Jul 21 / Rob

50 Things That Make Me Happy (Including 5 JMU Ones)

The great Joe Posnanski posted this piece on 50 things that make him happy this week. I guess I could say it inspired me, but it would be more honest to just state the obvious. I’m stealing the idea because I loved it. It’s rather self explanatory. A list of 50 things that make me happy in no particular order. And since this is a JMU blog, the last 5 are JMU specific, so feel free to skip ahead if you want.

1. Watermelon

Do I need to explain this? It’s delicious. Bonus points if you’re eating it outside. Double bonus points if you’re teaching some kids how to spit seeds.

2. Fly Fishing

A more accurate description for me personally would be standing in the water casting aimlessly and praying a fish is dumb enough to eat my fly on accident despite the awful presentation. So I’m not good. But I love it.

3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I was watching an episode on a plane Tuesday and laughing so loud I thought other passengers were going to call the flight attendants.

4. Not Mentioning a No Hitter During a No Hitter

Yeah, I know that it’s cool to dismiss this and be a killjoy who points out that jinxes aren’t real. We all know that. But being a sports fan is supposed to be fun and this weird tradition/superstition brings me joy. I still remember my dad calling me during Johan Santana’s no-no to ask me if I knew what was going on, me confirming that I did, and then him hanging up without saying another word. And of course he was the first call after the final out.

5. The Tiny Dancer Scene from Almost Famous

The whole movie is great. And I can’t count how many times Todd and I have watched it. But that scene gets me. Every. Single. Time.

6. Tacos

Street tacos. Homemade tacos. Fusion tacos. Pretty much any taco. Sidenote: if my 9 year old son was making his own list of 50 things that make him happy, one would be Lego Land, two would be soccer, three would be Mexico (home to the top 3 tacos he ever ate on his constantly updated list), and the remaining 47 would all be tacos.

7. When People Approach Us to Say They Like the Blog

Whenever this happens, I’m kind of dumbfounded. And extremely humbled. And a little bit embarrassed if I’m being honest, because I always assume it’s a joke. But it’s pretty cool.

8. Harry Potter

I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with the books. But I also wouldn’t say that I didn’t line up at midnight at bookstores to get my copies on release day either. And now that my oldest has finished the entire series and my youngest is tackling book four on his own after I read him the first three, my interest has been piqued again.

9. “Shadow People” by Dr. Dog

Catchy song by a band who’s music I really enjoy. Fun fact: my first exposure to Dr. Dog was when they were the wedding band for my wife’s cousin’s wedding.

10. Craft Beer

I’m a middle aged white guy. With a beard, Who loves craft beer. I’m a cliche. I get it. But there is so much good beer out there right now.

11. My Wife’s Laugh

When my wife laughs, and I mean really, really laughs, she makes no sound at all. Her eyes tear up, she starts to giggle, and then her mouth just hangs open and all sound disappears as her head sort of shakes merrily. It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever. co_photoproject2007_0006_0_012. Mountains

Far better writers than me have struggled to put into words what makes the mountains majestic. So I won’t even try.

13. Hot Lava

Not really hot lava per se. But one of my favorite things about when my boys were a bit younger, was how seemingly any conversation could immediately turn into a discussion about hot lava. It was one of those things that always made me laugh and appreciate the moment. My boys are a little older now (9 and 7), but they still do things and say things every day that make me realize how great life is. mlb_a_mets-rally-cap_gb1_30014. Rally Caps

‘Nuff said.

15. Barbecue

First of all, it’s food and not an event. And it’s delicious. Tomato based sauce. Vinegar sauce. Mustard sauce. Brisket. Pork. Sausage. Chicken. All different. And there’s no need to pick just one. It’s all great. And it’s my youngest’s favorite food, which makes it even better.

16. Springsteen and Arcade Fire doing “Keep the Car Running”

I’m a big Arcade Fire fan. And a big Boss fan. And I have a strange fascination with crowd shot concert videos. But what sets this one apart is the dude’s reaction when he realizes what song they’re playing (“Oh my God. Oh my God.”)

17. Joe Posnanski

When I read him on baseball, I want to drop everything I’m doing and spend the rest of the day diving into Baseball Reference. When I read him on his family, I want to drop whatever I’m doing and immediately run home to hug my wife and kids. No matter what he writes about, he never disappoints.

18. Bikes

I’m not a hardcore cyclist. I don’t have spandex or a fancy road bike. And my “good” mountain bike has sat in my garage without any mud on it for years. But I still have the same beat up bike I road around campus years ago. And riding it still makes me happy.

19. Playing soccer

I play in a weekly pickup game with a bunch of other parents from my kids’ soccer club. The talent ranges from guys who played in college at the top, all the way down to, well, me. It’s a terrific group though and I walk (or limp) off the field every week with a giant grin on my face.

19. This Louis CK Appearance on Conan 

I’m certainly not the first person to point out how great this is. And I won’t be the last.

20. Coins When Traveling Abroad

I kind of hate coins at home. They’re a hassle. I hate carrying them. And cashiers act like you’re handing them little round slices of leprosy if you try to use them to pay for anything. But in other countries? They’re magic. I just returned from a two week vacation in Spain and Portugal and I’m telling you the 1 and 2 Euro coins are a game changer. Which is good because the different sized paper money still looks fake to me.

21. Coffee

Simple. A good cup of black coffee. Perfect way to start any morning.

22. Carl Hiaasen Books

Quirky and funny page turners.

23. Caramel Heath Bar Custard at The Dairy Godmother

My favorite flavor at my neighborhood frozen custard spot.

24. Greensky Bluegrass’ cover of “Atlantic City”

Different version of my favorite Springsteen song.

25. Horseshoes

Cornhole is good. Horseshoes is the tops.

26. Tomatoes

No, not the weirdly uniform shaped and tasteless thing you find year round in the grocery store. A big ol’ weird looking thing from a farmer’s market or roadside stand in season. bill murray27. Bill Murray

His movies. His interviews. And especially this story about how he was cast in St. Vincent.

28. A Tribe Called Quest

The greatest hip hop group there ever was and ever will be. Don’t @ me. ms-pacman29. Old School Arcade Games

I’m not much of a gamer. But it’s tough to beat popping a few quarters into an old Ms. Pac Man or Donkey Kong machine.

30. The Space Jam Website

I hope this thing stays up forever.

31. “No Problem” by Chance the Rapper featuring 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne

I’ll do nothing other than expose my age if I say too much. This song is dope though.

32. Shower Beers

I know I already said craft beer, but shower beers are a whole different thing. No arguing.

33. This Compilation of Reactions to Landon Donovan’s Goal

I was in OBX watching with a friend as our (then) baby children napped. Our screaming woke them up. Worth it.

34. Buzzer Beaters

And ones in March Madness in particular. hall-interior35. DAR Constitution Hall

It’s probably not the hippest place to see a show, but it’s the perfect “Dad Rock” venue. Props to the 9:30 club as well, but I’m old and I like being able to sit down.

36. Roasted Peanuts in the Shell

In. The. Shell. Also love me some Hubbs, but keep that weak Planters crap away from me.

37. Statcast

Launch angle FTW!

38. Richard from Veep

No character on television makes me laugh out loud more than Richard Splett. Well written and well acted. dry-fried-eggplant-egg39. Dry-Fried Eggplant from Peter Chang’s

Spicy. Salty. Crunchy. This stuff is legit. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

40. “No No No” by Beirut

I never sing. I’m so embarrassed by the sound of my own voice that I won’t even sing when I’m all by myself in the car. Except to this Beirut song. Seriously. It makes me feel so damn great that I break out into song.

41. Nick Phillips on Twitter

I don’t know Nick well. Or really at all. I had some beers with him at the JMU vs. WVU tailgate when he was an undergrad (and yes, he was of age) and really enjoyed chatting with him. He doesn’t tweet much, and he has a quirky self-deprecating sort of sense of humor, but it’s gold to me. Follow him.

42. You Suck at Photoshop

A decade old. It holds up. ICYMI you can check out the entire series here.

43. Front Porches

I don’t have a big house. But I live in a terrific neighborhood and I have a front porch. Sitting on that front porch with a cup of joe on a Saturday morning and waving to the joggers and folks walking to the farmer’s market does not suck.

44. Traveling

As I mentioned, I just returned from a few weeks in Portugal and Spain with my wife and kids. It was fun. And educational. And challenging at times. And delicious. And all of the other things that great trips can be. I’m blessed (spoiled really) in many ways. First of all, I have a better family than anyone deserves. Second of all, I’ve been fortunate to visit a lot of wonderful places all over the planet. Saying it makes me happy doesn’t do it justice.

45. This Scene from Good Will Hunting

Speaks for itself. today346. The Quad

For the first of the 5 JMU-related things, I’ve got to go with the quad. Consider it a stand in for all the amazing things about JMU that I can’t fit into this list.

47. Rootin’

We don’t “chear” at JMU. We don’t “support our teams.” We root. We root for Dukes. And if I need to explain why that makes me happy, then I think you’re reading the wrong blog.

48. Lock the Damn Gates

I’m biased, but this is the greatest pep talk of all time. For anything. I will accept no rebuttals. cropped-streamers-J.jpg49. Streamers

The best traditions are organic and authentic.

50. National Championships

Did you really think I’d leave this off the list?


leave a comment
  1. Kevin / Jul 21 2017

    This list makes me happy

  2. Rob / Jul 22 2017

    Thanks Kevin. I enjoyed writing it.

  3. OBXDuke1983 / Jul 23 2017

    Well done.

  4. LD / Jul 25 2017

    Well done. well done. Richard is the best

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