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“Any addictions?”

This was the only question which surprised me at
my first speed dating event.

Apparently, the woman sitting across from me
knew exactly what she wanted in a man. And what
she didn’t. I got the very strong sense that any
sort of addiction (understandably) was a deal

I answered clumsily, “Um. Chocolate?”

She asked other similar straightforward
questions but I don’t remember them. Her
all-business approach both impressed and
terrified me. I felt simultaneously like I was
both a job applicant and a suitor.

This whole idea of speed dating idea came from a
gal pal of mine. She suggested I try some rapid
romance and then blog about it. In hindsight,
I think her main motivation was really just to
torture me.

Anyway, before I knew it, I was headed south
and solo to Sandy. Arriving at something called
Club 90, I was given the exalted title of
Bachelor #6. I took my assigned seat and waited
for the other 29 spaces to fill up.

For those who have’t sped date, here’s the 411.

You get three minutes to talk with a single
member of the opposite sex. He or she is right in
front of you, separated only by a small table.
When the timekeeper prompts you, 180 seconds of
talk ensues. It’s kind of a flirty jiujitsu, mostly
basic Q & A like:

“Who are you?”
“What do you do?”
“What’s your sign?”

Pretty much your usual first date kind of stuff.

When the three minutes are up, the men move
one seat to the right and the process is
repeated with a new “date.” It’s not unlike a
Phoenix rising from his ashes to begin anew. At
the end of the night, you turn in your secret speed
dating list of who you liked. The organizers then
contact those who are mutually interested.

Because I am exceedingly inept at small talk,
I came armed with a few pre-scripted questions. If
there was an awkward lull in the conversion, I
would be ready.

Here are some of the questions I wrote in advance.
Yes, they were needed and, yes, most were well

1) “Presents – Christmas Eve or morning?”
2) “What do you think ‘our song’ would be?”
3) “Is it too soon for me to meet your parents and
4) If I were a younger man, would I have a chance
with you?”

All of these, believe it or not, got smiles and/or

But one pre-scripted question did not fare as
well. I only used it once but, predictably, a
dating catastrophe followed.

Nearing the end of event, we all seemed a little
worn down. It can be exhausting speed dating a
dozen people or more in an hour. So, at a loss
for something to say, I finally grasped for a
prepared question I hadn’t used.

It went a little something like this:

“When you were born, was your delivery natural
or cesarean?”


The women I asked this question of didn’t
necessarily seem…what’s the word I am looking
for…oh, amused. After a brief pause and, perhaps,
a bit of a blank stare, she answered my flippant
question. In measured tones, she explained how
difficult and dangerous her delivery had been and
how she could have died.

Coincidentally, as she told me this horrifying
story, I suddenly wanted to die for having asked
such an insensitive question.

To her credit (and my relief), she handled it very
graciously. But those were the longest three
minutes of the night for me. When our time ended,
I quickly exited stage right.

While that clearly may have been the worst question
anyone asked all night – or, perhaps, the worst
question anyone has ever asked at any speed dating
event – the guy next to me asked a great one.

About halfway through the event, I overheard
Bachelor #7 let loose with what I genuinely
thought was the best question of the night:
“What is the last thing you killed?”

How could you not want to date someone like that?
Pure comedy gold.

As for the best answer of the evening…it might
be one that was never used.

After the speed dating event came to a merciful
end, I struck up a conversation with one of
the cooler bachelorettes. We swapped war stories
about what had just happened, including some of
the trickier questions we had been asked. For me,
an especially challenging one was put forth by
several women, “So, do you have any children?”

Because my nest is barren, this can be a bit
uncomfortable – especially in a child-centric
state like Utah. When a handful of speedsters
asked me this, I tried to carefully side-step
the issue by answering “Children? I am not sure.
But I don’t think I have any.”

But this bachelorette had a more exotic suggestion.
She told me I should simply answer the kid question
by smiling and saying, “They’ve decided to stay
overseas with their mother.”

When it comes to speed dating, she was obviously
much quicker than me. In fact, considering my epic
cesarean fail, I was clearly the “slowest” dater


Sometimes words just get in the way.

State Senator Jim Dabakis proposed to longtime boyfriend (as first reported on Twitter by @chrisvanocur)

State Senator Jim Dabakis proposes to longtime boyfriend (as first reported on Twitter by @chrisvanocur).

Sen. Dabakis says he went to O.C. Tanner (but chrisvanocur.com thinks it may have been Jared)

Sen. Dabakis says he went to O.C. Tanner (but chrisvanocur.com thinks it may have been Jared).

One of my favorite pics of the night.

One of my favorite pics of the night.

Bruce Bastian. A hero to many.

Bruce Bastian. A hero to many.

How can you not take a picture of a disco ball?

How can you not take a picture of a disco ball?

Or maybe two.

Or maybe two.

Enough said.

Enough said.


Twitter @chrisvanocur


Determined not to be a Luddite, I have spent the
last few months sharpening my social media skills.

On Twitter, the number of @chrisvanocur
followers has shot up 25 percent. Quite a few are
now techies, bloggers and internet ne’er do wells.
One even – much to my horror – added me to a
list of high tech tweeters to follow.

My LinkedIn profile is also much linkier than
before. I am quickly nearing the magical 500+
number of contacts. Several of them have
foolishly endorsed my social media skills.

On Facebook, my FB friends and people who
“like” are more than OK number-wise.

Finally, I have created this stylish and
substantive website. Surprisingly, a number of
people actually seem to be reading what I am



But as my social media street cred grows, a
troubling question is gnawing at me?

Is social media making me anti-social?

The first thing I do every morning is troll the
web for items to tweet. Once tweeted, they
magically and immediately appear on the
“Twitter feed” column on the right side of this

Then, I check my Facebook pages for messages or

Soon, I am on Linkedin scrutinizing new contacts and

Finally, after I gobble down my Greek yogurt with
granola and blueberries, I work on upcoming
chrisvanocur.com blogs.

Again, there is much that is good with this. My
Klout social media score has risen dramatically –
even if I have no clue what a Klout social media
score is.



But…what is getting lost in all my new found
social media activity is time for actually being social.

Instead of meeting friends for coffee/lunch/dinner/etc,
I am endlessly tweeting, posting, emailing, linking
and many other words which end in “ing.”

Even though I am connecting with others all over
the country, mostly it’s just my laptop and me.
Simply put, Facebook and its ilk are robbing
me of actual face time. I have become a social media
animal but my real life social skills are eroding.

And, let’s face it, they were never that great to
begin with.

Facebook Professional page

Professional page

I have also noticed that all these social websites
are becoming jumbled in my mind. The other day I
caught myself trying to use a Facebook “poke”
on Twitter.


As I madly jump back and forth on all these social
media platforms, I feel like a modern-day Father
Gregor Mendel doing cross-hybridization experiments
with Pinterest and Foursquare.

Clearly, my internet interest has become an
obsession. I worry I have become a a social media
addict. Perhaps, my addiction has gotten so bad I
should seek help.

But I don’t know if I can explain my ailment to
a doctor in 140 characters or less.







IRS Logo Wikimedia Commons

IRS Logo
Wikimedia Commons

Dear John,

Sorry I haven’t written sooner – or ever.

I am growing increasingly concerned about what
people are saying about you. They are questioning
your ethics and your moral fiber.

Since I have publicly stated you should be
reelected to a second term, I have come up with a
brilliant idea. It is so strategically sound, it may
clear your name once and for all.

John, here and now, I am begging you humbly to
show us your taxes.

Yes, you heard right.


For the sake of all that is good and true in the
world, release your tax returns for the past five
years (starting in 2007). Also, make public the
documentation behind them.

Such a noble and brave act might convince Utahns,
finally and definitively, that you are clean as a
whistle and beyond reproach.

Releasing your tax information sends a powerful
message that nothing nefarious has taken place
and that you were involved in no skullduggery.

(OMG – I just used nefarious and skullduggery
in the same sentence!)

Right now, there is all sorts of speculation
going on. It has reached such a frenzied point,
I almost expect Sarah Palin to emerge in Utah and
claim that you have been “palling around” with
(financial) terrorists.

But if…I mean when…your publicly released
tax returns show you have done nothing wrong,
then all your impeachment and investigation
problems might suddenly disappear.

How could they not?

After all, your tax forms will show that there has
been no questionable $$$ activity on your part.

Won’t they?

As you know, Gayle and I are fighting a determined
yet lonely battle to uphold your good name. If you
simply “show us the money,” our job will become so
much easier.

Please do this. Please release your tax returns. Show
the world you have nothing to hide. Show them the media
and the naysayers are wrong.

Because…if you don’t release your taxes and prove you’re
on the straight and narrow, you may soon be getting other
“Dear John” letters.

In fact, I fear the feds, county prosecutors and legislators
may already be busy writing them.

Talk soon,



Scan 131540000 copy

Since I have had some free time lately…

I was tidying up the slightly cluttered
executive offices of chrisvanocur.com
(my study). Since distractions from such duties
are always welcome, I paused to look at some
very “old school” photos. While gazing
nostalgically at these long ago images of
friends, flames and events, suddenly, the
“DeLorean” in my brain zoomed back to the

I had a Doc Brown moment.

Dr. Emmett Lathrop “Doc” Brown, Ph.D, was the
lovable and nutty professor in the Back to the
Future movie franchise. When excited, Doc Brown
(brilliantly played by Christopher Lloyd) would
wave his arms and raise his already cartoonish
sounding voice. All this with his wild hair
setting off in every direction.

My Doc Brown moment came when I stumbled
across a 16 year old picture. It was taken in
October of 1997. For several minutes, I stared
at this photo of me standing in front of the
Wayne County Courthouse in Loa. I was there on
assignment. Someone had given me a tip that there
might be some action in court that day.

Because this was so long ago, some details from
1997 have faded from my memory. But I believe
we were at the Loa court that day because it is
where a special panel of judges was meeting. But
even more importantly – if I remember correctly –
this judicial panel was special because it had the
power to decide whether or not to convene a state
grand jury.

This is why that 1997 picture caused me to do an
excited Doc Brown dance. It sparked a very
important memory; under certain circumstances, a
state grand jury can be called in Utah.

So, immediately I logged on to the state courts
website. It wasn’t long before I found this
explanation of Utah grand juries,

“A panel of judges selected from throughout the
state will hold hearings in each judicial district
every three years to determine if a grand jury needs
to be summoned based upon criminal activity. The
attorney general, a county attorney, or special
prosecutor appointed under U.C.A. 77-10a-1 can
also present evidence…The panel of judges will
hear in secret all persons claiming information
justifying the calling of a grand jury. All persons
appearing shall be placed under oath and shall be
examined by the panel of judges.”

See where I am headed with this?


In my May 22 commentary on the DOJ investigation
of Utah Attorney General John Swallow, I wrote,

“…just because the feds may be looking at a lot
of things and people, doesn’t guarantee there will
be many or any indictments”

All along, I had been focusing almost exclusively
on the federal investigation of Swallow. I
reasoned the feds would ultimately be the ones to
decide whether any charges would be filed. But that
16 year old picture from Loa made me realize this
wasn’t necessarily the only legal option.

As Utah Political Capitol first reported, two
county prosecutors are also investigating the
attorney general’s office. Their probe is to
determine whether any state laws may have been

Now, I have no idea where this “Double DA”
investigation is headed. But all of this made me
think about that courthouse in 1997. Could this be
the direction where the Swallow controversy is
going? Might the findings from the two county
prosecutors end up being presented to that special
panel of judges? Could a state grand jury then be

As you mull these questions over, here is something
else to to ponder. This special panel of judges doesn’t
meet often. According to the state courts website, the
most recent meeting of the panel was on May 9th. Its
next meeting is October 10th.

As I write these words, I have no idea if
Swallowgate has already been discussed before
this judicial panel. The panel meets in private.
Nor do I know if it will be brought up in October.
But, after three decades of reporting, I do know my
news ESP is pretty good. So is my ability to
connect political dots.

But if it turns out I am all wrong about all of
this, well, just chalk it up to a vivid
imagination and too much time on my hands.

If I am right, though, and the future bears out my
intuition, please feel free to address me simply as
Doc Vanocur.