Ramblings of a Sports Addict

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here are the completely random sports-related thoughts from a passionate fan who has been bottling up his sporting thoughts, emotions, and feelings for a long time. Before making you read the entire 65,000 words on this post, here are the topics I would like you to comment on. (Come on, men, this one's for you. I have a lot of female readers, but this post definitely skews male).

1. Why it's so great to be a BYU fan right now.
2. Your Monday-morning quarterbacking of the Panthers or your favorite NFL team.
3. Who killed or saved your fantasy football season?
4. Why do BYU & U. of U. football stars hardly ever become good pros?
5. Quick - name a white CB in the NFL.
6. Wallowing in Wally and steroids in MLB.

*It's a great time to be a BYU fan. The football team has gone undefeated in the MWC for the second straight year and completely owns the conference. They also managed to rip the hearts out of Utah fans who had to watch the game slip out of their hands in the last minute for the second straight year. They are 10-2 and ranked #17 in the BCS and will destroy UCLA in their bowl game.

*BYU's basketball team is 8-2, just cracked the top-25, and owns the nations longest home winning streak at 36 in a row. I bet the atmosphere in Provo is a little peppier than the 1996-1997 season I had to endure as a student when they went 1-25.

*I absolutely love the NFL and have become a loyal Carolina Panthers fan since moving to NC in 2003. This year, however, the team is driving me completely insane. I have officially renamed the team the Carolina "Three and Outs". About 9 out of 10 drives go as follows: 1st down - Hand off to DeShawn Foster off tackle for a 2 yard gain. 2nd down - From the shotgun formation, hand off to DeAngelo Williams on a slow developing draw play for a 2 yard loss. 3rd and 11 - Whoever is starting in the Vinnie Testaverde/David Carr/Matt Moore brotherhood of stinkiness drops back to pass, scrambles out of a collapsing pocket, and throws the ball out of bounds to prevent a sack. That happens 9 out of every 10 series. The other 1 in 10 series they manage to fumble or throw an interception on second down. I really had high hopes for the Panthers this year but it is almost unbearably frustrating to watch them anymore. I was getting tired of Jake Delhomme's repeated drive killing interceptions in critical moments of the game last year, but I now have a whole new appreciation for Jake after watching this completely inept offense flounder without him. I'll give head coach John Fox a pass this year because he got the team to the Super Bowl a few years back and lost his QB, but the predictable, conservative playcalling and stupid defensive penalties will cost him his job if they don't make the playoffs next year.

*I get giddy for fantasy football every week. I'm playing with some co-workers and extended friends for the third straight year. My team this year has driven me insane, but I managed to sneak into the playoffs as the #8 (and final) seed in a 12-team league. I have been absolutely let down by my highest draft picks. Frank Gore was my first rounder, and he was utterly useless for the first twelve weeks of the season. I picked up Maurice Jones-Drew in the second round but Jack Del Rio refuses to give him more than 10 touches per game.

My QB is Donovan McNabb who has been as stable as Brittney Spears. McNabb has been so inconsistent that I have been starting David Garrard/Matt Shaub over him since week 8. I drafted Thomas Jones of the Jets early assuming he would be the feature back on a team on the rise that went to the playoffs the year before. It took Mr. Jones over 270 touches before his first touchdown. Ugh! My first receiver drafted was the Cowboy's Terry Glenn, who would have had a 1,000+ yard season with Tony Romo on fire this year, but Glenn has missed the entire season due to injury. My starting TE was Todd Heap, who is normally good for 75 catches, 800 yards, and 7 TD's, which is great for a TE. This year he went for 23-239-1 in six games before shutting it down for the season.

The only reason that my team nearly pulled a .500 record is because I worked the Free Agent and Waiver Wire better this year than I ever have before. I managed to steal Brandon Jacobs from FA early in the season after he returned from injury. I pulled the Packers Ryan Grant from FA in week 6 and have ridden that pony for huge points ever since. I snagged Seattle's Bobby Engram as a WR when Deion Branch went down and he has been a consistent 7 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown most weeks. I also got Roddy White from FA late in the season before his 14 catch breakout game. Our playoffs started tonight with the Broncos-Texans game. I'm going up against the 12-1 first place team in my league and it will be a shocker if I even come close to him. He had Brandon Marshall who went for 11-107 tonight, so I'm starting off in the hole already. I managed to play in the Super Bowl of my league last year and really hope I can pull the upset and advance for a few more weeks before having to endure another six months without fantasy football.

*Why do BYU and U. of U. football stars turn out to be such lousy to decent but rarely stellar pros? Alex Smith, the former U. of U. QB and #1 overall draft pick in 2005, has a career 63 passer rating, and only 19 TD's versus 31 interceptions in 30 career starts. BYU's Luke Staley won the 2001 Doak Walker award which goes to the best RB in the NCAA. The 2000 winner was LaDanian Tomlinson, the 2002 winner was Larry Johnson. While they are two of the top backs in the NFL, Luke was a 7th round pick and never played a down in the NFL, though much of that was due to injury. BYU's John Beck has looked terrible for the Dolphins in his rookie season, but in all fairness to John, even Tom Brady would have a hard time putting up decent stats for a cruddy team with absolutely no O-line, running game, or decent receivers. The jury is still out on Beck. Let's just hope he doesn't turn out to be a Loser ("....soy un perdedor, I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me? Gettin' crazy with the cheese whiz...."). Sorry for the lame Beck pun, but somebody had to do it.

There have been a lot of solid but few dominant players. BYU's Rob Morris had a couple of 100+ tackle seasons as a starter for the Colts before becoming a role player. Brett Keisel (DE-Steelers) and Brady Poppinga (LB-Packers) are both having solid seasons as well. John Tait has been a serviceable, though not spectacular, offensive lineman throughout his career after being a 1st round pick.

The U. of U. alum have also had some marginal success. There are three Utes playing for my beloved Panthers. Steve Smith is hands-down the best U. of U. or BYU pro since Steve Young, but his talent has gone completely to waste this year with the horrible QB situation. Carolina has reverted to direct snapping it to Smith a couple of times a game just to get him involved in the offense. The Panthers OT Jordan Gross is similar to John Tait - a decent player but not living up to a first round pick. Carolina also has DT Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who is good but far from an impact player. Eric Weddle, the Chargers rookie DB from Utah, has had a good season and I think he could be headed for the Pro Bowl down the road. RB Mike Anderson had a great rookie season in Denver, but has been relegated to role player ever since.

*Here's an NFL Jeopardy question for you - name the best white Corner Back in the NFL. No, seriously, just give me one name because I honestly can't think of a single white CB in the league. Whoever can research this and give me a name will be the winner of this week's post. You know how there has been a lot of criticism given to some of the major college football programs that recently hired white coaches without interviewing any minority candidates? I think there should be similar outrage for the lack of opportunity given to Caucasian players who aspire to play a skill position. Before signing any CB's, RB's, or WR's, teams have to at least put a white dude through a combine workout. What says "skill position" like a 4.65 forty?

*The Mitchell report just came out and I feel dirty for having rooted for Mark McGwire and for cheering Matt Williams when he helped lead my Diamondbacks to the World Series. The one name on the list that really disappointed me was BYU's Wally Joyner. I read in ESPN the Mag about a year ago that he tried one illegal/banned substance on one occasion, and then flushed the rest of the vial down the toilet and he has felt guilty ever since. The Mitchell report said his use was, "very minimal" and when you look at his physique you would not lump him in with the Bonds/McGwire/Sosa/Giambi ilk. But knowing that even upstanding LDS athletes succumbed to the pressure to take steroids in order to prolong their careers really shows how difficult it must be to stay clean and be successful in the MLB.

Okay, I have gotten everything sports-related off of my chest and I suddenly feel much lighter, less burdened. I'll have to do this again sometime, maybe after the Lakers trade for Jason Kidd and make a run to the Finals.......

Worst. Slogans. Ever!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

When I was 10 years old my brother, two friends, and I started a band called the "Def Dogs". It was a lame attempt to cash in on the popularity of Def Leopard. We played tennis rackets as our instruments and made Weird Al type parody songs like "Livin' on Welfare" to the tune of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Bump" to Van Halen's "Jump". It's one thing when a bunch of pre-pubescent nerds come up with a cheesy slogans. It's quite another when large corporations/organizations do so. There are three slogans that I cannot seem to escape on a daily basis that are driving me insane. So without further ado, the top three worst slogans ever:

3. Cadillac. One night Andrea and I were watching TV when a new Cadillac commercial came on that neither of us had seen before. At the end of the spot the narrator's voice, in a somewhat seductive tone, came on and said, "When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?" We looked at each other with creeped-out looks on our faces and after several awkward moments of silence spoke the only sentence that a reasonable person could utter - "That's disturbing". I guess that Cadillac is targeting that ever-so-coveted customer segment comprised of people that after seeing those commercials would think, "Now that you mention it, I guess it has been a really, really long time since I was turned on by my car. I'm buying a Cadillac!" The whole question is just creepy and it bothers me every time I see it. In fact, I feel like I should take a shower right now for simply writing about it.

2. The Salvation Army. I had always perceived this organization as consisting of humble people who are simply motivated by their pure love of their fellow men. Knowing their efforts go to help the poor and needy is all the reward they seek. That was what I thought until this year's bell ringers set up shop outside our local grocery store. I was taken aback by the slogan next to the sign held by the person asking for my money, which read, "The Salvation Army - Doing the Most Good". The first thought that went through my mind was, "How arrogant!" With all of the good that is done by churches, schools, community organizations, other national organizations, etc., I think the whole "Doing the Most Good" is a smack in the face to the rest of us. I feel like submitting the following alternate slogans for them to use when their current one runs out of steam:

-We Could Take the United Way with One Bell Tied Behind Our Back!
-Our Left Hand Knoweth What Our Right Hand Doeth.
-Bring It On, Do-Gooders, Bring It On!
-We're Number One! We're Number One!

1. Sherwin Williams. On my daily commute to work I drive by several Sherwin Williams paint company trucks. On the side of the trucks is a picture of the planet being drenched in tons of Sherwin Williams paint spilling from an enormous paint bucket. The paint completely engulfs the world. Underneath this disturbing ecological disaster is the tagline, "Cover the Earth".

First of all, I cannot believe that in this incredibly green, eco-friendly world that we live in that Sherwin Williams continues to use a picture that is eerily reminiscent of the Exxon-Valdez disaster. The way the paint is rushing out of the can makes it look like in a complete accident the world has been suddenly covered in paint. Can you imagine how badly this picture will come to haunt the company when one of their plants in India accidentally dumps tons of red paint into the Ganges? Just wait, in an attempt to show the company's concern for the environment they are going to change the color from red to green next month.

If the picture isn't bad enough, the phrase, "Cover the Earth" sounds more like a military campaign or some sort of destructive conquest than a mission statement. I can just envision the Board of Directors plotting their strategies for world domination as they sit in a smoky war room hunched over a large, flat picture of the earth reminiscent of an oversized Risk board. I am honestly afraid that in the year 2053 that Sherwin Williams' CEO will also be the supreme ruler of the world.

I guess I had better start buying Sherwin Williams stock right now to show my loyalty to the future world superpower long before its violent rise to power. It is trading at $62.83 right now. Seems like a small price to pay in order to avoid a lifetime of servitude under the repressive SWP regime, don't you think?

Anucha & Me - Two Peas in the Discrimination Pod

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anucha Browne Sanders, I know how you feel. I'm here for you. We can get through this together, you and me. As one who has experienced blatant discrimination every day of his adult life, I can guide you through this troubled time.

For those of you who do not know Mrs. Sanders, she is a former New York Knicks executive who was recently awarded $11.6 million for wrongful termination after being sexually harassed by Isiah Thomas, the team's head coach. While Anucha and I differ in many ways - black/white, female/male, over 40/under 40, non-Mormon/Mormon, KFC/Taco Bell - we have two things in common.

The first similarity is that we both strongly dislike Isaiah Thomas. Anucha has her reasons for the demeaning comments that he made to and about her in the workplace. My beef with Isaiah is that he was a dirty, whiny member of the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" of the late 1980's to early 1990's that battled my beloved Lakers in some epic NBA Finals series. I also dislike Isaiah for the ridiculous pre-game kisses on the cheek with Magic Johnson, my idol at the time, and the number of jokes heaped upon me because of it. The Knicks HR should have uncovered the Magic kissing fiasco in their pre-employment background checks and realized that Isaiah was a little to touchy-feely with his professional associates. They deserve the $11m penalty for ignoring the classic warning signs.

The second way in which Anucha and I are similar is that we are both victims of discrimination. How, you may ask, can a 33 year-old white guy with no physical disabilities who is happily married to a woman and never served in the military (in short, I'm a member of the "anti-protected class" class), claim discrimination? Well, here is my plight:

I'm tall.

At nearly 6'6" I would only be an averaged sized Shooting Guard in the NBA, but in the real world I tower over most people. Some people have used slurs like "freakish", "monstrous", "ginormous", "uge" (pronounced without the "H", thanks to Ubie Brown), "mutant boy", and the ever-so-hurtful "Shawn Bradley-esque" when referring to my stature. I can't help it. I was born this way. Well, I wasn't technically born 6'6", but you get the point. While I can only find very suspect stats on the web, the most credible site - heightsite.com - says that only .08% of the US population is taller than I am. This, my friends, puts me in the minority.

Most minority groups have legislation imposed to prevent discrimination against them due to their minority status. They also have very vocal, deep-pocketed coalitions/associations to support them and champion their cause. Even in our overly politically correct society, there is still no support for the tall minority. Where is the anti-height defamation league? Why hasn't anybody ever formed the National Association for the Advancement of Tall People (NAATP)? Why is the closest person to a Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton that tall people have ever had is Wilt Chamberlain when he said, "Nobody roots for Goliath?". It's not quite, "I Have A Dream", but it's all we tall people have. Maybe I'll start the GOLIATH! Foundation - Gentlemen Of Length In America Take Heart! - to look out for my freakishly huge brothers. (Sorry, no girls allowed. We will be a discriminatory anit-discrimination club).

When it comes to age, race, gender, disabilities, national origin, etc., most people walk on eggshells so that they do not do or say anything offensive. But when it comes to height, any comment is fair game. Unless you think Jeff Foxworthy is funny, you would never dare walk up to an Asian, for example, and say, "Have you always been so Asian? It's like you get more Asian every time I see you! What are you eating to become so Asian?". (Admit it! You even cringed a little bit just reading that sentence! Ha! Proved my point.) But when it comes to picking on my height minority status, there is no such political correctness. Two days ago at Stake Conference I had a husband and wife couple who had not seen me for several months walk right up and say, "It's like you get taller every time we see you!". This morning while at a funeral I had a member of our Stake say, "I swear you're still growing like a weed!".

Just to illustrate the point of how easy it is to single out the tall guy, I want you to play a game called, "Spot the Freak on the Back Row". Below is a picture of my MBA class from 2003. Please click on the picture to enlarge it and then take 3 seconds to quickly look at all of the people on the back row and spot the person who does not look like everybody else.


Okay, if your eyes went immediately to the guy (me) in the center who is about a foot taller than everybody else - shame on you for thinking I'm the freak! The guy third from the left (my buddy Mason) has a third eye in the middle of his forehead. The guy third from the right (my buddy Nate) does not have a mouth. I think both of those conditions are a little more abnormal than towering over everybody else. (In case you are wondering, both Mason and Nate have successfully had surgery to correct their physical deformities. They are both doing well, though Mason occasionally walks into walls as he gets used to not having superhuman vision anymore.)

Aside from the jokes and comments, here are some of the other ways in which society still discriminates against those of us of height:

-Door Frames. Believe it or not, but I still hit my head on some door frames if I don't duck. I've hit my head so many times now that I'm afraid my....brain...thingy....might....damaged....get........
-Handicap Accessible Water Fountains. The second floor water fountain at work was designed to be wheelchair accessible. If you have every watched a giraffe drink from a pool of water on Discover, you now know how I look when I take a drink at work.
-Airplane Seats. Try flying to El Salvador in coach when your legs are so long that you can only prop one leg underneath the seat in front of you while the other rests in the aisle.
-Bathroom Mirrors. Try combing your hair when the mirror is hung so low that you can only see up to your chest without bending over.
-In-Store Displays. The weekly special poster hanging at the grocery store is hung at a height to attract the eye of a 5'6" female shopper. This puts the sharp corners right at the perfect height to poke a 6'6" shopper right in the eye.
-Cruise Ships and Submarines. Anything that floats and has a roof was designed for the luxury and comfort of leprechauns. It really hampers my love of submarining to have to constantly duck. Check out the picture below of what I was up against every time I walked down a hall on our Carnival cruise ship:



I was originally going to ask for your sympathy and for you to stop picking on us poor, defenseless tall people. But after reading over my list above, it made me think that I can champion the cause on my own the good old fashioned American way - I can sue somebody! Maybe, just maybe, the next time I go to Wal-Mart one of those hanging displays might "accidentally" scratch my cornea. There may be an $11 million jury award in there somewhere. Hey, it worked for Anucha.

Pregnancy Brain

Monday, October 22, 2007

Andrea and I are currently expecting our third child and are again experiencing the wonders of the first trimester. You know, that blissful period of time when your wife says common everyday phrases but they now end with a reference about vomiting, such as, "Mmmmmm, look at that turtle cheesecake.....I think I'm going to throw up", or "The guy in the car next to us is eating a Fillet O' Fish.....I'm gonna to hurl", or "Ew, the creepy guy on Survivor just took his shorts off....I'm going to be sick". Wait, I said the last one, but you get the point.

During her first pregnancy, Andrea read a time honored book called "What to Expect When You're Expecting" that explained all of the magical, beautiful, and painful experiences that awaited her.

(Side Note on "What To Expect": I actually think that book is a sham. It never makes a definitive statement. There are nearly 300 pages of wishy washy passages like, "Some women experience severe morning sickness while others enjoy nearly perfect health to begin their pregnancies. Remember, every body responds differently to pregnancy." It should be titled, "What You May or May Not Expect When You Perhaps Become Pregnant, Or Not". They should have just written in large, bold font on page 1, "Every Pregnancy Is Different!", and then filled the remaining 300+ pages with practical, helpful tidbits like "1,487 Smells To Avoid" and "500 Ways to Enjoy a Day Passed Out on the Couch". Does anybody know a publisher? I think I'm on to something here.

Also, wouldn't it be funny if they had a progressive series of the "What To Expect" books for each of your pregnancies. I had a lot of fun with the titles, which could be:

Child I: What to Expect When You're Expecting
Child II: It'll Probably Go A Lot Faster Than The First One
Child III: Now You're Outnumbered, Knuckleheads
Child IV: There Is An 87% Probability That You Thought You Were Done With Three Kids, So Let's Make The Most Of The Other 13%
Child V: You're Mormon, Aren't You?
Child VI: Since Child I and Child II Can Babysit, Why Not?)

Anyway, getting back to the point, there is a lot of material available about the changes a woman's body experiences when she is pregnant. This time around, however, Andrea has made me aware of a condition known as "Pregnancy Brain" that women often suffer when they are expecting. The theory is that since so much of the blood flow is redirected to the uterus, there is precious little blood left for the brain. This lack of blood flow to the noggin prevents pregnant women from being able to use their full mental capacity and causes them to be generally forgetful. However, the part of the brain that reminds the expectant mother that the smell of carpet makes her want to throw up somehow manages to continue to function on all cylinders.

I thought that Andrea was just pulling my leg and was devising a foolproof way of covering herself in case she forgets anything until May. If she forgets to pay the phone bill, she can just play the Pregnancy Brain card and get a free pass. Her memory continues to be much better than mine since I am the one who keeps asking her questions like, "Which night is Whitney's soccer practice?" and "Is tonight garbage night?", so I decided to Google "Pregnancy Brain" and was surprised to get 22,700 links. Many of the entries were from sites that I had never heard of, like momminitup.com, but there was one legit site, Babycenter.com, that came up and it said the following:

"Many pregnant women say their short-term memory isn't up to par during pregnancy, particularly during their first and third trimesters....Research on pregnancy and memory is limited, so no one knows for sure what's really going on. While some studies have found evidence of verbal and memory deficits during pregnancy, others have shown that pregnant women actually do just as well in cognitive tests as women who aren't pregnant."

Gee, thanks, that clears everything up. Let me guess, the writers of "What To Expect" were the contributing authors to Babycenter.com who gave us that definitive, all encompassing insight into Pregnancy Brain. Whether Pregnancy Brain exists or not is debatable, wouldn't it be fun if we could all play a Pregnancy Brain card and just get a free pass for missing a deadline or forgetting something important? Which brings us to this week's question for your comments:

If you could purposefully "forget" to do something, play a Pregnancy Brain card, and suffer no consequences for the oversight, what would it be?

Mine would be forgetting that we agreed that we do not need cable TV and then accidentally purchasing a package that would give us ESPN and Discovery Channel. I'm typing this blog entry all by myself on a Monday night (my exhausted pregnant wife fell asleep at 9:39) while Peyton Manning and the Colts take on the Jaguars with Maurice Jones-Drew, who is on my Fantasy Football team. There has been a tiny, though vital, piece of my soul that has been missing ever since MNF was moved from ABC to ESPN.

No Wonder Local Business Names Are Lame

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So maybe naming a business is harder than I thought, which may explain why names like "Auto Bell" and "The $2.75 Cleaners" eventually stick. While my blog only has about 30 faithful readers, I take pride in the fact that I consider all of you very insightful, witty, clever, and articulate. When I published the "What's In a Name" post and asked each of you to come up with alternate names for some of the local businesses in my neighborhood that I thought could use an upgrade, I expected a plethora of great entries.

Instead, I received a collective response of, "Hey, Andrew, we are busy, busy people here! I barely have the space left in my brain to remember how many kids I have, prepare my Sunday School lesson, and learn the names of the new contestants on "The Biggest Loser", and you want me to re-name businesses for you? Ain't happenin', bro, too hard. Now where did I put my keys.........and what do I smell burning in the kitchen?"

Okay, I'll make the contests a little easier going forward. So in response to popular demand and to relieve my mentally overworked readers, this week's contest is "The Top 5 Things That Make Me Happy!"......unless you guys think that is too hard as well. Okay, just kidding on the "happy" contest, but I will make them require less though in the future.

The only person who actually stepped up to the plate and posted an answer was the lovely Andrea, so she won in a landslide. Way to go, Andrea! (I'm just waiting for Greg to cry, "nepotism!" any minute now, even though Andrea is the only person in the field. Go ahead Greg, I dare you.) The "1% Of Your Daily Income Cleaners" was a stroke of brilliance, actually, since the owners will never have to change their signs or company letterhead. Also, imagine if Oprah dropped off a blouse to get washed. Rumor has it that she owns a house in Sedgefield, so it could happen. The Forbes 100 listed her 2007 income as $260 million, so 1% of her daily income comes to $7,123. The $2.75 Cleaners would have to wash 2,590 items to generate that much revenue with their current pricing structure. I think your on to something, until the homeless come in and start dropping off their soiled clothing and then offer to pay with a Canadian nickel.

The one consistent theme that came up in the comments is how easy it is to creep out parents if you put the wrong word in the name of a daycare. Angie mentioned a place called "The Tender Touch" and Carrie brought up the "Hands-on Children's Museum". Yikes. Very disturbing.

While I pointed out most of the somewhat silly names of businesses in the area, I also found one in town that is perhaps my all-time favorite - Vic Coffin's Karate Studio. Is there any cooler name for a sensei than Vic Coffin? The name "Coffin" sounds so tough and sinister that I've wondered if it is made up, like "Rex Kwando" from Napoleon Dynamite. Every time I drive past Vic Coffin's Karate Studio I picture Vic giving a flying roundhouse to the face of some musclebound hoodlum who was trying to steal Vic's wallet in a dark alley. As the hoodlum lays unconscious on the ground, Vic very calmly and cooly deadpans a line, a la Arnlod Schwartzanegger, like, "Somebody call a mortician, this man needs a coffin", and then slowly walks away. His website is http://www.viccoffinkarate.com and if you didn't think his name sounds manly enough, check out this gnarly picture of my new hero, Vic Coffin:

What's In A Name?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

One of the benefits of living in Adams Farm is the Harris Teeter shopping center. It has a grocery store and a number of small, strip-mall businesses as well. When we first moved to North Carolina I had never heard of the Harris Teeter and did not know what it was. When people learned we were moving into the area, they would always say, "That's a great area, you've got the Harris Teeter right there!" At first, the name Harris Teeter really annoyed me because I thought people were trying to say "theater" and pronouncing it "teeter" due to their strong southern accents. I just couldn't imagine my kids growing up in Greensboro and telling me one day, "Dad, I'm off to the movie teeter with Beckie Lou." It wasn't until we had lived here for a few days and I saw the Harris Teeter for the first time and realized that North Carolinians can indeed correctly pronounce the word "theater".

While I have come to accept the name Harris Teeter, there are several other businesses in the area that I still have issues with. I fully detail my umbrage below. This week's challenge is for you to think up an alternative name for any one of the businesses listed below. I'll score each submission on the Coolness vs. Lameness of the name as well as how much more likely I would be to enter the premises based solely upon the name. No matter how inexperienced you may be with naming a business, you will probably do better than:

Nothing inspires confidence like a "3 Star" rating. In most cases, stars are awarded on a 1-5 scale with "1" being significantly below expectations and "5" as greatly exceeds expectations. I guess the owners of this daycare are just being honest. They want parents to know that this daycare will simply meet expectations. When it's all said and done, your child will not leave here any smarter than when she arrived, but at least you will never be called to leave work to pick up your kid because the Health Department shut us down. That's right, we are the 3 Star Center - providing average childcare in the Piedmont Triad since 2007.

We were the $2.62 Cleaners last year, but hey, inflation happens. Beginning January 1, 2008, please make checks payable to the $2.94 Cleaners. Thank you.


I think that 99% of the Leon's in the world are current or former professional athletes. One of the backup running backs on my fantasy football team last year was Leon Washington. One of the best Super Bowl commercials of 2004 featured an incredibly egotistical professional wide receiver who went by one name - Leon. And who can forget former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks? Every time I see Leon's Salon, I get a visual image on Leon Spinks shampooing and then cutting my hair while regaling me with boxing stories as his long-term memory fades in and out. Needless to say, I've never been through the doors.

Okay, I know Tuesday Morning is a national chain and has managed to succeed despite its quirky name. Of all the days of the week, why choose Tuesday? Tuesday is the most inconspicuous, boring day of the week. Everybody hates Monday (until football season kicks off, of course), Wednesday is hump day, Thursday has all of the good TV shows, Friday starts the weekend, and Saturday + Sunday = no work. Tuesday has no claim to fame other than not being Monday, which every other day of the week can claim as well. Tuesday is just lame. The name Tuesday Morning stirs no emotion in me whatsoever. If they had named it Friday 3:45, I would immediately think, "Cool, just an hour and fifteen minutes until the weekend!". If it were called Sleep-in Saturday or You Should Be At Church Sunday, I would definitely shop there.

Let's play the word association game. When you saw the name Auto Bell, how many of you subconsciously thought "Taco Bell" the instant you read it? Most of you are probably beginning to salivate as you think of eating a chalupa or big beef nacho right this very moment. Every time I see Auto Bell, I think of making a run for the border. Justified or not, I just imagine these guys cleaning my car with the same amount of care and detail as the guy who folds my burrito at Taco Bell. You know, the guy who deliberately folds the bottom so that half of your beans and cheese plop down on to your wrapper after your fourth bite? You then have to spend the rest of your meal twisting your burrito like a rubix cube or else you will completely cover your forearm with the gooey mess. Why associate the name of your car wash franchise with the lowest quality fast food chain in the world? I guess McCarwashers was already taken.

If any of your aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, friends, or former business associates named any of the businesses that I mentioned, please, please forgive me and pretend you never saw this. For the rest of you, please submit some viable names for a daycare center, dry cleaner, salon, discount retailer, and car wash. (By the way, whoever submitted the Doyle Butz comment from the last post gets an immediate 10% added to his or her score because I accidentally snubbed you. My bad. Just tell me who it was - and be honest!)

Bippity Boppity Boo! Wishes Granted.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

There were some very thoughtful, creative entries on this one. Thanks to Cinderella III, Freaky Friday, and Big I am very aware of the cataclysmic perils of allowing people to arbitrarily switch lives with one another. I gave a lot of fair, unbiased thought as to who should win this contest. Here are the winners:

1st Place: Angie
2nd Place (Tied): Shannon, Brandon, Andrea, Natalie, Paul, Whitney, Sandy
3rd Place: Greg

Angie is the hands-down winner of this contest, pushing her consecutive win steak to two! Just kidding. I just wanted to do that to rib my good friend Greg a little. He gave me a hard time about how often my family members win my contests, so I just wanted to have a little fun at his expense. Greg actually won this week's contest. Way to go Greg!

Back when I used to watch the Amazing Race, I had the same thought as Greg about the lucky crew that just travels the world filming groups of unemployed models and actresses. The reference to Zorbing was what won it for Greg. Andrea and I watched that episode and have always wanted to try it since then. So Greg, your wish is granted. Please just make sure that the filming will not pull you away from too many Bishopric meetings.



(Quick note on the Amazing Race. When the closing credits role, the Executive Producer's name is Bertram Van Munster, which sounds like a completely made up name to me. The name sounds so fake that we have an on-going joke in our family that if I ever have to flee from the law, I am going to stay at the O. Henry Hotel under the name "Bertram Van Munster". I can just see fugitives using that name as they are put on the spot by a Sleep Inn Clerk and panic when asked what their name is:

Sleep Inn Clerk: "Good evening, sir, how may I help you."
Fugitive: "Um, I need a room for like a week or two. Maybe."
Sleep Inn Clerk: "Okay, and what name will this be under?"
Fugitive: "Name? Uh...Bertram....ummm....Van....Munster"
Sleep Inn Clerk: "And how will you be paying for your room?"
Fugitive: "Um, in crisp, sequentially numbered one hundred dollar bills."
Sleep Inn Clerk: "Sir, you are the fourth Bertram Van Munster paying with cash that we have seen this week. Are you a fugitive from the law?"
Fugitive: "Yes, I am. It feels so good to finally get that off my chest. I'm tired of the lies, deceit, and constant fear of being caught. Will you please call the cops and put an end to my misery?"
Sleep Inn Clerk: "No, sir, I will not. Fugitives actually make up 83% of our weekday clientèle at Sleep Inn. We would go out of business without you guys. My Six Sigma Green Belt project was to devise a way increase sales among your demographic. Let me explain my new fugitive retention program to you......")

Here were some other random thoughts from the other entries:

1. Whoever made the Michael Vick comment - classic! Made me laugh out loud.

2. My kids are so cute. Brandon and Whitney - I loved your posts!
3. Angie - Jeff nailed you when he busted you for playing the suck up card. You know I couldn't let you win on that one or all of my blog readers not named Angie would have boycotted me forever. The whole wild eyebrow thing is so much more fun than you could ever imagine.
4. Natalie - If I was your sister, I think I'd be getting a little bit misty eyed right now. That was touching. Thank you for bringing some class to this wacky blog for a change.
5. Andrea - One day we will just run off to the Cayman islands, I promise. You can be the Sting Ray City photographer and I can sell shoddy merchandise to unsuspecting cruise tourists. You know, like the guy in Tijuana who sold me "the greatest guitar in the world" for $18 but it wouldn't even stay in tune. Just buy me the plane tickets.
6. Shannon - Excellent insight on Bruce Wayne. I think being Jason Bourne would be too much for me. He seems to be so focused on solving the riddles to his past that I doubt he ever makes the time to play Madden or sit in the hot tub. I don't think I could live like that.
7. Paul - So is the reason you chose to work for the Federal Government right out of college just part of your ultimate plan to get in the White House? Shrewd, Paul, very shrewd. I'll try to get on your good side in the future. (P.S. Daneen - If Paul ever starts painting one of your phones red and mumbling to himself, please lock up all of his guns and call Shannon. She can save you with her crazy ninja skills.)
8. Sandy/Jake - You know that you just jinxed BYU and the only loss of their upcoming season will be to Eastern Washington. Thanks a lot! Saying what you said is like having John Madden say, "Drew Breese hasn't thrown an interception in last 245 attempts and is closing in on the NFL record. They say 90% of the game is half mental." The next play, Drew Breese will inevitably throw a pick. Honestly, if the Coogs lose that game, I'm sicking Shannon on you.

Dude, How Would It Be To Be That Dude?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

One of the blessings of being the father of a three-year-old little girl is being able to read classical literature to her. While we are not quite to Little Women or Pride and Prejudice yet, I think I have read every Disney book that mentions the word "princess" in it about a dozen times. One of these works of art is Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. In this book, the Evil Step Mother steals the magic wand and grants a wish to her daughter, the evil Anastasia, to switch places with Cinderella and be married to Prince Charming (I think his real-world name is Doyle Butz, which didn't test high enough on the "dreaminess" scale with test audiences so they settled on Charming). The switch-a-roo takes place one year after Cinderella and Doyle were married. After getting over the disturbing "I'm stealing my sister's husband" plot line, I asked myself, "If I had that magic wand, who would I switch places with?"

This is also the theme for this week's contest. Please submit the name of one person that you would want to switch places with for a day and why. I will get out my magic wand and grant the wish to the best entry. After careful consideration, here are some of my possibilities.

1. Bear Grylls - star of "Man vs. Wild" on Discovery Channel. I think every red-blooded male at one time or another has thought to himself, "I bet I could survive for a month in the jungle with nothing but a Rambo knife and a granola bar." Well, Bear actually goes out and does it. Since we do not have cable at home, I always hope that a Man vs. Wild marathon will be showing in my hotel room when I travel for work. On those evenings I'm usually up until 2:16 a.m. and then fall asleep with my glasses on, remote in hand, and cannot concentrate on the next day's meetings. Oh well, it's worth it. If I ever fall in quicksand, get attacked by a python, or fall through the ice and have to avoid blood-thirsty killer whales, I will be prepared to survive thanks to my good friend Bear.

2. Mario Williams - Defensive End, Houston Texans. He was the first overall pick in last year's NFL draft. He signed a 6-year, $54 million contract as a 21 year-old rookie. Mario is not only athletic and wealthy, but he is not held to the highest behavioral standards either. I read this today on ESPN.com and couldn't help but laugh at the following passage about Mario's "maturity" after a tough rookie season, "If you don't count his unscheduled appearance in a YouTube video driving his burnt-orange Lamborghini at 150 mph on a highway in North Carolina, it's been a pretty solid offseason for Williams.'He's matured a lot as a person,' second-year coach Gary Kubiak said. 'There's no doubt about that'". Hold on a second here. Have any of you ever even considered doing anything that reckless in your life? Probably not. Oh to be young, athletic, rich, and be considered to be on your best behavior for only driving your Lamborghini at 150 MPH.

3. Any NBA Player Not Named Jason Williams. There were three Jason Williams in the NBA at the same time. One of them accidentally shot and killed his chauffeur with a shot gun and then tried to cover up the crime. The other was a 1st round draft pick who nearly killed himself on a bullet bike before playing in his first NBA game. His leg was mangled so badly that they did not know if he would ever walk again. The final Jason Williams was kicked out of U. of Florida for drug offenses, drafted in the first round, and then suspended later by the NBA for failure to comply with its drug program. It was so confusing a couple of years ago to talk about Jason Williams and then have to clarify with, "No, I'm talking about the white guy with the drug problem, not the one in traction or the one convicted of negligent homicide."

4. Javier Sotomayor. He is the world record holder in the high jump with a leap of 8 feet 1/2 inches. I cleared 6'7" in high school and can only imagine what 8 feet must feel like.

Okay, there is my list. Please send me who you would like to trade places with and I will pick a winner.

New State Slogans

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Excellent comments from each of you on the alternate state slogans. While there were several chuckle-worthy entries that deserve some additional props, there is only one of them that I had the time, patience, and Microsoft Paint skills to turn into an actual license plate. (I am hoping that this is the only license plate that I ever make and that I am not one day pumping them out for $.25/hr. at San Quentin. I just saw a documentary about that prison and was impressed with the inmates' abilities to make shanks out of almost anything. The prison seemed to have the same feel as Kearns High School, where our basketball team goal was not to win, but to get home without multiple stab wounds.) Here are my subjective, biased thoughts on the submissions:

Arizona Winner:
-"But It's a Dry Heat." Loved this. I have lived in NC for the past four years after living in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, Tucson, and Las Vegas. I know what it feels like when the thermometer hits 115. When I try to explain to people in NC just how hot 115 is, many of them just dismissively say, "But it's a dry heat". I've felt 95 degrees with 90% humidity in Greensboro and, sure, it made me sweat like a farm animal, but the heat just cannot compare to the Arizona desert. I'll quote from Elder Chris Dixon's most recent letter to me. He is from Greensboro and serving in Las Vegas, "The one thing I hate is when people say, 'it's a dry heat', but what they don't realize is that when it's, hot, it's hot!" 'Nuf said, Elder.

Arizona Runners Up:
-"Trying to make you believe that xeriscaping actually looks pretty since 1984." You can only arrange dark maroon rocks so many ways. Plus I learned a new word that I had never heard before and I have a personal bias toward words that start with "X". If (big IF) we have any more kids, I'd love to name one of them Xander, Xavier, or any other name starting with "X". When playing sports, he or she could be called "The X-Factor"....I'm drooling with the possibilities right now....
-"Because rebelling against Daylight Savings Time is cool." Daylight Savings Time is one of the worst plagues that "conspiring men" have unleashed upon the world in the latter days. I can never adjust to waking up an hour earlier. I think this is just part of an evil conspiracy to make me late for 7:00 a.m. Bishopric meetings as my body adjusts to the time change over a 12-week period.
-"We beat the Yankees". I was living in Tucson when the Diamondbacks pulled off that completely magical World Series. Great group of guys on the team, thrilling games, and a big upset. The only more heart-warming baseball moment since then has been the feel good story of Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record. (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.)

Idaho Winner:
-"Home of that guy from the first season of the Apprentice.". Who could forget our beloved Troy, the guy who could pull off the "shucks, I'm just glad to be here. What with all the plumbin' and horseless carriages and all" shtick and then mercilessly pound his competition in the challenges? When we were out west a few years ago I saw his face on a gigantic billboard off of the freeway promoting his real estate business. Looks like he may of had some success after the show. Or he could have tried to strike while the iron was hot, failed miserably, and is now auditioning for Big Brother 12.

South Carolina Winner:
-"Hey Georgia, our state fruit is the peach TOO! Hahahahahaha!" I had always heard of the Georgia peaches, but had never known about SC's attempt to steal GA's peachy thunder until we drove from Arizona to North Carolina. As we went through SC, I kept thinking, "Get over the peaches already! That's Georgia's claim to fame." Since this whole blog entry began with Ohio trying to rip off nearly every other state's slogan, it is only fitting that South Carolina be recognized for their shameless lack of creativity.

And the Grand Prize Goes To:



Nicely done, Ang. Nicely done.

My State's Better Than Your State!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Our family recently took a little trip to Palmyra, NY for the Hill Cumorah Pageant, tour the Joseph Smith farm, and see other historical church sites. People descend from all over the nation to see the pageant. There were even a handful of people who I am fairly certain came to Cumorah from other planets because most earthlings have stopped screaming insults through megaphones and holding picket signs at religious events, but that's a separate issue. We ended up seeing license plates from 23 states that were normally affixed to the backs of large minivans, station wagons, and suburbans. It was interesting to read the slogans from each of these states as they try to build a brand image across the country. There was one state in particular that caught our interest with two different slogans that it was using because, in my opinion, were outright lies. The state in question - Ohio.

One slogan for Ohio claims that it is the, "Home of Aviation". The last time I checked the Wright brothers took off in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, not Ohio. This monumental event is permanently emblazoned on each NC license plate as we proudly proclaim that our state is the "First In Flight". Given Ohio's brazen attempt to usurp our claim to aerial supremacy, I think that NC should change its slogan to "First in Flight - Take That, Ohio!" but Governor Easley has yet to return my repeated phone calls on this matter.


We also read that Ohio considers itself the "Birthplace of a Nation". Now, I know that I only scored a 2 on my AP United States History exam in 1993 (and didn't qualify for college credit!) but I'm pretty sure that the real birth of our our nation took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Notice, however, that Ohio is claiming to be birthplace of "A" Nation, not birthplace of "The" nation. This is like bags of potato chips loudly and proudly proclaiming "0 Grams Transfat!" in healthy-looking green font on their packaging while the rest of the bag has 6,000 calories in it. I'm not sure which nation was born in Ohio, but I strongly suggest they change their state slogan.

Since we had a 12-hour drive home from New York, Andrea and I decided to come up with alternate slogans for several states to put on their license plates. While we came up with a few of them, I am also going to ask you to post your comments for alternate slogans for three other states - Arizona, Idaho, and South Carolina. Without further ado, here are the unfortunate states who happened to cross our minds on a long, long roadtrip when we had too much time on our hands:

Delaware: "What happens in Delaware.......probably isn't worth mentioning anyway."

Georgia: "Sure, the Devil came here. But he's gone now. We promise!"

Hawaii: "Yeah, you're jealous."

Kansas: "Whole hearted supporters of high fructose corn syrup."

Mississippi: "Would you like that deep fried, or deep-deep fried?"

Missouri: "It's no coincidence that our name sounds like 'Misery'". (The alternate-alternate for Missouri is "Proudly not exterminating Mormons since 1976").

New Hampshire: "Take that, Old Hampshire!"

New Mexico: "We are currently in a bidding war with California, Texas, and Arizona to see who gets our name since it fits them better. In 2010, say hello to Albuquerque, New Canada!"

Ohio: "Did we mention that we also invented the internet?"

Rhode Island: "What? We're not an actual island? Oh well, we've already filed form 16-B with the federal government to name our state. Hopefully nobody will notice...."

Washington: "Not the one with all the politicians, the one where guys have ponytails, use hemp, and go backpacking."

West Virginia: "If you enjoy toll roads, rusted out factories, coal mines, and mullets...welcome home!"

Wyoming: "Losing to BYU at football since 1943."

Okay readers, since most of you live out west or in NC, let's have a little fun and submit your new slogans for Arizona, Idaho, and South Carolina. Just remember that two states are already claiming to be the birthplace of aviation, so you might want to steer clear of that one.

32 Reasons Why I'm Getting Old

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I was getting my hair cut this week and while I was looking in the mirror I said to myself, "face it, you're getting old." In honor of my 32 years on the planet, here are 32 reasons why I think I'm getting old.

1. I now feel slightly embarrassed/guilty when I get birthday cars with money in them. (Note to mom, dad, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and anybody else who would like to send money: Please keep sending me money every Nov. 11th. I am sure that the happiness that you feel from sending it outweighs my embarrassment/guilt for receiving it, so there is a net positive effect on the karma of the universe)

2. After watching Chris Webber as a Freshman at Michigan and his 14 years in the NBA I feel like he is an old, washed up ballplayer who should just do us all a favor and retire already. He was born in 1973. I was born in 1974.

3. As a 1st year MBA student at the U. of A., a cute little blond undergrad walked right up to me, looked me in the eye, and said, "Excuse me, sir, could you please tell me what time it is?" That was six years ago.

4. I had a nasty bout with elbow bursitis two years ago.

5. We just had four of are awesome Laurels (young women age 16-18) come to our house for dinner. Some of them were born in 1991.

6. I was recently in a meeting where the attendees were me, the High Council, and the Stake Presidency. One of the High Counselors is in his forties and the rest are in their 50's - 70's. I felt right at home with them.

7. I think my hair is thinning in the front.

8. I received a nose hair trimmer as a gift a few years ago. It was not a gag gift, either.

9. I sometimes ask myself, "I wonder how many calories are in this" before I eat it. I then eat it anyway and then have to ask myself, "how slow is my metabolism again?"

10. I care about my HDL, LDL, and glucose levels at my annual Wellness screening at work.

11. I only listen to talk radio and could not name a single song in the Top-40 right now.

12. I recently had to explain to a person who Milli Vanilli were.

13. I subscribe to Business Week.

14. I take Sunday naps almost every Sunday, even if I try not to. (But don't worry, it never happens on the stand in Sacrament meeting. Duckie whispers jokes in my ear every 30-45 seconds for the entire 70-minute program.)

15. I consider myself somewhat of a tech geek. Not quite as bad as Kip on Napoleon Dynamite, but not too far behind either. When I saw the first Apple iPhone commercial I thought to myself, "That looks cool, but I bet it's pretty complicated." I almost used the words, "newfangled", "derned", and "gadget" as well. (Quick note on Kip - he sings a really sweet technology-related song in the closing credits that goes, "Yes I love technology, but not as much as you, you see.... I occasionally sing this to Andrea when we go to Target just before I wander off the the Play Station area."

16. I have a Blackberry for work but do not understand nor do I care what an "SMS Message" is. Can anybody help me here?

17. I have lived to see Strawberry Shortcake go from popular to irrelevant and then back to popular before fading back to irrelevant. It's kind of like the Nephite Pride Cycle in the Book of Mormon.

18. I have three thick, black ear hairs that get long enough to pull.

19. I have used the word "kids" to describe young adults who are either in college or on missions.

20. My parents are in their fifties and I still consider them to be young. My grandparents in their eighties have been upgraded to "Middle Aged". (Will that help the birthday money to keep coming?)

21. I was more excited to buy our minivan than any other vehicle I have ever purchased, with perhaps the exception of a Tyco Turbo Hopper that I got as a kid. The thing went about 20-30 MPH and just flew off jumps. Those were good times.

22. I just waxed wistfully poetic about my childhood in #21. A definite sign of aging.

23. Politics matter to me now.

24. When Tony and I were lazy high school kids waking up at noon and lounging around the house eating everything we could find, we really got in to the first season of "The Real World" on MTV. We were so lazy that the phone, sitting 10 feet away, would ring and we would both repeatedly yell, "No Gets! No Gets!" until the other one agreed to get the phone. One day my mom came home after a long, hard day at work to find us on the couch watching TV. She asked us what we were watching and we said, "The Real World". I don't know what had happened that day, but my mom snapped. She's usually pretty even tempered, which is why I still remember this episode today. She look at us and nearly yelled, "You think this is the real world? I'll show you the real world!" and then stormed off. Tony and I looked at each other in stunned disbelief and telepathically said, "Did that just really happen?" and then quickly got out of the house. Mom, I can tell you now after 32 years - you were right. I think I'm getting old enough now to understand what the "Real World" is. But then again, I still don't have two lazy slug teen-aged boys yet, so I may still have some learning to do.

25. America's Funniest Home Videos makes me laugh out loud more than any show on television.

26. My hair looks grayer every time I get a haircut.

27. Andrea is only 2 1/2 years younger than I am. Sometimes we see "older" couples where the husband looks about 62 with distinguished gray hair and the wife looks like a young, spry 40 year old with stylish brown hair. Instead of making jokes that involve references to cradle robbing, sugar daddies, or the woman who recently died in the Caribbean after marrying the old, rich guy and fought over his millions (see, another sign of aging. I honestly cannot remember her name right now - memory loss - and I have little interest in pop culture.)...anyway, Andrea looks at those couples and says, "That's how we are going to look in a couple of years." I can only nod my head, smile, and agree. She's probably right. Won't it be ironic if Andrea ages much faster than I do now that she's hit the big 3-0? I could rub that one in for, oh, eternity.

28. I can vividly remember my mom being 32.

29. Some of my favorite novels are historical novels, like 1776 and Manhunt.

30. My alarm clock is now 20 years old (older than the Laurels who just came to dinner) and has survived Jr. High, High School, Ricks, being dormant on my mission, BYU, and now married life.

31. I have moved 9 times since I got home from my mission in 1996.

32. Some days my back just hurts for no reason. This only used to happen when I would help families with 4,000 pounds of wheat stored in their basement move. Now it happens when I sit for longer than 18 minutes at the computer. Now please excuse me, I have to go take some Ibuprofen. My back is killing me after all of this typing on this new fangled computer gadget.

Movie Trailer

Friday, June 29, 2007

Just to keep people interested in the movie project that I have undertaken, I have completed the trailer. It still may take a little while to get the script written and the movie made, but I would like to have it done sometime this summer. Andrea and I just watched the AFI top-100 films of all-time, and I think this one will land somewhere between Lawrence of Arabia and Dumb and Dumber.

Again, major props to Andrea for submitting the original idea. I think we will be pioneering the "Dental Suspense" genre of film. It's a watershed moment in the industry, right up there with the inventions of color film, dolby surround sound, CGI, and the Sound Effects Guy from the Police Academy movies.

Please let me know if you live in Greensboro and would like to have a part. (I've already cast Greg, unbeknownst to him, as the mysterious Damon Thingy, so I hope he's okay with that). Here are some of the parts that need to be filled.

- Dr. Addus - Male - World famous dentist. Actor needs to be able to play a confident, bordering on arrogant, dentist.
- Police Officer #1 and #2 - Either gender, must be able to pull off a stone-cold face.
- New Anchor - Either gender. He or she who can best pull off the Kent Bates persona wins.
- Extras - Unlimited number of people who want to just have a cameo can be written into the script, just for the sake of fun.

Please feel free to liberally post your comments about the chilling trailer that you are about to enjoy.......



**By the way, YouTube has released a annoying new feature that allows YouTube to automatically add additional "related" videos at the end of your clip. It is called the Menu and it YouTube takes far too many liberties with the clips they select to put on this menu. For example, they must use an algorithm that identifies this as a Mormon blog. I was surprised to play my video, and then have several other videos suddenly appear for me to select from. Many of these were anti-Mormon videos.

I found a great website that shows how to disable this horribly intrusive, annoying function that YouTube really messed up. It is:

http://blogs.sun.com/lskrocki/entry/how_to_disable_youtube_s

All you need to add is &rel-0 in the right part of the code. For those of you who post videos to your blogs, I would strongly recommend that you do this because you have no control over the content of the videos YouTube will supply. Shame on YouTube. It is an otherwise great service, but this is not in the best interest of its users.

Manhunt!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I just finished reading a fascinating, hard-to-put-down book called Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson. It is a remarkable account of John Wilkes Booth's escape and hiding after assisinating President Lincoln. If you enjoy historical novels with just enough creative liberty sprinkled in to make it readable like a novel, a la 1776, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, John Adams, etc., then this is a must read. Swanson has a follow-up book called, "Lincoln's Assassins: Their Trials and Executions" that I will be scouring amazon.com and ebay for. Since we just returned from our 10th anniversary cruise, bought a new house, and had to replace the water main already, I'll have to find it for $1.68 or less in order to be able to buy it before July of 2012. (I have a birthday in November, if anybody is keeping score at home).

The Booth family had a legacy as perhaps the preeminent stage acting family of its time. John Wilkes Booth, before becoming known as Lincoln's assassin, was one of the more famous actors of his time, pre-Hollywood, of course. His initial plan was not only to assassinate Lincoln, but to also kill Vice President Andrew Johnson, General Grant, and Secretary of State William Seward. He planned to take down the entire government by eliminating its top leadership. Because of the audacity of the plan and John Wilkes Booth's already public persona, Swanson chronicles how much of the memorabilia from Ford's Theatre, the home where Lincoln was treated, homes that sheltered Booth, locks of hair, etc. was immediately picked up by morbid collectors. Just on a random note, here are some odd sports items that I hope get preserved for future history.

1. Copies of BYU's 1984 National Championship Game. (And that all basketball and football tapes from 1998-2005 mysteriously disappear)
2. Mark McGwire's rec0rd-setting home run ball. (Sure he was probably on steroids, but that season I went out of my way to watch all of his at bats. I still remember watching him hit the record-breaker. It completely saved baseball after the strike)
3. Tecmo Bowl on the original Ninetndo (There was nothing as much fun as running for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns with Bo Jackson in one game)
4. Evander Holyfield's disfigured ears (They serve as a reminder to me to never mess with Mike Tyson because even when you win, you lose)
5. Kareem Abdul Jabbar's goggles and short shorts. (Just so I can show my children that the all-time NBA scoring leader looked like a complete nerd)

And The "Oscario" Goes To........

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner, but there has been precious little time to blog lately with the cruise we just took, preparing to sell our house, and being part of a huge acquisition at work that just closed today. Life is slowly returning to normal so I should be able to post more often.

First of all, major props to Paul, Jeremy, Jackie/Rob, Mom Sweat, and Andrea for their entries. Because only one of them can be made into a movie right now, I wanted to give each of them an "Oscario" for their effort. (Editor's Note: "Oscario" is the Guatemalan cousin to the famous Oscar presented at the Academy Awards. Fortunately, by using Oscario's likeness I can in no way be sued by the Academy for trademark infringement. Viva Guatemala and its lax copyright laws!)

Oscario for Best Quote: Rob/Jackie
There are a few movie lines that will live on forever, such as, "Win one for the Gipper", "We have traced the call and it's coming from INSIDE the house", "ET phone home", "You. Complete.Me.", and "Sweep the leg, Johnnie! Get him a bodybag!". Rob/Jackie continued the tradition with the immortal line, "Too close for water jets, switching to drills."

Oscario for Best Choreography: Jeremy
I laughed out loud with the "You Got Served" dance competition. That is one of my favorite lines to just randomly say to people. I can envision this scene playing out with one of the dancers being humiliated, only to then break out a Vanilla Ice/MC Hammer dance combo that brings down the house. The way that you tied Electric Boogaloo into your movie was a stroke of genius. I wonder what ever happened to Ozone......

Oscario for Best Social Commentary: Paul
The sentence about the family being unable to identify our minivan amid the sea of minivans in the church parkinglot hit home tonight. We asked the kids what they would like to name our Grand Caravan and they decided on "Hot Rod". Just tonight we went out to dinner and before we got three spaces down the parking lot Whitney said, "Look dad - another Hot Rod". An identical Grand Caravan was parked right next to us. Too bad Seinfeld is off the air. You could have been a writer for the show with witty social commentaries that start off with, "So what's the deal with the iPod anyway....."

Oscario for Eclipsing "Water World" As the Most Expensive Movie Ever: Mom Sweat
I really, really wanted to make my mom's movie. With the readership of the blog being predominantly LDS, I enjoyed the references to 72-hr. kits and Enrichment. The audience would have loved it. However, my Producer reminded me that we are on a tight budget. If we don't turn a profit on the movie, I have to sell one of my kidneys to Paramount Studios to help cover the losses. My best estimate puts the budget for mom's movie at $84,398. The 3 used minivans needed to get a good take of the car wreck would run about $58k. A prosthetic leg about $17k. Iguanas are not cheap, either, plus I would have to use CGI to make it burp. While mom's was perhaps the best on paper, the studio bigwigs will not green light it.

Oscario for the "Big Winner Whose Movie Will Get Made": Andrea
Okay, okay, I'm going to preemptively prevent you from claiming nepotism on this one. This has nothing to do with the fact that National Enquirer and Us Weekly published those incriminating photos of Andrea and me, "canoodling on the beach in Bahamas and Grand Cayman last week....". Andrea winning has nothing to do with the alleged romantic relationship between us. my publicist is asking that I do not say anything more on the subject except that Andrea are good friends and we would appreciate some privacy in our personal affairs.

That said, Andrea wrote a very good plot and she had the guts to do it first. She had a couple of days of a head start on the rest of the posts, so I had been turning possible plot lines and dialogue around in my head for a while before any other posts came in. It is going to be a hilarious movie when it gets made. Think National Treasure meets the Bourne Identity with a twist of Davinci Code and a sprinkle of Tommy Boy.

It will take some time to get the movie made since we are right in the middle of our move. Our 5 year-old son, Brandon, has joined the Screen Actors Guild and is holding out for more money on the part that I offered him. Whitney is finishing filming, "Air Bud 9: The Aggressive In-Line Skating Dog Who Solves Crimes While Simulatneously Repairing A Strained Father/Son Relationship". Gene Shalitt gave it two paws up.

Thanks again for the entries, they were, as Oscario would say, "Excelente!"

And The "Oscario" Goes To........

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner, but there has been precious little time to blog lately with the cruise we just took, preparing to sell our house, and being part of a huge acquisition at work that just closed today. Life is slowly returning to normal so I should be able to post more often.

First of all, major props to Paul, Jeremy, Jackie/Rob, Mom Sweat, and Andrea for their entries. Because only one of them can be made into a movie right now, I wanted to give each of them an "Oscario" for their effort. (Editor's Note: "Oscario" is the Guatemalan cousin to the famous Oscar presented at the Academy Awards. Fortunately, by using Oscario's likeness I can in no way be sued by the Academy for trademark infringement. Viva Guatemala and it's lax copyright laws!)

Oscario for Best Quote: Rob/Jackie
There are a few movie lines that will live on forever, such as, "Win one for the Gipper", "We have traced the call and it's coming from INSIDE the house", "ET phone home", "You. Complete.Me.", and "Sweep the leg, Johnnie! Get him a bodybag!". Rob/Jackie continued the tradition with the immortal line, "Too close for water jets, switching to drills."

Oscario for Best Choreography: Jeremy
I laughed out loud with the "You Got Served" dance competition. That is one of my favorite lines to just randomly say to people. I can envision this scene playing out with one of the dancers being humiliated, only to then break out a Vanilla Ice/MC Hammer dance combo that brings down the house. The way that you tied Electric Boogaloo into your movie was a stroke of genius. I wonder what ever happened to Ozone......

Oscario for Best Social Commentary: Paul
The sentence about the family being unable to identify our minivan amid the sea of minivans in the church parkinglot hit home tonight. We asked the kids what they would like to name our Grand Caravan and they decided on "Hot Rod". Just tonight we went out to dinner and before we got three spaces down the parking lot Whitney said, "Look dad - another Hot Rod". An identical Grand Caravan was parked right next to us. Too bad Seinfeld is off the air. You could have been a writer for the show with witty social commentaries that start off with, "So what's the deal with the iPod anyway....."

Oscario for Eclipsing "Water World" As the Most Expensive Movie Ever: Mom Sweat
I really, really wanted to make my mom's movie. With the readership of the blog being predominantly LDS, I enjoyed the references to 72-hr. kits and Enrichment. The audience would have loved it. However, my Producer reminded me that we are on a tight budget. If we don't turn a profit on the movie, I have to sell one of my kidneys to Paramount Studios to help cover the losses. My best estimate puts the budget for mom's movie at $84,398. The 3 used minivans needed to get a good take of the car wreck would run about $58k. A prosthetic leg about $17k. Iguanas are not cheap, either, plus I would have to use CGI to make it burp. While mom's was perhaps the best on paper, the studio bigwigs will not green light it.

Oscario for the "Big Winner Whose Movie Will Get Made": Andrea
Okay, okay, I'm going to preemptively prevent you from claiming nepotism on this one. This has nothing to do with the fact that National Enquirer and Us Weekly published those incriminating photos of Andrea and me, "canoodling on the beach in Bahamas and Grand Cayman last week....". Andrea winning has nothing to do with the alleged romantic relationship between us. my publicist is asking that I do not say anything more on the subject except that Andrea are good friends and we would appreciate some privacy in our personal affairs.

That said, Andrea wrote a very good plot and she had the guts to do it first. She had a couple of days of a head start on the rest of the posts, so I had been turning possible plot lines and dialogue around in my head for a while before any other posts came in. It is going to be a hilarious movie when it gets made. Think National Treasure meets the Bourne Identity with a twist of Davinci Code and a sprinkle of Tommy Boy.

It will take some time to get the movie made since we are right in the middle of our move. Our 5 year-old son, Brandon, has joined the Screen Actors Guild and is holding out for more money on the part that I offered him. Whitney is finishing filming, "Air Bud 9: The Aggressive In-Line Skating Dog Who Solves Crimes While Simulatneously Repairing A Strained Father/Son Relationship". Gene Shalitt gave it two paws up.

Thanks again for the entries, they were, as Oscario would say, "Excelente!"

Write A Million Dollar Movie Plot

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'll explain the details and reasons for this challenge later in the post, but the gist of this competition is for each of you creative blogger-types to write a brief movie plot. Not only will the winner receive bragging rites, but I will actually bring the winning submission to life by making a short film based upon the winner's plot. I'll use cheesy household items, lame props, and my family's wonderful acting abilities to make a short movie which will be posted on the blog through Youtube. The winner will be recognized in the credits as the Writer, right alongside the Key Grip, Gaffer, Assistant Sound Technician and Boom Mike Operator. It should be cheesy, fun, and embarassing all at the same time. So, here is what you need to do:

1. Comment with a brief plot overview, similar to a 60-second elevator speech, from one of 3 options below.
2. Give your film a title.
3. Write a specific word-for-word quote that you would like to appear in the movie. Preferably something corny that Schwartzenegger would say, such as, "You're call is very important to us, please continue on hold the line..............while I terminate you".
4. Be creative, off-the-wall, and give me a script to be proud of - write a little about how they got in the situation(s) they are in, the perils/twists/turns they experience, why we should care, and how everything gets concluded.

If you have the mental energy to do this, just take one of these three summaries and expand upon it using the criteria above:

1. A slightly nerdy, middle-class Mormon family experiences adventure when they obtain a magical Dodge Grand Caravan that allows them to travel through time.
2. In the year 2356, a power struggle between a five-year-old Jedi and his three-year-old Princess sister will determine if the lego/bionicle-boys or the princess-girls will control the universe.
3. A devistatingly attractive female dentist and her hygenist husband learn that one of their patients is involved in a plot to destroy the world, and the fate of humanity rests in their hands.

The reason I want to do this is because of a new show that I just started watching called "The Lot". Even though I only watch a little bit of TV, I always get a little bummed out when all of the season finales are done with my core group of shows. With Survivior, American Idol, and Lost all winding down, Seventh Heaven getting cancelled, and the NFL season nowhere in sight, we are officially entering the lame summer months where there is almost nothing good to watch. (Just kidding on me watching Seventh Heaven, just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention).

Every summer there seems to be one or two shows that surprise me and are watchable, like the Biggest Loser. (Side note - Every time Andrea and I watch Biggest Loser together I serve myself a heaping bowl of ice cream, slather it with Hersheys syrup, sit down on the couch, and say in a disgusted voice through a mouthfull of Breyers, "How could they let themselves go like that?" It's always good for a laugh.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed the premier of "The Lot". The general premise is that the producers received thousands of short films and invited 30 aspiring Directors to Hollywood. It is an Apprentice-like elimination process that will conclude with one winner who will be able to direct a real Hollywood blockbuster. In the first episode, the three judges gave each of the contestants 24-hours to prepare to pitch a show with scenarios like the three I listed above. It was incredible how many of these articulate people who can write, film, edit, and publish exceptional short films could not muster a coherent sentence at times when trying to explain a possible plot. I thought to myself, "how hard can it be?" and am hoping that each of you can help answer the question with your submissions.

Best of luck. Maybe the winning submission and subsequent short film will become the next Youtube sensation, get us featured on Good Morning America, get picked up by Dreamworks, make us a bizillion dollars, move to Hollywood, blow all of our money, make a terrible film with Ben Affleck, become industry outcasts, disappear from the scene for seven years, and then return with an Emmy-winning movie with Kathy Bates, Dakota Fanning, Pee-Wee Herman, and Robert Redford. I hope you are ready for a wild ride.

Don't Mess With Shelley

Friday, May 18, 2007

Congrats to Shelley for winning the coveted Don't Mess With Me Award for the way she handled her Voice Stream bill that went to collections. The majority of us ended our lousy experiences with a statement such as, "...so I stormed off in a huff and have never been back!" or "...so I said, 'I want to talk with your supervisor!'"

Is this how Shelley reacted? Oh, no no no. She took it to the next level when her story escalated to, "So I called the State Attorney General's office...". It is this kind of malicious and persistent pursuit of justice that won her the award.

There were a couple of companies/industries that were beaten up pretty bad - David's Bridal (Jackie and Shannon) and the big box retailers Wal-Mart/K-Mart (Harmons, Tom, and Angie). I thought it was funny that two car dealerships were mentioned, but the people who posted (Sandy and Natalie) either couldn't remember the name of the dealership or didn't mention it. Come on, guys, you're either not worked up enough about what happened if you can't remember the name of the dealership or else you are letting them off way too easy if you just chose not to mention it.

So why put Shelley's head on Mr. T's body? Funny story, actually. Since this is the Don't Mess With Me Award, I asked myself, "Who in the world would I never mess with?" The first two names that came to mind were Mike Tyson in the early 1990's and Mr. T. Since I couldn't pick one or the other, I asked Andrea to give me the name of one person off the top of her head that she would never mess with. She paused briefly then said, "Ummm.....Mr. T?" She didn't sound very convincing, but if we both thought Mr. T then you have to go with it.

If Mr. T sues me for superimpsoing Shelley's face on to his body, I will have Shelley serve as my legal representative. I have a feeling she would tear them apart. I pity the fools already.

Do You Have a Banned List?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm about to share 3 companies that I've banned for one reason or another. Please post a comment to let each of us know a company or two that you have banned and why. The best comment will win you the official, "Don't Mess With Me" award.

I was in Pasadena, CA last week for work and took Prime Time Shuttles from the hotel to the airport. There were three of us in the shuttle and a femal passenger was very concerned that she was going to miss her filght. The driver got upset and became very argumentative and confrontative with her. He even told the woman, "If you were so worried about getting there on time you should have taken a cab!". I was so put off by the driver that I called the Prime Time customer service department to let them know how dissatisfied I was with the ride. I was on hold for about three minutes before an Operator picked up the call. She answered and immediately gave me the standard, "Can you hold please?" and put me on hold before I could reply. Instead of putting me on hold, however, she hung up on me. I was willing to give them one chance to redeem themselves, but when Prime Time's customer service rep hung up on me I was able to say that wonderful magic word available to each of us as consumers:

"BANNED!"

That's right, I have forever banned Prime Time Shuttles. It will never see another dollar from me. Prime Time joins a rather short but distinguished list of companies that have for one reason or another incurred the wrath of my consumer ire. Here are the top 3:

1. Sears. Early in our marriage we had to get a CV boot repaired on our car before driving from Provo, UT to Arizona. The only place that could do it on short notice was Sears. They ended up putting in 2 CV boots that day, and both of them were obviously not working judging from the incredibly loud clicking noise the car made every time I turned. Later that night the CV slipped completely out of joint. I took it to a different mechanic the next day. He looked at the car, came back laughing, and told me that the part Sears put in was 4 inches too short. It was so costly and aggravating that I've never been back to Sears.

2. Citgo. It's hard to have the warm fuzzies toward any gas company these days, but it is impossible when one charges you $3.00/gallon and is owned by the Hugo Chavez-led Venezuelan government. Chavez is a very outspoken critic of the United States and recently said the following about President Bush, “Yesterday the Devil was here, in this very place. This table from where I speak still smells like sulfur ... in this same hall the president of the United States, whom I call 'The Devil’, came here talking as if he owned the world.” I simply cannot spent another dollar at Citgo knowing that much of it will flow back to Chavez. I'd rather fill my tank at a company that cares about me, the environment, and the promise of tomorrow's children, like Exxon-Mobile. (making gagging/throw up sounds right now.....)

3. Heinz. Much like my reasons for banning Citgo, this is primarily due to politics. During the Kerry/Bush presidential race many of us had the displeasure of being introduced to Mrs. Teresa Heinz-Kerry. Well, she adopted Heinz-Kerry during the race, now she's back to just "Heinz". Anyway, when speaking about her husband's public healthcare plan she said to the Intelligencer Journal of Lancaster, "Only an idiot wouldn't like this. Of course, there are idiots." Well, I didn't like the plan. Nor did I like her calling me an idiot. I have since taken my idiot dollars to purchasing Hunts catsup, even though it is an inferior-tasting condoment. Oh well, I'd rather settle for a slightly less tasty catsup than swallowing the acrid taste of selling my soul to help my hot dog taste a little better. (Okay, a little hyperbole, but it gets the point across).

So there's my list. Please post your "Banned" companies and I'll select a winner.