Make a Donation to PAWS Chicago


Happy tax day! If you’re like me, you waited late to file (oh, but not too late!). Did you get all the deductions you wanted? Maybe you wished you could have given a little more to charity.

Well, you can do something about that charity thing right now. By giving to PAWS Chicago at this link, you can …


  • Deduct 100% of your gift on your 2016 taxes
  • Support a worthwhile cause, giving hope to homeless pets
  • Help me get to the Chicago Marathon


Won’t you donate to my cause today?
Our area’s homeless pets and I are grateful for any amount.



It’s Daylight Savings Time and I’m Feeling Shifty


For the last 20-plus years, I watched the world move an hour back and forth around me. I was in Arizona, which doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. If you were the changing tide, I was a soggy old tree stump stubbornly anchored in the sand.

Today, though, from my new Chicago base camp, I shifted along with the rest of my new BFFs in the Central Time Zone. Whee!

Forget the physical changing of the clock (which is a minor but legitimate pain, BTW). For real, I was having conversations with people about what the time change actually means.

So, wait, we start later and get an hour less of daylight—but that’s OK because the days are longer anyway? (Update: Turns out we shift to get an hour MORE of daylight.)

Hmm, I wonder whether my phone alarm will automatically adjust the time overnight. Oh wait, it’s Sunday, so never mind about the alarm. (Update: My phone DID adjust overnight!)

Why does anybody change times?

You got me there. I googled it and found articles like “The Strange and Surprising History of Daylight Saving Time” and “Love it or hate it, here comes Daylight Saving Time.” Benjamin Franklin was involved somehow. It’s all quite fascinating. You can look up the history of DST if you like.

Perhaps more interesting, why doesn’t Arizona change times?

As a longtime resident of the Copper State, I feel I should know this answer. But I do not. I found much discussion online about energy savings and human productivity and desert weather. Whatevs. All I know is I never had to worry about resetting the clock on my microwave.

Until now.

Does your life change with the changing time?

I mean, should your life change? Does anybody use Daylight Savings Time as a transformative kick in the pants, like people use New Year’s or a milestone birthday? Meet some new people. Call a loved one. Spend more time with the kids. Volunteer. Donate.

I’m going to try to make a meaningful shift.

Most days I run, I commute, I work, I commute, I love on my family. Repeat. With an hour more of daylight for the next eight months, I want to be more mindful of how I’m spending the time that I’m given. (Note: I originally said we got an hour less of daylight. Oops.)

What kinds of things can I do differently to supply more substance to myself and others?

Don’t float through life like the changing tide. For that matter, don’t dig into the sand like a soggy old tree stump. Go do some serious shifting.


Running for a Good ‘PAWS’


Please support me as I race to save the lives of homeless pets.

As part of Team PAWS Chicago, I’m raising funds for the Midwest’s largest no-kill shelter, and in exchange I gain entry into one of the world’s most renowned races: the Chicago Marathon. It might sound self-serving, and in some ways it is.

But I’m also serving thousands of homeless pets in Chicago. And you can help by making a tax-deductible donation of any amount to my cause. Do good, feel good.

—> Please click here to make a donation.


Why Am I Doing This?

Unless you’re super-fast, you must rely on a lottery to get into the Chicago Marathon. I could throw my hat in the ring and leave it up to chance. Maybe I’d get in. Maybe I wouldn’t. (Better luck next year!) The thing about chance is there’s nothing to say I’d ever have my name picked.

I’ve been eyeing the Chicago Marathon for a while now, and when I moved from the Valley of the Sun to the Land of Lincoln, I figured this is an ideal opportunity to run the city’s marquee marathon.

By committing to raising funds for a charity, I can make the Chicago Marathon happen. And through Team PAWS, with the help of people like you, I can also be a powerful force for homeless pets.


Why This Charity?

Rescue groups are near and dear to my wife and me. We adopted our two dogs, Shanna and Luke, from a shelter in Arizona, and we would not hesitate to adopt again (when the time comes).

PAWS Chicago is doing some amazing work …

  • Saving thousands of homeless pets each year. (My charity team, Team PAWS, aims to save 3,000.)
  • Treating and rehabilitating sick and injured animals and uniting them with loving families.
  • Providing low-cost/free spay or neuter surgeries in low-income communities where most stray and unwanted animals originate.

PAWS Chicago does all this without federal funding. The group is dependent on donors to do its lifesaving work.

—> Will you help with a donation? Please click here.


Why Now?

Why not?! A tax-deductible donation of any amount to my donation page directly supports PAWS Chicago’s efforts to save homeless pets—and gets me one step closer to running the Chicago Marathon.

Thank you.


Why I Won’t Accept the Ice Bucket Challenge


I do not accept the Ice Bucket Challenge, and I nominate no one.

You’ve heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, of course. (If you haven’twell, maybe you’ve been rereading Harry Potter exclusively for the last month. In that case, carry on!) And chances are, you’ve taken a deliberate action as a result of the challenge, whether it’s dousing, donating or dodging.

Disclaimer: I have no qualms with anyone who has accepted the challenge, or who hasn’t. If you’ve made a video and donated money, or if you’ve done none of those things, there is no judgment from this side of the keyboard. Furthermore, congrats go to the people at the ALS Association who had a hand in this campaign, which as of Aug. 24 has raised $70 million.

Me? My nomination came Monday. Not this Monday, mind you. Last Monday. So much for “you have 24 hours.”

First, there was the flush of pride to be invited to something that’s so quickly taking over the internets. A fraternity of sorts. To be in the company of Will Smith, Lady Gaga and Kermit the Frog is quite an honor.

I bought a bag of ice, which is now taking up valuable ice cream space in my freezer. My wife explained to my 3-year-old that yes, I was doing this by choice and no, I would not be too cold. (He really was concerned.) I went so far as to write a script for my video and accompanying social media posts. OK, maybe I wrote a couple versions.

Unlike all those other videos, my contribution to the cause would be perfect. I agonized over details. Yes, AGONIZED. The lighting would be just right. My words would be just right. The donation amount would be just rightenough to make a difference but not so much that it would bust the budget. I would nominate just the right people.

But really, all this agonizing was a stall tactic. There had to be something else going on here, some other reason why I hadn’t yet taken the plunge. I just hadn’t put my finger on it.

And so the waffling continued. I’m talking epic waffling. I was gonna do it, and then I wasn’t. Was. Wasn’t. Was. Wasn’t. Was.

Continue reading “Why I Won’t Accept the Ice Bucket Challenge”

Eight Years Ago Today I Met My Wife

I first laid eyes on the girl of my dreams eight years ago today. Even now, with our first child on the way (read more here) and our five-year anniversary coming up next month, when I stop and really think about it, I’m floored by how blessed I am.

We met through (Yes, we’re one of those couples. Although these days one in six couples who marry say they met online [click here for the study], it wasn’t nearly as popular or accepted back then. We used to joke about the tales we’d tell about how we met.)

We chatted through for a while, then via e-mail outside the matching site. That led to a phone call and a date. I wanted to meet in a public place where she’d feel comfortable and do something that showed a little bit of my personality and interests. I decided on dinner theater. We could talk over our meals before the show and during intermission and enjoy some good, live entertainment in between.

Continue reading “Eight Years Ago Today I Met My Wife”

Vote Yes on Prop 100

Tuesday is an important day, a day where Arizonans decide what kind of value they place on education and public safety. We’re talking about teachers, police officers and fire fighters—the everyday heroes of our society. On Tuesday, their future goes before voters across the state in the form of Proposition 100.

I’m here to tell you that you need to vote on Tuesday and you need to approve Prop 100. You need to vote yes for this three-year, 1 percent sales-tax increase. It needs to pass.

If you’re thinking, listen, dude, I pay enough taxes already and I don’t want any more, I hear you. I really do.

I’ve never been a “more tax is the solution” guy. I know public programs—police, fire, schools—could work better and more efficiently with the resources they have now.

But the solution is NOT to knowingly shortchange those public services if given the chance to help initiate positive change.

You could say I’m biased. My wife is a teacher. But you should be biased, too. I’ll venture to guess that you know a teacher, have a child being taught by a teacher, have a child who used to be taught by a teacher, or yourself were otherwise influenced by a teacher. Voting yes on Prop 100 enables the state’s educators to continue molding our future citizens. A no vote—a “I don’t want more taxes” vote—in this case is simply shortsighted. It sets up our state for decline.

Many of our schools’ activities—the kinds of things beyond the three R’s that kids need to develop into well-adjusted adults—have been slowly killed off for years. Just this year my wife’s school cut six positions. Now she’s being told that the number will double if Prop 100 doesn’t pass. That’s 18 total positions lost in one school year at one school. And that’s just the beginning if Prop 100 fails.

If hardworking teachers like my wife and her colleagues lose their jobs, what happens? The educators who are left get more students to teach, more stress from having more students to teach, and more reasons to leave the profession. Who really loses then? I shudder to think how our kids will turn out in the absence of quality, dedicated teachers.

Prop 100 isn’t just about my wife and other educators. While two-thirds of the money raised by this 1 percent sales-tax increase goes toward primary and secondary education, the rest goes to fund health and public safety.

Police and fire services will need to trim back, too, without this tax increase. Quick response from police officers and fire fighters is something that we take for granted. Fewer men and women who are looking out for your safety but with fewer resources, however, is only going to make you wait longer for the care you need. I saw a report recently that Avondale residents are reporting slower response to security alarm calls. If Prop 100 fails and police and fire resources are cut like education’s are, you can most certainly expect the slow-service trend to continue.

Please, please vote yes on Proposition 100 on Tuesday. The money raised goes to help out education and public safety. By passing this important piece of legislation, you’ll be helping yourself out.

The Rebound King

It happened innocently enough:

Today, on my way to Subway—where, like Jared, I can be found buying low-cal lunches—I ducked into the grocery store. I wanted to get some snacks for the Coyotes game for me and my wife. Deciding to bag Subway, I grabbed a sandwich from the grocery deli and cruised over to the Easter candy discount rack.

You can probably see where this is going.


Impulses beyond my control took hold. My brain went blank. Next thing I knew, I was looking down into my bag at candy-type snacks for the game plus:

  • 4 Cadbury Creme Eggs (1.2 oz)
  • 8 Reese’s Reester peanut butter bunnies (1.2 oz)
  • 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (1.2 oz)
  • 4 Hershey’s solid-chocolate bunnies (1.2 oz)
  • 4 Reese’s Pieces Pastel Eggs packs (1.5 oz)

This blog apparently brought to you by Hershey. Sorry, Dad. (Dad worked for Mars for most of his career.)

I justify my purchase by telling you that I saved 75%. But I know there’s no explaining this away.

See, I’ve done this before—worse than this, actually—in the days right after Easter. But I vowed this year was going to be different. Oops.

My little stunt brings to mind two concerns:

  1. I’m still not over my chocolate addiction.
  2. I’m liable to rebound from my hard-earned weight loss at any time.

Instead of having a moment or two of weakness, I’ve been having a week or two of weakness. My will power and determination that were so good while I was good are nowhere to be found now.

If anyone finds them, please place in the nearest drop box, care of Matt Morgan.

Warning: Political post ahead

I usually refrain from talking about politics. Ever. It’s one of those things in life that people will NEVER agree on, no matter what, so why talk till you’re blue in the face to someone who isn’t going to listen or change?

I also usually shy from taking a firm stance on hotly debated topics. It goes back to my fear of being disliked. And yeah, lurking near the middle ground makes for weak blogging. So I’m going to try something different here. Ready?

Y’all just need to shut up about President Obama speaking to American schoolchildren. Can you do that much for me?

Here’s what we know. For the sake of argument, I’ll paint in broad strokes.

  • Obama wants to talk to your kids.
  • Republicans, because they don’t like Obama, don’t want Obama to talk to your kids.
  • Democrats, because they like Obama and because they don’t like Republicans, are upset because Republicans don’t want Obama to talk to your kids.

Can I be a voice of reason here?

Some parents don’t want their kids to hear from the president. Maybe that’s stupid. Maybe that’s shortsighted. Maybe those kids will miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear the president speak in person or maybe even shake his hand. I understand that.

Here’s what I can’t understand: Why all the hostility? Why are so many people upset that people are upset?

If you don’t want Obama to talk to your kids as a form of political protest or whatnot, knock yourself out. Your loss. Or your gain, however you choose to look at it.

If you’re angry because some people don’t want Obama to talk to your kids, relax already. YOUR kids will hear him. Just be happy that the president whom you voted for is reaching out to America’s youth, like you wanted. Maybe you can be sad for those kids who will miss out and be frustrated with the parents who deny their kids a unique opportunity.

Just stop complaining about it. I’m tired.

Someone get Michael Vick a speech coach

Michael Vick, the football star who served time for leading a dogfighting ring, has bigger problems right now than to worry about giving good sound bytes. But his verbal crutch overuse on “60 Minutes” on Aug. 16 just rubs me the wrong way.

“You know.”

As an interviewer, I’ve become acutely aware of catchphrases and mental hiccups such as “you know.” I’ve come to expect them during interviews. In fact, I’ve read that a nice sprinkling of ums makes a person sound more human (people say that about President Obama) and that even telemarketers use them deliberately during their calls to sound more approachable. Then there’s Vick.

Vick used “you know” 24 TIMES during what was just a few minutes of actual speaking time. (Click here to watch it yourself.) Here’s the best one:

“And, YOU KNOW, it’s no way of, YOU KNOW, explaining, YOU KNOW, the hurt and the guilt that I felt.”

Multiple uses in one sentence, especially in one train of thought, are distracting, and don’t reflect well on the speaker. Professional athletes are among the biggest violators, and, sadly, you know, I think we’ve all just gotten used to it.

Fixing it really doesn’t take much effort. In our biweekly Toastmasters meetings, we use a dog training clicker to click after each ah, um or other annoying yet all-to-common speech tic to disrupt the pattern and hopefully help the speaker correct it. The click is uncomfortable, and you’re going to want to do anything you can to avoid it. Thus, you stop saying “um.” It really works.

Setting aside judgment on whether he’s sorry for what he’s done or whether he should be allowed back into the NFL, I think we’d all be more likely to sympathize if he cleaned up his act. Oratorically, that is.

I want a new car

The use of “want” is deliberate. I really don’t NEED a new car, although I’m walking that very fine line. The story:

Recently I stopped by my auto shop because my car is dripping at least two kinds of fluids. That’s never a good situation—to be dripping fluids OR to frequent the shop to the point that your mechanics know you by name. They asked me if I’d had my timing belt replaced yet. I told them sure, only because I remember choking on my sandwich when the last mechanic gave me the estimate for that little rubber part. After going through all my repair records, I’m not really sure anymore. Maybe I had the drive belt replaced and declined the timing belt on account of the cost. What I AM sure about is that I’ve spent WAY too much on car repairs in the last eight years.

I love my VW Passat. Have since the day I laid eyes on it. I love driving it. But I also hate my Passat. It’s been nothing but trouble since I drove it off the lot. And most of it is not unique to me—ask any 2000s Passat owner about their repair history and prepare for an earful.

So why don’t I buy a new car, already? First off, for as much money as I’m shelling out for upkeep, it’s still cheaper than a new monthly car loan payment. My temperamental baby is mine, free and clear. It’s also in really good shape aesthetically, all things considered.

My wife and I have talked about getting a new set of wheels when we have a kid and could use the extra lugging space. (Hello, SUV!) But really, a new car isn’t required—it’s back to wants vs. needs. Or we’d get a new car when B) I start averaging hundreds of bucks a month to have the Passat fixed or C) something major like the transmission needs to be replaced. Is it wrong to hope for something to go wrong?