Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Guys, I've gone full-on Deseret Book and have made my own inspirational wall picture of my favorite GBH quote. Suitable for framing, provided your home has very very low light, this attractive picture can be yours for the low price of free.

Truth be told, I actually have hung this up on my wall at work as equal parts inspirational/motivational message as well as conservation piece. Never hurts to have a conversation starter around the office for anyone who is curious about the church.

If anyone really does want this, leave a comment here and I'll email you the higher-def PDF.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


One of my favorite political commentators is Bill Whittle. A pilot and a writer/commentator, he currently works for Pajamas Media and appears on PJTV. I'm not sure I have a single quote of his that I  would use on the blog here the way I normally do-with Bill it's more about the arguments he makes and his style that I really like. My favorite piece that he's done is this pre-election one:

It's got a long set-up but a great payoff.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pol i tics

We had an interesting discussion in EQ this last week about politics and the lay of the land now, post-election. One brother joked that the next conservative president we'd have would be Jesus. He might be right. Certainly we'll have another republican president again, but he won't be a conservative in any recognizable form. We just don't have the demographics to pull it off anymore.

This is largely due to immigration and also to changing social norms. A social con has little chance at all anymore. I think it's safe to say we've lost, likely forever, the culture war. And since politics flows from the culture and not the other way around, this is a problem for social cons that wish to make any kind of meaningful headway to regain lost ground.

Commentators say the GOP needs to moderate and to work on its messaging, to find a way to sell its ideas to a modern generation. I don't think you really can. I thought Ryan and Romney did this as well as most anyone could have-their Twitter streams were almost non-stop a list of things they believed in. Political philosophy, straight-up. "I believe the government belongs to us and not the other way around." That kind of thing.

The US is a chronic smoker and we are fighting over which party gets to dole out the cigarettes. We promise that we'll be the party that will cut back to just 3 packs a day from their current 4. Instead we should want to get everyone to stop smoking. Unfortunately, that doesn't win elections anymore.

I think the only chance fiscal conservatives have is to do a version of what this guy, Drew, recommends. I kind of disagree on the amnesty part-what's the win for the republicans to import millions of people who vote 70-30 against us? But I agree with the idea of offering up some compromise on something (I have no idea what) in exchange for a flat tax. It's the only way to make sure everyone has some skin in the game. I truly believe that there is no greater political priority for the GOP than a flat tax. If we can make sure everyone pays something, it won't be so easy the next time a socialist president decides it's worth a 5% tax hike to pay for union pensions or to bail out California. You can only raise taxes on 'the rich' so many times before you no longer have 'the rich' left to tax.

So go all in on flat tax, GOP. Take it from me, an anonymous blogger who draws poorly crafted caricatures of obscure LDS general authorities from time to time.


I am perfectly satisfied that my Father and my God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured Being. Why? Because I am cheerful, pleasant, lively and good-natured when I have His Spirit. That arises from the perfection of His attributes; He is a jovial, lively person.

-Heber C. Kimball

Thursday, November 22, 2012


No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the contrary, when people are universally ignorant, and debauched in their manners, they will sink under their own weight without the aid of foreign invaders. 
If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


At my friend Nate's suggestion, I'm posting the rendering of how the 'ghost'  picture kinda looks to me.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Other pictures of the window

I found these other views of the window from Google Maps:

I remember this store-it was a Flagler College team gear store. Everything inside is just t-shirts (as can be seen through the window). There is also a big blue 'Flagler College' sticker on the window and some other stickers blocking out the window. So this isn't a store that specializes in 20" tall bald dolls and possibly freaky all-black skeleton head companions. Oh right, I didn't mention that part. Check it out:

Tell me there's not two figures there, and that the one on the right looks a lot like a black figure with a skull head.

Free. Key.

You can also see in the above window pictures that there really isn't a ledge, to speak of. There's a small indentation for the shutters to be able to close and a small space to accommodate the window sill. This isn't a display case or trophy-type case. It's just a flat window that is flush with the wall.

Social media

Just a reminder that I can be found at the following sites:

Tumblr: ch2k
Instagram: _ch2k_

I post regularly to all those sites, including lots of pictures of the kids. Jan can be found here:

Tumblr: hoopesfamily
Instagram: JMCMH

Monkey thing

For anyone clamoring for a better look at that monkey ghost thing in the St. Augustine post, here you go.

I've sharpened and brightened the picture up as best as I could without washing it out. It's clearly some little 'thing' that is standing there holding something, and it clearly is on the *outside* of the window, standing on the approximately 2.5" ledge. Zoomed-in, it looks like a bald guy with grey hair, and he's about 19" tall.

Weird, huh?

The more I look at this the weirder it is. If it was some little doll figure that was glued to the outside of the window for some reason (which would be really odd as it had been raining for much of the day) then why is it so illuminated when all the illumination is in front of it, not behind it? It's like completely self-lumnious. There's no light source illuminating it from the north angle, but it's completely illuminated. And if it was an illuminated toy, why doesn't it illumniate anything else around it? You'd expect it would cast some light into the wood frame surrounding it.

Maybe the answer is obvious and I'm just missing it, but to me this is really unusual.

St. Og

This week I had a business conference that was up in St. Augustine, which is 5 hours away from Miami. That sounds like a really far way, and it is. And it's a pretty uneventful drive, although you do drive by Merritt Island, home to NASA's Cape Canaveral. We didn't stop there, but we could have, in theory.

I brought Jan and the kids along since they've never been there. I was afraid it was going to be a "Circus Circus," which is what I call things now that are far cooler in my memory than they are in real life. But they wound up really liking it, which was great. To me, it's always been very historic and interesting and has always had a fun atmosphere. It's a 550 year-old town-the oldest in America that's been continuously lived in. It's right on the sea, about 30 miles south of Jacksonville and about 50 miles north of Daytona Beach.

I stayed at the Renaissance Golf something or other. It's a hotel there in St. Augustine, and is home to the world golf hall of fame or something like that. It's on a golf course that looks very nice. I assume it may even be famous since it looks expensive. For you golf buffs out there, the course is called 'Slammer and Squire,' which sounds like a time travel Bill & Ted-esque movie.

The interior of the hotel had this sort of fun artrium thing. It's hard to tell in this picture but there's a little water river thing down there.

 Way to go, Renaissance hotels!

A very cloudy and (for Florida) cold day (65 degrees)

I went to my conference on the first day and the girls went shopping and did some brief driving around.  I met up with everyone after I was done and we went into town and walked around in the dark in the historic downtown area. Those pictures are all very low light, but here are a few.

The Castillo de San Marcos, a 500 year-old Spanish fort. They light it up at night and it's fairly spooky.

This building used to be the town morgue, and they would display the bodies in the front window. Now it's a gift shop.

The, well, oldest wooden school house in the US. They put a manequin in the upstairs window. For fun? Apparently?
The entire town's been taken over by ghost tours and there are multiple options competing for your attention. There was a pirate tour, a sheriff tour, a few walking tours, and a tour by trolley. In the past I've taken the trolley tour-this time we took one of the walking tours.

It was just us with the kids and one other couple. The tour was led by a girl who was attending nearby Flagler college, probably as a drama major. She told some normal stories but presented them in a 'dramatic' manner, so it was 'interesting.' We had fun, though.

The Protestant cemetery. 
OK this brings us to our first 'ghost' photo. See if you can spot it here.

If you guessed 'the ghost monkey thing over on the left hand side in the window,' you are correct.
No idea what this is. There was nothing in this window that Jan or I remember seeing at all, much less a 20 inch-tall little ghost monkey thing holding a book or something. I guess it could be a reflection of some kind, but it's pretty odd. And you can tell that I don't have the flash on, or Jan's shirt would be illuminated.

Our second ghost picture is this one. It's extremely hard to see. You have to view it at maximum size and in a pitch black room, and then the light will show up a little bit. See if you can see the odd figure in here:

It's over on the left
I ran this through some image software I have, however, and the ghost game into blurry focus.

Dang it, Jan.
The next day we woke up and had some breakfast at a local cafe. Mads helped me craft this guy.

She did the nose.

After that, we headed over to Ripley's Believe it or Not museum to see how things were going there. They were going.

We didn't go in because this is a building with many stairs and it wouldn't lend itself to a stroller visit very well.

After this we went to the St. Augustine lighthouse, which is purported to be very haunted. Which is not saying much in St. Augustine. I think even the Dennys there claims to be very haunted. Still...

Very cool trees.

The gift shop/ticket place. There's probably something historic upstairs.

The back yard is very pretty. The lighthouse is about 10 feet to our right, here, and back about 200 feet.

More very cool trees and atmosphere.

Thar she blows

It looks haunted, yes?

It's hard to take a picture of something 300 feet tall and something 3 feet tall simultaneously.
We didn't go on the tour because, again, stairs. About 292, if memory serves. Plus it was very expensive. Plus, if you're going to go, then the ghost tour would be the way to do it. We'll have to return in 10 years when the kids won't prohibit stair travel.

After that it was over to the Castillo de San Marcos, which is this very very old Spanish fort that is right downtown. Again, stairs. So we stayed on the outside.

A 'blast furnace' for munitions.

We think this was a flagpole stone. The precision of the cut indicates it's a newer feature.

Kids bundled up warm

This is the 'moat' although it was never intended to be a moat. They instead let their livestock graze here. When the city recently allowed water to be let in to create a moat, it caused the fort to settle and start to crack. So they nixed that one.

The orange fence thing is where they were doing some work on one of the retaining walls.

Very cool. As seen from above, it looks like a Chinese throwing star. There are 4 of these cool battlements.

Walking around the side.

Yes, we had to climb stairs anyway.

Finally, we headed into the historic district in the daylight to check things out. It was a lot of fun. Lots of touristy restaurants and gift shops but certainly a lot of fun things to see. Kind of interesting that the city lets modern businesses operate out of 500 year-old buildings, but OK.

Pretty little area in the middle of town.

Olllld buildings and walls.

St. George street is the main street in the historic district.

Biiiig statue at a church.

Most all the rock is really seashells bound in a kind of cement.

Happy kid at a water wheel thing that is powering a bakery.

Nice little interesting touches everywhere.

Very Spanish-looking fountain.

We had to bribe her with cotton candy to get her to smile.

More of the same.

The things you can buy are...eclectic.

Yes they are real alligator heads.

Very old, very cool trees, most of which are covered in Spanish moss.
We had a really fun time, even though it was a 5-hour drive, and we weren't mentally ready for that much car travel again considering the trip we just had 7 weeks ago. But it was nice to see more of the state (we've seen more of Florida in 1.5 months than we ever saw of Texas in 2.5 years) and the northern part of the state is gorgeous. Tons of very very tall pine trees, and a dramatically different feel than bombed out hooker-ville down in Miami. We'll have to return soon!