Thursday, January 29, 2009

Whining About the Next Bailout Plan

Dear Readers,

Maybe you’ve heard, but there’s a new stimulus plan making its way through the U.S. Congress. The House of Representatives already passed it yesterday, and the Senate is supposed to pass it soon, and according to this article: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D960EGQ81&show_article=1 the next stimulus plan will be most likely signed into law in mid-February by our President, Barack Obama.

And this one is bigger than the last bailout plan. The last bailout plan was $700 billion, and this one is over $800 billion. Maybe they are two different things, though. The last one was focused on rescuing lenders so American consumers could keep borrowing money to buy shiny, hip stuff, (I’m sounding crotchety. Ha ha ha.) and this next one is aimed at job creation and such, so the money will go to different people.

But I sort of feel like they are both doing what Robin Hood did- taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Except that Robin Hood stole from a corrupt king, who taxed people to death and hoarded riches (at least according to the Disney version of Robin Hood I remember seeing a long time ago) whereas Obama and the Democrats in Congress are stealing from Americans who are good at generating wealth and giving to the poor. And in some cases I think that Obama and the Democrats in Congress are stealing from some rich people and giving to different rich people. Anyway...

(This next few paragraphs will relate to the new stimulus plan, I promise.)

The other day in the English 105 class I teach at NAU, I was talking to the class about the difference between abstract words and concrete words. Abstract words are words like “love” and “joy” and “biology.” You can’t see or smell or taste or hear or feel “love” and other abstract words literally. Concrete words, though, like “dog” and “spoon” you can see and smell and taste and hear and feel. Anyway, as an example of an abstract word/ phrase, I wrote, “the law” on the chalkboard. Someone raised their hand and said, “Wait a minute, why did you put “the law” under the abstract category?”

And I said, something like, “Hmm… I guess your right, the law could be a concrete thing because you can pick up law-books and 'the law' could be the ink on the paper in the books that are stored in Washington D. C. and in law offices all over the country.” But then I said to the class, “How many of you have actually seen the laws written down? Like, is it legal to ride your bicycle without a helmet in Arizona? I think so- I’ve never been bothered by a cop about it- but have you ever seen the law about wearing a helmet while you ride a bike?” And now that I think about it more, I would say that most people develop their understandings of the law from stuff they hear in conversations and stuff they see on TV and the way they were raised. Like, I know that murder is illegal, but I’ve never actually seen the law written down in an official document anywhere.

But do you know why not too many people have actually seen the laws written down somewhere? Well, there are several reasons. First, laws are written in a specialized way, by law experts, so they are hard for ordinary people to understand when they read them. Second, laws are boring to read. Third, the laws are incredibly incredibly incredibly looooooooooooong.

Which brings us back to the new bailout plan. (Oh, and look, here’s the whole bill: .pdf file of bill Thank you, Drudge Report, for the link.) The title of the bill is “A BILL Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.”

See, even the title is long. But if you think the title is long, just wait ‘til you see the rest of the bill. Guess how long the bill is. Go on, guess. Just guess a page number. Did you guess?

Wrong!

It's six hundred and forty-seven pages! Yikes! 647 pages of boring, boring, legal language, some of which is fuzzy-sounding, so it could be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Different liberal ways. Ha ha ha.

All those liberals…

By the way, my favorite part of that title of the bill is that last part, “and for other purposes.” Who knows what kind of crazy “other purposes” are included in that mammoth of a bill. And do all the people that vote on that bill really read it all and study it all? I doubt it.

Maybe Representatives and Senators get their assistants or whatever to read it for them, or maybe those politicians just look up the plot synopsis of bills on Wikipedia rather than read the whole thing, but still, I bet a lot of politicians are swayed by things other than their own private, lengthy study of the document, and a desire to accurately represent the will of the people. I bet many politicians are swayed by lobbyists who represent organizations that would really like some of that $800,000,000,000. And maybe politicians are bribed to vote a certain way.

As for me, I don’t have to read all 647 pages. I already know that I’m against it.

I want to say though, that I’m thankful for all the U.S. Representatives who voted no on it. A virtuous fight that is lost is still a virtuous fight.

Hey, I just did some searching on the Internet, and I found the official list of which representatives voted yes on the bill and which ones voted no on the bill. Here’s the link: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll046.xml

Jeff Flake, my favorite Arizona representative, voted no. Bless his heart.

Um, I don’t really know any other of my representatives off hand. Isn’t that a shame? Oh wait, maybe Ann Kirkpatrick is my immediate representative because I live in congressional district one or whatever… Yes! I just found her… Ann Kirkpatrick is my representative and wouldn’t you know it, she didn’t do a very good job of representing Telemoonfa’s voice because Ann voted for the stimulus bill!

Sheesh. Well, I kind of expected that of her. Ann is, after all, a Democrat.

Speaking of party lines, the passage of this bailout/stimulus bill was one of the most partisan things to happen in a long time. Here’s the numbers: 244 Democratic representatives voted yes, 11 Democratic representatives voted no. 177 Republican representatives voted no, and- here’s what’s really interesting- not a single Republican representative voted yes.

It’s times like these when I’m proud to be a Republican.

Of course, with a Democratically controlled Congress and with a Democratic President, things like this are going to happen. Right now is Barack Obama’s “honeymoon,” where Congress is willing to go along with his ideas and see if they work.

Sigh… No matter how much I whine about it, I really bet this thing will be passed in the Senate soon. Plus, I feel like I should be writing to my Senators about this, not to the few people who read this blog. But the people who read Telemoonfa Time seem to be more of a real audience than my Senators. If I write to my Senators, I’ll probably just get a standard, cookie-cutter response, like, “Your comment has been noted. Thanks for participating in democracy, citizen # 37564931.”

Oh, but I do remember reading that the Senator who replaced Hillary Clinton in New York, after Hillary was appointed Secretary of State, is a woman that voted no on the last bailout plan. And, I think that the Senate is divided pretty evenly between Republicans and Democrats, so maybe there is a chance of this ala-quiffert bill being stopped in the Senate. I hope so.

I feel like if this new stimulus bill passes, that will just make the government bigger and bigger and dumber and dumber, like so dumb, like really dumb things.

I mean, that’s what happened in the Great Depression, right? Lots of economists agree that FDR make the Great Depression last a lot longer than it needed to with his New Deal. To sum up the New Deal, the way I understand it, the New Deal was a bunch of laws that Congress and FDR passed in the 1930s in an attempt to ease the pain of the Depression. Basically, the government stepped in and acted as a paternal money-dispenser, and the Great Depression dragged on for a very long time. (I read about the New Deal stuff in a wonderful conservative, truth-telling book, 10 Big Lies About America, by Michael Medved.)

Oh, I’m sure a lot of the New Deal was good… I’m not saying that the government should never help people who are going through a hard time. But I’m just saying we ought to remember who “the government” is, and how the government gets their money. The government can’t magically make money appear; the government gets their money from tax-payers.

Oh, other people are smarter about this sort of stuff than I am, but from what I can understand where I am right now, I think the New Deal was a bad idea, and I think the stimulus plan that’s about to pass is a bad idea too. Maybe they are well-intentioned bad ideas, but they are still bad ideas.

Grrr... I'm grumpy... grrr... Ha ha ha.

Seriously, this economy thing is working on my brain in a bad way and I don’t know why. I get worked up about these gigantic problems with the world that I can’t fully understand or do much about.

Maybe I should stop reading the news.

Like, here’s another economy-related thing I read in the news that’s got me riled up: Did you hear about California and how they’re going to delay returning people’s state tax refunds for at least a month or something like that? What? That’s never happened before in the history of California, if I remember correctly.

I mean, that’s just crazy. The government of the state of California is just broke, basically. They don’t have the money, they’re in debt, so they’re just telling everybody, “uh… sorry, uh… about the whole state tax refund thing, but, you know I’ve been going through a hard time right now and I’ve been trying to get back on my feet and man, you know I’m good for the money, man, you know I’ll pay you back, but, uh… you just gotta give me a few weeks, OK? I just, I just need a little more time to get my nose clean, that’s all.”

Seriously, the Govenator is sounding more like a prodigal derelict than a respectable Governor.

OK, I gotta go.

But before I go, let me just tell you where my loyalties lie, in case you think I’m a whiner about America and I wanna go live in some other country.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

OK, I gotta go.

Oh, but before I go, I just thought of something else: Unfortunately, Arizona’s budget isn’t doing so hot either. The state legislature is talking about cutting funding on higher education by a huge amount. NAU will have to reduce their budget by $20,000,000 for the 2009/2010 school year. I’ve been hearing about it a lot lately around campus. A bunch of college students went down to the state capitol to protest it yesterday. In case you’re interested, here’s a link to a website devoted to NAU’s plan to adjust to the budget cuts: http://www4.nau.edu/president/budgetinfo.htm and here’s an article about the latest developments in the NAU budget cuts: http://www4.nau.edu/insidenau/bumps/2009/01_28_09/forum.htm

The bottom line is, Arizona is in the red, you know, and they've got to make some cuts somewhere. What are they going to cut? I don’t know, but they have to cut something. The law-making movers and shakers in Phoenix can’t seem to balance the budget (like Mitt Romney did all four years he was the Governor of Massachusetts, by the way) so they gotta cut something.

I only hope that millions more Arizonans will start playing the lottery so Arizona can pay off its debts and get back on its feet and fund U of A, ASU, and NAU the way they ought to be funded. (I’ll help people start playing today, in fact! Your lucky numbers for today are 12, 14, 23, 26, and 27! In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic. You know what I really have to say about the lottery? “Bah humbug!” and “Phooey!”)

But then again, maybe these budget cuts can be a time for NAU to remind itself of its central mission- its whole philosophical, metaphysical reason for being. Budget cut times can be a time when administrators can focus on what’s really important.

Because there are things that NAU spends money on that I think are non-essential to the core mission of an institution of higher learning. Here are two things that come to mind: the New Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center, and Safe Ride. I’ve whined about the Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center before in Telemoonfa Time, (here’s the link: http://telemoonfa.blogspot.com/2008/01/letter-to-editor.html ooooh… a link to another part of Telemoonfa Time. I’ve never done that before. Now I really am getting self-referential!) but I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of telling you about Safe Ride. Safe Ride is where NAU pays for busses to give rides to college students late at night on the weekends back and forth from campus to downtown Flagstaff. And goodness only knows what those college students are up to out there so late at night. Up to no good, I’ll wager! And my money is paying for that? Grrr…

Oh, and then there’s the Yellow Bike program, too, which I think is a big crock of hippie liberalness! Ha ha ha.

What’s gotten into me tonight? I’m usually not like this. Really I'm a pleasent man in real life, I promise.

Anyway, the Yellow Bike program is a form of on-campus public transportation that’s turned out to be crap-tastic. The University paid for all these bikes and painted them yellow and said, “Anybody can ride them, whenever and wherever they want around campus. They won't be locked up or anything. The Yellow Bike program is another eco-friendly way to help students get around to their classes. Please don’t take them off-campus, though.” And what do you think happened to that vision of utopia filled with yellow bikes? Well, people didn’t treat the bikes very well. They broke them, stole them, took them off campus. These days if you wanna find a yellow bike around campus, you can’t, because they’re all dead and exploded. Ka-boom!

Oh, but you know what? I’m not sure if all those things- the new recreation center, Safe Ride, and the Yellow Bike program- are really funded by Arizona taxpayers or by tuition or what. A lot of those things are paid for, I think, through student fees or maybe grants.

But regardless of where the money is coming from, it’s the principle of the thing that matters. I think that all those programs I mentioned represent money spent unwisely. And all those programs also represent the unwise redistribution of wealth. Think about this:

Maybe with the money students would have saved by not funding Safe Ride, students could have paid for a taxi to drive them safely back to their dorm room after a wild night out.

Maybe with the little bit of money saved by not paying for the yellow bike program, students could have afforded to buy their own bike, with a good bike lock.

And maybe if NAU students were allowed to keep their own money instead of chipping in for the new Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center, students could have afforded to join a gym off campus, or to buy their own work-out equipment, or to spend that money on something else they would rather have.

OK, I could go on forever, but I really gotta go now.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

fun with paint, part two

visual aid

where the clouds go when they quit floating




the nina, the pinta, the santa maria



untitled



The pyramids of Ra and Osiris




Walter's afternoon out





fun with paint

red dots, black shapes
Earth after we went to Space

black shapes, maybe flowers

The Second Coming




candles



the swidder-swappen swippers


Monday, January 19, 2009

Vote for Me!

Dear Readers,

As many of you know, tomorrow, January 20th, 2009, is the inauguration of our next American President, Barack Obama. Although I didn’t vote for him, of course I wish him well. I wish the country well and the economy well, and I hope that the Israelis and the Palestinians can get along, and I hope that the Iraqis will soon have peaceful conditions and a stable democracy, and I hope that the terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere are brought to justice soon, and I hope that America will continue to be a strong, free, blessed country for a long long long long long long time.

I mentioned before that I’d like to get into politics someday. I know I criticize the decisions of politicians quite a bit, and I do think that there are some nasty things going on in the world of politics, but let me make it clear that I love my country and that I love public political discourse. I love American democracy, and I love the idea of the American Dream. I’ve had a good life so far, thanks in large part to this wonderful country I call home. I want to preserve the laws and principles that made America great for my children and for my grandchildren, and for my neighbors, my friends, my associates, and for all the Americans I haven’t met personally.

That said, some politicians do a better job than others of keeping America great. Here’s a list of random politicians endorsed by me, Telemoonfa.

Alan Keyes- I first saw him on TV in a debate against Barack Obama before the 2004 election. Keyes and Obama were both running for a U.S. senate seat for Illinois. Keyes is a very dynamic and entertaining speaker, and he’s also very Christian and unashamed of his Christianity. Honestly, I’m not familiar with his record or anything, but he can sure speak well. Actually, he might be more of a media guy with a TV show than a real politician these days. He ran for President a few times, but he had no real chance of winning, and he recently left the Republican Party.

Steve Forbes- I don’t know much about this guy, either, but he’s another conservative who likes to emphasize small government and a free market, and he actually had an idea for a while that America ought to adopt a flat tax, where everybody pays, say, 15 % of their taxable income to the government, rather than the progressive tax we have now. Oh, but I just read on Wikipedia that he supported Rudolph Giuliani rather than Mitt Romney this last election. Oh well. Nobody’s perfect.

Preston Korn- A small town conservative family-oriented Republican who ran to be an Arizona representative. I saw him debate in person one night, at NAU, and afterward I shook his hand and told him that I liked him and that I was voting for him. I think he thought I was weird. I had a big goofy grin on my face, you know, like I was meeting a celebrity. And I was probably dressed funny. Ha ha ha. Preston Korn grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. Isn’t that adorable? Visit http://www.prestonkorn.com/

Jeff Flake – one of the U.S. representatives from Arizona. Republican. Mormon. Descendant of the Flakes who founded the city of Snowflake. One of his biggest things is his opposition to government waste. Every week he exposes an outrageous earmark. He’s great.

Mitt Romney – You know who he is, right? Mitt Romney might be my favorite politician of all time. (not counting the Founding Fathers or Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan) But really, I was more emotionally invested in Mitt Romney’s campaign than any other campaign that I’ve ever been a part of. I was upset for days after he lost the primary. I really thought he could win. Maybe he’ll run again in 2012, or maybe he’ll run for Governor again or something. Right now he’s back in the private sector, working for Marriott, but he’s also the founder of a political action committee, Free Strong America, so he’s still definitely politically active. He wrote a fantastic op-ed piece that was published in the New York Times about the Detroit auto-industry fiasco. Here it is: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html

Steve Pierce- I love the first line of his bio “I’m a rancher, not a politician.” Ha ha ha. Really, I think I may be a sucker for any politician in a cowboy hat. I think I voted for him, but I don’t know if he won or not. http://www.electstevepierce.com/

Sydney Hay- Speaking of politicians in cowboy hats, I don’t know too much about Sydney Hay, except that I met her at a rodeo, when she was wearing an adorable pink cowboy hat. (Or maybe her hat was white and her shirt was pink.) She was the Republican running against Ann Kirkpatrick for U.S. Representative for Arizona last November. I voted for her, but unfortunately, she lost.

There are a lot of other politicians I like, but there’s another politician I didn’t mention: Me! Telemoonfa! The Politician of the Future!

Ok, ok, so I’ve never held public office or ran for anything, but here’s a rough draft of my platform so far:

My fellow Americans, if I am fortunate enough to be your next mayor/representative/senator/town council member/school board member/mine inspector/cruel dictator/county sheriff, then that would be so totally awesome.

I’m a Republican, and I want a smaller government, and I want more freedom for individuals… and groups too. Did I mention I’m into jazz? I’m pro-growth, pro-business, pro-justice, pro-democracy, and I would spend money on roads because somebody’s gotta do something about those potholes for crying out loud. Um… and I would do a lot of other cool stuff too.

Look! Here’s something I can do that my opponents can’t do: I can recite the entire US Constitution from memory! That proves that I love America more than my opponent!

I support the troops!

I dress well!

And if you donate $100 to the cause of Liberty (via Telemoonfa’s campaign), you’ll get this limited-edition plush bald eagle, Freedom the Wonder Eagle, reminding you of our heroic terror-fighting National Bird and his endless fight against injustice! Squeeze him once and he sings “God Bless America!” Squeeze him the second time and he says, “Liberty is Telemoonfa’s BFF” (Teenagers love that one:) But wait! Squeeze Freedom the Wonder Eagle a third time and little Freedy does something so fantastic that I can’t reveal it now… but rumor has it there’s a hologram involved!!!

And if you donate $1,000 to my campaign, I’ll throw in this hand-painted papier-mâché turkey, made by real American Schoolchildren, complete with real time wing-flapping and gobbling action, reminding you that Thanksgiving is Thanks-America! A Turkey for donating to Telemoonfa’s campaign? Now that’s what I call red white and blue!

Remember folks, as you head out to the voting booths, a vote for Telemoonfa is a vote for Fantasticness!

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

Friday, January 16, 2009

More on Capitalism

Dear Readers,

I love Woody Guthrie. One of my favorite Woody Guthrie songs, if not my favorite Guthrie song, is called “Jesus Christ,” and it goes a little something like this: (Thanks to http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/Jesus_Christ.htm, the place I stole these lyrics from.)

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
A hard-working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your money to the poor,"
But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave

Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in His Grave

He went to the preacher,
He went to the sheriff He told them all the same
"Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the poor,"
And they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.

When Jesus come to town, all the working folks around
Believed what he did say
But the bankers and the preachers, they nailed Him on the cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.

And the people held their breath when they heard about his death
Everybody wondered why
It was the big landlord and the soldiers that they hired
To nail Jesus Christ in the sky

This song was written in New York City
Of rich man, preacher, and slave
If Jesus was to preach what
He preached in Galilee,
They would lay poor Jesus in His grave.

Who are the enemies in this song? The bankers, the cops, and the landlords.

And who are the heroes? The workin’ folks. The hard-working, migrant, humble followers of Jesus.

What I love about that song is how Woody emphasizes Jesus’ social and economic policies. The song doesn’t mention Jesus performing miracles, it doesn’t mention Jesus’ divinity; the song focuses on how Jesus treated the lower class.

I can just imagine how hard-hitting this song would have been to all the anti-Union Coal Company Executives and Fruit Company Executives of Woody Guthrie’s time who professed Christianity.

Sigh.

I’ve run the capitalism/socialism topic into the ground and I’m tired of writing about it. I have this big long rambling word document saved on my computer about Milton Friedman and blah blah blah but I can’t seem to make sense out of the whole thing and make it reader-friendly. Maybe I keep writing about capitalism/socialism/utopia because the subject is so vast and I can’t make sense of it.

I think I’m just undergoing a change in my view about business and capitalism. I used to draw pictures of men in business suits with devil-horns.

I used to regard corporations as anti-art, anti-people, anti-creativity, pro-conformity, money-hungry… I used to think that big business, commercialism, and the like hurt people, oppressed people, exploited people, took advantage of people… I used to talk about corporations as huge faceless, soulless entities, not comprised of people but comprised of numbers and robots. I don’t know if my ideas about big business came from myself or from the media or what but for some reason I used to really be afraid of the idea of a McDonalds inside of a Wal-Mart.

But now I’m starting to change my mind about those things. And I happily shop at Wal-Mart all the time.

I may not be able to explain all my reasons, but right now I think it’s safe to say that capitalism and the free market has historically provided more comfort and a higher standard of living to more people than any other economic system.

Unless you count the two hundred years recorded in Fourth Nephi in the Book of Mormon. That’s when the Nephites “had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” 4 Nephi 1: 3, But remember that that peace did not come about through secular social reformers. That change came about not through students of economics and sociology; rather, that peace came about through a large group of people submitting to God’s will.

One of my favorite church quotes, and it comes into my mind frequently, is “A study of correct doctrine improves behavior quicker than a study of correct behavior improves behavior.” I feel like studying the economy is the same as studying the behavior of a peaceful, prospering society. And doesn’t bring about peace and prosperity for all. It seems like it should, but it doesn’t.

I think some people want what the LDS culture has- low divorce rates, kids who do well in school, prosperity, etc.- but they want to ignore our doctrine. Ultimately, you cannot have our blessings if you cannot accept our doctrine.

I heard a story once, and I don’t know if its true, but it sounds cool, about some official military people coming to the Missionary Training Center, wanting to figure out how LDS missionaries learned foreign languages so fast. Well, the MTC people said, “Our missionaries learn other languages so fast because they have been blessed with the gift of tongues.” And the military people were like, “Yeah right, whatever, just let us copy your language training program.” So the official military people got copies of the LDS language learning manuals and sat in on lessons and such, and then took all their information back to the military. The military tried to implement all the stuff they had learned from the MTC, but, -can you guess the end of the story?- it didn’t work out so well, because the secular military didn’t have the gift of tongues.

Moral of the story: when you try to imitate LDS social practices while disregarding LDS doctrine, it does not work out so well.

Blah blah blah…

I don’t think that any secular economic system will keep the wicked from being really bad and… blah blah blah…

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Job Hunting

Dear Readers,

Do you like your job? Is it a cool job? Do you want to do it for the rest of your life?

Those questions are horribly annoying, all for the same reason- they remind us of jobs. Ha ha ha.

Here's a six-word resume/professional biography I made up about myself:

School. Jobs I don't like. School.

I meet a lot of people who don’t know what to do with their lives. The other day I was sitting outside the Liberal Arts building after a class, talking with a friend of mine, and I asked him what he was going to do after college. First he said he had no idea, and then he said something really clever.

He said, “I just want someone to pay me to be me.”

That’s what I want, too. I want someone to pay me to be me. I really don’t want to do anything, job-wise. Of course I plan on becoming a high school English and Drama teacher, but I think I’d rather… hmmm…

I think I’d rather be one of those old English gentlemen, living in a manor in the countryside with a big green lawn, living off of my father’s inheritance, fencing and sculpting and painting and playing the piano and taking in plays and going for walks, hunting, laughing and joking with local cronies and chums, dancing at parties, reading, napping, bathing, wearing frilly collars, saying “shan’t,” wooing women, gossiping, challenging men to duels now and then.

Cheerio,
Telemoonfa

Where Do Thoughts Come From?

Dear Readers,

Where do thoughts come from? I think some thoughts come from God and some thoughts come from the Devil, and I think that some come from God’s Angels, and some come from Satan’s Demons.

But I also want to think that some thoughts come from my own brain. I want to think that I am the original creator of some of my ideas.

I just developed my own metaphysical chart of where thoughts and feelings come from. It's at the top, you know, of this blog post, and, um, it's probably totally bogus, or, as my redneck friends would say, it's all a bunch of bull-honkey.

The squiggly lines represent influence, or thought. The lines coming out of my head aren’t meant to look like I’m influencing God or Satan, though, those are just coming out of me and floating into the air, you know, and getting all twisted up in the universe. But the squiggly lines coming from God and Satan are coming into my head. Notice that there are 4 lines coming from God and 3 lines coming from Satan- I did that to suggest that God is more powerful than Satan.

The chart has many other sacred symbolisms, hidden deep, and the full interpretation of the chart shall only be revealed to people who truly believe in themselves with all their hearts, and can prove their Heart Self Loveness by passing through the Four Trials of Harloompa-Ashwankanow.

OK, I have to go. I may have said too much. I must now plead for God to put another big squiggly line into my head. And I have to shine my Sacred Ancient Talisman of Holiness with the Blessed Rag of Heaven, which was dropped in the Golden Years from Heaven by an Angel, whose name shall go un-uttered.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

Labels

Dear Readers,

I just looked through some of the old comments I’ve received, and I found a really touching comment from a stranger after my “Northstar Alarm Services” post, a post I did last March.

And that got me thinking… my blog affected somebody out there in cyber space, and it was a cool feeling.

And that got me thinking… I want lots of people to read my blog. I really do. Yes, I am a self-promoter. So, in an attempt to increase my readership, I’m starting to label all my blog posts. My hope is that the labels will help people searching for stuff on the Internet find Telemoonfa Time. Also, it might help with organizing my blog archives.

Take care.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

More Whining about the Bailout Plan

Dear Readers,

Read this article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5014F120090102

and this one, too:

http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/stimulus/2009/01/08/why-a-tiny-alabama-town-wants-a-375-million-chunk-of-the-stimulus.html

They’re both about how lots of people want money from the government. People have heard about the bailout plan, and people just say, “Hey, I want some of that money, too!”

Whine whine whine. I don't like the bailout plan. Whine whine whine. I don't like the bailout plan. I think the bailout plan is dumb. Whine whine whine. I sit here and read the news and whine. Whine whine whine.

But just wait until I'm in power! Bwah ha ha ha!

Seriously, I do like politics and I think I would like to be a politician, maybe. Maybe I could be a representative, or maybe I could run for a town council, or maybe I could be part of a school board, or maybe I could just grow up to be a crotchety old man who writes letters to the editor all the time.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

The Upcoming Analog-to-Digital TV Switchover

Dear Readers,

I read the article at the other end of this link http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE50E5DJ20090115 on the Drudge Report today and wanted to write a comment on the article, but they didn’t have a comment section, so I thought I would comment about it on Telemoonfa Time.

If you don’t want to read the article, or if the link has gone bad, (I’m a little worried about that- that someday all the links I put on this blog will be links to nowhere.) here’s my quick summary: Democrats in the House of Representatives want $650 million to continue the analog-to-digital switchover coupon thing. The Government has already given out a lot of coupons, but now they’re out of money and they need more money. (The analog-to-digital switchover thing is where the Techno-Powers-That-Be make your old TV automatically explode in February 2009, unless you buy a converter box, in case you haven’t heard.)

I guess the government felt responsible for making everybody either buy a new TV or buy a converter box, since the Government was responsible for the switchover, so they decided to give everybody a $40 coupon to make the converter box more affordable.

But I think that the whole idea to give the American people coupons for their converter boxes is dumb. Yeah. It’s dumb.

Last time I read the Constitution of the USA, I didn’t read anything about the right to watch TV. TV is a completely optional, unnecessary thing. If people want to watch it, they should have to pay for it. If their TV doesn’t work for some reason, they should either have to get it fixed or buy a new one if they want to watch TV at their house again. That’s the natural burden for owning and maintaining a TV, says I.

I mean, wouldn’t it be crazy if the government said to the American people, “My fellow Americans, the Nintendo Wii is coming out, and it doesn’t play the old Nintendo games, and I know a lot of Americans like to play their old Nintendo games, so we’re giving you coupons! Hooray! Coupons for everyone! Look, we have money! Play video games and prosper! Celebrate your country by taking this money and spending it on video games! Hooray!”

The bottom line is, the government ought not to spend another $650 million on those TV coupons.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thoughts on my Recent iTunes Purchases, Part Three

Dear Readers,

I bought some more music recently. Hooray!

Fela kuti. I’m so glad that I heard and downloaded the free discovery download Fela’s Egypt 80 and Sean Kuti track, “Many Things.” Unlike most of the free downloads on iTunes, I really dug “Many Things” and I listened to it over and over again. It introduced me to a whole new genre of music: Afrobeat. Afrobeat is part jazz, part reggae, and part love, and Fela Kuti, Sean Kuti’s father, started it all, according to the little information I’ve read about him. If you like Bob Marley, you might like Fela Kuti.

But collectors beware: Fela’s one of those artists that produced a ka-trillion records, and I have no idea which of his albums would be the best, so I just got “The Best Best of Fela Kuti” (That second “Best” is not a typo.) I’m listening to it right now and loving it. Fela can have a little bit of a potty mouth, though. I wish I could get the music without the dirty words, but sometimes the profanity and the type of music seem to go hand in hand.

Fela sounds really political, too, and I think he has a really cool life story, involving political resistance through music, but I don’t remember. He’s talking about politics I’m not familiar with, though, because Fela is African through and through- he’s singing about African politics in the 1970s, I guess.

Jimmie Rodgers. I first heard Jimmie Rodgers when he did a guest spot on a Carter Family album. He’s kind of like Hank Williams, Sr., except he yodels a lot more, and he’s more folk than Hank Williams Sr. is. I don’t think Jimmie yodels as much as Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim) but Jimmie Rodgers sure does plenty of yodeling. Where did yodeling go anyway? I think yodeling is still cool. (Maybe it’s safe to say that yodeling is to American folk/cowboy music as scat is to jazz. Hmmm…) The Carter Family yodeled and the Carter Family is cool. So there.

Robert Johnson. I got the complete recordings of Robert Johnson. Ever heard of this guy? He’s an American blues singer who sold his soul to the devil so he could play the guitar better. Here’s the story: Robert Johnson was an aspiring blues musician back in the South in the early 1900s. Nobody in town really liked his singing or playing. In fact, people told him he ought to quit and get a different job, and he took off for a while, rambling around, still playing not that well, and then one night, according to legend, Robert Johnson went to an intersection of some dirt highways in some cotton fields in Mississippi at midnight. It was there that he met the devil. Johnson said that Satan was a large man in a black suit. Robert handed the guitar to the devil, and the devil tuned it, and gave it back to Robert. Since then, Robert played the guitar and sang the blues like a madman. People who had heard him play before and after his deal with Satan say that Robert really did transform overnight from an amateur to a professional, revolutionary musician.

Lots of music people talk about how influential Robert Johnson was to music; and some people even consider Robert Johnson the father of rock and roll. (Or maybe he was just the guy who solidified the arrangement between Satan and rock and roll. Ha ha ha.) But he didn’t live long enough to record a lot of music. His complete recordings fit on two CDs. He died really young, in fact. People swear that he would talk about the demons that were chasing him, and he sang about his deal with the devil, too. Some of the songs he wrote about it are called, “Hellhound on my Trail” “Cross Road Blues,” and “Me and the Devil Blues.” He died in a bar one night of mysterious causes, after he played an exceptional set of blues songs. People who were there when he died swear he was screaming about demons and screaming about how the devil was coming for his soul and he was gyrating and contorting all over the bar room floor and foaming at the mouth until he was died.

I think I believe the story.

Oh, and his music is good, too.

Leadbelly. One of the first times I had heard about Leadbelly was on the MTV Unplugged Nirvana album that I really like. Nirvana covered Leadbelly’s song, “In the Pines” aka “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” aka “Black Girl,” and I absolutely loved the song. Kurt Cobain called Leadbelly his favorite performer, and he wanted to buy one of Leadbelly’s guitar for some crazy amount like half a million dollars or something, but Kurt probably had other things to spend his money on. (By the way, I heard about the Meat Puppets through Nirvana too, so I think that Kurt Cobain has really good taste in music) Anyway, Leadbelly is great. He’s blues/ folk. He does a good range of stuff, too. He does old folk songs, the blues, children songs, happy songs, sad songs, etc. (It bugs me today when bands only sing one type of song or only have one type of mood. Rage Against the Machine, for example, was really good at being angry, but, that’s all they did. Anger! Anger!) Leadbelly hung around with Woody Guthrie too, so… he was just a cool guy. But he spent a lot of time in jail, too, for murder, actually, so I guess he wasn’t that cool of a guy.

Led Zeppelin. I bought Led Zeppelin IV, the album with “Stairway to Heaven” on it. I remember going into my bedroom as early as elementary or middle school and listening “Stairway to Heaven” over and over. I would blast the music and lie on my bed and just let the music work on me. It was on a tape I took from my older brother’s room. Another memorable, important time I remember listening to that song was last summer at Camp Raymond Boy Scout Camp. I was having an unpleasant time at camp and “Stairway to Heaven” came on the radio and it changed my mood dramatically. While I was serving the Kitchen Patrol scouts their lunch, and sweating in the hot kitchen, and drooping my sleepy eyelids, and scooping those beans or corn or whatever on those Styrofoam trays, my mind was somewhere else. My mind was up in the sky, and I was wrapped in a vision of transcendental sounds and transcendental images. And I thought, “Surely Led Zeppelin has come from God.”

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa.

Muslims Do Animal Sacrifice, Part Three

Dear Readers,

Happy anniversary to Telemoonfa Time! I have been blogging now for a whole year, and it’s been really cool. I enjoy doing it, and I enjoy knowing that other people enjoy my blog too.

If you want to be an official follower of my blog, then all you have to do is scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on “follow this blog.” That way, you’ll get notified whenever Telemoonfa Time is updated. (If you haven’t set up a google/blogger account thing, you might have to do that in order to become a bona fide “follower” of Telemoonfa Time.) And no need to worry about lapses in your Telemoonfa Time amusement- your courageous author plans to keep blogging on a semi-regular basis indefinitely! Hopefully I’ll keep writing interesting things and hopefully interesting things keep happening to me. But even if all of a sudden everything around and within me becomes excruciatingly mundane, I’ll keep blogging! Hooray!

Speaking of interesting things, I’ve been substitute teaching a little bit lately and I already have some interesting stories from that. Maybe I’ll write about them some other time. I only substitute taught around the Flagstaff Unified School District for 6 days, and now NAU is starting up again, so it’s time to go back to college. I’m still taking a bunch of English classes and I’m teaching English 105. I should graduate from NAU in May 2010 with a MA in General English Studies. Or I might quit after this semester and just start teaching English at a high school somewhere in Arizona, probably. Who knows?

Moving on, it sounds like some people don’t like my politically incorrect and insensitive blog post, under the title “Muslims Do Animal Sacrifice!” Let me say a few things about that story I wrote. It’s kind of a sarcastic, exaggerated, outrageous story. Of course I know that Muslims don’t really steal people’s pets in the night and sacrifice them, and of course I know that Muslims don’t shoot people that come to mosques looking for their lost pet rabbits. I think I was trying to be sensational, you know? I sort of thought the whole story was sarcastic and silly. Like, can you imagine a Christian parent telling this story to children to teach them about Muslims? That’s outrageous! The story is completely immature and irresponsible and messed up, but I think that’s what makes the story cool, sort of.

Anyway, Muslims really do perform animal sacrifice, currently, a lot, and I think that’s something that people ought to know. I remember how shocked I was when I heard about that for the first time a month or two ago. I mean, I had read a tiny little bit of the Koran, I had heard about Islam on the news a lot, I had talked with a few people about the religion, and talked briefly with a few Muslims in real life, and… I just wonder why I had never heard about that before. I wonder why animal sacrifice had never come up. And I wonder how many Americans know that Muslims do animal sacrifice.

When I hear the term “animal sacrifice”, it’s like, “whoa!” that’s some crazy tribal/ superstitious/ Old Testament stuff from a bygone era, you know? A bygone era when men’s maps had lots of fog and sea monsters. Animal sacrifice just seems severely antiquated and superstitious to us modern Americans, right?

Does animal sacrifice seem barbaric to you? Or is “barbaric” too strong of a word?

Of course, I am pro-animal sacrifice in theory. God told lots of people to kill animals in religious ceremonies in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon, so I think that animal sacrifice is a good idea, but I also understand that lots of people think that animal sacrifice is not such a good idea. Personally, I’m glad that God stopped asking Christians to do animal sacrifice and replaced the law of Moses with the higher law (see the Sermon on the Mount in the early chapters of Matthew) but if God decided to reinstate animal sacrifice, then I’d get out my machete and start chopping off some heads, you know what I mean? (Animal heads, of course. I would chop off animal heads, not human heads.)

Since animal sacrifice is so surprising, and since Islam is such a big religion, I wonder why not a lot of people are aware that Muslims do animal sacrifice. And remember, Islam has a billion members. (1,000,000,000 is a large number. According to Wikipedia, there are between 1 and 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. That’s a fifth or a sixth of the entire population of the planet.)

I also want to say that I know that extreme, violent, radical Islam is not the norm in the Muslim world. I’m sure tons of Muslims are friendly and wonderful and great neighbors and faithful.

I actually just talked to a Muslim English 105 teacher this morning, and I asked him about animal sacrifice, and he said that he sacrificed some animals just last month. I think he said that boys start sacrificing animals when they’re 9 and girls start when they’re 12. But don’t quote me on that. He said if you don’t have the money to buy an animal to sacrifice, then that’s fine, you don’t need to participate that year. I guess Muslims sacrifice animals once a year, every December. Um, also, one cool thing he told me was that when they kill an animal, one third of the meat is supposed to go to needy people, one third is supposed to go to your extended family, and one third is supposed to go to yourself and your immediate family. So that was cool. And the Muslim guy I talked with this morning is a really nice guy. We’ve had a few friendly conversations here and there.

So I’m really not a cruel guy, I think, and, most of the time I have good intentions. I do not think I am a dispenser of hate speech via this blog.

But one more thing about radical Islam: There really are extreme, violent Muslims out there. I’m talking about Al Queda and Hamas and Hezbollah and other terrorist/ terrorist-friendly groups, and these groups use a lot of Islamic doctrine to defend their violent actions.

And I’m afraid that Islamic extremist thought and anti-Semitism is spreading. The other day in a protest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, there were Jews and Muslims yelling things back at each other. They were arguing about the Israeli/Hamas conflict going on right now. One of the Muslim women in the protest yelled to the Jewish crowd across the street, “Go back to the ovens!” Yikes! Did you hear about that? (Here’s the article: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,477450,00.html )

Maybe you’ll say, “that was just one crazy lady. Not all Muslims are like that. Islam is basically a religion of peace.” Well, even if 1% of Muslims are really radical like that lady was, that means that there’s (hmm… what’s 1 % of a billion… ) 10 million radical Muslims. My numbers may be way wrong, um, maybe the real percentage of radical Muslims is something more like .1% or .01%… I wish there was some sort of world census where every Muslim filled out a survey and checked one of two boxes: either “I am a violent, radical Muslim” or, “I’m a normal, peaceful Muslim.”

Radical Islam is a serious threat to America and the United Kingdom and democracy and the nation of Israel and Jews, not to mention women’s rights and animal rights and homosexual rights. A good documentary to watch about radical Islam is called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” You can watch a half-hour version of the documentary of it free online, at the other end of this link: http://www.obsessionthemovie.com/

Also, maybe some of you cringe at the thought of me teaching school, because maybe you think I’m poisoning students with my right-wing right-wingity. But I think I’m fair in class. I really don’t talk about religion and politics much at all in my class. And part of the reason I don’t want to reveal my identity in this blog is because I don’t want my students to see some of my radical political and religious opinions. (I’m not sure if I would call my views radical, but I can see how other people would call my ideas radical.)

OK, well, that’s enough for now.

See you later.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Aspirations

If I wasn’t who I was,

if I was someone else besides myself,

(I am a person who stays inside too much

and can’t figure out how to replace

windshield-wipers on my car.

I fart a lot, too.) then there are two other things

(And I've given these two other things

a lot of thought, lots and lots of thoughts,

so much thought that I don't want to tell you

how much thought because

telling you about how much I've thought

about it, about what I'm about to tell you,

would, frankly, just, embarrass me,

and you too, probably, so let's just avoid

the whole awkward situation

and I’ll say that if thoughts had mass,

which maybe they do, then

my thoughts about what I would be

if I was not me would be asteroid-ish)

that I most definitely would like to be.

...

A cowboy,

or a lion.

Nice Billy


Give me the wallet
I want the wallet
Hand over the wallet
Green eyes, blue eyes
Spider thighs, cloudy skies

Give me the wallet
I want the wallet
Hand over the wallet
Apple pies, peach pies
Big lies, nice Billy

Hand over the wallet
and nobody dies

A Bad Boss I Had Last Summer

Dear Readers,

You’ve had a bad boss before, right? Seems like most people who have had a few jobs have had some bosses who have crept out from the fiery portion of the netherworld. Well, this past summer, I had a really bad boss at Camp Raymond Boy Scout Camp, where I worked in the kitchen.

This boss was so bad, in fact, that I decided to do something drastic – I decided to write a letter.

I was planning on sending it to one of my former managers (the boss above my bad boss) at Sodexho, which is a large food service company. But for some reason I never finished or sent the letter. I guess I just got tired of thinking about working in the kitchen at Camp Raymond. I was ready to move on with my life.

Anyway, here’s the unfinished letter I wrote this past August. Names have been changed. Enjoy.

Dear Sodexho Manager,

Hi, this is Telemoonfa. How are you doing? I’m doing fine. I got my last checks in the mail the other day. Thanks for sending them.

I’m writing to tell you about a few things that happened at Camp Raymond this year that you, as the manager of the camps, ought to know about. Most of it has to do with Moe. Here’s a list of bad things Moe did:

1) He cut everybody’s hours during Fourth of July week when there were fewer scouts there, but then decided to keep hours cut the following week.

2) Several times, he would call me over to his desk, hand me a pen and say, “Hey, sign this.” I read part of it, and it turned about to be a safety form that I probably should have read in its entirety. But I got the feeling that Moe would rather have me just sign it quickly so I wasn’t getting paid to read safety materials on the clock.

3) The whole time I was there, I only had one safety meeting about twenty minutes long. That was a sharp decrease in the number of meetings from the previous summer.

4) During the first week I was there, Silver Axe week, Moe had us get up at 5:30 am on a Saturday for a surprise. The Sodexho staff was tired and cold, but we went in to the kitchen, waited around for about forty five minutes, not knowing what was going on, and then Moe took us out in front of the whole Silver Axe group of leaders and boys, and they clapped at us for a minute. That was it. That was the surprise. None of the staff was on the clock for the forty-five minutes or hour that this “surprise” took.

5) The first two weeks, Silver Axe and staff week, Moe did not communicate clearly to us about what our hours were. It seemed like he wanted us to hang around the campsite until he needed us to do something, and then he would call us into work for an hour or two. I would have preferred to know my schedule a week or at least a few days in advance. That way I wouldn’t feel like I had to hang around the campsite, waiting for Moe to come get me. Also, I came to work, all the way from Flagstaff, on Monday July 7th because I was scheduled, and he said “You’re off today.” He had my phone number; I wish he had called me over the weekend to tell me not to come in on Monday.

6) Moe did some things himself that he could have had his employees do. He cut the fruit for breakfast every day, instead of having somebody else do it, giving himself more hours than his employees, who usually got 30 to 35 hours a week. He also checked in the Sysco truck every time it came in. Last summer, he delegated checking in the truck, thus giving his employees more hours.

7) Moe hid his own timecard. We never knew when he was on the clock and when he was off the clock, but he seemed to be in the kitchen all the time.

8) One afternoon, Jasper, one of the employees there this summer, had a friend from Flagstaff pick him up. The friend was staying around the camp for a little bit, and Jasper asked Moe if his friend could eat a little something, and Moe refused.

9) Moe shorted the Boy Scouts on portions. The Sodexho recipes said to give people a larger portion of eggs, a larger portion of ham, a larger portion of cake, but Moe cut corners. One time, when we had enchiladas for lunch, he watered down the enchilada sauce significantly.

10) Moe wouldn’t let me use the camp phone, the phone in the kitchen, because that was the only landline phone line in the camp and it needed to be free for the Boy Scout Staff to use. But Moe was on that phone constantly.

11) Moe had a tendency to micro-manage

12) Moe had a tendency to yell.

13) Moe told us hardly ever to sweep, mop, wash dishes, break down cardboard boxes, and other things like that, because he wanted the Kitchen Patrol scouts to do that stuff. He was getting free labor out of the kitchen patrol.

14) He never told us to stay a little later to finish cleaning or to finish what we were doing, but told us to clock out early constantly.

15) Last summer, he bought the Sodexho staff lots of goodies, like ice cream treats and little bags of chips, but this summer the number of goodies decreased dramatically.

[Here’s where the letter starts getting wacky. Remember that this is an unfinished letter.]

16) It’s all about filthy lucre, making money, surely Sodexho is not so righteous a company as to not give bonuses to managers for cutting corners, exploiting employees, etc.

Once there was a power outage, and we all thought we were still working so we hung around the kitchen. Moe informed us a half an hour or forty-five minutes later that we had been off the clock for a while.

Hector had to call you about 15 minute breaks.

You get my point. Moe’s not the best manager in the world. He was very concerned about money.

That letter was really whiny, I know. But I bet you would whine too if it happened to you. Moe has a few redeeming qualities, though. He’s an interesting guy. I laugh about the whole Camp Raymond situation now.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

(By the way, for those of you who think that our soul-less capitalistic society made Moe the bad manager that he was… you’re kind of right, I admit… but only kind of! For remember, dear reader, that capitalism itself is not the enemy. Amoral, unrestrained capitalism is the enemy! Capitalism-as-Savior is the enemy!)

Ha ha ha ha ha. I’m still laughing at the whole Camp Raymond situation!

Really, though, somebody ought to do something about all those bad managers out there.

But hey, at least I don’t work at a place where I get flogged. Sailors used to get flogged a lot back in the day.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa

Snow Falling


It is an unhurried and steady storm, long lasting,
a massive, bulky storm, the best of the season.
I watch it through my window as I write to you.

You can imagine the tree limbs I am seeing,
heavy with snow, bending down. You can imagine

the snowflakes I am seeing, gently descending
with a floating type of fall. No animal stirs.
I take in breaths and I let out breaths, and
the snow on the ground is slowly growing taller
(taller or deeper, maybe I should say.)

The word “storm” doesn’t fit. There are no sudden
lightening bolts- no thunder rumbles my bones,

the world is full of softness, and I am unafraid.

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male, white, non-smoking.
Interests: biking, hiking,
reading good books, photography.
I’m outdoorsy! But not homeless-outdoorsy:)
I’m outdoorsy like a guy in an
camping-gear advertisement is outdoorsy,
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Sunrises! Butterflies! Bubble-gum!
Enjoys wistful bird-chirps.
Seeking my single, white, non-smoking,

straight princess, between 20 and 26.

Fork Pillow


Three spiky, fluffy tines,
A stainless steel handle stuffed
with goose feathers.
Resting at the head of the bed,

placed to the left of the dinner plate.

Welfare Square

Dear Readers,

Merry Christmas.

Happy New Year.

I like to follow the newsroom http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/. One recent article, at the other end of this link: http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/news-article-highlights-church-s-preparedness-for-hard-economic-times talked about the Church’s Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Church’s food storage program. It was a good article.

I’m not much of a traveler, I really have not been a lot of places in the world, mostly because travel is expensive, but in August 2007, my wife and I spent a week in Salt Lake City, Utah. We went to a lot of the temples around the Salt Lake City area, including the historic Salt Lake City temple. We saw the Church Office Building, Temple Square, the Relief Society Building, the Tabernacle, the new Conference Center, a live recording of an episode of Music and the Spoken Word by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Conference Center, an organ recital in the Conference Center, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which I think used to be called the Hotel Utah. (I’m pretty sure that it was in that building, the Hotel Utah, where my father proposed marriage to my mother. Ah… isn’t that sweet?) We also went to the Provo temple, where my parents got married, and we went by Brigham Young University, where my father and mother met.

Let’s see… what else did we do? We hung out with one of my old missionary companions who lives in the Salt Lake City area. We saw a house that Brigham Young lived in, a free Church-sponsored concert in a park near Temple Square, and… oh yeah, we saw the grave of Brigham Young. (Brigham Young’s grave, by the way, is hard to find. I don’t think the Church advertises it very much. My wife and I only found it because some nice locals showed us where it was. Brigham Young’s grave is surprisingly low-key, too. It doesn’t have a gigantic pyramid on top of it or anything.)

Going to Salt Lake City made me feel like a pilgrim. I know Salt Lake City isn’t a “holy city” and Mormons aren’t required to take a trip there, but still, there’s so much history in Salt Lake City. It’s amazing. And the amount of LDS church buildings there, oh my goodness! When you drive on the Interstate 15 through Provo and Salt Lake City, you can see steeples and steeples and steeples! I think one time I could see five different church steeples in one glance.

One of the neatest things we did is that on Sunday morning we happened to go to the same ward as the Prophet and President of the Church at the time, Gordon B. Hinckley! It was a complete coincidence (or was it?) and… it’s a story for a different blog post.

What I really wanted to talk to you about today was Welfare Square. My wife and I took a tour of it, and let me tell you, that was one of the places that my wife and I felt the Spirit the most. Out of all those historic places we visited in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area, the Welfare Square had a unique, spiritual impact on my heart and mind. If you ever get a chance to spend some time in Salt Lake City, I recommend taking the Welfare Square tour. It was amazing to see first-hand what the church is doing to help people out.

I’ve talked some on Telemoonfa Time about how I’m a fiscal conservative, how I’m a fan of economics professor Milton Friedman and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan and how I’m an opponent of socialism and the recent $700 billion bail-out plan that the US Congress recently passed. Those facts might persuade you to believe that I am not compassionate, that I do not want to help the lower classes rise from poverty.

But let me take this opportunity to assure you that Telemoonfa is compassionate. I do care about the poor. I want them to be more comfortable. I really do.

I just think that the LDS church does a better job of distributing charity than the US government does.

Sincerely,
Telemoonfa