Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kokopelli Helps Find the Battalion's Way Down La Bajada asking the valid question, "Where's Waldo?"

Santa Fe occupies a beautiful location beneath the south end of the Sangre de Cristo, the Blood of Christ Mountains. However, it the old days, it wasn't that easy to get there. Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is a very interesting escarpment called La Bajada, "The Descent,"or as I like to translate it, "The Big Downer." Going up is usually the problem as we found trying to make it up I-25 in our old Ford Escort, not a great ride even when coasting downhill. And the freeway climb, while steep, is much better engineered than the original highway demonstrated in this vintage postcard a friend gave me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

There's Always a Trail

Norman Maclean had a river. I was born on the banks of the Snake, one of the true rivers. As a child of the Northwest, I'm always disappointed by "rivers" that don't match up to the likes of the Columbia, Snake, and even the Snohomish and Quillayute. And while rivers were our nation's first thoroughfares, my rivers were always for crossing, or finding a way around (the Quillayute on Scout 50-Miler hikes). My two sets of grandparents lived on opposites sides of the Snake where it forms the Idaho/Oregon border. So maybe you could say the river ran between them, as well as perhaps other things. But it was always the trails that ran through my life.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Lie of all Munchkins

I was going to say the "Munchkin of all Lies" but I didn't want you to think I was talking about any particular Munchkin (Sarah?)

This theme isn't exactly new on these pages but it came to me in such stark terms last night with Boehner's Debacle and watching a clip of Michelle Bachman going on about "the government this" and "the government that." It's tempting to say the quote: "the government is the problem" is the problem (thank you, President Reagan) but it goes much deeper to the core of a very simple truth. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. Of course, it also makes Walt Kelly's immortal turn of the phrase have extra, ironic truth, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blogging from the Trail

Hopefully, without unduly raising expectations, I have a plan for a series to blog this next week. I have quite a bit of material collected from my experiences in historic trail questing (see, Galahad). I've wanted to put this all into a book or something, but don't seem to be sufficiently organized to do so. Then I realized, "Wait a minute! I'm a blogger!"

Leaving adult children at home, I'll be spending the week at Philmont Training Center, Cimarron, New  Mexico right on the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail. My wife is presenting a class, and I am going as a spouse to help her out (a little) but mostly to relax, read, and blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The President Is Playing the Lollipop Guild for Suckers

Yes. While it is an artificial and unnecessary crisis, it is a real crisis with significant risks. But it is not all as it seems. And it is certainly not as the Lollipop Guild (AKA tea party) believes or wants it to be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The Bigger the Government, The Smaller the People"

The Lollipop Guild
Republican Leadership:
McConnell, Boehner, Cantor 
You said it, John! So I'm thinking maybe they should I will now call it the "Lollipop Guild" rather than the "Tea Party."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meyers-Briggs INFP: What Sir Galahad and I Have in Common

Sir Galahad by Arthur Hughes (1832-1915)
It's not exactly the purity (although far from me being some kind of libertine!) Rather it's the idealistic temperament we share. I feel the need to explain myself yet again, which, of course, is also part of the psychological profile.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Heal the Horror in our Hearts

Oh! My heart breaks yet again for this new and senseless tragedy in Norway. I am unaware of any Norwegian ancestry, yet my mom is a Peterson from Danish origins. And we are all human beings.

What a sickening, heart-rendering and unnecessary horror. The supposed perpetrator is in the custody of Norwegian law enforcement. They are a civilized nation and will see that our weak forms of human justice are exercised as well as they can in their own honorable tradition of law.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!

One of the odd things that is hard to get used to living in Utah, although in sort of a good way, is that with Independence Day early in July and Pioneer Day near the end (the 24th to commemorate the entry into to the Valley of the first Mormon Pioneers), there is a three-week, patriotic extravaganza. The two holidays are celebrated essentially the same with parades, fireworks, picnics, patriotic and religious pageants, etc.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sarah Palin's Big Speech

Not yet scheduled, but as I have long predicted, Sarah will one day give the big speech announcing she will not seek the Republican nomination. I thought I would get my draft out there in case she wants to use it.

(With many, many apologies to Sirs Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber)

A hush falls on the crowd as figures are seen on the balcony of the Casa Ice-ada. The the cry goes up from the crowd! "PALIN, PALIN, PALIN!" The voices of women and children rise to take over the chant, "Sarita, Sarita, SARITAAAAAAA!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Huntsman Pledges not to sign any Pledge

Jon Huntsman, with no chance to be the Republican nominee in 2012, still might just possibly be a VP candidate and could be the Republican standard bearer in 2016 when the party stops steeping in dogmatic tea. He recently said that he would not sign all the popular pledges among the Republicans trying to out do each other on their litmus tests and creeds. The only pledges he is concerned about is the one he made to his wife at marriage and the pledge he makes to the flag. Now there's a true American!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

To whom shall we go?

Yesterday a good friend of mine announced his declaration that he no longer believed the LDS Church was true. He prepared a short explanation that clearly has a lot more thought and detail behind it. I was impressed by the charitable tone of his presentation. It wasn't about acrimony or attempts to tear others down. It reflected his own spiritual and intellectual struggles with a lot of issues about which I have thought deeply myself. I could go down the list and address each point in one way or another. But I am neither a polemicist nor an apologist. In fact, I don't even like those disciplines. And I have too much respect for my friend to attempt to dissuade him with those tactics.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

God bless Lee Greenwood! (as well as everybody else in the world)

Greenwood’s “patriotic” song has become an unofficial national anthem and it really bothers me. I’ve tried to separate it from my admitted prejudices against country/western music, that uniquely American art-form based on Cowboy culture originating in Mexico (where do you thing they got the fancy boots?)  I don’t sing it attempting to remain respectfully quiet when others do. If there is an opportunity to discretely leave the venue, I will do so. I don’t think I need to take any stand that could offend other than express it here on my personal blog for all the world to see. (Oh well).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Republicans will cut off their Pose to spite their Base

I thought of that this morning after I had already posted last night. Since it ain't over 'til the fat party sings, I can still make the prediction and we'll see how it comes out.

Let me just state a few more basic premises. While a good Treasury Secretary can be very creative in a pinch (think Lincoln's Salmon P. Chase and FDR's Henry Morganthau - assisted by BYU-grad Mariner S. Eccles at the Federal Reserve). It is still the responsibility of the Congress to raise money and authorize the spending and borrowing of such.

To Tea or Not Debt Ceiling?

It's not that easy following the turmoil on the debt ceiling and deficit/taxes conflicts. I was out of touch for a week and that neither helped clear my mind nor confuse any worse than it was had I been around. So, I'm just going to ramble a bit and take a stab at it.

There are a few basic premises the way I understand it (besides the whole idea that money is all imaginary anyway). First, it seems to me that the President can only spend what the Congress authorizes the executive branch to spend. In fact, I know that to be the case according to the Constitution (and the Anti-deficiency Act) from my work experience of 28 years. And it is a little odd that the Congress has authorized the Executive to spend money we don't have - in some cases actually obligated the expenditure of funds we don't have. And remember, the Congress is the People's Congress ALL the people as in "of, by and for." (Well, to the extent it doesn't belong to the corporate interests of America, but that's still the people's problem as corporations are a creation of government, i.e., the people's government - there I go again!). So we have no one to blame but ourselves. (I know, I know, that's tough to take coming from a fed employee, but give it a whirl in the noggin). It ain't as simple as undeserved welfare to queens driving pink Cadillacs (that came out all wrong, but it's late). It is cause by unfunded wars, borrowing against entitlements (too bad we didn't elect that guy with the "lock box" in 2000) and general economic and political irresponsibility including that from many of those now posturing with the tea party. And even a tea party majority in half of one branch of government can't dictate terms to the rest of us -of, by and for ALL.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Wood Badge Ticket for the Twelve-Year-Old Inner Scout

Boy Scouts of America Wood Badge is the best leadership training ever. And I've had a few during my professional career and church experience. In spite of some modern cultural controversies, the values of Scouting are timeless and invaluable.

I've had a life-time of experience in Scouting as my Dad was a professional Scout Executive. Yet it was only at my first Wood Badge course four years ago that I learned that a large part of Lord Baden-Powell's motivation in organizing the Scouting movement, war hero that he was from the Siege of Mafeking, was to create a world brotherhood that would help promote World Peace. He was devastated by the horror of the Great War, reinvigorated in the 20's by the enthusiasm of the boys in the Scouting movement he had initiated, but then finally dying with broken heart during the Second World War - his dreams for world peace seemingly lost. That same lost feeling has come upon me at times in Scouting when we humans fall short of our ideals.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Looking Beyond the Mark

You will have to excuse me if my posts don’t resemble the posts of the Passionate Moderate. value moderation highly but I don’t see things through a legal lens.

Just after the summer break began this year my family headed down to Arches National Park. I did my Senior Project in both Cartography and Geology on the Paradox Basin, essentially the process of salt deformation and geological uplift that helped to form many of the wonderful features of the park. I hadn’t been there in a few years and was excited to go back. I can still remember the thrill it was to come around the crest of the rock and see Delicate Arch for the first time (sadly I didn’t actually take that hike until I was in my thirties).

Friday, July 1, 2011

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!! with "Strange Exhibitions of Feeling"

President George Q. Cannon gave a pretty good run-down on the Latter-Day Saints and politics more than a hundred years ago:
The discussion of politics has brought to the surface many strange exhibitions of feeling among members of the Church. Such exhibitions would have been deemed incredible a short time ago. Many have yielded to a spirit that produces anything but harmony and love, and there is considerable danger that this agitation may almost prove too strong an ordeal for the faith of many. . . .
Well. . . apparently not much has changed. The whole quote is at Keepapitchinin which I heartily recommend.