Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Great American Steroid Era

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world; there really is no close second. I was fortunate enough to go to a Diamondbacks game this week and see a wonderful pitching matchup. Even though the D-Backs ended up on the short end of a 4-3 game, I got to see the longest homerun hit in Major League Baseball this year. In the bottom of the 9th inning, Mark Reynolds crushed a hanging slider about 485 feet into the furthest reaches of Chase Field. It was majestic; even though the D-Backs lost, seeing that homerun was more than worth the price of admission. (By the way, my price of admission was $0 - thank you to Spence Price)

Earlier today, the "shocking" news broke that another couple of huge baseball names tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in that 2003 drug test that was supposed to be anonymous and sealed. What a surpise. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were added to the growing list of names of superstar baseball players whose reputations and massive power numbers are now, to say the least, tarnished. The following are players whose names have been associated with steroid use: Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa . . . . and the list goes on and on and on. Honestly, the only names on the list that I can honestly say I respect even a little bit are Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi because at least when they got caught, they owned up to it.

Most of the players on the list hide behind the excuses of, "I didn't really know what I was taking," or "I have never, I repeat, never used performance enhancing drugs" or my personal favorite, "It was just part of baseball culture at the time". Personally, I don't believe any professional baseball player anymore when they say they haven't taken any type of steroid or performance enhancing drug. Too many of them have proven to be liars.

What has come to be known as "The Steroid Era" has absolutely killed baseball. It has turned off the average fan. Young kids don't want to play baseball anymore because they don't watch baseball anymore. They don't watch baseball anymore by and large because their parents don't watch baseball anymore because they have been turned off by all of the cheating. The numbers and records and statistics of the great players of the past have been shattered by cheaters. And that's exactly what they are: big, fat cheaters. Any player that ever shot up with any type of performance enhancing drug, whether knowingly or not, is a cheater. End of story.

Every couple of months, some big name is leaked by the press as having tested positive for steroids - and baseball takes another big hit. After a few weeks, the shock wears off, only to be followed by another bombshell like today - Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz join the list. Baseball cannot afford to keep taking these types of hits month after month after month.

And so because I love baseball and because I want "The Steroid Era" to be a thing of the past as quickly as possible, Bud Selig, if you are listening, this is what you need to do and do quickly: RELEASE EVERY NAME OF EVERY BASEBALL PLAYER WHO HAS EVER TESTED POSITIVE FOR ANY TYPE OF DRUG. Don't seal anything; don't protect anybody - everybody needs to be outed. And I wouldn't allow any of these players to ever be allowed in the Hall of Fame. Ever.

Doing this would eliminate the need for the endless speculation that goes on every day. It would liberate the players who actually don't cheat and use drugs. It would eliminate the doubt that is cast on non-cheating players who have had fantastic seasons, like Luis Gonzalez (he very well might have cheated, but I don't know. I want to know). It would discourage future players from taking PED's because they won't want the embarrassment of having to admit that they really weren't as good as their statistics said they were. It would eliminate all the lying idiots like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds who both will probably go to prison for lying under oath to federal grand juries. But most importantly, it will allow baseball to begin the healing process. And baseball fans, like me, want that more than anything.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Must be a Total Loser

As many of you know, Michelle is expecting our fourth child sometime in October. (Can it really be that soon? This pregnancy has flown by; for me, maybe not Michelle) In any case, we try to spend as much time as we can during the summers in Pinetop at the Hazar cabin. It has become one of our favorite family traditions to spend weekends up where the temperatures are about 30 degrees cooler than here in Scottsdale. (Current temps: Scottsdale - 108 degrees, Pinetop - 76 degrees. Where would you rather be?) The kids love to spend time up in the mountains with their grandparents and their cousins.

Michelle decided early on in this pregnancy that she would be taking an entire week off from teaching classes sometime in July and taking the kids to Pinetop to get out of the heat. Well, I have been dreading this week for some time now and it is finally here. I drove Michelle and the kids up to Pinetop on Friday afternoon. We had a barbecue on Friday night, got up early on Saturday and went on a nature walk with the kids (could be an entire post in and of itself), went to a movie on Saturday afternoon with the family and then an early dinner and then Jim and I drove home Saturday afternoon so that I could attend to my church assignments today and work all week.

It has now been a little less than 24 hours since I left and I am BORED OUT OF MY MIND! I thought that I would be able to get a lot accomplished around the house such as cleaning and laundry and dishes and other items that are difficult to do with kids in the house. It turns out that Michelle decided to leave me ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do. The dishes are done, there isn't a stitch of dirty clothing in this house, the beds are all made, the carpets vacuumed, the windows are cleaned, the kitchen is spotless and the only thing I can think to do is clean the tile floors, which I can't do until tomorrow.

I admit, I like to watch TV - there are certain shows that I enjoy tremendously. It turns out that watching TV by yourself is no fun at all; in fact, it's downright painful. Last night, I tried watching an episode of Wipeout by myself and the old adage is definitely true: if a man lying in bed laughs really loud at a stupid TV show and nobody is there to hear him, he really DOESN'T make a sound. Interesting.

I enjoy playing a video game now and again - it turns out that video games aren't near as fun unless you can play with your kids and let them beat you. (More accurately, they actually beat you and then you pretend that you let them win)

The wife of one of my friends in the ward told me today that her husband can't wait until she goes out of town because then he gets to go out with his friends and hang out and watch movies and do guy stuff. After that conversation with her, I have come to the following very sad conclusion: I don't have any friends. I don't have guys that I can just go "hang out with". I must be a total loser. I have friends that Michelle and I go hang out with and have fun with, but it's always as a couple. This makes me wonder if these people actually like me at all or if they are just putting up with me so they can hang out with Michelle.

So, it's Sunday afternoon. Luckily, I have plans for the afternoon. I am heading to Mesa to eat some dinner with my Mom, who graciously accepted to have me over (after I invited myself). Come to think of it, she didn't sound real excited when she found out that Michelle and the grandkids weren't coming. After that, I have a couple of Church meetings to attend. After that, I have no idea what I will do. And I deleted all my Wai Lana Yoga from my DVR.

Our former Bishop in the ward just called and invited me to help with a move in the morning at 7AM - yeah!! Something to do!

Five days and counting . . . .

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dave the Fish Guy

There was a different feeling at Church today. I learned the sad news this morning that Dave Hibbert, a long-time member of our ward and friend to everybody, had passed away on Saturday in his home. If you weren't privileged to have known Brother Hibbert, there is not much that I could ever say on this post that would do his life and his legacy justice. Everybody that knew him loved him. Everybody, including me.

I would never try to eulogize him or give his life story on a blog because I could never say enough; however, I feel that it's important to recognize wonderful people and the wonderful things they do. Among his many many years of Church service, he most recently was released as a Counselor in the Bishopric, a calling that I have held now for about a month. I am desperately trying to fill the giant shoes of Brother Hibbert.

For the last few years in our ward, Brother Hibbert was most famous for two things: First, he was the person to avoid if you didn't want to speak in Sacrament Meeting, and second, he always carried red swedish fish in his suit pocket to hand out to the young children. The Primary kids (and sometimes the older kids like me) knew they could always count on Brother Hibbert for a sugar pick-me-up. Except for Fast Sunday, he always had these candy fish with him. He would hold the fish in his closed fist and wouldn't give the fish away until the appropriate response was given to his famous question, "Who's the Greatest?" I have watched now for 8 years as all three of my children have weekly sought out Brother Hibbert and completed the red fish ritual. Some friends of ours in the ward have two very young sons. The older of their two boys made it be known to his parents that he had named his teddy bear, Dave the Fish Guy. He undoubtedly had received countless red swedish fish from Dave Hibbert, the Fish Guy. There are not many things more important to a 2 year old than his teddy bear, and for him to name that teddy bear after Dave Hibbert is quite a tribute.

I was sitting on the stand and looking at the faces of our ward congregation as our Bishop made the announcement of his passing. The grief and the pain and the sadness in the faces of Dave's friends upon learning of his death is something that I will never forget and I was reminded of Russell M. Nelson's words, "The only way to take the sorrow out of death is to take the love out of life."

There are many good men in the world, I get to meet them on a daily basis. I have come to know that there are very few great men. Brother Hibbert was one of the great ones. I mourn today because of his passing and look forward to the day that I can see him again and enjoy a red swedish fish with him. I am grateful that I was able to know and love Dave Hibbert, the Fish Guy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Could my Wife be Nesting?

It was a good day in our house today. Connie came today. A couple of months ago, we were introduced to Connie. We were introduced by my wonderful sister-in-law, Carrie Hazar. I refer to Carrie as wonderful for two reasons: First, because she told me that she wouldn't become a follower of my blog until I mentioned her lovingly in one of my posts and second, she actually is pretty wonderful. TJ is a lucky man. (See more about her family at And because I am an equal opportunity brother-in-law, I have another sister-in-law who is also wonderful; her name is Nabby, but she has yet to promise followership. (see And yes, David is a lucky man as well.

Back to Connie. Connie is a wonderful woman who cleans homes for a living. She has cleaned Carrie and TJ's home for awhile now and they swear by this woman. I never thought we needed somebody to come and clean our house. Michelle is an excellent housekeeper and I am completely obsessed with trying to keep our home as clean as possible. So for me, the prospect of having Connie come and clean our home once a month seemed unnecessary. However, at the urging of my wonderful sister-in-law (followership), and because she is very reasonably priced, we decided to give Connie a try.

Connie has come to our home once a month for about 5 months now and I honestly don't know how we ever lived without her. I remember the first time Connie came to the house and cleaned. I knew that it was possible for a home to look clean because our home normally does. I had no idea that a home could actually SMELL clean. There is clean, and then there is Connie Clean. Connie Clean actually has a smell. They should make Connie Clean candles. If Connie could bottle up the Connie Clean smell, she would be a billionaire. She is the most amazing, hard-working woman and does an unbelievable job. Maybe she'll read this - we love you Connie!!

I do however have a problem with Connie, and it's not her fault. For whatever reason, on the day before Connie comes to clean, Michelle cleans the house like SHE is getting paid to do it. I simply do not understand this phenomenon. As I mentioned previously, our home is normally quite tidy - I am quite a taskmaster, one of my many flaws. BUT, our home is NEVER cleaner than the day before Connie comes to clean. I have asked Michelle about this several times and she explains that if the house isn't clean when Connie arrives, she will have a hard time cleaning it. Huh???

I am paying Connie to clean our home and Michelle already has it 90 percent done. I feel that the day before Connie comes, the house should be the dirtiest. I mean if it's been 30 days since Connie has been here, the house is SUPPOSED to be dirty, right?? I would think Connie would appreciate it. :)

Michelle is definitely nesting. Believe it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

I have been struggling over the last few days to come up with a topic for my next post. My loyal friends and followers have been asking, "When is your next post? What are you gonna blog about next?" My answer has always been, "When I have something funny or important to say." Well, last night while watching the O'Reilly Factor, a commercial came on during one of the breaks that qualifies as both funny AND important. Honestly, I thought that the channel had been inadvertently switched to Saturday Night Live and I was watching one of their skits. The fact that this commercial is being aired during the highest rated cable news show in the world is absolutely unbelievable to me. I swear I couldn't make this stuff up.

I give to you . . . . . . . . . (drumroll) the Chia Obama. "Ch Ch Ch Chia!" That's right, the makers of the Chia Pet, you know, the crazy statues of different animals that double as pots for Chia seeds, have made a special edition of President Barack Obama's head to "celebrate and honor our 44th President". Uhhhh . . . . are you freaking kidding me? This has got to be a joke. A Chia Obama???? Their tagline is . . . wait for it . . . "Hail to the Ch Ch Ch Chief." YES WE CAN!! Absolutely unbelievable.

A couple things about this product are particularly amusing to me, other than the fact that it actually exists in the first place and that there are people out there that would actually buy it. The first thing is that there are two different models:

HAPPY CHIA OBAMA And my personal favorite: DETERMINED CHIA OBAMAThe fact that there is a Chia Obama is unbelievable enough, but TWO different poses? Give me a break. Is there really a human being out there that is such an Obamaniac that he looks at the Determined pose and says, "Huh, if only he looked a little happier." Conversely, is there a moron on earth that wouldn't buy the Happy pose because Barack just doesn't seem determined enough?? YES WE CAN!!

The other amusing part about the commercial that aired last night was the special promotion they were running. If you bought TWO Chia Obamas, they would reward you with FREE SHIPPING!!! I don't think I want to meet the person that decides that they just can't live with only one Chia Obama. YES WE CAN!!

It is no secret that the mainstream media is in love with President Obama. They practically worship the man - why??? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe because he is a great speaker, maybe because he is the 1st African-American president, maybe because he is a good-looking man. I believe it's mostly because he's not President Bush. I have had conversations about this with members of my family and some of my friends before he was sworn in. Hollywood loves him, mainstream media adores him, he honestly can do wrong - and for the life of me, I can't figure out why. He has done nothing before his presidency nor in his first six months as Commander-in-Chief to persuade me that he is worthy of all the praise he receives.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of Barack Obama. I disagree with pretty much all of his policies, foreign and domestic. With all that being said, I can understand why his fans support him and praise him and even want to celebrate him. But, a Chia Obama?????? I wonder if the President himself considers his own bust with green afro-like chia plant-hair an honor. I doubt it. I liked President Bush, but I would never own a Chia Bush. I would never own a Chia Reagan or if it came to it, a Chia Romney (and Mitt has the best hair of all of them to display in the Chia style). I wouldn't even own a Chia Chad. (OK - I might, just for the novelty of it)

Let's be honest, this doesn't honor or celebrate Barack Obama. It's an embarrassment. YES WE CAN??? Well, I can't.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Miracle of Life . . . Again

I remember distinctly about a year after my youngest son Justin was born. I remember feeling, "OK, we did it . . . We have three now . . . . We have fulfilled our quota . . . Our litter of three has both genders represented . . . . We have successfully obeyed the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth . . . . We are done . . . . We can rest now." I honestly remember thinking that I would have no more children and I was content and at peace with it.

I think the reason that I felt like that was in part because I was, and am still, so very pleased and proud of my three children. Aesthetically speaking, they all take after their mother and are generally pretty easy on the eyes.

I am also very grateful that for the most part, they all three are very well-behaved and obedient children. Tyler is the most easy-going, mild-mannered 9 year-old that I have ever seen. He rarely needs to be scolded and is always trying to help out whenever and wherever he can. Julia, although slightly more animated (and when I say slightly, I mean extremely), is still more obedient than most 5 year-old cartoon characters. Justin can be a loose cannon sometimes and occasionally throws an all out temper in the most public of places, but never when Daddy is around. (Mommy hates that) But generally speaking, he is a very well-behaved 3 year-old.

There are two things about my kids that I love most: First, they absolutely, unequivocally worship the ground that Mommy walks on. (Michelle is having girls night out right now at the movies and I have been reminded several times in the 20 minutes that she has been gone that I run a distant second behind Mommy) And secondly, there is no place that any of them would rather be right now at their current ages than at home with Mommy and Daddy or playing with each other. They get along so well together. Now, I am not so naive to think that this will continue for much longer; each will eventually find out that Michelle and I are not as cool as we tell them we are. They will inevitably discover flaws in their siblings and not want to play Star Wars or Pokemon with each other, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

In any case, I honestly thought Michelle and I were done having children, until a certain day last spring. I don't remember at all what we had done that day. All I remember is that we didn't feel like cooking dinner, so we went to Subway to eat. We were eating at Subway and I remember being very tired and somewhat cranky. Justin, who is the entertainer of the family, was doing something that had everyone except me in stitches. I was sitting in a booth with Michelle and all three kids were crammed in the booth across from us, laughing and eating. At one moment, I remember looking at my children and having the distinct impression that somebody was missing. There was somebody, and at the time I wasn't sure who, who was supposed to be with us, but wasn't. I can't explain it, I just felt like somebody was absent.

I remember stopping what I was eating and turning to Michelle and telling her, "I just had this feeling that there is someone missing from our family and I think we need to have another child." Michelle of course, is much more in tune with spiritual matters than I am, and she smiled at me and said something like, "I know. I have known that for a long time."

I share this story partially because of my deteriorating memory; I want to be able to read about this someday. But, mostly I share it because Michelle is now six months pregnant with our fourth child, a girl, and I couldn't be more excited. We have no idea what we will name her; I like Kate. Michelle likes Alexis. Julia likes Lucy or Kaitlyn. Tyler doesn't really care as long as it's not Lucy or Kaitlyn, and Justin is completely clueless; I am not sure he has even grasped the concept of another child living in our house and sleeping in his crib that he still asks if he can sleep in. He will be affected most by the birth of this new Cherrington as he will no longer be able to use the excuse, "But, I'm the baby." My hope is that she looks like her mother, although Michelle would like a girl with what she calls, "beautiful, thick Cherrington hair", like any one of my sisters. I would welcome that too.

Whatever we end up naming her or however her hair turns out, I am anxious to meet this missing child.