Happy birthday, Orrin Hatch

March 22, 2009

Dear Orrin,

We know how old you are really, but we won’t divulge.

U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah

U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah

When we were campaigning in 1976, I don’t think anyone thought you’d be there in 2009, still.  Sen. Reed Smoot served Utah for one day shy of 30 years.  No one else from Utah has come close to your 32 years of service, and it will be a long time before any other challenges your longevity.

Not bad for the first office you ever got elected to.

Kathryn and I wish you all the best on your birthday.

And we’ll be pleased to set  you straight any time you want.



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Rachel Carson honored, explained in new movie

March 22, 2009

Watch for it on a screen near you.  Or buy the DVD.

“A Sense of Wonder” won praise at film festivals over the past few months, and now has premiered in a 100-city tour designed to get some attention for a near-documentary film, during National Women’s History Month.

Actress Kaiulani Lee painted her one-woman show on Rachel Carson on the big screen.  The movie tells the story of Rachel Carson and the tremendous growth of environmental consciousness and activism following her 1962 book Silent Spring. Karen Montgomery produced, Christopher Monger directed, cinematography was done by Haskell Wexler (two-time Oscar winner, for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Bound for Glory).

(A screening is planned in Dallas on March 31 for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — but it’s a private screening.  Only four other screenings in Texas have been scheduled.)

To find a screening near you, go to the “Sense of Wonder” interactive website, and click on “Screenings.”  From there, either click on the list of sites, listed by date, at “100-city tour,” or click on the interactive map to find a site near you.  You may also sign up to sponsor a screening.

The title for the movie comes from a passage Carson wrote, which worked into a title for her book, The Sense of Wonder:

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.

Junk science advocates continue their international campaign of calumny and falsehoods against Carson and restrictions on the use of DDT.  It would be good if this movie could get a circulation to persuade people to the facts of the matter.


Scout earns all 121 merit badges, in Ardmore, Oklahoma

March 22, 2009

Another Scout joined the exclusive club of those who earned all the possible merit badges.

Wes Weaver, already an Eagle Scout, added the last of his merit badges late last month, according to KXII Channel 12 in Sherman, Texas (covering the border area around Lake Texoma).

“In 2008, there were 20 scouts across the county who had gotten all 121 merit badges. I’m adding my name to that list,” Wes says.

Eagle Scout Wes Weaver, of Ardmore, Oklahoma Troop 121 - earned all 121 merit badges - Ada Evening News photo

But Weaver’s accomplishments don’t end with badges. The teen also earned his Eagle Scout award by building a 112-foot bridge over a creek bed in Lake Murray State Park. It was no easy task with the rugged terrain

“Just digging the holes I was thinking I’m never going to be done. All my weekends are going to be spent out here digging holes,” Wes says.

“It was scheduled to take between two to three months. It ended up taking a year and 6 months,” says Wes’s father, Rusty Weaver.

Rusty helped his son plan out the bridge and construct it, along with the rest of Troop 112. Now all kinds of area bicyclists, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the state park a little more.  [video available here]

Keeping with an interesting if perplexing tradition, bugling was the last merit badge he earned.  Weaver had aimed for 121 since he first became a Boy Scout, and his Scoutmaster, David Mannas challenged the troop to earn their Eagle rank and then go beyond the 44 merit badges Manass had earned.

Many of Weaver’s merit badges were earned in the traditional fashion, at the many summer and winter camps he attended over the years. Weaver’s father, Rusty Weaver, became the Scoutmaster of Troop 112 and is a Climbing Director for Arbuckle Area Council. “My dad would be at camp two to four weeks a summer so I stayed at camp and took all the merit badge classes I could. Before I knew it, I had 80 merit badges.”

He attends Plainview High School concurrently with Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Regional Center and looks forward to finalizing his college plans.

Weaver was recognized for his rare achievement at the Arbuckle Area Council Annual Recognition Banquet, Feb. 28 at Camp Simpson in Bromide. His parents are Trish and Rusty Weaver, Ardmore.


Previous notes at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

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