Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mormon Paparazzi

Anyone else see a problem with a website devoted to following the prophet around (including details about what restaurants he visits, etc. etc.)? I'd link to it, but I don't want the guy who runs it to find his way over here (this isn't a private blog, and I welcome stuff from people I don't know, but I don't want to get into arguments with the people running the website). In any case, type in "Follow the Prophet" (one word) and end it with a .net to find the site.
I don't envy people who have no privacy. I saw one of the 12 in the men's dressing room at the SJ temple (I'm pretty sure he went through the same session as I did), and I thought, "I could go introduce myself, or I could let him have some peace from having strangers introduce themselves to him." So I let him have peace. Being shy might have had something to do with it too (so shy that when I attended the same ward as Steve Young, I tried to avoid him only to have him come over and ask me my name). I think my reaction would be different out here in the midwest/south, if only because well-known church leaders wouldn't be harassed as often at restaurants, etc. etc. because almost no one knows who they are, and so they would have an easier time finding privacy, but I think everyone is entitled to some degree of privacy somewhere. That includes at the temple and taking your wife out to eat. And if the masses discover your favorite restaurant, it may be good for the business at the restaurant, but it's not good for your sanity as a human being. I have my doubts about the prophet going to dinner at Dee's again now that the paparazzi and the obsessed fans know he likes to eat there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

150 years

150 years ago today, what is probably the most important book in all of science, and definitely the most important book in all of biology, was first published.
Origin of Species.
I quote from the book:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Our understanding of how the world works has changed immensely in the past 150 years, and much of that was due to the publication of this book. We now understand how diseases evolve (so there's a new flu virus every year, and HIV is impossible to stop). We now understand who pesticides only work for so long (the animals they're used on evolve).
Almost every big idea in biology--how organisms change, genetics, DNA, ecology, etc.--has been discovered in the past 150 years, and much of that has to do with Charles Darwin's research.
What a great time to be alive.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


So I accompanied April to the church Thursday so I could babysit while she attended the meeting formerly known as Enrichment. (The EQ babysits so all the women can attend, which ended up being pretty useless this time around because the only kids there belonged to the two guys who were babysitting, and who both rather would have watched their own children from the comforts of their own homes).
We'd been told about the "great food" served after the meeting, and so we both looked forward to our reward. A collection of side dishes and desserts, none of them especially great, with the exception of an oatmeal spice cake.
"This is good," I told the other babysitter, because I wanted to comment on liking something there, and I didn't feel any of the other food merited praise.
"You like it? I made it," he told me.
Figures. The one good dish at a Relief Society meeting, and it's made by a guy. Of course, that doesn't stop people in Sunday School from saying stuff like "real men aren't in the kitchen baking cookies," or making jokes about how guys can't cook anything but grilled meat.
Maybe it's time to reverse the stereotype.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Phone calls

What's the latest you'd call a family you don't know well, on a weeknight, for a non-emergency? What's the earliest in the morning you'd call?
The message we received this morning reminded me of why I like to turn phones off at night. Since our house phone is run through the computer (magicJack, the poor people's phone, which has saved us hundreds of dollars so far), turning the phone off is effortless. And it stops those annoyingly late phone calls in their tracks.

Friday, November 13, 2009


April's posted some new pictures of Peter at the other blog. Go check it out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gay rights in Utah

Most of you know about the LDS church's take on gay marriage, and the support the church and members of the church gave to Proposition 8 in California.
Meanwhile, in Salt Lake, the city council has been working on a bill that would make discrimination against homosexuals in housing or employment illegal. The First Amendment of the Constitution pretty much protects religions already (in other words, they LDS church does not have to hire or house those who practice homosexuality, or even those who are homosexual who don't practice homosexuality--although they do hire and house the latter). But the proposed bill would mean that non-religious entities would not be able to discriminate.
Many of the conservative politicians (especially the extremists) in Utah have voiced disapproval about the proposed bill.
Yesterday, the church came out in support of the Salt Lake bill. The official statement is here.
In my opinion, the church has reached a happy medium here--protecting homosexuals from discrimination while protecting marriage. It's relatively rare for the church to make new official political statements, so I'd encourage you to look this one up and read it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

No English? Here's a citation.

20 cops in Dallas gave out at least 38 citations to drivers who couldn't speak English--for not being able to speak English. An excellent opinion article on the incident here.
Besides the fact that all of these cops lack common sense, what else is going on?
Is it racism? Xenophobia? Frustration at not being able to communicate? Does it really matter what we call it? It's ugly, and it needs to be stopped.
We may be over a lot of the racism against blacks (except for the racist belt, apparently). But other minorities are still discriminated against on a regular basis.