Thursday, November 29, 2012

Object Lesson Book NOW on Sale ON LINE!

Inline image 1

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ATONEMENTThe Parable of the Bicycle
ATONEMENTThe Corollary to the Parable of the
Bicycle –
ATONEMENTHeavenly Father Will Help You Create
a Masterpiece
CHASTITYLifesaving Purity 
CHOICEA CTR Youth Leadership Lesson
with A Ring To It
CLUTTERWhat You See Is What You Do! 
ADVICEGratitude For Counsel 
ETERNITYEternity Is A Piano Wire 
FILTHChoosing The Best Media 
GENEALOGYWho Shall Say His Generations 
GOALSCome, Dream With Me … Outloud! 
GODHOODWhat Does God Do For A Living?
HOLY GHOSTThe Holy Ghost As A Comforter 
HOLY GHOSTParable Of The Conductor’s Baton 
HUMORSteak Center Restaurants:
Never A Dry, Boring Meating! 
IMAGEThe Real Final: His Image In
Your Countenance 
KINDNESSThe Man In The Muffler 
MISSIONARIESSome Advice For My Brother
Who Will Soon Serve A Mission 
MISSIONARIESMissionaries: Enthusiastic Creativity!
PRAYERHandcart Angel Responds To Prayer 
REPENTANCESalt & Pepper: Repentance and the
RESURRECTIONMemorial Paper Doll 
REVELATIONYou Are His Clear Channel 
SACRIFICESacrifice: Stay Up Late With Your Family,
SCRIPTURESAfter All, We Teach The Old Testament 
SCRIPTURESScripture Study Cuts The Static 
TEACHINGAs You Teach – Get ‘em Up And Moving 
TEACHINGThe Best Church Instructors Know
How To “Play The Organ” 
TEACHINGPride Falleth Before The Teaching 
TEACHNGThe Enduring List 
TESTIMONYSharing Your Testimony 
TESTIMONYLayers of Testimony 
TESTIMONYFriends and Testimonies:
Black Acorn Shells 
TITHINGTithing First – Apples 
TRIPLEChange, Forgive and Contribute 
WORTHINESSClean Priesthood Vessels 

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We each teach, every day, every moment of our lives. This little book will give you the inspiration needed -- with nuggets of wisdom (and pedagogical wizardry) -- to come off as the master of any moment, teaching or speaking! 

The author, Jon Robert Howe, is a practiced and popular speaker and radio personality. His humor will surprise and delight you with its originality and freshness. This is a book that will aid Latter-day Saints in any speaking or teaching moment.

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Jon Robert Howe is first last, and always a seeker of truth who is happy to share--an educator experienced in multimedia ways to make learning memorable. He has been in turns a newspaper photographer, radio news broadcaster, professional Santa Claus, actor, video producer, musical playwright, graphic and Internet designer, marketing executive and innovative blogger. In his college classes, 

Jon loves to teach hungry students the presentation computer techniques that he is always polishing and using. He really enjoys leading church classes using his multimedia skills to not only keep his students awake--but more, to help make the lessons “stick” in the minds and hearts of his fellow students.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Power of a Gentle Deadline

Time Marches Inevitably On!
Bill Cosby did it best!  He would deadpan a wide-eyed expression at his TV wife, Phyllicia Rashad and hold his hands palms up, raise his eyebrows and literally back away from the passing market forces about to impact one of his kids!

Talk about applying enforced helplessness!  Gentle deadlines will do that for a parent (or gramparent).  It's using a kind of jujitsu of what a kid really wants to do or have in the direction of what he or she needs to do to get it. (using the force of the desire to "engineer" better, more targeted behavior.    It takes patience and a certain knack to hold one's senior face in a way that doesn't gloat or posture.  The Power of a Gentle Deadline can work internal miracles...but there is a trick to it!

I think I first learned this skill when Gramma Rosie and I were called to be the directors of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in our neighborhood (LDS Stake) in 1988.  As we marched from the first read through rehearsals through splitting into red, blue and green teams and pulling the whole production together on the way to a Thursday April 21st Opening night, one woman came to me with a legitimate concern about her limited time planned to rehearse with the live orchestra.  My patient reply was simple:  "you have your minus tracks on tape and 24 hours a day, every day between now and opening night.  I'll meet with you as often as you like, but our time is scheduled for the orchestra and you'll get what you can get.

Discussing this development with this slightly scared prima donna wanna be with my co-director, Gramma Rosie smiled and said she understood.   "This dear sister just wants some extra attention.  She's never done this before and she wants somebody, anybody to pay attention and give her some reassurance"

That's what it was!   Curtain went up on schedule and the amateur Golda for the Green Team did her role very well...and without the extra time before our pit orchestra..

In a sociology class at BYU I learned that folks will work as hard for a quarter token payment as they would for $25 dollars an hour.  For the joy of a new challenge and out of respect for the inner "pride" of doing one's best, it is almost always in the nature or those who are properly led to knock themselves out--to do their best and achieve a sense of satisfaction.  .  Sometimes fear motivates them to get going, but at the finish it's JOY that breaks the tape.  We've all been taught that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well!

I've never read the statistics, but I'm guessing that well-run prisons use this principle--letting the gentle pressure of time frames and deadlines mold behavior and motivate compliance--even excellence among an otherwise rebellious prison population.

Earlier this week I met a wonderful thirty something daughter of my publisher, C. Michael Perry, who uses a simple Navy bean motivation system to get cooperation in a Sunday School class of squirmy twelve year old boys and girls at church.  The goal over a quarter is to achieve a certain number of beans in the class account.   Good questions and good behavior are rewarded with beans.  Acting up result in beans being taken away--and resulting peer pressure to behave.  

There is power in a caring indifference to time marching on when someone you have stewardship for wants something badly.   Bobbing and weaving and giving advice only when called upon--that enforced helplessness that implicitly enlists the best judgement of the other person--that is shadow leadership of the best quality.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Practical Power of a Wet Blanket

Mom Ellen shared a unique insight into her daughter Beth, an 11 year old with a pure spirit recently.

"Beth isn't too popular in some circles in her 6th Grade Class," Ellen smiled.  "Some of her friends think she's a wet blanket for some of their adventurous ideas!"

One more evidence Mom is getting through to a daughter on the brink of adolescence.

Gramma Rosie, Commander of the Sucker Patrol reads to
Beth and James circa 2004
Gramma Rosie and I have known Beth since she and her family moved into the other end of our duplex eight years ago.  She was three years old, raised in a family with regular family prayer, nightly family dinners, weekly family home evening and home school.  She is at once obedient and curious; intelligent and wise; fun and flirty; industrious and a piano virtuoso--in short:  The perfect kid!

Lesser mortals hate perfect kids!

Great Gramparents love 'em--and provide encouragement for even better being.  Leader/parents should spend time and energies encouraging good projects and avoid harping to stop lesser initiatives!

One day, we invited Beth and her little brother Preston over to test out a bright red toaster oven I'd aquired for my Santa business. My mom learned to cook on a friend's Easy   Bake oven..and in that tradition, we wanted to be good friends with a skill building experience as a gift.  In situations like this I try to provide all the fixin's and let a kid test out theories.  Beth had helped fix dinner at home....but coooking for the sheer joy of it was a little new to her.

As our conversation progressed that Saturday morning, Beth was on the way to making little pizzas with frozen biscuit dough, little pepperonis and bottled pizza sauce.    I didn't know how to turn on or modulate the newly purchased oven---and neither did Beth.  (Her little brother was having fun as four year olds do with Spider Man toys in the corner)   but in the same spirit that Madam Curie must have had to test pitchblend, Beth started carefully adjusting knobs on the little thing.   Lights came on and off, heating elements glowed and went dark and it was everything I could do to keep Gramma Rosie from swooping in with a solution or advice.  After a while, Beth figured it out for me!

Her mood, as coached by encouraging parents has been, "I don't know, but I'll try!"   You can't ask for any better attitude than that!

As for Wet Blanket---Beth doesn't go to slumber parties.  Wiser heads discourage the gang gatherings to pierce ears, try unknown slosh and tell forbidden secrets of the flesh.  

Stealing hubcaps; shop lifting; other thrill-a-minute activities get run through a parent-coached filtering system in Beth's head...and guide her along life's way.  Good on ya, Mom and Dad!

"Train up a child in the way she should go, and when she is old she will not depart from it!"  Proverbs 22:6

Some child in ten or fifteen years is going to be born to Beth as a young mother and be the better for it!

I run several blogs:  Teaching Moment Boosters, Santa's Cosmic Sleigh (Howe to Build your Own North Pole!) and the Naysayer--mostly political commentary and reflections.   These blogs are all about different aspects of human engineering.

The practical value of a wet blanket is the down to earth restraint that comes with age, experience and caution.  It has to be strong and deals from a position of strength, of cool, of popularity and just being right most of the time.   Beth has this quality.  So does our daughter Sally.  We call it the Old Head on Young Shoulders Syndrome.

The Naysayer has a place in civilization.  In the four personality quadrants, the Guardian is a personna of reserve--rarely jolly or adventurous; not often innovative or daring--certainly creative in a more negative way than gangbuster positive --but the power of NO and the guts to make it stick is a virtue.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks teaches there are eight kinds of "revelation" and restraint is one of those.

 I've heard the story of a powerful naysayer in a closed door meeting of an LDS Stake High Council, who countered a proposal by a stake president with a firm NUH-UH!- for a great idea that would have taken a lot of work.  It was scotched by man who was in a position to counsel and gently but firmly refuse an idea at the very beginning.

Of course the stake president had not done his homework and pre-sold the idea beforehand--and ultimately that did him in.

The idea was potentially a wonderful one!

The concept was to hold a giant fair in a nearby public school yard-meadow with hand carts, food, fun and festivities--to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the pioneers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  

Arranging for the handcarts, gathering all the food and marshalling the local saints' participation was a daunting task, but overcome in the mind of the church leader with the thought that rubbing elbows in such joyful toil would bring Saints together and sharpen their appreciation for the sacrifices of their forbearers in the Valley--but one man, one jolly loving man said, "NOPE!" and caused more than a little concern.

Wet blankets can stop blessings, too!

I know another man on the same High Council who was very good at stopping half-baked ideas from going forward.   This attorney used scripture, an encyclopedic knowledge of the Handbook of Instructions and common sense to send otherwise interesting proposals back to the drawing board for more work and more thought, seldom to see the light of day again!  Today that man serves at the highest local level of leadership.

To Beth and the other Naysayers who hold to a standard at some often temporary cost to themselves. You go girls, uh, guy(s)  Progress half done is often worse than none at all!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ingratitude -- a Sin?

Are some people weeds?  Are some people such users they become losers?

At our house we call them--the user women who bring treats and kisses in exchange for FREE mechanical work.  Chocolate chips and a promise of a little TLC goes a long way with a big hearted son.

Thunder-thighs have followed our handy son all his young adult life.


In the WORK AND THE GLORY the blacksmith-skilled son leads the vanguard pioneers building a handy boat on top of a wagon that can be inverted and sailed across any river or stream.   Brother Brigham calls on him for help in the practical problems crossing the plains.   Blacksmithss in fiction and in real life like Holladay's Blacksmith Bishop David Brinton were prized.  Like German craftsmen they were respected as much or more than medical doctors or college professors.

My how times have changed.

Noah and Gabriel's attractive little mommie called for help with the power windows in her car as she got ready to move back home to Richfield.   Our handy son tagged along and played Daddy to the e three year old and newborn....while Mommie went on job interviews and reconnected with geriatric gramparents.

While in the little Utah Town Jeff made friends,  was offered a job at the local Ford dealership and turned the water on in the little home that mommie and the boys will soon call home.  It took a small pair of vise-grip pliars, some straining elbow grease and Jeff's usual giant heart.

Did Mommie come up with baked goods or a hug?  Nope!

Jeff got to see a new part of the map and meet some wonderful friends of mommie's.  He bonded especially closely with Mom's gramprents...and her sons...but the object of his affection, well, gave him a little respect and faint praise.

As Frank Sinatra sings in the original English:  Say La Veeeee!

Or:  That's Life, like the people say, ridin' high in April!  Shot down in May!  Few Handy men die of a broken heart...but he's back, sadder, wisser defiant and turning his attentions back to China.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gramkids for Sale!

How much is that gramkid
in the window?
Everytime I see a kid in a grocery cart, out of the blue this question springs to my lips: "Wow, they sell THOSE here? How much do you pay HERE?  (Insert Mom's smile and on we go!)

I would use a question like that to get a Santa conversation started...but last night that gramkid for sale idea took a wonderful welcome turn.

Our son has been penpaling a lovely Chinese damsel...and his prayers have included Sanji almost every night for months.....then suddenly his plans to take a trip to China were set aside.

An old College Chum he fell in love with as his own first marriatge was winding down called to ask a favor...She was moving to a town a couple of hundred miles away and our son's free mechanical skills were, well, badly NEEDED.  

My brother Tom and I had a conversation that life is lived on "TICKETS!"   Our son grows a great garden, shared super computer tricks and tips...and lives in our basement (has for the last three years) decompressing from a few sad decisions--among them foreclosure on a HUD house his former wife NEEDED, a six figure debt in college loans in computer science and a Kevin Spacey style downward swoop as a strategic way of holding off the EX and Sally Mae while he decides his next steps.

NOTE:  My own family has had a kid for sale.  The late uncle Zachary Champlin was an only child of an Air Force Officer at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and principal subject of a sad little newspaper ad in the Cheyenne Wyoming Tribune:  Child Available for adoption.  Recently widowed, cannot do career and little cute dark headed boy at same time.  Call: 555-5555.

Father left son and a small suitcase and went back to work.   The Family who adopted him raised him well in modest circumstances and Logan Utah Attorney and church Leader Elray L. Christiansen paid for his tuition to Utah State Law School.  He married my aunt Helen Marie Hunt and raised nine children in a spirit of humble defiance.  (The girls have his gorgeous black hair and the boys inherited he Hunt family bald gene..and we are cosins still after all these years.

Tonight Jeff is nursing Noah and Gabriel's mommy's car to Richfield...and I was proud to be able to make a gift of a Benjamin Franklin--and a couple of iced big cups of powdered Tang...and Jeff left for a couple of days of instant fatherhood.

Once upon a time we hosted Mommy and Noah, before newborn Gabiel arrived...and young Noah was full of questions for the then 2 year old.   We have some stair blocking kid proofing and closed doors hat left the little guy magnets and plush toys to entertain himself while we got better acquainted with Mom.

Years ago we informed our dear first born (after Rosie's son Michael) that his "job' was to make and take 1000 dates--His Liz was number 75 as I remember.  After ten years of marriage (off and on) Jeff is sadder, but wiser.  Excessive debt won't break up the second marraige.  Discipline to a budget broadcast on our main screen TV and a gentle, healthy dose of Vitamin N all of which would have saved much of his former relationship...that's what Jeff is taking back to a second marriage at 36.

I married a ready-made family, in fact Rosie's six year old proposed to me because he wanted ME to be his Daddy.   We had fun...and then I took him to church.   Matthew 5:48 kicked in and my patience with a 7 year old figiting didn't last long.  Parents and gramparents should take it easy on young'ins who figit in church lest they drive the youngster away.

Carol Sullivan told me the story of her oldest son, Big Mike's Little Mike who was quite the drummer as a teenager.  At the big Talent Night over at the church, Little Mike was adjusting his precious set of drums when a leader with a chip on his music appreciation shoulder stalked up to the teenager.  It was the sxties and the Beatles had just invaded.

"And what are those, young man?" the leader sneered!

"Drums...aren't they great?" Mike responded eyes shining.

Then the unexpected from the youth leader:  "Young man, take those drums, put them back in their boxes and take them out of here and don't you ever come back!

Great parents, leaders and gramparents should never be in the business of stopping a kid doing what he shouldn't---unless it's life threateneing:  Traffic, drugs, unmarried sex etc.

Authority figures should develop the skill of helping kids GOTTAWANNA and start the good things.   And then follow through

Forty years later in our own Talent Night a young break dancer showed off his skill developed on the street with a friend from downtown...and the crowd stopped the show and stomped and cheered!  What a difference in tolerance and appreciation has happened in the same church where Little Mike learned to be obedient to a cretin.

Gramma Rosie, who listens to every post before I publish mused, "some people don't have the good sense God gave Geese!"

Over the last three years especially, our zero tolerance has grown to include a Sleeping Beauty who wouldn't help chop onions in our kitchen as she auditioned for our family...even after Gramma Rosie showed her how to use lemon juice to stop the smell on her delicate little fingers.

When one girl who should have known better got hooked on a bit too much forbidden slosh, we bit our tongue and hoped the situation would right itself.

When another confessed mental problems we wished her well and our son made a better choice.

Noah and Gabriel's mommy has never demanded any child support from her sons' father and we pray that someday the sperm donor for each child will be brought to jusice for the privilege of participation at the conception only to waltz away blameless!   If called upon, this bunkhouse lawyer will recommend a paternity DNA check and regular paynents to be court awarded if necssary to the kids college fund.

Valentine's day is the stay tuned!

"But I'm doin' it Better than YOU DID!"

I'm writing a new book entitled MARSHMALLOW MARKETING for our fall term at Highland Community Education where I have led a class in web design and marketing for several years.

Caught one in the eye
during rehearsal.  Pain is FAKED for
the camera
My teaching style is collaborative, and as it says in my profile, I seek the truth wherever I find it...and then we share as fellow students.  

Since the 24th of July (See Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Team Star on KTVX ABC 4 Utah)  I've thoroughly enjoyed getting up early and "checking the trap line"  Watching the statistics grow and grow.

If a trapper doesn't check the trap line every day he misses the opportunity cost of harvesting the pelt and re setting the trap.   The Internet has made that grueling chore a treat!  (See MARSHMALLOW MARKETING the little blog post that became a pretty effective TEXT BOOK)

This whole excitement; the anticipation of seeing what's out there...and the varied countries' representatives that check in on what seems to be a pretty regular basis has made my life exciting again at 65.   Statistically I can "sense", for example that I have a couple of folks in RUSSIA who either read me in the original English or have a pretty effective translation system.

Welcome to the
United Nations
on my blog!
No comments yet in the Russian Language...but I have a translation app if my new friend(s) wanted to leave a trail ?!?!.  

Please feel included WHATEVER wonderful country you come from to read my stuff.  As a comic and comedian, I love to see the whites of your eyes. Statistically I get to do that as I check the trap line of my blog daily.

(Somebody said that Russians are pretty universally bored to live in America because there is no Secret Police to dodge and out smart.  Makes perfect sense to me)

There's always that danger of being "found out"  but after Peristoika I thought a certain freedom existed there   I'd love to correspond with someone of a like mind through the comments section of a favorite post.  

To confess, I have only had 8 comments on this blog since it's beginning and four of those were tests that originated with ME!

Now to the Trapper story:

Once upon a time in the old West of America an Old Trapper was preparing to retire and move to town.  Like any good entrepreneur, he decided to sell his most prized possession--a trap line with all the gear, traps included....and the benefit of his wisdom for more than 20 years of making a very tidy living in the snows of the Rocky Mountains.

He even advertised in the local frontier paper and an applicant showed up.  The new guy was young and eager and took written notes as the old trapper explained the nuances and intricacies of his beloved Trap Line.   

As part of the deal he agreed to visit from time to time and do a little coaching.  The day came.  The youngster signed a contract, made a small down payment and the Old Trapper gave up his cabin to the youngster and moved to a small hotel room in town, preparing to build a new cabin on the outskirts of the little village.   Everything went well for the old trapper and one day, he remembered he had made a pledge to return now and again...and figured that today would be the day.

It was a bright, golden morning in early winter...when the traps best yielded their fuzzy, furry bounty.   Old Trapper thought he would catch the newby enjoying the best success of his young new career!  With some anticipation Old Trapper snowshoed through the snow at the end of the trail and gently knocked on the door of his own old cabin.  A wisp of smoke from the fireplace indicated New Trapper would be at home....and a plaintive cry came from within:  "Go Away!"

This disturbed the older man.  Trappers like most mountain men, welcomed company and New Trapper was obviously NOT happy to see anyone.  It was the first sign that ALL was not well with New Trapper or their Trap Line.   If he was following instructions he should be rolling in furs and able to pay Old Trapper a handsome percentage, but alas there was trouble in paradise.

Slowly Old Trapper creaked open the cabin door.  Locks that far out there were unthinkable....and there was New Trapper still in bed gone past noon.

"Oh, its you!" the younger man muttered.

"Yes, I came to celebrate!"

"Celebrate WHAT!" Young Trapper said suprized.

"Our terrific success!" came back the concerned reply. "What's the trouble, son?"

"Well," New Trapper began with a little enthusiasm.  "I've made a few CHANGES!!!!!"

"Changes? Hows that goin' for you?" disappointed Older Trapper sat down in a chair he had built himself, as if watching his future flying slowly through the "winder" of the old cabin!

New Trapper explained that since he was alone...he lacked the discipline to keep to the rigors of the Older man's instructions.  "Oh the traps are all full when I check 'em...but that's only once or twice a week!  Old Trapper shook his head and buried his face in his hands.

The trap line that had fed and clothed him and gave him money for his savings and plenty of coins to jingle in his jeans when he got down to town in the Summer had been neglected, squandered, effectively destroyed until somebody came back with the simple discipline to check the traps every day.

Then new trapper admitted it wasn't working as well as the Old Man had promised and added the boast of youth and inexperience..."But I'm don' it Better than YOU DID!"

Old Trapper just laughed and planned to work the rest of the winter making sure junior got up and out to check the trap lines EVERY DAY!

NOTE:  One of the things I teach is how to make money with your blog!  Adsense places related four line ads in the margins and at the bottom.   I told a Web Design and Marketing class that if enough folks clicked the Adsense ads, and I got paid a percentage of the "click rate" and a healthy percentage for anyone smart enough to actually buy something, by the end of the term we'd have enough money in my account for a little ice cream social on the last evening of our class.  OOOPPPPS! Didn't read enough of the small print in the agreement I signed with Adsense...and I got a CEASE AND DESIST order by E-mail and the Adsense content was yanked.  Double Oops!!!

I appealed and was denied,vdfee- sine die!   I learned a hard lesson and we did the pot luck thing for the last night and had ice cream and cake ANYWAY!   So there, Adsense.

Finally, One of my favorite blogs is about the nuances of making money IN OTHER WAYS WITH YOUR BLOG--with a little Christian philosophy on handling that beloved filthy lucre.  Send me a comment and I'll give you the link!!!  The idea is that a blog like this with more than 3,000 hits over two years is approaching critical mass.  Advertisers for, well, Depends, Arthritis Cream and geriatric advice are out there looking for just this kind of blog.   They want exclusivity and could care less if Adsense has bounced that's the next step.

My primary goal was to write a GRAMPA IN TRAINING Book as the saleable component of a geriatric speaking career.  I'm finalizing the first of several volumes for paper and ink production, but by the end of September the free blog will be limited to the first 25 words of the blog and a generous offer to swipe a piece o' plastic and buy the post for a DOLLAR A HOLLAR.  (That's an old peanut whistle small market radio term for cheap advertising.  It's been my "design" to follow my mentor Vernon Thompson's sage idea that people who give their e-mail and download a PDF of the post (or a small book for a small price) will qualify him/herself for a bigger PDF for a bigger price and possibly for something even bigger.   

That would have worked, but a stubborn boss turned down the idea in favor of sending out speaking teams to seminars and buying a coaching package if a free cruise was included for a multi-thousand dollar price tag.   Trouble was there WAS NO FREE CRUISE and if the real estate market hadn't tanked in 2008 and bankrupted our little juggernaut, the CANNED SPAM ACT and our own dissatisfied customers would have shut us down anyway.   

As a last gasp, little boss man, the tugboat captain, changed the name of the company, doubled the price of the package...and came with crocodile tears to the last meeting of a shocked staff to announce he "HAD TO CLOSE THE DOORS" and give us good references to the local Unemployment office under the guise of Reduction in Force.  

If you don't have a budget, but you do have a Masters in Business with honors from a prestigious local university....sometimes you think you can outrun the problems "by the seat of your pants".... IT WAS NOT TO BE!   Like the Young Trapper he failed to check the Trap Lines every day.  Sad, really!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marshmallow Marketing - The beginning of a whole new book

First there was the appe--then, soon after came the marshmallow, then the TV appearance, then the email on the 24th of July and now.....the text book entitled MARSHMALLOW MARKETING.  This is the story of a ten year product developoment cycle and brand building project that all reached a high point on July 19th on air of a mid morning show on KTVX ABC 4 Utah in Salt Lake City.   Enjoy this over and over as I have..then take a look at the statistics and the unexpected fun below the video 

(Credit goes to Peter Bennee for the still pictures)

Here's the provenance:

On Thursday, July 19, 2012 the founder of Grampa in Training on blogspot was invited to demonstrate Marshmallow shooters on the popular Salt Lake City Channel ABC 4 Utah (KTVX)  Jon Robert Howe, World Class Santa and toy critic appered with the Bennee Brothers  All Star Marshmallow Team, and co-hosts Nicea Degering, Gretchen Hansen (former Miss USA and new KTVX News anchor Ann Sterling.

Marshmallow All star Captain, Cole Bennee, 13, and his brothers Noah, 11, and  and Jackson (9) , Prme Shooters for the team were joined by Miles Mootonen (13) , Deputy Captain and his brother Max (9), the Sargent Major of the team.  MacKay Brown, Assistant Target Coordinator whot color coded Marshmallow on the air in their television debut.   Still photos of the production were taken by the Bennee's fther, Team photographer Peter Bennee.

Following the appearance (on the 24th of July--a state wide holiday in Utah--Jon Robert Howe emailed a database of 800 of his friends the message and pictures that MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS ARE MAKING  A COME BACK (see the insert when Jon announces the blog address near the end of this six minute segment. 

Jon also teaches WEB DESIGN & MARKETING  at Highland Community Education.  The apperance on Channel 4 was the culmination of a ten year product development and brand creation for Jon's innovative GRAMPA IN TRAINING HALL OF FAME project. 

When 2012 classes resume at Highland, Jon has a treat in store for his Fall Semester Marketing and Web Design Students.  Using the STATS feature of the Blogspot program, Jon was able to measure a return on his INVESTMENT/email campaign of nearly 7%, an astouding marketing achievement, even among ""warm leads"  

For a more in depth analysis of the MARSHMALLOW MARKETING pheonomenon that spurred the writing of the course's new text book,this is the place and  (if you live in the Salt Lake City Ogden Provo metroplex consider signing up for the Web Design and Marketing Class to learn how to duplicate the Marshmallow Marketing model.

Here's the contact and address information for Suzanne Hammond, the Director at Highland Community Eduction.  :  Call her after 3 PM, August 27th, 2012for evening class information at Highland High School Highland Community Learning Center 2166 South 1700 East, 84106,  801-481-4891  2:00 - 8:00 M - Th or go to to register on the district's website.

Jon Robert Howe also teaches a Training the Broadcast Voice class using his text book entitled, VOICE BOX TO CASH BOX and a Santa Claus Training Class with his forty year memoir entitled HOWE TO BUILD YOUR OWN NORTH POLE.  EAch member of the class who successfully compoletes the clas gets a free copy of the appropriate text book in a bound and autographed copy. (Duing the class students can mark the text with highlighters and make notes in the margin with a post it note attached--and the personalized book is presented at the end of the six week term as a functional diploma of sorts)

If you would like to send in a nomination for someone to be named to the GRAMPA IN TRAINING HALL OF FAME, download a nomination form at  There is charge for this FREE public recognition of a heroic grampa in your life.

Go to

Understanding the phenomenon of MARSHMELLOW MARKETING requires a git of preparation.  Einstein was always quoted by my mother, Delma Howe who console me with this quote, and she's ritght.  Working outside the box spending 80 percent of my time dreaming and working on my tan has resulted in this concept.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Shooters star with Grampa on GOOD THINGS UTAH (ABC 4 - KTVX)

Happy 24th of July! It's not a Federal Holiday...and post offices will be open for business...but throughout Utah, Family Reunions are celebrating the biggest barbeque of the year with a big Salt Lake City parade that's been going on here since 1847! It's PIONEER DAY otherwise known as the Days of '47!

Among the three legged races for dads and daughters, sawdust hunts for quarters for toddlers and dozens of other wonderful games, teens and tweens especially will limber up their personally crafted MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS (18-24" PVC pipes with colorful decorations) and out spit each other for fun and prizes.

After my Holladay, Utah friends the Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Shooters appeared on local television with me last Thursday, July 19th the hits on this blog have gone crazy!

Welcome, you Teens and Tweens, Grammas and Grampas (and Parents of all ages) who clicked in to find out how to do it....especially after I sent out hundreds of emails with this message:

Click this link to see the 5' 30" segment from Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Shooters are Cole Bennee, Captain; Miles Mottonen , Co-Captain; Noah and Jackson Bennee, Prime Shooters; Max Mottonen , Sgt. Major and McKay Brown, Assistant Target Coordinator. (Watch for the link in a future post to the YouTube report with more behind the scenes pictures and video by Shooter Team photographer Peter Bennee, proud father of the core team leaders!)

I am indebted to a former Web Design and Marketing student and great friend, Winter Redd for the report below about how to build your own Marshmallow Shooters, targets and unique "ammunition" Winter and her husband, Lee, publish a wonderful blog about their newly wed adventures...and this is a wonderful example of their great work:

I use Marshmellow Shooters in my Santa visits--and found a new wrinkle in the Redd Party post: Including crafty fuzz balls and ear plugs. 

Winter is a pharmacist at the Unversity of Utah and a former student at Highland Community Ed Web Design and Marketing several semesters ago. I subscribe to her blog and she follows mine. This is the first time I've copied and published her material. Hope this is a enough credit, where this unique very creative activity is involved.

(As a matter of safety, I've included a cautionary note about using swim goggles or the ones you use in a woodshop to protect your eyes from flying sawdust or wood chips) Marshmallow Target Shooting is the best with some low key, fun grampuncular supervison encouraged. It actually beats paint balls for Teens, Tweens and even little kids...and it's delicious!) Good luck keeping the ammunition from "disappearing"! Color coded separation of multi colored mini marshmallows will help kids eat their "own" shots, if you get my overarching drift?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Don't worry, the pain is
faked!  Don't know why
my big glasses are on my head!

NOTE 1: One thing we learned in the rehearsal the day before the TV debut was that if shooters put several mini marshmallows in their mouths at once, the projectiles will get sticky and stick to the targets. As you can see, I made the mistake of asking our shooters to fire at the camera...and caught one in the eye! It didn't do any damage, but like the boxing post two posts below, caution should be taken....I found swim goggles three for five dollars at RiteAid...and the kids get to keep the goggles and the shooters at the end of the day (if you simulate a paint ball kid vs kid contest)!

NOTE 2: Always plan to give a prize to participants to pick up the stray projectiles that aren't already confiscated or consumed! In the military it's called POLICING YOUR BRASS...and it will save many a gramparent's back bending down to pick up the left over ammo......This fun is best done outside, on clean grass where the five second rule applies!

Here's Winter's story, pictures and videos:
As I mentioned earlier, I was at Girls Camp a week ago
The theme for camp was "Sweet is the work of a daughter of God" 
and they played up the "sweet" part by making it Willy-Wonk-aesque
and candy-focused.

All the girls had different colored shirts indicating their "sweet" group.

I was asked to help with a field day activity at camp; there are fun races and
games that are set up as
"Candyland" on a big field. Lee suggested a game with
marshmallow blow dart guns.

Excellent idea!

(For those of you who may not know, it's a blow dart
gun made out of PVC pipes
and marshmallows are used
as ammunition. More on technique later.)

It's really easy to make these blow dart guns.
Head on over to Home Depot or Lowes and go to the plumbing aisle.
You want the 1/2 inch PVC pipes.

$1.63/pipe--that's cheap entertainment and fun!

Oh dear! They are 10 feet long and I needed about 10 to
12 inch pieces, but I don't own a pair of pipe cutters.
Thankfully the Home Depot does (plus a hacksaw or two for bigger
pipes) and let's you use them at the store.

Feeling all handy cutting my pipes at the HD.

Because of the candy theme, Lee helped by "candy
cane-ing" them with red, green and yellow electrical tape.

Lee did a great job making these plain white pipes look like candy canes.

I wanted to tie the blow dart to the candy theme, so we
came up with a game called The Peppermint Ninja
Pow! (Note: We're into ninjas.)

I think my sign turned out pretty cute!

Then we made these targets with varying hole sizes and point values
from foam core.

Easy to make and looks pretty good!

Okay, now let's talk ammunition. Marshmallows are the best in my and Lee's opinion,
but I needed to think of something different since we needed to re-use the ammo at
camp. Marshmallows are not awesome if you need to re-use them.

So I tried out a couple of other things:
  1. Foam ear plugs (purchased at Home Depot for about $3.00 for 7 pair) and
    Fluffy craft pompoms (purchased at Walmart for about $3.00 for a pack of 250 varying sizes of poofs).

Lee tested all of these options.

I opted for the fluffy pompoms for the activity since I could buy
them in bulk for pretty cheap. The activity turned out pretty well
and the girls had a lot of fun.

Lee, of course, had to show me the superiority of marshmallows, especially
in machine-gun mode!

Gross! I always put the marshmallow in the gun then blow. Boys and their
spitting skills--sheesh!

Anyway, I think this would be an awesome large group date or mutual activity
if you don't mind getting hit with slightly sticky marshmallows.

Have fun!

Marshmallow Blow Dart Guns

10 to 12 inch long pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe

Marshmallows (or foam earplugs or fluffy craft pompoms)

During the Candyland field day activity

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's a Marshmallow World on ABC 4 Utah

July 18, 2012 on Good Things Utah, KTVX-TV ABC 4 Utah
Musical Guest Billy Dean
Natalie and Kate, Nicea Degering's two daughters
TV Producers are usually invisible.   Rox, the Executive Producer (the center of the composite above and below) is much shorter than the lovely co-hosts she guides through the hour- long Good Things Utah.  Rox invited me to come to yesterday's production of  "GTU" a day early in preparation for my Grampa in Training demonstration of MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS.

Since I had never met Rox, I asked for her at Rosa's receptionist desk at the beautiful TV station on 1700 South at 1300 West in Salt Lake City, Utah when I arrived at 9:15 AM for the 10 AM production.

Mom Nicea, Producer Rox and Kate, GTU Mascot and a new friend
I smiled when little red-headed, seven year old Kate came through the door...and I gave her a big smile and the words, "ROX! You're much younger than you seemed in all those e-mails."

The real Rox, who was standing right behind her just smiled--I was flirting with the youngest daughter of the anchor of "Good Things Utah"  host Nicea Degering.  Kate is the mascot of the production, the darling of the drop dead gorgeous women who co-host the show.  (including Gretchen Jensen and Brianne Johnson with cameras above)

Kate is a regular around the station when her Mom is working, an old hand at greeting guests and guiding them through the backstage labyrinth that surrounds the main news and production studio at the Salt Lake ABC Affiliate.

Kate believed the red suit and the white beard...and told her mother she was buddy-buddy with Santa!

(So Nicea told me when we finally met during the picture taking after the show!)  Nicea is the long term co-host if the show, a very tall, VEEERRRRRY thin woman I had watched at 10 AM for years--and a classy lady! 

Stay tuned.  The next post will have pictures of the Bennee Brother All Stars using PVC Shooters to hit three colorful targets on the classiest show on Salt Lake City Daytime Television!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Boxer Joe: Growing Up In a Big Family

This is a story about a scrappy little friend of mine named Joe, one of 7, soon to be 8 little Dutch Kids just through the block
Among my many toys for teaching delayed gratification is two sets of boxing gloves and 2 bright red protective head gears.  Joseph liked the idea of beating his cousins one by one in the squared circle…and he shouted to be first in the ring.

Joe’s first opponent was Tanner, a scrappy little neighbor from across the street who held his own…and the slugfest went a couple of rounds. 

“DON’T HIT HIM IN THE FACE!”, his mother shouted at her tough little kid—still standing and smacking his scrappy little friend.

It’s hard to explain to a mom—---the boxing gloves and the face mask keeps  the blood well inside the nose of one’s opponent…but the fight did seem to go on and on.

Click this Link to see this Post on YouTube

After five rounds both kids were breathing pretty hard, so we took a break and I changed Joe’s boxing buddy… His older brother, James who out weighs his little brother and has much longer arms.

All bullies crumple when opposed by superior force and it wasn’t even close….the otherwise mild-mannered James just stuck out his arm against Joe’s head gear and kept the frantically swinging Joseph at arms lengths shouting to me:

“ Brother Howe…make him fight…IT’S NOT FAIR!”  (Fairness always favor’s the young complainer’s point of view.)  After a few minutes of being out maneuvered by a chuckling older brother,  Joe threw off the gloves and stalked off to his room in the basement (IT WAS A FEW MINUTES) before a sheepish Joe returned to the fun and nobody seemed to notice.

Kids like Joe count on the attention that sulking and fighting attract.   The good news is it doesn’t take Joe long to jump back in (IT’S ALL PART OF GROWING UP IN A BIG FAMILY)