God, Magic, Football, and Collie

For those of who living outside of Utah or may have had your collective heads under a rock for the past week, I couldn't help but talk about this little nugget that has been rubbing between the state's fore-finger and thumb.
Here's the background: BYU beat Utah last week in a hard-fought, mostly mediocre football game, 17-10. In order to defeat the Utes, BYU needed a miracle 4th and 18 throw from Max Hall to wide receiver Austin Collie, which led to the final touchdown scored by BYU with only seconds left in the game.
When asked about the divine reception, Collie gave AM 1320 reporter Patrick Kinahan the following gem, which destroys any faith I had in the ability of football players to think:
"I wouldn't say [the catch] was lucky. We executed the play well. We should have had another [TD]. Obviously, if you do what's right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part. Magic Happens."
(As reported by the Deseret News, at http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695231106,00.html)
This has been replayed, rehashed, and ridiculed for the past week or so. Upset Utes and rational people are generally stupefied, wondering "Why is another Cougar citing their affiliation with God as the reason for succeeding/winning?"
On the Cougar side, arguments in Collie's defense have been as follows:
1. Collie's comments were taken out of context
2. He didn't mean what he said
3. Collie was only talking about his individual ability to make magic happen with the Lord's help.
4. Austin Collie even defended himself later, saying "I just think it's absolutely ridiculous that people take something like that and blow it up. I really think it's because I'm a Mormon white kid from Brigham Young University. Anybody else says that from any other team and it's just 'how spiritual that guy is.'"
He continued, stating his belief that God blesses all his children, all the time:
"You can see that around the world, God cares about his children and that he's going to bless them whether it's on the football field or or any other area of their lives. I think if you're doing the things you should do on and off the field, things are going to come together for you. To tell you I got here on my own and that the Lord hasn't had a hand in my success and our team's success and every other athlete's success in this world is just B.S., because he's had a hand in every person's life."
In a final show of the charity and altruism that his faith has taught him, Collie blessed his allies and enemies by explaining that those people who criticized his comments "need to get a life. It's just ridiculous. People have to get a life. That's all."
Thank you, Austin. We obviously need to get a life. This from the person who is convinced that the Almighty is so concerned with sporting events that He will actually choose to favor one of His children over another. Thank that's not what Collie said? Let me show you why that's EXACTLY what he said.
Unfortunately, Collie can't escape the logic of his statement like he did the Utah secondary on 4th and 18.
Essentially, Collie formulated the following logical statements:
1. If you do what's right on and off the field, the Lord is with you.
2. If the Lord is with you, magic happens.
So, if you combine the two statements, you can make a third, which is:
3. If you do what is right on and off the field, magic happens.
I don't think anyone really cares about someone giving thanks to a supreme being for helping them to do their best. The trouble that Collie has run into is when you take the flipside of his logic (which is just as true as his outright statements).
The "flipside" of any logical statement is what philosophers call the "contra-positive." It essentially looks like this:
Original Statement:
If X, then Y
If you're in New York, then you're also in the US
If not Y, then not X
If you're not in the US, then you're not in New York
Thus, if you take the contra-positive of those three original Collie statements, you get the following:
1. If the Lord is not with you, then you aren't doing what's right on and off the field.
2. If Magic doesn't happen, then the Lord is not with you.
3. If Magic doesn't happen, then you aren't doing what's right on and off the field.
Herein lies the problem-- according to Collie's logic, if the "magic" doesn't happen, then the Lord isn't with that person or team. And if the Lord isn't with that person or team, then they aren't doing what's right on and off the field.
Therefore, any team that loses to BYU for lack of magic (read--Utah) has done so because the Lord is not with them, and the Lord is not with them because they don't do what's right on and off the field.
So, when fans get upset that Collie is saying that their team is not as righteous as his, they are SPOT ON. Logically, that is perfect contra-positive formulation of his argument. Now, the question being begged is "Does that mean that Tulsa was doing more right on and off the field, and therefore had more of the Lord's help, which in turn led to more magic in their defeat of the righteous Cougars?"
What about those years when BYU lost so many games under Gary Crowton?
Don't you think he was praying to do a good job?
Weren't the players?
Honestly, let's stop second-guessing the Lord. I'm sure that if He is involved with sporting events, it's more like a father watching two sons compete against each other. No matter how involved He is, though, I'm certain that the heartache, grief, suffering, and other pains that plague His children throughout this war-torn earth occupy His attention and priorities much more than whether one kid on one football field made one play to help win one game.
Is God involved in our daily lives? You bet. But to the extent that he'll favor one child to the detriment of others? Never.
I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter.



I figured it was time to get on with the countdown. I'm running out of days within which I can get these through. If I'm not careful, I'm going to have to lump years of my life together in some kind of epoch-based sequence (ie--"The Bonneville Elementary Years" or "The Awkward Phase"). Anyway, here were some significant events from my life and the world in 1986: While I celebrated my 4th birthday this year, I was mostly 3. I don't really remember much beyond the backyard swingset, my older sister's care-bear collection and Thundercats. Needless to say, I was cute when I wasn't angry. Also in 1986: --"Captain Midnight" interrupted HBO's late-night feed (let your imagination soar with that one) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Midnight_%28HBO%29 --Roger Clemens strikes out 20 in a game, April 29. Nicknamed the Rocket, he echoed his US Military-esque namesake and would go on to play way too long for way too much money. --September: A tour bus carrying the heavy metal band Metallica while touring in Sweden hits a patch of black ice and turns over. Their bassist does not survive the ordeal. 20 years later, the band would hit a patch of programming software called Napster, leading to the demise of the rest of the band. --December 15, My Birthday: As I turned four, TIME Magazine also published an edition of its magazine featuring Neil Simon on the cover. To the right of the accomplished playwright are the words "Laughter and Tears." Once again, life imitates art and another theme of my childhood is established. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601861215,00.html


Tag-- I'm IT!

For the first time in my life, I'm "It." I'm very grateful to Sam Sorensen for the opportunity to talk about my favorite person: me. You can see his thought-provoking blog, Bear Cave, at http://www.sjsorensen.blogspot.com/.

Here are the rules of the game.

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random - some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names - link to them.
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

I shall now begin:

Fact 1: I have broken both of my pinky fingers on several occasions. Dislocation, sprain, break, etc. This has not hampered my Nintendo skills, even though my pinkies are now both thicker than my index fingers.

Fact 2: I am addicted to Cafe Rio. I am therefore considering a class-action lawsuit against the restaurant for including highly addictive, habit-forming substances to their recipes. Whether this be a case of cocaine, heroine, or other drug, I feel they have both added to my personal enjoyment of life and taken a bit of my personal freedom. I'm considering advertising for the class action suit with the following tag line: "Have you eaten a sweet pork barbacoa burrito in the last seven months? Tired of dreaming of steak salads with cilantro and the house dressing smothering a fresh-grilled, hand-tossed tortilla? Contact Vogeler, Vogeler, Vogeler, & Associates now for your chance at a billion dollar slice of the jalapeno."

Fact 3: I baptized my Teddy Bear in the Toilet at age 4. He needed forgiveness!

Fact 4: I love good books, but hate the people that write them. Every time I read an interview with one of them, I think "Holy Hell! If this schmuck could write the next great American novel, I CAN!!" And then I swiftly realize that I can't even hold together a relevant social life, let alone write a book.

Fact 5: I miss the University of Utah like an old man misses his prunes: life was so much smoother and more regular with the U in my life.

Fact 6: I can't wait for my little brother to get home from Mexico in July for two reasons:

1) I love Mikee a ton

2) We need to take a picture of the three Vogeler brothers posing seductively in front of The Van. See http://ebv.blogspot.com/2007/07/magical-evening.html.

Fact 7: Irony is often an integral part of my relationships. Examples:

1. One of my exes decided that we needed to "talk" about our relationship. That is always a bad
sign that most guys misread. I was one of those guys who misread it. While we were talking about our relationship, Ben Folds' "The Luckiest" was playing softly in the background. I remember thinking "Man, this song is so right on...I am the luckiest!" She followed up my thought by breaking up with me. I then remember distinctly thinking "That sucks. This is not lucky."

2. I was dating a girl in the summer of 2005, and we often stayed up late since she worked night shifts at a restaurant and I worked late at Kaplan. Most nights I would come home around 2:00 to 3:00 am. Realizing this was problematic for the beginning of school, we decided we needed to get to say goodbye earlier so we could get some sleep and be functional human beings. One night, remembering our plan, I told her that I needed to be up early, and that she needed to sleep, so I left her place at 12:00 midnight (early for a summer evening). On the way home I blacked out/fell asleep at the wheel and totalled the car. I woke up with an airbag in my face, a shattered windshield all around me, and a text message on my phone that said: "I'm so proud of you for saying goodbye early. Have a great night!"

3. I am now married to lovely Lady Law. Iroically, though, she has yet to provide with Life, Liberty, or the Pursuit of Happiness. However, she has stuck with through the best times and the worse, through sickness and in health, etc. Most of the time, though, I wish she'd go away.

Well, that's it. Here goes, in no particular order of tagging:

Scott and Courtney, http://shjacobsen.blogspot.com/

Cody and Madelyn, http://mcaustintx.blogspot.com/

Dave and Kristin, http://dpattenj.blogspot.com/

Matt, http://jackenpox.blogspot.com/

Whitney, http://whitlin.blogspot.com/

Andrew, http://sosaidmybrain.blogspot.com/

Melanie and Riley. http://alittlebloggoesalongway.blogspot.com/

Enjoy all!



A year to remember.
First, and in honor of the Reader's Choice for Most Passion-Inspiring Nintendo Character, 1985 saw the beginning of:
Whether he was revelling in your accomplishments as a dead-eye duck hunter,
or chuckling in your face as the ducks made their way safely out of your 8-bit screen,
we all know we tried to shoot the dog.
And if we could right now, we'd do it again. Gladly.

And, in fact, you can do just that here-- http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/duckhunt/.

Also in 1985:

-The highly ranked BYU football team, coming off their National Championship, and with their eye on another couple of weeks sans Honor Code, loses to the mighty Miners of UTEP--their only win of the season. A mighty cheer erupts from the hill in Salt Lake City, while wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of clothes combine to cause Provo's collective ego to...well...stay about where it was.

-Mike Tyson makes his professional debut in Albany, NY, launching a storied, high-pitched, low-punched, nail/ear/girl-biting career. Somewhere, somehow a Japanese programmer begins to develop the Anti-Mike: Little Mick, the 8-bit wunderkind. Next post will outline Little Mick's much more storied and happier-ending career.

-The Disney World monorail catches fire due to the friction from a flat tire. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Unfortunately, monorails continue to be built nation-wide as the "greatest innovation in public transportation since the bus." Yeah, ask Seattle how that went.

-Norm Bangerter begins his first term in office as Utah governor. His greatest achievement--the highway bearing his name--is completed shortly thereafter (well, OK, 1998). Other potential names for the stretch of road:

a. The Mormon Motorway

b. The Salt Lake Sheet Street

c. The Westside Highway (REALLY!) http://members.aol.com/utahhwys/rte154.htm

-Eric Vogeler begins to have memories. His first: Asking his mother mid-June when his birthday would be, as this promised cake, presents, and finally some attention. Her response "Not for another six months." So begins Eric's preoccupation with birthday countdowns.

1985 Present: Optimus Prime. My Parents Loved Me.


1984--Orwell Had it SOOOO Wrong

The totalitarian state where media, history,war, and human emotion were controlled by the amorphous Big Brother wouldn't come around for another 20 years when it would be realized by CBS. Oh well, it could have been worse. He could have predicted flying cars in 2010 (Back to the Future 2 anyone?)

Meanwhile, 1984 saw such advents as:

Timmy Vogeler--or as he's more commonly known: Little Brother, Big Lover.
Timmy was born this year and immediately began to steal affection away from his older, wiser, bigger brother. Needless to say, Eric was jealous in the way that only a two-year old can be of a squirming little newborn babe. Eric distinctly remembers nothing of this era, but can only assume that Timmy was cute and dribbly where Eric was argumentative and talkative. Eric's jealousy was well-founded as he was quickly discarded by both his older sisters and parents in favor of the cute one. Left to fend for himself as he hunted and gathered food, sought out water, and created his own shelters (OK--Twinkies, drinkies, and blanket forts, but you get the idea). While this bolstered Eric's inner resolve and physical strength, Timmy quickly became the favored one and Eric's ego wilted. Timmy would become the Ender Wiggin to Eric's Peter (minus the mutilated squirrels and Bugger Wars). And so it was, that on October 24, Little Timmy was born and a lifelong rivalry and brotherly love affair began.

(NOTE: Timmy and I have since patched things up.)

Also in 1984:

--TaB's original formula, developed in 1963 to help people keep tabs on their dietary intake (get it?), is tweaked on May 16 to mix saccharin with a small amount of aspartame. Thousands of famous athletes, politicians, and movie stars weep at the loss of their pure saccharin TaB and wonder whether they'll live long enough to find another common link so deceptively sweet as their favored drink.

--BYU wins the National Championship in Football. Provo river spills over its banks as does Provo's collective ego. The Honor Code is lifted for two weeks as a carnival-esque state of Mormon Mardi Gras descends upon Happy Valley. Coca-Cola is consumed without shame, lovers hold hands in broad daylight, and thigh-high shorts pepper the campus in the middle of January. BYU administration holds its breath for two weeks so that the color of the mighty Cougars might be reflected in their countenance. Angels sing "Rise and Shout" and the words "Because of you our faith is strong" are added to the school song to remind students to where they might look for football redemption. Hours after the re-establishment of the Honor Code, things in Happy Valley return to normal. --Crack Cocaine begins to sweep the nation. Famous athletes, politicians, and movie stars cry tears of joy and sniffle uncontrollably at the thought that they finally have a common link to replace TaB.



Disclaimer: I hold this entry with the highest amount of respect and reverence that I (typically) afford this blog. To all those who read this passage, please take off your plumber hats, power down your bio-mechanically attached plasma weapon, and let the magic seep back into your soul. (Hushed Tones) In the summer of 1983, the first Nintendo Entertainment System was first sold in Japan.

It wasn't until 1985 that Nintendo would be released in North America and subsequently marketed to little boys who would soon become addicted to such classics as Contra, Super Mario Bros., Mike Tyson's Punchout, Metroid, Zelda, Duck Hunt, and Battletoads. However, I thought it only appropo to address the NES's birthdate in a countdown of my own birthday--I mean, we practically grew up together, cried together, loved together, spent countless hours together trying to save the Princess, the World, or the Heavyweight Championship (?). In short, to borrow a line from Sir Paul McCartney: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Thanks Nintendo. For the old times, and the new. Here's to another 24 years. Mazeltoff.

Also important in 1983:

-Ronald Reagan dubs 1983 "The Year of the Bible..." and the Jelly Belly

-February 28: "M*A*S*H" finally ends. Alan Alda begins life as a Guest Star on other shows

-"Star Wars" moves from realm of fantasy to...realm of politics...which is circular at best.

-BYU wins the Holiday Bowl, Steve Young announces his intent to enter the AFL draft, and Provo's ego expands to the point of unreality. An ego they maintain to this day.

-"Pioneer 10" becomes first man-made object to leave solar system. Pioneer 10 also becomes the first in a long line of interstellar trash we can only hope will be picked up by interstellar prisoners cleaning up the interstellar highways in bright interstellar orange space suits.

-The death of the first feminist movement is commemorated at the grand opening of the first Hooters in Florida, October 4. Silicone sales go up 200%.

-Microsoft Word is published October 25, 9:00 am ET.

-October 25, 9:30 am: first Word document to be lost because of an undefined error

-October 25, 9:31 am: first copy of Word to be used as a doggy chew toy. Bill Gates' brain turns red, and a shiver runs up his spine. He can't help but smile.

-Baby Eric learns to smile, eat, drink, and poop--habits he maintains to this day.


Best Things of Their Respective Years...1982

Well, my Quarter Century Mark is swiftly approaching (only six more weeks to get me that awesome present you've been thinking about), and in preparation for that, I've decided to start a "Best of..." countdown of the years of my life. I'll take it one year at a time, which should provide quite a few posts up until the actual Ides of December. So, to begin...I give you
Five of the Best Things to Happen This Year
1. Best Album that Would Inspire Thousands of Misguided 80s Teens to Buy Red Leather, Grab their Groins, Point to the Sky and Yell "Ooooop! Ahh!" In Really High Pitched, Poppy Voices:
2. Best TV Show to Feature Marty McFly Before He Helped Doc Brown Test the Flux Capacitor and Finally Prove That 1.21 Gigowatts of Electricity Can Be Safely Channeled Directly Into a Dolorian Traveling at 88 MPH:Family Ties
3. Best Anti-Trust Violating Monopoly to Be Broken Up Only To Form Up Later In The Next Millenium and Provide Crappy, Expensive Phone Service Only to Throw Their Hat In With Apple and Delight Customers With Fancy Gadgetry and New Fangled Touchy Screeny Stuff:
4. Best New Product To Launch an Infuriating Packaging System Consisting of Unbreakable Shrinkwrap, Incredibly Fragile Plastic, and A Contract With Satan Himself to Ensure That Thousands Would Lose Themselves To Him Through the Cursing and Gnashing of Their Teeth on Its Shiny Plastic Wrap:
5. Best Non-Human to Win Time's "Man of the Year" in the Same Month That Marcia Vogeler's Man of the Year is Born in Holy Cross Hospital: