Archive for January, 2007

Pay it Forward

One of my good friends yesterday told me that in the 15 years he’d known me, he had never once seen me refuse a request for help from anyone, including offering it to some who never asked. I mentioned that to another friend who said that about covered it for him, too. I thought those comments incredibly generous and some of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. It’s true that we do a great deal of charitable work here at the Group, but today I thought I’d take a second and mention some of the huge number of people that have helped ME, perhaps by way of explanation about why I feel compelled to pay things forward.

Steve Stockdale, for instance, who once paid off a debt I owed back when my stock brokerage was fading into the sunset. Paid off a collection, in fact. I know he never told me about it; it’s possible that he doesn’t even know that I know. But I do, and I’m grateful.

Dr. David Harrison and his wife Stephanie, who have treated not only me but everyone in my immediate family to free dental care for the last 20 years. No kidding. Absolutely FREE, and without one single word about it to me. Just today I had my teeth drilled (the upper #1 was decaying under the filling), and he not only took another x-ray to make sure that he didn’t have to drill TWO teeth (he didn’t), he spent his 45 minutes – for the second time in two weeks – and made sure that the procedure was done absolutely correctly, with extra base over the nerve to keep me from having serious discomfort later. It worked. He never said a thing about it. He never does. He is an incredibly generous, kind, and gentle man, and I love him. You should call him if you need dental care, because the “care” part can’t possibly be done better anywhere else. He’s at 801-969-1802, and Stephanie might even answer the phone when you call.

Ellen Hadfield, who watches my children for nothing to let my wife do volunteer work at the local charter school. This is no small favor. I do not have quiet children, nor few of them.

Sean Snorgrass, who for Christmas bought my entire family dinner at Rib City, and last week went to the gun show in Salt Lake and bought me two boxes of .303 ammunition for my Enfield WWII rifle. And then refused to let me pay him.

Seth Hawkins, who once gave me an envelope filled with money – some three or four hundred dollars – when we were so broke we couldn’t turn the heat on. Seth and Michelle, themselves, have never been wealthy by the world’s definition, but they are the picture of class and compassion, not to mention determination. Seth once picked mangoes off a tree and sold them on the street corner in Puerto Rico to get food for his family. He tells the story that the mangoes weren’t ripe enough to eat, but some stranger stopped and bought them all. There are people like this all over the world.

Barry, Richard, and Bryce Gardner, who were out cruising the neighborhood one day and saw that I needed help. We had just moved into this house, had all our life’s possessions still in the garage, and Jeanette had just fallen into the crawl space onto the concrete and spend half a day in the hospital after being cut out of her clothes and rescued by the Lehi Paramedics. I was sick, most of the kids were dead tired, and I was sitting in the garage on the steps and just couldn’t move another step. Up the driveway come these three huge men with great smiles on their faces and start picking up boxes and carrying them in. Two, three boxes at a time. In fifteen minutes, they cleaned out the garage, and without saying a thing except “you’re welcome”, shook my hand, went back off down the driveway, got into their truck, and left. I still choke up thinking about it, how bad we needed that help and how cheerfully it was given.

My mother and my father, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. There is no possible way to match their generosity to me and my family. There are far, far too many instances to list. I have to get work done, after all.

My wife. Oh, Jeanette. What could I do without you?

There are more, and no doubt there are thousands of instances I can’t remember or never knew about, people all over who go about doing me service and taking care of me (I am really kind of like a little kid sometimes) that I never notice and couldn’t repay if I did. These people are out there in your life, too, you know. It might do us all good to make a list like this once in a while.

Thank you, all of you. May God bless you.

Once More with Feeling

I was just finishing up my blog earlier today when my computer, which is possessed by the devil, decided to spontaneously reboot. Having lost everything, it’s taken until now for me to be able to get back to the blog, but I wanted to mention something that happened today simply because of how unusual it was.

We’re putting together the Pontificating Potty Post, and we have a plethora of photos from Twelfth Night. Olivia took most of them with her new digital camera, a lovely Kodak. Unfortunately, although the files, when you transfer them to your computer, look like they are standard .jpg files, they aren’t. They don’t print. Our printers can’t read more than one of them at a time. This is a complication.

Steve, who is the office dogsbody and general fix-it-up chappie, started working on the problem at about 2pm. By 4, it was apparent that the problem was the picture format, so he called Kodak tech support to see if he could get the problem fixed. The tech, bless her heart, stayed on the phone with him for almost half an hour helping him navigate some new software and a host of other things until he could import photos into Publisher directly from Kodak EasyShare, even though Publisher is not one of the programs they support. It was an unusual effort from somone that couldn’t possibly benefit from going the extra mile. Kudos to Kodak.

Unfortunately, all her help was useless, because in the end the pictures still wouldn;t print more than one at a time. So Steve printed them one at a time, scanned them back in, and THOSE files print just fine, thanks. So the Post will be late. But it will get there.

And Life Goes On

I promised to be on the regular blog schedule as of last week, and those of you that know the blog schedule know that means I blog when I have something to blog about.

Or, like today, even when I don’t.

A random selection of things:

Netflix is fantastic. We were, for a year, MVP customers of Hollywood Video. There’s a store about 300 yards from here, which was very convenient, and occasionally to be able to take out 3 movies at once was useful (we really do not get much time to get to the movies these days, not to mention that we couldn’t possibly afford to take the entire menagerie to the flicks – the popcorn alone would break us – we have a very old big screen, a popcorn maker, and really comfortable couches, so DVD is the way to go), but with us there were two serious problems: one, we almost never had time to watch 3 movies in 5 days, and two, the movies we really want to watch are just too weird to be occupying shelf space at Hollywood Video.

We like some foreign films (49 Up), and we like obscure documentaries (What the Bleep Do We Know), and we like eclectic TV shows (Hustle) which can only occasionally be found on DVD. We also do not really know when time will permit us to sit and watch a movie. Two hours is a long time. So Netflix works extremely well for us, and it’s cheaper to boot.

The thing with Netflix is that they can stock every movie ever made and it takes up no more space than a server rack. This is not quite the Amazon model, but it’s certainly what Amazon would do if they could. Books don’t duplicate the way DVDs and CDs do. You can put all the digital media on earth in a space no larger than my house, and then when someone wants something, no matter how obscure, you can burn them a copy and voila! Netflix.


On our other blog, we have the first of a long series on real-estate investing, The Secrets of Real Estate. Recommended.

Chris Leak did lead Florida to winning the Mythical National Championship (MNC), but hymns of praise to him for his stellar play are somewhat misguided. Yes, his stats are gaudy in some respects, until you consider the following: he did not complete a single pass that was longer than 15 yards in the air, and he completed only two passes of ten that were longer than 10 yards. In other words, Urban Meyer designed a game plan that required his quarterback to do only things that 90% of the 1A quarterbacks in the nation can do. Perhaps this escaped the notice of the pro scouts in the audience, but I bet it didn’t. Far from making him an automatic first-rounder, I bet the MNC game actually HURT Leak’s draft status. Regardless, he will not make a good living in the NFL. He’s just not a very good quarterback. But he has a ring.

The new year has brought the usual round of silliness about new year’s resolutions, from the “just don’t make any” to the “here are some you can certainly keep”. We made resolutions when I was a kid, but our main resolution-making has always occurred at Christmas in our birthday party for Jesus. We give to Jesus as a gift one thing, essentially a resolution, but a little more than that, since it isn’t a promise to ourselves, but to Him. It’s made it a little easier to keep, for me. Make your resolutions a gift to someone you respect. See if that works.

Hail the Conquering Heroes

So the Gators won the National Championship in one of the worst football games in the history of the game, but kudos to them all the same. If that fiasco, however, was not the definitive proof that the BCS has to go, and go right now, I don’t know what would be.


The best BCS game was the one that until this season could not have happened – Boise State over Oklahoma. The non-BCS conferences are now 2-0 in BCS games.

If a couple of coaches hadn’t screwed Michigan in the final poll of the regular season, we would have had OSU/Michigan II, and we would never have known how truly bad the Big Ten is.

If USC doesn’t lose focus in their last game against UCLA, then they are in the championship game, and Florida goes to the Rose Bowl. The results of the two games would have been pretty much the same, and everyone would be talking about how awesome USC is, not Florida.

It’s a travesty and it’s hurting the game. The ratings for the championship game were awful. Deservedly. The game was over halfway through the second quarter. Wouldn’t you pay good money to see USC/Boise State/Florida and LSU in a Final Four now?

But it won’t happen until 2010. If ever.

I should put in here a Twelfth Night recap. For those of you not in the know, Twelfth Night is our annual charity ball (info here) and client appreciation event. We had over 200 people this year – doubling attendance again – and raised more than twice as much money as 2006. It is always amazing to me to see the generosity of the people I know, and since you’re likely one of them, thank you. If you missed it, or forgot your wallet, or something, and you’d like to make a donation to A Child’s Hope Foundation, please email the Empress of Impressions at Take a trip to Mexico. They’ll take you and you’ll never be the same.

Special thanks to the BYU Ballroom Team, Britney Harper, Misses Provo, Spanish Fork and Lehi, Utah County Commissioner Steve White, Amy Jo Yates, Gordon Jones and the Music Makers, Melanie Mellenthin, Paul Jones (pf jones), Heather Hunsaker of LaVilla Salon, Bella Medica, James Roberts of Orange Realty, Robbie Robertson of TAZ Business Solutions, and Kirk from the Apollo Dance Hall, along with all our fantastic volunteers. Thank you a thousand times.

See you all next year, January 12, 2008.