Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bleeding Blue

College football approaches. Of more import than the dawn of that day are the blue and white rays of light that lie just over the horizon, stretching forth from amidst majestic mountains. There’s an excitement stirring deep within my soul – an excitement surpassed only by the anticipation of my daughter’s birth. I can say in no uncertain terms the expectation of a 5:30pm Eastern kickoff time is more palpable to me, more electrifying to me than the prospect of the bid we currently have on a house. Why?

I love my God. I love my wife. I love my country. And I love BYU Cougar Football.

I am truly a son of BYU, born in Provo, Utah to two young parents struggling to raise and support a family while there pursing a higher education; 20 aunts and uncles, 16 cousins, 2 grandparents, and four siblings have attended the school. I grew up in Wyoming a BYU fan and was subjugated to not only mockery, hostility and literal threats because of my love for the Cougars of BYU, but of my religious convictions because of this association. But never have I faltered; never have I wavered; never have I shirked from the responsibility of cheering for my team.

Now I live in the South, where college football is second to none. Coaches are paid a king's ransom to win games and a bowl system is designed to ensure a continual monetary supply. Here the ridicule is the same as my youth, though instead of stones slung by the pauper, I am accosted by the prince. I face ridicule from the proud and haughty hosts that mock the efforts of a successful team in a ‘mid-major’ conference. Little defense have I against the deluge of jibes and taunts of those who have amassed so much prestige and honor through years of on-field success and accolades; yet, even in the midst of such sneering and laughing I am not ashamed. Instead I stand tall, proud to be an ambassador for the Cougars. I am not ashamed because of what my team stands for, what they’re expected to be not only on the playing field, but in life.

Success on the playing field is not enough for the true Cougar fan. A perfect record, a flawless season, a radiant trophy, prestige and recognition…as wonderful and sought after as these honors are, they are but dross – hollow, weak, rubbish – without the commitment to a higher purpose that is required of those who come to compete at BYU. I can, without equivocation, boldly state that the student-athletes of BYU are held to the highest standard of moral, scholastic and athletic character than any other NCAA team in the United States of America.

Could any team that has won a national championship in the past 10 years even come remotely close if it were to ask its student-athletes to actually be student-athletes? Could any one team in the SEC compete with the others if it required its athletes to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, drugs and pre-marital sex? The answer is a resounding and emphatic no.

Give me men of honor, of integrity and of principle. Give me men who will contribute to society in a positive manner. Give me men who are not the greatest of athletes but are the greatest of men. Give me men who the world deems as sub par and inferior that continually exceed expectations while holding fast to principles that make men real men.

This is why I love it. This is why it is honestly more than a game. This is why I get so involved and invested in the successes and failures of this team. This is because no other team, at no other university, teaches such a powerful life lesson, a lesson that is needed more now that at any other time in the history of our nation, our world. That lesson is this:

Who you are matters. What you do outside of the window of public view matters. Actions in private have repercussions in public. It is not sufficient to be glamorous and eye-catching in the moment; it is paramount to be solid and grounded in character. Actions have consequences…always there are consequences. Success in the world is fleeting and can be swept away without a firm foundation. No prestige and honor can compensate for the lack of moral fortitude. As history old and new continues to make clear, when there is no conviction of character, surely follows conviction of a more sordid sort.

I want my football team to be men - real men, men of character who pursue perfection on and off the field. As a Cougar fan, one is not acceptable without the other. But if ever one must suffer, let it be the former; for without the it, accolades of the latter are simply hollow victories forgotten in time, helpless and without power to inspire greatness.

Give me substance.

Give me BYU Football.

(Transcript from the above link):

Today…is your defining moment. Expectations are extremely high, but you knew that before you set foot on this campus; before you signed the honor code; before you put on your first BYU shirt. We have a tradition unlike any other. Those who have gone before us are the giants upon whose shoulders we now stand. There’ll be no sitting on the sidelines. No waiting for somebody else to make to happen…and there will be no compromises. What I’m asking for…is for your performance today to come from a deeper place. No matter how hard, no matter how tough, you are expected to make a difference. There is no other way here, other than greatness, and now it’s your time to perform. My question to you is are you ready? Today are you ready? Are you at your best?

Because once you leave this room people are counting on you. They’re counting on you to be great. They’re counting on you to be great. And they’re counting on you to do all the things you’re supposed to do as a representative of BYU.

Please never forget why you’re here. Never forget who you are. And never forget – so much…so much depends on what you do today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Proud product of Public Schools

Okay. The tragic hilarity of this is indescribable. This contestant from South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA pageant was asked a simple question. And she Finkled it. Totally and unequivocally destroyed it. To me the best part is Mario Lopez (the host) trying not to bust out laughing.

If you can't understand what she said, here's the transcript.

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the US should help the US, uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.”

I'm not sure home school is the answer; however, I hear people mocking the kids who are home schooled as socially inept. This Lauren Caitlin Upton is making a strong case that the most damaged come from our lovely government sponsored schools. Good thing she aspires to be a model when grows up.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Everybody Knows...

The world is full of stupid people..." - The Refreshments, Banditos

I am so tired of the mentality that permeates society regarding actions and consequence. Just now I was watching ABC News – one of the only major network news broadcasts I can stomach – and there was a report on the mortgage crisis in our country. A couple people were highlighted who are experiencing the crunch because they got into a mortgage that was way over their head. One lady started crying because the bank told her a couple days before Christmas that the home was going into foreclosure. Some wacko in a bright yellow t-shirt said “The mortgage company got us in this situation and they need to get us out of it.”

Here in Atlanta we’ve been dealing with the Mike Vick situation. For those of you who don’t keep up with news, Vick has agreed to plea out to charges that include dog fighting (illegal), gambling (illegal), cruelty to animals (illegal), and other (illegal) conduct. There’s a stink being raised in some corners that it’s not fair Vick be subjected to these charges because people have done worse and the government is out to make an example of someone and this poor, misunderstood athlete with a $130 million contract is the victim of or prejudice society. Additionally, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP has said that Mike Vick deserves a chance to play in the NFL after he serves his time.

Of course the illegal immigration issue rages one. Somehow it is the heartless, unwelcoming rich people that don’t want the illegal immigrants here; if the Statue of Liberty could cry she would because we are turning away so many poor and needy people. The same people who taxpayers foot the bill for when they become sick, when they have babies, when they need food.


I’ve had it up to here (since you can’t see, I’m pointing to my receding hairline) with the sob stories of individuals who chose to engage in high risk behavior and then when it’s time to pay the piper, they through themselves a pity party and wonder why they are being picked on.

With the mortgage issues: Don’t blame the mortgage company because you decided to go with an ARM or an Interest-Only loan and now you can’t afford it. Is it the mortgage company’s fault you bit off more than you could chew? It’s not like it’s your house. If you had to borrow the money to buy the house, it isn’t yours. Live in an apartment; try a smaller house; it’s so awful you can’t live where all the ‘cool’ (outrageously in debt) people live next to the trendy shops you can’t afford. If you can’t afford it, DON’T BUY IT! Show some self-discipline and go with out. The mortgage company is a COMPANY. They are out to make MONEY. The only reason they care if you get a house is because it means that agent can bring home some cash so he can pay his own mortgage.

The Vick debacle: What Mike did was ILLEGAL. Have people done worse and not gone to the slammer (Ray Lewis – watched two people get killed and did nothing; Leonard Little – killed some folks while driving drunk; OJ Simpson – well, you know this one)? Sure. Does it change the fact Mike associated with the dregs of society, financed them and broke the law? No. And it’s not Vick’s right to play in the NFL again. The NFL is a business, a multi-billion dollar organization. Like any business, it’s their prerogative to decide who will be best able to further their enterprise. I don’t care if Vick plays again. If some owner wants to take that on, that’s his choice; but it’s not some obligation they should have. If I owned a business and someone told me I had to hire an individual that would damage my image, I’d kindly show them the door.

Illegal Immigration: For me it’s so much more than the financial or economic ramifications of illegal immigration. Tell the 3000+ people who lost their lives on 9/11 that illegal immigration is okay and their no threat to our nation. There’s no hating on Hispanics – those who make up the majority of illegal immigrants in the US – with this. It’s about security. There are people out there – and thanks to our porous borders and jacked up system, in here – who wouldn’t hesitate to do you or I harm simply because we were born in the US and we support the Constitution. The Fort Dix Six are the perfect example of illegal immigration problems. The unwed teenage mothers at the high school Paula taught at who go to the clinic to have the baby they can’t afford…who foots the bill? You and I.

The fact of the matter is all men aren’t created equal. Sorry. They aren’t. Some people are attractive, some are ugly; some are fat, some are skinny, some are perfect; some are intelligent, some are dumb as rocks; some people are lazy, some people work hard; some people have handicaps, some don’t; some people are rich, some are poor. It’s the way it goes.

That being said, everyone starts out with the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That doesn’t mean it’s our inalienable right to be happy; it means we all – short or tall, dumb or smart, rich or poor – have the right to pursue what is called happiness. It doesn’t mean you get it. It doesn’t mean that despite participating in illegal activities, making foolish choices or leaching off the system we still get to be happy. It doesn’t even mean that because we are good, hard-working, upstanding people trying as hard as we can that we’ll be happy. Happy is a state of being, not a position or pay scale. Sometimes life is just a kick in the pants. My hat is off to those who obey the law, build up people and society and still don’t have everything they want but choose to be happy rather than play the blame game.

That’s all. I’m done. I’m apologizing in advance for any grammatical errors as this was written in the height of emotion.

I blame Microsoft for not having a better grammar and spell check.

Bill Gates started this problem and he needs to fix it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Because I love my sister...

...I'm doing this. I try not to participate in silly things like mass email, chain letters, liberal media, the Disney Channel, etc…That being said, I have seriously contemplated whether or not to do this list thing – mostly because I’ve only seen it done by girls. Of course, I don’t see a lot of blogs being maintained by guys. So…since my sister Rachell tagged me, I’ve decided to go on ahead and do it.

4 jobs I've had:
1. ING
2. Dome Builder
3. Sports Writer
4. PR Specialist @ BYU-Idaho

4 movies I can watch over and over:
1. Casino Royal
2. Band of Brothers
3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
4. Transformers

4 Favorite TV shows:
2. The Office
3. Seinfeld
4. Friday Night Lights

4 favorite hobbies:

1. Playing Halo2 with the fellas
2. Writing
3. College football
4. Destroying the fellas at Halo2. A little story regarding this:
Arch, Zach, Zach's bro-in-law Bud and I were playing Halo2 on Saturday. It was fun - we were killing each other, calling each other names, etc... Well, we played some teams and Bud and I were working Zach and Arch; naturally they were throwing out insults questioning my sexuality. Anyway, we decided to go Them (Arch, Zach and Bud) vs Me (Logan). I won them all, with an average score of Me 25, Them 8. And yes, there was a lot more name calling.

4 Places I have lived:

1. Atlanta
2. Nashville
3. St. Croix
4. Sacramento

4 Favorite Foods:
1. Steak
2. Sushi
3. Halibut w/ a side of asparagus
4. Fried Artichoke Dip

4 Places I would rather be right now:
1. Easy Street
2. Out West
3. The Caribbean
4. Austria

4 Websites I check daily:
1. Cougarfan.com
2. gmail.com
3. Foxnews.com
4. Bank of America

I tag:
1. Nathan
2. Archie
3. Zach
4. Ben

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bourne Again

Hey friends! (The obligatory exclamation point due to the fact it’s Friday.)
Well, what to talk about….how about the Bourne Ultimatum? It was awesome. Seriously, the best of the series. Paula and I went last Saturday with a fairly large contingent of folks (Baltich clan, Sorensen’s, Crowley’s, Javier and his wife) and everyone enjoyed it. So there – if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it. I also recommend Stranger than Fiction as a movie with an incredibly original story line and some incredibly dry and witty humor. In fact, I’d dare call it humour with a ‘U’. It’s not your normal Will Ferrell, but there’s nothing wrong with that either. Anyway, worth the money.
Last Saturday Paula had a baby shower. I went because Greg was going to be alone with a bunch of women (Melissa was hosting) so we played some pool and played G.O.W on the 100+ inch screen in the theater room. It was awesome, to say the least. When I make my millions, I’m going to have theater room, nay, a Theatre Room. And it will be glorious. Paula would (will) probably be a little disappointed when I still like to play video games at the age of 40, but it is what it is.

On the post after the reunion, the question was asked regarding the little flab reduction contest the Nerf and I engaged in. While, there was no official weigh-in, it was determined I was victorious. That's right, I'm #1. Boo-yah. So there's the answer. But seriously, we both looked better than when the challenge was made, so props to us both. But more to me. I bring this up at this juncture becausce weighed myself at Greg and Melissa's. We don't have a scale at our place (good thing, or I'd be even more anorexic) so this is the place I check my weight. Well, I've lost 17 pounds since engaging in this endeavor. So that's the update. It's not that I'm skinny now, I was just a chunk before.

Anyway, back to the shower. People really went above and beyond at this baby shower. I gotta say, when Paula told me – as I was caught up the gall of bitterness and misery at how much having this baby was going to cost - that we’d get some gifts and stuff from ‘baby showers’, I was confused because I though babies were supposed to be bathed, not showered. Then she explained that the shower is with gifts, which made me more concerned because babies are small and helpless and how could all these people feel right lobbing packages as a baby…but, apparently this is a figurative expression of people giving gifts in celebration and anticipation of the child being born. Then I was excited…and felt a little dumb.

On a serious note, people were extremely generous and even though Paula sent Thank You notes the next day, I just want express my appreciation as well for the thoughtful and generous nature of our friends. I’d never been so happy to have so much pink in my home. As some (my wife, in-laws, associates, Fraternal Order of Police, etc…) can attest, I am a hard-headed and cheap (I prefer ‘frugal’ or ‘conservative’ or ‘thrifty’ or ‘fiscally forward-thinking’ or ‘wise steward’); items of large expense can make me nervous (even the little white box of joy caused me a fair amount of anxiety). So, again, thanks for everything.
That was last weekend. This week has been fairly uneventful – some house hunting, which we will resume tomorrow with our realtor Rena. She’s a great realtor, so if any of you are looking for a home, I’m happy to recommend her as Dave did for us. Paula is going to some bar tomorrow night for a bridal thing for an acquaintance/friend of hers. Normally I’d be a little nervous about the whole thing…that she’d fall off the wagon… again…but she’s been pretty responsible with the baby. The hard liquor has been replaced with milkshakes, so the lesser of two evils.
Well, I’ve fired up the rumor mill. Now people will think my wife is a raging alcoholic. What do you do? In the spirit of David Webb (aka Jason Bourne) I leave you with the words of the great poet Moby:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Countdown to Kickoff

Rise and shout, Cougar Fans! Fall practice has begun, which means it's time to officially get excited about another season of college football. Don't get me wrong, I've been actively engaged in follow the new commits, projected starters, predictions, players breaking the law and it being front page material, though none of it would have made the news at any other school. But the start of fall practice really means it's just around the corner.
Here are a couple links to get you up to speed on this years campaign:

Cougarfan.com - This picks up stories from sources around the nation (mostly Utah) about what is going on with the Cougs. Love it, need it.
Highlight Vids - This awesome site gives whets your appetite for some more football. I try to watch one or two a week, just to keep my senses sharp. Good for down time at home, the office, church, dentist, doctor, delivery room...
Total Blue Sports - This is part of Scout.com; gives some more in depth coverage of your defending MWC champs and holders of the 2nd longest winning streak in the NCAA.
Chat - This site lets you chat it up with other BYU fans and a fair number of anti-BYU folks. Always good for a scoop, but make sure you have the salt shaker near
Official Homepage - This is the official site of BYU Football. Good stuff, including links to purchase some excellent BYU paraphenalia.

If any of you tried and true, Cougar Blue, thru and thru fans have other websites you'd like to give me, let me know and I'll add them to the list and give you credit for the find.

Rise all loyal Cougars and hurl your challenge to the foe.
You will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, strong, and true
Wear the white and blue.
While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on Cougars it's up to you. Oh!


Rise and shout, the Cougars are out
along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As you unfold your victr'y story.

On you go to vanquish the foe for Alma Mater's sons and daughters.
As we join in song, in praise of you, our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

July 2007

It’s not that a lot hasn’t happened since the 4th of July post, it’s just that I haven’t written anything. But now I’d like to remedy that.
Things are going well, just plugging along. Not much really – just a baby due in the next 4-5 weeks, making offers on houses, spending a few days in the wilds of North Dakota, seeing a brother who’s been out of the country for a couple years, getting more and more busy at work, counting down the days until college football is back (T-minus 31) – basically what everyone else is doing.
We found a house the other day and were actually making an offer, but missed the cut by about 2 hours. It was really nice – a 2200 sq ft foreclosure going from $149k. All it needed was a paint job and a carpet, but we just missed it. The paperwork was out, I had my offer in my hand and 25 Tums in my stomach, but we missed it. But, with all the idiots out there with interest-only, adjustable rate mortgages buying more than they can afford, I’m supremely confident we’ll find one soon. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it is that the short school bus is always overflowing with fools and I can benefit from their mistakes. Selfish? Opportunistic? Cynical? Maybe. But it’ll get e a good deal on a house.
We spent some time in northern North Dakota (Grand Forks) the other week with my maternal side of the family. The Allred clan is large – my mother is one of 9 siblings, I am one of 55-60 grandkids – and it was a bit different for Paula, who comes from a very small extended family. But she embraced our right-wing oddities and we had a good time. Forrest was there, having just returned from two years of missionary services in south Brazil. He looked good, despite the fact his hair decided not to return stateside with him. What do you do? But it was good to see him, to catch up with him and the rest of my family. On a serious note, I feel extremely lucky to have such a strong bond with my siblings and parents. While I’m not daft enough to think we don’t have differences, I know that I am always excited to see them, that they love me in spite of myself and support me, even if they disagree.
Paula’s large and in charge. I’ll probably get a look for saying that, but Lydia’s growing and hence is Paula. But she’s a good looking pregnant woman and though her body weight as increased by 20% in this pregnancy, she still only weighs 135 pounds. I weighed that once, 14 years ago. I’m pretty much ready to do this. The anticipation is killing me. K-I-L-L-I-N-G me. (It’d be embarrassing if I spelled that wrong.) We went to a birthing class last month – 8 hours, 1 day – and I took it pretty well. Sure, I saw things I hoped I’d never see, was told things I hoped I’d never know, learned things I hoped I’d never learn. But I am grateful for one thing: the epidural. I don’t want to feel a thing.
And finally, BYU plays Arizona on September 1st. 31 days. That’s no time at all. I could save enough for a John Edwards haircut. Some might think that I’m more excited for football season than Lydia’s birth. I just laugh.