Thursday, November 23, 2017

Mugabe, then Putin, Trump...

The worst tyrants never last forever, and this week, even a tough one like Mugabe was ousted before his natural “expiration date”.

I hope this is a preview of things to come, and that following the likes of Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin and a bunch of other less famous, rotten leaders, the next departures will include Putin, Trump and Kim Jung Un, and not necessarily in that order.
So why they last, be patient, just observe these bullies and learn something about their devious behavior.

In the meantime, do something, get involved and work hard so that their replacement is likely to be a huge improvement upon them...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A refreshing dream

I've never skied in the nude and was quite surprised a few nights ago when I dreamed I was schussing without any clothes on, as fast as I could, as if I was trying to evade something or someone.

Was it the embarrassment I felt or the ski patrol that was on my tail? I really couldn't tell, but it sure gave me wings. True, I was skiing as fast as I could and while I didn't remember feeling the bite of the wind or freezing my rear-end in the process, I felt incredibly stressed out.
As I reached the bottom of the run and with nowhere else to ski to, I had no other alternative but wake up. As I did, still in a delirious state, I thought that skiing naked Park City from top to bottom might be an interesting feather to add to my cap this season, especially on a day when attendance was at its peak.

I need to look into that...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Trump Toolbox

I'm not offering a crash course on how to become Trump, should anyone be inspired by the character, or if someone aspires to becoming a modern-day's Frankenstein or wants to build a contemporary monster.

I'm just simply inventorying some of the implements he's using as part of his daily routine. If America's 45th President happened to inspire anyone and if there were a toolbox of sort to becoming just like him, I've tried to inventory the tools that likely would be found inside it: 
  • Complex of superiority 
  • Ego-centrism Natural 
  • Bullying 
  • Racism 
  • Misogyny 
  • Plain meanness 
  • Allergy to apologies under any form or fashion 
  • Permanent attack mode 
  • Ten-fold aggressive response to any attack 
  • Dividing in order to control 
  • Doubling-up on a sparse vocabulary 
  • Waking up the worst in his followers 
  • Total absence of compassion 
First, I'll check if any of these tools are left in my own toolbox and will use my very best effort to discard them as soon as possible. If, in the meantime, I've forgotten something on the list, please don't hesitate to share it on this blog; I'll add it gladly...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tax reform in a vacuum

For the past few weeks about half of the United States' politicians have been concocting a tax reform without asking for their citizens' input and without working with the other half of Congress.

The result is a joke or a monster depending on one's sense of humor.

Like in many countries, our tax code is unnecessarily complex and is the end result of countless compromises and back-room deals between special interests groups and politicians.

It's not fair and has never been good for the taxpayers as it has been created on their back and without any of their own input.

Instead, the process should take time, garner a full critique of what works and what does not withing the current system versus what's needed in terms of revenue, and strive to deliver a plan that all American PEOPLE can live with, but certainly not the United States' corporate world.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Park City needs access to Big Cottonwood Canyon

As I've said before, early season comes with its endless anguish about snow cover, not just on opening day, but throughout the ski season.

Last week, Park City decided to postpone its opening by six days, because it couldn't make enough snow, given the prevailing balmy temperatures. You see, Park City sits fairly low at 6,900 feet (2 103 meters) while Deer Valley's base is just at 7,200 feet (2 195 meters).

Compared to the other nearby Utah resorts, this is quite low and certainly even lower than most Colorado's ski areas situated under about the same latitude. Beside being higher up, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons receive also more snow than the so-called Wasatch Back (Park City & Deer Valley) because they face and block most of the eastbound precipitations and also benefit positively from lake effect conditions.

Yet, Park City is where the action is, where the good restaurant are, where the après-ski happens and a massive lodging capacity is ready to make its guests welcome. We just could say the opposite about Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude.

Add to the equation the fact that our climate is fast becoming much warmer than anyone ever predicted, we have a “perfect storm” of sorts in which Park City needs to access at least its Big Cottonwood Canyon neighbor to the south in order to enjoy better and greater amounts of snow from season's beginning to end.

The good news is that it would work perfectly as Park City Mountain and Brighton are, technically speaking, bordering each other and it would just require two ski-lifts to join them. In addition Brighton is already interconnected with its neighbor Solitude to the West and the whole canyon, by also serving Park City skiers would finally gain its development potential that's currently impossible to reach with its lack of visitor “pillows”.

The bad news, or the challenge if we look at it positively, is that Park City Mountain should make an agreement with at least Brighton and ideally, Solitude too, to interconnect, or better yet purchase the two entities. This would be a terrific insurance policy against climate change!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Follow your Members of Congress on Facebook!

I'm not a fan of my two Utah Senators and my Representative, but when all is said and done, they're supposed to “represent me” in Washington. I wish they really did their job of representation, but they don't.

What they vote for makes seldom sense, but I guess what these politicians believe and common sense are diametrically opposed, through the irrepressible undercurrent of hypocrisy. Why in the world would a well-grounded individual accept to increase the Federal Deficit by $1.5 billion in exchange for a give-away to big corporations, pretending they will create job and pay for the cut over time?

If this not total hypocrisy it is incompetence or pure insanity. This said, I now get the Facebook Feeds from Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch and Rob Bishop and I focus not on what they say, but how their constituents react to them.

What's remarkable is how rare are their constituents who like what's being done to them, which goes a long way to saying that they're clearly on the sides of big money and large corporations, not their own constituents'.

Find your Senators or Representative on Facebook and follow them to check what they say and more importantly to see what their bona-fide constituents say (beware of “trolls” – check the presence of a “constituent badge” next to the name).

In the case of my Senators and Representative it shows a real disconnect between what they do and what their constituent feel about it. Clearly, these folks aren't on our side and we need to tell them about it. Now, that I've given you the tools, use them!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Can we afford to downgrade safety?

The tragic death of French skier David Poisson reminds us that downhill racing is very dangerous and requires a solid set of safety rules to minimize the risks to the athletes. Season after season, competitions have gained in safety, following lessons learned from all the tragic accidents that have occurred over the recent alpine ski history.

On race day and the during any training sessions preceding a downhill event, the hosting venue spends a lot of time, attention and money making sure that the conditions are safe for all racers and are meeting the standards set forth by the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Now what happens when ski racers train outside of officially sanctioned races? Many of them suffer accidents, as training is precisely the only time when an athlete is mentally free enough to “let go” and give it their all. It's therefore fair to assume that risk-taking will be significant, speeds will be higher and protection should be at least the same as during competition.

It would seem to me that diminished safety measures are woefully unacceptable. Is this always the case? Probably not most of the time as slope conditions are not as perfect as they are on race day, and seemingly not in this last instance.

According to some reports, skiers were traveling well over 60 mph in that particular curve and after losing one ski, Poisson went through two 25-meter nets before crashing into a tree. Should there have been the larger, 40-meter nets anchored with cables in that particular spot? Who decided on the safety infrastructure; the Team coaches (French, Italian or Swiss) or Nakista, the resort hosting the training?

Were Nakista's deliverables including the type of safety equipment, budgetary constraints that influenced the coaches and the final types of nets that were picked for this area? At this point, it seems that there are no clear rules emanating from FIS that would govern safety measures used during general training outside of downhill training runs and race days.

In the absence of fast rules, it is of course too easy to assign blame on anyone (team directors, coaches, resort) and this is why FIS needs to come up with some clear regulations regarding training in general.
Only then, will David Poisson's terrible accident will not have been in vain.