Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #habits

Peyton Manning’s Post Superbowl Speech –Thank you family, God, and Budweiser

Peyton Manning’s Post Superbowl Speech

Peyton Manning’s Post Superbowl Speech –Thank you family, God, and Budweiser

So there I am watching Peyton Manning’s speech at the end of Superbowl 50 and I am incredibly surprised and greatly amused to hear him talk about how he will be drinking Budweiser that evening.  First of all, I think –  kaching! (cash register noise here) –  he just made at least a million bucks for saying that, right?  Secondly I think – why haven’t I seen this act before?  It’s brilliant!!

Of course Mr. Manning thanked his teammates, family and God.  That is to be expected.  I can’t quite recall the order, so one might go back over the footage to amuse him or herself to see where his priorities were.   Don’t be fooled, Budweiser as a seemingly priority number one would certainly count in my book as family priority number one bringing home the bacon-wise.

But again, why haven’t I seen this before?  Athletes of all kinds wear baseball caps and t-shirts with slogans and logos.  NASCAR events have autos with advertising all over their bodies.  UFC fighters make a point of quickly putting on a t-shirt and ball cap with company advertising after the fight is over.  By the way, I just love how someone realized that the octagon butt is prime real estate for advertising.  Very clever!

We have all seen athletes in commercials endorsing this and that.  However, there is nothing like a verbal and visual endorsement from a superstar athlete at the peak of his career during a prime time moment.  We all know about the “I’m going to Disneyland” statement made post win that is supposed to seem spontaneous.  So, why haven’t other companies jumped on this band wagon?

Disneyland is more of a proximity thing.  Numerous other items are much more readily available to the average person:  soda, candy, snacks, fast food, under wear, clothes, cars & trucks, and yes, alcohol.  I got to thinking – there is a lot more money that could be made here.

I now have a clear plan for my life.  First, I become a super athlete.  I work and toil for years while making several mil along the way.  Second, after years of hard work, I win a huge athletic event in which I will most certainly be interviewed after the fact.  And now comes the best part.  Third, during what is probably going to end up being my retirement speech, I earn an additional 50 million cool dollars in verbal endorsements over the course of a few sentences.  Wish me luck.  Kaching!

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books

Please visit MooreZombies.com – books, t-shirts, free video games, free coloring pages, fun videos!


Enjoy the attached video – you have just read about the inspiration behind it.

I would like to add credits and would encourage readers to please email, tweet, and/or facebook with their comments on this hilarious video:

CBS Sports – Thank you so much for the live stream of the Super Bowl!  



Peyton Manning Fan Pages:





Tracy Wolfson, Sportscaster




Images used in the video

www.freeimages.com/KennKiser for the classic Ford Truck in the attached video

www.Freeimages.com/kirchli for the hanging under wear in the attached video

www.Freeimages.com/TheD for the picture of the Big Mac in the attached video

www.Freeimages.com/mikaelcronhamn for the picture of the adorable little girl in princess attire in the attached video

Sound used in the video

www.Freesounds.org “Cash Register Purchase” by Zott820

Last, but not least, Sudipta Dasgupta of www.dasguptarts.com for the Moore Zombies images (Gothina, Broheimer, Baby Zom, & Kamper)

We Cut The Cord! No More Cable TV.

I have been complaining for quite some time about getting rid of cable tv, at least for over a year now.   Our bill has gone up, up, up, and so has our commercial viewing time.  Of course, the channel lineup has gone down, down, down.  Why are we paying more and more to watch at least twenty minutes of commercials per hour?  It’s a habit, folks.

I am surrounded by young-ens at my work.  They have no idea why us older folks would pay for cable or satellite tv.  The idea is foreign to them.  Even my own teens who live in the same house hardly ever watch cable tv.  Once, when us older folks were talking about a funny commercial, I actually heard a comment from a gal in her young twenties – “I don’t really see commercials anymore.”  Wait, WHAT!!??

For me, I have come to understand that I am addicted to a scroll bar.  Yes, the scrolling list of junk that is currently available and chock full of commercials.  It’s time to realize I just need to change my habits and so does my hubby, the old, bald guy.

So, we did it!  We cut the cord!  What have we discovered?  There is a lot of great stuff out there.  And, there is a pause button and a rewind bar in case you missed something.  Me personally?  I found that I was also addicted to having the tv on mostly for the white noise it provided.  I was so accustomed to a having programs fully loaded with commercials that my attention faded in and out.  I would often do things around the house during commercial breaks that would cause me to miss portions of programs I was actually interested in.  Why doesn’t the brain behind the program want my full attention?  Isn’t this a contradiction?

An analytical review about this dilemma led me to realize that I have been in an abusive relationship.   For instance, Dr. Phil wants me to watch his program however, he subjects me to more and more commercials, leaving me feeling hurt and unwanted.  Well, no more!  Since cutting the cord, the tables have been turned.  If you want me to watch your program, you had better make it available to me.  As this internet revolution of television grows, maybe one day Dr. Phil will beg me back, only to find I have moved on and developed new habits and healthy relationships with other suitors.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying a lot of Netflix, Rabbit TV Lite and a few other sites.  There are actually many programs available on YouTube.  We now search for these programs that get our full attention and most are sans commercials.  One annoying thing we have found – there is still abuse out there – numerous websites have enticing buttons that say “Watch Full Episodes” which turn out to be entirely untrue, again short clips advertising a longer program, which can’t even then be found.  Gee, thanks for wasting our time with your company logo attached.  Great business plan there, I’m sure we’ll visit again – NOT!

Our new dilemma?  Restricting bandwidth usage.  While our current cable bill is less than half of what it used to be (they provide our internet – can’t ever cut that cord!), our bandwidth usage has gone up, up, up.  So, we might have to upgrade our plan.  It seems we still haven’t gotten the best of the cable company.

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies


Thanksgiving – My Family’s Tradition of “Boo”

I blogged a pinch about this last year, but this is a much more in depth blog about the boo subject.  Here goes:

Every time I see a contest for a Thanksgiving story, I think of my grandmother who has long since passed away.  My family has an interesting tradition that stems from a Thanksgiving dinner many, many years ago.  We say “boo” after a good meal.  A good meal means that someone actually put some effort into cooking.  One might say “boo” after a meal they did not enjoy in a show of respect for the chef, however, one would certainly not say “boo” after a fast food meal.  Back in the day, there was no such thing as fast food as far as today’s meaning of the phrase.

The tradition started before I was born.  I have heard the origination story so many times that I feel as if I were there.  I was not.  Now that I think about, I have only ever heard the story from my mother’s perspective.  Yet, I was there for meals with my grandmother and family when we all said “boo” afterwards.  Only now do I wish I had heard perhaps a truer, closer to the source version from my grandmother’s own mouth.

I wrote a wonderful piece on the subject from my grandmother’s point of view.  Envision the daily life of a young mother in the 1950’s and all the differences between then and now, and all the similarities between then and now.  I can picture my mother as a young child at the time, who could not even fathom her own grandchildren as she knows them today who live to carry on this tradition, much in the same way that my children can’t hardly imagine their own children yet to come, let alone grandchildren who perhaps will say “boo” one day after a home cooked meal, maybe a Thanksgiving meal.

As I introduce you to the slightly more dramatic version of this tale, I hope you think of your family’s past, present, and future, and revel in your own family traditions!  Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy. . .


Listen To What I Hear

Pay attention.  Listen to what I hear.  I took pride in my craft.  I slaved all day with no help, no offers of help.  I expressed my affection through my work.  My loved ones gathered around, and took part in this, the most intimate of family traditions, a holiday known most for family gatherings and for a day of thanks.  No compliments were heard, no thanks, no giving on anyone’s part but mine.  I was waiting, just waiting for even the smallest something.

As the last family member left the table, save for myself, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was ired by their rudeness.  I heard a voice coming from myself expressing in a disappointed and loud voice the same words I was feeling: “I worked hard all day for this fine meal before you and no one even said boo!”

My family was just as shocked by my reaction as I was by their non-reaction.  The children eyed each other, eyed me, and then eyed their father nervously.  My husband, at first, looked surprised.  His perplexed expression relaxed, and slowly turned to adorement.  A faint smile slowly crept upon his face.  He then said “boo” in the nicest, most loving way.  My children giggled in the moment and also said “boo”, each in turn.

It was the smallest something.  But really it was greater than that.  From resentment and compassion was born this family tradition:  A gift of folklore to the family, from the family, for the family.  My legacy?  Perhaps.  I am no longer here, and yet, this old soul lives on. Boo. It is what you would expect this old ghost to say, but it is what I hear.

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books.  MooreZombies.com

The Wonderful World of English

I thought I knew English.  It is my first language.  I speak some Spanish and have learned those rules are much easier than English.  English has iffy rules.

You might be able to start a sentence with “and”.  But, starting a sentence with “but” is iffy.  But we speak like that all the time.   Do you walk towards the tree or do you walk toward the tree?  It depends on which country you live in or rather, which country one’s writing is intended for.  One can often tell the origin of one’s writing if there is “our” instead of “or”, such as colour and color.  Then there is theater and theatre.  In the United States of America, however, we use both.  You can go traveling in the United States.  However, you go travelling outside of the U.S.  Note how I underlined those words for emphasis.

In my Moore Zombies: Zombie World book, I have a couple of attractions inside the park.  (Incomplete Sentence Alert.)  For instance Creepy Show and the Become a Zombie areas.  I looked up rules for names and a long list of things to be italicized or emphasized.  Was there an attraction on the list?   Nope.  I also bring up the fact that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist in the book Frankenstein, (underline book names) and not the name of the monster.  Same problem.  In bringing attention to the name itself, do I refer to it as Frankenstein, “Frankenstein” or Frankenstein?  I decided one way, then the other, then back again.  I found I had caps in one area, italics in another section of the book and quotes in other areas.  How confusing.  Change it all to “just normal” I finally decided.  I think.  I could be wrong.  Read the book.  (Pluggy, pluggy.)

One thing that I have recently learned is one is supposed to put a comma after an introductory hello.  Hello, Sir or Maam.  Why the pause?  I have been writing letters all of my life with “Hello Jane”, not “Hello, Jane”.  I’m going to have to attend counseling sessions now.   Speaking of pauses. . .  Suddenly, the black cat jumped in front of me.  If it was suddenly then there shouldn’t be a pause!

Did you know there is a difference between onto and on to?  If you walk on to the next attraction, you are going there.  If you walk onto the next attraction, that would be incorrect because you are not really “on” the attraction.  What about off of?  I hear it all the time.  She jumped off of the table.  I discovered a great argument against this practice.  One wouldn’t say on of, therefore you can’t use off of.  Now it becomes:  She jumped off the table.

Now that on and off are easily understood, I would like to tell you about a confusing conversation my husband and I once had about the alarm.  Is the alarm set?  Yes it is on.  Does that mean the alarm is sounding?  No, if the alarm were sounding, then it would be going off.  So the alarm is off if it is not set to on, or you have turned the noise off.  If the alarm is on, it is not really on, it is only set to alarm.  Try explaining that to someone who is learning English.

If you think I have mastered the language, reread this blog to find that I use quotes here, italics there and underlines elsewhere.  Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  Luckily, that is often not entirely incorrect in the wonderful world of English.

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies picture and chapter books

Skewed Advertising, Cell phones / Smart Phones & Screaming Deals

We will get to cell phones in a moment or two, depending on how fast you can read.  But first, let me give you an example of skewed advertising.  Right now, I want you to picture a pair of prescription glasses.  What pops into your mind?  For those of us who have impaired eyesight, we can tell you why your picture is not quite right.

It turns out that a pair of prescription glasses is actually 3 parts: the frames, lens number one, and lens number two.  If you would like to upgrade to scratch resistant, low glare, transition lenses, lightweight, etc., you will pay more.  Seriously?

What about shopping for homes?  New home buyers might think they will pay only the quoted principal and interest price per month.   Not only will property tax and insurance add much to your payment, but you find out about all sorts of processing and document fees.   Those are my favorite kinds of fees.  In fact my husband and I recently bought a used car from a sales lot.  Luckily, we were eligible and fortunate enough to participate (again) in the non advertised processing fee and document fee program.  I think I’m going to start a club.

Let’s talk cell phones.  I found a screaming deal!  And after all has been said and done, I assure you, in my opinion (back off lawyers), it IS a screaming deal!!!  I wish I could say I get a kick back or some sort of payment for my testimonial.  I don’t.  Do I want to pay it forward?  Sure.  Do I want there to be an eventual repercussion on those engaged in skewed advertising?  Yes!!!  Hopefully it will lead to either a lowering of rates, a true reflection of the actual cost involved, or both.

Backstory:  Kids wanted cell phones.  Mom (me) & Dad, (the old bald guy) owned dinosaur flip phones with old school texting for a “low” monthly payment of approximately $60 per month through “major” carrier.  Last Christmas I bought my boys pay-as-you-go cell phones with slide open keypads.  I thought it would be the highlight of their presents.  My boys were thoroughly unimpressed.  They weren’t smart phones. They went mostly unused. . . A waste of money.

So, the talk of the next couple of months was how to get smart phones for the whole family.  My boys and I checked into plans and found some deals.  A lot of major carriers offer some sort of family plan.  Screaming deals!!  So we ran the numbers and finally decided to go with a certain carrier.  I actually went online and started adding things to “my cart”.  The numbers went horribly awry.  The plan was a great deal, but oh, you actually want line access with that?  Um, yes, I would like for the phones to work.  Well, then, that is a different situation.  The stated family plan with phones and plan, and line access was now more than double than the advertised deal.  It turns out that cell phone usage is like buying glasses. There are 3 parts: the phone, the plan, and the line access.  You need all 3 for it to work.

So we checked out a second major carrier who also advertised a screaming deal.  Nope, same problem.  We checked into a third major carrier.  Again, same thing.  Note how I am not naming names.

I can’t figure out why companies pay huge bucks for advertising and for advertising campaigns that just aren’t as advertised.  A company should be creating a feel good, win-win relationship with a customer.  Why in the world would you advertise a price point that you know is not true for the service to work, and set up a resentful relationship with your customer?  I really don’t get it.  Hint, hint.

My quest continued.  I start asking around at work.  What type of cell phone do you own?  What do you like and not like about your cell phone?  Who is your carrier?  Is your service good?  How much do you pay per month?  They are only too happy to answer my questions but I don’t like their answers when it comes to the cost.  As the months go by, my coworkers become annoyed with me.  They can’t believe that in my downtime I am still online looking for a screaming deal.  There just aren’t any.  When will I wake up?

But wait.  I came across a great article.  The link is at the bottom of this blog post.  I researched the plans and decided to go with Republic Wireless for three of us and a separate plan for the old, bald guy who had different needs cell phone wise.  My sons and I are almost always under the wonderful veil of Wifi service either at home, work, or school.  I had to purchase 3 smart phones up front.  I believe they were around $150 each.  Maybe this is part of the way they make money, I don’t know.  They are not the latest and greatest, but they are smartphones, and you can only use the Republic Wireless plan with certain phones.  We did not “port in” our numbers, which means we got new phone numbers.

I didn’t pick the cheapest plan, which is Wifi only at $5.00 per month.  You can make 911 calls outside of Wifi.  I upgraded myself and the kids to the $10 per month plan which includes text and calls over 3G outside of Wifi.  You can upgrade to include gigs if you want.  They now even have a refund program where you receive money off of your bill for not using your gig allowance if you are on that plan.

The part I am DYING to get to:  My monthly bill is $33, including taxes for all three lines.  The fine print?  It is actually in the same size type as all of the rest.  Republic Wireless has a page about how much you will pay in taxes.  There is no line access fee, no skewed advertising in my opinion.  How refreshing!  That is why the $10 per month option I chose X 3 lines of service, plus taxes equals $33.00.

This is a two part plan.  One, buy a phone, two, pay for service.  That’s it.  Really, truly, A SCREAMING DEAL!  Don’t believe me?  Neither does anyone else.  I tell my friends and coworkers about what I finally decided upon and tell them the cost.  The looks on people’s faces would be the same as if I told them about last night’s alien abduction experience.  One coworker even stated, “Well, you really don’t know until you receive your fist bill.”  Another victim of being used to having to pay at least 100% more than advertised per month for that “monthly deal”.

No, really.  My monthly bill, again, including taxes is $33 per month for 3 lines of service.  I have had the service for several months, I have received the bills, and yes, it’s true.  Check it out!

Meanwhile, speaking of screaming deals, don’t forget to download the free ebook Moore Zombies: The Search for Gargoy.  Available online at major retailers for free (Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NUMLXB0 ), or go to http://www.MooreZombies.com

Wendy Knuth

Author of Moore Zombies picture and chapter books


Article on deals for cell phones:  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375644,00.asp



Open Letter to Michelle Obama

Open Letter to Michelle Obama:

Okay folks, this is not about politics, and I’m certainly not going to reveal mine, but I do have a few words to say about sports and snack time.  In this regard, I feel if my message could go straight to the top, to someone who is trying to make this nation healthier with her Let’s Move Initiative, then maybe more attention will be drawn to my plan, and perhaps it could actually be implemented.  I would love to help Mrs. Obama out in this area with a simple, but great idea.

So here we go.  Attention parents and/or coaches (football, soccer, baseball, t-ball, basketball, etc. and so forth and so on) regarding snack time for post practice and for post games – Get Rid of It!!!!!

That’s it.  Easy enough, right?  Back in my day, I played soccer in elementary school.  For our weekly game, one parent was designated to bring a half time snack.  Soccer, as well as other sports, involves a lot of running.  Did we need a half time pick-me-up?  Yes.  It was called oranges.  There was always a large plastic bag of sliced up oranges, and we also drank water.  There was never any variation.  Week after week, our only half time option was oranges.  If you wanted something after the game, you could eat more oranges, and we did.  Do oranges have sugar?  Yes, of course, but at least you get some fiber.

When I became a parent and my children entered the world of sports, I was surprised at the weekly schedule of a post practice snack.  And, while a healthy snack schedule was incorporated for half time during games (apples, oranges, bananas), there was also a post game snack schedule.  What would parents buy?  Junk, absolute, complete junk.  Me?  Guilty.  The cheapest and easiest things to buy in bulk are junky snack items and questionable “fruit” drinks.  If you read the fine print on many of these drinks they claim to be 10% fruit juice.  At least they are honest.

A parent and I had a conversation about this once.  She had told her father about snack time and he was abhorred.  Great job, kids! You played hard, you exercised, you burned some calories, here’s a bag of sugar.  This parent and I joked about substituting a multivitamin in the place of a snack.  Perhaps it’s not such a bad idea.

There are other issues, also.  Believe me, parents know when to schedule the feeding of their children.  You look at practice and game times and determine whether a meal should take place before or after, or if a child needs a snack of the parent’s choosing beforehand.  Often times, my child was all sugared up just before dinner, leaving my other child wondering why he didn’t get the same junk.

How widespread is this practice?  When did it come into play?  I’m not sure.  I hope it’s not countrywide.  Tell me your sports practices.  I would also like to know if professional athletes wrap up their game with a bag of cookies or chips and a sugar drink.

Do we need a federal mandate to ditch this practice?  No.  We need a vote, perhaps at the very first team meeting.  Parents and coaches, please mull this over.  In the meantime, I would just love for Michelle Obama to read this so that she could bring national attention to this sugary situation.  Call me!

Wendy Knuth,

Author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books.

Human Fly Swatters

How are you when you are speaking on the telephone?  Are you hyper focused?  Can you listen to a side conversation? The reason I mention this is for as long as I have been with my husband, the old bald guy, his phone habit continues to intrigue me.  He has made it quite clear not to speak to him while he is talking on the phone.  He is intently engaged.  He mutes the television before answering or dialing a number.  If he hears any human voices he will turn around and glare at you with two evil eyes.  He even makes a swatting motion at you as if his arm were a fly swatter.

In this day of multitasking, I really don’t understand this.  My husband and I have been together long before the hectic world of computers and gadgets overtook us.  You might find it hard to believe that we did not even own a computer when we were married.  “Online” was not a word that we knew, and while we may have seen car phones in the movies, it was still a few years before we had our fist cell phone.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  My feelings about this phone situation were that perhaps this was an older person thing, or maybe even a man thing.  So I was very surprised one day at work when I was orienting a new employee.  I did not like his scheduling system.  I showed him mine and told him about others.  We walked over to another employee so that I could show him the system she used, which was probably better than mine.  She was on the phone.  I saw her scheduling paper and started to explain her system to my trainee.  She turned and glared at me and gave me that same swatting motion.

Okay, so it’s not a man thing.  I honestly do understand the flip side.  Sometimes conversations are very important and you need to tune everything else out.  However, I also know that important information can come in while one is on the telephone.  Perhaps someone reminds you to not forget to ask about this or that, especially with some large bureaucracy where you have been on hold for thirty minutes.

My question is this:  Why is the fly swatter maneuver reserved only for people on the telephone?  Let’s say you are at a party or some other get together, and a group of people are speaking.  Often, conversation breaks off into subgroups.  Do you swat at people for holding separate conversations right next to you while you are engaged in conversation with others?  Fellow movie goers often glare at others for talking during the film, but have you ever seen the fly swatter come into action?  If you or others are rudely interrupted, do you move your arm at them in a quick, downward motion?

I hope many of you get a good chuckle out of this.  Maybe this reminds you of a friend or family member, or even yourself.  Can you accept verbal input while you are on the phone, or are you a human fly swatter?