Crony Capitalism, or I think I’m in love with Sarah Palin now

I’ve been paying a bit more attention to the political process lately. Herman Cain caught my attention last week and I liked how he carried himself on the news shows. President Obama comes off more and more as weak and unable to govern. I think he’s just being who he is, which is an intellectual. I think he’d make a better college professor than president—kind of the same way I thought Jimmy Carter would make a better minister.

So, with the disappointment I’ve felt in the president, I’ve watched the Republicans fight for position. I dismissed Rick Perry instantly—something about him bothers me. Can’t stand Christine Bachman. However you spell it. Mitt–well I expect him to self destruct, although I don’t wish it. Ron Paul–the racist comments bother me. Still wish Phil Gramm would run. Read more »

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General Conference from the Homefront

I don’t know if you saw this

I suppose this would be really fun for some families to put together and submit. I predict there will be much cinnamon-roll eating, snuggling on the couch, smiling families, and maybe even some tears. That is not my General Conference experience, though. In fact, probably none of the things my family does General Conference weekend would make the cut. Read more »

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Looking Like a GA?

Given that we’re discussing what GA’s look like…

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Ick

I just finished reading another Mormon blog (no, I’m not linking to it. I don’t want to feed the monster.) about how handsome Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf is. Someone actually commented they were looking forward to this weekend’s conference because they will get to see and hear their dreamboat!

I think this is yucky. I have never looked at any church leader with anything other than religious thoughts. I’ve also never heard of websites dedicated to dreamy Sis. Beck.

Are you on board with me or do you think I just haven’t yet seen an Apostle that rang my bell?

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Parsing Nephi: First Nephi III (1 Nephi 10-14)

Last year, I started a series of articles examining apparent chapter divisions within the original Book of Mormon manuscript as they apply to Nephi’s writing:

I then went on a general blogging slowdown, not just here but on my own four blogs as well. But I decided this past weekend that it was time to get myself in gear and finish up this series. Be sure to read the four posts above and especially the excellent comments to see where I’ve been and where I’m going. The new post is after the jump.

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Seperate but Roughly Equal

I spent Saturday night watching the Relief Society Broadcast.  It only happens once a year, you know.  That might make some people uncomfortable.  Maybe they would feel that it demonstrates the gender inequity in our Church.Men get their own (super secret) session every six months and women are only addressed once a year!  No fair. 

Does that get your goat?  I don’t really care.  Well, I would prefer that the Priesthood session was broadcast like the women’s sessions are, but I’m not losing sleep over it.  When I had a calling in Young Women, I attended both the YW and RS broadcasts.  I suppose I still could.  I like the idea of having seperate meetings for the youth and the adults, because, frankly, we likely have different kinds of lives and could benefit from a different sort of meeting.  Those poor men have to go and sit through a bunch of advice geared toward middle-schoolers.  That must be a drag.  Yeah.  In fact, maybe the women are better off, only being on the hook for our once annual apostolic pep-talk.

What do you think?

 

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Dressing For Success in Washington, D.C.

I read a recent article about how Washington D.C. has more than its share of good Mormon folks toiling away in the offices of our fine national government. Apparently Mormons are an asset since we tend to have clean background checks, are less likely to have addictions and we aren’t usually sleeping with interns. I thought you might enjoy our family story about Wash. DC.

Dressing For Success in Washington, D.C.

When Rob and I were newlyweds we thought having five children would be grand. Our ignorance served us well because what we didn’t know about, we didn’t worry about. Ignorance IS bliss, until you find out otherwise. That lasted until we actually had a child and discovered the reality of young parenthood, minimum wage jobs and full-time college.

Our first was born moderately hearing-impaired. She heard a bit less than 50% of what was spoken to her. I knew something was wrong within a short time of her birth, but it took three years to convince doctors. Not an unusual story in the hearing-impaired world. Read more »

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Still a rebel…….

Sigh…..I am going to conquer myself if it takes me the rest of my life. I hope my bishop’s nerves can take it.
Yesterday, unlike Ron’s ward, the woman gave the closing prayer. As has happened pretty much since that first two weeks when the news came out. I think twice women have given the opening prayer. I kept saying, “keep your mouth shut.” But I didn’t listen. So I mentioned it to our new bishop (three–no four? months in; young–he used to play with my son!) He was very cordial and acknowledged they just hadn’t paid attention, that usually they ask the couple and it just washes out that way. Read more »

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Help a Temple Truant

Confession: I am a temple attendence slacker.  Sure, I magnify my calling.  My visiting teaching is 100%.  I even go to those optional church meetings like ward parties, Relief Society: weekday edition, and service projects!  But my temple attendance would not win any awards and I am defineitely way sub-par.  No question about it.  Of course, I’ve got a number of reasons for this, but none of them qualify as good, so I won’t bother you with those. Read more »

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Why Businesses Hire

As some of you may know I am a small businessman. I am in the process of taking a minority position in a 2nd small business with about 25 employees. Small businesses of this size are typically the engine of job growth in the US economy. Yesterday I and my partners hired 2 new employees for our shop out back.

This begs the question. Why were these two men hired? Tax incentives? Stimulus spending? Government policies of some type?

The answer is something far far more simple then that. For 3 weeks now our shop manager has been coming to me trying to convince me that the shop was overloaded with work and he needed new people. So I started paying closer attention to order backlogs, new business coming in the door, overtime pay in the shop etc.

The shop manager was right. It was time for new hires. Business demand mandated that we hire.

So that is the answer. Without demand these new folks would not have been hired. So the key to job growth is business demand which typically comes from decent economic growth.

So if the economy grows at a decent clip we get sustained employment growth.  I don’t think that the US economy has been growing enough for sustained job growth.  I think our little business has been seeing some growth due to some unique factors specific to our situation.

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Baptism by Fire

Recently, my newish Bishop announced that henceforth, there would be one baptismal service per month and all children of record would be baptized during it. He said that this is the way the Handbook says we should do things.

I am sure that sounds very normal to many of you. Whether this was the way you were baptized, or this was the way your kids were baptized, I realize it is the way things are done in some parts of the world. The Mormon parts of the world. In my part of the world, though, we have done things a little differently. Read more »

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The Elephants in this Room

I was recently visiting a ward in rural Wyoming. In Sunday School we discussed the first several chapters if 1 Corinthians. One of the issues Paul raises in this epistle is that of contention in the Church. The instructor, a former bishop of the ward, asked if there was contention currently in the Church as a whole or in the ward in particular.
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The Royals To The Rescue

Our first grandchild is about to be born. For my husband this event is triggering feelings of age and his own mortality. For me its more a feeling of panic knowing our daughter and son-in-law have no clue what they are getting into. It has also caused me to pull out baby keepsakes I have saved from when our children were born, including our family baby blessing gown.

My in-laws bought it at a second-hand shop when our first child was born. It is an ornate, silky gown with a long lace jacket covered in hand-sewn ribbon roses. It is a beautiful and obviously old blessing gown which I like to imagine many babies have worn.

The gown was used for our first two children, both girls. Our third child was a boy. Like all good young Mormon families, we were starving college students (not living on state aid) and didn’t have any money to splurge on a boy blessing outfit. I wanted him to wear the gown but my husband was skeptical. The week before Ty was to be blessed in the yet undecided outfit, I was at the grocery checkout when I saw a magazine spread featuring Princess Diana. (When she was alive every major magazine ran a story on her every three months on a rotating basis. She was a big seller.) One of the pictures in this article was of Diana posing with her newborn son wearing a long, lace covered blessing gown. Problem solved. What was good enough for the royals was good enough for us.

No one noticed my son in his gown until the actual blessing was performed. After the meeting a man with eleven children made a beeline for Rob and I. He shook Rob’s hand in congratulations and said, “Are you trying to turn your son into a girl? You got him wearing a dress.” I rolled my eyes and Rob was embarrassed. He was just following my lead on this whole thing, hoping it wouldn’t be big deal. We escaped Church before anyone else could share their opinion with us. The blessing gown event receded quickly into nothing, until now.

It isn’t an issue with this grandchild since we know she’s a girl, but what about when a grandson arrives? I like the idea of all my grandchildren being blessed in the same gown as my children. Because of my chaotic childhood we don’t have many multi-generational family traditions and this could be one. Of course, it is contingent on what the parents want but I would like a shot suggesting its use, regardless of the baby’s sex.

I recognize this whole train of thought is superficial enough to be embarrassing, but the reality is I am this superficial. Sorry. So the question is: Should I encourage the Royal Blessing Gown tradition or not?

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Chaz

I like Cher. I’m not much for her music, but I think she’s a cool person. She and Sonny came to national attention when I was in 8th grade, I think. We were in love with them! Because they seemed approachable, “normal” in that they weren’t elite or above everyone else.

Their TV show was cool because Cher made fun of Sonny and there was their little girl and I personally had no clue till the end that they were very unhappy. Cher had all those different outfits! It was a nice variety show, overall.

I’ve followed Cher a bit over the years; I recall her letting some TV show into her home and she showed her son’s room. The re-marriage and subsequent divorce. “Gregory” she called him. The Oscars–LOVED her in Silkwood! Read more »

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Feeding The Missionaries From The Best Porn Shop In Town

Living in the Mid-West is an opportunity to witness the very finest in business savvy. Towns are small, often no more than a few hundred people. Driving to the nearest Wal-mart means dressing up and going into town just like Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. Figuring out how to survive in rural America means businesses have to cater to what the people will buy. Since the potential market is small, if a business doesn’t hit the right note it won’t survive beyond a month.

We had the privilege of being loyal customers to a business that exemplified the aforementioned qualities. I was told about this gem by the most God-fearing evangelical crazy lady I have ever met. She was a fixture in town, with a personality that matched her wild colored clothes and loud voice. I was trying to politely explain that no-way-in-heck-would-I-ever-buy-her-homemade-lotions-and-potions, when she cut me off and whispered, “You know about the best ribs in town, right?” I replied no, we were new in town and hadn’t heard of it. She drew me a map to the place, explaining at mile marker 112 I needed to slow down and be looking for it because there was no sign out front and it was easy to sail right past it.

I followed her directions and pulled into a gas station. I was confused because she said it was a restaurant, not a gas station. I sat for a moment, watching families pump gas when I noticed the Best Ribs In Town sign. I went in the door and stopped, once again confused. The lady who quoted scriptures with every breath surely didn’t mean this place. Instead of aisles of typical gas station fare, the place was wall-to-wall liquor, cigarettes and porn. No soda, no candy, no bags of snacks, nothing that resembled any gas station I had ever been in.

I approached the counter, feeling a bit foolish as I asked, “Is this the rib place?” The cashier smiled and pointed to a sign over her head that advertised rib offerings. Only then did I notice the small doorway to the kitchen over her shoulder. It was a busy day for me and I hadn’t prepared anything for dinner. I bought a rack of ribs for $12 after the cashier assured me no one made ribs as good as theirs. As I drove home, the smell of smoked meat filled the car and it was hard to resist sneaking a bite.

As we were preparing to sit down to a dinner of ribs, bagged salad and canned veggies, the doorbell rang and I instantly remembered I was feeding the missionaries that night. We invited them in and I pretended all was well. As they sat down and saw the generous slab of ribs, their eyes lit up. As they started chomping on the meat, the compliments began. How delicious it was, how the meat was so tender and the sauce was perfect, and the highest compliment of all – Will you write down your recipe for my mom, Sister Young? Of course I had no intention of telling those sweet, earnest missionary boys where I got them. All they needed to know was they had the very best.

Only in the Mid-West can you get gas, liquor, cigarettes, porn and awesome ribs all in one place.

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The Peacegiver finally sinks in, or another paradigm shift

I bought The Peacegiver years ago and didn’t get much beyond the second chapter. I was reading it slowly because I knew this was a book that I would have to digest and consider. But eventually, I started other books that were easier and more interesting and it went in the bookshelf (although I used the cover because it was a good size to cover the novels I took to church).

I read it last week in two hours. And thought “why didn’t I get this before?” I recall getting the concept that Jesus had already paid for the sins of those who’d sinned against me before, but not internalizing it or changing my attitude.

But I am here to tell you that God lives. Because I had a sacred experience last week that, I hope, has given me an undeniable and lasting paradigm shift. Let me preface by telling you that my life has turned upside down since May. I apologize for being a bit unclear, but some of the details are pretty personal. But, oddly (and odd describes my life from the get-go, for sure), the events that transpired have resulted in a 180 in my marriage and in my attitude towards life. God certainly works in mysterious ways. Read more »

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