted for their beliefs. As has been pointed out on The World, According to Me blog, evangelicals might take this opportunity to ban Mormon Temple marriages while they're at it.
I think we ought to lobby Congress to amend the constitution to make Mormon Temple marriages unconstitutional. Because really, those secret rituals are kind of creepy and not very much in keeping with traditional marriage.
Okay all you Mormon folk, before you start hating, I don't really think the Mormon temple marriage ritual is ALL THAT CREEPY. Maybe a little. I've been to one or two in my lifetime, but it is definitely not very traditional. The whole thing is a rhetorical argument. I don't really want Congress to ban Mormon temple marriage. I don't think the Constitution should be amended for such petty things as banning any form of marriage. But I really am going to lobby Congress asking them to ban Mormon temple marriage to make a point!
If you'd like to join me, you can find your senator's contact info on the United States Senate site or your Representative's contact info on the U.S. House site.