Russ’ blog archives—2006

Welcome to my web logs for 2006...

Quote

“ Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ”


Douglas Adams

Quote

“ For each of us: falling off your bicycle, being cut from the team, being wrongly accused or even being spanked is simply a fact of life. Simple. For liberals, it is a crime, and the rest of us have to pay, and how. ”


John Longenecker

A new website...

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Check out my new recipe site at www.russcooks.com.

Well, it’s probably time...

Friday, 11 August 2006

...to get involved in the next presidentials. This is not something I’ve done before in my life, but here goes.

I’m beginning to include links to Mitt Romney sites in the right margin of this page.

Mitt is not only the one who rescued the Olympics in 2002, but has shown remarkable leadership and consensus-earning ability in dealing with complex and difficult issues while maintaining the right direction on the issues of this country’s life.

I do not support Mitt because of his religious affiliation for then I would also have to support the execrable, incompetent and laughable Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, Senate Minority Whi[m]p, who was a major influence in shooting down the Federal Marriage Amendment. I care nothing for the religious affiliation of those I vote for as long as they support truth and right.

I support Mitt because he is the son of another brilliant politcal leader, the Honorable Governor George Romney of Michagan and was raised in an environment of leadership and state thought: he was raised a statesman, something America and the rest of the world so desperately need.

I support him because in the face of so caustic a liberal soup as Massachussetts politics, Mitt has stayed the course of the pro-family agenda without running off and throwing himself into bitter, reactionary politics. He has quietly and effectively fought for what is right and best for the citizens of his State while enduring unjust criticism.

In short, I support Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America because he is a winner and not a quitter.

Here are some of his achievements...

  • Elected the Republican governor of Massachusetts, the nation’s most Democratic state.
  • Faced a $3 billion budget state deficit on inauguration day, finished 2004 with a $700 million surplus, 2005 with $500 million.
  • Masterminded the only state-sponsored universal healthcare program in America without raising taxes or adding bureaucracy.
  • Rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics by turning a $379 million deficit into a $100 million profit as emergency CEO.
  • Supervised a multi-national security effort that allowed the 2002 Olympics to proceed without incident only a year after September 11th.
  • One of the nation’s most influential businessmen during the 1980s and 1990s. Invested in and/or acquired Staples, Dominos, Sealy and Sports Authority (among others) while CEO of Bain Capital.
  • Undergraduate at Stanford and Brigham Young University (highest honors and valedictorian). JD and MBA from Harvard University (Baker Scholar, cum laude).
  • Married for 36 years with five sons and nine grandchildren.
See Mitt Romney’s full biography in Wikipedia...

The story of life...

Sunday, 6 August 2006

          Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
          The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
               Hath had elsewhere its setting,
                    And cometh from afar...
               —Not in entire forgetfulness,
               And not in utter nakedness,
          But trailing clouds of glory do we come
               From God, who is our home!

          Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

          Shades of the prison-house begin to close
               Upon the growing Boy,
          But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
               He sees it in his joy.

          The Youth, who daily farther from the east
               Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest,
               And by the vision splendid
               Is on his way attended.

          At length the Man perceives it die away,
          And fade into the light of common day.
          		William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

The “light of common day” is what we live now. Oh sure, we hear about God and say, yeah, right and move on. But, our attitudes and feelings about God are conditioned by an increasingly atheistic world around us, an increasingly uncaring society, a planet full of callous and greedy men half of whom are merely chasing the next buck and the other half seeking to control the lives of those around them. And I don’t mean the control of a father who stops his young toddler from riding his tricycle in the street, but the delusion of it.

These people aren’t listening.

If this Star comes from God, trailing clouds of glory, where is it bound? Must not something of glorious origin, if not irremediably corrupted, return to glorious home?

What is the meaning of its terrestrial sojourn here? Not the detritus of a casual afternoon experiment, not embryonic servitude, or merely to staff some distant heavenly chorus.

If we are here at all, the echo of its reason must be found in the happiness to be gained both here and there. Real happiness lies in family life well lived. Real happiness that is a shadow or an imitation of that in the eternal realm. (Truce be then to that contrarying perversion made to appear rampant and common. It will win out its temporary converts, but it isn’t the focus here and we need only wait out the twisted minds on that point and all will be made clear.)

No, the shadow of the truth is in us and in our lives: we grow under tutelage, with exams imposed both by natural consequence and by a parent or occasional teacher or mentor. We mature into adults and fly the nest to build our own and have our own. The cycle repeats itself. The cycle isn’t important, but the meaning of each period is: we go from child- to adulthood. We grow from dependence to confidence to self-sufficiency to service.

So must it be in the eternal realm—our original home according to the poet.

On God we are still dependent and there is yet far to travel. But, the way seems compelling enough once the tumult of earth life is cleared from our senses. We are not the play-thing of a passionless, bored or vengeful God, but His loved offspring. We are loved all the more for His willingness to let us be and to learn from our mistakes and vices, our classmates and enemies, our joys experienced and the tender acts we learn to perform around us. That we have, or even retain if possible, our moral agency in all this indicates that He is deadly serious about this classroom, this infancy, this womb we live in and, hence, about our glorious potential.

Despite this, it is not about us...

The light and the vision are ours for the awakening. It’s the true “finding oneself” rather than the vapid, self-destructive and self-indulgent treck through meaninglessness that the 1960s formally dubbed. The real spark is ignited by age, reflection, the word of a poet or a prophet. But the individual must look up and cease to believe in the noise of this troublesome world that would have him drown in its arrogant self-preoccupation: there is more to this world than the world would have us believe. And once ignited, the spark may be fanned into greater truth, or left to die in the ice of disbelief.

That greater truth is that it is somehow all about us, but in fact that is God’s part. Our part is to follow Christ. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke ix.24) It’s a simple proposition: lose your life in serving others and I’ll save it—so says Jesus.

In other words, if you have something to prove or a need to stand out instead of working quietly behind the lines, you’ve missed it so far. You’re still buying into the losers versus winners mindset of the greedy world.

It’s not about us just as it has never been about Him. Saints singing in heavenly choirs perpetually in an attitude of praising Him ... this is not something He forces us to do. We do this in recognition of the inestimable debt we owe him. He is not seeking to save (or enhance) His life, for He has said, “this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) In the vernacular of the 1960s, His trip is us; our trip should be those around us.

It is this selfless sacrifice, in particular His condescension in the Garden and upon the Cross to eliminate the corruption, for which we can only be truly grateful if we glimpse its significance, and for which we will indeed sing His praises forever. It is for us. Therefore, on our part, it must be for Him. And for Him means for those around us. It means service and charity. It means attention to needs and to suffering. And this world is so not about that.

Additional lyrics to Going Home

Lest you be drawn into false histories of this song, may I point out that some people believe erroneously that Dvorjak based this melody on a supposed Negro spiritual called “Goin’ Home.” The truth is, Dvorjak’s melody was certainly influenced by the classic black spirituals of the “New World” (as in Dvorjak’s number 9: The New World Symphony) but it was in fact the other way around. The song lyrics were written by a William Arms Fisher, who was apparently a composition student of Antonin Dvorjak. He it was who adapted the music from the Largo (second) movement of the symphony.

There are additional words composed elsewhere I have found. These two verses:

Going home, moving on, through God's open door;
Hush, my soul, have no fear, Christ has gone before.
Parting hurts, love protests, pain is not denied;
Yet in Christ, life and hope span the great divide.
Going home, moving on, though God's open door;
Hush, my soul, have no fear, Christ has gone before.
      No more guilt, no more fear, all the past is healed;
Broken dreams now restored, perfect grace revealed.
Christ has died, Christ is ris'n, Christ will come again;
Death destroyed, life restored, love alone shall reign.
Going home, moving on, through God's open door;
Hush, my soul, have no fear, Christ has gone before.

In memoriam

Saturday, 22 July 2006

Today we interred my uncle, Alfred Van Orden Bateman, born 11 August 1924, decorated World War II veteran (European Theater). I want to thank all the gentlemen of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization who came out with their M1 Garands, their drums and their two bugles to pay tribute. The honor you paid to my uncle and his widow was touching and beautiful. Most of us now have no first-hand memory of what you boys did, but we have listened closely to the stories and there are still many of us who will never forget the Great Generation to whom our Nation and indeed the entire World owe their freedom.

Infinite thanks also to the gentleman who so graciously and touchingly gave words to Antonin Dvorjak’s Largo.* Imbued also with the years of the deep experience of life, your talented voice befitted the solemnity and meaning of the occasion.

Going home, going home,
I’m a going home.
Quiet-like, slip away,
I’m just going home.
It’s not far, just close by,
Through an open door.
Work all done, care laid by,
Going to fear no more.
Mother’s there, expecting me,
Father’s waiting too.
Lots of folk gathered there,
All the friends I knew.

Nothing’s lost, all’s gain,
No more fear or pain,
No more stumbling by the way,
No more longing for the day,
Going to roam no more.
      Morning star lights the way,
Restless dreams all done.
Shadows gone, break of day,
Real life has begun.
There’s no break, there’s no end,
Just a-living on.
Wide awake with a smile,
going on and on...

Going home, going home,
I’m just going home.
It’s not far, just close by,
Through an open door.
I am going home...
I’m just going home...

Going home, going home,
Going home, going home,
Going home....

Thanks also to the myriad other persons in St. George who interrupted their Saturday activities, some also their week’s schedule, to serve our family on this day.

Funerals unite families like no other event. Newly (and gratefully) discovered by the Russell Batemans: a picture of the family at a very young age, circa 1933. Here we see the decedant, his sister, Helen Grayce, and Russell Rulon, my father, at age 3. Click to enlarge.

* The arrangement sung by the BYU men’s chorus on the site, The Longest Journey.

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest!

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

I’m certain we’ve not seen the last of the dog or the keys even though chased by a hundred angry, hungry cannibals along the beach of a desert island doesn’t sound like encouraging odds. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve never had the pleasure of spending a hot afternoon at Disneyland floating lazily along the suberranean river that is Pirates of the Carribean. In character, I can almost hear Johnny Depp saying, “Dommage, sabe, ‘cause it’s one of Disney’s finest pleasures to be sure, mate!”.

Our three heros are again pursued by the relentless sumersaults of fate and bad guys. No one gets a leg up on anyone else for very long and the three-way sword fight at the end was hilarious. Julene and I laughed our heads off. I was even in character myself—sopping wet—as we met at the cinema and I had just ridden through a summer down-pour on my motorcycle!

This sequel was no disappointment from the special effects to the zany characters, many of whom are back from the first adventure three years ago, with pretty decent dialog. You won’t need anything explained to have fun, indeed, the director and scriptwriter aren’t going to hold you by the hand as so often happens in these movies, but if you’re familiar with the first edition, just as if you were attuned to some of the subtle aspects of the amusement park ride, you’re in for some serious fun.

I have to say about the first film, Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, that I didn’t expect much. I was drawn to see it purely because I recognized the song quietly mouthed by little Elizabeth in the trailer and knew immediately that my all-time favorite amusement park ride was going to be made into a film. Medium changes aren’t often successful and the worst intentions on the part of producers and directors often spoil any possibility of success, but I left the theatre three years ago excited because I hadn’t seen such a good movie in a long time. I bought and gave away over half a dozen DVDs for Christmas that year and not all of them were copies of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings installment.

I hear the third film is already in production for next summer, shot more or less at the same time. I can’t wait! I hope you guys make us proud.

One last thing... I just reveled to listen to the etymological debate between two pirates in an argument over how to pronoun the name of the sea monster. Hehehe, my friends just hate this about me and they’re all going to have to sit still and listen to it anyway if they see the movie. For more on krakens, be sure to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraken.

For the official movie site see http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/pirates/.

Annual ALPS reunion lunch...

Monday, 26 June 2006

A good, if brief, time was had by all—Daryl Gibb, Ken Beesley, LaDean Israelsen Thorne, Art Purcell, Dan Muhlestein, Ray Arbizu, Deryle Lonsdale, Russell Bateman, Stuart Newton and Steve Hanka.

Much news was exchanged, not the least of which that Ken will probably be coming to reunions from very much nearer to home in future: he’s planning a move back to Utah from Grenoble after 12½ years with Xerox. His plan is to work here remote from his new employer.

New motorcycle...

Thursday, 15 June 2006

My parents were in town the other day, winding their way back from southeast Idaho and western Wyoming. Somewhere along the way, they stumbled upon a motorcycle, a “chopper,” and purchased it for me. Imagine that: my parents bought me a motorcycle!

So, here’s my second new motorcycle in less than a month, photographed on the dreamy white roads of high imagination (click to enlarge picture).

Faith, brother Nielsen? Hmmmmm...

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

“Ever learning and never arriving at a knowledge or fullness of the truth.”

This is regarding a recent article in the Deseret News entitled, “Foe of LDS Stance Loses His Job at BYU.”

These people just have no imagination about how a full picture might be beyond their own, limited horizon. The conclusion that I draw is simply that they stone the prophets (or, at least, don’t listen to them—I believe Spencer Kimball called it “stoning the prophets mentally”).

Besides, it’s not his club.

They don’t believe that God would call men and give them truth that goes beyond what their contemporaries expect or can even discover for themselves at the moment.

“AND it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.” (III Nephi 12:1)

There is little doubt that God wishes us to pay heed to these men who publish statements such as the Proclamation on the Family, write general epistles to be read to the Church as was the instigation of brother Nielsen’s “guest editorial in a Salt Lake newspaper,” and do and say many other things that some apparently cannot reconcile with their own opinions.

Besides, it’s not his club.

If prophets received only information that university philosophy professors could discover or reason out for themselves, then I sort of imagine that God wouldn’t waste His time calling prophets. God has mostly chosen prophets to deliver unpopular messages that defy men’s reasoning and whose wisdom sometimes becomes apparent generations or centuries afterward—when at all.

Besides, it’s not his club.

Faith, brother Nielsen? Hmmmm...

Besides, it’s not your club. You don’t make the rules of membership. There are hundreds or thousands of other clubs you can join.

For another reaction in the press, read Y. Professor Bit the Hand that Fed Him.

Humor at French expense...

Saturday, 10 June 2006

A friend just sent me another round of jokes about French bravery and courage. I chuckled at some of them. It’s not as if I don’t have a sense of humor, even at inaccurate humor.

On the eve of World War II, the French had a huge army, but largely unmechanized very much to the chagrin of one Charles de Gaulle who was a lone voice in the wilderness, the only general in France who completely understood the potential of modern cavalry. Actually, he was a pioneer in the use of mechanized cavalry, not just an observer of German technique, since he wrote this stuff long before Germany started to rebuild its forces.

When the Germans marched unopposed through Belgium and Luxembourg, completely by-passing the Ligne Maginot that ran for hundreds of miles down to the Swiss border, their tanks met French horse-drawn artillery pieces. French political leaders and generals had never gotten up enough nerve to draw the Ligne full strength in front of allies and, in countless cases, family members from Luxembourg and Belgium. There was not yet a NATO; it would take what was to come to motivate nations to band together in meaningful and hard-bitten alliances against this sort of thing.

With few or no chars blindés (tanks), and even less training at stopping mechanized cavalry, the French were in hopeless straits. The Germans drove into Paris like tourists. Unlike 1914 when they were stopped in the Somme and Marne (well within 100 kilometers of Paris), there simply was no technology to halt their advance. This time, there weren’t enough Parisian taxis to ferry men and supplies from the well fortified east to the unprotected north in time—what had saved the day in 1914. And even if they had tried to redistribute men and materiel, what rifle could stop such an enemy?

With Paris captured, the government fallen and practically nothing happening in Lorraine or Alsace, it is no wonder that the “never fired, dropped once” label on France’s infantry weapon has stuck. What were the soldiers of eastern France to fight for?

France lost World War II in the 1920s when they surrendered to the “Belle Epoque” and fussed more over social reform than military preparedness. (You can thank the French for the 40-hour work week; it was the product of Léon Blum’s Front populaire.)

America of the 1920s was drinking champagne and investing in great schemes. In the 1930s, she was plunged into social upheaval and strife, a deep economic depression and an attitude of isolation. It was only our size and remoteness that gave the space to move our air force, for example, from WWI-era aircraft directly to an innumerable inventory of first-rate aircraft within a couple of years.

The French Army was betrayed by its decadent politicians and ignorant generals.

This same decadence may have still to fully settle into the United States, but we see signs of it all around us. It permeates every branch of our government; the military is the last bastion of levelheadedness in this respect, though, even there, there are problems such as the decision to enter the fight in Iraq with one arm tied behind our back. How much quicker would we have found and eliminated Saddam, his sons and, of recent interest, Al-Zarqawi, if we had sent the number of troops we have there today within the first few months? And isn’t the reason we failed to send adequate troops in part because of spineless politicians still haunted by Vietnam? Either it’s right to go and do the thing or it’s not. In for a dime, in for a dollar. But, it doesn’t work that way. Even we don’t really have the—shall we say?—“wherewithal.”

I’m sure the sun didn’t shine from de Gaulle’s head by any means, however, he had already long published a book and papers on the use of armor in his own theatre, which may even have been used by the Germans in their lightning-fast stab into Paris. De Gaulle began predicting in the 1920s how France would be lost to the next Teutonic offensive and nobody was listening just as no one was listening in England to Churchill during the mid to late 30s, the era of placative Chamberlain kowtowing to von Ribbentrop.

The accusation of French cowardice can only be leveled against the people with their government collectively and, indeed, only because of the latter. The individual Frenchman is no more cowardly or courageous than you or I. He is a human being and subject to the same foibles and temptations as any other. He behaves despiccably in one moment and heriocally in the next depending on the fortunes of life and his own metal. Just as any American. Just as any human being.

It is the presumptive individual accusation in the face of countless demonstrations of individual French courage and heroism from Roland of Charlemagne’s rear guard to the misguided sacrifices at Dien Bien Phu that has so damaged our relations over the last few years. On our part, we should keep in mind that it’s always easy with solid historical perspective to point fingers at decisions (or a lack thereof) made in the past. Delivering to our forebearers the kind of understanding and perspective that experience brings, there would have been no World War II for the French and no Vietnam for them or us.

I lived 6 years in France in my youth, when memories of the Wars were still very much alive. In those days, there were villages like Ouradour-sur-Glane, which German tourists devoutly avoided. You met late middle-aged men who spoke of the Allied beach landings with tears in their eyes. Despite America’s involvement in Vietnam and the French public sentiment against it at the time, I actually met French who thanked me for America coming 30 years before. I was born in 1955; I wasn’t even there! I returned for two-week visits many times since.

Having spent considerable time in France and still with numerous French contacts, I observe that American social capital for the two Great Wars has been largely spent since the beginning of the second Iraq war—spent in the White House press room, spent on the Tonight Show by Jay Leno, spent on the Internet with a flood of joke e-mails. Sticks and stones. But, manifestly, it means something. And with the first generation gone and the second war’s generation nearly faded, few in France remember with their heart their debt to America. Does Montesquieu mean anything to you? Does Lafayette make your heart leap when you hear it? Do sensations of pride in America well up inside you when de Toqueville is mentioned? These names mean quasi nothing to Americans now.

America’s salvation of France has become a mere fact of history. Like a German knowing what was done to Jews under Hitler. Like a Russian told that Napoléon marched even to the gates of Moscow. What possible, personal relevance does it have anymore for the Frenchman in the street? What do we want out of them? Does the Boy Scout linger to remind the old lady of all the cars that would have run her down but for his helping her across the street?

I’m proud we care so much about other people that we would send our sons to bleed and die in Iraq for a people we could more easily associate with pernicious enemies than with friends. I would go myself if I had anything to offer and my age and physical condition made me up to it. And I’m not the last American by any means to feel this way. However, there is a very large faction in this country that does not feel this way. This faction will grow until no matter how bad things are in the Iraqs and the Somalias, America will no longer give a damn.

I take bittersweet comfort in the proud belief that there will not be any morally upright peoples left standing in the world after the United States sinks into that same political and moral cesspool that began to leave France more and more defenseless within generations of its Révolution glorieuse. No one will poke fun at the spineless Americans because no one will give a damn once America’s supposed international imperialism and depredations have been suppressed. Once America no longer gives a damn.

The Latinos will carve out their Aztlan and what’s left will be a bunch of sniveling liberals groveling for their next buck while trying not to tread on spotted owls or offend marriages between men and men, sheep and men, five women and one man, eighteen men and a little boy, snakes, whores and witches, plus a few laughable Christian traditionalists struggling to survive and raise their children under intense public censure. Despite what you may think right now, Aztlan may look pretty good to us then. At least it will be a place where there are families and justice.

It surely hasn’t escaped any of us that it is in the countries where formerly the greatest visible Christian commitment and piety was said to be, i.e.: Britain, the US, northern Europe and Scandinavia, that the most laughable social miasmas have settled in? It won’t be long before we ourselves are “laughing black.” Rire noir. It’s French for the nervous laugh that escapes us despite ourselves in the presence of something disgusting, something not funny at all, something like the society we’re headed toward. I’m thinking glass houses.

It’s still a long way to Poland and, outside of Chicago, there aren’t many Poles to hear the jokes. The Poles are a humble, but hugely meritorius people and little deserving of the place in our humor that has recently been transferred to the French. Or, like the Newfoundlanders in Canada, the Poles have dealt with it and moved on. But, France is omnipresent, France is all around us in our thinking, our governing and our business life. It’s in our homes, certainly our kitchens and even our shower stalls and bedrooms. France is listening. I know, you don’t care, but you should.

It’s not as if there are no consequences. Deluded is the one who thinks he can stand without friends or thinks he knows who his friends will be when the moment of need arises.

Quotable quote...

Saturday, 3 June 2006

“ If you steal from one author it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s research. ”


Wilson Mizner

Reconquista!

Sunday, 14 May 2006

The recent news on Aztlan and the reconquista bring to mind certain passages of the Book of Mormon mapping out the consequences for the nations if they reject the gospel. The initiative will pass back into the hands of the descendents of Israël.

But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them;

And because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them -

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.

...

But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me&mbdash;that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.

(III Nephi 16:8-12,15-16)

And later, more of the same...

And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.

Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;

And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;

And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;

Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;

And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.

And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.

For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;

(III Nephi 21:12-20)

Vim 7.0 released...

Monday, 8 May 2006

Bram Moolenaar released Vim (Vi IMproved) version 7.0 today.

Here’s an animation of a new feature or two: http://amix.dk/index.py/permanentLink?id=130.

New health advisory...

Monday, 8 May 2006

Questions with answers from a level-headed doctor

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it: don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system.

Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine. That means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No pain, ... good!

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: You’re not listening: Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? Hello?! Cocoa beans: another vegetable!!! It’s the best, feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! Round is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember, life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways—Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming “Woo hoo! What a ride!”

Ride with the big dawgs...

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Yeah, Toby gon’ ride with the big dawgs now. This puppy’s mine all mine!

Honda 750cc Shadow Aero with shaft drive (meaning no chain maintenance). What’s cool is that, with only two cylinders, one can almost count the percussions at low revs.

The funny part about it is that the day after I bought mine, my next-door neighbor showed up with the same bike in black. (He didn’t know about mine.) Is it in the water?

I sold my Honda 250cc Rebel two weeks ago, but still haven’t managed to sell the two scooters. Any takers?

See my scooters at http://www.windofkeltia.com/sale/...

Good reading: Rex E. Lee’s 1991 speech on the Constitution the Restoration...

Monday, 26 March 2006

Rex E. Lee (19351996) was a respected Constitutional lawyer, a Latter-day Saint, an alumnus and tenth president of Brigham Young University from July 1989 through December 1995, clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White and served as the United States Solicitor General under the Reagan Administration. He argued 59 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

He was a descendant of John D. Lee (of Mountain Meadows fame) and Jacob Hamblin.

Current U.S. Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito served as assistant to Solicitor General Lee from 1981 to 1985, where Alito argued 12 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his speech, Rex Lee lays the recent historical background and context with respect to the Restoration for the three branches of government, judicial review, the separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights, then explores the possibility and likelihood that the Restoration might have taken place let alone survived without it. Finally, he tackles the common attitude that the Constitution is regarded as scripture and reflects God’ will.

See the entire text of this speech...

What? Is it written on my face?

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Maybe it’s because when I walked in, I immediately asked, “Where do you keep your marsala?” It was the first of many such stops on this week’s tour de grocery and I had no desire to browse potentially the entire store of Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Mogen David and Irish Cream to find one little bottle of marsala wine. The cashier—it’s a tiny shop as are all Utah State Liquor stores—directed me to a clerk down one of the aisles who beckoned me over to some shelves forming a sort of back wall.

“Here are all our marsalas; all the local restaurants cook with this one,” she said as she picked up the bigger 1.5 liter bottle which, priced at $6.99, was a manifestly better deal than the other smaller bottles with much higher prices.

Or maybe there’s a reverse “secret code”: a way that their so-called Gentile neighbors recognize doofy Mormons in liquor stores buying spirits they have no intention of ever drinking? We drop words like stakehouse and primary just to see if they connect with the right topology (not The Outback and not a political gathering). Well, I claim I don’t do that, but an evangelical friend of mine tells me that we all do whether we realize it or not.

Ever curious, I asked, “So, which marsala do people who drink it buy the most of?”

She wasn’t having any of that. She conceded that some people drink it, usually the more expensive stuff, with dessert, but repeated that all the restaurants in town used the bigger, cheaper one in their kitchens.

I could almost hear her thinking, “Just sit tight, Mormon boy, we’ll have you checked out of here in time to get back to your stake leadership meeting.”

Tomorrow, it will be the two chickens I roast that will drink the marsala, not us obviously. Dessert will be a carob frozen custard—unaccompanied by marsala.

A little research into the Requiem...

Saturday, 25 February 2006

Still snorkeling in the stress of a new job, I find I have to have an outlet for it. Today, in addition to shopping for tomorrow’s dinner—the last one with us for Julie before she joins Ryota in Tokyo, I treated myself to a little research on the structure, form and text of the requiem mass. I have always had in mind to take a closer look at this genre I’ve had the joy of performing (Mozart’s twice, plus Rutter’s, Fauré’s and numerous requiem texts on other occasions).

Happy Birthday Vic...

Monday, 20 February 2006

It’s Presidents’ Day and my oldest son turns 26. We gathered as much of the family as we could (Julene’s Amy and my Penelope were missing), and headed to Salt Lake City to eat lunch together at Paradise Bakery in Sugarhouse where they make some pretty decent artisan sandwiches to your specification. A good time was had by all; I can’t believe we didn’t take a camera.

Of course, the annual tattoo show in Salt Lake is going on at this time of year. Vic has won or placed highly every year for several now. He’s now appearing in a television series shot in Las Vegas on tattooing (like Miami Ink only better he assures me) and travels down there every couple of weeks.

That’s some of his artwork behind him in this Salt Lake Tribune photo. (If you read the caption, yeah, the name under which Vic does his tattooing is his mother’s maiden name.)

Click on the image to enlarge...

How it gets to us...

Saturday, 18 February 2006

It’s fascinating to contemplate the whole plan of the Adversary through the ages. It is literally one of reaction to divine dispensation. For example, while divine authority is absent or minimal on the earth, it is a plan filled with despair and hopelessness. As soon as the truth is preached once more, it becomes a seductive plan of easy promenade in which God will beat us with few stripes and we manage our own independent creature.

The two constant elements seem to be crushing cruelty and pervasive mayhem.

This is how I loosen nails I’m trying to extract from a board: I push and pull, twist and lift, until they come free. Lucifer pushes toward religious excess when it suits his strategy and when the risk comes that the true Church will gain power, he works to discredit it, pulling men from their belief in God through unrelenting temptation or self-righteous assertion of men of God being inquisitors and glutting themselves at the hands of the gullible (because, after all, there are so many past examples of this). Then he launches myriad easy churches to lift artificially while twisting and perverting the word of God. “If they’re going to believe, then at least let them believe lies.”

Sometimes, my own hand feels tired and mauled as it tries to maintain a firm, tight hold on the bar.

Au MTC ce soir...

mardi, le 14 février 2006

Frère D. Todd Christopherson parla du message qu’ont les missionnaires à livrer au monde, qu’ils doivent le faire avec audace et firmes dans la conviction du témoignage de Jésus Christ, convaincus qu’Il a le pouvoir de les purifier, les justifier, les sauver par son sacrifice expiatoire.

Le message appelle à la foi, au repentir, au baptême pour la rémission des péchés et à la réception du Saint-Esprit qui purifie l’individu.

Son témoignage était beau de par son éloquence, par sa délibération et par la clarté de son expression. Il raconta une expérience survenue alors qu’il était président de mission en Amérique latine.

La première présidence lui avait demandé de faire un entretien avec une sœur autrefois membre de l’Eglise, dotée, mais qui était déchue dans une vie de péché et de mal épouvantables à contempler. Lisant au préalable les détails de son apostasie et la dégradation où elle avait sombré—si basses et si totales qu’il imaginait mal qu’une personne puisse faire autant de mal dans une seule vie—frère Christopherson s’étonnait que les Frères lui demandassent d’examiner son cas. Comment aurait-elle pu devenir digne des bénédictions du temple ?

Lorsque cette femme entra dans son bureau, il sentit qu’elle était complètement entourée d’une lueur resplendissante : non seulement son Sauveur lui avait pardonné ses transgressions, mais elle vivait de sorte qu’Il l’avait purifiée entièrement. Son âme était véritablement sans tache même comme le promet l’écriture à la fin du Livre de Mormon :

Oui, venez au Christ, et soyez rendus parfaits en lui, et refusez-vous toute impiété; et si vous vous refusez toute impiété et aimez Dieu de tout votre pouvoir, de toute votre pensée et de toute votre force, alors sa grâce vous suffit, afin que par sa grâce vous soyez parfaits dans le Christ; et si, par la grâce de Dieu, vous êtes parfaits dans le Christ, vous ne pouvez en aucune façon nier le pouvoir de Dieu.

Et en outre, si, par la grâce de Dieu, vous êtes parfaits dans le Christ, et ne niez pas son pouvoir, alors vous êtes sanctifiés dans le Christ, par la grâce de Dieu, grâce à l’effusion du sang du Christ, qui est dans l’alliance du Père pour le pardon de vos péchés, afin que vous deveniez saints, sans tache. (Moroni 10:32-33)

Il lui était facile alors de juger que la soœur méritait en effet le rétablissement de ses bénédictions du temple. Il lui imposa donc ses mains sur sa tête.

Il est compliqué de faire un compte rendu du moment par de simples paroles. Aussi est-il difficile de traduire le raisonnement d’un discours de 40 minutes en un paragraphe ou deux.

Disons donc que ce frère a pu convaincre les missionnaires—et moi avec—de leur appel par le Sauveur qui leur « commande de ne rien prêcher d’autre que le repentir » car, comme on raconte du temps d’Alma, « on ne prêchait dans toutes les Eglises que le repentir et la foi en Dieu » (D&A 19:21, Mosiah 25:22). Jésus Lui-même débuta ainsi sa mission sur terre : « Dès ce moment Jésus commença à prêcher, et à dire : Repentez-vous, car le royaume des cieux est proche. » (Matthieu iv.17)

En effet, le royaume des cieux était déjà arrivé pour cette sœur et son expérience révéla et confirma en l’esprit de frère Christopherson que la pureté lui était une possibilité dans cette vie.

Qui donc a le temps de bloguer ?

Friday, 10 February 2006

Who has the time to blog anymore?

So, the Great French Remeasurement was done recently—the first time since 1970—and what did they find? Men average 1.76 metres and women 1.63 metres.

This represents an average increase in height of 6 centimeters for men and 2 centimetres for women. With regards to weight, men have put on an average of 5 more kilograms while women have held it to only 2.

(Since 1970, I personally haven’t grown, in fact, I may have lost half an inch. On the other hand, I have more than doubled my weight. Damn!)

The theorists think that this is due to a) better nutrition of the general populace as compared to the 50s and 60s, b) the increase of physical activity, specifically in organized sports, and c) the fact that the population is becoming more métissé (more racially mixed).

More news from France...

Monday, 16 January 2006

A man in France is suing a casino because for years, he’s played some 600,000 Euros, obviously has an addiction and he thinks the casino should have helped him avoid the consequences of his addiction. Reminds one of the stupidity of lawsuits against Tobacco, Inc. in the United States except that in the latter case, at least, there was actual conspiracy (nevertheless, I think it set a bad precedent).

Speaking of precedent, a company was sued in France for laying off a few workers “preventatively,” which is to say, in view of a drop in economic activity. Many up in arms over this because the court found them in the right. In France, once you hire someone, it is assumed that person has a job for life, interruptible only in case of bankruptcy.

Also, in an attempt to drop unemployment among the 18-25 year old crowd, presently some 23% and more than twice the figure among the general population, France’s premier ministre is pressing for a program that would suppress the employer’s cost to hire young workers. In effect, it means that an employer would not have to pay to the government taxes similar to those American employers pay to the Social Security and Medicare administrations and to the state unemployment funds for 2 years.

A similar program for senior workers 55 years and older whose inactivity reaches 34% presently is being thought out. France wishes to get them back to work. It remains to be seen whether these are mere political machinations in preparation for the presidentials later this year or represent genuine political change.

And, ...it’s my granddaughter Trista’s birthday today. We’ll be having tasty ribeye steaks (her mother is on a low-carb diet) and something she’ll like too (besides the steak).

A trip down memory lane: Intel chronology

Friday, 13 January 2006

The amazing thing is that I remember writing code for platforms running on all of these chips starting with the 8088. (And, as a Macintosh guy, also to Motorola’s 68K line up to the PowerPC.)

1978   8086
1981   8088
1982   80186
1982   80286
1986   80386
1989   80486
      
1993   80586 became the Pentium
1995   Pentium Pro
1997   Pentium II
1999   Pentium III
2000   Pentium 4
2001   Itanium (Merced)