Saturday, December 31, 2011


Dear Spike:

I'm not quite sure when or why I did it, but at some point I began posting all of my Facebook status updates in haiku form. I like the brevity, simplicity and the self-indulgent quirkiness of it. And I suppose I just figured that if something takes more than 17 syllables to explain, it probably isn't something that needs to be shared with everyone I've ever known.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve written more than 200 of the little ditties. This morning I gathered them all up as a way to take stock of the past year, and I noticed a few themes that I thought were interesting.

First, it’s clear that I spend a lot of time worrying about Oregon State University’s football team and the Real Salt Lake soccer team. Second, our family apparently spends a ton of time with our friends Chris and Ashley; many of my tiny poems were about them. Third, I think about you a lot — you are mentioned quite a bit in this collection. Fourth, I spend a lot of time thinking about work — both writing and teaching. And fifth, you seem to be a little bit of a racist — there are several posts in there about how you apparently think all black people look alike and all Asian people should speak Chinese…

… um, we’re working on that.

The collection of haikus also gives me a good glimpse of many of the ways that made this year so special. And it was very special, indeed.

It was the year that I left full-time newspapering and you and I broke off our daddy daycare arrangement so that I could begin teaching full-time and you could go to pre-school. You fell hopelessly addicted to snowboarding. I went off to Ethiopia with my good friend and colleague, Rick, to report on ritual tribal infanticide. We traveled to Wyoming to watch the National High School Finals Rodeo (and you and your mom kept going — all the way to South Dakota — to visit Mount Rushmore.) The Afghanistan War entered its 10th year. The Iraq War ended. Our whole family got toy light sabers (seriously, that was a big deal.)

All in all, it wasn’t a bad year.

And we’re getting off to a pretty good start on the new one. We’ll spend the next week in Beijing, hiking the Great Wall, touring the Forbidden City and eating all sorts of wonderful things.




Yi …

Happy New Year!


Resolved: A year of

life, love and laughter with my

friends and family.

First e-mail addressed

to "Professor LaPlante." This

is hilarious!

First class has come and

gone. I'm still alive. So are

all of my students.

Funny watching snobs

Find out their Sundance choices

Are sold out. Sorry!

Thank you, Auburn, for

saving me from a lifetime

of humility.

Wow, it's true: Teachers

get paid peanuts. Good news is

that I'm used to that.

Lawyer up cowboy

There's a new copyrightin'

sheriff in this town.

Um, 'I' before 'E'

except after RNC

and the GOP?

Dinner, movie with

a woman who is not my

wife. How scandalous!

It's not enough to

spoil my daughter as I

juggle all my jobs.

Trying to capture

the problems of Sudan in

one concise column.

She fell in the snow.

Got back up and shredded some

More. That is my girl.

Benchmark! Spike and I

Ordered our entire lunch

In Mandarin. Yum!

"hey man," the student

writes. "Y didnt i get full

points." Gee, let me think.

Just saw "page one" at

Sundance. I'm not comforted

And not afflicted.

A late night, early

Morning with my college pals.

Flashback: OSU.

Sundance: "Pariah"

Absolutely amazing.

Touching. Beautiful.

Really, people of

Sundance: you are just not that

important. OK?

3 degrees out, but

no complaints here. Alaska

buddies would mock me.

Sorry about the

Cryptic Facebook update, but:

I think that went well.

Spike: "Are you ready

for some football? Yeah? Me too.

Boo-yah!" Kick ass kid.

Army leader says

he would rather not invade

Mexico. Ya think?

Class today was great.

Experiential learning

Is so rewarding.


Sloan, finally out. Making

room for something great?

Missing my girls this

Week. I can't wait to be home.

See you Wednesday.

Didn't play one hand

in Vegas. But going home

early, so I win!

Awesome news tonight:

My friend Bill is moving to

Green Street. Party! Yeah!

Wi-fi, indoor play

area, fruit and oatmeal

Mickey D's. Who knew?

Happy birthday dear

Heidi happy birthday to


Like a mad viking

sailing over the the end of

the world. Laugh like that

Hey Dave. Comfy in

The owner's box? Come down here

And take some tickets.


Just accepted a teaching

gig at Utah State.

"Professor" makes me

cringe, but feeling ready to

make this transition.

Proud and grateful for

the opportunities I've

been given lately.

Go Real Salt Lake

Go-oh-oh Real Salt Lake

Go Real Salt Lake!

Couldn't believe this

guy. Who the hell put him in

charge of marketing?

Blood, fire and... bras?

Are miracles in the eye

of the beholder?

Neue, which published one

of my Cuba pieces is

now archived online.

Seeking a buyer

for infanticide piece. Your

suggestions welcome.

We told Spike today

about preschool. She jumped. I

cried. Gonna miss her.

"You care about me"

revelations from two kids

in class this week. Win.

Super performance

by Real Salt Lake. 4-1

over Becks, L.A.

Powder. Pure as coke.

And yes, every little bit

as addictive. Sweet

Lost breadmaker part

was in the top of the bag

in top of the can!

Olave is a

Monster! Real Salt Lake scores

in Costa Rica!

Spike went with me. So

sweet when she told those old men:

"thanks for your service."

Congress, White House: Wake

up. These are the lives you're so

blithely screwing with.

I love you, Phillip

Morris: One of the sweetest,

saddest films I've seen.

Just got locked out of

The New York Times for the first time.

Pay? Nope, not this month.

Turbotax tells me

we owe a bundle. We've been

very blessed this year.

While doing taxes

today realized my last raise

was back in '05.

Realizing that my

students come with some pretty

hefty baggage. Yikes.

Sent monster check to

IRS. Don't mind; just wish

G.E. paid its share.

Broke all of my food

rules last night. It was great, but

paying for it now.

Tribune to LaPlante:

Don't let the door hit you on

the way out. Classy.

Oh. My. God. Real

Salt Lake is in great shape for

Next Wednesday. Woooo!

Sad to learn of the

death of Tim Hetherington.

Comrade and great bloke.

A little comfort

For the afflicted. My last

Sunday in The Trib.

Leaving Brighton with

Spike the super shredder. What

An awesome season.

So excited to

See these lovely crazies here

In Salt Lake City

And this might very

well be the last story I

write for The Tribune.

An all-nighter? Yup.

It's grade time, and that schtick ain't

just for students. Word?

Still proud to be a

Real Salt Lake fan. Onward

To MLS Cup

Eight days left before

Ethiopia. Now the

hard work all begins.

Cleared my stuff out of

the Trib. Thursday roast and then

I'm done. Feeling good.

Back from the bush. All

is going better than we

could have imagined.

One last day in the

cradle. My God, the graves I

have seen. Africa.

Two customs agents

for three hundred people. Nice

Job America.

Hanging with Bono

and The Edge and thinking of

my friend, Rick Egan.

Tomorrow Spike turns

four! So proud of my smart, brave,

tough and kind daughter.

All great things must come

To an end. But RSL

We still love you guys!

A student called me

"Hitler" and aA Nazi" in

an e-mail today.

Memorial Day

Snowboarding on ten inches

Of fresh powder. Yeah!

Student who called me

"Hitler" now sending veiled threats

of violence. Lovely.

Police escort for

Threatening student. Glad that's

Over. Craziness

Feeling a little

like Charles Foster Kane. Circa


Fourth birthday present:

Five shots at the doctor. My

Daughter is so tough.

Beginning to think

I might not be as good at

Poker as I thought.

Never discouraged,

Spike plays her 3-wood from the

Liberty Park rough.

Still thinking about

mango pudding. Thanks Ashly

and Chris. Awesome night.

Falling asleep while

grading papers. Wish these kids

were better writers.

So lucky to have

such lovely birthday wishes

from such awesome friends.

A song for my wife.

I call it: "The Googolplex

and a small brown goat."

Party: Liberty

Park, North East corner. High noon.

Saturday. Bring meat.

I'm still awake? Damn

you iced tea and the British

ship you sailed in on.

Last call: Liberty

Park. Northeast corner. Party!

Noon. Bring meat. Have fun!

Writing. Rewriting.

Writing some more. This story

Is kicking my ass.

Hours later, The

Writer looks back and wonders:

"What good did that do?"


in Twenty-Twelve? Stranger things

have happened. Read on.

Waaaah! Lebron hurt my

feelings! He's so smug and mean!

Whatever people.

Another day and

another rewrite. Word by

word, it gets better


to my good friend Jeff Key on

his first New York show.

Draft to editor,

check! And now, onto the next

project. Never done!

Reluctantly crouched

at the starting line. Watching

Cake at The Gardens.

Chris and Ashley at

The Cake concert. She's going

The distance. Ooooooooh yeah!

Note to Mandarin-

Speaking daughter: Not ev'ry

Asian knows Chinese

At Mister Popper's

With my little penguin girl.

Happy Father's Day

Junk food, cigarettes

and fraud, oh my. The food stamp

debacle. Read on.

My God, are these kids

really communications

students? Heaven help

Karl Rove is a big
liar, and some other facts,
at The Center Mass.

Wah wah wah. It's just

so damn hot. Stop complaining,

people. It's summer!


Alex and Keriann. Our

Neighbors and our friends.

Wow. Giants still top

NL West -- with fewest runs

scored in MLB.

"OK, we'll take that

one." "Oh, that one? It just sold

five minutes ago."

Grades are out. Edit

is complete. Now to launch a

news website. Busy.

Go Real Salt Lake.

Beat these grade-schoolers. And get


Spoiled celebs: Please

stop glorifying your choice

to drop out of school.

Belly up to the

watering hole. Presenting:

The Liberty Well.

Back on Radio

West on Wednesday. Listen

in at Eleven.

Soccer referees

have the toughest job in sports -

but this was awful.

On Radio West

Today: Why don't people watch

Women's sports? Tune in!

Special thanks to Ash

McDash for shooting this piece

for Liberty Well

Is it too late to

rename my daughter Abby?

Hey, I'm just asking.

Taking my girls to

China this winter. Spike's so

excited! Me too!

I'm proud of what our

part-time, two-man, volunteer

shop has done so far.

I wish I was in

Germany today. Go Team

USA. Win it!

Can't feel bad about

that. Japan played with heart and

never gave up. Win.

Twenty-five minutes

Ago: Monsoon. Now: Clear blue

Skies. I love summer.

My God! The Harvest

Moon. I could reach out and pluck

It out of the sky.

Pitch black. Driving through

Oil fields. Wyoming re-

minds me of Iraq.

My feminism

put to the test: Spike wants to

be a bull rider.

OK, Oregon

Trail fans: What landmark did we

visit this morning?

Yes, there's a reason

I've seen the Flecktones more than

Any other band.

Dear God, I know we

don't talk much, but could you send

us Jürgen Klinsmann?

The world awaits my

amazing daughter, who got

her passport today

Tahoe vacation

If life could be better I'm

Not quite certain how.

Say what you will 'bout

Utah. This shit would never

happen there, hombres.

Lord knows I'm not the

perfect husband. So I feel

lucky to have her

What slogan should I

wear on my shirt on my first

day at Utah State?

So impressed by all

the other new recruits at

USU. Love it!

Proud of my little

footballers. But man, they're bad.

Always next season.

Cool to see Brandon

Griggs and Kristy Griggs on my

laptop screen today!

Spike went off to pre-

-school today. She was fine. Her

mom and I? A mess.

Me: Hey look! Who's that?

Her: "Hello Andy Williams!"

Me: "That's Olave."

My friend and his buds

Designed this product. Perfect

gift for a shower.

Now I need someone

who is no longer Mormon

but still on the roles.

My return to the

Trib: A story about life,

death, faith and baseball.

Our first big scoop at

The Liberty Well. More where

that came from, Tribune.

First day of classes

at USU today. I

think I'll just sleep in.

"No late assignments."

"Even if my mother dies?"

"I'll need an obit."

One of my clients

is looking for a temp in

SLC. Details:

The Liberty Well

Now starring local foody

Ashley Detrick. Yeah!

Old: Some in my class

are closer in age to my

daughter than to me.

One of my students

wrote about a "cereal

rapist." Cheerios!

OSU our hats

Are off to you. And after

That, shirts and pants, too.

My poor little Spike

broke her big toe — right in time

for soccer season.

Salt Lakers: Check out

the newest version of the

Liberty Well site:

Out with the boys for

Musical theater. Thanks

Scott Sommerdorf.

I don't think that my

Beavs will win the BCS

title this season.

Here's to the next de-

-cade. May she be a damn sight

better than the last.

Just secured my next

season at Brighton. I'm now

ready for the snow.

Hosting Radio

West Thursday. Theme: National

Anthem. Your thoughts, friends?

One player on time

For practice. This is why I

Shouldn't volunteer.

Incredibly proud

of my friend, Leah Bryner,

who just passed the bar!

From The Liberty

Well: Salt Lake won't enforce its

dumping ordinance.

Utah just picked up

yet another BYU

fumble. Whoooo! Go Utes!

One hundred and six

pounds of tomatoes later,

ready for winter

Yes, I know you were

taught that way. You must unlearn

what you've learned, Jedi.

Diyar's dying wish

was to be buried in his

home nation. Please share.

Account now set up

at Wells-Fargo. Please share this

story with your friends.

Just had to tell a

student that they likely won't

pass this class. I'm sad.

Great to see local

media jumping on this

story. Momentum

Dropped off dad's cash for

Diyar. Was told many had

come earlier. Yeah!

Facebook sent me an

e-mail to tell me it would

send me less e-mail.

Found a carpool friend.

But it feels like I have won

The time lottery.

USU must be

the king of the "just about

almost an upset.

Consolation: This

Just further demonstrates how

Bad BYU is.

Utah reporters

risk undeath to cover the

human-zombie war.

Pretty good work from

my reporters on Day One

of Zombie News Week.

If you only read

one thing about zombies this

evening, read this:

Ernie Pyle they

ain't, but in four days their work

has really improved.

Happy the Beavs won't

Go winless this season. But

it's still not pretty.

Delta forgot to

Schedule pilots for this flight.

What else did they miss?

At two hundred bucks

a night, you'd think free wi-fi

wouldn't be so hard.

Condescending New

Yorkers. Screw you and your lame

ass contemptuousness.

Midwestern friends: How

do you navigate when there's

no topography?

San Francisco here

I come. Right back where I start-

-ed from. La la la.

My teaching heros:

Heidi, my mom, Mr. Nish

And now, this woman...

OSU fans first:

I've got two extra tix to

Beavers at Utah.

Occupy San Fran.

protested me today. (And

Bush and Murdoch, too!)

Well, the last decade

was certainly nice. Now,

back to reality.

Congrats to Chhun Sun,

Writer, friend and funniest

Facebooker ever

'Bacon' power — for

a reporter, that's the best

thing about Facebook.

Sometimes this season

I've wished it was possible

To root for The Ducks.

Night's highlight: When the

Concrete convention guy tried

To start a fight. Lame.

All of my Utah

gear has been put away for

the week. Go Beavers.

Proud of my student,

Kristi, for her first gov'ment

records article.

OSU our hats

are off to you. RSL

our shorts are off, too.

Congrats Utes. Even

bigger props, though, to Real

Salt Lake. Three-nothin'!

Matt, Leah, Ashley,

Chris, Heidi and Mia. Great

Night with great people.

Built my whole lesson

around this nasty little

bastard today. Win.

Fictionist at the

10-year Radio West bash.

Talk about that, Doug!

Spent the evening

with my daughter making this

movie. Oscar please?

Thank you to all of

you who supported this work.

Now please go share it.

Making premature

Plans to go to LA for

The MLS Cup.

The story has nine

hundred Facebook "recommends."

Help us hit a grand?

China's just two months

away. First non-work trip in

so long. I am thrilled!

Vet-specific courts:

Unconstitutional pass

or earned benefit?

Talked about Mingi

with KCPW

host Jeff Robinson.

Good points. But is The

Trib ensuring such standards

for "Close-Up" cit-jos?

Did you know that the

Bill of Rights doesn't include

Camp-outs? It is true

Big insurance hikes

for my Tribune friends. Too late

now too unionize?

Highland High's "The Wiz":

White kids in black roles. Ease on

Down the awkward road.

Heidi: "In China,

we should ask to see the place

where everything's made."

Thanks, Jeremiah

Stettler for your endorsement

of my campaign. Score!

Verizon user?

Keep Big Corporate Brother

Away from your life.

I don't even care

about the rest of the game.

Beaver touchdown. Cool.

Yup, that's more like it.

But OSU, my hat's still

off to you. Go Beavs.

Spike's second movie:

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll watch it

again and again.

It's a proud day for

the academy in the

Beehive State today.

Ivory tower?

I've been working since 5 in

the bloody morning.

Apparently Spike

Has decided she wants to

Be a prize fighter

A Jedi she is.

Uses the Force, this youngling

Does. She's A New Hope.

Wisconsin versus

Michigan State. Don't know these

teams. But what a game.

Note to Pac-12: That's

what a championship looks

like. Now: Go Badgers.

I feel like I just

lost a member of my own

team. God Speed, Bomma.

Does Salt Lake's new

mobile camera system

violate your rights?

Students applaud on

last day of class. Not quite sure

what they're telling me.

Five years ago we

deported them. So what good

did all that do? None

Interviewed by the

BBC on, of all things,

the Euro? OK...

And they said it would

never happen. Congrats to

Nate and Brook. God speed.

Visas for China

arrived today. So stoked for

vacation. Wànsuì!

Finally, all my

grading is done. (And so is

all of my whiskey.)

Whining Utahns: If

it's really that bad, you can

always move away.

Iraq ends. Our tribe,

like those worlds away, clings to

the myth of martyrs.

Spike's got a "mean girl"

in her life. She won't be the

last. Oh, what a world.

From my brilliant friend

Jessica Ravitz, the best

Santa piece ever

Watching Monday Night

Football and playing dress up

dolls with my daughter.

On Dinosaur Train:

A Solstice Special? Why do

dinos hate Jesus?

Daughter and wife are

Laying in the foyer in

Swimsuits with comics.

A new approach to

the gay rights fight. Hypocrites

should be warned. Karma.

I wrote this five years

ago. Still get a Christmas

call each year from him.

Heidi says she can't

Eat baked potatoes without

Thinking of Chhun Sun.

Addicted to a

sitcom? What the hell? Aren't I

smarter than this junk?

Proud of my former

students, who launched this cit-jo

enterprise this year.

Jason Segel in

Benny Beaver shirt? "Mother"

is my new fav' show.

Reading Spike her book

for the first time. Eight chapters

in, she's hooked. Awesome.


More than two hundred haikus.

Lots of brevity.