Friday, July 29, 2011

The Government Got Fat

Have you seen America’s Facebook pics lately?
I mean I don’t want to be harsh, but… OMG!
To be fair, the Grand Canyon is still there,
The fruited plains are so gorgeous I can’t help but stare,
And the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty,
And patriotic, hard-working folks like you and like me
Are still in the albums of the Land of the Free.

But if you click on Washington D.C.’s photos,
You’ll see how the government’s really let itself go.
I’ll spare you the misery of looking. I’ll just say it:
The government got fat.
And not just a little bit!
The government got whale fat!
The government got Jupiter fat!

You want to know how much it weighs?
Fourteen trillion pounds!
That’s trillion with a T!
That’s a 14 with 12 zeros!
That’s 14,000,000,000,000, written numerically!

By now you know I speak metaphorically.
Uncle Sam’s weight is measured in dollars, not pounds.
And by “weight,” I mean money that cannot be found
Because we don’t have it!
Because no one has it!
We’re in debt!
14 trillion dollars in debt!
14 trillion dollars in business-crushing, morale-deflating, children-robbing, horrible, horrible, national debt!

The government got fat!
What are you going to do about that?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nice Hums

The fan blades whirring, the refrigerator vibrating,
the air conditioning unit kicking on, kicking off,
kicking on, blowing air at seventy-six degrees,
all these mechanical hums we’ve arranged about us
are good hums. They are nice hums.

True, a factory’s symphony
is not actually a symphony.
Forklift blades scraping concrete floors,
machines droning, beeping, air compressing,
greasy bearded men shouting over machines
have most of us headed for earmuffs.
These noises are not music-
let us not confuse it
with Flight of the Bumblebee,
transmitted, though it may be,
through an electrically powered sound-producing machine.

But besides music per se, what else is musical?
The buzzer that buzzes at the laundry cycle’s completion,
the beeper that beeps as you press the button,
were not intended to be musical, only functional.

Functional, as the lofty warbling of a songbird is functional,
as the low-down crooning of a turtle about to die is functional.
The bird’s song in the evening may be nothing more
than a clearing of the throat,
a gurgling attempt to clear twigs from her esophagus.
The turtle’s final moan is also entirely functional,
a chemical reaction, in fact,
spurred on by another chemical reaction
which was spurred on by yet another chemical reaction
(and on and on, until you arrive at the
Eternal Chemical Action.)

The turtle’s moan moan moan was produced when
the turtle lived a turtle life and died a turtle death.
The moans one could explain with a reference to the brain.
I sway to the sound of the moan moan moan.

And the hum-hum-hums of our everyday machines,
those sonic manifestations of functionality,
forever will they hum hum hum
hum hum hum
hum hum hum
before the Throne of Eternal Chemical Action.


When I went to your daughter’s
princess-themed birthday party
yesterday, after I set my pink gift
bag on the white folding table in
your delightful backyard, I saw you
blowing bubbles for Sarah, Daisy
and the other girls. They loved it,
and they loved you. You’re motherly,
in the best sense of the word. Was
that a new dress you were wearing?

And I wanted to tell you that
when I saw Sarah all done-up
in her fairy-tale princess outfit,
and then when I looked at you,
the thought came to me:
you were the real princess.
Sure, your daughter had the tiara,
but you had the halo.

You still have a halo. I see it
when I close my eyes.
It’s illuminating your eyelashes,
your cheeks, your teeth, your naked throat.

How does dinner sound?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Farther Along We’ll Know All About It

Dear Readers,

The title of today’s post comes from one of my favorite old-timey gospel songs, Farther Along. Here’s a beautiful version of the song here.

I was reading the scriptures this morning and thought I would share a few of my thoughts on cyberspace.

For believers, the scriptures are a record of the way God has interacted with humans in the past. The scriptures also serve as a guidebook for personal modern inspiration. The scriptures point away from themselves, to the real Author, God, as the ultimate source of doctrinal authority and salvation. The great lesson of the scriptures is, “Look at what all these ancient prophets had: dreams, visions, prophecies, miracles, healings, victories in battle, understandings of eternal doctrines, priesthood authorities, temple ordinances, and the mysteries of God. You can have all that too!” I find that great lesson taught in the following scriptures:

Moses wishes that all the house of Israel could be prophets in Numbers 11:29. “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets!”

In James 1: 5, the apostle writes, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.”

Moroni, the last Book of Mormon prophet, writes in Moroni 10:4, “And when ye shall receive these things, [the Book of Mormon] I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

In more modern times, Joseph Smith wanted more people to see what he had seen, and felt relieved when the Lord permitted there to be more witnesses to the Book of Mormon.

Our purpose of studying the scriptures should be to get to know God better. Our purpose of studying the scriptures should not be to merely learn about ancient civilizations or histories, or to learn a bunch of neat stories, or to impress people with our scriptural knowledge.

One of God’s behaviors we learn from scripture stories is that God withholds information from people. In his wisdom, he chooses to withdraw himself, at times, from the affairs of men. Or that’s what it looks like to us mortals, anyway. But the followers of God don’t have to know everything thing to be followers of God. (Often the followers of God know very little. Ha ha ha.) Even the ancient Apostles, who you would think would be the most enlightened of anyone, were chided by Jesus for not understanding certain things.

We walk by faith, and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5: 7)

I wonder if maybe Mormons these days have gotten spoiled with so much doctrine readily available. I like this verse:

Ether 2: 5 “And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.”

Many people would think, “If the Lord talked to me from a cloud, I would want to know so much more than where to travel. I would want to know how the universe was created, why there is evil in the world, if there is one true church, and if so, which one is right. I would want to know deep doctrine and deep mysteries.”

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints know more doctrine than many of the ancient saints did. The brother of Jared, for example, after being a loyal follower of Chirst for years, did not know the nature of God’s psychical makeup, which seems like a pretty basic doctrinal thing to me.

In Ether chapter 3, the brother of Jared is asking God to light stones to put in their windowless barges so they can cross an ocean and get to the Promised Land. God, the pre-mortal Jesus Christ, touches the stones, and at that moment, the veil is parted, and the brother of Jared sees Jesus’ finger, upon which sight the brother of Jared collapses in fear. The Lord asks him, “Why hast thou fallen?” and the brother of Jared answers, “I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.”

That verse really surprised me. The prophet of the Lord, leading a band of the faithful through the wilderness for several years, “being directed continually by the hand of the Lord,” didn’t know that God had a body.

There were probably a lot of other things that the righteous Jaredites didn’t know, like baptism for the dead (1 Corinintians 15:29; Doctrine and Covenants 128) But Jared, the brother of Jared, and their faithful followers knew enough to get to the Promised Land and prosper. They knew enough to get the revelations of God, and then to follow his divine directions.

My point here is that God doesn’t reveal everything to us all at once. I know that’s frustrating to hear for those of us who want all the answers right away. I know that’s frustrating to the skeptics among us. But that’s the way it is. We need to have faith that this scripture is true:

“Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.”


Monday, July 25, 2011

Michelle Bachmann 2012 ?

Dear Readers,

So you know how I’m a big Mitt Romney supporter, right? He’s brilliant, he’s rich, he worked most of his career in the private sector, he’s Republican, and best of all, he’s Mormon, like I am.

But I’m starting to have my doubts about him. I do still think he’s the safer candidate. I think he’s more electable than any of his Republican primary contenders. He has the most money, and he’s the next in line.

But did you hear about the recent Gallup poll that a generic Republican beats Obama by 7 percentage points? That leads me to believe that almost any Republican, even Elmer Fudd, would beat Obama. So if we don’t have to worry so much about electability, why don’t we Republicans go for the most extremely conservative candidate we can get?

Enter Michelle Bachmann. She’s the tea party favorite, and for good reason.

She’s more conservative than Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney at one time was Pro-Choice, (only for a brief time while he was campaigning against Ted Kennedy in 1994 in liberal Massachutes, but still). Michelle Bachmann never was. Mitt Romney supports ethanol subsidies. Michelle Bachmann doesn’t. Mitt Romney thinks we need to lower our carbon emissions to curb the effects of global warming. Michelle Bachmann thinks global warming is a hoax. Mitt Romney fits in better with the Washington elite. Michelle Bachmann is a relative outsider with tea-party street cred.

But she isn’t a loony yelling on a street corner about the New World Order. She’s a U.S. Representative with a lengthy voting record that can be analyzed for its conservativeness.

She doesn’t have the executive experience that Mitt Romney has, but I think that views on the issues are more important than leadership experience. Michelle Bachmann will want to shrink the federal government, and you don’t need as many leadership skills when there’s not as much government to lead. I think Michelle Bachmann would be instrumental in abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, and hundreds of worthless government departments, programs and bureaucracies. Mitt Romney would make the government leaner, to be sure, but would he be willing to make the drastic cuts necessary to save the economy?

The media will try to destroy Bachmann, and they may succeed. They will be very vitriolic and crass and sarcastic, and too many people will have their opinions formed by late-night talk shows, Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and CNN. I worry about our public discourse. I worry about what happens to our Republic when candidates have to communicate in imagery and sound-bites.

I’ve watched both Republican presidential debates so far, and I’ve been annoyed with the format. They don’t give the candidates enough time to answer questions and explain their positions. Did you know that back in Abraham Lincoln’s day, candidates spoke for an hour and a half each? There were no questions from any moderator or from audience members. The candidates just gave really really long speeches. I wish our debates were more like that these days. Instead we have to take frequent commercial breaks and change the camera angles a lot so viewers don’t get bored and change the channel.

OK, see you later.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

To My Daughter

My daughter, nearly two, curious,
blabbering, jabbering, you who can already say
mommy, daddy, quack-quack and ruff-ruff,
you who twirl to Mom’s Josh Groban CD,
where did you develop this will of your own?

When I come at you with a spoon and say
“swallow these smeared Lima beans,"
your mouth should spring open.

Another thing. (Grab a crayon. Take notes.
No, not Mango Tango! This is serious!
Find a bleak color. Here. Use Edgar Allan Purple.)
Now, when I say, “don’t touch that,”
(Write, “DON’T TOUCH THAT,” in capitol letters.)

What is this, my child, this desire to taste the forbidden fruit?
Surely your first parents would never think of such a thing.
Whether it’s the camera, the computer, the clicker,
my collection of original paintings from
the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
or the electronic snot-extractor, it is the same:
To you it shall be unclean. (Write, “UNCLEAN.”)

Though, I suppose later this willpower
will serve you well when the neighborhood boys
try to lure you into their cars-
of course you won’t want to go in their cars-
and maybe this wild streak of willpower will one day
catapult you into a cloud, metaphorically speaking,
and then you will literally
transform into a gigantic smiling sunflower
that everyone will want to sniff!
(Ooh, that’s good. Write that down.
Use the Mango Tango.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I sailed through an Arizona middle school,
me and my adolescent friends, my dear, dear friends.
How we laughed our way through the lunch hours.
How we laughed our way through finger-painting class
and our jump-over-the-cones-on-the-grass class
and the class where we built building block towers
until one day they gave us our diplomas
and everybody left each other.

Then in high school my sister promised
she’d take me to the improvisation show
-I was really into art at the time-
and I waited and waited and waited
but the whole idea just fizzled.
Car troubles, inappropriateness,
she had a boyfriend, I don't know.
I sat on the back porch that windy night
while the wind sailed on, north to Tucson, downtown,
and left me sitting in a suburb.
At least I had a glass of Kool-Aid.

Now in my maturity I feel like Moroni,
the last of the Book of Mormon prophets,
lugging memories etched in gold
across a lonely continent.
All my friends are dead
and I don’t even like friends.

More Art by Telemoonfa

Dear Readers,

Here are two more art pieces I did about ten years ago.

The first one is ink on poster board. I was slightly influenced by Tim Sale's artwork in Wolverine Gambit: Victims. Sale uses a lot of dark spaces.

The second one is oil paint on canvas. It's a nightmare alien standing in doorway. Aliens are a lot easier to draw than humans are. I'd really like to get back into painting. I was never really great, and I never took any classes past high school, but I enjoy painting. I think I can create some art that I like and that other people like.


Monday, July 11, 2011


Why do I live way out here?
And why do I duck behind
bushes when hikers approach?
It's not that I dislike people.
Contrarily, I like people. I do!
I am, myself, in fact, you see, of course, a person.

But in constantly surrounding oneself with others
that talk talk talk- and even when
they don't talk in the technical sense
they send messages with their bodies.
The position of a chin, perhaps,
means, "I've got you right where I want you,"
and the shoulders jutting forward
while the womanly lips droop
translates roughly into,
What about my needs, and my wants,
and wouldn't it be nice if you thought
about me for a change?"

But in constantly surrounding oneself with others,
in going to their stores, their loud restaurants,
their parking lots, their housing subdivisions,
one begins to view oneself through their eyes-
all those eyes, obscured by dark glasses-
those multitudinous eyes that cannot see face to face
eyes that blare a collective judgement-

it blasts into you a massive collective judgement
is not unanimous, which is not concise,
which is not the flame brightening the wood,
which is not the ritual of boiling water,
but a judgement that is fractured, multi-faceted,
unknowable, ever-expanding, soul-withering!

Who can live beneath those eyes?

But to be alone, to be inwardly content,
to live like me, a hermit,
requires a stillness of mind,
a solitary confidence.

Abandoning humanity, did you say?
No! I'm saving it!

And anyway, I have not vowed
the vow
of perpetual hermitude.
When the cycle of my solitude reaches its end
I'll enter the village and find a friend.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cow Jokes

Q: What does a cow like to do on Friday nights?

A: Go to the moovies.

Q: What's a cow's favorite state?

A: Moontana

Q: What did the cow say after the spectacular fireworks display?

A: Wow, those fireworks were spectaculmoo-ar!

Q: What does a cow do after breakfast?

A: He reads the moospaper.

Q: What did the cow say after he watched a sad movie?

A: That was mooving!

Q: What's a cow's favorite dessert?

A: Mooberry pie!

Q: Why did the cow put on a coat?

A: Because he heard there was going to be a mooblizzard

Q: What's a cow's favorite planet?

A: Neptmoon.

Q: What's a cow's favorite space thing?

A: The moon. Actually, wait, it's a mooteroide.

Q: What's a cow's favorite type of play?

A: Moosicals

Q: Why did the cow lick the electric fence over and over again, even though it hurt, and even though he knew he shouldn't do it, and even though he felt guilty for doing it, and even though his mother told him that he was a bad cow for doing it?

A: He was in a self-destructive mood.