Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Magical Me!

Well, as of 0716 hours (the exact time of this post), I guess I'm 30. I'm not quite sure how to feel about that. It seems like 30 is the new midlife crisis, especially for Mormon males who already have two kids and a house in the 'burbs. I'm definitely not rushing out to buy a Porsche. Mostly I'm feeling old. Now I can't even pretend to be cool. 30 used to be ancient. I've been planning this post for a while now, and I intended it to be a lighthearted romp through three decades of pratfalls while smirking smugly at my own clever jokes, but I feel weirder about this than I ever thought I would. So, today I'm neither profound nor funny. Sorry. But I will take your happy birthday wishes all the same. And cash. Anyway, I'll be back in a few days with another survey. I promise.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Am I going mad? Or did the word "think" escape your lips?

I've already mentioned how much I'm looking forward to football season. But it seems like there is an excess of sideshows this season, and I'm finding myself taking the opposite stance of a lot of people on these issues that have come up.

Case one: Michael Vick. Even non-fans know Vick's name for his role in the operation of Bad Newz Kennels, a dogfighting ring which led to his spending two years in prison and the loss of millions of dollars. Recently he was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, and there has been a huge controversy. I am a dog-lover, and having heard the details of the inhumane way that injured dogs were executed, and the dogfighting itself, I was glad that the law came down hard on him. But I'm of the opinion that he has served his sentence, and if someone wants to pay him millions of dollars, I wish him well. Not that I'm rooting for him to win five Super Bowls and go back to his life the way it was before, but I hope he makes a good thing of his life and doesn't end up back in prison, same as I'd wish for any felon returning to the streets. I can't get behind the idea of banning him from the NFL just because he's high profile. He's already paid for his crimes, and he has the right to make a living if someone wants him.

Which leads me to Plaxico Burress, the former wide receiver for the New York Giants, soon to be playing for the State Penitentiary. Last November he accidentally shot himself in the leg at a New York nightclub. He had an expired concealed weapons permit in Florida, and nothing in New York. Yesterday he got sentenced to two years in prison. I'm wondering if the world has gone completely mad. Isn't shooting yourself in the leg its own punishment? Not to mention the mockery that follows. A good friend of mine shot himself in the foot at the start of the USU school year in the fall of 2002. That same friend has gone on to earn a degree in dentistry from a top-notch school. But I don't care if he's Surgeon General, or even ends up as a Senator. I guarantee you, when that circle of friends gets together in our eighties, he's gonna hear about it when there's an opening available. Anyway, what I find really sick is that both these guys have gotten similar or harsher punishments than some child molesters. And for even more perspective, Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth received no jail time and a one-year suspension from the NFL for a DUI in which a pedestrian was killed. I don't get it. Even Vick's sentence, which I thought was completely appropriate, seems silly in comparison.

And now on to Brett Favre. I don't want to write about him, because he's been speculated and written about for six months solid now, but I am really wondering what is with this dude. I think we sometimes are quick to jump on athletes who retire and unretire. It would be a strange thing to be in a profession where you peak in your 30s, usually retire by 40, and then have to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, especially given that pro athletes' lives are their sports from at least high school on. But this thing with Favre has been going on for an eternity, and now he's signed with a divisional rival of the team he spent almost his entire career with, two weeks after saying he was done for good. He's missed training camp, which by all accounts is hated by almost everyone, but now he's put the team in a really weird position as he comes in as someone expected to lead. I generally am pretty live-and-let-live about comebacks, but this seems like it could really end badly. Favre is really going to have to prove himself that he is a part of the team, no matter how good his pedigree is. Anyway, this is all. What a circus the NFL is this year. And for those of you who really don't like sports, sorry. I still welcome your comments, since there are a lot bigger questions at play. I plan to release another survey on Saturday, so keep your eyes open for that. Until then, I must bid you "toodles"...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farewell to the King of Teen Angst (and much more)

Well, I've been back for several days now. We had a great time in New York. Now I'm back home, scrambling to make money after just getting my bills paid by the skin of my teeth. For some reason, we forgot to turn off the bills when we left, and there was a stack of them waiting when we got back to Utah. Anyway, we ate some good food, saw the sights, slept in a lot, and hung out with Amy's sister and her husband. I remembered how much I love baseball when we went to a Mets game at the new Citi Field, and found New Yorkers to be not only not rude, but very pleasant and many of them downright friendly. A subway worker, for instance, seeing my Minnesota Twins hat, came up to me and asked me what famous Twins player he shared the same birth day and year with. (Answer: Kirby Puckett). I found a lot of the sights and history very moving, and the next time I go I want to do it in style. Those of you looking for more details, Amy will be blogging about it soon.

As many of you heard, John Hughes died last Thursday during a visit to New York City, just two days after we had left. Four days is an eternity in the blogging world, but I have found myself wanting to blog about that loss more than the trip (but my blog is usually not of the travelogue variety anyway, unless I'm in a rare mood). Hughes was never nominated for an Oscar as far as I know, but he wrote and directed some legitimate classics, the kind that people watch over and over. If you're channel surfing and The Breakfast Club is on, you'll stop flipping. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Home Alone. Pretty in Pink. Uncle Buck. And my personal favorite, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I believe that the reason his work is so well-loved is that he really understood people. His characters have a depth and believability that are uncommon, especially for the class of films he specialized in. He disappeared shortly after making enough money to buy a private island with the success of the Home Alone franchise, and moved to... Wisconsin, and became very reclusive, rarely giving interviews in the past 15 years. As late a couple of months ago, I searched his name on the Internet Movie Database, hoping for some news. I always hoped he would come back. But I'm grateful for what we got. I feel that I actually got a few nuggets of wisdom from him. Rest in peace.