Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rebel Rebel - The Juanita System

And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall
-Paul Simon, "Kodachrome"
Juanita High School, Kirkland, Washington about 1972 (photo credits below*)
The secret of life is to attend several high schools. At each transfer they give you the benefit of the doubt as to your credits and fulfillment of graduation requirements. You can graduate high school without learning much at all. Actually, I learned a great deal in this process. Just not much Math. An out-of-the-box experiment in two big boxes was my initial high school experience in which I began my career in not learning Math.

Erroneously assumed to be the computer
that ran our academic life
There is a good history online of the Juanita High experience. I even learned some things about my own experience such as- the computer was actually in Iowa and the big plastic box with the flashing lights and whirling tapes that we affectionately called "Hal" was only the audio/video source for the remote stations where we occasionally studied.
A Media Carrel. The push-buttons were new.
Remember, it's 1971.
This was that era's iPod along with the computer to the right

The concept was revolutionary. Hence, the Rebel mascot. (It was clearly a Revolutionary War Rebel, not Confederate. This was the Pacific Northwest even if oddly with a Spanish-named bay on Lake Washington.) And it was uniquely the "Juanita System" even if open-concept schools were the new thing in education making their way around the country.

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Let Us Have Peace"

Yes, those are the words of U.S. Grant from his first Inaugural Address. General Grant and the Fourteenth Amendment may be vindicated as so far, Utah Governor Herbert has not ordered state troops to fire on Ft. Douglas that overlooks Salt Lake City from the Wasatch foothills to the East. As Grant won a bloody war to secure the United States and establish Constitutional protections of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all the people of the United States, we now face a Constitutional crisis that our nation will endure without resort to civil war.

I'm highly suspicious that Judge Shelby of the U.S. District Court, District of Utah, planned ahead to issue his decision on same-sex marriage for the week before Christmas. He may have hoped that the spirit of the season would temper any adverse reaction to the ruling. It's not over yet as a legal question until the Supreme Court eventually decides the issue as it certainly will. But as even most of the opponents of same-sex marriage believe that it will eventually happen, I wish it would happen sooner rather than later so that we can stop arguing and all calm down to deal with the inevitable and get over it. It is not worth civil war and it is not worth tearing families apart, least of all at this season of the year.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

NOT The End of the World

Last night I dreamed a dream. I sat in an LDS cultural hall - that's the basketball/banquet court behind the chapel. I was with some familiar, church friends not just from my present ward. It was some sort of symposium on the new history presented by the church (for examples, see polygamy and race and the priesthood in Gospel Topics). After a speech, there was an open mike for people to ask questions or make comments. There were quite a few people lined up. They were friendly enough, but not members or friends of the church. They spoke as outsiders. I commented to my friends that someone should speak up for the church. I got up and got in line. I came to the mike. I was alone . . . .

No recollection remains of what I said. So, what the heck, I'll say it here (not in an official capacity for the church!)

This has been an amazing and challenging time with the federal courts of Utah on matters relating to sacred principles of marriage in which the church has played a substantial historical role. One recent ruling decriminalized polygamy as practiced by certain groups based on Mormon tradition (not the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more like reality TV). The other ruling, of just yesterday, struck down Utah's laws and a recent voter-approved state constitutional amendment as violating principles of freedom and liberty for same-sex marriage partners protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Christ's Nativity

The Birth of Christ, Peter Paul Ruebens (1634)
Another Christmas poem from our cousin Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Faith & Evidence

The Coma Galaxy Cluster , NASA photo
Without coming to any definitive resolution, I engaged in an interesting discussion of Faith & Evidence with a good friend and my oldest daughter. The friend is close in age to my daughter and they are mutual friends. I'm glad I can call my daughter my friend as well - and my friend is like a son. That's what happens when you're bishop.

The discussion resulted from the last post on the Book of  Mormon and a book that may or may not have influenced Joseph. The participants have granted me permission to share the dialogue here:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Torpedoes of Curious Workmanship

My apologies for the apologetics. But I've seen hints here and there for some grand, new source for the Book of Mormon in a book about the War of 1812 providing the battle information with similar words and events including 2,000 stripling warriors and the liahona and such. I don't want to be rude, but if you don't want to believe the Book of Mormon is not what it or its witnesses say it is, fine. But don't come telling me this new discovery proves anything because it doesn't.

The problem with apologetics and the works that provoke them is the temptation to strain at gnats and swallow camels. There is a good example of this in the comments to what appears to be a very sophisticated and reasonable response by a believer to this new scientifically statistical evidence by non-believers. The discussion can be summed up rather simply. If you believe the Book of Mormon is divine scripture, you will keep having experiences and finding evidences to support that belief. If you don't believe the Book of Mormon is divine scripture, you will keep having experiences and finding evidences to support that non-belief. The choice is up to you.

The book is quite interesting. It's The Late War between the United States from June, 1812 to February, 1815. In the Scriptural Style, G.J. Hunt (New York, 1819). You can find it on Google Books for free, the copyright having long expired. I read several chapters en skimmed the rest.I searched for some particular events of the war and and the specific things supposedly connecting it to the Book of Mormon. Amazingly, things "came to pass" in places and books other than the Book of Mormon and there are words like "stripling" in the English language that are in both books!

Here are some of the examples and you can make your own judgments.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yes, Megyn Kelly, There Is a Black Santa Claus!

Don't let that mean lady tell you I'm not real!

It was Christmas 1962 or '63. My dad was taking my brother and me down to his office in the Central District of Seattle. Rainier Avenue South ran through the neighborhood where most of the African-Americans lived. My dad referred to them as Negroes in those days. I never heard him say the other "N" word. As we passed a corner storefront, we saw Santa Claus with red suit, white beard, and . . . dark skin. 

"Dad!" I don't remember what else we said. I do remember my dad explaining that it was one of Santa's helpers. That made sense. It was the same line we got when we saw different Santas in different stores even if they all tended to look like us (skin-tone-wise, that is). Dad may or may not have explained more but my little brain understood that it made perfect sense for Santa's helper to be a Negro where all the Negro kids lived (1963).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Two Munchkins Grow Up

Two Graduates of the Lollipop Guild
My sincere congratulations to Paul Ryan and John Boehner! Ryan has compromised on an agreement with Senator Patty Murray (D. Wash.) for the budget to go forward for the next little while. It's not a great deal, but it's a deal. And that's enough to send the tea-partiers into a frenzy. They don't like it, so it must be OK.

Ryan must have got a message through his head to abandon the tea-party extremism and become a leader of his party. That is a typical opportunity for a failed VP candidate (Palin the exception that proves the rule.) He is also claiming his love for Ayn Rand is all an urban legend and I couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Was Not A Cartoonist

Going through some old, personal files with bitter-sweet nostalgia (sigh), I came across some remnants of my failed career as a cartoonist. It was 1974 and my Mom had something to do with the ward newsletter. That was the Rock Springs Second Ward (We might have still been in the Green River Stake but then we were Rock Springs, Wyoming, before I left on my mission - my freshman year at BYU was my first escape).  And to prove I am not a total Grinch, the last is a pleasant Christmas celebration.

Enjoy! (or just click somewhere else):

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Was Not A Hippie

Me in '73
As I rarely get fan requests for blog pieces, I ought to respect them. While discussing the quixotic, hippie film Brother Son, Sister Moon, on the inspiring life of St. Francis of Assisi, music by Donovan, a friend ask me to explain whether I had been a hippie. As a tail-end baby boomer, I had not. The story takes a while to explain.

The extremes of the 60's frightened me even if the quiet, suburban life outside of Seattle was rarely touched by the turmoil of those years. At least my parents were suspicious of the Birchers as well as excitement on the Left. And there were hippies in the neighborhood. My definition should be understood. I saw hippies as youthful rebels against what was supposed to be the norms of middle-class, suburban life.

The Establishment scared us in Junior High with films about LSD. I saw the after school specials about asking Alice and running away with hippies. My parents lived and taught the prohibitions on smoking, drinking, and illicit drugs from our religious Word of Wisdom. Call it a repressed childhood if you must, but I wanted to be safer than sorrier. Then my 15-year-old hormones got the better of me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

News of the Church

There have been several things percolating that compel me to blog. I should start with the LDS Church's response to the death of Nelson Mandela in stark contrast to my post of yesterday concerning the followers of Senator Mike Lee. It is worthy of a cut-and-paste right in here:

First Presidency Expresses Condolences at Nelson Mandela's Passing

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today in regards to the passing of Nelson Mandela:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Senator Lee & his Friends

I had to cut and paste Senator Mike Lee's really good statement of respect at the death of Nelson Mandela. Also included are a few of the many comments of Senator Lee's "friends."

My work is done here.

Is the Pope Capitalist?

Apparently not.

A humble Pope Francis honors the poor and ill.
It has been entertaining to see the right-wing go after the Pope, of all people. I mean, if Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are all against the guy for his views on Capitalism and the Social Gospel, almost they persuade me to become a Catholic! Except that if anyone really reads the Book of Mormon, the revelations of Joseph Smith, or teachings of Brigham Young, they wouldn't be a Capitalist either. It's only the Anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon who preach that each man prospers according to his own genius!