Paradox In the news: Carmelo Anthony, Tara Connor

Couple of half-interesting stories in the news lately:

A. Tara Connor almost hears, "you're fired" from the Donald. This goes under the heading of why it's better in business to forgive. First, the back story, for those living under a rock for the last week or so. Trump purchased the Miss America pageant a while ago. This year Tara Connor wins it. Then it comes out she has made some questionable decisions which might tarnish her crown. She fesses up and asks the Donald for forgiveness and offers to enter rehab.

My thoughts on the business decision: in many, if not most, business cases, it is better to forgive than to punish. Here's why this is a sound decision:

1. You communicate positive leadership values and fight the culture of blame that takes root in many organizations.

2. You gain the allegiance of the person you forgave and many other people through the ranks.

3. You free yourself to make an occasional mistake yourself, so you can explore different courses of action before selecting one. You enjoy that freedom because you have not set up yourself to be perfect.

B. Carmelo Anthony takes a sucker punch in a game a week or two ago, and gets a nice fine and suspension. He wasn't forgiven, unlike Miss America above. What's the difference? It's this: Anthony is in a place where he should know better - he's (supposedly) had enough life experience that he should know how to act and what is expected of him. But in fact he has shown on more than one occassion that he's just interested in himself. He recently threw a temper tantrum because the ball wasn't passed to him so he could take the last shot of the game.

He's supposedly a franchise player for the NBA. There has been a rash of selfish, destructive and violent behavior in the NBA, even very recently, but overall for a long time. He also gets paid a truck load of money to be one of the sport's spokespeople. He knows what's expected, what he's paid for, and he failed in one moment. Commissioner David Stern has taken a hard stance on this type of thing, as shown in some of this year's rule changes.

However, it's my view that he should also be fined heavily by the NBA players' union, and when his league suspension is over, if I were the team owner, I would sit him down for another 10 games as well. This would make the point that NO body of people involved in the NBA game are going to tolerate this sort of school yard, childish behavior, no matter what your name is, period.

The league has even taken the long-shot advertising ploy to make commercials that show players talking about being on a TEAM, and being part of a larger effort. In this case, it backfired, and the real crux of the players' mindset has come through. Again. Many of the league's players are not buying what Stern is selling, and when it is manifest in deed, it is painfully obvious.

Recently, another league bad-boy, Allen Iverson, was traded to Denver after refusing to play any more for the Sixers. He sat for a week or two before he was traded to the same team for which Anthony plays. For some time now, Iverson's Sixers jersey has been a league best-seller at $160, because the inner city bangers across the nation think he is their model. One has to wonder if there is enough oxygen in Denver to be able to hold both Carmelo AND Iverson (or "The Answer" as he likes to call himself). If he is The Answer, what, pray tell, is The Question?

I have a few.


I never get tired of this: Will Ferrell / Blue Oyster Cult

I get the giggles every time I watch this:

Ferrell is one of the very few on this earth who is 100% comfortable in his own skin. Mick Jagger is another. Freaking hilarious, man. I mean freakin.

I gotta get me one of these shirts:

James Brown

The world is a slightly more sane place with his passing... the Godfather Of Soul will be missed.

And yes, he was "On My Hard Drive."

Really, who else could pull off that outfit??

I'm Just Sayin.


On My HD: Moulin Rouge

This is another in an Occasional Series of junk that resides on my hard drive, but which you might also find interesting, entertaining, or otherwise generally offensive...

Actually, Moulin Rouge isn't quite it, but here's the rest of the story:

I was listening to The Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra's live recording at MCG. The third track caught my attention - again. It does every time I listen to it.

It's called Nature Boy, and if you know the movie Moulin Rouge, it is the main theme song from that movie. Incidentally, that movie is one of my favorite romantic movies of all time, and if you're not familiar with it, I would recommend a little Holiday time project for you. It's worth it. And if you're in my general age bracket, and like music, you'll get a real charge out of all the music. The challenge is to see if you can name all the original songs/artists that are excerpted in the movie. Fun stuff - love that movie.

But back to this recording. John Clayton, whom I've yacked about a lot on this site, is a MASTER of the upright bass. Not only is he an amazing jazz player, improviser, composer, and arranger, but he was a classical player before he was a jazz player. This makes him a far better bow player than most of his colleagues. On most of his albums and in almost every live concert he plays, he pulls out the bow and treats the audience to an amazingly beautiful classical-style bass solo. Most of the time, they make me all squishy inside, and this one is no exception. Get yourself onto the iTunes music store, spend your .99, and grab a copy of that song.

It'll make you all squishy inside too. I promise.


Remembering Odense, Denmark

23 years ago I was a missionary in Denmark. For the only Christmas I was there, I was in the city of Odense ("OH-dens-ah", for you pronunciation folks). Why am I thinking about this? Because I was browsing around this morning, and I came across a funny letter, appearing to be one of those letters read in sacrament meetings every once in a while, an edict coming down to the lay-folk, expressing some new policy or something. This letter was asking members to please forgo the use of live camels in sacrament meeting Christmas presentations. I had a bit of a chuckle at that.

When I was in Odense, the six of us missionaries were given the assignment to guard the LIFE-SIZE NATIVITY SET that was set up by the local ward on the church grounds. We are talking camels, sheep, donkey, wise men, Mary, Joseph, manger, baby Jesus, etc. The whole nine yards. We were told that, in the past, there was a problem with theft of some of the elements of the set.

So, we were tagged as the best way to protect the little plastic baby Jesus. Which was fine with us. Why? We were asked to sleep at the church for the entire month of December. The local members brought food and treats every day the entire time. And we did nothing but stay up all night playing Uno, eating too much, and then playing flag football with a Nerf ball all night long. Every hour we would make the rounds outside to count noses. What an easy job.

Until somebody stole a damn sheep. On our watch.

Then the shit hit the fan. And it wasn't fun anymore. Funny, the things one remembers with fondness.


Driving traffic to your blog

If you're like me, you started your blog one day, not really planning out what it would be, how you would drive traffic to it, or how much traffic you wanted, if you would address a "niche" space, or any of that other stuff. Or maybe to took a very calculated planned approach.

Then, once you got going, you started visiting other peoples' blogs, and wondering why YOUR blog isn't getting 3000 hits per day.

I've been through that thought process, and I came to the realization that on some days, I want big traffic, crave it, need it like a monkey needs nuts to scratch. Other days, it just doesn't matter all that much and it gets to be a bit of a weight, wondering if you're yelling into a vacuum, wondering if a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound, etc.

This whole idea of traffic comes from a couple of thoughts, I think. First, there are people who make money from their blog - I know you know some - there are some here in good old Salt Lake. Then, there are people who wish they were making money on their blogs, but don't really have a direction, or niche. Others just don't go by that motivation at all, and blog for other reasons altogether.

I think the bottom line for most bloggers is to write for people to read, to interact with people, to speak their mind, throw their opinion out there, etc. Some want to be columnists deep down inside, while others are fine with going the "online personal journal" route.

Whatever your desire, there is a cottage industry out there to maximize your desired results. Check this list of useful blog traffic tips.

If you're a blogger user, you can look at these:
Blogger for Dummies
Blogger tips and tricks

Whatever the original intention for your little slice of blog heaven, you gotta be honest and admit that it's funner when there are people who READ what you write.

Our little mini vacation

A few people have asked me about where we were last week on our mini-vacation...

here is where we were

There are pictures, I'll post them when I have a moment to breathe...

new junk at Mortgage Times

junk from my brain

Check it out - random thoughts on Utah's position going into the next 2 to 3 years of real estate/interest rate traffic.

Brought to you by your favorite Mortgage guy:

Barenaked Ladies concert

I mentioned about a month ago that we were taking the two youngest members of ThatOneFamily to this concert. ThatOneWife has seen these guys about 78 times, I've seen them a couple of times, and both these two like their music, and they enjoyed it a lot. It was the first "loud" concert (arena concert) for them both, although we did take the entire crew to see Tower of Power a couple of years ago at the SLC Arts Festival... that was a ROCKIN concert, if you like that kind of stuff. I once saw them in a small club in New York City, and they blew the lid off the joint - my ears rang for about two days. But I was also stunned by that horn section.

Here are a couple of pictures from the BNL concert last month:

There's proof that the younguns were with us... this was before the concert started...


Swift Meats employs Swift Illegals

News story is here:

Actually, it's not Swift's fault. They did everything they were supposed to do. They collected all the required documentation, they just didn't know that all the documentation was falsified.

It was interesting watching the news last night. The cameras were pretty keen to capture the one Mexican dude saying, "All we're trying to do is work. Have a little conscience in your soul."

A little conscience in your soul? Whose soul? My soul? Indeed, I have a conscience, and it is offended by people who steal other people's identities in order to earn pay from employment that is gained illegally.

It always amazes me how these people just don't understand that when you break the laws, you forfeit any rights you might otherwise have had. Being here illegally in the first place doesn't get you a whole lot of rights either, although more rights than SHOULD be guaranteed, in my view.

Imagine if you were one of the unfortunate people whose identities had been stolen to facilitate these illegals' getting employment. Say you work for a computer company making $60,000 per year. That's not a truck-load of money, but it's enough to get you by. You have to plan well, and be organized. Part of that organization is knowing what your tax burden is at the end of the year. You have to plan your W-9 deductions properly.

Then imagine when you get your W-2 in the mail at the end of the year. Great, look at that, I made $60,000 last year. Swell. Then, the next week you get a W-2 from some place like Swift Meats for another $30,000. Holy shit. WTF!!! I made $90,000 last year? But I only planned for $60,000. How am I going to pay the taxes on $90,000??? I'm ruined. Better go tell the wife.

You don't think that's how it goes? Think again. I've SEEN it.

People who steal other people's identities, including Social Security Numbers, SHOULD get a "Go directly to jail" card. They're getting off easy by being bussed back to the border and squirted back over the line. They should be in prison for 10 years, THEN dropped off at the border, and told that if they show up again, they'll be in the House for 20 years next time.

So, all you Mexicans wondering where the consciences are, look at yourselves first. Where is YOUR conscience? Why don't you immigrate to this country properly? Yes, the system is stupid right now. Because you have it overloaded with people AND raw emotions. Let us fix it. GO HOME until it is fixed. Take Tony Yapias with you, by the way. Then we're fine with having you here, as long as you integrate yourself to life here, and play by the rules.

Have a nice day.

As promised: LR remodel pics

Here are a couple of pictures from the project that has kept my wallet supressed and my back sore for the last couple of weeks:

Here is "before"

Here is "after"

Google Fun:

So, to feel old, if you need help with that, try this out for a giggle:

Go to google image search, type in "Christmas" and your birth year. Post the five pictures you like the best. Each picture must show the year somewhere in the picture.

Here are mine:


new item posted over at Mortgage Times

New item over at Mortgage Times.

EVERY day, Will Hertzberg owns a little less of his three-bedroom house in Corona.

Like hundreds of thousands of other homeowners around the state, Hertzberg has a mortgage that lets him choose how much he pays each month.....

Check it out. Brought to you by your very favorite mortgage professional.

Insert your clever pun here

Couple of funny, related items in the news in the last week... First we have Congressman Cannon, who claimed to have read the Baker-Hamilton report last week, and when asked what he got out of it, replied that it showed to him that not only is the Bush strategy the correct way to go in Iraq, but it showed that "Bush is also pretty smart".

Umm, yeah. Apparently, some wise-ass staffer changed out his copy of the report with the most recent edition of the Adventures of Archie, Jughead and Veronica.

Then the Deseret News announced that the new Managing Editor shall be.... Brother Joe. This is the same dude who is the former head of the State Repub Party, and whose lobbying tactics and general political activities are part of the reason that Congressman Cannon hit the list of the most corrupt politicians in Washington right now. Oh, and between the two of them, also put Geneva Steel into bankruptcy. His appointment as Editor was lauded by Board chairman.... Ellis Ivory. Yes, THAT Ivory.

Lest you think that the Utah Good Old Boys Club ends at either the state Capitol building, or even 50 East North Temple.

Just sayin.

It's this kind of blind provincialism that can easily make one feel like legislated, legalized regular adulthood is going to be a long time coming in this state. About two weeks I go I sent an email to one of my state legislators, complaining that responsible adults shouldn't have to go through the state to get wine. Where other states allow shipping of wine directly from a winery to consumers, Utah does not allow this in any form. The legislator sent me a response back and said that he agreed with me, and said that indeed adulthood should be legalized in Utah (his words), but changing that paradigm would be tantamount to parting the Red Sea. (ie: Good effing Luck.)


So here's a thing...

I had my car in for its yearly proctology exam earlier this week. When I called to check in on its progress, the dude at the shop replied that it was going to be fine, but that I NEEDED to tell him why the hell I have red badges on the car instead of the blue ones. He said that EVERY SINGLE person who had come into the garage had asked what's with the red badges, and he didn't know. It was driving him crazy, along with everybody else who asked. (It's a BMW-specific shop, too.)

I imagine my answer was quite unsatifying, given the big build-up: "ummm, because it looked cool."

"Oh, well, okay then."

This isn't the first time this has happened either, I have been asked the same question perhaps a dozen times, at stop lights, gas stations, parking lots, fast food drive throughs (no joke!), etc.


Been a little while

So, I've taken a little time away from the old site here... as if you couldn't notice. New title bar subheader though, for those keeping score at home. Besides being loaded down at work, we've also had a couple of house projects on the plate as well. The fifth wedding anniversary is heading down the road directly at us, and we're heading out of town next week to avoid the collision celebrate that without the interruptions of kids, work, house projects, etc., not necessarily in that order. Coitus Interuptus, if you know what I mean. Coitus Terminus, even.

I know, too much information.

So, to pass the time, and convince you that I haven't simply dropped off the face of the earth altogether, I offer a little post of Miscellaneaeaeaeaaaeeeee...

First, what has happened since I last posted something seriously entertaining. Some might argue that that has actually been quite a long time... but I digress.

We had the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. I know that because he was killed three months after I was born. Even though I was not born here in the US, my parents were compelled by it and kept the newspaper from that day. I remember seeing it when I was old enough to understand. I have had a fascination with the Kennedy murder since then.

We had the Pearl Harbor anniversary as well. Although this was also an horrific event, I never was really as compelled by it as much as the Kennedy thing. Maybe I'm just a conspiracy nut.

We had the confirmation of Nancy Pelosi as the new majority leadership. I like her idea of the "first 100 hours" - a take on the "first 100 days" as a measuring stick for new presidents. We are starting to hear the "I" word bandied about a bit more as well. Although I don't think it's overall a great idea to impeach a president, I can't think of a more deserving defendant. Sounds to me like the Democrats are trying to convince the repubs to make the first move, which will benefit both parties, because it will give the repubs distance from the now-obvious stupidity of the current WhiteHouse, and it will insulate the dems from the venom of the registered repubs who think the president is the greatest thing since sliced bread (still).

I have posted two or three newer articles/observations over at the Mortgage Times. I've also set up a WordPress version of it, hoping to move all that over there at some point at the first of the year, when I hopefully have the time. (hopefully is perhaps the most misused word in the English language...)

Mortgage rates have dropped through the FLOOR over the last 6 weeks, and the base rate for a 30 year fixed loan right now is, get this, 5.5%. That doesn't suck right now. There's speculation that the Fed will actually DROP the base rate in January, or at least in the first part of the year. I think not though, because there is too much external, international pressure on the value of the dollar, which is more important to the fed than domestic mortgage rates. They will keep it where it is, to shore up the value of the flagging dollar in international markets, in particular, China, Japan, and the Euro countries, all of whom have a HUGE vested interest in the value of the dollar, because they all own MAJOR positions in US currency compared to the rest of the currencies in their portfolios. When the dollar value drops in market trading, those countries LOSE money (value) IMMEDIATELY, which COULD spur a dollar currency sell-off. If you think times have been bad around here over the last five years, you ain't seen NOTHIN' yet, if our major dollar-holders want to dump their dollar positions. Very. Bad. Look for interest rates at the FED level to remain the same until at LEAST May of next year.

The good news is that mortgage rates are expected to stabilize over the next year and plateau generally where they are right now, or move only slightly higher. So that helps.

Utah Jazz off to their best start in franchise history, best in the league as well. When did THAT happen? You gotta love it baby.

I am currently VERY out of love with DirecTV. To the point I am almost ready for a divorce. Unfortunately I have a significant investment in their HD TIVO boxes, etc. GAAK. Dammitohell.

Let's see, what else....

Back to house projects for a moment. I laid hardwood at home over the weekend. Basic floor went awesome, but I thought the stairs would end me. Stairs, in and of themselves: not so bad. Stairs, when you have to cut around railing parts: SUCKAGE.

When you have to cut everything in the garage during a cold snap - also suckage.

Before/after pictures coming soon.

New countertops for the kitchen should hit right after we get back from vacation, cabinets in January. We were looking around the house a day or two ago, and couldn't find ANYTHING that would have been original to the house when it was built. Very little as well that is original to 6 or 7 years ago, even.

So, I think that is all for right now - sorry no pictures, one of the very few in a long time. Sorry to you visual types. I'll get back to it soon enough. On second thought, have a small picture of the entire family, taken in August, just before ThatOneSecondOldest left for his mission to New Caledonia. Don't worry, I don't know where that is either. But I do know that it costs $94 to send 20 pounds of Jello there. Just sayin. Pretty sure it's halfway to Mars. He can use the newly-discovered water there to mix it up. MMMMmmm, Jello.