Missing the Storm

From the Weather Channel today for 84651









National Weather Service map. Payson is the red sphere – right in what seems to be the eye of a storm.


Clear to the West, but you can see heavy activity to the North of us.


Heavy snow to the North and East.

Us? 48 degrees, windy and sunny. We may get some activity later, but if we don’t I won’t complain – the mountains are picking up a good dose of moisture and I won’t have to shovel as much. The alert says we won’t get ours until early evening, but right now looking at the radar map, we’ll still be on the edge of it, unless the system is traveling southeast.

Edit: next morning – about 4 inches of fresh snow. Looks like the storm was indeed heading southeast. Now it’s partly sunny and colder, but I’m still grateful for the water!

Mnemonics: The Kings and Queens of England

As I wrote about previously, Mnemonics are great. They can help scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicians, physicists, biologists, astronomers, and just folks like you and me remember long lists of things that would be otherwise difficult to keep straight.

Munroe is brilliant and irreverent – you can see a complete selection of his updated versions here.

In 1969, someone – I never found out who – gifted me with a subscription to a short-lived publication called “Intellectual Digest.” It went out of print in the early 70’s, and in 2010 Tracy Shier attempted a relaunch, which – most sadly – did not seem to take off. But within its pages I remember reading the a poem outlining the kings and queens of England, and for decades I could only recall the first few verses. Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, I present it here (with a few variations, notably after Queen Victoria.)

First William the Norman, Then William his son,
Henry, Stephen, and Henry, Then Richard and John,
Next Henry the Third, Edwards, one, two, and three,
And again after Richard, Three Henries we see,

Two Edwards, third Richard, If rightly I guess,
Two Henries, sixth Edward, Queen Mary, Queen Bess,
Then Jamie the Scotchman, Then Charles whom they slew,
Yet received after Cromwell Another Charles too. (or, “another Charles, Two” in some versions)

Next James the second Ascended the throne,
Then [good] William and Mary together came on.
Till Anne, Georges four, And fourth William all past, (…)
God sent Queen Victoria, may she long be the last!

(obviously an appendix)

But 60 years later, she too want to Heaven
And next on the throne was her son Edward Seven;
George the Fifth, Edward Eighth (abdication not reckoned);
And at last George the Sixth and Elizabeth Second.

Alternate endings:


Came the reign of Victoria, Which longest did last,

Then Edward the peacemaker, He was her son,
And the fifth of the Georges, Was next in the run,
Edward the eighth, Gave the crown to his brother,
Now God’s sent Elizabeth, All of us love her.


God gave us Queen Vic, may her fame ever last.

And after Victoria’s long reign was done
We see Edward 7th and George fifth his son,
and Edward the 8th who gave up his crown
to his brother King George, and this brings us down
to Elizabeth Second, our sovereign today,
Many more years on the throne may she stay.


God gave us Queen Vic, may her fame ever last.

And after Victoria’s long reign was done
We see Edward 7th and George fifth his son,
and Edward the 8th who gave up his crown
To his brother, George Sixth, who reigned with renown.
Elizabeth Second then takes up the reign
And “God Save the Queen” is echoed again.

It is certain that locked away within the memories of countless souls in the UK there will be other versions as well. Two others which I was able to locate are below:

Willy, Willy, Harry, Stee,
Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three,
One, Two, Three Neds, Richard Two
Harry Four, Five, Six, then who?
Edward Four, Five, Dick the Bad,
Harrys Twain and Ned the Lad,
Mary, Bessie, James the Vain,
Charlie, Charlie, James again,
William and Mary, Anna Gloria,
Four Georges, William and Victoria.
Edward Seven, then George Five,
But Edward Eight preferred his wife.
George the Sixth did then arrive
And Lizzie Two is still alive.

This version begins before Guillaume le Bâtard and ends with Victoria, but contains some additional historical tidbits.

Old Britain was under the Romans
From fifty-five years before Christ,
To four hundred fifty-five A.D.
When her eight states on home-rule insist.

For may a year now they wrangle,
Ah! Yes, for quite three seventy-two,
Being ruled by this king, now that one,
As each might the former o’er throw.

But ever since eight-twenty-seven,
Britains rulers have reigned by descent,
From Egbert, first “Monarch of England,”
To Victoria, daughter of Kent.

A score reigned and fell. – Second Harold
In ten-sixty-six, proud, usurps,
But soon in fierce battle is conquered
By William of Normandy’s troops.

Then came William the Conqueror, a Norman,
Then William the Second, his son;
Then Henry and Stephen and Henry,
Then Richard (Coeur de Lion), and John.

Next Henry the Third, and First Edward,
Edward Second and Third, Richard two,
Henrys Fourth, Fifth and Sixth, and Fourth Edward,
Fifth Edward – Third Richard they rue.

Henry Seventh and Eighth, and Sixth Edward,
Then Mary, Bess, James and Charles First, –
|Eleven years then with no monarch;
Second Charles, Second James, not the worst.

Then William and Mary, then Anne,
Four Georges, Fourth William until
Came Victoria, long live her queenship,
For she wields her proud scepter with skill.

Þe Old Wolf hath goodly spoke.

The Psych-Illogical Dictionary

The Psych-Illogical Dictionary

(Cross-posted from my Livejournal)

Because it deserves to be preserved, and I have found it nowhere else online save a strange file archived in the R&D Informer

After years of hard labor, psychologists William Ickes, Daniel Wegener, and Robin Vallacher have completed their much-awaited masterwork, tentatively titled The Psych-Illogical Dictionary. The following is a sampling from, the opus which will become a regular feature in these pages. Next month: the letter “P.”

Backward Conditioning – The application of saliva to a dog’s mouth in the attempt to make a bell ring.

Battered Children – Children who have been dipped in egg and flour.

Birth Order – In most cases, head-first, feet-last; but sometimes the other way around.

Blind Spot – What Dick and Jane do to be cruel.

Childhood – The offspring of an encounter between Robin and Maid Marian

Client-Centered Therapy – The form of therapy that, in contrast to weather-centered or furniture-centered therapy, deals with the client.

Critical Period – The one that’s late.

Death-Prone Personality Test – A scale designed to identify death-prone personalities (or their remains )

I: The Death-Prone Personality Test
1. Do you look upon your actions as undertakings?
2. Who has more use for your body, you or science?
3. Is your condition grave in more ways than one?
4. Have you ever been the death of a party?
5. Are you easier to jump over than to walk around?
6. Can you wear dress clothing indefinitely without getting, it soiled?
7. Do you have to be seen to be bereaved?

Death Wish – The only wish that always comes true, whether or not one wishes it to.

Dream Interpretation – The art of telling stories better than people who were fast asleep when they thought of them.

Eugenics – The scientific study of persons named Eugene.

Eye Contact – The result off an extremely narrow nose.

Forebrain – What a neurosurgeon calls out before performing a lobotomy with a golf club.

Gross Motor Skill – The ability to suck spark plugs out of an engine.

How Cruel and Unusual Are You Scale – A scale designed to plumb the depths of one’s depravity

How Cruel and Unusual Are You?
1. Have you any prior experience setting orphans on fire?
2. When your puppy goes off in another room, is it because of the explosive charge?
3. Do you agree with this statement? Guns don’t kill people, I kill people.
4. Do you understand the difference between a baby seal and a pelt?
5. Do you think of Bambi and Thumper as fair game?
6. Have you ever had carnal knowledge of cold cuts?

Pilot Study – The area in an airplane where the pilot keeps his books and magazines.

Propaganda – What to do with a male goose that’s slumped over.

Pupil – A small black hole into which much energy is continually poured without apparent effect.

Subconscious – Preoccupied with a long sandwich.

Transference – Generally regarded as a critical I stage of psychotherapy, it occurs when the client’s check clears the bank.

Zen – The complement of now.

From “Psychology Today,” December 1982.

“I like to learn new words”

… said a Facebook acquaintance of mine.

Well then, you came to the right place; here are some of my favorites. (Most of these are Sniglets.)

ACCORDIONATED (ah kor’ de on ay tid) adj. Being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time.

AQUADEXTROUS (ak wa deks’ trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

AQUALIBRIUM (ak wa lib’ re um) n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.

ARACHNOLEPTIC FIT (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

BEELZEBUG (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out.

BOZONE (n.) The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.  The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

BURGACIDE (burg’ uh side) n. When a hamburger can’t take any more torture and hurls itself through the grill into the coals.

BUZZACKS (buz’ aks) n. People in phone marts who walk around picking up display phones and listening for dial tones even when they know the phones are not connected.

CARPERPETUATION (kar’ pur pet u a shun) n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

CASHTRATION (n.) The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

CATERPALLOR (n.) The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.

DECAFLON (n.) The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

DIMP (dimp) n. A person who insults you in a cheap department store by asking, “Do you work here?”

DISCONFECT (dis kon fekt’) v. To sterilize the piece of candy you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, somehow assuming this will ‘remove’ all the germs.

DOPELAR EFFECT (n.) The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when you come at them rapidly.

ECNALUBMA (ek na lub’ ma) n. A rescue vehicle which can only be seen in the rearview mirror.[1]

EIFFELITES (eye’ ful eyetz) n. Gangly people sitting in front of you at the movies who, no matter what direction you lean in, follow suit.

ELBONICS (el bon’ iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.

ELECELLERATION (el a cel er ay’ shun) n. The mistaken notion that the more you press an elevator button the faster it will arrive.

EXTRATERRESTAURANT (n.) An eating place where you feel you’ve been abducted and experimented upon.  Also known as an ET‑ry.

FRUST (frust) n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

GRANTARTICA (n.) The cold, isolated place where art companies dwell without funding.

HEMAGLOBE (n.) The bloody state of the world.

HOOVERGROOVER (hoo’ ver groo ver) n. One who has a neurotic compulsion to leave parallel vacuum tracks in the carpet.

IGNORANUS: (n.) (ig nor an’ us) Someone who is not only stupid but also an asshole.

INTAXICATION (n.) Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

KINSTIRPATION (n.) A painful inability to move relatives who come to visit.

LACTOMANGULATION (lak’ to man gyu lay’ shun) n. Manhandling the “open here” spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the ‘illegal’ side.

LULLABUOY (n.) An idea that keeps floating into your head and prevents you from drifting off to sleep.

NEONPHANCY (ne on’ fan see) n. A fluorescent light bulb struggling to come to life.

PEPPIER (pehp ee ay’) n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want ground pepper.

PETONIC (peh ton’ ik) adj. One who is embarrassed to undress in front of a household pet.

PHONESIA (fo nee’ zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

PUPKUS (pup’ kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay’ shun) n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you’re only six inches away.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

[1] The first time I read this word I had just broken three ribs. It came across my desk as part of a LISTSERV message, and it was the first time in my life that I could neither stop laughing and crying at the same time.

A Sad Tale of Abuse of Power

On May 21, 2012, Barbara Alice Mahaffey died of colon cancer in her home in Vernal, Utah. It was 12:35 AM, and her husband Ben and a friend who was also an EMT were at her side. Within ten minutes, a hospice worker and a mortician were present to attend to the remains… along with Vernal police officers Shawn Smith and Rod Eskelson. Instead of allowing Mr. Mahaffey to grieve and attend to his wife’s body, they insisted that he stop what he was doing and help them search for any prescription painkillers his wife had been using.

The search was warrantless. No one knows how the police came to be there in the first place.

“I was indignant to think you can’t even have a private moment. All these people were there and they’re not concerned about her or me. They’re concerned about the damn drugs. Isn’t that something?” Mahaffey said. Mahaffey said he was treated as if he were going to sell the painkillers, which included OxyContin, oxycodone and morphine, on the street. “I had no interest in the drugs,” he said. “I’m no addict.”

Not surprisingly, Mr. Mahaffey wasn’t happy about what happened, or how he was treated. He complained. And the story gets worse.

Mr. Mahaffey says he asked Assistant Police Chief Campbell where his officers had gotten authority to enter the home without invitation and conduct a warrantless search, and was abruptly told that the Utah Controlled Substances Act granted the requisite authority.

City Manager Ken Bassett dismissed plaintiff’s concerns by saying that his own parents had recently passed away, and that although their prescription drugs had not been seized by the police, he would not have cared had the police done so. He also informed Mr. Mahaffey that he was being “overly sensitive to the actions by the police, and that the police were only acting to protect the public from the illegal use of the prescription drugs.”

The city attorney told Mahaffey that his contract with Good Shepherd Hospice waived his rights to be protected from police intrusion in his home, but no such clause in the contract appears to exist.

Chief of Police Dylan Rooks allegedly told Mr. Mahaffey that “this is a great program and we’re going to continue it,” meaning the active pursuit of drugs in the community.

After trying to have “meaningful, man-to-man” conversations with Vernal officials, and finding them “rude and condescending,” Mr. Mahaffey turned to the courts and filed a federal lawsuit against the city, police officials and the two police officers who invaded his home.

I don’t much care for attorneys, and there are far too many frivolous lawsuits clogging up our court system. In this case, however, it appears that everyone in Vernal has lost their sense of decency and humanity.

“Note the utter lack of compassion, the inability to see a grieving husband as anything other than a potential drug dealer. Note the priorities on display. The most important thing the cops had to do that day was get those drugs out of that house. Preventing someone from using Barbara Mahaffey’s pills to get high, or preventing Ben Mahaffey from–God forbid–using pain medication not prescribed to him at some point in the future, was more important than giving a widower a last moment of dignity to say goodbye to his wife of 58 years.” (Radley Balko, Huffpost)

The maraschino cherry on top of this cake of shame is found in this article from the Salt Lake Tribune, which reports that a former Vernal detective has been charged with stealing prescription medication from a couple under the guise of repeated “pill checks.” It would seem that the elected and appointed officials in Vernal would do well to cleanse the inner vessel and re-examine their priorities. Violating basic dignities at one of the most sensitive moments in a person’s life bespeaks a shameful lack of humanity; this lawsuit should act as a wakeup call for those involved, but based on the response thus far, what I’m predicting is that they will circle the wagons, deny any wrongdoing, and continue their campaign of ignoring fundamental civic rights.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


In Memory of Lunch Hours Past…

… and a good share of my disposable income.

Zions Book Store

Sam Weller’s Zion Book Store, a ten-minute walk from my office and for decades a fixture on Salt Lake’s Main Street.

Weathering the TRAX construction with grace and fortitude, Weller’s ultimately made the decision to locate to smaller quarters in Salt Lake’s Trolley Square and shift a portion of their business online. The loss to downtown was incalculable, but the Salt Lake City government has only itself to blame for allowing the downtown area to die on the vine in favor of several downtown malls as well as encouraging a pattern of growth that supported large corporate buildings instead of smaller, affordable retail space.

Nothing pleased me more than rummaging through Sam’s massive used book section – there was always treasure to be found there. While Weller’s continues to serve the community, their likes will not be there again.

The Old Wolf has spoken.