Monday, April 23, 2007

The Blacksburg Shooter

Many issues have been raised by the recent horror at Virginia Tech, not the least of which is the glaring failure of gun control and the inability of our so-called government protectors to actually protect us while simultaneously denying us the means with which to defend ourselves.

The following passage from Pat Buchanan's most recent column struck a chord and reminded me of the times in my life when I stood up and took a stand against bad behavior and was told I needed to be more tolerant. As was pointed out by my friend Audie, in a recent series of emails shared by a group of former Zion rangers who keep in touch with one another, we were lucky that this type of thing never happened in our old dormitory because many of the freaks and misanthropes that we shared living quarters with had all of the tendencies and mannerisms shown by the Virginia Tech shooter.

If there is a lesson to be taken away from this horror, it is that we, as a society, are becoming too tolerant of the aberrant. For, in retrospect, the signs Cho was a disturbed and dangerous young man, who belonged not on a campus but in an institution, are many.

He stalked one girl until she complained to police. He e-mailed another until she, too, went to police. Cho was taken to a psychiatrist, who concluded he was a "danger to himself and to others." He wrote plays for a creative writing class so full of hate and violence they alarmed one teacher to the point where she pressed him to get counseling. Another teacher had demanded and gotten his removal from her class.

Suite-mates in Harper Hall found him so uncommunicative they thought he could not speak English. All those who lived with him seemed to know about him is that he never spoke, turned away when spoken to, watched TV, worked his word processor incessantly and went to the gym.

Though he spent four years on campus, no one knew who Cho was, which bespeaks a larger point. Colleges have grown into city-sized universities of tens of thousands, and have ceased to be communities, even as the United States is ceasing to be a country, a nation and a people.

We are told that is a good thing. We are ever admonished to respect differences, to be tolerant of what we might think of as bizarre behavior. We are told that among the worst of sins is to be judgmental about how others behave.

Multiculaturalism is what we are about. Diversity is our strength. All cultures, all people, all lifestyles are to be treated equally. At Blacksburg on Monday, we learned that there is such a thing as too much tolerance.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Like Florida

Williford Spring

Well it's been a little over six months now and the verdict is in-----I like Florida! In fact I've become a bit of a homebody by not wanting to travel anywhere else but right here in the Sunshine State. It feels like home in ways that Utah never did.

For me it is the perfect blend of many of the things I love best: wild and rampant nature, the Deep South, a place with a long and colorful history, great thrift stores, Southeastern Conference football, sunny weather, laid back friendly people and a Wal-Mart wherever you need one.

Philosophically it is more in line with my libertarian views with its liberal gun laws, lower taxes (NO INCOME TAX!) and an easy going live and let live attitude that I found to be somewhat lacking in the Beehive State.

All in all I feel that I have found a happy home here in the land of alligators, sunshine and saw grass. If you haven't yet checked out my Florida blog site here's the link:

I hope y'all are as satisfied with your neck of the woods as I am with mine. Come Sunday I'll have been married five whole months!! That's been pretty fun too.

Tonight's sunset behind my house

Monday, April 16, 2007


While driving through the small beach community of Dune Allen, Florida we noticed this sign for a seafood restaurant. Now my question to you gentle readers is this: would any of y'all stop to eat at a place so named? I look forward to your answers and will forward the results of this survey to the owners after recieving a sufficent response. I thank you in advance.

Is there any type of business where the name Stinky's would be an asset?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hot gases emanating

A few headlines from today show that the once unquestionable orthodoxy of global warming appears to be fraying at the edges and is not the sure fire (pardon the pun) path to doom it has been sold to be by politicians eager to gain power through fear.

We start with the fact that NYC is experiencing the coldest April, so far, in 113 years:

Then we have the following passage from, of all people on MY blog, Camille Paglia in the most current issue of Salon:

As a native of upstate New York, whose dramatic landscape was carved by the receding North American glacier 10,000 years ago, I have been contemplating the principle of climate change since I was a child. Niagara Falls, as well as the even bigger dry escarpment of Clark Reservation near Syracuse, is a memento left by the glacier. So is nearby Green Lakes State Park, with its mysteriously deep glacial pools. When I was 10, I lived with my family at the foot of a drumlin -- a long, undulating hill of murrain formed by eddies of the ancient glacier melt.

Geology and meteorology are fields that have always interested me and that I might well have entered, had I not been more attracted to art and culture. (My geology professor in college, in fact, asked me to consider geology as a career.) To conflate vast time frames with volatile daily change is a sublime exercise, bordering on the metaphysical.

However, I am a skeptic about what is currently called global warming. I have been highly suspicious for years about the political agenda that has slowly accrued around this issue. As a lapsed Catholic, I detest dogma in any area. Too many of my fellow Democrats seem peculiarly credulous at the moment, as if, having ground down organized religion into nonjudgmental, feel-good therapy, they are hungry for visions of apocalypse. From my perspective, virtually all of the major claims about global warming and its causes still remain to be proved.

Climate change, keyed to solar cycles, is built into Earth's system. Cooling and warming will go on forever. Slowly rising sea levels will at some point doubtless flood lower Manhattan and seaside houses everywhere from Cape Cod to Florida -- as happened to Native American encampments on those very shores. Human habitation is always fragile and provisional. People will migrate for the hills, as they have always done.

Who is impious enough to believe that Earth's contours are permanent? Our eyes are simply too slow to see the shift of tectonic plates that has raised the Himalayas and is dangling Los Angeles over an unstable fault. I began "Sexual Personae" (parodying the New Testament): "In the beginning was nature." And nature will survive us all. Man is too weak to permanently affect nature, which includes infinitely more than this tiny globe.

Next in line are some of my favorite targets, limosine liberals, in this case rock stars crusading against global warming in the current Live Earth concerts (from the Daily Mail of London):

.....But green campaigners called the stars' involvement hypocritical last night saying their lifestyles which demand they jet themselves and their huge entourages on world tours give them enormously large carbon footprints.

Last year, for example, they report how Madonna flew as many as 100 technicians, dancers, backing singers, managers and family members on a 56-date world tour in private jets and commercial airliners.

Madonna herself also has a collection of fuel-guzzling cars, including a Mercedes Maybach, two Range Rovers, Audi A8s and a Mini Cooper S. Yet she will headline the London concert to "combat the climate crisis".

Madonna's Confessions tour produced 440 tonnes of CO2 in four months of last year. And that was just the flights between the countries, not taking into account the truckloads of equipment needed, the power to stage such a show and the transport of all the thousands of fans getting to the gigs.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers produced 220 tonnes of CO2 with their private jet alone over six months on their last world tour which was 42 dates.

"The average a British person produces is 10 tonnes a year," said John Buckley, managing director-of

He added: "It's great for the celebrities to come out and support the cause, but they then have to follow it up in their own lifestyles. We should now keep a close eye on whether Madonna and the others makes any changes to their own lifestyle."

Don't hold your breath!

We're okay for another day.....phew!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Rainbow at sunset

Whilst walking on the beach at dusk I witnessed a spectacular rainbow to the southeast and a stunning sunset to the southwest. Luckily I had camera in hand.........

Frank Llloyd Wright in Florida

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1959)

Connie and I recently visited the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland to make an architectural pilgrimage to the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. Known as the "Child of the Sun" collection, these buildings were designed by Wright for "the cultural value of organic buildings well suited to time, purpose and place."

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (1939 - 1941)

He was commissioned by this small Methodist college in 1938 to design "a great education temple in Florida". The actual construction took place between 1941-1958 with twelve structures being completed and six left on the drawing board. Many of the buildings have been altered over the years and others have required extensive repairs and rehabilitation. His architectural vision apparently did not match the building materials of his time, while the merciless central Florida climate has not been an ally in preservation either. Several of the structures were being worked on while we were visiting as part of a multi-million dollar project to restore Wright's unique vision of organic architecture, which is one where the structures do not dominate the land but work in harmony with it.

If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods I highly recommend that you check out this wonderful collection of offbeat and eclectic structures. There is an easy to use self-guided walking tour pamphlet available at the visitor center. Admission is free, which is always a bonus with me.

Covered walkways known as the Esplanades which total 1.5 miles in length. (1941 - 1958)

Hallway in the Polk County Science Building (1958)

Interior of the William H. Danforth Chapel (1955)

Stairway in the Science Building

The Esplanades with students walking underneath (1961).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Two years and counting

The second anniversary of this blog site is upon me and I wanted to say that it has been a most interesting ride so far. I thoroughly enjoy the means that it provides for sharing interesting things like news, views and travel as well as using it as a device with which to direct my readers to other places in cyberspace.

The most important work that I've tried to accomplish with this blog was to help get the word out about the renewal of bomb testing in Nevada, which some folks have claimed helped to get the whole protest movement rolling in southern Utah (although I'm clueless as to the veracity of that sentiment).

The most enjoyable aspects for me personally have been sharing my travels (and the gorgeous sunsets of Utah and Florida), as well as being able to write music reviews of albums and live shows and, of course, very serious game day analysis of the Georgia Bulldogs. It's like being the editor of my very own magazine without ever having to leave the confines of this comfortable office by the sea, in beautiful sunny Florida.

I thought I'd reprint the origin of the name of the blog, from my very first post, for all of you newer readers out there in cyberspace. Thanks for being there everyone, your feedback and heartfelt commentary has meant a lot to me over the years. I think of y'all every time I sit down to write a new post.

The title of the blog is a line from an old Dylan song I loved as a kid:

Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all these buckets comin' out of my ears.

I like buckets.