Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Moose Makes First Cut in Buffalo

It looks like Moose made the first cut for the Buffalo Bills. See article here. It's not too surprising since they only narrowed the roster to 75. The scarier cut is on Sept. 1 when they cut the roster down to 53 players. Good luck Moose!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


You have to love some of the sentences found in the more esoteric realms of academia. I'm considering applying to some jobs in technology transfer offices at various universities. Check out this whopper of a sentence from a book I'm reading on technology transfer. "These empirical chapters build on the theoretical analysis of Jensen and Thursby (2001), who demonstrate that inventor involvement in university technology transfer potentially attenuates the deleterious effects of informational asymmetries that naturally arise in technological diffusion from universities to firms." Do you think there might have been a clearer way to say that? I can write some pretty opaque stuff myself, but I think they have me beat.

Book Review: Between Parent and Child

When Jane was born I felt a tad ignorant about parenting; but I figured I had time to learn. Two children later and with Jane having turned 5 I am more concerned about my parenting skills. My wise mother suggested reading Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott. "It would probably be more useful than those economics books you've been reading," she said. Taliatha and I just finished it and although I'm not terribly well read in this genre here are my impressions.

First, I'm pleased to report that unlike some parenting books and magazines Between Parent and Child doesn't offer gimmicky advice for problems that usually just go away. (Why won't my precious angel sleep through the night? How do I get enough ME time? How can I help my kid read by age 3?) Instead, Dr. Ginott presents principles for interacting with your children that can be adapted to different situations. His primary thesis is that children are more responsive when parents address feelings before rushing to punish or lecture. The book gives numerous examples of common conflicts and useful tactics for resolving them. These include problems with eating, homework, siblings, bedtime, etc. For example, what do you do if your kid wants something at the store but you don't want to get it? First, don't try and convince little Timmy that he already has enough toys or that it's too expensive. This will just lead to counter arguments. Kids quickly learn how to try and get what they want. Instead, acknowledge Timmy's feelings. "Yeah, that would be so much fun if we could play with that toy! I like it too!" Often just validating your child's wish will fulfill their need and you may not even have to state the obvious: you're not going to buy the toy. That's the idea anyway, I'll have to let you know how it goes in practice.

Another part of the book that was helpful for me was the discussion on parents' emotions. Before reading this book my approach to conflicts has been, "I need more patience. If I can just not get angry everything will be fine." The problem was that I didn't have a strategy for when my patience did run out. Instead of yelling or angrily tossing the perpetrator into time out, Dr. Ginott recommends expressing in simple words how their behavior makes you feel. Emphatically express your frustration in words and focus on the behavior, not the child. "It makes me very upset when you push her," not "Why are you so mean to her?" This provides a constructive outlet when I'm upset and it models for my children how to resolve angry feelings through talking rather than yelling or fighting. This doesn't mean that you remove consequences. What it does do is allow you to resolve your emotions first so you don't dispense discipline hastily or angrily.

A lot of the book's advice is better suited for slightly older children. Sometimes you can't reason through things with a two or three year old. Still, I have seen some improvement in how I interact with my son Paul, who just turned three. Having specific tactics for resolving problems has helped me relax and have more confidence that I can handle whatever the kids throw my way. I think the most rewarding part has been focusing on how my kids feel more than their "bad" behavior. This has helped me appreciate them more as people and this in turn has strengthened our relationships.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Best Police Beat Ever!

In the spirit of Mat's BYU reminiscing, click here to read the best BYU police beat ever. I already e-mailed this story to some of you, but deemed it worth posting for everyone's enjoyment.

Random Memories Part II: Freshmen Year at BYU

Since Benson complained about not being able to relate to our PHS postings I thought I'd humor him with some of my fondest memories from freshmen year at BYU and living in Heritage Halls.

-The first memory actually occurred before school started when Rob and I received the names of our soon to be roommates. We immediately began creating elaborate assumed identities for these new roommates and spent a large portion of the summer talking about them. None of them were remotely on target.

-For some reason we decided to not throw away any of our empty milk cartons. We kept them in the kitchen and observed the various starges of fermentation and decay that occured. Then when they were ripe we'd take them into the parking lot and hit them baseball bats.

-After noticing a man wearing a suite made out of pop cans in a random scene in Searching for Bobby Fisher we decided to create our own pop can suites to wear to the BYU vs. Utah football game. We spent weeks scouring recycling bins across campus and collected a lot of cans. Then we spent an entire evening constructing our masterpieces. They were a big hit at the game. Except we left a trail of pop cans to and from the stadium. Oh yeah, and some bully standing behind us pushed or said something to Van der Horst so Rob threw an empty pop can at him which hit him in the face when he wasn't looking.

-Sandburg watching Hunt for Red October repeatedly and a odd hours.

-Benson singing punk/music really loud.

-When our apartment caught and fire and instead of getting up and doing something about it Rob and I tried to go back to bed.

-Dancing around the lamp of passion.

-Playing Myth.

-Benson dumping lemon pepper in pudding and ruining it, I'll never forgive you!

-Trying to jump across the canal.

-Running out of the Varsity Theater after watching Air Force 1 and proceeding to race across the street to the lawn building where a large group of us tried to jump over a line of bushes not realizing their was 4 foot drop off on the other side.

-What else?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Random High School Memories

Rob's ode to Mikey made me wax nostalgic about the good old high school days. In no particular order I thought I would share a couple of gems:

-Jed's birthday in Journalism. We asked Piercy-Pierce before class if she would call Jed up to the front of the room at a predetermined time during class so we could "surprise" him for his birthday. Little did she know that there about 10 guys waiting in the hallway to tackle him. I can't decide which was better. Jed's face as he got creamed by a bunch of guys running into the classroom or Mrs. Pierce screaming in shock as her classroom was invaded by birthday well wishers.

-This Journalism memory reminded me of a couple other choice memories from that class:
-Rob's picture captions:
Picture: Jason Hutchinson making a diving catch during a football game
Caption: Hutchnuts Eats a Fat One
-Having numerous stories censored and rejected because they had nothing to do with "reality". . . but they were funny.
-Having to go to the principals office to explain to Patti H. that the Ozark Boy series wouldn't be racist.

-Hiding behind the poles in the commons and tackling people as they walked by.

-Bizzing behind the Omni with Kirk at the wheel. It was great fun until we got pulled over by the cops.

-Kirk dunking the basketball on somebody's hoop by Annie Evan's house and snapping the pole in half.

-The first Star Wars assembly.

-The feeling of euphoria we felt after successfully pulling off the RSC Extravaganza and then watching it later and realizing it was really really long.
-Oh yeah and getting to drive sophie into the school.

-Wrestling Kirk at Angie Heaston's house. It was Kirk against Rob, Waltz and myself. It ended with me giving Kirk a wedgie and then with him flying through air, landing on top of me, smashing my ribs, and me having to go to the emergency room.

-Making posters in student government. We had to make so many posters a week, but I rarely remember making any that were actually informative. Jed made a great one for the golf team that said something like "eat blood, drink blood, play golf." Tony made one that said "everyone has a ticket to state tournament, even the giant blob" and it had a great picture of giant blob with a ticket. We also made giant Chinese lanterns one time and hung them from the ceiling in main hall.

-Random theme weeks. Adam Keefe week. Booty days (where everyone was supposed to wear boots of goulashes). Funk week. I remember that we turned one of the dances into a funk dance and lots of people got mad because we wouldn't play country or slow songs, it was awesome.

-Naoto dressing like Mr. Melendez-Christensen and Kirk tackling him during the Extravaganza.

-Filming the Scarlet Letter at Jed's house.

I could go on and on. Anyways, good memories. What are some of yours?


So Taliatha and I signed up for Facebook. The layout seems a lot less obnoxious than Myspace and I found a few old chums. Another cool thing about Facebook is the low-risk/low-commitment friendships. Basically, anyone you know is your friend. It gives a nice feeling of popularity (my friend count is already in excess of 30), but requires only minimal maintenance of relationships. The odds are slim that someone will de-friend you. So climb aboard the Facebook train my friends and join me on this exciting ride into the world of virtual "networking."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Tribute to the Great Padeken

Because posts about investing and social issues may bore some of my gentle readers, I offer in appeasement the following hagiography for your diversion and entertainment. I know I am drafting a bit off the popularity of this universally beloved character (he was the consensus pick for funniest kid in 1st grade), but if such shameless hucksterism will boost the virtual circulation of The Provonian then so be it. Without further ado I present . . .


(Probably not the top ten because how could anyone even know that?)

10. Mikey utterly destroys his old choir tuxedo during the first (and probably best) "football in suits."

9. Mikey leads the boys in a stroll across the lawn during lunch with a boom box blaring Rage Against the Machine on his shoulder.

8. Playing a blind man in A Black Comedy as a senior, Mikey wanders up a staircase with his cane and falls directly through a trap door.

7. At the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City we are playing a game of football in the street near our motel. Going long for a pass Mikey runs smack into our bus, but somehow manages to slide underneath the bus upon impact rather than taking a direct hit (incredible reflexes!). He limps off with a hurt knee, but after a good nap is back in perfect form (another of his superpowers).

6. While Val Lindsay is directing us in Danny Boy, Mikey enters the choir room. Unbeknownst to Mr. Lindsay, he stands on a chair doing an interpretive ballet pose until the the laughs coming from the choir betray him. Not amused, Mr. Lindsay kicks Mikey out of class (I think that's how it ended anyway).

5. During Kirk's Gorgoth cover at Mr. Provo High Mikey accidentally hits Brimhall in the head with a bat--oh wait that was someone else.

4. First assembly of senior year, in the old gym, and it is time to choose the most spirited kid from each class to sit in the spirit chairs (that's why they picked them right?). After choosing the underclassmen and junior, Pamrose starts to look for the senior, but stops mid-sentence as Mikey steps forward with his regal, flowing green cape and coolly marches to the seat--no throne--that is rightfully his.

3. In an assembly skit Mikey takes on Kirk in a wrestling match. I can't remember the exact plot (details Tony?) but somehow Mikey ends up on Kirk's shoulders and wraps his legs around Kirk's neck dragging him to the floor in one fluid motion! It was incredible, but it will only live in our memories because Brimhall accidentally kicked the plug out of the video camera right before it happened.

2. Mr. Provo High, 1997. For his talent Mikey slides through a hall pass and then jumps a table into a glass of water, thereby sealing his victory.

1. At the conclusion of a multi-choir concert at Abravanel Hall in SLC the participating choirs combine for two or three final numbers. Somehow Mikey ends up going skins whilst wandering amidst the group of tall guys in the back rows. Brilliant!--and I missed it, which I will forever regret.

Please inform me of any blemishes or oversights in this record and add your own favorite Padeken heroics to this already meritorious list.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Diversification beyond the 401(k)

According to this column from Yahoo Finance, many companies are reducing the diversity of investment options in 401(k) plans while adding more "target date" retirement funds. It's always been worse for federal employees who have extremely limited options within the Thrift Savings Plan (federal version of the 401(k)). Plans with reduced offerings leave employees three investment options: stocks, bonds and cash. The thrust of the article on Yahoo is that having fewer investment options may leave retirement plans exposed to greater market volatility than traditional pension plans which can be invested in other assets: commodities, foreign currencies, high yield bonds and real estate investment trusts. If you have an inflexible retirement plan, I agree with the article that it is a good idea to supplement your 401(k) with some of these other types of investmetns. This can best be done using ETFs within an IRA. For a good primer on ETFs visit XTF Global Asset Management's web page.

What about target date funds? According to an article I read in Monday's Wall Street Journal, the jury is still out since most haven't been around long enough to see how they behave during bear markets. However, the I think the fundamental principles are the same as in my last post on investing: underlying asset allocation is critical and the fund with the highest allocation in stocks, including emerging markets, has had the best performance over the last three years (T. Rowe Price Retirement 2020, TRRBX). (Of course it may perform more poorly in a bear market, but I would predict it would have the best long term results.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Film History Class

Hey Dudes,

welcome to my first post on the Provonian.

I could use some help from the cinephiles among you, and also from Holmes. I'm getting ready for my next film history class at the high school. This time around, I'm structuring it more or less chronologically, by different film movements. The class will be 65 minutes a day for 12 weeks, so we'll probably watch two films a week for each category, along with a bunch of clips. Here's a tentative outline:

1. Early Cinema
2. Silent Comedies
3. Expressionism (germany, etc.)
4. Futurism (Russia, etc.)
5. Experimental, Surrealism
6. The coming of sound, Classical Hollywood
7. WWII/Film Noir
8. Documentary
9. Animation
10. Neorealisms
11. New Waves
12. American Independents
13. rebirth of the blockbuster

A lot to cover in one class, I know. I'd like to have a mix of the usual suspects (Citizen Kane, Hitchcock, Bicycle Thieves, etc.) and some stuff they've never heard of that will knock their socks off. What suggestions do you folks have for these categories, either entire films or specific clips?