Sunday, December 25, 2011

My three reactions to SNL on Tim Tebow

In case you live in a cave (or happen to be reading this after Tim Tebow's career has sunset, either sooner or later), let me catch you up on one of the biggest recent stories in sports - Tim Tebow, former University of Florida quarterback and Heisman trophy winner who helped the Gators win two national championships, is a second year player in the NFL and plays for the Denver Broncos. Despite Tim's illustrious collegiate career, most people doubted that he would have any success at the next level. Well, midway through this season he got his chance and the doubters had to eat some crow. Tim mounted an unlikely string of fourth quarter comebacks and led his team to six consecutive wins, putting his record at 7-3 as a starter.

The most interesting thing about Mr. Tebow though is that he is very open about his Christian faith. Given his recent success, this side of Tim has received inordinate amounts of attention in the media. Which brings me to my primary focus for this post - a sketch done by SNL which casts someone playing Tebow and someone playing Jesus in the Denver locker room.

This video showed up on my Facebook Newsfeed numerous times this week, as posted by many of my fellow Mormon friends. The consensus from their posts was that they viewed this publicity as positive exposure because the character of Jesus openly and without hesitation endorses Mormonism. While I, too, view this as a net positive (now), I have a slightly different take.

My first reaction fell right in line with the consensus I saw on FB - Jesus says its true! Cool! But that only lasted for a few seconds.

I realized that since the rest of the sketch was so sarcastic that the endorsement was also highly sarcastic and was, in fact, a mockery of the faith I hold dear. Needless to say, I was slightly upset at SNL for taking a potshot at my faith and a little disappointed at my friends for seemingly being oblivious to it. Later the same day though, I took on a different perspective.

I remembered that I was also annoyed at the musical that was all over the press recently, The Book of Mormon - another satirical commentary on my beliefs. After a while I came to appreciate the publicity the play was generating and the conversations it was provoking. So, in like manner, I'm now glad that SNL saw fit to take a potshot at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - stirring up opinions certainly has a downside, but the upside of bringing these topics to the attention of those who will recognize the truth certainly makes for a favorable tradeoff.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

‘Mixed-handed’? That’s what I am?

I read an article today that placed me squarely in a 1% group. It was an odd sensation, it doesn’t exactly happen to me every day. With all the discussion around the “Occupy” protests of late, I associated the 1% label with this movement right away, naturally. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at some numbers, even though this has little to do with the article I read.

I just completed my MBA and started a great corporate finance job at Symantec, one of the world’s largest software firms. I live in Silicon Valley and I love my life. You could say I can relate better now than I could before to what it’s like to be the 1%. I honestly had no idea if my current education or income level would land me in a 1% group, so I wanted to find out. Well, it turns out that 9.9% of Americans have a graduate or professional degree, so my MBA doesn’t set me apart from the masses quite as much as I expected. Additionally, to be in the top 1% of income, I would have to make $344 K (as reported by the IRS in 2009) and I’m not there. Yet.

I suppose if we zoomed out to a global view I would land in the top 1% in both categories, but that doesn’t much matter because I’m a member of another 1% group: mixed-handedness. Wait, mixed-handedness? (Kind of a chore to say, but I guess it works.) You mean one of those people who do different things with each hand – sharing roles? Yep. Go ahead and say it (“weird. . .”), I’ve heard it before. Not in a hey-mom-look-at-the-creepy-carnie sort of weird, but different from what most people can relate to nevertheless. It surprises people when I tell them I’m kind of ambidextrous. Since I write and eat left-handed, I frequently get asked if I’m a lefty, to which I respond “kind of” and briefly outline that I write, eat, and shave with my left hand, but play sports, use scissors, knife, and mouse with my right. I get most confused with a serving spoon – it goes both ways. I also have memories of using scissors with my left hand as a child, but switching when I got tired of always trying to find a pair of left-handed scissors. Shooting and dribbling a basketball with my left hand and kicking a soccer ball with my left foot came fairly easy. So, while I think it’s safe to say I’m one of these mixed-handed folks, I am a bit more left-dominant in general.

Now on to what prompted this blog post in the first place. The Wall Street Journal published an article today entitled The Health Risks of Being Left-Handed. That got my attention (wouldn’t it get yours?). Good job, WSJ. I read it. Voraciously. It intrigued me to learn that 10% of people are left-handed, 1% are mixed-handed, lefties make about 10% less, 6 of the last 12 presidents were left-handed, and that lefties are more prone to undesirable conditions such as schizophrenia, dyslexia, and ADHD (what the. . .!!). Nice little roller coaster of positive and not so positive, huh? Check out this quote from near the beginning of the article: “Other recent research suggests that mixed-handedness—using different hands for daily tasks and not having a dominant one—may be even more strongly linked than left-handedness to ADHD and possibly other conditions.” Hey! Wanna ride a bike?! Squirrel!

One potential cause of the brain developing in such a way as to not be one of the standard right-handed population is extreme levels of stress during pregnancy. So what did I do? I immediately texted my mom.

Nothing too interesting or alarming came of it, but I guess I am 30 and don’t have any of these negative conditions, so I wasn’t really expecting anything to come from left field. It’s just something I had to check, y’know?

The article took an angle that these correlations and relationships can help identify and treat children as they are developing. Hopefully I’m out of the woods for landing on the “dark side” of being left-handed, but I’m sure several of my friends will quickly point out the various manifestations of these conditions in my behavior. Ha. Ha. Ha. :P

I just hope insurance companies don’t start asking about this.

30 month hiatus over!

It’s been so long since I last wrote on this thing, I feel like I need to post some kind of transition statement. But it feels so awkward. . . If you’re wondering what happened, well, grad school happened. It was an intense experience and completely nuked my desire to blog. School is over now though, I’m settled in the next phase of life, and it’s time to do more than just watch college football to spend my leisure time (though it’s hardly a coincidence that the regular season ended just last weekend). Fresh look to the blog, fresh tunes to fill your ears with goodness, and I have a few posts in the works, so stay tuned. . .