Sunday, May 31, 2015

Alex Epstein's "The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels"...A Book Review

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels*

I've written a daily blog post for over four years and in all that time, I have not written very many political entries. There's a reason for that--there's obviously a lot to write about when it comes to politics. I don't write many political blog posts by choice. In truth, politics gets me down. Some believe politics is supposed to fix problems and some believe politics causes problems. And no matter how much screaming each side does, nothing seems to change--especially people's opinions.

That's one of the reasons I'm not too political on this blog. I know I could get a lot more followers and hits, but for me, it's not worth it.

So why am I reviewing a book about fossil fuels and climate change? Many would say that climate change has nothing to do with politics; that opinion itself is political. Ask people what they think of trade embargos or gun control laws in Australia and chances are people will be indifferent. But ask them about climate change and they'll have something to say.

Why am I reviewing this particular book? Because it's important. Once upon a time when people disagreed with each other, they debated facts. They did their research and saw if the evidence supported their beliefs. I think those days are gone, perhaps forever.

The book is exactly what the title suggests, a moral argument for the benefits of fossil fuels. The book is not stat-heavy with loads of information to bore and annoy. It's a look at how fossil fuels have benefited our planet and how the reduction of these energy sources will lead to the eradication of millions if not billions of people on the earth. You may disagree with his conclusions, but this is his opinion and he uses facts to support this theories.

The thing I especially enjoyed about the writing is that the author is a philosopher. He approaches the problem on philosophical grounds. Epstein argues that when it comes to the climate change issue people generally fall into two camps. Those who put the needs and wants of humans above that of the planet and those who choose nature, or an undisturbed natural environment over the wants and needs of humans. 

There is one big problem with this book. It's almost a waste of time for the author to have written it. Those who believe the claims of politicians, celebrities and scientists that climate change is the single biggest problem facing our planet will most likely never read it, and those who agree with Mr. Epstein who do read it will only have their opinions validated. But it is something everyone should read, everyone should at least be honest enough to ask themselves the questions and philosophical arguments contained within its pages. 

* Photo used without permission from:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

For Sale: A 1982 Journey Concert Hat...Escape In Its Coolness!

I found another treasure while doing some spring cleaning yesterday, and it brought back a lot of memories. My 1982 Journey concert hat that I bought at a 1983 show. I admit the hat purchase was a little unusual. Most bought concert t-shirts. Heck, I probably bought a concert t-shirt, too. Back then the shirts were more expensive than the tickets, but we had to have those shirts. You might say we were stone in love with them. And the coolest thing about those shirts was wearing them to school the next day. Those of us clad in matching concert shirts welcomed each other with open arms--we were like a family complete with mother, father, but there were always those who acted like the kids.

The hat isn't much of a hat, as hats go. It's mesh in the back and that foam stuff in the front. It's dented, I'm sure because I just lay it down in some corner and forgot about it. I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there who would like to purchase this piece of pop culture--or, a hat with a symbol of 1980s pop culture on it.

I've never sold anything online. It's a billion-dollar business but I've never set up an Ebay account. I did list our van on KSL Classifieds, the huge online store in our area. We didn't sell the van online, but ended up trading it in on another car. Too bad someone didn't buy the car from the ad--we would have given them such a good deal. I mean, who's crying now? Yes, those who didn't buy it from us, that's who.

So, should I create an account and put the thing out there? I can't stop believin' that there's someone out there who is just dying to own an authentic 1982 Journey concert hat, embossed with the Steve Perry-singing and Steve Smith-drumming awesomeness emblem that represented a truly amazing American rock band--the Journey band of my youth, a hard rocking band who put on a great show. I remember it seemed they would keep on runnin even if they were dead or alive. They were a great band to watch live.

I also have the original concert ticket stub--I doubt anyone would want that, except me. I saw the band a few years ago sans Mr. Perry and Mr. Smith. They put on a great show, but I missed the old Journey and when I close my eyes I escape and imagine the musicians. I can see them in my mind and still they ride the guitar riffs, the drum solos, the magic they created on stage. Those were good times, indeed.

So, anyone want a hat?

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Sports Section...Eleven Years Ago

We did some spring cleaning at our house today--it's amazing how things can accumulate over the years. And hidden among all the stuff was the sports section of the Deseret Morning News from Friday, June 25, 2004.

Almost eleven years ago.

Thinking back, I believe I saved the paper because of the classic photograph on the cover. For those sports fans (and specifically Utah Jazz fans...) out there, you may remember why these guys look so downtrodden. You see, a person they really really wanted the home team to draft was picked by another team. Their faces tell the story.

The Utah Jazz drafted two other players instead, Kris Humphries with the fourteenth pick and Kirk Snyder with the sixteenth. 

See what difference a decade can make? If you know your basketball history then you know what happened to Kris Humphries and Kirk Snyder. One bounced around the NBA and other teams all over the world and even spent some time in jail. The other bounced around the NBA and even married Kim Kardashian for 72 days. He's still playing in the NBA.

So, you might think that those poor suckers gnashing their teeth and looking completely dejected were proven right--that the person they wished the Jazz had taken would have been a much better pick.


You see, those people wanted the Utah Jazz to draft the tattooed BYU center Rafael Araujo. The photograph was snapped as the Toronto Raptors selected Araujo with the eight pick. Oh, how their dreams were dashed. 

Turns out Araujo was a bust, too. Those fans did get their wish. The Utah Jazz got Araujo (in a trade involving Humphries...) a few years later, and he didn't work out for Araujo or the Utah Jazz. 

Hindsight tells us everything. Had those fans known what would happen, had the teams and the players known their eventual fortunes, different decisions would have been made. Then again, when you look at the faces on those fans, do you think they would have believed you if you told them how things would eventually work out? 

I don't think so, either.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Zane Grey's "The Man Of The Forest"... A Book Review

Last year (or perhaps the year before...) while commuting to work early in the morning I sat next to a fellow commuter. We started talking about life and the things people who don't know each other talk about on the way to work while riding in a bus.

His name was Zane Grey.

Of course, he wasn't the Zane Grey, author of The Man of the Forest," and other books, but they shared the name. I asked Zane if he had read any books written by the man with the same name as his. He said he had read several. He asked me if I had read any Zane Grey books. I said I'd read none. I'm not the biggest fan of westerns--I like them, but just don't read them very often. The conversation that day between myself and Mr. Grey convinced me I should read a Zane Grey book if I ever got the chance. A few months later while in a used book store I came across The Man of the Forest and so I bought it.

This week I finished it. I can definitely understand why the author was and is popular.

The premise behind this book is not that involved. Bad guys conspire to steal a ranch from a young woman recently arrived to take over her dying uncle's property. Loaner horseman rescues the woman and her younger sister and takes them to his mountain hideaway. Uncle dies, the woman takes ownership then the bad guys kick her off the ranch and "Western Justice" is called upon to make things right. There's more to the story, of course, but that's the basic idea.

I'm sure the comparisons between Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour will not cease anytime soon. The men were contemporaries and they both popularized the western genre for millions of readers. I've read a couple of L'Amour books and I found Grey's style more flowery, more embellishing. You can get lost in the words more than in L'Amour's books, at least, I felt that way.

The edition I read included a forward from Loren Grey in which he talked about how this book focused on the theory of evolution. It was said by Loren Grey that many people learned about evolution from this book, perhaps than from Darwin's The Evolution of Species. I suppose that type of information is in the book, but the forward gave me the impression the book would be different, more clinical somehow.

If you like westerns with definite good guys, bad guys and beautiful descriptions of amazing scenery, give this one a try. I'm sure you'll like it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner...All At Work

Tonight I walked into the break room to get my third meal of the day--it was another reminder of just how long I had been at work. I should say that I am lucky. I work a regular day job and I'm fortunate enough to be able to work four ten-hour shifts. I've done this for years and even though a ten-hour shift can be long at times, it's not bad at all, especially considering nurses and doctors and people on-call work a heck of a lot longer shifts than I ever do.

But, today was still a long day. I usually eat breakfast at work. It's just easier. I take a half gallon of milk every week or so and a box of cereal. I'm set, so breakfast at work is no big deal.

Nor is lunch. I usually take lunch--leftovers, mostly. For me, leftovers are great because my wife is a killer cook (and by "killer," I don't mean "has killed" with her food...). Sometimes I'll indulge in a burrito from the taco cart, but mostly it's "bring it from home." Today some people on another floor had a fundraiser--two pieces of pizza and a can of pop for $5. I brought my lunch, but I decided I could save that until dinner, then I wouldn't have to go get fast food. Oh, and it was my boss's birthday so we had cupcakes...yum!

I usually don't eat dinner at work. In fact, in the almost eighteen years I've worked for the state, I don't think I've ever had dinner at work. I had a meeting at 7pm in Salt Lake so I just stayed at work. Leftover bacon, tomato, cheese and egg sandwich on sourdough bread was really good!

Like I said, I know many who spend entire days on one shift so they've hit for the food cycle several times before they can go home. It was a first for me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Son's Pinewood Derby...The Last Heat

Last week amid all the rain our local cub scout pack had a Pinewood Derby. It was my son's last derby--he'll be too old the next time the blocks of wood are carved, painted and have wheels attached.

But it's also the last Pinewood Derby for the Taylors, three boys, four cars. Needless to say, the organization informally known as "Taylor Racing" was not too successful and now the sun has set on our competitive team.

As a father and Team Leader, I feel sometimes feel bad about the cars we produced. They looked okay. Our limited woodworking tools meant the kids wouldn't get any "super cool" looking cars. We did our best under the circumstances. Building our cars was a task for both parent and child. I asked the kids how they wanted the cars to look like. Once they had a general shape down, I made the cuts then let them do the tough part--sanding.

Next came the painting then putting on the wheels. When the days of the big races came, we set our cars among the others and hoped for the best. Too bad "the best," as far as the timed races went, never could be said of the cars from "Taylor Racing." 

As with any project intended for kids, there's more to learn than just building a car and seeing if it can beat the others. They learn responsibility. They hopefully can take pride in a job well done. They learn about sportsmanship and that winning doesn't have to be the only reason for doing something. And I'm hoping my sons learned some of these lessons.

I remember when my mom and my uncle helped me build my Pinewood Derby car--the blond standing up all excited is me, and my car is the stylish red with white racing stripes is mine. This race was held decades ago in the same church gymnasium as my son's race last week. Back then, my car wasn't as fast as the others. Even so, I've kept that car all these years, partially because it's a cool car, but mostly because it brings back good memories. it reminds me of my youth, my mother and how she helped me with something in which I cared greatly. Who knows--maybe one day my boys will find their old Pinewood Derby cars and look back on their childhoods and remember good times.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day, 2015...At The Cemetery

My friend linked a story on Facebook today about one veteran's opinion of Memorial Day. He basically hated the way the holiday is more connected to the beginning of summer than a time to remember those who have gone before. In his opinion, he would rather people spend time in cemeteries than at the mall.

Because both my parents are gone, their children gather each Memorial Day at the local cemetery. I'm glad I read that article because it made this morning's visit even better. All my parent's kids and all but three of their grandkids were there--we even had a great-granddaughter make everyone smile.

Sure, we had a barbecue and even did a little yard work, but the hour we spent having a mini-family reunion at the Farmington Cemetery was the best part of the day. Thanks to my dad for his military service and all he did for us before he passed away. Thanks to my mother who put her husband through college and then raised three kids on her own after losing her husband. And thanks to them both for choosing me to be part of a wonderful family. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peggy Eddleman's "Sky Jumpers"...A Book Review

Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, #1)*

Yesterday, as I drove home from Conduit 25 I finished the audiobook of Peggy Eddleman's Sky Jumpers. I've been wanting to read this book every since I first saw the cover. I mean, isn't that a kick-butt cover?

I met Peggy last year at one of the Salt Lake Comic Cons. I think it was the first FanX in April, 2014. Our table of mostly self-published books was close to where several authors were signing their Big Publishing House-published books and when things slowed down, I found myself talking to a lot of the authors. I loved this cover and when Peggy told me about her series, I found the concept intriguing. 

Turns out, she was completely correct! Sky Jumpers is set in a smartly crafted dystopian world of America after World War III. Without technology communities are separated from each other and must survive using the talents and abilities of the inhabitants. And because human nature hasn't changed, towns must protect themselves from roving bandits. Sky Jumpers  tells the story of four children on a quest to save their loved ones and everyone in the town. They must outsmart the evil men, survive the winter trek and overcome the Bomb's Breath, a band of toxic air left over from the war.

The story's main protagonist is twelve-year old Hope. She is courageous without being cocky. I think her age has a lot to do with it. The girl questions her abilities, but when everything's on the line, she comes through. The story reminded me of similar storylines found in The Hunger Games and Divergent, except it was geared more toward a reader the same age as Hope. There's tension to be sure, but I think a younger reader can handle this dystopian story better than say, throwing a twelve-year old into The Hunger Games. 

 At the last FanX in January I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel with several talented middle-grade and young adult writers. Peggy was a fellow panelist and when you read her book, you'll understand why. She writes a great middle-grade thriller. I'm glad I decided last year to ask her what her book was all about.

* Photo used without permission from:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Conduit 25...I've Been There And I Went Back Again

A few years ago I had no idea how many literary symposiums and conventions there were out there. Then I got a short story published and everything changed. Now, they seem to be all over the state. I'm sure the same could be said for Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada. If I wanted to, I could most likely attend a convention that benefits writers every weekend.

One of the conventions I had never heard of before last year was Conduit, a local science fiction and fantasy convention held in Utah each year. Last year's event was held in connection with the first ever FantasyCon so Conduit got lost in the mix. This year it was all by itself.

I was asked to participate on one panel, Geek Parenting. I love those kinds of panels. You're pretty sure what you're going to get from both the panelists and those there to listen to them. The panel was held in the strangest room for a panel that I've ever been in. It was right next to the swimming pool. Had someone been swimming during our discussion, we would not have been able to hear ourselves talk.

On our panel was me, Tom Carr (one of the very first people I ever met at a convention...) and John Olsen, fellow Xchyler writer. We had nine people attend, including two youths. We pointed out that those who brought their kids to the convention were on their way to successful Geek Parenting.

I saw fellow writer friends--Holli Anderson and Jason King pictured above--and even attended a panel on the latest Star Wars movie developments. I wish I could have stayed for other panels and to hear Sarah Seeley, Xchyler Author extraodinaire, when she gave a reading. 

When I attended my first convention I had no idea how they worked, what I was supposed to do or much of anything. Now after a couple of years, things have changed--and for the better. You might say, I'm now a "Professional."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Taking A Picture With The Lens Cap On...In Our Times

I don't have a lot of memories of my father, he passed away when I was pretty young. Maybe it's because I love taking pictures that one memory of him refused to leave me.

My dad dabbled in photography. When I was younger I snooped around our house and I found several of his cameras. Boy, they were old. I don't know if my dad fancied himself as a serious photographer. I think he loved the mechanics behind the whole thing. From what I do know about the man, that makes sense.

The one memory I have of him and photography was a time when we traveled north to spend some time with my mom's parents in Idaho. If you know the Teton Valley, you know there are vistas of the famous mountain range that literally take your breath away, and my grandparents had the best view of the Tetons hands down. My dad decided to take some pictures of the range--he snapped an entire roll.

Turns out, he left the lens cap on his camera and so when he got back the developed pictures, they were completely black. The camera he used did not have a direct line-of-sight from lens to viewfinder. So when my dad looked at the small glass window at the scene he wanted to capture, what he was seeing what not what the lens would see. He ended up completely wasting that roll of film and denying all of us the chance to see what the Teton mountains looked like from the Idaho side on that day back in the early 1970s.

My first quality camera was my Olympus OM-10 SLR. I LOVED that camera! So much so, I still have it. My dad would have loved it, too, and not just because of the lens cap debacle, but because that little thing was so amazing. When you look into the viewfinder of that camera, that's what would transfer to the film--the amazing Single Lens Reflex in action.

And cameras today are light years ahead of my OM-10. You don't even have to look at a viewfinder anymore. With most cameras, you look at the little video screen to see what the picture will look like. So I thought the days of "forgetting to take the lens cap off" were gone forever.

Turns out, that's not completely true. This week after work, I passed a small patch of flowers with amazing color. I took one with my iPhone one day thinking I would use it as my "Pic Of The Day." I didn't get a good shot of it, or at least, I felt I could do better. So the next day I took out my Nikon and snapped a picture. The problem was, I didn't check out the finished product. The last pictures I took with my Nikon were in a darkened theater so the settings were stuck on Manual. When I downloaded the shot to use for my "Pic Of The Day," the picture at the top of this blog is what I saw.

It was my own lens cap moment. And I didn't think those existed anymore.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our Slithering Guest...

I got a call at work the other day from my wife. Thanks to the miracles of modern electronics, my wife and I usually communicate via text or instant messages.  It's so convenient and in just a sentence or two, it's all done. No calls need be made and both of us can keep on working.

So, a call nowadays is a rare event.

However, certain circumstances require a phone call. Emergencies, a fender-benders, broken appliances, or if we win the lottery or receive some other large cash award--all phone call-worthy events.

And that includes snakes measuring up to four feet in length inside the home.

The kids were out with the dog when they saw a snake finding its way into our garage. We've lived in our house since 2003 and as far as we know, it was our first snake. Of course, that may not be true, but it's the first visit backed up with evidence. My wife bravely approached and snapped a picture with her phone.

I'm not the biggest fan of snakes, but I don't mind them too much. I grew up on a mountain and we ran into snakes all the time. As a kid I even found a wild snake and kept it for a pet for a few months--letting it out and crawl all over me and everything. It wasn't big--a couple of feet maybe--but we fed it eggs and generally thought it was cool. I think I'd freak out if one of my kids did that to me. The thing about snakes is that they will leave you alone if you leave them alone.

My wife wondered if the snake was trying to find a new home. That make me think. Do snakes look for new places to live in people's homes? I had never thought about that. Where I grew up at my mom's house (located across the street from where I now live...), we kept the garage door open all the time. We'd have mice come in and even stray cats, but I never saw a snake taking up residence. I told my wife that I didn't think the snake was looking for anything permanent. It was most likely trying to find the baby birds that are living up near our roof, and once it found that they weren't near ground level, it took its business elsewhere.

Even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't looking for a new home, I'm pretty sure I'll be looking twice for that snake every time I enter the garage, at least for a while, anyway...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One"...A Book Review

Ready Player One*

I ran into one of those crazy guys at The Legendarium Podcast last week and he was reading Ernest Cline's Ready Player One in preparation of an upcoming episode. I also noticed the book was getting a lot of love on Facebook from many of my friends and news hit recently that it will be made into a movie.

I thought there might be something to this one, so I checked it out from the library and finished it today.

Turns out there's more than just "something" to this one--there's a lot to this one. It's quite a tale.

The elevator pitch: the story is set in the 2040s America. The world's most famous video game programmer died and hid an Easter Egg somewhere in his most famous game called the Oasis. It's now up for grabs for anyone and everyone to find it. 

But to say that's all the story's about is like saying Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol is about an old man who is frightened by a door knocker. Cline not only puts the story, but everyone who reads it smack dab into the 1980s, complete with so many pop culture references, it is very hard to keep up with them all. You may think you know everything about the decade that was the 1980s (as I did having graduated high school, completed a church mission and began college in the 1980s...), but trust me, Cline knows more, or has researched it more. You name it, music, art, literature, TV, movies--there's references to all of it! How Cline intertwines a story set in the mid-twenty-first century with a tidal wave of 80s trivia is brilliant! It's almost too much at times...almost.

There was one thing that did bother me about the story is Cline's antagonist, an evil, power-sucking corporation known at Innovative Online Industries. This corporate interest has almost unlimited power and they want to take over and control the Oasis, which is basically, the internet. For me, this better defines the government, not a corporation. After all, governments threaten, blackmail and kill those in its way. Maybe corporations will, by the 2040s do the same thing, too, but governments are doing all those things right now.

This book will definitely appeal to geeks, videogamers, fans of 1980s pop culture and dystopia. And if you like those things, reading this book is like getting a literary drink from a fire hose.

* Photo used without permission from:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ever Heard (Of...) The Buena Vista Social Club?

Have you ever heard (or heard of...) the Buena Vista Social Club? Co-worker Ken and I were chatting at work the other day and he mentioned that he's going to see a concert this summer. He was very excited about it.

So, I asked him, "why so excited?"

And he said, "The Buena Vista Social Club is coming!"

"Who's that?" I asked.

Ken not only told me who they were but loaned me out one of his prized possessions--the concert documentary of the group.

And it's amazing!

A man had an idea of finding some of the musicians that entertained the world in Pre-Castro Cuba. The movie is the story of how he gathered those surviving musicians in 1999 and put on a concert in Amsterdam. They then put on a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The documentary focused not only on the music, but also on the men and women of the band. Each member of the band was highlighted with a backstory of how they came to become a musician and what life was like "back in the day." The panned scenes showing the streets of Cuba were fascinating! It showed people hanging out on city streets, young ballerinas practicing in a dance hall while one of the band members played the piano, and example after example of classic cars.

But one thing that really impressed me was the singers. After all those years, they still sounded great! It's been over fifteen years since the film was made and unfortunately, many of the musicians are no longer with us. Co-worker Ken is still stoked about the concert this summer because many of those in the video will be there. If you like Latin music, you'll love this video. If you've never heard of The Buena Vista Social Club, you should.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why I'd Make A Terrible Critic...


This past weekend I wasn't feeling that hot so I spent a good deal of the time drinking a lot of liquids and watching a lot of TV. I watched some games and many movies. One of which was the Pixar classic, Ratatouille. A lot of people love Pixar movies and have their favorites. I think Ratatouille gets lost in the mix. I don't know many who say it's their favorite, Including me. It's not that I dislike it--I just like others more.

But one scene stood out for me when I watched it this time. It was the scene the critic pontificates on what it means--to him--to be a critic. For anyone who judges other's accomplishments, or have their work judged, you know what that experience can mean. 

I think there's a fine line a critic walks when they do their job. This seems strange because, shouldn't a critic (to adequately do their job...) just tell the truth? Shouldn't they tell us about what they think of the product, or the food, or the film or the music, play, piece of art? Yes, but telling the truth can get people in trouble because, well, let's face it--all art cannot be good to everyone. One could argue that it is art that's the real problem. It's so subjective--including artistic food creations--that for one person to declare something "good" or "bad" is a little unfair. 

Even so, critics are a part of our lives, especially if you're one who makes things. As I watched the Pixar movie I wondered if I would be a good critic and I had to admit that I would not. My problem is I like too many things. A few months ago I decided to write Profiles Of Local Actors/Artists I Know, or POLAIK. If you read any of those posts, there's some similarities in all those posts. I loved the author's/artist's works and I recommended everyone read/buy their work. I wasn't very critical. And when I see movies, I almost always enjoy them. Take Joss Whedon's, Avengers, Age of Ultron. I went the first weekend and LOVED the show! Days later everyone was telling everyone else what they thought. Most enjoyed it, but others HATED it! They ripped it, especially the lack of strong female superhero characters, or how Whedon treated the one female superhero in the show. Personally, I didn't see it. I just sat in the theater and had a great time.

No, I don't believe I'd make a good critic. I would hate to offend someone, which isn't really fair to those who want an honest opinion. Then again, I'd rather be a crappy critic and enjoy most things I experience. I can live with that.

* Photo used without permission from Pixar.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Chris Kyle's "American Sniper"...A Book Review

American Sniper*

Last week I finished American Sniper. It's amazing how reading about another person's life can affect our own.

If you've read the book or seen the movie of the same name, you can probably understand what I mean. I have not seen the movie and because I don't see a lot of movies, it may be a while until I do, but I don't feel slighted. In my experience, books are almost always better.

I thought this book would be much like Marcus Lattrell's Lone Survivor. They both tell the story of Navy Seals and the missions they've been called upon to do. But the story of Chris Kyle is much different than Lattrell's. In many ways Kyle's autobiography is more personal, more intimate. This surprised me because as we get to know the person through the words, Kyle seems more a rougher character. Maybe it's because he tells us more about himself. Another way this story differed from Lattrell's is that Kyle's book doesn't dwell so much on the process it takes to become a Navy Seal.

Most know the story of Chris Kyle, the deadliest (or by some's definition, the most successful...) sniper in United States Military history. He was unapologetic of what he did; he had come to terms with that with each shot.

And if you know the story of Chris Kyle you most likely know how he died. I thought they might include details of his death, but the book didn't. And I'm glad it didn't. The book was a story of how he lived, not how he died. 

Books like these change us. They remind those of us not in the military or living in war zones that horror and actual evil exist. They remind us that people are capable of acts so terrible they're hardly believable. Whether you agree with what Kyle did, what our country is doing or what those he fought against are doing, when we know more about the men, women and children affected by those actions we know more about ourselves.

* Photo used without permission from:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Some Things I Learned Today...While I Wasn't Feeling Well

The cat woke me up less than five hours after I went to sleep. I did not go back to sleep after that. As I lay in my bed trying to fall back to sleep, I realized I did not feel so good. In fact, I felt pretty bad--the kind of bad where I'll get to have all the food you ate the day before make a return appearance. Thankfully, that didn't happen, but it could have on multiple occasions.

So as the morning progressed I turned on the TV to take my mind off of other things and as I watched, certain facts were learned.

I learned that I was glad I didn't go to the LDStorymakers Writing Symposium. I would have been sick so I wouldn't have gone and therefore, not gotten my money's worth.

I learned that when you're sick food commercials can be unpleasant to disgusting.

I learned that when food looks disgusting, the only thing you can ingest is liquids. I had three main ones today.

I learned that Xfinity's new DVR doesn't always show you an accurate representation of what shows or sports events are on. And because of this, I missed the Real Salt Lake soccer game that was held this afternoon. Just as well--they lost 4-1.

Speaking of sports, I learned that there is absolutely no reason why the lead up to one of the triple crown horse races should last four frickin' hours! Yes! That long! I don't know if the Super Bowl has that kind of a lead in. It probably does. I know some horse races are more important than others, but come on! There's NO reason for that!

I also learned I have a wonderful supportive family and that's the best thing you can have when you're sick. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better. I guess we'll find out.

And last but not least, I found out that even thought I didn't do anything I needed to do like finish my son's Pinewood Derby car or the laundry or do ANY writing, I had a subject to write about for this blog post.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Who Says Jr. High School-Aged Kids Can't Do Shakespeare?

My kids are part of a school co-op and each year one of the funnest classes for the kids is Shakespeare. Tonight my daughter was part of the school's Shakespeare production of The Merchant of Venice

And they did a fantastic job!

Watching kids do Shakespeare is kind of a surreal experience. You watch them and they say line after line of old English. It's just something special to see them do it, especially considering their age.

Tonight was their first show. Tomorrow they have a matinee at 2pm and a final show at 6pm. As with any show, they were nervous before they took the stage, but if that nervousness continued through the show, I couldn't tell. 

Doing any show on a stage can be tough. Doing Shakespeare adds an extra level difficulty and these kids stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. Great job, kids!