Attention humans: Let’s talk about Miss Utah


Now that we’ve gotten some distance from it, let’s look back on the Miss Utah video. I won’t link the video here. Instead, I’ll summarize: A celebrity judge asks Miss Utah, 21 year old Marissa Powell of Salt Lake City, for her thoughts on income inequality between men and women. Essentially, it looks like Ms. Powell’s brain thought “I got this: general job scarcity; get more men on board who are already in positions of power; educate the younger generation”, and then instead, her nerves staged a coup. Within earshot of The Internet. Sean Plott’s tweet above was virtually the only sane voice I saw on the topic. For days, as this blogger on ABC News put it, “people who will never be on a [public] stage in their lives, piled on.”

I can’t articulate exactly why this bothered me so much, but here are a few attempts:

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Spy vs. Spy

I saw Iron Man last night, which was definitely in the top 3 comics-type movies I’ve seen (behind Batman Begins and Transformers).  Me and Casey also invented our own comic book series on the way there, but more on that later.

But then I wasn’t tired when I got back, so I did something that I’d never done before:  I watched C-SPAN.

And it was awesome.

It just so happened they were showing a talk held at the International Spy Museum by two high-up ex-counter-intelligence agents, one from the FBI and one from the USSR’s former KGB, Oleg Kalukin.  Oleg really impressed me with how friendly and knowlegable he was, despite speaking to an audience in the country he once spied on, and sharing the presentation with an agent of the FBI, which he had to avoid most of his life.  I instantly liked him.  (which is, I suppose, how he infiltrated America so well).

I came in half-way through the talk, but it seemed like a back-and-forth history of these two very successful spies as they rose through the ranks of each country, and showing how their paths crossed several times.  I think my favorite story was when Oleg took his family on vacation in Florida in the 90’s.  He saw the FBI tails changing cars on every state line so he knew they were following him.  On the way back, his car broke down, and the FBI actually drove him to a diner with his family, waited outside while he ate, drove him back to the motel they found, and fixed his car overnight.  Can you imagine the FBI doing something like that these days with a suspected middle-eastern spy?

The whole thing is 2 hours long, but I highly recommend it.

5 minutes of fame

If we all have 5 minutes of fame, I now have 4 minutes 54 seconds.

I was on the History Channel for 5 1/2 seconds today!  it airs again Saturday night at 7pm (Modern Marvels)  The Univ. of Maryland lab I used to work at ( does a really cool video-game-turned-training-simulation for first responders, and it was featured on Modern Marvels tonight, at the end of an episode on highway systems around the world.  And, for no reason at all, I’m in the background for a couple shots. Hey, I’ll take what I can get.  Check it out this Sat if you can!  The episode was actually fairly entertaining (but maybe only because I worked in traffic engineering field for a while…?  Who knows!)