Thursday, January 31, 2013


As expected, the truth about healthcare is coming out little by little.  I guess Nancy Pelosi was wrong – we really should have read the whole bill before letting it pass.

This article shows just one of the problems with trying to include everyone in something as comprehensive as healthcare.  There will be more issues that come up and some will be even more egregious than this one.  But the press and others will still tout "Obamacare" as a wonderful benefit to the American people.

My opinion is that we are probably stuck with this mess so we better find a way to fix the problems it creates.  Of course, that means we will have to fix the problems those fixes create so the cycle will continue. 

I grieve and fear for my children and grandchildren.  They will have to put up with the challenges of this law for a much longer time than I will.  The only hope is that some sane people will say – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!

Or maybe there will be one brilliant person who can find a way to make healthcare really affordable (pun intended).  Until that time, I guess we have to muddle through with what we have.  Here’s hoping we can live with the “death panels” and other cool things.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Couldn’t sleep very well on Friday night so I went downstairs to watch TV and hope to get tired.  One of the channels was playing the movie “Sea Biscuit” and I decided to remind myself whether or not I liked it.

Guess what?  I was reminded that I liked it very much.  In fact, so much that I have been thinking about it for the last three days.  Now, what could a movie about a horse have in it that would make me spend so much time pondering the message?  Well, let me tell you!!!

Every character in this story has some major flaw that keeps them from finding happiness and success that they crave.  “Red” Pollard, the jockey, feels abandoned because his parents have basically sold him off to reduce their own expenses.  His anger becomes the motivating factor in almost everything he decides to do. And his drinking aggravates things even more.

Tobey Maguire as Red Pollard

The owner of “Sea Biscuit” has lost his son and first wife so he is trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol and the life of a playboy.  But he can tell something is missing and feels the incompleteness of his situation.

Jeff  Bridges and
Elizabeth Banks

And the trainer, who seems the most aware of his place in life, is still haunted by the feelings he has for the horses and the sorrow he experiences when they are mistreated.
Chris Cooper was great as the
trainer and "Horse Whisperer"

Each one has something they would like to change but the motivation and impetus just isn’t there until they come in contact with the sad little horse, Sea Biscuit.  Here is an animal that has been abused and mistreated to the point it can’t trust anyone.  But each of the humans finds something they love about the horse and that changes the way they each look at life.

At one point in the movie, the Jeff Bridges character says something like:
“My horse is too small, my jockey is too big, my trainer is too old and I’m too dumb to know what I’m doing.  But we just keep on doing what we can for this wonderful horse.”

The message is that no one is beyond redemption.  Not a half-blind, angry jockey, not an alcoholic, depressed owner, and especially not an old, has-been trainer who really loves horses.  And because they work together and focus their love on a magnificent but flawed animal, they are all made much the better for the experience. 

 I know there is probably a lot of ‘poetic-license’ involved in the story but I don’t care.  It’s a good message and one I hope I can remember as I look at some of the “lost horses” I encounter in my life.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Yesterday marked a new experience for me in regards to the weather here in Utah.  We have been experiencing unusually cold days and lots of yucky smog that makes it hard to breathe. But we are used to that because of our valley inversions.

When I left the house at 6:45 am to go off to the Jr. High, there was a light rain falling but it seemed very different.  There was a weight to the rain that I did not recognize.  After class, I went out to my truck to make the trip to the High School and noticed my windows were covered with frost.  EXCEPT, it wasn’t frost.

Imagine this on the windshield -- That's what I was trying
to see through.
My ice scraper didn’t work very well because there was a thin sheet of ice covering the whole of the windshield.  I had to break the large piece of ice and then remove the smaller chunks in order to get a clear viewing area.

I have often heard of “freezing rain” but until yesterday I had never experienced the phenomenon.  Very strange!!!  Sure glad it doesn’t come out here very often.

This is a street at the UofU.  Notice the sheets of ice.

Teresa and I noticed another odd thing caused by our little weather episode.  All of the yards we passed had this crusty snow that had taken on the appearance of cake icing.  And when the car lights shone on it, it glistened and glittered like something magical.  Pretty cool looking and sort of surreal – Salvador Dali-like.

Thankfully, we did NOT experience this:

I guess sometimes the ice builds up and power lines
snap and fall to the ground.
All this is probably caused by the silly “Global Warming” theory I keep hearing about.  NOT!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


When I started this blog, my purpose was to alleviate stress and practice writing skills while attempting to entertain my family and chronicle the events of my life.

Not sure how well I have done in each area but I keep plugging away.

The truth is that now I mostly write so I can express some of my feelings about different subjects.  Sort of like an on-line journal (but with less detail).

I also read many blogs and wonder how it is that some of these folks have so much time.  One fellow, in particular, is a very busy man and yet he seems to have enough time to make several entries per day (see here).  My past year was my best and I only made 45 entries.

My little girl (here) is much more diligent and seems to be able to work around 6 kids, a husband with multiple jobs, RS President worries, Crohn’s disease, yard work, housework, and a million other things.  Yet she posts several times a week and is bright, literate and funny every single time.

Not that I’m comparing myself to either of these people (OK, I am just a bit), but it seems I could be more consistent in taking care of this little gem.

No promises, but my hope is that this year I will be able to increase visits to my blog and offer slightly more for the three people who like to read what I write.  Check back at the end of the year and let’s talk about how it went.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Since we seldom have a night out together, my sweet wife and I decided to take in the new version of Les Miserables last weekend.  We have seen the Broadway version and were aware of some of the differences in the production of this cinematic style of the musical.

The Little Cosette

Without reservation, we both were enthralled with the story and images produced by this presentation.  As we considered why we liked it so much (even more than the Broadway play) we realized it was because of the emotion so evident in the performers.

Anne Hathaway looking her
worst for the part of Fantine.
And who knew she could sing?

When Fantine is shown weeping for the loss of her little girl and the massive changes that have come to her life, it was as though we were there, grieving with her in her misery.

Hugh Jackman who sings better
than I had expected.  Not great
but better.

As Jean Valjean cries out with the love he has for Cosette, you can see and hear the anguish in his soul for the loss he is about to suffer.

Marius is amazing in his depth of emotion.  A completely
unknown actor for this part.

And when Marius is in the café, pining for the friendship of his fellows, what can one do but weep for his aloneness.

Russell Crowe was the weakest singer
of all the parts but his character portrayal was

Yes, there were flaws – particularly with the character of Javert – but those weaknesses did not affect the moving images of this wonderful story of redemption.  For, after all, that IS the message (despite the silly ending) of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.

Man can be redeemed.  A man who is shown mercy can overcome his natural tendencies and become a merciful man.  Jean Valjean is a flawed human and had many injustices in his life that left him bitter.  But the kindness of the Priest opened his heart to the redeeming love of God and helped him become a different man.

Sadly, Javert, the one who professed deep and abiding belief in God, refused to let others (including himself) change and in the end he was not able to bear the disappointment of his state.

Redemption is the true gift of God, through His Son.  Hugo may not have known that because of religion but he knew it in his heart and taught the message in his writings.

I commend this story to all who wish to feel the power of change as given by the God of Heaven.  The movie has its difficult moments and should be watched with care but is still uplifting.

For another opinion on the drama of this story check here.

Friday, January 11, 2013


1.    Reparation for a wrong or injury: "she wanted to make atonement for her behavior".
2.    Reparation or expiation for sin.
expiation - amends - reparation - redemption - penance

It all started with a baby.
It sounds so simple when you read it from the dictionary.  But the reality is that it is more layered and nuanced than we think.  My experience is that the knowledge comes little by little as one seeks to apply the gift of Atonement from the Savior.

The prophet Alma describes the Atonement in a way that makes it clear we are seeking more than reparation for our sins when we follow Jesus Christ:

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.  Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.  (Alma 7:11-13 emphasis added)

His gift was to all mankind.
It has occurred to me that the power of the Atonement is something we can call on as we perform our duties as followers of Christ.  When a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder exercises the power given from God to bless and heal one who suffers, he is calling on the power of the Atonement to bless that individual.  And as a good friend seeks to relieve another from the difficulties caused by some mortal infirmity, it would be appropriate for them to draw on the redeeming love and power of the Savior to offer comfort and help.

For ourselves and those we serve and love.
In effect, as followers of Christ, we have the right to seek out those who are in need (just as Jesus has done for us) and hold out the comfort and blessing of the Atonement as a healing balm for the trials and struggles of this mortal existence.  We become the hands of the Savior as we perform our work of service to those who need His help.

The power is there for us to act in His stead.  Let us use it as He would so others may be benefited.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Like most men over 40, the lenses in my eyes have been deteriorating for the past few years.  Until recently store bought reading glasses were sufficient for my needs.  BUUUUT, it seems my eyes are hardening me to a greater degree than ever before.

This actually looks like a student I had one year
Wouldn't this be cool to see staring back
Sometimes as I sit in class, I look at my students and wonder why they have such strange styles with their hair and make-up.  Many appear to have frizzy fringes around their face and the colors of their eyes are like someone sprayed water and things dripped.  But when I ask them about it, they just give me strange looks.

More like what I was seeing

So I went to the eye-guy and he says I’m not seeing things very clearly, especially from long distance.  Diagnosis – my eyes are weird, not the kids. 

O my golly, someone’s pride is hurt. Only old people have to wear glasses all the time.  Reading glasses are sort of cool but this ----- this really stinks!!!

The 'New Me' without a smile -- Well, Melissa and Teresa
say I can't smile so what the heck.

So far it hasn't been extremely bad but I sure struggle with the “progressive” lens – I’m really more of a “conservative” guy.  Maybe someone can invent glasses like that for people like me. J