Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Chinese are Coming! The Chinese are Coming! (and they want their interest payments!)

Dear Readers (and Watchers),

Here's a scary video about the national debt you should watch and propogate:

And here are some scriptures that go along with the video:

Deuternonomy 15:6

For the Lord thy God blesseth thee [the ancient House of Israel], as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:35

(This is a revelation from God to Martin Harris, through the Prophet, Joseph Smith)

Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage.

I think it's pretty clear that God is saying in his Holy Word that his disciples should not be enslaved by debt, either to foreign nations or to individuals. God wants us to get out of debt. There are two fronts of this battle- the national front and the personal front.

On the national front, all you can do to fight debt is call or write your elected representatives and vote for candidates who have a track record of actually reducing spending.

On the personal front, I reccomend following the advice of Dave Ramsey or the Provident Living website.


The Immensity of Operations

The boy gets an important
phone call about the summer job
at the supermarket
up the road
and down two other roads and
he got the job. He puts the cans
in the bag and the cans are already in the bag
and the boy will put the cans in the bag and
another boy gets no call
from a girl, from a priest, from a turtle,
at the moment when the phone
does not ring and no one picks it up
and no one looks at it.

When the phone is ringless,
no one thinks about the phone.
No spirit possesses the phone.

Nobody knows, nobody knows but Jesus,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ-
who has and uses the capacity
to see all phones in an ever-occurring glance,
all phones, all livers, all shoes,
all tongues, all penguins, all boys,
all microchips, all rainstorms,
all tectonic plates, all gladiators-

Jesus is a Roman soldier at the moment,
driving nails into the palms of Jesus,
driving nails into the halfway built frame
of Greg and Nancy’s
cabin in southeastern Colorado.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trees in my Backyard

Dear Readers,

I planted four trees in my back yard a few months ago. The one above is a Washington Navel orange tree.

This one is a Pink Eureka Lemon Tree.

This one is a bottle brush tree. It has pretty pink blossoms on it. This one won't produce any fruit, but it will provide our house with shade.
This one is a grapefruit tree. Actually, maybe this one is the orange tree and the one I thought was an orange tree is the grapefruit tree. I don't know. I guess I'll find out whenever they bear fruit.

I've been having fun working in my back yard. Sometimes it's frustrating, but all in all it's really nice to have a little piece of ground to call your own and dig around in and plant stuff in. It's healthy. My little bit of backyard work summons up in my soul the feeling of a spiritual continuity between myself and my agrarian ancestors. I feel just a little bit like my grandfather.

Take care.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joe Pug!

Dear Readers,

Last Saturday night my wife and I saw Joe Pug in concert. I hadn't heard of Joe Pug before last week when I was looking for something cool to do for our five year wedding anniversary. I just googled "cheap concerts" or something and I found Joe Pug. I listened some his song samples for a minute, and that minute was enough to convince me that I wanted- no, I NEEDED, to see Joe Pug.

And I was not disappointed. Neither was my wife.

The concert was amazing. Joe Pug was amazing. It energized me and provoked me. It made me happy, and thoughtful. I actually couldn't get to sleep for a while after we got home, because I was thinking about the concert. I'm probably going to buy his CD pretty soon.

I'm really glad that I found Joe Pug. He's restored my faith in the prospect of new people making good, new music.

I felt a little uncomfortable in the venue. It was a 21 and older show. It's not often that I go into a place where I have to show ID. It was in a bar, in the Sail Inn in Tempe. I think my wife and I were the only Mormons in the whole place. We seemed to be the only ones without a cup of alcohol in our hands. So, you know, I'm kind of a um... I'm kind of a um... well... a Mormon suburbanite, you know what I mean? I'm politically conservative and I've been spending a lot of my mornings lately digging around in my back yard, trying to get grass to grow, and reading Dr. Seuss books to my toddler daughter, and there I was in the middle of all these cool people... Bearded men, tattooed ladies, liberals, artists, folks who don't have kids and live downtown, you know what I'm saying? Maybe the word I'm looking for is bohemians. They're wonderful people, the concert-goers, the bohemians. I had no reason to be afraid of them. They were friendly.

I've found myself torn between two worlds- the bohemians and the Mormon suburbanites. So, I thought about some of these things during the concert. Another thing I thought about during the concert was how unashamed Joe Pug and his band-mates were. Joe Pug emoted all over the stage. He was cool, he was confident. He was a dynamite performer, but it wasn't a far-away, detached performance he was doing; he really connected with the audience.

One thing was annoying though. Between songs, Joe Pug said, "Hey did that law ever pass in Arizona where you can racially profile people?" (I imagine he was referring to SB 1070, because that law got a lot of national press) And somebody yelled, "No," and Joe Pug said, "That's good to hear," or something, and then he moved on to something else. But a guy next to me yelled, "What do you mean it didn't pass?" But nobody really responded. I sort of wanted to explain to everyone, a) SB 1070 prohibited racial profiling, b) it passed in the AZ house and senate, and was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, but C) The federal government sued Arizona, and federal judge Susan Bolton struck down much of the law. But you know, the setting wasn't really appropriate. Plus, people might start questioning me about my political opinions, and I'd have to fess up that I'm a crazy tea-partier, and then none of the bohemians would like me any more.

So I wish Joe Pug's politics weren't so wrong, but hey, he's from Chicago, and he's an artist, and he's a heathen, so I'll let his political positions slide. And you know Bob Dylan is my favorite musician, and he was really liberal back in the day, and he actually still is pretty liberal. Bob Dylan supported Obama last time around, but then I was cheered when I heard that Bob Dylan didn't really like Obama anymore. Point is, if I had to get rid of all my music that came from liberal musicians, I wouldn't have very much music. I guess I would still have Johnny Cash and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. But Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, you know... they're all pretty liberal. One musician I can't pin down is Woody Guthrie. Sometimes I think he's a patriotic, Constitutional conservative. Other times I think he's a socialist, because he has all those pro-union songs. But Woody Guthrie's time was so long ago... blah blah blah.

Oh, I'm glad I brought up Bob Dylan because I really want to compare Joe Pug to Bob Dylan. They're a lot alike. They both write wonderful poetic lyrics. They both play the guitar, sing, and play the harmonica. They both wear those metal harmonica things around their necks. And they both have similar voices.

Probably my favorite Joe Pug song is Hymn 101. There were a lot of people singing along to that song at the concert last Saturday night. The fans knew every word.

Do yourself a favor and listen to some Joe Pug.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Bike Ride, Politics, Garden of Eden, Whatever Dude.

Dear Readers,

This morning I went on a bike ride. I went outside of the subdivision where I live to the rural area where people have really big yards. A lot of the people with big yards have lots of animals. I saw some peacocks, dogs, cows, horses, a few people, cars, big trucks. And I saw some animal I don't think I had ever seen before. It had long curly white fur, it was probably the size of a goat, and it had these two crazy horns sticking out of its head. It was resting in the shade of a shed. Maybe it was a goat. If it was, that was one funny looking goat. Maybe it was one of those genetically modified hybrid super-animals, like a zonkey. Well, whatever it was, it looked happy; it looked very in-the-moment.

And a lot of those people with the big yards have big trees. Giant trees.

And the weather this morning was divine.

Gosh, my neighborhood is paradise. It really is. And if there are any ugly things around my neighborhood, like the cop car outside my neighbor's house because of domestic violence or something, I just pretend they're not real. Psychologically blocking out unpleasant things is a very pleasant way to live. Actually, I don't have to pretend that ugly things aren't real, because there are no ugly things in my neighborhood.

Everything in my neighborhood is orderly and pleasant. Everything follows a rhythm, the sun rises and the sun sets.

I feel myself occupying space in the air, I look around my neighborhood, and I know that a metaphysical justice prevails. Some kids were playing soccer in the park. The mail carrier delivered mail. I rode my bike around on a Saturday morning. I took out the garbage can from behind our gate and put it on the curb, so the trash truck could pick it up. My neighbors took out their trash cans, too, because it was Saturday, because it was trash pickup day. Peace was all around me, a peace I owe to my present living situation- suburbia! suburbia! suburbia!

Oh, I suppose I could imagine a place even more paradisaical than my neighborhood. Because you know in the Scriptures it says that the Garden of Eden was even more spectacular than the world that Adam and Eve were thrust in to, after they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So what was the Garden of Eden like? How could it get any better than my neighborhood?

Well, for one thing, maybe the animals didn't stink. Maybe there were no mosquitoes, or crickets, or spiders, or flies, or thorns. Maybe there was no cactus. (But I kind of like cactus.)

Oh, and I'm not just thinking hypothetically here. I believe that the Garden of Eden was a real physical place, and that Adam and Eve were physical beings like you and me. I believe that our first parents lived in the Garden of Eden for a good while, and they enjoyed the use of all 5 of their senses. Now, whether the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve was literal or figurative, I'm not sure. Did Adam and Eve actually eat a fruit? I don't know. Did a serpent actually talk? I don't know. There was a donkey that really talked once, (Numbers 22) so I suppose that the serpent could have really talked.

You know, if an animal started talking to me, I don't think I'd be shocked. It makes sense that living creatures should be able to talk, sometimes, if they are possessed by a higher spirit. Or maybe they don't even have to be possessed by a higher spirit. Maybe all living creatures have words inside them. It's clear that they have wants and desires and personalities. And if only animals had the physical apparatus to speak English, they would do it.

If an animal talked to me, it would be a spiritual thing. I would talk back to the animal, just like it was a human. Since I believe in a magical world, a talking animal wouldn't shock me. My first conversation with a talking animal might even feel ordinary, in a strange way.

At any moment the arm of a giant dark beast might descend from the sky, pluck me up, hoist me upward, and take me up into a Mother Spacecraft- a Spacecraft that is my Mother. "Astounding!" I'll exclaim, "My mother was a spacecraft all along!" (Say that reminds me: Mom, if you're reading this, Happy Mother's Day.) And if my mother really was a spacecraft all along, and that is what the Truth is, then that's fine. Mom, it's OK if you're really a craft fashioned for extraterrestrial travel. That's healthy and natural. It's nothing to be scared of. I'm sure there are plenty of other Spacecraft Mothers. There will be a moment of exclamation upon my abduction, it is true, but that brief moment will be followed by an eternity of understanding and serenity.

Likewise, at any moment now, maybe before I finish typing this sentence, a tiny tentacle could slither its way through my window, sit on my shoulder, and then morph into a glowing sphere of light, the size of a bowling ball, and we would communicate telepathically. The glowing ball would download information into me. That whole thing could happen any moment now. I can't stress that enough. Whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell.

Maybe in the Garden of Eden there was luscious grass everywhere that you didn't have to mow, and maybe the temperature varied between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a slight breeze that came and went. And maybe you could stay outside in the sun all day and never get sunburned. Maybe Rocky Road Ice Cream oozed out of tree branches.

After my bike ride this morning I ate a breakfast burrito. Then my wife and my child when to a friend's house and we swam in her community swimming pool. Some of the nice subdivisions around here have a clubhouse and pool place. Of course the residents pay for it with their monthly HOA dues.

Swimming in the pool was really nice. I swam for a little bit. I've never been good at swimming, and I think I'm getting worse. But maybe I'm enjoying it more. Anyway, people don't really go to the pool to swim. They go to the pool to wade in the water and float and relax and lounge on the lounge chairs. And that's what I did- waded, floated, relaxed, and lounged.

After the pool, we went to Target to buy a wedding gift. A co-worker of mine got married today. We came home and took a nap.

Tonight I went to a wedding reception and ate the wonderful food and had a good conversation and shook hands and smiled and everything was really nice. The flowers were nice. The cake was nice. The bench we sat on was nice. The water was nice. The fruit was nice. My beard was nice. My wife was nice. Even nice itself was nice.

What I mean is, the principle of Niceness, the Quality that is Nice, the ideas and feelings and sounds and the mass of electrical associations that the word "nice" sends forth into the Universe - Nay, Into The Multiverse! - was itself reproducing inwardly, asexually, recreating its own Being, tonight, at the wedding reception. Mist was everywhere. And the offspring of Nice are not many, but one, and they are not one, but many. I say hello to the Nice and the Nice says hello to me. We speak telepathically with the aid of a glowing pebble I insert into my right ear.

After the wedding reception, I watched the Republican Presidential debate that I missed last week. Mitt Romney didn't participate. I'm not sure why. He's going to run for President, but maybe he thought this debate was too rinky-dink to participate in. Of course, I'm not sure why Fox News decided to have a debate this early in the election cycle. Does that always happen? I'm sleepy. Who are you? Get off my porch. Where's my gloves? Where'd you put my gloves? Hateful bounder! Buddy! Why are you being hateful? I liked all the candidates. All of them would do a better job than Barack Obama would.

Gosh, what a wonderful day it's been.

But you know who I really like? Thaddeus McCotter. Have I ever mentioned him before? He would make a good President, I think. I really like him more that Mitt Romney, but I think Romney has a better chance of winning, and actually Romney has more executive experience than Thaddeus McCotter.

Herman Cain is really cool, too. And Chris Christie's great. I think they would both make great Presidents.

So far I'm disappointed with this current Congress. I had really high hopes after last November. The Republicans went in there saying they would get 100 billion in spending cuts, and they were so afraid of a government shutdown that they only got thirty something billion in cuts, but they didn't go after entitlements. WE NEED ENTITLEMENT REFORM NOW! Why don't people understand that?! Entitlements are eventually going to bankrupt the country. To his credit, Mitt Romney brought up entitlement reform during the 2008 Presidential debates. John McCain always talked about earmarks and "pork", which are annoying, to be sure, but they're only a drop in the bucket, when you put things into perspective. The country is in 14 trillion dollars of debt, you know. And we just keep getting more and more into debt, and we need people who are serious about entitlement reform, like Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan. (I think those people are serious about entitlement reform. I hope they are, anyway.)

Mitt Romney 2012!

But uh... my point here is... um... my point here is... that politics are important, and I plan on devoting some of my time and resources to getting Mitt Romney elected, but that's dependent on a few conditions. Like, if I'm the Golden Child and if I use the Secret of the Golden Ratio to administer interplanetary metaphysical justice, or if I get my own reality TV show where I talk with animals and chew on tree bark and leaves with them, or if my Mother Spacecraft comes to visit, then I should probably move on to other things. I don't want to close a door while the door is still shut, you know what I mean? I don't know what I mean.

Happy Mother's Day Everyone. You are so beautiful.