Thursday, December 20, 2007

If I was a Communist Dictator….

1. Britney Spears, P-Diddy, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, Lil John, Lindsay Lohan and people of their ilk would be loaded onto a bus and driven off a cliff

2. The obnoxious kiosk sales people at the mall would not be allowed to accost you as you try to shop

3. Mimes and clowns would be banned—they creep me out

4. Anybody who let their dog poop in my yard would get their nose rubbed in it

5. Rachel Ray would be a mute

6. The police would work on real crimes (robbery, assault, murder, etc.) and not worry about me speeding

7. All shopping malls would be razed and sporting goods stores built in their place

8. Anyone associated with soft rock in any way would be sent to a gulag. This includes family. There can be no exceptions

9. Arrested Development would immediately be back on TV and continue in perpetuity

10. I would never register my car, get an inspection, pay my taxes, wait at the DMV or deal with government bureaucracy in any other way

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Reality TV Cry Babies!

It's been awhile since I've blogged so I figured I'd whip something out. I've got a wonderful blog all written and ready to post but Jocelyn keeps telling me to not post it because it's inappropriate. Stay tuned to see who wins this struggle of wills!

Anyway, tonight I was watching Survivor with Jocelyn while taking a studying break and it happened to be the episode where the family members show up to participate in one of the challenges. Like everything with Survivor this is a predictably lame stunt that happens every season. And you can always count on the fact that these people will cry like they've just been reunited with a POW that everyone thought was dead when in fact they've only been separated 30 days! I just don't get it. Where do they find these emotional wimps? I keep in touch with my family but there have been times where a month has gone by without speaking to them and I certainly didn't break down into unintelligible sobbing when we finally talked. Every time I see this episode I think to myself, "These people would have made terrible missionaries." I'll be heading home to Indiana in a few weeks for Christmas and am really excited but don't expect any tears.


Check out my Yahoo radio station. You'll love it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Trick Play

Adam Smith long ago postulated that each man competing against the other pursuing his own self interest would in the end serve the greater good of society and that the “invisible hand” of competition would regulate free markets creating unprecedented wealth. In general the ideas of Adam Smith are universally accepted in the Western world and today competition represents the underpinnings or our capitalistic society. It permeates everything we do and shapes the way we interact with others and perceive the world. In general I buy into Adam Smith’s ideas and am ammenable to competition. But as ususal too much of a good thing is, well you know.

From a very early age we put our kids in tee-ball, pee wee football, soccer, etc. Lessons on competition and winning are taught in these venues and often the lessons are fairly disturbing. Parents and coaches seem to take this stuff much more seriously than the kids and winning is many times the one and only object. For me this winning at all costs mentality has gone too far as evidenced by this video.

Whatever happened to winning the right way and respecting your opponent? At this age, kids should be playing to learn the fundamentals and enjoy the game. Instead they’re being taught to punk the other side with cheap tricks and to bend and distort the rules to their benefit all in the name of winning.

Winning is a lot of fun and can feel great, but doing it in this manner strips away the pleasure. And honestly, as a coach, what joy can you derive by duping a bunch of dumb little kids with a second rate trick. Are you gonna go brag to your buddies all about how you beat a bunch of kids with a lame trick play? If you’re so obsessed with winning, maybe you should pull an Andy Kaufman and start wrestling women. On second thought, there’s some tough ladies out there. Let’s make it little girls. Then you’ll always be a winner.

What a joke.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mmmm Pets!

So I read these two articles the other day and here are my thoughts:

1. Kind of ironic that there is no shortage of money when it’s time to buy guns to propagate genocide across Africa but not enough money for food.

2. Good on em for eating their pets. I appreciate resourceful people.

3. Eating your pets is certainly nobler than asking for a handout or letting your children starve.

4. I’d do it.

5.I really like meat. If I was starving and had no meat…watch out pets

6. It was nice to see that the SPCA realized this was a true moral dilemma. If they had interviewed the PETA people, I’m sure they would have railed against the people of Zimbabwe for eating their pets.

7. All you can eat contests are the height of gluttony and a slap in the face to the truly hungry.

8. I’d eat well if I was homeless. I wouldn’t just be warming my hands over that trash can fire. I’d be grilling up some pigeon, squirrel, stray cat, etc.

9. The duck guy should go to jail for stealing but not animal cruelty. Where do you think the phrase “wringing someone’s neck” came from? If this requires jail time, then I guess our ancestors were degenerates that should have spent their lives in jail.

10. How is living in a hotel lobby pond unsafe? It’s heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer. You get fed every day. And you don’t ever have to worry about being eaten alive by a coyote. Watch out for hungry drunks though!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Soft Rock Hell

While getting my hair cut the other day, I was forced to listen to the soft rock garbage playing on Magic 95. I was trapped; there was no escape. The experience nearly caused me to impale myself on the stylist's scissors. When you’re being subjected to a Lionel Ritchie song, plunging a pair of scissors into your throat seems like a viable option. Anything to stop the pain!

All these soft rock stations seem to be Magic something or another. How did magic get associated with soft rock? I'm no fan of magic but being linked to soft rock seems like pretty harsh punishment. There's nothing magic about soft sock. If there was, it would disappear.

For the same reasons no one wants sour lemonade, warm ice cream, or dull razor blades there’s no need for soft rock. Listening to soft rock is like being served a turd sandwich; a complete and disgusting disappointment. These soft rock stations really should run a disclaimer--May induce vomiting or suicidal thoughts.

Soft rock is such a huge misnomer. The stuff is atrocious and has nothing to do with rock. Rock isn't soft; that's the whole point. Rock n roll should make you lose control. The only thing soft rock will make you lose is your will to live. It takes some real cajones to think you can take something great like rock n roll and “soften” it. Like eating a veggie burger, this bastardization of rock is sickening. What gives them the right? Did they consult the King before doing this? That’s what I thought.

This blog wouldn’t be complete without thanking Matthew Knecht for saving me from a life of soft rock hell. Shamefully I must admit there was a time when I thought I liked soft rock. I blame my mother for this. Hours and hours spent in a mini van listening to soft rock can scramble your brains. That was my mental state. Luckily Matthew snapped me out of this funk by introducing me to real rock—Metallica! Once I heard Enter Sandman I knew things would never be the same for me again. I kicked that soft rock trash to the curb and never looked back.

Friday, September 14, 2007


It's time to kick that Compaq to the curb!

Travel Thoughts

I’m sitting on a plane traveling back to Austin from San Jose and have a few thoughts running through my head.

1. Silicon Valley is nice but gimme a break—million dollar 1500 sq. ft. ranch homes?—it’s not that nice.

2. I like driving rental cars. It’s like being 16 all over again. You get to hammer the gas, make sharp turns, drive too fast, squeal the tires, blast the speakers and not feel bad because, hey, it’s a rental. And the Impala I had this week was about a million times faster than my gutless Civic.

3. The stale fart smell on this plane is really disgusting. There is a bathroom you know. I can’t complain too much though because I’ve been known to contribute myself.

4. I eat like a pig when I travel for work. It’s all expensed so I go overboard. On a normal day I eat soup for lunch, have dinner and then open the pantry about a hundred times after dinner looking for something else to eat but don’t really eat anything because there is no food I want in the pantry which is by design because if there was I’d eat all night.

Here’s my food log from this week’s travels:
Dinner I—I had a huge Amy’s Ice Cream waffle cone before getting on the plane
Dinner II—ate an overpriced meal at the hotel of soup, calamari, and tuna. None of it was very good either. Hotel food generally sucks since they know they have you trapped there. I’ve had better soup from the cafeteria at work.

Breakfast--Big chocolate pastry, large hot chocolate from the coffee shop below where I was working
Lunch--Pot pie and smoothie
5pm Snack--Salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, cheese, and crackers at the hotel—this was really delicious and could have sufficed for my dinner.
Dinner--20oz porterhouse at Outback with sweet potato—I felt disgusting as I walked out. I thought of my “vegan” mother in law.

Breakfast—took it easy and just had a banana and some strawberries
Lunch—made up for breakfast and had a big hot pastrami sandwich with potato chips and Dr. Pepper—quite tasty
Dinner—Spare ribs appetizer, pan seared red snapper w/ asparagus and cous cous, and ice cream with ganache at Trader Vics in downtown San Francisco. This was a really good meal and surprisingly affordable—much better than Outback

Breakfast I—Pepsi and granola bar in my room before leaving for the airport
Breakfast II—Cinnabon with candied pecans and caramel sauce and a peach smoothie. The Cinnabon smells so damn good it’s impossible to pass up. Unless I have to pay for it of course. Then I have all kinds of self control. Just ask Jocelyn.
As you can see, if I were to do much traveling, I’d be well on my way to an early heart attack.

5. The stale fart smell is back—not good

6. The Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara is really overpriced but they do have really good meat, cheese and crackers—I could go for some more of that right now.

7. Why do the cheap hotels have free internet access and the expensive ones want you to pay for it?

8. Dell makes billions of dollars so why do I feel guilty about spending so much on travel? ( I stayed within all company guidelines) I think it’s because I have no concept of billions of dollars. If I did I probably would have spent even more!

9. Seinfeld was right. Once you’ve had 1st Class you can’t go back. I go crazy all cramped up in the tiny coach seats. I feel like the little kid in the 6th Sense when he gets locked in that attic room and freaks out. Minus the dead people of course. The Exit row is great though and luckily that’s where I’m sitting.

10. Happy Birthday Jocelyn! Now that you’re 30, I think it’s appropriate to refer to you as my old lady. What do you think?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sucks to be Ute!

Oregon State—24

Not only did the Pukes lose, they also had some heartbreaking injuries. It really tears me up inside. Can't you tell!

Starting running back suffered a season ending broken leg.

Starting QB went down with a separated shoulder. Not sure if it is season ending but I won't lose any sleep if it is.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where Have You Gone Gwen Stefani

Dear Gwen,
Please come back. You’re better than this. There’s no need to prostitute yourself. There’s plenty of hip hop whores as it is. I was willing to forgive your first indiscretion (it’s been hard to forget though). I pretended it never happened. But then you went and did this.

It’s like I don’t even know you anymore. What happened to my beautiful talented 1996 Gwen? You were a revelation to me. Your bright red lipstick and funky attitude made me swoon. Look at yourself now. It’s as if you’ve gone brain dead.

I’m bewildered by the new you. Imagine Gandhi becoming a terrorist, Whitney Houston laying off the crack, or Dick Cheney turning into a caring man. All preposterous scenarios. Just like this little hip hop foray of yours.

Maybe you just need to get away from it all. Get out of Hollywood and get back to the real Gwen. A little time away could do wonders. I’ve got a spare bedroom here in Texas. You’re welcome to it. My wife won’t mind. I promise. Anything to help you get back on track.

You’re too talented to throw it all away like this. I don’t want to give up on you, but I just can’t handle another misguided hip hop album. So please come back to your senses.

Desperately awaiting your reformation,


The above post is a blatant rip off of a concept often seen on the Shrff’s blog.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tennis Shoes and Bongos

Today I had to go downtown for an all day HR forum. This was your classic corporate get together highlighted by a couple of ridiculous moments.

As part of the day we had to attend a couple of seminars one of which was entitled “Organization Diagnostics”. Sounds riveting huh? As an example of diagnostics the instructor used a story about taking her horse to the vet at Texas A&M. She told us that she had more horses than sense and by the end of her story I determined she also had more money than sense. She had “rescued” the horse from the slaughterhouse and the horse wasn’t doing well. Imagine that. So she carts the thing down to Texas A&M to get a full examination of x-rays, blood work, etc. and learned from the vet that the horse had arthritis and bad hooves. As a result, she had to get an anti-inflammatory for the horse’s arthritis and here’s the kicker—special tennis shoes for the horse. Did I just hear that right? She’s got a horse that wears tennis shoes? At this point, I’m checked out because what can you learn from someone that keeps an old horse that wears tennis shoes? Rather than blowing a wad of cash on the vet, anti-inflammatories, and tennis shoes, I could have diagnosed and solved this problem much quicker and for a lot less.

The second ridiculous moment of the day happened after our classes were finished. Everyone was waiting outside the ballroom to go back in but the doors were shut and we weren’t allowed in. Suddenly the doors opened to a room full of bongo drums and a music group on stage beating away on their drums.

The following thoughts instantly flashed through my mind. WTH? This isn’t good. How can I get out of here without my boss knowing I skipped? What embarrassing things am I gonna be forced to do? Well, I realized there was no way to skip without getting caught so I was stuck.

The pony tailed twit leading this whole thing was the worst kind of obnoxious. He was like Tony Robbins on weed and was so into the whole thing it was making me sick. He was running around getting everyone to play their drums and then started talking all this new age mumbo jumbo about one beat, one rhythm, communicating through drumming, blah, blah, blah. I absolutely hate garbage like this.

There really is something to be said about having a respectable job--a job you’re proud to tell people about. Playing bongo drums with a bunch of corporate stiffs isn’t one of them. Picking up road kill, cleaning bathrooms, or flipping burgers, jobs generally ridiculed by society, are infinitely more respectable. At least you’re providing a necessary service.

Unfortunately the drumming activity, like the energizer bunny, just kept going, and going, and going. I was trying my hardest to not look totally disgusted with the whole thing but that’s a real stretch for me. I find stupidity insufferable, and for me, this was stupidity at the highest level. Finally it all came to an end and I avoided being duped into doing anything ridiculous. I can’t say the same for a lot of other people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Last week I came across this message board post and spent a couple of hours reading about different people's reaction to the BYU win over Utah last November. I totally related to these guys, and the whole message thread made me smile. So here's how my experience went.

I was in Manila last year and didn't get to watch the game, but I got up at 4:00 am to listen on KSL. I was hoping for a crushing humiliating defeat of the Utes, and after the first quarter, that seemed like a real possibility. However, things took a turn for the worse in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and the game got very close. I was really fretting but still had confidence in the Cougs. By the 4th quarter though when Utah scored the go ahead touchdown with 1:20 remaining, I was physically ill. Things were bleak, and it appeared we would lose to the Pukes again. I just couldn't stomach the thought of having another year ruined by losing to the infernal Utes. I witnessed BYU's heartbreaking overtime loss to Utah in Lavell Edwards Stadium the year before, and it was more than I could take. Was I going to have to endure this another year? You often hear stories about an old couple where one of them dies and then the other dies in short order for no real reason other than what seems to be a broken heart. That's the path I was headed down. My heart just couldn't take another loss.

At this point I was dumbfounded. How could we let this happen again? We were clearly the better team. We were the better team last year too. What was wrong in the Universe? I did have an inkling of hope though because Utah left us 1:20 on the clock. With so little time, the odds are really against you, but I knew BYU's offense was capable of scoring in that amount of time. Listening to that last drive my stomach was in knots as I desperately hoped for a victory. We had to convert an agonizing 4th down, but somehow we managed to march down the field and get in a position to take two shots at the end zone before time would expire. On the first play, no one was open and Beck’s pass fell incomplete. We were down to one final play. The play began with me doubled over in my chair, pulling at my hair, breathing heavily, and begging for a victory when suddenly the announcer shrieked "Caught for the touchdown! Caught for the touchdown!” I immediately slumped to the floor overcome with joy and relief shouting "Yes! Yes! Yes!” After a few moments I picked myself up and started bouncing around our little apartment unable to contain my exuberance. Hallelujah! Things were right in the Universe again, and BYU claimed their rightful spot atop the Utes.

Thoroughly kicking the crap out of a team is nice, but devastating a team by snatching a victory away in the final seconds on their home field is so much sweeter. In the end, this was the most crushing defeat of all. Go Cougs!

If you’re a BYU fan having a bad day, watch this clip and I promise all will be well in your world again. I just watched it and tears of joy welled up in my eyes. No matter how many times I watch the clip and despite the fact I know the outcome, I can't help but throw my arms up in exuberance and shout "Touchdown! Touchdown!" I literally get giddy.

Here are some other great links:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ice Fishing

Well it's hotter than hell here in Texas with no relief in sight. Wishing for some kind of relief, I started thinking about ice fishing. Ice fishing is one of the great rewards of living in the North, and not being able to ice fish here in Texas is one of the reasons I won't be staying long. I'm really not a fan of hot weather and much prefer living in a cooler climate. Don't get me wrong. Summer is nice, but day after day of unrelenting heat is miserable. I'm always ready for summer to be over and for fall to start. And unlike most people, I anxiously await the onset of truly cold weather. I watch the weather like a hawk waiting for that first consistent stretch of single digit or sub zero lows which will put ice on the lakes. Also, ice fishing is best right after the ice forms so that makes it even more important know when the ice has formed.

I like at least 3 inches but really prefer 4 inches of ice. At first ice, I also like to let others go out first. No reason for me to be the guinea pig! Some guys will go out on 2 inches of ice; I'm not one of them. It's a cold bath if you go through. I broke through once as a little kid but only one leg went in the drink. My grandpa wasn’t too happy with me either because we had to cut our ice fishing short. In fact he made me sit there for like 15 minutes while he kept fishing. Once he realized I was freezing though, he decided to leave.

I went to Utah for Christmas this year and went ice fishing twice. I convinced my brother-in-law Kevin to fish Rockport with me, and it was a great time. The weather had gotten really warm so the edges of the ice were melted, and the ice had an inch or so of water on top of it. I'll be honest; it looked pretty scary. We managed to find a spot where the edges werent too melted and jumped onto the ice. From there it got even scarier because the ice was completely translucent. So we were gingerly shuffling our way across the ice and could see right through it. That'll really make you pucker your butt cheeks. I drilled some test holes though and found the ice to be 3 inches thick so we were good. It was still spooky though.

Ice fishing really isn't that cold of an activity if you dress right; unfortunately neither Kevin nor I were very prepared. It had been pretty warm so we didn't wear a lot of clothes. Big mistake. You should always over dress because you can take layers off, but you can't put them on. It wasn't bitterly cold; however, with no sunshine and the wind blowing, it felt pretty raw out there. As long as the wind doesn't blow, you're usually fine, but when the wind picks up, it can get nasty real quick. We were catching enough fish though to tough it out. We didn't catch a lot but were getting bites consistently enough that we stayed for a fair amount of time. You can't leave if the fish are biting no matter how cold you are! We managed to catch a few trout and some perch. I fried the perch up for Ned and me, and they were delicious.

Later in the week I went ice fishing at Strawberry with a guy (Kent) I met from a fishing message board in Utah. Sounds kinda weird, but I promise it's no big deal. Anyway, we left Salt Lake at 5:30 am and got back around 7:30 pm so it was a full day. Kent had more gear than anyone I've ever seen. He had propane heaters, collapsable ice shack, power auger, hand auger, GPS unit, tons of fishing poles, two fish finders, an underwater camera, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember. I got the pleasure of dragging all this stuff out to our first fishing spot a half mile from the truck. The GPS said half mile so I'm not exaggerating. There was a lot of snow on the ice and the sled was dragging through the snow rather than riding on top of it which made for slow going. By the time we got to our spot, I was sweating and pretty worn out. It was worth it though because we started catching nice cutthroats right away.

After a few hours, the fishing slowed and the wind picked up making things much colder and prompting Kent to decide to move to an island about a mile away. I wasn't looking forward to dragging everything over there, but I was his guest so off we went. I would go 50 to 100 feet tops and then have to stop to catch my breath. Kent was dragging stuff too, and I seriously thought he was going to die. He could go about half as far as me and then would be doubled over heaving. I kept thinking he was gonna have a heart attack at any moment. It’s a good thing he didn’t because I wasn’t giving mouth to mouth to some guy I just met.

We finally got to our new spot and set up the ice shack. That got us out of the wind and made things much warmer. We also started catching fish right away and kept on catching fish the rest of the day. It was one of the best days of ice fishing I've ever had. The coolest thing was using the fish finder. You could see the fish on the screen as soon as they swam under your hole and you could also see your jig on the screen. By moving your jig up to the fish, you would usually get a bite. Thankfully the trek back to the truck was much easier because the wind had blown the snow off the ice which made dragging the sled much easier.

My other 3 ice fishing trips happened in February when I went home for my grandma's funeral. I wish I could have gone home under better circumstances, but it was great to see my whole family and to go ice fishing with my dad. Ice fishing with my dad is pretty low tech. No fish finders, fancy reels, or ice shacks. He’s still using the same equipment he’s had for 30 years. That’s what I love about ice fishing though. It’s cheap, simple, and provides easy access to any lake. My dad and I went ice fishing at the little gravel pit just south of North Manchester. I like this gravel pit because it brings back good memories of fishing as a kid with my dad. Any time I drive by it, I tell Jocelyn that is where I used to fish with my dad, and she usually says something like “Yeah, I know. You tell me that every time we drive by here.” I doubt that there are any big fish in the gravel pit, but Dad and I did manage to catch a nice mess of bluegill and crappie which provided for a good fish fry before I left.

I really wish I could ice fish more, but I’ll have to wait until at least the end of the year. I’ll be in Indiana for Christmas so here’s to hoping that it’s freezing cold and all the lakes are frozen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Yesterday I declared to the entire world my nerdiness by blogging about Charlie Rose, but lest you think I only watch "boring" TV, I decided to blog about some of my guilty pleasure TV viewing. I'll give you just 3 for fear of revealing too much about myself.

1. Reno 911!--All I can say is it's absolutely hilarious. And quite crass. So I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone. In general my viewing usually goes something like this. I watch for 10 minutes, and they push the envelope a couple of times. I think of changing the channel but don't because it's so funny. Then about 15-20 minutes in they completely cross the line, and I'm forced to find something else to watch. I really wish they would clean it up a little bit so I could watch it more often, but I'm probably in the minority when it comes to what their audience wants. I used to watch more often, but now I probably only watch once a month if that often. My all time favorite segment is where Lt. Dangle and Trudy are called to the library because someone pooped in the book deposit box. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV.

2. Viva La Bam--I also don't watch this show with any regularity but will occasionally tune in. In general this is a mildly funny show that is filled with incredible stupidity; however, this is the only show that has ever made me laugh so hard that I fell off the couch and completely lost control of myself. Fortunately not my bowels, but it was close. I couldn't breathe, I was crying, and I was in physical pain. And it's happened twice!
The first time was when they tricked one of the guys into taking his shirt off and hitting a piñata; however, once blindfolded, they substituted a bee hive for the piñata. The ensuing mayhem crippled me with laughter. The second time was when they dug a tunnel under the house and cut a hole into Don Vito's bedroom floor and surprised him the next day. Both of these scenarios are juvenile and ridiculous, but in the moment, it was as if they hit my natural frequency for laughter and I lost all control of myself.

3. Smallville--I'm putting Smallville in this list because I don't know a lot of other 29 year old guys that watch it. I only dabble in the other two shows listed previously, but I'm a true fanatic of Smallville. I've been watching Smallville since day one and can whole heartedly recommend it to anyone. In 2001 when Smallville started, the WB was an up and coming network. I was always afraid it would tank thus taking Smallville down with it. I constantly told the people I worked with to support the WB by watching Smallville thereby ensuring its continued existence. I don't pretend to have had any influence, but six seasons later everything seems to be fine, and Season 7 will be starting soon. (A true miracle. I never expected it to get past 3 or 4 seasons) Unfortunately, I missed all of Season 6 since I was in the Philippines so I have to rent it and get caught up. I'm waiting for Netflix or Blockbuster to stock it online so I can sign up for a free membership and then have a Season 6 marathon. If they don't stock it soon though, I’ll break down and buy it. If I had to recommend only one episode for viewing, without a doubt it would be Episode 100. So many things came to a climax; It's a real tour de force.

Quote of the Day: We need to focus on our simularities.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Charlie Rose

I’ve been a fan of Charlie Rose for quite awhile. I first began watching his show after my freshman year in college. I had a job in a factory working 2nd shift which meant I would get home late and be wide awake. I would usually watch TV until 1-2 am, and Charlie Rose was one of the only good things on at that hour. I had surfed past the program a few times but never stopped to watch; however, one night Charlie had a round table of boxing analysts, including Teddy Atlas, discussing Mike Tyson. Teddy had some great stories about Mike Tyson, and I was intrigued by a PBS show that would spend an hour talking about boxing and Mike Tyson. So I decided to watch more regularly and found that I really enjoyed Charlie Rose’s style and the broad range of topics covered. On any given night his guests might include authors, Generals, politicians, directors, artists, scientists, athletes, business men, curators, political analysts, actors/actresses, etc. The show is rarely antagonistic, unlike so many of the cable news shows, yet he still manages to ask tough, intriguing, and incisive questions. Now I’ll admit, I don’t always enjoy every show. When dealing with the arts, it can be rather elitist and pretentious. But overall, I really enjoy the show and find it very informing.

For a long time I didn’t watch Charlie Rose much because it comes on so late. Unlike Jocelyn, I like to go to bed before Midnight, and even if I was up that late, Jocelyn never wanted to watch Charlie Rose because she thinks it’s boring. However, now that we have a DVR, I’ve solved both of those problems. I record Charlie Rose every night and then watch it on my own time. And if I don’t like the program, it’s easy to delete.

Charlie’s recent coverage of the Iraq war has been tremendous. Infinitely better than anything you could get from the gas bags on cable like Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, or Sean Hannity. With Charlie Rose, the show is all about the guest and not Charlie. He invites experts, asks them intelligent questions, and let’s them speak their mind. As a viewer you get a myriad of different viewpoints, and then you're allowed to come to your own conclusions. For me, this is so much better than some pompous know it all telling you exactly how to think while shouting at his guests. We need more intelligent TV shows like Charlie Rose, and I hope he keeps it up for many years to come. Check him out; at a minimum, you’ll learn something, and most likely you’ll really enjoy it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Water Basketball

Yesterday we had an Elders Quorum activity at a guy’s house in our ward that has an awesome place with a gorgeous pool and patio. We all brought food and grilled brats, chicken, burgers, and hot dogs. I had a great time, and it was a nice way to get to know the guys in the ward better. The food was delicious, and in general we all made pigs of ourselves. At least I did, but what else would you expect. The best part of the whole evening though was playing water basketball.

My freshman year at BYU I played water basketball all the time with the guys from my dorm, and it’s my favorite sporting activity. For those who don’t know the rules of water basketball, that’s understandable, because there are none! Well, I guess there are a few rules. No punching, gouging, biting, or groin shots, but that’s about it. You play in the shallow end of the pool so you aren’t treading water, and the basket should be low enough that an average guy can dunk the ball. From there it’s just a matter of getting the ball in the hole however you can with guys grabbing, pushing, and dunking you. It’s the best.

One day at BYU a group of guys we didn’t know challenged us to a game of water basketball. We established up front that there were no rules to which they agreed. These guys were really cocky and thought they were tougher than us, but they didn’t realize what no rules meant. They were bigger than us so we knew we would have to be extra physical.

This game produced one of my best BYU memories. I can still see Justin Draeger draped over the back of one of the guys with his legs wrapped around him and kicking at the guy’s groin. The dude freaked out to which Justin replied, “We said no rules.” We all agreed however that Justin had gone a bit too far and that going forward all groin shots would be illegal. I think we agreed to it for fear of retribution! From that point on it was a tough physical game, but we showed them who was tougher and regulated on their anuses.

Yesterday’s game of water basketball was just as physical as any game in college, and we all had a great time. I got major cramps in my calves though and had to sit out awhile, but after a banana and some water, I was good to go again. At one point during the game, I wrapped up two guys and cleared them out so my teammate would be open for an easy dunk. However the other team claimed that was unfair and requested a “do over”. A “do over”? What is this the Ladies League? I didn’t protest though since we’re all friends.

Today at church one lady jokingly said, “I heard you beat my husband up last night.” Jocelyn later said to me, “Why did you do that? I’m sure you went way overboard.” Maybe a little bit but not really. Everyone was very physical, and we all enjoyed it. I’d love to play water basketball more often. It’s a great workout (my aching body is evidence of that) and doesn’t even feel like exercise since it’s so fun. If you’ve never played water basketball, you really should try it. You’ll love it.

Quote of the Day has been removed because the tyrannical dictator of my life has revoked my right of Freedom of Speech.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Perfect Steak

We bought a grill a few months ago, and it’s been a lot of fun to grill. I’m convinced that everything tastes better on a grill. You could grill old shoes and they would taste good. We had asparagus on the grill the other night and even it was good. In fact, it was delicious.

The best thing though has been grilling steaks. I love a good steak, and I’m pretty anal about grilling my steaks. First, it’s an expensive piece of meat so I don’t want to ruin it. Second, there is nothing more disappointing than an overcooked steak except maybe a BYU loss to utah. Those losses sting for the entire year; whereas, overcooked steaks generally haunt me around 2-3 months. With the steaks, redemption can be found much sooner.

So here’s my method for grilling a great steak. Turn the right and left burners on high and leave the middle burner(s) off. Season the steak with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I like to keep the seasoning simple so you taste the beef not the marinade. Place the steak over the right burner on high heat for 1 ½ minutes then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 1 ½ minutes. Flip the steak over onto the left burner over high heat and cook 1 ½ minutes then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 1 ½ minutes. The rotating will give your steak a nice diamond pattern. If your steak isn't very thick, it’s likely done at this point. If the steak isn't done, move it to the middle of the grill and letthe remainder of the cooking happen over indirect heat. You will want to turn the steak every few minutes so it doesn’t over cook on one side. You can tell by touch when the steak is done or use a meat thermometer. I like 133 degrees internal temp for a nice medium rare. My meat thermometer is off by 4 degrees (I took my temperature with it to find this out) so my steaks come off at 129 degrees. If you use a meat thermometer, make sure you know how accurate it is because a few degrees are the difference between a great steak and a dry disappointment. Finally, let the steak sit a few minutes before cutting so the juices redistribute and then ENJOY.

For Father’s Day I decided to treat myself with some steak, and I picked out two huge bone in rib eyes. (See above) They were thick and perfectly marbled. My first rib eye turned out absolutely wonderful. It was a perfect medium rare, tender, juicy, and nice and beefy. Eating it was pure bliss. Coupling it with a baked sweet potato made it even better. The second rib eye that I made didn’t turn out as well. I placed too much faith in the meat thermometer and not the touch method. Technology failed me! It was still a good steak but just a little over done. It’s been eating at me ever since, but I redeemed myself last week with two perfect, medium rare, juicy New York strips. No sweet potatoes this time, but it was still a great meal.

Stupidest quote of the week: "God is so gangsta. That is what I love about him. That's why I'm not trippin."

What's the dumbest thing you've heard this week?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Would You Like a Hair with That?

Last weekend Jocelyn and I had nothing to do so I decided it would be fun to go on a drive to Llano. Llano is a little town about 90 miles west of here in the Hill Country. I had driven out there a couple of months ago when I went turkey hunting and all the wildflowers were in bloom which made for a very pretty drive. Marble Falls is also on the way to Llano and has a nice little cafe with good banana cream pie so it was a plan.

I looked around online and found some restaurants in Llano and other things to do. Llano is an old town that has some historic buildings and President Bush's favorite barbecue joint. The drive was enjoyable and quite green since we've had so much rain, but Llano was pretty anti climatic. We went to a little bakery that was also a historical monument. But it was nothing special.

Next we went to a rock store. Llano has a lot of mineral deposits and granite so I thought maybe the rock store would be nice. It wasn't. A couple of old hippies were running it, and one of them talked Jocelyn's ear off. That was funny. She was telling her all about how she got stopped by the Border Patrol and the impending police state we were about to experience due to Bush's draconian national security policies.

We got out of there quickly and decided to get something to eat at the Badu House. Another historical marker. It'a an old house made of granite that has been converted into a restaurant. I really like these kinds of restaurants. It felt homey and the people were very nice. We did have a minor incident involving a hair in our food though.
We ordered smoked bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese for an appetizer. They came out and and smelled amazing. The aroma of the smoke was delicious. We both started eating, and then Jocelyn noticed a long black hair on our plate. No big deal to me, but Jocelyn wanted me to say something. I hate inconveniencing people in any way so I didn't want to say anything, but Jocelyn insisted. So I got the waitresses attention and said, "Sorry to be so picky, but there's a hair in our food which my wife doesn't really care for." The waitress was horrified and quickly took away our food promising to bring back more. Jocelyn said that I shouldn't have blamed it on her, but I didn't care if there was a hair. I ate lots of hair on my mission.

Well the waitress came back and said that the whole meal would be free. We thought that was overly generous, but she insisted. So then I was glad that I had said something! The bacon wrapped jalapenos were delicious, but some of them lit me on fire. The first one I ate was a little warm, but the second one started a fire in my mouth and down my throat. They were so tasty though that I couldn't stop eating them; however, after Jocelyn got a hot one, she quit eating them.

Jocelyn asked the waitress to bring us some cucumbers because the chef had said that cucumber works to soothe the heat. I'd never heard of that working, but I gave it a try. Not sure that it worked, but that was the first time I'd ever eaten a raw cucumber and kinda liked it. I usually eschew all raw vegetables. Maybe I'll have to try some more raw veggies, but I doubt it.

Our main courses were good too. I had chicken fried steak with great mashed potatoes and the best haricot verts (green beans for the culinary challenged folks) I've ever eaten. We decided that a free meal was too generous just because of one hair so we left a large tip. The drive home was nice too, and we stopped in Marble Falls for pie. This little trip was a nice way to waste some time on a Saturday, but I doubt that we'll ever do it again. There's good fishing and hunting around Llano so I'll probably be back, but Jocelyn wasn't too impressed with the little old country town. No big surprise there I guess.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dog Fighting Holocaust?

So if you're a sports fan or just a breathing human being, you've almost certainly heard about Michael Vick and dog fighting the past week. The media and public have worked themselves into a tizzy about this case. And you know what? I couldn't care less. Yeah, I'm probably in the minority, but until there are no more PEOPLE being raped, murdered, molested, tortured, etc., I don't have the time or energy to care about dogs. I’d much rather see my tax dollars used by law enforcement to catch criminals that have injured people not dogs.

It’s really no surprise that guys are fighting dogs. I can turn on Spike TV any day of the week and watch two guys stripped down to nothing pummeling each other inside the Octagon. And that’s accepted by society but dog fighting isn’t? Seems rather incongruous to me, and I’m not sure you can have it both ways.

Why don't we see the same level of outrage when people are murdered, women are raped, or kids are molested? These crimes happen everyday; yet, as a society, we express little outrage over them. We’re disgusted by them, but then we just move on with our lives. I’m sure that if Michael Vick committed any of the above crimes, the public and media would be outraged, and rightfully so, but I find it disconcerting that the level of outrage over dog fighting is equal to these heinous crimes against people.

I'm not advocating animal cruelty, rather, just a little perspective. They’re dogs! I once watched my dog spew a huge pile of chunky disgusting puke and then fight with my other dog over which of them would get to eat the vomit. And I’m supposed to care that Michael Vick was fighting animals dumb enough to fight over eating vomit? I don’t think so.

It's not murder as I've heard insinuated. That's an insult to all the victims of actual murder. It's certainly not a holocaust of dogs as I heard today on the radio. There was one Holocaust and referring to dog deaths as a holocaust is absurd and severely diminishes the horrific nature of the real Holocaust. Animals are vicious. They will literally eat each other alive. Stated simply, they’re animals. I wish there wasn’t any dog fighting; I really do. It’s a nasty disgusting activity in which I can't imagine ever participating. But until all the real problems in the world are solved, don’t expect me to care much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Need Motrin!

Last night we had quite the incident at our house. Jocelyn stubbed her toe! Of course, she was sure she had broken it. I've stubbed my toe before, just like everyone else, and it definitely hurts, but it is just a stubbed toe. Well, Jocelyn isn't exactly the silent type when it comes to pain. She'll let you know she's hurt which is exactly what she did last night with her stubbed toe. The way she was wailing, I thought maybe she had lost an appendage. And when I say wailing, I mean wailing. Think middle eastern woman that just lost her son. It was something to behold.

The first words out of Jocelyn's mouth were "I broke my toe" which were immediately followed by "I NEED MOTRIN!" At this point I'm trying to be nice and consoling, but I'm laughing too hard because she's so over the top. So you're probably thinking, "Who laughs at injured people?" to which I reply, I think it's genetic. My father is also much more likely to laugh at you than console you if you've hurt yourself. I guess sympathy isn't part of the Staller genome.

So I got Jocelyn the Motrin, and then she let me know that it was all my fault that she stubbed her toe. I guess it happened while locking the door and since "I never lock the door" it was my fault. This insinuation made me laugh even more. At this point Jocelyn didn't think I was being very nice. So I helped her over to the couch and went to get her a bag of ice. By now the wailing had diminished a bit, but there was still a good amount of histrionics left in her. So I got the bag of ice and put it on her foot to which she shrieked, "It's freezing cold." Yeah, it's an ice bag. I thought she would take it off right away, but she toughed it out and left it on her foot for quite awhile.

Luckily, the ice and the Motrin seemed to do their job and the wailing finally came to an end. Unfortunately our video camera battery was dead so there is no evidence of last night's incident other than a bruised toe. You'll just have to imagine the scene, which if you know Jocelyn and me, shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, July 23, 2007

There's No Crying in Reality TV!

So we watch a lot of reality TV in our house. Actually, Jocelyn watches it, and I sit here making witty, a.k.a. obnoxious comments. Yeah, I know it's not the most mature thing, but I'd go crazy if I sat here watching this garbage without making some kind of comment. I mean how can you watch So You Think You Can Dance, Big Brother, America's Got Talent, Age of Love, Pirate Master, etc. and not make comments. As an aside, if I were to end up in Hell, I'm certain it would consist of me being forced to watch So You Think You Can Dance over and over. I can think of nothing worse. I can't.

One disturbing trend that I've noticed in these shows is people are constantly crying. Why so sad? I'm anything but sympathetic and take great pleasure in ridiculing and laughing at these cry babies as they sob for all of America to see. Don't these people realize they look terrible! No one looks good crying. And those close ups of their sobbing face look hideous. The worst offender is some chick on Big Brother. She's constantly sobbing and her face looks like a boxer's that just went 10 rounds in a prize fight. Not exactly the image you want to present to America. Here's some pictures to back up my point.
Someone needs to shake this girl and tell her, "Stop it!" "Just stop it" "You look like an idiot!"
I wish all this crying would stop, but I guess psychologically unstable cry babies make for good TV. Anyway, I wish these people would buck up and stop all the crying. Until they do, I guess I'll be sitting here laughing at them.