Monday, August 31, 2009

So I know the question that is on everyone's mind.

I know what you are all dying to know: How is the potty training going?


Calder. He is one unique kid, that is for sure.

He will pee, if we make him go. If I ask him if he needs to go, he always says, "Not right now, later." If we let him do this too many times, he pees his pants. If we forget to make him go, he will not tell us he needs to go and he will pee his pants.

Today, he stood outside our sliding glass door smiling. I asked what he needed through the glass while I sat lazily on the couch. (Getting up would have involved moving.) He just stood and smiled. He then proceeded to pee his pants while I watched. He was still smiling.

Pooping has become an awful trial. Calder knows that he will get in trouble if he actually poops his pants. He therefore hold it in for days at a time. Once the bowels have backlogged and he can hold it in no longer, he lets loose like the horse in front of my horse the last time I went horseback riding. Cathi is never impressed. No... Cathi is usually the opposite of impressed.

One of my least favorite things in life is cleaning poop out of underwear. I mean, it may not be in my top 5 worst things in life, but it is up there.

There are some days that Calder actually does poop in the potty, which is a wonderful accomplishment for that day. Calder, knowing he has become the hit of the potty party then tells everyone, and I mean everyone, how many poops he pooped. "I pooped on the potty today...3!!"

So, you were wondering how the potty training is going?

Uh... yeah. Ask again in five years.

Song of the Day: Immaculate Machine - C'mon Sea Legs

For today's song of the day, I give you Immaculate Machine, a Canadian indie pop band. A pretty decent band that sound a tad like the New Pornographers. A solid tune that reminds me of all the times I have been overly nervous in my life. This video is from their SXSW performance.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lavar Burton just shed a tear, but you don't have to take my word for it.

Reading Rainbow is dead to me. Actually, it is dead to everyone. Lavar Burton has packed up his earring and left the building. Canceled.

I remember when Reading Rainbow first went on the air. It was such a novel concept: You can read books... and do it while you watch TV. It was like combining something I loved with something I tolerated. In fact, it was a little bit like going to the football game, but having to do the wave.

Back in the day, Reading Rainbow was the Oprah's book club for kids. Each show highlighted three books that were recently published and after the show aired, the books immediately made the best seller list.

Undoubtedly, Reading Rainbow will be best remembered for the glowy, flowy theme song.

Butterfly in the sky. I can go twice as high.
Take a look. It's in a book.
It's Reading Rainbow.

I CAN DO ANYTHING!... (etc, etc, etc)

After listening to that song every day for 180 days in 4th grade, I felt like I COULD do anything. And then, Lavar Burton would show up and read a book and "anything" became sitting at my desk and hoping the recess bell would ring.

So R.I.P. Reading Rainbow. Go - take your place on a throne in PBS heaven, which looks amazingly similar to 'Mr. Roger's Land of Make Believe'. While you are there, say hi to that weird show that my dad used to watch about the traveling vet in England. Perhaps you can swing by that bearded guy's pad that paints the happy little clouds?

And of course, a trip to PBS heaven would not be complete without visiting that wacky 80's aerobic show. You know the one - it came on before any Saturday morning cartoon and had three podiums, one for the three different skill levels. I always wanted to get to the high level, but I just couldn't kick my leg up that high. Even as a kid, I wasn't what you would call "bendy". I also had a bit of a crush on the girl on the medium platform with the long legs and the adorable leg warmers. She was something special... something real special.

If you go, just be sure to check your pulse after each workout.

**Update - Thanks to Lori, I now know that show was called "Hooked on Aerobics". I had totally forgotten about the mustached man on the low platform. While researching this further, I learned that the show was actually made and produced at BYU and soon became a worldwide phenomenon. Also, as it is a BYU production, this is how Max Hall and Bronco Mendenhall stay in shape during the off season.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How I spent the first day of first grade.

Remember when you were in elementary school and some mysterious woman would come pull the really smart kids out of your class for an hour a day? Remember watching their giddy faces as they rushed to the door; meanwhile you sat at your desk and completed some remedial task like a spelling test or a page 378 in your workbook? Remember when they would come back with huge smiles on their faces, like they had been watersliding while eating cotton candy for an hour? Remember how it felt to be an average kid - never getting to go to resource or the secret society of smart kids, reduced to a life of monotony and frivolous busy work? Well, the average kid is getting his revenge as he is now teaching the smart kids... all day long.

Ha ha ha (Imagine that laughter in my snide, evil tone, while I am tilting my head back and holding my belly)

My wife was in "ELP" (She just gave me the code name to her secret brainiac elementary school sect) and she has no sympathy for me. I'm too "average" to care.

I have to say that I was blown away on the first day of school today. It was an incredible day. An incredibly fun day.

I have 17 kids in my class. 17!!! If that is not miraculous enough, all of them read at least at a fourth (spelled correctly this time, Ms. Correct the Gifted Class Teacher) grade level. If that is not astonishingly astounding enough, they all - or almost all - behaved like little robots, programed to be genius and adorable. Honestly, it was like teaching a classroom full of Vikki the Robots, except none of them could dunk a basketball. (At least that I saw, but it is still early in the year) Lincoln would fit in very well with this group.

I began my instruction at the same level that I ended with my class from last year. It took me 2 minutes to determine that this level was entirely too low. We were reading as a whole class and the kids were all reading faster than I could point. I tried to do a bit of math. Most were clearly beyond even the second grade problems I was throwing at them.

- Sigh -

Challenging these kids is going to be a challenge. A challenge most teachers would die for. I shouldn't say that, there are some very old first grade teachers out there.

I've never been so excited as a teacher! I'm only starting to grasp where I can take these kids. I can teach things that would never be possible in a regular first grade. It's going to be a superb year.

If I could only figure out how to program these kids. I've seen every episode of "Small Wonder", but I am fairly certain none of them have control panels in their backs. Of course, I am just "average".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is anyone out there good with a needle? (no thread)

"If you think temporary tattoos are okay, perhaps I can interest you in some temporary eternal damnation?" - Stephen Colbert

I have a secret, but please don't tell anyone. I've always wanted to get a tattoo. If you would like, I could come over and we can pull your jaw off the floor.

Nothing fancy like a butterfly or a rainbow, or a butterfly floating over a rainbow, or a butterfly shaped rainbow, or a rainbow shaped butterfly, or a butterfly spitting on a rainbow. (Although that last one sounds at least a little intriguing. If a butterfly spits on a rainbow and no one is there to hear it, is it still adorable?) Rather, I want something cutting edge, something that says, "I am so much cooler than my choirboy face and haircut make me out to be." Maybe a rooster with a mohawk or a picture of one of the American Gladiators; preferably, an American Gladiator with tons of tattoos. I would love to ask for a tattoo on my tattoo. Also, I prefer a male American Gladiator, but that is neither here or there as most of the time I can't tell the difference. (I think that is why they had Hulk Hogan host that show. He is the only celebrity that had taken enough steroids to tell the difference)

I've considered tattooing "Cathi" on my forearm, but I am afraid with all the arm hair, it would not be visible. Instead, I may weave "Cathi" into my arm hair.

I am not quite sure where I want to place my tattoo. I've considered the lower back, but that is so cliche. (I shouldn't say this, but the real reason is the hair thing again) Also, I'm not sure about this, but I think that sometime in the last ten years, getting a tattoo on your lower back has become primarily a female thing. How and why did this heteromorphic phenomenon take place? A man's lower back is the perfect palette for the tattoo artist to splurge and create. The perfect lower back tattoo would actually be a tattoo of a fanny pack.

But, I am no longer considering the lower back. I have contemplated a finger on my leg, a leg on my finger, an elbow on my knee and a nose on my thigh. I like to confuse people that struggle recognizing body parts. I've pondered inking a five dollar bill on my buttocks. I'd love to make Abe Lincoln wink while I do my daily palates in my backyard.

Alas, it will never happen. My dream... well not dream really. My aspiration... no, not aspiration either. My slight inclination to explore the possibility of the art of tattooism will never, ever be fulfilled. There are two needling reasons for this:
1. My wife likes things natural and that includes her husband's hair, butt cheeks and especially skin. Defiling my skin would be like committing marital suicide. (My butt cheek implant idea was also nixed by me lovely lady, mostly because they seemed like a want and not a need for one living on a teacher's salary)
2. I am under the impression that God will not be pleased and I am not one to try and tick God off. He may send me to sacrifice my first born - or more likely - my brother Isaac. I will also end up having to change my name to Abraham and nobody wants that. No, I think I should leave God out of it.

A unicorn! That's it! A designer, graceful unicorn, squalling up the back of my lower leg. It's perfect for so many reasons: It's not at all corny or fancy. It pays tribute to my seven years as a Uintah Unicorn. It's mythical and could kick the crap out of a dragon, or Mayor McCheese, or Mayor McCheese riding a dragon, or Mayor McCheese riding a dragon under a rainbow.

Can they tattoo the color sparkles and glitter?

Song of the Day: YACHT - See A Penny Pick It Up

Alright, I must admit that today's song choice has actually warn on me a little bit. It's very catchy and upbeat, but it is one of those songs that will stay in your head and give you brain itch for weeks at a time.

The video is entertaining and proves that "less is more" can often mean in videos. YACHT is actually, Jona Bechtolt, an electronic musician from from Portland. Enjoy "See A Penny"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I teach First Grade.

D day. I guess I shouldn't refer to it like that - it infers that something disastrous is going to happen tomorrow, when in fact, I'm expecting (or hoping for) giant, first grade ultra-smiles. I'm often asked why I teach first grade; most people are flabbergasted that I subject myself to such torture. The truth is, my ideal grade to teach is actually second grade - "the golden grade". I'm getting a little closer this year as I will be teaching much of the second grade curriculum to first graders. So technically, it counts, but it really doesn't count.

The reason I teach first grade is actually very complex. But, here it is... in a nutshell:

Kindergartners - Slobber, snot, slobber, snot. "Can you tie my shoes?", slobber, slobber, snot.
Second Graders - "I'm getting baptized! Can you come?" (12 + times/year)
Third Graders - Scraggly, saber toothed mouths.
Fourth Graders - Girls get snootier, boys get angrier, teeth get bracier.
Fifth Grade - Puberty + new stench = awkward conversations with parents.
Sixth Graders - Puberty + maturation program + sixth-grade-boy sense of humor = no thanks.
Seventh Graders - Have you been in a Junior High lately? It smells like the bottom of my dirty laundry mixed with the Laser Tag bathroom.
Eighth Graders - See above (+ even more sweat and less showering)
Ninth Graders - Boy/girl crazy
Tenth Graders - I think I would only be qualified enough to teach Driver's Ed and I like to live.
Eleventh Graders - At this point, many of the students are likely much smarter than I.
Twelfth Graders - Now this is a grade I could actually teach, but not a single Utah High School offers a course in "Sitcoms from the 80's".

And that's why I teach first grade.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Someone called me "yellow" today and I wasn't even scared

It turns out I am yellow to the core. There is no doubt or surprise, I'm a yellow and the next color isn't even close.

I had no idea what this all meant until yesterday. My principal gave us all a personality test so he could learn more about us all. (Although I'm positive that being the only carryover from his last school, he wouldn't already have definitely pegged me as a yellow. That's right, you heard me right, "he wouldn't have definitely already"! It makes total sense to me.)

I still wasn't quite sure what this whole "yellow" thing meant for me, so I took a similar test online and this was the result:

Yellows (Motive: Fun)

Yellows are motivated by Fun. They are inviting and embrace life as a party that they're hosting. They love playful interaction and can be extremely sociable. They are highly persuasive and seek instant gratification. Yellows need to be adored and praised. While yellows are carefree, they are sensitive and highly alert to others' agendas to control them. Yellows typically carry within themselves the gift of a good heart.

Yep, I'm a yellow. The next closest color was blue and it wasn't even in the same hemisphere. The wacky thing is: I don't even like yellow. It's fairly ugly and generally abrasive. The only people that drive yellow cars are those that drive yellow Xterass and Hummers; I don't have to tell you what kind of people drive yellow Xteras and Hummers! (Hopefully people that don't read my blog) The only college team that I can think of with yellow as a school color is Wyoming - and their colors are yellow and poop brown. Going to a Wyoming football game is a little like watching a banana fall into the bottom of an outhouse. - Ugh -

Another oddity: I am a closet yellow. You see, I am in no way a natural blond. While participating in this activity, most of the teachers were fairly surprised that I was the highest yellow in the room; I had barely said a word so far. I guess they have no idea what's in store.

It takes me awhile to open up. Occasionally I can jump into a new situation and be entertaining, but I am usually withdrawn until I get a feel for people.

I am not sure if I should be proud to be a yellow. I guess that as a yellow, it is my duty to be proud of it. It reminds me a bit of when I was in Pennsylvania on the mission. Each week we would watch a kennel full of labs for a guy. One day, he received a new chocolate lab from a kennel that bred primarily Australian Sheep dogs. The new lab knew that he was a lab, but acted as if he were an Australian Sheep dog. Once he warmed up too the other labs, he came out of his shell and acted labishly lab. It was a beautiful thing.

Actually, I have no idea how the above story relates in any way, shape or form - except that the lab in the story was a yellow lab.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Life and Times of the Cheeseboy Scouter. Chapter 2: A Scout is an Eagle (At least a good scout is)

I have not put "Eagle Scout" on my resume for ten plus years now. I figure, what's the point? For one: nobody cares (or should care) what I did in the summers when I was twelve and thirteen; that should have no influence on whether or not I can perform a job. For deuce: placing the title "Eagle Scout" on my resume would either backfire and reek of desperation - or - the potential employer will see me for what I truly am - a huge, scouty-scout nerdboy. I know if I were interviewing a jocular Joe and he put an emphasis on how he earned his Eagle Scout award twenty five years ago, I would simply dismiss him as a loser and a twerp.

Of course, while I was earning the hallowed Eagle, I was constantly reminded that there would be two advantages that would benefit me for a lifetime from the award: I would be able to put "Eagle Scout" on my resume and I would be able to get my driver's license.

Ah, the dreaded and famed "No driver's license until after your Court of Honor" parental threat. I firmly believe that this is only a Utah/Mormon tradition, but I am not sure how it ever started. Did Brigham Young tell his boys, "Lads, one must know the Scout Law and pin many pins on your mother(s) before you will be allowed to hitch up the buggy."?

I am positive that my parents were not the first ones to throw out such an idle threat. I had friends and relatives that were also operating under similar persuasions from their folks. Fortunately, I was able to earn my Eagle at age 13, and was spared the heartache and pressure of having to push through it at age 15. I do however, often wonder what life would be like if I had only managed to earn my Life Scout badge. It would present quite an interesting challenge as Cathi would have to drive me to work and pick me up. She would not be happy about this.

At the age of twelve, I was under the absurd impression that I would never touch a steering wheel or get a high paying job if I did not obtain the honored and cherished Eagle award. Such was my indoctrination; I am still surprised when I meet highly successful men that tell me that they had dropped out of scouts. I'm even more confounded when I see them drive away in their Cadillac convertible. They must have really permissive parents! They should totally be busted for D.U.I.O.N.E. (Driving Under Influence Of No Eagle)

I don't blame my parents for their Law of the Eagle parental rule. All three of my brothers also obtained their rank of Eagle (although I doubt that any of them were motivated by the threat of being undriver-licensed) and we may have all learned a thing or two in the process. Nevertheless, I doubt that I will enforce the same rule on my boys. Instead, I may withhold their Driver's License if they do anything wrong... ever.

I am not even sure I know where my Eagle Scout award is anymore. I do, however, know where my resume and Driver's License are and neither lists "Eagle Scout" on them anymore. That reminds me, the DMV (at least the Utah DMV) should implement a box on the Driver's License right under the "Donor" box entitled "Eagle Scout". That way, if you get pulled over for speeding, the cop will know you are a good person, and/or honest, and/or a complete dork, and/or did a lot of camping, knot tying and basket weaving in 7th and 8th grade. All of which will come in handy when attempting to get out of a ticket. Unless, of course, the cop only ever made it to a "Star" scout.

**Also, if you marked "Eagle Scout" but not the "Donor" box, the cop would clearly know you were lying. No way an Eagle award winner would ever NOT be a donor!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I have many irrational fears, but only one involves getting beheaded.

I just finished reading What Are You Afraid Of?, a book about teenagers with strange and - what the author claimed as - "strange" phobias. The book was clearly written for teenagers and came off a bit too preachy and heavy handed for my taste. It was almost like the author(s) were saying, "Look at this wacko that is scared of getting fat. That could be YOU, young lady if you don't stop exercising so much!"

Anyhow, while reading this atrocity, I was reminded of all of my neurotic, perplexing phobias. I thought of many (including my hypochondriac insanity and my unnerving and prejudice fear of midgets), however, I have chosen to write about just one; the one that may actually kill me.

Above our bed there is a ceiling fan. We hate each other like Tom and Jerry, which is strange because I essentially gave birth to the wretched thing. I picked it out of a Walmart lineup like it was the cutest in a line of ugly orphans. I hired the guy to come hook it up. I personally watched the guy stand on my bed and screw it into the ceiling. The ceiling fan is alive because of me! And yet it hates me. Perhaps it has a ceiling fan Daddy complex?

It started with a jerk - more of a shake or a shimmy, but that $25 piece of crap started moving on me. It startled me the first time it happened. It wasn't much, but it scared me enough to give me nightmares that night.

In my dream, the light bulb of the ceiling fan becomes a sharp, jagged mouth. It began laughing at me, a demented precursor to what would happen next. The ceiling fan then began to shake loose, it's arms becoming short, stubby human arms. It finally freed itself, flung through the air and decapitated me with one slice. As my head fell to the floor, I could see my limp body lying above me while the ceiling fan continued to laugh and then look for my wife.

That was 2006. From that night on, I have been downright petrified of that slimy fan. Some nights I just lie on my back and curse at the thing. I know that it is just waiting to fall, terrorizing and humiliating me until I weep like a willow or some other crying topiary.

My fear is confounded by one truth: if that thing ever falls, it won't be on my head. I have done some measurements and it is much more likely to land in my lap, folding me over in excruciating pain and limiting my ability to reproduce forever. I have spent many wakeful nights, tossing and turning as the fan seems to get louder and louder, taunting me until finally I move to the couch.

I hate the blasted thing. The entire saga has given me one more life lesson: Always spend more than twenty five bucks on a ceiling fan.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am getting SOOOO OLD! (But I still kick butt at football)

I would have been okay if we would have made teams based on length of hair, like someone had suggested. I would have simply pulled up my shirt, proudly displayed my 8 inch chest hair, proclaimed myself the winner and we would have been done with it. Buy NOOOO... someone had to go and say, "Everyone line up - oldest to youngest."

Besides being the oldest child in my family, I don't believe I have ever been the oldest at anything in my life. I suppose that once at the age of eleven, I was the oldest kid in my swim class - but that was only because it was the last class available and it also didn't hurt that the teacher was a seventeen year old goddess by the name of Sarah.

(Actually, I do not remember what her actual name was, only that she looked like a young Jennifer Connelly. Her name may actually have been Sarah though. I was really into listening to Starship alone in my room at the time - and there were definitely storms operating in this girl's eyes.)

So, there I was, standing in left field, involved in a pickup game of football between men and youth - apparently the oldest man on the planet. I looked around. "I'm 33", I thought. Certainly, with all these guys here with clearly shorter chest hair, there must be SOMEONE older than 33.

And then it dawned on me: I was perhaps the only person out there that had even heard the "Sarah" song. Further, I was probably the only chum on the playing surface that had even considered building a city on rock and roll. Seriously, had any of these freckle-faced innocents even thought about getting out of my dreams and into my car? (Okay, I am not sure that reference even makes sense because: 1. I am not sure that is even a Starship song - and - 2. Their not in my dreams and why would I want any of them in my car? I drive a Hyundai Elantra... A Hyundai Elantra! I wouldn't want to get it all sweaty.)

I'm still trying to get over the shock of being "the oldest". Sure, I have begun to notice signs of my immanent aging (death). For example, every time I step on a toy, my first instinct is to light it on fire and throw it across the room while screaming obscenities at it. Lately, I have also been catching myself saying things like "young man". "Young man, will you please bring me my seltzer to settle my stomach?" Happens all the time. Finally, I got up to go to the bathroom three times last night! It was weird because the only thing I had to drink was all that seltzer that nice young man had brought me.

I saw the other day that Brendan Frasier had just turned 41. Keanu Reeves is almost 46. Yes, they are awful actors, but they are also older than me and I find the fact that they are both older and awful oddly comforting. Tiger Woods is two months older than me and whenever he calls, he asks that I don't peak before he does.

I guess I can only expect more and more of being the elderly man on duty. In my years I have gained wisdom - double the wisdom than most wise people half my age. Thus, I have four times the amount of wisdom as a wise person that is seventeen. I have ten times the wisdom of a stupid seventeen year old. (I just did the math).

Nothings gonna stop me now

Therefore, I am old, wise and still play football like a pro. In fact, here is some footage of our game the other day. (I am the handsome guy. For some reason, some camera guys from Wrangler showed up to watch me play)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No you may not Calder!

We were driving home from St. George today when, out of nowhere, we had the following conversation with our three-year-old, Calder. (FYI - We normally never have these types of conversations... ever!)

Calder: Mom... can we cut off my penis today?

Me: OW! Calder, that would hurt so bad!

Calder: No, it wouldn't!



Lincoln: Yeah Calder, that would really hurt!

[About 20 seconds pass. The only sound is Lincoln giggling uncontrollably and Cathi and I holding it in. Finally, Calder breaks the silence]

Calder: So, can we do it today then mom?

Cathi: NO!

Calder: Why mom?

Cathi: How would you go pee pee Calder?

Calder: Magic.

He is so weird.

I swear, that is exactly how the conversation went. Neither Cathi or I am too concerned. Calder is about as boy as it gets - he loves fighting and getting dirty and motorcycles and sports. Plus,. if you know Calder, you know he says stuff just to get attention or to be funny. Apparently it worked because Lincoln could not stop laughing for the next 20 minutes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Life and Times of the Cheeseboy Scouter. Chapter 1: A Scout is... a Dork (generally speaking)

This is the first in a series on scouting thoughts and memories. Unless of course, this post reeks to high heaven – in which case, I promise to make this a singular post and allow those in high heaven enjoy the rancid odor.

I became an Eagle Scout at age 14 or 13, but I can’t say that I am particularly proud of this fact. Sure, I’ll admit I loved the fringe aspects of scouting; the goofing around with my pals, the late night Capture the Flag tournaments, the trips to Lake Powell - but mostly I liked the goofing around with my pals. But I sincerely do not believe that the actual scouting: the bird watching, the basket weaving and the boondoggle, were anything more than hoops I had to jump through to hang out with my friends. (As a matter of fact, there may have been a “hoop jumping” merit badge, but I undoubtedly went for the easier option: loop skipping)

It may seem as though I have a love/hate relationship with scouting – which is entirely true. I love everything about it; except for the fact that it is dorky. It may be the dorkiest thing on the face of the planet.

Undoubtedly, there are many men out there that are unabashedly offended at my assertion that scouting is dorky. To you men I say: pull the handkerchief from over your eyes! (The handkerchief with the pristine scout symbol on it that you keep securely folded away on the top shelf of your closet when it is not over your eyes) Look, scouting is luxuriously dorky, it’s movingly dorky, it’s over the top, colossal dorky. Don’t believe me? I have proof! Allow me to run down a few facts:

Scouts are required to wear a uniform that includes knee high socks, a slide belt, a goofy hat and of course the geek robes of all geek robes: the neckerchief (with accompanying hand painted slide… 75 cents at the trading post). All of the clothing is green.

Scouts do campfire cheers that would make Screetch squirm on his log benches they put around campfires.

A true scout’s favorite pastime is holding a stick on the fire and watching it burn until he swings it in the air and his leader yells at him. He then puts a new stick in the fire and the entire charade begins again.

Scouts spend an inordinate amount of time learning to tie knots for no good reason at all. I am often asked by the teenaged students I tutor at Sylvan, “When in real life am I ever going to use this?” Clearly, there is no good answer to this type of slimy, teenaged weaseling to get out of work. However, this past week I replied, “Oh yeah, well when I was 14, I had to learn how to do a Fisherman’s Hanging Noose Slip thread and do you think have ever used that stupid knot once since! Well, you’re right – no I haven’t; but I learned it just the same! And I liked it!”

One of my life mottos is: Sometimes the best way to answer an unintelligent question is with an even more unintelligent answer.

ANYWAY, if this was not proof enough that scouting is a dorky venture, let us look at the way they are portrayed in the popular media.

Television has never been kind to scouts. From Adam Sandler’s Canteen Boy to…well Adam Sandler’s Canteen Boy, we scouts have never been placed in a positive light. They are shown as fruity, loopy and a little backward. Assuredly, somebody smooth and sexy like David Hasselhoff or Maury Povich would never be caught dead wearing a sashed uniform on TV.

And let us not (or knot) forget the goofiest portrayal of all of a scouter: the kid on “Up”. Chubby, awkward and sloppy, of course the best and only thing that this kid had going for him is his undying love for his troop. He has all the uncanny, dorky scout characteristics: He is helpful, friendly, obedient, thrifty, hungry, borderline idiotic etc. Clearly, when it comes to popular media, the scouting image has a long way to go. (A step above “slobbering imbecile” would a step in the right direction.)

I know exactly what most of you are thinking: Well… Abe, since when are you above being dorky? You are the king of dorky! To which I would reply: Yes, I know – and I thank you for seeing the true dorkiness that resides inside of me. However, the dorkiness that encompasses scouting is a different kind of dorky, - a special kind of dorky. A dorky that blinds the 45-year-old overweight woman into wearing the way too tight green pants… again. A dorky that makes grown adults gather once a month at church buildings to discuss things like fire starting and pottery.

That being said, I will readily admit (but am not exactly proud) that I am a scouter through and through. I still have the sash, I will still sit in an “Eagle’s Nest” and I was even a Scoutmaster for five years. I will get to that later.

I would love to start my own, rival-scouting program. I’d call it something like “The Lost Boys” or “Goonies” or “The Wild Bunch”. No dorky aspects of scouting would be allowed, just a bunch of fellows causing mischief and telling stupid jokes. As for uniforms – I don’t care what you wear, as long as it does not involve a neckerchief. Of course, holding sticks in the fire is still highly encouraged.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cease to Exist Order - (This Cease to Exist order brought to you by Lowes)

I hereby issue a cease to exist order for the following items:

1. "Cash for Clunkers" commercials. I watched the news tonight and saw no fewer than 12 dealerships offering cash for your clunkers. Now I am no geniac, but I am fairly sure that the cash for clunkers deal is not exclusive to one dealership. In fact , I am pretty sure EVERY dealership is required to give you cash for clunkers. We don't need 1,000 commercials telling us so. However, the Dodge dealerships should actually call the program "Cash for Clunkers for Clunkers".

2. Movies where the entire plot involves a husband and wife fighting for two hours. Okay, I'll admit, I have really only seen one movie like this recently: Revolutionary Road. The wife and I endured two hours of squeeling last night in what turned out to be just an extended, torturous scream session. I expected better; a Leonardo and Kate Winslet reunion seemed like a recipe for success. Alas, there would be no drawing scene, no king of the world, or lost diamonds. However, strangely enough, both movies did involve a sinking ships; Revolutionary Road just took two less hours.

3. Lowes/Home Depot - In the past month and a half I have been to these two shops more than 20 times; sometimes going as much as three times a day. That is an estimate, but it is highly accurate. (Estimation is the one math concept I may have mastered) They don't have to cease to exist forever - I just don't want to enter one again until at least December.

4. Robin Williams rants on talk shows. Now, Robin Williams is a fantastic actor (in 50% of his movies, the other 50% are clearly awful - RV and Patch Adams come to mind), but when I watch him get interviewed, I am either too dumb or slow to follow along or he is talking simple gibberish. I'm going to go ahead and say it's the latter. The funny thing is that the studio audience laughs at his every joke, and I am positive they have no idea what they are even laughing at; only that he is using a silly voice like he did in Aladin.

5. Costco gas. Costco - I like your cheap gas, but what is with all the hassle? First I have to join your secret club and get your secret membership card. I thus have to fork out $40 a year just for the PRIVILEGE to be in your club and buy your gas. Then, only if I am lucky enough to get in your bulky fraternity, I have to use an ATM card or an American Express. Excuse me, but do you think you are the only store on the planet that is too good to take Visa or Mastercard? Get over yourself Costco! I know at of at least 10 gas stations that are just as pretty and I don't even have to wait in line. Sometimes 5 cents per gallon is just not worth it.

Project Bathroom: COMPLETE (almost)

My thanks to my dad, Jerry, Ike, Jordan and Jacob for your help. Oh, also the entire cast of The View for forcing me to get off the couch in the mornings and actually do something.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How am I supposed to write a ovel whe my computer is missig a letter?!

I am movig schools, ad thus, I have bee required to give up my brad ew iBook laptop. Furtuately, my ew school has give me their loaer laptop util they ca get me a icer oe.

There is a sigle problem: this laptop is missig the letter that comes after "m" ad before "o". It's ot that big a deal really. I will just have to make due with what I have - a 1963 Mac with a missig letter.

The crummy thig is that I today I was goig to write about how my avy blue osehair trimmers do such a fie job of removig the hair from my ostrils. Hoestly, I have ever see aythig like it!

I thik that I have actually writte about my love for my osehair trimmers, so evermid.

Heaves to Betsy, why did it have to be missig this letter?! I mea, it is such a popular letter, it is oe of the freebees they give you o Wheel of Fortue. This letter aloe has helped Vaa White shape her beautiful thighs with all the the work it has give her.

I kow, I kow. I should feel fortuate that I eve have a job, let aloe a laptop. (People keep tellig me that I am "fortuate to have a job" ad that I should just accept the fact that I am goig to get paid less ext year. To these folks I would like to sed a special message: "You suck!" Dar right I have a job, ad I should get paid MORE moey for it, ot less! You're lucky I do't kock that oggi right off your eck!")

AYWAY, too bad it could't have bee the semicolo; I have o idea how to use that stupid thig. Maybe this thig: ~ What the heck is that dam thig? Does it somehow deote that the author has writte while ridig a waveruer? What a total waste of space that key is!

I realize, give the state of the ecoomy, I should be coutig my blessigs. Our school district just rose the property tax by 20% to make up the shortfall i the budget. Therefore, I plead with the board - please use just a little of that moey o a ew letter (after m) for me. The rest you ca use to make sure I hav a job ext year... makig what you said I would make whe you hired me.

If you could't tell, I am more tha a little bit bitter.
The ed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just call me "Abe".

One of my favorite former students, a boy I shall call "Dave", emailed me today. I had him in the first grade and he then qualified for ALPS (Accelerated Learning Program) and moved to the school that I am now moving to. (Are you following? Because I am not sure I am following myself. I think that I have myself teaching in Neverland.) I believe he is now going into the fourth grade. Here is his email:

Hi, Mr. Yospe! When I heard you were coming to [my school], I was SO excited!!! :D Funny thing was, the very next day, I wanted to go to school more than ever!!! This last Sunday, at church, I told Mrs. [teacher at my old school that goes to his ward] that you were coming to [new school], and she said she was jealous. If I hear anyone get your name wrong, or prenounces your name wrong, I will tell them how it's said correctly ( because I don't think people are used to those types of hard names).

Great email, right? The funny thing is that he is right on the money (and he probably only has a few dollars in a savings account his grandma set up for him) - You are right, Dave - people are NOT used to those types of hard names!

Yospe is pronounced Yos-pee. I, like my siblings and parents, have been called "YOE-sep-ee", "yosp", "yos-ep" and "YOE-sp".

When coupled with my full first name, Abram, to those that have not met me, I suddenly become a freakish immigrant from Eastern Europe. In fact, when Cathi had Calder, the nurses were taken aback when I finally came in for an appointment. They were flabbergasted that I was an actual normal looking white guy that spoke perfect English. Apparently, having only seen my full name, they had me pegged as either Balki Bartacamous or a bearded, Middle Eastern Jewish man. I wish I could say I was both.

In college Communications 101, we were required to interview and record each other in class. During the next semester, my cousin took Communications 101 and their class used these same tapes for an assignment. The instructor dumped the pile of tapes into the center of the room so as the students could select one to listen to. According to my cousin, nobody wanted to touch mine, because with a name like "Abram Yospe", they assumed that I would be difficult to understand.

Now, I wouldn't say that my English is perfect, but it is the only language I know. (Besides the "language of love", but you will have to take Cathi's word for it.) I learned English from an early age, and despite the fact that my last name is "Yospe" and my great-grandparents were from Russia, I feel confident in my ability to communicate. Sometimes I drool a bit while talking, but that is only because occasionally I am too lazy to actually use my tongue. (Again, except when I speak the "language of love", but only Cathi would know my skill in speaking in tongues.)

You may or may not know, but I do speak the "language of love". I have become well versed in this language. I am basically self taught, but received some minor tutelage from Marvin Gaye and the Fonze. I hate to brag (except about my ability to speak the language of love), but I speak this language like a Jedi Master. However, you really are going to have to take my wife's word for it.

ANYWAY, I guess what I am really trying to say is that I have a bit of a strange name. I am not sure if it fits my strange personality, but I will take it. Just call me Abe... or if we are online, call me "Cheeseboy" to protect my identity.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Potty training 101 (For parents with stubborn kids)

I haven't had this much trouble potty training since I was like eleven.

Calder is three and a half years old. This is the fifth time that we have tried to potty train him. He is a strange, bullheaded boy.

Our Pediatrician informed us at our last visit that the best way to potty train him would be to simply place some underoo underwear on him one morning, show him the toilet and tell him, "okay, here is the potty, you sit on it when you need to go; you are now potty trained."

The doc said that if he pooped his pants, you do not change him; you allow him to walk around in his feces for 10 minutes. When you do finally change him, you must be very discreet and not give the boy any attention at all.

Our Pediatrician was under the assumption that Calder was a "normal" boy.

In our previous attempts, Calder would poop his pants and then walk around the house with it dripping down his legs, as if he was a midget sized, portable chocolate fountain. The poop would not phase him; I believe he saw it as a warm mud bath for his thighs.

Here we were, allowing him to leave a new aged, brown trail of tears across our living room, while we hoped that he would somehow find it uncomfortable. We threw away five pairs of underpants; Mickey Mouse had a brown turban, Spiderman's webs were muddy and Thomas the Train was stuck in the mud.

Calder is a good kid, he really is. However, forcing Calder to do something to do something he does not want to do is a little like asking asking Paula Abdul to say something reasonably sane. He is brutally stubborn - stubborn like a mule in fact (if the mule was an adorable, wacky three year old boy. Or, if the mule wore diapers - mule diapers - and refused to even think about sitting on a toilet. (Mule diapers would have to be pretty large.))

So alas, here we are - fifth time's the charm. It's not like he can't do it. In fact, he probably could have done it at age two. It's almost like... no he is mocking us. He gets a kick out of knowing mommy and daddy are gagging every time he eats corn. He loves the fact that he can pee directly into his shorts and his mom has to clean it up.

I will keep you abreast of the situation.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Independence Day makes $400 million! 1996 must have been a pretty slow year.

How do you find Will Smith in a winter forest?

You look for "Fresh Prince" (Fresh prints)

Love that joke. So does Lincoln - but he has no idea why.

Lincoln and I actually watched Independence Day for his first time a couple days ago. This much hyped and much beloved American movie has become a bit of a classic now; in spite of it being more bravo than brawn. Nevertheless, I had only seen it a single time, for it was released while I was on my mission. Lincoln was thrilled and captivated by the preposterous plot revolving around an alien invasion on the Forth of July. I, on the other hand, was flabbergasted and frustrated by the daffy, overblown acting and the bizarre twists. For example:

1. The aliens are exploderating buildings, cars and such. Thousands of people are scrambling for shelter and safety. Realizing that the potential for mass fatalities, the President of the United States invites everyone to join him in his underground bunker. Just as the aliens are about to overtake the helpless, frantic folks, the humans are ushered to an open hallway and sent to their rescue by a simple operating elevator. Thousands are saved! Thank goodness we humans invented elevators.

2. Will Smith, upon shooting down an alien ship, breaks open the cockpit and proceeds to "punch out" the giant, squid-like creature with one swift fist to the brain. Now, Will Smith is cool; we know that because he has gotten jiggy with it - more than once. And Will Smith is strong; he was in a movie about boxing and we all know that not just anyone can play a boxer; they are complex characters... with muscles. And we all know that later Will Smith would commit suicide via jellyfish (and not in his upcoming cameo in Spongebob Squarepants 2 either). BUT, to punch out a squid-alien with a single punch? That is what I call man-tastic!

3. In his attempt at proving the durability of the alien spacecraft's shield mechanism, Jeff Goldbloom takes a pistol and shoots at a soda can he just placed himself on the craft. The bullet ricochets off the spaceship and into the intrigued audience. Fortunately, nobody is hurt. Which only proves a lifelong theory of mine: aliens hate getting shot at, but boy do they LOVE them some Jeff Goldbloom!

4. The President of the United States volunteers himself to enter a fighter jet and shoot down the aliens. It just so happens that the President is a former pilot and that his skill as commander and chief is not needed at all on the ground. Thankfully, because of the heroics of a seperate drunken imbecile (that also inexplicably flies planes), he survives the air fight and launches missiles without abandon. Totally could happen.

I realize that in a lot of ways that this movie was ahead of it's time. But the writing, the acting, the plot - how was it ever that popular?!

Lincoln loved it - so there must have been an influx of seven year old boys back in 1996.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I have a painful confession ;;;

English was always my favorite subject, but I have a shameful secret. Actually, it is not much of a secret anymore at all. If you are an English major and read my blog, it is probably painfully obvious to you. My secret is that I have absolutely no idea how to use a semicolon properly.

The semicolon is located below the pinkie finger on the keyboard in the primary position. A S D F J K L ;

I learned that in third grade. Because of my semicolon ignorance, my pinkie finger is the least worked of all my digits. If you look at my fingers, each one is a chiseled mass of muscle. My right pinkie, on the other hand (quite literally, on the other hand) looks like a starving Ethiopian with a cleft pallet.

***If you would like to sponsor my right pinkie, you may send $5.00 a month addressed to:

Cheeseboy's Malnourished Pinkie
Right Hand, First Digit
Save The Finger Plaza, UT 90210

FYI, I refuse to ever use smiley faces and cutesy bologna in my writing. This has also severely limited my semicolon use and thus, the use of my right pinkie.

Song of the Day: The Sounds - Living In America

Going with my current trend of female led bands for SOTD, I have decided to go with the Sounds. This song is from their first album and it has a jazzy beat that you can really jive to. The Sounds formed in '99 and are Swedes. Swedes that love to live in America?! Hmm? I think this band is going places.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

DVR has profoundly changed my life.

DVR (TiVo) is the invention of the century. Not a single other apparatus, gizmo or contraption hatched in the last 100 years (what is that, a millennium?) even comes close. Nothing that any inventor has created in my lifetime has personally benefited me and my lifestyle more. DVR is the mother of all other electronic gadgets.

I will admit that before DVR, I was an irritating twit of a remote hog. I was so bad that I was constantly being attacked by a barrage of "Just leave it on one stupid station!". I'd twiddle the remote like I twiddle my thumbs; endlessly racing from one end of the dial to the other, never fully satisfied. My beloved wife, on the other hand, would grind her teeth and swear at me under her breath. The DVR was my vaccine for this ailment.

Before DVR, I would find myself watching the lamest shows on the planet. Not only every show on my planet, but every show on the Animal Planet, the Safari Planet and the planet that remodels itself every hour using nothing more than a carpenter, a designer and magic planet dust.

With my DVR (I shall call her "Bronson" after the late, great Bronson Pinchot of "Perfect Strangers fame) my tendency to waste time on shows such as "Rock of Love" or "Model Training" has disappeared. Bronson simply won't allow it. She snaps and growls at the notion of crappy programming - and believe me, hearing your DVR machine snap and growl can be a very disconcerting; especially if your wife tells you she can't hear it.

By the way, "Model Training" is about folks that have toy train models in their basements and in no way involves Tyra Banks - unless of course, Tyra begins the relaxing and engaging hobby of model training, in which case, she would be a natural celebrity guest.

Finally, thanks to Bronson, mine eyes have seen the glory of significantly less tube time. I find myself watching what I taped and nothing else. I now have much more time for writing, reading and telling my son to stop biting his toenails.

The down side is that there are likely quite a few shows out there that I have no idea even exist. I do not watch commercials, I rarely read about new shows and I never channel surf. For all I know, Win Lose or Draw has returned to prime time, and here I am watching Property Flippers for the 9th time today. ("Property Flippers" is not to be confused with "Properly Flippers" - a documentary series about a group of dolphins that get together for tea and crumpets)

Burt Reynolds always drew the best pictures on that show.

So keep your tomfoolery high tech iPhones and your complex garage door openers. For me and my house - we are DVR people. Thank you for inventing it Al Gore! First the internets (a series of tubes) and then the DVR machine; truly you are this generation's Ben Franklin.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Musically inclined? You'd make a perfect teacher!

Am I musically inclined? Eager ears want to know.

I was asked today by a few of the teachers at my new school if I was "musically inclined". This is a common question teachers ask each other. This is teacher code for "Will you teach our kids to sing and/or play the piano?" Which is actually teacher code for "Will you please, please take my naughty kids off my hands for a half an hour a couple times a week?" Which is actually teacher code for "Oh my gosh, I am so tired. Someone please help me!"

I know this code because it is the first question I ask every new hire.

However, this was the first time that I have ever had this question asked of me.

Musically inclined? Even though I knew the code, it took me a long time to answer this question. It totally took me off guard.

I was at a loss. My principal, knowing my unique and quirky musical qualifications, happened to be there with me. I appealed to him for an answer and he too, was speechless. Let me give you a quick rundown of my musical qualifications:

  • I love to sing, yet I am a very average singer. Average is actually code for AWESOME! Just ask the people that sit in front of me at church. I have personally witnessed the entire pew in front of me turn around at the same time and see where the boisterous, silky, opera toned voice was projecting from. Many folks in church will actually giggle; I can only assume it is because they are amused by exotic sounding Jewish man voices.
  • I can play just about any song on the harmonica. I do not have any idea how I obtained this skill. Unfortunately, I have been hiding it under a bushel basket far too long. My harmonica has literally been hiding under a bushel basket in my backyard for over two years. I put it in the bushel basket because the basket provides an ideal storage location.
  • I play five chords on the guitar that I play over and over and over. I make up stupid songs that six-year-old's enjoy that go along with these five chords.
  • I can do a mean Neil Diamond impersonation, and by mean, I mean I can impersonate Neil in one of his many divorce phases. I also like to wear rhinestones, but rarely do as per Cathi's request.
Clearly, there is some musical inclination hidden deep within my genes (or jeans, depending on where I am keeping my harmonica for the day), but am I "musically inclined"? After a brief and awkward pause, my principal finally answered the question for me...

"Well, he thinks he is!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zoobieville - IN PERIL! (Ice cream related)

I have a few "zoobie" friends, some of which, amazingly enough, I actually am quite fond of. If you are not quite sure what a zoobie is, apparently you are not alone. For years - in fact, before time even began; long before the dinosaur, BYU students and fans have been known as "zoobies". If you are not sure how the word "zoobie" came into existence and have more than a few minutes of free time on your hands, read this article. If your interest level is at a medium, please read the next paragraph. If your level of interest is low, I would invite you to stop reading this blog and go about your business plucking your eyebrows or catching stingrays with your bare hands. However, I appreciate your readership and would hate for you to miss out on this: the opportunity of the lifetime - to learn how to spot and identify a zoobie.

A "zoobie" is a slang term used to describe to the previously mentioned BYU student or fan. The name stems from the fact that BYU is zoo like in nature; or more appropriately, that BYU students act as though they are animals in a zoo. They are forced together (sometimes against their will) to find mates and they then breed as often as possible for the rest of their lives. The "zookeepers" or BYU faculty, keep the peace by providing enormous amounts of ice cream from the BYU creamery to their appease the annoyingly unhostile captives.

Side note: It has also been argued that "zoobie" refers to the fact that BYU students are pent up, kept away from the world like animals; almost as if they live life in a bubble. Of course, we all know that this is not true; BYU students live in Provo, which is more like a giant plastic tube than a bubble.

Thus, I have come to the gist of this rant: this morning while I was perusing the Deseret News (a zoobie publication to be sure), I ran across this doozy of an article. Again, if you are too lazy to actually read an article, allow me to paraphrase. Said article states the unthinkable: the BYU creamery is almost out of ice cream! For my zoob friends that may have missed that, allow me to repeat... BYU is almost out of ice cream! The Happy Valley panic attack of '09 has thus begun.

Now, the BYU creamery serves a single and sacred purpose: to squelch the potential misdeeds and sinery of a giant (giant meaning "of great size" both collectively and individually) student body by using a delicious, sugary, luscious delicacy. Granted, ice cream of the Ben and Jerry's sort is still on tap at the local grocers. However, one must travel off campus; perhaps walking past the Albertsons booze section, perhaps having to stare into the shadow of death itself, before finally making it to the frozen food section. Plus, Ben and Jerry make a variety of coffee flavored creams and we just can't have that.

Will the zoobies survive? Will the BYU campus fall into chaos and perhaps - gasp - make itself more thin? Will BYU students rally to save the creamery and their own morality in the process? Will the plastic tubing that encases Zoobieville explode into a million pieces and float away in a river of melted ice cream tears? Stay tuned...

Or don't - depending on if you have read this far or not. I doubt anyone is still left out there.

- crickets -

*** Cheeseboy health update: I felt okay today, but still managed to throw up once. I may have overdone it by working on the bathroom; bathroom induced vomiting - never a good thing. I did however, check my chest and found a few new hairs sprouting. I gave them some words of encouragement and buttoned up. Later, Cathi spotted a new eyebrow hair so long that it was wagging across my eyeball. (I thought it was an eyelash) She also informed me that it was grey! Am I, at age 33, already growing long, disgusting eyebrows like the old man up the street? Do I have hairs hanging out of my ears like a ragged, sloppy, disregarded Sesame Street puppet?

Fortunately, I know that the long, grey eyebrow strand has only made an appearance as a byproduct of all the manly body hair that has been taking place as of late.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back! But we brought a nasty bug with us.

3:00 in the morning and I awake with a sharpened, twisted pain in the center of my gut. It felt like someone mistook my bellybutton for a pencil sharpener and jabbed me in the gut with a dull pencil. I can't think of a better way to start the day. I should have known as much; Cathi had been down with the stomach flu for almost two days. My immunity had worn thin - thin like the stretched membrane of a newborn calf, or salt water taffy pulled to it's limit. Apparently, my immunity was not immune enough to withstand a puking wife in the same bed. Pretend immunity - you are a cruel and unyielding rascal.

I've heard it said that when you do something manly, "it puts hair on your chest". (I've also heard it said that eating risotto puts hair on your chest. I have never had a bite of risotto and yet I have six inch strands of hair waggling from my torso) It's a five hour drive from Island Park, Idaho to the friendly confines of Murray, Utah. Driving this distance while battling belly-ache-agony was sure to double my chest hair, leaving it a thick, natural forest of wool; a coif to behold.

I am, in fact, too weak to finish the rest of this post. I just didn't want to leave my readers in a lurch. I will try and give an update of my condition on the morrow. Not sure if it is the swine flu... Cathi was better in two days. The boys have not shown any symptoms yet. Until tomorrow, pray for me.