Friday, October 27, 2006


Yesterday, I read a news release saying that computer vendors would include upgrade coupons for the new Vista operating system. So, I decided to take the plunge and buy a new laptop. I ended up going with Dell. This will be my first Dell.

I hope to set up the Zend Studio, PHP and MySQL on the computer, so I went with the XP Professional and tricked out the computer with 2GB memory. The computer includes MS Word as I will be helping someone edit a book in the upcoming months.

As for my old laptop. The laptop is vintage 1998. It was the display model at Circuit City for a year before I bought it (meaning it was always quirky). The computer has a growing problem with bad sectors. Both the keyboard and mouse are broken. The real kicker is that I had purchased a wireless card some years back, and the card seems to have disappeared. I want to use the computer on the road, but a new wireless card costs more than I could get if I tried selling the computer. If it was not for the bad sectors and the missing wireless card, I would probably be happy with the old computer.

My expensive ($993 buck-a-roos) laptop is in the Dell plant being assembled as I write. Now, I have to figure out how to pay for it. Maybe I could get a squeegie and hurl myself infront of cars and threaten to clean their window if the driver doesn't pay me off.

Political Thoughts

I wish we had a Democrat in the White House.

If we did the press would be reporting about how the war in Iraq was going swimmingly. We might even hear an occasional tidbit of news about how the economy is going gangbusters. Do you remember when Clinton was president, and the press was more than willing to report good news to help bolster the regime of their man in the White House? The press was even willing to ignore the growing financial scandals and poor numbers posted by companies to keep the hype in the market high; so that small investors wouldn't pull their money from the Clinton stock bubble.

In this day where the press is driven by an overriding collective hatred of George Bush, I find myself wishing that we had a Democratic president ... just so we can start hearing some positive spin on news.

Hear is the problem. The midterm elections doesn't provide us an opportunity to vote out the president. It is about Congress.

I was watching a newscast a few weeks ago. While the reports were slinging their snarl words and trying to find clever ways to spin their Bush-hatred in a seemingly objective style (ie, snarl words), one of the news casters turned to his cohort and said "If the Democrats lose in 2006, they are going to have to sit down between now and 2008, and completely rethink their strategy."

This thought has been stirring in my mind since.

If the Democrats lose in 2006, two things will end up happening: Most important, the Democrats might end up changing their core tactics and message. The second is that the Republicans will spend the next two years trying to distance themselves from Bush.

If the Democrats win in 2006, they will simply up the amplitude of their hate-Bush message, and will simply spend the next two years making life miserable.

I usually simply want the best candidate to win (parties be damned). My hope now is that the Republicans win in 2006. It seems to me that if the Republicans win in 2006, the next two years could be years where both Democrats and Republicans engage in discourse. If not, it will be a prolonged election where the primary issue is simply hatred of George Bush.

Hating George Bush is okay. Making political decisions based solely on Bush hatred is a bad idea. Regardless of the outcome of 2006, Bush will be a lame duck in 2006-2008. He cannot run for office again. The real question for 2006 is how the parties position themselves for 2008 ... which is the important election.

If the Democrats fail to win in 2006, there is a really big chance that both parties will change significantly in upcoming two years. If they win, we will see both parties retrenching, and politics becoming even uglier.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fillmore, Utah

Territorial State HouseI just added a gallery for Fillmore, Utah. Fillmore is the county seat of Millard County. It was the Territorial Capitol in 1852. One page I read said that the territory was called Deseret and included good chunks of Colorado, and Nevada along with the missing corner of Utah that is now in Wyoming. I knew that the territory was larger, I did not know that it was called Deseret. Brigham Young had wanted to call his empire Deseret.

Fillmore of Millard County was named for President Millard Fillmore who was sympathetic to the Mormon cause and gave money to help build the state house. If you are traveling on I15, I think it is a much better place to stop than Scipio. While in Fillmore, I stayed at the Capitol Motel which only cost $20.00. I love a good clean cheap motel.

I visited my site from a computer with a better monitor (I have a 15" LCD monitor). I decided that the pictures were too small. Since I now have a little bit more diskspace and bandwidth to play with, I made the pictures 700 pixels wide. I am happy with the result.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

No Rest for Scipio

Scipio Rest StopWhile traveling on I15 in Central Utah, I stumbled on an intriguing development. The Utah State Department of Transportation (UDOT) had closed Rest Stops along the freeway. In lieue of the traditional rest stops, Utah was advertising private/public rest stop partnerships. One of these rest stops was in Scipio, Utah. I decided to stop and see how a public/private partnership improved upon the traditional rest stop.

Scipio Rest Stop
I pulled into Scipio to find out that the state had simply named a convenience store in the town a "Rest Stop". A "public/private" partnership means that one convenience store gets the title "Rest Stop." In the typical slap-in-the-face style politics that dominates Utah politics, someone had pushed a single green pinic table into a vacant lot. Travelers in need of rest will follow the blue highway signs to a single exposed table where they can wonder what is going wrong with this nation.

The US Interstate Rest Stop system was set up to address the safety concern of weary travelers driving on highways at high speed. In the past rest stops have been funded by the taxes placed on fuel (placing taxes on fuel has proven to be the most efficient way to collect the tolls needed to maintain roads. There is, after all, a direct relation between the fuel consumed by vehicles and the amount of damage that they do to roads.)

Rest stops are often filled with families letting their children release pent up energy or bleary-eyed truck drivers that would be a danger if they kept on truckin'. Refreshing naps and leg stretching are necessary but non-commercial activities.

This pile of tires seen from the Scipio Rest Stop is a prime mosquito breeding area. I wonder if West Nile is here yet?The key to the rest stop system is that that rest stops are non-commercial. The stops allow people to conduct the necessary, non-commerical activities of travel (a rest break) in a relatively calm, pleasant environment. It is important that these stops have limited commercial activities. First, you can't really rest in a commercial environment. More importantly, state sponsored facilities should not be competing for revenue that would otherwise go to the large number of businesses that feed off interstate traffic.

The Scipio experiment of declaring one of the convenience stores in town an official Utah State sponsored Rest Stop has had two negative effects: The stop does not provide adequate facilities for drivers a break. People who stop at the convenience store and get another cup of coffee rather than taking a nap are still a danger on the road.

The second big negative of a state sanctioned convenience stores is that state sanctioning gives one convenience store an unfair competitive advantage over other stores. After visiting the state sanctioned convenience store, I decided to drive across the freeway and look at the non-state-sanctioned stores. It had no business and would most likely fail as a direct result of the actions of the Utah Department of Transportation.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a fan of the free market. Utah State's effort to give one convenience store in town official state scantion as a "rest stop" is not free market. The effort destroys competition.

During my trip, the gas prices at this Utah-state-sponsored and preferred convenience store were 14 cents a gallon higher than the gas prices in the towns north and south of Scipio. News reports often site Scipio as having high gas prices.

If this is generally the case, then travelers who are duped by the "Rest Stop" signs on I15 near Scipio and who decide to buy gas at the officially Utah sanctioned convenience store are being ripped off!!!!!!!

FYI: I did some research. Apparently this Public/Private rest stop initiative was set up in 2003. It is possible that Scipio has plans for more than just an unsheltered green table for their public/private rest stop initiative ... though I doubt it. There is a nice public park about a mile off the freeway in Scipio.

In conclusion, if anyone is traveling on I15, I suggest filling up in either Fillmore or Nephi and avoiding Scipio.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Alpine Loop

I've been having a large number of technical difficulties of late. It seems that service at companies and the quality of products sold in stores has deteriorated in the last several years. There is no need to gripe about the things that are taking up all of my time.

Little Mill Group CampgroundLast week I took a drive along the Alpine Loop to grab some shots of fall folliage. The was a storm before the day I took the pictures (my car was in the shop.) The fact that I took the shots after a storm meant that both the trees and the ground was covered with leaves. I have a small boat load of other pictures to upload which I hope to do so in the upcoming weeks. (technical difficulties permitting).