Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Holy Smokes!

I rarely get excited about a movie, espcially after the egg that was laid on the Indy IV film. I typically catch even the blockbusters a few weeks after their premiere. Or in the case of Spiderman 2 and 3; Pirates 2 and 3 and all of the silly Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings crap, I just see them when I see them. Maybe never. Hopefully never.

Tonight I saw the new Batman flick. I heard from just about everyone that it was a great movie and that Heath Ledger, sadly in his last film, played the role of his life as the deliciously wicked Joker. As the quirky James Lipton from "Inside the Actors Studio," would say, "It was a performance 2nd only to that of Charles Nelson Reilly's seminal work in Hello Dolly."

Yeah, he was that good. The joker wasn't at all cartoonish like in the old TV show days, nor was he like Jack Nicholson's portrayal of him back in the late 1980's. Ledger's performance was violent, humorous, silly, and quite daring. He pulled it off and stole the show. I normally don't like movies adapted from their comic book roots, and I was pleasantly caught off guard by this show. If you haven't seen it - go. Steve, I will even pay for the drinks and popcorn. Heck, we'll even babysit.

Of course I do have a few critical comments.....

Why does The Batman (the movie likes using the "the" a lot) talk with such a deep voice? This reminded me of an old Clint Eastwood movie.

Spoiler Alert: Why did Harvey have to turn out to be so creepy? And how about the burned side of his face? Very realistic but I doubt he would have been up and out of bed so fast.

Did all of the dark scenes bother anyone else? At times I found it difficult to figure out who was hitting who and, more importantly, who was winning.

Maggie Gyllenhaal did nothing for me. As the supposed "love interest" for both Bruce and Harvey, I found her to be about as vanilla as the ice cream I love. Bland.

As usual, Gary Oldman was outstanding. He always brings it to the set. He was awesome as "Sheldon Runyon" in the movie "The Contender," a taut political thriller.

Interesting social dilemma at the end with the two boats; one full of convicts and the other full of commuters.

What would you do?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's Headlines

I always have an opinion on this stuff. Grab a seat and kick back for spell.

The first story that jumped off the screen that caught my eye was this one and it's a doozy: The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution TODAY apologizing for slavery and the Jim Crow laws that once existed. People it is 2008. WE NEED TO STOP LOOKING BACKWARDS. Slavery was terrible. It was brutal and inhuman, but it's gone now. Still however, I often am moved to bouts of laughter by the antics of Congress. Take a look around. The economy is in shambles. American's are losing their homes. We've had bank closures, bank downgrades, and a stock market that likes to go up and down like a yo-yo. Oh, and gasoline prices have gone through the roof. You would THINK Congress would be addressing, 24/7, our nation's energy/bank/foreclosure/economic cesspool that exists, and instead they are make bullshit proclamations about really bad stuff that happened a long time ago and is bound to open some wounds that had finally healed. By the way, the saying that accompanies the picture - "Am I not a man and a brother?" True dat.

Another interesting story...

The City Council in Los Angeles voted unanimously for a new law banning new fast-food restaurants in certain parts of South LA. The council is essentially attempting to put low income folks on a diet. Their objective is to have more "health conscience" restaurants and markets since 30% of the area's adults are obese versus the 19% of hip folks whose cribs are on the westside. To the writer of the piece I say this: "Dude, it's south LA. Let 'em have a burger. We have better stuff to be mad at. Worse things to fix." Besides, I don't think a Whole Foods will go over real good in that sort of neighborhood. Dunno, that's just my opinion.

Our life....

Janae is down in Oceanside and has been there since Saturday. I fly down to SD on Friday night with Grammy and will meet up with Alec and Tiffany who are also flying in from Salt Lake City that night. The rest of our crew roll into North Coast Village on Saturday. We're a lot smaller group now that Rod bought a place in Mexico and we lose all his kids and grandkids, but hopefully we'll take care of that logistical shortcoming soon enough. We've missed Alec the past 2 years due to his service in Peru so it will be nice to be there with he and his lovely wife, our darling, "Hardest Working Woman in the Legal Profession" daughter-in-law Tiffany M. Runyon. We dig the beach. It's a good vibe, the weather is perfect and we relax. Doc Eells says relaxing is good for me. Me tinks I agree.

Jake is doing wonderful in Ecuador. A big Muchas Gracias to all of you who write him letters and emails of support. He is in a challenging environment and it's good to know( that so many people from back home take the time to drop him a quick note. It's been nearly 7 months since he left us for the mission field.

NFL Camps are Open!

Thankfully, football camps are officially open and this means the summer doldrums will soon be over with. It's true, look it up, but after the NBA finals, the world of sports kind of lays down for about 6 to 8 weeks. I dislike that period.

It bothers me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

ESPN NCAA Basketball Rankings

For the past week ESPN has published on their website a list of the 50 top NCAA basketball programs since 1984 - the year the tournament expanded to the current field of 64 teams (or 65 if you want to count the play-in game between 2 schools from places we have never heard of...except Molly). Each day 10 teams were revealed until the top ten came out on Friday.

I was pleasantly surprised to see our beloved UNLV Rebels ranked 8th. Just behind UCLA. The top 10 are essentially the best programs in the land and have been, overall, for the past quarter century. Utah was ranked 26th and this also pleased me since it's my alma mater. Basically, I think it's safe to say that I just like the teams with red in their uniforms. I hate blue.

I agreed with the networks top 10. The rankings weren't arbitrary at all. They assigned a point value to 20-win seasons, 30-win season, NCAA appearances and wins, Final 4 trips, and so forth. Here's the list...hard to argue: Duke, Kansas, UNC, Kentucky, Arizona, UCONN, UCLA, UNLV, Syracuse & Georgetown.

The thing that will spark debate is, of course, the fact that if UNLV had not been hounded by the Nazi-like NCAA, the school wouldn't have been put on probation, lost such star recruits like Shawn Tarver and Ed O'Bannon, et al and probably have one a couple more titles and EASILY been #1 overall....think of the undefeated team in 91 -92. They probably would have contended for the NBA title back then too...and the Olympic gold medal. It's true, look it up.

BYU? They were ranked 46th.

Friday, July 25, 2008

John McCain: An American Hero

Allow me to be brutally honest (really, would you expect anything less? haha), the upcoming election will be historic - we will either elect an African American or the oldest man ever to sign up for this gig. All medialand are busy licking their chops.

Let's examine the black guy first: Obama is a media creation. Let's face it folks, he has ZERO experience in the political arena. He has been a Senator for 4 years and has spend 2 of those years racing around the country (and now the world)lobbying to be the next President of the United States (herefter POTUS).

No question that Obama is a likeable, smart and decent man. I admire him a great deal. To achieve the level of political success that he has so rapidly is a testament to his intellect, ambition, and good old fashioned hard work. I have no doubt that if I were to meet him in person, I would like him even more. The problem I see with him being POTUS lies in his policital inexperience and in his party's platform. Either one of these should have the alarm bell going off inside all of our heads and cause massive hemmoraging.

Simply put, the democrats espouse more government, more interference to the free market system, more taxes, more freebies and all of this is alarmingly bad. I'm disappointed and perplexed with their position on so many things. For example, the democratics vehemently oppose abortion yet fight to eliminate the death penalty. They don't want to drill for oil anywhere and appear to be willing to accept whatever price our middle eastern friends wish to charge (as they sharpen their vitriolic rhetoric toward us more and more each day) and at the same time want to pull troops out of the Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, this will allow the price of oil to go up even higher by the way since the area's stability will once again be at risk. That most of academia consider themselves democrats (those that can't, teach), simply promote this ideology from generation to generation. Our unions are laughable. They were needed in the early part of the 1900's to protect workers and have grown into money making machines....for the union leadership.

From the greatest generation who fought in WWII, to the boomers, to Gen X, to Gen Y, and whatever moniker we've attached to recent newborns, it is apparent that each succeeding generation has sacrificed a little less, whined a little more, worked alittle less, and sits on their ass alittle more. This is the exact opposite of many other countries....(I hope your posterity likes Chinese food). It makes one think what the landscape will look like in 100 years doesn't it? After all, we've only been around as a country for 232 years. History is undeniable. EVERY SINGLE GREAT NATION (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Ottoman Empire, Celtics, France, Soviet Union, the Brits et al) have been vanquished or had their dominion slowly be eroded away over time (SEE: British Empire). Are we next?

John McCain? He married a rich,large-breasted blonde who owns a BEER COMPANY. He is truly an American Hero. I'll get to him later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things that Annoy Me, Volume II

Jenny McCarthy and Autism

Everytime I turn on the news or open up a magazine, this bimbo is blabbering on about her kid with autism. Don't get me wrong, I have sympathy for the real kids with autism and the parents who raise them, but enough already.

We had the Susan Komen pink ribbons, the Lance Armstrong Livestrong bracelets and now Jenny and her goofball boyfriend, the once funny Jim Carrey, hoisting the kid in front of cameras everywhere and hollering, "See, he has autism!" As if the kid will ever have a normal life?

Frankly, I'm not even sure what autism is and if kids really have it or if they are just plain snotty brats? I did see the movie "Rain Man" and Tom Cruise's brother could do way hard math problems in his head, and count the number of matches that were spilled on the floor. I think he was autistic - or mentally retarded. It just seems like we have to invent new names that are less caustic than their predecessors.

I always thought ADHD (ADD?) was the illness-de-jour of the 90's and beyond? Personally, I always thought that parents who said their kid had ADD really didn't know what the hell they were talking about and that the kid was just being a kid. I still believe that. I think their little brains are fried with video games and sugar and since they can't slow down and concentrate on their social studies, parents just throw up their arms, and say, "ADD." When I was little, we didn't have fancy names to label children and create an immediate excuse for when they fail. When we failed in the 1960's, we failed. Now parents and society want to BLAME it on someone or something. The problem is that this sort of lame excuse-making places a stigma on the kid that he or she will fall back on for the rest of their lives.

I know this all sounds a tad blunt, but these labels are too easily and too readily applied to kids today and it will affect them for the rest of their lives. In most cases, I just believe it's lazy parenting.

We give trophies to the kid who finishes last. Teams can't cut anyone. When I coached baseball, and soccer the league instruction was that all the kids were required to play a reasonably equal amount of time. Winning wasn't a priority. As the late, great Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, we were allowed to fail. The prospect of failing made me work harder. Now? Not so much. Pathetic isn't it?

This bothers me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keep Off the Grass

Random Thoughts: 5 1/2 hours? I hope they don't serve bacon wrapped weiners

Heart of a Lion

My CT heart scan results came back and I was pleasantly surprised. Doc Eells sent me a text message confirmingI had no plaque buildup in my arteries, and that I had the heart of a 20 year old. I immediately sent him back a text indicating that I was ordering a bucket of french fries and chicken fingers to celebrate. Admittedly, neither of us has an explanation for this wonderful news given my life-long propensity for meat and potatoes. And massive quantities of diet pepsi. I'm certain that when I die, my funeral will be sponsored by American Express, Diet Pepsi, and Outback. Attendees can only hope so since Outback is a few steps above mormon funeral food.

Off tomorrow to San Francisco to spend some time with insurance company folks at Pac Bell Park or whatever the stadium is called that the Giants play in. I do know this: the luxury box will be stuffed with shrimp, lobster, and bacon wrapped dogs. I don't think I'll sleep tonight just thinking of my little pigs in a blanket.

Jake's email this week was great. He is opening up a new area in Ecuador and has more appointments than available time. For a missionary, this is a wonderful thing and will keep him busy and pass the time much quickly for him. Amazingly, we are nearing the 7 month mark - the days, and weeks keep flying by. And props to Jake for wanting to know who is playing in the Hall of Fame Football game. Seriously, it brought a tear to my eye that Jake has maintained his love for football even though he is several thousand miles away where the word "football" means an entirely different and boring game - I'm speaking of course about the dreaded sport of soccer. Could there be a more boring sport? And whoever keeps time of the game is on someone's payroll. What is the deal with timekeeping in soccer? Players get "loaned" from one team or another. And how many championships are there?

I returned to Canyon Gate yesterday to play golf for the first time in 10 months since we bolted for TPC Summerlin. I was instantly reminded why I grew to dislike that club so much....on the 2nd hole, at 2:15pm, the cart girl was making "last call." The thermometer hadn't even spiked for the day, and the drink girl was leaving. This makes no sense at all. I was delirious by the 15th hole. Even more of a sin...The greens remain impossible to hit, and impossible to putt on.

Have a g'day

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Greatest Day

As i have aged and become wiser I have realized that the very best times in my life involve my family.

Today, I was blessed to spend an afternoon at the club with Alec, Dixon, Wade, Chase and Janae - who found our group after a 20 minute search.

Wade and I play a lot of golf together, but we rarely play with our sons since they live out of state. When asked to take up golf many, many years ago, the boys all pretty much blew us off. I even said, "After you guys get home from your missions, you are going to be sorry you didn't take up golf."

As expected, Alec and Dixon agreed with me. It's a pity really. Canyon Gate CC was a stone's throw from the house and they could have EASILY spent a half-dozen summers playing golf, and charging chicken fingers to our bill. Chase, who is still in high school and goes by the nickname "Pony" still won't take up this greatest of games.

Anyway, today was special. We slammed a few balls at the range, and then went to the first hole to tee it up. Everyone hit their tee shot in a different direction, but the spirit of the game, and the love that permeated our group was truly remarkable. Golf became a side bar...we trash talked, we hollered, we high-fived, we knuckle bumped, and we laughed like there was no tomorrow. When things couldn't get any better, Janae pulled up! As always, my heart just swelled up when i saw my sweet, funny, lovely Janae. I actually have to pinch myself sometimes as I say to myself,, "I am the lucky man who gets to lie down next to her each night." I am so grateful for all she does for me....

Janae "You rock my world."

We only played nine holes but had plenty of laugh, created a new nickname for Chase (Pony) and I was able to beat everyone....again. You know I was happy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rules to Live By - A Guide to Peaceful Living

I started the day off by speeding across town to attend Kadee and Troy's wedding at 9am.

That I was able to get there with 15 minutes to spare is notable. I hate mornings. I just do. I groan when people say they get up at 5:30am....or 6am.....What's worse are the real active types that pronounce, "I go to spin class at 6," or, "I jog 5 miles every day." (Jogging? JOGGING? That's what people did in the 70's and 80's). Me? I sleep. I love to sleep. In fact, to combat the people who want to shove their lifestyle down my throat, I created "A Guide for Peaceful Living." In summary it says this: eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty, sleep when you are tired, and avoid whiney people. Oh, and don't do stuff that makes you stress out. Simple huh?

Anyway, we get there for the wedding and that takes all of like 15 -20 minutes tops. We went outside the temple to the picture area and waited for the bride and groom in fantastically hot and humid weather. We were dying. We're not used to the humidity, and having stand around in the sun made many of us cranky.

We had a nice wedding luncheon up at Canyon Gate and then came home to dive in the pool. Alec and I must have killed an hour just kicking back in the pool and visiting.

We also made a dash up to Best Buy and I surprised Alec with a new Macbook. He is doing well in school and deserved a new computer. He leaves next week for Columbus, Ohio to attend an honors society function. He is President of his honors society at the U of U, and each year all the gearheads get together to discuss stuff that is important to other gearheads.

The reception at Rod and Cindy's house was also nice. They served my favorite wedding finger food: little hot dogs wrapped in BACON! I've said this before, you could wrap anything in bacon and it would taste good. I was extremely bummed that the dancing was really low key. I wanted to bust out all the SYTYCD moves that I've been working on..... I'm not gonna lie, it would also have been nice to see Troy's dance interpretation of "The Best of EFY."

Time to take a quick nap.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heart Stuff

I raced out of the house on fumes this morning. No food, no diet pepsi....only a swallow of water to chase down some medications. Why you ask?

Heart Scan Day at Steinberg Diagnostic! Woohoo!

I will say this, based on my own experience and those of my father, you advise any medical professional that you are having chest pains, or are a coronary patient, you move to the front of the line. Immmediately. At the very least, I'm hoping for Jim to be able to swing me a handicapped parking pass - have you evern noticed how handicapped people always get the best parking spaces?

Steinberg Diagnostic's Anthem facility is very nice, exceptionally CLEAN, and is just off of 215 and Eastern. Way out thataway - to a place I hardly ever travel. It's their only facility I'm told that does the CT Heart scan since the sort of equipment is pricey. In reality, it looks like a large donut held up by fancy bear claws or 2 strips of bacon. Yeah, I was hungry.

I changed into the gown - always a humiliating experience. Is it just me, or is it impossible to tie them properly? Okay, so I had it on wrong. It's not like I wear those things all the time. I got it switched around and my wardrobe was thus straightened out. I was then given a nitroglycerin pill about the size of a pin-head and told to put it underneath my tongue. Nitro?!? You have no idea how bad I wanted to drop that pill on the floor to see if it would explode. Restraint prevailed.

Next, I hopped onto the gurney where I would lay down with my feet out and knees up. A catheter was inserted into my arm (inside right elbow), and then an oxygen mask was placed over my nose. The pill and oxygen served to enlarge my capillaries, and then iodine was pumped into my vein via the catheter to act as a contrasting agent. This solution made my body, especially my arms and legs tingle and heat up....very strange. The gurney then slid in the big donut hole a few times. I did some breathing exercises while this was going on, and after about 10 minutes, I was done. Someone who went to school for a long time will review the images and let me know how my heart looks.....on the inside.

All you guys out there over 40....over 50.....get a checkup. You owe it to your family.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Excellent Satire....

I like the recent cover of The New Yorker that depicts the Obama's in the White House. Apparantly, the democratic nominee for President of the United States found it to be "tasteless and offensive." Where is his sense of humor? Hiding out with John McCain's? What's up with these guys? And where's our damn oil? Let's get drilling. I read an article that discussed the potential for crude oil to leak into the ocean - this is one reason that the environmentalists are all in a hizzy - thinking that drilling for oil will pollute and endanger the ocean and kill off some sort of fish that no one has ever heard of. Meanwhile, back on land, mankind is slowly going broke paying people that hate us for oil. I tip my hat to the democratic leadership of Congress for this mess.

Interesting fact I read about the drilling. More oil is LEAKED into the ocean by natural means than could ever be leaked by drilling or by an oil tanker bursting in two and spilling it's entire load of oil onto a white sandy beach covered with baby seals, and spotted owls....and gay people.

Nah, hell will freeze over before we are able to drill into some places. Too bad.

Anyway, enjoy the cartoon. Have a great day.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Why I Love Dogs

Hachiko and Eisaburo

The yellow-coated Akita named Hachiko was born in November 1923 in the province that is the namesake of his breed. A few months after his birth, little "Hachi" (as he came to be called) was brought to the home of Professor Eisaburo Uyeno (or Ueno) in Tokyo. The two became fast friends. Each morning, Hachiko accompanied his master to the Shibuya train station. Uyeno taught at the Imperial University, and Hachiko made it his habit to see his master off. Each evening, Hachiko returned to the train station, and when Uyeno got off the train, he found his dog awaiting his arrival, tail wagging happily at the sight of his owner and friend.

The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Uyeno didn't return on the usual train one evening. The professor had suffered a stroke at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting.

Hachiko was given away after his master's death, but he routinely escaped, showing up again and again at his old home. After time, Hachi apparently realized that Professor Uyeno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachiko waited for Uyeno to return. And each day he didn't see his friend among the commuters at the station.

The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachiko attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachi and Professor Uyeno together each day. Realizing that Hachiko waited in vigil for his dead master, their hearts were touched. They brought Hachiko treats and food to nourish him during his wait.

News of Hachiko's remarkable loyalty eventually made its way outside of Tokyo, and he became something of an iconic figure in Japan. A statue of Hachiko forged by sculptor Ando Teru was erected at the train station in 1934, where Hachiko had been awaiting his master's return each day for nearly 10 years. During that time, he had come down with mange, fended off numerous street mongrels and contracted heartworms. Despite all of the hardships he encountered, he continued to wait.

On March 8, 1935, Hachiko laid down to die in the spot where he had spent a decade waiting each day for Uyeno to come home [source: The Tribune]. His bones were buried next to his master's grave.

Hachiko's death was mourned by his nation. As Japan entered World War II, and all metals became precious, however, sentimentality gave way to practicality. The statue of Hachiko was removed from its pedestal and melted for use as arms in April 1944.

After the war, a group of Tokyo residents commissioned Ando Takeshi, the son of the original statue's sculptor, to create a replacement. It was erected in 1948, and it sits at the train station today.

Travel writer Cheri Sicard wrote of a man she encountered at this statue at Shibuya station. "During my last visit with 'Hachi,' I encountered an old man who had also come to pay his respects. He told me in broken English, 'I knew him. I used to bring him treats' … With that he approached the statue, gave it a friendly pat, wiped a tear from his eye and slowly walked away."

Woof, Woof

Thursday, July 10, 2008

43 37 80

No, these aren't my measurements - golf score from today.

I played horrible on the front 9 this afternoon. I even told Wade that he is my kryptonite....that his presence alone nullifies my golf powers. It's true. Look it up. I blasted my way to a woeful 43 on the front nine. At the turn, I thought about stopping and just going home....or going to range and making myself hit golf balls until my hands bled. I opted to finish the round instead.

I got it going on the back 9 and shot a 1 over 37. My only bogey was when I three-jacked #14 - the easiest hole on the course. Figures. It was a steam bath out there today but the cloud cover was nice and we didn't have the sun beating down on us like usual.

I'm having trouble with my putting. Since I switched to putting left-handed, my short putts are fine, but I struggle with my lag putts. I'm close to going back to putting right-handed. Flip-flopping can't be good and putting is a seriously vital part of anyone's golf game.

My mom came over tonight for dinner and pinochle. We LOVE playing cards and pinochle in particular. Our running score for playing cutthroat was 8 for mom, 8 for Janae and 6 for me. By the end of the night, we were all tied at 8. I had won both of the games we played. All in all, it was a good victorious day. I HATE to lose at anything.

I plan on playing the next 2 days, and then take a break on Sunday. I'll get after it again next week hard. I like playing in the afternoon when it nice and hot. My joints don't ache so much with the heat - or maybe it's all the vitamin D I have been taking? I'm out in the sun pretty much every day, and my bloodwork came back last week saying I was deficient in D....strange. Another pill for me to take. I could actually use a spreadsheet to figure out all the stuff I have to take each day. Doc Eells has me taking niacin to lower my cholesterol....this is after the red yeast rice didn't work. I did drop 3 points I stopped eating french fries on Tuesdays.

As always, I'm looking forward to Oceanside later this month. It will be different this year - Jake is in Ecuador and I will miss his energy, his sense of humor, and our tossing the football together. On the other hand, we will have Alec back at the beach after missing the past 2 summers serving a mission in Peru. He will be there with his lovely wife Tiffany and we're excited that our family has grown by 1 new member. We will miss Amy, AJ, Justin, and the rest of the crew this year but extend an open invite if you feel like coming down for a day, or the entire week. You are always welcome.

I'm debating on how many days to play golf down there...I'm thinking at least 2, 3 at the most. It's always so hectic down there and to drive anywhere, you fight traffic all the time. I prefer to settle in, grab a diet pepsi, lather on the #4 sunscreen (Coppertone - just like when I was a kid, plus it smells great), grab a couple of books, and hang out on the beach. I dig the beach but the water is another story. The Pacific Ocean is fickle. Sure it's ocean, and it's summer....but that doesn't mean a whole lot. The water is usually green and occasionaly root beer colored. Underwater, you can't see an inch in front of your face. Plus the water is so cold, all the guys have to turn sideways to enter the surf and hold our breath until a wave hits our bits and pieces. It's excrutiating for me. I'd much rather go to Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea of Cortez or the Caribbean Sea...even the Atlantic is warmer! I think perhaps the Black Sea and the North Sea are colder this time of year, but that's about it.

Going to read now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


The laughably bad Indiana Jones movie the other night left a bad taste in my mouth that I was lucky to neutralize with "Live Free or Die Hard" that debuted on satellite a few days ago and I tivo'd it. I had seen the film previously, but desperately needed it to get the stank of Indy off of me. Thank goodness for just some good old-fashion shoot'em up good guys vs. bad guys movie violence. I followed that classic up with "Fracture," that was also most excellent although something keeps bothering me (SPOILER ALERT: go to the next paragraph if you haven't seen the show and want to see it): The gun used for the murder weapon was swapped with the cops gun. How did this happen? I never saw the cop take his gun out, nor did I see Tony Hopkins place a gun in the case. This bothered me last night, and it is bothering me today. I may have to contact the studio for clarification. Stuff like this keeps me up at night.

The local media can't stop talking about the heat. Blah, blah, blah....they make it seem like people are dropping dead on their way from the house to the mailbox. I played golf late yesterday and while it was hot, it certainly wasn't like stuff was catching on fire. I'm very weary of the media and refuse to watch any newscast. The local channels are horrible. The lead story is always grisly and is followed up with equally gory and terrible tales of human beings harming each other. The national news isn't much better. Brian and Katie and Charles are simply intent on planting fear into the hearts of every citizen by telling us all how bad things are; job cuts, rising gas prices, food cost increases, floods, fires, airlines going bankrupt, politicians bickering, etc., etc.

Turn this stuff off and go live your life. Have some fun while you are at it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Walk Out

I did something last night I have never done.

I walked out of a movie before it was done. The movie was offensive only in that it the plot was so bad and I that I was swindled out of $20 bucks. Janae was squirming in her seat from the get-go, and I kept wanting the film to pick up speed. Instead, it laid an egg.

The movie was a sequel of a previously great trifecta of films; the first of the series debuted in 1981. I'm writing, of course, about the 4th Indiana Jones movie. ALIENS? Indy holding a "crystal" skull that looked like it came from Walmart and was stuffed with saran wrap? Or how about the scene where Indiana survived a nuclear blast by hiding out in a lead-lined refrigerator?

Even the beginning was curiously bad. Usually these movies have James Bond-like starts that rivet your attention. Instead, we were treated to cars racing through the desert.

As a HUGE Indy fan, I knew this was coming. Perhaps its why I waited so long to see this film since it opened in late May. The first 3 installments of the franchise were over-the-top great filmmaking. I also saw each of them with my dad and that made the memory even better.

Aliens? Lousy Russian accents? Harrison Ford going through the motions? Shia LeBouf a tough guy? Frankly, I think I could have wrote a better script.

And now I'm out $20 bucks.

Oh, and another $5 spot for a cold drink. How do families afford this today?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mr. Mac

Janae got home from Australia and i surprised her with a gift: a new macbook. Or whatever the Apple geeks call their laptops. I was so intrigued by the concept of the Apple products that I bought a desktop unit for me.

As "regular" PC guy, I was always slightly wary of the Apple stuff. I know they have great graphics, and are good for making video presentation, etc, but I was never convinced I could make the leap. Now that I have done it, albeit my office laptop is a rickety old Dell model, the Apple products are sleek, tough (made of aluminum), and entirely thought out for people like me. In summary, I want to be able to plug the unit in the wall outlet, turn it on, and have it work. Buying a new Apple computer was ALMOST that easy.....I punched in our wireless address and my itunes name and password, and presto! The computer registered itself, filled my car up with gas, folded our laundry, cleaned up the dog mess, AND cooked dinner. Now that's a great machine! I'm hooked.

I went to see Dr. Dave who is my chiropractor today. My back, neck and hips have been really stiff and the 20+ pills I take each day don't seem to be helping those areas so I had Dave crack my joints. I love getting an adjustment and it usually does the trick. I have a feeling that I will have to go back to see Dave again tomorrow or the next day.

We heard from Jake today and he had his first transfer. He moved from Machala (Holla) to Milagro - just east of Guayquil. As usual, he sounds just great. We are proud of his service, faith and dedication. He just past the 1/4 mark.....the first 6 months have gone by fast for me...but there are a lot of months ahead. I try and forget about it. Sending children off on missions is tough. I don't care what anyone says, it's never easy.

Miss you Jake.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

O U C H!

I'm flying around the golf course yesterday, playing good and playing fast like I like it and come to the green on #9. I stuck my wedge shot a foot from the flag - a kick-in birdie. My playing partner was in a greenside bunker and just hit his approach shot to the green - 20 feet or so from the flag. Just then, a big gust of wind kicked up, and blew the scorecard off the cart. As I chased after the card, Bruce was lining up to hit a second shot out of the bunker for practice since he happened to find another ball in there. As fate would have it, of all the places that ball could go; 180 degrees from impact with variable distances, literally, from 3 feet to 500 feet depending on the velocity of the shot, the ball smacked me in the face - THWACK! I stopped dead in my tracks, Bruce rushed over completely pale and was apologizing profusely. The ball hit me just above my lip and off to the side of my nose. My inside of my mouth was bleeding and the outside started to swell up a bit but I shrugged it off. Poor Bruce was a mess and I repeatedly told him, "It's no big deal." To prove it, I shot a 38 on the back nine and beat him by one shot. As I told him, it was a calculated move on my part to get hit in the face.

Seriously though, I've been hit twice now with a golf ball, and it stings. The first time I got hit on the leg when I was in college. There are alot of reasons why that could have happened and I do remember have the imprint of the dimples of the golf ball on my leg for a few days afterward. Perhaps I can sue Titleist? Bruce? TPC? The club manufacturer? The golf cart company? The guy who was previously in the sand trap? Steve/Andrew: you are my legal team, let's move on this. Plus I want to sue the guy from college who hit my like 30 years ago. He's dead now, but can we still file a case?

I have now come up with a new TPC Summerlin Checklist. In addition to the usual golf stuff like balls, bag, clubs, and what not, I'm now required to pack the following:

1. First Aid Kit
2. Gun
3. Extra clip of ammo
4. Helmet
5. Cup
6. Boxing gloves

Iz all good though.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Happiest Guy in the World

I must's me. I'm the happiest in guy in the world. Here's why....

My wife returns home tomorrow. I'm lucky. After 2 1/2 DECADES, I still adore my wife. My heart skips a beat when I see her phone number on my cell phone, or when I see her in a crowded room. I love her smell, her smile, her laugh, her voice, and all the things that make Janae the fun, beautiful person she is. I give her the best compliment I can possibly offer up: She makes me a better man.

Janae has been gone for nearly 2 weeks now and while I have survived on take-out, my mom's cooking, Coco's help with the house, and the wonderful company of friends and my beloved animals, especially my dogs, I can honestly say, without hesitation, that my life isn't quite right while she is gone. I can't wait to see her tomorrow. I'm old school....I love my wife. She's my best friend.

Granted though, my golf game has improved during her absence and I'll have engage in a deeper analysis to see why that is, but all else isn't quite the same while she has been burgers don't taste as pepsi's seem to have lost just a bit of their fizz, the air that I breathe isn't quite as's true Janae, you inspire me. You make me laugh and giggle...and feel like a little boy. Life without you is just "okay," despite my shooting some incredible good golf scores. Quite simply: You rock my world.

Next up is my relationship with my family. My brother lives in Denver, my mother lives a few miles from us up in Summerlin, and my in-laws, with a few exceptions, are all pretty much close by. I'm realistic to understand that we all don't see things eye-to-eye all the time, and we will have disputes, arguments, hurt feelings, and so forth. Life is like that. The nice part is that we are all able to put any animosity aside (and hopefully behind us), and still participate in family gatherings. In the scheme of things, our petty differences mean nothing. I hope those reading this post today or in 10 years, or 100 years will acknowledge that the love, friendship, loyalty, and trust of friends and family are the single most important thing we can cultivate in our lives.

I also am grateful for a fun and rewarding job. As with any career, the beginning can be a struggle. I struggled. We will all struggle. But I also persevered as I hope everyone will do the same regardless of what profession they choose to enter. My dad used to say, "I've been rich and I've been poor - rich is better." I like that phrase but know that he said it tongue-in-cheek...sort of. I submit this: Have a passion for what you do, and, in time, financial rewards will follow. Not everyone will have a mutliple homes, or cars, boats or airplanes - in fact, few will achieve a level of that sort of wealth. Those material things are nice, but they don't make up for the time you devote, unequivocally, to your loved ones. Trust me, your kids would rather have you coach their sports teams, or be at their recitals than you out there trying to make an extra buck to buy a bigger house, or another car. I've been so lucky to be able to earn a good living and also be able to be there for the important moments in our childrens life. Harold B. Lee said, "The most important of the Lords work you and I will ever do is within the wall of your own home." I think of that phrase E V E R Y single day.

I'm also happy that my health has finally returned to normal....or at least to better health. The meds I take cause me to put on some weight, but I'm okay with that. I feel strong and still like to race around a tennis court. The magic sleep machine corrected my sleep apnea to the point where I have my energy back - my life back. I spend between 5 and 6 hours a night on that contraption.....the other hour or two I squeeze in without's odd, but I rip that thing off every morning between 5 and 6 and squeeze in alittle "normal" sleep.

To maintain my health, I also take alot of pills. Janae and I laugh when we look all the stuff next to our respective bathroom sinks. I EASILY beat her in number of prescription drugs and over-the-counter meds including vitamins, flaxseed oil, red yeast rice, niacin, shark cartiledge, etc. that we take. At 30 years of age I took NOTHING. Now? I probably pop 20 pills a day.

Another great thing in my life is that our boys are good men. This pleases me. Alec is a good husband, a world-class academic, and has a huge heart. He will be a great doctor. The world needs people like him.

Jake too is a great young man. He has set aside 2 years of his life to serve our as a missionary for our church in Ecuador. He left a lovely young girl (Holla to Amy! Fo shizzle girl!), classes at UNLV, a 42" plasma tv in his room, a new SUV, and a career in our family insurance business where I know he will enjoy success, all to walk the dirt roads of Ecuador to tell people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ....just as his brother Alec did in dusty Peru.

Their sacrifice and example of goodness humble me. I love them more than anything. They are my best friends and always will be. I know how lucky I am.

When I add it all up, how could I consider myself to be anything less than the happiest guy in the world? Anyone else comes in a distant second place. Sorry.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

B O R E D to D E A T H

This morning, sitting at my desk, I became B O R E D to D E A T H! Even more than usual. Seems like most people have left the sizzle of the desert for cooler climates and my phone hasn't rang one time. Since it's so quiet, I decided to play golf today at 1pm.....big surprise there. I was out there with the lizards and one of my golf pals. We don't mind the heat, at least that's what we tell ourselves, as we stumbled out of our golf cart after 18 holes only to make a tee time for tomorrow afternoon when it will be hotter. No big deal. Didn't play that good but still shot an 80.

I was in the backyard this morning reading the paper while the dogs ran around doing their business. At 730am I was too hot. I had to crawl back inside to cool off.
Times like this I think how nice it would be to live in a cooler climate...Lake Tahoe and it's beautiful scenery; Seattle, and it's cool rain, green trees, and Starbucks (iced drinks ONLY); Portland, and it's....well, I know it rains there and they have a great steakhouse called Ringside, and Sunriver is only a few hours away and possible my favorite summer place of all time; then there is San Francisco, 40 minutes from my boyhood in the summer, cold in the winter, but full of neat stuff to do, GREAT golf courses, GREAT restaurants....very cool place; and don't forget lovely British Columbia...I'm thinking of Vancouver... Robison Street has some kickass shopping, they have great food there, scenery is spectacular, and with all these places, it is nice and cool at night, and pleasantly warm during the day. Winter at any of those places though? Forget it! Anywhere east of Denver you have to deal with humidity and I don't like what that does to my hair. East is out. Looks like I'm stuck. It's nice to dream though.....Sunriver....hmmmmmnnn, interesting.

Check it out...when it heats up, the critters begin to creep into the house. I found 2 scorpions yesterday that were swiftly crushed by the bottom of my golf shoe. Like most people, though, I picked up the carcass with extreme if it would still attack me perhaps. Funny how we jump at little things like spiders...scorpions....they are what, 1/5000th of our size yet people are scared to death of them....especially Janae and Jake.

I've had the house to myself for quite some time now.....I've noticed I only go into 4 rooms. Kitchen, family room, bedroom, and office. I could even manage without the kitchen if I had too. Laundry room? I could have all my stuff laundered if I wanted to. Basement? In remembrance of Jake, I've been down there like 3 times since he left. It is just not the same without Jake-the-Snake (or Alec) in the home.....I will wait until either Alec or Jake is home to bust out the ping pong table or the pool table. Of course Megan and Carli make good opponents too....bring it on girls!

Life is good. Tomorrow is the 4th of July. I'll get some lunch at the club with friends, play golf with my golf bachelor-brothers, and then take my mom out for dinner and then grab a seat somewhere in the valley to watch fireworks. The fireworks is Moms idea NOT mine. Fireworks don't do anything for me...seen one fireworks show and you've seen them all. And the little piddly ones people do in their front yards? PUH-LEEZ!!!! I want to throw gas or gunpowder on them to make the flames bigger but Janae always opposes me..."too dangerous" she says.

Good stuff on the History channel tonight...woohoo!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

We're entering "The Dog Days of Summer," folks. This common saying was originated by the Greeks and coincides with the time of year, July - August when "men weaken and women become aroused." Perhaps they meant cranky and we just goofed up the translation? After all, we're guys. We take arousal seriously.

The Dog Days refer, as one would presume, to the Dog Star, or Sirius (aka Scorching - it's true, look it up). Sirius is the 2nd brightest star in the sky behind only our own sun. Sirius holds a prominent place in astology and is part of the constellation, Canis Major. Canis Major is one of Orion's (the Hunter) two dogs who are fighting another celestial constellation, Taurus (the bull). By the way, Orion is mentioned in the bible twice - once in Job and once in Amos.

It's hard to make out the constellations in the night sky living in Las Vegas with all of the reflected light but in the mountains, or on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, the stars are literally on top of you....always amazing.

Now you know.