I Thought US Inflation Was High…

I thought the US inflation rate was high- Zimbabwe’s is so bad that they are knocking 10 zeros off of their currency tomorrow – that means that what is worth 10 billion dollars today is worth 1 dollar tomorrow.

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Polish with Pleasure

It’s not what some of you might think. Read more »

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Special Place In Hell Or An Answer To Another’s Prayers…

A few years ago, I was helping a family in our ward. The wife had broken her leg and had three young children while the husband was very busy with work. I had a short break in my schedule as I had just finished my PhD before starting a new job so I pitched in to help them a few times.

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O Pioneers: A love story

I love pioneer stories, but have a strong preference for ones I have not heard before.  I thought I would share one from my family:

Nicolai Sorensen came from Soro, Denmark Read more »

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Why Pavlov’s Dog Will Miss the First Resurrection

I am a sacrament meeting narcoleptic. Let me be clear: I am not speaking of the bobble-head variety, which betrays some sense of propriety in the tacit acknowledgement that one should at least attempt to retain consciousness (you know, “avoiding the appearance”…), nor is it the podium strain, which is a very light sleep that can be easily remedied by a list of buzzwords such as “Zelph,” “Paul H. Dunn,” or any story involving three mysteriously helpful strangers and a surreptitious allusion to food storage. Read more »

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Welcome New Perma-blogger: Orwell

We’re proud to announce an exciting new addition to our perma-blogger roster: Orwell.

Orwell is a new voice in the bloggernacle, and his addition to our perma-blogger roster is in keeping with our effort to introduce new voices. Like fellow perma-blogger Devyn, he has an usual background; viz., he combines a Harvard education with a healthy sense of humor.

Please join us in welcoming Orwell. We’re thrilled to have him on board.

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The Rise of the Retrosexual

During the mid-nineties, I had long discussions with my friend Tagore about what it meant to be a sensitive nineties man, a form of manhood demonstrated in Bill Clinton’s seemingly bottomless capacity for appearing to understand and empathize with people in low places.

This was a confusing time to be a man, if you couldn’t recite Maya Angelou and cook couscous.  And with the end of the Clinton presidency, gender trend-setters made a serious error in trying to promote metrosexuality as the next iteration of American manhood.

Given the success of Shrek and the recent emergence of highly successful cable shows Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Tougher in Alaska, Ax Men, Black Gold, and others, many observers are seeing a backlash against the trend of metrosexuality that swept U.S. pop culture a few years ago. Read more »

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Ordinary Latter-day Saints

Boyd K. Packer a few years ago said, “Let no one underestimate the power of faith in the ordinary Latter-day Saints.” I wanted to write to tell you about some otherwise ordinary Latter-day Saints I know who are doing some extraordinary things. Several months ago, I through some business associations I met Ron and his daughter Shauna. I knew right away that they were great people, people who make me proud to be a fellow Latter-day Saint.

In Our Own Quiet Way

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Aging with grace

[cross-posted from my blog]

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

This morning , I was listening as usual to the 7 am rebroadcast of last week’s “Music and the Spoken Word” on BYU TV (I’m usually at church when the 9:30 am live broadcast comes on). The closing number was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, always one of my favorite hymns (and one that needs to be in our LDS hymn books). By the end of the performance, I was weeping — and not (just) because of the beauty of the arrangement and the singing. This hymn, like few others, speaks to my deepest struggles and frustrations in my own personal life.

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Gail Collins on Twilight

I found this column from Gail Collins today, commenting on the Twilight series.  I have not read these books, but I have heard from numerous women about them, and I find it really puzzling how women who decry pornography for conditioning men to have unrealistic views of the opposite sex seem to have no problem with the Twilight series’ portrayal of males.  Read more »

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The Word of Wisdom and Vegetarianism Made Easy

I have long believed that the Word of Wisdom asks us to have a mostly-vegetarian diet.  For years, I found this extremely difficult to adhere to, for two reasons: 1) meat tastes very good, and 2) so much of our convenience food has a strong meat component.  I always said that if I were in a situation where vegetarian eating could meet those two criteria, I would try it, and eventually the right circumstances emerged when I went to work in Iraq. Read more »

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A tale of Two Wards

Not too long ago, I lived near my parents, but in a very different world.  While our wards technically bordered each other, they were worlds apart. Read more »

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An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the …

A few days ago, in the morning, as is our customary practice before we each head off to work, we were doing some scripture study. More specifically, I was reading Psalm 72 aloud while my wife was getting herself ready. I hit the last verse of that Psalm and closed the book and then she asked me “why does that last verse say that if there are 150 Psalms in the book?” Read more »

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Lies, Lies, Lies?

Some people say they have no regrets or never argue with their spouses, I think they are liars. I have regrets and, yes, my spouse and I have argued over the last 13 years. It seems to me that to say one has no regrets or that you never argued with your spouse shows that either you are not very reflective/introspective about your life or that either you or your spouse is so passive they never push back on anything, which means one person likely dominates the relationship. Neither option is particularly healthy in my mind. I think that having regrets is helpful as it can facilitate behavioral change in us, while minor/moderate disagreements with our spouse are also helpful in that these too can facilitate change and enable us to grow together as a couple. Of course, I could also be trying to justify my own imperfections in a positive light…

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From the Archives: What Next

What follows is the story of how I became active in Mormonism. Roasted Tomatoes and Serenity Valley invited me to write it as a guest post on their old blog, Latter-day Saint Liberation Front. It was part of their “What Next” series, in which Mormons wrote about their experiences following crises of faith. It appeared on Friday, January 13th, 2006, and it was the first article I wrote for the bloggernacle under my own identity. I have (without their permission) reprinted it here in full:

I became an atheist during my sophomore year at BYU. It was late winter or early spring of 1991, some time during the beginning of my 23rd year. That was the year that I found logical positivism, a school of philosophy that has fallen into disfavor in some quasi-official sense. Nevertheless, many of its tenets are now among the key operational assumptions of philosophers and scientists of nearly every stripe.
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Stern(um) Moment in Fast & Testimony Meeting

If you needed any (further) proof that I am an odd duck, you have it in the fact that I always enjoy Fast & Testimony meeting. Not only do I like the classic, approved form of testimony, but I also enjoy the other, deprecated forms that irritate so many people, including Dallin H. Oaks. I enjoy the thank-imony, the travel-imony, the spouse-imony, the health-imony, and even the roommate-imony.

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My Fellow Americans…

…I hate our national anthem. Read more »

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