October 2006

Well, it’s Halloween and you know what that means: pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and toasted pumpkin seeds and Jack ‘o Lantern carving (I have four pumpkins waiting) and bobbing for apples, and goblins and ghouls, gore and the grim reaper, and children begging for candy door to door and annoying people who hand out pennies or toothbrushes or dental floss or crappy candy like dum-dum pops or peanut butter chews. And then there is trunk-or-treating because the world has become a crazy place and psycho people put razor blades in candy.

But wait! Halloween requires a costume and there are only two choices: scary or funny: you choose, unless you’re a woman, then they only come in sexy.

Stores are overflowing with costumes for the lady folk. You can be a scantily clad, coquettish: nurse, school girl, bar maid, cat-woman, vampire, devil, angel, cheerleader, secretary, fairy, firewoman, flight attendant, or construction worker. The possibilities are endless! Depending on who you ask, it’s either a convenient excuse for wearing lingerie in public or further evidence of the continued subjugation of women by men.

But speaking of scandal, who can forget the annual ill-reputed Utah State Howl, a Halloween party where women freely cavort dressed in Victoria Secret’s finest and where a popular costume involves merely a few turns of Saran Wrap. But before we condemn the reprobate Aggies, let’s remember there is precious little else to do in the frigid tundra of Logan, Utah.

Us Mormons are not afraid of a good time. LDS Halloween parties encourage costuming but enforce the following rules: no masks and no cross-dressing– at least the guys aren’t allowed to cross-dress. I suppose the ladies could if they wanted.

But we’ve drifted from our main quest, to find out if you think Halloween is a good thing. Do you?

I didn’t mistype that. It’s Daylight Saving Time not Daylight Savings Time like everyone says. Then again, people say a lot of things wrong, like “perscription” for “prescription” or pronouncing realtor “real-uh-ter”, instead of the correct way: “real-ter”.
Areas that observe daylight saving time
Areas that once observed daylight saving time
Areas that have never observed daylight saving time

But the main point here is that I’m sleepy. I’m sleepy because even though the clock says 10pm, my body thinks it’s 11pm. That’s because last night I set my clock back an hour. That’s because in 1784 Ben Franklin wrote a letter to the editors of a French newspaper where he proposed the idea. He called it summer time and the French thought his concept was dumb. That was probably ok with Ben because he was kidding anyway.

Not all the states are together in this time changing mania; Arizona and Hawaii stay on standard time all year long. So do the territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

Way back in 1997, friend Lowell A. Nelson, then a Utah State Senator, introduced a bill in the Utah Legislature to end the practice of Daylight Saving Time. In fact, he asked me to help him with the project, but limited time prevented me from doing so.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this half of Saving Time. Falling Back is good. Springing forward, on the other hand, is not nearly as enjoyable. In fact, it sucks. That’s because it’s hard for my body to adjust to a lost hour. In fact, as a world traveler, my slowness to cope to changing times is a deficit. When I first went to Switzerland, for example, it took me several weeks to adjust to the jet lag.

But all of this speaking of circadian rhythms reminds me of something I read the other day. I don’t know if it’s true: a certain writer claimed that when people die of natural causes, more often than not, they die at about the same time of day they were born. If that’s true, it’s pretty interesting.

Fun Fact of the Day: China only uses ONE timezone. (Thanks Grady Kelly!)

UPDATE: I won the class contest and got two movie tickets!

It’s true that the green paper clip adventure has come to an end. Sadly, no motorcycle was obtained, but I did end up with a $2,000.00 dollar membership to ToyShare, so there are no complaints from me. I’ll be going four-wheeling and snowmobiling several times in the near future, so if any of you want to come along, just let me know. At the same time, we’ll probably break out the guns and do a little target/skeet shooting. A good time will be had by all.

William, the Alaskan, told me today that he had put the
paperclip adventure up on Craig’s List
, which might explain the three automobile trade offers I’ve received in the last two days and the increased traffic. Have you checked my Alexa rating lately? I have. Today ryanbyrd.net comes in at 556,157. Not too shabby, eh? My goal is to break 100,000, because then you get daily stats.

Thanks again to all who were involved with the paperclip trading. Many of you were instrumental in spreading the word. Good job everyone!

Various news sources are reporting on a new campaign by Dove to highlight “inner beauty.” Dove produced a Transformation of a Model Video Clip which shows an average woman being reconstructed (mainly though Photoshop) into a billboard-ready model. It’s worth watching.

Discussion question: what are the social effects of advertisers portraying women in practically unattainable states?

Before and After Makeup

Click for larger images

Source: Yossi Bitton Makeup School

Much as I’ve tried to keep a cap on the wild rumormongering, there comes a time when I have to bow to the pressure of the media and confirm the gossip. YES, THE UTEFANS AD SPACE WAS TRADED TODAY!

I want to thank those who have followed the The Great GREEN PAPERCLIP Adventure from the beginning paperclip blog entry, some 19 days ago now. Today, I finalized negotiations with Toy Share, a Draper Utah company which runs a recreational vehicles time share operation. In exchange for the Ad Space, they hooked me up with a premium membership and a boatload of credits– a $2,000 value. Life is good!

As I mentioned yesterday, the trading does end on Wednesday, October 25th, at 6:00pm. I’m holding out for one final trade. Troy Larson, I’m talking to you! I’ll keep the rest of you posted!

YES! the MBA experiment is still on! But time is running out!

Like I mentioned in the Original Paperclip blog entry , the The Great GREEN PAPERCLIP Adventure has a time limit.

The trading ends on Wednesday, October 25th, at 6:00pm. Still for trade is the Prime Advertising Space on the UteFans.net website.

Here’s the green paperclip trading form.

So, Adam got word that the Hare Krishnas (full name: Krishna Consciousness Society), which is a genuine Hindu sect with a temple in Spanish Fork, were throwing a shindig open to the public. The Krishnas have emerged from a shadowy past (as a Brainwashing Cult of Hippies who did a lot of Airport Begging) into the mainstream, so naturally, we were curious to see what they were up to. (Ironically, Adam didn’t come along.)

We arrived at said temple where we immediately noticed that I, dressed in western attire (shorts and a tee-shirt), stuck out. As luck would have it, the Kristnas operate a small gift shop and sell, besides incense and golden elephant idols, Indian clothes. Quickly, I picked out a smart looking blue Kurta and a pair of loose fitting, orange striped churidar pants. Having donned this disguisement, I melted into the crowd.

Or maybe not so much. Still, it was fun to wear orange pants.

I found out that our Spanish Fork brothers are just like Mormons; they “are prohibited from eating meat, gambling, intoxication and sex outside marriage.” Except that Mormons are allowed to eat meat. ’cause, hello!, meat tastes good. When’s the last time you’ve had the fillet mignon at Black Angus? Simply amazing.

Speaking of food, for six dollars we scored a vegetarian buffet fare of chopped lettuce, tofu, beans and peanuts. The Spartan meal was washed down by a cup of Kool-Aid and topped by a double helping of instant pudding. The pudding, by the way, was good.

And then the drum beating and chanting began. It’s easy to pick up, because the lyrics are simple*, but after ten minutes, it gets a little old.

And then came the dancing lady. The dancing was beautiful and I enjoyed it a lot. In between costume changes, we were treated to something of a road show act consisting of a tacky, didactic, lip-synced Count Dracula story (with undertones of pedophilia). Fortunately, the dancing lady reappeared shortly and calmed our nerves with another fine performance.

And then came the cows. Three of them. Right up the elevator and into the main hall. Miniature cows with odd humps. The guy said that everyone who eats beef might likely be reincarnated as a cow for punishment. The cows were paraded around in the building and they peed all over the floor. Someone stepped in the pee. Can you guess who? We were encouraged to dip our hands into red paint and make hand prints on their hides. (Which I did). The cows, holy or not, smelled bad.

There was more. Candles, more chants. Dancing with sticks. You should have been there. Several hundred of you were. Perhaps you saw me in my orange pants. Pretty dapper wasn’t I?

Dancing Clip 1 & Dancing Clip 2

* The Chant
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Click the image for the complete gallery

Several hundred of you have visited The Great GREEN PAPERCLIP Adventure site and have looked over the five current trades. Some of you have wondered just how much the current item, Premium Web Ad Space on UteFans.net, is really worth. A fervent consumer advocate, I decided to do a little research.

Those in Utah know that BYU is the University of Utah’s main rival. Utefans.net is to the University of Utah as the cougarboard.com is to BYU. In fact, their traffic statistics look just about identical. (To be perfectly honest, utefans.net gets a bit more usage than cougarboard.com does…) I called up the company which manages the advertising for cougarboard.com and asked what a banner ad would cost. They said it would run about a thousand dollars a month. With October coming to an end soon, that makes the value of the adspace of the equivalent UteFans.net $2,000.00.

But, we need to trade it soon! Every day that goes by decreases its value. Will you help spread the word, because we need everyone’s help to make this monumental!

(This is my 200th blog post, BTW)

In my first post on Utah MLMs, I briefly mentioned TeamBuilders, a Utah firm that kindly relieves unwary people of their excess cash while helping them become more entwined with Quixtar.

Clearly my words annoyed people because I’ve already received hate mail from some of the brainwashed Teambuilder halfwits. One accused me of being jealous of the MLM’s success, another claimed I said bad things about the Ledbetters, and a third called me a loner. Talk about cutting me to the core! In the spirit of full disclosure, it’s no secret that Lennon Ledbetter has a big house. Then again, so did Enron exec Kenneth Lay.

Never one to back down from intellectual conflict, particularly when the opposition is unarmed, I’ll continue in my coverage of Utah MLM trickery, deception and corruption. Stay Tuned!

Utah is *supposedly* number one in:

Utah is *reportedly* dead last in:

  • families headed by a single parent,
  • births to unwed mothers,
  • spending per student in public schools and
  • alcohol consumption per capita.

Antidepressant Study (Thanks Kristen!)
The study was conducted by Express Scripts Inc., a St. Louis-based
pharmacy benefits management company, which tracked prescriptions of 24
drug types in about 2 million people selected at random from its 48
million members. Those studied were enrolled in privately managed
health-care programs, and the information gleaned from the study is
intended for use by HMOs. Medicare and Medicaid recipients were not
included in the study.

Utah also leads the nation in the use of narcotic painkillers such as
codeine and morphine-based drugs, the study found, and is ranked seventh
in total prescriptions overall. Kentucky ranked first.

Thanks Dan Hersam

Poor Taste Joke Deleted

Update: um, the word “crazy” doesn’t always mean “bad”, people. I’m happy to live in Utah. This post was not meant to rag on Utahans or to complain how much Utah sucks. To the contrary, I was relating how we are, indeed, not your average Joes. Ya know?

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