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The true meaning of life


I stayed up way too late last night reading all the back and forth on the Proposition 8 battles. It amazes me. Many are kicking against the pricks. Anyway, while in this search I ran across many who were inquiring about the Church's* view on media. I came across this item the Brethren approved release of in the Newsroom area of LDS.org. I will offer no additional comments, just thought this explanation was interesting and not one I had necessarily heard before. It was in specific relation to the release of Big Love in 2006. For the full transcript, go here.


Concern over the moral standards of television entertainment
Despite its popularity with some, much of today’s television entertainment shows an unhealthy preoccupation with sex, coarse humor and foul language. Big Love, like so much other television programming, is essentially lazy and indulgent entertainment that does nothing for our society and will never nourish great minds. Parents who are casual about their viewing habits ought not to be surprised if teaching moral choices and civic values to their children becomes harder as a result.For that reason and others, Church leaders have consistently cautioned against such entertainment, joining with other religious, education and government leaders in inviting individuals and families to follow a higher road of decency, self-discipline and integrity.
*A future blog post will be dedicated to my definition of the term "church"--I know, you all can't wait!

HSM3

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Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie's Photo Shoot

Apparently Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie aren't the only ones making waves with a digitial camera. Another cover shot of Hollywood's most famous family is hitting the stands. W magazine's November issue features Gina Arkell feeding one of the kids birthday cake, while dad Ben Arkell took the photo.The 13-picture photo spread, taken by Arkell, features the Arkell-Lombardi clan's candid shots plus more in a series of tasteful shots.The shots were taken in mid-August at their home at Salt Lake City.

Gina Lombardi Arkell reveals that she has no plans of raising her jet-setting kids in just one spot saying, "If you tell them we're getting on a plane tomorrow, they're all excited to pack their bags, and if you say we're not coming back for months, they won't bat an eye." She also says that although the whole family's favorite place is the bedroom she shares with Ben Arkell, the kids were told to knock before entering because "Mommy and Daddy need some space." Please see the gallery below.




The most controversial of all the photos, mom feeding the baby cake
Gina puckering up-is Ben jealous?


Gina at dinner that was prepared by their in-house chef.

In the bedroom--the family's favorite spot.
Enjoying some Italian cuisine.
Gina on the couples million-dollar balcony

In the limo on the way to the Oscars

Preparing lunch on the chef's day off.


Sporting the $800 designer sun glasses

Gina in their indoor beach



Indoor beach part II
Gina using the in-house out-house
Asked why the family decided to release the revealing family photos, Arkell said "It's hard to turn down 2 million dollars. Basically any time we are running up against a bit of a crunch, we just wag photos in front of the media and wait for the highest bidder. You know, my 401(k) dropped by 15%, and the little one's are going to need braces...it was a financial decision".
By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer 29 minutes ago

Larry King Interview Part II

Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to our second segment of the CNN/Larry King Live mini-series "Interview with Bland America". To be honest America, we were flooded with positive feedback from our first episode. We received such rave reviews we have decided to do it again. We are welcoming back for a second time Ben Arkell to the program. Welcome Ben.

Ben: Thanks for having me on again. This last week has been great. I feel like a rock star.

Larry: Really? What's the best perk of being instantly famous?

Ben: I'd have to say all the rumors in the tabloids. I've apparently been seen shopping on Rodeo Drive with Paris Hilton, and my wife is hiding an alien baby in the basement. That's pretty wild.

Larry: It get's old my friend.....like me, it get's real old. Well, we had a fascinating discussion last time about some interesting things in your life. I hope you have lots more to reveal.

Ben: As long as you keep paying me, I'll keep talking.

Larry: Great. We did some research and were able to get in contact with one of your old seminary teachers. He mentioned you were quite the headache. He said something about hijacked scriptures and rat poisoning. Would you care to fill us in?

Ben: Well, I attended a 6:00am bible study class all through high school. I was quite a hard kid to deal with. One day some buddies and I decided we would hide all of the student's scriptures. We thought it would be cool to put them in the heater vents.

Larry: Talk about a fire hazard!

Ben: Exactly. That's what I thought. So instead we decided to hide them in the closet, but that had me worried to.

Larry: Why?

Ben: Well, there were rats. I was afraid they would feast on the word if you know what I mean.

Larry: I don't.

Ben: I didn't want the rats to go to town on the books, cause they will eat anything. So we put a table cloth on top of the books and then I sprinkled d-con over the sheet. A little preventative maintenance.

Larry: And why, again, were you doing this?

Ben: So the rats wouldn't eat the Bible.

Larry: No-why were you hiding the scriptures?

Ben: We were trying to have fun. Looking back, if I was that teacher I would have body-slammed my student. It was a realy dumb thing to do. The worst part was that the class had an allergic reaction to the poison and they had itchy eyes, they were blowing their noses nonstop, they were sneezing....it was bad. I felt guilty the whole time.

Larry: You felt guilt? Really? Because word has it you sent a ransom letter to the teacher.

Ben: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

Larry: What did you request in this ransom letter?

Ben: We cut out random things from some magazine. I think one of our demands was "pizza at midnight". Other than that I can't recall.

Larry: Fascinating. Truly fascinating. And this was in a bible study class?

Ben: Yes.

Larry: So were the bibles ever returned.

Ben: Yeah, we gave them back the next week with no word of who did it. I guess this is the first time I am revealing it to the world. I could name the other criminals but I will let them reveal themselves via a comment on the blog if they so desire.

Larry: Well enough about the Bible. We also discovered you were a pretty good athlete, yet you never played on any team. Is that true? And if it is, why so?

Ben: Well in 9th grade I decided to try out for the football team but I never made it onto the field.

Larry: Oh, an injury! What happened?

Ben: Well no, I uh, I couldn't get my pads on so I ditched all the gear and took off.

Larry: Did anyone see you go?

Ben: Yeah, the equipment manager was there and I think he saw me take off, but I didn't care.

Larry: So you couldn't get the pads on? How hard is it?

Ben: As you can see in my picture here Larry, the shoulder pads just didn't feel comfortable.

Larry: And basketball, is it true you showed up to a tryout, walked in the gym, turned around and left?

Ben: Can't deny that either. I regret that.


Larry: You should my friend, you should.

Ben: Well, I've done a lot worse. Like buy my wife a grater for her birthday.

Larry: You didn't.

Ben: I did.

Larry: And you're alive to tell about! For that Larry King Live and CNN thank you. Well Ben, thank you again for the wonderful time we've had tonight. And to you America, we once again say good night. We hope you've enjoyed our 2nd segment on "The Interview with Bland America". We have secured Ben for at least one more segment--which I can assure you will be the most revealing and shocking interview you have ever seen. Let me give you a sneak peek into next week's segment: From your brief encounters with Ben on this program, do you think he is the type that would defecate on a senior citizen? We'll find out the details to this, and a few mores stories next time. Until then, good night America.

The Grandfather He Will Never Be

The other day I got excited to call and talk to my Dad. I then realized he wouldn't be able to talk, even if I called--because he’s gone. He’s been gone for eight years now. Every now and then I forget. I'm sad for my kids, because they're missing out on a lot of love from grandpa. I'm sad for myself because I would love to see them all wrestle together. I'm sad for my father because of the grandpa he'll never be to my kids.

My Dad was a police officer for 32 years. His bulging forearms were the size of my thighs. His biceps were not very defined, they were just blocks of muscle. My sister and I would often try to pull him down as he would kneel on the floor and just laugh at us until his face turned red. All our efforts were useless. He couldn't be moved. He had strong, compact hands that could crack walnuts on Thanksgiving like no other. Like most men, he didn't wear his emotions on his sleeve. I only recall seeing him cry a few times—at his mother’s funeral, at his son’s funeral, and in church on occasion when we would sing “I Need Thee Every Hour”.

I paint this picture of my dad, with only a few strokes, because I want you to understand one characteristic of him. He was tough as nail. He was tough because he had to be. He was a police officer and a father of eight children for heaven's sake. But the last time I saw him he looked weak. Leukemia had taken over. Hands once thick and strong were now thin and fragile. Arms once popping with powerful muscles now consisted of sagging skin and visible outlines of bone. This once intimidating officer of the law now could barely get out of his chair.

One memory I have of my father will forever be etched in the archives of my mind. He was sitting in his nice comfortable chair as leukemia was beginning to win the fight—eyes closed, arms resting on the arms of the chair, head back—and he was singing as his head rocked slowly from side to side. Not only did he sing, he felt something-- understood what the music meant--perhaps for the first time. He was singing and humming along with Erroll Gardner, his favorite Jazz pianist. As I watched my father in confused awe, I saw tears stroll down his face. He looked pathetically scared for a man who had faced fear his whole life on the police force. I think I realized then he was coming to terms with his imminent death.

I had never seen my Dad sit down and listen to music, there was always too much going on. He worked two jobs most of his adult life and had to support eight children and all that comes with that. I didn't know he had interest in music, other than the occasional blasting of Neil Diamond on cross country road trips. His life didn't allow him the luxury of listening to music. He never had the chance to sit down, relax, and sing along.

When life was fading away, he wanted to experience it. When his body was succumbing to illness, he wanted to feel. When his voice was about to become silent, he wanted to sing. There was something about that moment that was so innocent, so heartfelt. Seeing your powerful hero become something broken and weak is a very humbling thing.

With that in mind, while the day is here and you have your voice—turn up the music, sit back and smile, and for all those who didn't have the time to do it as much as they wanted to in life, please, oh please sing along!

The Adventures of Food Boy

Check out this clip. Some friends from my ward growing up produced and directed a movie called "The Adventures of Food Boy" Visit here to see the website. It has won multiple awards at different film festivals around the country, such as "Best Feature Film" and "Best Family Film"--which is very impressive considering how many films are out there. It stars Lucas Grabeel from the High School Musical movies. Please visit their website and check it out. I encourage you to support this family friendly movie which has received amazing reviews.

The DVD for The Adventures of Food Boy is now available for purchase at certain retailers and on the movie's official website.CLICK HERE to buy it today and be one of the first to see the movie. I already bought mine!

Adventures of the Arkman Clan

The release of the much anticipated Arkman Clan Comic Series is finally here. Buckle up, it's going to be quite an adventure. Arkman Clan follows a family with super powers and shows us that even small tasks sometimes require super-human powers

Episode 1: "How it all began".




Age 6

Age 4

Age 20 months



PS has the power to walk on water, float in the air, lift any object





Spidey leaves his mark wherever he goes. He has lightning fast hands that allow him to get anything he wants.



Kam-Kam is able to see the true reflection of one's character. She cannot be tricked.


Arkman has the power to create super human children. And that's about it.

Coming in Episode 2- The Lost & Found Cousin

Larry King Interviews Ben Arkell-Part One

Larry King: Good Evening America. Tonight CNN and Larry King Live are stepping foot into a world of discovery, literally doing something never done before. We believe in bringing the news to you, the hard working, blue collar, every day Americans. I have had the opportunity of interviewing thousands of actors, politicians, athletes--amazing people who have made amazing contributions to our society and world. And you know what, I am bored with that. So CNN and Larry King Live have decided to interview everyday Americans who have no fame, no fortune, and in many instances, like tonight's program, have made no contribution to the world. We bring you "The Interview with Bland America".

Tonight's guest in Ben Arkell. Ben is a Payroll Manager for a small firm in Utah. Welcome Ben!

Ben: Thanks for having me Larry, again, this is amazing.

Larry: So Ben, tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What was life like for you growing up?
Ben: Well, I was born and raised in Hingham, MA--a town of about 20,000. My father and grandfather were both on the police force. I liked playing basketball. I was a ball hog and was nicknamed 'mosquito' because I would never let up on defense. I hated school, my GPA in High School was 2.813. I add the 3 because it makes me look smarter than if I said 2.81.
Larry: No it doesn't.
Ben: Well, I feel smarter. Anyway, hated school, never did homework, never read a whole book. Looking back, I wish I had.
Larry: Wasn't your wife a 4.0 student, and valedictorian of Jordan High School? Any jealousy there?
Ben: Yes she was a 4.0 student. Valedictorian no, I think she was first runner up. She was offered a full ride scholarship to UVU. Jealous? No--there's book smart and life smart.
Larry: And which are you?
Ben: Still trying to figure that one out.
Larry: Well, moving on.....is it true you were locked in the bathroom in junior high?
Ben: Yeah, that was a life changing experience. The janitor opened the door and yelled "Anybody in here?". I was in the middle of pushing so I couldn't respond. Then I heard the door lock.
Larry: Fascinating. Is there more to the story.
Ben: Yes, would you like me to finish?
Larry: No. Let's talk a little bit about your modeling career. My notes say you are the worlds first mirrored auto-modeler. Explain this to us. Ben: It's as if I were to write my life story. It would be an autobiography. I am doing that with pictures. I think it really brings out who you are if you're the one taking the shots. I know my strengths, and I know how to get the camera to find that perfect shot. All my shots are done in the mirror as well. There is something about mirrors that is very revealing. It's like instantaneous development of my film. I know what I'm getting before I snap one pic.
Larry: I see this becoming something very big. How are your projects coming.
Ben: So far, this picture you put up is the only one I've taken, but I am getting a lot of requests for more shots. People are really catching on.
Larry: Talk to us about your recent visit to Panamá.
Ben: I served a two year mission for the LDS (Mormon) Church. A new temple was being dedicated there and I have not been back since 2000. Carol Mikita was asked to accept an assignment down there and she had no way to get there. I took her and my wife down on my private jet. It was a good time.

Larry: On to the next question, why is it you have made no contribution to the world and there are so many others who have left there mark?

Ben: I honestly think it's because I'm skinny.

Larry: So if you ate more, you would have made something of yourself? Maybe been a doctor, lawyer, gone to graduate school.

Ben: I think my diet has a lot to do with that. I skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important part of your day. I don't have important parts of my day. My days aren't important. That's why I don't contribute.

Larry: Great! Sounds like you have that all figured out. Well, this will just about wrap up Part One of our series. In closing, we would like to throw out some names, current events, news issues and would like to get the opinion of a regular American who has no influence on anyone. Just tell us the first thing that comes to your mind. You up for that?

Ben: Go ahead.

Larry: Sarah Palin

Ben: Better looking than Biden.

Larry: $700 Million bailout

Ben: Who got arrested?

Larry: No, the governments bad debt bailout of the banking industry.

Ben: Oh, Gordon B. Hinckley called it a long time ago.

Larry: Obama vs. McCain

Ben: I know as much about politics as Homer Simpson knows about parenting.

Larry: War in Iraq

Ben: I can see both sides. I just wish everyone in the world were a beauty queen. That's about the only way we'll have world peace.

Larry: Well that's all the time we have tonight. Ben, thanks for joining us this evening. We will be inviting Ben back next month for some more in depth questions into the life of a nobody.

And thank you America. I hope this has been a good experience for all of us. Remember, if you ever get discouraged and think that you are not making a difference in the world, lift your head up and realize this--you're not the only one.