Friday, August 29, 2008

God's Love

Today I went to the funeral for Steve Brown. Surrounded by friends, I was able to witness the incredible serenity as my Heavenly Father embraced me....and not only me, but the entire congregation in attendance. As we mourned the loss of a friend, boss, co-worker, father, brother, uncle, bishop, son, husband...I couldn't help but realize the impact that this one man had in the lives of many. Following the services, I talked to several people who told me experiences that only exemplified what a great man he was. After the testimonies and celebration of his life by those who spoke, I realized that I only had the opportunity to have a glimpse of this man's life.

Two of Steve's children spoke. I was blown away by their words and their courage as they expressed the love they had for their father. Not only did they account for their favorite memories, which also involved some kind of funny moment, but they provided comfort to their whole family. They bore their testimony of a loving Heavenly Father who knows the larger picture. They know that through time they will heal, and know that their father's memory will live on in them until the time they can see him again. They both, Michael (who I believe is 13) and Meagan (20), both know that they will return with their father again.

I think my favorite part of their talks were recounting the times that Steve would drag them out of bed to read scriptures every morning. They also talked about how they would participate in family home evening religiously. They both recall him being at all their extra curricular activities, concerts, recitals, games, and other significant events. What an incredible father!

President Eyring had the opportunity to speak also. His words were very personal...and meant for the family. More then anything, his words and validation of the things that were said during the service made me feel like the arms of the Lord surrounded us for that moment...where no one took offense, where everyone was family, where we were all brought together to witness the sweet passing of a worthy man.

What an honor it was to be in the presence of angels today, who spoke truths of what to expect in the life to come...and what we can do in the meantime.

Steve Brown left a legacy of laughter, thought, care, kindness, hard work, perseverance and love. I will never forget the incredible impact this man had on me. He was there for me during some pretty difficult circumstances and always had time to talk with me, even during the busiest time of the day. Yes, I will miss him...as others will.

Even in his passing, I felt like he was still at work. Working to let his family and friends know that he is still the same man with a great sense of humor, who is taking the next world by storm. He is unstoppable, moving, and preparing and building the kingdom of God.

What an incredible thing to know that I have a Father in Heaven who cares so much for me, and who also has a plan for all of us. My mortal mind may not be able to comprehend all of it, but I know for a surety that it is true. If only I can live my life in a way that will bring me safely home to Him...just like my dear friend, Steve lived his....such a good reminder to me of God's true love for all His children!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

GRE

So, I am taking my GRE on Saturday morning and I am totally freaked out. I have been studying since May and took a break in July because I was freaking out so much about it. I couldn't eat, or sleep well and I would have nightmares about being late to the test and not getting a good enough score to let me in a program. Yeah...one of those kinds of tests.

I am beating myself up over the fact that I took a break in July. I can't help but think, "Lord, help me pass this test using the best of my abilities, but also make me superwoman to know the things that I could not (did not) study." I already know that is not how it works, but I am praying for that anyway. You can all pray for that too...if you want!

After the GRE, I catch my flight to go see my cute little bro, Brendon. It is his last Sunday in California and he will be giving his 'farewell' talk before serving his two-year mission in Johannesburg, South Africa! AAH. I am so excited to see him and hang with him one last time before he disappears for two years to serve the Lord.

In either case, wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In Loving Memory-Steve Brown

I found out that my good friend, and former boss, Steve Brown passed away last night unexpectedly. I was shocked, and it hasn't really hit me yet. In the meantime, I wanted to take the opportunity to write down some of my favorite memories of Steve.

Steve was the happy-guy in the office. It seemed when things were really stressful, that we could always count on him to lighten the mood.
He was always joking around and was so fun to chat with. When I worked in the University Club building on the 14th floor, he would always come back to the forum, a special place removed from the rest of the office building that had wood paneling and smelled of old moss. He would always come back around 3:00 p.m. just to check up on the four of us that were stashed in the back.

He called me Lindsey-rooskie and always commented on my dating life. He was the bishop of a single's ward and I recall, he printed off his picture ward directory and brought it over so that my other single friend, Miaken, and I could choose our top mates. Going through the meat market together, he would say stuff like, "Oh, he is not good enough for you, but check this guy out." I enjoyed his laughter and loved being in the same room as him.

Even though I didn't get to work with him that often, I know that when there was a task at hand, that he worked and worked hard to make sure everyone was happy and that he was content with the outcome.
I will always have this deep respect and gratitude for this man. My heart goes out to his family, business partners, and all those who have come to know him.

Ready for Love-PS I love you

The first thing you don’t want to do when you are lovesick and hormonal is watch a chick flick that leaves you feeling absolutely lonely despite the fact that you are surrounded by people you love and who love you. It’s true. You don’t….absolutely silliness really!

Well, I did….and let me tell you….wow! The movie I am referring to is PS I Love You. I thought it was going to be this cheesy rendition of something that was far from reality…like many chick flicks can be. The movie took me by complete surprise. I cried, I laughed and I was totally moved by the story line. I was so moved that I have really been thinking about it since I saw it last Wednesday. In fact, I am now borrowing the book, looked online for the soundtrack and now own the DVD. It was crazy really how much I connected with the characters in the film. Not saying I experienced the loss that Holly, the main character, did, but I totally understood her. I felt her pain, I felt her healing, I felt the love that her husband had for her….and you know what I realized? I want that. I desire it. Sometimes, depending on the time of day, I crave it.

To be real honest, I am lonely without true love. I fully admit it. I always get this kind of emotional twice a month, where I cry for no reason, trying to hide my tears. Finally, I just let them go. Ah, how healing it is to cry. I love crying. I used to get teased about it growing up because I cried so much. Now, anyone can tease me all they want. I think crying is awesome. I could get defensive and say that I cry because I have a really big heart….but really, I love crying. It is such a release. My tears for the past couple days have been because I desire love. A romantic love, a love that lasts, a love that holds partners together through the toughest circumstances, a love that an old couple can look back on and truly say, “I couldn’t have done it without you.” Cheesy? Only something you would see in movies? I think not! It is so real. Sure, it comes with its ups and downs…and that is what makes true love, true. I am not looking at it through rose-colored glasses. I get the reality.

Normally, I do really well with chick flicks. I don’t normally let them get me down in the dumps about my current situation. It is Hollywood after all, and Hollywood doesn’t know my life, or what has defined my singledom and future romances. I could watch Pride and Prejudice every day and not feel the least bit sad about ‘my status.’ If anything, it provides hope about the Darcy characters that are truly out there, just looking to love a woman…in spite of all her …. faults/weaknesses/inadequacies, whatever ;) But after watching this film…I pondered a lot about true love. Is it the Wesley/ Buttercups love that that I crave…ah no, it is the Holly/Gerry’s love that I crave.

I watched it a second time and am now reading the book. I am not so much down anymore about it. But I have realized something that only India Arie can describe in her album, Acoustic Soul:

I am ready for love
Why are you hiding from me
I'd quickly give my freedom
To be held in your captivity

I am ready for love
All of the joy and the pain
And all the time that it takes
Just to stay in your good grace
Lately I've been thinking
Maybe you're not ready for me
Maybe you think I need to learn maturity
They say watch what you ask for
Cause you might receive
But if you ask me tomorrow
I'll say the same thing

I am ready for love
Would you please lend me your ear?
I promise I won't complain
I just need you to acknowledge I am here

If you give me half a chance
I'll prove this to you
I will be patient, kind, faithful and true
To a man who loves music
A man who loves art
Respect's the spirit world
And thinks with his heart

I am ready for love
If you'll take me in your hands
I will learn what you teach
And do the best that I can

I am ready for love
Here with an offering of
My voice
My Eyes
My soul
My mind

Tell me what is enough
To prove I am ready for love

I am ready

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics-what was missing

This guy was most definitely missing from the games.



In all due respect, I really do wish the Olympics were still on. Because now I have to watch stuff like this to get my dose.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Look out Jack Johnson, Zach Gill in the house!

So, I was going to wait until I had photos from the concert, but I just can't wait to tell you all about Jack Johnson! Not only do I think Jack and I belong together, but I would have to say that I am almost as much in love with his pianist as I am with him! Zach Gill is amazing. Mid-way through the concert, my sweetheart Jack pulled up his lovely comrades that will no longer be touring. They all did a pretty awesome song, but it wasn't until he invited his right-hand man, Zach to the stage that my heart did a little jump!

I love Jack's sound, his surfin' style and chill rhythm sends me on a trip every time I close my eyes. There I am, on the coast of Hawaii, laying on the sand letting the ocean play with my feet. Aah, sweet escape.

Now, with Zach...I have a very similar daydream, accept I am lying on the beach on the Mediterranean Sea, French side. Take me to Nice any day baby. Zach's style is a lot more playful, as are his words!! I think the fact that he plays the accordion with such a cool sense of whisper blues intrigues me. I am absolutely fascinated with the joy-ride my ears took! What adventure. What sweet nothings that were whispered in my ear at that moment in time. Midway through the song, Jack commented that Zach's words weren't as 'kid-friendly.' I had to laugh since the main chorus was: Girl, I wanna lay you down. My favorite line of the song, "I Wanna Lay You Down," would have to be:


"Turn out the lights, bring out the candles. Wrap your arms around my love handles."



Jack you make me swoon. Zach, you make me want to swoon with Jack on the French coast.

Here is Zach's promo video too:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Money for Education as Important as Parent's Involvement

Most of you know I am going back to school specifically for the 'fight' to enhance educational programs, specifically to increase funding for classroom resources, get creativity back into the school system, and help develop programs specific to special needs education and training. A lofty goal, but something I would give my life for. How I am going to do it?? Who knows, but I am shooting for the dream by going back to school to figure out how to be involved.

In the process, many people have asked me about how I think society/government/we could make education better. I found myself always saying that the government needs to pay more attention to the education of their future leaders, without really having a better answer than 'Yeah, the government needs to give schools more money.' Well, it seems in this world, everyone needs more money, right? So, after thinking about it a while and conducting some research, I stumbled across this article that talks about what else we (as people fully invested in GREAT education) need to look at when talking about giving our children the BEST education they need in order to succeed and progress. Some of you don't like the fact that I paste articles, but I really enjoyed reading this. What are your thoughts?

Don't whine, get involved in kids education


by Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

(CNN) -- Today was my first day in elementary school.

My wife and I have been married seven-and-a-half years and we don't have any children. But two weeks ago, we persuaded one of my three sisters to send her four girls -- ages 9, 7 and twin 4-year-olds -- to Chicago, Illinois, so we could take care of them and get them caught up academically.

I take seriously my role as a godfather and uncle. For a lot of folks, being a godfather is all about a ceremony and giving gifts on birthdays and Christmas.

But if you remember the admonition of the priest or pastor, the purpose of a godfather is to stand in the gap for the parents when they are unable to do so. That has surely been the case in my family. The consequence of drama in a marriage has left the two older nieces behind academically.

So we decided that it's time for them to be in a stable environment , immersed in academics. That's what took me to the nearby Chicago public school.

As I filled out the paperwork and looked through the folder provided by the school, I came across a variety of forms: for a school fundraiser at a restaurant, a raffle, and an application to join the school's Parent-Teacher Association.

For me, there is nothing more important than that PTA application.

In a world where the two presidential candidates spar over education funding, merit pay for teachers and whether vouchers are a good idea, a lot of folks spend their time complaining. They talk about failing schools and what administrators should be doing, and how teachers don't care like they did back in the day.

I'm sure you've heard the complaints before.

Trust me, I get it when folks say schools need more funding. But I also remember a conversation a few years ago on the syndicated television show America's Black Forum. Education advocate Jonathan Kozol was arguing that the issue is money, and Ohio's Wilberforce University president, the Rev. Floyd Flake, said that is just one of the critical elements.

Flake, a former congressman who runs his own school in New York, asked why schools in Washington, D.C. can spend more than $10,000 per child and kids fail, yet his New York school was spending $5,400 at the time and more than 75 percent were passing.

Kozol argued that one reason was Flake's charisma as a leader, but Flake contended -- and I agree -- that success is related to a nurturing environment where parents are mandated to take an active role in their child's education.

I thought of this in May during a conversation on my Chicago radio show with Rufus Williams, president of the Chicago Board of Education. A lot of parents called in, angry with the Chicago school system because they didn't find out until graduation that their child would not graduate because of failing scores.

The phone lines lit up and they bombarded Williams with all kinds of insults.

He promised to get them answers. The next day, he had them.

Apparently, parents were sent reminders during every report-card period when their child was at risk of failing.

But the parents couldn't say the dog ate the sheet before it came through the door. The parents had come to the school themselves to pick up the cards, and the warning was attached.

So the real deal was that these parents were informed of their child's poor classroom performance, but chose to overlook it.

Guess what? The phones were silent. Oh how the truth hurt.

The reality is that whether it's the 390,000 kids in Chicago public schools, or millions across the country, no school can educate the next generation alone. It requires committed teachers, but also informed and active parents who are willing to make sacrifices.

It would have been easy for my wife and me to live in our empty nest, take get-away trips on the weekend, or save a ton of dough and retire early. But there was no way I could sit back as those four girls were denied even a fighting chance at a great education so they could live their lives to the fullest.

One of my first questions was related to the dates of the parent-teacher conferences. I wanted to plug them into my Blackberry immediately. Those sessions are a priority. I can guarantee you the teachers will know me by name, and not just because I'm on CNN or WVON Radio.

See, I had good role models: my parents. They didn't go to college and have six-figure jobs. They simply cared about the education of their five children.

So, the nation's children are preparing for another school year. The parents must do the same thing.

My nieces begin September 2. We guardians and parents need to get our minds right, and make the decision now whether we are going to be those who work for solutions or those who just whine about the deficiencies.

Show up on the first day and do not make it your last. There is no greater gift you can provide your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren than your full attention to their educations. As the United Negro College Fund has said for years: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning journalist and CNN contributor. He is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." Please visit his Web site at http://www.rolandsmartin.com.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Whisper Rock

I went to an incredible concert on Friday with some buddies. Joshua Radin came back to Salt Lake after only a couple months. I have to say that I have never really been one to swoon over a musician before, but with his lyrics and very soft music, I couldn’t help but fall for him….ok, maybe not for him, but absolutely for the music. I was so impressed by the lyrics and the way he presented each song. In the middle of his performance he said he is trying to start a new genre of music called ‘whisper rock.’ I can’t think of another way to really describe his music. As one of my friends put it, he had me eating out of the palm of his hand. In fact I really just wanted to tell him how much his words meant to me.

To get a little personal, all that icky stuff that I have been facing the past couple months, was amazingly portrayed through his music. Call it inspired, cheesy or whatever, but he spoke to me in a way that I haven't been spoken to before. Sure, I have heard his songs before, but the concert made it so real! I feel for his music the way some feel for the Twighlight series....just can't wait more, and when it is over, you are left with a sense of completion, and can't stop thinking about it.

The band stuck around after the concert, but I got kicked out before I had a chance to go meet him. *Sniff. I am ok with that, but I am totally planning on it next time. And yes, there will be a next time.


Here are the lyrics to my favorite song. I also found this youtube video that was on Ellen. It was the best I could find that had the clarity that will make you swoon too! You may even learn a new language while you watch it. Hey, you never know.

Today

shoelaces untied
you can dry your eye
perfect shadows lie behind us
and this is the day i make you mine

the way your hair lies
sometimes unrecognized
all the way from nice, today
on a train
nothing to say but there's still time

and here comes the sun, it's been baiting 'morn today

lately i've lost my tongue
today you found my song
unknown our love has grown
and i thank god you came along

and you are the one i've been waiting for today
and here comes the sun, it's been baiting 'morn today

you looked right through me there was no one else
i sat beside you and became myself, today

and you are the one i've been waiting for today
and here comes the sun, it's been baiting 'morn today


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trudi Thomas 5k


Dear Friends of Trudi Thomas,

Many of you participated in the First Annual Trudi Thomas Memorial 5k Run last September. We’re excited for this year’s race which will be held on Saturday, September 13th. Last year’s race was a great success and over $16,000 was raised for the Trudi Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Trudi’s parents and neighbors did a great job of speaking with the businesses in Bountiful and West Bountiful about donating to the scholarship fund, and many businesses donated (as evidenced by all of the logos on the back of the race t-shirts). Because I was able to get a couple of businesses in Orem to contribute last year, we decided to expand our efforts a bit this year to see if any other businesses outside of Bountiful/West Bountiful would like to donate.

If any of you work for or know of any businesses that are looking for opportunities to give back to the community, feel free to share with them this flier to see if they’d be interested in contributing to the scholarship fund. Contact Val and Mike Thomas if you have any questions.

Also, feel free to pass this message along to other friends of Trudi, and start letting people know about the race next month! We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Thanks,

Alma Faerber

West Bountiful City Founder’s Day 5K Committee

Here is the web info for race registration: http://www.westbountifulartscouncil.org/trudi.html


Contact ie-mail for Mike and Valerie Thomas:

trudi5k@gmail.com

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ethiopia in Utah

Last night I went to my favorite restaurant, the African Marketplace. It is located on 1875 S. Redwood in Salt Lake City. I have been there before, but the second time was as if it were my first time.

I think my favorite thing about going there is how sweet the people are! We walked in and the people, no matter what they are doing, say ‘hello’ and ‘welcome.’ I went with my
friend of four years, who always takes me to the most exotic food-eating places, Brandon Bott. We sat ourselves in their newly remodeled dining area.

Seated in a very simply-constructed area with picnic type chairs and tables, we went through their menu. I was fascinated by the variety of their menu. From dishes that include cabbage, potatoes, meat, I was surprised to see that they also offered spaghetti meals. I would like to try that sometime when I visit again. Each dish is cultivated with the many spices and herbs from Ethiopia that really do not compare with spices that are used in other restaurants.
I think my favorite part about their food is the Injera bread.

According the website Science of Cooking
, "Injera is not only a kind of bread—it’s also an eating utensil. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, this spongy, sour flatbread is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews. Injera also lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices as the meal progresses. When this edible tablecloth is eaten, the meal is officially over."

My favorite sauce would have to be the Berber sauce that is used as a mixture with beef. All the dishes from their famous lentil and pea dishes (cooked with incredible spices) are all served on the ‘tablecloth’ Injera bread, and most of you know
I love using my hands to eat…so, if you don't like to use your hands, you may not like it. But it really makes the experience for me.

I was chatting with the woman that was running the restaurant, who by the way is the most stunningly beautiful and petite woman ever, and told her how much I loved Ethiopian food. I told her I wish I knew how to make the bread so I could have it all the time. She actually told me to come in and see how she makes it and would even let me make some!! Seriously, it was awesome. So, I am going to take her up on that and report back.


In the meantime, I was searching online for some recipes and found these websites:
Africa Guide
Recipe Source

I really liked this article about someone's experience eating Ethiopian food. I love how descriptive the writer is. Here is an excerpt: "A meal in Ethiopia is an experience. When you have dinner in an Ethiopian home or restaurant, you eat the tablecloth! One or two of the guests are seated on a low comfortable divan and a mesab, a handmade wicker hourglass-shaped table with a designed domed cover is set before them. The other guests are then seated round the table on stools about eight inches high covered with monkey fur.

The mesab is taken out of the room and returned shortly with the domed cover. The host removes the dome and the table is covered with what looks like a gray cloth overlapping the edge of a huge tray. But it is not a "tablecloth" at all. It is the Injera, the sourdough pancake-like bread of Ethiopia. Food is brought to the table in enamel bowls and portioned out on the "tablecloth!" When the entire Injera is covered with an assortment of stews, etc., you tear off a piece about two or three inches square and use this to "roll" the food in-the same way you would roll a huge cigarette. Then just swoop it up and pop it into your mouth. Your host might "pop" the first little "roll" in your mouth for you. It takes a bit of doing to accomplish this feat but once you master it, you cannot help enjoy It.
"

My hostess did not pop the first roll in my mouth by any means, but I guarantee, the rest of the experience is pretty darn accurate. Maybe not the monkey fur part either.

By the way, the number for to go orders is: 801-978-9673.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Random Things That I Love

Random Things That I Love:
  • Realizing that I was the first to use the public restrooms after they have been cleaned
  • Being that ‘really good friend’ that says, “Hey, you have something in your teeth”
  • Going into my bedroom and making the motions of flipping the light-switch on, even though the lights are already on
  • Pretending that I am on a first-name basis with celebrities when I discuss the gossip of their lives
  • Sneezing
  • Knowing that if it rains hard, I won’t actually ‘need’ to wash my car for another 3 months
  • Taking pictures of abandoned shoes at the beach
  • Thinking of a word so much, that the word doesn’t really sound like a word anymore (try it with the word ‘gum’)
  • Letting my hair drip-dry
  • Getting caught singing to myself

Monday, August 4, 2008

Unity

Yesterday became a very contemplative day for me. I woke up not really looking for answers to some of my life's questions, but ended up getting a peace of mind about some things. During church services, we had the opportunity to share different experiences we have had that have increased our beliefs and knowledge of the Savior and our faith in Him.

Someone in the church service got up and started talking about how he normally finds God. He mentioned that he has been going through a rough spot in his life and needed to feel the comfort of his Savior. One way he found helps him recognize this love is by taking himself on hikes. He said that he feels the closest to God when he escapes to the mountains. He had planned a weekend hike of about 24 miles. He stayed overnight and noticed that there was going to be a storm. So, he ended up hiking out, for a round-trip of 17 miles (if I understood him correctly). It was what he said afterward that really got to me. He said that a feeling came over him during church yesterday. To quote him as best I can: "Even though I felt like I could get closer to God in the mountains, there is a feeling here in church that is sustaining me. Because of what has been said today by others, I realized that it is here that we can become closer to our Father in Heaven."

Throughout the day, I had been contemplating why I attend church service. I know for myself why I go- so that I can renew the covenants that I made with my Father in Heaven and take it upon myself to always remember my Savior.

Yesterday, a thought came to me about something someone said to me a while ago that rubbed me the wrong way at the time. During this time, I remember asking them if they were going to church and the response was, "Well, who is going to be there?" I remember having a really hard time with that comment because for me going to church was something completely different than the social aspect. HOWEVER, after some other thoughts during Sunday School, I realized how important it REALLY is, to have people in my life that can be that conduit and allow the Spirit of the Lord testify of His truth through other people to me. I recognize now that I should not have let that question rub me wrong.

I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday about the people I associate with. Sure, there are some people that mock others that say they are grateful for roommates or friends, but I have to say that now more then ever, I have recognized that those people (roommates, friends and family) are my angels here on earth.

I find that I receive answers to my prayers through other people. It has always worked that way with me. Yesterday, even though I wasn't searching for one particular answer, I was comforted knowing that no matter how I find Christ, that I could always come to church and find Him, remember Him, repent and allow Him to work miracles in my life through other people.

I had a teacher when I was 17 years old that taught our Young Women's class who loved to quilt. She gave a lesson one Sunday about the people in our lives that make up our quilt of life. I will never forget her testimony as she shared what she had learned from these people in her life.

I am truly grateful for those who have made up the quilt of my life. I do not believe in coincidence, but know that Heavenly Father is very aware of me and puts people in my life for a reason. I believe and know there are angels on this earth that have been sent in the form of friends and family to lift me up when I have fallen. It was nice to remember what it is like to have that in my life...all because of the unity I felt when I went to church.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thinking Outside the Box

During my PR classes and often at the the PR firm I worked at, I always heard the phrase: "Thinking outside the box." As a PR team, we would often get together and brainstorm different crazy ideas that would eventually lead to some good press for each of our clients. Most ideas seemed a little too crazy....but now that I think about it....why? Let me show you the perfect example of someone's awesome brainchild that I am sure when presented, people said - dude, that's nuts. Maybe not so nuts now... This is the prime example of thinking outside of the box.

Here is the press release.

RICHTER7 SAYS NO TO PANTS AT WORK
FINES IMPOSED FOR WEARING LONG PANTS

SALT LAKE CITY, July 15, 2008 – Richter7, a Salt Lake City-based advertising and public relations agency, has mandated a “No Long Pants” policy from July 15 to Aug. 15, 2008, in an effort to keep cool and combat the effects of global warming.

For the four-week period, all employees, from the top brass down to the newest employee, will be encouraged to wear shorts, capris, skorts, kilts – anything but long pants – to work until the oppressive heat lets up, even in professional meetings with clients. Those found wearing long pants will face the “knickerbocker police,” who will fine offenders a quarter.

“We see this as a fun way to beat the heat,” said Dave Newbold , Richter7 president. “I don’t know of any other company that has actually insisted that all employees not wear long pants to cool down, but it’s in keeping with our motto to disrupt the status quo.”

July 2007 was Utah ’s hottest month on record, and August 2007 was 0.1 degree away from matching the hottest August on record. The forecast through August 2008 doesn’t seem to be cooling down any either, making staying cool a necessity.

In addition, the 40-person agency will buy each employee a pair of shorts of their choice and will also provide frozen treats for all employees every time the temperature tops 100 degrees.

“This is a huge morale boost for everybody,” said Tim Brown, Richter7 partner in charge of morale boosting. “With everyone cooler, creativity seems to be at an all-time high. Admittedly, the men in the office are reluctant because most are shy about displaying their untanned legs, but the women are huge fans.”

Having dominated the creative advertising scene for decades, Richter7 is known for its environment of creativity.

“This is what I love about Richter7,” said Teri Gibson , account supervisor. “We have crazy surprises constantly, such as live rock band lunches, parties at movie premieres and now a mandated no-pants policy. The entire culture here centers on generating creative solutions for our clients.”

Established in 1971, Richter7 has been named Utah ’s “Best of State” advertising agency for the past six years and is consistently recognized for effective advertising, public relations, Web marketing and design for local, regional and national clients.

###

Here is the coverage that came from it.

Shorts Crack the Code. New York Times, July 31, 2008. See the full article below.

July 31, 2008
Shorts Crack the Code

FIRST came Casual Fridays, that dread episode in the history of fashion, with their invitation for men to trade in suits for Dockers and to swap a proper shirt and tie for an open neck and a daring flash of masculine d├ęcolletage.

Then the bare ankle migrated from country-club Saturdays to meeting-room Mondays and suddenly men, whether shod in wingtips or loafers, were widely seen without socks. Now it appears that, after some stops and starts in recent seasons, the men of the white collar work force are marching into the office in shorts.

It was no more than a moment ago, in the sartorial long view, that a guy who came to work wearing short pants would have been shown the door — or anyway, given the address for human resources at U.P.S. All that appears to be changing.

Consider that an advertising agency in Salt Lake City this summer introduced a no-long-trousers policy. Consider the octogenarian New York lawyer who ditched his seersucker suit for jaunty camouflage shorts on the job. Consider the pack of stylish young men on the streets of Manhattan who find it not only sensible, in thermometer terms, to beat the heat by wearing shorts but also, in style terms, cool.

“We try to have a little bit of fun around here on a regular basis,” said Dave Newbold, the president of Richter7, the Salt Lake City ad agency in question, whose clients include Medtronic and the Chamber of Commerce of Park City, Utah, where wearing long pants outside of ski season is practically a violation of the law.

When the hockey star Sean Avery took an internship at Vogue earlier this summer, the work uniform that the fashion-besotted left wing chose included a shorts suit that showcased his athletic calves.

“Why go to work and be hot?” he asked last week, adding that there was no compelling business reason to look modest and dull on the job. “You can look good and not have that boring-type look,” said Mr. Avery, who signed with the Dallas Stars this summer after several seasons with the Rangers. “Why are women allowed to do it and not men?”

The willingness of men to expand the amount of skin they are inclined to display can be gauged by the short-sleeved shirts Senator Barack Obama has lately favored; the muscle T-shirts Anderson Cooper wears on CNN assignment; and the Armani billboard in which David Beckham, the soccer star, appears nearly nude.

Not a few designers are pushing men to expose more of the bodies that they have spent so much time perfecting at the gym. “We have all these self-imposed restrictions” about our dress, said Ben Clawson, the sales director for the designer Michael Bastian. “As men’s wear continues to evolve and becomes a little more casual without becoming grungy, it’s not impossible anymore to be dressed up in shorts.”

While Mr. Bastian is a designer of what essentially amounts to updates on preppy classics, even he has pushed for greater latitude in exposing men’s bodies to view.

“Michael is a big fan of the third button,” said Mr. Clawson, referring to the neckline plunge that has somehow evolved beyond its cheesier Tom Ford (by way of Tom Jones) associations. “For women, legs are a sex symbol, where for men legs are more private.”

Yet for Mr. Avery, a man in a shorts suit is no more startling than a woman in a miniskirt. “Women have the option of wearing a dress,” he said with the assurance of someone who can hip-check those who fail to share his opinion.

“I haven’t asked them, but I’m sure women like looking at a man’s calves, or if a man has them, nice ankles,” Mr. Avery said.

That may be. Yet none of the New York City banks, law firms, stock brokerages or hospitals contacted by a reporter last week considered shorts an acceptable part of a work uniform, and for reasons that varied from the need to preserve institutional decorum to hygiene (imagine a hairy leg in an O.R.)

Still, it is probably worth remembering that there was a time when politicians were seldom seen, even out of the office, without their decorous suit coats, and never in short pants (Nixon famously wore shoes on the beach). And it was only a short while ago that news anchors who ventured out on combat assignment did so in more protective khaki than a Victorian ornithologist braving the wilds of Borneo.

Is Mr. Cooper more or less serious because he chooses to showcase the pneumatic biceps so obviously a part of his appeal? Are the folks behind Calvin Klein yet again on to some cultural shift with the underwear campaign that made its debut this week, featuring the model Garrett Neff bunching his unworn skivvies in front of his crotch?

“The idea of being threatened by the objectified male body has gone, the process is complete,” explained Aaron Hicklin, the editor in chief of Out magazine. “Men are the same as women now.”

Perhaps it is simpler than that. A relaxed approach to sexual display played a role in the policy at Richter7, the Salt Lake City agency, but so did a long stretch of days when temperatures routinely closed in on 100 degrees. “It’s so hot here in mid-July and August that we wanted to combine the two issues” of comfort and fashion, Mr. Newbold said. For client meetings, he pointed out, account executives are expected to “dress to the level of presentation that looks credible and respectable.”

A question arises, though, of what respectability looks like when underwear is routinely worn as outerwear and people travel in get-ups that look like onesies and the combined effects of a cosmetic surgery boom and an epidemic of obesity have given us all an uncommon level of intimacy with the contours of one another’s bodies.

Fifteen years ago, when Hyman Gross, a real estate lawyer in Manhattan, proposed wearing shorts in summer, his boss responded that the firm was not a beach club.

“It’s a pretty strait-laced office, and I quickly retreated from that position,” said Mr. Gross, who is in his ninth decade. Last year, though, looking at office workers of both sexes disporting themselves seminaked on the streets of the city, he concluded it was time for shorts. “It seems so strange on an over-90-degree day to subject yourself to sartorial rigidity,” he said.

And so there was Mr. Gross taking a break at Bryant Park, nattily attired in a black polo shirt from Target, a pair of sandy-colored camouflage shorts he bought in a shop in a subway arcade and a Panama topper from Arnold Hatters.

“I travel to and fro in shorts,” said Mr. Gross, who also wears his short pants to the ballet and the opera. “No one has ever spoken to me about it. And if anyone decides they don’t like it or they won’t take me, it’s their loss.”

Increasingly, said Andrew Bolton of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the “zones in which this kind of exposure is accepted are permeable.”

Seminudity, of the sort proposed by Miuccia Prada or Dsquared in the recent men’s collections, holds little appeal for someone like Kwesi Blair, a branding adviser whose shorts and blazer look became a wardrobe default during a recent sweltering spell.

Wearing a shorts suit, Mr. Blair explained, is not only more comfortable than the alternative, but a way to road test your own self-invention.

“I get a lot of looks and remarks,” said Mr. Blair, whose wardrobe runs to conservative labels — a Polo blazer, shirt and tie, a pair of J. Crew shorts. “On the street, people are like, ‘That’s a bold move.’ But, honestly, I’m just tapping into my own sense of style and sensibility and putting it out there. It’s not like I’m looking for acceptance.”

(Picture: Tanner Morrill applies for a job at Richter7 in Salt Lake City. Mr. Morrill was informed of the company's "no pants" policy and wore the shorts to the interview along with his shirt and tie.)

Photo: Brian Nicholson for the New York Times

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See what thinking outside the box did for this PR and advertising firm? Pretty awesome.