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‘Ryan’s Favorite Posts’ Category

  1. Everything I need to know in life, I learned from watching ‘I Love Lucy’

    March 3, 2010 by Ryan

    * With all that knitting going on, people will naturally start drafting conclusions * Everyone should write at least one play, one novel, and one operetta, and create one sculpture in their lifetime * If you cannot decide how to celebrate your wedding anniversary, get separate dates with the same dating service * A happy little loaf of bread will rise with a full cake of yeast * Be sure that you have a valid marriage license before you practice marriage together * Kleptomania is sweeping the nation! * Keep an updated file photo in your resume * A side of beef won’t fit in the freezer * Take your Vitameatavegamin every day * Cheating will get you nowhere, but dumb luck will win the grand-prize in the bonus-round * It is important to stay organized and keep a schedule * A pound of rice per person will be plenty to serve dinner * Grace Foster will be happy to help you with your surprise anniversary present * Never get caught without a spare handcuffs key * Real French perfume will cost half price in Mexico, so if you buy it you’ll save twice as much (besides, no one can actually afford to buy it in France anyway) * Televisions do not make good neighborly gifts * Pick the right moment to tell your sweetie that you are enceinte * The birth of your baby is so special, you should dress up for it * Some people have just “got no sales resistance” * Never accept at face value an explanation for a black eye * A woman has a right to change her mind over and over * Your lease clearly says no children or pets are allowed * Being an unwitting third party in a love triangle is a bit embarrassing * You can always pay for things out of your allowance * Washing machines do not make good neighborly sales transactions * Friendship awards ceremonies bring out the best in everyone * Husbands are such sloppy dressers * Carlotta Romero is a can’t-miss, must-see show * Put on your best clothes and manners when the people from the TV or magazine are coming by * John Wayne’s footprints would look great in your home * Every train has a jewel thief onboard * Know the difference between a radio show and a rodeo show * Have proof that you were really born * You can get a better exchange rate on the street corner, and see parts of Paris that most tourists never do * Avoid excess airline weight charges by disguising foreign cheese as a human baby * Superman is a hit at children’s birthday parties * Don’t get overdrawn at the bank; those tellers are always telling someone something * To get a Frenchman across the Mexican border without a passport, simply win a bullfight * In France, they have ‘Masculine’ and ‘Feminine’ – in America, you do not have that * Always do whatever it takes to get into the show * Take it from Aunt Sally – spend more money on your pralines than you do on your signs * When taking a road trip, plan your dining and lodging options carefully and well in advance * Smoking is hazardous to your nose * The best way to pass the buck is “We’ll wait until daddy comes home and ask him” * You’ll be the one to learn the lesson when you try to teach someone else a lesson * You can squeeze four people onto two seats at the theater * Raising five hundred chickens is not cheap * Don’t get too chummy with the neighbors too quickly * Building a backyard Bar-B-Q certainly has a ring to it * The sultry young blonde at the dance is about as blond as Lucy is red-headed * Take a look at the Alaskan property before you put your money down * If you’ve got a horse in the race, personally take the reins * No problem is too difficult to solve with the help of your best friends *

  2. Vaun Clark, BYU Engineering Student

    November 1, 2009 by Ryan

    Dedicated to my friend Vaun, who vehemently denies this story and wishes I’d quit telling it.

    Once, on an ordinary day at the Wilkinson Student Center, located on the campus of Brigham Young University, an engineering student sat at a table quietly eating his lunch. As he sat contemplating the composition of the macaroni salad (and specifically marveling at how the ingredients held their texture while withstanding the forces of the moisture provided by the mayonnaise), he failed to swallow properly and unfortunately, met an early demise.

    In the next moment found himself standing atop a cloud, surrounded by the most beautiful blue sky. He heard harp music, and when he turned to see from where it was coming, he found that he was in the back of a small line to enter the Pearly Gates.

    After waiting a very few short minutes, his turn arrived. There at a podium beside the gate was Saint Peter, who greeted him warmly. Peter apologized for the delay, which the young man appreciated very much even though it had not been a long wait at all. Peter then explained that the Lord Himself usually attended the gate, but today He had been called away on some urgent business and had asked Saint Peter to fill in. He then asked the young man to state his name, last name first.

    “My name is Clark. Vaun Clark.”

    Peter began flipping through the pages of the massive Book of Life, heading for the section labeled “C.”

    Puffing his chest out just a touch, Vaun added, “I’m a – that is I was a BYU engineering student.”

    Saint Peter quickly shut the Book of Life closed, and exclaimed, “That is all I needed to hear! We never turn away a BYU engineering student! I don’t even need to check the book – come on in!” With that, he swung open the Pearly Gates, and added, “Make yourself at home, Brother Clark!”

    Vaun entered Heaven, taking each step slowly and deliberately as he attempted to capture every detail to his memory. As his feet stepped onto the street paved in gold, he admired the indescribable beauty of everything around him.

    Very soon, Vaun found himself drawn to the Heavenly library. He entered, and browsed the selection of books. Eventually he found a book entitled “How to Build Your Own Universe,” settled into a comfortable chair, and began reading.

    Some time later, he was disrupted from his study by a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Saint Peter standing by him. Vaun noticed that Peter’s countenance was visibly different than it had been earlier. “What’s up, Peter?” Vaun asked cautiously.

    Saint Peter began speaking, but avoided making much eye contact as he said “Brother Clark, I hope you are enjoying yourself here.”

    “I am very much. Thank you for asking, Saint Peter!” Vaun responded, sensing some bad news was about to be delivered.

    Saint Peter stood for a moment in awkward silence. He seemed to be ready to say something, then just as quickly stopped himself before any words came out. After several false starts, he sighed heavily, dropping his head and shoulders. “Brother Clark,” he began. “There is no easy way to say this. After you entered Heaven, I did go ahead and open the Book of Life – because I had to formally check you in.”

    He paused, as though he hoped Vaun would take over the conversation. Vaun did not say anything, and so Saint Peter eventually continued. “I turned to the page where your name should have been. It was not there.”

    Again he paused, allowing Vaun to realize the words just spoken. Vaun defensively replied, “But I am a BYU engineering student!”

    “Yes, yes! I know!” agreed Saint Peter. “We have never in the history of the Kingdom turned away a BYU engineering student. I was as stunned as you are! But I looked three times, and you name was simply not written in the Book of Life.”

    Again, they both paused, lost in thought. Vaun finally asked the question that he feared he already understood the answer to. “So, what does this mean?”

    “It means…” Peter trailed off. He hesitated, sighed, then started again. “It means that you’ll have to follow me as I escort you out of Heaven.” Saint Peter added, “Brother Clark, I am so sorry!”

    Vaun slowly closed the book he held, and set it down on a table nearby. He quietly rose from the chair, and followed as Saint Peter lead him out of the library, down the street, and back to the front entrance. Peter held the gate open for him, and Vaun stepped slowly through it.

    “So where do I go now?” asked Vaun.

    “Well, you go that direction,” replied Peter, as he pointed toward a staircase leading downward.

    Vaun moved slowly toward the staircase, and as he stepped down on the first step, he heard Peter call out behind him, “Again, Brother Clark, I am truly sorry for the mix up.” Vaun was too lost in his disappointment to respond. He just continued downward, one step at a time.

    The stairway lead downward for quite some time. Vaun became interested in the support beams used, and how the hand railings had been so well hung where there was so little to properly secure them to. He became so interested in his surroundings that he almost didn’t notice the rising temperature with every step.

    Eventually, he reached the bottom. He stepped off to an unlevel rocky surface, surrounded on all sides by dark, burnt looking stone structures which formed a long passageway. There was quite a long line of new arrivals, and so he took his place in line and waited.

    After nearly nine hours of standing in line, he finally reached the desk. There stood Lucifer, frazzled and out of patience. “Name!” he demanded without bothering to look up.

    “My name is Clark. Vaun Clark.”

    Beelzebub started hunting through unorganized files scattered about his desk.

    Lost in his thoughts and disappointment, he added in a barely audible voice, “I’m a BYU engineering student.”

    Although his comment was spoken to no one in particular, Old Scratch took notice. He stopped looking at paperwork, and looked Vaun in the eyes. “What did you say again?”

    Vaun shook off the depression he was feeling, and repeated, “I’m a BYU engineering student.”

    Lucifer stood frozen, simply staring at Vaun. Then, without warning, he threw the file folders that he had been handling, and put on a small temper tantrum. He yelled, “I have no time for games, Mr. Clark. You don’t belong here. Go upstairs!”

    Vaun became defensive. “I was just upstairs. They sent me down here.”

    Satan jumped about kicking over his chair and several file folders. “What am I supposed to do you with you! I’ve never had a BYU engineering student come here! I don’t have any place for you to go! I simply don’t have time for this!”

    Vaun was a bit amused by the fit of anger that the Adversary was displaying. Vaun could tell that this might take a while, and he was already tired from standing in line for so long. He boldly offered a suggestion. “Perhaps I could just go inside and look around. I’m pretty good at busying myself. Perhaps I can find somewhere to go or something to do on my own?”

    Satan considered the idea, then agreed that would be fine. He extended his pitchfork and pulled the gates of  Hades open. “Yes, that will get you out of my hair for awhile. Go on inside and do whatever it is you do. I’ll find you later after I have had time to think of an assignment for you.”

    Vaun began walking in, and heard Satan continue to mutter his thoughts out loud. “I have no idea why they sent me a BYU engineering student. Must be somebody’s idea of a practical joke…”

    Vaun found the differences between the two locations very startling. Here, the ground was uneven and hard to negotiate. The caverns that he walked through were very dimly lit by a lake of fire and brimstone. As he continued, he found miserable souls carrying boulders around, sweating, stumbling, and struggling in the dark and dangerous conditions.  He found the combination of heat and humidity almost unbearable as he climbed and descended the rough terrain.

    After a while, he realized that Satan had not come to find him, and so he made his way back to the front gate. Satan was still there, working through is unorganized filing system to try to check souls in. He pushed on the gate to attempt to exit, but the gate would not budge. So he called through the bars to the Evil Spirit, “Excuse me, Mr. Satan, sir?”

    The old Serpent spun around in a rage, yelling, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!” He squinted and strained to see Vaun through the darkness, and calmed down somewhat when he recognized him. “Oh, it’s my BYU engineer. Look, I still don’t know what to do with you, so just don’t bother me, OK?”

    Vaun courageously replied, “Sir, that is what I have come to talk to you about. You see, I’ve been exploring, and studying the structures that you have here in the place of torment. I’ve noticed that it is uncomfortably hot here, and so I think I have come up with a working plan to build an air conditioning system.”

    The foul fiend was about to yell at him again to get lost, but then the words Vaun was saying sunk in. This soul was not only volunteering to work, but had a project that would benefit everyone else! Nothing like this had ever been tried before! He considered carefully, and asked, “Are you sure that you can do that?”

    Vaun agreed that he thought he could, and asked him for a piece of paper and a pencil so he might show off his plans. Satan turned over a file folder, and watched with interest as Vaun began to sketch his idea out. As he drew, he explained to Satan how the structures of the caverns appeared that they might be able to attach some hanging supports, and what materials he had seen that could serve as duct work. He wrote a list on the side of the materials that he was looking for to begin construction, and Satan called in his top assistant. “Vaun, this is Cain,” he introduced. “Cain will get you any of these materials that you need. You make that your assignment.”

    With Cain’s help in obtaining supplies, Vaun went to work on the project. Over several weeks the duct work was installed, and soon thereafter the compressor was built. After a few months of labor, Satan stood by and watched as Vaun flipped the switch to turn it on.

    “Amazing! Remarkable! I never knew this was possible!” Satan exclaimed gleefully as the cool air began to flow through the land of misery. The residents let out a cheer.

    But Vaun was not satisfied. “Mr. Satan, sir? If I may have another word with you?”

    “Speak, my boy, speak!” responded the evil genius.

    “Well, Sir, as I was installing the duct work, it was very difficult for me to do because of the poor lighting. As you know, that lake of fire and brimstone does not cast off a lot of light.”

    Satan became visibly excited at this conversation. “Yes, go on!”

    Vaun continued, “I believe I could design some florescent lighting and really brighten up the place.”

    Satan was elated. “Yes, my BYU engineering student, yes! Anything you want, you have Cain get the supplies for you and go to work!”

    And so Vaun went right to work on wiring an electrical system. As he had done with the air conditioning, he had to improvise a bit on some of the materials that he was used to on earth but did not have here. Building a power source was the most difficult task, but by capturing the thermo-energy emitted from the lake of fire and brimstone, he overcame the challenge.

    After many months of work, the Prince of Darkness called for grand lighting ceremony. All the cool and comfortable inhabitants gathered together to witness as the switch was flipped, and the lights were found to work flawlessly. Another great cheer was released by the masses, and Vaun was hailed as a hero!

    But before the archenemy could began a speech of lavish praise about his engineer, Vaun surprised him yet again. “Mr. Satan, Sir. If I may speak to you?”

    “Yes, my boy, please!”

    “As I was installing the lighting, I noticed something about the tortured souls here. Although they are much cooler now, they still are forced to carry large boulders around. I would like to install moving sidewalks…”

    Without allowing Vaun to finish, Satan called Cain over and declared “Cain will see to it that you have what you need! Now go to work!”

    And so it continued. The moving sidewalks were installed, and some escalators too. Vaun created a new bar-coded electronic filing system for check in of new arrivals. At every turn, Vaun continued to surprise Old Scratch with new ideas, and Cain was always there to lend a hand and fetch supplies. With Vaun’s humble service, soon the underworld became a very comfortable place to dwell.

    One day much later the Lord noticed Satan nearby the fence line of the properties and stepped over to say hello. Satan seemed to be eating something. “What have you got there, Lucifer?”

    “A snow cone! It is delicious!” Lucifer replied, while taking another lick.

    The Lord commented, “I’ve noticed some activity going on your side of the fence.”

    “Yes,” Satan agreed. “We’ve been quite busy making improvements over here.”

    “Very interesting,” the Lord replied suspiciously.

    “Oh, and I’ve got to thank you for sending that BYU engineering student over to us. He has been working miracles down here! Morale is up, and leisure time has increased by…”

    “Wait a minute,” the Lord interrupted. “Who did you say that we sent over?”

    “It was a young fellow by the name of Clark. He was a BYU engineering student before his demise.”

    The Lord retorted, “There must have been a mistake! He should have never been sent to you.”

    “Well, you guys did sent him to me.” the Author of Evil replied smugly.

    With wrath beginning to be kindled, the Lord demanded, “You must send him back immediately!”

    Satan became defensive, “We won’t do any such thing. Your people sent him to me, and I’m keeping him!”

    Seeing they were at an impasse, the Lord replied, “I suppose I’m going to have to take you to court then.”

    Old Scratch laughed loudly, and retorted, “Yeah, right. You do that!”

    The Lord responded firmly, “Oh, I will!”

    Lucifer scoffed. “And just where do you think that you are going to find a lawyer?”

  3. It All Starts with the Morning Newspaper

    August 4, 2007 by Ryan

    I have a theory.

    My theory deals with the overall happiness and productivity of our entire community.

    I haven’t concluded my research yet, but I suspect that before I am finished I will find that this theory even extends to the felicity and prospering of the nation, and possibly the world, as a whole.

    My Research:

    I have observed many workers at a variety of businesses who take a lazy approach to their duties. They fail to strive to accomplish their very best. They are lazy, unmotivated, and slothful. Those are attributes that I see in retail and food service professions often. It is almost as though I have come to expect this sloppy “service” at those places that offer a lower pay scale to their help.

    But even among some of my co-workers, and gleaning from some stories my wife has mentioned about her co-workers, there is a growing trend, even among those in the “professional” arena who are resistant to submit to the work that is before them, seeking instead to do what is easier.

    My Theory:

    It all starts with the local newspaper.

    All of this professional slackness and slow up is influenced directly by the delivery of the morning newspaper.

    My memories of childhood, not long ago, remind me that the newspaper was thoughtfully delivered to the front doorstep, or into one of those mailbox-like bins. They were folded, banded, and placed sensibly, with an attention applied for the elements and environment.

    I have read that at a time not long before mine, newspapers were “folded” and set with intent inside the screen door of the building. Such efforts would require that a delivery person walk to the door, offering the presentation of their product – the newspaper – in a professional and thoughtful manner to the recipient – the customer. Pride in the work, the product, and the presentation was taken by those who made the extra effort.

    Today, that kind of spirit is missing in action.

    I cannot determine with certainty, but I believe that my morning newspaper today is delivered via a car that drives down the street, and tosses a paper from the window of the moving vehicle, perhaps only slowing down slightly just before the toss is made. Often I find that paper has come to rest, after sliding some ways across the cement driveway, to the back of my car, ready for me to run it over if I forget that it is there. I can tell that it slid some because the plastic bag shows some wear from its journey scraping across the cement.

    More recently, and becoming more frequently, I see that the “delivery” of the paper has happened to only reach the public sidewalk. Fortunately, our society is lazy and unmotivated, else if anyone was walking on that sidewalk they might trod-upon or trip-up over the issues of the day.

    There have been a few times when I have found the paper was “delivered” to the public gutter, resting peacefully there in wait for waste water to flow its direction. I half wonder if “delivering” their product to the public gutter is a representation of how the writers, editors, printers, and advertisers feel about their work? Or is it simply the commentary of the delivery driver who could care less about his work, as long as he gets it done?

    Regardless of whose opinion is being expressed, if my day is greeted by the sloppiness of the American press (one of the greatest and most hollowed institutions, even granted special mention in the Bill of Rights), then how should I feel I as begin this day to make my contribution to the workforce?

    In review:

    A fantastic product, representative of the hard work and contribution of hundreds of people, is tossed from a moving vehicle with reckless abandon. I, the consumer, see that my purchase was handled with a low level of attention and care. How else, therefore, should I regard the product as I begin to consume it? And if that is the way I begin my day, then how should I go about my work and service to others?

    So now my theory is presented. It all begins with the morning paper.

  4. Parable of the Ward Clerk

    April 23, 2007 by Ryan

    Perhaps I was sleeping through Sunday School as we talked about this scripture? I somehow don’t remember reading this in the New Testament before…
    Behold, it came to pass that in a far country, the Stake President did call for an early meeting of Priesthood leadership.
    And behold, on an early morning the priesthood did assemble themselves into their cars, and began to journey some distance toward the church building.
    Now the Stake President did observe, as he journeyed forth, a car parked upon the side of the roadway; wherein he saw a young mother who did struggle much with three young children. And he did behold that a tire upon her car was without air, wherewith it was flat.
    And it came to pass that the President did change to the left lane, and did drive swiftly forward, justifying unto himself that he should not be late for the meeting which was to commence. For behold, he was to speak there.
    And it came to pass, that a bishop of one of the several wards, did also journey upon the same road.
    And behold, as he came upon the scene, he did also move to the left lane, and did take his journey onward, justifying to himself that he would be late for the meeting if he should stop.
    And behold, a ward clerk did also come upon the scene as he traveled. And he was moved with compassion, and did pull his car to the side of the road, and did leave his vehicle to ask what wherewith he could do to help.
    And he beheld that the children were wont with hunger, therefore he did produce snacks from his church bag, and did impart freely unto the youth.
    And he did remove his suit coat, and did retrieve his tools, and did hoist the car into the air, and remove the lug nuts; yea, even with much effort he did change the tire.
    And behold, when he had finished changing the tire, he did behold that the fuel tank was empty. Therefore he did journey a small distance to a gasoline station, where he did purchase two gallons of premium unleaded fuel, and he did return to the car, where he did put the fuel into the tank.
    Then it came to pass that he did follow the family to the gasolene station, where he did fill her tank to full, and saw the family had provisions for their journey (even milk and a box of cold cereal), and watched as they did take their journey, and was satisfied within himself.
    Then he did look, and beheld his appearance was unclean, for he had grease upon his white shirt, and his tie had torn, so that it was tathered. But behold, it came to pass that he did continue on to the meeting.
    And it came to pass that as he did arrive, he thought within himself that he should slip unseen into the back row, to hear the remainder of the speeches, because of his untidy appearance.
    But behold, to his astonishment, as he arrived, he found that he was asked to stand for his ward roll call, yea, and all did behold his unclean appearance, and he was ashamed.
    And it came to pass that the Stake President, yea and the Bishop also, did behold his appearance, and gave him stern and unpleasing looks; even they did disapprove of his appearance.
    Yet though embarrassed, the ward clerk did take courage, and did feel goodness within his heart.

  5. An Open Letter to Our Potential Creditors

    March 23, 2005 by Ryan

    Dear Good People at Wilmington Delaware,

    I wish to thank you for your kind offers, day in and day out, to present to my wife and me with new credit cards. We deeply admire your spirit of endurance, to continue to present us with these unique and exclusive offers. The vast amount of money you have spent on postage alone in an effort to lend us credit has simply astounded us, and we are deeply touched by your sincere concern and generosity which you express in your mailings! Likewise, the very kind people whom you have call our home each night are certainly nice individuals, and it is a pleasure to make their acquaintances.

    You may or may not have noticed our lack of reply to your offers. You see, despite your best efforts to serve our borrowing needs, we have carefully considered our financial situation, and come to the determination that we simply do not need another credit card. We realize that you will find this hard to believe. We recognize that stating such a thing to you sounds somewhat akin to telling our dentist that we think brushing four times a day is excessive.

    We are quite certain that your credit products are, as you claim, hands down the very best and most wonderful things a person could possibly hope to possess inside of his or her wallet. We must tell you though, that your continuous mailings have become, to say politely, obnoxious to us. Please do not take as a personal attack, but we are asking you to kindly stop sending us these offers by mail and telephone.

    Please understand that our biggest problem in receiving your continuous credit invitations is that we, in an age of concerns about identity theft, are forced to tear up and shred a vast majority of our mail each day. Our daughter, who is 15 months old, sees this, and gets excited when the mail comes. If we are not careful to watch that the mail is out of her reach, she will get hold of our mail and follow our example, tearing it up with glee and delight. This has lead to mail which we do not wish to be destroyed being wrought upon by her helpful young hands. We hope that if you resist sending these offers to us, it will be mutually beneficial, as you will save printing and postage costs, and we will begin to teach our daughter to respect the United States Postal Service deliveries that arrive to our home.

    Also, if you could ask those kind persons to cease calling us with the offers, this will help us to teach our daughter that proper phone etiquette does not mean answering the telephone and saying the following: “Hello… no, we’re not interested… no, I’m afraid not… NO THANK YOU,” followed by slamming the phone to the hook (which, admittedly, since the advent of the cordless phone is not nearly as dramatic as it used to be, but I digress).

    Again, we wish you all the best in your work to bring to the world the very best financial lending products that exist in this great country. Inasmuch as you have been so kind in your efforts to look after us with the finest of offers and opportunities, we hope there are no hard feelings. Please understand our position and respect our requests to discontinue our relationship. Should we change our mind, we will be sure to contact you (we do have your return address, trust us!)

    Ryan and Glorajean Beardall