Monday, January 28, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008)

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008)

We lost a great man last night. And unlike the death I reported on last week, this was not a life cut short. President Hinckley was greatly loved by all of us who shared his faith. I wouldn’t call us his followers, because while he was the leader of the church, he and all of us follow the true leader of our faith, who would be Jesus Christ.
We all knew that the time was drawing near that he would be leaving us. We could see it in his eyes and in his countenance. And while last night was a sad night for all 12 million of us, it was not (as the news folk are fond of saying) tragic. We will continue to move forward, we will endure, the Lord will raise up another president of the church, and he will be just as beloved, and just as much a prophet as President Hinckley was. And so while sad, it was not tragic.

God’s speed Brother Hinckley.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

I have to admit, I am a fan of Heath Ledger… was a fan. This phrase presents a problem, tense wise. If I am/was a fan of an actor who is now dead but who’s work lives on, do I use the present tense or the past?

I remember first seeing him in A Knight’s Tale, probably the strangest sports film ever made. (Am I wrong about it being a sports film? Plot wise, does it vary from The Mighty Ducks or The Bad News Bears in any real way? The answer to that is a big fat no. But it was good!) I loved it and thought that Ledger did a fantastic job. After that I started seeing him everywhere. The Patriot, 10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain, and the up coming Dark Knight, just to name a few.
He was everywhere and he was famous. But from what I understand, he was always uncomfortable and stressed out because of his fame, which made him turn to better living through pharmaceuticals just to sleep. Legal prescriptions… but still... probably lead to his death.
Which made me think. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, why do it at all? If being a big “A-List” movie actor makes you all stressed out and miserable… why keep doing it? Quit and find something else you would like to do. The thing that we all know about Hollywood is that there are hundreds of people waiting in the wings to take your place, and once your place is taken, they, most certainly, will forget about you. If you take off, fire your agent, and stay away for a year, it'll be like:

“Hey, do you remember that Knight movie?”
“The one with Alan Tudyk?”
“Ya... do you remember that guy?”
“Which guy?”
“The one who played William.”
"Whatever... that guy... with the hair."
"Hair? I heard he didn't have a comb on set."
"Comb? Whatever... Who was that guy?"
"What guy?"
"The knight! You know, the kid, the armor, the girl, the... knight!"
“Oh ya that guy."
"Ya... who was he?"
"I hear he’s directing Community Theater in Sydney.”
“Oh, That’s too bad…"
"Uh hu... to bad."
"Do you think Tom Cruise is available?”

There are guys that love what they do, guys like Adam Baldwyn and Kevin Bacon. Those two are, fracking, everywhere. They love to act and it seems that they’ll take any role thrown their way. You never hear about how tortured they are by their fame, or that their family life is hell, or that they're on their 19th marriage. When was the last time you saw one of them on a tabloid? They, it would seem, are like the rest of us slobs, just plugging away, doing the best they can, making movies. And then there are the Heath Ledgers of the world, wanting to be movie actors, but not wanting the fame that comes with it.
I’m not passing judgment… I’m really not. I’m just saying… If you don’t like where you’re at, or what you’re doing… stop, take a step back, reevaluate, and find what makes you happy.
I don’t think that Heath Ledger was happy… and now he’s dead. Life lesson?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol

First… let’s get something perfectly straight here.

I do not watch American Idol!

Except for the first couple of episodes.

Ok… I’m guilty! I like watching beautiful and freaky people alike make fools of themselves in front of one of the largest television audiences in history. It’s true. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, and I watched last night. I watched hearts be broken under the elitist boot of Simon and laughed right along with the rest of America right up until they got to Christina Tolisano. She, who the blogs this morning are calling “The Kooky Star Wars Girl.”
I felt bad for her; I really did because I was looking at a fellow geek. On who was brave enough (or foolish enough) to step out of the convention shadows and onto national television resplendent in her black clothing and the Leah-esk cinnamon rolls at her ears. She didn’t sing very well, better than many but not as well as she thought she did, and so it was an inevitable outcome, three no’s and out she went.
In the hall, she cried, calling herself a dork, and I felt sorry for her… as a fellow dork.
And maybe I shouldn’t have felt sorry for her; there is a certain strength to being a geek, to being an outcast from "Cool" society. Many of us, myself included, hide that part of ourselves so that we’re not looked at as the dork next door.
She put herself out there, opened herself to the jeers and ridicule. There’s a lot of bravery to that and I say, “good for her.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

You’re so Vain… I bet you think this cake is about you…

And... he still married her!
Look at his face... 6 months. I'm betting that in 6 months he's going to find another thing to do with that knife.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I was at my son’s Pack Meeting last night and as with all scouting activities, Cub Scouts included, they began with a flag ceremony, the pledge of allegiance, and an invocation. It was the responsibility of the Wolf Den, of whom my son is a part, to do the flag ceremony and such. There are about 10 boys in the Wolf Den and so they lined up just outside the room and one of them came to the front and asked everyone to stand, then the flags were brought in, my boy was holding the US flag, they posted the flag and we recited the pledge, and were then told that we could sit.
Afterward, my 13-year-old daughter… in 13-year-old girl fashion... leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “They didn’t do it right.”
“What didn’t they do right?” I asked. After all, if done in the proper spirit and with respect, almost anything goes… Right?
So she proceeded to tell me what the Wolf’s did wrong, and I proceeded to tell her that she was looking at the thing all wrong. The fact that an 8-year-old little boy stood up there in front of his den leaders, and all of the parents, and ran the flag ceremony all by himself was the important part of the whole thing. The Cub Master was there to help if he needed him, but he didn’t need him… and as a Scout Master that impressed the heck out of me, because I have teenage scouts who can’t do that. When I explained that to my daughter, she conceded the point that it did not matter a hill of beans that that little Wolf said, “You all can sit down… now,” instead of, “The audience may be seated.”
That, my friends, is the true purpose of scouting. I once heard an AM radio talk show guy say that Scouting was all about boys and patches, and that’s it. (He’s a local guy and generally has his head in a dark, unsanitary place, so I won’t tell you his name.) Personally, I believe him to be 100% wrong on this one. Scouting is not about the patches. The way some troops are run, you’d think that was the case, but it’s not. Take away the patches (please), take away the uniform (pretty please), take away the songs, and the skits, and all the rest, and what do you have? The boys. Our future leaders. Little guys who have the confidence to stand up in front of his parents and other adults and lead them in the Pledge of Allegiance.
That… my friends is Scouting.
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