Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Declaration of Opposition to Trump

States Rights has given us Slavery along with the 3/5 Compromise, the Electoral College, and Two Senators for every State. This resulted in the Civil War, Jim Crow, Segregation, and now, Donald Trump. As Joseph Smith said [paraphrased] States Rights Stink!

Slavery and the 3/5 Compromise have been banned and repealed by Amendments to the Constitution. Since the 17th Amendment, Senators are at least directly elected by the people of the states rather than the State Legislatures (thank Heavens!) The Electoral College serves no purpose if not needed to protect Slavery [thank Heavens again!]. There was some talk by the Founders that it would serve as a check to the election of a demagogue. 2016 establishes the failure of that idea with the irrationality of the faithless electors of 2016 who demonstrated no coherent plan to stop a demagogue.

Trump lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes. That is significant. He is to be sworn in as president because of a modest win in the Electoral College after a huge loss in the popular vote. He is not our first president to do so. But the popular vote loss is embarrassing to him as no strong third or fourth party made him a plurality winner as happened in 1992 with Bill Clinton or in 1860 with Lincoln among numerous candidates receiving electoral votes. Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. I'm no big fan of Hillary, but her indiscretions pale in comparison to Trump.

And let's not forget why a President Trump would be such a problem:

Friday, December 23, 2016

It's Time for Peace on Earth, Good Will to All

It's been a long, cold, lonely Winter. And it only started a couple of days ago!

The problem was that the Fall was pretty tough. The Malheur defendants were sent free (well, some went back to jail awaiting trial in Nevada); there was an active-shooter incident at the school where my wife teaches (the Science Teacher hero was in our home the other night as my wife is Science supervisor and we hosted the Holiday dinner); and, then there was that horrible man elected president. That caused some serious trauma for some.

So, I return to the events of summer to catch a bright light for Christmas.

In our wandering of the National Gallery in London, we came across the original of one of my favorite Nativities.

There it was in all its Glory! And I mean Glory! The Christ Child glows for all the world to behold, especially the poor shepherds.

I love this one as it is contemporary to my distant Cousin Poet, Henry Vaughan, and his twin, Thomas, the highly religious Alchemist married to Rebecca.

Here is my photo of the entire piece:

It is floor-to-ceiling huge, larger than life, as it should be.

May God bless us everyone!

And my wish to all is a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays for all who seek joy and peace!

And speaking of Peace, I leave you with another Christmas Poem of Henry Vaughan:

The Nativity

Peace? and to all the world? sure, One
And He the Prince of Peace, hath none.
He travels to be born, and then
Is born to travel more again.
Poor Galilee! thou canst not be
The place for His nativity.
His restless mother's called away,
And not delivered till she pay.
     A tax? 'tis so still! we can see
The church thrive in her misery;
And like her Head at Bethlem, rise
When she, oppressed with troubles, lies.
Rise? should all fall, we cannot be
In more extremities than He.
Great Type of passions! come what will,
Thy grief exceeds all copies still.
Thou cam'st from heaven to earth, that we
Might go from earth to heaven with Thee.
And though Thou foundest no welcome here,
Thou didst provide us mansions there.
A stable was Thy court, and when
Men turned to beasts, beasts would be men.
They were Thy courtiers, others none;
And their poor manger was Thy throne.
No swaddling silks Thy limbs did fold,
Though Thou couldst turn Thy rays to gold.
No rockers waited on Thy birth,
No cradles stirred, nor songs of mirth;
But her chaste lap and sacred breast
Which lodged Thee first did give Thee rest.
     But stay: what light is that doth stream,
And drop here in a gilded beam?
It is Thy star runs page, and brings
Thy tributary Eastern kings.
Lord! grant some light to us, that we
May with them find the way to Thee.
Behold what mists eclipse the day:
How dark it is! shed down one ray
To guide us out of this sad night,
And say once more, "Let there be light."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Should NOT Sing at Trump Inauguration!

This beautiful sight:

Is tarnished by association with this man whatever his government title may be:

Will he want to be photographed in similar poses with the Sisters of the Choir? Will he want to grab any inappropriate parts of their bodies?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Universal Salvation by Christ's Grace After All We Can Do Together

LDS Temple Baptistry with Window "into the World of Light"
My eyes are opening to a new concept of religious faith that is wonderful!

I'm no theologian and certainly no official spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, my deep dives into family history work and temple ordinances and sealings for those beyond the grave who have gone into the world of light are opening my eyes to that light.

It is a unique form of Universalism that the Prophet Joseph Smith preached for it required hard work on our part, not for our own salvation so much as for the benefit of others and all of humanity as a family.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Big Fantastic Goodness - The BFG from Roald Dahl, Disney, and Spielberg

I needed that.

And I've been trying to see it since last summer. Fortunately, the magic from Cardiff where Roald Dahl was born 100 years ago continues.

A Bookshop in Cardiff, Wales last July
Without knowing the book, the movie stood on its own. It had the slower pace of a good story and the whimsical and irreverent childhood magic of Roald Dahl. The mystical aspects of dream-catching were beautifully portrayed. But this was no dream. It was the reality of fantasy from a child's world. The child is named Sophie, a wise and brave young girl played wonderfully by Ruby Barnhill

No spoilers here, but the breakfast with the Queen was worth the price of admission (or purchase of the DVD) alone. I haven't laughed so fully as a needed healing balm for a long time. And if Queens were more like portrayed here from a child's sense of wonder, I could be a monarchist myself! This indicates how well the film captures the child's point of view. My inner one was awakened last night.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Why I Rise

Resolfen [Resolven] 1900
From Song of the Earth by Alexander Cordell. It's about 1850 on Lyon Street in Resolven, Vale of Neath, Wales. The father, Mostyn, comes home from the coal mine to find Redcoats in his house looking for his son:
The Redcoat smiled and shifted his feet. There was about him a quiet authority more usually found in their officers, and he was not without charm. He could have handled this in a much more brutal way for he held the power of life and death over the Welsh workers. In the Top Towns, where the owners called in the military to break a strike, I have seen the Welsh flung out of their homes, their women man-handled. Time was, In Crawshay's Merthyr, when a troop had only to cut a dog in half to get obedience, or hang an innocent Dic Penderyn, but he Bread or Blood riots of '31, and the rise of the Welsh Chartists in '39 had changed the face of their authority. Yet they still demanded instant loyalty to their puppet Queen, and this, usually, was the test of Welsh fidelity. The sergeant said now, 'You are aware that your son is a member of illegal organisations?' [unions]
'if he is, then he is responsible.'

Saturday, December 10, 2016

We're . . . Trumped

The temptation is great is to start making up "fake" news on my own. I just wouldn't know where to begin. Truth is stranger than fictional news anyway even if a bit harder to get at.

On December 19, the Electoral College will meet in their respective locations and cast ballots most likely for Trump. As most of my predictions have been off this year, that is our best hope for magical thinking that maybe he won't be our president. Still, I would hate to see the consequences around the country should the Electoral College do something that does not result in a President Trump.

Eew, I still can't get to the acceptance stage. I've had plenty of anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and all the rest. I just can't believe this.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Miracles Great and Small

The back entrance to Mueller Park Jr. High that my wife uses the morning after the shotgun blast.
My wife heard that the neighboring LDS Stake President initiated this effort.
There have been a series of bruises to this liberal heart since returning from the Land of my Fathers (Cymru) last summer. First, the Malheur Armed Occupiers were found not guilty. Then, somehow, America elected the most despicable woman-abusing, self-aggrandizing, klepto-capitalist to be President. And finally, a troubled kid with a shotgun blasted a hole in the ceiling of a classroom in the school where my wife teaches.

The first miracle is that in spite of significant emotional trauma to that school community (yours truly included), no blood was shed. The Washington Post noted this is in a fairly accurate article revealing some of the difficult details of he incident that I wasn't going to share, but that 's the press for you. Locally, KSL also had good coverage of the aftermath. Those details do, however, reveal how close this was to becoming a horrific tragedy. Thank Heavens and all involved who acted with good training, smarts, and compassion. No one had to shoot the poor kid down and he was unsuccessful in whatever he was attempting except that first blast.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Second Amendment says "WELL REGULATED," You D*** Fools!

This morning my eldest daughter, a school teacher, called me in obvious distress asking if I had heard the news. She asked me to check if her mom, also a school teacher, was OK because she was afraid to do so. So I quickly checked:


Police responded to Mueller Park Junior High School Thursday morning on reports…

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Donny Trump - Big Popular Vote LOSER!

Donnie asked us not to use any unflattering photos (heh, heh)
You can go and check the facts on the 2 million plus popular vote loss. He should have hosted "The Biggest Loser" rather than "The Apprentice."  Not that it matters much in this evil time when truth is a short commodity as marketing lies are bought and sold to make the rich and powerful more so.

There was this great analysis of the recent election and the PEOTUS that when I find again I will link in here. It's not the only one, however, as many have noted the authoritarian strain of Trumpism. But the essence was that America is divided into two "families." One is the authoritarian that appeals to bullies, fundamentalists, the Donny, and a lot of blue-collar males (some women, too). The other is the collaborative that believes that its members are all in this together and can work out their differences through the power of their diversity. Guess which family or America I want to belong to?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

West Coast Boy

James Island, La Push, Washington. (c) Larry K. Vaughn (my dad)
A friend at work complimented me yesterday saying that I was definitely of a West-Coast mentality. That matches well with a serendipitous discovery in family history materials recently obtained from my mom. In a sporadic journal she kept in the 1970s, she copied a poem I had written after my family moved from the Seattle suburbs to Wyoming. That was quite a culture shock for this West-Coast Boy in my junior year of high school.

I have no independent memory of this poem but I do remember I was writing some poetry in those days. (West-Coast Mentality). I share it here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Not Gonna Waste My Shot!"

I signed this letter along with a few thousand others. We do what we can.

Letter from Attorneys Opposing Stephen Bannon's Appointment as White House Chief Strategist to the President
[The below letter will be circulated to current and incoming members of Congress. With appropriate modifications in phrasing it will also be sent to the President-elect.]
Dear [Leaders]:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

South Wales

On my key chain - To remember . . . .
Checking through the interwebs and iTunes to add to my collection of Welsh Music, I came across this modern classic:

Pit shaft wheels turn for the last time
In the Rhondda tonight
The Davey lamps that shone so brightly
There's no more need for their light
As the last piece of coal is cut
From the belly of the black seamed hole
A man walks home alone
Past a church full of mourning souls
Throughout his lifetime he has fought
He has given his life
In tears the congregation sing
Cwm Rhondda, Oh my Lord!

Great is the rape of the fair country
To Botany Bay for my Great Grandfathers
Deportation sailed

Great so great is the fair country

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hey, Dad! -- A Message to Republicans (Guest Post)

One of my children just sent me the following. I post it here as a guest post for your consideration:

Hey Dad,
This was the best way I felt I could express my feelings. It isn't anything super eloquent or exciting, but it is what I believe and how I feel. If you want to publish this on your blog I give you full permission. I don't plan on publicly sharing this, unless it is through your blog, but I am probably going to send it to a few others that I know and who I feel would appreciate what I have to say.
Love you,

I’ve been pretty quiet about what’s happened since the election. I don’t feel that I’ve had my thoughts together enough to express what I’m feeling about everything. But now I think I’m ready.

To my Republican friends and family-Please stop defending Trump, and trying to make us support and rally around him. He has not once demonstrated that he is a man that can be trusted. He has shown that he is a racist and a bigot. First of all, how many of you even once did the same for Obama? I’m pretty sure that number is close to 0. In fact, I sat back for 8 years and let your words roll off my back when you would make fun of Obama or criticize him or make rude comments about him and his amazing family. It was your right to do so. But now that there are people who suddenly criticize YOUR President-Elect, you suddenly feel the need to stranglehold us and accuse us of being hypocrites. If anything, we’re being JUST LIKE YOU, not hypocrites. I saw a post that I liked, that it’s not about us not accepting the results of the election, but rather it is about us making our voices heard that we are frustrated with everything that is happening in our communities since Trump was elected. And to those of you who keep saying ‘These things were happening before this’, yes, you are correct, but you’re also more wrong than you realize. These things have been increasingly more prevalent ever since Trump became the nominee. When he won the presidency, the amount of people being harassed and abused has skyrocketed. And if you can’t see that, check out Buzzfeed’s ongoing list of reports since the election. It isn’t even all the things that happened, and it is an enormous list already, and keeps growing.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Workers' Struggle: A Book Report

Roman Amphitheater, Caerleon, Newport, Wales. 16 July 2016
Distancing myself from current politics into the old country and times past, I am rereading the historical novels of Alexander Cordel now that I have been to more of the places and learned a little better how they connect to my family.

Rape of the Fair Country carries the reader through a passionate narrative of the sorrows and joys of the working and non-working Welsh to the Chartist March on Newport. A foreshadowing is presented when the families of Garndyrus (where my Third-Great-Grandfather worked) had a holiday in Newport for a singing competition. It's a fictional account. The later march on Newport was not.

I don't know if my family was involved in the Chartist Rising of 1839. Even if they were, and apparently survived, they would not have mentioned it to anyone as it carried a penalty of death or transportation to Australia or Van Diemen's land [that's for my Tasmanian friends].

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post Election Post

Today has been a passage through the stages of grief, although the anger stage seems to keep circling back.

I went to work and did what I had too. Well, after my boss brought me out of my closed door and tried to cheer me up, finally getting there when he asked, "What do I have to do? Wrestle you to the floor and tickle you?"

He gave some optimistic perspective that this was a populist election, not a new, conservative President. He is right that this is a problem of the elites and populism can help us reform that. Of course, no one, probably not even the donald knows what he is going to do. Talk of Sarah Palin as Secretary of the Interior is enough to gag me without a spoon.

The Washington cesspool does need some cleaning up. But I see it more as the fancy-pants lawyers and lobbyists of K Street than the wonderful family  in the White House, completely free of scandal. And yes, the Democratic Party blew it big time. At least we won't have Bill Clinton to kick around anymore. Yes, the Democrats need some serious reforming. The Republicans, a lost cause. Let them attempt to govern in their bubble of ignorance, prejudice, and fear for a couple years and see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Live-Blogging Election Returns 2016

Why the heck not? We'll see how long I can keep this up. I'm home from work, unHatched. I started off on twitter but let's switch it back here.

  1. Anderson Cooper needs to stop playing with his maps. Blitzer even more boring. I'm sticking with MSNBC (until the Dems shake up FOX)

For All Flesh

Norman Rockwell's, The Right to Know
On this election eve, there was a typically provocative tweet from a certain Ms. Coulter that if only those whose four Grandparents were born in the United States were allowed to vote, the vote would be a landslide for Donald Trump. My father would not be able to vote under this rule as his Grandfather was born in Britain.

I responded on Facebook and Twitter, and I repeat here.
This is what needs to change tomorrow. A multi-cultural majority nation will take the place of a White, Anglo-Saxon, Christian dominated nation. The Constitutional principles were intended for the universe of mankind. We can do this. Go, Latino Citizens! And ALL of us! WE the PEOPLE!
Yes, we elected a President eight years ago of mixed-race. Part of his ancestry went back to the European immigrants to this country. His father was from Kenya. The President was born in the State of Hawaii. His wife and daughters are the descendants of Slaves brought to this country by force.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We Know Hillary All Too Well

I think I figured it out. Hillary ain't perfect. We all know that.

I think the reason why so many don't like her is because we know her all too well. We know everything. TMI to the max! And in spite of knowing everything, she will be the next President of the United States because more people know that she is more good than bad.

Who else running for President has been the subject of numerous investigations, so many that we've lost track? - special prosecutors, Congress - it goes on and on. And yet, there is no crime to charge against her. Sure, I don't like some of her decisions. She's admitted that voting for the War in Iraq was wrong and I don't think she's learned all of that lesson because she's still too much of a Hawk. She's also a little too friendly with Wall Street. But Bernie and Sen. Warren will hold her back a bit on both of those.

What do we know about this McMullin guy? Pretty much . . . nothing. And what we know about Trump is pretty much all bad.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Closing in on Elinor Vaughan's Grave

My wife graciously agreed to take an extra day home from Disneyland and by the long way so that I could visit Jacks Valley, Nevada, again. I tried a number for the Ascuaga Cattle Co. but they said it was the casino that had been sold by Mr. Ascuaga. I started calling US Forest Service offices to see if they had a contact at the Ascuaga Ranch. They passed me to several numbers where I left messages but got nowhere. I called the Curator at the Douglas County Historical Society with whom I had previously corresponded. She suggested that I just try going up to the ranch and explain myself politely to ask for access to the old cemetery.

It worked. The Ranch Manager came out and after I rattled off apologies and numerous names and dates belonging to my family and the history of Jacks Valley, he gave me Mr. Ascuaga's phone number and said that on his authority, we could go up to the old Winters Family cemetery. He said Mr. Ascuaga would be happy to allow us and to talk with me.

We went down the road and parked as directed, then walked up the hill on the wrong side of the fence. Finding a gate, I slipped through then pulled the gate post hard until I could slip the wire loop back over after my wife got through.

It was as beautiful as imagined. In the early evening the light was soft and the view was clear down over Jacks Valley to the larger Carson Valley. Snow was on the highest peaks of the Sierra.

In the Cemetery, by gracious permission of the Ascuaga Ranch
It is a relatively unknown, Mormon pioneer cemetery, or of pioneers who were Mormons as they seem to have left the Church or the Church left them when the call came in 1857 to return to the other side of the Great Basin facing a threat from the U.S. Army. These did not go.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Faith in America (Guest Post)

This Blogger's photo of Mount Whitney, California, from Highway U.S. 395
Just returning from a week in Disneyland with the grandkids and then a quick side-trip back again to Jacks Valley, Nevada on an exploration for Pioneer Grandma Elinor's grave (more, later), I was privileged to travel a route I had never known before. It was up US 395 on the east side of the Sierra. I saw Manzanar National Historic Site, Mt. Whitney (above), the Owens River Valley (Boo, L.A.!), Mono Lake, the Walker River, a Japanese, motorcycle gang (some ironic justice there), and lots and lots of dang desert.

Too tired to blog on my own, I share with you a Guest Post with the kind permission of an anonymous friend (not Anon D, whom I also respect, but let's say, "Anonymous W"). I've worked with this person for a few years and we keep finding common friends and common interests.

I give to you, hope for America!

I love America. I have spent 30 years in public service. Governing a large and diverse nation is hard. There are no easy solutions to the challenges we face.
Facing those challenges will require more of political leaders, public servants, and citizens than in the past. Because many of our difficulties are rooted in spiritual, social, and cultural issues, they will not yield to political solutions alone. Individuals and institutions will need to rise up and mend the torn fabric of our society. We will need to love and respect one another. We will need to compromise. We will need an end to brinksmanship and seeking victory at all costs. We will need to stop rewarding the politicians, pundits, and entertainers whose rhetoric divides us. We will need to listen thoughtfully to those who disagree with us. And we will need to forbear, not saying everything we may think in the interest of civil exchange. We will need to trust one another.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hillary Explains Abortion

This is too important not to share. In the debate last night, Secretary Clinton explained for the Religious Right and Trump supporters why abortion can be very appropriate.

And as my position has been for some time that if such situations may even be recognized by my church as a rare exception, then government should have no business interfering with a women, her doctor, and her religious beliefs.

This from Vox:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Best Legal Letter Ever

In typical bully fashion, the 2016 Republican Nominee for President of the United States had his lawyers write to the New York Times threatening a lawsuit for publishing claims of the Nominee's sexual assaults. The response back from the lawyers for the Times is, perhaps, the best legal letter ever written. Here it is:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lunch-Break Rant

[this started as a comment on my last post. But apparently it was too long for Blogger to handle as a comment. So here it is:]

Here I am at Harmon's on a lunch break outside the federal building so I'm in full compliance with the Hatch Act. I feel a rant coming on. Maybe this will end up as an independent blog post. But I have been more and more stirred up about the things Anon-D and now a couple more friends bring up.

I made the mistake like Anon-D of looking over the FB posts of some cousins last night (one who has unfriended me) and am just flabbergasted with the anti-Hillary, anti-Obama, pro-Trump anger and emotion. I came to understand the sore spot I touched when another family member brought up the "thin-veneer" of religion that I wrote about in the SL Trib that seems to cover very strong political views.  I saw the point that maybe I was a bit harsh. But I'm changing back again. I find it very difficult to understand the vitriol in co-religionists and blood relatives against things that I believe in and admittedly feel strongly about. But hopefully not strong enough for ugly and irrational hatred on my part. I know I can get stirred up but how did the wildest conspiracy theories, sexual assault and crudity, and hateful politics get all mixed up in religion and my family blood? I don't get it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Good Enough for Me and Anonymous D

Just to reveal the kinds of things Anonymous D and I talk about in private, I thought I would share the discussion we had after last Sunday's very disturbing Presidential Debate. I edited very lightly. If the original tapes surface of this or any of our private conversations, from any time, anywhere, they won't be anything near as shocking as the Donald's:

Oh, Grant, I just don't know anymore. Based on my Facebook feed I'd say a good portion of the country are just like Trump. We scarcely deserve our democracy.
Yes. Fascism is at our door but it won't win.

I was just telling a friend yesterday that things are really pretty good too and you know I believe that.
I just don't understand. It's like they're saying, "Bill was an adulterer and I want my own adulterer in there.". Where does Hillary come in?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ugliest Political Event Ever!

I do not wish in any way to condone what went on in the Presidential debate last night. But I do think it would be good for America to sit back, think a bit, and maybe watch Spielberg's Lincoln, or listen to Miranda's Shakespearean Hip-hop tragedy of Hamilton.

You could even Google a few of these historical nuggets:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"You Would Be In Jail!"

There are a few people I'd like to see in jail that aren't right now. I still think Dick Cheney ought to be in jail for promoting war crimes. But even if I were running for President against him, I don't think I'd tell him that I'd throw him in jail if I were President. I might try to investigate or refer a matter to the International Court of Justice. But then I might also equivocate because this country doesn't need more turmoil over Iraq. We still have plenty.

There are also friends and family of mine that think Hillary Clinton ought to be in jail. They are among millions of Americans who agree. And I also think that if they were running for President against her, they would not threaten her with jail in front of an audience of millions.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Trump vs. Clinton (Sexual Assault, not the Presidency)

Regrettably, it seems necessary to lay out my views about the latest revelations of the Republican Nominee's crude language relating to sexual assault on Women and explain why I support Hillary even if she is married to Bill.

First, the latest revelations are only the culmination of numerous inappropriate statements and views of Trump about Women, Immigrants, Religions, Ethnic Origins, Physical disabilities, Veteran's struggles, etc. On every one of these issues he has been consistently offensive and over-the-top. His base seems to love it as he plays up the outsider role refusing to respect "political correctness." It's part of his shtick. He's a TV Personality and a bluff and bluster, entrepreneurial Capitalist famous for his own personal brand. No one should be surprised about this. His supporters who are now bailing on the "moral high-ground" never should have been with him.

Second, the latest comments along with many from earlier in this campaign, are not just sexual dirty talk that might be OK in private but inappropriate in the public square. They are inappropriate in any context. They reveal a deep-seated antipathy towards women treating them as sexual objects rather than human beings. And his actions speak louder than words. They include: multiple marriages and affairs during and between of which he has publicly bragged and sought media exposure; overt participation and self-promotion of a crass, sexual nature in Playboy publications and videos; appearances on the crude Howard Stern show where these things were openly discussed; comments during the campaign critical of the physical appearance of women and their very nature as women ("blood coming out of her . . . wherever") and nothing in the present to indicate these offensive attitudes and behaviors are a thing of the past only and not of the present.

All of this should disqualify anyone for the office of President of the United States. Now, on to Bill Clinton.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Jacks Valley, Nevada: Yesterday, Today, and Forever

Cross-posted from John and Elinor Vaughan Descendants:

On a typical less-than-busy evening at the North Bountiful Family History Library, I was working on my own family interests and came across a great picture of Jacks Valley, Nevada, from 1939:

Jack's Valley Pony Express Station
With the gracious permission of Sherratt Library Special Collections, Southern Utah University, Cedar City Utah, which owns the rights.

The photo caused one of those little mental shocks as should be obvious from this photo I took a couple of years ago at almost exactly the same spot:

North end of Jacks Valley, Nevada, looking Northeast from Jacks Valley Rd.. 20 October 2014
In the background against the hills is the Ascuaga Ranch, originally established by the Winters Family.
Yeah, pretty weird, right?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Not Live-Blogging LDS General Conference, Sorry

I haven't left the church. I'll be watching conference to the extent I stay awake. But I'm still in recovery from walking pneumonia and tire easily. Also, I am working on a project of scanning family photos that I can work on at my own pace as I listen.

For real-time and post-time internet access, you can watch conference now from pretty much any where in the world at: LDS.org.

I will be blogging later on some themes. I expect we'll here more about aiding refugees as we've already heard in the first session last week, traditionally Women's Conference, and as recently as yesterday from Mormon Newsroom on refugees in Italy.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Dirty Politics

Politics is a messy thing. Self-governance as a people united of, by, and for each other is a high ideal rarely obtained. The political choices are almost always the least bad of bad options. Progress is generally made only through compromise. And of our political aspirants we often want to ask, "Why are your doing this?" "What for?" "What's in it for me?" and "By what authority?"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

In Recovery from Walking Pneumonia

Hello, Codeine, my old friend
You're here to cure my lungs again
because the doctor said I've got the grip
That pneumonia let my lungs to slip

And the yellow crud is alive in my mucus cough
work is off
and I'm home in silence . . .

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trump Didn't Pay Any Taxes!

He says that makes him smart.

I pay taxes, so I must be pretty dumb.

The Clintons pay taxes. They've released years of tax returns. The Obamas pay taxes. The Bushes pay taxes. Even wealthy businessman, Mitt Romney, contrary to the false assertions of Harry Reid, paid taxes. Are they all dumber than Donald Trump?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hamilton Saves the Union through Music

There is some kind of WWF contest on TV Monday night. Andy Kaufman is back wrestling a woman again or something. Maybe it's Roller Derby. Regardless of the high entertainment value of Hillary vs. the Donald in the ring, the real hope for America lies in Hamilton, the Musical.

PBS will be showing a special on the Musical phenom on October 21st, just a couple of weeks before the presidential election.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Joseph Smith on The U.S. Constitution - A Call for Protection of Minority Rights as in the Fourteenth Amendment

I've written some on this before including a guest opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune. Now that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Historian's Office has published the Council of Fifty Records, we can see for the first time, the full quote from Joseph Smith as recorded in that Council.

Joseph Smith on 11 April 1844:

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In Which I Perform Another Unique Ceremony

St. Mary's, Cusop, Herefordhire (Cewydd Sant) on the Welsh Border. Surrounded by Yews.
My daughter did well keeping my lilacs alive while we were gone for the hot month of July. And our yard has nearly recovered from my one-year-old grandson turning off the automatic sprinklers.

I was out today shoring up a few of the lilacs that needed a watering base around them. Miss Canada, thriving so well this Spring, is not situated well to pick up the watering. And the new Firmaments and Pres. Poincaré planted in early summer could use the help.

After I was done, I thought about the yew needles from the Holy Yew at Cusop that I had finally found in my trip memorabilia. So I carefully got a few out and put one or two needles into the ground at the base of each lilac bush. In years to come as I sit under my lilacs, a small piece of the sacred yew will have become part of those plants.

The oak leaf is from another sacred site.
A Celtic Church and well in Cornwall.
It can't hurt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An Atypical Election

To my Republican and other Anti-Obama friends:

I have heard your dire predictions that President Obama would destroy the world or at least the United States. Yet here we are nearly eight years in and it hasn't happened. I heard the same thing from many of you about President Bill Clinton. And it didn't happen. And now we hear it from you about Hillary. I don't think it's going to happen with her either.

Now, Hillary Clinton would not be my first choice for President. But she is the best option we have at the present. I know Gary Johnson, I've met him and once had a conversation with him over dinner. He's an OK guy, but I wouldn't want him for President. I'm not real excited about his history of drug use and the really nice family he had that he seems not to have any more. Jill Stein seems to be even more freaky.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Little Pin Badge Vanity

Pierced to the heart with desire for something tangible to remember our latest trip to Britain, I started collecting pin badges. I'm a little late to the game as one of my Welsh Professors has a whole room dedicated to collectible pins. He even has "his guy in Shanghai" who can produce custom pins in bulk. Pin collecting is also big at Disneyland (my Disney collection is very meager). And it was a big thing around here back in '02 for the SLC Winter Olympics (and I even have one of those!).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Preserve the Public Lands!

My hat is off to Field & Stream web edition, and hopefully, the print edition as well for the excellent article on the latest movement to turn over America's public lands to the states and eventually private interests.

Ken Ivory and the Malheur occupiers get special mention as part of the problem, not the solutions. And there's this great quote from the late Western Historian (and Utahn), Bernard DeVoto, who also got it:
“the ultimate objective is to liquidate all public ownership of grazing and forest land in the United States…the plan is to get rid of public lands altogether, turning them over to the states, which can be coerced as the federal government cannot be, and eventually into private ownership.”