Monday, October 31, 2005

Favorite Halloween Movies

Here are a couple of my favorite movies to watch on Halloween. I do not go for the slasher movies.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

For those who never thought Disney would release a film in which Santa Claus is kidnapped and tortured, well, here it is! The full title is Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, which should give you an idea of the tone of this stop-action animated musical/fantasy/horror/comedy.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Frank Capra made this film in 1941 before he went off to make films for America's war effort, but it wasn't released until 1944. Adapted from the hit play by Joseph Kesselring, this frantic black comedy shows Capra at his best as a master of mood and timing.


Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the script, but Bill Murray gets all the best lines and moments in this 1984 comedy directed by Ivan Reitman (Meatballs). The three comics, plus Ernie Hudson, play the New York City-based team that provides supernatural pest control, and Sigourney Weaver is the love interest possessed by an ancient demon. Reitman and company are full of original ideas about hobgoblins--who knew they could "slime" people with green plasma goo?--but hovering above the plot is Murray's patented ironic view of all the action. Still a lot of fun, and an obvious model for sci-fi comedies such as Men in Black


Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. Its fun to get dressed up and pretend to be someone or something else. Check out Halloween Online for lots of Halloween stuff.

BTW: Sloth radio is playing halloween music all day.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Always Assume the Best

I assume we have all heard the phrase "Don't assume. It makes an A** out of U and ME". I am going to take issue with that bit of wisdom today. Have you ever looked assume up in the dictionary? I just did and it means lots of things, but the relevant definition is
To take for granted without proof; presuppose
Language and communication being what they are, we are forced to take some things for granted when talking with anyone.

Let me use a classic miscommunication as an example. The guy says to a girl, "You look nice today". His intent was to pay her a sincere compliment. Often, at least in comedies, the girl will respond, "Oh! So you mean I don't look good every day?". What happened? How does a compliment become an insult?

It has to do with assumed intent. Does the guy intend to compliment the girl or has he really been disappointed with her looks and finally she looks nice, for once. The answer is that the girl has to decide. Of course, guys and girls both do this sort of thing.

Whenever someone talks to us, we have to decide the intent of what is being said. We have a responsibility to decide. We have to assume. The problem arises when we assume incorrectly. When we assign the wrong intent to what is being said, the entire meaning will be changed. It is very important to get the intent right to understand what is being said.

A great way to get the intent right is that when your sweetie talks to you, always assume the best intent. Always put stuff in the "best possible light". If your sweetie really meant it that way, then your communication will be that much more enjoyable. If your sweetie meant it otherwise, you can often diffuse a tense situation and turn it into a comic misunderstanding in this way. Remember: The soft answer turneth away wrath.

Besides, your sweetie is a pretty great person. They were smart enough to marry you.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Date Idea: Free Concerts My son needed to attend a concert and report on it for band class. As we were looking around for possibilities, we found a free concert at the local university. Me and the oldest two kids went. Unfortunately, my sweetie was not able to attend.

This concert was unlike any other I have ever attended and it was way outside the realm of experience for my kids. The concert series consists of "experimental" music. There was percussion solo that was just incredible. Following this was a piano and flute duet which was interesting. The best way to describe it would be: What would a flute sound like if it was alive and trying to get away while it was being played. The musician seemed to be chasing his flute around the stage. My daughter had to cover her mouth to keep from laughing out loud while my son sat there with a quizzical look on his face. I had tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh at both the performance on stage and the reaction of my kids.

There was also a piano solo. On occasion, the pianist would slam down a hand or even his entire forearm onto the piano keys. My kids said "Mom gets mad at us when we do that". And they are right. Yet here we have a concert that involves playing a piano in just that sort of way.

When we got home, the kids spent quite some time telling their mother all about the concert. It will be something we will talk and laugh about for some time to come.

For an interesting evening, try out a free concert at the local university or community arts council. You may like it or not, but it may be something different than you have experienced before. You can find them on the univeristy website, by checking your local paper, or checking at your local library.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Formula for a Successful Marriage Is Simple

"The formula [for a successful marriage] is simple; the ingredients are few, though there are many amplifications of each.

"First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living.

"Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating

"Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing.

"Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"With these ingredients properly mixed and continually kept functioning, it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur. Divorce attorneys would need to transfer to other fields and divorce courts would be padlocked."

Spencer W. Kimball

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Teaching Gratitude

A previous post, Romance and Children, talks about involving your children with the romantic gestures you show your sweetie. By involving your little helpers, they get to enjoy the experience, but they are also learning from your example and your wisdom. Today, let's take that a step further and teach the children to be more grateful.

My sweetie does a lot and sacrifices a lot for me and the kids. Being a stay at home mom, she ends up doing a lot of thankless jobs. Why are they thankless? Because nobody bothers to thank her. Its not that they are not important, because they are. Its just that she does them and so nobody else notices. What's worse, the kids are often grumpy and disrespectful to my sweetheart.

How can you teach the kids to be grateful and respectful? Make a game of it like is mentioned in the 25 Days of Thanksgiving. November is coming up quick so now is a good time to prepare.

Another game would be to have the kids write down every nice thing that mom does for them and collect them in a jar for a week or two. At the end of the time, have a small celebration in your sweetheart's honor. Give her the jar along with a gift certificate to something she really enjoys but isn't normally able to take the time to enjoy. For my sweetheart, that might be a massage. Also arrange the time for her to do it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Take A Moment

Did you see the moon last night? As it came up over the mountains, it was almost full and very bright. The wispy clouds combined with the light to give the evening an ethereal feel to it. And I almost missed it.

My sweetheart came home and called me out into the yard. The kids were looking out the window to see what mom and dad were up to and I was a bit puzzled myself. My sweetie walked me out into the street and showed me the lovely moon and beautiful evening. We stood for a moment, admiring the scene and enjoying each others company. The air was just cool enough to make holding each other very pleasant. It was well worth a couple of minutes of time.

Tonight, take a minute, just for the two of you. Hold hand, hug and enjoy.

Friday, October 14, 2005

What's better than a nice warm bath?

A nice warm towel afterwards.

I love this time of year with the warm days, cool evenings and crisp mornings. However, getting out of the shower is a bit of a shock, BRRRRR! Do something thoughtful for your sweetie, provide them with a nice warm towel. If you have never tried it, do so. Its luxurious.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Season to fall in love again

In Season to Fall In Love I talked about the wonders of fall. We often speak of spring as the season of love and it truly is. However, fall is also a season of love. It is harvest time, the time to reap what we have sown. A time of plenty and thanksgiving. A time to prepare for winter.

Sow thoughtfulness to reap romance. Sow thankfulness to reap joy. Sow kindness to reap peace.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

They Lived Happily Ever After

Many of the TV screen shows and stories of fiction end with marriage: 'They lived happily ever after.' We have come to realize that the mere performance of a ceremony does not bring happiness and a successful marriage. Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money; it cannot be taken for

Some think of happiness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, and constant thrills; but true marriage is based on a happiness which is more than that, one which comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness.
Spencer W. Kimball

The honeymoon doesn't have to end, it just needs to adapt. By following the principles of giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing and selflessness, the feelings of love and joy can deepen over the years. Make the fire a bonfire rather than just smoldering embers. Just as a fire needs fuel to keep burning, so does a marriage. The fuel to keep the romance burning in your marriage is adhering to the above mentioned principles.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Improve communication within your marriage

I have a difficult time recommending web-sites that deal with the topic of romance while still being family friendly. As you can imagine, most romance sites are not family friendly. Today, I have found a site I think can add to your marriage and your family. It is the Family Site at

As you may or may not know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) is a big supporter of families. For this reason, they have provided this website as a public service. It is just what it appears to be. There will not be any missionaries knocking on your door as a result of looking at this website. Feel free to look to take a look.

A sample follows:

Improve communication within your marriage

Children need parents who are happy in their relationship. Good communication with your spouse contributes to a healthy family environment.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Keep problems private. When you need to discuss a serious concern with your spouse, do it “behind closed doors.”
  • Listen. Be patient and respectful while your spouse is speaking.
  • Learn to negotiate. Remember that different perspectives can strengthen your relationship. Be willing to compromise.
  • Keep talking. Openly discuss challenges and desires.
  • A soft answer turneth away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). When voices are raised, problems become more complicated. A gentle response can bring peace.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Good Wife's Guide

My friend forwarded me an email making the rounds. The subject line was "The Good Wife's Guide" and it appears to be making the rounds on the internet. I liked it so much I included it on my Humor Page.

Click for larger image

It is supposed to be from a 1955 "Housekeeping Magazine" and I have not checked whether it is a fake or if it was real. Regardless, it is funny. My sweetie had a good laugh over it.

While the none of the items on the list itself is not going to be taken very seriously, there is one grain of value that can be gleaned. It is the essence behind several of the suggestions. The thing we can apply is the notion of "preparing to greet your spouse".

Think about it. My sweetie and I spend most of our time apart. Those first few moments of when we meet up in the evening seem to be most critical. If we greet each other warmly and with a smile, it sets a cheerful tone for the rest of the evening. If, contrariwise, we are grumpy and grouchy then the whole evening gets off on the wrong foot.

Bottom line: before coming home or when your sweetie arrives, greet your sweetheart with a smile and a hug. Let your sweetie know that you are glad to be with them again. Spending a few moments enjoying each other's company will go a long way toward making the rest of the evening a pleasant one.

Imagine the impact it will have on the kids if they see how important your relationship with your sweetheart is to you. With all the bad examples of marriages that we are barraged with, setting a good example of proper priorities is most important.


Yesterday, my daughter's soccer coach was out of town, so he asked me to fill in for him. I was happy to do so having coached her team for a couple of years previously. Being coach for a day reminded me of what a great opportunity coaching my child's team is to build a relationship with her. On top of that, its a great tool for keeping the fire going between me and my sweetie.

When you coach a team, you get more involved in your child's life in a positive way. You don't even need to be a great coach, just put your heart into it and do your best. You get to spend time with your child and her friends. During the course of the season, you will meet many of the parents of your child's friends. Of course, your will develop an extra bond of love and shared experiences with your child. Besides, its great fun.

Its not just the guys who can coach. There are a lot of gals who coach as well.

Where does your sweetheart fit in? Its impossible to coach a team alone. Its a lot like herding cats some days. Your sweetie can also be involved with the peripheral activities that go on like leading the cheering section, rounding up the stragglers, and showing their support. I've found it a wonderful way to break out of the comfort zone and have some positive shared experiences as a couple. Thanks for your help, sweetie!

Of course, coaching youth sports is not the only way to have these sorts of experiences. Most youth organizations need adult volunteers. These organizations include:
* youth sports
* scouting - Cub, Boy and Girl
* school clubs

Spend some time not just being a parent, but being a coach as well.

Eating out for Hurricane Katrina victims

Dine for America: October 5
On October 5, 2005, restaurants across the country will band together in a "Dine for America" day, a national fundraising effort for the American Red Cross to help the survivors, victims, their families and other arising needs from the Hurricane Katrina and Rita disasters.

Maybe take your sweetie out for dinner.  The website provides a list of participating restautants by state and city.  For example, the local Chili's is donating 100% of their profits today.

Monday, October 03, 2005

How to keep a date from bombing.

Recently, we were watching an episode of a show we like to watch
together called Numb3rs. Its a television series about a math genius
who helps his FBI brother solve tough cases by using math. I know,
sounds boring, but it really is a fun show, really.

During this last episode, the math genius finally worked up the nerve
to ask out the girl he likes. They spent the first part of the date
discuss mathematics but decide to talk about something else instead.
At this point the conversation dries up because the have nothing else
in common. The date ends up bombing due to a lack of anything to say
to each other.

Later he asks what he could have done differently. I was tempted to
shout the answer at the TV. However, through years of experience, I
have determined that the characters in television shows rarely listen,
no matter how loud I yell. Instead, I'll quietly post my thoughts

Dating is as important in marriage as it is in courtship. What to
do on a date is very important. For some strange reason, dinner and a
movie is the "default date paradigm". Often, when we think about
going on a date, its "what's playing?" While there is nothing wrong
with dinner and a movie, there is very little right about it.

First, dinner. If you don't have much to say to each other, dinner
can be long, painful and boring. Then, the movie. You sit next to
each other not able to really interact. The movie ends and you can
spend a few minutes talking about it, then that is that.

Rather, when considering a date consider having a shared experience.
What is a share experience? A shared experience is spending time
together outside the comfort zone. Dinner and a movie is dead center
in the comfort zone. Move outside the zone and create a memory.

Some ideas include:
* swimming
* dancing
* hiking or talking a walk
* bowling
* air hockey
* amusement park

It doesn't need to cost a lot or anything at all.

What would I tell the socially inept math genius? Do something
physical and fun so you can have fun while you are being together.
This does two things. First, it make the current date a success,
Second, it gives you something in common to talk about on the next

So keep dating, but do it outside the comfort zone. Dinner and a
movie is good every so often, but only after you have had some shared
experiences to keep the conversation going.