Monday, August 27, 2012


It is with a modicum of trepidation that I undertake to write this blog.  (I’m using bigger words so that I sound more like a “riter”).  I feel like I need to explain myself at this point to those who may have been offended by what I have written and, to the rest of you, who will be offended by what I will write in the future.
You see it has been explained to me, by more than a few sources, that there are certain rules that must be followed by any author doing a blog.  I’ll go over the rules in a minute, but first off, never, ever, ever tell me that something is a rule and then expect me to follow it.  It is kind of like telling Hans Solo the odds.  You don’t do it unless you expect him to try and defy those odds.  You don’t do it unless you are some type of shiny uptight robot who walks around as if it had a six foot 2x4 stuck; well, there you go, I almost broke a rule again.
It’s not that I can’t follow a rule.  It’s just that I won’t.  I have been a trial attorney for almost twenty-five years, (and in that time I have come to really, really dislike judges for the anal attention they give to meaningless rules), but I have been disregarding rules for well over fifty years.  My wife has learned to come to grips with it; (bless her saint-like heart) the rest of the world can too.
I kind of sing my own version of the War song, by WAR.  You know, “Rules, ugh, what are they good for?”  Or my own take on one of the most famous movie lines ever: “We don’t need no stinkin’ rules.”  (I do speak Spanish, but have a lousy Mexican accent.)
So, when I’m told to never, when writing this blog, use profanity, or comment on politics or social issues, then it is a given that sooner or later that is exactly what I will do.  Now wait, don’t explain to me the purpose of these rules.  I clearly understand the purpose, and I accept the underlying reasoning as well.  I don’t have a single argument as to why these rules are wrong or a good reason as to why I’m going to break them.  It is just a given that I am going to break them.  It is what I do.
I don’t have a reason for this psychotic like anti-social behavior.  I can’t explain it.  Perhaps one or two of my children can make a comment that will help.  Or perhaps this could be forwarded to one of my former scouts, (Andrew Wheeler, Connor Brandt, where are you?) who witnessed this behavior up close when I was their scoutmaster.  One of them might have some insight that would help.
And yet again, what does it really matter?  It is what it is.  I doubt that peeking inside my skull is going to help.  And with the major party political conventions upon us, I know the temptation will be too great.  There are too many stupid people who are going to say too many stupid things.  How can I refrain from commentary?
I could apologize in advance for making an offensive remark.  I could, if I cared.  The best I can do is say: if you are offended, get over it.  I’m really not worth the emotional energy.
No one is.

Monday, August 20, 2012


           One of my favorite memories is when I bought dynamite.  I was 18 years old.  The year was 1975 and Gerald Ford was our president.  The initial credit, or blame, depending on your point of view, goes to the other half of our writing team: Berk.  Berk was in law school at the time and lived upstairs from me.  We were both attending BYU.  Since you can’t get drunk, do drugs, or have riots, (you know, all those things that were popular at that time at secular schools) we had to find another way to entertain ourselves.
            Two of my roommates, Stan and Darwin Rosenlof, (also brothers), and I were talking to Berk when he told us how he drove to Salt Lake City a few years earlier and bought dynamite.  It sounded like a great idea, (still does), and so we decided to go to Salt Lake and buy our own dynamite.  What 18 year old kid in college does not want dynamite?  I honestly cannot imagine any scenario at that age in which I wouldn’t want to have, own and possess dynamite.  I could not see that there was any possible down side.  

            Stan, Darwin (no names have been changed because no one is innocent) and I drove to Salt Lake looking for this Emerald City of a store where we could buy dynamite.  (Did I mention we were going to buy dynamite!)  We had a very difficult time finding the place, we drove by it several times without seeing it.  It was located in an industrial location under the I15 freeway.  We didn’t see it because it didn’t look like a store.  It was just a door with a name on it that might have led into any office.
            There were no windows or displays of any kind.  I’m not sure what I expected; maybe “The Dynamite Warehouse” or “Big Booms Are Us”.  But it was just an average looking office with three or four desks located in it.  It felt weird as we walked in, like we were just walking into someone’s private office.  Everyone in the office stopped what they were doing to stare at us.  After a few awkward seconds I asked, “Uh, do you sell dynamite?”  

            What these people in this office must have been thinking is anyone’s guess.  Three young college age kids come in and ask for dynamite.  Whatever they thought, their answer was: “Sure, what kind do you want?”
            Who knew?  There are different kinds of dynamite.  We didn’t know what to say because we didn’t want to appear to be the total ignoramuses that we were.  We could have guessed and said something like, “We’ll have type B”, but that would have given us away.  So instead we asked, “What kinds do you got?”  (Like that didn’t give us away).
            Turns out dynamite is graded by percentage.  There is 50%, 60%, 75%, etc.  I said, “75%” while Stan said, “80%”.  Then we switched with me asking for 80% while Stan asked for 75%.  We eventually settled on 80%, I think.
            Then they asked, “What size do you want?”  

            Who knew?  There are different sizes of dynamite.  So, we went through the same dance on sizes until eventually settling on foot long sticks, you know, like a good Coney Dog.
            And then we had to fill out paper work.  Paper work?  We had to put down name and address, submitted with ID, (we used Stan’s name because he was the oldest) and we had to mark one of several boxes stating the purpose we were buying it for.  The purpose?  By now that should have been obvious.  But there was no box to mark that even came close.
            There should have been one that said: “Goofing Off”, or even better: “Post-Adolescent Male Bonding”.  But there wasn’t, so we selected “Mining” which was no less inaccurate than the other choices, (which I don’t remember).

             And then, believe it or not, they sold us the dynamite.  Here comes the best part.  They sold us twenty sticks of real, honest to goodness, blow yourself up, dynamite for $20.00.  Yep, it cost us a dollar a stick; for REAL DYNAMITE!  Without a doubt that is the best value, dollar for dollar, for anything I have ever purchased in my entire life.  EVER!  Authentic blow-the-snot-out-of-anything-you-want explosive dynamite for just a dollar a stick.  Why don’t they sell this at the 99 cent store?  And why, I ask myself now, didn’t we buy more?  A whole lot more?
            But we didn’t.  We did take those twenty sticks, and seven of us crammed into a little Toyota and drove out the next day to the far side of Utah Lake, (no homes there then) and (you know what’s coming) we had an absolute (I can’t help myself) BLAST!


Monday, August 13, 2012


Well, it's time to do another blog.  This blogging is an interesting thing, and I mean "interesting" in the same way I do when I compliment some kind of food I find unpleasant, (and I mean unpleasant in the same way your doctor does when she says something is going to be unpleasant but it is really, . . . you know what I mean).

I've always imagined that bloggers are the type of people that corner you next to the refreshment table at a party and go on and on about some insignificant point in their lives as if that point were actually worth talking about.  As long as the salsa is decent and the chips hold out I can pretend to give a damn, but I certainly wouldn't make the effort to go to their blog site, (or is it "cite"?) to read about the same thing.

It's not that I don't think my life is interesting, I do, I just don't expect other people to have the same opinion because I certainly don't think most other people's (or is it "peoples'") lives are very interesting.  (Though, honestly, they may in fact be unpleasant.)

So, what do I blog about?  If anyone was reading this he or she could give me some suggestions.  I could blog about the Lakers, because I am a big Laker fan.  But, first, there are literally a zillion Laker blogs.  (No, seriously, go count them and you will find exactly one zillion Laker blogs).  And, second, everyone who is not a Laker fan hates the Lakers and would therefore stop reading this blog.  (No, seriously, go count everyone who is not a Laker fan.)

I could blog about politics, because I love to talk about politics.  But Berk, my older and taller brother, and the other half of "The Brothers Washburn" doesn't want me to.  Not yet anyway.  He's afraid I will offend someone, and to be truthful, I would be disappointed if I didn't.  (And so, by the way, Obama is not a socialist.  He is very liberal, but that does not make him a socialist.  Buy a freakin' dictionary.)

And there you have it.  I have spent the last several paragraphs writing about having nothing to write about.  If that doesn't give me some writer's cred nothing will.  If anyone is reading this, give me an idea of something to write about.  If I can't say something interesting, maybe I can say something unpleasant.  Or, at least, maybe I can offend someone.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Watching the Olympics last night, (like everyone) I was disappointed that McKayla Maroney did not get the gold.  Sure she fell, but after doing her first vault perfectly a few days before and getting mysterious deductions that she didn't deserve, I felt sure she was going to do it perfectly this time.  (I know, I know, she didn't fall on the super hard Amanar vault, but I thought she might get a perfect score on it).  She did not look too pleased about that silver.

But, if the gold didn't go to the USA, I was kinda glad to see it go to Romania.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I just don't like Russia.  Maybe I don't understand gymnastics. Or maybe I feel like Romania is a country that has not much else going for it.  (By now I should have offended all kinds of people, but since no one reads this, I'm not too worried).  I mean the only other thing Romania really has is a really old castle where some crazy guy used to live and some people think maybe even some kind of monster was there.

Now it has occurred to me that Romania sounds a lot like the Trona in our book, Pitch Green.  (Berk wants to call the book Toxic Green.  The publisher says we should stick with Pitch Green.  I just want people to read it.)  Romania sounds like Trona, only on a country scale.  Or maybe Trona sounds like a small, pitiful Romania.  (They could merge and call themselves Tromania.)  I don't know who should be more offended: Romanians or Tronaians.  (Again, see readership comment above; not too worried.)

Either way, some day I would like to go to Romania and see Dracula's castle.  And, maybe some day our book will be translated into Romanian, so the people there can read about Trona.  I'm sure the people that live in both places think each place is wonderful.  And I'm sure in many ways both places are wonderful, though I have never been to Romania.  But Bram Stoker thought Romania was a great place to start his horror novel, and we feel the same about Trona.

The Romanians don't seem too angry with Stoker about his book.  Perhaps the Tronaians will not be angry about ours. 

Well, I don't know anymore where this is going.  I'll just end by wishing condolences to McKayla and congratulations to the whole freaking country of Romania.  (Trona, your time is coming!)