Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Organic Food Is A Scam

Don't believe me? Check out this study published in Reuters, today.

(This is the part where I criticize people who don't know what the hell they're talking about while only pretending to know what the hell I'm talking about. Note my complete lack of nutritional credentials and absence of any sited sources for my many claims. Good thing this is just some jaggoff shooting his mouth on a crappy blog and not an academic publishing.)

There is no nutritional advantage in paying significantly more money for the exact same food. Fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy. All of the thousands of food products under those categories also offer organic alternatives that cost a lot more. It is branding, pure and simple. By charging more, they create the illusion of superior quality. And like other similar products, the actual advantages of paying more is negligible at best.

Buying organic food is not evidence that you are more intelligent or more informed than the average consumer. It illustrates that you are gullible. Fertilizer, pesticides, growth hormones and whatever else farmers use to produce a high yield crop do not harm people one bit. And the absence of these things do not provide any nutritional advantage at all. But people don't spend more money on a commodity, that is universally available for much less money, unless they think they are smarter than the fools who buy conventionally grown food.

"Sure, I could pay a buck a pound for those giant, flavorful, red bell peppers. Or I could pay a buck seventy five a pound for the much smaller, wilty looking peppers next to them with the green 'organic' label. Evil corporate farms are poisoning our children with their chemicals and pesticides to make more money. Oprah said that growth hormones fed to dairy cows result in earlier puberty in children,type 2 diabetes and autism. So I'm going to pay more for less, because I know the truth. Everyone else is stupid but me."

Now, there are other reasons people buy organic food besides egotistical placebos. Some will claim organic food tastes better. I would suggest that by paying more, people convince themselves of any difference in quality. But organic food is usually grown closer to the place it is sold, so it reasons that will more likely be more fresh. That's fair. But you can still buy local, and therefore fresher and cheaper, produce in season. It doesn't need to be organic to be fresh.

There is a case to be made that synthetic fertilizer production results in a destructive cost on the environment. Most of those fertilizers are mined from quarries and result in significant damage to the natural state of the earth in that particular location. Many people choose to not indirectly support this practice by paying more money for food grown with compost. If that kind of symbolism is important to you, fine. But you should also avoid using anything made with concrete, asphalt or gravel, (you know, every building and road in existence) since those things are also products of planet raping quarries.

Eating organic food, driving a Prius, wiping your butt with recycled toilet paper. Whatever superficial lifestyle choice you make to convince yourself that you are not a environmentally destructive consumer, it all boils down to a snobbish transference of guilt. You're not making any kind of actual difference. You're just convincing yourself of an imagined personal superiority.

Perhaps you want to support small, family owned farms. I'm all for this. I frequent Salt Lake's Farmer's market. Currently I have a dozen ears of Utah corn in my fridge I bought from a roadside vendor. It may be organic. I really don't know. That's not why I buy it. I buy it because it's fresh, local, delicious and cheap.

The family farm in this country is something that is quickly dying out. Over the past couple of decades production methods have become more efficient and food prices have dropped. This is good for consumers and good for large scale farms that can afford the capital. But it costs more and more to stay in the game and more often than not, family farms can't afford to do it. So do you know what most of these small farms do to stay afloat? The maximize their production. Traditional fertilizers are cheap as hell when compared to compost. And considering the yield that results from them, it's far more lucrative to go the traditional route as opposed to organic. Most organic food is produced by the giant corporate farms who employ migrant labor at slave wages because it's the only way it can be produced on a large scale for a profit.

You want to support the small farmer? Buy the fertilized, hormone infused cheap stuff.

In the spirit of the Reuter's article, here is a clip from Penn and Teller's show, "Bullshit". Now, I usually don't take my political thought from "Illusionists!". But I do think this clip is pretty funny.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Too Many Dicks On The Dance Floor!"

Conchords rule.

I've never been accused of being bashful. Crassness isn't just an accidental side effect of this blog, but it often seems to be my objective. When compared to most snarky, asshole blogs out there, I think I keep it pretty tame. But I still cross reasonable lines of decency on a fairly regular basis. This post is one of those times. Just a fair warning, before you proceed. I'd also like to preemptively apologize to my mom, who is a regular reader of this blog. This post is in no way a reflection of her failure to raise me right. She did a fine job. It appears that I am what I am regardless of my many positive influences. She's such a nice lady. (Hangs head in shame.)

With that out of the way:

I Redboxed "Watchmen" last night. I figured it was at least worth a buck, based entirely on the trailer that was released a year ago. The one with the cool Smashing Pumpkins song in it. I was right. It was worth about a buck. However, it was not worth two and half hours of my damn life to find out that world peace can only be achieved after a nuclear apocalypse intentionally propagated by really lame Superheroes. Also, how did all the other Watchmen besides Dr Manhattan get their powers? Did they even have powers? Or could they just fight really well while wearing masks?Considering it took two and half hours, the movie didn't really tell the story very well. How is the smartest man on earth also the fastest? What's the connection? Aren't they wasting two powers on one guy? What exactly did The Comedian do? Other than rape and kill people? He didn't even crack jokes. He was just an asshole. And here's the real question I want answered:


Why is it that I must subjected to a blue dong wagging in my face? What is the correlation between receiving godlike powers from a nuclear experiment gone bad (that's not a cliche) and deciding to walk around with your blue dick flippin and floppin all over the place? And he wasn't even naked all the time. Sometimes he sported a loin cloth, and sometimes it was the full monty with no apparent explanation as to why. I'm not a prude. I just would like some sort of reason and consistency behind casual displays of schlong.

Not only that, but they didn't throw out one "blue balls" joke the whole movie. Come on! The man's balls are actually blue! There was a scene where he was getting it on with that one chick who didn't seem to have any powers but was a Superhero anyway (I know that doesn't narrow it down) and she walks out in the middle of it. A blue, naked man gets cut off mid bang and neither of them make a blue balls reference? What a waste.

I bring this up because I feel the need to address a disturbing trend in movies over the last two years, or so. The comedic use of penis shots. Granted, there's nothing comedic about Dr Manhattan. That was nudity designed to scream how sophisticated this comic boo. . . I mean, graphic novel adaptation was. It didn't work. But the weener humor slapstick or "slapsdick" (eh?) has reached epidemic levels. It started with "Borat". Since then it has been prominent in the following movies; "Walk Hard", "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", "The Hangover","Superbad"(I'm counting the drawings.), "Observe and Report" (I've never hated a movie more in my life) and I haven't seen "Bruno" yet but I'm sure it has a ding dong or two. Most of those have come out in the last year or so. And those are just the ones off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more.

This new gimmick is something that must end.

This is a trend that is very new. Sure there was a quick shot of a weener in "Fight Club" ten years ago. And "Trainspotting" featured Obi Wan Kenobe's crooked, Scottish Johnson. Other than that, I can't think of another movie I've seen, pre 2007, that featured a wang. I guess "Boogie Nights" had a fake one. "Brokeback Mountain" had exactly zero dick shots. I bet quite a few gay dudes walked out of that movie feeling ripped off. Now, I'm not complaining, here. But if ever there was a movie that would feature male nudity that is organic within the storyline, a love story between two butt stabbing cowboys seems to fit the bill. Hell, "The Full Monty" was an entire movie about dudes flashing their junk and there mercifully wasn't any visible franks and or beans in the whole film.

Now look, I certainly have an appreciation for the juvenile humor that is implicit within surprising displays of cock n balls. This is due to the following principle of comedy: Men think random, naked penises are funny. Women think random, naked penises are gross. And grossing out girls is the first thing boys learn to do. The name itself makes most people giggle. Any name. Go ahead, make a list. I'm not going to bother. But whether it's the technical terms, the childish euphemisms, the gross out names, it doesn't matter. They're all kinda funny. The very site of a package is funny. Hell, I was publicly naked so much back in the day, that if my jimmy committed a bank robbery in 1996, most people I went to High School with would be able to accurately pick it out of an all ding a ling line-up.

Tell me you didn't laugh your head off when you saw this. Why did you laugh? Because surprise dongs are funny. That's why.

The same is not true for women. The use of male nudity in movies is usually comedic (it tries to be, anyway) but it is always non sexual. At least the frontal is non sexual. You'll occationally be subject to some guy butt in a love scene. But female nudity in movies is always sexual. It can still be funny ("Airplane" comes to mind.) but it's fundamentally sexual. Maybe it's my own repressed horniness speaking, but I'd say that's generally true. The reality of male genitalia is hilarious. It looks like a googly eyed crocodile. But female genitalia is a mysterious combination of being absolutely awesome and kinda disgusting. It really is an enigma. A compelling enigma. . . . (pause) . . . . Sorry, lost my train of thought, there. Likewise, names for the vagina are seldom funny. Again, feel free to make a list. They range from being overtly sexual to vulgar and insulting.

Now I'm sure someone out there would love to point out the misogynist undertones of that previous paragraph. Go right ahead, ya dumb bitch. But the fact remains that tallywackers are funny and cooters are not. That's why 90% of streakers are men and 90% of strippers are women. One assaults you with their naked junk. The other teases you with the possibility of it.

Men are inherently aware of this. We cultivate a buddy buddy relationship with our One Eyed Willies early on. We give them funny names and then tell other guys those names. A few examples include John Jr, Han Solo, Optimus Prime, The Fireman, Bruce Banner (which turns into the Incredible Hulk) and my personal favorite, Stanly. I don't know why, but Stanly just works. Guys have a large assortment of dick tricks, that we all independently figure out by about age 15. There's The Batwing, The Chicken Leg, The Wrist Watch,The Clapper, The Cobra, The Sunrise, The Fruit Basket, The Mangina, The Larriot, The Trampoline, The Brain, The Fuzzy Chewing Gum, The Balloon, The Catapult (that one requires a bath tub and an erection), The Smashed Rat, The Snuffalupagous to name a very few. (I don't know why I capitalized every one of those. As far as I know, dick tricks are not proper nouns. But I'm not changing it.) Now before you start harassing me with accusations of homosexuality, let me make clear that this practice is both universal (guys, back me up) and totally non sexual. It is purely an exercise in gross out immaturity.

You think I protest too much?

To illustrate that point, let me venture this guess. Every guy that read that last paragraph laughed out loud at least once. Maybe not. Maybe I'm just flattering myself. But I am sure this much is true. I just forever disgusted the hell out of every single woman who reads this blog. They may have laughed too. But they were far more offended. And no one, absolutely no one, male or female, got aroused. See? There's nothing sexual about it.

I have nothing against shock value (clearly). But with all the male full frontal we've gotten the last few years, it's to the point where it isn't shocking anymore. It's just lazy. In "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", Jason Segal drops a towel while he's getting dumped and cries while naked. The penis just wasn't funny. It got a reaction. But it just wasn't any funnier with it than it would have been without it. I am a big fan of Jason Segal. His characters in Undeclared (hilarious) and Freaks and Geeks (painful and hilarious) were the funniest parts of those two shows. And since he wrote the Sarah Marshall movie, I was rooting for him. I wanted it to be hilarious. But it wasn't. It wasn't even that funny. And the unprovoked dick shot didn't help the cause. In fact it seemed desperate. "Please laugh! Oh please! I'll do anything to make you laugh!"

So Hollywood, it's time to dial it back on the schlong shots. It's played out. Unless it's a scene involving a naked guy tap dancing. Because that's always funny.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Misinformed Sanctimony Is Always Funny

Many would apply the term "misinformed sanctimony" to my crappy blog. I wouldn't disagree. But while I'm posting junk off the web, I figured I'd throw this one up on the old blog as well.

It's one thing to be pious with one's outrage with mankind's disregard for the earth (always annoying no matter how accurate you may or may not be). But it's quite another to combine that self righteousness with a hilarious level of stupidity. I laughed very loudly for a long time when I saw this. (Props to Jake for posting it on Facebook.)

It's fun to try to put a face with the voice. I'm picturing an angry, lonely, fat woman wearing stretch pants and a XXXL T shirt with a cat on it . If her life were ever portrayed in film, she would be played by Camryn Manheim. Let's break down her rant. Just for fun.

- "What the heck is in our water supply, what the heck is in our oxygen supply . . . of the metallic oxide salts that create a rainbow effect in a sprinkler?" Damn industrial pollution, infecting our sprinklers with rainbows. Man, lady. You sure know your science. Metallic, oxide salts? She isn't just full of horse shit, she's very specific in her horse shit. She sounds like Calvin's dad explaining the sunset. (Absolute classic!) I would have liked it more if she had actually made up some words in her explanation. "The phosphoraic tanins in the grass have been compromised by the acidoxation of the hydrolium in the atmosphere." And she neglected to state that it is really the work of the nefarious "Gay Agenda", infiltrating the sanctity of our backyards with their perverted symbolism.

- "Not just around our sun and our moon anymore. . ." When in the hell has there ever been a rainbow around a moon? Lady, are you mistaking reality for your Trapper Keeper cover from second grade? I'm not judging you. I think unicorns are really neat.

- "The visible spectrum . . . is rainbows. This cannot be natural." Right now, Isaac Newton is in heaven either shaking his head in disgust or laughing his ass off at the California education system. Apparently our friend here is not familiar with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon record.

- "We all know it wasn't something that happened twenty years ago." As someone who spent his childhood in the 80's (twenty years ago), I can attest that as I slide down my "Crocodile Mile" (way better than Slip N Splash) I indeed noticed refracted light in the water mist and sunlight. I guess pollution has always been around. Damn corporations.

Also, this is my favorite asshole argument technique. To site a universally accepted truth that happens to be complete bull. "We all know that Ralph Machio wasn't in The Karate Kid. It's a universally accepted fact." "Everyone knows that man's brain is bigger than a woman's. It's science." To be able to sound arrogant and dumb as a hell all at once is quite the accomplishment. I'm proud to say, I pull it off regularly here on the old blog.

- "We as a nation have got to ask ourselves, 'what the hell is going on'". Damn you, America! (Shakes fist at sky.) Damn you and your oblivious, stupid citizens who aren't even aware of what is oozing out of our ground! We are ruining the earth and no one cares.

There are few things more hilaritating (Hilarious and irritating. Everyone knows it's a real word, so no need to look it up.) than someone who is insulting in their indignation and at the same time is clearly wrong. (Take your pick.) Let me set up a quick example. A few years ago, I was engaged in a discussion about politics and religion with a coworker. Always a dicey activity. Both are subjects of passion and ones with which most people don't like to compromise. And "coworker conversations" are a little like "in-law conversations". You're not necessarily friends but it's important that you are able to coexist. So no matter how strong the disagreement may be, you really can't afford to burn any bridges.

Anyway, in the course of our conversation, I used the word "stupider". I don't remember the context. My smug friend then smiled, as if he had just put my king into check mate. "You know, 'stupider' isn't even a word. It's 'more stupid'. Actually, the fact that you used the term 'stupider' in an effort to display your own intelligence is the definition of irony." He then proudly walked off with a shit eating grin on his face.

Let me set this straight for any snotty English majors out there with some need to validate their degree. "Stupider" is absolutely a correct word. One that is completely acceptable to use in any context. It's one thing to be uninformed. It's something different all together to be misinformed.

Certainly such pompous, pseudo intellectualism applies to our fat friend who is wearing my imaginary cat T shirt.

Nothing is stupider than that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Self Ordained Professors

I love my Bob Dylan. I realize that it sounds creepy, pathetic and little bit gay to stick that possessive pronoun in there. But when you spend the better part of a decade exploring an ocean of music, taking the time and effort to fully digest the well known classics while on the constant search for bootlegged gems, you get to call that music your own.

For the record, I am referring to his music. I really don't care all that much about the man himself. In most interviews I've seen, he comes off as a pretty big asshole. That doesn't hurt my feelings. Would you really want to have lunch with Faulkner? Just enjoy his work.

And I love the work of Dylan.

I love the "spokesman for a generation, Freewheelin" days. I love the "plug in and piss everyone off" days. I love the "country crooner with the weird voice" days. I love the "Blood on the Tracks" days. I moderately enjoy parts of the "Born Again" days. I like about one or two songs per album of the "it's the 80's and everyone else also sucks" days. And I absolutely love the "blow the roof off the term 'comeback' with 'Oh, Mercy' and then don't stop putting out insanely good music for another twenty years" days. I'm happy to say his latest album falls into that last category.

It was ten years ago when a friend of my older brother's made him two Dylan mix tapes. He gave them to him with the disclaimer, "This is not elevator music. It deserves to be studied and cherished." This guy is a bit on the obsessive side. Of course, it could just be that I'm an asshole. If you love Dylan more than me, then I probably consider you to be an obsessive loser (there's plenty of the out there). If you don't love him as much as me, well then you're an unsophisticated Philistine who has no appreciation of greatness. You can't win.

By the way, I have realized I have the same attitude toward people's flat screen TV's. If yours if smaller than mine (50") then there's a small part of my brain, shameful as it is, that smugly says to myself, "Ha! I have four more diagonal inches than you with which to enjoy 'Golden Girls' reruns. You are inadequate." But if someone has a TV that's bigger than mine, my inner braggart gets quite defensive. "What are you trying to prove? 55 inches? That's way too big." I'm sure Freud would have some kind of TV/penis observation for us, if he were alive, read my blog and was the type to leave comments. But he's long dead, so I'll just leave any schlong jokes to be implied.

How exactly did I start talking about Bob Dylan and end up talking about dicks? What the hell is wrong with me?

So back to the Dylan mix tapes of 1999. My brother listened to them off and on. But I quickly usurped them. Seeing as how he didn't notice that I took them, I didn't feel all that bad about it. He was pretty used to me stealing his crap, anyway. Now I was familiar with Bob, previous to these tapes. I had bought his first greatest hits CD years before and I loved all 10 songs on that CD. But these tapes first illustrated the true depth of his music to me. Depth within each song as well as depth of a massive volume of work. I had 240 minutes of Dylan songs on those well worn cassettes that I listened to, rewound and listened to again. One day the actual tape within the cassette broke about half way through 'Desolation Row'. So I found a tiny jeweler screwdriver, popped that thing open, preformed a little surgery via scotch tape and the cassette was back in my walkman in no time.

I went to work with my uncle on his dairy farm in Smoot, Wyoming in April of that year. I stayed at my Grandma's house in the blue bedroom upstairs. Late at night, I would get in my car and drive to no where in particular listening to these two tapes. I remember having to pull over outside of Etna one night to sit in my idling car on the side of the highway in the middle of the dark Star Valley night. I had to give the song "It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding" my absolute full attention.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, ensure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

This is the power of insightful expression. It articulates that which we feel to be most private and often perplexing. It says what we want to say, in a way that we never could. And there is great power in giving an emotion an exact description. If we are unable to verbalize the storm of emotions that swirl around in our minds and hearts, be they positive or negative, we can't really expect to manage them. But as soon as we are able to give them a name, we can then truly confront them and maybe even control them. This is the power of art. Music, literature, film, sculpture, Far Side Cartoons (I don't know why Spanish speaking dolphins make me laugh but they do), they all reach into our soul. They take that which we hold to be most private and personal and throws it down on the table, making it impossible to avoid while empowering us to confront it. And the fact that it was an outside entity that provided this discernment of our soul validates us as individuals as well as unites us within the human experience.

"That is exactly how I feel. And apparently, I'm not alone."

So, with that off my chest, I would like to now present five random video clips of my friend Bob. This is a bit of change in tone. I figure I've already done a "Dylan rules! You gotta check out this song!" post several months ago. (The music doesn't work, you can look up the songs you're own damn self.)

So instead here is a strange mix of video clips that feature Dylan's music and subsequently his cred ability being used (some might say co-opted) for whatever it is they happen to be selling. Some of these irritate me. But I'm not the type to get all butt hurt over a rock star selling his music for some ad space. As long as it is their decision and they are the ones being compensated for it, I figure they have the right to do it. As much as I love it, it isn't scripture. It's just pop music for hell's sakes.

This is the song "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" from Bob's latest album that was released earlier this year. It is a clip advertising HBO's series "True Blood". Look, I appreciate that HBO has given us some of the finest television ever. "The Wire", "Deadwood", "Curb Your Enthusiasm" all come to mind. But "True Blood" is shit. Hokey, preachy, hamfisted shit. I illegally downloaded (suck my balls, HBO legal) and watched the entire first season. I don't mind saying, that it was the worst combination or terrible writing and terrible acting I have ever endured. I have not spent much time in the South, but I know a bad accent when I hear it. And Anna Paquin couldn't sell a southern accent if she were magically granted a decent set of teeth for doing so. Enough with the Vampire bullshit already! Yeah, we get it. Vampires are like gay people. They can't help who they are and they just want to live normal lives. But those ignorant, hateful religious people just want to persecute them. Bla bla bla. Look, I'd be open to that metaphor if it wasn't handled with subtly of a sledge hammer.

Seriously terrible show.

Some months back, I took what I thought was a forgotten punchline of pop culture and ridiculed it. It's how I roll. Little did I know that a few months later, Michael Jackson would die and CNN would then ignore a people's revolution in Iran to eulogize and reinvent the noseless pederass (8 year olds, Dude) for nearly a month straight. And in the process, turn this punchline into a humanitarian and cultural triumph.

Don't I look like the dick.

I stand by my original statement that "We Are The World" is a terrible song. I really have no idea what the hell Bob was doing anywhere near it. I suppose he was trying to remain relevant. It was 1985 and he hadn't had a really good record in almost 10 years (1976's Desire). So I can give him a break for trying to fit in with the kids at school. Of course it wasn't until 1989 when he would figure out that all along, he just needed to be himself. I can't overstate just how good "Oh, Mercy" is. But at the time, it seemed like a good idea to stand next to Dion Warwick's nostrils and sing a self congratulatory Pepsi commercial.

Speaking of Pepsi commercials . . .

Alright, this one pisses me off. It's not that his music Bob's holy and cannot be defiled by corporate thieves or any horse shit like that. If Bob wants to sell his songs, I say let him. And it's not that they remixed one of personal favorite works. In fact I don't mind it. This is a way better version than Rod Stewart's atrocity. It's not that Pepsi took Dylan's image and authenticity and reduced it to a damn soda ad. Bob's authenticity is strong enough to survive that. The thing that pisses me off about this thing is that they use the Black Eyed Friggin' Peas to hip-hop it up.


If it was Wycleff, I'd be down with it. Dre can sample all the Dylan he wants. If Snoop wanted to do his own version of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" I would love it. But the Black Eyed Peas do not qualify. When you are responsible for the crime against humanity that is "Lady Humps", (Please do not click on that. Whatever you do, do not click on that link!) you forfeit the right to share a stage with Bob Dylan.

Well this one is just weird. "Love Sick" is a fantastic song. And no one loves a good underwear ad more than this guy. Although I have always been confused by the wings. Is it a common fantasy to want to nail an angel? But there is a strange dichotomy between a nicely jiggly rack of boobs popping out of the top of a bra inter cut with Bob's pencil thin mustache. Look, I love nacho cheese and I love ice cream. But I don't want nacho cheese poured over my ice cream.

There is no sarcasm with this clip. It is pure beauty. Think of it as a pallet cleanser. It is taken from the film "I'm Not There". This is Heath Ledger playing a character based on aspects of Dylan. It's a great film for Dylan fans. There could never be a "Walk the Line" kind of straight forward bio-pic of Bob. This is the only way his life could be told on film. Fragments of half truth told in a jumbled order to create a mosaic of perfect accuracy. There may be a female nipple slipped into a few of these shots. Fair warning. But I got it off Youtube, so I blame the smut on them. This is a perfect adaptation of the song "I Want You". The eagerness and the fearlessness of new love is often depicted in songs and movies. But this clip gets it right. "It is I who am ready. Ready to listen. Never tired. Never sad. Never guilty."

So there you go. Quite frankly, I don't really care if his music grabs you the way it grabs me. I gave up on long time ago on trying to get everyone I know to love Dylan. He either does it for you or he doesn't. But it is definitely worth any time and effort you decide to invest in getting to know his music.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blue Shadows, On The Trail.

So last weekend a bunch of friends and I headed down south for some camping, hiking and canyoneering in Parunuweap Canyon near Zion. It really was a perfect trip. Long, challenging but also fun and refreshing. We got to the campsite pretty late. Like 4:30 in the damn morning. We had about 30 miles of sandy roads to drive to our trail head so it took us forever. We were going to have to get on the trail by 8:30 the next morning if we were going to get everything done we had planned, so we didn't bother to pitch tents. We just rolled out our pad and slept under the stars.

It always takes me a long time to sleep. It can seriously be a hassle. Especially when I'm trying to cram a night's worth of sleep into a couple of hours. And let me tell ya, the worst thing to do when you're trying to go to sleep is try really hard to go to sleep. It just doesn't work. After a 45 minutes or so tossing around, I was just at that moment when I was about to drift away. You know that feeling. Finally your body and your brain has relaxed and you start floating. It's a good spot to be in.

Right then, I heard some coyotes howling in the distance. It was just enough to wake up my brain. I took great effort to not move at all, so as to not shake away my well earned sleep cocoon. A few minutes later, I heard the coyotes again but this time much louder. My curiosity got the best of me and I looked up, ruining all of the sleep progress I had worked so hard for. Now, a coyote isn't going to do a thing to a human. I think. I actually have no idea. For all I know they feast on human flesh. But I wasn't scared. I was, however, very awake. And my mind was flowing. And being the product of way too much pop culture mediocrity, the thing that popped into my mind immediately was this scene from "Three Amigos".

"Three Amigos" is one of those movies that I love just as much now, as I did when I was ten. And for the same reasons.
El Guapo: Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of piƱatas?
Jefe: A what?
El Guapo: A plethora.
Jefe: Oh yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora.
El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?
Jefe: Why, El Guapo?
El Guapo: Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora. I would not like to think that someone would tell someone else he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora.
So there I am, curled up in my fleece sleeping bag on my 15 dollar Wal-Mart air mattress in the middle of frigging nowhere Utah staring up at the sky (which was now disturbingly light purple in the east) surrounded by sleeping people and I start singing rather loudly, " Boom ba boom boom, boom ba boom boom, boom ba boom ba boom ba boom boom. Bluuuuuuee shaaadooows, on the trail . . . "

I was kind of hoping someone else was awake, heard the coyotes and had the exact same thought process as me. This of course would result in a spontaneous sing-along. There needs to be more real life, spontaneous sing-alongs in my opinion. Not the gay, Broadway, jazz hand kind of sing-alongs. But like the one in "Almost Famous" where the tour bus sings Tiny Dancer. It would make life much more interesting. But it didn't happen this time. Everyone was sleeping soundly.

It was close to 6:00 now and I knew this was hopeless. I may be hiking 12 miles the next day (that day) but I'm not sleeping tonight. So I got up to enjoy the sunrise.

Goodnight, Ned.

You're a flower, you are. Just a little desert flower.

Parunuweap Canyon is just outside of Zion National Park that is just as stunning as the famous Narrows. Well, maybe not quite as stunning. But still amazing. This was 4th of July weekend and one of the busiest times of the year for Zion. I guarantee that The Narrows was packed. We saw one other group our entire day.

While hiking out, we were hit with a massive rain storm. We weren't in any flash flood danger or anything. It was just a nice refreshing shower at the end of the day. But as we we're climbing out, there was a massive 400 foot waterfall of rain water gushing over a cliff. My camera got some moisture in it, so it looks like this photo was taken in a sauna. But you can kind of see the waterfall, although this photo doesn't do it justice. It was one of the hilights of a great trip.