Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Open Letter

Dear Representative/Senator/Vice President/President,

We recently went through a nasty campaign season and the outcome has left everything the same as it was before the election from a standpoint of which party controls which branches of government. This has been interpreted several ways. However, to me there is only one thing left to say: "Work Together".

I understand that many of you do not see eye-to-eye on all the issues that face our great nation. I understand there are many differences on what the right course is. However, neither party has all the answers. Neither party is always right and neither party is always wrong. There are good ideas from both sides. It's time to recognize those ideas and find ways to get them implemented. The posturing and drawing lines in the sand is to stop. Our country is one of (if not the) greatest in the world because of our ability to solve problems and work together. Recently though the spirit of cooperation and solving of problems has been put on the back burner in order to score political points.

So here's the deal. If you want my continued support (read vote), it's time to work together, find the best ideas, implement them and move this country out of gridlock. You are all capable of doing this. If you are not capable, then it's time to move on from politics. I for one am tired of the excuses, tired of being lied to, and tired of the finger pointing. If you truly care about the people you represent, you will find ways to work together and solve the problems we face as a nation. That's why you were elected. That's why we put our trust in you. Please work to keep that trust.

If you cannot find a way to work together, know that you will NOT get my vote in the next election. Not only that, I will work to ensure that others understand your unwillingness to work together and hope to convince them that you are not worthy of their vote either.

Frustrated Voter

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Family Vacation

This year we decided to take a longer family vacation. For three weeks we were away. Now you may be thinking that this was an exercise in insanity given that we took our five children (11, 9, 8, 5 & 4) back East. We visited many places and ran around with friends and family.

New York Part I

The first part of our trip took us back to Wales, NY (just outside East Aurora). This is where I grew up and where my parents live. We spent 5 days there hanging out with family, fishing in the pond, going to Lake Erie and riding the Sarasota (I know it's a golf cart).

After the time spent with family we took a couple of days to visit Niagara Falls, Palmyra, and Fayette NY. We met up with our good friends Jared and Michelle, who came up from Virginia.

You may have noticed the two handsome cutouts. They are "Flat Stanley's" of our Orthodontists. Their office was having a competition and we had to take them to these places.

Hershey PA

Next on our trip was a stop in Hershey, PA. This was roughly the halfway point between Palmyra, NY and Lexington, VA where our friends live. Of course we had to go to Hershey park and eat chocolate!

Of course no trip to Pennsylvania would be complete without a visit to Amish country.

Lexington, VA

We left PA and headed to our friends home in Lexington, VA. Here we got to mow the lawn, take a tour of Virginia Military Institute, go to a lake and relax with our friends.

We had a great time with our friends, but soon it was on to another destination.

Washington DC

We left our friends in Lexington to spend a couple of days in our nation's capitol. We visited the Air and Space Museum, the National Zoo, Ford's Theater, the Museum of Natural History, the Lincoln Memorial, the memorial to the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Washington DC Temple.

New York Part II

We left DC and drove the 7+ hours back to my parents house. 7+ hours you say? Yes, because there are really no major highways between the two places. We did take a side trip on the way back as we passed Gettysburg. We had to stop. Levi is really big into the Civil War and so we took an auto tour of the battlefield. None of us realized how big the site is. We were amazed at all the divisions that fought in this turning point battle.

We arrived about 10PM at my parents house and spent 3 days relaxing and enjoying Grandpa and Grandma's house. We even got to see a summer thunderstorm which made Cheryl and I very happy. We then boarded a plane and flew the five hours back to AZ. Hopefully our children enjoyed this time and will have many memories to draw from.

What can we do for an encore you ask? Well the day after we got home was our church camp out. So yes, we slept one night in our own beds and then went up into the wilderness to sleep in a tent. Are we crazy? Yes, yes we are.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lord Stanley Goes Hollywood

The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs concluded last night with the LA Kings beating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in game six. The Kings won the series 4-2; the only series where they lost more than one game in these playoffs. The Kings only lost 4 games total in the playoffs (3 at home). They defeated the top three seeds in the Western Conference and were the best team in hockey this post season.

That said, you also need breaks to go your way and this post season the Kings got breaks when they needed them. Whether it was killing of a 5 on 3 power play, or a missed call (and there were several of those), things broke the Kings way. I'm not saying that the breaks gave them the cup. I truly believe they were the best team in hockey. However, they really didn't face adversity in these playoffs and that also helped them.

Yes, I'm a little disgruntled because of my support for the Phoenix Coyotes who play in the same division as the Kings and were eliminated by them in the Western Conference finals. There were definitely some times in that series where the breaks seemed to go all in favor of LA. But that is life. Things don't always go the way you want and in the end the better team won the series.

 So, congratulations LA! You're team beat the best teams in the West and delivered in the finals. Celebrate this victory, it's a great thing for your franchise. I hope that you will share this with your team legends (especially Marcel Dionne who was one of my favorite players). By the way, next year you won't get the chance to win the cup again. You see Captain Coyote (Shane Doan) and crew are going to take you out in both the regular season and, if you're lucky enough, in the playoffs. Just saying.

Monday, April 23, 2012


So the NHL playoffs are in full swing. For me, this is a great time of year, especially since it's the third straight year that the home team, the Phoenix Coyotes, have made the postseason.

I do have one problem though. A certain set of bandwagoners who pretty much ignored the Coyotes all season. This set comprises the local sportscasters here in Phoenix. These are the guys who lead with meaningful NFL draft stories in January while the Coyotes are fighting for a playoff birth. These are the guys who give the score in their segment while showing highlights of how the Suns got blown out by the Clippers. These are the guys who think that just because the seats aren't filled they shouldn't cover the 'Yotes. But if it's the DBacks then it's just fine.

The problem comes in that now that they are in the Playoffs and on the verge of winning their first round series that all of a sudden the Coyotes are the most important piece of sports news. One of the stations who are guilty of the aforementioned non-coverage actually sent their sports crew to Chicago to cover games 3 and 4. Talk about jumping on the bandwagon.

As a loyal fan who watched the season from Game 1 through now I just have one word for this set of bandwagoners - GET OFF! You didn't care about them when they were in the regular season. You didn't really care when they pretty much were the best team in Hockey during the month of February. You didn't really care that they won the Pacific division. You only care now because it gives you a positive sports story in a town where only one team has been consistently making the playoffs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Trust and Boundaries

We had an interesting weekend. Our oldest, Levi (who is high functioning autistic), has been playing a video game at a friends house and really wanted it. The game is rated 'M' and that gave us pause. We really don't want games with that rating in the house.

We discussed our concerns with Levi. He was explaining that the game wasn't that bad. So we went online and read reviews and opinions. A lot of the opinions expressed that the game should be rated 'T' instead of 'M'. We talked with the father of the friend to get his take. Finally, we decided to check the game out ourselves and see what it was about. Game Stop is good for this. They have a 7 day return policy on Previously Owned games so it gave us a chance to look at the game and try it out. So we picked the game up and had Levi show us what it was all about.

After watching the game we decided that it was inappropriate for our house. This is something that is personal to us. It is something we are not comfortable with. Now we had to explain to Levi the reasons why we felt the game was inappropriate. It took several "sessions" along with a promise to work with Levi to find appropriate games that can be a part of our house. This morning it finally clicked (or at least seemed to) with Levi. We did some searching and have found a game that could be as fun and that can be played in our home. We will be taking back the 'M' game and getting the other game.

The results are pending. I have a good feeling that the new game will keep Levi happy. I also think that Levi has learned that we will work with him to ensure that video games we get are "fun" but also appropriate for our household. It will always be a work in progress, but I have great hopes that this weekend is a spring board for other conversations that will be had as we get older. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roll Tide. . . Whatever!

Alabama won last night's "BCS National Championship" game 21 - 0 over #1 ranked LSU. Shall we look at why Alabama was in the National Championship game?

  • Alabama won their division in the SEC. . . NO
  • Alabama won the SEC Conference Championship. . . NO
  • Alabama played a schedule where they beat other conference champions. . . NO
  • Alabama played a team that could have played for the championship except Alabama beat them. . .NO

Only in College football can this happen. Who did Alabama beat to earn the right to play for the national championship? Let's take a look at their schedule:

  • Kent State - Home Win 41 - 7
  • #23 Penn State - Road Win 27 - 11
  • North Texas - Home Win 41 - 0
  • #14 Arkansas - Home Win 38 - 14
  • #12 Florida - Road Win 38 - 10
  • Vanderbilt - Home Win 34 - 0
  • Ole Miss - Road Win 52 - 7
  • Tennessee - Home Win 37 - 6
  • LSU - Home Loss 9 - 6 OT
  • Mississippi State - Road Win 24 - 7
  • Georgia Southern - Home Win 45 - 21
  • #24 Auburn Road Win 42 - 14

So let's break it down:

  1. Played 1 team in the FCS which are not eligible to count towards a bowl game
  2. Winning percentage of the teams played - 60.1% (.601)
  3. 5 of the teams played had losing records
  4. Played 4 ranked teams, only one of which was ranked in the top 10 (1 - 1 record against that team - LSU)

So tell me again why they were ranked #2? Oh yeah, a bunch of coaches were polled and some geeks (which I am one of) rated them based on some mythical formulas.

Don't get me wrong. Alabama played a dominant game. They had 43 days to prepare for it after all. But still, one wonders if the opinions of coaches and the points accumulated via various formulas didn't somehow favor them. What would have happened had they been forced to play their way in? Would they have made it? Possibly.

So today Roll Tide, you won a game that you were placed in instead of playing against the best teams who won their conferences. You are the BCS National Champions. Yeah, WHATEVER!