Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Remember what I do when someone asks you "Can you tell me why you are cancelling or not taking advantage of this deal or service."
Your answer should always be a simple no. You do not owe them an explanation. When you present reasons you are only ask them to provide solutions.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The sad part is this picture represents half of our EQ annual budget. Money well spent but I am sure some of you in those big western wards are wondering how we function. To save you the guessing we get $45 a year. We buy the ice cream for the October Priesthood session and then blow the rest on one "big" activity. Of course big is a subjective term.
**I was immature enough to make the "Jeff has blue balls" joke when Jeff happened to pick up the two blue balls. Always funny no matter how old you get.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Again I would make it clear that we all have to be aware we are ALL capable of such things in a given situation. The only chance we have is to be aware of the situation and recognize it for what it is. The ability to step outside ourselves is crucial to preventing it. We can only do that if we are not so prideful and arrogant to think ourselves above it.
The one difference is My Lai, unlike MMM, did have one hero. Hugh Thompson was a helicopter pilot who recognized what was happening was wrong, and was brave enough to act on it by placing his craft between the people and the US troops. How do you think he felt as the years have gone by?
Well worth the read for everyone.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Kennedy's Brain is Henning Mankell's latest book. Several years ago Mankell became very involved in Africa and its problems. This latest book discusses AIDS, corrupt pharmaceutical companies, and the taking advantage of the world's poor; all disguised as a thriller. While the author states that this is fiction, if any of it is reality based we live in a very scary world.
A great story.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Example quote: "Celibacy is for monks, or ugly people."
That says it all. Good for a quick read only.
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason is your typical middle-aged divorced cop who goes against the norm to solve the impossible case. Overall it was an okay plot, semi-engaging lead character, and best of all a short read. There are times where the English is awkward, but I put that down to the translation process not picking up the nuances of speech.
I am trying to read some Icelandic stuff to prepare for our vacation there next summer and I did learn a few things. It rains there a lot; heavy, cold rain. Also Icelanders always address each other using their first names, since most people have a patronymic rather than a "proper surname", ending in -son for son and -dottir for a daughter. So John Smith's son Alan would be called Alan Johnson. People are even listed by their first names in the phone book. Finally I learned, given it is a small island, everyone is required to register where they live with the government. Rick made mention of this and how it helps with less active work.
WHY? Because every other episode begins with some couple walking their dog and finding a body in the trash. Chances of that happening here in small town America - Zero. Which is also the same chance I will not take the extra time and check.
As the great Charlie MacKenzie would say, "Cuckoo"
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
One day we will all need the power of...
Funny, because it is true
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
A man murders a woman who was having an affair too blackmail a teacher who said mean things about a girl who was friends with another girl whose dad was a transplant surgeon and neighbors son need a transplant but his dad couldn't be the donor because the mom had been raped to produce the child and then secretly killed her attacker who by luck was the brother of the wife who died of the original attacker. And that is not all - there is teen suicide, a run away child, emo kids, drugs, the CIA and FBI and on and on and on. And only in about 400 pages.
Anyways, I would recommend starting anywhere but here with Coben. Overall he is an excellent writer and I have read all his books, I just don,t know what amphetamine he was on while coming up with this plot. The writing though, excellent as always so the book is very readable, I finished in about 3-4 hours.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Massacre at Mountain Meadows
by Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley Jr, Glen M. Leonard
Oxford University Press
For a short synopsis of the book please see the Ensign article buy Richard Turley.
This book is an excellent case study of how seemingly good people can commit acts of horrific evil. Phillip Zimbardo in his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding how good people turn evil, documenting his work The Standford Prison Experiment, theorized that we feel comfortable seeing bad acts as if committed by a few bad apples; that we are above such things. As if to say "I would never had done that." That we would have been the hero, standing up to all those weak people who went along. The truth though is just a bunch of ordinary apples in a bad barrel, all susceptible to going bad. Anotherwords, if you can create the right environment, just about everyone can and will be corrupted.
This book lays out very nicely the events surrounding the southern Utah pioneers, from the harsh rhetoric of Brigham Young, to the widespread rumors and false gossip of the citizens, and the old grudges that killed the soul from within. This led to an atmosphere that made such a heinious crime seem reasonable, but as Juanita Brooks said:
"Exaggeration, misrepresentation, ungrounded fears, unreasoning hate, desire for revenge, yes, even the lust for the property of the emigrants, all combined to give the justification which, once the crime was done, looked inadequate and flimsy indeed"
Typically 3 social factors are in place for great violence to take place.
1. Limited authoritative leadership
2. Conformity (often enforced) among the group
3. Dehumanizing of the victims
All three were strongly present in southern Utah during 1857.
As to the individuals who participated they tried to excuse themselves that they were just following orders (page 180), the past the moral buck forward (page 189), but in the end the guilt and shame for what they had done stayed with them (pages 209 & 214). For me two of the take away points were:
If any leader, Priesthood or otherwise, tells you to do something that you feel is wrong by saying "If it is wrong and I told you to do it, don't worry the punishment will fall to me", you can know of a surety that they are wrong. All great tragedies are begat by leaders who were sure they were right and demanded blind obedience (page 189). And as the participants above can tell you, the guilt never leaves.
Second, having the attitude that you are somehow better and above it all is precisely the attitude that leads you to such great crimes. Pride comes before the fall, and as the Milgram Experiment shows, you the regular citizen are not above it all. You are all in the same barrel and if we are not constantly on guard we will just go along with the flow with everyone else.
As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiuosly committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who wants to destroy a piece of his own heart."
The Memorial at Mountain Meadows
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Remember Me is a great book, sort of like Regarding Henry, but funny. A quick read.
One of her first books, Confessions of a Shopaholic, is a great place to start, and is soon to be a movie starring Isla Fisher.
And I found a penny - 67 cents
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
After the Stake dance that I drove the youth to we were at McDonalds. Gunnar started whining about how he was really thirsty, but since I had already gotten him stuff he was getting no sympathy from me. Finally a very cute girl who was also there passed her drink over to Gunnar and said he could have some of hers. Gunnar takes the cup and lifts the lid and straw and takes a drink. Now realize that there is nothing going on in this particular situation, but I felt the need to have a teaching moment with Gunnar and another guy when the young women went to the rest room.
ME: Do you realize you just said the message that you found the young woman so repellant that let alone kiss her, you wouldn't even stoop so low as to put her straw in your mouth.
Gunnar & Friend: HUH?? Totally clueless
ME: Ask yourself, If I am willing to kiss a girl then a straw is no problem. Plus if she found you that repellant, she would have removed the straw before giving you the cup.
Can you believe they released me as Young Men's President?!?!?
NOTE: Be very careful if searching for images involving girls and cups, you just might get a nasty shock. I did manage to find these super cute non-girl images though.