Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Planning a trip

We have three trips planned in the next year:
First, we'll be going down to Indiana in two weeks to visit my cousin and see forests in the fall. Just a two days, one night thing.
Second, we'll be flying out to Utah/Idaho for Christmas and the New Year.
Third, (and the one that will require the most planning), we want to take the week I have off for spring break to visit Kirtland, Palmyra, a friend who will (hopefully) be living in upstate New York, Toronto, and possibly Montreal (if time allows).
Unfortunately, Rick Steves just does guidebooks for Europe. And my experience with all other guidebooks has been less-than-satisfactory. (I spent three nights in a hostel in Paris that another guidebook had listed; my experience was so bad that I then made sure that, for the next ten weeks, every place I stayed in was recommended by Rick Steves).
Where would you visit in Northern Ohio/Upstate New York/Eastern Canada? Any positive experiences? Any places to avoid? Rick Steves can't help me, but maybe you can.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healthcare reform

A friend posted an interesting link on facebook--Five Common Myths About Healthcare Around the World.
Definitely worth looking at if you're interested in having an informed opinion on the healthcare debate.
Hopefully this time around we can have some sort of positive change. I care less about whether it comes from the Democrats (Obama) or the Republicans (Bennett) than I do about whether we pull some type of reform off, or we leave things as they are. The insurance companies would like to leave things as they are, but even they are starting to realize that the worse things get, the more we'll want to get rid of them; even the insurance companies are starting to realize that some type of minimal reform is necessary in order for them to stay in business in the long-run.
There are multiple ways to reform the system that are superior to the way things are now. Let's hope we choose one of them for better healthcare at a reduced price.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Cal Thomas, a conservative radio talk show host, Fox News commentator, and newspaper article writer, recently had this to say in a newspaper opinion column: "With Democrats controlling all three branches of government..."
Now, if someone occasionally says something stupid in public, I'm willing to give them a break. If a blog-writer says something wrong, it's not such a big deal. But this is a newspaper column that goes out to a great number of newspapers. It should've been carefully written and fact-checked. So I'm not sure what happened here. I guess there are three options:
1. Cal Thomas is lying to make it seem like Democrats have more power than they actually do.
2. Cal Thomas thinks the Judicial branch (the Supreme Court) is Democrat when it is most definitely Republican.
3. Cal Thomas doesn't know what the three branches of the government are.
I think this is an honest mistake, and that Cal Thomas got confused about what the three branches of government are. I think he forgot about the judicial branch and split the legislative branch into two branches. It's sad when political commentators don't know enough about their own country's politics to correctly identify the three branches of government.
For the record, those three branches are the executive (president), legislative, and judicial. And the judicial branch still leans to the right.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Tim's definition of gossip: discussing true or false details about someone else that that person would not want you to discuss, and that's none of your business anyway.
Our bishop got emotional today as he recounted a recent discussion with a ward member. The ward member expressed surprise and disappointment that she had not found out about another ward member's serious illness sooner. The ill ward member had asked others to keep the details quiet, and those others had done so.
The bishop told us how proud he was of our ward--that we didn't engage in gossip.
What a great bishop.
I know I've been horrified to find out that people knew things they had no business knowing about me (no, not some dastardly sin or bad habit, but a secret nonetheless). I lost a great amount of respect for the person who spread that gossip to those who had no business knowing it.
If it's gossip, don't spread it.
On a side note, the newest member of our ward expressed delight that his first Sunday here we already had his membership records and hometeaching assignments for him. "In Utah, it took six months for us to get callings." I love living out here.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Things I love:
A happy baby. He's a charmer. And as the only baby in the ward, he gets to practice that charm quite a bit.
Jungle Jim's, the international grocery store around here. Sure, it's a 30-minute drive. But it's worth it just to get awesome cheese and whatever else looks good. Too bad the bread isn't up to European standards--but I guess I can go to Panera for that.

Things that disturb me:
People getting in a huff about Obama speaking to our school children. He's the president. The only reasons I can think of for getting in a huff about this is, one, you're paranoid, or two, you don't want your child to realize that Obama isn't as bad as you make him out to be. Next thing you know these same parents will object to the daily recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools...
Ignorance about healthcare. Our healthcare system is a problem. Many people know this (including many Republicans--who had political power for eight years and yet chose to do nothing about it). We're the only country that claims it's first world that does not have some type of national health care system. The employer-based method doesn't work. It destroys market-incentives (limited options when it's your employer, and not you, picking your insurance), and it creates instability when people switch or lose jobs. There are better ways. The rest of the civilized world knows that. As the healthcare problem gets worse in the US, we are starting to realize that too.

Things I'm grateful for:
A three-day weekend, and spending two of those days with my wife and child.