Friday, September 23, 2016

M&Ms, Skittles and Poison

Exactly where are you "importing" these M&Ms?
There has been a lot of reverse analysis on these Skittles/M&Ms analogies, and generally I enjoy them.  Overall, I think they miss several points.  The first, of course, is a hasty generalization fallacy.  These memes are citing 1% or 10% or sometimes even 20% as “poisoned” for which, of course, there is no substance of support.  It’s also reflective a general xenophobia that has pervaded thinking for some time, but which has very little basis in reality.  Further, if we’re to believe these memes, then the incidence of “poison” would be immediately obvious from the start, and practically pervasive given that we’re now five years into the Syrian conflict.

But the real response here is we’re not talking about poison pills, we’re talking about 13.5 million human beings.

Fathers, mothers, children and innocents who have fled the violence of their country and are in need of assistance.  They didn’t want to leave.  Most of them would never have left in the first place.  Would youwant to leave your home?  They had no other choice because their government is more interested in maintaining power throughcampaigns of indiscriminate violence than it is in taking care of its people.  More than that, though, any nation that believes itself to uphold moral integrity and human rights, any nation that claims to be Christian and based on Christ-like ideals, any nation that wants to be "great again" should be willing to do everything in its power to prove to the world that we act in the same way as we chant our beliefs from political stages and preach from our pulpits.

Or, to put it more simply, we have nothing to fear from Skittles, M&Ms or stupid analogies but fear itself.  That’s exactly what these memes are designed to generate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wasatch Springs Plunge

Yes, of the whole state of Utah!
Years ago, my father was in interior demolition and construction.  I don’t remember a lot of construction, but as a young child, I do remember the demolition—especially since I got to “help” on some of the sites.  This was probably meant to keep me busy, and focus some of my extra energy, but I always found it really interesting.  My parents probably remember me complaining about it, but they’re wrong.

Like the time I removed the molding from shelves at the back of a shoe store.  For whatever reason, there was a treasure-trove of pens and pencils hidden behind that molding, and I was allowed to keep whatever I found!  Later, fairies came and took the pens and pencils back to their evil lairs, but that’s just the nature of fairies.  There’s no accounting for them.

One particular site that my father worked on which I remember reasonably well was the Children’s Museum of Utah.  The site for this was an old hot springs spa in North Salt Lake called the Wasatch Springs Plunge.  I recently discovered that the Children’s Museum (at least this one) moved to the Gateway center in downtown Salt Lake City in 2006.  But from 1983 to 2003, the museum was housed at the old Wasatch Springs. 

This is especially memorable to me for two reasons.  First, I had just read about the Giant’s Causeway in some book with illustrations of the hexagonal basalt columns created by volcanic heat.  Second, I stood at the bottom of one of the old pools which had small hexagonal tiles.  I equated the two and thought that the hot springs had, somehow, been shaped in the same way as the Giant’s Causeway.  The regular, uniform shape didn’t throw me for a moment.  Many of the tiles had been popped, and I was allowed to collect them.

I’m sure my parents thought I was nuts, but I kept them like some kind of found treasure for many years.  I don’t know exactly what happened to them, but I have my guess that those fairies that infested our house probably took them away.

Either way, I came across an article today on the Wasatch Springs Plunge, which provided a thumbnail sketch of the building and site history.  It was a nice trip.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Books Worth Your Bucks

I’ll be participating in the “Books Worth Your Bucks” blog tour.  The focus is on sharing indie authors and books, those who are making the grade on their own efforts, and some traditionally published authors and books as well.

If I'd known that I could get so many great books, for free, just from becoming a published author, I would have tried to do it years and years ago.  Of course, dwelling in darkness and obscurity certainly has its upside.  I'm not certain what that upside is, but I'm told it's there.

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Canada Twitter Profile

The following is the actual profile of someone who followed me on Twitter and PMd me to “Please follow back.” 

Hello Guys, i am associated with a business for many years in the Canada. Contact me for any finance and loans related queries.

Loans?  Finance!?  Sign me up!

The last time a McCandless received an offer like this from "the Canada" my grandfather was taken for about $70k.  But, like the song says, "Oh, the Canada, we're associated with 'a business' for many years!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Amazing Last McCandless Moving Adventure

BOOM—goes the tire!
Over the years, my father has had some amazing “adventures” when travelling or moving.  One story will illustrate this better than explaining all the “adventures” I went through just this past weekend while trying to help move my parents from Las Vegas, across the Mojave Desert to Southern California.  This is a trip that included an overheated ’56 Chevy 6400, an overnight stay in Baker, California

It was easily over 104 F (40 C) when I had to call AAA.  I was a little over 10 miles out from the Baker, which sits at the bottom of a desert valley and boasts the world’s tallestthermometer.  Baker is also the gateway to Death Valley, so yeah, it’s hot.  Damn, damn hot.  I’d blown one of four trailer tires and I saw that a second tire had lost all its tread—the steel wires gleamed silver in the midday sun.  The AAA guy was filling out the paperwork, and taking down my name when he stopped me:

“Are you,” he started to ask, then hesitated.  “Are you related to—”

Now, it’s important here to note that I thought he was going to ask if I was related to Bob McCandless.  Not because my father is world or region famous, but rather because my family, and specifically my dad, can drive from Southern California, through Nevada and up to Salt Lake City, Utah (and beyond) and tell a story about how he broke down, and subsequently fixed and/or was towed, from almost every desolate and deserted off-ramp to nowhere.

The "Bob" in his natural environment.
So, when the AAA guy hesitated over my name, I thought for certain he’d had a run-in with my father.  Those are reasonably memorable, even for just the day-to-day kind of thing, let alone the “adventures” which include losing two tires and two spares within the space of a half-mile (yes, that happened).  That my dad, at 76+ is still walking around with all his original limbs, is a testament to a) how tough he is (John Wayne-tough) and b) how capable he's been at managing these kinds of crises.

I haven’t picked up all my dad’s tips and tricks, and in a lot of ways I don’t want to.  Dad has the capacity to absorb hardship and suffering—like lying under a two-ton truck in 100 degree-plus heat for four hours to remove, repair and replace a punctured oil pan (yes, that happened)—that I simply have no desire to endure.  I can do it, but I have to complain about it.  I much prefer to all in the experts, pay them for their time, and go on my merry.  Or better still, pay extra for vehicles and equipment so that I don’t have to repair it at all.

But not Dad.  There wasn’t an old piece of rusting equipment that he couldn’t get up and running with a 9/16th wrench, a pair of pliers and his pocket knife.

But the AAA guy wasn’t going to ask if I was related to Bob McCandless.

“—McCandless International?” he finished.  That’s a big, commercial truck dealer.

I’m not related to them.  Nope.

But I am related to Bob McCandless.  He's my dad.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Trailer and Title Announcement!

The wonderfully talented and incredibly patient Elizabeth Abel pulled together the following trailer for the Flames of Perdition series.  This includes a little bonus, as the title of the next book appears in the trailer.

Please enjoy, like, share, tweet, forward, and whatnot (especially the whatnot).

What did you think?