It’s That Time Of The Year – Niblets Nominations Being Taken

Mormon Matters and Zelophehad’s Daughters have generously volunteered to do the Niblets. Here is the link for nominations:

RIP: Billy Mays

Billy Mays died today at age 50. Most people connect Billy Mays to the products he pitched, like OxiClean, and I’m guessing that would make him proud. I never met Billy, but I wish I had. Many people will remember him for his enthusiasm, and that is fitting. I’ll remember him, because more than anyone I know of, Billy Mays embodied hardworking, vigorous American entrepreneurialism and the American dream.

Billy was born into working-class Pennsylvania home, and after a short stint at college, he began the grueling work of pitching products to passers-by on the Atlantic City boardwalk, transitioning to an arduous schedule of state fairs and auto shows for another 12 years. He loved what he did, and he was, by all accounts, kind and good with a strong sense of fairness. The man who hired Billy to be the national spokesman for Orange Glo was former rival, Max Appel, who had once competed fiercely with Billy for audiences at events. Billy earned Max’s respect and his friendship when he lent Max a microphone when Max’s had broken.

When Billy made himself into a household name, he wasn’t just some TV actor who’d won an audition. Billy Mays was the real deal. Through his own hard work and his own ingenuity, he developed a memorable pitching style and parlayed it into a multi-million dollar empire. All with an easy sense of humor that was as happy to laugh at jokes about himself as about anything.

In a world transfixed by cheap thrills and momentary sensationalism, where respect falls too often upon useless “high brow” experts who just bloviate about the abstract, Billy Mays sold products by communicating their value, and he thrived in a realm where only concrete results mattered. He made his name famous through many years of hard work and exceptional performance. How many famous people can we say that about? (At our house, we keep a tub of OxiClean by the washer & dryer, and it works.)

He is survived by his wife, his 3-year old daughter, and his stepson in his 20s. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.

Michael Jackson Humor

Michael Jackson hasn’t been dead for more than 24 hours, and the jokes are already pouring in. Here’s the best one I’ve heard:

Farrah Fawcett died, and when she went to heaven God granted her one wish. She asked Him to protect all the little children. So He killed Michael Jackson.

What good jokes have you heard?

Michael Jackson – End Of A Life Filled With Promise & Heartache

I read last night of Michael Jackson’s death at age 50. My first thoughts were “how sad”. Here is a person who had the world at his fingertips when just a young man. In the 1980’s, while in his 20’s his fame was turly amazing after the “Thriller” album (which I liked, particularly the MTV video). However, over the last 20 years, his has been a sad tale of heartache, poor choices, and just strange things. He dies with $400 million (yep, million) in debt, three kids, and a lot of skeletons in the closet. It makes me wonder how much the early fame and fortune impacted him negatively. It seems to happen periodically with sports stars as well. I guess if I was suddenly an overnight millionaire and famous while in my 20’s, I would likely have problems too. Nonetheless, I hope Michael finds peace now and his kids can gain some stability in their lives.

Miscellaneous thoughts about abortion…….

Bookslinger sent me the link to this post a woman wrote about her abortions (2). In heaven I’m going to have so much time to blog. Because now I’m busy and there’s so much good and interesting stuff out there that I’ve never heard of!

Here’s the link.

She had two abortions, one at the urging of her mother (Holy Moley!) and the other at the urging of friends who felt having a baby at the time was a bad career move. The first was a late term abortion; I’m beyond appalled about that one. That baby had to be killed to be aborted. Read more »

Pray for Iran

As everyone has seen in the news lately, there is a major confrontation occurring between factions of the Iranian government and also between Iranian police/military forces and the Iranian people. Read more »

Observations From China & Its Impact On The World

I was in China last week for work (2nd visit in a year). There are several things that are fascinating about the country that I observed:

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Moms v. Dads

About a month ago, I thought my ward did Mother’s Day just right. They had some fine Sacrament Meeting speakers who spoke about mothers in a non-offensive way. At the end of the meeting they gave every woman a small bag of chocolates. Someone arranged for substitutes for all the women for the third hour so we could all go to Relief Society where we had a regularly scheduled lesson, not about mothers at all. Aside from the fact that some women hate RS, I thought it was a very nice day.

Today, Father’s Day, was acknowledged only by a “Happy Father’s Day” from the brother conducting Sacrament Meeting. Read more »

A Father’s Day Playlist

Father’s Day is coming up, and is ready. They’ve teamed up with Hallmark to provide us a Father’s Day Playlist. This is great news for country music fans, because based on their list, being a father is all about country music. Surely we can do better. Can we collectively create a Father’s Day playlist that does not include country music songs?

(Note: The song doesn’t have to have the word “father” or some iteration of father in the title. Permission to interpret broadly here.)

Pageant Watch: The Gentile Pageant

It’s pageant season again! On the heels of ESO’s excellent rundown on the particulars of attending perhaps the most well known of them all, the Hill Cumorah Pageant, I’d like to turn the spotlight to one of its fledgling younger siblings:

Corinne; The Gentile City

[Don’t ask me why they use a semicolon.]


A comedic pageant featuring some of Corinne’s colorful history

Friday June 26 and Saturday June 27, 2009

Corinne City Park

5 Miles West of Brigham City / I-15 Exit #365

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The Problem with Temple Preparation

Temple preparation classes do not sufficiently prepare members to go through the temple.

I recently attended the temple with a friend who was going through for the first time. She had taken a temple preparation class, but I was concerned about how she would react to the endowment session. I remember my first experience through the temple being weird, if not mildly shocking. I didn’t realize how oddly ritualistic the endowment ceremony would be, and I was completely unprepared for the green aprons. (This was in the days before the Internet, so I didn’t have access to the things available online today.) I tried to warn my friend that the first time through can be very weird, and I explained some of the things about the ceremony (within the respectful bounds of covenants, of course) in hopes of giving her a better idea of what to expect. Despite her ward temple preparation class and my addendum to it, she was pretty shocked and bothered by the experience.

Maybe there’s no way to completely prepare someone for what to expect their first time through. But it seems like there should be ways the church can improve on temple preparation classes to mitigate the negative experience many members have their first time. Any thoughts about your first time through the temple, or potential suggestions for improving temple preparation?

Guy Posts vs Girl Posts – What Do You Prefer?

While a relative newcomer to blogging (started in 2006), I have noticed that there tend to be “guy” posts and “girl” posts. While there are blogs that are certainly “guy” blogs and “girl” blogs (I shall not name any to prevent incriminating myself), you also have mixed blogs like Mormon Mentality where commenters vary depending on the post. I have certainly noticed when I post something that tends to be more emotional or warm and fuzzy, the commenters are mostly women (at least based on my limited guessing abilities). When I post something that is more of a quasi-doctrinal issue, men seem to dominate the discussion. However, on political posts, the discussion seems fairly weighted. Given your inherent gender, what type of posts do you find most interesting vs those you skip over?

Attending A Jewish Wedding

My wife and I went to a friend’s wedding recently – it was a traditional (I guess given my n of 1) Jewish wedding. The Rabbi was entertaining as he was both a comedian as well as a historian as he described each piece of the ceremony and the symbolism involved. There were a series of blessings for the couple – each pronounced by the Bride’s 96 year old uncle. The Uncle did a beautiful job of singing/chanting each blessing. I felt like I was transported back hundreds and thousands of years and could imagine a very similar occurrence with Moses presiding in the middle of the desert. At one point, the blessing is a celebration and everyone sings and dances and claps – it was a lot of fun. The thing I particularly enjoyed was the symbolism around each element and the importance of the different blessings in blessing the couple with happiness and joy. It also made me realize how much I take for granted the symbolism found in our faith.

The Jesus/Super Bowl Fallacy

Some people seem to believe that if the mortal Jesus were invited to coach or quarterback one of the Super Bowl teams, He’d be unstoppable. Such enthusiasm for the skills and talents of the mortal Jesus is misplaced, and the truth is that He’d get His ass handed to Him on a plate. Thus, I call this notion that the mortal Jesus was superlative in every way “The Jesus/Super Bowl fallacy.”

It strikes me as odd that many people refuse to countenance anything that implies that Jesus ever did anything that was less than superlative. To be sure, Jesus was morally perfect, but do the rigors of moral perfection really require that He was the absolute finest carpenter in the world?
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The Ten Foolish Virgins Go to Sacrament Meeting

Recently, my family attended church in a relative’s ward in another state. Two families doubling up in the same townhouse can make for cramped quarters when getting ready on Sunday morning; so, it was no surprise to me that we ended up being about five minutes late to sacrament meeting. (Rather, I was surprised we didn’t get there even later.)

Anyway, we arrived to find the chapel full and the overflow partition closed. What, you say? No problem? Just open the partition and set up some chairs? Not so fast…

Their ward had recently instituted a no tolerance policy on tardiness: The overflow partition remains locked; if there is no room left in the chapel, it is the foyer for you.
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I am re-posting this just in case anyone is thinking of attending the Hill Cumorah Pageant this year. The dates are July 10, 11, 14-18 for 2009.

Should you find yourself en route to the Hill Cumorah Pageant this year, I thought I might lend you my local expertise:
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Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons #2: “Men of Determination”

EFM.jpgThe second installment in a continuing series in which the author probes the hidden treasures of wisdom in that bastion of seminary education, Especially for Mormons. The first issue can be found here. Today’s text: “Men of Determination.”

Abstract – A recent study involving DNA analysis has cast a shadow over the traditional Mormon perspective on genetics as propagated by this influential text. Mormon apologists question both the study’s methodology and its interpretation of the word “determination.”

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The Value Of Kind Words

I saw the below article on CNN. It made me really think about the value of words. I can think of a few instances where a total stranger said something to me that made an impact and I still remember it today. I remember a spectator at one of my soccer games tell me that I was a good player (note: I wasn’t that good), but I felt so proud and the comment sure made a difference to a 12 year old, and, I probably played just a little bit better after that boost of confidence.

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Mr. President, you owe me some money…..

I’m still nervous about Barak Obama, I’d date him if we were both single, because I think he’s rather hot, but he makes me nervous. I’m so glad Romney spoke out about him selling us out and disclaiming the US to Europe. Geez, I’m not that rude. I get mad about stuff, but I wouldn’t go to the president of….is it Argentina, or Venezuala??….and shake his hand! It seemed rather weak to me; rather like an abused dog when they lay down and lift their leg. Read more »

In Praise of Choral Singing

It was inevitable: Mom would lose it at some point. This time, losing it took the form of her daring us to take charge.

“SOMEONE needs to be in charge here. Anyone? Anyone? OK then I’m in charge! Listen.”

I knew this would happen. I don’t know if she knew it would happen, but I knew it. It happens every time we prepare a musical number for Church.

We are a musical family. By “musical,” I mean we like music, read music, play music, and sing music. I do not mean we do it well. We just all do it. Read more »