55

Hey Kids,

Remember when road trips took forever? Whoever thought 55MPH was a good idea, never had to drive across Nevada. Especially between Reno and Salt Lake City. We did it at least once every year.

I-80 was the name of the road, but it wasn’t finished for years. When the Interstate approached the small towns of Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, and Elko; the road ended and all traffic was diverted through the middle of town. In addition to the slower speed limit, these diversions made the trip go even longer. What now takes maybe 8 hours, used to take 12-14 hours.No_55

We covered 300 miles today in 5 hours. Mostly 2 lane roads, some with passing lanes, we still traveled faster than the old 55.

And with air conditioning. Good air conditioning. I’ve crossed that desert a few times without it but I can do without that merit badge.

Traveling has changed a lot in my life time. Some of it I miss, like actually seeing the small towns you zoom pass now, but most of it do not. I think on this subject, progress has served us well.

What’s the line from the Billy Joel song- “The good old days weren’t always that good, and tomorrow isn’t as bad as it seems.”

Because, in the words of another song, but this time by Sammy Hagar; “I can’t drive 55.”

 

Post 3-106

Got Your Ears On?

Hey Kids,

Language changes.

I read an article that asked how much of English would I understand even as little as 300 years ago. I would struggle I admit. When I read Shakespeare (written around 400 years ago), it’s a little tough at first to read smoothly but with a little effort it starts to flow.

Even with a reprogramming of my reading comprehensive skills, however, I still run into words and expressions that cause me to rely on the foot notes on the bottom of the page for understanding. The story line I can follow, but unless I lived back then, there’s no way to fully understand the language without someone to explain it.

Today I watched the movie Smokey and the Bandit. Maybe not the most classic movie in cinematic history but it’s a favorite of mine. Only 40 years old, I wonder how anyone not alive and immersed in the 1970’s CB lingo could understand barely anything said.smokey-and-the-bandit-1977-poster

Anyone could follow the simple story line- run from Atlanta to Texarkana, Texas and back, returning with 400 cases of illegal Coors beer at an outlaw’s pace- but the nuances of the conversations would be completely lost. The lunacy and frustration of the nationally mandated 55 mile speed limit has been blurred by time.

I loved and love that movie. It takes me back. As kids, we lived, spoke, and dreamed in the language of the trucks. We knew the difference between a Smokey, a County Mounty and a Local Yokel. We stopped and watched in awe at any Black Trans Am roaring down the road. We argued over which was better, Peterbilt or Kenworth? We 10-4ed, 10-20’d, and occasionally 10-100’d.

The Bandit was our Shakespeare, the CB radio was our language, and the movie is our history.

 

Post 3-081

Understanding Time

Hey Kids,

The current fashion trend, as it would seem, is to have ear buds filling your ear holes.

Everyone is not an exaggeration either; it’s everyone. Either for a phone or a music player, the small ear devices are as important to wear when leaving the house as one’s underwear.  I’m not immune either; I plead guilty to the practice, but like most, I can justify my own reasons.

At my desk is where I’m the guiltiest. While staring at an Excel spreadsheet or scanning through my tasks lists, I like to have a little auditory stimulation. My choice, however, is slightly different than most. I listen to documentaries on YouTube.

My interests are all over the place. I like to keep myself educated on new fishing techniques and political news, fake or otherwise. Other popular topics include the latest on climate change, space exploration, or WWII history. I would be dishonest to not admit that a good portion of my time is spent on weird subjects too, such as ghosts, aliens, and Bigfoot.IMG_20150906_125102_968

Recently I’ve delved into a more grounded topic in geology. How was the Grand Canyon formed? How were the Rockies formed? What did the earth used to look like?

Sending time over the past few years, I’ve found myself lost in this subject. To look at the Grand Canyon or Canyonlands National Park, I’ve wondered how they were formed. So I listen and I learn. I learn of Ice ages, inland seas, and tectonic plates. I see the fossils recovered, the rock layers identified, and the erosion process reveled. It all makes good sense except for the time element.

The lengths of time to cause the necessary effects boggles my mind. The millions or billions of years it requires to make significant change seems to be impossible. I mean even just one million years; how long is that really? My head spins and churns trying to imagine it or come up with something with which to give me perspective on how long that could be.

And then I remember the last time I went shopping with my wife, and it all comes into focus.

Post 3-075

Straight Down

Hey Kids,

In a meeting with a staff member today, this quote on diplomacy came up in conversation. Although I misquoted it and wrongly attributed it to Henry Kissinger, it’s still a good quote.

Winston Churchill

I should’ve known it was the great Winston Churchill and better than I remember. 

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” -Winston Churchill

 

Post 3-070

If Ever the Twain Should Meet

Hey Kids,

Wasting a few hours… err, minutes on Facebook today and I came across one of those irresistible click-bait postings. Most I can easily avoid because I don’t care what Disney character or X-men personalities I am most like. But today I had to do it: “Rare images nearly forgotten in the past”.

I have a thing for old stuff and the photos are the best. They make us realize the differences between then and now. The clothes, the cars, and the places around them. The old photos also have an aura of creepy about them. I don’t know if it’s the black and white finish or the non-practiced-selfie unnatural pose and expressions but the people seem even more separated from their photos as the aged photos are from us.

testla-twain

Twain in the lab of Tesla

In the middle of this 89 photo collection, however, I found a gem- my favorite author Mark Twain hanging out with my favorite genius/inventor Nikola Tesla.

Who know they know each other? Funny though. Twain was a crowd favorite on the stage and engaging the interest of all around him, yet he was a failed inventor. Tesla was arguably the most ingenious inventor yet lacked the public skills to properly demonstrate the scope of his vision.

What could’ve happened if the two had actually been one?

Too bad they didn’t have Facebook to follow each other better back then.

 

Post 3-068

Molehill vs. Mountain

Hey Kids,

I like to think I’m adventurous.

In the hospital next to where I work, there are actual escalators descending down to the cafeteria level. Sometimes, I use the stairs to go down. Other times I’ll use them to walk up. I’m pretty proud of myself.

And then I learn what others have done.

There is a proposal to establish a state park in a place called the Hole in the Rock. It’s where a group of Mormon settlers took a short cut and ended up descending down a 2000 foot crack in the canyon rim with grades from 25 to 45 degrees. In wagons. 83 of them. And 1000 head of livestock.

img_20161015_123958735

Hole in the Rock, Utah

Well, sometimes I take the stairs down AND back up on the same visit.

 

Post 3-050

$4 Memories

Hey kids,

If you spend enough time at the thrift store, you’re bound to find something that interests you.

For me, the things of interest are either an item of nostalgia or an item priced extremely cheap. The best things are both. Recently I found a video collection of the original Pink Panther movies for $4. Score!

MCDTROF EC032

I remember watching these movies on the weekday 7 o’clock Movies on TV. Laid out on the floor, pretending to do my homework, I would laugh at the seemingly endless comedy.

I’ve watched only the first movie of the series so far. I’m now not so sure why I enjoyed them so much. But then again, I don’t ever remember seeing that one.

Spooling up the next one right now; I hope to be laughing soon.

The $4 can still be recovered.

 

Post #50-8

Something Worth Remembering

Hey Kids,

I’m not sure if there are people who wish to live forever.

I don’t mean in the Spiritual, Heaven-dwelling living forever. I mean by not dying. At least not for a long time. I know that no one really wishes to die young but with the average lifespan for men at 72 and 76 for women; are most people OK with that?

I’m not obsessed with death and I don’t really worry about when it’ll come. I hope not for a while and I hope it surprises me when it does. I agree with the late Olympian Bob Richards who wished to be shot at an old age by a jealous husband.

But when death comes, I hope to be remembered for at least a little while. I hope a few people are sad to see me go, or maybe know there will be a few who will miss me on the holidays. More importantly, I hope I did something worth remembering which is more important than being remembered.

I’m amazed by some people and the legacy they leave behind. The fact that their names and feats are remembered for years, centuries, and millenniums after they are gone; is remarkable. It’s never for the person just being a good person, but for what they accomplished and for what they did for humanity- sometimes good, sometimes bad.

But only one person I know of lived a life so respected that even his arm, when lost in battle, got its own grave marker. General Stonewall Jackson. He may have fought a losing war for a lost cause, but he did it with a style that’s still remembered today. He held his ground and inspired those around him to do the same.34a01bc8b5c09fa2a6dac87526d037bc

Over 150 years later, I tip my hat.

 

Day 176

The Long Way to Work

Hey Kids,

Working on Saturday isn’t right. It just isn’t. At least not when it’s for someone else.

Looking over the needs for next week, I came to the conclusion, I needed to come in to work today so to avoid total disaster on Monday. It’s a grown up thing I think. I hate being a grown-up.

However, I learned last week that a working B-17 bomber from WWII would be in a town not too far from here.

Usually it’s a 10 mile ride to work. A quick zip around the hill, buzz by the Capitol building and straight up the hill to the University. Easy and quick.

Not today!

My commute on this day would lead me onto a beautiful morning drive up into the mountains, past Park City, one of the venues for the winter games, cruising past

WWII B-17 Bomber

WWII B-17 Bomber “Sentimental Journey”

lakes and rivers, and on to Heber City and its small private plane airport. About 60 miles total.

I’ve seen a B-17 before, but I’ve never seen a working one. I watched it fire up its four engines, coughing out smoke and flames. I took in its sound and aviation fuel fumes as it taxied away from us and roared back down the airstrip, somehow lifting that big body off of the ground, I hung around to watch it circle the airport and land, setting down so gently it amazed me. I only wish I had the Mucho Denaro’s to buy a ticket to go for a ride.

I looked over the other aircraft they had and some old WWII vehicles on display- many if not all working, and boogied my way back down the hill after about 2 hours and got to work.

It’ll be a short day today, maybe 4 hours or so. Just enough to keep the alligators off my butt next week.

I wish every work day was like this one.

 

Day 110