Saturday, January 31, 2009

My conversation today with a pyromaniac.

As finance clerk, I have the unfortunate responsibility of purchasing paper for the ward library.  I have no idea how I obtained this chore other than it has been passed down from one finance clerk generation to the next; until at last, I find myself every four months buying 4 boxes of paper at the Office Depot.

Today I decided to go all out and get five boxes;  that might buy me an extra month or two.  I piled the boxes into my cart and pushed my way to the checkout stand.

It was there that I met Pete, or Timmy, or Sam.  I'm not really sure of his actual name, but he was a seventeen year old freak.  Our conversation went something like this, and mind you I am in no way exaggerating anything that was said.

Pete: Wow!  That is a ton of paper.  Hardly anyone ever buys that much paper.  Is it almost gone over there or something?

Cheeseboy: No, I just needed to buy a lot of paper. 

Pete: I bet you could make a HUGE fire with all that paper.  We had all this extra paper once and we made a huge bonfire.

Cheeseboy: Oh yeah?

Pete: You going to make a fire with it? - cause I bet it would huge!

Cheeseboy: It's actually for my church.

Pete: Ah, gotcha.  Alright, here's your receipt.

Cheeseboy: Thanks a lot, have a good day.

Pete: You too.  Let me know if you ever want to start that fire.

I am still not sure if he was kidding or not, but by his freakish nature, I am guessing not. This by far was the strangest character I have ever come across at an Office Depot, and that's saying a lot because those places are loaded with them.  Just go into any Office Depot and ask for a laser pointer and sit back and watch the fireworks.

I won't even go into the conversations I had today with ward members that were angry about there being no paper in the library this past week.  Well, maybe I'll go into tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Two Utes visit Abe's classroom!

As if I needed another reason to cheer for my beloved Utes...

My new student teacher is really awesome.  Not only is she a great teacher, but her cousin is dating Caleb Schlauderaff, Offensive Guard for the University of Utah Runnin' Utes! He started this year and was a huge factor in the Utes success.

She arranged to have Caleb come read to our class.  She said she did this for the kids, but I think she also knew it would totally make my day.  Anyhow, I was overjoyed when he agreed to come for a visit.  

Caleb brought a friend with him: Right Tackle, Dustin Hensel.  While Caleb's arms were larger than my thighs, Dustin was in a whole different league.  The man is 6-7 and 307 lbs - and not fat.  The kids were blown away at his enormity.  He seemed to fill the entire room.  (He has a good chance to be drafted this year and I certainly hope he does.)

When they came into the classroom, there were several parents that had heard word that they were going to be there and came to visit.  I introduced them to the class by saying, "KIDS, WE ARE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS VISIT US FROM THE BEST TEAM IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!"  

These guys were so cool.  They split up and Caleb read a book to my class while Dustin read to the other class.  They then answered questions.

One kid asked Caleb if he had killed anyone before.  Caleb looked right at him and said, "I think I only killed one person, a small redheaded kid wearing a Steelers jersey."  The boy, of course, fit this description and we all had a good laugh.  

The guys stayed, took pictures and signed and autograph for every kid.  They then glanced out the window and saw some older kids playing basketball.  You should have seen the fifth grader's faces when two enormous Utah players, wearing Ute jerseys, stepped onto the black top for a game.

They then stayed outside for an hour and signed even more autographs.  Several parents will probably be surprised tonight when their kids come home with their sneakers autographed by a couple linemen.
There are not too many "perks" of being a First Grade teacher, but today I found one.  These guys made this one of my best teaching days ever.  It was great fun.  Thanks Brooke, for setting it up!

By the way, the guys told me to make the "U" sign during the picture, although this one is a bit sagging.  We also got a picture of the entire class with the guys, making the "U" sign, even the ones I KNOW are BYU fans.  I plan on making copies and giving them to their parents at parent/teacher conference.

These guys really went out of their way and stayed much longer than they needed to.  They could have just shown up and made an appearance, but they wanted to stick around and make sure everyone on the playground got an autograph that wanted one.

One last thing funny I just remembered - the First Graders kept asking the guys, "Where's Louie?" or "Where's the kicker?"  Caleb mumbled something about that guy being the king of the city and I think Dustin was a little angry as he is Louie's roommate.

It's these guys and days like these that make me so proud to be a Ute!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I don't want to brag, but braggings my game and my kids are cute.

To my avid and somewhat demented Blog O' Cheese readers: I, Cheeseboy, interrupt the highly debatable and controversial topic of Belvedere v. Danza to bring you three videos I have been meaning to post for friends and family. I apologize, for the usual hilarity shall ensue on the morrow. In the mean time, check out my adorable kids!

The first video is Lincoln and I on our most recent excursion to Leeds. We always go on this hike, about five minutes from Grandma's house, to Red Cliffs. Lincoln loves it because at the end of the hike you have to hold onto a rope and swing yourself across a small waterfall. Lincoln, being too small, gets to gallivant on papa's back. We almost died here!

Calder has recently begun repeating the phrase over and over to me, "YOU'RE THE BEST DAD IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!" It never gets old. He says it first thing when I get home, when he goes to bed and when I leave for school in the morning. Often, he will just say it out of the blue and give me a hug. It's too adorable for words. I really need to include this somehow in my next "tag" for the girls to ahh at. Check it out:

The final video is of our recent trip to Disneyland. We were in line for about the 1oth time for the new Toy Story ride there. The boys enjoyed wearing their glasses.

Again, back to the creative nonsense tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mr. Belvedere v. Tony Danza

The Blog O' Cheese is prepared to ask the hard hitting questions that the regular media is afraid to cover. (Except of course "Extra", which I am sure would be ready to ask this question, if they were creative enough to think of their own questions.)

The Question?: Mr. Belvedere v. Tony Danza  - which was the better man maid, chamberman, manny and housekeeper?  It is a inquisition that has been asked throughout the ages, or at least since 1986, when both shows aired.

As the apostle Jonah exclaimed, "Choose ye this day which bro-keeper ye shall serve; for no man can serve two man-servants." (1 Thadeus 16:22)

1. Jovial
2. Pastoral in the face of chaos 
3. Mustached 
4. Excellent pronunciation of the word "Wesley"
5. Drop kicks jackets

1. Never met him before (But who cares?)
2. Is friends with Bob Uecker 
3. Ends each day by writing in his diary much like that weirdo, Doogie Howser, MD.
4. British
5. Frequently makes fun of Wesley's friends with orthodontic headgear.

1. Daughter is Alyssa Milano 
2. Muscly 
3. Drives a van
4. Knows a thing or two
5. Handsome, single father


1. He is Tony Danza
2. His pronunciation of "Jonathan" 
3. Italian 
4. "The Tony Danza Show"
5. Played for the Cardinals 

Now is the time for you to weigh in.  Belvedere or Danza. If this was a fighting competition, clearly the victor would be a much more carnal, savagely tenacious Belvedere. Nevertheless, this is not a fist fight we're talking about.  We're talking 100% man-cleaning and in this competition it is neck and neck.  However, I'd certainly like to hear the thoughts of the reading audience.  

(That means write your thoughts in the comments.)

A Cheeseboy special contest. Today only!

Hey everybody - As a special thanks to those that read my blog during their down time at work (or home), I would like to offer a special contest.  

A Cheeseboy branded prize to the first person that responds correctly in the comments:

During the 80's in Utah, where was the best place to get a pair of Tony Lama boots?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bad beginnings to even worse stories.

Today as I was leaving school, I overheard the beginning of a conversation that the sweeper boys were having in the hallway. The minute I heard the first sentence I knew that it was not a story I wanted to hear. It began: "There was this movie that we watched today in Health class..." No way that this story ends in a good way!

That got me thinking: in life there are some stories that from the very first sentence you just know that going to very bad places. The following are first lines to stories that never end well:

So I was in line at the D.M.V. the other day...

I took my wedding ring off to...

I was driving my Dodge minivan on the highway...

So, the Stake Executive Secretary called the other day...

My single brother bought a Jetta the other day...

There I was, in the Costco restroom...

Well, I was kissing this girl that goes to BYU...

I had to give Comcast a call the other day...

I had this tall friend in high school that was playing basketball and had braces on his teeth...

This one time, in Junior High wood shop...

I went to bikini cuts today...

I had this strange dream the other night...

After I got done eating at Chuck-A-Rama...

Last night, at the ward ball game...

On Sunday, there was this smell in the ward nursery...

And finally -

So I was jogging around Liberty Park...

By the way - GO UTES!

Dear Jazz fans...

The Jazz will never win a championship until Jerry Sloan decides that his team might want to guard the 3 point line. Having unathletic guards is no longer an excuse.

Rant over.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The true story of my first date - well, what should have been my first date.

During my mid teens, I was always a bit awkward with the ladies. I had no idea how to harness my goofiness and bizarre sense of humor into something the chicks would dig. It was only later that I realized that attractive ladies love a funny man: my smoking hot wife is proof positive of that. However, learning to make the ladies laugh was a long and tedious process that was molded by more than my share of pitfalls. It all began with with the first girl I ever asked out.
When I turned sixteen, I began talking to a girl in my English class. She seemed kind enough and very sweet,  and I made the decision that this young lady would be fortunate enough to be my first date.

As is customary in the bubble known as Utah, when a high school dance comes around, it is expected that the "asking" be done in the most obnoxiously strange way imaginable. A dweebily thin, pimple faced boy must shell out hundreds of dollars on balloons, cakes, pillows and the like, all in effort to one up the other fellas and find the most "creative" way to ask his date to the dance. This was a skill that I was not taught and it became painfully obvious.

My friend and I gathered one Saturday night for a planning session. He had already asked his lady friend, using some ridicules combination of stuffed animals, roses and a note. No, flowers and charm simply would not do for a first date; I needed something that would blow her doors off.

The mind of this 16 year old male was fogged with mists of hormones, immaturity and bad judgement. Thus was the case - as the plan unravelled from my teenage brain into reality. The game plan went as follows:

We went to the local Albertsons and purchased an entire dead chicken. (With the head missing, of course.)

I wrote a note and placed it through the hole where the chicken's head once was. The note simply said, "Don't be chicken, go to the dance with Abe."

We then stuffed the chicken with popcorn. We therefore had: Chicken with no head, stuffed with popcorn, with a clever note asking for her company for the ball. It was fail proof! Certainly she would see the hilariousness of my methodology and off we would be - arm in arm, frolicking to the dance like star struck lovers.

My friend waited in the car while I snuck up to the dark doorstep and dumped the now foul smelling fowl onto her doorstep. I then rang the bell twice and bolted for the car. My friend stayed just long enough for us to see her father standing - dumbfounded over the featherless bird. He picked it up with his thumb and pointer finger, much like one would hold a poopy diaper, and took it into the house. The bait was set, I only needed to reel her in.

I received no answer for several days. The marked gal simply said hi to me in the halls, and otherwise avoided me. Nevertheless, I held out hope. After five long days, I knew that she had to be giving it some serious contemplation. (More likely was that her parents were trying unsuccessfully to talk her into going to the dance with me as a "mercy date" of sorts; the special kid that left the dead bird on our porch - and she was having none of it.)

Finally, that Friday evening, a full six days after my initial request, I received a knock on the door. I rushed to the porch to find a small jar of jelly with a ribbon and a note saying, "To Abe". Alas, it was my answer.

I tore open the jar and dumped the jelly into a bowl. There at the bottom lay a tiny, folded piece of paper. With quivering hands, I unfolded and read out loud, "Sorry, I can't go." Devastation.

The next Monday morning, she apologized and said that someone had already asked her to the dance. I later found out that she did not go to the dance at all and spent the evening "guarding" the H rock with some friends. She clearly did not see the humor of the dead chicken, which I found odd. It wasn't like I put a dead cow head in her bed - this was just a chicken. Why would any girl find that in any way psychotic.

My already fragile self esteem cracked and sizzled like a plastic cup on a campfire. I did not ask another girl out for six months.

I recently found this girl on facebook, but I do not dare to request her friendship. Certainly, she will someday tell her daughters the story of the crazy kid that stuffed a dead bird with popcorn and gave it to her as a gift. Certainly, she has already told this story hundreds of times over the years. This story of the dead chicken shall live forever in infamy.

(Mom, there may be questions regarding the authenticity of this story. Will you - or other family members - confirm it's truth? Bless you... Cheeseboy)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An essay on prizes and their effect on human kind.

Today my topic shall be prizes; for who amongst us does not enjoy a good prize now and again? I have broken this subject matter up into three separate and distinct categories: Prizes from sporting events, prizes from McDonalds and cereal box prizes. I shall begin this discourse by discussing the evolution of the cereal box prize.

Cereal Box Prizes

When I was a kid, when I was given the choice (which I was very rarely given), I almost always selected the sugar cereal with the best prize on the box. When I was very young, the prize was mixed into the cereal as if it were an elephant masquerading amongst a herd of cornstalks. I would pour cereal into my bowl - patiently each morning until finally, the prize would drop and clang into my bowl like someone dropping a rock into an empty, metal wishing well. My guess that somewhere in the history of the 80's, a brain dead child mistakenly ate the prize and then sued the pants off Kelloggs. (Does Tony the Tiger wear pants? I am not sure - different cartoon characters wear pants in different times. Sure, Mickey has always adorned knickers, but he was a trendsetter - which Tony the Tiger certainly was not.)

Later, the cereal box prize started to make an appearance on the outside of the cereal bag. This made things much easier for a impatient ten year old hand. Simply pull out the plastic bag, grab your matchbox car, and then return the plastic bag to it's rightful place. It was like taking candy from a baby. (I'd never take candy from a baby back then. However, given that I was the oldest in the family, it would certainly have been an easy thing to do. But can you imagine 'Baby Jacob's' reaction if I took his sucker? I know, I know.)

The third stage of the cereal box prize was the "UPC symbol send in". For a squirmy squirt like myself, this was the worst kind of prize promising torture. Cut out TWO! UPC symbols from the top of the box, add $1.50 shipping, and then wait 6-8 weeks for delivery. And that's IF your mom let you send them in in the first place. Hardly seemed worth it for a Wacky Wall Walker.

Finally, in today's day and age, the cereal box prize has all but disappeared. Sure, occasionally there is a token prize here and there - for old times sake. But by and far, the cereal box prize has gone the way of Strawberry Shortcake's virginity: lost somewhere in the early 90's.

While I am on the subject of cereal from a box, the other day I poured the last bowl of cereal from the box only to receive... you guessed it - a pile of cereal sawdust on top of my breakfast. I hate the cereal sawdust! Kills me every time.

The McDonalds Happy Meal Prize

This prize has lived through the 70's, 80's, 90's and is a permanent fixture of the thousands. These prizes have limited entertainment value and generally lose their appeal after 30 minutes of play time. They do, however, carry an unbelievable value when it comes to dirtying up any front room. I'm not sure, but I believe that 80% of the crap on our living room floor on any given day received it's origin from the god of McDonald.

While I am sure it is too dangerous, the Happy Meal prize should be a two ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. That way, when the boys come squalling into the table, eager to eat after spending twenty minutes in that puss filled, germ party known as the "playland", we can squirt a couple dabs of sanitizer onto their palms to keep us all from throwing up.

I actually believe that McDonalds started marketing their "Monopoly" game because the adults were tired of their kids getting prizes all the time while they sat, greasy palmed and prizeless on the playland bench. In fact, the greatest Monopoly prize of all is the "free hash brown". I have never seen grown adults so ecstatic about a 99 cent piece of processed potato! I want to tell them, "You do realize in order to redeem that piece of garbage, you do actually have to come back to McDonalds... in the morning... before 10:00. So... put that minute piece of paper into your wallet where it will stay for at least six months, until... you one day find it while hunting for your library card. I have news for you prize wannabe losers: The library does not serve deep fried potato and it does not play monopoly.

In my view, McDonalds would be smart to start marketing a "Parental McDonalds Survival Kit" to sell at the counter. (They could be situated between the cookies and the ketchup packets.) For $4.99, any parent could receive: hand sanitizer, stain lifter, wet naps and handcuffs to keep kids from climbing underneath the table and running through the restaurant sockless. For an extra dollar, they could include a whistle to retrieve your child from the top layer of Playland tubing.

The Sporting Event Prize

I'm not sure about you, but I am tiring a bit of the usual, cliche sporting event prize; the bobble heads, tee shirts, mints and mini balls. I'd like to see some creativity and innovation from the marketing geniuses employed by Larry H.. (That means you Jake!)

How about Jerry Sloan, John Deere tractor night? Surely a matchbox sized John Deere tractor, produced in mass, could be done at a low cost. Or, how about a pack of Carlos Boozer brand band aides? Or 10,000 miniature Matt Harpring harps. Bring back the free fries at Hardees! (I realize Hardees is no longer around, so bring back Hardees!)

If the marketing gurus really want to cause a stir, how about a Valentines day pack of coupons for husbands to give their wives. You know the kind, "good for one free hug" or "one free date night". Of course, given that it is a Jazz promotion, the coupon book would not be complete without a coupon, "good for one free 'Andre Kirilenko night' away from your wife." Apparently this has worked wonders for AK.

I'm still upset about that cereal sawdust. It totally ruins the entire bowl of cereal! Your "bowl of cereal" suddenly becomes a "bowl of chunky mush". Why can't Kellogg's just wrap the excess sawdust in a cellophane wrap and give that out as the prize?! Perhaps even, instead of having the sawdust in the box, you have to send in 2 UPC symbols and $1.50 shipping and it will be mailed to you?

If they are so intent on giving us the end of cereal sawdust, why not make an entire cereal out of the sawdust? They could call it "Count Chocolate Dandruff". Perhaps the prize could be a two ounce bottle of Pert Plus?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I've been tagged and this time I'm taking it seriously. (Because I can't think of anything else to blog about and I don't want to disappoint readers.)

First of all, I would like to say I sincerely apologize for missing a day of blogging yesterday. I fought long and hard with blogger last night, and I was ultimately defeated and I went down in a blaze of glory. I am still having troubles with the site, as I am unable to see the normal “posting” screen. It is missing the font choices and the spell check. Is anyone else having these same issues? It is beyond frustrating.

I have been tagged by my sister Esther. She tagged me, as a joke, but I am going to go surprise her by actually responding to her tag. I was tagged once before, but had a difficult time taking it seriously. Therefore, I take upon me this challenge: to respond to a “tag” without making it a joke.

*Note to my readers: Just because I am responding to a tag does not decrease my manliness or make me a mom blogger. Why do tags just have to be for girls? Sure, 95% of tags are done by girls, but being the blogging trendsetter that I am, I am going to do my best to change things. Hope you appreciate this Esther. I’m putting on my wussy cap for you.

*Note #2: I am also doing this because for once, I have a severe case of blogger’s block. This is the first time that this has happened, and I hope that breaking the tag curse will pull me out of it.

*Note #3: After blogging about pooping my pants, I have no shame. That and completing a little tag will only do wonders for my “street cred” with the other Mormon mom bloggers.

8 Favorite TV Shows:
1. LOST (But less so now that “Neil” was hit by a flaming arrow in the chest. He was my favorite character on the show!)
2. The Daily Show (But less so now that “You don’t know Dick” will no longer be a regular clip.)
3. Chuck (Unless I have to wear 3D glasses. I hate cardboard papercuts on the bridge of my nose.)
4. Freaks & Geeks
5. The Office
6. Get A Life (Staring the great Chris Elliott.)
7. The Soup (Especially Yo Gabba Gabba clips and clips of cats eating spaghetti.)
8. Saturday Night Live

Steven Colbert and 30 Rock deserve an honorable mentions here as well.

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Went down a waterslide. (Not joking.)
2. Kissed me lady. (On the lips even.)
3. Laser pointed until I could laser point no more.
4. Killed a spider.
5. I had some socks in my underwear drawer. I had no idea how they got there. I decided to move them to their rightful drawer.
6. Sang “I’m A Survivor” out loud in my Hyundai.
7. Watched “The Office” and told my wife that “HILLARY SWANK IS NOT HOT!”, which she is not.
8. Made up a bedtime story for Lincoln and Calder about a dragon that needs braces because the fire is ruining his teeth.

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1. Next school year
2. Sleeping in
3. Occasions in which I get to perform
4. Football games
5. Buying new clothes
6. Eating out at a nice place with my lady
7. Summer
8. Jogging

8 Favorite Restaurants:
1. Market Street Broiler
2. Joe’s Crab Shack (for crab)
3. Rodizio Grill (only occasionally – for meat)
4. Training Table (for Bleu Bacon burger and cheese fries.)
5. Crown Burger
6. PF Changs
7. The Pie
8. Millies

8 Things On My Wish List:
1. Hot Tub
2. Plasma TV
3. Trip to Pennsylvania
4. Cruise to Alaska
5. VW Bus
6. I’m getting really tired of this.
7. How do you ladies do these ALL THE TIME!
8. More wishes

There you have it – a man truthfully responding to a tag. Soak it in now ladies, because you may never see it again in your lifetime. It actually felt really good; like I was shedding layers of shame. I don’t feel awkward at all. I do think that I am going to go lift some weights and grow some more chest hair before hitting the hay.

I’ve got to crush this writer’s block. Responding to tags simply reeks of desperation.

I do not tag anyone and this spawn of the tag officially ends here.

Thank you for your patience and the Blog O’Cheese will be back to it’s normally scheduled programming on the morrow with some original material.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Respect this! (The story of my new laser pointer.)

I got myself a sheik, new laser pointer today. Decided to go with the "executive" model. It is a four-in-one model with a laser, highlighter, flashlight and pen. I've decided it's pretty much the one that Jason Borne would carry, if the situation arose that a laser pointer would be needed - like, he had to give a presentation to other spies or make a cat go a certain direction.

I went "Executive" this time for two reasons: 1) The prestige 2) The sleek look. Also, I felt that I needed an industrial strength laser; one that had the ability to melt the skin off a human being. When other teachers see me walk down the hall with the "Executive" in my front pocket, they move to the walls and allow me to pass. I am not sure if they appreciate my winking at them as the "Executive" and I pass on by, but they have to show some respect. The "Executive" demands it. It screams "respect me" from the mountaintops.
Purchasing the Executive model laser pointer has been the best decision of my life. (After, of course, my wife, the kids and deciding to go sockless in bed.)

Song of the Day: Coldplay - Life In Technicolor ii

Howdy folks. Today's song is the best Coldplay video yet. Do you like puppet shows? Well, if you are like me, then no, no you don't. However, I would pay money to see this puppet show. In fact, the boys have probably watched this video twelve times in one day. Very innovative.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My thoughts about some show with shallow models on it.

Cathi has recently begun watching yet another one of Ashton Kutcher's projects (at least I think it is an Ashton Kutcher project - it has to be!) The show takes a bunch of shallow, self-centered male and female models and makes them believe they are in a competition to see who is the most beautiful person in America. In reality (as in "reality TV"), the show's judges are really looking for the least despicable human being, or at least the person that kinda shows some compassion for others.

(I still have no idea what this show is called, and besides blogging about it now, I really could care less.)

So far the show is an absolutely horrendous collection of spastic clips of despicable people. While entertaining in a scum bucket sort of way, I don't know how many times I turn to Cathi and ask, "Are these people for real?" The producers of the show constantly throw out situations at these people so they can show some sort of generosity towards anyone but themselves. There is one black guy that is actually a decent human being and goes out of his way to help others, but the rest of them are disturbingly selfish, evil people. It's a little bit like watching a combination of Zoolander, The Real World and any of the reality shows staring Tyra Banks.

The best part of the show is actually the end of each episode when someone gets the boot. The "judges" break the news that it is all a fraud and actually a competition to find the person with the most "inner beauty". They then force the person to stand and watch all of the vein acts of selfishness they committed during the filming of the show. Can you imagine the shame of seeing yourself treat others so horridly in front of millions of viewers. This is a little bit like what I imagine judgement with God will be like - rerunning all of your unforgiven sins on a television screen. The only difference is that God would be part of a reality show on CBS and not the WB. Oh, and God probably also has a 1000 inch plasma.

While watching this "program" last night, I tried to think of a reality program that could be any more cruel than this one. While there is not one currently on television, I was creative enough to come up with a brilliant premise that is actually a takeoff of this show. Allow me to explain:

Invite 15 of the ugliest people in the entire nation to play. Tell them that the show is to find"the most loving, friendly, person in America". Ask them to participate in a series of challenges in which they think they are helping others, but in reality, they are competing to see who is the ugliest. Kick off each one at a time, and as they leave explain to them the real "game". Then force them to stand in front of a giant TV and replay close ups of their faces for them to see just how ugly they are. Just before they break out in tears, laugh and say it is all just a pretend joke.

One last thing, the winner could win a trip onto that other "classy" reality show - Extreme Makeover - Face Edition, for an all expense paid trip to plastic land. Hilarity will undoubtedly ensue.

I really need a Hollywood job. I have such a finger on the pulse of what America yearns for. Fortunately, America already has Ashton Kutcher to do my job. Darn you Ashton! Darn you to heck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In real life, my school teaching is making me feel nuts.

When I take off my teacher cape and transform into a normal member of everyday society, I often find myself fighting back horrible "teacher tendencies". Many social circumstances warrant a teacher's stern voice and it often takes every ounce of energy to hold my tongue. As is now customary on the Cheese blog, let me provide you with a few examples:
  • Upon seeing a child run through the aisles of Walmart, my first instinct is to yell, "WALK! WALK BUDDY. WE DON'T RUN IN THE HALLS. WE JUST DON'T DO IT."

  • While waiting behind someone at a drinking fountain, I so want to say, "1...2...3... OKAY, YOU'RE DONE!"

  • When seeing a child outside with their coat off in the cold, my immediate reaction is to say, "I thought I said 'no one leaves the classroom without getting their coat on first'".

  • While in line at Disneyland, when a child cuts in line to meet up with their family, my first instinct is to say, "Hey, no budding in line. You can go to the back of the line and be last please."

  • When listening to someone read out loud at church and they make a mistake, my first thought is, "Oh, that was an error of omission." Or, "That was a substitution error."

  • When reading someone's written notes, I can't help but analyze their handwriting. "Those B's are not fully formed - they need to go all the way up to the top line."

  • Upon seeing a child fall in public, I immediately want to head to my cupboard to get a band aide.

  • I want to tell total strangers to tie their shoes or they are going to fall and hurt themselves.

  • When I see pee on a public restroom floors, I get angry with the First Grade boys and want to keep them in from recess until someone fesses up to doing it.

  • During Elder's Quorum, I am irritated when people yell out answers rather than raise their hands.

  • I have become much more aware of the appropriate decibel level of an "inside voice" and am bothered when folks knowingly violate this level.

Clearly, I need some sort of mental evaluation. I can't continue to walk around Salt Lake City, worrying about people's untied shoes and restroom behavior. It's just not right. It's just not right.

Song of the Day: Mates of State - Now

My boys can not get enough of this tune.  They bop and dance to it like it was 1999.  The best youtube version I could find was at Lolapoluza.  If you haven't caught on to the poppy flair of Mates of State, do yourself a favor and hitch a ride on the Mates bus.  My congratulations to Mates, who are the first band to be featured twice on the Blog O' Cheese song of the day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

If "The Office" folks ran my ward.

Watching the last episode of The Office got me thinking: What if the cast of The Office were all members of a ward?  Given that I was in the Scranton ward for awhile, it does not seem so far fetched to have a few more whack jobs join the clan.  I give you the leadership of the Scranton 2nd Ward.  

(Any resemblance to members of my wards, past or present is purely coincidental.  Note to the folks in my own ward: I am no way referring to you in these descriptions.  I am simply trying to describe what it would be like IF a ward was operated by the cast of the Office.)

Bishop Michael Scott
Jovial, excitable and slightly self-absorbed, he is always looking out for his congregation; sometimes even giving them an unearned benefit of the doubt.  He will do whatever it takes to keep those under his watch in the fold - from dragging them to rehab to inviting them on river cruises, he is the every man's man.  However, his "that's what she said" line does not go over well in church.

First Councilor, Brother Jim Halpert
The even-keeled, funny man is who most people bring their problems to before even approaching the Bishop.  His easy going nature and personable ways make him approachable and people trust him.  He hates it when people call him, "Brother Tuna".

Second Councilor, Brother Dwight Schrute
This bizarre oddball is clearly pining for Bishop when his time is up.  He spends the bulk of his time studying lesser known church literature and quoting it during Sunday School lessons.  He is the first one to tell the Stake President when he feels that things are not being done by the book and will hold people accountable when they do not meet 100% home teaching for the month.  He also spends countless hours at the cannery, packing beets.

High Priest Group Leader, Brother Creed
Old and senile, no one ever quite has an idea what the heck he is talking about.   He will get up during testimony meeting and ramble on about his various illnesses.

Young Women's President, Sister Pam Beasley
Cool, hip and attractive, she has very little trouble getting along with the young women of the ward.  Hm, sounds like a YW President I know...

Finance Clerk, Kevin Malone
Awful at his job, he is consistently messing up the ward checking account and having to call headquarters.  He also sits in the back row of Elder's quorum and makes "funny" comments that only he laughs at.

The No Calling Guy, Brother Stanley Hudson 
The man refuses to do a thing.  However, at the ward ice cream and soup socials, he is the first in line.  If only they had a ward pretzel social.

Activity Committee Chairperson, Sister Angela Martin
She will do whatever it takes to make this year's Christmas party the best in the stake.  If that means renting a Santa Clause and hiring a couple pack mules to play the donkeys in the manger scene, so be it.  To heck with the budget!  Don't even think about messing with her pine cone table decorations.

Relief Society President, Sister Phylis Lapin
Phylis will do anything for anyone and if that means knitting hats for the entire primary, it shall be done  Her skill with a needle and thread also come in handy for homemaking and she makes a marvelous pie.  Being married to Bob Vance, of Vance Refrigeration, also comes in handy when storing all those pies for the scout bake sale.  Her gossipy ways are perfect for keeping up with the latest ward rumblings.

Primary President, Sister Meredith Palmer 
Teaching the word of wisdom to children is a natural for this former alcoholic.  Plus, with three children of her own that are primary age, she is the obvious choice.  Also, she can warn the children of the dangers of rabies.

Single Adult Leader, Sister Kelly Kapoor
She would give an excellent fireside.

Scoutmaster, Brother Toby Flenderson
He is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, clean and reverent.  What more could you want from a scoutmaster? He also is a twerp that the Bishop hates and that is exactly why he is scoutmaster.

Elder's Quorum President, Andy Bernard 
He went to Cornell (The BYU-Idaho of the East) and brags about it, dresses nicely, sings like a bird (or thinks he does) and drives a Nissan Xterra.  Sounds like just about every Elder's Quorum President I have ever known.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dear Jazz fans: Don't count on painting your face purple in May. (Plus Neil Diamond!)

**For those of you that are not sports fans, I pray that you will allow me to indulge those that are fans for a single post.  Please do not cancel your subscription to The Blog O' Cheese for it shall return to it's normally scheduled brain-numbing silliness on the morrow.  For those of you disappointed to see a sports post today, I put a handsome picture of Blog O' Cheese regular, Neil Diamond on the post to humor you.

Now that the football season is over I can focus my attention to the basketball season and I must say, the outlook is dim.  

The Jazz are filled with problems, none the least is their overly conservative nature when it comes to making moves to better the team. Granted, major moves will either have a big payoff or backfire - but at least have the courage to try.  By not making a move right now in effort to improve the team, the Jazz will fade away into obscurity; either getting swept in the first round by the hated Lakers, or missing the playoffs all together.  

Beside not having the guts to make a trade, the Jazz have several other problems:

1. They have too many above average players and not enough "great" players.  In my view they have one great player, Deron Williams, and even he has had a hard time getting back into the swing of things after his injury.  They need to trade 2-3 good players for one great one.  It will never happen though because of Kevin O'Connor's overly conservative nature.  I would not be surprised, however, if they trade one of their crappy backup point guards for a different crappy backup point guard and then feed us the line that "it will make the team so much better". 

2. Injuries.  I don't want to dwell on this too much because clearly this has been a huge reason for the early season struggles.  However, even with the enormous amount of injuries, they should never, ever lose to the Thunder.  Which brings me to #3.

3. Road woes.  No championship team loses to the Thunder on the road.  Ever.  Ever. I don't care if there is not a single starter playing the entire game - that team is awful and it is inexcusable for the Jazz to lose to them.  The Jazz lost to them by 20. The Thunder have won 6 games all year. Would that happen to any of the challengers? Celtics? Never. Lakers? Nope. Spurs? Are you kidding me!  After this lost, I lost all faith in the Jazz to do anything of consequence this year.  

In the past 5 years or so, I have become less and less a Jazz fan, although remaining an avid fan of Deron Williams.  I still want them to do well, but it is just so difficult to cheer for a team that is happy with simply staying good enough to make the playoffs.  They need a major overhaul to get another "great" player and I am afraid that they don't have the guts to pull it off.

Sorry Jazz fans, but I am going to predict that they miss the playoffs this year.  (For those waiting for Carlos Boozer to come back and save the day... HA HA HA!... it's going to be a long wait.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lincoln a future NBA star? Nah, but maybe he'll "pretend" to play basketball someday while performing on High School Musical 17.

Have you ever had a dream for your son come crashing down, all at once, like that enormous chandelier in the Phantom of the Opera?  Turns out, it happened to me today, as I realized that my son will never play in the NBA. 

When your son is in the 1 percentile of height and weight at every doctor's appointment - it does not mean much at the time.  When it does matter is when he is playing Junior Jazz with a bunch of kids a foot taller than him. Lincoln's second ever Junior Jazz game included the following:

  • His coach was great and wanted to ensure that he touch the ball during the game by having someone pass him the ball after the other team scored.  When he got the ball, he turned and shot at the opposing team's basket.  Fortunately, he missed.
  • Lincoln's standing, unaware and daydreaming in the corner of the court while both teams ran down at full speed.  My kid is officially the kid playing deep, deep left field.  Fortunately, there are not any gnats to swat at in a gym.
  • Lincoln, the smallest and scrawniest kid on the court by a long shot, actually avoiding the ball when it rolled to him.  I mean, turning and watching it roll right by him. The ball might as well have been covered in boogers and cooties.
  • During the quarters that he sat, Lincoln was more interested in playing with Calder and his little cousin rather and completely ignored the game. And my favorite...
  • Lincoln was assigned to guard the girl on the opposing team.  While the game is actually going on, he and the girl get nose to nose and stare at each other.  After about five seconds, they both laugh and smile at each other and then run off.  Remember, this is while the action is going on all around them.  
Now, if you know Lincoln, you know he is the kindest, most unassuming kid you have ever met and that is a bit of his downfall for him when it comes to organized sports.  His aggressive meter is set to a 1.5 out of 1o.  I think that if he actually stole the ball from another player he would feel badly for them and give it back.  I am not sure he even knows what competition is.

Given his temperament and ability to get along with others, you can tell that he is very well liked by the other players.  He also left the court each time with a huge smile on his face and if anything, he liked running up and down the court at breakneck speeds. (Of course, that is when he was running and not daydreaming about Disneyland.)

So, we are not sure that organized team sports are Lincoln's thing. Honestly, I don't really care that he may never play basketball at a high level - he's got so many other talents and skills that basketball is probably the least on his priority list.  We might sign him up for swimming, music or a staring league.  Heaven knows he would take first place in staring.  In the mean time, he seems to enjoy playing basketball and seeing some new friends each week, so we will make the most of it while it lasts.  So instead of making his dad millions in the NBA, he will make his dad millions being the next Ryan Seacrest, only a male version.  

As it turns out, the chandelier in the Phantom never breaks, they just string it back up every day for the next show.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Calder is one Dopey Dwarf

About a year and a half ago we payed a visit to the local Kiddie Candids to get Calder's picture taken. Needless to say, we were none to pleased with the way things were going and the photos were not going to be the adorable glamor shots that we had hoped. Then, magic happened...

The girl "accidentally" shot this gem of a shot while Calder was goofing around and we loved it. She giggled and wanted to trash it, but we were having none of that. We had seen Calder make this silly face hundreds of times to make us laugh, but he would never do it on cue. To capture this moment at Kiddie Candids was a miracle and we ordered dozens of these. It captured (and still captures) his goofball personality perfectly.

A large version of this photo now sits on our hutch as you walk in our door. We put it there because once you see it, you just can't help but have a smile on your face. Calder has not made this face in a long time, but thank goodness that we now have it captured for all time on the Blog O' Cheese.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A sad day for my home town. A sad, sad day.

It's the end of an era in quietly quaint Murray, Utah. One of our proud city's favorite landmarks was torn down. As I drove by while getting gas at Costco, I watched as two giant wrecking balls smashed the walls of our beloved tavern of sin. I felt a tear of sorrow drip down my face and onto my Hyundai floor mat. As it splashed, I felt a sense of shame that a classy, elegant strip saloon could meet such a fate. I sat in my car and wept. How could something like this happen?

Southern Exposure sat just four blocks northwest of our house, and it was not a show about a doctor that travels to Alaska to practice medicine. I had never actually stepped foot in this swank establishment, but drove by it almost daily. It's beautiful architectural stylings and enormous, lighted sign melted your heart like a baby's laughter on a warm summer's day. How could something like this happen? How many parking lots does a hospital with dying people need? It's not like this is a children's hospital. These people are grownups, they can walk another two blocks.

Something does not smell right here, and I don't mean the old, discarded string bikinis at the bottom of the pile of rubble.

I for one, am taking a stand. Because of this, there are 10-15 women out of work (although I am sure they have "other" jobs... The word "other" is in quotes because some may not refer to what they do as jobs.), the redneck value of my home has plummeted and there is an emotional scar on the city. This is a sad, sad day for Murray and one that I will not soon forget. As I wrote this, another tear just splattered into a million pieces on my livingroom floor.

Ryan Seacrest is a twerp. That is all.

I was just commenting to Cathi that I was disappointed in this year's American Idol. Simon doesn't seem as mean and watching bad people sing is just getting really, really stale. Then... something happened and it all changed. That moron hobbit, Ryan Seacrest, attempted to high five a blind man. (I would have used a stronger word for "moron", but this is a family blog.)

I tried to find a video, but youtube has removed them all. If you missed it, it was a comedy gift from God.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A "how to" guide to organizing your facebook friends.

Now that I am an active member of Facebook (and the LDS church - not necessarily mutually exclusive. I have noticed that a good LDS facebooker will make many references to the church as possible.) I have a plethora of suggestions for Mr. Ralph Facebook to make his site better. I see that you can now divide your friends up into categories of "friends" and "family". I would also suggest the following to categorize facebook friends even more:

"People that just want my friendship to up their total friends count."

"People I have no clue who they are, but I accepted their friendship to up my total friend count."

"People I loath. (But still want as friends to up my friend count)"

"People that loath me. (But want my friendship for previously mentioned friend count.)"

"People that didn't want anything to do with me in High School"

"Mystery meat"

"Friends that it would be awkward to see during the week if I did not accept their friendship."

"Sympathy friends."

"Friends??? When did that happen?"

"Some guy that I talked to for a few minutes in line at the Sportsman's Warehouse"

"Churchy folk that I hope don't read my wall"


"Friends with cats"

"Friends named Bill"

"Friends that like Neil Diamond."

"Friends that hate Neil Diamond. (Not really friends at all.)"

"Does that person still exist? (For older friends.)"

Just a few I came up with - but it's an ongoing project I am working on submitting to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Before I get your angry comments, any person that reads this blog I would put in the category of "actual friends".

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

May I now take this opportunity to apologize to all the folks I may have offended. (You may want to read this as I might be apologizing to YOU!)

I am sure that I have offended many, many people over the course of my lifetime. I feel that it is time to make amends. Sometimes, my words can really get me in a load of trouble. I would like to offer my most sincere apologies for the following offensive words or behavior I may have incurred upon you.

1. To my Mission President: I apologize for telling that "asteroids and hemorrhoids" joke during my stand up performance at our Mission Conference talent show. I completely understand your request to see me in your office the next month. I also feel it merited that I spend the next three months with the biggest tightwad, jerk in the mission as a companion. For those that may not know, the joke goes something like this: (I did not write the joke, just delivered it in a hilarious manner.)

What's the deal with those asteroids and hemorrhoids? Shouldn't it be the other way around? A hemorrhoid is in the hemisphere and boy does my asteroid hurt!

2. Speaking of my mission, to the Sister Missionaries that lived in the basement apartment of the house during the fall: I apologize for collecting bags of leaves with my companion and completely filling the entry way so you were unable to get out. Also, I apologize that you were both too large to get out of the window and that you had to call the police to get you out.

3. To my Mother: I apologize for suggesting in a below post that Cathi and I kissed or "made out" before we were married. Yes, we did in fact swap spit before our vows, but I will say this: I would have never, in a million years, told that story if we didn't in fact get married.

4. To Michael Findlay: I apologize for placing a warm cow pie in your sleeping bag during scout camp back in 1990. I deserved to be punched and pummelled. I also apologize for giggling while being punched repeatedly in the gut. As it turns out, you were a pretty cool guy and I was wrong for purposely filling your sleeping quarters with cow dung.

5. To the large lady in "The Biggest Loser" the other night: During the scene when you told your teammates, "The winner of this challenge is going to to have to haul butt!", I apologize for turning to my wife and saying, "Good thing you have plenty of butt to haul!" That was just wrong.

Actually, I would like to take the time to apologize to EVERY Biggest Loser contestant ever for every snide and mean comment I make during every episode my wife makes me watch.

6. To the jerk that I once placed an order for over the phone while working for Microsoft: I apologize for creating the following order number in the system and then providing to you over the phone in an obnoxious way:

759 F U 6

No wait, you were a huge jerk. I take that apology back.

7. To the very nice, cute girl I dated a few times just before I dated Cathi: I apologize for telling your little sister a dirty joke. I was ecstatic that you had invited me in after a date and I completely blew it by telling your 12 year old sister an R rated joke. Also, I do not blame you for never dating me again. One other thing: I apologize for the awkwardness between us in seminary as we had to sit next to each other the rest of the semester.
**At this time, I would also like to thank Cathi for having a younger brother and not a sister.

8. To Cathi: I apologize for saying that you would never kiss me with a beard, as that is in no way true. I am, however, still waiting for it to happen for a first time.

9. To Greg: I apologize for the time we were kids and my friends and I wrapped you up in Saran Wrap and dropped you off on that old lady's porch. Uncool. Really uncool.

10. To the mom that helps me in my class almost every day: I apologize for suggesting that you are in love with the laminater. I really do appreciate all of the laminating you have done for our classroom in the past couple weeks. Further, I apologize for saying, "I think you really love that laminater, you are spending so much time with it. We'll see how much you really love it if your next kid comes out covered in plastic."

You laughed pretty hard, but it was probably not appropriate.

11. Finally, to Lyndsay: I found it funny that you had to change the name of your dog after you realized it was a female. I apologize for being the first one to comment on your blog that "Just for future reference, male dogs have a penis." I hope I didn't hurt your dog's feelings.

Happy Birthday Lincoln! 7 years old!

Happy birthday to my boy Lincoln. I could not ask for a cooler kid to hang out with and boy do I love him!

Motivational posters, courtesy of Utah football.

I promised a friend of mine that I would post these for he, and the world, to enjoy.

Song of the Day: Royal Bliss - Save Me

In honor of Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker officially declaring this week "Royal Bliss Week" in Salt Lake, I present my pals from the band with "Save Me".  The guy's brothers from the band, that I am actually much better friends with, keep emailing me, asking me to pimp the album.  I thought that since I get literally dozens of readers a day, I would fulfill my responsibility to the band.

Monday, January 12, 2009

More on Lumberjacks: from an "expert" with a beard.

Alright, I know I wrote about this yesterday, but I just can't get it out of my mind: The amount of work that lumberjacks do in a day. What is bizzare is that this will officially mark my third post about the logger, and I still don't feel that I am doing them justice. Let's take for example:

Lumberjacks are usually strong and burly. This is clearly because of the type of work they are doing. Weak lumberjacks do exist when they start lumberjacking, but they soon grow enormous muscles while doing lumberjack work. It is just the natural lumberjack order of things.

Are there women lumberjacks? Why yes, in fact they are commonly referred to as "lumberjills" and do not normally carry a "chip" on their shoulder because they are women. Only 35% are bearded, however.

Lumberjacks normally wear suspenders, flannel shirts and large boots. The suspenders provide a method of holding their pants up, the shirts provide a layer of warmth and comfort and the boots keep the feet dry and clean.

Lumberjacks are often alone in the woods for a very long time. They are required to have a strong knowledge of the lay of the land. They work with nature, not against it; to form circle of woodland life. There is a mutual respect between tree and lumberjack. Lumberjacking is not to be taken lightly.

As you can see, I clearly know a lot about lumberjacking. It takes a full beard for one to fully understand the culture and ways of the logger. Because I have taken their look, I feel I have been adopted into their fold.

Bearded Cheese

As per your request, I give you the bearded Cheeseboy. (5 days worth of growth.)  I have been told various times today by six year olds that I look "weird".  I'm guessing the experiment ends soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another reason why I should have been a lumberjack.

Being a teacher, I work with more than a few women. I don't mind, as I tend to garner much attention, which I enthusiastically encourage and then soak up like a starfish laying in a puddle in the desert. There are, however, times in which being a lone man in a herd of estrogen can be burdensome. I give you the following example from Friday:

The secretaries in the office: Abe! You have to find out for us... Is your student teacher seeing someone?

Abe: [Taken off guard] Uh... um... I think she talked about seeing a guy once and they broke up. I'm not really sure.

Secretaries: Well, we all have single sons and we need to know if she is single or not.

Abe: [Sighs] Okay, I am really awkward about these sort of thing, but I'll try to find out.

[I do find out, and she is in fact unattached.]

Abe: Great news, she's single. She's been seeing a guy for a couple weeks, but she is open for dating.

Secretaries: That's great! Is she an outdoorsy girl? What does she like to do?

Abe: I'll find out.

Ugh!! I should have been a lumberjack. Does crap like this ever happen to lumberjacks? I'm thinking that they mostly focus on chopping wood, although I would think that sawing wood would sometimes come into play. It probably depends on what the situation calls for: if they use an ax or a saw. I would think they use an ax for the smaller, woodchippy stuff and a saw for larger oaks. They probably sometimes even break out those huge, two man saws, but those take a TON of teamwork. I just thought of something brilliant - Lumberjacks have got to have a really good friend that they trust. I'm sure it's in the lumberjack code.

By the way, the sistas in the office also told me that I was. "So young and innocent looking - almost like a missionary." As a result, I have begun sporting a beard, which I shall grow until I feel that I am no longer innocent or missionary looking... or until Cathi refuses to kiss me; whatever comes first. (Most likely the kissing thing.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Star magazine can take their "worst beach bods" and shove it!

Cathi got a free subscription for a couple of months to "Star" magazine - which normally includes 25 pages of photos of Brittney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and then 4 pages of photos of other celebrities. Anyhow, I happened to pick the sleaze rag up out of curiosity to take a glance. Again, purely out of curiosity.

The cover story of this issue amazingly had nothing to do Britt shaving her kid's hair or Lohan's lesbian love triangles. Instead, the focus of the issue was, "Top ten best and worst celebrity beach bods of 2008."

I skimmed through the pages and stopped at the #8 worst beach bod: Ewan McGregor. There I sat, in stunned silence as it hit me: My body shape and size is an exact replica of Ewan's in the photo.

Now, I'm not saying that I have a good body by any means; white skin (Jewish style), hair, slightly indented chest, small, rounded belly. I mean sure, I'm no Matthew McConaughey, but I'm no Kevin James either. In addition, I am positive they caught Ewan on a very bad week.

I am not easily offended, but I was scarred beyond belief by this photo. Granted, at least I don't have the #1 worst beach bod in Hollywood. But to say that my body is worse than Rossanne Barr's or Oprah's is just ridiculous. (Have you heard? -Oprah weighs over 200 lbs now.) What are they doing "rating" bodies anyway? And who does the ratings? I'd like to see their bodies! That's right - I'm calling you out - guys and gals that rate bodies for Star magazine! I think I'll start a new magazine and call it "Top ten worst Star reporter beach bods." Maybe, just maybe, Ewan and I will have a little piece of mind that our bodies are beautiful. In fact, ever since primary, I have been told that my body is like a temple - and not the low class, dated Provo temple either. We're talking the swank, chissled San Diego temple here! So take that, Star magazine!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Congratulations Royal Bliss! (And how they helped me get married.)

My most sincere congratulations go out to Royal Bliss for releasing their first major label album this week. I am pals with a couple guys in the band, Chris & Jake. In fact, Jake played a crucial role in getting Cathi interested in me - basically pleading with her during our first outing that I would be so much fun to go out with. She didn't need Jake to tell her that - she found out for herself that I was the funniest guy on the planet. Too bad my humor seems to have washed away in the seas of marriage and the only time she ever laughs at me anymore is when I say something extraordinarily funny. That's not to say I don't try.

Speaking of these Royal Bliss guys - funny story. When I first started dating Cathi in high school, I would invite her to hang out with me at the Elementary school that I night janitored at. There was a certain Kindergarten room that had a sofa that was perfect for making out. One night, while kissing of the K-couch, we had the distinct impression that we were being watched. Sure enough, we looked up and to our dismaying dismay, there were these afore mentioned Royal Bliss boys and Steve (Thanks Steve!) staring at us through the classroom window. At first we were not sure who it was, however, as they were all in disguise; each one wearing a Halloween mask and a cloak. Glad we could provide a show.

Anyhow, congrats again fellas - I hope they make it huge on the national scene and make loads of cash. I hope a Cheeseboy endorsement helps you sell more records, as I am sure it will. Endorsements from First Grade teachers always hold a lot of weight in the world of Rock & Roll.

P.S. Yes - I do like to name drop famous people I know in my blog. Cindy Crawford, Paige Davis, Dave Bolerjack, Royal Bliss. I am an important, important man.

Song of the Day: The Republic Tigers - The Nerve

I'm not sure where I heard of these guys, but by golly, they have a cool sound.  They almost sound like a new age Oingo Boingo and what a hansom brood they are too.  This song makes me smile like the Joker.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hogle Zoo was and is one strange place!

For some strange reason recently my thoughts have drifted into memories of the Hogle zoo as a kid. Perhaps it is the fresh scent of elephant dung circulating the house lately or the petting zoo I have been planning to put behind the garage? I am not sure, but something has got me thinking about the old times at the zoo. (It was called a zoo, but really it is just a collection of about 100 grungy animals lying around in concrete cages.) Does anyone else remember:

Those wax animals that you could have made for two dollars. I remember begging my mom for one of those things, only to be denied over fifty five times. There was something mystical and mysterious about owning a 4 inch mold of wax shaped like a gorilla. And what was with that machine that made those things? - They were huge! Back in 1987, it took eight tons of stainless steel and a six horsepower motor to construct a miniature piece of wax garbage.

  • Feeding the deer. Back in the day, the deer at Hogle Zoo would walk right up to the fencing and eat all the bread you could feed them. Of course, for a mere 25 cents you could feed the deer some deer pellets, which turned out to be a gigantic rip off because the deer had become accustomed to eating deer bread and not magical pellets. It would be like eating cake every day and suddenly someone throws a handful of carrots in front of you. Either carrots or deer pellets - either way, you're screwed. Was it at the zoo that a deer ate my sister's hair? I remember an animal eating my sister's hair, but I don't remember where.

  • The hippo cage. Now, I am not sure about this, and perhaps it was just a dream, but I swear I remember throwing food into the hippos mouth?? Of course, we all remember the sign in the hippos cage warning of all the crap that had been thrown into the hippo water. I remember as a child staring up at a giant butcher knife displayed in the case. I recall thinking, "What kind of crazy psycho would smuggle in a butcher knife and try to kill the hippo?!" That hippo must have really ticked someone off, what with it's big round teeth and open jaw. And why a butcher's knife? If you really wanted to kill a hippo, wouldn't you want to use a harpoon gun or a pitchfork? Perhaps someone tried, and those items were just too big to put in the casing. And who's to say that all of those things in the display case were not thrown in the hippo water by the same, one person: some deranged, wondering hippo killer; visiting the nation's zoos, searching a way to fulfill his sick, serial killer fantasies.

  • Again, I am not sure if this was a dream or not, but I could swear that they used to give elephant rides. If memory serves me right, I was propped up on the back of an elephant and we walked around in a circle. Like I said, could have been a dream, but perhaps someone has the same memory as me?

  • The petting zoo. I recall wondering around, not really wanting to touch any of the mangy, lice infested fur balls.

  • And how could I forget my experience with the roaming ostrich?

Of course, there are so many more fantastic oddities about that place: the round, stanky snake building, the lion drinking fountain, the nearly empty tiger cages. All in all, it was a pretty good place for a ten year old to spend an afternoon with his mom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why football is such an odd, odd game - from the perspective of a non-football fan.

My Aunt Margaret recently attended a college football game in which she was thoroughly confused.  The following is an account of her experience given in her own words.  I found it extremely humorous.  (My thanks to my Aunt Margaret for sending it to me.)

On David’s birthday last weekend, we went up to Stony Brook to watch his marching band, and to deliver some goodies to him. It was the last football game of the season, against VMI.

We usually go to his performances, but we most often leave at half time. Bob would probably stay, but isn't really all that interested in Stony Brook football, and I can only take it until half time before I'm about to be wheeled out on a stretcher. So, we hadn’t planed on staying until the end of the game.  

Last time I went by myself. It was homecoming at the high school, and Bob had to be there. So, I went alone. It was also Stony Brook homecoming, and they had a security check the likes of which I'd never been through before---not at the Stock Market after 9-11, not on any airplane--even to London or Scotland, not to get into anything in NYC, etc. It was a serious check of every tiny pocket of my purse. The inspector plowed through my book bag, making me empty my water bottle, etc.  

I was afraid that would happen again this time, and I realized that I had all this food for David. So, I took a huge coat, and stuffed an item in every pocket, and tucked one package under my arm, etc. This time Bob was with me, and he stashed a few items in his jacket pocket as well. When we got to the gate, there was no security of any kind, so I realized I'd done it all for nothing, because, apparently, security was “code red” only for Homecoming.

Well, we’d made it in, and were now ready to watch the show. We were taking the food out of our pockets and stuffing it into the bag I’d brought for David, when some woman walked toward us. At first we thought she was going to scold us for bringing in food, but she said, “Would you like a seat upgrade?”  

Bob said, “No thanks!” But before he could get the words out, she said, “There are prizes.” So, of course, hearing the word, “prizes” always makes me do crazy and undeniably idiotic things, so I said, “What do we have to do?” She took our names and told us to come down to the very front by the cheerleaders right after the kickoff.  

We ended up sitting right behind the Stony Brook football team bench, and next to a group of young Pop Warner football kids who were brought in to do a little skirmish after the band at halftime. We got red bags containing Seawolves t-shirts and flags and a program of the game. They announced our names and showed our mugs on the big screen. It was a little humiliating, but at least it let David know we had arrived. Ha!

It also got me right down near the field where I could ask Bob my many football questions. It’s much better for me when Bob is there, because he can tell me what’s going on. I’m always looking around, and don’t even notice the kickoff. I know I told you all a while back that earlier in the year I was nearly in shock when I saw the quarterback standing on the sidelines at kickoff. I had no idea he wasn’t on the field at kickoff. Revelation number one!

Last game, when I was alone, it was freezing, and I’d only worn a thin jacket, so I spent most of the football time in the nice warm bathroom, sitting on the toilet, reading my book. But this time, in my big coat, I was more comfortable, and Bob was watching the game so I could ask him more questions. Here are some of the things I learned: (Feel free to skip this football talk if you want.)

1. The team members were sitting right in front of us. Defensive? Offensive? I don’t know which ones. A small fellow sitting right in front of me was making all the good plays. I asked Bob if he was the quarterback because I know a few things, and one of them is that the quarterback is usually not a hefty guy. But, no, this guy was a runner of some kind. He made a great run of about 80 yards, and I’m not kidding. But someone tossed up a flag, and they had to do it over. Bob said that whoever made that foul would owe the kid a steak dinner, but I said that the kid would never have made that long run if the first guy hadn’t made the foul. The runner must have had a special place on the bench, because every time he came back to the bench, he always sat in the same spot. Do you think they had special places, or was that a coincidence? I also noticed there was one player walking around wearing two different colored shoes. Bob said he was the kicker and he had a special shoe. But, don’t you think they could get two special shoes that matched. And why wasn’t he sitting down like the other players were? Do you think he was just nervous, pacing around like that?

2. Then I looked out between the bench and the field. Three guys were throwing a ball back and forth. One would throw it. The other would hand it to a third guy, and that fellow would throw it back to the first one. The second guy never caught it. Always his partner would catch it. I thought that was a little weird, and I asked Bob about it. He told me that it was the quarterback. He said the quarterback didn’t want to risk getting his finger jammed. That was sort of hilarious to me. Isn’t that sort of like a woman who’s just had her fingernails done? I couldn’t believe it. These are the guys who are supposed to be so macho! I was halfway expecting someone to prance in with a litter for him to lie on, and some feather fans and people feeding him grapes.

3. Shortly after that I noticed a guy standing behind all the other guys in the formation—at the time they start by pushing the ball under one guy’s legs to another guy behind him. This fellow ran along the back and then shifted from foot to foot like he needed to go to the bathroom very badly. I didn’t pay much attention the first time, but it kept happening. After about 3 times, I thought, “He should tell the coach to send in a substitute so he can go to the bathroom.” But Bob said that one player is allowed to be in motion, but he has to keep in motion until the ball is “snapped.” Who makes up these rules? Why can only one guy be in motion? And, why don’t they just “snap” that ball a little sooner so he doesn’t look so jittery?

4. Then I saw a little net off to the side of the field. Some fellow was kicking a ball into it. Bob said he was practicing. My question is, “Why did they let him come to the game if he hadn’t practiced enough? If one of my piano students wasn’t prepared, I would tell her to wait until the next recital. I wouldn’t put an extra piano in the corner of the stage, and have her practice while the recital was going on. I didn’t get this.

5. Then there was a player talking to someone through his head set. Bob said it was the second quarterback listening to headphones from the assistant offensive back coordinator in the press box. Then the player would whisper the information to the real quarterback or the first quarterback. My question is, “Why doesn’t the first quarterback listen to the instructions himself? What if the second quarterback didn’t hear properly or, like in that gossip game, he mumbled the instructions and the message became convoluted?” I think they are taking a great risk here, that the second quarterback might whisper the wrong message. Especially if the second quarterback wanted to sabotage the first one.

6. I’m still in awe that there are so many players, and that they only have to play half the time, and every few minutes they stop the clock so that they can catch their breath. And there are so many specialists—like one who plays for only about 3 minutes in a game when he makes a kick. If he kicks the ball properly, he’s a hero. Pretty hilarious.

Well, since we left at half time, those are all the questions I had. I’m sure I’d have had more if I’d stayed a bit longer. I didn’t get much reading done either because I thought it would be rather gauche to be sitting right on the front row, reading a book, especially sitting next to all those eager little kids who were trying to grow up to be one of those great players.

So that’s my football story for the day. I think Stony Brook won the game. Bob came home and checked on line.

I have to say, though, that at a football game, I feel as if I might have been dropped from a distant star onto a foreign planet. I just don’t understand anything about it—the appeal, the excitement, the rules, anything!

But, then, I’m sure, if anyone had looked in my bag to see what book I’d planned on reading, they would have wondered about me as well. The title was: A Year in the Life of a Turtle—with Drawings by the Author.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why the cows in the Isle of Man are ruining the world.

I have completed my patriotic duty of giving blood today. I enjoy giving blood for many reasons: all the people telling me how great a person I am, the free Orange-Pineapple juice and Fig Newtons, all the personal questions about my sex life, the anti-Nazi approved colorful armband. It's almost exactly like being the biggest bully in the prison lunch line.

Interestingly enough, the guy that took my blood pressure and pulse asked me if I was a long distance runner. I told him that I indeed enjoyed a good run, and he informed me that he can usually tell because runners have a pulse and blood pressure similar to mine. This made me overwhelmingly proud and a tad cocky. He wasn't too interested when I asked him if he wanted to see my abs, but I showed him anyway. I am boasting so I digress...

During my bi-yearly giving of life to the lifeless, I was taken aback by a single item on the questionnaire form. The form listed a plethora of foreign nations that may have contaminated your blood with it's legions of bacteria and revolting viruses. I was surprised to see "The Isle of Man" on the list.

Now, the only "isle" that I have visited lately is the "Tom Sawyer's Isle" in Disneyland. Just to be sure, I double checked to make sure it wasn't on the list and of course, it wasn't. However, I was slightly concerned because during my recent visit there, while crossing the barrel bridge, my hand swiped through a foreign, sticky substance. Which makes me wonder: should I still have given blood? I would hate to give some poor, unsuspecting soul in the ER with "Tom Sawyer's Disease" because I wanted a free bag of cookies and an apple juice.

For those that may not know, "Tom Sawyer's Disease" consists of frothing at the mouth and a sudden urge to raft down a river.

I became curious as to why a recent visit to the "Isle of Man" would prevent one from giving blood and thus, I began to research the situation in depth. As it turns out, the Isle of Man has recently had quite an ugly breakout of "Mad Cow's Disease", which is strange given that this is the Isle of Man we are talking about, not the Isle of Cow. What is even more strange is that there are only 80,000 people on the isle and the cow population is estimated to be around 1,000. So essentially, the cows are ruining it for everyone, including the potential blood givers in Murray, Utah. Stupid cows make me want to eat twice as much hamburger - just not hamburger from the Isle of Man, of course.
I probably should have put my shirt back on while I was giving blood, but I was just feeling so good about myself.