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Utah Jazz update

My latest article

Click above to see the latest article on TornBySports. If you are a Jazz fan, this will be one for you.

Call Me Maybe Cover

This was pretty entertaining.

BYU- Mormon Good Talks vs Bad Talks

Funny video. Even funnier because I know the good and the bad speaker. One was in my ward 20+ years ago, his dad was my Bishop. The other was in Elders Quorum with me a few years back.

The Law of Attraction

July 25th 2012 started out with an innocent trip to Macey’s to purchase the infamous “Kong Kone” that my wife coveted as a child. Her earliest recollections include going to the grocery store with her family - and for one dollar - purchasing a cone filled with a mountain of soft serve ice cream.

As a dutiful mother, it is her desire to pass on the most important traditions, and clearly ice cream fit the bill. While we were in line admiring the prospective dessert along with the deli meats, I overheard four slopilly dressed teenagers (2 girls, 2 boys) talking about “YOLO kissing.” (Apparently YOLO is an acronymn for “you only live once”). For those who are more clueless than I , this is when you go up to a random stranger and kiss them. One of the teenagers was talking about another girl who apparently enjoys participating in the aforementioned activity. Now, the subject of this post is not YOLO kissing nor is it about how completely stupid this is, nor will I talk about my worry for the rising generation and their seemingly “let’s do anything but something productive” mentality. This post is about something entirely different.  

After YOLO kissing was mentioned pne of the girls said one of the most shocking things I have ever heard a human being say out loud. This is rated PG, but what she said stung me so hard that I am now up at 12:46 AM writing a post about the subject. She said to one of the boys “I would love to do that to (YOLO) but I’m hideously unattractive.” (giggle giggle) My first thought was how could anyone talk about themselves that way, and my next thought was that I HAD to catch a glimpse of this girl. After all, she was the most hideous thing on the planet, at least in her mind. Up to this point I hadn’t realIy seen what she looked like. I got to a place (by the jello desserts) where I could see her, and while she was quite large, she was an decent looking girl. I wanted to go up to this girl and tell her not to talk about herself that way and let her know that she was a perfectly fine looking human being, but I was unsure what kind of reaction I would get.

Her comment made me sick to my stomach. I just didn’t understand how someone could say this about themselves, let alone blurt it out in the deli section of the grocery store. I know some might feel they are hideous when they look in the mirror in the morning, but this was different and frankly uncalled for. What was her home life like? Did she have a father that told her she was beautiful? These questions were racing through my mind as I envisioned my own daughters and what they are going to think of themselves.

Since I didn’t take the opportunity to say something to this girl, I’m going to say it here and hope that by the magic of the internet this will come her way. In order for that to happen I need your help. After you read this, please pass it on to a friend and post it to facebook or twitter or pinterest (if that’s even possible – not sure how that site works, I just know it sees my wife’s face more than I do).

Here goes. I’m talking one-on-one with you Macey’s girl.

First, let me say to you Macey’s girl, that you are perfectly capable of being seen as beautiful by anyone who took the time to know you. I saw beauty and I only looked at you for three seconds. You are not only capable of being seen as beautiful, you are worthy of it, you deserve it.

Let me share with you a story that will help you know why this resonates with me the way it does. When I attended college I often visited an all-girls apartment complex by Brigham Young University. It was a wonderful site to behold. Thirty apartments, four girls each apartment, one hundred and twenty total women. And me. Well, not just me, but that’s the way I viewed it.

In this apartment complex there was a supermodel who was an actual supermodel, there were cheerleaders, there were “players”, there were very beautiful women ‘at first glance’ (afg), and there were some average looking women afg. I got to know most of them. Some I gave pineapples to, a large number I held hands with, many I cuddled with on the couch, one I kissed. There were lots of pretty girls, but one I became great friends with. She was not an eye catcher but her roommates were and they were interested in me.

As I began to hang around these girls more and more, the one who was perhaps less endowed with physical beauty (Let’s refer to her as E) starting becoming more attractive to the eye, more specifically my eye. In fact, when I was around her I just wanted to be around her more and I was amazed at how she was literally transforming before my very eyes. She was more beautiful every time I saw her. Then something horrible happened. We were hanging out with a few people in her apartment one night and for some reason the conversation was such that it led her to say jokingly, “I’m ugly.” I can’t remember what were were talking about but it somehow fit into the context of the discussion. I think I had the same reaction with you (remember I'm still talking directly to the girl at Macey's) at Macey’s that I had with E. I was stunned. I looked at E and thought to myself, “I thought you were pretty, but I guess I should believe you.” When she said ‘I’m ugly” I decided to believe her words more than my eyes and heart. After a few days I forgot about the incident and starting seeing her as beautiful again when, lo and behold, she made some other self-degrading comment. I started to see a trend – E constantly put herself down.

To make a long story short, I fell out of “like” with E, mostly because the way I viewed her was different from the way she viewed herself. So Macey’s ice cream girl, that is the lesson I have for you: don’t put yourself down. Some say that confidence is attractive, and I guess that can be true to a point. More often than not though, confidence comes across as arrogance. What I would say is this, just being yourself is attractive, BUT self-degradation is VERY unattractive.

Every person can also be physically beautiful to others around them, they just need to believe it. That’s one of the beautiful things that God has done for us, he allows people to find others attractive. I know you’ve done this: have you ever seen a couple and thought “Man, how could anyone be attracted to him/her?” If you haven’t thought that, you are a better man than I. The great thing is this, I really believe that they are attracted to that individual and that is such a great thing. It doesn’t matter what you think you look like, when someone gets to know who you are, your beauty grows and grows.

There is a happy ending to the story. E ended up getting happily married to a great guy and at last count they have three cute kids, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t wonder about E. What would have happened if she believed in herself. Now, things worked out best for both of us because I ended up marrying the only girl in that apartment complex that I kissed (who happened to live with the supermodel) and I was literally guided by the hand of God to find and marry her.

Let me leave you with this one last piece of advice. Everything I have said is going to be completely refuted by the world at large- so tune them out. Television shows, movies, magazines, radio, print ads, will all tell you that beauty is something that must be bought. They’ll tell you it comes in the form of make-up, or a plastic surgery, or a diet, or a billion other things. (Please read this poem) But all these people just want your money. All I want is your happiness. So please, don’t trust them, trust me.

Are you aware of the hidden taxes?

How much tax do we really pay?

Federal personal income tax17%
(2011 est. - 18.2%)
Top 25% rate. It ranges from a credit up to well over 40%. Source
State & local income taxes10.1%
(2009 - 10.6%)
State taxes range from under 6% to over 12%. Local taxes run from zero to 2.75%.Source,  source,  source,  2009 source
Sales tax9.7%
(2009 - 10.3%)
Figure is the average rate. State sales taxes range up to 8% and local taxes run from zero to over 5%. Source,  source,  source,  2008 source,  2009 source
Social security & Medicaid7.65%Total rate is actually 15.3% since half is paid by the employer, but we're ignoring that to be kind and to avoid being accused of being too political. Source, box 1
Federal corporate income tax share3%Based on corporate taxes being approximately 1/6 of personal taxes, and that they are paid by individuals in the final analysis. Source
Property tax2.5%
(2007 - 2.7%)
Yearly average actual costs range from under $200 in Alaska to almost $1900 in New Jersey. Source
Fuel/gasoline tax.5%
(2009 est. - .6%)
Approximately 23% of the 2005 gasoline price is for federal & state taxes. The federal excise tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. Per the CPI, about 6% of the average budget is for transportation. Estimated. 2010 estimate, $.45 per gallon average. Source
(2009 est. - 7%)
Includes estate tax, fees, licenses, inflation losses, inheritance, deficit allowance, gift, and others too numerous to mention. Estimated.