ESA - Another Bad Law

An article at Reason discusses the pending removal from the Endangered Species List of the bald eagle. It argues the delisting should have happened long ago, and that the ESA itself is not responsible for the increase in bald eagle numbers.

This illustrates the failure that is the ESA. About 1,100 species have been put on the list, and only 27 have been delisted. It is suggested that none of these species were delisted because of ESA-related actions. Some examples of actual reasons:
  • The FWS claims the rydberg milk-vetch, a species of plant, recovered despite the fact that the agency’s own experts admit the species was too abundant to merit protection.
  • The American alligator was also too abundant to merit protection, but was listed by the FWS to use this species to help facilitate passage of the ESA.
  • The gray whale was protected from hunting by the switch from whale oil to kerosene lamps in the early 1900s and by international treaties dating back to 1937 and 1946, not the ESA.
  • The bald eagle recovered because DDT was banned, which took place before the ESA was passed.
Not only does it not work, but it makes the presence of endangered species on one's land a liability, because it invites government regulation of land use. This creates the incentive to "shoot, shovel, and shut up." The Reason article I linked to above gives such an example.

The ESA needs reform. This is one more thing the GOP failed to do while it was in power.

BOGO Jamba Juice

I found a buy one, get one free coupon for Jamba Juice here. I love Jamba Juice! But hurry, it expires on the 4th of July.


I am the 12th Man!

So we have mentioned the church softball team that Craig is on a couple of times. Last week was another game but for some reason, a couple of girls weren't going to be able to make it. This is quite a problem because, as a co-ed team, you have to bat a girl to be able to bat a guy. If you are short girls, I guess you just get automatic outs. I don't really understand it all but I think that is the basic idea. This league has all sorts of weird rules, like you start with 1 strike and 1 ball before you even get up there and if you hit it over the fence, it isn't a home run, it's a strike - very weird.

Anyway, Craig said I might be needed, so even though it was ridiculously hot outside considering it is only June and we live in Utah for Pete's sake, I got all suited up. I even warmed up. Okay, I put on sneakers and played catch for a couple minutes but that's not the point. At 6:00, our team was ready to play but sadly, the other team was no where to be found. In fact, the ump didn't even show up. Not to be discouraged, we just made two little teams and scrimmaged. I played 1st base which was okay since we were just having fun but in general is too much pressure for me. I also batted quite a bit (everyone bats quite a bit when there are only 5 people on your "team"). It was fun, despite the heat and the lack of real opponents. So there you have it, my real life story of being the 12th man (or should I say 12th woman). Maybe the church will put up a statue of me...no, they probably have rules against that sort of thing. Statue or not, tomorrow is another game and they think they might be short on girls again so I will be there, in my red tee shirt, ready if needed.


UPDATE: This is the same post as before, but I finally got the pictures so enjoy!

Congratulations to my little* brother Ben for leading his baseball team to a second place standing in the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association State Baseball Tournament! Even though he was only in 8th grade, he played on the high school team this year as a pitcher (and sometimes 2nd baseman). They even got a little press coverage. This article mentions Ben but it was written before the tournament while this article is talking about the second game of the tournament. Be sure to read the comments, they are amusing.

Obviously, Ben is a very talented young baseball player and my family is all expecting him to be drafted someday so he can share his riches with us. Whether or not that happens, we are all very proud of him and I can't wait to see how he plays when he is actually in high school. I will try and get some pictures up but the computer they are on is being stubborn so you'll just have to wait and see if that happens.

*since he is technically a teenager now, I should probably switch over to younger brother but I can’t, he will always be my little brother and he should just be thankful I don’t refer to him as my baby brother.


Fred and the Ladies

I found this interesting:
"In the battle for the women’s vote, Fred Thompson has a secret weapon against Hillary Clinton - the legions of former girlfriends who still adore him and who want him to be president."
I'd bet my old girlfriends would vote for me. Well, except for the liberal ones.


Aggie Trip

I got one of those e-mails from Texas A&M advertising a trip to Miami for our football game there in September. For only $1,379 per person (double occupancy), you get the following:

- Roundtrip airfare from Houston or Dallas
- Roundtrip transportation between the airport and hotel
- Accommodations for three nights at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne Resort and Spa
- Buffet breakfast daily at the hotel
- 12th Man Foundation Reception and Yell Practice
- Pregame Party and roundtrip transportation to game on Thursday
- Special excursion to see the sights and sounds of Miami on Friday
- Baggage handling, and taxes and tips on included features
- Optional, at an additional cost: Game ticket for Thursday's Texas A&M vs Miami football game.

Now, look at that last one. A ticket to the game is optional? Isn't that the point of the trip? Also, look at the 6th item. Transportation to/from the game is included, but the game ticket is not? I find that bizarre.


My New Job: The Perks and the Dilemmas

Now that the school year is over, some of you may be wondering what I have been doing with my time. Well, I will tell you. I have a new job as a staff assistant at the university. I like it. It's kinda slow during the summer but that is nice since it gives me a chance to get used to things before 30 million students come in and ask questions that I don't know the answers too all at one time (okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, maybe there will only be 30 students at one time but still). Besides the general benefits of working (such as a paycheck and health insurance, etc) here are a few things I like best about my new job.
  • I work in Building #1 on campus. Yep, if you look at any of the campus maps, find #1 and you have found me too. It is also called Old Main and it is by far the coolest building on campus. It has a tower with a big A on each side. A is for Aggies and while technically it stands for the Utah State Aggies, I pretend I am wearing rose colored glasses so the navy blue turns into maroon which obviously stands for Texas Aggies.
  • I have an easy to remember phone number. I am awful at remembering phone numbers and now I have two easy numbers to remember. My cell phone ends in a year, which I seem to be able to remember quite easily (why that didn't seem true in history is beyond me). And this number ends in 1230 - how easy is that!
  • I get/have to take a hour long lunch break. Well, I have to work from 8-5 so I can either take an hour long lunch or just work extra for fun. At first I though that an hour long lunch would be annoying since I am without a car and stuck on campus. But it has turned to be nice. Sometimes I go out to the grassy knoll right outside the building and read a book. I really like to read and I never have the time. That was one of the few things I didn't like about school, I was always to busy reading physiology textbooks that I couldn't ever read fun things. Other times I go down to the lounge in the basement and take a nice 45-minute nap. This isn't weird because there are typically 2-3 students down there doing the same thing.
  • This last one is kinda a positive, kinda not. As a sub, I had to dress nicely but I saw different people every day so I only needed a couple outfits. Now that I am always around the same people, I need to mix it up a bit more. I don't want to get to the point where people will know what I will be wearing based on what day of the week it is. So the positive is - I get to to go shopping for new clothes, the negative - I have to go shopping for new clothes in Logan. I don't understand why there are no cute clothes in this town because there are a lot of young people who work here in addition to all the students. It is so ridiculous that I am going to have to go to Salt Lake City to find something to wear. Luckily, Craig has some stuff he wants to do down there (non-shopping stuff, of course) so I won't have to decide between driving alone or shopping with Craig (both are low on my fun-things-to-do list.
My mom was nice enough to help me out with the lack of clothes situation by picking up some cute tops in Kentucky (Ft. Knox Kentucky has more cute clothes that Logan - how sad, but true). The day I got the box of tops, we were going to our church's game night so I decided to wear this one shirt. Now when I first looked at the shirt, it looked kinda odd, sorta like a maternity shirt. But my mom told me before the box even came, not to judge them before I tried them on so I took her advice and it was cute. Craig liked it too so I decided to wear it. I even got a compliment on it that night. But when I got home and was about to throw it into the hamper, I stopped to check the tag and make sure it wasn't a hand wash item. Imagine my feelings when I saw the tag ...

...with this cute little picture of a pacifier on it. Now I have a dilemma, I like the shirt and I don't look like I'm pregnant when I'm wearing it (or at least I don't think I do, but maybe I'm biased). Even so, I don't think I will be comfortable wearing it knowing that it is a maternity shirt. So I ask you, should I suck it up and wear it, ignoring the fact that there is supposed to be more of me inside it, or should I save it for a few years down the road when I may need it? What's a girl to do???

Your Nearest Weather Station, Part II

Here's a story on the weather-station survey project I am participating in. On a related note, I plan to hit up the Ogden station this weekend. I'm sure you will eagerly await my report.


Lowest Prices in Logan

MacKenzie and I like to buy our groceries at Lee's. Not only are they close to us, but we have considered them to be the least expensive store (besides maybe Wal-mart, but they have long lines and bad produce). But we have heard others say they consider Lee's to be expensive. So we decided to find out the truth.

We came up with a list of items that we thought were representative of the average shopper. We decided to price-check the cheapest of each item at each store, and also select a certain brand name for each item, to make direct comparisons.

The four stores we sampled were: Wal-mart, Lee's, Smith's, and Albertson's. Since Macey's and Lee's are both Associated Food stores, and put out the same ad every week, we considered them to be equally priced.

If an item was on sale, we used the sale price, even if it required a member card (Smith's and Albertson's).

Our hypothesis was as follows (cheapest to most expensive):
-Smith's/Albertson's (tie)

Our detailed results, and list of items, can be viewed here.

The final totals were as follows:

Wal-mart --$38.76 -----$50.48
Smith's ----$44.73 -----$55.48
Lee's ------$45.81 -----$55.63
Albertson's $53.47 -----$68.79

As you can see, Wal-mart wins. On the cheap side, it's about 15% less than Smith's/Lee's, and 28% cheaper than Albertson's. On the brand-name side, Wal-mart is 9% cheaper than Smith's/Lee's, and 26% cheaper than Albertson's. Smith's/Lee's are 15% less than Albertson's on the cheap side, and 19% cheaper on the brand side.

If you bought each item at the lowest price, visiting all four stores, your total cost would be $35.21.

Of the 17 items we selected, 11 of the cheapest were at Wal-mart. Five were at Smith's, and two were at Lee's (there was one tie).

I reckon we will purchase more of our groceries at Wal-mart as a result of this study. However, we pay close attention to weekly sales, which this study would not reflect. Therefore, I suspect we will continue to do most of our grocery shopping at Lee's.


Yummy Yummy

Last week was our church's VBS week. I was really sad that I wasn't able to volunteer to work with the kids but Craig and I did try to help out by making snacks for one of the days.

I wanted to make something cute while Craig wanted to make something gross. (Apparently he read an article in our local newspaper last October that had recipes for gross foods like a kitty litter box cake and it intrigued him). We compromised and made these wormy little things.

On top is chocolate frosting, crushed up Oreos and one gummy worm stuck half way into the cupcake. We heard through the church grapevine that they were a big hit.


Harry Potter (and Stars Wars too)

In anticipation for the exciting upcoming Harry Potter events, I have begun to reread the books. I do this every time a new book or movie comes out and I always start with the latest and work my way back. Yeah, I know it;s odd to read them in reverse chronological order, there is a reason. I have already read the early ones a lot, I mean A LOT, so if I started with them I would get bored. But by reading them in this way I get a chance “get into” them again before I hit the first two. Also, each time I read them I pick up on new little clues in the later ones so that when I read the earlier ones, I can put more connections together. I just finished the 6th book again and today and heading off to get the 5th book and semi-hopefully the 4th movie. I say semi-hopefully because if the 4th movie isn’t there, Craig and I will go to the old movie theater in town and watch it. By old movie theater I mean the one that shows old movies. They normally they show things like The Sound of Music and Casablanca but this weekend they are going through the Harry Potter movies. I think it would be really fun to go see it in the movie theatre again (although not as much fun as the first time with all my girlfriends at midnight, which was a blast) but it costs $5 a person, so the library would be better on our budget. So if the library has it, we’ll go with that, but if not we will have to spend the $10 to see it so I won’t feel bad about the money.

Anyway, the point of all this is that Harry Potter has been on my mind lately. Then Craig and I decided to watch his old Star Wars tapes. I have never really thought about them together before now but there are a lot of similarities between the two sagas. I 'm not going to pretend that I am the only one to have discovered these but I still am going to share them because I just thought it up and I think it is cool.

The obvious ones:

Protagonist is a young orphaned boy who lives with his aunt and uncle until he discovers the truth about a whole new world that needs his help. Antagonist is a powerful man who is trained up to be good but turns evil because of his power and his view of his past experiences; he then changes his name and loses parts of his soul, turning into really creepy looking guy. Somehow the good guy and bad guy are linked together. The young protagonists is being mentored by an extremely powerful something (Jedi/wizard) that for some unknown reason is unable to kill the antagonist himself. Then the protagonist’s older mentor dies, leaving the hero to finish the fight against evil and fulfill his destiny.

The less obvious ones:

  • Luke has two side kicks that end up romantically involved: Leia who is known for her smart, strong personality and interesting hair, and Han who is funny and considered by some to be good looking.
  • Harry Potter has two side kicks who are going to end up romantically involved: Hermione who is known for her smart, strong personality and interesting hair and Ron who is funny and considered by Rachel to be good looking.
  • Luke has cute little helper named R2-D2. (FYI – R2D2 is my fav character in Star Wars)
  • Harry has cute-ish little helper named Dobby.
  • Luke has a big furry companion/protector named Chewbacca
  • Harry has a big furry companion/protector named Hagrid

That’s pretty much it from me. This is the first time I really sat down and watched all the movies (while paying attention that is, LuBecca’s place doesn’t count) I can’t add anything more. I might think of more as I finished the movie but feel free to leave comments if you can come up with anymore.

Another fun blog

Lately the blogs that I consistently read have begun to disappoint me. A couple of my long time favorites have become so bad that I don't even bother to look at them anymore. So I went off in search of some replacements and I stumbled upon Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. (You can link to it on the right as well). I'm not exactly sure why I love it so much. It could be because I secretly wish I lived on a real workin' ranch or because I not-so-secretely wish I had four kids to homeschool right now but I think the real reason is because it is SO FUNNY! The next time you have 15 minutes, go there and read the archives in "Frontier Follies" or "The Humiliation Chronicles." I don't think you will be disappointed. Unless you too wish to have four kids like me or just really love kids, you might not find "Juice Bag" as amusing as I did, but you can always give it a try. She also has a another blog The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I made her lasagna last week and it was pretty darn tasty. And I know it won't be too long before I can no longer hold out against the chocolate cake.

Religious Test

The blog Mormon Coffee has picked up on something I have noticed a few times. When people discuss the impact of Mitt Romney's religion on his presidential chances, the Constitutional prohibition of a "religious test" for public office is cited, as if to say, "The Constitution prohibits you from not voting for Romney because of his religion." Here's an example:
Voters of all political persuasions need to be reminded of a core American value - your rights as a citizen, including the right to run for public office, do not depend on your religious beliefs. Our Constitution is clear there can be no religious test for public office.
This, of course, is patently false. You can vote however you want, for whatever reason you want. What we can't do is prohibit someone from holding or assuming an office because of their religious beliefs.

A letter-writer made the same point in the Salt Lake Tribune this week.

I'm not saying I'm going to discriminate based on religion. In fact, I'm starting to think Romney may be a good choice for Fred Thompson's running mate.


A Quiz For You

Here's a quiz question for you, from our recent trip to Dinosaurland. First person to answer correctly in the comments gets to write a guest post. Answer in the form of a question.

Softball Success

After five or so losses to start the season, my church softball team, comprised mostly of high-schoolers, won our first game tonight. Appropriately for me, we beat a team wearing burnt orange. My perplexing inability to consistently hit a large, slow-moving ball continues. I got one good hit, one bad hit, and two outs. But I played a good game of first base, without sustaining an eye injury like last week.


Your Nearest Weather Station

One of my favorite blogs, Coyote Blog, alerted me to a project taking place to locate, survey, and photograph all of the US Historical Climate Network stations in the country. Evidence from these stations is used, among other things, to examine claims of global warming, and there is evidence that some stations, like this one, are not in optimum locations for data gathering. Stations that are near an air conditioner vent, or surrounded by asphalt, are not going to give accurate readings. If the area around a station was paved in, say, 1984, the data from that station will show a warming trend that could inaccurately be credited to global warming. So the goal of this project is to catalog all of the stations, to determine what other siting errors may exist.

So I looked at the list of stations, and found that there is one in Logan. I went ahead and surveyed it. Here's my entry. Here's a picture:

This site was at least 20 feet from pavement, and at least 50 feet from buildings. The paint on the shelter (the big white box, which contains instruments) was chipped somewhat. The paint helps reflect sunlight, to keep conditions inside the box the same as those outside of it. In all, the station seems to be OK.

I would encourage you to participate in this project. Here are some locations that have stations:
  • Brenham, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Jamestown, ND
  • Leitchfield, KY
  • Portage, WI
  • Zumbrota, MN
I, of course, would be glad to offer my assistance to your survey effort.


Craig's Boo-Boo

Craig joined our local church's softball team a couple weeks ago. Overall, the team is not great but everyone still seems to have a good time. I go and sit in the cheering section with the moms (the team is mostly high schoolers). I don't cheer loudly like some of them do, but every once and a while I have been known to give out a "good eye" or a "nice catch". The worst thing about the league is that the game times vary. Last night it started at 9pm. That is a bit late for me. It starts out okay but by 10pm it gets dark and cold and I am a early to bed kinda girl. Last night, the darkness wasn't great for Craig either. He was in the outfield when a ball came his way. The bright field lights blinded him and the ball hit him in the eye. 24 hours later, this is what has happened to his beautiful face:

The up close gruesome results:

Fred's on the Web

Fred Thompson has an official website now. There's not much up there yet, but keep checking. I'll link to it over on the right for your handy reference.


Immigration Split

You can count me among the conservatives that are kinda TO'ed at many of the leaders of our movement who are supporting the immigration bill. Not only are we upset that they would support such a bad plan, but we're upset that many of them have resorted to impugning the motives of us opponents. For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham from SC, also known as John McCain's poodle, said that "we're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." The editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal said he was amazed at "the degree to which the right isn't even rational about this any more." The president himself said we "don't want what's right for America." He's pretty much losing the little support he has left in America over this issue, but that's another story.

I'm hoping this debate becomes central to the presidential nomination process on the Republican side. Of the major candidates, it seems that only Mitt Romney and my man Fred Thompson are against this bill, but Romney seems to have changed positions recently (as with several other issues). I think McCain's chances of getting the nomination are now dead, since he's one of the major architects of this bill.

I'd tell you to call your Senator about this bill, but if he/she's anything like Utah's Bob Bennett, he/she doesn't care what you think. That seems to be a common thread among pro-amnesty Republicans.



The National Spelling Bee, which aired tonight, brings back memories of my youth. I competed in the ND State Spelling Bee four times in 5th-8th grade. I got 3rd place my final year, so I was close to getting to go to Nationals. I'm trying to remember the words that eliminated me each year, but the only one I can think of is 'querulous', and I believe that was 5th grade. I'll have to ask my mom what the others were.

ND: Vacation Value

AAA just came out with its annual summer travel forecast, which stated that combined travel and lodging costs are up 3.7% this year. This survey found North Dakota to be the most economical destination, with daily food and lodging costs of $187, well below the national average of $270. So, if you're looking for a cheap trip this summer, check out North Dakota.