Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Hot on the heels of my first post in [ahem] years, I decided to search out a Wordcloud generator, just to see what it would look like for this blog. There were some interesting results. Click on the image and tell me what you think.

Four Types, Revisited

Wow. I did not realize how much time had passed since I last posted. My apologies. Hopefully someone is still out there.

Of all reasons to post, I come to you with an update to a previous post. A few years back, I posited that there were four types of people in the world, based on the way they installed (or did not install) replacement toilet paper rolls. (That post can be found here.)

A friend of mine brought the following meme to my attention today, which sparked a desire...even a update my prior post.
So there you have it. The "over and down" is the officially-sanctioned method of installation. End of story.

Comments are, of course, welcome.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Constructive Thoughts: Loneliness

It has been four years since my father passed away. About six months before that happened, I began suffering from what I now know to be depression. It has waxed and waned during that time, never getting to a point I would call “crippling.”

Until three years ago. At that time I went through a period of unbelievable stress and trials, both personally and professionally, as I started up my own small law firm. At about the same time, I began suffering from some medical issues that, among other things, enhanced my depression and affected my thinking processes, making it take longer--and be more physically exhausting--to make decisions. Coincidentally, a close friend of mine bought out his senior partner about 20 months ago and he learned nothing from my plight: he burned out his adrenal system and has been going through a living hell.

The depression has been growing steadily worse. Some days it is nearly crippling, to the point where it is difficult to get out of bed, shower, get to the office--everything that is temporally important in life.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Parenting Skills

I realize that many of you probably thought I was dead, and that this blog was extinct...but not so. Yeah, nearly two years have passed. (1 year, 11 months, 5 days (or 704 days), to be exact.)

A lot has happened since I last posted, and much that has kept me from posting. I will simply say this: Life happens.

Today, standing at the counter at the local bookseller, though, ignited me sufficiently to log right in and speak my mind.

I was reading before the age of two, thanks in part to the efforts of my school-teacher mother and father; due also to the prompting, support, and encouragement of my grandparents. And by reading, I mean "reading"--not just STOP signs, but the comics and articles in the newspaper aloud to my grandfather. I love to read. I take a book wherever I go. Reading, to me, is truly an essential. I have also been blessed that all my Horde love to read and read voraciously. I have not had to do much in the way of pushing them to read; they have done it largely on their own.

In addition to my parents, I have grandparents that were teachers, cousins that are teachers, aunts that are teachers. A long line of book lovers and intense readers.

This is my background. This is from whence I come. I am grateful for all of these people in my life and for what they have given me and shared with me.

As I walked into the store, I was practically knocked over by a 11- or 12-year-old trying to get into the store. Normally this would set me off in a "get off my lawn you whippersnapper"-type of internal temper tantrum. Seeing a young man this anxious to get into a bookstore, however, quells that anger.

I did my quick shopping and, as I said, was standing at the counter chatting with the clerk as she rang up my purchases (three of Terry Pratchett's books I'd been meaning to pick up for a long time and today seemed the time, may he R.I.P. But that's another discussion.).

And then I heard this:  A voice dripping with sarcasm and scorn. A mother, her face right in her son's face. Her son, the aforementioned young man, holding a book and looking like he had just had his earth shattered, his foundation broken, and the love of his life murdered in front of his eyes.
 Yeah, because you just loooooooove to read soooooooooooo much, don't you, now?!? 
It was loud enough that most of the front of the store turned to look at the pair. I watched as the boy turned, dejected, and slunk with his tail between his legs to set the book down and walk back to his mother's side. While she continued to peruse the glamor magazines, that is. (And believe me, no amount of printed glamor hints would have helped this woman. Neither externally nor, it seems, internally.)

I can understand not being able to afford buying a book, or a magazine, or some such. I can understand telling your child you cannot afford it and promising to get it from the library.

But mocking and deriding your child's desire to read and actually telling your child how much he should hate books?!?

Parenting skills? Hardly. I would call it close to parental tyranny.

I have heard it said before that, perhaps, people should be required to take classes and obtain a license before rearing children. I have typically laughed that off, or at least, dismissed it largely as histrionics.

Not after today. Certainly not after today.

Monday, April 08, 2013

PLEASE HELP: Request for Assistance

I know it has been a while since I have posted, and I do not normally pass along requests for assistance, but this one is a good cause. I may have to rethink my "no pass-along" policy. The following is from my friend's blog, but I echo the sentiments.

You have probably heard of the author Dave Wolverton. He also writes under David Farland. Well, he is an acquaintance of mine and last week his teenage son suffered a longboarding accident and is pretty badly injured. He has been in a coma since it happened; there was head trauma, lots of broken bones, internal bleeding, etc. He's currently stable, but a long way from "out of the woods."

David is a good guy; he has taught classes for years at the university level, and teaches a lot of private writing classes as well. He is a mentor to a lot of young, aspiring, and rising-star authors. He does a lot to use his talents, abilities, and knowledge to help others.

Well, now we have a chance to give a little bit back to him.

The medical bills for his son are likely to be astronomical, so some of his students have arranged a book bomb, set for April 10, 2013. I would highly recommend his Runelords series, as well as his most recent book, the YA novel, Nightingale. Anything you can do to help out would be appreciated.
Ben Wolverton, age 16, was in a serious long-boarding accident on Wednesday the 4th, 2013. He suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drum, road rash, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

We are having a book bomb on behalf of Ben Wolverton, who is the son of author David Farland.

You can learn more about Ben’s condition, or simply donate to the Wolverton family here:


A Book Bomb is an event where participants purchase a book on a specific day to support the author, or, in this case, a young person in serious need: Ben Wolverton.


David Farland’s young adult fantasy thriller NIGHTINGALE has won SEVEN awards, including the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival--beating out ALL books in ALL categories. It is available as a hardcover ($24.99), ebook ($7.99), audio book ($24.99), and enhanced novel for the iPad ($9.99).

You can purchase it on Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

on the Nightingale website:

or, you can get the enhanced version complete with illustrations, interviews, animations, and its own soundtrack through iTunes:


Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness. Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know. Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.


Authors such as James Dashner (The Maze Runner), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn), and Paul Genesse (Iron Dragon series) all PRAISED it. Nightingale has 4 and a half stars on Amazon. Read what other people are saying here: Or, purchase the novel and find out for yourself.


If you are a writer, you may want to consider purchasing David Farland’s MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES. It has been a bestseller on Amazon for over a month and is only $6.99.

As a bestselling author David Farland has taught dozens of writers who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).

In Million Dollar Outlines, Dave teaches how to analyze an audience and outline a novel so that it can appeal to a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller. The secrets found in his unconventional approach will help you understand why so many of his authors go on to prominence.

Get it on Amazon:

Or on Barnes and Noble:
Read one of the 26 reviews here:


You can donate money to Ben here:

(Or you could purchase a book as a gift for someone else.)


The best way you can help is by spreading the word of Ben’s donation page, and/or this book bomb. Share it on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog—anywhere you can. Invite others to the event.


David Farland has been keeping everyone posted on facebook. Subscribe or friend him to get up-to-date information: At the moment, Ben is stable and appears to be improving.

Thank you!
Ben and his family greatly appreciate your support, and so do all who love and care about them.

Anything you can give would be appreciated. And please, pass the word along, would you?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Constructive Thoughts: What Matters Most

This morning my Facebook page blew up. I am sure your page did as well.

The vitriol I have seen since the concession and victory speeches last night has been staggering.

Actually, no. Saddening is a much better description.

I could weep and wail and gnash teeth about things that happened in various races in various places. I would suspect that any 50% of the people in the country could do the same thing. Some of what happened actually makes me a bit less proud to be an American. Honestly.

But what makes me really regret being an American is the vitriol. Being lumped in with that crowd is embarrassing. Truly. As I have pondered my situation and the situation of my fellow countrymen and women, I was prompted to re-read something. When I did, I felt both hope and humility enter my heart and mind.

I want to share with you the following words, said stronger and more eloquently than I could say them.
Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. . . .

Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. . . . Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings. . . .

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:33)

 . . .

Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.

In closing, I pray that all of us will reflect gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where does my spirit go when I die?

He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

The time came when He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.) . . . Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.

Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

~Thomas S. Monson, Finding Joy In The Journey, Ensign, Nov. 2008. (Emphasis added.)

That would be my prayer as well, for all of my friends and readers... not just today, but every day, let us pause and consider what matters most in each of our lives and let us express gratitude to He who has given us what we have.

I wish to express my humble gratitude to my Father in Heaven for the many blessings that I have and continue to receive from His hands. I also wish to say "thank you" to my friends, family, and readers for all you have brought and continue to bring to my life.

God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Constructive Thoughts: Songs of the Heart

Be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;~Ephesians 5:18-20

Today’s post came as many often do, due to a random occurrence or experience while trekking through the city.  

As I was heading from the office to the neighboring convenience store, I happened to look up and over at the crosswalk. There, standing and waiting to cross, was a cowgirl. Yep, decked out in fringe jacket, boots, and hat: she had the complete outfit. 

And she was dancing. 

Line dancing. 

By herself. No music was apparent; no headphones to be seen. 

The music was in her head and in her heart. 

 I love seeing that. It just makes me happy. I remember years ago, before law school, the LW and I went on a quick vacation to San Francisco, just to get away. One afternoon after we had walked the wharf and were trying to find lunch we came across a man on a random corner who (the locals said) was a regular there. He was dancing; I mean, he was really getting down. The only music he had was in his own head–in his own heart–and he was singing to it as he was dancing. 

Sadly, there were those that crossed the street to pass by. Others gave him a wide berth and looked askance at him as they hurried past. My LW and I just stood and watched, and smiled. I remember wishing I’d had some change in my pocket to drop into the hat at his feet, because I wanted to pay him for the little bit of happiness and joy he’d brought into my own day, if even for a brief minute or two. 

I love music and often carry a song in my heart and head; I have done this since I was a child. Unfortunately, I am not a dancer–I never have been and never will be. That avenue of expressing my inner song is closed to me. But I have been known to belt out a song or two while walking to the Courthouse. 

The spiritual, mental, and emotional uplift that comes from the music within can be incredible. There is a joy that comes when you express yourself in such a way. It is similar, I believe, to the joy an artist gets from sketching, painting, or taking photographs, for example. One could definitely make an argument that it is a form of worship--it certainly can bring one closer to God; the Lord has said, “My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” ~Doctrine and Covenants 25:12. It purges negativity and negative thoughts from the heart and mind. I could go on and on.

 In short, having a song in one’s heart? To use the words of the immortal Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” I truly do. 

You’d be surprised at what it can do for you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Four Types

I came to the realization today that there are four types of toilet-paper people in the world.
And no, I don't mean 1-ply, 2-ply, quilted, and "industrial sandpaper." Arguably that would require the inclusion into the discussion of—and expansion of the sample group to—a fifth type of person, the "I will take whatever is available at the moment of crisis" type.

No, as I sat and thought, pondering the issue, I decided that are clearly four distinct types; namely:
  • The "over and down" type.
  • The "behind and down" type.
  • The "any which way but loose" type.
  • The "I refuse to touch the old, empty roll and will just leave the new roll on whatever (preferably horizontal) surface is available" type.

For those who are confused, allow me to elaborate:

First, the "over and down" type. This is the camp that my parents fall into. I was always taught that the paper should come over the top and hang down. I have never been sure why; perhaps it allows for optimum roll-speed and tearability? To this day, I remain unsure. I have to admit, there is something aesthetically pleasing about this roll-hanging method.

Second, the "behind and down" type. This could also be called the "under" type. There's something secretive and hidden about this method. My parents would always insist upon changing the direction of the roll if they found the "under" method used. I will note that I tend to find this method most commonly used by janitorial staffs of large public restrooms. These are the restrooms with the industrial multi-roll dispensers. I am sure you know the type: the ones where you have to use both hands to turn the roll, and where perforation separation occurs at the slightest gust of wind.

The third type, by now, is likely obvious. It is the person that does not seem to notice or care which direction the paper flow takes. Over or under—it does not matter so long as there is a square to utilize.

(Aside: Apparently I am not the first to pontificate about the direction of toilet paper flow. This outfit supposedly performed a scientific (although seemingly tongue-in-cheek) study to prove which direction is more ecologically friendly.

I am not kidding. 

At the very least, some individual spent far too much time and energy pondering toilet paper rolls and the proper interwall configuration thereof. Oh...wait... Ahem. End aside. )

Then there's the fourth type. More likely than not, this image is what you see when you enter the facility after the fourth type has been there. This invariably leads to a frantic mid- or post-process search for the new roll. Usually it can be found on the back of the toilet tank or on the edge of the sink/countertop. Some enterprising individuals have been known to even balance the new roll (both vertically and—impressively—horizontally) atop the old, empty tube. On occasion there is nothing to be found, no replacement at all.

Note: these are the times when you should be aware enough to use some protective object on your hand when traversing the space between the toilet and the exit, including opening the door or stall to leave. Trust me.

So...after all is said and done, what does this mean? Yes, there are four distinct types of people in this world. Every person (at least in the Western world) can be easily placed into one of these groups.

(Aside: Please do not come to me with other examples, such as the people in Taiwan who use flat sheets of paper that come packaged in what can only be described to a Westerner as a package of paper dinner napkins, or those who use leaves, magazine pages, or other materials. Not only do these not apply because of the lack of the presence of a toilet paper roll, it defeats my thesis and thus I shall not consider these examples at this time. After all, it is my potty and I will apply if I want to. End aside.)

Again, what does this system of toilet paper replacement (or lack thereof) tell us about people? Is it education? Social? Economic background? Marital status? Laziness? Anal retentiveness?

Honestly, I do not know. That is a discussion for the sociologists and psychologists to make and for pundits to debate. It was just an observation I made while I was, shall we say, "pondering life."

Thank you for listening. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Evil, Redux

My heart goes out today to the victims of the horrible shooting over in Aurora this morning. By "victims" I am including the families of all those involved.

The news is reporting that most of the people in the theater were between the ages of 14 and 49 (depending on the report) with the vast majority being teenagers. I have two teenagers myself and cannot fathom what it would be like to have sent them off to see a movie, a late-night showing, only to learn that they would not be coming home again.

I have been near tears today with that very thought.

There are families today who are without their children, without their parents. Families who wait at the hospital, anxious, for their infants, toddlers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, even mothers and fathers. They are all victims.

Strike that: WE are all victims of this act of terror.

"What?" I hear you say. "How dare you presume to take away from their grief!" To the contrary, I want to make sure we remain focused on their grief.

Because of this event, calls for gun control and gun laws are going to increase.

Blame will assigned and fingers will be pointed, all with screeds and strident rhetoric.

Assumptions will be made about the alleged shooter: his lifestyle, his hobbies, his religion, and his politics.

Guilt will be assumed before he ever gets a day in court.

Calls will go out for stricter guidelines on violence in movies. Calls will be made to install metal detectors in every theater. Calls will go out to restrict the wearing of costumes to fantasy and sci-fi movies. Calls will be made to throw away more of our personal freedoms.

In short, there will be hysteria and a lack of reasoned response.

We will all suffer for this, and for this reason I label us all "victims" of the tragedy.

And because of the hysteria, the outrage, the rhetoric, and the hate, I am afraid that the real victims--those from the theaters, and their families--I am afraid that the suffering, pain, and grief that these individuals, these human beings are going through will be whitewashed and/or forgotten.

Instead, let us be adults about this. Do not give in to the impulses of the Natural Man.

Keep the real victims in your thoughts today and in the coming days and weeks as the backstory unfolds. Keep them in your prayers. Pray for comfort and for peace for these, our brothers and sisters. Pray that their burdens will be lightened.

Pray also for the alleged shooter.

And take a little time to pray for all of us, that we can make it through the Chaos that is, unfortunately, likely to follow. That we can make it through unscathed. Heck, pray that the Chaos will not come.

But whatever you do, pray.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

In Memorium: Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

"The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along." --Ray Bradbury

Sam Weller, Bradbury's biographer, quoted Bradbury as saying he would sometimes open one of his books late at night and cry out thanks to God.

"I sit there and cry because I haven't done any of this," he told Weller. "It's a God-given thing, and I'm so grateful, so, so grateful. The best description of my career as a writer is, 'At play in the fields of the Lord.' "

Me again: What an amazing outlook. Can you imagine if we all had this kind of perspective on our work?

Farenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, "The Fog Horn": all works that have influenced my thinking and have stuck with me since I first read them. ("The Fog Horn" was adapted into the movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.) He even penned the screenplay for John Huston's version of Moby Dick and wrote for The Twilight Zone.

I can still remember, for example, how I felt the first time I read The Martian Chronicles and came across the "twist" that threw the astronauts for a loop--if you've read it, you'll know what I mean. Only later did I read the book again and realize the deeper social issues that Bradbury was trying to convey. Obviously, as a book-lover, you can imagine what Farenheit 451 has always done for me.

His biographer was quoted today on the news that "a star has gone out of the Universe." The sky is certainly a bit darker today.

I would like to think that he's on Venus right now, riding his way across the face of the Sun (from our perspective).

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for everything.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Orrin Hatch: Beneath the Cowl

"With experience comes strength...There's a crisis of leadership in Washington."

"I want to see the...end of the need for a Sagebrush Rebellion during my last term in the Senate."
--Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah

"It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. Once this crisis has abated, I will lay down the powers you have given me!"

"From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion."
--Senator Palpatine, Naboo

I am Senator Palpa...err...Hatch...and I approve this message.

Note: technically speaking, Orrin has been in office longer than Palpatine. Orrin was elected to his position in 1976, before Star Wars was first released. The Emperor made his first appearance on screen in 1980 in The Empire Strikes Back.

Note²: Try as I might, I could not find a single quote from Senator Hatch expressing his love of either Democracy or the Republic. Hmm.