a little bit fruity

no matter how you slice it, this is going to be hard to explain to your mother in law the next time she comes to visit...

Just sayin...

A little project I've been working on lately:

See if you think this is a good idea. It has nothing to do with my fortune cookie from the previous post - it's just a little project I've been working on that has begun to take its first breaths of life:

Modern Utah Design Partners has been formed with the sole purpose of designing and building a mid-priced grouping of modern homes in the Salt Lake County area. Members of the Partnership each bring a specific specialty to the group and will execute within their specialty to fulfill the goals of the project.


In the Salt Lake Area, if you are a person who is inspired by a modern-contemporary architectural flavor, the only choice for you is to buy/build a home in an area and at a price point that is prohibitive to all but the most affluent. There are a few designers who can be engaged to design homes in this 7-figure price range, and there are also a few “heritage” homes in the Salt Lake area which go up for sale at various times of the year, but they are often run down, neglected and in dire need of expensive care and repair.

Project Goals
The design goals of this project are as follows:

To design a grouping of homes that appeal to the general style of modern/contemporary architecture at a price point that is affordable and in a location that is convenient to young professionals in the Salt Lake metro area.

Inspiration for the designs will be taken generally from the following schools:

Richard Neutra
Frank Lloyd Wright – Modernist school, as opposed to the prairie styl
Don Wexler
John Lautner
R.M. Schindler

For the 20 lots, there will be approximately 5-7 different home designs, each with a particular design heritage. Models will carry the name of the historical architect from which the design inspiration comes. The entire group will have common elements and will appear to come from the same family, or general design school of thought. Each design school will be interpreted with a 21st century flavor and sensitivity. Each will have the ability for custom elements within the general design. Within the individual designs, there will also be elements that tie the group together, and at the same time set the individual homes apart from each other. Among the common features will be:

A direction toward green design – possible solar heating, radiant floor heating, responsible landscaping.

Homes will generally be three bedrooms / two bathrooms, with unfinished basements

Homes will generally be in the 3000 square foot range, not counting unfinished basements

Minimized garage features on the front of the house. No more than two car space, no pad for extra storage, no street parking, well lighted street areas.

A strong use of glass, natural woods, metal, and stucco to convey unity and individualism

Kitchen spaces/elements to be contracted from common supplier, most likely Poliform, providing favorable pricing can be negotiated.

A blending of indoor and outdoor living spaces

A basic outdoor kitchen space with gas tips for grill, etc.

An individually designed small water feature

A patio space, with a built-in/sunken jetted hot tub/soaking tub area, with a buyer option for a larger pool if desired. No slides.

Extensive landscape/exterior home lighting, front and back

Responsible landscaping using native plants and grasses, minimal grass

Responsible irrigation solutions

Pimp My Ride

People put their life stories on the back of their cars. Often, you can tell a person's sexual orientation, how smart their kids are, what their political preferences are, if they have a sense of humor, if they're a redneck, or white trash.

To whit - I give you:

Sorry it's dark, I snapped this outside my office a few minutes ago. I wrote last September about what a great location we have here for an office. All manner of folk hang out around here. And with a VA Vet center located here also, well, that's a lottery win in the Redneck Sweepstakes, every single day.

If you can't tell, that's an antler from what appears to either be a Jackalope, or a BABY DEER. (Yes, I know, baby deers don't grow no horns...) It's not a ginger root, placed there by some oriental cooking enthusiast.

Good Sir, is this the high-point of your life? What means this? This is road-kill, maybe?

What you can't see, is that the tender antler is tied to the grill with a black shoe lace. If that's not classy, well, I give up.


This was the fortune inside my cookie last Wednesday. ThatOneWife and I were out to do a mini-celebration because I had just received news, that day, on the funding for a business project I have been pursuing for about 9 months. I have a fondness for SamPan's sesame chicken, and we decided to go out to get some.

This is a big thing, and I'll let the cat out of the bag here shortly on it, but suffice it to say, it's something we have been waiting for for a while now.


More fun junk in my mailbox

So I got the annual invitation to the Utah Symphony's Emerald Ball... it's a hoity toity affair, with silent auction and all that crap.

At the bottom of the invitation was this little line:

"Formal Black Tie or Dress Kilt."

So, I guess my everyday kilt is just not going to cut it this time around.

And While We're on the Subject

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition?


(insert chirping cricket noises here to connote deafening silence mixed in with abject ambivalence.)

Really - isn't Beyonce the most over-exposed starlet on the loose today? Well, almost. At least the most exposed of those whose coochie you haven't seen.

Just sayin.

Actually, I have the same beef with SI's swimsuit edition that I have with Victoria's Secret: If I wanted my 14-year-old-boy-porn chicks all photoshopped to death, I'd just subscribe to Playboy. They're a WHOLE LOT better at it than y'all are.

Again, just sayin.

As Mardi Gras ends for the year

Mardis Gras is over, and I still have BEADS to give away!!

Come on, bring it ('em)!


Dixie Chicks don't look so stupid now, do they?

Some time ago, I wrote about the Dixie Chicks getting slammed for speaking their mind in opposition of the president and the handling of the war in Iraq, etc. At the time I said they were ahead of the curve on this issue.

With the current approval numbers for the current administration at historic lows, they don't seem all that unpatriotic now, do they?

And still there are stations (even here in Salt Lake) who won't play their music.

This article was published in the NY Times a week ago, after the Chicks swept their categories at the Grammy Awards ceremony. It's an interesting read.

Dear Nashville, and your neo-Christian, ultra-conservative, Republican hangers on - take your Southern president back. Please. You can have him. He's made our world an unsafe place - take him back and limit his damage to your little corner of the world. We don't want him.

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12 — The Dixie Chicks’ big win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday exposed ideological tensions between the music industry’s Nashville establishment and the broader, more diverse membership of the Recording Academy, which chooses the Grammy winners, according to voters and music executives interviewed afterward.

To some, the voting served not only as a referendum on President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, but also on what was perceived as country music’s rejection — and radio’s censorship — of the trio.

Jeff Ayeroff, a longtime music executive and an academy member, said the resounding endorsement of the group reflected the fact that the academy represents “the artist community, which was very angry at what radio did, because it was not very American.” Mr. Ayeroff said he voted for the Dixie Chicks in at least one category.

At the awards on Sunday, the band — Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison — swept all five of the Grammy categories in which it was nominated, including the top three — album, record and song of the year — the first time all three have been swept in 14 years.

The awards amounted to vindication for the Dixie Chicks, who found their career sidetracked in 2003 after the singer Ms. Maines told a London concert audience shortly before the invasion of Iraq that the band was “ashamed” that the president hailed from their home state, Texas. In the furor that followed, country radio programmers pulled the multiplatinum-selling trio’s music from the airwaves and rallied listeners to destroy their CDs.

The storm flared anew last year when the Dixie Chicks released the album “Taking the Long Way,” which included the single “Not Ready to Make Nice,” a defiant and bitter response to the group’s treatment. And things got worse when band members said in interviews that they were not interested in being part of the commercial country music business; Ms. Maguire, who plays the fiddle, said the group would rather have fans “who get it” instead of “people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith.” Country stations once again all but ignored the Dixie Chicks’ music.

The sweep reflected something of a retort to the Country Music Association’s annual awards, held in November, when the Dixie Chicks were shut out. The vote by the Recording Academy, which is composed of performers, producers, engineers, executives and others across the country, evidently took a different view.

“I think it says that, by and large, the creative community sees what has happened to the Dixie Chicks as unfair and unjust,” said Mike Dungan, a longtime music executive who heads the C.M.A.’s board and is also the president and chief executive of the Capitol Nashville label. (Mr. Dungan said he was not speaking on behalf of the C.M.A.)

Awards shows/media events thoughts

Finally, a moment or two to scribble something of a border-line intelligent nature - providing, of course, that the venerable Blogger feels like cooperating today...

Dan Nailen writes the "Culture Vulture" column for the Salt Lake Tribune. I enjoy his stuff. It's generally wide-ranging, and not usually down the beaten path that is so often flogged to death in the rest of our print and online media.

A couple of weeks ago, he wrote that the Grammy Awards was a show (and award) that doesn't really matter any more. I generally don't agree.

I have a bit of a unique experience there. I was admitted to the Association of Recording Arts and Sciences about 10 years ago as a recording engineer. You have to apply and qualify under a certain set of criteria. For recording engineers, you had to show credits on at least 5 national record label releases. There are a couple of other small things, but that was the main thing to the application. Upon admittance, you are entitled to vote for the Grammy Awards nominees.

Every year, the Association contemplates the changes within the music industry by deciding whether to adjust categories, add award categories, discontinue others, etc.

When I was admitted, the boom in electronic production popularized by the then-booming rap music category forced the Association to add several new categories for this genre of music.

As a member of the Association, you are entitled to vote in the general music awards categories, like Best Album, Best New Artist, etc., along with the awards within your specific speciality - for me that specialty includes things like Best Producer, Best Engineer, Best Original Movie Score, etc. Most of those awards don't make it to the 3 hour broadcast. Like the Academy Awards for actors, the Grammys are the ones awarded by industry peers.

Nailen notes that he has listened to 160 albums throughout the year that are better than Christina Aguilera, for example. I would generally echo that thought. And here is what has happened to the Association of the last 10 or so years: with so many rap/urban/hiphop categories now represented in the cadre of awards, and with so many people now admitted to the Association from that genre, you are getting a cascade of votes for people, voted to win because of that preponderance of voters who skew in that direction.

The Grammy awards show now boasts about 50% of the time dedicated to this general genre as well, leaving out many who would have been there before the addition of this general genre.

The other problem is this - the entire entertainment industry has moved "pop" music toward this genre as well, as that is what our kids are listening to as well. This leaves musically talented acts to be relegated to the ranks of things like "stadium rock", or other "sidelined" categories.

Which leads one to ask the question, 20 years from now, how will this decade be labeled? The 70's is decidedly labeled as "disco", then we move from there to "rock", then "new wave" and "punk", then back to some "pop rock", then "rap", then "hiphop", and now "urban". Some call this New R&B, Soul, or something similar. I don't.

My headache here is that the sheer talent, or musicianship, is sorely lacking, both from a production standpoint, and from a composition, creative, and performance standpoint. 80% of the music on the popular radio stations, and consequently, on the awards show, can be "produced" in my basement, or anyone else's for that matter.

How many mainstream musicians can you name right now, who are excellent musicians - who play an instrument as part of their musical career? John Mayer comes to mind - he rocks a gnarly guitar. There are others as well - but by and large, you have a preponderance of people who hold their mike at the neck, their baggy crushed velour sweat suit at the crotch, and yell at me from the stage, using language that would make Hustler readers blush. Is this musicianship?

The thing about the Grammys is that these are the very people who are also voting for the winners in many categories. So I hope you are ready for more of the same in coming years.

Does this cheapen the Grammys then? I don't think so, because these awards are given out by the peers, and winners in all categories are rewarded recognition by the people who are familiar with their work, and who are showing respect for superior work. The awards show you see is a result of what the producers of the show think the general public wants to hear and see. It's not really indicative of the scope of the awards.

The Grammys matter because there are still engineers, producers, string quartets, mandolin players, vocalists, ethnic acts, who are honored to be recognized by people who have actually heard, and respect the performances that have been memorialized in recorded product.

I have more in a coming post....


Apple Forces Microsoft's Hand

Not to be outdone by Apple Inc, Microsoft has announced that it has pushed the release schedule for their own multimedia phone/player package.

They noted that they were not as far along as Apple is, but wanted to cash in on the buzz, and just couldn't wait to get some of the details worked out. I note that it has the usual Microsoft form factor.

Here is their phone, the ZunePhone:

We'll have to see how they work out the details, but the proto looks promising.

Sorry - I couldn't help myself - this is kind of a placeholder post. I'm a little buried right now, but I'll be back shortly, to post some better meaningful, cogent, thought-provoking drivel.


Fetchin' Heck...

... I need a mortgage loan processor.

or two!

Glub, glub, glub...

(that's me, drowning in paperwork.)

One Upmanship - or - We're Just Golf Buddies

The other day, Marc Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, HDNet, Landmark Theaters, among other things, was complaining about how proud he was to have gotten email spam from Donald Trump Himself.

Arriving at home that very evening, I had this in my mailbox, just waiting for me.

See, Cuban gets spam emails - I GET HANDWRITTEN LETTERS. From Don.

Because I'm cool like that - just sayin'.


and a Friday leftover:

before I forget - all chainlink fencing should be banned for residential use.

Just sayin.

Now, have a weekend, mmkay?

Friday Randoms: Desk Clearing

Okay, let's just go ahead and dump the desk here, so we can start over next week:

First: If Salt Lake County goes through an in depth audit of Real Salt Lake's financials and future projections, and says the numbers don't add up, and therefore you will be getting no money from the citizens of the county to line your pockets, why, then, does the legislature think it's okay to override that decision, take the money, and valuable legislative time, and hand over the money?

Are you going to sit there are tell me that the morons now convening at the Capitol (Capital?) have somehow scrubbed the numbers more in-depth-ly than our own bulldog, Mayor Corroon? Hah... I didn't think you would make that assertion. They just "thought it was a great idea, we really want them here."


I'll just add the 90th - 120th South area of State street to the list of stupid places I don't go, along with the rest of Weird Uncle Larry's 427 car dealerships, the Glow-Dome, and the Larry Miller's self-congratulatory complex of movie theaters, restaurants, and a tall office building from whence I can look down upon my loyal subjects. And cry.

That feels much better now. Thanks.

Second: The last four months has been a stupid bunch of reporting about Anna Nicole Smith, this and that. Now she's dead. What a poor misguided troubled life. The experts over time have opined with authority about paternity this and that, suicide this and that, and now are reporting on drug interactions, etc, in incredible depth and clarity of detail.

Months, now. Great. She was famous for .... well... being famous, I guess. That puts her right up there with our other national shames - Nicole Ritchie, Lindsey Lohan, Brittney Oops I Forgot Them Again Spears, Paris Hilton - the only Hilton that will charge you for space by the hour.

Umm, in the grand scheme, who cares what these little whores are doing?

And yet, with all the wonderful, assertive, expert reporting, we can't seem to get a clear picture of REAL issues that actually MEAN something to the people of this country - who knows what the hell is going over there in Iraq? Certainly our own leaders are useless in this now-tarnished quest. About 70% of 12 BILLION dollars in CASH can not now be accounted for - cash that was supposed to infuse some sort of peace and order over there. (don't get me started on the logic of THAT argument... we just don't have the time..) But nobody knows where about 7.5 Billion of it even WENT.

People, it was on a giant military transport plane, loaded by FORKLIFT, and now we can't FIND IT? Let's send about 20,000 kids over there and see if THEY can find it.

But alas, I need to get me hence down to the corner store and pick up a copy of the new People magazine.

Third: Our own SFL (senator for life) was one of only TWO senators to vote against the ethics reform package that was passed in Washington only a week or two ago. Illustrious company, we keep, no? Some say, "where are our leaders?" I say, "where were the voters?"

Fourth: Davis and Weber County School Districts - what the HELL is in the water up there? Certainly not Smart Juice. In Weber County, the SECRETARY of a schools foundation has made off with $900,000 of foundation money over a period of time. The foundation has 1.3 MM in assets. How does this HAPPEN? Are we asleep at the switch up there?

"We are reviewing policies," the foundation said. "We are looking into our past audits."

ya think?

In Davis County, the story is similar. A couple who run/ran an outfit that procured books or whatever for schools is now under federal investigation for bilking Davis county schools out of about $800,000 with inflated prices, undelivered stuff, etc, etc. When this came to light, the husband and wife went on TV all teary-eyed, saying they did nothing wrong, we'll put this all right once the investigation is done.

Well, the investigation is done, and they have now been indicted. Not only that, but apparently, a big portion of the money went to help buy three homes for their children. The prosecution now wants those houses seized.

Fifth: My favorite corporate punching bag, WALMART, is back in the news. It seems they are going to court as the defendant in a class-action suit aimed at their gender-equality policies. It seems a lady who had worked in a walmart bakery department asked the management why a (male) co-worker was getting paid more than her, even though she had been at the job twice as long as he had. The answer: Because he's the head of his household.

Effing Brilliant. She hired a lawyer the next day.

Don't worry, that place is ALREADY on my list of places I don't patronize.

The problem is that (almost) no matter what the penalty is for this, it will only be a slight fart in the wind, in comparison to the riches amassed by this corporate consumer of people and communities.

Thanks for listening - I feel better now.


Take a sad song, and make it better....

In May 06 I wrote (in quite a Seussical way, thank you) about the long running dispute between Apple Computer (now simply Apple, Inc.) and Apple Corps, the "record label" started by the beatles and now used as a shell company to control the tightly held Beatles music catalog.

Apple announced yesterday that a new agreement has been reached, with Apple Inc gaining control over all "apple" related trademarks, licensing the stuff needed back to Apple Corps for unlimited use.

Commenting on the settlement, Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO said, “We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks. It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future.”

One has to wonder, then, how long it will be before the entire Beatles catalog will be available on the iTunes music store. This is one of the last major catalogs to NOT agree to work with iTunes. I heard this morning that London odds-makers are predicting (with 8-1 odds) that when the catalog DOES make it to iTunes, Hey Jude will become the most downloaded song in iTunes history.


Cell Phone ring tones

This has been my cell phone ring-tone since the day I got my phone, about a year ago.

The intro is funky and catchy, and EVERYBODY knows what it is when they hear it... It's a funny conversation starter, and makes people laugh most of the time.

Come to think of it, they might just be laughing AT me. Hadn't thought of that before.


I'm a sucker for the Geico Caveman commercials

I have TIVO. I RARELY watch tv live. I therefore RARELY wach commercials. However, as I'm buzzing through commercials at 2 or 3 times real time, I will actually STOP and rewind to watch the GEICO caveman commercials. and I giggle at them every single time.

Then ThatOneWife looks at me, shakes her head, and takes the remote away from me.

In case you were unaware, or were unsuccessful at discerning it from my blog, I'm generally and imbecile. But that's another subject for another day.

So, if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, here are the commercials, in a general order:

Network executive apology
Airport moving sidewalk
Airport moving sidewalk, Part Deux
Caveman CNBC interview
Sensitive Caveman goes to therapy
Cavemen at a party

and one that I hadn't seen - not sure if it's a spoof or not - but it's still pretty funny...

caveman sound man