Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Plan

Here goes...

Social Security

Effective October 1, 2008, all children born in the United States will get $10,000 placed into a retirement account to be used when they turn 70 years old. At 8% (use the money to fund qualified home buyers) the $10 grand turns into approximately $2 million bucks. This beats paying $4 grand a month (or more) to the little tyke when he retires in 2078. Do the math. Die before retirement, the money goes to retire the national debt. However that works.

Oil/Energy

Why aren't we drilling for oil all over Alaska, offshore, and anywhere else this stuff may exist? Why don't we invade Canada and drill there too? Let's give the finger to the Middle East once and for all - reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. We need to utilize solar, wind and nuclear power to their maximum potential while providing tax credits to businesses and individuals who install and use these types of alternate energy sources.


Yucca Mountain

I can't quite figure this one out. Our state politicians and many citizens are all freaked out about the prospect of storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. They fear for the safety of the good people of Nevada believing that storage of spent nuclear fuel will be potentially hazardous to the environment. What no one has mentioned in this debate yet is the fact that up until the early 1990's one thousand +/-nuclear bombs were tested under and above ground in Nevada. I believe the soil at the test site is already radioactive and will be for the next, oh, 9,900 years...give or take. And what's the big deal about storing all the stuff in one place instead of at dozens of sites that are in populated areas? If Nevada's congressional delegation negotiates this properly, think of the additional tax dollars that could be created that could improve our schools, pay for additional police and fund drilling and storing WATER for a thirsty population.


Economy

I read the all 107 pages of the bailout bill (that failed) and concluded I'm against it. This recent bit about socializing the debt of banks and other financial institutions isn't the right thing to do.

Instead of the federal government buying loans from banks who made poor decisions, why not fund a NEW financial institution? Give the new bank a trillion dollars ($700 billion will climb to $1 trillion anyway) to loan money to business owners and people who need mortgages and who can qualify?

Bailing out the banks doesn't fix the problem. Allowing companies to fail is an essential component of a capitalistic society. Who lines up next for a bailout? Car companies? Airlines? Railroads?

Oh....they are already in line.

Immigration

Line 'em up and register any foreigner who is already living here in the United States. These people are here anyway and we could use the tax revenue. New immigrants won't be allowed to collect unemployment for 10 years. We should create a waitlist for those people who desire to immigrate to the United States. Controlled immigration is a better the mess we have now. They'll need job skills, a base IQ, and know how to speak english.

War in Iraq

I'll be the billionith person to admit that the situation over there is frustrating. The need for oil has compromised our domestic politics, our economic policy and our foreign policy. This new enemy is unlike any previous opponent our country has ever faced. Suicide bombers, and roadside IED's have made it nearly impossible to fight a conventional war. We need to either drop a few nukes in the area to establish our superiority, or just leave. The best solution however is to simply not be dependent on the Middle East for oil and the the hell outta there.

Government & Social Programs

We spend too much money paying for people to do nothing. Since when is it the government's job to subsidize it's citizen's bank accounts? Sure we need to help our disabled and (especially) elderly citizens yet we spend billions of dollars in a system that is compromised by people who are mentally and physically able to work but choose to not to. We need less government not more. I have heard each presidential candidate discuss the need for a new government program to oversee this and that.....MORE GOVERNMENT MEANS INCREASED TAXES. We need to eliminate non-essential programs and reduce the tax burden that funds this pork. Let states handle welfare and social programs AND be required to balance their budget.

The Kitchen Cabinet

How about having a dozen regular American citizens sit in our cabinet and congressional meetings? These folks would essentially be "bullshit detectors." Their role would be a novel concept: To exercise common sense and emphasize the national good over partisan politics.

Sure this list is a vast oversimplification with a good dose of sarcasm...but hey, it's a start.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I've Been Saying This Stuff for Years

A few years ago I jokingly stated to friends and family that one day, the United States will have 5 mega companies: Nike, Best Buy, Costco, WalMart and Bank of America. That's it. It's all we need: sneakers, a bank, monster TV's, food and drink. All other competitors will have vanished....sort of like what's going on right now. While I chuckled at the thought of that, it's now looking like we are on our way to this actually happening. Yikes!

America seems to have haphazardly sailed into a raging sea of financial socialism. Debts are passed on to the American taxpayer while corporate profits remain privatized as greedy corporate leaders focus solely on the ticker price of their company's stock instead of caring about what they should care about: Their customers and their employees. Debt? Let the taxpayer handle that.

Perhaps I have an old-fashioned view of the world but taking care of employees and customers is a pretty decent mission statement for any business. Character traits that business owners should espouse include honesty, integrity, hard work, empathy, and (of course) a good dose of laughter. This would seem to me like a good mix for any business - from Wall Street to Main Street.

Now I'm no proponent of socialism - there will always be have's and have not's, but the absurdity that exists in corporate America at the highest levels is comical and criminal. While the poor sap in the shipping department frets over the cost of diapers and when his next raise will come, the CEO and his lieutenants are living large and setting stacks of hundred dollar bills on fire. The gap, financial, emotional and otherwise, between the executive suite and where the real work gets done has grown too large over the past 25 years.

During the course of his adult lifetime, my father held executive postions for large corporations on both coasts. Each morning during the workweek, he made it a point to walk the shop and talk to office staff and the folks in the manufacturing facilities. As a kid, I joined him many times on this walk. I enjoyed seeing and listening to the banter that went on between my dad and his co-workers. He knew the names of their spouses, their children and listened to their ideas on what could make the company more efficient. He cared if they were happy. He understood that his success, and that of the company depended on everyone being on the same page. I sense that doesn't happen a whole lot today.

These are historic times. It is an embarrassment and national disgrace when the President of Iran calls out the United States like he did last week at the United Nations. If I were in the room, I think I would have ducked under a desk. The Bush presidency will go down as among the worst in our storied history. Personally, I like George Bush and believe he was dealt a truly lousy hand with 9/11 being the signature and defining moment of his presidency, followed by an unpopular war (aren't they all?), and a financial meltdown rivaled only by the great depression. After all of this, any President would be checking off the days until the new guy takes over and I were George Bush, I would be doing a "Happy Dance" each night with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

To be sure, Congress and it's petty partisan politics didn't help matters much and they are not as innocent as traitors like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi want the electorate to believe. The "I'll vote for your bill, if you vote for mine," is juvenile, petty and criminal.

The fact that the vote today on the $700 billion bailout failed is testament to a truly broken political system. I'm not sure if I'm for or against the bailout and most certainly have no illusions that the funds, if one day approved, will somehow magically help the guy with the foreclosed house. This seems to be a common argument for passage of the bill; "Help the people who have lost their homes."

I'm afraid that statement makes for a good headline in the newspaper, but frankly, that person has moved on and the house sits empty and, likely, vandalized. The bank holding the mortgage will benefit from this buyout, if it happens, and then one day go back to lending money albeit much more judiciously than in the past. This bailout will stabize our banking network - what's left of it. It will help the balance sheet of banks who made bad decisions, used deceptive lending practicies, and ultimately made bad loans - then fell flat on their face.

Every great civilization that has risen on the earth has ultimately failed or faded away. What makes us so sure that the United States is immune to this cycle?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Parallels with Paul

Paul Newman died the other day. Most people I know either didn't know who he was, or vaguely remembered him for a couple of iconic films that were made a long, long time ago: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting. Both films debuted in the late 60's/early 70's and were the very best of their day. Even now I want to go out and rent them.

Since I was a kid I always admired and liked Paul Newman. First as a actor - I liked his characters and he made me laugh, but afterward as I got older, I liked him for the way he lived his life. A couple things stand out; he was married to his wife for 50 years, he lived his life passionately and on his terms, he was intensely private and he donated a helluva lot of money to a worthy cause - sick children. This guy's ticket to heaven was punched a long time ago.

Paul's wife, the equally talented Joanne Woodward once said, "He's very good-looking and very sexy, and all of those things," she said. "But all that goes out the window, finally, and what is left is if you can make somebody laugh, then that's what it is."

I smiled when I read those words - they brought a tear to my eye too. I'm crazy about my wife. She makes my heart skip a beat whenever I see her across a room, and I still marvel that I'm the lucky guy that gets to lay down next to her each night. Most signifant though is our laughter. Living with me is essentially a non-stop sitcom. I realized a long, long time ago I'd much rather laugh than worry or be angry about stuff. There are way too many uptight, self-centered assholes in the world including all of Congress and what is left of Wall Street's leaders. Go and buy this book: "The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't," by Robert I. Sutton. Sutton is a professor of management at Stanford and although the title is catchy, the book does have a great deal of substance.

When Newman got into car racing, he entered events under the name P.L. Newman simply because he didn't want his celebrity as a film actor to resonate on or around the track. When asked about being married to the same women for such a long time he stated simply, "Why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home?"

Take your job, your education, your faith and raising your kids seriously.....then leave some gas in the tank to laugh and have some fun. Life and marriage are better like that.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Phils are In





Whew! My Phils are the NL East champs for the 2nd year in a row. It took 161 out of 162 games to nail down the title. Last year they were swept by Colorado in the divisional round. Before that, the last year they made the playoffs was '93 when Toronto beat them in the World Series. We did win the WS in 1980. One series title in 120+ years.... very Cub-like don't you think?

My beloved Philadelphia brethren and I have been tortured since 1983 when the 76ers won an NBA title. It's been a quarter century since we've been able to celebrate a title of any kind. Just for the sake of comparison, look at Boston....3 Super Bowl wins, 2 World Series wins, and an NBA title in the past decade. Sick, just sick.

So what's the deal with Keith and Philly? You may wonder, what's the connection man?

In 1979, while I was in college at the U of Utah, my family moved from Stamford, Connecticut to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania - a 30 minute hop from downtown Philly. I spent summers and assorted holidays back there and grew to love the area, the sports teams, and especially the passion and loyalty of the fans. The cheesesteaks weren't too bad either.

My family lived there for 14 years. I had the great fortune to take my bride-to-be back there before our wedding - I'll never forget her throwing up on the airplane upon our landing (nerves?), teaching her to play pinochle, raking monsterous amounts of leaves, and taking walks in the rain. We also took our sons back there on a number of occasions and always had a blast. I especially loved to go into downtown Philly....gritty, old and vibrant. The city's history was hypnotic, and we always loved to go to Valley Forge, and Longwood Gardens.














Since I liked the area so much why didn't I just move back there after school? Good question. Couple reasons....No ski resorts. Too humid in the summer. My destiny was out west. I like to visit our east coast cities but would never want to live there..... Not enough blue sky. Oh....and a lot of the girls had facial hair. You didn't even have to get up close and look that's how bad it was. Now I'm no anthropologist, but I'm sure there were alot Eastern Europeans genes in that part of the land, and I don't think laser hair removal had been perfected yet.

I'm shallow like that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Torture on I-15 (and Spoiler Alert)






Janae and I were driving back from Park City yesterday and the journey was not without some drama. A married couple crammed into a vehicle for 6+ hours...well, you get the point. But's that wasn't the torturous part of the drive...really honey.

I have now also discovered a new method for the United States Military to torture the enemy: Make them listen to that stupid Twilight Series Werewolf and Vampire garbage. More on this below.

At first, Janae tried to coax me into hopping a plane back home because she knew I loathe driving farther than the golf course. The SLC-LV drive reminds me of what it would be like when mankind travels to Mars one day. I get impatient and antsy. An astronaut I am not.

The sun was out, the weather was perfect, and I just felt like spending time with Janae. My intentions were just.

The first hiccup was the baby shower envelope fiasco (and I even helped stuff and lick the envelopes!). This happened in the early afternoon when the first place we drove to, a UPS store, already had their mail pickup for the day. If Janae had left the envelopes there (gasp), they wouldn't have been mailed out UNTIL THE NEXT DAY. That was unacceptable. Etiquette demands that shower invites be mailed at least one week prior to the event (but no more then two). Who knew we were so inflexible?

In sum, my drive just got longer. We had to find a post office. That odyssey is easily explained thusly: One will most always pass one or more post offices during the course of any given day EXCEPT when you really need to find one. Then forget it.

We drove all over Draper, and Lehi before I found another UPS store with a USPS truck parked in front of it. The guy was there for the pickup!!!! I nearly tackled the him. Crisis avoided. Hopefully the invites arrived prior to the magical one-week mark or else we have to give back our Martha Stewart tablecloth and napkin set.

Next up....Janae wanted to listen to a book on tape/DVD. This manner of entertaintment is completely foreign to me. I either read a book or watch a movie. Not once have I ever bought or listened to a book. That just doesn't sound right. Pun intended.

Janae was excited to catch up on this "Twilight Series" stuff. I was vaguely aware of the books. She turned on the player and we found Bella at her new house in the woods AFTER the baby was born. Her father Charlie was heading over to see Bella, Edward and Renesmee...who, for a baby, seems to have quite a nose for human blood.



So that's what this series of books is all about....Vampires, and Werewolves living up in Washington State. I suspect the reason this series is popular in my sphere is because the author is Mormon. Apparently, this makes the book okay to read. The same logic applies to voting for Mitt Romney, liking Steve Young, and putting up with the Osmonds.

What is interesting to me is the blantant sexuality that the book dispenses about a young girl, Bella, and her boyfriend/vampire Edward. There are sentences in there that made me blush and that is hard to do (no pun intended). There have been reports that the romanticsm of these books has led more than one young gal to aspire to herself become a vampire. Me at 17? I wanted be Han Solo.

This torture lasted for a few hours.....I can't remember what exactly happened to the Cullen crew although I found the writer to be overly generous with her use of adjectives to describe the scenes I listened to. That's confusing. Sort of like rap below....

Late Last Night in the Middle of the Day
Two Dead Boys Got Up to Play
Back to Back They Faced Each Other
Drew Their Swords and Shot Each Other
A Deaf Policeman Heard This Noise
And came and shot those Two Dead Boys
If You Don't Believe This Lie is True
Ask the Blind Man He Saw it Too

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$









From TMQ: The National Debt...It took the United States 209 years, from the founding of the republic till 1998, to compile the first $5 trillion in national debt. In the decade since, $6 trillion in debt has been added. This means the United States has borrowed more money in the past decade than in all our previous history combined. Six trillion dollars borrowed in a single decade and $1.5 trillion borrowed in 2008 alone.

From CNN: It's About Time....The FBI is investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and AIG - and their executives - as part of a broad look into possible mortgage fraud, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Tuesday.






From CNN: Good Work If You Can Get It...Richard Syron received $19.8 million in compensation last year from Freddie Mac, including a $1.2 million salary, a nearly $3.5 million bonus and $771,585 in other compensation. He also received stock and options valued by the company at $14.3 million at the time they were awarded.

From The Wall Street Journal: This Guy Laughed All the Way to the Bank.... Lehman Brothers Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Fuld received compensation valued at $22.1 million in 2007, a year in which the company weathered the subprime mortgage collapse better than its rivals. (???) In addition, the CEO was awarded $750,000 in salary and a performance related BONUS of roughly $4.3 million.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stein's Place













I'm sitting in front of a roaring wood-burning fire, the cackle of rain drumming on the roof, and watching Monday Night Football.

Heaven?

No, but close to it. We're at the Stein Eriksen Lodge located in Deer Valley, Utah. We've been here for a few days enjoying the mountain air, taking in some breathtaking scenery, and I've been able to watch football....with a baconbuger and fire? Does it get any better than that? No way.





Alec and Tiffany spent the weekend with us before returning down Parley's Canyon to their routines of work and school. We had a blast the other day riding "The World's Fastest/Longest/Highest Drop Zip line." We took a chairlift up to a spot on the mountian where the zip line started. There were 4 harnesses and no line (good for Keith). We all strapped in, looked over the door that would soon pop open and send us on a 55 mph thrillride. We were giggling and puckered up all at the same time. The Skier-Dude-High School Dropout hit a couple of buttons and off we went...sailing about 100' in the air down a thoroughly kick-ass ride that lasted about 45 seconds. We then hooked the kids up to ride on the bobsled. I had to opt out since the 5g whiplash around the corners would have wrecked my back/neck. Alec and Tiff had a great ride - 5th best of the day and had a top speed of 68 mph.




We also took in the Park Silly Fair which is held on weekends during September. I ran into my buddy Jack Breslin who was just wandering around with his wife and daughter, we also ran into the parents of Alec's old juniors tennis pal AJ Bartlett. And we thought we had escaped! The street fair was neat and we had a great time.

Since the living room has a fireplace and so does the bedroom, we've had fires going since we arrived. Apparently there is a new invention that one uses to lite a fire that eliminates the need for rolled up newspaper, and kindling wood. It's a packet about the size of an index card and is filled with some sort of oozy fluid/oil that works great. Even I can start a fire with this stuff.

All the bad stuff that happened last week....AIG's collapse, Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the Eagles loss to Dallas on MNF all combined to make me not want to turn on my computer, watch the news or read a newspaper. When is all this madness going to end? I mean seriously, these executives pay themselves MILLIONS of dollars in bonuses only to drive their companies into the ground. They should be in jail. All the manipulation of stock prices and stock options....it's crimminal behavior by guys in suits and ties. It's actually comical. Millions of dollars in bonuses paid to executives who run companies that lose BILLIONS of dollars. Who is supposed to police this stuff? I ask again, "DO I HAVE TO FIGURE EVERYTHING OUT?" No wonder I'm exhausted.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hey Shay! It's the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES!




On Friday, I'm driving the golf cart and listening to Wade read off this weeks pro football games to his son Dixon who was then telling his wife Shaylee. Apparently it is Shay who does the sports betting in their house and she was listening to Dixon recite the upcoming games and picking winners for our weekly office football pool.

Amazingly, Shay was unaware of my allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles and picked the hated Cowboys to win on Monday Night. Immediately Wade sensed tension in the air and tried to twist away. In fact, Dixon felt the ripple in the space-time continuum and he was 150 miles away.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa....Who did she just pick?" I stammered.

Wade just went, "Uh, oh....Dixon, you didn't tell her?"

Shaylee's reply, "What city are the eagles in anyway?"

I practically fainted. I was speechless - this is a rare occurrence.

Both of my boys were provided a quiz that they MUST to give their prospective wives. The girls in turn MUST get a score of at least 80 (100% is expected though). This quiz contains questions about sports, cars (# of cylinders in a Ferrari 550? Years that the Porsche 911 was built and country of origin, etc..etc..), men's fashion (how to tie a tie, when to wear shoes with laces; True of False: NEVER wear a belt AND suspenders...stuff like that). Sports dominates the questionnaire...here are a few of the questions:

1. Name the Four Golf Grand Slam Events
2. What is the name of the trophy that the winning NHL team wins?
3. What is the nickname of William Perry?
4. Proper proununciation of Brett Favre's name (Oral)
5. Uncle Keith's favorite team?
6. Name of the stadium where Uncle Keith's favorite teams plays? Hint: It's below.




To Shay and Others: I bleed green. When I die, I'll have on an Eagle Jersey, eyeblack, and maybe even cleats. My casket will be draped with an Eagle flag. After I'm cremated, my ashes are to be spread out (equally) at the NovaCare Complex and at The Linc.

Shay and I did have a good laugh over this today at Justin's farewell. It's okay Shay - a harmless mistake.

But now you know.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Fond Farewell




We got out late today and teed it up around 3:30pm. Work was hectic so I skipped lunch and raced up to TPC.

I was glad to take Justin out one more time before he left on his mission to Lima, Peru. Our dear J-Dog leaves on Tuesday.

And what a way to wrap up "regular" life.....golf on Friday with the fellas, haircut and a full slate of college football on Saturday, farewell lovefest at church on Sunday followed by a great Sunday pigskin schedule. He then gets set apart as a missionary later that day, and then quite possibly one of the greatest early season Monday Night Football games EVER.....Eagles at Cowboys. The NFC Beast (east) is the toughest and best division in all of football. It's probable that 3 of the 4 teams will make the playoffs....again. I'm already fired up and we're a few days away fromt he action! I'm not gonna lie, it will be hard to sleep the next few nights. Plus USC-Ohio State tomorrow? Whew!

Memo to Keith: Need more ice.

On Tuesday, Justin will drive up to Provo with his family and enter the MTC on Wednesday. As I said, this is probably the best 3 day stretch of his life. He's a great kid and deseves a great send off and the support of each of us as he serves in the mission field.

And so, on a PERFECT day, we managed to stumble around the course on the front 9 with the following scores; 40 for Steve aka "Esteban," 41 for me (a lot of stuff clanging around upstairs after the Johnny Miller clinic and I'm still trying to sort all THAT out) and a 47 for J-Dog. We follwed up that very pedestrian front nine with the best back 9 scores of any group of scoundrels that I've ever played with....38, 36, and 39. That's right, 78 for Steve-a-rino, 77 for me, and a steady 86 for Elder Hales. Wow...a stellar day on the links to be sure.

And you KNOW I was stoked to beat Steve. Sure the round was cloaked in brotherly love with Justin leaving and what not, but make no mistake, I was out there throwing darts at the flag and playing to win. Just win baby. Me and Al Davis.

But wait, that wasn't all.

Later on, I was able to top off my golf victory by going 2 for 2 in pinochle against Janae and my mom. As always, I relished my win with a victory dance and the usual smack talk. I don't like to lose - at anything - but you probably already know that.

We'll miss you Justin but know you are engaging in a wonderful work. I'm proud of you and will greatly miss your frequent visits to the house.

Remember the gold bricks.




Love you man,

Poppa Keith

video

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Beat Down



The photo at the left is the dude who beat me today....by 17 shots. Not even close. I'm pretty sure I pasted him the last couple of times out on the course so he was due for a "W" but 17 shots? Ass kicking comes to mind. Ouch. Nice round Meat.

So here it is late in the evening and I'm still looking for my butt since it got kicked so hard earlier today that frankly, I can't find it.

I took the afternoon off and raced up to TPC to play with Wade and Mike. As is often the case, I didn't have time to warm up properly and went right out on the course shoes untied, yanking my golf glove on, and babbling with the starter Chip. This sort of thing is something my good pal Johnny Miller told me NEVER to do. When I was with him last week he reiterated the need for every golfer to stretch, swing clubs, and hit AT LEAST 30 golf balls to loosen up. Johnny, in theory, these are wonderful tips. I just tend to fly by the seat of my pants. Chip, who is only half-blind unlike Stu, and is in his mid-70's, instructed us to start on #10 since a bunch of groups were stalling things up big time on the front 9. Chip was in no mood to break up a brawl and frankly, I didn't want to fight anyone today. Too tired. Mike was afraid of mixing it up too...he said his wife was expecting a baby in March. As if that had anything to do with alittle fisticuffs on the fairway. Where is his sense of adventure?

Okay, so starting on 10 was a problem for me. We have dubbed holes 10-12 as "Amen Corner." They're long and the greens are diabolical and often the pin placements make the holes even more difficult. Right off the bat I'm on my heels. Reeling.

I pushed my drive right into some hideously long rough that resulted in a ho-hum bogey on 10. No big deal - just getting the motor warm. Bogey on 11. This made me ANGRY since I hit a great shot only to have it go 20 years past the pin. Johnny was right. Need to club down now - yardages are all messed up. I had a double bogey on 12 and at this point I contemplated tossing my golf bag in the pond and driving off the course. I was VERY CRANKY for (a) Starting on 10 - it messes me up mentally - I'm not prepared for the 3 hardest holes to start with; (b)scoring so poorly at the start (see 'a');(c) seeing Mike absolutely and undeservedly lite it up and; (c) the fact that my energy level was in the tank.

Mysteriously, my golf mojo, indeed my life 'jo, has just been out of whack for a few days now. I've been really tired lately - possibly from "overdoing it" over the opening weekend of football by getting caught up in too many games, staying up late committing stats to memory, and blogging late into the night. I didn't have the proper mindset to step on the course to play a guy would inevitably play the round of his life and be completely ON FIRE. Rose actually had a legitimate chance at a 34 on the front 9 but he missed a few putts by a hair. By the end of his round, a 71 by the way, could have EASILY been a 65. It's the best round I've ever played with - Sorry Davey. Steve. et al. Mike shot a round for the ages. MAYBE two bad shots all afternoon. Of course the difference between a 65 and a 71 was the putting.

With that debacle behind me, I am forced to face the fact that my low energy level is of concern to me - I have an appointment next week with one of my docs - the sleep specialist. I felt like my sleep apnea had responded well to the use of my bipap machine until I went to Phoenix last week and didn't bring my magic sleep machine along for the trip. I don't know if not using it for 2 nights is affecting me now, but I'm flat out bushed all day long and have been all week. Even the prospect of playing golf didn't get me fired up which is highly unusual. I'm taking J-Dog Hales out tomorrow since he leaves next week for his mission in Lima, Peru. Hopefully I'll be in better shape on Friday...since it's Friday. I'm looking forward to it - hopefully Janae can tag along and take some pictures. We love Justin and think of him as a son, along with the rest of the "B-Unit."

Brainstorming today, Davey and I came up with a great idea - we'd like to have a UNLV Runnin' Rebel/Leavitt Agency meet and greet right before the basketball season tips off. We'll invite clients to come out to the Thomas & Mack, bring their kids, and have a series of shooting contests, capped off by a three-point contest (I'm the reigning office 3 point champ although Rose will undoubtedly put up a mighty fight on this - wouldn't it be great to be 23 years old again? Not really), Lon can say a few words (don't you think Lon sounds alittle like Carl the greenskeeper on Caddyshack?), we'll have some catered food brought in, get some t-shirts made up, have a photo op with coach Kruger, and do something alittle different for our clients than the usual golf gig...although I still HAVE to do that.

Mike, you did good today. I'm readying myself for a rematch. Tomorrow even....it's only me and the kid. We're going out late.

Remember, it's only round 2.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Number 1 Bust




Still alive and watching game #43 of the weekend...Raiders vs. Broncos. I think I still had eye black on under my eyes when I went to work today.

Monday Night Football Game #2 and it's almost halftime. Denver is beating Oakland to death (sorry Jason) 17 to 0. One thing this game has made perfectly clear: JaMarcus Russell sucks. JR is the quarterback of the Raiders. He was drafted #1 in 2007, held out the entire preseason including camp (of course), pretty much collected splinters in in big fat rear end riding the bench. He is now starting. JaMarcus is 6'6" tall and weighs 265 pounds. This is a VERY BIG man. His food bill must be ENORMOUS. A generation ago, he would be the biggest man on the field - now, he definitely the biggest QB the NFL has ever seen and is maybe a slice of cheesecake away from 300 pounds. The 265 is a misprint.

Get picked first is somewhat of a curse. Let's take a look at the #1 picks in this decade:

2000? Courtney Brown. Out of football
2001? Mike Vick. He's in PRISON
David Carr 2002 - horrible. Possibly out of football.
Carson Palmer 2003 - plays for the Bengals. Enough said.
Eli Manning 2004 - I like this kid. glad to see him win the Super Bowl last year.
Alex Smith #1 pick in 2005 out of Utah. I was so proud. He's terrible.
Mario Williams #1 pick in 2006? Decent lineman. Should have a good career.
J. Russell #1 pick in 2007? Bust
Jake Long #1 pick in 2008? Offensive lineman. YAWN

Don't feel sorry for these guys. All received princely sums of money and had all the opportunity in the world to kick some ass but they didn't.

Anyway, the game tonight is over and it's only halftime. Time to watch the Eagles game again.

A Football Weekend



I was VERY pleased with the Eagles thrashing of the Rams yesterday. It took the vile taste out of my mouth that was left there by Saturday's BYU-Washington game and the referee's stupid celebration penalty against the Huskies with 2 seconds left - further proof that the NCAA is a moronic organization. Why not get rid of the cheerleaders and the marching bands too?

Don't have a clue what I'm talking about?

Washington scored (at home) against nationally ranked (I just vomited) BYU. We were STARING at college football OVERTIME - a thrilling game would get ever better. Oops, the 19 year-old kid who had just scored the touchdown was flagged for tossing the football a few feet over his head - a 15 yard penalty. This eliminated the Huskies chance to go for 2 and win it outright and left them with a 35 yard extra point attempt instead of a chipshot 20 yarder that my mother-in-law could make. After the game BYU's stonefaced coach stammered, "The rules are the rules...." Yeah, and your players have tattoos.

Then my Utes nearly gave us all a heart attack playing 2nd to last ranked UNLV at Rice-Eccles-Olympic Stadium. We eeked out a 42-21 win. I have Novmeber 22nd cirlced on my calendar since that's when BYU plays at Utah. I will be there.

On to Sunday's smorgasborg of games....I am grateful each and every day that I live in a world with satellite television and the opportunity to purchase (gladly)NFL Sunday Ticket. That's right, I get to see EVERY NFL game. I popped up early on Sunday like a kid on Christmas day. NFL Opening Day '08 finally arrived.

By the time the Bears clinched their win over the Colts in the evening game on NBC, I was spent. I have to say that the Eagles looked impressive as they clobbered St. Louis. The Steelers, Cowboys and Bears were also impressive. Next week Philly is at Dallas for Monday Night Football.

I'm looking for tickets on Stubhub right now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

RNC ReCap




I am trying hard right now to resist the urge to move to South America.

I was camped out at the Phoenician at a business conference the past week and was able to watch John McCain's speech the other night. I groaned repeatedly. Afterward, I went online to "The Escape Artist" and began checking out the price of cribs south of the equator.

McCain is my choice this election but only because the other guy is so obviously bad, inexperienced and in over his head that it's laughable. And I'm not talking about Ron Paul. Obama is an excellent orator but aside from that, what's he done? What kind of decisions has he been FORCED to make? The man has spent more years running for POTUS than serving as a US Senator. What kind of representation have the people of Illinois had from Obama since electing him? Not very much, obviously.

McCain....he of the goofy grin, the comical stiff "thumbs up" stance he does when others are talking while he stands behind them and the TERRIBLE orating skills DOES have a great deal of experience and like the silver haired airline pilot, I want THAT guy in the cockpit. I WANT John McCain, old and slightly kooky, to have his finger on the button since all the other bad guys are over-the-top kooky.


Phoenix was great. Golf was great. Johnny Miller was our host for the event and as usual, he was an engaging speaker, he provided some excellent golf instruction, and he hung out with the fellas. He remains a cool cat, even for a BYU alum.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our Peruvian Friends








It's hard to believe that we left a year ago to pick Alec up in Peru. A lot of life has transpired in the past 365 days. Alec, Dixon and Kadee all got married, Jake left for Ecuador on his mission, and Janae was able to bag a half dozen trips from Australia to Mexico to Monterey to Oceanside to Indian Wells and to Quilt Camp....among others. And she says she never does anything fun? Me? I just keep grinding it out.

The other night we received a call from Alec. One of the families he met in Peru needed some help. In the year since he has been released, this is the first time they have ever asked for anything more than our friendship. Last year while in Peru, I was able to speak to them in my comical spanish during our visit to Chiclayo. They treated us to dinner in their home on two occasions, and on the last night of our stay, we had them join us for pizza at our hotel.

Jamie is a taxi driver and Betty stays at home. She is a pensionista for the missionaries. A pensionista cooks, cleans, and provides some motherly care for the elders. Alec was lucky to have Betty. Pensionistas get reimbursed by our church for the cost of the food they prepare - all the hours they put in taking care of the missionaries is done gratis.

We fell in love with this family. Bryan and Betsy are their children - they are about 13 and 10 now. Her mother also lived with them - she just smiled all the time. We brought gifts for the family including tee-shirts that had "Las Vegas" written on them. I noticed that Bryan wore that shirt every day while we were there. He was literally clinging to Alec - like a big brother.

They followed our cars to the airport and gave us the best farewell ever. Another family was there too to send us off. I can see how hard it can be for missionaries to leave their mission. I wanted to stay and be the King of Peru.

Anyway, the family called Alec last week wondering if there was any way we could help them with the fee for his taxi license. Alec was eager to help as well. In the end, we wired them the money for the license - it wasn't much - and when they called the other night to thank us, we felt blessed to have met such wonderful people. Alec has kept in touch with them throughout the year. They even called here quite a bit to visit and I bungle through the conversation until I hand off to Alec. I know that we will see this family again - either in Peru, or if they are lucky enough to visit the United States. Jaime's goal for his family is a simple one - to one day take his family to see Temple Square in Salt Lake City. He also said he would like to visit the sacred grove. Such simple things that we take for granted.

We were lucky to have met a number of families on our visit to Piura and Chiclayo as well as spending time at the airport with Tafur, Cayupe and the Hookers (Hermana and Hermano Hooker people, get your head out of the gutter).

These friendships are precious to us. I hope to meet some of Jake's friends from Ecuador next year.