Friday, April 28, 2006

Classic Cartoon Countdown #9: Thundercats


This week's Classic is one that I think everyone will remember more clearly than last week's. Thundercats was a cartoon of the afternoon variety (as opposed to the Saturday morning kind). It was about a group of cat-people who lived on a place called Third-Earth and were always battling against a villain named Mumm-ra who lived in a coffin-looking box inside a pyramid.

The Thundercats themselves did their best to provide a character for everyone. There was the main hero type Lion-o who had the sword that when he yelled "Thundercats, Thundercats, Thundercats, Hooooooo!" it would send up a signal for all the other Thundercats to come running. Also he could use it as some kind of binoculars/telescope/mystic viewer thing where he would look through the hilt and be able to see either far away or maybe something that wasn't even in view.

After Lion-o there was the older mentor type (Panthro), the girl (Cheetara), the kids (Kit and Kat), Tygra (the sidekick), and of course the annoying talking animal (Snarf).

It seems like these guys were always getting into sticky situations where Mumm-ra had lured them into some kind of trap and then they'd have to get out of it. Generally Lion-o's magic sword came in handy in these situations.

One memorable series of episodes was when Lion-o had to pass a series of trials to prove that he truly was worth to be the leader of the Thundercats (Snarf excluded of course) and had to take on each of his fellow Thundercats and best them at their own strengths.

Look for a few honorable mentions to show up next week (but definitely not before I have my committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon).

Here's the countdown so far:

#10: Underdog
#9: Thundercats

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Every once in a while, the U gets it right


Got back about an hour ago from enjoying a great show outdoors at the U put on by Yellowcard. Who totally rocked the joint, and managed to grace us with more songs off their next-to-last album than off their new one. I was kind of glad that they didn't try to force their new stuff on us, and the crowd definitely seemed appreciative to hear their favs. The band really seems to have an affinity for SLC and mentioned that this was their biggest audience ever (approx. 8,000 attendees). Not sure if that means for a show that they were headlining, because I would guess they've opened for audiences that big before. My ears are still ringing a bit. Normally I would have worked my way into the pit, at least for a bit, but I was with some friends who were a bit ansy about getting trampled.

I don't know why the U doesn't focus more on having more of these free big name events and fewer events where I can get discount tickets to see someone I've never heard of. I realize they probably don't have the budget to get lots of big names bands to come and and give students free tickets, but I'd prefer two great shows like tonight to the 20-odd events featuring Nobody McNo-One and his backup band.

Anyway, for at least one night, they got it right. Props to whoever was behind that one.

Addendum: Just in case anyone was wondering, I thought I'd add the list of songs they played. I don't remember the exact order of the setlist, so I'll just give it to you by the album that the song is on.

From Ocean Avenue:
Way Away
Ocean Avenue
Empty Apartment
Life of A Salesman
Only One
Back Home

From Lights and Sounds:
Lights and Sounds
Down On My Head
Sure Thing Falling
Rough Landing, Holly
Waiting Game

and from One for the Kids:
October Nights

Friday, April 21, 2006

Introducing the Classic Cartoon Countdown

That's right, the new weekly feature which will replace the FFFFF will be a nostalgic glance back to my childhood and the wonderful days of cheaply animated children's television. I'll be counting down my top 10 favorite shows, along with some honorable mentions thrown in for fun.

I'll be honest, cartoons were a huge part of my life growing up. Every afternoon we'd sit down and watch cartoons for a couple hours, sometimes with the neighbors, sometimes at home. And of course the weekly highlight was Saturday morning, where you got 3 channels full of cartoons for at least 4 or 5 hours. That's approximately 30 different cartoons to choose from in one morning.

I remember my mom used to come down to the bedroom that my older brother and I shared on Friday night with the TV listings so that we could work out beforehand what shows we'd be watching the next morning, so that she wouldn't have to worry about being up at 6 to keep us from fighting. The rule was that we had to make our beds before we could watch them, so we'd set our alarm clock (the first alarm clock we ever got in our room was to wake us up for Saturday morning cartoons) for 5:50 so we'd have time to get up, make our beds, and get out in front of the TV before the first shows came on. This was in the era where if you turned on the TV before 6, then the channels were all showing the multi-colored bars. Don't you miss those? Now there's crazy infomercials on all night, but not back then.

At some point as I was growing up, I never really knew when exactly, Saturday morning television moved away from these great shows and all of a sudden there was news on TV on Saturday, or even infomercials sometime. Now you're lucky to even find cartoons on broadcast television, and the ones they have just don't seem to be as cool as the ones I used to watch.

Anyway, rather than turn this into some ramblingly, teary-eyed, diatribe about the disappearance of cartoons, lets jump right into the countdown at spot #10:


Underdog, if I remember correctly fell into the category of cartoons that were on during the day, which meant I only got to watch it if I was home sick from school, or during the summer when I wasn't doing chores or out playing with friends. As a result, I could never seem to get a coherent Underdog storyline, but basically, he was kind of a Superman type character whose mild-manner alter-ego was "Shoeshine Boy" and when it was time for him to become Underdog he'd hop in a phonebooth and change, but he also had a vitamin in his ring that gave him his super powers. He was always trying to save the girl dog/lady whose name was Polly Purebred (I'll admit, I had to look that one up).

I think the main reason that I never got a whole Underdog storyline, was because Underdog was one of those cartoon shows where the actual Underdog portion only lasted maybe 6 minutes of the 30 minute time block and the rest was made up with other cartoons, same as on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and I had a hard time remembering which other cartoons went with which, but after doing some research, Underdog's animated pals included:

The World of Commander McBragg
The World of Commander McBragg
where the general guy would tell outlandishly false tales of his adventures.

Klondike Kat
Klondike Kat
who was always trying to stop that mouse (Savoir Faire) from stealing everything. "Au contraire, mon frer. Savoir Faire is Everywhere!"

The Go Go Gophers
Go Go Gophers
who were gophers who were also Native Americans and were constantly doing battle with some US army types who lived in a fort and were trying to scare them off their land.

These cartoons actually had self-contained episodes and didn't leave you hanging for next...whenever you watched next. Meanwhile, Underdog was always in dire straits and they say to tune in next time to see what happened, but I almost never was able to watch two episodes in a row which was kind of frustrating.

I think what I loved probably the most about Underdog was the cool theme song, which you can listen to here. "Speed of lightning, roar of thunder, fighting all who rob or plunder. Underdog!"

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the new feature, and look forward to seeing more blurry, internet-enhanced memories each Friday.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

These are the times...

In our stake conference this past weekend, one of our counselors in the stake presidency gave talk based on a quote from Thomas Paine that I'm sure I've heard part of before, but not sure if I've heard all of. Most of you out there are probably more familiar with it than I am, but I just loved it so much that I wanted to share it and some thoughts with you.

From "The Crisis, No. 1" written in December of 1776 near the dawn of the Revolutionary War:

"THESE are the times that try men's souls.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."

(emphasis in the wikipedia article, not sure if in the original)

There is just so much in this quote that I love.

The talk focused on not being summer soldiers and sunshine patriots (interesting given that the Declaration of Independence was signed in the summer and this was written in the winter) in the war against sin. I appreciate the high value given to freedom in this quote and certainly it is applicable even today, despite having been written over 230 years ago. But by far my favorite part is the part about the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph, and how we truly value things that we have worked hard to accomplish, and how the truly great things in life, the blessings of heaven, are highly rated and not easily won. I think there's probably books that could be written on that topic alone. Probably have been. But it makes me glad to think that the things that I struggle over are things that will be of great worth to me once I achieve them.

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly...Heaven knows how to put a proper price on its goods." Why didn't I ever get to read that in my History classes? Maybe I would have taken more if I would have realized how much greatness there was on display.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #12: Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets


During at least one semester of my college career, I was forced to eat lunch at the Student Union Building a couple times a week. You'd think that a place whose whole goal is to serve food to college students could do a better job at having decent food, but other than some ethnic options that I could never really trust, the only choices were a limited selection Pizza Hut, and a Chick-Fil-A. And while Chick-Fil-A seemed to think that a chicken sandwich (which supposedly they invented) is just a breaded ball of chicken with some pickles on it wrapped in a wimpy bun, thankfully their chicken nuggets are some of the best nuggets out there in fast food land.

Coming in packages of 8 or 12 pieces, and a choice of dipping sauces, you can count on these nuggets to be tender and not buried in breading. I recommend the BBQ sauce (the honey mustard is a frightening shade of yellow bordering on green), but if you actually find one of these place outside of the student union, they have more sauces to choose from then just BBQ and honey mustard.

The waffle fries here are also pretty tasty if you can get them fresh.


Now that I've addressed this week's FFFFF, I have something to say. This is going to be the last of the regularly scheduled Friday Featured Fast Food Favorite. I'm kind of worried that I'm nearly to the end of my Fast Food Favorites, and I'd hate to keep dragging a dead horse. Before I'd know it I'd be telling you how much I like the bigger straws at Arby's or how Wendy's salt packets are the best. While from time to time something may catch my interest enough to merit a one-time comeback of the FFFFF, I've decided that its time for the 5-F to be retired. Besides 12 is a nice round number. Don't worry though, this doesn't mean that Friday's will just be another day here at the Big Digital. Stay tuned next week for the debut of a brand new weekly feature.

In retrospect, here a list of all the FFFFF:

Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #1: Arby's Chicken Bacon 'n Swiss
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #2: Einstein Bros.'s Turkey Sausage and Cheddar Egg Sandwich
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #3: Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #4: Taco Bell's Zesty Chicken Border Bowl
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #5: Panda Express's Orange Chicken
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #6: Arctic Circle's Bacon Cheeseburger
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #7: Great Steak and Potato's Great Steak Sandwich
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #8: Schlotzky's Turkey Bacon Club
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #9: Sconecutter's Club Scone Sandwich
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #10: Sonic's Chicken Club Toaster Sandwich
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #11: KFC's Twister
Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #12: Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Go Big or Go Home -- You're Kidding Me, Right?

Kier Dillon Big Air Invert
"Going Big"

"Go Big or Go Home" Its a phrase thats seems to have inundated my daily life. It conjures images of snowboarders soaring through the air while attempting ridiculous acrobatic moves and people doing double-backflips on bmx bicycles. Strangely, though, it seems to have expanded in meaning of late, and now can be used for anything you want. I googled it and found that in addition to so-called extreme sports athletes, the motto also could be applied to investing, playing poker, small businesses, protests, and custom rims, among other things. I've even heard people say, "My life motto is to go big or go home." Mountain Dew would have us belive that by drinking their soda, we must be "Going Big". Recently my ward had a 5K run-walk with T-shirts that said "Go Big or Go Home."

I'm not sure what it is about the phrase "Go Big or Go Home" that people enjoy so much. I can see its application in the sense of a philosophy to risk everything in order to be the VERY best, rather than just good, or sufficient. But I don't see why this appeals to people so much. I mean, I don't know if any of you have seen "Deal or No Deal" on NBC (its kind of hard to miss these days), but the people who hold out hoping they have the million dollar suitcase almost always end up with chump change, when they could have gotten a better deal by selling. In life I think the same generally applies. Its one thing to want to do well, quite another to risk everything to be the best regardless of the odds.

Practical Accountant
"Going Big?"

But what really gets under my skin is the regular old people like you and me who claim to always "Go Big", when really the only thing they "Go Big" on is their Biggie-sized combo at Wendys. In fact, I'm suprised that Wendy's hasn't adopted this as their latest marketing slogan. Its used so much by people who don't personify its meaning that now its lost its meaning. When I saw it on our 5K shirts I asked, "Will there be some kind of bungie jumping that I have do in the middle?". "No, its just the slogan we picked." I mean, c'mon, its a 5K. Thats like 3.1 miles. I walked it in 42 minutes. Did I "Go Big"? Not that I was aware of, but then again, no one tried to make me "Go Home" either.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that unless your life is frequently in danger or at least your limbs, try to refrain from proclaiming that you "Go Big". And if you can't refrain, then please..."Go Home."

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Tortoise and The Hare


You know the fable of the tortoise and the hare? Well I think its full of crap. I mean c'mon. The turtle is never going to beat the hare in a race. I mean, why does the hare have to get labeled as irresponsible, just because its faster than the tortoise. I mean, "Slow and Steady" wins the race? I think that "Fast and steady" or "Fast and even kind of steady" beats "Slow and steady" every day and twice on Sundays.

I realize the moral of the story is the need to be consistent and basically that consistency in the right direction beats bursts of movement in the right direction, but hares are so much faster than tortoises. I think the hare could totally stop for a nap, or lemonade, or a tennis match, or whatever the hare supposedly did and still win the race. A hare has humongous legs for running really fast. And tortoises -- they're reaaaaly slow And who's to say that tortoises are any more steady? We should focus more on their good qualities, like their sturdy shell and whatever else tortoises have going for them that hares don't.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday's Featured Fast Food Favorite #11: KFC's Twister

I'll be honest. I had to think for a (brief) moment about what to feature today for the fast food favorite. But after a quick moment of pondering I remembered that I had failed to feature anything from another Utah original: KFC. I could be mistaken, but I think that Kentucky Fried Chicken has officially changed its name to KFC much like other organizations like the AAA, and I forget the rest, but its a change that's the exact opposite of IHC changing its official name to Intermountain Healthcare, although I guess IHC was never its official name anyway, but now its not its name at all.

Sorry for the confusion to anyone who is unfamiliar with our state's largest medical provider and my life's largest research location.

Back to the lecture at hand: The Twister.

The Twister is essential a chicken strip burrito, for lack of a better term. And I think its an admirable idea. Chicken strips by themselves tend to be a bit dry, even with some sauce to dip them in. By wrapping 3 of them in a tortilla, you allow them to be surrounded by lettuce and tomato, in addition to some kind of sauce that's in there. Personally, I like to get some dipping sauce, usually BBQ or Honey Mustard, and empty the packet's content into the open end of the Twister. I've seen a chicken strip salad at other places, but this is the only place I'm aware of that sells a chicken strip wrap.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Commercial That Almost Made Me Cry

Not because it was sappy. In fact it shouldn't have evoked any emotion at all other than a lust for bargain priced furniture. But no. At the end it said, "Spring isn't half over. Its half off!"

You have to realize that as this commercial was playing in the background, I was looking out our front window at a snow-covered lawn as rain continued to fall. "How can Spring be half over?", I thought. "Its still winter outside."

Honestly, Utah. I thought you were a desert.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

2006 College Slam Dunk Contest Highlights

I've been seeing a lot of blog posts with embedded video lately, and just happened on one that I wanted to share with all of my basketball fans out there. Its highlights from this year's NCAA slam dunk contest. Needless to say, this has been the slam dunk contest to watch over the last few years in my opinion. The pros can barely get 4 guys to come out and compete and then they spend hours trying to get elaborate dunks to work, often missing on numerous attempts before finally being successful. It seems like the college guys get more and more athletic each year and their dunks seem to be a bit simpler with more of an emphasis on athleticisim. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the highlights:

I don't want to ruin it for anyone who wants to watch it, but there are some spectacular dunks, including some foulline area takeoffs that are much more elaborate than Dr. J and Air Jordan ever managed to pull off. These guys can literally jump out of the gym. (By literally, I mean figuratively).