Saturday, December 03, 2011

Tis the season to get into the season

No better place to get the Christmas season started than a visit to the Mesa Temple Christmas lights.

South Mountain Park

A recent visit from mom and dad was reason enough to visit another nook of the Valley that I haven't experienced. Here are a few above average photos from South Mountain Park. On a clear day and with the right equipment you could get some great vistas of the whole Phoenix area.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lil' Charlie's Feedin' Legs

You notice the littlest things as parents. Not surprisingly these little discoveries are the most worthwhile. For me I love watching his legs as he takes in his bottle.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wait...I need a centrifuge to cook some of these dishes?

The cooking book to end all cooking books... Take a look at this book.  It is cool and ground breaking.  It will make you wonder if you've even been cooking before you read this thing. I was all excited until I realized that I need a PhD in Chemistry and the budget of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to pull off most of these dishes.

Modernist Cuisine Trailer from Modernist Cuisine on Vimeo.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Why we named you Charles

Good morning Lil' Charlie. You've only been with us for a couple of days but it seems like I can't conceive of a time when you weren't part of our family.  I wanted to spend a moment to tell you why we gave you the name we did.  You see we didn't need to consult a magazine to pick the most recent name du jour; we have had your name picked out for a long time.

Your name has great significance in your father's family.  It was the name of a great man who passed away many years ago but whose legacy is still fresh in the hearts and minds of all he touched.  It was the name of your great grandpa Charles Otterstrom.  He was also known as 'Chic'. 

The world sometimes measures men by a different scale then we do.  Sometimes it values wealth, power, and notoriety over things like character, selflessness, and love.  You see Chic wasn't noted for those former qualities but he had the latter ones in spades.  His character will last far longer than when all the gold of the wealthy man has been spent.

I never met my Grandpa Chic.  He died before I was born.  In fact he passed from this life on the same day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the famous first moon landing. My knowledge of him has been passed to me by those whose lives were touched by him.  Here are a few things they mentioned.

  • He was a humble man who always put the needs of others over his own.  He was never a wealthy man but that never stopped him from sharing what little he had with others.
  • He was a creative man.  He worked for the great Walt Disney and helped animate some of your soon to be favorite movies like "Cinderella", "Snow White", and "Pinocchio".  Some say he never got the credit he deserved for his work because he was so humble and he never sought to put himself over others.  
  • While he never had the opportunity to serve a mission he was always sharing the Gospel with others.  Most of his best missionary work was done through his Christ-like example.
  •  He was a man who never succumbed to anger.  He never needed to.  He was able to educate and communicate without having to raise his voice.
  • He was also a great photographer.  He was so good that the Government used him on top secret missions to photograph the tests that took place in the remote desert to capture the tests surrounding the feared and powerful atomic bomb.  This work ultimately led to the cancer that took his life.  In spite of this he never complained.  Actually he still remained more concerned about the needs of others. 
We will continue to gather stories of this great man so that you can follow his example.  This shouldn't be hard because there are still so many people who have so many wonderful stories to share.

Soon enough we will tell you about the person behind your middle name, Don.   He is also a  great man and he has also created a wonderful legacy for you.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Good Wealth, Poor Wealth

While there are various ways to generate wealth, I contend that their overall value can be boiled down to something I'll call "good wealth" and "poor wealth". I know, I know 'just one more dichotomy that further illustrates the growing divide in an increasingly divisive America'. Let me see if I can back up this claim with the recent passing of an icon and a book that I am currently reading.

I will use Steve Jobs as the embodiment of "Good Wealth". Through his company, Apple, he was able to generate billions of dollars, hire thousands of people, create and reinvigorate entire industries, and essentially create a positive multiplier effect across the entire economy.

On the other hand, I will use Wall Street, specifically the world of Hedge Funds* as described in "More Money than God", to personify "Poor Wealth." These groups operate well out of the reach of the general public, generate/destroy incredible amounts of wealth, and have been known to help exacerbate the demise of entire economies- think the whole Thai Baht fiasco of 1997. 

One creates something tangible.  The other speculates on the work of others.  One creates jobs, intellectual property, and tangible products.   The other hires very few, generates no real value outside of the elite inner circle, and the only real tangible by product of its efforts are the creation of markets that are far riskier.

I'm sorry if I'm ranting.  I'm a capitalist and risk taker at heart.  I know that the Hedge Fund guys aren't as bad as the investment bankers.  Because at least the Hedge Fund guys usually risk their own money and they don't get bailed out like Goldman Sachs does.  But  their size and exclusivity plays a big role in creating a wider income disparity in our country and they make the overall markets far more volatile.

As I conclude I can't help but be reminded of all the "Occupy Wall-Street" protests that are springing up every where.  The "we are the 99%" message not only resonates but it really does capture what is taking place right now.  The income divide is huge and there is definitely a tangible anger towards the super rich.  But notice that these protests seem to make the same distinction that I am.  They aren't burning an effigy of Steve Jobs or other innovators.  They have turned their ire on the Wall Street fat cats.

* I selected the Hedge fund mainly because of the book I am currently reading.  I would likely cast the investment banks as the larger player in terms of "bad wealth".

Monday, October 03, 2011

Saving our Bluths

There was a collective feeling of jubilation this weekend amongst those who value good comedy.  It was 'sort of' announced that Arrested Development was going to come back for a brief 4th season that would be capped with a movie. Yes, fan's have been tormented for several years of similar news that always failed to materialize.  But this seems different and a little more formal.

 So in preparation for the release I thought I'd dust off my DVD collection, waste a few days to get reacquainted with the family, and come up with a few questions that I'd like to see answered.  Feel free to share a few of your own.

  • I'd like to see more of Franklin Delano Bluth.  Gob is always looking for a suitable assistant as he continues his quest to get within the Magicians Alliance; why not give that role to Franklin?
  • I was a fan of the friendly rivalry between the Bluth's and the Sitwell's.  I'd like to see the family battle out Sitwell Housing for control of the Bluth Company.
  • Is Buster still a viable candidate with Lucille for Mother Boy XXXV?  I'd like to find out.
  • It's time for another "Bluth Boy Adventure". I'm game for anything that gets Michael and George Michael on the screen together.
  • I'd love to see Tobias come out....straight.
  • Steve Holt.  Has he graduated yet or is he continuing to cement his legacy at the Corona Del Mar high school?
  • Will Uncle Jack be around to bail out the next Bluth crisis?
  • Will Michael ever manage to settle into a normal relationship?
  • Has Barry Zuckerkorn been disbarred yet?
  • Does Lucille have to decide between George Sr. and Uncle Oscar?

The list could go on and on.  My mind is racing with possibilities.  

Here is what MTV would like to see.

Get More: Music News

Sunday, September 18, 2011

All in for Austin

Using the BYU-Texas game as the excuse we spent another memorable weekend deep in the heart of the Country of Texas.  While the team wound up folding we managed to invent a new sport (Two ball), bust an Achilles (Garrett), gorge on meat (Rudy's and Salt Lick), have a love affair with the taco (Torchy's) discover Rone's Corner at the UT Campus, get healed at the waters of Barton Springs, awkwardly walk down 6th Street on a Friday night, and chuckle at the whole 'Texas Pride' thing.

A great time and here's to another Skutch trip.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Achtung Baby Documentary: From the Sky Down

Can't wait for this. Amazing insight into the one of best albums of the last 25 years. I miss the fly.

Here's a link to an interview with Bono and the Edge at the Toronto Film Festival discussing the documentary.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Salt Lake: Center for Italian Epicurean Finery?

On the surface, one would be relatively hard pressed to find many similarities between the Salt Lake Valley and Italy. Both are home to prominent religions...what else?  If you said, 'both have ideal climates for world class artisan meats' than you'd be a step ahead of pretty much everyone.

Unbeknownst to most, even the most culinary alert, is the fact that the finest cured meats made this side of the Ligurian come from Salt Lake, specifically Cristiano Creminelli- the proud man pictured here.

I stumbled upon this fact while savoring the best  and most authentic pizzas in Arizona.  My first exposure came from friend Stefano Fabbri, owner of Pomo Pizzeria.  It is the only certified authentic Neapolitan pizza in Phoenix. My love affair with this place has its origins here.  I have explored the finest reaches of this menu and all of my favorite dishes, most notably the Quattro Stagioni and Diavola, are made exceptional through the use of Creminelli Salame.  

More recently while enjoying a pie at the world renowned Pizzeria Bianco- yes the best pizza in America is found in Phoenix- I had an interesting and informative conversation with their chef regarding the quality of their ingredients.  The conversation naturally turned to meats and his eyes lit up when the conversation moved to Creminelli.  They too use their meats.  And according to Bianco, Christiano hand selected the Salt Lake area due to its similar climate to Italy. 

Imagine that.  The best cured meats coming from this humble valley.  Brother Brigham was a bigger visionary than I gave him credit for.  Do you think he had Salame Piccante Creminelli in mind when he said 'This is the Place'? Utah, you've given me one more thing to be proud of

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Learning with Bono

We all have our childhood idols. For most growing boys idols come in three flavors: Sports Figure, Actor (Namely someone in the mold of Harrison Ford or John Wayne) or Musician. Eventually we will mature and start patterning our lives after captains of industry, politicians, or- should we hold on to our ideals- a philosopher/religious figure. But nothing comes close to the magic that we felt when we first connected to our early heroes.

For me no one had a bigger impact on my formative years than Saint Bono.  I tried to emulate his horrible Western 'Rattle and Hum' era wardrobe.  I studied his Rolling Stone interviews. I dissected the inner workings of his lyrics in search for answers to life's mysteries.  He was my school teacher and here was some of my curriculum.

  1. Literature: Bono was my gateway to Flannery O'Connor, James Joyce, even Norman Mailer.  I remember him mentioning in passing how cool "Ulysses" was so I spent all of my summer vacation money at the Ex-Libris bookstore in Sun Valley, Idaho to get a nice copy.  Despite my best and repeated efforts I never made it more than 30 pages into that thing.  I did have better luck with Norman Mailer and his 'Executioners Song', the inspiration for the underrated Joshua Tree classic, 'Exit'.  That book was far more accessible and set in my Utah backyard.  Too bad it was written about the notorious serial killer Gary Gilmore.
  2. Social Activism: One cannot truly experience growing up without responding to the well intentioned calls of activist groups that occupy liner notes and arena lobbies of our favorite concerts.  For me it was Amnesty International, Green Peace, with a little bit of UNICEF.  While their messages get a more cloudy through middle age and a more complex lens, their earnestness and devotion to their cause is to be admired.
  3. Religious Studies: U2's Christan imagery not only inspired fervor in many Mormon boys such as myself it also led to some of the greatest Mormon urban legends. (i.e. that whole silly bit about Bono writing 'Streets' for Salt Lake City or 'One' for a Mormon girl that wouldn't let him in the Temple.) While I never fell for the Mormon-connection side of the U2 religious experience I did spend plenty of time poring over the Psalms, namely Psalms 40.  I remember using that Psalm and the U2 song by the same name to lead my seminary class in a daily devotional.  I must of thought I was so cool and so spiritual.
  4. Musical Exploration: U2 also introduced me to the wider world of music. (Don't worry Brian Tibbets you still get credit for Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, Colors, and the Smiths) My old CD collection is full albums from the Pixies, Joy Division, the Pogues, the Clash, Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols, and the like.  Some were accepted into my musical rotation, most gathered dust next my mystical moods collection. Every time Bono or the Edge would list a musical influence I would follow their path so that I could, perhaps, better understand the essence of my favorite U2 songs. 
  5. Reinvention: Amongst my friends U2- Bono particularly- took a big hit in popularity when they transitioned from the earnestness of the Joshua Tree years to the leathery irony of Zoo TV.  While I didn't fully understand of the genius of the move at the time I did value their courage in stepping out of a successful act and completely reinventing another one.  Comfort is only good for lounge wear; life is to be experienced on the uncomfortable edge of exploration and discovery.  It was the Fly, or was it MacPhisto, who taught me that.
I could continue but you get my point.  There is something magical about a childhood hero.  Even if they get middle-aged and start turning out boring records, that doesn't detract from those youthful moments when they inspired possibility and opportunity.  Who were your childhood heroes?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why music matters

Do certain songs reach such a personal chord that they make you literally stop you in your tracks so that you can adequately absorb them?  Every once in awhile a song comes around that matches an exact sentiment from a certain period of your life.

If you know anything about my personal history you will know why this beautiful song from 'Noah and the Whale' resonates.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Montana oil spill, but more importantly Rob Rogers

Rob, your voice is like a fine aged single malt Scotch.* Good to see a Skutch in the news.

*Assumption based solely on what I believe a fine Scotch would taste like, I mean, c'mon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hello Charles, ready for your close up?

A more magical moment I cannot imagine.  The first glimpse of your kid.  Parenthood leaves the realm of the abstract and becomes something very tangible with that first picture. Plus, it looks like he'll be a boxer.  A scrawny little, wonderful pugilist.  We haven't even had him yet and he's already making us proud.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Becoming reacquainted with 'the man'

I recently made the decision to go back to a full time corporate job.  With us now getting ready for a kid it just made sense. I will be leaving the sometimes thrilling and sometimes crushing world of entrepreneurship and joining the throngs of us who are indentured to 'the man'*.  I am excited for the opportunity but there are few things that will be missed.  Among them:

  1. The freedom: I will miss having incredible flexibility in my schedule and having the ability to, at the drop of the hat, pull off a road trip or getaway.  Here's to a quick accumulation of vacation days.
  2. The public restroom:  On occasion I would work out of a public library.  For the most part it worked well.  The notable exception being when a restroom visit was required.  My GI tract probably suffered insurmountable damage due to my fear in going in there. About as third world as Scottsdale can get.
  3. The Tax deductions: It was certainly fun to try and justify every expense as 'business related'.  Every January was like a treasure hunt as I danced through the myriad deductions available for the small business.
  4. The Mutual Fundification of my income:  It is very nice knowing that if you lose business from one source you have it coming in from some other ones.  In these uncertain times when a layoff is just around every corner it is essential that you can draw upon another cash cow.
  5. The cachet of calling yourself an entrepreneur: Ok, I'm not sure how much cachet exists, but there is a certain adventure to being one.  Since I can't be an adventurer, this was the close second.
I'm sure that there are several other reasons why I'll miss what I've done and what I built with Lacuna.  They will probably reveal themselves slowly over the next few weeks as I try to acclimate to the corporate lifestyle.

*By the way, who is this man and why do so many of us have to work for him?  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

File this under: Good, damn good

What do you get when you mix the best new act to come out of England and the mundane melodrama of The National?  This.  Very cool.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The collective human experience

A good portion of my free book time is spent towards history. Oftentimes we are so consumed with the issues of the 'here and now' that we forget to truly educate ourselves or to enjoy the triumphs and tragedies of our forebearers.  So replace that copy of "The Millionaire Next Door" with a book regarding an age or a time that truly interests you.

And if you don't  find value in history, the words of Hugh Nibley, taken from 'Approaching Zion' offer you a good reason as to why you should.

"By neglecting to consult the writings of the ancients, we miss the fact that in their trials and triumphs, individually and collectively, they had to undergo exactly the same trials that we do: the props of the plays, the technology, and the fashions, wear out and are constantly being replaced, but the issues and the plot always remain the same."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Jury Duty Extraction 101

Your jury experience suck?  Blame Henry Fonda.
Let's be honest. Outside of an occasional Victoria's Secret catalog, J/K, there is nothing very exciting about getting the mail these days.  I guess we have Al Gore and his internet to partially blame for that.   There is probably even a hierarchy that outlines the dread associated with most mail.  If such a pyramid existed the Jury summons would be near the top, just under the photo traffic ticket but slightly above the utility bill.

Wait.  Shouldn't jury duty be something that we, citizens of an open democracy, relish and be proud of?  Sure, the right to a jury by your peers is something that distinguishes our great legal system.   We like it, just as long as we aren't being called on to spend an afternoon at the old courthouse passing judgement.*

So, as long as there has been a need for a jury, there has been a need to come up with a suitable excuse to extricate oneself from this grand responsibility.  Since this is something that effects all of us and since I have successfully gotten out of all 5 of my summons I thought I would share a few things that might help you successfully neglect your civic responsibility.  Monsieur McAdams can check the list against his ever expanding legal experience.

  • The racist/sexist/just about anything that ends in 'ist' card:  This is an easily played card that promises results.  But keep in mind that those results come with potential consequences.  The success of this one might depend on the size of and your standing within the community.  You would hate to be labeled the town homophobe just because of a couple well placed comments to the person picking a jury.
  • The political outlier: This fellow is a close relation to the "ist" man explained above.  All it takes is a couple of comments regarding your support for some militia group in Northern Idaho or for socialism in general.  Better yet, bring a copy of Das Kapital to the jury selection meeting.
  • The suffering patient:  Head over to your nearest medical supply store before your jury selection date. Don't forget to be creative in your selection of items to wear.  My suggestion?  Buy some loose gauze.  Visit a magic shop and get a hold of some fake blood or puss.  Apply liberally.  Should get you out pretty quickly.
  • Mr. Answer:  This one takes a little longer to execute but its effectiveness is not questioned and it reduces the potential stigma associated with the previous three.  From the moment you enter the building you need to put on your best "A" personality and actively dominate every conversation.  Not only that you need to have very strong opinions that you have to insist are absolute.  The best way to get your pass is to target any staff and harangue them regarding the inefficiency of the current judicial system.  Go the distance by going into a 15 diatribe about your prescription for this problem.  Nobody wants to execute justice with "Mr. Answer", trust me.
These are just a few suggestions.  Try them out and let me know how they work.   Have any better recommendations?  Please share.

*The obvious exceptions would be anything worthy to be shown on Court TV.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Randomizer Volume VII Series I

  1. No band is as adept at creating an atmosphere or mood as the National. But can they just lay off the melancholy and minor chords every once in awhile?  Things can't be that bad, can they?
  2. Maybe it's some kind of deep seeded guilt for not having served in the military but I have a real thing for shirts with epaulets.  That either makes me very patriotic or very fashion forward. Or maybe it reveals that I'm still having a hard time saying goodbye to Michael Jackson.
  3. I'm having the darnedest time trying to figure out who to cheer for in the Chicago-Miami series.  My disdain for both current franchises is equally distributed.  I am going to reread Machiavelli's 'Prince' for inspiration on how I should strategically direct my boo's.
  4. So I've been told that the world is supposed to end this weekend.  Where's my heads up?  I was totally getting ready for December 2012.  I wish someone would have told me sooner before I re upped my cell phone plan.  That's money that could have been spent for a bomb shelter or last minute South Pacific getaway.
  5. Don't cook?  Did you laugh at those poor saps who got stuck in Home Economics?  Take a look at this book. It will seriously blow your mind with how cool it is.  Disregard the price tag because this book will enable you to unlock all culinary mysteries.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ayn Rand's ideas and Mormon thought?

I believe in the brilliant possibilities that can be obtained by individual thought, ingenuity, and hard work.  I believe that a free market is the ultimate place to test and value those ideas and works.  I believe in preserving our freedoms so that we choose the course best suited for ourselves.

I suppose you can tell a lot about me based on those aforementioned beliefs.  You would guess that I am a proponent of capitalism and I might even be a Libertarian.  You could argue that those beliefs match many of those who share my Mormon faith.  And you could also argue that I am likely a huge proponent of Ayn Rand and her core philosophy, Objectivism

Before I read 'Fountainhead' I probably would have answered yes to that last question.  But there was just something about Howard Roark and his actions that just didn't jibe with core beliefs that I held.  I looked a little more at objectivism and I was surprised.

I was going to write my own treatise comparing Ayn Rand's philosophy with Mormon tenants but somebody already did a better job here. I'm all for reason, human accomplishment, capitalism and independence.  But the lack of morality and compassion that I've found in a lot of these materials just doesn't ring true to me as someone who believes in the tenets of Christianity.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Desert Botanical Garden

When you think of desert do you think dry wasteland?  Spend a spring evening at the Botanical Gardens and the lush surroundings will have you completely rethinking your opinions of the desert.  And it's just moments from down town. 

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The battle of the bulge

No, not that Battle of the Bulge.
As the average male matures into his middle years there are certain measuring sticks that are used to determine whether or not he is in control of his physical being.  There are the obvious ones such as hair- both on the top of the head and the back-, weight maintenance, or muscle tone. But there is one more subtle mile marker that all men secretly gauge, one that has repercussions both to his psyche but, also, his wardrobe. 

What is it?

The waist-length ratio for our pants.

For most of our formative and early adult years we carelessly prance around on the positive side of this ratio.  Our metabolism is robust, our activity solid, and our stomach flat.  It is easy to understand why a 24 year old will take his 30x34 measurements for granted.  But then real life happens and the slow advance of extra pounds makes its assault on our mid section.

The first time you really become aware of the advance is when you get to 33x34.  For years you have been on the positive side of the ratio and now you are coming to the precipice.  And then the possibility of 34x34 looms.  The difference between a 33 and ..gasp...a 35 is a Continental Divide a Mason-Dixon line, if you will, that you don't want to cross, but like the River Styx it's crossing appears inevitable.

For awhile, you ignore it.  And than you begin your meek counter attack.You step up your time in the gym.  You uncomfortably sit through lunch meetings as you hold in your gut to maintain the 33x34 charade.  And then finally you can't take it.  You either must reverse this course, and all the hard work that entails, or you must come to grip with the reality dealt on the other side of the equation.

You start to evaluate diets.  You secretly try on a pair of 35x34 jeans just for the sake of investigation.  You log in a few extra minutes at the gym.  You've reached the crossroads that all men, aged 30-40 inevitably face.  Father time is calling and he is wearing a pair of loose fitting sansabelt trousers.

Friends, I have reached that critical juncture.  Pray that I will have the strength to extend this fight and not prematurely succumb to the siren song of easy meals and suspenders.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ode to suburban living

I spend a couple days a week working down in a little community nestled in the Southeast end of the Valley.  15 years ago it was nothing more than open land and farms.  Now it is one giant master planned community dealing with the scars of the current housing debacle. By scars I mean an uneasy blend of half occupied communities and never finished developments.

I've never really liked the suburban lifestyle.  Why?  A variety of reasons.  I prefer the patchwork diversity of a more urban setting.  I prefer older more established communities.  I very much prefer the wider range of options afforded to those who live in the city boundaries.  Actually those seem to be reasons to prefer city living.  Why the disdain for the suburban dream?  I could never really put my finger on until...

Let me set the scene.

I'm at a Chikfila for lunch at 123 Anywhere street USA.  Well, to be sort of precise, the aforementioned
community in the Southeast Valley.  The place is packed with the thirty-something moms and their little broods.  A mixture of exhaustion, yearning, and pride can be read from their faces.  They look cut from the same cloth.  The hair, the number of children, the clothing selected from the entire spectrum of the gap catalog.  Just hints at the real nugget.  And then it comes.

Over the stereo comes a completely castrated jazz rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".  Gone are the psychedelic meanderings of a once creative genius.  Replaced by a sterile copy, unoffensive enough that it can be placed comfortably at any number of stores selling any number of goods. That dreadful version of that great song served as my epiphany and helped me understand why the suburbs might be great for some but just not for me.
Seriously?  Which one is mine?

Here's my impression of the suburbs.  They represent a nice generalization of the ideal community that will satisfy the largest percentage of the population.  Everything from the square footage of the Home Depot to the menu selection at the neighborhood Applebees, to type the of swings at the community park are almost scientifically designed to maximize the utility of the community.

Now, that is all fine and dandy if the interests, aspirations, and values of the community are completely homogeneous and non-offensive. But to someone who prefers to live in the "long tail"  this type of environment is stifling and very unattractive.  These communities leave very little room for creativity, diversity, and risk because they are just too inefficient and unprofitable to incorporate into the blueprints. 

Now that is not to say that one can't be a risk taking, creative, diverse individual and still live in the suburbs.  But the odds, by odds I mean the design of the community, are against you.  That's why those types typically flock to a more urban setting.  These communities are probably a great safe place to raise a family.   And since we haven't reached that stage in our lives maybe we are unqualified to offer the critique.

Note: The impetus of this post was the response that we get in Mesa from most friends when they discover that we endeavor to move back to Phoenix.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Tonto Natural Bridge and the open road

We recently decided to head up to the famed Route 66 and the Turquoise Room at the Posada Hotel in Winslow.  Our route took us right through some scenic pine country and the Tonto Natural Bridge. It is right off the highway and well worth your time.

The recent cold freeze created some great photos.  The waterfall froze and we were able to witness several large icicles come to a tremendous crash at the bottom of the ravine.  The sun was very bright which made most of the photos over saturated or laden with too much contrast.  Nonetheless, they do a decent job of capturing another of Arizona's natural gems.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Introduction: The View from Both Sides of the Border

Things have slowed down here on the blog.  I don't want to blame it all on the recession, but...

Anyways, I have reaccessed what I want to do with the 'dude' and how I want to proceed with other interests that might not correspond with the original intent of the this blog and the interests of the 5 family members who still visit this place.   So the 'dude' will move on with its original mission and some of my special interest niches will get their own forum.

Which brings us to 'Both Sides of the Border.I am introducing this blog to serve as a portal for my insights, research, and opinions on issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border.  Topics will include: Immigration, Drug Violence, Border Security, Cultural Experiences, and other subjects relative to the region. 

Feel free to go over there if there is interest.  Also, feel free to go over there to enhance my website stats and buoy my fragile ego.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well. A new year and a new list of ideas, goals, and assessments. What to do with this blog? Blogs seem so 2005. Do they have a place in my future?

To be continued...

3/23/17- A fitting end in Venice

That'll cost you 100 Euros I guess it makes sense to spend the last chapter of our Italian journey in the town most commonly associ...