Sunday, July 31, 2016

Scientific Management

When I was in high-school, I discovered Scientific Management or “Taylorism”, that was invented by the American Winslow Taylor, at the end of the 19th century.

This method of work management addressed and improved workflows in order to enhance labor productivity. I've always liked the idea, but it's only later in life that I began to apply it whenever I could, either on for specific projects or just for repetitive, daily tasks.

Not only does this saves me time on mundane activities, but it also take the angst, the "paralysis" and temptation for procrastinating that often accompany any “big project.” My mastery of the process isn't always perfect, but at least, I'm aware of it and try to get it better as time goes by...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Who's supporting Trump and why?

After a long primary campaign, it's hard to believe why Trump hasn't washed away, imploded or just quit?

Is it because Hillary Clinton did everything in her power to mess up her situation and gave plenty of fodder to the ultra conservative clan, or because Donald Trump supporters are just plain dumb, angry and fascist?

The response is probably a little bit of everything. My sense and my prediction is that come November though, significantly fewer folks than today will be ready to pull the Trump trigger when they realize how much more perverted the man his than his female counterpart...

Friday, July 29, 2016

A record-breaking hot summer?

So far June and July have been particularly hot in Park City and since I've kept track of our nightly minimum and daily maximum temperatures since 2007, I have a good ten years of stats at my disposal.

So I began gathering my numbers today for these two months and over a decade. Guess what? The first year I began keeping records was as hot as this year, while 2009 was by far the coolest. Is climate warming a hoax? I still don't think so!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding the perfect bike

Have you ever shopped for a new type of bicycle that you weren't familiar with? For instance a hybrid bike if all you know is mountain bikes or road bikes...

The process is not exactly easy and frankly, is definitely not for the faint of heart, unless you give up from the get-go, and relinquish the work to the bike salesperson at the retail shop. 
It is so complicated! It start with how the bike will be used, how heavy it is (no one really knows), how to size the bike (depends a lot on the store inventory) and all these key measurements are just before one's takes the plunge into the jungle of components.

Can you trust a retailer though? I won't, so I'll have to do the work myself!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This 2016 election

I probably will repeat myself, but in order to get the “Monster Trump” out of the way, we'll have to vote for Hillary, the “Queen of Lies”. This way we stand a much better chance to have a decent Supreme Court for at least the next four years.

In a state like Utah, where Trump is so despised, Hillary might even stand a chance to win, so we can't waste our vote on Jill Stein the Green Party candidate. So let's pinch your nose, close your eyes, forget our principles for a while and let's vote for Hillary!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Promising jobs

In this election season, nothing is easier to find than politicians offering to create jobs or bringing back full and well-paid employment in the USA. Well, this will be a hard promise to keep, especially if the jobs promised are supposed to be good and decently remunerated.

Look at it this way; our active population is growing and simultaneously, our automation and robotics are growing too, but at even much faster rate.

When the old factory employed hundreds of workers twenty years ago, today's same plant can do with just 20 engineers with an army of robots, and the trend will still pick up momentum.

Of course, this kind of topic isn't something that will get a politician elected, but while it just gets swept under the rug, it still remains the dire reality. Plenty of underpaid menial jobs will remain available for a while as long as the inexpensive robots that can do anything human finally hit the market.

Bottom line, the full-employment picture isn't just grim, it is already a pipe dream, which is why ideas like paying folks for doing nothing isn't as weird as it might seem; we've simply not quite adjusted to it!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Done rocking?

I've always liked to rock, rock n' roll and all the mineral benefits one's derive from that material, but late last June, I overindulged when I purchased five tons of pebbles that I have since laid out by hand, one small rock at a time, to recreate a stream dry bed, all around my house.
Today was finally the moment when I laid the last stone and saw my work completed. I've worked on that project for a good 21 days, for an average of 3.5 hour each day.

Towards the end, I couldn't stand seeing the huge heap of pebbles that didn't seem to diminish in size. Being sick of this delusional sight was what motivated me to finish it all off today.

Will I repeat the feat? I doubt it very much, even if I was paid “big bucks” for it. So, am I done rocking? You bet! June 30

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Is positive thinking a panacea?

While we're on the subject, it begs the question as to whether man can solely thrive on a strong dose of daily positive thinking, or if there should be more ingredients involved to drive our lives in the right direction.

For me, every quest begins with a goal and from there, there's a set of strategies and tactics that must be implemented to get to it. Positive thinking is just there to choke-off self-defeating ideas, keep a clean mind and do without the usual garbage that pollutes our lives.

Doing at least one specific action to getting closer to the goal set, is among other tools, one of utmost importance. Picking the right set of objectives is key though, and the point of focus must not just be worth it, it must also be fun!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dystopian words and positive thinking

Donald J. Trump's religion came to him through the Christian minister Norman Vincent Peale and his famous “Power of Positive Thinking” gospel.

This probably is the reason for the candidate obsession about to “winning” at all cost and his aversion for “losing” anything and for “losers” in general.
This is all good and well, but when someone is into positive thoughts, how can they concoct a speech that is steeped in negativity, hatred, unpleasant views or totalitarian vision?

This is precisely what Trump served all of us as a closing argument on his final speech. I can only hope that we won't have to endure that particular version of “positive thinking” after November 8...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump: From clown to demon...

Just like the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, Mr. Trump successfully achieved his transition last night and metamorphosed himself from Clown to bona fide Demon.

 Even since he participated in the primary debate, he made us laugh a lot and was a favorite entertainer of ours. Over recent weeks, though, he began to take a turn for the worst.

Even though daughter Ivanka applied herself to read an unconvincing speech engineered to show how pro-women and pro-millennial her monster father really is, I couldn't not prevent myself from seeing the man about to bloom into a Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot or Putin.

Hopefully, Donald Trump went sufficiently over the top last night to scare not just me, but a majority of sensible Americans who will preferred Hillary's lies to those of a mad man in the making...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cruz: Standing up to a Bully

I don't like Cruz and his ideas, never have and never will, but have much respect for him as he showed courage and dignity in standing up to Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee and his despicable bullying tactics.

Except for him and Jebb Bush, to a degree, the other 16 primary candidates showed no backbone as they let the New York Real Estate tycoon bully them, insult them and treat them like dirt.

All were afraid of him and of not too sure of their shaky stature in life and all deserve to be forgotten in the dusty trail of bad American politics...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Making American skiing great again...

If Trump and his team were to forget Hillary for one night, they could turn towards the need for better skiing in this country.

This is much more fun than safety, work, prominence and greatness. Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Greens and Democrats all want dryer powder and deeper pow. Earlier ski season too and a universal ski pass (yeah, thanks to you, Bernie!)

Donald could go to Europe and shut down all its ski resorts, force the Chinese and the Japanese to come and ski the Rockies, to recapture some of their trade surplus.

Then Mr. Trump could turn to building a much bigger wall, high enough to receive plenty of natural snow, cresting at the South border and sloped towards the North between Mexico and the USA, perhaps rent it to the Canadians and still bill the Mexicans for it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Convention season

The republican party began its dog and pony show last night and was supposed to be all about “Making America Safe Again.”

In fact all the speakers failed to to make us feel safer by any stretch of the imagination, but scared the bejesus out of all the weak people who seem to live to be afraid.

Of course, everything was blamed on Hillary and to a far lesser degree, President Obama. People should understand that Hillary is just a liar, not a pathological killer.

Thank God for Trump's “trophy wife” who got divine inspiration from a speech written 8 years ago by Michelle Obama. Sure, the few words she plagiarized were good, but the writing she claims to be her own and her delivery needs more work.

What else can you expect from a bimbo?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Trump: The Realtor Candidate

At a Michigan political rally, on December 21, 2015, Donald Trump first compared political action committees and real estate brokers to ‘bloodsuckers,’ yet he is one of them, a member of the “club”as a licensed real estate broker and owner of a luxury real estate brokerage, New York's Trump International Realty, and so are his children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric.

This remark may (and should) leave the nation’s more than 1 million “Realtors” wondering what a Trump presidency might have in store for them. In case you won't want to waste time watching the video, Trump said, and I quote: “These PACs [political action committees], the money is all being stolen from inside cuz the consultants are like bloodsuckers. They’re ten times worse than a real estate salesman or broker, ten times, which is saying pretty bad stuff...”

So, when one hears a statement like this, it's another good justification to vote for anyone, but Trump!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Trademark fight: Vail bows to Park City

It took some time for Bob Katz, Vail Resorts' CEO, to fully understand that antagonizing an entire City wasn't such a cool idea.

Sure, the Cummings and Powdr began it all, but a large majority of Parkites forgot this because they didn't make the effort to research and acknowledge the true background of that story and most importantly, they kept on demonizing Vail ever since it took over the Park City ski resort.

Now, we're at peace again - for a while - and I feel we should live with the name “Park City” as it applies both to our community and the ski resort that's always been know under that name...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Can a city name be trademarked?

I wondered about this following the brouhaha surrounding Vail Resorts' decision to trademark the “Park City” name.

What must be underscored is that the process of trademarking “Park City” was actually initiated by Powdr Corporation, the previous owner of our local resort, so let's be clear about it, Vail Resorts didn't actually start the food fight, it was the brainchild of a friendly corporate entity that did everything it could to “poison the well” of public opinion, when it lost its legal fight against the Colorado resort.

But I'm going off subject; yes, it's indeed possible to trademark a city name if it is used as a brand name for a specific product or service. For example, “New Orleans” is a registered trademark for a line of doors and window guards.

Trademarking a city name does not mean that one owns the city name, nor does it mean that one owns the city; it merely prevents other companies from using the city’s name in association with the product or service for which the trademark as been applied for.

In the case of Park City, and the current prevalence of “snow parks” or even “bike dirt parks” at mountain resorts, it becomes pretty obvious to see why an entity like Powdr, early on, and now Vail Resorts would want to grab that name for its own promotional purpose!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cultural diversity and cultural maturity...

Modern society has a knack for mixing everything and by doing so, constantly deceiving us. Western society's intellectuals are in awe before cultural diversity and tend to find the concept so virtuous and so enriching that questioning it is often received as being retrograde and overly conservative.

The only problem with that assessment is that while cultures are different in tone and customs, they are not all homogeneous either when it comes to maturity. If Western society and culture are in synch with our times, far too many cultures are still stuck into the middle ages if not some Jurassic times and this is where the problem lies.

To be acceptable and capable of being assimilated in any society, a different culture must be in synch with its host country when it comes to social and intellectual development. If not, we have a never-ending recipe for permanent holy-war.

We should perhaps ask these cultures' religious leaders to fast-forward their thinking, but I don't see them receptive at all, any time soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Today and tomorrow. Not yesterday!

What we've achieved yesterday, years ago is done, filed, photographed, recorded and is fast becoming irrelevant.

Don't sit on your (past) laurels. What counts is what you're doing now and what you're planning for tomorrow.

There is no looking back, moving back or taking refuge in the past.

Now and Tomorrow are what only counts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Park City's insane real estate prices!

Ever since Vail purchased Park City resort, real estate prices have been inching up relentlessly. The problem is that our available inventory for sale is out of quilter with the buying public. By this I mean that there are very few affordable, or lower priced homes that are the most in demand. 
I just ran a quick survey based on Park City proper (8,000 people), focusing solely on single family homes (no condos). Out of 140 listing, there are only 5% of homes priced below $1 million, 22% priced between $1 and $2 million, 29% priced between $2 and $3 million (the largest segment), 13% between $3 and $4 million, 5% between $4 and $5 million and 22% priced above $5 million and all the way to $12!

This up-side-down supply suggests an inverted pyramid and I fear that while the few homes available for less than one million sell almost instantly, it may take some significant amount of time to absorb the huge inventory priced over $2 million a piece!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Old patients...

Yesterday was my semi-annual dental checkup and, out of the blue, I asked my dentist how old were the most senior patients he had ever worked on.

He mentioned a 100 year old lady that came for her denture (she passed away the following year) and what was remarkable was that while she was on one chair, a 99 year old male patient was waiting for a similar service on the other (he passed away the following year too).

He also had a 96 year old patient who would drive all the way from the Salt Lake Valley (35 miles). The brave driver passed away too. Some numbers to look forward to!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Forecast #1: Winning in 2016

For this first exercise in forecasting, I am taking a shot at the upcoming 2016 Presidential election in forecasting who will get what.

In my opinion this is not truly a Presidential election with the two clowns that each party are going to nominate, but rather, he future make up of the Supreme Court will define who gets elected.

Since the two major party candidates are despised by most, there will be a dramatic shift of votes in favor of the normally, marginal parties. Are you ready? Here we go: Clinton: 42%, Trump 39%, Greg Johnson (Libertarian) 11% , Jill Stein (Green) 5%, all independents 3%. All based on popular vote.
Let's review this forecast on November 9th, right after the election...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I'm no longer “saving my brakes”...

Before this mountain-bike season, I would generally play “chicken” with the use of my brakes, thinking that the less I would use them, the longer the pads would last.

This often made me go a tad faster than I should have and also gave me a surge of adrenaline when I wasn't looking for it. Now, safety is winning over excitement in the adrenaline store and I now brake much more liberally that I used to.

This doesn't mean that I ride at snail-pace down the mountain, but I now behave more like a grown man and significantly less faster than the adolescent I still was only a couple of years ago.

I aged impressively fast!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Instructors, realtors, contractors...

I wanted to write this blog for a long time and at long last, here I am addressing a subject that has always delighted me. It has to do with how people influence us and most precisely how most of us tend to let certain business relationship impress upon them so much that it can become a personality-changer.

If you have the good fortune to work directly and personally with someone who's wealthy, famous or highly influential, while providing them with skills or knowledge they lack but deeply admire, you rapports, if they are at least decent, will give you the opportunity to relate on an equal level with them.
This applies to ski instructors, realtors, contractors, personal trainers, etc. It probably happens far less with a housemaid, cook, or any other “lowly jobs” if you get what I mean.

As a result of this close relationship, if the service provider and the skills brought to the fore are highly appreciated by the client, they will also elevate the supplier to the user's realm and the relationship that follows will be as the almost-equal to the high-profile of the individual served, be it in terms of smarts, consideration or even class. Of course, that wont extend into personal net worth, but all the other elements will be “as if...”

When all these conditions are present, they will be conducive to an inflated self-opinion permeating the service provider's behavior. That person is likely to develop an ego commensurate with the caliber of people he or she patronize.

So let's rewind and start again: If you know a ski instructor or a general contractor that displays an over-dose of self-importance, be considerate and compassionate; this is not entirely their true, hateful nature, it's not even their fault, it's just the sad result of the typical occupational hazard that befall these professions!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lying: A fast growing sport

Let's be realistic; lying has become so convenient and so user-friendly that more and more individuals are using it. Hillary Clinton is setting a national example.
Lying works especially well for her, especially with her a tough skin and her total lack of of shame; her husband Bill gave her much material to practice on and now she's become a pro in the specialty.

It's true that you get used to being confronted by your accusers and if you can remain stoic when found out, how much can it hurt after some serious practice?

If you really pay attention, it's not just our national politicians that excel at that sport, but a growing number of citizens have taken upon the practice of lying casually, sometime to embellish their lives or to simply get out of a sticky situation.

We hear what they say, deep inside we know it's untrue, and the world continues to spins by...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Vail decidedly doesn't get it!

Yesterday, I found out that Vail Resorts is funding the political campaigns of both our Republican incumbent governor and representative, this despite the fact that Park City, unlike Utah and its LDS supported conservative politicians, is a progressive community and yet, Vail Resorts chooses to ignore it.

After the recent trademark fiasco, is it the local manager Bill Rock who's blind to these local realities or his corporate CEO Rob Katz who is just totally out of touch and seemingly intent to fully antagonize the Park City community. Is Vail Resorts really THAT dumb and insensitive?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Park City; yesterday and now...

On a typical 4th July we get asked to come to this or that barbecue. This year was no exception. We accepted a neighbor's invitation and, in the process, met many people we had never seen before. All came to Park City long after us and most of them for vastly different reasons.

They talked a lot about themselves, their possessions, their extravagant lifestyle and their jet-setter's travel schedules. Not only that, but we covered the whole gamut, including of course, this year's elections, their kids and their remarkable achievements. We did hear a lot of things that had superlatives in them, roaring titles and exceptional behaviors, but little of it seemed genuine, disinterested and backed up with good-old common sense.

That's were I began to think: “In 32 years, Park City has changed an awful lot...” And as I closed my eyes, I could still see and feel the simplicity of the life back in the mid 80s. Our friends and neighbors were just like us. Simple folks with basic aspiration, unpretentious, life loving, working people, driving a beat up Subaru or a rickety truck.

We had no particular ambitions for our kids except having them having fun in our wholesome mountains environment. Some Parkites worked in the ski industry, many in construction, others had small businesses and a pretty good number already commuted to the Salt Lake Valley for their job. All houses looked pretty much the same, conversation stayed simple, honest, fun and you were who you were.

Then, in 1990, as Delta Airlines developed Salt Lake City as one of its hub, 500 pilots and flight-attendant households invaded our sleepy little town, pushed real estate prices up and showed us how to live the lives of the jet-set club. Their noise, their behavior and often, their tinge of arrogance, started to tear up the social fabric of what Park City was all about.

Along with this army of airline crew members came the fax machines that enabled many to telecommute between Park City and Los Angeles or Chicago; the world had begun to shrink. Then rich retirees decided to make our little town their playground and threw in their big egos, added more fancy cars to our streets and more mega-houses to our hills.

With them the tone of the conversation began to change and very subtly, the amount of money someone could show or bring to Park City became the new metrics. In other words, the richer you appeared to be, your intellect and charm would match your wealth and you'd get all the adulation you'd deserve. 

This became the new paradigm, yet we didn't buy it, and hopefully, we'll resist doing it till the very end!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Are ski resorts marketing aces?

Not all of them are as you might guess. Yesterday, we decided to visit Snowbasin ski resort to avoid a crowded Park City, overflowing with 4th of July festivities. 
The resort owned by an oil and hospitality tycoon that also possessed Sun Valley, Idaho, in his portfolio, hosted the speed ski events at the 2002 Olympics. It's only 45 minutes from our home, the skiing is excellent, and in summer, it's a very scenic drive. We wanted to see if the resort has changed much since the last time we skied there in April of 2008. 

Well, the place is pretty much the same with its colossal and luxurious lodges, but still no lodging, restaurants and shops nearby. The resort has not even a place where they sell food and refreshments at its base. Instead, the resort expect visitors to fork up $12 dollars for a gondola ride that will get them to their Needle restaurant at the top of the mountain. 

Just do the math: For two, a lunch become an expensive proposition that adds $24 to the tab before you place your order, and as any dummy would expect it, very few people choose this foolish option. For these hungry, grounded visitors, there's only one option; drive 10 miles down to the dinky town of Hunstville and try their luck there. 

This sure is not genius or even average marketing at work, it's just dismal plain and simple; shocking, but alas, not that surprising!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Is 70 the threshold of becoming old?

Age-old question about getting old; at what age do we cross that threshold between being still kind of young and becoming an old person?

For years, I've thought that milestone was at 70, but why should it be that convenient round number and not 68, 72 or even more?

Maybe it's simply because I'm getting close to that number that I'm increasingly paying attention to it or that a good friend of mine recently “made the grade”, but, deep inside, and barring more arthritis and less brute force, I feel just, and function almost, like when I was 25, so I forget about these arbitrary boundaries and let's use a “floating” one instead!

Sunday, July 3, 2016


“Why” is a magical question, and so is it's polar opposite “Why Not?” This is probably the most important question in any human's life development.

Its role begins very early on. Kids ask why all the time with different degree of success. To them, that question is the key to learning. I have used it too as kid, but got so much rebuffed that I soon quit doing it.

This didn't kill my inate curiosity though and God, I'm so thankful for that! Once I became adult, I welcomed back the word “Why” and slowly reintroduced it into my life, along with its equally important sidekick named “Why Not?”

That has immensely helped my life in current years and I hope that these two words get even more comfortable and take even more room inside my mental universe through the rest of my life.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Should religion be made irrelevant?

Along with too few people, I am convinced that religion is dangerous and in most cases remains an uncontrolled poison.

How do we change the terrifying respect about religions that is enshrined in most constitutions while these beliefs are as rational as astrology, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the rest of popular, but totally unproven beliefs?

For one thing, leaders have to debunk it by stressing the fact that these beliefs are a collection of irrational concepts that may be good for the few who need them to survive, but totally irrelevant to the civil society at large.

Religion needs to be placed where it belong, along with other fairy tales and science-fiction productions, not in the hallways of governments!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Which direction should my bed face?

This should be an existential question and for years, I have wondered about what the truth was, without making a conscious attempt at researching it.

Today, between a bike ride and more rock work, I did just that and spent a few moments reading the various theories on the subject.

Most are claiming the usual (and dubious) Feng Shui principles, some come from some hypnotist, others from bona fide charlatans and all are pretty much contradicting each others.

So for the time being the head of my bed will keep on facing East, the door and that will be the end of that silly quest!