Sunday, September 30, 2012

Terrorists!!! Or, "Que Manhã Quemada" - Gospel Doctrine Lesson 36

There was a call late last night that one of our Gospel Doctrine teachers had fallen off a ladder and needed a substitute. He told his wife to call me as I'm in the new Sunday School Presidency (and we don't even get to ring the bell anymore!) I love teaching Sunday School and don't mind the last minute calls. In fact, the later the better as it forces me to rely more on the Spirit. But as we have late church until January, I had several hours to prepare.

My fist reaction when I realized it was Lesson 36 was a bit of a nervous shudder. I believe that we should liken the scriptures unto us which I have done, loving this portion of the Book of Mormon because there is so much there I "likened" to lead me to my personal political views and philosophy. But I knew I had to be respectful to keep my personal views in check. On the blog I feel I can express myself more fully because while clearly influenced by gospel teachings, I am not an official spokesman for the church as I am when I am fulfilling an assignment at church. That's just the way I see it.

All the Things I've Heard People Say!

If my wife has any faults, I just don't know what they are. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

When I was first made bishop, she was in the nursery during those two-out-of-three hours at church - not a bad place to be especially if you're the bishop's wife. One of the other sisters who was there, and a good friend whose husband is practically my cousin, said to her, "I can't believe all the things I've heard people say since your husband became bishop!"

"About Grant?" my wife asked.

"No. About you."

My wife's response is for the ages. With a laughing smile she said, "Well, they're probably all true!"

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Provo Tabernacle/Temple, Castle?

This morning over at Keepapitchinin, Ardis posted some pictures she took of the rehabilitation of the Provo Tabernacle into a Temple. The Tabernacle burned in December 2010 and there is great excitement to see the historic structure repaired and modified to become a second Temple in Provo.

My wife and I drove by the construction site just a few weeks ago. We spent our first two married years in Provo and attended at least one LDS Stake Conference in the Tabernacle. Yet there was something oddly familiar in a different way with the pictures Ardis posted. I hadn't ever paid attention to the hexagonal towers of the Tabernacle before. They are very similar to those of Raglan Castle between Abergavenny and Monmouth, Wales!

Raglan Castle Tower
by Me, August 20, 2010

Provo Tabernacle-Temple Tower
Courtesy of Ardis Parshall

Why 47% Makes a Majority

First off, let me say that I don't believe Governor Romney really believes what he said on that secretly recorded tape at the fancy fundraiser. I think he was just trying to play to the crowd and the questioner. (The problem with saying things he doesn't really believe we'll leave for another time).

I also understand that he mixed several ideas. The conservative complaint that about 47% of people don't pay income taxes got mixed with the reality that about 47% of the electorate would never vote for him. The two groups aren't the same although there would be some overlap in a Venn diagram. The third idea thrown in was the Ayn Randian adolescent fantasy of the producers and the moochers which is about as accurate as the philosophical fantasies that divide the world into orcs and hobbits.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Seven Years of Servitude

Jacob & Rachel by William Dyce (1853)
It's been seven years since we moved to Utah and it's about seven more before I can even think of retiring and going on a church mission with my wife. A sonnet sort of on that theme keeps rattling in my brain. Let me share this beautiful piece from the 16th Century Portuguese Writer, Luis Vaz de Camões. His work follows, then my own inferior translation:

Glad All That's Behind Us Now

Somehow I missed this back in the angry days of 2009:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Lincoln for President

Only first-time viewers need the notice that I am a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. And we all should know by now that President Obama is as well. He frequently references Lincoln directly or uses his words or phraseology sometimes without attribution. But if you live in his old house, I guess that's OK. He also claims to have read Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals which helps explain Secretary of State Clinton. And that's working out better than even Lincoln & Seward.

So, I thought I would do a little check to see how well Governor Romney reaches for the Lincoln ideal, or even the rhetoric. I found this:
The best ally world peace has ever known is a strong America. The “last best hope of earth” was what Abraham Lincoln called our country. Mitt Romney believes in fulfilling the promise of Lincoln’s words and will defend America abroad in word and in deed.- From Romney's campaign webpage.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Racists Among Us

Yesterday, I had to leave work early and caught the most amazing dialogue on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation. The host, Neal Conan, was discussing Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation with guest Richard Striner of Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland.

I shared the transcript excerpt below with Anonymous D as I noticed the caller was from Howard City, Michigan (and I'm sure there are many fine people in Howard City):
I wondered if that was in your mission. I didn't catch the location until I found the transcript. But I heard yet another amazing thing on Public Radio yesterday. On a theme of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, a caller came on --- and maybe I'll just let you read it. The next caller is also interesting with a voice of such a refined Southern lady from Charleston, SC. 
Anonymous D responded:
Yeah Howard City was in my Mission, actually in one of my areas.  The racial history of Michigan is interesting, especially in light of this conversation.  Most African Americans in Michigan came north during the war to work factory jobs, vacated by whites who were off fighting in Europe or the South Pacific.  When the War was over, to my understanding, the whites came back to their jobs and the, by that time skilled, black laborers were left jobless in pre-civil-rights Michigan which wasn’t exactly a forgiving place.
I’m not going to comment on the rest of it other than to say: Ugly.
[Later] My observations of Michigan history are not scholarly but anecdotal-based on the comments of residents I talked to during my mission and after.  Interestingly the best popular history of Michigan was written by Bruce Catton of Civil War History fame, himself a Michigander.  Don’t be too hard on my adopted homeland. Michigan did sent many regiments to fight for the Union.
Now, for the ugliness:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Religion & Politics (Featuring Elder Oaks at Notre Dame)

H/T to Facebook friend Audrey C. who posted this update:
Okay so here is my political two cents... I read this article and would like to share it. Just because a person who claims to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't mean that he will receive my vote. I believe that we must study and see who that person is what they have done in their past both good and bad and see who they really are and what they represent from their actions. 
Salt Lake City — On 4 September 2012, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), participated in the 2012-13 Notre Dame Forum, “Conviction and Compromise: Being a Person of Faith in a Liberal Democracy.” The forum featured five prominent religious leaders addressing the role of faith in American democracy. Other panelists included Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville; Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rick Warren, founding pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California; and Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. The discussion was moderated by David Campbell, a professor of political science, and M. Cathleen Kaveny, a professor of law and theology.

The False Choice

As reported by CNN, Governor Romney characterizes the choice this way:
"We have a very different approach - the president and I - between a government-dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams," Romney said.
What if there are another options? As in, "People pursuing their dreams of a free society" or "Free People dominating their own government."

President Obama has made serious mistakes. He has been quite amazing in some of the things he has accomplished, but he admits himself that he has not changed Washington or the tone in Washington (meaning DC, not the State of, which has a very nice green and brown tone). And so many on the right cry crocodile tears that they are so disappointed, while mainly frustrated that they haven't been able to stalemate him any more than they have.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Purpose of Temples . . . and Libraries

My grandsons listening to me read from The Hobbit this morning
My Mom & Dad read to us to the extent that I seem to remember it vaguely. I don't recall either of my grandfathers ever reading to me. And good guys that they were in many ways, I don't see that as very likely for either of them. My kids will remember me reading to them when they were young. I read all of LOTR at least a couple of times, the Oz books, and all of Harry Potter out loud at least once. Well, maybe our youngest was old enough to read the last one or two on his own. I would love nothing more than to have those moments back or this scene above to continue forever.

This is the ideal. And I don't know how I even got here. Many people don't have these opportunities, not even all the faithful Saints. And even I would love to be able to sit with my two grandfathers, or my grandmothers even more, and have them read to me. There must be some hope that it will be made right in the eternities.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Downtown Mormon Lunch: Fun & "Weightier Matters"

Two things came together in my normally confused brain this week as I sorted through them for some sense. First, my "manifesto" the other day led me to a fascinating discussion on my Facebook link to that blog post with some Brazilian friends and I jumping between English and Portuguese in a discussion of the U.S. Constitution. Good thing I know how to switch my keyboard back and forth for the right accent marks, etc. That ended with a Brazilian friend, now U.S. Citizen (I believe) asking me if I knew any of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve who were Democrats. The late, and Portuguese-speaking, James E. Faust was the only one I knew for sure in modern times. He had served in the Utah State Legislature and had been Chairman of the Utah Democratic Party so it was rather obvious. I'm sure there are others, they just keep those sort of things rather private if they haven't been in political office as part of their public life before their calls to the presiding quorums of the Church.

Friday, September 21, 2012

At Least 12 Ounces of Accuracy

Hallelujah!! Somebody reads LDS Newsroom statements!! Credit goes to's Jonathan Martin. A North Carolina Senator gets it wrong and Politico gets it right. In discussing Governor Romney's slipping campaign, this quote:
“He’s never had a beer, he’s never had a Coca-Cola, he doesn’t look natural out there — but I really don’t think this is an election cycle [in which] voters will decide based upon whether they can invite Mitt into the living room for a beer,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), an 18-year congressional veteran. “But he is somebody who you would call if you had a business that was in trouble.” (Romney, a Mormon, doesn’t drink alcohol but actually will enjoy a Diet Coke, something not barred by his church.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Elmo Skywalker

State & First South, Salt Lake City, Utah
We've been a little heavy in our last few posts so we're going to have some non-partisan, moderate fun. I snapped this picture on my cell phone walking down State Street in Salt Lake City this morning - the Federal Building is behind and to the left. But can someone please explain why Luke Skywalker was pulling Elmo up the street? There are some clues in the picture.

The Return of Moderate Mitt

Great. Just when I thought I had good reasons never to vote for Romney, he starts sayings things I like again!
“This is a campaign about the 100%,” he said at a forum in Miami sponsored by Univision, per NBC's Garrett Haake. But Romney did more than back down from those 47% remarks; he also softened his tone on health care, immigration, and gay rights. "Now and then the president says I’m the grandfather of Obamacare. I don’t think he meant that as a compliment, but I’ll take it,” he said, going on to praise the Massachusetts law. He also clarified his earlier remarks on self-deportation. "I said I'm not in favor of a deportation, a mass deportation effort rounding up 12 million people and kicking them out of the country," he said. "I believe people make their own choices as to whether they want to go home, and that's what I mean by self-deportation. And he added this about gay marriage: “I would like to have the term marriage continue to be associated with a relationship between one man and one woman, and that certainly doesn’t prevent two people of the same gender living in a loving relationship together having gay domestic partnership, if you will.” -From NBC First Thoughts

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Moderate Response to Mitt Romney (and me)

In response to my hyperventilation about Governor Romney being taped discussing the 47%, Anonymous/D provides the following:

Well, keep your head about you.  It is just politics after all.  The thing is, I hate to make anybody, in Isaiah’s terminology, an "offender for a word" - even Romney in his 47% comment. I think I know what he meant when he said it. I hate to hold it against him, or make myself feel better about voting for Obama.  It’s just not intellectually honest although you can score easy political points with something like that.  Maybe there are people out there who will change their vote because of it.  It wouldn’t change my mind were I on the fence.  He’s probably right, there are a group of people out there who will never change their minds.  It’s the thing I hate about politics, this constant point-scoring, the intellectual dishonesty of campaigning.   It’s all a show.

My Manifesto

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Moochers vs. Producers

Governor Romney just had his "clingin' to gummint handouts" moment. Personally, I think it is worse than Senator Obama's gaffe in 2008 talking about guns and religion. I mean, I cling pretty tightly to my religion, but I don't feel that strongly about my guns. I guess that's why I thought it was OK to vote for Obama as I will likely do again. I still think we're all in this together. And divisions of people into Producers or mooochers don't help much. In fact, they're much more insulting. The "guns and religion" people can rightly take offense at an instance of arrogance from Candidate Obama. But they're still proud of their guns and religion. The 47% of We the People who are "moochers" under Romney's economic-political views don't find much to be proud of in that characterization.

We could envision an imaginary day-in-the-life of the working poor who pay no income tax because of low income, but still pay a significant amount is federal payroll taxes, along with excise taxes in fuel along with a couple of bad habits with alcohol and tobacco consumption. In fact, because the salary is so low, those taxes have a much greater impact as a share of salary. That's just too depressing. So let's imagine an average life of one of the Producers who never take advantage of the federal government except when they do. Unfortunately, even though they pay income tax, payroll taxes, etc. they are also getting the benefit of the federal taxes paid by the poor. If only government would just get off our backs, we'd be so much better off!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Look Like A President

Sure, it's easy to look presidential when you are the President. Even being Secretary of State lends some gravitas to one's demeanor. And as many conservatives and Republicans have said over the past little while how they love Hillary so much, and even Bill, and if only one of them were President, it would be so much easier to work with them than with the one we have. Yeah, right.

Maybe the President and Secretary of State are just pretending to be somber and serious when they deal with difficult matters of State like the death of an Ambassador. But if they are only faking, they are at least trying. One could ask what in the world is Governor Romney trying to be? It sure doesn't look presidential! (Or even Secretary of State-ish).

Now that a few days have past since the competing appearances the morning we found out our Ambassador was killed after the night of protests, terror attacks, and campaign messages, I was able to find these video clips. Everyone can judge for themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Family Totems II

Staring at one of my favorites last night, I realized that my wife had added significant beauty to our home (even beyond her presence). I already shared some of my dad's art here, and there may be more to come. But I ought to share these quilt displays from my wife.

The first is the one that sparked me last night. This is from a pattern she bought in a quilt store in Skagway, Alaska. Skagway is a beautiful town. Well, not the town so much, but its setting. This quilt represents the story from the People of the Northern Pacific Coast how Raven stole the sun to place it in the heavens. We had a beautifully illustrated children's book on this theme that my kids loved.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Even More Personal

Related to my last post, I learned on Facebook that one of my friends (who happens to be one of my few blog followers) went outside this morning and found that his truck had been defaced because of his politics.

This isn't good. Some might consider this a harmless prank. I've already explained that I don't like pranks. (I'll admit I've enjoyed a few, but as my college roommates I think will verify, I usually held back and watched as in the infamous sardine incident.) This is more than a prank as it is a clear act of damage to private property based on politics. My friend is very active on Facebook with a lot of pro-Obama and anti-Romney pictures, argument, and humor. You know, the kind of stuff we think is funny when it matches our political views and annoys when it doesn't. It's a form of free speech but without any invasion of property or vandalism

Defeat Obama: It's Personal (and Weird)

There is something that compels some to oppose the President as a person. And it seems to me it's just not because of his policies. We've had progressive presidents before, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts. And sure, there were personal attacks. I guess it goes with the territory. It just seems rather severe and extra personal with President Obama. (Yes, a few people will argue that there was a lot of nasty stuff about Pres. GW Bush. But nobody asked for his birth certificate - or any other president's, for that matter.)

Election Day, 2008, I was in Provo for business and after that was wrapped up, I picked up my son and fiancé for dinner. As my son's intended, now spouse, is a vegetarian, I took them to a Chinese buffet as there would be meat and vegetarian options. It seemed to work out well. And as Obama supporters (two BYU students and I) we were quietly relieved if not exactly euphoric facing the future.

The news came in fairly early that evening that Senator Obama had won the Presidency. Or maybe it was even before that happened, but expected by most, that I heard a piece of Sean Hannity's radio show. He was pretty discouraged with the expected outcome of the election, but had a rousing segment as he signed off asking listeners to tune in the next day on the theme that "the insurgency begins here tomorrow!"

Friday, September 14, 2012

Protests Blamed on Politics

Sad to see comments on news articles today: Obama supporters blaming Mitt Romney and Romney supporters blaming President Obama for the ongoing protests and violence in the Muslim world. Can we see why it is not good to politicize these things? And it also seems to be the height of arrogance to assume that American action or inaction or even our domestic politics cause such protests. The U.S. certainly has its effect on the world, yet it's not always all about us.

If I understand the Romney argument, the President's "weak" leadership and continued "apologies for America" invite protest and murder and mayhem. Setting aside whether the President has actually ever "apologized for America," I don't understand how weakness invites violence, unless that's how bullies operate. And I don't see the protesters as bullies taking advantage of a "weak" America. The murder of our Ambassador in Libya is much more serious than bullying. It appears to be a planned terrorist attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 taking opportunistic advantage of unrelated protests as a cover.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An American Tragedy

The beauty of blogging for me is that I can express myself without entering into the constant political contentions as are exhibited in most news or opinion websites, and certainly on Facebook. I get some modest controversy here, but I edit out offensive comments (see my rules on the comment option below). It's nice to be in control of my own arguments and opinions - and outside comments. Maybe that's a little cowardly of me, but so what. It's my blog and you don't have to read it. I also seriously doubt that anyone has been convinced to change an opinion through a political debate on Facebook - or even this blog.

With regard to a Facebook criticism of Governor Romney for his statements about the recent attacks in Egypt and most tragically in Libya and the resulting comments back and forth, I was tempted to enter in. But I didn't - preferring to address it here in my calmer manner without provoking people I don't even know. For the record, I admit that I generally agree with the sentiments of my actual Facebook friends PB and NB, I just choose to address the issues a little differently. I may fail, as I often do, but the big principles are more important than the details of any particular dispute. My eternal hope being, if we can get the basic principles right, the rest will follow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Fallen Heroes

Hearts break and prayers go out for the families of federal civil servants who gave their lives in Libya for the American values of Democracy, Freedom, and World Peace.

I can't comment on the attack on our Ambassador in Libya except to denounce the violence and mourn for the dead. I believe that now is not the time to criticize the President or his political opponents or to politicize these tragedies affecting all of us -

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - We Go On

Sitting here at McDonald's getting my kicks in Grants, New Mexico (Route 66) because the Wi-Fi is down at my hotel, I reflect on the strange coincidence that eleven years ago, I was also headed to Gallup, NM for a meeting with the Navajo Nation. That day I turned around at Rio Puerco as I was listening to the news on the radio and after a few calls from a pay phone, realized the utter futility of holding a meeting on an archaeology contract.

We're politics free today.

Monday, September 10, 2012

SHERMAN (Clinton) TAKES ATLANTA (Charlotte)!

You know it's not just me who compares President Obama to President Lincoln. The President links himself to Lincoln as he did last Thursday night in Charlotte. Remember that Lincoln, arguably our greatest President, was also our most detested - a good part of the country tried to leave at his election - and he was eventually martyred by a States Rights lunatic. He was a compromise candidate of his own party with many believing he would be a political lightweight that they could easily manipulate. He proved them all wrong and while far from perfect, he laid the foundation for a more expansive meaning to government of, by, and for the People - Freedom for the Slaves and Hope for the Common Man (even if it didn't always work out that well in the reality of history).

My title above reveals my latest brain flash on this theme. In the Summer of 1864, the Civil War had been dragging on for three long years. It was going so badly that Lincoln wrote a note dated August 23, 1864 that he kept in a desk drawer:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gadianton Capitalists

Kinda proud of myself. I guess I should say "pleased" so I don't fall into Nephite disease. But I got a good one in during Sunday School today.

The Lesson was Helaman 6-12 about the Pride Cycle. Getting through the first part, the teacher asked, "What groups are there today that are like the Gadianton Robbers?"

"Ah-oh," I thought. This was heading for trouble fast.

Military Service II (and Esmé)

Even more personal than the post of yesterday, I share some thoughts on why I'm grateful that I never had to serve in the military. It's the squalor.

I have an idealistic temperament so I understand the noble aspirations of many "righteous" causes that have led mankind to war over the ages. Leaving aside the more cynical aspects of many of those causes for now, there is no doubt that war rarely meets the idealism of any participant, no matter how noble.

At its bare-boned essence, war is death. And I'm not sure which would be worse, my own death or the burden of causing the death of others. I'd like to think it's the latter.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Military Service & Mormons

While honoring those who do, I never served in the military. I was born in that three-year window (1957-1960) that I didn't even have to file with Selective Service. I was happy about that too. And I kind of understand where Mitt Romney is coming from that neither he nor his sons have served. Regardless of the obvious challenges of war and death, the military can also be a challenge to young men in keeping up their standards of religious practice.

This is reflected in a Letter of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Concerning Military Training. I found this while looking for something else (such is serendipity) in an old college file from Ray C. Hillam's BYU Poli-Sci class on War (1980). This is not the current policy of the Church with regard to military service - nor mine [but there's a lot of good in it]. It merely reflects an interesting historical insight into the time, place and people. George Albert Smith, the subject of our Priesthood and Relief Society lessons this year, was President of the church:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Live-Blogging Dems (Thurs.)

I've been watching the grandsons, the youngest takes some significant hands-on feeding, burping, holding. So I've been a bit distracted but here we go. Sorry for my last post where I got a little intemperate about stupidity and religious grand-standing.

I did see Gabby Giffords lead the pledge of allegiance. That was a tear jerker.

And then Caroline Kennedy came on. She and I are about the same age. While from vastly different backgrounds, there's still a connection there. I think it comes from 1963.

Party Platforms: "But our 'God' Goes up to Eleven!"

Facebook is already lighting up with all the indignant Republicans disgusted with the Dems for taking "God" out of their platform then putting the word back in amid "boos" from the delegates. It will likely be a political ad by tonight if it isn't already. (And I don't think they were booing 'God' as much as the process and the stupidity of the whole thing.)

I'm not going to defend stupid Dems. I'm just going to say that it's bad enough to pray on street corners to be seen of men. Over the edge is when you criticize others for not praying enough on the street corner. It's as if the conservative critics are jamming with Blue Oyster Cult, "We need more 'God!' Er, cowbell!" Sounding brass, tinkling cymbals.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Live-Blogging Dems (Wed.)

Well, I wish both parties would stop praying on street corners. That's one thing that is actually more appropriate for closets. I just heard the voice vote to restore "God" and "Israel" to the Dem platform. The voice vote seemed pretty even to me. But the chair declared "God" restored. The commentators say that the President told them to put "Him" ("Her?") back in.

And Bill Clinton is speaking tonight. W. Bush was a no-show at the Republican Convention except for a brief video appearance. And the Dems bring in the only President to be impeached since Andrew Johnson! - neither one removed from office, though. I won't go into the Clinton impeachment here as I could easily slip into diatribe. Let me just say, I did NOT vote for him in 1996 (protest vote for Nader). I did vote for Bill in 1992. Hillary seemed very sincere in standing by her man and I thought he deserved a chance. But in 1996, I had soured on his apparent personal deficiencies although he was a very good President otherwise - and that was before we ever heard of Monica. Right now Paul Ryan is praising Bill Clinton to Piers Morgan. So, I guess it's OK for the Dems to bring him in. Bill is wily enough and Obama astute enough that I think another trap is being set.

Keep checking back. I'll try to keep updating.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Live-Blogging Dems (Tues.)

Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not impartial.

Finally back from Reno, I started listening on the radio to the Dem Convention as I was driving home from the airport. I heard some of the President's sister and Michelle's brother. I heard Lilly Ledbetter. These are my people.

And just in this opening night I see the brilliance of the President's campaign slogan, "Forward." It's the answer to "I want my country back."  Forward, not back. I like that.

Keep checking in as I'm on to live-blogging. And Michelle is coming up.

Monday, September 3, 2012

People-Watching Jackpot

There is nothing more interesting to sit in a busy place out of the ordinary routine and watch the people go by. Tonight it was very out of the ordinary.

My presence is required (by my boss) at a hearing in federal court tomorrow morning in Reno. So, I had to cut my basement painting project short to fly out here and meet with our witness for tomorrow. I'm staying at a run-of-the-mill Marriott Courtyard. Our witness is staying at the Sierra Grand Resort. I went there to meet with him and connect up with our Assistant U.S. Attorney to prep.

As I was trying to fine a parking place in the lot crowded with Winnebagos, I noticed many of them were covered in gray dust or mud. And some were not your ordinary Winnebagos. One looked like a big fish with jaws wide open to chomp smaller cars, maybe Volkswagen Beetles. There were also a lot of bicycles - also covered in gray dust. I wondered if there had been some sort of bike rally over the holiday weekend. It couldn't have been a serious race as some of the bikes were oddly decorated with fuzzy wings or My Pretty Pony figures.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Magic of Flax

Flax in the field with happy bee.
Yes, we are avoiding politics for a few days until the Democratic National Convention. Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, at least, are bound to provide entertainment in likely gaffes or other more intentional performances. I'm afraid they will be beating Eastwood's empty chair to death as much as the Republicans claimed they built everything. But the magical beauty of flax has legitimately captured my attention recently in a family history sense.