Monday, April 30, 2012


Walter: I need to go back to the market. We need to go to the market.
Broyles: Is he ok?
Peter: Well he's Walter, define 'ok.'

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Favorite hymns

1. Joseph Smith's First Prayer
2. For the Beauty of the Earth
3. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
4. Abide with me (tis eventide)
5. Hark all ye Nations

1. If I could Hie to Kolob
2. Praise to the Man
3. Battle Hymn of the Republic
4. Angels We Have Heard on High
5. Families Can Be Together Forever

Bonus: Behold a Royal Army, Carry On, True to the Faith (I'm a sucker for rousing choruses)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Generally speaking, I like the Earth. With the exception of Kansas and most of Wyoming, it's a pretty good place and has been my home almost 4 decades. Which is why it was interesting to me when I recently came across the whole concept of destroying angels.

Basically, they're angels that are reaping the wicked by causing natural disasters. The D&C says they were held back from going forth among the world to 'reap the tares' lest they also destroy the righteous, who were 'yet tender.' In 1893, President Wilford Woodruff announced that they had finally been loosed. He said:

"God has held the angels of destruction for many years, lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. But I want to tell you now, that those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day they shall be poured out. Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning in these things. Remember this, and reflect upon these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we'll have protection."
The modern world, of course, misinterprets this revelation to be anthropomorphic global climate change, which ironically is the fulfillment of a different prophecy in which Joseph Smith declared that many would not believe the signs of the times, and would make excuses for them:

"But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east."
All of this is another reason why the Saints have no desire to pour money into stopping global warming or any other planetary diaster. You may as well try to blot out the sun-it will be about as effective. Until then, enjoy this chart:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mads in America


“I have seen ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes and criminals arraigned before them, while life was suspended on a breath in the courts of England; I have witnessed a congress in solemn session to give laws to nations;...but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains at midnight, in a dungeon, in an obscure village of Missouri.”
                                                                                        -Parley P. Pratt

P3 was an interesting guy. I've been reading his (very lengthy) autobiography and he's got some great stories in there, and was a very talented writer. He never apostatized and lived to become one of the 12 apostles. He was murdered in the 1850s when he was on a trip to Arkansas. He also was an excellent preacher and could pretty much 'win' any theological argument.  My favorite example of this was this story, which I've trimmed down for space:

In this neighborhood there lived a Baptist minister by the name of Dotson, who opposed us with much zeal…his principal objection was that God could give no new revelation--the New Testament contained all the knowledge that God had in store for man, and there was nothing remaining unrevealed.
Said I, "Mr. Dotson, relate to me your experience and call to the ministry."
"Why, sir, said he, "I was called by a "vocal voice from Heaven."
"Well, Mr. Dotson, *there* is one exception to your general rule. We come to you with a new revelation, and you reject it, because there can be no new revelation; and yet you profess to have a new revelation, God having spoken from the heavens and called you, and commissioned you to preach eighteen hundred years after the New Testament was written, and all revelation finished! How is this?
"The New Testament no where calls you by name; neither makes mention of you as a minister of the gospel; but new revelation does, if we are to believe you. And yet you would teach your hearers and us, and all the world, to disbelieve all modern revelation merely because it is new. Consequently, we are all bound by your own rule to reject your call to the ministry, and to believe it is a lie."
He could say no more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wake up the world for the conflict of justice

"When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us." 
                                                                                     -Joseph Smith Jr. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Here dead we lie because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
But young men think it is, and we were young.
           -A.E. Housman, 1917

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Major Monogram: Behind you, rising dramatically from the floor, is Carl with some high-tech devices that you might find useful.(A platform rises with dramatic music, on it is a large container of devices)
Carl: (off-screen) Um, Sir? Hello? I didn't step on in time. Would you mind lowering the platform again?
Major Monogram: Oh, great, let me... cue the music again.(Rewind dramatic music and plays it again as Carl rises with the platform this time)
Carl: VoilĂ  monsieur! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rough Draft

Jan accidentally bumped my hand and triggered some weird feature in my Paint program that in a single keystroke rendered James Mason into Dr. Manhattan.


It turns out the final test Luke has to pass to become a Jedi is to defeat Darth Vader, the most powerful Jedi in the universe, which kind of seems like a huge leap in difficulty after his one-day training session. That'd be like if the final stage of your driving test was to win the Indy 500.   
-Daragh McGarrigle


"She really got under your skin, didn't she, Mr. Kaplan?"

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Sherlock: Why have I got this blanket-they keep putting this blanket on me.
Lestrade: Yes, it's for shock…
Sherlock: I'm not *in* shock!
Lestrade: Yeah, well some of the guys might want to take photographs.
Sherlock: So the shooter…no sign?
Lestrade: Cleared off before we got here. But a guy like that would have had enemies, I suppose. One of them could have been following him. But we haven't got anything to go on.
Sherlock: Oh I wouldn't say that
Lestrade: (Sighs) OK, give me.
Sherlock: The bullet they just dug out of the wall is from a hand gun. A kill shot over that distance from that kind of a weapon, that's a crack shot you're looking for, but not just a marksman. A fighter. His hands couldn't haven't shaken at all so clearly he's acclimatized to violence. He didn't fire till I was in immediate danger, though, so strong moral principle. You're looking for a man probably with a history of military service, nerves of steel….

(Looks over at John Watson)
Actually, you know what, ignore me. Ignore all of that, it's just, uh, the shock talking. 
Lestrade: Where are you going?
Sherlock: I just need to talk about the…thing. 
Lestrade: I've still got questions for you!
Sherlock: Not now! I'm in shock. Look, I've got a blanket!

Evolution Smevolution

I realized from yesterday's post that people might get the mistaken impression that I am an evolution advocate. I think all the dinosaur bones and monkeys and carbon dating and stuff are stumbling blocks to throw us off. For the test to be fair,  we had to have some chance to experience semi-plausible doubt.

To have to rely on faith, we have to be deprived of (most) physical proof. If archaeologists could just dig up Zarahemla tomorrow and find a thousand plates in a temple there that completely corroborate the Book of Mormon, well, you just kind of blew the entire test. "Ah, got it. Indisputable proof that the BoM is real and therefore the First Vision happened and all the rest is true." Kind of ruins the entire point. 

Why do you need faith? Because "We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." It's always funny to me when Saints get asked about stuff like that and kind of dodge it with 'well, that hasn't been revealed yet." Sure, it has. Are you paying attention? Maybe not word for word, but the truth is plain for those with an eye to see...

Does it mean dinosaurs didn't really exist? No, not necessarily. They could just be bones, they could have been creatures that walked the earth, they could be something else. If the Master can create a planet and fill it with life, He can create some dinosaurs and have them exist in some manner that makes them appear ancient. And on this point, the  standard trope is exactly right: "it doesn't really matter. We have the fullness of the gospel." True that-it doesn't matter. But it is kind of interesting to think about, and there's the important lesson about faith to be learned there.

Android cont'd

I know everyone is dying for another Android post, but I couldn't sleep soundly tonight without righting a terrible wrong. I left of one of the very major advantages Android has over iPhones: Adobe Flash support. It's the thing that makes the entire internet be multimedia rather than flat pictures. The iPhone and iPad don't support Flash; Android products do.

And what a difference it makes. You open a web page on an iPhone and you either get a stripped down mobile version of it, or you get a little 'plugin needed' icon. You open a webpage in Android and the whole thing works. Animations happen, videos happen, sound files play, transitions occur. You get the full web 2.0 experience.

Another cool feature: the entire screen turns into landscape mode if you tilt it. Now, iPhones have some apps that can turn into landscape mode if you want them to, but it's limited. Things like web pages and books and games and YouTube. But like, the main screen would never do that. Android does. You can turn it on its side and all the icons fall into line and all of the sudden you've got a PS Vista.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my phone?

And yes, I have my animated fish swimming in the air over a spooky night scene. Why? BECAUSE I CAN.

Impromptu mid-week picnic at the lake.

Grapevine Lake is technically about 2 minutes away from us, but this park is much further. Probably about 6 minutes away.

Beliefs vs Science

Supposedly science-minded people often scoff at those who do not "believe in evolution." The problem with this is not that they are wrong to defend evolution, but that they mistake evolution, a scientific theory, for a belief system. When you demand adherence to a set of beliefs, you are no longer doing science but something that has the form, if not the substance, of religion.  -James Taranto

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A smiley week

Welcome back...

After a brief 14-month hiatus, I'm going to come back. Too much on my mind. And for my first post back, I'm starting with the main thing on my mind: my new phone, and how it has fixed my life.

Previously, my life was empty. With the exception of my wife, daughter, and a new daughter on the way. The most important thing was that I had an iPhone, and it was extremely too small for humans. I needed something bigger.

So I bought the Samsung Galaxy Note-the largest phone commercially available on the planet. However, it's an Android phone, and that's a much different operating system than IOS (the Apple mobile operating system). It took a LOT of customization to get it the way I wanted it, but now it is perfect, and life is good again. There are some interesting pros and cons, though.

1. The phone is the appropriate size for humans now.
2. The phone still allows you to hit the volume button down and it will change to vibrate mode. This is a very important feature at work, and is improved from the previous Android version.
3. You can customize absolutely every single thing on the phone. Everything. Every THING. E.V.E.R.Y thingggggg. Everything.
4. Awesome screen transitions/animations (which can be, again, customized)
5. Live wallpapers. Awesome.
6. Much better camera than iPhone.
7. Has 95% of the iPhone apps.
8. Has a great feature where you can have 'text this contact' or 'call this contact' be an app/shortcut on your phone screen.
9. You can customize the # of apps on the screen. You can go from a 3x3 grid up to about a 9x9 grid.
10. It has cool 'widgets' which are apps that do things. Like, you can have an app that is a flashlight, and it lights up when you click it. You can have other buttons that do things, like mute the phone, or reduce the memory cache to speed it up, or display live weather, or count down to a date. The list goes on and on.
11. You don't have to install all your apps on the screen. The apps 'live' in an app tray and you can decide which ones you want to put into folders.
12. Folders can, again, be customized. Mine are these cool circle ones.
13. Icons can, again, be customized. I've found really cool replacements for the standard ones.
14. Yes, the phone fits comfortably in any human sized pocket that is above the age of 5 or so.
15. The stylus pen is handy. Haven't used it for much but when I use it it's handy.
16. The lock screen is awesome. You can slide your finger anywhere on it to unlock it.
17. The live wallpapers are awesome. It can snow. It can rain. You can have fish swimming. You can have planets whirring by. Or you can mix live wallpapers w/ the widgets and have like a scene that displays the live weather.
18. There are two app stores: An Amazon Android store and a Google Play Android store. The Google Play one has free (good) music a lot and has great sales on apps sometimes (like $.25 cent apps).
19. Android phones come with free turn by turn navigation on the map app.
20. No need for a phone case. Just put a screen protector on the screen. The rest of the phone is durable grippy metal and rubbery plastic.
21. 4G.
22. There are cool buttons in the notification tray. You can toggle off various things like bluetooth, screen rotation, GPS, etc.
23. When you charge the phone, it shows you what % of charge it is at.
24. You can replace the battery and expand the memory by 32 GB.
25. The audio player has a nice feature where it shows you what songs are coming up next on the shuffle. It can also find album art and give you a choice of which one you want to use. It does this right from the app.
26. The apps auto-update! No having to go in and tell it to update everything!
27. There are some good Android-exclusive apps too. Many are better than their Apple counterparts (i.e. there are some good photo editing ones that are better than Instagram).
28. I really like the buttons on the phone. Instead of a physical 'home' button, it has 4 'virtual'-ish buttons. One goes to the home screen, one opens up settings, one searches for things, and one goes back. It's amazing how often I use the back button. My iPhone home buttons always had problems, to the point where I'd have to put a ton of pressure on it to get it to work. These are just touch-sensitive, and they light up when you touch them.
29. There's a good speaker dock for the phone that was 1/2 the price of the iHome. It works well at my job.

1. The battery goes down relatively fast. I'm at about 20% by the end of the day. This is probably due to the live wallpaper, but if it is, it's totally worth it so I don't care.
2. No iTunes for Android and the alternates are worse. The best one is DoubleTwist, and it's not that great. It's very slow, has a very limited interface, and doesn't work very well. The audio players don't let you drill down to the artist if you like the song that's playing.

For many, including almost me, the no iTunes thing is a big issue. Android's main music thing is Google Play, which is a cloud-based music player. Handy, and a pretty good web interface. However, I don't have an unlimited data plan, so that won't work. The good thing, though, is that Android is a total open source operating system. I have faith that they'll figure this out. And really, the gigantic screen is at least 90% of what I want out of a phone. A good music system is 9%, with 'cool other stuff' at 1%.

Nuff said. Go buy yours today!