Oh, yes! T. Rex showerhead

December 5, 2014

3-D printing just got my interest big time:

From University of Utah's Twitter feed (@UUtah): RT @MarriottLibrary: 3D printed T-Rex showerhead? Yes, please!

From University of Utah’s Twitter feed (@UUtah): RT @MarriottLibrary: 3D printed T-Rex showerhead? Yes, please!

Is it for sale?  To alumni, maybe?

Banned Books Week, September 22-28, at the University of Utah Bookstore

September 23, 2013

Banned Books Week special at the University of Utah

Banned Books Week special at the University of Utah

Nice mug!


Great obits: Val Patterson, Salt Lake City

March 12, 2013

A nice guy by all reports – but not a Ph.D.

Not that he cheated to get it.

It’s a great story, and it unfolded only in the obituary he wrote for himself.  The obituary ran in The Salt Lake Tribune, from July 15 to July 22, 2012.

Val Patterson


1953 – 2012

Val Patterson

Val Patterson, 1953-2012

I was Born in Salt Lake City, March 27th 1953. I died of Throat Cancer on July 10th 2012. I went to six different grade schools, then to Churchill, Skyline and the U of U. I loved school, Salt Lake City, the mountains, Utah. I was a true Scientist. Electronics, chemistry, physics, auto mechanic, wood worker, artist, inventor, business man, ribald comedian, husband, brother, son, cat lover, cynic. I had a lot of fun. It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people. I thank you. I’ve had great joy living and playing with my dog, my cats and my parrot. But, the one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express. Every moment spent with my Mary Jane was time spent wisely. Over time, I became one with her, inseparable, happy, fulfilled. I enjoyed one good life. Traveled to every place on earth that I ever wanted to go. Had every job that I wanted to have. Learned all that I wanted to learn. Fixed everything I wanted to fix. Eaten everything I wanted to eat. My life motto was: “Anything for a Laugh”. Other mottos were “If you can break it, I can fix it”, “Don’t apply for a job, create one”. I had three requirements for seeking a great job; 1 – All glory, 2 – Top pay, 3 – No work.

Val Patterson

Val Patterson, 1953-2012

Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest.  Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters “PhD” even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again. To Disneyland – you can now throw away that “Banned for Life” file you have on me, I’m not a problem anymore – and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this.

To the gang: We grew up in the very best time to grow up in the history of America. The best music, muscle cars, cheap gas, fun kegs, buying a car for “a buck a year” – before Salt Lake got ruined by over population and Lake Powell was brand new. TV was boring back then, so we went outside and actually had lives. We always tried to have as much fun as possible without doing harm to anybody – we did a good job at that.

If you are trying to decide if you knew me, this might help… My father was RD “Dale” Patterson, older brother “Stan” Patterson, and sister “Bunny” who died in a terrible car wreck when she was a Junior at Skyline. My mom “Ona” and brother “Don” are still alive and well. In college I worked at Vaughns Conoco on 45th South and 29th East. Mary and I are the ones who worked in Saudi Arabia for 8 years when we were young. Mary Jane is now a Fitness Instructor at Golds on Van Winkle – you might be one of her students – see what a lucky guy I am? Yeah, no kidding.

My regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me. Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments. My pain is enormous, but it pales in comparison to watching my wife feel my pain as she lovingly cares for and comforts me. I feel such the “thief” now – for stealing so much from her – there is no pill I can take to erase that pain.

If you knew me or not, dear reader, I am happy you got this far into my letter. I speak as a person who had a great life to look back on. My family is following my wishes that I not have a funeral or burial. If you knew me, remember me in your own way. If you want to live forever, then don’t stop breathing, like I did.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, July 22nd from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, casual dress is encouraged.

Online condolences may be offered and memorial video may be viewed at www.starksfuneral.com.

These little snippets of history delight historians, though many of them are so fantastic they make newspaper obit writers frazzled trying to track down the facts.

Salt Lake Tribune obit for journalist Ernie Ford

June 4, 2011

The Salt Lake Tribune carried an obituary for my old journalism professor Ernie Ford today.

Small world:  Good words about Ernie came from an official at KSL-Television, Con Psarras, Vice President for Editorials and Special Projects.  Con is former news director at KSL, the job that many said Ernie was perfect for, but  could never have because he wasn’t in with the owners of the station.  Con is also a former colleague of mine from the University of Utah debate squad (he was a much better debater than I)*.

Con Psarras, KSL’s vice president of editorials and special projects, remembered Ford as “a one-of-a-kind character.”

“He was inspirational to a lot of people,” said Psarras, KSL’s former news director. “He was a real journalist who cared about all those fundamental things that make journalists good at what they do. He was a stickler for detail. If you got something wrong, it was not a pleasant experience. Someone said they earned their first layer of thick skin from Ernie Ford.”

Stickler for detail, sure.  Ford was a great copy editor, and as a managing editor he worried about getting things right, for the readers’ sake in addition to avoiding libel suits.  But I didn’t find it unpleasant to get those fact challenges from Ford.  He knew where the weak spots of a story were likely to be, and he asked the questions that exposed those weaknesses to the writer.  I enjoyed that banter and process — which prevented mistakes from getting into print. (There weren’t idiots as editors of the Chronicle — accuracy, shoe leather and decent writing lived in that paper, often.)

Where are schools of journalism these days?  I was shocked that Texas A&M dropped its journalism program a few years back.  The best intern I ever had came out of A&M’s program.  Liz Newlin wrote concisely and well, and she could smell the heart of a news story, and put it into the lead so you’d have to follow the arteries deeper into the thing to see what happened.  Newlin could have been another Ernie Ford — but she married a guy named Taylor (you figure out the married name), went to law school and became a water law expert in Tucson.

Who trains good journalists by the score in good journalism practices anymore?  Who would want to go into such a field, with newspapers coming down around those left in the newsrooms, and with every fourth yahoo with an internet connection blogging away? [Yeah, me too.]


*  We got a couple of good reporters out of that debate squad.  Good training for a reporter, I think.  Steve Christensen signed up with UPI back when it was still a noble outfit; I don’t know where he is these days.  Tim Weiler reported for several years in and around Salt Lake.   Carolyn Young, one of  our graduate assistants back in the Early Later Than You Think Holocene reported for KSL’s rival, KUTV, but she headed out to Oregon.  Of course, none of them were journalism majors.  Go figure.


Quiet giant of Utah journalism, Ernie Ford

June 2, 2011

Sometimes the news comes slow.

Jake Sorenson at the Daily Utah Chronicle sent out a notice that Ernie Ford died last night.  Cardiac issues.  He was 70, after all — young by today’s standards, and not yet used up.

Ford was adjunct faculty and adviser to the Chronicle when I wrote there, and took classes from him.  Ford and Roy Gibson were veterans of Utah journalism who could offer a couple of chapters of a textbook they never wrote on how to write well, and how to write good news stories — with just their markups, questions and corrections in the margins of the news story one had to meet deadline on.

Gibson died several years ago.

More than once I regretted that I had to send the copy, with Ford’s comments, off to “typesetting” in the backshop, knowing I’d never see it again.  We didn’t have a photocopier to just make another copy.

Details to come, Jake said.  We’re losing more than just old, established newspapers.  We’re losing the men and women who made the news, news, and made the news readable, and understandable.

Ford made his reputation at KSL Television News and the Salt Lake TribuneHere’s a 1989 story on his leaving KSL to move to a Dallas station.  Sometime after that he moved on to run the Society of Professional Journalists, in Indiana.  Details on Ford’s life and death to follow, but probably no film at 11:00.

When enough of the big trees fall, you can’t call it a forest any more, you know?


DePauw University put out a release on Ernie Ford:

Former Prof. Ernie Ford Passes Away at Age 70


Veteran reporter, editor and journalism professor Ernie Ford died June 1 in Greencastle, Indiana

June 2, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. —  Ernest J. “Ernie” Ford Jr., a respected journalist and former member of the DePauw University faculty, passed away yesterday. He was 70 years old.

Ford was born on June 7, 1940, in Salt Lake City, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Utah. After a lengthy career in print and broadcast journalism, Ford came to Greencastle in the spring of 1992 when he was named executive director of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ). The organization, which was founded by student journalists at DePauw University as Sigma Delta Chi (SDX) in 1909, is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization. SPJ had its national headquarters in Greencastle in the 1990s. 98200

“Ernie Ford was selected because of his strong management experience in broadcast and print journalism,” said Georgiana Vines, assistant managing editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel and chair of the search committee, when Ford’s appointment was announced.

Ford had served as SPJ’s national president during 1991-92 before taking a paid post with the organization. He became a member of SPJ’s national board of directors in 1984, when he was elected Region 9 director, and served as chair of the Ethics Committee, Publication Committee, and the Legal Defense Fund.


Photo, l-r: Ford and David Bohmer '69, director of the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media Center and Media Fellows Program, with former The DePauw editors Eric Aasen '02 and Andrew Tangel '03 in October 2010

A regular lecturer to students in journalism classes and members of the DePauw Media Fellows program, Ford served as a part-time instructor in University Studies during the 2001-02 academic year. Ernie Ford and his wife, Linda, who survives, are also known to a generation of DePauw students as owners of the Fine Print Bookstore, which they operated on Greencastle’s square for 15 years.

He also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Utah State University.

“Ernie was a great teacher who helped his students understand the media industry and journalism,” recalls Andrew Tangel, a 2003 DePauw graduate and former editor of The DePauw who now a reporter at New Jersey’s Bergen Record. “A former investigative reporter himself, he seemed to relish asking tough questions at public meetings on campus and in town. He passed along tips to student journalists and encouraged them to be aggressive, hard-nosed reporters.”

Before coming to Indiana, Ford’s journalism career which included stints as managing editor of KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, assistant news director of KDFW-TV in Dallas, assistant city editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, wire editor of the Idaho Post-Register in Idaho Falls, and general assignment reporter for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. He collected numerous journalism awards, including a 1980 Sigma Delta Chi award for broadcast public service, regional Emmys, the Eudora Welty Award and the DuPont Award. A strong advocate for the First Amendment and the rights of journalists, Ford testified before Congress in support of the Freedom of Information Act and organized a a petition drive that led move the U.S. Supreme Court to permit still cameras in the 47517courtroom.

In 2006, Ford was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Daily Utah Chronicle, the University of Utah’s student newspaper, where he cuts his reporting teeth as an undergraduate and later served as faculty adviser.

Ford served on the boards of the Putnam County Humane Society, Great Lakes Booksellers Association, served of president of Main Street Greencastle, and was a longtime supporter of the Putnam County Playhouse.

A celebration of Ernie Ford’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Putnam County Playhouse, 715 South County Road 100 East, Greencastle.

An obituary is accessible at the website of Greencastle’s Banner-Graphic.



Typewriter of the moment: Wallace Stegner

June 4, 2010

Wallace Stegner and his typewriter - KUED image

Wallace Stegner and his typewriter – KUED image (via What Fresh Hell Is This?)

Wallace Stegner's books, KUED imageI’ve lived with Wallace Stegner’s work since I first got to the University of Utah.  Stegner was the biographer of Bernard DeVoto, whose works I read in a couple of different classes.

More important, Stegner wrote about the West and wild spaces and places, and how to save them — and why they should be saved.

Salt Lake City’s and the University of Utah’s KUED produced a program on Stegner in 2009 — he graduated from and taught at Utah — a film that wasn’t broadcast on KERA here in Dallas, so far as I can find..

In conjunction with the University of Utah, KUED is honoring alumni Wallace Stegner – the “Dean” of western writers. WALLACE STEGNER, a biographical film portrait, celebrates the 2009 centennial of his birth. Wallace Stegner was an acclaimed writer, conservationist, and teacher. He became one of America’s greatest writers. His books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angle of Repose” and “Beyond the Hundredth Meridian.” His “The Wilderness Letter” became the conscience of the conservation movement. Wallace Stegner mentored a generation’s greatest writers including Ken Kesey, Edward Abbey, and Larry McMurtry. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was a student.

It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but his typewriter here looks a lot like a Royal.

Have you seen the film?


James Whitcomb Riley, Jr.

September 6, 2009

Just learned of the passing of an old friend last December, Jim Riley.  Jim was a Ph.D. student and one of the assistant debate coaches of the great University of Utah debate teams of the middle 1970s.

He was also the guy who taught me how to properly light and smoke a cigar after we nearly won the Western Speech Association Debate Tournament at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque (1974?).  Lighting a cigar properly is a skill every gentleman should have, even those who do not smoke.  He was a great friend, a wonderful life advisor, and a normal guy in a time and place when normalcy was a rare virtue.

Riley invented the famous Riley Extension as a debater for Washburn University.  The Riley Extension is an argument towards significance of an affirmative case, usually, and is boiled down to two simple questions:  “So what?  Who cares?”

The Riley Extension is now a featured piece of analysis in many Advanced Placement courses in social studies, especially history where the answering of the two questions tends to make for much better essay answers.

Here’s the memoriam note from Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.  Jim retired from Northwest in 2005, and held the position Emeritus Professor:

Jim Riley

August 18, 1943 — December 26, 2008

James Whitcomb Riley Jr., 65,  died Friday, Dec. 26, in Wellington, Kans.

Services were held Friday, Jan. 2, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. in the Nelson Performing Arts Auditorium at Northwest College.

Jim Riley, 1943-2008

Jim Riley, 1943-2008

James W.  Riley Jr. was born Aug. 18, 1943, the son of Dr. James Whitcomb Riley Sr. and Carolyn Crenshaw Riley in Oklahoma City, Okla. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Washburn University in Topeka, Kans. He attended three years of Law School at Washburn before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He served as a military policeman in Germany and Vietnam.

Jim returned to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, to earn his Master’s degree in Speech Communication where he also taught and coached forensics. Jim furthered his education at the University of Utah while continuing to coach. Jim later taught and coached forensics and debate at the University of Nevada Reno and Boise State University. In 1977, Jim began teaching at Northwest College in Powell.

On May 4, 1991, he was united in marriage with Laura (Barker) Hagerman. Jim retired from teaching at Northwest College in 2005 and later received the status of Professor Emeritus in the spring of 2008.

Jim was an avid outdoorsman. He had a passion for hunting, camping, cutting firewood and river rafting. His fondest outdoor adventure took him down the Grand Canyon with friends, family, and colleagues. Jim also enjoyed teaching, reading and spending time with family, friends and the family’s two dogs.

Surviving to honor his memory are his father, Dr. James W. Riley Sr. of Wellington, Kans.; wife, Laura Riley of Powell; daughter, Mallory Riley of Powell; sons Daniel Hagerman and his wife Abbey Hagerman of Laramie, Jeremy Hagerman and his wife Kelly Shriver of Olympia, Wash., Nathan Hagerman and his wife Melissa Hagerman of Anchorage, Alaska, and Taylor Riley of Powell; and three grandchildren, Mikayla Hagerman, Natalie Hagerman and Collin Poe.

Preceding him in death was his mother, Carolyn Crenshaw Riley, on Jan. 2, 2006.

In Jim’s honor, the James W. Riley Communications Scholarship fund was established to help provide quality, affordable education for students majoring in Communications at Northwest College. Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 high school GPA and must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA while attending NWC. Donations to the James W. Riley Scholarship can be made here .

Life is like the Brooklyn Bridge: David McCullough at the University of Utah

June 1, 2009

Because there have been public libraries everywhere for so long, free to all, does not mean they will therefore go on without our appreciation and support. There are, it may surprise you to know, more public libraries in America than there are McDonalds. But their infinite value should never be underestimated just because they are so familiar.

Nor does the fact that we have so long believed in education for all mean that quality public education will quite naturally continue without our constant attention, or that good teachers will just come along, because they always have. There is no more important work than that of our teachers, or more important people in our society. In Utah alone there are presently some 23,000 teachers, true builders.

Because we believe we must be, as John Adams insisted, a government of laws and not of men, does not mean we should ever take it for granted that everyone understands that bedrock premise and will thus make certain there’s no straying off in less acceptable directions.

David McCullough, author of great histories like Mornings on Horseback and 1776, delivered the key commencement address to graduates of the University of Utah this spring.

His comments from which the excerpt above was taken, ripped off completely from news center at Utah, below.

Historian David McCullough, photo by William B. McCullough

Historian David McCullough, photo by William B. McCullough

“President Young, members of the Board of Trustees, distinguished faculty, fellow honorees, friends of the University, proud parents, and you who graduate today, May 8, 2009.

I deeply appreciate the high tribute of an honorary degree and the singular privilege of addressing this spectacular gathering. What an important, joyous occasion it is with so many assembled of all ages, all walks of life, from all parts of the country and of the world, all here to celebrate hard-earned, worthy accomplishment in so many fields of learning. I thank you and congratulate you one and all.

* * *

In the long ago year of 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, just to the north from here at Promontory, Utah, the world became appreciably smaller — in theory. It was the theory that led the celebrated French author, Jules Verne, to postulate that as of 1869 one could go “Around the World in 80 Days.”

The population of the United States stood at what seemed an unimaginable high of 39,000,000. Salt Lake City, which 25 years before was not to be found on any map, had grown to a thriving community of 12,000.

And that same year, 1869, at New York, the eastern-most terminus of the transcontinental railroad, work began on what was to be the greatest bridge in America, indeed one of the most famous American achievements in history.

If it seems odd that I begin my remarks at that distant time and distant place, it is because I see the Brooklyn Bridge as emblematic of the call I wish to make to you of the graduating Class of 2009 to give serious thought to what you wish to accomplish in your turn in your time, and how you wish to be remembered by history.

And because the Brooklyn Bridge, a surpassing symbol of affirmation, rose up out of an era as infamous for wretched corruption and absurd extravagance as, alas, our own has become.

The Gilded Age, as Mark Twain called it, seemed the ultimate show of just how rotten things could get, the very antithesis of what the founding generation of Washington, Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson had in mind.

And yet — and yet — out of that time, let us be aware, came a truly noble work that still stands today more than a century later.

It was the moon shot of its time — a brilliant, unprecedented technical achievement — and more, a great work of art intended, yes, to fill a utilitarian need, but also to enhance and enlarge the way of life of the communities it served, and to give justifiable pride to those who did the work.

For millions of immigrants arriving at New York by sea, including a great many who were bound for Utah, it was the first man-made wonder they beheld in America, the New World, where anything was possible.

With its enormous towers of granite, then the tallest structures on the continent, and its use of steel cables, the Brooklyn Bridge combined the architecture of past and future. It was the start of the high rise city in America, but also in its way very like the ancient cathedrals of Europe, in that, rising above all else within sight, it was intended, as said, to stand as a testament to the aspirations of the civilization that built it.

So what will we build in the years ahead? What will you build, you of the new generation upon whom so many high hopes are riding?

How will history regard you in years to come – you who are part of this over-ripe, shadowed, uncertain time which has understandably given rise to so many grave forebodings about the future?

Will you help navigate the troubled waters? Will you rise above avarice and indifference and self-pity? Will you be a generation of builders, not more mere spectators who leave creativity and performance and responsibility to others?

Will you take what you have learned here as inspiration to still greater learning?

Will you make your lives count?

The easy answer is time will tell. The better answer, I think, is it’s up to you.

We are a diverse lot, we Americans, and we have a lot of work to do, and thus it has been from the beginning and therein is our great advantage.

There is wondrous strength in our variety and a clear, powerful sense of direction in the fact that the American ideal in which we believe has still to be reached.

We have always been a people of many peoples and the high ideals professed by the Founders, though never fully attainable, have remained our stars to steer by. We strive on to reach those ideals — full equality, as one glowing example — and the desire to strive, the combined faith in what we stand for as a self-governing people, is what has helped us in the right course most, if not all, of the time.

Had the American dream been handed to us all in tidy order, all done up with everything set to operate perfectly in perpetuity, we would hardly be the people we are.

And this same, very American story is mirrored in the story of the Brooklyn Bridge. The great work was conceived in the mind of the brilliant engineer John A. Roebling, its Founding Father. But numerous flaws and problems in his design had still to be resolved when he met an untimely death at the very start of the work. Thus it was left to his son to address those problems and build the great work of his father’s dream, just as it was left to still others in succeeding generations to solve still further problems unforeseen at the start — the advent of automobile traffic, for example — and maintain proper upkeep and repairs.

So it has been with our American way of life and so it will continue. There must be no deferred maintenance, no dispensing with the old verities of individual conduct, no dodging responsibilities, no leaving national policy entirely to those in power — not that is if the structure is to endure.

Just because certain basic, familiar elements have been part of our way of life for so long does not mean they can be taken for granted. They must never be taken for granted.

Because there have been public libraries everywhere for so long, free to all, does not mean they will therefore go on without our appreciation and support. There are, it may surprise you to know, more public libraries in America than there are McDonalds. But their infinite value should never be underestimated just because they are so familiar.

Nor does the fact that we have so long believed in education for all mean that quality public education will quite naturally continue without our constant attention, or that good teachers will just come along, because they always have. There is no more important work than that of our teachers, or more important people in our society. In Utah alone there are presently some 23,000 teachers, true builders.

Because we believe we must be, as John Adams insisted, a government of laws and not of men, does not mean we should ever take it for granted that everyone understands that bedrock premise and will thus make certain there’s no straying off in less acceptable directions.

Remember please, you who are to carry the torch in your turn, that indifference to the plain duties of citizenship can prove perilous. Remember that common sense is by no means common.

Harry Truman, a man of very great common sense, whose birthday is today, once observed wisely that the only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know.

Many of the new American citizens I have spoken to have expressed puzzlement that so many native-born Americans know so little of their own history. How interesting — and disconcerting — that the American history exam required for citizenship now is one many Americans born and raised here could not pass.

How appropriate that John A. Roebling, an immigrant, named his son Washington, and at the onset of the Civil War insisted that that son answer Lincoln’s call to serve.

In the fourteen years it took to build the Brooklyn Bridge, there were terrible setbacks — fires in the caissons below the river, failure of equipment, the discovery of gross political corruption — again as in the larger American story. Men suffered dreadfully from caisson disease, or the bends. Twenty or more were killed in accidents.

Washington Roebling, a gifted leader who never asked anyone to do what he himself would not do, suffered such agonies from the bends that he spent years directing operations from the window of his sickroom overlooking the work, while his courageous wife, Emily Warren Roebling, became his all-important second-in-command in a day when women were not supposed ever to assume such responsibility.

Such was the determination and character of so many who took part that the work went heroically forward. Thousands were involved in the effort before it was finished, including many hundreds of immigrant laborers, and yes, every race and nationality took part.

President Young has said that this university was built upon “the principles of hard work, dedication, and a stubborn will to succeed,” no matter the obstacles. That, too, is exactly the story of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The grand opening, and the greatest public celebration ever seen in New York until then, took place just this time of year, in May, 1883.

* * *

I am here today due in part to a set of circumstances that led to a friendship with the remarkable Larry Miller. Larry was a builder who loved his family, his church, his hometown, his work, and his country. He believed fervently in the transforming miracle of education, and in the last years of his life took a leading role in helping to improve the teaching of teachers. I thank my lucky stars that our paths crossed and we had the chance to work together. It is one of my great regrets that I never had the chance to take him on a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. He loved history.

History can be a great source of inspiration. History, as a wise teacher said, is an inexhaustible storehouse of ideas.

History encourages sympathies and a sense of humor and serves as a ready antidote to the hubris of the present.

So read more history, you who are about to commence to the next part of the journey. Read all you can in all fields. Never stop reading and especially books that have stood the test of time.

And make it your practice to ask people about themselves and what they’ve learned from experience. Don’t ever forget that there isn’t a man or woman, no matter their appearance or station in life, who doesn’t know something, or how to do something, that you don’t.

Try not to make the mistake of equating ease or possessions with happiness. Find that in your work if possible. Bear in mind that hard work and joy are not mutually exclusive.

By all means set your sights high.

I believe that as difficult and unsettling as so many of our large problems are today, that we will, by working together and using our heads, succeed in resolving most if not all of them. I have long been and remain an optimist at heart.

Still, a great civilization must have more in mind than solving problems. A great civilization must be one that thinks and works creatively, that is inspired to express itself in creative accomplishment of enduring value.

“The shapes arise!” wrote Brooklyn’s own immortal poet Walt Whitman, celebrating the era of the Brooklyn Bridge. What will be the shapes you cause to rise?

Whatever you build — figuratively or literally — build it to last.

By almost any measure ours is a vastly changed time from that of 1869. The record setting trip around the world made by jet plane a few years ago was not 80 days but 67 hours, 1 minute, and 10 seconds. But the old human urge, the need to express the best that is in us goes on as always it has, thank heaven.

In closing I urge each and all of you to make it a point some time to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. You will never forget it. Go with a friend, a fellow spirit, and on a beautiful day like this one. The view is spectacular, the breezes blow free, the bridge itself is a masterpiece.

And wherever you go in your travels to come, and I’m sure you will go far, before checking out of a hotel or motel, be sure to tip the maid.”

Congratulations, Judge Davidian

April 28, 2009

Ben Davidian, Jr., will be sworn in as a judge for the Superior Court for Sacramento County this afternoon.  Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the post about a month ago.

Texas is testing, so I won’t be traveling.

We wish Ben well in his new post.  We are also redoubling our efforts to archive the Ben Davidian stories we have collected over these last 30+ years, for the retirement ceremony.  Alan Ingersoll, Evelyn Earl Jeffries, Patty Hulce and I will hold the Davidian archives open for contributions.  We’ve already got the files from Bae Gardner and J. D. Williams, from the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, both of whom will be at the ceremony in Sacramento this afternoon.

Congratulations, Ben!

Utah wins Sugar Bowl, 31-17; Utes #1!

January 3, 2009

Athletic logo of the Utes of the University of Utah

Athletic logo of the Utes of the University of Utah

Utah made its claim for the National Championship tonight with their shutdown of Alabama.

Here’s the music; below that the words.

Utah Fight Song: A Utah Man Am I

I am a Utah man, sir, and I live across the green.
Our gang, it is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our coeds are the fairest and each one’s a shining star.
Our yell, you hear it ringing through the mountains near and far.

Who am I, sir? A Utah man am I A Utah man, sir, and will be till I die; Ki!Yi!
We’re up to snuff; we never bluff,
We’re game for any fuss,
No other gang of college men
dare meet us in the MUSS.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and
shout it to the sky,
We’ll fight for dear old Crimson,
for a Utah man am I.

And when we prom the avenue, all lined up in a row,
And arm in arm and step in time as down the street we go.
No matter if a freshman green, or in a senior’s gown,
The people all admit we are the warmest gang in town.


We may not live forever on this jolly good old sphere,
But while we do we’ll live a life of merriment and cheer,

And when our college days are o’er and night is drawing nigh,
With parting breath we’ll sing that song:
“A Utah Man Am I”.



Morning-after updates:

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