Friday, January 30, 2015

Metaphysical Home Teaching and Alchemic Family History

My biggest challenges in Home Teaching, that is, visiting members of our local congregation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were self-imposed and then, doubly blessed. I was bishop with over 500 no-shows at church meetings who were still on church records. The biggest part of the challenge was just to figure out who these people were and if we could be of any assistance to them spiritually, temporally, or otherwise. A few just wanted to be left alone. Many just needed a friend.

Inspiration being a bishop's best friend, I took on some very interesting people. One of those was Stewart Udall, the subject of an earlier blog. There was another like him who became a great friend. I may have benefited from the visits more than she did; she gave me a book.

This dear sister owned a used book store and a video rental place. Her specialty was the esoteric. A simple explanation would be "New Age," but that is too simple as it was so much more. A lot of the videos were PBS classics. She was well-grounded in reality and serious studies; was not just a flighty or flimsy New-Ager. One day in our soaring discussions, she asked if I had heard of the metaphysical poet, Henry Vaughan, as he could even be a distant relative of mine. She pulled a book from the shelf and I offered to pay, but she wouldn't allow it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Passionate, Moderate, Cultural Wars?

Your guess is as good as mine. There is something happening here. I'm not quite sure what it is.

My views on the Culture Wars have been expressed on this blog. I don't have all the answers. But my attempts to be moderate have liberalized me for the most part, but not entirely. Mainly, I've just tried to stay out of it.

This week, there was a press conference on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Elder Todd D. Cristofferson, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and Sister Neill Marriott.  You can see it all and other information at Mormon Newsroom.

And here is a YouTube version I can add here:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sarah Palin: Platitudinal Incoherence

Sarah Palin rambled in to Iowa this last weekend for the Iowa Freedom Summit. It's where early conservative hopefuls for President try to look good (not appear as total idiots) to gain support for the Iowa Caucus. Sarah gave a speech. This would be really funny if nearly half of America hadn't voted for her to be a heartbeat away. I'm still accepting apologies. Anyone?

John McCain, you have a lot to answer for. This never-ending disaster is of your creation. It negates all the good things you've done now and then that I actually supported (anti-torture, Bush plan on immigration - when you were on that, maybe some others if you give me a week).

I listened to the whole speech. If you can't take that, just listen to two minutes of this video. Any two minutes:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy SOTU to You!

I was not able to watch or live-blog the State of the Union last night as I was driving back from my Welsh class in Provo. But I did listen to it. Here it is at this link if you missed it.

The President was soaring again on high rhetoric for ideas he knows will never get through this Congress except for military authorization against ISIL (yuck! but maybe necessary) and approval of trade deals (a mixed bag at best).

But the President has set the agenda for future action on ideas for public Community College education for all just like High School. And tax reform ideas to help the middle class - not the 1% who have more than they need (and who, of course, deserve it because they have it).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tombs Filled with Stars!


I come up for air from being deeply immersed in family history this weekend. Since I'm reading about King Richard III (The Sunne in Splendor, by Sharon Kay Penman) and I keep running into my family as I decided to work down from the Vaughans who originated my surname. I have a valid link up through some maternal lines, but the paternal is difficult with many illegitimacies and non-heir sons.

Sir Thomas Vaughan
It is actually the illegitimates who seem to be more adventurous such as Sir Thomas Vaughan (1432-1483), one of the guardians of the Princes just before they were in the Tower (and never came out). And, yeah, he's the one in Shakespeare's Richard III who loses his head at the chopping block because he was protecting the Princes. He reappears on Bosworth Field as a ghostly apparition to the doomed Richard. And that's pretty cool to think of my old cousin appearing as a ghost in every production of R.III since Shakespeare wrote it up. My Cousin Sir Thomas is even buried in Westminster Abbey and I didn't even know it when I was there! Now I have to go back!

Cross of the Knights of
the Holy Sepulchre
And I even found out how the "Jones" name came to be, at least in one illegitimate example. Another distant cousin was an illegitimate son of one John Vaughan and took the name Hugh Johneys, which, you can sort of see twisted around, would be "Johney's Hugh." "Johneys" was shortened to "Jones" and there you have it (except I'm not at all suggesting that all Joneses are illegitimate!) My cousin Hugh Johneys was made a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in 1441. Another cool thing!

And it is crazy with families that keep naming each other Thomas, John, Watkin (yes), or Roger. I'm generally following the National Library of Wales Dictionary of Welsh Biography, then looking for confirming sources on (I have to wade through a lot of people's flags and pictures of Tretower Castle (Thank you, I have my own).

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Run, Mitt, Run! (far away from here)

For some reason only know to Mitt, Ann, and maybe Refalca the Prancing Pony, Mitt Romney has indicated strongly enough to seize the nation's attention that he may run for President again. The problem is, it seems like there are more than 47% of us now who are not going to ever vote for him (and there were actually 51.1% the last time. It was Mitt who barely cleared 47 at 47.2%.)

The speculation in the media is that he acted to assert his interest before Jeb Bush signed up all the support from the "Establishment" wing of the Republican Party. (The "Establishment" wing - always with a capital "E" - is made of the wealthy people who have wealthy family who have already been or have run for President. The 1% who like to get the 51% to vote for them.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Glenn Beck: Losing His Religion?

Something is up.

Both Anonymous D and the blogger, Chris Henrichsen, have noticed. Read Henrichsen's piece here. D has this weird fascination with Beck and actually listens to him sometimes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chris Stewart, Politician. And Glenn Beck loses it (again).

Back in the days when Chris Stewart and Beck were buddies.
My Congressman, Chris Stewart, seriously disappointed his mentor, Glenn Beck, yesterday. Stewart did the most outrageous thing by voting to keep John Boehner as Speaker of the House! Beck wanted him to vote for Louie Gohmert or any of the other crazies in the Republican tea-party caucus. You can see Beck in all his whining glory at this link.

Now I'm not the world's greatest fan of Speaker Boehner, but it delights me to see my apocalyptic-novelist Congressman break ranks with the Beckians and support Boehner. It's a bold move to part with the forces of money-grubbing, phony patriotism. Maybe, just maybe, Chris Stewart has learned a little something about how the Congress actually works - politics - the art of the possible for who gets what, when, and how. The process is played, or should be played, under the rules of our Constitution - Supremacy Clause, Fourteenth Amendment, and all.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Smoothing the Blemishes of Life

My two eldest children, Fall 1985 (Thumb-sucking is no flaw. I did it too.)
It's a New Year, a time for looking forward and back. I've taken advantage of holiday and vacation leave from work to hang around home and spend it with family. I'm also working on a major family/personal history project to scan old photos and get them in digital files in the cloud to share with all my kids.

I've tried to hit the big years of each child's birth. I can't take the whole 30-some years chronologically as that just discourages me. So, the years of interest let me skip around and I get more variety and more done through the phases of our family life.