Tag: Everything Else

Whose Woods Are These?

We moved into our house on the first weekend of January, 1980. One reason we chose it was that it reminded us of Pennsylvania, where we did graduate work. (The other reason? It was the only house we afford because the seller gave us great terms.)


My youngest daughter has discovered a trove of photos at her grandmother’s house, and she has been going through them

Salting the water

If you’ve had any cooking training, you almost certainly were told to salt the water in which you cook vegetables. It turns out that, objectively/scientifically, it doesn’t matter whether you do.

What If President Hinckley Says This Next Month…

“…brothers and sisters, there is another matter of which I’d like to mention before we close this glorious conference. We live in a new age. A time where information surrounds us. The internet has grown to be a regular part of many people’s lives. Email makes it easier to communicate… but I’m not going to give you my email address (crowd erupts with laughter).

An Unnatural Birth Advocate

There are plenty of natural birth advocates out there–I know because I keep having to plaster a vapid smile on my face when they spout half-truths and didactical opinions at social gatherings. I’ve yet to meet an avowed unnatural birth advocate, so I’ve decided to take up that mantle for myself. So, if you are pregnant, or might be some day, here are some thoughts on why you might not want to have a natural childbirth.

Thinking With Katrina

While my brother and his family are safe in Texas, it appears that all of their possessions and their home in New Orleans will be under water soon. What I am hearing now is that about half of ‘well-contructed homes’ will be destroyed and the city will not be habitable for weeks. One million may be left homeless.

Should I Hang Up My Philosopher’s Robe?

Sister Mendel is a Saint for sure. This fact must be grasped or nothing else I say makes sense. She came from Germany to the United States shortly after WW II with her newly converted husband. She has the remarkable ability to reveal to everyone that they are loved. She is a saint already celestial in character. Of this simple truth there is little doubt. Yet Sister Mendel couldn’t formulate a coherent doctrine on any issue if her life depended on it. She admits that she doesn’t understand doctrine very well and she even admits that she is just not bright regarding that kind of thing.

Comfort Music

I am not a connoisseur of music, I am an omnivore, and I think I recall Nietzsche pointing out that a person who will eat anything is a person who has no taste. That’s me. There are few kinds of music that I don’t enjoy.

Chastity and Terrorism

What are the root causes of terrorism? Poverty (problem: most terrorists seem to come from middle class or upper middle class Middle Eastern families). U.S. hegemony (at least in part). Embarrassment and rage at the decline of Islamic civilization (almost certainly). Another recent candidate has emerged: Chastity.

Careers for Bloggers

I’m struck by the similarities in careers of so many bloggernackers (and probably bloggers in general). In fact, outside of four major groups, it’s fairly hard to think of others. The major categories are: The lawyers: Myself, Nate, Adam, Greg, Matt(?), Steve Evans, Aaron Brown, Dave Underhill, etc. The professors or students: Russell, Jim, Gordon, Adam when this blog started, Logan, Bob(?), Ben Huff, Ben Spackman, Melissa Proctor, Taylor Petrey, etc. The stay at home mothers: Kristine, Julie The techies: Clark Goble, Grasshopper, Eric Stone, Kim Siever That seems to largely cover it. Where are the doctors? The accountants? The bankers? The architects? They don’t seem to write Mormon blogs (or perhaps I just haven’t noticed them). A rare exception to the trend is our current guest blogger Jeff Lindsay. There have been a few other exceptions, such as frequent commenter Gary Cooper.

The Lord’s Baseball Team

I’ve always thought that one of the more fun and personal conference talks in recent years is Elder Wirthlin’s story about playing football against Whizzer White. Inspired by that story (and by the misery that acompanies focusing on baseball reality at present, given the current status of my Diamondbacks), I pondered this question: If the Lord fielded a baseball all-star team, composed of past and present great church leaders, who might be on it? (We’ll focus this on church leaders, so real athletes like Dale Murphy and Todd Heap are off the list). Here are some thoughts: First base: Mormon. We read about him, “And notwithstanding I being young, was large in stature.” Maybe I’m projecting too much into this, but Mormon strikes me as Mark McGwire without the andro questions, or possibly a Rafeal Palmeiro type. I can see him averaging 50 home runs and batting around .280, with 120 to 140 RBI, and he’s undoubtedly tough. Yeah, definitely…

Face Cards

Over on the unwritten rules thread, rabble-rousing Randy made a short comment about face cards: A couple of years back, a couple of kids brought some face cards to youth conference. (The audacity!) One of the stake youth leaders objected and asked a member of the stake presidency to confiscate them. This counselor in the stake presidency (a convert to the church not familiar with the so-called evil of face cards) consulted his GHI and quickly determined that there was nothing addressing the issue. He then told the youth leader that he had no intention of taking away the cards in the absence of some directive in the handbook. I must admit lack of knowledge in this area. I’ve heard from numerous church members that face cards are banned, or are evil. Randy’s comment seems to indicate that there is no official policy. What is the rule (if any) on cards? (No, not just suicidal kings). And does anyone have…

The Muslim Anti-Mormons are Catching Up

Via Dave’s, I noticed a Dan Peterson FAIR Conference paper with a fun anecdote: Let me tell you about an experience I had a few years ago. I was invited to do a Muslim/Mormon dialogue up at Idaho State in Pocatello. . . . The closer it got, the more awkward I felt about this upcoming “dialogue.” There were just some things about it that didn’t add up, and I began to feel that something was seriously wrong. When I got there I realized that it was. The room was absolutely jammed with Muslim anti-Mormon tracts. I hadn’t even known that such a thing existed. I can report to you, by the way, that they weren’t very good. They need to take a page from some of our Evangelical critics who can mount much better arguments than the ones they had. Nevertheless, it was a first step and you have to admire them for trying.

The Three Degrees of Glory in New York City

And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony we give, concerning the three degrees of glory in New York City: The first and greatest kingdom is the celestial, or in other words, Manhattan. These are they who received the high salaries of law firms and investment banks. These are they who have overcome by faith the lousy housing market. These are they into whose hands the Father has given an understanding of Craigs List. They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of the locations of no-broker’s fee apartments; Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether rent control, or rent stabilization. These are they with ten-minute walking commutes and twenty-four-hour doormen. These shall dwell in the presence of Zabars and Citarella forever and ever. These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun.

Effects of the Ex-Mormon Lunatic Fringe

A few weeks ago, Jeff Lindsay posted a humorous discussion of the “Exmo” computer virus that turns otherwise sane people into spiteful, obsessive anti-Mormons. In the comments on his blog, many ex-Mormons offered thoughtful and reasonable discussion, and objected (politely but firmly) to his apparent characterization of all ex-Mormons. This in turn led to a revision, where Lindsay suggested that perhaps a better title would be the “Rare Former Mormon Who Becomes a Raving Anti-Mormon Quite Unlike Most Ex-Mormons Who Are Really Nice and Intelligent People virus.” I agree with the comments on Jeff’s blog, to the extent that they demonstrate that many former church members are reasonable, nice, intelligent, and happy people. I have friends who are former church members; we’ve got some very nice blog commenters who are former members, and at least one very nice commenter who may be in the process of leaving the church. It is clear to me that many former members are decent…

LDS-themed Bloggers Need Not Tolerate Anti-Mormon Google Ads

Jeff Lindsay has the scoop: When I first started this blog at Blogger.com, I was surprised to see ads for anti-Mormon sites appearing at the top of my page. I sent a complaint in to technical support. Wonderfully, they listened and upgraded my account to an ad-free blog. I have noticed some other LDS folks with blogs have anti-Mormon ads showing up. Don’t settle for that kind of abuse, brothers and sisters. It’s a route that Orson’s Telly (current ad: “Out of Mormonism: Tools for Reaching LDS Mormons with the True Christian Gospel”), By Steve’s Consent (recently graced with “Are Mormon Beliefs Biblical?”) might consider taking. Plus (though I haven’t noticed anti-Mormon ads on them), it’s something that other blogspot users like Grasshopper, Demosthenes, the Brothers Bell, and Motley Vision might want to keep in mind, should anti-Mormon ads start (or continue, as the case may be) appearing on their blogs.

Can a Good Mormon have a Drinking Game Named After Him?

I just noticed that Dana Stevens at Slate.com has created a set of rules for the Ken Jennings Jeopardy drinking game. (Scroll down, it’s the second item on the linked page). Among the rules: 1) If KenJen misses a question, everybody drinks once. If one of his opponents gets that same question right, drink again. 2) If KenJen misses a Daily Double, drink twice. . . Everybody drinks once whenever: a) Alex Trebek mentions Ken’s affiliation with the Mormon church . . . This creates some fun questions. Can Ken get in trouble for any drinking that he inspires? (Does this create a religious duty not to answer wrongly?) And does anyone else think it’s kind of strange to have a drinking game inspired by a Mormon? On the other hand (given that we can’t exactly support Ken in this particular manner), perhaps we need to adapt the idea. It could become the LDS KenJen Ice-Cream game, or perhaps the…

Humanitarian Crisis

In 1994, to the everlasting shame of the Clinton administration and the then-Democratic congress (which would be replaced later that year), the United States stood by and watched as three-quarters of a million people were killed during a three-month period in Rwanda. After the fact, the whole world was willing to call this an act of genocide, but while the killing was actually taking place, we did nothing to stop it. A similar tragedy is taking place today, a decade later, in the Darfur region of Sudan. It is being brilliantly documented by New York Times correspondent Nicholas Kristof, whose columns focus on individuals who have suffered horribly, being displaced, raped, and mutilated, watching their families killed. The most optimistic statistics are that 30,000 people have been killed and a million displaced thus far, and that by year-end, an additional 300,000 will have been killed. More pessimistic statistics suggest up to a million dead by year-end. President Bush, understandably wary…

Unexamined Life and Faith

Kaimi refers us to a well-written and interesting piece by Chris Walton. In that piece Chris refers to one of his favorite Unitarian sayings, “An unexamined faith is not worth having.” That is an obvious re-writing of Socrates’s claim, “An unexamined life is not worth living” (Apology 38a). Few sayings are as well-known as the latter one; it can be found in any book of quotations and in the beginning sentence of many graduation addresses.

No Rest for the Wicked?

I’ve always thought that one of the more interesting scriptures is the verse in Isaiah that states, Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! After all, the somewhat humorous way to read this is: If you’re going to be an alcoholic, sleep in.

Gordon B. Hinckley to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The church web site is reporting that church President Gordon B. Hinckley will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from national President George W. Bush. President Hinckley writes that: I will be deeply honored to receive this prestigious award from the President of the United States. I am profoundly grateful. In a larger sense, it recognizes and honors the Church which has given me so many opportunities and whose interests I have tried to serve. To the Church, to my associates, and to our people everywhere I extend my gratitude and with each of you share the honor of this recognition.