Monday, May 30, 2016

Thomas Vaughan and the "Magic" of Adam

You can find this online here.
We're going a little Nibleyesque here as I was startled by some passages I read in the writings of my distant cousin, Thomas Vaughan, the 17th Century Alchemist. The point is, Cousin Thomas draws some very interesting conjectures about the first man, Adam, and his knowledge of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.

First, I must explain that Thomas Vaughan was a very religious man and his study of Alchemy, while a bit unorthodox, fit within his religious faith as he defined Magic in this manner:
Magic is nothing else but the wisdom the the Creator revealed and planted in the creature. . . . Magicians were the first attendants our Savior met withal in this world, and the only philosophers who acknowledged him in the flesh before that he himself discovered it. I find God conversant with them, as he was formerly with the patriarchs; he directs them in their travels with a star, as did the Israelites with a a pillar of fire; he informs them of future dangers in their dreams, that having first seen his Son, they might in the next place see his salvation.*

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Possible Choctaw Ancestry

My latest and last missionary son emailed me some family history work that he was doing for me to check over. It is on the Hartsfield line, ancestors of Carters, to Easterlings, then Petersons (my maternal line). They were Southerners with a family tradition that Sarah, married to Rueben Hartsfield in about 1783, was a Choctaw Indian.

Sabra Ann Carter
The best evidence we have is that Sarah's granddaughter, Sabra Ann Carter (1840-1921), looks like she could be the granddaughter of a Native American.

She appears to have the jet-black hair, high cheek bones, and long, straight nose that could indicate Choctaw ancestry.

This is entirely plausible as the Hartsfields (also "Hartfield"), along with the Easterlings and Carters, ended up in Choctaw Mississippi country. The Choctaw were a large language/cultural group but not united under any particular affiliation until President Jackson ordered removal to Oklahoma. Then there were two distinct groups, the Oklahoma Choctaw and the Mississippi Choctaw, the latter not federally recognized as a Tribe until 1945!

From Access Genealogy the Choctaw were noted:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

What I Told BYU About Sex Crimes and the Honor Code

This is a hot topic in the news and bloggernacle these days, and rightfully so. Without dealing with the negatives of any particular situation you may read about on other sites, let me offer here the solution I proposed in response to the LDS Church and Brigham Young University soliciting comments on the bigger issues of sexual assault and the Honor Code.

As for my own bona fides, I am a graduate of BYU, B.A. '82, as is my wife. Four of our children have attended the Y with a fifth to follow (we have one wonderful, red sheep who graduated from the University of Utah which we also respect). I am currently a continuing-education, evening student for my Welsh language audits and am under a current ecclesiastical endorsement to attend the Y that I will have to renew some time this summer.

I wish I had remembered to cut and paste my comment before I clicked "send" and it disappeared into the ether of the interwebs. But here's the gist of it:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meadow Gold Nostalgia

Went to Dick's Market to buy mayonnaise and came out with a lot of other stuff. I did exercise restraint because I wandered close to the bakery but bought no donuts.

My treat was Meadow Gold Ice Cream which was on sale 2/$5 so I got French Vanilla (fancier than regular and a necessary staple of life - Vanilla is a flavor - not the bland absence of such). Along with that I got Rocky Road which has real miniature marshmallows.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dear Hillary-Haters

First up, I don't like her that much myself, but I don't hate her.

And I'm not going to try to convince you of her competence and political abilities. I have my own issues with her. Still, I know she can do the job and work with the Congress and execute the laws.

I ask you this:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Report: The Archaeology of Herefordshire: An Exploration, by Keith Ray

My life-long love of archaeology begin in First Grade when I saw photos of the horrifying casts of human forms from Pompeii. It related directly as we lived in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, an undead volcano like Vesuvius. Later, I was fascinated by all things Egyptian and saw King Tut's Treasure Exhibition in Seattle. And Heinrich Schliemann found his golden treasure, while not quite at the right level for King Priam's hoard, it was gold nonetheless.

In 1969, our Scout Troop hiked the Pacific Beaches of Olympic National Park. As the service project to qualify for our fifty-miler, we helped shovel out some of the settling ponds at an archaeological site at Cape Alava. Prompted by my dad, I asked Dr. Daugherty of Washington State University what it would take to become an archaeologist. He said I should take a lot of Science classes.

Crap. Seventh Grade Science was a joke. How many ways can you measure the effects of hydrochloric acid on sea shells (AKA Calcium)? We did experiment with it on several other substances; desks, linoleum, each other. Sadly, while I continued to read ancient history, I never became an archaeologist.

There was one other thing that bothered me. Egypt, Troy, and even Cape Alava were fascinating but I wanted to find out about where my own ancient people came from. Well, that day has arrived!

Keith Ray's The Archaeology of Herefordshire: An Exploration, (Logaston Press, Almely, Hereforshire, UK 2015) came through Amazon! It was only 20 bucks. And while I haven't read it all in one sitting, I have begun to devour and already have several discoveries in the home turf of my ancestors:

Trump Es un Payaso!

The Chilean Author, Mario Vargas Llosa, has given an appropriate name to the presumptive presidential candidate of the Republican Party. He calls Trump a "Payaso." That means "clown." If only it weren't so true.

Now the Republican elite are slowly coming to accept this clown in an attempt to unify their party. This week, the President Pro Temp of the Senate, and our own Senior Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, declared he was for the clown and expects him to shape up as the election draws closer. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, issued a statement after meeting with Trump that they are payasos amigos.

And Trump has moderated his speech somewhat. He said he was only making suggestions when he made some of his more outrageous statements like banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. Maybe that applies to his Great Wall with Mexico to keep out all the rapists too. I don't really know when the Payaso is expressing presidential policy or just making suggestions as part of his payaso act.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Trump Wrong on Foreign Policy and Immigration

1) Trump willing to use nuclear weapons in Europe and Middle East:

See the Independent article here. Our European and other allies are very concerned - as are most thinking people in the U.S. My main opposition to Hillary Clinton is her hawkish attitude and her vote for the Iraq War. Trump is far worse. Hillary should revive the devastating daisy-petal-nuke ad from Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to use against Trump.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Trump Я US

It is our own fault, that of all of us. Existential guilt creeps in for our national failures.

Jimmy Carter, God bless him, was and is right. His Malaise Speech of 1979 was prophetic:
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. . . .
As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning. . . .

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Romantic Sensuality

"Oh, Moon, grow bright! And make this endless day endless night!"
Courtesy NASA
Yeah, I'll probably get in trouble for this one.

Some of you may recall a couple of weeks ago when my wife left town for a few days and I made the lachrymose mistake of listening to the musicals Carousel and West Side Story. This morning I woke from a strange dream with both Shakespeare's Falstaff (Prince Hal's good friend) and Prospero (from The Tempest) quoting Stephen Sondheim with the line in the above NASA caption. It must mean something.

Last Sunday after church, my wife and I watched the recording from that day's Mo-Tab Choir broadcast in which they sang, you guessed it, Tonight from West Side Story. I found that a moving while somewhat odd choice for the Choir on Sunday morning. With the full romantic and rather sensual lines. I think it was the imagery of Sun, Moon, and Stars of Heavenly Glory that got it approved. Here's the full lyric from the duet, and later, Tony and Maria in the quintet: