Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Image: The Hunger Games, Lionsgate Entertainment
When I was young, my father and I bonded over archery. I had an old-fashioned long bow, "the stick and the string." Dad taught me that I had to unstring the bow when I wasn't using it, allowing the wood to straighten and the cord to dangle loose. If I didn't allow the bow to rest, or in other words, if I left the cord tight and the wood bent, I'd ruin the bow. The wood would splinter and snap while the cord would fray. "If you don't unstring the bow," he explained, "it won't be any good to anybody.


Gore-hounds with Netflix accounts have many options to satiate their bloodlust. Scream, The Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead 2, Carrie, and other modern classics abound in the Horror section. But if you've got kids, aren't big on gore, or simply like movies of all kinds (bloody or not), you have plenty of alternatives to get into the Halloween mood. I've sifted through hundreds of titles for you to find 23 splatter-free (and splatter-lite) Halloween options on Netflix Streaming. Keep in mind that some may still have content that isn't for everyone, so use your discretion.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


One night, while stargazing near Brian Head, Utah I noticed an especially bright star in my right periphery. Stunned by its brilliance, I shifted my gaze to admire it directly. It disappeared. Black space existed where the star had been. Thinking that I was mistaken, I looked elsewhere only to have it appear again, shining brightly once more in my peripheral vision! Time and again, when I looked right at it, the star vanished. When I focused instead on the surrounding stars, it reappeared.

Friday, September 19, 2014


"The Ascent" by David Linn
"Why me?" This ubiquitous cry of the suffering displays an urgent craving for answers. We try desperately to find reasons for our pain, the assumption being that purpose will help us to endure our sorrows, while meaninglessness makes them unbearable. The answers you find depend largely on what you believe, but there is a universal usefulness for our misery: everything we suffer empowers us to help others.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


“According to studies, most people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means, at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” - Jerry Seinfeld

About a decade ago I performed with a comedy group in college. Some nights I was "on," but other nights I'd get nervous about the crowd. Fear of embarrassment led me to forget my lines or stumble in my improv attempts. Joel, one of my fellow performers, was an audience favorite who never seemed to choke on stage. When I asked him for the secret to his fearlessness, his answer surprised me: "I just try to remember that there are people in the audience who are going through hard times. I have the privilege of helping them to laugh and feel happy, so each performance is my gift to them."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Not About the Nail? How to Fix and Validate Simultaneously

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You've likely seen the hilarious YouTube video about the wife with a nail in her forehead, telling her husband about the pressure and pain she constantly feels. He suggests that she get the nail removed and grows frustrated when she insists that "it's not about the nail," wanting him to validate her feelings instead of trying to fix her problem. It's a relatable struggle in a wonderfully ridiculous context.

Many couples get hung up on this dynamic (which is why the video is so popular), but what most fail to see is that validating and fixing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be the same thing as long as the real issue is properly identified.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: INTO THE WOODS at the Utah Shakespeare Festival

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As an examination of the dangerous pursuit of "happily-ever-after" and the sometimes-tragic consequences of getting what one wants, Stephen Sondheim's two-act musical Into the Woods (playing through August 30 at the Utah Shakespeare Festival) is a mixed bag of hit-or-miss comedy and drama. The first act is delightful, with a baker and his wife questing to undo a witch's curse of barrenness and, in the process, crossing paths with Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack (of the beanstalk fame). As each seeks their happy ending their tales are turned on their respective heads in clever and witty ways.