Valentine’s Day Thursday Rundown

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air and I hope it is in your hearts as well. I think I just got hit with an arrow from Cupid so before I pass out let me quickly write tonight’s Thursday Rundown…

Before I begin my Rundown, I just want to say Happy Valentine’s Day to Sidney and Sloan.

The Fry Rankings – This is the best thing to come along since the fry chart. A writer for the Los Angeles Times, Lucas Peterson, ranked French fries from 19 different fast food restaurants. His assessment was thorough, descriptive, and hilarious. It just wasn’t accurate. Some of my readers might call blasphemy on me, but I don’t think there is anything more overrated than McDonald’s French fries. They are just too wimpy and lack flavor. But this dude tried to lend legitimacy to the Mickey D’s fry myth with a #2 ranking. Peterson isn’t a complete wacko though – I actually strongly agree with his #1 ranking (you will have to read the article to find out what it is). However, for the most part, I think I am at odds with him. I can’t believe the savage ranking he gave to Chick-fil-A fries!

A visual look at Lucas Peterson’s rankings.

Crafty Wife – Sloan gave her little classmates some pretty cute Valentines today, thanks to her mommy’s handiwork last night. Sid secured coloring books and crayons for Sloany’s friends and added a “You color my world” paper heart. It was a great day for our daughter as Oxford Children’s Academy once again went out of the way to make a holiday special. The toddlers baked cookies, played games, and ate healthy red foods.

Sid made these Valentines for Sloan’s classmates.

What Were You Thinking? – Stupid viral videos don’t always make the Thursday Rundown but tonight is an exception. This past weekend, a Toronto woman decided it was a good idea to chuck a deck chair from the 45th floor of a building. I mean you really got to watch the video to see the stupidity and obliviousness of it all. If the chair had landed on a person, which was a pretty good possibility considering the building is in a busy part of the city, it would be an automatic game over for the unlucky soul. Thankfully the chair found pavement and the pavement found a mangled mess. Oh yeah, the 19-year-old chair tosser was identified and is now facing multiple charges. What goes through the minds of some people?!

I don’t really understand why you would throw a chair off a balcony.

That Sweet Treat – When I worked in the athletic department at the University of Montana, if there was an evening athletic event on a weekday, I would put in long hours. it wasn’t uncommon that I would report to the office at 8:30 a.m. and then leave campus at around 9:30 p.m. after the game concluded. If it was a Friday night, I would treat myself on the way home. There was a Dairy Queen right by my apartment where I would order Chocolate Xtreme Blizzards with added cookie dough. I would get home, sprawl out on the couch, and savor every single bite. This past Friday I stopped by a Myrtle Beach Dairy Queen by our house and ordered one for old time sake. It was just as good as I remembered it.

This was my chocolate xtreme Blizzard from Friday night. It was so good!

Celebrity Big Brother Reaction – I found myself entertained, and frustrated, with the second season of Celebrity Big Brother. I thought the cast was strong and the drama intriguing. I cheered enthusiastically for Tom Green throughout the season and was disappointed when he was evicted this past Friday. I think he was the perfect contestant; funny and competitive. He made me laugh out loud too many times but never ceased to play hard. I wasn’t a fan of the Anthony Scaramucci twist as it made very little sense (odd to say someone is a cast member and then randomly remove them from the show and say they aren’t). As for the winner? After Tom was evicted I threw my support behind Ricky Williams so when the ex-NFL star took Tamar Braxton to the Final Two, I had a clear favorite. Unfortunately, Tamar won unanimously (9-0).

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Class dismissed! Go grab your sweetheart and express your love. I will touch base next week. Don’t Blink.

Predictable Eating

When I saw the below tweet on my timeline, I had to respond. Under no circumstances could I let a Twitter follower have any doubt in his mind that it is shameful or weird to eat the same food over a period of consecutive days. Stepping in was imperative.

No, Steve! There is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to eating the same thing over consecutive days.

I do more than just support those who eat the same thing day in and day out – I wholeheartedly participate in the practice myself!

My wife describes me as a “creature of habit” and in certain instances I would agree with her. Food is one of these instances. I have actually documented this pretty thoroughly via Don’t Blink. It is well-known that I ate a plain peanut butter sandwich for lunch over the span of many years. I once went several months eating a cheap frozen personal pizza every night. I did something similar with Campbell’s Chunky Soup.

I have other examples not as extreme. Sid made me a huge lasagna for my most recent birthday. I ate it every day for over a week…for lunch and dinner. I can eat Thanksgiving leftovers until it is December. As a bachelor, it wasn’t uncommon for me to buy a whole Costco pizza, bag the slices up, and eat a couple each night, providing me dinner for the whole work week.

Currently? I am on a pasta kick. For the past five weeks, I have eaten buttered noodles every weeknight. I prepare two 1-pound packages of pasta on Sunday and feast on it all the way through Thursday, if not Friday. It works out great because I can eat something I genuinely like while Sidney eats her Keto meals.

I ate another delicious bowl of pasta tonight.

Why would I do this? Out of all the flavorful, soulful food in the world, what would possess me to eat the same bland dishes for days on end?

Convenience? Routine? Lack of creativity?

No, no, no. Believe it or not, I eat this food because I actually like it. Some people get bored eating the same thing over and over; heck, some people can’t even bring themselves to eat day-old leftovers. Not me. I can eat something with the same glee and gratefulness on day #1 as day #20. Call me weird or call me easy to please, but I have no problem eating pizza for five straight months, let alone just five straight days.

Jury is out on how long I will continue my carb-loading sessions at dinner. All I know is that my pasta was once again delicious tonight. When it comes to what someone shoves into their mouth, whether it be a different exotic dish each meal or the same microwavable dinner every evening, to each his own. Don’t Blink

A Short Life

It seems too common yet it also always comes as a shock. Someone you know–whether it be a friend, acquaintance, or person from your past–suddenly passes away. Whether it be the result of an accident or an illness that struck with little warning, it always stings. You think of the person who passed and reflect on their life. You pray for them and their family. You wonder why their life had to be cut so short. Then, after a while, you start to think of your own earthly mortality.

What I am briefly about to write isn’t novel You have all heard it before, many different times. Perhaps the words I use might be a little different but the theme is the same.

While on Earth, we don’t have that much time–even if we live the average 78.69 years. As we are reminded more often than we would like, many people won’t even make it close to that United States benchmark. Our time is short.

So, how do we come to grips with this? Well, knowing that a heavenly reward awaits those who follow the Lord is the best answer. But we can also challenge ourselves to do something that will make our time here, even if it is for just a brief moment, worthwhile. In my opinion, that “something” is to just to be a good person.

So simple yet so complex, right? Being a good person can be subjective. But at the crux of it, I think good people can all identify with a few basic tenants they embrace each day.

Humility: Always be humble. Recognizing that other people exist in our orbit is important and deferring to them is key. The world doesn’t revolve around us. Admitting mistakes, saying I’m sorry, and being honest about strengths and weaknesses are all lessons in humility. If we live each day as if we are servants instead of kings, we will expect less and appreciate more.

Love: Nothing is more fulfilling than the feelings we have in our hearts for those closest to us. Cultivating these relationships on a daily basis and always putting our loved ones first will ensure that when we go, our hearts will be full. Good people act and speak with love.

Thankfulness: You can tell good people by the sincere gratitude they display. They are thankful both externally and internally. Never shy about recognizing someone else, they let others know that they are thankful to have them in their lives and are grateful for the contributions that they make. Internally, it is always Thanksgiving for good people. They are thankful for everything they have been blessed with, from their health to their safety. Their gratitude doesn’t depend on material possessions but simply by the God given opportunity to live a good and honest life.

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We have the choice to be a good person each day. It is something that I need to work on. I pray that I, and everyone else struggling to seek and find the narrow way, will be able to figure it out before being called home. Don’t Blink.

Low Carb Pizza Thursday Rundown

Peace be with you! I hope you have had a nice week and that you are fully recovered from your Super Bowl parties. Let’s get started with tonight’s five topics.

Keto Snack – I usually don’t eat anything keto-related, but I made a recent exception. What you see below is tortilla pizza, a dish that Sid made from the keto cookbook that Sloan gave her as a birthday gift. You simply take a low carb tortilla and layer it with sauce and cheese. Sid then cooked it on the stove. Although this is too light for a meal, it sure made for a great snack.

This is the tortilla pizza that Sidney made.

The Claw – This morning I saw a story about a unique situation in Alabama. A toddler managed to trap himself in a claw arcade machine. Do you know what I mean? I am talking those games where you position a three-pronged claw to grab a stuffed animal or other toy long enough so it is dropped and dispensed. The boy crawled up through the dispensing door, finding himself right in the middle of toy land. He required rescue assistance from the fire department.

I remember when I was 7 or 8. I was at a Safeway with my mom. As we were leaving, I watched an adult woman play a claw machine. She put a dollar in and failed at both attempts. She put another dollar in. No luck. Then another dollar and another dollar. Still another dollar. After what seemed like $20 (far more than any of the prizes in the cage), she managed to capture a stuffed animal, the claw successfully grasping it long enough to dispense it. Without saying more than two words, she grabbed her hard earned prize and handed it to me as she walked out into the parking lot.

This boy trapped himself in a claw machine.

Sloan Update – Just the latest ramblings on Sloan…she is turning into an accomplished singer. She has about 6-7 songs in her repertoire that she will perform for us. She has her ABCs down and her favorite letter is S. She can finally say her name after learning the names of everyone else in her life first. Her daycare has taught her so much, including animal sounds and table etiquette. She constantly says “church” but sometimes she can’t stay still once we actually arrive and sit in the pew. She loves cats but dislikes dogs. She lives a good life.

Some recent Sloan photos…the top image is with her friend, Riley.

Getting GIPHY With It – At #CCUSocialMedia, we know GIFs aren’t going anywhere. In fact, we realize they are as popular and versatile as ever. We have plunged head first into the new brand accounts offered by GIPHY. Thanks to our new social media specialist, Anthony Bowser, our presence on the platform has been felt. Anthony created an entire selection of unique CCU GIFs, quickly racking up over 1.4 million views on our account. The best part is that these Chanticleer-inspired GIFs are available for use on Instagram Story and Snapchat. Want to add some teal to your Story? Simply type “Coastal Carolina University” in the GIF bar.

Make sure to add these Coastal Carolina University GIFs to your Instagram Story.

Happy Birthday, Monopoly! – The game of Monopoly turns 84 today. I think all of us have memories of games that lasted for hours. For me, playing Monopoly as a kid made me feel sophisticated and grown up. We certainly didn’t play by all the official rules (we seriously sweetened the Free Parking jackpot) but we grasped the lessons that Monopoly teaches – buying/selling, managing money, strategy. As long as I got to be the cannon game piece and didn’t land on Broadway when it was owned by someone else, I was a happy camper. Happy birthday to this classic game!

Happy birthday, Monopoly!

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I appreciate your time this evening and I hope you enjoy your weekend. Remember that the Grammy’s are on this Sunday night. Don’t Blink.

My Take on Trump’s 2019 SOTU Address

Over seven years ago, I wrote about my love for the State of the Union Address. I made it clear that while I don’t necessarily watch it for the policy, I do tune in for the tradition, formality, and importance of the speech. I think it is a crucial and distinguishing component of the American democratic system.

As you can imagine, I watched last night’s State of the Union in its entirety. Considering who gave the speech, it was anything but conventional. From a non-partisan viewpoint, I wanted to give a few thoughts on Tuesday evening’s address in the Capitol.

President Trump delivered te 2019 State of the Union Address.

Perhaps the first surprising aspect of the 2019 SOTU was that Donald Trump was delivering it. Over two years after his inauguration, he is still the President of the United States. After he won the election, I listened as countless people predicted he would have resigned or been removed from office by now. Well, President Trump still lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I don’t think Donald Trump will ever resign the Presidency simply because he likes the State of the Union too much. Two years ago, during his State of the Union-ish “Joint Address to Congress,” I tweeted about how he genuinely seemed to be enjoying the moment. It was the exact same case last night. President Trump feeds off the pageantry of the SOTU and I think this gleefulness allows him to perform considerably well.

I noticed it two years ago and it was even more evident last night — President Trump loves the State of the Union.

Last evening was no exception. By all counts, President Trump brought his “A” game. I think the first key to his big night was his guest list. He brought in numerous special Americans who he recognized throughout his speech. He celebrated their accomplishments while weaving in his agenda. With individuals such as WWII veterans, a decorated astronaut, a Holocaust survivor, and a hero who ended a mass shooting all in attendance, the entire chamber–Republicans and Democrats alike–was constantly erupting in applause.

I believe President Trump’s tone was key to his success as well. Throughout the 82 minute address, he mostly spoke in a respectful, calm manner, something you don’t always see out of him. However, he changed his tune when he needed to. When addressing comments made by the Governor of Virginia and when stressing the importance of respecting life, he became serious and firm. It was powerful.

The President also won over the Democrats (for a second at least). He recognized the many women who won seats in Congress, noting that progress is being made. Spontaneously, the Democrat half of the chamber popped up and started celebrating. Not missing a beat, President Trump smiled and said “You weren’t supposed to do that.” Trump successfully created a special moment of bipartisanship celebration and unity, something no one expected to see. At that point, the 2019 State of the Union was officially a success for #45.

It wouldn’t be a President Trump speech if he didn’t go off script. Several times last night, including the moment I just recapped, Trump ditched the teleprompter to add some short commentary between sentences. This always humanizes him, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but last night it worked.

Don’t think I am giving President Trump a complete pass. Some of his transitions from one topic to the next were bad. Not enough practice? I don’t know, but at times it was awkward.

He also lacked energy at certain points during the address. I have noticed this in some of his other speeches as well. I guess it can happen when you are speaking for almost 90 minutes, but giving the most important speech of the year is never a time to show fatigue.

However, from an unbiased/independent standpoint, last night appeared to be a victory for President Trump. That is just my opinion. But my conclusion is also backed up by the American people. After the 2016 election, I stopped trusting polls, but I have seen that most networks released polling results giving the President a 76% approval rating. A number that high, regardless of the margin of error, indicates that the Commander-In-Chief had a good night.

I will look forward to the 2020 State of the Union Address. Let’s hope good things continue to happen for this country and that next year’s speech is one that all Americans can celebrate. Don’t Blink.

Taking the Sweetness Out of Valentine’s Day

Hate to do it, but I have to ask this question: Should we just cancel Valentine’s Day this year?

Well, if you celebrate the holiday for the candy, you might be on board. A couple of oddities at candy factories in 2019 will have those with sweet tooths a little disappointed.

First, the candy almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day, Sweethearts, won’t be around this month. Necco, the candy maker responsible for the treat, shut its doors last year. People who couldn’t envision a February 14 without Sweethearts rushed online to purchase leftover batches of the candy from 2018. But only so much product remained.

Sweethearts won’t be around this Valentine’s Day.

Just as we were starting to cope with the Sweetheart shortage, more bad news came this weekend. Candy giant Hershey’s admitted to a very serious problem regarding one of its most popular offerings. Due to an equipment malfunction at the factory, Kisses have been produced for the last few months without the signature tip. Hard to envision, right? Supposedly the issue is now fixed but the corrected candy won’t be on the shelves for at least another month. That means a Valentine’s Day with tipless Kisses.

Sorry not sorry, you won’t find me taking the news that hard. When it comes to holidays, I think Valentine’s Day is at the bottom of the list when it comes to candy offerings. This might be unpopular for me to say, but I think Necco actually did us all a favor by going out of business. When its top holiday candy is described as “chalky” how can that be a good thing?

If your sole purpose for celebrating a holiday revolves around sweets, lacking a significant other on Valentine’s Day is probably the least of your worries. Sure, you can purchase yummy candy that is covered in red, pink, and white wrappers (such as M&Ms and Reese’s Cups) but V-Day simply lacks quality signature items unique to the holiday. It sure isn’t Easter.

I hope we can all manage this Valentine’s Day with the recent developments. After all, although the Kisses do look funny with no tips, I guarantee you that they still probably taste like chocolate. Don’t Blink.

Thoughts on Super Bowl LIII

Last night, for the first time in several years, we actually attended a Super Bowl party! Recently, we have opted to stay in and watch the big game in the comfort of our home, but we couldn’t refuse a generous invitation from our next door neighbors. So, surrounded by delicious food and great people, we watched the New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams in a fun and neighborly environment.

Tonight I will provide some brief commentary on Super Bowl LIII.

This year, I am happy that I can just review the game instead of an episode of “This Is Us” as well. Sorry, I had no interest staying up to watch “The World’s Best.” Did “America’s Got Talent” get cancelled or something?

Alright, let’s start with the football. I am never one to call a game “boring” just because it turns out to be a defensive contest. I actually love a low scoring game every now and then – as long as the game play is good. I thought the first half of Super Bowl LIII was solid. It was clean and hard hitting. However, I expected a little more out of the second half. Penalties plagued the final two quarters, halftime adjustments seemed non-existent, and execution was lackluster. Many times you can watch a championship game and note that the two best teams are out on the field. I didn’t get that feeling last night.

As for the commercials, I thought they were fine. It doesn’t matter how creative or funny they are, social media will always judge the current Super Bowl commercials as inferior to those of the previous year (Every. Single. Time.).

I thought the most powerful commercial of the evening was the Verizon first responder spot with San Diego Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. I am literally tearing up right now just thinking about that part in the ad when the personnel who assisted in the accident identified themselves. The subsequent reaction from Coach Lynn did me in. It was so well done. The most creative/funny spot, in my opinion, was the Bud Light corn syrup gag. The shade they threw at Miller Lite and Coors Light was daring and hilarious. I don’t watch Game of Thrones so I can’t really comment on Bud Light’s other popular commercial. The odd/awkward ad that appealed to a goofy guy like me was the Burger King #EatLikeAndy commercial. It was just so retro and so different from all the other ads that I couldn’t help but give it two thumbs up!

Now for the halftime show. Although “Girls Like You” made my Top 5 Songs of 2018 list, I am not a big Maroon 5 fan. I believe the band’s older music to be especially bad. However, like the commercials, I find it annoying how people automatically discount the halftime show before the performance is even over. With that said, I didn’t get too excited about what I saw. It was just way too much Adam Levine for me. After a predictable performance last year from Justin Timberlake, I was looking for a surprise guest (besides Spongebob) or a surprise element that would have us talking today. It didn’t happen.

Overall, Super Bowl LIII was forgettable. That is not to say that everything sucked. The play was decent and the entertainment was average, but in order to stand out, there is a certain “WOW” factor that needs to be present. I kid you not, it won’t even take six months for me to forget about who played in this year’s game. But it’s all good, I guess that is why I write these posts. Don’t Blink.