Monday, August 07, 2017


When you see such an image, you must be thinking of some specific word, in your mind.

What is that word?  Have it fixed in your mind. Now, tell me, how is that word pronounced?

For me, the word is M.O.U.N.T.A.I.N.  But for a distressingly growing number of the local populace, it seems to be pronounced something more like "mou-un".  I've been trying to imagine where the traditional middle part of the word got lost.

How does this mysterious evolution of language take place?  Who started it?

I fully recognize that the actual spelling of the word, M.O.U.N.T.A.I.N., has never in my recollection been strictly related to how we actually pronounce it.  But I was always of the impression that the mangling we do is fairly unanimous, and we have some consensus, about how to say this and most other words.

It appears that my impression was mistaken.  Not only do words change meaning, right before our eyes, but they also sound different.  I feel somehow let down by all of this.  Like an article of faith that I cling to has been callously violated, with some impunity.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pioneer Tribute

Faith in Every Footstep

In Utah we have parades and fireworks to celebrate the arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.

Many of my ancestors were among those who trekked here from Winter Quarters in 1847 and after.   The Cobabe ancestor FFL Cobabe joined the Church in Copenhagen 12 Oct 1862, and immigrated to Utah in 1864.  He and his family arrived in Salt Lake City on 15 Sept 1864 with the William B. Preston Company and a group of LDS converts from Scandinavia.  More of his story here.

We have all been pioneers in our own life, finding our own way.  My sisters Mary and Kathy helped the handcarts roll into Temple Square, around 1970.

My sister Beth was born on Pioneer Day.  Her birthday celebration is rather lively.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Ham Radio - more mixed signals

Just noting a slight grammatical inconsistency.

In recent HAM radio dialog, the term "destinated" has come into common usage.  While the term is not grammatically correct, the meaning is unambiguous.  It means "I have arrived at my destination and will not be talking to you any more, so let's say farewell now."  This is a good deal of useful information to deliver in a compact and economical package.

In order to implement consistent habits, I propose that all such terms be treated with equal grammatical mangling.  One of the frequent terms I hear on the air is the awkward "mobile and monitoring".  It might as well be shortened to "mobilated", with the same "-ated" suffix as the previously noted term.

I was imagining this kind of grammatical foreshortening applying to all such phrases, but some come across as too arcane or obscure.  I occasionally employ the popular term "kerchunk" which is coined in aonomatopoeia, a word that phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the sound that it describes.  In this case, the radio repeater makes a noise at the end of a PTT transmission, a "kerchunk" which lets listeners know that it is their turn next.  This is needed since FM dialog on radio repeaters is "simplex", only one speaker at a time.

Anyway, absent further esoterica, the term "kerchunkated" is far too awkward and cumbersome to be useful as a shorthand term.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Telling the Truth

It matters not that we manufacture endless categories of nuance.  Fifty shades of gray is still not white.  Darkness is the absence of light.  Wrong is never right.

Whatever you decide to call the dog's tail, it will never be a leg.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cultural Choices

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve...

If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Early Flooding 2017

The first major flooding incidents in Utah Valley are purely man-made.

The gates of the seldom-used spillway at Deer Creek Reservoir were opened.

KSL reports on warnings from the NWS about release of excess water from Deer Creek Reservoir into the Provo River.

In order to provide better control for spring runoff, the water management administrators decided to allow excess flow from Deer Creek Reservoir now.  The spillway and dam hydro facilities were opened to bleed off some of the totally full reserves.


Over the weekend, this resulted in flooding all along the Provo River down to Utah Lake.


Water roaring over the weir at the collection dam near Nunn's Park.

The popular riverside trail through Provo Canyon was later closed as parts of the pavement was undercut by the river current and fell into the rushing waters.

Deseret News article on the canyon trail closure.  SLTrib also mentions.

If this is the full extent of flood damage, residents of Utah County have dodged the bullet.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Utah Snowpack 2017 - 3 May Edition

Utah snow pack in our mountains has peaked and is beginning the season runoff.  As the snow melts down from the highest mountains, some of the snow totals indicated by Snotel monitoring are still quite deep.

Mammoth-Cottonwood, my reference point.  This graph plots Snow Water Equivalent and Precipitation Accumulation for 2017 and 2016. Although significant snow melt has already taken place this spring, the remaining accumulation is still about even with the total from last year. Within the past couple of weeks, the precipitation accumulation has continued a steep climb.

The most recent view of snow and water at Gardner Peak in the southwest corner of Utah shows snow melt tapering off, and precipitation totals comparable with last year at this time.

At Mammoth Pass in California, the melt of the immense snow pack from this season is just showing early signs.  It is likely to challenge local flood control resource beyond limit.

And again, for scale, Ben Lomond Peak in northern Utah has started early runoff, but still holds enormous potential.

Watch out, it's on the way!

More commentary from Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Being Different

What's wrong with being different?

Perhaps it depends on your reason for being different.  Or for being the same.

For many, lacking any rationale other than different for the sake of being rebellious, there is no real justification.  And if you are the one sticking your neck out, you risk having your head chopped off.

Following rules and conforming to norms is not a bad thing.  But being different as a way to show off may lead to adverse consequence.  As long as we have confidence that doing something different is the result of a wise decision, it will probably serve us well.

There are sometimes problematic circumstances when being different is not altogether a choice.

An example from an earlier post...

A few years ago, when I was more able, I was hiking cross-country from the east side of US 89, out across the pinnacles area, through the Buggy Wheel Springs access. See the Birdseye comment for more detail about that area. Anyway, as I approached the pinnacles from the west, I was watching the elk. I stayed far enough away that I did not think I would spook the herd, but they obviously spotted me moving in  the scrub, and started browsing away. Suddenly I noticed a WHITE animal, far on the outskirts of the herd. It was a very large herd at the time, several hundred animals, more than I could reliably count heads with my field glasses, because they were moving. But the one animal was so obviously WHITE from top to bottom that he stood out starkly in contrast to the others.

Apparently, he was albino. I watched until they browsed across the ridge and I could no longer see them.

One of the most remarkable things I noted while watching the herd was that they seemed to shun the albino member. He stayed on the outskirts of the grazing area, and the other animals shoved him or shouldered him away when he attempted to graze into the area where they were browsing. I didn't watch long enough to make any real conclusions or studies other than casual observation, but if I was making a guess, I would say that the other animals of the herd discriminated against this white colored animal because he was superficially different from them.

Draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Utah Snowpack 2017 - 1 April Edition

Utah Snowpack in our mountains continues to pile on as the season nears closing.  Some of the snow totals indicated by Snotel monitoring are quite prodigious.

The Mammoth-Cottonwood monitoring site on the Sanpete Skyline has been my reference point since I lived near there, starting 15 years ago.  This graph plots Snow Water Equivalent and Precipitation Accumulation for 2017 and 1016.  Indication is that although significant snow melt has already started this spring, the accumulation amounts to about twice as much as last year at this time. A spring melting trend started about mid-March, but was then halted in the last week of March with an upward trend from new spring snow.  More than two feet of snow water equivalent remains to run off.  The steep rise of precipitation accumulation continues as it compares with last year's data.

This comparative graph from the South West corner of Utah shows tracking for Gardner Peak, which is still significantly ahead of last year's accumulations, but not by much.  There has always been a great deal of local variation across the State of Utah.

This awesome plot compares Snow Water Equivalent from the Mammoth Pass area of central California.  Every indication is that California with simply wash into the ocean with the spring runoff, which has not even commenced at this location.  The Snow Water Equivalent is more than twice the maximum from last year, and shows no sign of slacking off yet this year.  The current snow pack will yield more than six FEET of water when it melts.

We are not embarrassed by the huge snowfall accumulation in California.  In the Utah mountains north of Ogden, the station on Ben Lomond accumulated some of the highest totals.  An early meltdown reduced the total somewhat, but it still shows an enormous runoff potential, nearly as great as the California snow pack.

Get ready, 'cause here it comes!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ham Radio - mixed signals

Some time around 2004 I started to get involved in volunteer public service.  I joined the Indianola Volunteer Fire Department, and started training with the group to certify as a wildland fire fighter.  As things progressed, we expanded the scope of our training to include certification for structure fires.  Before that, any calls for such services were dispatched from Fairview, which was a long trip for a slow fire engine.  Most fire calls in the area, they arrived too late to do much but manage the bonfire.

As things developed, I encountered a need in our group for someone who could install and learn how to operate the radios used by our engines to communicate with the Sanpete County dispatch.  I started learning about radios.  Some of the experienced Ham Radio operators in Sanpete sponsored training class to qualify for Amateur Radio licenses, and I took the course, and passed the exam.  I got plenty of good help from guys like Barry Bradley, WB7REL.  And my friend Spencer, W7SUR.

I got more involved in installing radio equipment in our fire engines, and played with the Ham Radio.

Then in 2008, I experienced a debilitating stroke, and was challenged with difficulty talking.  I could no longer speak clearly or rapidly, and experienced some exasperating difficulty speaking many of the words I was accustomed to using.  In other words, with the chronic health condition known as "aphasia", I felt like I sounded like a total retard.

I soon realized that Ham Radio operators had a speech pattern on the radio that assumed everyone could communicate rapidly and clearly.  All the best conversations on the air are snappy and quick.  Some of the nature of speaking on the radio made this necessary and practical.  I could no longer comfortably communicate in that mode.  Sadly, I hung up my fire fighting gear and my radios, and resigned myself face remaining life as a cripple.

After almost ten years in this debilitated condition, and getting past many other daunting health challenges, I realized that I have no idea if my life is done, or when it will be.  Doctors are doing their best to keep me breathing and above ground.  I need things to keep myself busy.  I need another hobby to occupy myself.  One of my friends gave some information about starting a new Ham Radio club in Utah Valley, and I decided to shake the dust bunnies out of my old radios, and try them out again.


Well, I gave it a try.  After a brief trial, I realized that I face the same old challenges as when I abandoned the radios the first time.  I can still approach some level of technical proficiency, but not enough to compensate.  I will never be comfortable about trying to project a radio presence with such a self-conscious awareness of my chronic handicap.  

After some effort and expense, I have decided that my shelf of radios are good for listening to.  But I will never be happy about the way I talk.  And I can never hope to compete with the normal operators of FM Ham radio.

After somewhat abortive attempt to reenter the Ham Radio universe, I have discovered that I self-identify as a permanent self-absorbed reclusive hermit - which is conveniently packaged together with chronic debilitating disease.  I am just not a club personality, and it makes my attempts to break in look rather intrusive and ridiculous, and sometimes slightly unsettling to others.

I am not abandoning friends and neighbors in the community, and am still monitoring traffic on the 2m and 70cm bands with avid interest. Just don't feel much like talking, and not suitably mobile or healthy to attend face-to-face meetings.

From time to time I try to raise a conversation on the air, but mostly I will just be listening. Nothing personal against anyone. Just the way I roll, and too much old geezer in me to change at this point.

I will still maintain my radio gear in a state of readiness.  In that rare event where communication needs outweigh my personal challenges, I will try to be ready.  In the mean time, I will mostly remain a silent key.  Where I belong.  KE7GWJ.  -.- . --... --. .-- .---  ... -.-... -.-... -.-.