South Park Gets Me

The other day I was sitting in front of the television and flipping channels trying to find an NBA game to watch, when my significant other complained to me about having to watch another basketball game! The irony is that basketball has always been a big part of her life, but for me it is pure entertainment. However, what dawned on me at the moment of her complaint, was not how much basketball I really do watch, but what other television programming I watch on a regular basis. When I added it all up, I watch House and The Dog Whisperer when they are on, and I occasionally pause for a few minutes on The Girls Next Door, but pretty much I watch South Park all week long. There is something unique about how Matt Stone and Trey Parker poke fun at everything and how they absolutely connect with people who grew up in the 80’s. While I fondly remember my teenage heavy metal music, the emotional aches of childhood, and the heartbreaks of many girls I thought I loved, only South Park lets me revisit them and make me laugh at the same time. When Stan broke up with Wendy and became all depressed, I too remember that moment when I started dressing in black and writing poems about how evil life was.

Even more shockingly true are all those little life lessons that South Park so easily answers like: what age is the right age for sex? why are drugs bad? and why is toilet humor funny? Because it is! I would have to say that no other show on television keeps me as honest as South Park. Every time I get a little too full of myself, I watch an episode and am reminded that the worse thing you could be as an adult is a hypocrite.

Travel Vacations

by Kevin Henriksen

Not much to do in the Poconos and no mountains there either just hills with lots of trees (look out for Big Foot). You can go draft horse back riding but that was very slow. There is a waterfall but it was dry when we were there and they actually charged us to see it.

Iceland was very cool in that it’s rather primitive but the capital city is modern and colorful. Geysers, glaciers, and strange rock formations on this volcanic island make it an interesting out-of-this world place to see. Very few power lines as they mostly use geothermal energy. The locals like to stack the rocks on the side of the road.

The fjords of Norway near Sogndal were fantastic with great views and great hikes. The 900 year old Viking churches and salmon streams on the way to the fjords were very awesome to see as well. Many waterfalls including 3000 foot ones aren’t even listed on the map since they are dime a dozen over there.

Vermont has many waterfalls and is pretty in the fall.

Montreal was ok, kind of old, with lots of punks hanging out by the subway. A park overlooks the city and the zoo at the Olympic park has a cappybarra.

Toronto is a much cleaner, well organized city and the view from the CN Tower is very nice. Look out for goose droppings if you go to Toronto Island.

Utah is awesome skiing and the Canyons was a huge resort. Alta was ok, with nice views and a couple well groomed trails but not many lifts. Salt Lake City is very cool to walk around the Temple area and also the Jazz were fun to watch in this city surrounded by mountains. Tavernacle is an interesting dueling piano bar. Park City is more of a old scenic mining town but has a lot of new cookie-cutter housing that detracts but still a great area. Olympic Village was great to talk to some gold medalists who were competing that day. The Mormons are friendly, very family orientated and religious. The church is very centrally organized with lots of huge government like buildings downtown.

Colorado has great skiing at Vail and night skiing at Keystone. A-Basin has some cool trails but the lifts are slower. Winter Park has great views but winding roads to get there.

Arizona is pretty awesome, especially the Grand Canyon area. Also check out Wupatiki Village with the 800 year old field hockey field and natural blow hole in the ground. The nearby volcanic area is cool too. Yuma has lots of sand and RVs. Phoenix Coyotes were fun to watch but fans aren’t that crazy.

San Diego is ok but I enjoyed riding my bike from Santa Monica down to LAX along the beach while in the LA area.

Oregon coast is very nice and Mt Hood is an excellent hike. Mt St Helens is too far to drive too close too. Mt Ranier is too big to hike. Seattle’s Boeing Museum is cool but you can get sick on the simulator that you control. Mariners have an awesome ballpark and I would recommend taking in a game there. The underground tour was interesting too.

Vancouver looks great from a distance with all the high rises but up close the buildings look sort of cheap 70ish. I would love to take a seaplane and fly around this island city surrounded by mountains. The Canucks are fun to watch.

Denmark is sort of flat but the people are easy going and Legoland, Tivoli, and Little Mermaid are things to see.

Cancun is pretty cool but noisy at night. The water is very beautiful.

Miami Beach is nice but interesting in that the North is very Jewish and the South is very gay. Cruising from Miami was cool in that you don’t need to drive and can just relax and the boat has plenty of things to do. Bahamas very ok to see and Key West has lots of bars but is rather flat as is most of Florida.

Charleston has lots of cool old homes down by the Battery and dolphins swim in the bay by Fort Sumter.

Savannah has cool parks and waterfront as well as railroad museum with roundhouse.

New York Open was awesome to see pro tennis live and so many matches going on it was overwhelming. I watched 20 hours of tennis over 2 days.

Boston is very historic like Charleston, as both cities were very rebellious at different times.

Las Vegas is pretty cool with all the architecture looking like you are in other parts of the world. They shoot you up at the top of the tower overlooking the city. The Luxor was a nice place to stay.

Pella, Iowa is pretty cool to see during TulipFest with over 100,000 tulips all around town.

The Iowa State Fair has never been that great for me as it’s usually 100 degrees and miserable but alot of other people like it. Check out the butter cow.

Oceans of Fun in Kansas City was cool with all the water rides. Ottumwa’s Beach actually has a very steep dropping water slide and tidal pool. Adventureland, Six Flags, World of Fun, Bachen (Denmark), and Valley Fair are good amusement parks too. I did get heat stroke at Adventureland, sick to my stomach at 6 flags after eating some hot dogs, and my neck almost spun off on an out of control ride at Valley Fair so I have sort of given up amusement parks as an adult. I never got sick as a kid.

Spirit Mountain in Duluth is a good place to ski in the Midwests as it has a 700′ drop. Otherwise Chestnut and Sundown near Dubuque are your other options. Fun Valley is more for beginners and for tubing. I was rather disappointed with Afton Alps ski resort near the Twin Cities. The lifts were small and the hill rather short.

Upper Iowa River is great for tubing and canoeing especially from Kendalville to Bluffton with beautiful bluffs and clear shallow water.

Lake Kentucky is a nice place to camp, ride bikes, and jet ski. They also have bison and elk herds.

Being Likeable

I tend to watch a lot of NBA games and read the the daily NBA rumors at InsideHoops, which covers the daily soap opera that is the NBA and one thing that is pretty apparent about the NBA is that the entire league is a family and acceptance into the family brings with it certain responsibilities. In essence, being part of the NBA is a privilege, and the league tends to treat it that way. If you start learning more about the game of basketball and you get to learn the coaches, the players, the managers, the organizations and such, you get the idea that the NBA is really a club. And if you want to belong to this club for any length of time, you have to build relationships, because relationships play a crucial part in your success. Perhaps this is not immediately obvious to some of the younger players in the league, but it is something the coaches can attest to. Outside the world of the NBA, you can also see the value of relationships. It is rare to meet a successful person who does not credit their success to the relationships they have maintained throughout their careers.

We often think, that success demands being a self-absorbed genius, but this is actually only true when you are at the very top in your field. In general, most people are not in the top three positions in their field, so unless you are Michael Jordan, you are more often than not, judged on how likeable you are. Amazingly enough, the very same problem that parents deal with their toddlers, is the very same problem we face as adults. Toddlers and kids in general have to develop social skills that allow them to play nice with others. We often think of this as part of growing up, but I often see the same problem in adults. Many adults simply do not know how to play nice with others and have problems socializing and in effect they are not very likeable, hence not very good to be around. This limits their success immensely, unless they just happen to be actual genuises. Not being likeable is a problem which adults can also pass on to their kids, because as parents they do not know how to help their child with the very same problem they face.

But what does being likeable mean? Does it mean you walk around being nice to everyone? Being likeable is the result of work. You must work at building and maintaining relationships. This requires being genuine in caring for other people’s feelings. This cannot be taught, it must be learned. To go back to my NBA example, if as a player all you cared about was winning and not the well being of your teammates and coach, most likely the NBA will have very little to offer you after you retire. Your reputation and friendship is what makes you valueable to an organization, and life is no different.