Thursday, November 29, 2007

why I love wikipedia, reason #4096

Don't tell me you've never wanted to dance on the moon. You go, Buzz!

Sure, wikipedia says they put it up just to show that the flag wasn't waving in the air, which proves the moon landing wasn't a hoax, but we all know they put it up because Aldrin has some serious moves.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Greatest Thanksgiving Ever

Turkeys: 0
Mashed Potatoes: 0
Stuffing: 0
Pumpkin Pie: 0
People you don't know: 0
Listenings to Alice's Restaurant: 3
Homemade hamgurgers: lots
Cool Older Sisters: 1

Doesn't get any better.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

just for fun

Do you ever just watch people? I like to just watch people while walking between classes, and think about where they're going and what they're coming from and what they're thinking.

And on that note, I would really recommend the movie Into Great Silence. It was playing at BYU's International Cinema this week, and it was amazing. It's about monks in France who take a vow of silence, and you just watch their lives for three hours. A really spiritual and ponderous movie, I thought it was really powerful. If you ever get the chance, watch it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

free rice!

If you feel your vocabulary needs to be augmented or meliorated, but you never wanted to take the time because it doesn't feed poor people, well here's your chance! is the place for you. Seriously, it's kinda fun and it's all for a great cause. Every word you get right donates another 10 grains of rice to the world's poor, and if that sounds inconsequential, don't worry: you can easily end up donating 700 grains in a few minutes. My vocab level hovered around 40, with a peak at 43 46!. How 'bout you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Favorite General Conference reference

In honor of the General Conference issue of the Ensign coming out this month, I thought I'd just share my favorite quote from a past issue, which I stumbled upon once just looking at the sources used in the talks: "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." Besides being a nice quote, I find it pretty funny that it's by Camus. If there was a poll taken, Camus would be near the top of the list of people least likely to be quoted by an apostle. But Elder Wirthlin did, in a wonderful talk titled The Abundant Life from the April 2006 General Conference.

I wonder if Elder Wirthlin was very familiar with Camus' philosophy; the reference given is from Bartlett's. An interesting quote from Wikipedia, discussing the paradox Camus expresses in his work The Myth of Sisyphus, is "We value our lives and existence so greatly, but at the same time we know we will eventually die, and ultimately our endeavours are meaningless." Maybe not the same idea of an abundant life that E. Wirthlin was trying to convey, though the quote certainly works great in the context of the talk.

An interesting sidenote: Elaine Cannon (who, in case you weren't aware, was General President of the Young Women in 1982) apparently plagiarizes/paraphrases-without-attributing the same quote in a 1982 April General Conference address entitled Reach For Joy ("And it is for us to find at last that in the midst of winter we have within us an invincible summer"), though in all fairness maybe they just didn't publish her footnotes, because in a June 1975 Ensign article titled The Summer of My Content (back when she was just a vice-chairman of the general Heritage Arts Committee for the Church and member of the Federal Heights ward in Salt Lake City, for those of you keeping track) she clearly gives Camus his due, and even says she is "akin" to him ("From oleander to grandmotherhood, with my life now matching the season, I am akin to Albert Camus. I, too, have learned that 'in the midst of winter I find that I have within me an invincible summer.'"). Sweet!

But the point is, I for one would welcome more quotes from existentialist philosophers/absurdists, whether in General Conference or the Ensign. Those guys certainly had a lot of good things to say. Your thoughts? Any favorite/strange conference quotes?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I don't remember who you are...

...but to whichever one of my friends told me Rocky Balboa was a good movie: no. You are wrong. Not even close.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blasphemy as humor

I have always had a propensity towards (mildly) blasphemous humor. Or at least for as long as I can remember. Also, I say mildly, but others disagree. But the point is, I find comedic blasphemy really funny. I hope that doesn't sound bad. Maybe I can give some examples.

The Onion has some great blasphemous stories, which range from hilarious to too disrespectful even for me. Two of my favorites are God Answers Prayers of Paralyzed Little Boy and Christ Converts to Islam. I love 'em! Also, I just purchased a great book entitled The Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer which is basically a mormon Onion, and needless to say it has some great articles. You know it's good with headlines like "Provo Man Votes Democrat 'Just To See What It Feels Like'," "Relief Society Sister Makes Declarative Statement," and "Hofmann Forges Letters from Self." Also, it has little sidebars that answer questions such as "What are we bringing to our home teaching families?" The still-beating hearts of the last family that stood us up.

Do I just have a messed-up sense of humor? Like I said, there are things that cross the line for me, a number of Onion articles being at the top of the list. But isn't it good to be able to poke fun at the quirks and weirdnesses of a religion you love? Should I repent for thinking of writing a parody of Sheryl Crow's "I Can't Cry Any More" about Joseph Smith called "I Can't Scry Any More"? Let me know what you think.