Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The United Order & Disney's California Adventure

In a strange juxtaposition the two ideas were discussed by Anonymous D and me today. Disney Parks are sort of like the United Order in that you give all your money and you get back all you need and more - and it's fun! Of course, I get in for free as I keep going on about how well-pleased I am with my son working for the Disney Co. Anonymous-D's point is that he doesn't enjoy the rides much. It's spending time with his family in a fun place that makes it so worthwhile for him. That's getting a little closer to the Order.

Disney does cost, but it certainly fits within the "wholesome recreational activities" mentioned in the Family Proclamation. My wish would be for every family to save and have the opportunity to go at least for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are lots of opportunities for discount tickets out there if you search the web. And while my two visits in my youth seemed to be mostly among white, middle-class, WASPy types, these more recent visits seemed to be largely populated by a wide variety of families of different ethnicity and nationalities of various socio-economic backgrounds. And that's good!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mystery of the Creation Revealed! (after 40 years)

A-5 (the fifth of our six children whose names all begin with 'A') LA Temple
My Boy A-5 and I went to the Los Angeles Temple today to take some of our Welsh family names through for the endowment. The Temple rooms are huge! I have seen pictures of the murals in this Temple before, but no picture does it justice. I was able to solve a 40-year old mystery of the universe. I was stunned to enter the Creation Room and see the inside cover of my old Seminary Bible!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eric Estrada Saves Road Trip for the Boy & His Dad

My Daughter A-4 and Son A-5 came home from BYU Tuesday - A-4 to get ready for her wedding and A-5 to wait around to leave for his mission to Japan. My wife left for her gig running National Camp School for Cub Scout leaders. As A-6 had just been to California and still has school. I still have some vacation time while waiting to be furloughed, so I thought another long weekend trip to California with my soon-to-be missionary son was in order. We could see my Granddaughter and go to Disneyland again on my Boy A-2's free pass! (He works for the Big Mouse.)

It was a good father and son time. We talked about school and Japan. I taught him some Portuguese basics because there are a lot of Brazilians in Nagoya and he is convinced he will meet some - or maybe have a companion or two from Brazil. We listened to classic music ("classic" not "classical") from my iPod including the California playlist. So we talked about the music too. There was no serious talk of fatherly advice - just talk. And that's good.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rand Paul: "What a Maroon!"

Theoretical hot chicks in Senator Paul's hot tub by theoretical drone surveillance
As my earlier post will evidence, I've tried really hard to give a little respect to Rand Paul, Tea-Libertarian extraordinaire. His filibuster on the drones brought attention to a very important issue with which I have serious differences with President Obama.

Then I see a quote from the Jr. Senator from Kentucky today:
"If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them" 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Encontro de Ex-Missionários - Mission Reunion

An emotionally and spiritually exhausting day. [Oh, and physically] We started with the ward clean-up where we went around to various widows in the ward and did yard work in the rain. Then I went with my friend in the ward from my mission to another mission friend's house near Foothill Village to participate in a video simulcast of a conference in Brasil that my wife and I figured we could neither schedule nor afford in person. After that, I came home to find my parents here - a surprise to me (except for a couple of texts that they had arrived). My wife knew they were coming, but didn't tell me which works well in helping to avoid anxiety issues (and we'll leave that right there.)

But the important thing was the mission reunion of the Brazil, Porto Alegre Mission (Missão do Brasil, Porto Alegre) 1976-1979.. It was scheduled to correspond with our President's 80th birthday a few days ago. The few of us meeting here in town had a great time just with ourselves. This was good because the connection to Brasil was not that great. Especially the audio, especially when they neglected to place the mike next to the camera so when we saw particular old companions waiving at us, we couldn't always hear them!

Watching ourselves watch ourselves (upper right) and a few others

Friday, April 19, 2013

Suspect #2 - Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Watertown, Mass. Residents cheering law enforcement
Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect #2 is in custody, alive, yet seriously wounded. The citizens of Watertown are rightfully applauding Law Enforcement local, state, and federal leaving the scene. While we preserve presumption of innocence, it seems like a fairly easy case to prosecute based on all the solid information we know.

Let me address unsolid information for a moment. Many are speculating on motives, international conspiracies, government conspiracies, ties to international terrorism, and all kinds of things ALL without evidence. (Glenn Beck, I'm talking to you - and many others!) Some are using this politically to denigrate religious groups and immigrants in general. That is the ugly side of America. These people are wrong and feed the sickness and evil of the world by tearing down what is best in America - Constitutional Law including freedom and justice for all. Pay attention to these negative people only to reinforce that they should not be supported or encouraged.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Honor Roll - Immigration

We'll try our hope again for bipartisan progress in the U.S. Senate. The "Gang of Eight" has presented its Immigration Reform compromise. My source this time is abcnews.go.com as I have given up on CNN for their very poor and irresponsible reporting on the Boston Marathon Massacre. At least they're not the unmentionable rag-piece from New York that ends in "Post."

Anyway, I have a new honor roll of potential statesman-like Senators. Interestingly, some of the same names appear on both lists. Most prominently is the repeat of failed presidential candidate, John McCain, who used to support such reasonable compromises - even on Immigration Reform - until he fell in with that bad crowd playing to the bottom of the Republican base. The same group that did in Mitt Romney.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One Nation under Guns

Shame on the United States Senate for defeating the Manchin-Toomey compromise on extending background checks to gun shows - a gaping hole in preventing criminals and the dangerous mentally ill from purchasing guns.

The other day, I posted a list of honorable Republicans who voted for cloture to block any grandstanding filibuster. While glad there was no such phony dog and pony show, I have to revise to list the Republicans and a few Dems who have lost honor in my book:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Messing with Texas

My daughter just went to a conference to San Antonio. I suggested to her that she mess with Texas a little if she got a tour at the Alamo. The ideas were to ask about the Slaves and what was the Mexican government's view of Slavery? Or at least to ask where the basement was.

She reported after the trip that she did not do the messing I was attempting to encourage. Instead, she brought me something from the gift shop:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Guns & Kids

Remember, the language of the Second Amendment to the Constitution is:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Hopefully, everyone can recognize that this language is a little convoluted and confusing. "A well regulated Militia" is in the first part, then the "the right . . . to keep and bear Arms" in the second part. And the "shall not be infringed" is in the final clause. The commas don't seem to help.

Pornography, Saints, & the FCC, etc.

They read a letter in Priesthood this morning encouraging us to participate in the Utah Coalition Against Pornography (UCAP). I checked out the website. It looks like a good organization. This is another area where I support the nearly impossible standards of the Church to avoid pornography. Pornography may be a perfectly normal and natural thing that has been around since humankind began and even related to the perpetuation of humanity. But there are some problems. 

As the Lord has said, "the natural man is an enemy to God."  Mosiah 3:19. But we can put off the natural man through the Atonement of Christ to become a Saint - changing perfectly natural and normal beings into godly and holy people. Id. It's a process. And I'm not quite there yet even as we aspire to such by referring to ourselves as Latter-day Saints. God has changed me for the better as we keep working together on that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Religious Freedom (Diversity?) in America

My wife asked for my help as she is working on a national committee drafting new handbooks for a certain youth organization of boys that shall go nameless. (But if it still exists in a few months and the handbooks get published, I'll let you know what parts are mine.)

This specific assignment was to draft up a couple of lines about religious heroes in America. With my passionately moderate bias to be inclusive and diverse, I found that to be a rather difficult challenge. I mean, we didn't even let Hindus into this country until 1965! Sometimes the realization of how far we fall short of our ideals that are more often taken for granted than actually accomplished is staggering.

Friday, April 12, 2013

More from the Dust (including polygamy)

19th Ward was the northwest portion of the city. The Ridges lived on 3rd North
about 500 West (Near the tracks behind where West High is today)
Due to scheduling challenges, we didn’t get into the Church History Library until today. I’ve been there before, but it is so much better to be accompanied by a professional historian (See some of her work at Keepapitchinin.org) and a celebrity at that! Ardis drew notice during lunch at Kneaders and in the Library, of course. Due to her celebrity, or well-known historian status, she was able to help me get not just the microfilm of my 3rd Great Grandmother’s notes of the 19th Ward Ladies' Prayer Meetings to transcribe, but the actual record book itself with inked pages in Grandma Adelaide Ridges’s own handwriting and signature. Wow!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guns & More Nephite Disease (by Anonymous D)

Sharing my ideas for tonight's post, Anonymous D emailed me with some of his thoughts. He has such a great way of getting to the core of things. Take it away, D!
Well there is hope, if but slim. The whole business is so sad it brings you almost to tears, then to anger. I’m still a little flabbergasted by the general culture of Utah, its flirtation with fanaticism, nay outright love of it. I just finished the Joseph Smith Biography again [Bushman], and then Turner’s Brigham Young. I’m starting the Leonard Arrington Brigham Young Bio. I understand why they turned to what seems fanatical to us, having endured the mobs of Missouri, and Nauvoo having been hunted and driven and many killed it’s understandable. But our current fanaticism? Could it be a persecution complex? The need to divine every political movement through the lens of the coming apocalypse? Whenever the end comes I’m sure it will take us completely off guard. The Nephites had been warned and yet it seems were clueless when they were actually destroyed.

Senator Lee Schooled by Former Home Teacher

The Senate voted 68-31 for cloture on the tea party senators' latest grandstanding attempt to filibuster any gun legislation. That's sixteen (!) Republicans! Majority Leader Reid sent his most conservative Dem, Sen. Manchin of W. Virginia, to negotiate with one of the most bendable blue-state tea-partiers, Sen. Toomey of Pennsylvania. This helps establish the Constitutional principle that the Senate is a masterfully designed political body made up of scores of prima donnas. And that's a good thing.

The honor roll of Republicans (in respectful blue, this vote only) is as follows:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference Recap (and Disney)

We heard the Sunday Afternoon session on the radio as we had made it to Mesquite, Nevada. There was nothing in the deadly desert of California to pick up on the radio. Conference sessions and talks are all uploaded on the Church's website already. Transcripts will soon follow. There are also highlight clips of talks that I particularly liked. Click on the pics to see video and read the excepts:

President Uchtdorf, Sunday Morning
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Twelve

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Late-Blogging Priesthood Session

It was fun to go with my youngest and oldest boys in a Stake Center here in southern California. As it is a civilized, progressive place, we noted two things. First, they kept the lights on so I could take notes. Second, and it was my 16-year-old who noticed this, but as President Monson wrapped it up, my son looked around and said, "Nobody's leaving!" Yep. They all waited for the closing song and prayer.

I texted a friend in my ward at home to ask if they had the lights on in our chapel. He texted back that they turned them off for the second hour. He then asked why I was asking about the lights. I tried to explain that it's been a life-long annoyance with me. No idea whether people started leaving early or not at home. Sorry for the digressions. Here we go:

Elder Robert D. Hales, Quorum of the Twelve
Living in the last days - perilous times
Shield of Faith against the fiery darts of the adversary in defense of homes & families

Live-Blogging LDS General Conference (from California) Saturday PM

President Eyring conducting.

Don't ask me to follow the sustainings. But Pres. Uchtdorf with his international experience, does well with the various names from different countries and languages. New General Young Women's Presidency.

 Audit report - all good.

Stats report. 14,782,473 membership. 280K convert baptisms. [check the Ensign next month]

Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve
Many voices tell us to live with frantic pace
We need a place where peace and serenity prevail
The ideal place is within the walls of our own home - Jesus Christ the centerpiece

Live-Blogging Conference (from California) Saturday AM

So, forgetting that we were now on the West Coast not the East Coast where my son & family used to live, I  got the times all mixed up and slept in. But here we are. [Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle were up late babysitting the Princess who isn't used to being without her Mom]

President Thomas S. Monson announces two new Temples! Rio de Janeiro!! and Cedar City, Utah! Both places I like.

More on the Disney-Mormon Connection

My Granddaughter as Princess Snow White.
She has a few other costumes her mom made made for her.
There are worse things than being a Disney Princess - Malibu Barbie, for instance. While my granddaughter lives closer to Malibu than to Disneyland as her dad works at the Disney Studios in beautiful downtown Burbank, her destiny as a Disney Princess is pretty sure. And I think that's just fine.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Boy Works for the Big Mouse

My daughter-in-law, wife, son A-2, granddaughter, & son A-6 at the Magic Kingdom
There are a lot of criticisms one could make of the Walt Disney Co. from the ruthlessness of its lawyers in protecting trademark to the personality quirks of ol' Walt himself. The best parodies are to be found on the Simpsons, or maybe the Rocky & Bullwinkle Fractured Fairy Tales version of the man with the dream of making money off of Sleeping Beauty. And sure, it's just entertainment - sometimes expensive. But no one can doubt the influence Walt and his successors-in-interest have had globally at least trying to make people happy. And most of the time, it works.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

California Radicals

Janis Joplin of Port Arthur, Texas (1943-1970)
Spending a wonderful week in the LA Area with my son, daughter-in-law and my little granddaughter, we of course went to Disneyland as my son works for the Big Mouse at corporate (he is a statistician and sadly does not play a character at the Park. More about that later.) I've been thinking about my first trip to California in 1970. Memories grind to dust or take on odd contortions in the mind. Sometimes there is a piece of a record to latch on.