Saturday, July 28, 2007
"Did you read the Reader Advocate column this morning?"
"I don't read her any more. All she does is tell people to f--- off."
Turns out we weren't the only ones with that perception. This morning, Connie Coyne's column addressed a reader's concern that she is insensitive to reader concerns. Did we say addressed? Well, more like blew off. She's not a shill for the Trib, she said. All reader advocates are accused of bias, she said, backing up her theory with sympathetic quotes from counterparts at other papers. Not true, we think. We both felt that her predecessor was open minded, even when we didn't agree with her conclusions.
You know what would have been nice? Stats. One thing we like about the advocate's column are the numbers ("5,889 readers complained about the sticky ads this week," that kind of thing). How about a comparison of the column inches devoted to explaining why concerns are legitimate vs. those explaining why they're not? Perhaps it's a misperception, but Coyne's tone seems rather dismissive of lay readers at times. It may be unavoidable in today's environment that "World Ending Tomorrow" is bumped to A12 by "Local Girl Has Cute Bunny," but at least acknowledge why reasonable readers are troubled by that before telling them that they're wrong.
"I listen to all the complaints, but I draw the line at dignifying some stuff - UFO reports, anger because someone's husband was arrested and the story was in the paper or vitriolic racist rants - by talking about them in a column," she wrote. It's not what we don't see in the column that bothers us; it's what we do see. It makes sense to reserve column space for more important issues (although an occasional week-in-the-life would give us a better understanding of the job). Ironically, the very fact that the advocate writes about an issue probably means that she deems it to be legitimate. We would just prefer that recognition to be less subtle.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Edited to add: The second car boxes in the first car. When the first car wants to leave, the "security officer" will move the second car to let the first car out. I've seen this occasionally at a concert or something, but never in a regular parking lot. Being paranoid Americans and having observed the alleged security officer in action (one per parking level), we both had the same thought -- "We are not leaving the keys in this rental car" -- and we drove around until we found an empty first spot. Is this a Canadian thing, an out-of-space-city thing, or the wave of the future? Don't know, so we'll go for the default option: Damn Canadians.
(P.S. The pic is after the parking garage was closed.)
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Coincidence, or unFISA-authorized wiretapping by KSL? You be the judge.
P.S. Two tips for persons flying to Canada for the first time since the new rules:
(1) If you get to the Salt Lake airport an hour ahead of time, you do not have to sludge through the International line. You can use the regular kiosk and a regular Delta counter. Time savings: 25 minutes.
(2) It is illegal to take pictures in the immigration/baggage claim areas of a Canadian airport. However, if you appear sufficiently contrite, they will not confiscate your camera.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Check this out:
Dayton said, "Undocumented workers do not pay income tax unless they have a Social Security number that doesn't belong to them." All she had to do was spend 20 seconds on the Internet to learn — as letter writer Celina Su did — that the Internal Revenue Service routinely gives non-Social Security taxpayer identification numbers to students and others without green cards or citizenship papers, and that in 2005, holders of those ITINs paid $5 billion into tax coffers. Also, listing the cost of educating children without fully looking at the benefits the state receives from that education is dishonest.Whack! Frankly, though, Sen. Dayton doesn't need to spend 20 seconds researching what she's talking about. A few months ago, she was honored by some right-wing 'grassroots' group for being 100 percent predictable. Now, most people would be embarrassed to be so lockstep as to not have a single differing opinion. Heck, the two VoU bloggers disagree on something at least once a week. Chris Cannon strays from the pack on immigration. Orrin Hatch has stem cell research and CHIP. Rob Bishop has--is that guy still in Congress?
Anyway, it's hard to do independent research and remain 100 percent predictable. That 20 seconds isn't just 20 seconds; it's a way of life.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
In Park City, by contrast, Sundays are happening. In the city's "Park Silly Sunday Market," artists and belly dancers and vendors line Main Street to hawk their wares. Park Silly's goal is environmental neutrality. Accordingly, there is a sign at the entrance declaring it a Zero Waste Zone, every item purchased for consumption, including its packaging, to be recyclable or compostable, and a row of decorative bins into which one is supposed to deposit aluminum, paper, compost items, etc., as labeled.
It's not foolproof. If, after wolfing down a scrumptious falafel sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil, one walked over to the Aluminum bin, one would learn that no aluminum foil is to be placed therein. But it's not compostable, either, and it doesn't fit any of the other categories.
"Where is this supposed to go?" one might ask the vendor who provided said foil, only to be told,
"Just throw it away."
"But it doesn't seem to be allowed in any of the cans."
"You can put it here," the vendor might offer, pointing at a small trash can under her makeshift counter.
"Wouldn't that sort of defeat the purpose?"
"I mean, don't you guys commit to using only materials that can go in the bins?"
Oh, well. At least there's a clown to alleviate one's guilt at being environmentally unsound. Wait--he's handing out balloons? Aren't those environmental disasters? Apparently not, according to articles churned up on Google; they're compostable. Oh. And this kid is one heck of a balloon maker. In mere seconds, he can twist and curve and fold that latex into a pumpkin, a dinosaur, or an AK 47. Yes, that's right; one of his most popular products is an automatic weapon for the younguns to enjoy. Only in Utah? Please say yes.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
The big question, of course, is how does this affect us in Utah? Well, maybe it will keep the Rocky Mountain Revue in town a while longer. For non-Jazz fans, the Revue is a week-long rookie camp held here every July. Back in the day, it used to be at the Delta Center; now it's at the Salt Lake Community College. It used to host 11 teams; it now has 6 regulars.
At one time, attending the Revue was practically mandatory, rather than an "I guess we should go at least once this year" kind of thing. A group of us would skip out of work early and pay $3 -- now $10, and no senior discount, Grandma -- for our first look at Jazz draft picks like Jamie Watson, Quincy Lewis, and Scott Padgett. Granted, in
Revue fans got real seats then, with backs and everything. Now one must arrive at the crack of dawn or else sit on someone's lap on a plastic bench. Still, the Revue has a certain charm. When Paul Millsap hit a three-pointer the other night to send the game against Atlanta into overtime, we all screamed our heads off as if Jordan had been called for the push off in '98.
Last week's D-News warned us that the Revue might be on its way out. Most teams now participate in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Will our rookies be debuting in Vegas some day? It was looking that way, but maybe this Tim Donaghy mess will help. The NBA has resisted putting a team in Vegas for years because they didn't want the specter of point shaving, game rigging, etc. They have enough trouble explaining Dick Bavetta.
Now, thanks to Quick-Whistle Donaghy, the corruption concern looms larger than ever. So come on, NBA, why put all your eggs in a Sin City rookie camp? What's the point, to teach the rookies early on to drink, carouse, and gamble? They'll learn that soon enough.
No, there's only one way to make this thing go away, Mr. Stern, and that's to move the NBA Summer League to the purest city in the league, a city with no gambling (except that damned bingo), a city where it takes an Excel spreadsheet and a compass to figure out how to get a drink. Now, where could that be...?
Friday, July 20, 2007
In Massachusetts, where Mr. Romney was governor for four years, donations fell 69 percent, dropping to $728,742 from $2.3 million in the previous reporting period. In Utah, where he was chief executive of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, his collections were off by 58 percent, decreasing to $1.2 million from $2.8 million, according to figures released yesterday.Now that's just not true. Romney has not tapped out the network of rich Mormons in this state. We personally know several rich Mormons who have not forked over the max yet, and some who haven't donated to him at all! (Names available upon request.) Don't give up, Mitt! This well ain't dry yet. A few suggestions:
The drops in those states would seem to suggest that Mr. Romney has tapped out the network of rich Mormons and wealthy financiers that drove him to lead other Republican candidates in the first reporting cycle, which ended in March.
Why do we care, you might ask? Because this development is a major setback in our goal to have 2008 be the first presidential election in which Utah tops all 50 states in per capita donations. So what if they're all to the same candidate? Wouldn't that be neat--national publicity for once that didn't involve multiple wives or Orem's lawn squad?
Don't write Utah off yet, Mitt. Come back soon; you won't leave empty handed.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
1) Rumor has it that some Republicans are floating the idea of Orrin Hatch running for re-election, then retiring after the election so that Shurtleff can be appointed in his place. (Apparently, they are concerned that Shurtleff would not make it out of convention if he ran for senate the usual way.) Has Shurtleff heard anything about that, and would he consider that fair to Utah voters?
2) Most people in this state fall somewhere between the political extremes. Does Utah's convention process deprive mainstream voters of true choice by screening out too many moderate candidates?
3) Typically, lawyers give clients advice, and the client decides whether to follow the advice. Why did Shurtleff believe his advice was mandatory on the voucher issue (especially when the client was getting contrary advice from other attorneys)?
4) When Utah is asked to sign on as an amicus in U. S. Supreme Court cases, how is the decision made which cases to join and which cases to decline? Is it strictly the A.G.'s decision? Is there a record somewhere of which cases Shurtleff has signed Utah on as an amicus, and which requests he has declined? (We're referring to cases to which the Utah A.G.'s office is not already a party. For example, Utah signed up as amicus in a Tennessee death penalty case, a Texas sodomy case, etc.)
Deal! We would rather you play golf, too. (On your own nickel, we mean.) And while we're at it, how's your swing, Sen. Bramble?
Having been out of the housing market a while, I set my sights on perhaps a slight upgrade.
My lender offered a few suggestions of its own.
Some needed a little work...
...but overall, househunting has been kind of fun. Over the months, I learned many things. For example:
Prospective buyer rings doorbell, asks if it is okay to look at the back yard.
Sure, Owner says; would Buyer like a tour of the house?
"Are you sure?" Buyer asks. "I know I'm here unannounced."
"Sure," Owner replies, pointing out, "We are trying to sell it."
Buyer loves the house (or, more specifically, the yard and neighborhood). Buyer gets preapproval from lender, then decides to seek preapproval from a higher authority. Two days later, Buyer brings la madre to the house and rings the bell. Teenage girl answers. Her mom is not home.
"I went through the house on Saturday," Buyer says, "and I was hoping to show it to my mother," indicating senior in question.
Daughter makes executive decision, decides to straighten up a bit while Buyer wanders around the yard. Daughter steps outside and invites the strangers in.
"Are you sure you won't get in trouble with your Mom?" Buyer asks.
"No, I called her," Daughter says. "It's fine."
Midway through the tour, Daughter hands Buyer a cell phone. "This lady wants to talk to you."
Said lady turns out to be Owner's agent. Owner has apparently called her.
Agent begins her interrogation. "Who are you?"
"Are you an agent?"
"No, I'm just interested in the house."
"How did you learn about it?"
"And did you make an appointment with me to see it before going there?"
Screeeeeech. "Uh, no. Since I came by on Saturday and it was okay, I thought it would be all right to have another look."
"Well, if you really saw the home on UtahHomes.com, then you would know that it says the house is to be shown by appointment only."
Uh... "Sorry," Buyer says, "I didn't see that." Buyer has seen listings with that wording and is embarrassed to have missed it. (Buyer realizes later that the listing does not in fact say that. Clicking on this image will show a listing with quite similar wording, chosen randomly for illustrative purposes only and not at all the actual house in Draper that Buyer really wanted because it had an acre.)
Buyer is informed that asking to see the house is inappropriate, that there are just two teenage girls in the house, that Buyer is basically scum, etc. "You know what?" Buyer says. "I don't need this." Mid-ream, Buyer hands phone to Daughter and kisses the coveted acre goodbye. House remains on the market, and Buyer, meanwhile, continues the quest for yard...
Monday, July 16, 2007
Really? Are there a lot of actors who won't do PG-13 movies? That seems counterintuitive, given that they sell better than Rs--hence all those films that are snipped and cut until they can squeeze into a 13.
No, that's not it, either, he says. It's not that actors won't appear; it's the four-letter problem. To keep its rating, a PG13 can feature only one or two "Cheneys," so to speak. The question thus arises: Who gets to drop the bomb? This, apparently, is an important issue to southern Californians. It is a heated subject of negotations. Some contracts contain an F-clause entitling the star to do the deed. Some actors blow up if their expletive is deleted. "On almost every PG13, someone walks off because of f---," he says.
In Hollywood, such a story generates a shrug. In Utah, such a story generates a dull stare of disbelief. Grown men and women actually feel so strongly about saying one naughty word that they'll quit a job if they can't? Only one word comes to mind when we hear that, and by golly, we're going to use it. Those guys are f--What? We can't say it on a PG blog? Forget it, then--we're out of here!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Salt in the wound: In the Trib article, the Council of Western State Foresters, representing fire managers in 23 states and territories, cites "the drought, the effect of climate change and the increasing numbers of homes built near wildlands" as causing the increase in firefighting expense. How convenient of them to leave out the real cause, identified by Sen. Darin Peterson (R-Nephi) and his fellow senatorial fire investigators: Environmentalists. Our only consolation: Park City, no doubt harboring many of said environmentalists at this very moment, is suffering through the same haze as everyone else. Ha!
Salt Lake County D.A.'s Office Endorses New "Oh, Well" Defense.
Being impulsive at times, we were relieved to read this morning that theft and burglary are okay in Salt Lake County as long as they're just "spur of the moment" things. In January, all-around good guy Wade Hanks stole a mounted head of a sheep from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources -- a sheep that he had himself poached earlier. Deputy D.A. Vincent Meister wagged a stern finger at Wade and his fellow thief, Tyrell Gray, letting them off with a fine that they won't have to pay if they manage not to get caught poaching or stealing anything during the next year. It was a "spur of the moment lapse in judgment," Meister said. We're sure that if someone, say, stole a 6-pack from a 7-11 on the spur of the moment, the D.A.'s office would be equally compassionate, but couldn't we at least bring back the Scarlet T or something? Or how about a sign outside the next hunting expo that says "Watch your wallet -- you never know when a spur of the moment might hit..."
Are Cheesecake Factory and In-N-Out Burger on their way to Utah?
Well, duh. Where has the Trib been? Didn't they follow the infamous gravel pit dispute in 2005, when Boyer got a rezone for a controversial megadevelopment in the heart of Sandy? In the campaign leading up to the citizen vote, fliers went around affluent parts of the city telling voters that, if they just punched the right hole, Boyer's development would include an In-N-Out Burger and a Cheesecake Factory--you know, the same Cheesecake Factory that Salt Lake City residents were told would be part of Boyer's new Gateway development if it went through. So, Trib-come-lately, we already knew that all controversial Boyer developments will have a Cheesecake Factory. We have our forks out.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The first, about a bakery/sandwich shop called Kneaders (742 Fort Union Boulevard in Midvale), is from personal knowledge. A while back, a woman in her 70s who had just lost her husband was anxious to find something to keep herself busy. She approached Kneaders about a job opening to make sandwiches, but her skill set was not ideal for that task. No problem, management said: "We'll find you a job." And they did, cutting vegetables and such. Next time we're in Midvale, we feel a hankerin' for some baked goods...
The second is from a July 2, 2007, Trib article about Jason Russell, an employee at this Burger King in Farmington (1252 N Highway 89).
Customers enjoy the personable Jason, who is developmentally challenged, and who is gregarious and caring. On rare occasions, customers take offense at Jason's playfulness, such as a group of duck hunters who did not like it when he quacked at them. Co-owner Tom Long declared, however, that "Anybody that has got a problem with Jason is not a customer we want to have." OK, BK!
Friday, July 06, 2007
Could Romney have done anything to prevent traveling salesmen from watching films about farmers' daughters? Should he have? Heck if we know. We're too busy playing the 6-degrees-of-separation game; you know, the theory that any two people can be linked through a chain of just six people. Marriott porn immediately reminded us of . . .
- Larry Peterman, the Movie Buffs owner acquitted of obscenity charges in 2000, based partly on evidence that the Marriott across the street from the courthouse in Provo was cleaning up on porn rentals. That prosecution was, of course, the brainchild of . . .
- former Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson, who later got in trouble for secretly filming proof of adultery by his estranged wife . . .
- former state legislator Kathryn Bryson (R-Orem), whose successor, Bradley Daw, sponsored a resolution asking Congress to do something about porn, having been inspired by the movie Traffic Control, which starred . . .
- former porn star Shelley Lubben, aka "Roxy," who is listed in the same Wikipedia article about entertainers with certain, um, physical attributes, along with her fellow celebrity . . .
- Pamela Anderson, whose homemade sex tape was one of the porn films available at the Marriott across from the Provo courthouse! Voila!
"You have to take a long view on any relationship with a foreign country," said Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo. Bramble, along with House Majority Leader David Clark, R-Santa Clara, are heading the delegation.Translation: We may not accomplish anything, but by the time voters realize it, we'll all have been re-elected.
"We're not looking for an instant, immediate return. We're not looking at the success of this trip as whether we return with a sales order," Bramble said. "This will be successful if we are successful in establishing contacts and building relationships."
Irony of the Day: One of the jetsetting legislators is Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Draper) of the Utah Taxpayers Association, the group that says it is opposed to wasting taxpayer dollars. Another junketeer is the aforementioned Rep. Clark, who was Utah Taxpayers Association Legislator of the Year in 2005. What's UTA's motto, "Do as I say, not as I do"?