Books that make you dumb

Have you ever read a book, and thought to yourself, "geez, why did I do that, now I'm even DUMBER!"

Yeah, thought so.

A dude named Virgil, because he can't get dates with that name, has now compiled a quantified list of books that officially make you dumb, and conversely, those that make you smart.

Read how he did it here:

A quick thought...

I know I've promised a new "On My Hard Drive", and it's almost done, but I just wanted to throw in a quick thought here.

Over the weekend, Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama for president, along with Uncle Ted yesterday.

This isn't the first time Obama's name has come up in the same sentence with the Kennedy name. It's been a subtext comparison for a while now, and I have to say - one can only hope that an Obama presidency will be as able as the Kennedy one to motivate and inspire, and if Obama's way with the press, and with public speaking is any indication, that hope might be well founded. Every time I hear him speak, I am moved, deep down. Hopefully it's more than just talk.

We hope. From a design perspective, his campaign seems very aware of the young vote, called the Post-Selma Generation by the press these days. You can see some of the design here.

While good design and speaking well don't make a president (I mean seriously, look at the illiterate fool we "elected", TWICE), it's nice to see some awareness of the younger, more hip voters.

Check out some of his posters.

We (I) certainly hope we end up with someone who can truly motivate a country with self-confidence, and the ability to string some words together coherently.


In which I compare things

Now that we have eaten at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Fleming's Steakhouse, and Spencer's Steak and Chops, I have come to a conclusion.

One of my BIGGEST peeves - of which I have a couple - is that I hate restaurants where you have to yell to be heard. One of the others happens when slobs wearing jeans, T-shirts, and old muddy boots walk into a nice restaurant to be seated. These are also the noisy ones. Derelict classless trailer-park escapees, and construction workers out for the evening to spend their week's pay. If I ran a restaurant, especially one into which I had poured a lot of money to manage a reputation and image, I would have a dress code. But that's just me, maybe.

Anyway, the Doffing of my Chapeau goes to Spencer's. I don't know if it's a chain thing or what (both RC's and Fleming's are chains)(and granted, Spencer's is kind of a chain too, but really, it's owned by the hotel chain in which it's located), but the service, atmosphere, and food doesn't match up to the price at the other two restaurants. When we ate at Spencer's for our anniversary, we had a nice corner booth, and as we ordered wine 'n' spirits, the SOMMELIER came over to make sure we had no questions about the (monstrous) wine list, etc. We were served by several people, hand and foot, and it was a great evening. The food was also superior, by a country mile. It was just that good.

And one more comparison: As you may remember, I bought myself some skis for Christmas. It had been several years since I had skied, and I wanted to make sure that when I did finally bite that expensive bullet, that I was going to be able to afford to actually GO skiing once in a while, and that it wouldn't break the bank when I did. So research ensued. The idea of being able to buy individual rides on a lift, as opposed to buying a day pass, was very appealing to me, because there are lots of times when I would be able to run up and ski two or three runs before hitting the office. The times that I would spend an entire day are much fewer. Solitude has such a program, where you can buy a pass that allows you to ride either 10 or 20 times, spread across the entire season if you wish. When you use the last one, you can just buy another pass. That's what I did, and I'm loving the idea of a couple of runs before work, or earlier in the day on a weekend and be free to do other things as well during the rest of the day, without having spent $60 on a day pass.

Way to go, Solitude!!

Sorry, no pictures this time... too busy!!!


A Random Offender

Ever have this happen to you???

Every once in a while, I get a nose hair, way up there, that seems to turn sideways, and poke, itch, bug, bother, and generally annoy me for an entire day, until I can get home and get the 2.5 HP gas-powered weedwacker out to put the little bugger out of my misery. My nose hairs are of the coarse variety, like brambles on a thorny bush.

No matter how many knuckles I jam up there, no matter how impolite I am about it, it just doesn't help. Perhaps I am going through my "Second Puberty". I chuckle at that site every time I think about it.

I guess only MOST of the hairs I own are coarse. Some are soft and fuzzy, like little frail old men, holding on in the twilight of their years. Remember my Ear Hair story?? I still get comments from that post. Crack me up.

Which reminds me (oddly), I have been reminded of a writing thing once asked of Hemmingway: what's the best six-word story you can come up with? His was "For Sale: baby shoes. Never used."

That's pretty damn impressive, actually. So here's one for you - what's YOUR best six-word story - in three minutes or less?

One or two off the total top of my (thinning) head:

Do over - I'd be an architect.


Found: what I was looking for.

Some Housekeeping items:

Okay, so it's been a few days since I wrote here...

The markets have been a bloodbath lately, and while it's not something that effects me directly and immediately, it's not nice to see. The FED this morning took an emergency .75% rate cut to their benchmark interest rates - this will probably spur a refinance boom for a while, as people try to get out of bad loans. One problem though, is that their houses MAY not appraise for what they need to in order for that to be successful. And another thing, loans are pretty hard to come by, no matter the rate, unless you exhibit pretty bullet-proof credit. Which isn't everybody, by any means. So there are other remedies that need to take shape here, if a true crisis is to be averted. And that's all the doom and gloom I'm going to foment here.

On another note, I get many comments to my posts sent to me by the commenter right through email, as opposed to posted as actual comments to posts.

One of those commenters, named Brian (premission granted), noted my post about lunching with our illustrious Senator Bob Bennett. That post is here.

He comments: I saw your blog and noticed you had lunch with Bob Bennett. I am curious how much you know about him and what he is up to politically. Have you heard of the Merkel Initiative, the Streit Council, the Transatlantic Common Market, or the Transatlantic Policy network?


Anyway, I have been aware of some of the shenanigans of Brother Bob, and I wrote the following back to Brian The Commenter:

Merkel Initiative: - Essentially, the drive toward one worldwide
financial currency?

Streit Council: The alignment of european and US economies?

Transatlantic Common Market: The movement of those two economies into one market by 2015.

While I am not a "tin-foil hat" wearing kind of individual, my general impression of Bennett is that I wouldn't trust him with a dollar bill of mine. He's part of a national establishment of do-what-you-want republican politics, and locally, one of those who find no fault in
the mingling of outside interests into the political landscape for his own benefit, and to further the causes of those who have poured vast amounts of money into his pockets. One world economy/currency/market is a bad deal for the US. No matter HOW it's sliced. Or who thinks it's great. When has government economic direction (meddling) ever worked out to benefit a truly free market society?

"Harmonizing agency rules and regulations" Gimme a break, dude.

So there's that. On another post (found here), I talked about the movie Fracture, and in particular, the architectural design of the house around which the movie takes place. I noted that there isn;t much information available on this lovely home, but I did find out a couple fo small tidbits of information. You'll have to look back at that post to see what that was...

Then I got an email recently from a person who shed a little more light on the situation.

He gave the address of the place - apparently in Encino, CA... which was pretty much where it was determined to be. However, after putting 2 and 2 together, you can see it on Google Earth.

If you don't have Google Earth, you should - it's a bunch of fun to explore places you've heard about, read about, but have never seen. Wanna see the Taj Mahal? Yeah, I thought so. And if you want to see that house from the movie Fracture, put these coordinates in: 34° 9'2.78"N, 118°29'18.89"W. And have fun. I'd still like to know who the architect was though.

And one other thing. I wise person sonce said to me, in the beginning of my blogging life, that I should throw in a picture with every post, just to make it fun and entertaining, from a visual perspective. So here's one for you - you deserve it, if you've read this far today:

I usually stop the TIVO to watch the Apple vs. Mac ads on tv (produced by Apple). They usually make me laugh. This one is probably one of the most clever examples of online advertising I've seen in a long time. This is a headline bar-style ad, in concert with a "skyscraper" ad on the side. It's making fun of Vista - the guys lights aren't all working.... anyway, the best part: the ad appeared on C|Net, on a page for Windows Vista.


And coming later this week: On My Hard Drive-Herbie Hancock, with a sidebar for Naturally 7, and a comparison between Ruth's Chris, Flemings, and Spencer's here in Salt Lake, along with a rave about Solitude Ski area.


The quick way to ruin a building

10 easy ways to ruin a building:

From this morning's local newspaper -

Dear Architect,

You probably listened to the building owner, but you should have told him to sit down, be quiet and LEARN something.


What WAS a lovely bit of Prairie Style Architecture is easily ruined by placing 10 Greco-Roman Columns in the front. Wow.

I'm in awe. Shock and Awe.

In its unruined state, it is reminiscent of Wrights' Darwin Martin house, finished in 1905, with the brick being replaced with plate glass, something Wright helped pioneer way back when, with the Larkin Administration Building, in 1904, among others.



And speaking of photos

An update over at UtahModernHomes.com now shows a cache of photos used as inspiration for the project. They are separated into exterior and interior shots.

Also, later this week there will be a new article from the NY Times on the appeal of modern architecture and it's value in reference to actual home value (appraised value) in the marketplace. It reinforces the idea that value is gained and maintained in more appreciable ways than simply the presence of square footage. If that square footage isn't useful, then it's ... well... not useful, and therefore, what use is it??

Just sayin.

Afraid this couch would leave me

with a case of claustrophobia.


Jingle Mail

Apparently, this is the new catch phrase among mortgage lenders. It refers to what is starting to happen with home-owners who are now simply mailing the keys to the house to the mortgage company along with a note, saying, essentially,

"Hey, remember that note you sent asking me about my last payment? Well, you actually DID receive my LAST payment, 2 months ago. And here's the keys, too. Bye."

Funny, but not really.

New Item at UtahModernHomes.com

I've posted a new article and a new page over at the UtahModernHomes.com site

Go take a look, we're starting to get some traction with this project, and are starting to get pretty excited about getting it up off the ground.

Thanks for listening to the cross-promotion.

Go Huckleberry!!

As much as I would NEVER vote for The Liar Romney, a Huckabee as president REALLY is scary. Not so much the man, but how he has galvanized the neo-con uber-evangelists in his behalf. A few days ago, the Salt Lake Tribune reported some of the content of Huckabee bloggers' posts. And it's friggin scary. These religious zealots are no better than the religious extremists we seem destined to combat on other continents. They're no different, these dominionists.

I can only hope that even if he DOES somehow magically win the party nomination, the rest of the country, when it comes down to it, won't vote for him. Which is why a huckabee nomination is good for democrats - I HOPE.

Which is why I would be inclined to say, in a very measured tone, Go Huckleberry!

Jeez, that gives me the willies just thinking about it.

And another thing: would somebody PLEASE explain to me why a certain state, like New Hampshire, or Iowa this year, should be allowed to suppose to think and act for the rest of hte country in shaping the nominations for the rest of us??? I just don't get that - the folks in New Hampshire have been very proud, even tying their identity to the fact that have been the first to choose the nomimee each time, essentially speaking for the rest of the nation in choosing who that nominee should be. I can't think of another state that is LESS representative of the nation as a whole.

Why not a national primary day? Lord knows the candidates have the money to spend. Holey shirt.

Just sayin.

Did you know:

Did you know that at one time, in the late 1940's and 1950's, brown dress shoes were the mark of a jazz lover, and viewed by the rest of society as belonging to a subversive movement? The wearer of these shoes was to be carefully scrutinized and held at arm's length.

Your trivia for the day.


See: Ski Day, end of.

Taken at the end of the day yesterday, on our way down the mountain. Crappy phone camera didn't do much of a job capturing the low angle sun colors, etc.

I guess you had to be there. But it was a nice day, and everybody had fun - generally speaking.

One or two were wondering about the randomly meandering brain wave that led me to post about the Hinano incident. And here it is:

I wrote in a post a week or so ago about taking kids up to go boarding in the evening. I noted that my skis were not yet ready for me, so I was relegated to being the chauffeur. To cut the boredom at one point, I decided to go down to the little store and buy a drink to kill the time.

On the way, you pass by one of the swimming areas. These areas - I believe there are 2 outdoors at Snowbird - are ringed in glass all around them, to allow only guests to access the area. Note that I said it was glass. As I walked by, I couldn't help but notice, among the swimmers there - keeping in mind that the thermostat thingie in my car said it was 11 degrees outside, where the pool area is - about four young lasses clad in about 9 square inches of swimming suit between them. And before you call me some perverted dirty old man, THEY WERE PARADING AROUND just asking for people to look at them. So I did a little bit. It was kind of surreal, actually, all foggy from the cold air meeting the warm water, etc. It's not like I had pressed my face up to the glass, wiping the fog away with my nose or anything. Seriously, I didn't.

Which brought my mind to warmer climbs, and visions of closer encounters with surgically-enhanced females. Otherwise known as The Hinano Incident.

This particular pool at Snowbird, ironically, is where a particular pair of 15 month old twins learned to do somersaults into the water on a warm summer evening about 16 years ago.

Okay, that's kind of eery. What a freakin' long time ago. I was chauffeuring one of those twins, now 17, that evening last week.