28 February 2008

Bill vs. Will

Medium-length story made short: Bill Walton and Will Ferrell squeezed themselves into short shorts, poofed out their hair, put on awesome headbands, and played HORSE.

Here's the clip.

Weird thing is, Ferrell's shot is pretty nice. Walton's, not really. Bill was a big-time college and NBA player for years before he got hurt and had to retire. Will runs around and acts nuts on camera for a living.

I guess if you're 6'11", you don't have to develop much of a jump shot.

Not that I'd know or anything.

26 February 2008

Yao aot

Life has gotta be tough for Rockets fans. After winning back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995, Houston has not even returned to the Finals, let alone managed to win another championship.

In 2002, they drafted Yao Ming. In 2004, they acquired Tracy McGrady from Orlando. It appeared the Rockets were set to make another run.

But injury after injury after injury has really hobbled the franchise. T-Mac fought back trouble through most of the 2005 season. Yao had surgery to repair an ingrown toenail the same year. The 2006-2007 season not much different, as Tracy missed 11 games and Yao was unable to play in 34.

This season, though, started out differently. Both stars have been healthy, and the team is currently on a 12-game winning streak. Though the West is ridiculously deep, it looked like Houston would be able to compete and make a lot of noise in the playoffs.

Then the news broke that Yao would miss the rest of the season due to a stress fracture in his left foot.


Now Houston goes from West contender to "we hope we make the playoffs." Of course, they did shellack the Arenas-less Wizards tonight, 94-69, so maybe they'll be fine. Maybe McGrady can become a combination of Michael Jordan and LeBron and lead his team the Finals, but I doubt it.

25 February 2008

Story time

Mandi's been trying to rid herself of a nasty cough for the past few days, and it reminds me of a good time from my BYU days.

I was living in Park Plaza in Provo with my sports soul mate, James. I was working forty hours a week and pretty much watching sports the rest of my free time.

Behind the apartment complex was a city park. Students would play football or basketball or whatever back there sometimes, and one afternoon a neighbor stopped by to tell us soccer was going on there in 10 minutes.

I played soccer when I was a kid (along with every other kid from Utah), but stopped competing in organized leagues when I was 12. At that point, I started getting in basketball and only ever played soccer in gym class or whatever.

Anyway, I like soccer, so I decided to go play. I've picked up some bad habits from basketball; I box players away from the ball and probably get a little too physical at times.

At one point I was cruising for a loose ball (is that what it's called in soccer?) and collided, hard, with another player. I took the worst of the collision, and ended up flat on my back, gasping for air, the wind completely knocked out of me.

The next morning I felt like I had some broken ribs on the left side. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to sigh. It really hurt to cough, and sneezing was so bad I'd do the thing where you hold it in and it feels like you'll explode-- but that was preferable to the abuse the explosion took to my ribcage.

I called my mom, and she said even if I did have some broken ribs, there's not much doctors can do. These are the kind of broken bones I experience, I'm not one for casts, apparently... I've busted a couple toes, and there's nothing they can do. Just gotta wait it out.

So I figured I'd be tough and try to not whine as much.

Then the coughing started. Not just the occasional cough after inhaling some water. No, these coughs came every minute on the minute.

I coughed and coughed and coughed. And these weren't little dry coughs that happen up in your throat, either, these were the big hacking coughs that feel like they originate in your liver.

I remind you that coughing was already an unpleasant experience, but this was awful.

After three days of this, I was fed up. I went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with bronchitis and a couple cracked ribs. The bronchitis they could do something about, and I started taking antibiotics three times a day.

The ribs eventually healed on their own.

As my dad would say, the experience was extremely character-building. I recommend it.

23 February 2008


I work for GWAVA Technologies, Inc., and it's a great job. It pays well and I have fantastic insurance through them. My boss is a great guy who has worked with my school schedule for years. I just don't want to do technical support for the rest of my life.

That's why I'm so excited about this internship with the Post-Register. Each summer, the newspaper hires an intern for each department, and I was selected for the Sports version. It's paid, and will run for twelve weeks starting in late May/early June.

I anticipate covering a lot of baseball and... golf? What other summer sports are there?

Anyway, I'm stoked. Updates to follow.

Utah basketball is awesome

I generally don't like to talk about University of Utah sports, even to rag on them, but I can't help myself today.

BYU beat Utah Wednesday, 67-59. That makes it two years in a row that the Cougars have swept the regular-season series with Utah. With football, BYU hasn't lost to the Utes in any major sport since February of 2006.

Anyway, first-year Utah coach Jim Boylen was displeased with a few of the refs' calls, and as pictured above, expressed this displeasure with a variety of faces that remind me of my little brothers when they were three.

Kinda freaky, actually.

Also, Utah lost to New Mexico tonight on a very entertaining sequence of events. Ute guard Tyler Kepkay drove for a layup with Utah down three points and eight seconds left on the clock. A fine strategy; after all, if he makes it, the Utes can foul quickly and hope the Lobos miss a free throw or two.

But Kepkay missed the shot. Uh oh.

The ball fortuitously came off the rim and back ino Tyler's hands. Options? He can dribble back to the 3-point line and huck up a last-second shot to tie. Or he can pass the ball back out for the 3. Or he can call time out and let coach Boylen draw up a last-ditch play to tie.

Instead, he took the ball back to the rim and made a layup as the buzzer sounded.

Final score? UNM 72, Utah 71.

Bad times to be a Ute fan.

It's good to be a Cougar.

Sound the feasting horn!

I like this commercial.

21 February 2008

Why we watch

This article originally ran in the Feb. 20th edition of the Scroll.

Why do we watch sports? It's a question posed by millions of disgruntled girlfriends and wives to their armchair-planted significant others. What makes us sit and watch sweaty guys run around a field or court or track for hours on end?

I'll tell you what it is.

It's the Red Sox coming from down 0-3 in the 2004 ALCS and winning seven straight games to earn their first World Series trophy in 86 years. It's Tracy McGrady scoring 13 points in 39 seconds to beat the Spurs in a regular-season game. It's BYU completing miracle play after miracle play to beat Utah in 2006 and 2007.

And it's the Giants, huge underdogs in the Super Bowl, defeating the previously unbeaten Patriots two weeks ago.

The Patriots had an average winning margin of 19 points per game during the regular season. The Giants started the season 0-2. New England relied on the play of star quarterback Tom Brady and new acquisition Randy Moss, who caught a record-breaking 50 touchdown passes in 2007. New York lost their star running back, Tiki Barber, at the end of the 2006 season.

Yet we tuned in to watch the Super Bowl in near-record numbers. There were enough reasons to think the Giants might be able to pull off the upset that we wanted to see if they could. The Patriots and Giants had played in the last week of the regular season, and New York had given New England all they could handle. The Giants' defensive front four were able to put pressure on Brady, and New York's offense moved the ball well enough to score 35 points.

Plus, the Patriots had been discovered cheating in an early regular-season game. This drew the ire of the American people to the point that some described New England's coaches as “demonic.”

These elements created the perfect “Good vs. Evil, Underdog vs. Superpower” mix that we love. The U.S. hockey team beating the U.S.S.R team in the 1980 Winter Olympics is quite possibly the best sporting moment of our country's history. Why? Because we had a team of college kids, while the Soviet Union's team was stocked with professionals. The little guy beat the clear favorite.

So when New York's David Tyree was able to pin the ball against his helmet for a game-clinching first-down catch on a throw from Eli Manning, it meant something. It meant that the unthinkable had happened. David had gotten the better of Goliath.


And that is what draws us to sports. We watch to be there for the moments when the unthinkable happens. We watch so we can tell our kids about the time we saw the Pistons beat the juggernaut Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals. So we can laugh with our friends when we remember watching the eighth-seeded Warriors route the Dallas Mavericks, four games to two, in the 2007 playoffs. So we can smile when thinking about our little brother's game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock.

And that is why we watch.

NBA thoughts

Wow, it's been too long. Sorry for the break everyone, won't happen again.

In our leading story tonight, the second half of the NBA season promises to be extraordinary.

The Western Conference is just sick. There are 10 great teams vying for eight playoff spots. The Warriors, who would be out of the playoffs if they started today, would be a #3 seed in the East.

Golden State beat Boston tonight. And the Celtics are quite possibly the best team in the East. They're at least one of the two best.

The Phoenix/Lakers game tonight was fantastic. Amare was close to Old Amare... he ended with 37 and 15 and had a few dunks where it seemed he'd blow up everyone under the rim. But Nash wasn't able to hit the big shots while Kobe and Pau were, so the Lakers won the latest game in the Kobe/Shaq feud.

The Knicks are embarrassing. In losing big to the Sixers, they were down by 46 points in the third quarter. I believe part of the Knicks' horrible play is due to karma. They were a major reason the NBA went to grab-and-hold defenses in the late 90's and almost destroyed the league.

Chris Paul went off for 31 points, 11 assists and nine steals tonight. Are you kidding me?

LeBron recorded another triple-double in a win over the Pacers, but I still think he's bolting as soon as his contract is up in 2010.

I love this league. I wish I had more time to watch games, but things are a bit crazy right now, what with two jobs, a full workload at school, and a baby on the way.

Can't wait for the playoffs.

17 February 2008

NBA players are not so good with money

The NBA Players Association reports that 60 percent of NBA players go broke within five years of leaving the league.

That's astounding, yet the cynical part of me is not surprised. The lowest-paid players get hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, the highest tens of millions. They quickly establish an expensive lifestyle, huge houses, multiple cars, parties, gambling, etc.

Saving money is not exactly on the radar.

So once the well dries up, they're finished.

This also underscores the problem with throwing money at social problems like poverty. People can always spend whatever money they have, no matter how much it is. Unless they have the ability to manage it, all the money in the world won't do much.

On a happier note, Dwight Howard is insane. His off-the-backboard-around-the-front dunk was the best dunk I've ever seen. Here's a Youtube video of his performance last night.


16 February 2008

McGrady goes off (in 2004)

This is the single best late-game performance I've ever watched live. Quite possibly the best one ever.

15 February 2008


Disclaimer: I don't have any friends or family members with severe disabilities. I don't have much experience with those who have Down's Syndrome or are paraplegic or blind.

But I think I can appreciate these stories a little bit, nevertheless.

KSL reports a severely disabled boy from Tooele is a musical genius.

You can read the story here.


There's so much about the brain we don't understand.

A thought

Is it sad that I'm ecstatic about the fact that it's 27 degrees and sunny outside?

13 February 2008

The State of the NBA

This article originally ran in the Feb. 12th edition of the Scroll.

It's that time of year again! The Superbowl is over, the World Series was a week ago and still days away from spring training, and the Kentucky Derby isn't until May. It's too darn cold outside to get off the couch and go play in the park, so we might as well plunk ourselves down in front of the television and watch the marvel that is the NBA.

The NBA has its detractors. There are those who point at individuals like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony as being bad examples for our children. There are those who complain that referees give preferential treatment to players who have achieved star status. Still others say the pace of an NBA game is slower than Paris Hilton when confronted with an algebra problem.

To all these criticisms I eloquently answer, “So what?” The NBA is awesome. Where else can you see 6'7” men make a shot 30 feet away from the basket? Where else can you see a 22-year old dunk over three muscle-bound guys with corn rows? Where else can you see 58 free throws taken in less than two hours?

Okay, so ignore that last one. I maintain that this season has been and is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory. The Western conference continues its dominance over the East, as teams like San Antonio, Phoenix, Utah and Dallas are all playing well. But the Celtics' Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have been tearing it up to the tune of 40 wins and only nine losses so far.

And then there are the Western Conference teams that no one expected to do well, Portland and New Orleans, right in the mix for their respective division championships. Shoot, the Hornets have the best record in the West, though there are plenty of teams right on their heels.

The West race is so tight that the top eight teams are all within five games of each other. The Trailblazers would be out of the playoffs if they started today, yet they are only six games behind New Orleans.

The talent in the West is such that Deron Williams isn't on the West's All-Star team with the following stat line: 19 points, 9.7 assists, one steal and three rebounds a game, while shooting 51% from the field and 40% from the 3-point line. As a Jazz fan, the omission bothers me, but I understand that there are players like Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Allen Iverson who are just thaaaat much better.

And in the East, LeBron James has been even more unstoppable than usual lately, while Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Jason Kidd are tearing it up.

So let's enjoy the ride while it lasts. Before you know it, summer will be here and the only sports to enjoy will be bowling and underwater basket-weaving.

Or I guess we could, you know, spend time with our loved ones or something.

It's your call.

12 February 2008

The Writer's Strike is over

Hooray and huzzah! The Writer's Strike is reportedly over as the Writer's Guild of America struck a deal with producers and whoever about DVD and iTunes sales blah blah blah.


Also 30 Rock and some other shows I watch sometimes will be back.

I wonder if LOST will be able to continue showing new episodes every week straight through its planned 16-week run or if they'll have to stop and catch up. Near as I can tell, they got six or eight episodes written before the strike, and they've already shown two, so they've got somewhere between a month and six weeks before they run out. Can they get an episode written and produced in a month? Even if they can do that, can they produce new episodes every week to keep up after that point?

I say no.

So even in this, the fourth season of LOST, where Abrams and whoever promised no breaks in the season, we're going to have a break in the season.



A couple NBA items for this morning:

1. NBA.com has released a "Greatest All-Star Game Plays" in preparation for its All-Star Weekend, which starts Friday. Some pretty fun stuff there.

2. Sports Illustrated has the Jazz at #1 in its Power Rankings.

"As usual, Utah has been tough at home all season (22-3, tied with the Mavs for the NBA's best). Lately, however, they have been winning on the road, pulling out victories in five of their last six contests in enemy arenas."

I couldn't agree more. Even though I somehow have been unable to watch a single game since the trade, the Jazz have been a different team with Korver.

3. Lastly, a 12-year old acquaintance of mine has started a pretty impressive NBA blog. You should check it out.

Spiderman is the lamest superhero ever

Thanks to the Comics Curmudgeon for this one.

Oh, man, no matter how often Spider-Man is felled by getting hit in the back of a head with a lead pipe with absolutely no warning from his spider-sense, it never gets old. Never.

Spidey is flat-out pathetic. As noted, his "spider-sense" doesn't give him any kind of warning that someone's about to thwack him from behind.

That is all.

11 February 2008


My back troubles went away after a couple days. Day 1: frozen vegetables. Day 2: Heating pad (which Mandi was so nice to get for me). Day 3: I'm fine.

Go figure.

Though I know I'll throw it out again if I try to play basketball any time in the next six months. This thought bothers me because

1. I can't play basketball, and I love basketball, but

2. That back pain was not a whole lot of fun.

But it's gone, so these concerns are rapidly fading into the back recesses of mind, where knowledge about fractions and four-square live.

While I woke up this morning without back pain, I discovered I had been hit by a truck. Or anvil. Whatever.

I can always tell when a head cold is coming on; I get a gross post-nasal drip working and my throat starts to scratch up. This happened last night. I took two Mucinex in a preemptive measure against the incoming sickness, but they did nothing.

This morning my throat was so sore I couldn't talk normal and I was aching everywhere.

Thankfully, I have good family to take care of me, and Mandi made me some great homemade chicken noodle soup and my brother Matt brought me a bag of Peanut Butter M&M's.

I have also been liberally drugging myself with cold medicine and Ibuprofen. As my mom says, "Live better chemically."

Hopefully I can beat this thing sometime in the next few weeks. I tend to let cold hang around a lot longer than they should, and the near future is a tad hectic.

09 February 2008

Back trouble is not awesome

So last time I checked, I was 15 and invincible. Sure, I experienced my share of jammed fingers and rolled ankles, but I never hurt myself enough to immobilize me for days on end.

This morning I was playing basketball with my brother and some friends. I pump-faked a defender up and then planned on taking a super-impressive fadeaway jumper over him, but then something in my lower back went POP and WRENCH and SPASM.

I fell over in a heap of sensitive nerve endings and Jell-O.

Not good times.

To make a long story short, I either pulled some back muscles or slipped a disc. I sincerely hope it's the former. I've spent most of the day on the couch (snide remark: how is that different from a normal Saturday?), wearing a heat pad at first and then switching to frozen vegetables. Oh, and lots and lots of drugs.

So hopefully I feel better tomorrow or Monday or sometime.

In the meantime, I can't stand straight and I feel like I'm about 90. No offense to any 90-year olds who read my blog.


08 February 2008

Romney is out

Mitt Romney declared his presidential campaign is now "on hold" in a speech he made yesterday.

Essentially, he's out.

A quick scan of articles about Romney's campaign reveals a list of reasons why McCain has jumped out to a virtually insurmountable lead after Super Tuesday.

Romney didn't relate to the average guy like Bush did.

Romney is a flip-flopper, like Kerry.

Romney is not authentic.

Romney is a Mormon, and that makes people wary of him.

But the reason given that I find most galling is one that Mike Huckabee used in the debates: Romney is more like the boss that fires you than the guy you work with.

Heaven forbid we should elect someone who knows how to manage people. Heaven forbid we elect someone who can make tough decisions for the good of the country. Heaven forbid we elect someone who worked hard enough and smart enough to get out of a cubicle and into a corner office.

There are many who think Romney made this movie because 1.) He saw the writing on the wall; he was not going to win the nomination this year and 2.) He is setting up for 2012.

I can agree with both of these points. Romney himself also stated that if he stayed in the campaign he'd leave a fragmented Republican base to fight against Obama or Hillary in the fall, and that essentially that meant a Democrat win and military defeat in Iraq.

I don't know that either Obama or Hillary have the political guts to pull the troops from Iraq, but I believe they sure want to.

And as much as I dislike McCain, I believe he'd stay in Iraq until things are stable.

It was fun, Mitt. There will be a lot of us waiting for 2011.

06 February 2008


One of the major issues facing America today is immigration. Specifically, illegal immigration. I don't fully understand why our politicians are so afraid of touching this problem, other than they're afraid of losing the vote of those who share the race of most of those who come here illegally.

Here is my stance on this issue:

1. We need to control our borders. Notice I did not say we need to seal our borders. My ancestors are immigrants. Your ancestors are probably immigrants. This country was built on the backs of those who came to America to find a better life. Our greatness can be directly attributed to immigrants.

I do not support closing off immigration entirely, I only believe we should know who is coming to live here. We need to be able to refuse entry to those who are dangerous (terrorists, convicted felons, those with infectious diseases). A nation that cannot control its borders will soon cease to be a nation.

2. This is not about race. If there were millions of Swedes pouring into America illegally every year, I'd have a problem with it, and they're whiter than I am. I'm tired of watching every person who is critical of illegal immigration be painted as a racist.

3. We have laws against illegal immigration. Federal laws. Federal laws which supersede state laws. If Arizona doesn't want to do anything about illegal immigration, they are rebelling against the federal government. Luckily for them, the feds have no interest in stopping illegal immigration either.

If you have a problem with these laws, work to overturn them. If you think they are irrational and outdated, call your congressman and get things moving in the right direction.

If we choose to disregard immigration law, what other laws can we ignore? I'd really like to be able to knock over a 7-11, but there are laws against robbery and stiff penalties enforced for those who break these laws. I realize crossing the Rio Grande to find a job in America is not the moral equivalent to stealing a grandmother's purse, but disregarding existing law is a dangerous thing to do.

4. I understand there are millions of good people in America who have come here illegally. I realize that forcefully removing these people from our country is impossible and possibly immoral. But at the same time, I look at the example of my friend Omar.

Omar's family came to America from Guatemala in 2002. His dad had a good job which he had legally obtained. However, Omar's dad was the only member of the family that was legally able to work. Even though it was hard for Omar's family to all live off of their father's income alone, none of the children illegally obtained jobs to help support the family.

Unfortunately, through some circumstances Omar's family was not happy about, Omar's dad lost his green card and the family consequently lost their right to live in the United States. Instead of staying illegally, they went to Canada and claimed a status that allowed them to stay and petition for re-entry into America.

They were unable to do so, and are now working towards Canadian citizenship. Do they wish they could return to America? Sure, a little. Do they miss the friends they left here? Of course. But they respect the United States enough that they refuse to flaunt its laws for their own benefit.

5. Yes, the economy is dependent on the labor performed by illegal immigrants, but the same labor can be obtained through legal guest-worker programs where we can regulate who participates.

I also refuse to believe that American citizens refuse to do the work illegal immigrants do. Yes, most of this work would be done by younger citizens, and yes, there are plenty of spoiled kids who wouldn't clean a toilet if their life depended on it, but I believe there are plenty of kids who come from solidly-founded homes that would take the jobs in the fields and in fast-food restaurants.

Sadly, I believe the only way the government will do anything about securing our borders is if terrorists make a major attack on a U.S. city and it is discovered that they walked across the border to Mexico or Canada.

It took 9/11 to wake us up to the threat of terrorism; it will take a similar tragedy to wake us up to the threat of open borders.

NBA managers are insane

What on earth is going on? There have been three recent trades in the NBA that make me shake my head.

Two of these brilliant moves were made by Memphis. Essentially, the Grizzlies traded their All-Star forward to the Lakers for Kwame Brown and change (essentially, change). Gasol, while not exactly an MVP-caliber player, has been putting up 20 and 9 a night this season.

THEN Memphis traded Stromile Swift for the Nets' Jason Collins (and change). Now, Jason is the better of the Collins twins, but that's not saying much. Anyone who trades FOR a Collins is insane.

A friend of mine explained that Kwame's $9 million a year (?) contract expires this season, so maybe it's a cap-space-freeing maneuver. But Collins' $6 million a year (????) contract is through 2009, as is Swift's, so I don't know what that move was about.

Besides, freeing cap space is used to sign a star to play with the star you already have. Who does Memphis have now? Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick are their main guys now. Forgive me if I'm not impressed.

If the Grizzlies are making a move to get a major star, LeBron, Melo, Bosh, Wade and Yao are locked up through 2010. Howard is under contract through 2012. Kobe's not going anywhere. Dirk's not moving. The free agent market is not exactly swimming with franchise-type players.

If you can explain Memphis' insanity to me, I'd appreciate it.

Then, as my head is still spinning from these two unfathomable trades, the Suns go nuts. ESPN is reporting that Shaq is in Phoenix today for a physical required in a trade for Shawn Marion.

Reasons why this makes no sense for Phoenix:

1. Cap space. Phoenix has stated their desire to not exceed the salary cap. Uh guys? Shaq's $20 million a year contract through 2010 is not going to help there.

2. Style of play. The Suns brought run-and-gun back to the NBA. The league was suffering through a very physical, defensive style of ball (thanks, Detroit and New York), and ratings were suffering. Then Phoenix came along and started running and shooting quickly and scoring lots of points, and teams followed.

You cannot run with a 34-year old Shaq. As my friend Matt says, 300 lb. bodies are not intended to jump 40 inches in the air on a regular basis.

Scenario: Nash misses a three, the other team gets down and takes a shot before Shaq can get set. O the way back Barbosa jacks up a shot before Shaq can get to halfcourt again. Shaq gets subbed out.

I can see that happening way too often.

The other scenario is the Suns turn into a halfcourt team, slow things down and pander to Shaq's strengths.

Can't see that. It's as if the Suns have decided their style is not enough to win a title. I believe they were one suspension away from beating the Spurs last spring (and were good enough to beat Cleveland).

I'm hoping this rumor is just a rumor... this trade would kill the Suns.

I hope the Jazz front office can hop on the phone and finagle a Harpring for Carter trade or something before the NBA comes back to its senses.

Glenn in Idaho

This article originally ran in the Feb. 5th edition of the Scroll.

I'm a Glenn Beck fan. I've spent time listening to all the conservative radio show hosts: Rush, Hannity, Ingram, Savage, Medved. There are some I like and others I can't stand, but there's something about Beck that make him stand out.

I believe it is his conviction. Whether you think he's right or wrong, Beck believes in every cause he undertakes on his programs. He takes a lot of flack for his stances on illegal immigration, global warming, terrorism and other topics, but he refuses to back down.

He shows that same level of tenacity when it comes to his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even though his faith is sometimes a giant bullseye, as Mormonism can be for high-profile individuals (see Mitt Romney), he often mentions it both on his radio program and television show.

Glenn Beck holds a unique place in the minds of Church members. He's a nationally prominent figure who is also “one of us.” Many people see him in the same light they view Steve Young, or Steve Martin.

And yet, Beck's a convert. He's only been a member for about eight years. He grew up in Seattle and lives in New York, places that are not exactly bastions of the LDS faith. So when he comes to an LDS area like Southeast Idaho, it's an interesting experience.

I attended such an event February 1, at the Civic Center Auditorium in Idaho Falls. Glenn had heard of the Clark family, of Rexburg, who were in severe need of assistance. Even though he is recovering from major surgery and his doctor has ordered him to be on bed rest, he decided to hold a benefit for the Clarks. $100,000 in tickets were sold, and upon hearing about this family in need, prominent businessman Jon Huntsman donated an additional $100,000.

Glenn opened the event by praising Idaho, the same way every rock band does in every city they visit. He mentioned he and his wife are looking for a place to settle down when he is “released from [his] calling,” and Idaho is looking better and better. “You people just get it,” he said. “In a world where so many people don't understand, you do.”

The crowd loved it. Everyone, but especially Church members, like it when someon from the “outside” comes in and tells them how great they are. Initially, I was cynical. “Of course he's going to talk up Spud Country,” I thought. “He's smack dab in the middle of it.”

But as time went on I realized that, like with everything he does, Glenn was being sincere. He really does see something special about Idaho.

He appreciates how guns are seen as tools and not instruments of evil in Idaho.

He likes how kids can go outside and play without the parents also scheduling their funerals.

He envies the way neighbors take care of each other.

Many people who live in Southeast Idaho, especially students, complain about “the bubble.” They speak in annoyed tones about how living here protects us, unnecessarily, from “the real world.”

But do we really need to experience higher crime rates? Do we want to see more babies born to single mothers? Do we want more drug dealers to move in to our neighborhoods?

I say no.

Glenn's message was not about politics. In fact, he only brought Hillary Clinton into the event once in the 90 minutes he spoke.

His focus was on appreciating this freezing, potato-ridden, great place we live.

As Glenn said just before he left, “Don't make it so a stranger has to come in and remind of what you have here.”

I've been planning on bolting from this frozen wasteland as soon as I graduate in December, but honestly, I'm not as eager to go anymore. The grass always looks greener on the other side, but maybe in reality, it isn't.

04 February 2008

Utah likes Obama

Recent polls show Utah Democrats support Obama over Hillary to the tune of 53-29%.

I am not a Democrat, but I also like Obama a lot more than Mrs. Clinton. I have concerns about his voting record (very liberal) and lack of experience in government, but I genuinely believe he's an upstanding individual. Character counts in my book, and I trust he'd at least do what he felt was best for the country if elected. I can't say the same for Clinton.

On a side note, I hope this poll puts to rest some of the "Mormons are racist" rumors that fly around. A true racist would rather cut off their right hand than vote for an African-American.

I hope some day we, as a country, can get past racism in all its forms... like Martin Luther King, Jr., I hope for the day when we are judged not on the color of our skin, but on the content of our character.

02 February 2008

Jazz on fire with Korver

After beating the Wizards 96-87 tonight, the Jazz are now 14-2 with Kyle Korver on the team.

And the weird thing is, Kyle's not even shooting that spectacularly for Utah. Okur has finally decided to start scoring again (he chipped in 27 tonight), Millsap has had some great games lately, and Deron has been playing like an All-star (despite not being selected to the West's squad).

There are a few theories that attempt to explain the Jazz's success. One is that Korver spaces the floor for the offense. Even if he's not exactly on fire (1-5, 0-1, 2-5 from the 3 over the past three games), he's still a threat that opposing defenses have to respect.

Another theory is that the Jazz schedule has been easier lately, which is partially true. Yes, some of their wins have come against the likes of New York and Sacramento, but they beat San Antonio, Phoenix and Orlando in the month of January, as well.

We'll see how long they can keep it up, but as of now they've won seven in a row and are sole owners of the first place spot in the Northwest division, fourth place in the Western Conference.

Go Jazz go.

01 February 2008

Lakers trade for Gasol

Holy smokes, the Lakers essentially sent Kwame Brown to Memphis for Pau Gasol.

Highway robbery! I know there are some draft picks and Javaris Crittenton involved, but come on.

The Lakers starting five: Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Gasol, Bynum (after he comes back from his knee injury).

That's just scary. Sure, Gasol has kind of fallen off statistically this year, but he still goes for 19 and 9 a night. I'd take that any day. And for Kwame? In a heartbeat.

What the heck were you thinking, Memphis? If I were a Grizzly fan I'd be incensed right now.