Why my thigh is bruised


My thigh was just on the other side of this piece of metal.

Svithe: Las Vegas


Yes, we are still on the road. Svithes suffer when we're on the road.

Last night, we (finally) watched New York Doll with the Fobs.

All the hype is true.

Ultimately, I think the film is about one man's love affair with God, with a whole bunch of other stuff added to create a delicious stone soup.

So for my svithe today, I advertize.

Viva Las Vegas!

Last week's svithe


Love Letters from th'eCasanova


Instead of replying to comments in comments, I am going to follow this precedent and write a new post instead. In doing so, I am adopting a New Persona: th'eCasanova. Everything th'eCasanova says is said in a cheesy and slightly creepy and wholly indeterminate European accent. To remind you of this fact, I will occasionally spell words "wrong".

BAWB said...

I'm stuck on you too. Aww.

Reply of th'eCasanova

Cicada said...

Th., I was really glad that I went out with you guys to Ottavios because I wouldn't have had much time to chat with you at the party. Then again, if I hadn't met you at Ottavios, I probably would have stayed with the Daltoncrew and talked to you the whole time.

The blog party was fantastic and it was great to put faces to names, but I didn't do a good job of meeting people who I hadn't already met. Something about having had only three hours of sleep, feeling slightly queasy, and knowing that I was going to get to see Viper later that night, which is, indisputably, my favorite activity.

Reply of th'eCasanova

Jessica Benet said...

Hey thanks! Also, I think Lunkwill was in an especially "let's gross people out with PDA stuff" mood. We're not always like that, I promise (and I hope you weren't too grossed out).

It was wonderful to finally meet you and then to get to sit and chat with you for an hour or so!! You're every bit as mysterious and cool as I thought you would be. Lady Steed was a bit quieter than I expected, but at least as pretty as her avatar (if not more so).

Reply of th'eCasanova

Stupidramblings said...

Alas, I am in Atlanta--couldn't make it. Fortunately, there will be other meetings...

Reply of th'eCasanova

daltongirl said...

I went home, went to bed, and dreamed that Lady Steed and I went yard saling together. According to my personal dream interpretation guide, that means we're BFF. Sorry, Cicada, but you have never been yard saling with me. Time to change that if you want your place back.

It was more than delightful to meet you. I hope we didn't keep you from spending time with others, but since 99% of the reason we went was to meet you and Lady Steed, well, we were selfish. Our apologies to all others who didn't get to spend enough time with the th.s because of us.

Reply of th'eCasanova

Master Fob said...

Hurray for blog parties! Let's do it again. Or, if that's too much to ask, let me know when you and Edgy decide to throw your own BFF blog party so I can crash it.

Reply of th'eCasanova

Melyngoch said...

Lunkwill's real name is Zaphod? Goodness, I can't wait to meet him.

Cicada: did you want scare quotes around "see"? Like this:

I was going to get to "SEE" (wink wink nudge nudge high-pitched giggle) Viper later that night . . .

th.: If you come back when I'm there, I'll give you a book!

Reply of th'eCasanova

feather.123. said...

I've ALWAYS wanted to ask you if you all know each other in person...


Reply of th'eCasanova

kirsa said...

Oh, how lovely. I'm at least temporarily indescribable.

I'm glad Vengance came too, as he pushes me out of my comfort zone, which oddly enough usually results in me acting more like myself. He looks familiar to lots of people (but then again, lots of people at the blog party looked very familiar to me, and I can't figure out why...you, for example, reminded me strongly of a guy I know named Luke).

It was a pleasure to meet you and your family. And your hat is awesome. I love hats. I would have worn one, but my room was too messy to be able to find my current favorite.

Reply of th'eCasanova

The Divine Miss A said...

See, perhaps there is some good that can come from not living in the bubble. If you ever make your way to the midwest, though, I'll have to meet you guys. Hope you guys all had fun at the party.

Reply of th'eCasanova

Rachel said...

You have no idea how traumatized I have been the past three days, all because I was not there to meet you. Of course, the doctor had nothing to do with my traumagity (which word I totally just made up).

I echo Mel's sentiments: Come back when I'm in town! I can't guarantee a book, but I can always offer desserts. I make a mean chocolate cake and scrumptious pumpkin cookies. If you're into those.

Reply of th'eCasanova

Absent-minded Secretary said...

I'm sorry that we didn't get to talk more too, and I'm even more sorry that it seems that you can't decide to put me into the confirmed corporeal or unconfirmed corporeal categories on your link sidebar. Unless I just can't see my name anymore.

But, it was lovely to meet both you and Lady Steed, even if it meant that you have threatened my BFF status with Edgy.

Reply of th'eCasanova

editorgirl said...

It really doesn't take much time to uncover repressed mother stories from me. As for the rorschach. . . some other time, I hope.

Reply of th'eCasanova


The Corporeal many


Names sell newspapers


(people i met for the first time this week)

Asmond: A pleasure to meet Asmond, whom I liked very much. I have said more than once that Asmond's blog reminds me of myself, circa 1999. This statement generally comes out implying I think Asmond is a freak. This says more about me than him.Anyway, I'm glad to discover that the gentleman in question is lovely to have around. Good luck with Gemini, my son.

Stupid: Stupid did not come. I really really hoped Stupid would come but Stupid did not come. Stupid Stupid. You freaking broke my heart! Now I still can't decide whether or not you are confirmed!

Absent: Absent didn't stay long and I didn't get to speak to her much or become close, personal, realworld friends with her. But at least she came. (I'm looking at you, Stupid.)

Edgy: I also did not get to speak to Edgy nearly long enough. Of all people! Edgy! Not nearly long enough! Now, over at Master Fob's I read that Edgy and I are now BFFs, which is awesome, but apparently life-threatening. Edgy--let's sup, but do it safely.

The Marchioness: Finally! I now have a complete collection of librarians!

editorgirl: Yes, I did meet editorgirl--twice in fact--but she is also near the top of the People I Did Not Meet Quite Well Enough This Week List. But what did I expect out of five days? That I would get to rorschach her? uncover repressed mother stories?

Brozy: As if I didn't enjoy getting to know Brozy enough already, she gave me a book. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you. (Note that it's the hardcover edition.)

Bawb: I'm stuck on Bawb. I have typed the rest of this post and I just can't find something fully fitting for friend Bawb. So much to say, so few ways to say it. Other people, in situations like this, can resort to a Your Mom joke. Alas, I cannot, I cannot, I cannot.

Cicada: After joining blogdom, Cicada was one of my first fictional friends. Moving her into the corporeal column has been momentous indeed. And poor Lady Steed--she really wanted to talk to her more. If you're ever in the AV, Cicada, stop on by. We'll give you cookies.

Daltongirl & Daltonboy & Lola: I thought there was a good chance Cicada would arrive with Daltongirl and I secretly hoped newly-twelve Lola would also show, but Daltonboy was completely unexpected. The way the evening worked out, even though they weren't there that long, I actually got to speak with them more than nearly anyone else. Time well spent!

Rachel: Oh. Wait. Rachel was in St. George. Watching tv. I see how it is.

JB & Lunkwill: First, thanks guys for refraining from having sex on the fobcouch--we all appreciated that. JB, you're beautiful. Lunkwill, you're named after a Hitchhiker's Guide character. You're obviously a power couple. P'zah!

Kirsa & Vengance: I've been searching for the right adjective for Kirsa. I can come up with many close synonyms, but they will all come across as demeaning and that's completely the wrong direction because I liked her and I'm frustrated that the correct adjective is avoiding me. Annoying adjectives.... And Vengence, her beloved, rudely looked like Stupid and someone else I know but can't quite put my finger on. I'm still glad he came, though.

Thirdmango: Ladies and gentlemen, could I have your attention please. Reports of 3M's hair have not been exaggerated.

Chuck Norris: Special thanks for finding time in your busy schedule.

Mandi & Miss A & Limon: Thank you for not coming. I am almost out of unconfirmeds. Some other time, perhaps? After I've made some other fictional friends?

Thanks also to old chums Master Fob, Foxy J, Tolkers & Silly Marie for fresh new good times.

Note: I feel I missed some fine new friend. Instruct me if this missing soul is you.


Supped well


And thank you to the entire luncheon party, viz, Bawb, Brozy, Cicada, the Big O, Lady Steed, and me.

So lovely to confirm your corporeality.

Ottavio's on Provo Center Street


We will be going to Ottavio's for lunch today, being Tuesday, April 25. We intend to show up at 1:30 pm. We will probably only get bruschetta, although if she can fit it, I can assure you Lady Steed will also be getting some zabaione. And if she does, I, like the parasite I am, will swoop in for some berries.

Join us. I'll try to check my comments before we head over. (We'll be at BYU.)




In honor of today's Zits, I am writing this post before talking to my darling wife about these events. Besides, she's taking a bath.

So I'm coming home from work. First I buy gas. The cheapest was a full twenty cents higher than my prediction for the end of April.

I was also almost in three accidents.

Pulling into the gas station, an idiot pulled a stunt, nearly hit me, then blasted his horn at me.

While I was pumping, a numbskull backed into the Taurus, sending it lurching back. So I guess I was only almost in two accidents. The third actually happened. We examined the Taurus and all she hit was its license plate so hopefully all is okay. But it crrrrrunched getting out of park. I think it's fine though. I hope.

Yeah, then I was nearly hit by another parking lot maniac. And we're not even in Utah yet!

I think the work I'm looking for is "auspicious."

Major omission


Sam Hawk! I forgot Sam Hawk! They make the best kimpop I've had in America and I can't stand the thought of missing Sam Hawk while we are there.

Phew! that was a close one!


Utah bound (and what we will do [eat] while we are there)


    We are leaving the AV tomorrow afternoon. We have a motel in Cedar City. Sometime Saturday we will arrive in Provo.

    We will be staying with Brass Clan cousins. Although depending on, for instance, the lateness of blog partying, we may end up taking up the Fobs' offer as well. And, should all else fail, there's always Stupid!

    We're thinking we will attend our old ward in hopes of meeting some lost friends. Given the turnover in Provo wards, this is a shaky goal but one we consider worth our attempts.

    Let's face it. Food trumps all. Here are the places we hope to hit while we are in Utah:

    Ottavio's: Patriarch of the Brass Clan had a Sicilian grandfather and visiting Ottavio's is like being back listening to the old men swap stories as the women bring in the food. We simply cannot enter the state of Utah without entering Ottavio's also, even if all we find time for is bruschetta.

    Gandolfo's: Not on our top tier of must-eats, but we loved the sandwiches when we lived there and wouldn't mind reminding ourselves of their tastiness.

    Bombay House: Mmmmm. Indian food. And, frankly, the best Indian food I've ever had. I'm going to have Lamb Saab. I just wish they hadn't done away with their 1 to 10 hotness grading scale. I found it much easier to navigate than mild, medium, hot.

    Thai Chili Gardens: We've patronized a few good Utah Valley Thai restaurants in the past, but if we want Thai this time, we'll try here. We always heard it was the best (latest testimonial) and we have always regretted missing it.

    Stan's: No question on this one--we're heading to 900 East for shakes and fries. You're certainly welcome to join us. I'm leaning towards pineapple.

    That hot dog stand just south of BYU campus in the old cellphone shack: Given the time and inclination for a tasty dog with Vietnamese chili sauce.

    Coney's: We went to Coney's exactly once and weren't that impressed. But Lady Steed is impressionable and has heard so many people talk nice about it that she has decided it is a place she misses and that we must go.

    Sugar-n-Spice: On the completely other side of this memory equation are the many and strong memories of Lady Steed's where she is eating those famous chocolate mint brownies. She has about a billion of these memories and they're all real.

    The best grocery store in the history of humanity: When she was single, Lady Steed et roommates would visit Macey's for chocolate-dipped softserv cones. Now that we've been married five years, she has decided I have earned the right to eat one too.

    I wanted, in this post, to give you tentative dates and times to meet us at the above eateries, but we're not that together yet. But you're invited to join us at each, every, any, or all. Do come.

    The primary reason for our visit is to see Brother Steed walk at BYU graduation and to visit with him and his charming wife Silly Marie. We also hope to see some of my family while we're there. We should have already told them we'll be in town.... Shoot.


    We're going to have to close our credit union account, hit school employees with sticks, find out if Sunfall Festival is playing, go to the temple, see the design BFAs in the HFAC, take the Big O on the Heber Creeper---whatever else we can fit in, basically.

Hope to see you there!


I have a couple of clever titles for this post in mind but had better not use either of them since the inevitable result will be people seeing that title and the following photo and leaping to the unwarranted conclusion that Jack Black is LDS (which is a rumor that will undoubtedly be started soon anyway but which I would rather could not be traced back to me) and besides, then people will not be readied for the surprising and unrelated ending which they nonetheless should be looking forward to

.We're not goofing off. We're creating wrestling fusion.

Jack Black's new movie is also Jared Hess's new movie. This means that not only will this be a movie to keep an eye on, but it will be a movie, the viewing of which must take precedence over the lives of beloved family members.

I was attending BYU the same time as Mr Hess but never knew him. In fact, it wasn't until I graduated that I put the BYU film department's bad reputation aside and began seeing some of the short films they were producing. I saw some really good ones. Prometheus, The Snell Show, Postcards from France, Peluca....

Ah, Peluca. A film by Jared Hess. The Duganators and the Thteeds were huge Peluca fans. We showed it to many people on many occasions. Then the Duganators moved to a mystical land called "Back East" and that was that.

One year, Lady Steed and I went and saw Lucky Break at the Sundance Film Festival. The next year, our son was about two months old and we decided not to attend the festival and we didn't even look at the program. Which was a mistake, because we thus did not see the image that representing some film called "Napoleon Dynamite". Had we seen it, we would immediately have recognized our beloved Seth. And, had we seen it, we would have found a way to see Napoleon Dynamite at Sundance and then I would be more completely idolized by my high school-aged acquaintances.

Anyway, the real point here is that before Jared and Jerusha Hess became the new force in Hollywood comedy, they were bumming around the same college campus I was. I likely passed Napoleon himself many times, as animation majors and graphic design majors shared a building. I probably looked at his storyboards on the wall as Lady Steed spent hours and hours (and hours) silkscreening circus posters.

Imagine if I had sent an email via the school's system to these blokes whose work I admired. Perhaps I would be emailing them still. Not that I require celebrity offal in my life, but hey! networking's all the rage!

Another Hollywood Power Couple-bound pair of BYU grads is Andrew and Anne Black, whose Moving McAllister is supposed to be coming out this year.

When I was bludgeoned into the four things chain, one of the movies I wanted to include was the Blacks' BYU-centered version of Pride & Prejudice.

This movie has been unfairly slandered by high-minded artistic Mormons as crap. It is not crap. It's good. Good enough that if Byuck were to be made into a film, Mr Black would be my first choice for director, and what higher compliment can a writer pay?

Black's The Snell Show was one of my other favorite short films out of BYU's film department and, once again, I could have sent a short email saying Nice Job! and Cool Flick! but I didn't. And now my first-choice director doesn't know me from Adam.

I'm not sure what my point is here, but it might be related to the choice Lady Steed and I are making. The Antelope Valley Independent Film Festival is next week and instead of networking there, we intend to be networking with a different set of people.

Now I will admit we are coming in part because I foolishly entered into a legally binding commitment to attend some party in my honor, but the bigger truth is that we want to come.

I've made my networking decision [cue swells of romantic strings] . . . and that decision is you.

ps: and to the best of my knowledge, jack black is not lds


Hitch & Mr and Mrs Smith


When I first realized that I would not be the blogger that kept the denizens of Tehachapi up on such things as the groundbreaking for Red Apple Road, I thought I might instead spend a lot of time reviewing movies watched, books read, ets cetered. That has never really happened. The closest I can remember coming was when I plugged Miyazaki. But tonight I am going to make good on that intention and discuss a real kick-in-the-pants flick Lady Steed and I watched last night: Mr and Mrs Smith.

To my shame and disgrace, I have actually seen very few screwball comedies and so it will not be fair of me to say this, but the Mr and Mrs are one of the best of the genre. We laughed, we gasped, we laughed, we enjoyed the repartee and we laughed. A lot.

Alfred Hitchcock directed Mr and Mrs Smith as a favor to Carole Lombard, whose house he was renting when he made the film. And Mr and Mrs Smith is nothing like a "Hitchcock film"--no dead bodies, for instance. Hitch's other great comedy, The Trouble with Harry (a hilarious film and one of my all-time favorites--immeasurably rewatchable), most certainly has a body. Who did you think Harry was?

Anyway, Mr and Mrs Smith:

I haven't seen last year's movie of the same title, but it was imaginable that it could be a remake--I can see Hitchcock making a movie about spouse spies who try to kill one another--but I was not disappointed to be wrong.

(Note: Minor spoilers follow that will give away the film's premise. To read, highlight text with your mouse.)

The Smiths have a deal with each other: part of that deal is never lying to one another. So when one morning, when she asks him if he would marry her all over again, given the chance, he says no. And few sane people could honestly mean yes on that particular morning, even with Carole Lombard's feet up your pants.

By a movie-worthy twist of fate, that morning a gentleman from a town in Nevada (not Idaho--this distinction is important) shows up with embarrassing news.

All these years, the town had thought they were in Idaho and were incorporated according to the laws of that state. Come to find out, they are actually in Nevada. All marriage licenses issued by city hall are thus invalid. Ergo, the Smiths have been living in sin.

Thus follows some wonderfully funny and racy amusements. You like your dramatic irony straight up? This is the movie for you. David Thomson says that the greatest special effect in movie history has always been the camera steady on a human face as it changes its mind. He's probably right. And these two leads have faces that are one charming special effect after another.

If you watch it, and of course you are actively seeking it out now in a second browser window, do us a favor. The best friend looks like Dustin Hoffman, this we know. But we couldn't figure out what current actor Robert Montgomery looks like. If you solve that mystery, let us know.

And my advice: Try to have someone nearby to kiss when the movie ends and the skis cross. You'll be glad if you do. Trust me.

Some of our most exquisite murders have been domestic, performed with tenderness in simple, homey places like the kitchen table.

(yawn sounds)




Moderation in all things ----- Except the bleeding temperature . . . .


Last Thursday, my drive home was wildly warm--hot even. Since then it has been mostly cold. I'm shivering now in the teacher's lounge.

Spring is probably the best time, temperaturewise, in the AV. Soon it will be broiling, except, some days, between the hours of two and four a.m. Winter was cold, with no snow to suck out the bite--just cold.

On the bright side, I haven't slid on any sand blowing across the road in months. So though discomfort may reign, life seems likely to go on.

And today may yet turn nice.


Floss-related injuries


With this post, I am starting a petition to have the Surgeon General or the FDA or somebody put warning labels on dental floss.

See, my tongue hurts.

Friday I was caught completely off guard by my floss. There I was, flossing as usual, and the floss caught on the tip of my tongue--perhaps on a taste bud--and pulled the edge of my tongue all the way down between my teeth. A portion of my tongue was gone, turned to blood. Today, three days later, my tongue has a white sore at the site of the trauma. It hurts.

Show your support for public safety by affixing your name to the comments section of this post.


Moonbeams: An Easter Svithe


"Testimony isn't something you have today,
and you are going to have always.
A testimony is fragile.
It is as hard to hold as a moonbeam.
It is something you have to recapture
every day of your life."
---Harold B Lee

Today is Easter. Why is today Easter and not some other day? I wish I could tell your, but the folks who designed and carry out the Easter-figuring machinery for the Western World only speak Urdu and have never been able to sufficiently explain their methodology to us speakers of Indo-European tongues. But it has something to do with the full moon.

The full moon makes a great symbol for Easter. The moon waxes and wanes, dying and returning to life on a regular schedule to remind us of the death and resurrection of the Savior.

Every halfway worthwhile religion in the history of the world has had a spring festival to remind its followers of the return of life--nothing like bouncing baby goats to get a lad's mind on the really important things in life. Resurrection and fertility is what spring has always been about. Aussies should seriously considereschedulingng their Easter to October. If those Urdu calendar men will let them.

My religion is itself a symbol of death and resurrection. And I don't mean the LDS faith, I mean my own personal inner life of faith. It too, like the moon, waxes and wanes. At times I am a man of faith. Other times I am a spiritual pauper.

But that's to be expected. Like I talked about in my last post, entropy is an inescapable fact of mortality--without the expenditure of energy, things break down. So it is with faith. Without my diligence and effort, my faith breaks down.

Christ's diligence of two thousand years ago, on the other hand, was not a mortal effort and is not subject to entropy. And his gift is not just to raise my body and save my soul, but relying on him also allows me to daily recapture the moonbeam of my own faith. For he is the author and the finisher of my faith. My source of moonbeams.


Last week's svithe


Time. Time. Time.
Eating us alive.


Good old time, dragging us onwards ever onwards to mortality. Now that I'm a whopping twenty-nine, I am regularly reading about people my age dropping dead of heart attacks, brain aneurysm, peculiar cancers, and the like. I would have thought I had at least ten more years before I would feel like the bad news was about my peers. But not so.

I was taught once in a science class that entropy is the only true measure of time. Meaning that death is the only true measurement of life. A pleasant thought.

Immortality isn't easy to come by, and in search of it I won't be one of those people who, in their wills, [request] that their memoirs be bound in their own skins.

But the ticking of a clock surely must be the most morbid thing of all. Which is why, I suppose, I am so infatuated with this clock.
(See more cool stuff by the designer here.)

Since I have to ask, I know I can't afford it, but it is cool.


Anyway, the clock is ticking now and I have one small task to complete before heading home.





Six (6) items of business


First: I apologize for not writing much lately. I have many unfinished posts sitting around in draft form. Most of them are about two sentences long. I don't know what creeping terror is preventing my mind from functioning properly, but I suppose I had better find out. Someday.

Second: I'm starting to suspect I may be the victim of passive-aggressive henpecking. (Exhibit A) (Exhibit B)

Third: According to one of my students, George Washington is a historical figure who is important to her because he's on the one-dollar bill and was president like in the Fifties or something.

Fourth: I'm tired. I'm very, very tired.

Fifth: I almost have my svithes-only blog running. In Firefox I have a huge gap between the top of the page and the start of the svithe. In Explorer, the blog text gets on top of the blog title. I'm not html savvy enough to make different browsers see the thing in different ways, but if you have a moment, would you mind taking a look and telling me what your browser is and how the blog looks in it?

Sixth: In a blatant ripoff of Rambli Method Friend Generation, I tapped my expert sources and am now able to share the following gossip: The Olsen twins have adopted the lost grandson of Marilyn Monroe in response to the news that Brad and Angie have adopted all the children of six western Malaysian villages stricken with bird flu; Raven Symone meanwhile is no longer pregnant, being the first known celebrity to use an expensive new surgery that allows the mother to enjoy conception, then pass the fetus on to a surrogate; Lindsay Lohan was arresting for getting Bubbles the Chimp drunk; Paris Hilton stole Phat Girlz' star Mo'Nique's chihuahua's grill; and, finally, Eva Longoria has admitted that she is the true author of both A Million Little Pieces and the Gospel of Judas--James Frey and Judas are said to have nothing left to live for except their expected inclusion on next season's The Surreal Life. Which is why we don't have cable.


Another meaning of the word svithe


And you can buy frozen sheep's head
from the frozen goods section in any
Icelandic supermarket, except the
Icelanders have a fancy name for it,
it's called "svið" (pron 'svithe')
Half a sheep's head (sawn down the
middle) all wrapped up in cling-wrap
and polysterene, that frozen eye looking
up at you out of the chest freezer.

LDotFMotNYl: Deleted Scenes (6)


(Note: this is the sixth in a series of deleted letters from the Last Day of the First Month of the New Year Letter. Visit the previous deleted scenes here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)


Thteed Family Abandons Traditional Media

Theric left his job at the Tehachapi News; Lady Steed left her groundbreaking work in the business card / menu market; the Big O diversified his boardbook portfolio with Bill Peet, Dr. Seuss, and life-life action Thomas the Tank Engine videos. These changes opened up new opportunities with Theric teaching English at Littlerock High School, Lady Steed working on home-based-pest control (hyphens intentional), and the Big O starring in his own sitcom, the aptly named “More! Choochoo! Go! Train! Broke! More Choochoo! Broke! Boom!”

More information on the Thteed Family’s forays into nontraditional media can be found at lsteed.blogspot.com and thmazing.blogspot.com.


You can see why I haven't bothered posting any deleted scenes lately....

Actually, as part of a whole, this isn't too bad--though it doesn't stand alone at all well. The main reason this didn't make the ldotfmot cut was because Lady Steed wasn't sure she wanted her blog address bandied about so readily to the people we know. Which is interesting. It seems the closer in real life someone is to a blogger, the less likely the blogger is to want them to see their blog. Interesting....


Thteed Family Celebrity Crushes


Can you match the Thteeds to their celebrity crushes?

Answers to follow.

Caaaaaaan you feeeeeeel the loooooooove toniiiiiight

1. Thmazing to Myrna Loy.
    Given that my standard of beauty is what lurks on Lady Steed's face, it may surprise you that Myrna Loy wins the race as my celebrity crush. The truth is, it's not her looks so much as it is her way of delivering a line that wows me. The only "real" celebrity crush I've ever had was during the summer of 1999 on the singer of Sixpence None the Richer. Did you see that video? Anyway, Myrna: She's funny and mean and nice and caustic and she never takes a prisoner. Go rent a Thin Man movie or either of the ones where she split billing with Cary Grant. You can't go wrong.

2. Lady Steed to Alton Brown.
    I learned about this "sorta crush" on Saturday at my sister's apartment as we watched Food Network. I knew immediately why. It wasn't the food skills. It wasn't the braininess. It wasn't the cool specs. Or, rather, it was all these things, but primarily it was the spiky hair. And I realized that if I want all the wifely affections available, I need to reconsider my goop-free hair policy. If it can work for a balding guy, it ought to work for me. (For more on that policy, copy either of the following links into your browser: http://thmazing.blogspot.com/2005/08/half-moon-bay-ward.html - http://thmazing.blogspot.com/2005/12/on-husbandry-rants-and-apologium.html.)

3. The Big O to Mei of My Neighbor Totoro fame.
    Mei is something of an older woman for the Big O, but not so much older that he can't view her as a peer. And what a peer! She brave and assertive and gets to ride around on enormous furry creatures! What a woman! If you were two, you'ld be crushing on her too. Admit it.


Pay no attention to the svithe behind the curtain!

Tie by Los Duganatros. Photo by Lady Steed. Modeled by the author.

The tie you see on my beautiful body was won in a silent auction at the Provo 19th Ward. I don't remember what it was for--Boy Scouts or Girls' Camp probably--money isn't part of very many LDS activities. I think I spent $2. I'm very happy with it.

The tie had been donated to the auction by my friends Mr and Mrs Duganator, whom you may recall. Mrs Duganator said it would never sell. Mr Duganator bought it anyway, and I took it home. I was the only bidder.

When I first met Mr Duganator I thought he was a Communist. It ends up I was wrong on that, but I at least I learned that I don't know how to tell a real Communist from a fake one. Surely that information will come in handy some day. No doubt on some high-pressure game show. I'll call Mr Duganator with my lifeline and ask him to tell the difference for me.

Anyway, among his many talents, Mr Duganator was an incredible elders quorum instructor. In fact, the 19th Ward was richly blessed when it came to elders quorum instructors, but Mr D was a real standout among standouts.

I wish I could remember all the details of the lesson I am about to share with you, but I haven't received that grant to pay a grad student to index my journals yet, so we're going on memory alone.

Before the real meat of the lesson, Mr D said he had to break the class in two with the room's Won-Door. He had one of our other excellent instructors teach the preliminaries to one half of the class while he taught the other.

Just a few sentences in, Mr D realized he needed something from NotJon, who was a student on the other side of the Won-Door. Rather than noisily open the Won-Door and disturb the other half-a-class, he asked for a volunteer to run out of the room and enter through the back door into the other half, bringing NotJon back to our half. I immediately volunteered. I couldn't bear that even one second of Mr D's teaching time should be lost.

I snuck in the back and slid into an empty seat by NotJon. I quietly asked him to come over to our side.

Brother Lawyer, the other instructor, told him to wait just a second, that he was almost done and then NotJon could go and, in the meantime, I should just get comfortable and listen to what he was teaching.

"Um, I would love to, but Mr D really needs NotJon now," I said.

"Just a minute, just a minute," said Brother Lawyer.

"Just a minute, just a minute," said NotJon. "I really don't want to miss this--I've been thinking about this topic all week."

Brother Lawyer was giving a lesson on charity and asked me to relax and enjoy it until he got to a good stopping spot. I whispered my request to NotJon again who said to wait and then the back door opened. Another elder came in from Mr Duganator's half of the room to get me and NotJon. Brother Lawyer wouldn't relinquish us. Then another elder came. And another.

Then Mr Duganator opened the Won-Door just before Brother Lawyer made his final logical leap, which leap, he later told us, would have taken us so deep into false doctrine that we all would have had to get rebaptized.

See, while Mr Duganator was stalling, Brother Lawyer was teaching lies. This was not an accident.

It was instead an object lesson, a lead-in to the actual topic which was ... something. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the whole point of the lesson was.

This doesn't mean the lesson was a failure. Not at all! In fact, what I do remember, I remember with astonishing clarity. And that can be applied to any number of situations.

Brother Lawyer could represent the devil or just bad information. NotJon could represent a lost member of the flock or a seeker. I could represent a missionary or a lost member of the flock myself. Mr Duganator could represent God or a bishop or a parent....

A good metaphor can fit a good many situations. Or, in other words, a good metaphor can fit a good many people. (Try one today.)

I intended to write this at noon, but Lady Steed wanted to go see turtles and take naps and now it's almost midnight. And any metaphor breaks down when the hour's late enough. So we'll call this svithe good enough, let you reach your own conclusions, and say goodnight.


Last week's svithe


New glasses!


Wow, Theric. You look hot!For the first time since November 1999, I have new glasses. I can't tell you how excited I am.

I love wearing glasses, I really do. I'm always astounded when people go for contacts over specs. It's mystifying.

Anyway, it's a big occasion for me.

Lady Steed also has new glasses, but she's unsure about them. This is understandable. After all, her last pair were perfect for her. Common indeed was it for us to be out and to have total strangers approach us and stop her to say, "Oh, my heart! Never have I seen such perfectly matched face and frames! Your glasses--they were made for you!"

Lady Steed would shyly blush, turn her head modestly, and reply. "Yes. I know. I am beautiful. And so are my glasses. Together we move jaded fashion moguls to tears."

Weeping, the person who stopped us, expresses renewed faith in a beautiful world, thanks us for the opportunity to see absolute perfection before death, and stumbles back to their otherwise dreary life.

Naturally, no new frames can possibly live up to this legacy. But I do think she is being unduly harsh towards her new glasses. After all, the highlights match her hair.

See what you think, then leave her an encouraging comment.



I came to Thmusings this morning to discover that the picture for the previous post was not showing. Huh. So I tried to go to the website, but it is blocked.
    The requested page is currently unavailable
    Your organization has chosen to limit viewing of this site (http://www.metalandmagic.com/), due to the rating of its content (nudity,art/culture).

    If you feel that you have received this page in error, please contact:
    Your Local Site Network Technician
Okay, the "nudity" I can understand, but why is "art/culture" blocked at a place of education? Can someone explain that to me?


The Visions of Ursula Vernon


I loved her penguin and went looking for more and found much that I liked. Be sure to read her commentaries should you visit. She sounds like a very funny woman.

(Click the picture to visit her site.)

The other C½ I spent


Higher education is highly subsidized making it affordable to the masses. Hooray.

However, perhaps it is oversubsidized. Perhaps if I was paying something closer to the real cost of my tuition, I wouldn't have all these other fees this quarter as well:

    State University Fee $561.00 (this is the tuition. the rest is not.)

    Non-Refundable SUF $5.00

    ASB Athletic Fee $11.00

    ASB Child Care Fee $3.50 (does this mean they'll watch the big o for us on movie night?)

    Associated Student Body Fee $12.50

    IRA Athletic Referendum Fee $16.00

    ASB Antelope Valley $2.00

    ASB Clubs & Organizations $3.00

    ASB Division I Athletics $40.00 (this is a new one as we just went division i.)

    IRA Fine Arts Referendum fee $2.00

    Facility Fee $2.00

    Health Fee $70.00 (is this like the protection fee i pay mario?)

    ID FEE-Photo ID Card Fee $4.00 (i don't have one of these cards and no need for one.)

    IRA Fee,Instr. Activity Fee $4.00

    Studnt Union Rec Center $72.00 (100 miles away and never seen with these eyes.)

    SU, Studnt Union Fee $24.00 (don't even start....)


re: Blog Party III


Master Fob says I'm 'the black guy in the back'--you can totally tell because of the black bar over the eyes.Wednesday, April 26 sounds as good to us as any day can sound. If I have to abandon my flock, that week is actually a great week to do so. The biggest consideration is gas, which'll probably be about $2.85 by the end of April, I'm guessing. Last week's trip, which I estimate to be roughly 80% the size of a Utah trip, about broke the feeble bank. We haven't decided yet whether we will come or not, but we Thteeds hereby endorse Blog Party III all the same.

If we come, we will likely bring eight minutes of entertainment with us. We used to, in conjunction with Mr and Mrs Duganator, show a short film at parties called Peluca. Alas, now that everyone (everyone) has seen Napoleon Dynamite, that no longer seems necessary. So this time we would bring Rejected.

I hope you all can stand a bit of postmodern, gory, stickfigure, angstridden, horror.

I know the Duganators would approve. After all, didn't they love Billy's Balloon?

I'm a banana.

Things that are incompatible


Ammonia & Bleach

Blecch & Delicious morsels

Morbid fascination & Amusing desolation

Desperate in love & Holding down a job


The Seventh Svithe Svithtacular!


We left Lady Steed's parents yesterday around one and wended our way to Tehachapi, where we are spending General Conference weekend--or at least General Conference Saturday--I'm writing this during one of the seventeen opening songs of the first session and we haven't made that decision yet. After this song ends, Bishop Burton will be speaking. Bishop Burton is an engaging speaker (and he certainly has a treasure trove of sports metaphors) which means that two times out of three they stick him in Priesthood Session and he speaks to the young men. Not today.

My attention is already shown to be lagging. Elder Hales is speaking first.

I wonder what it is like to speak using a teleprompter. Elder Hales just substituted "God" for "man" in a scripture he was quoting. Did he notice but didn't have time to go back as the relentless progress of the teleprompter pulled him forward? Don't know. There's a metaphor here somewhere.

I think the way this svithe will turn out is as a series of small, barely connected thoughts. You should feel free to skim if that seems appropriate. This'll probably be longish.

On the ability to act: Elder Hales suggests that we can surrender our ability to act, that we can feel powerless and lost and controlled. And he suggests ways we can maintain our power. They all involve giving up our ability to act to God. This seems, to the natural man, to be no different than losing it to darkness. But not so. Righteousness is horribly suceptible to entropy. Choosing to do right is a constant choice. Choosing to do wrong is like climbing inside a tractor tire and rolling down a hill. Going uphill is always a choice. Going downhill can cease being a choice very quickly indeed.

Now, Bishop Burton.

The Presiding Bishop's responsibilities include stewardship over the welfare and other temporal-salvation issues. Bishop Burton has thanked the membership for sharing means and time following the natural disasters of the preceding year.

I love it when we're called things like "The Jesus Church."

"A period of civil unrest in Sudan" = understatement.

Looking at scenes of the hurricanes again makes me certain I don't want to take any jobs in Tallahasee....

You know, hurricane seasons like last year's must really flood the firewood market. People who make their living that way must really be hurting. I wonder if they're receiving federal assitance--subsidies or something?

Although, of course, disaster assistance is important, I think things like new wells and measles vacccines and the PEF are even more important. Because the present is vital, of course, but the future so much more so--for the present is but one; the future is infinite presents continuous.

Sister Julie B Beck

As I understand the Doctrine & Covenants, "member" is an office in the priesthood.

To each is given a spiritual gift; are we living to know and to recognize and to use our gifts?

We are all the same in that our personal progress is wholly beholden to our own desires and actions. Where we are is where we have brought ourselves. Sometimes some paths have more fallen trees and tiger pits, but that is where God stands by, waiting to help.

The issue of death's timing is an interesting one. Is everyone's death come at a time of mortal fulfillment, whether age twelve or age seventy-five? And if not, what is the mechanism of equalization? Don't know. Glad I don't run this show.

The Big O has just been granted peanut butter from on high. He is very exciting, marching and clapping and hoorah, hoorah. There's a metaphor here somewhere.

Elder Eyring looks like Mary Tyler Moore's boss, yes, but is one of the great wordsmiths and speakers in current Mormondom.

One of my favorite of the stories he has told in Conference since becoming an Apostle is of his father, the renowned scientist. His father was speaking in a scientific conference, after which young Henry said to his father, marvelling, "You just bore your testimony to all those people!"
-->"Did I? Really?"
-->That's what I want for myself--a testimony so engrained and so natural a part of me that I don't realize that I never walk four steps without bearing testimony of the goodness of God--and never realize that I have done so.

Elder Eyring is speaking of that magic moment where a mortal can genuinely set aside personal desires and is willing to accept God's will. I am sure some people live in that place daily, even hourly. Jealous.

"The still small voice is poetic, but it is not poetry" (molaq). Hmmm. I must think on what he means.

It is not so, he says, that the standards are too high or too difficult for anyone.

I thought that by taking notes this way with the intent to svithe them would focus me a bit more, but in fact, it seems to be distracting me in new ways. Superior ways I hope....

Presenting President Monson!

I wonder how the fishermen feel about representing the devil....

President Monson very often uses the same technique in his speeches and articles. Essentially he makes a list--often based on a metaphor--and then elaborates on each item in the list.

This time the metaphor is the makafeikei (sp?)--a lure used to catch octopi--and the first two entries on the makafeikei list are immorality and pornography.

Another favorite of President Monson's is Alexander Pope's clever statement on vice, that it is a monstor repulsive which, too oft viewed, becomes pities, then embraced. Shoot. I wich I could quote it. I would be able to if you'ld be quiet for a moment, Tommy! Hhhhh.

The makafeikei of drugs comes next. As a teenager I was never offered a single smoke, sip or snort of anything. Made it easy to resist peer pressure, I suppose....

The makafeikei of excessive debt. Hmmm. Sounds like it's time for a churchwide Month of Abject Poverty....

I recently read that last year Americans saved a negative percentage of their income last year. Terrific. How long can it be till our economy crashes down on our heads if we are so incredibly fiscally weak individually?

"One cannot spend more than he earns and remain solvent."

The D&C tells us to remove the debt and release ourselves from bondage.

Curse you, Nelnet!

There are, President Monson says, many more makafeikeis.

Here are a few that come to my mind:
-->Time-share prostitutes
-->Horse racing
-->Handling habaneras without rubber gloves
-->Pride in giving
-->Pride in not giving
-->Intellectual overconfidence
-->Infrequently visiting Thmusings

No one ever talks about the poor lions who were denied a meal of fresh Hebrew. Sure, they got a bigger meal the next day, but still--that was same old same old.

I didn't know Walker was a German name.

Now, if I was paid to do this, I would have to go through this mess of notes and sculpt them into something more readable. Since I'm not paid however, you get this mess essentially as it escapes from my fingers. You may now picture me either gloating or apologetic--whichever you prefer.

* * * * *


* * * * *


* * * * *

We're coming into the seventeenth song now, after which we will be getting sustainings and Church stats.

The choir--I didn't catch where they're from, but everyone tells me it's a BYU choir--is well stocked with beautiful people. My sister asked if I know anyonel; I said no. I said I graduated a full bachelor's degree ago--in 2002. 2. 0. 0. 2. Sheesh. I could have, like, another degree by now. Well that's an uplifting thought....

I worry about what this laptop is doing to my reproductive capabilities....

What would they do if someone roused rabble during the sustainings portion of this meeting?

A new guy is reporting on the disposition of tithes this year. When will they get someone to report on the disposition of svithes? I'll do it: "They're cheerful." There. Done.

I think there was an alteration in the wording of this. I'll have to check that out when the Conference Report comes in the mail.

Stats: Good, healthy. Phew.

Elder Packer.

The harlot Isabel must've been something. It wasn't just "a harlot" Corianton went to, but it was the harlot Isabel--she must've been the Eccentrica Gallumbits (the triple breasted whore of Eroticon 6) of her day.

Interesting phrase here--Alma was not struck down by an angel because he deserved it. It seems to me that most people would see someone as wicked as Alma as deserving whatever sort of striking that was handy. But, in fact, that striking proved to be a huge blessing in his life--a blessing he had done nothing to deserve. But his righteous father prayed for a gift of God, and for his father, it was received.

(Sorry--the Big O has been eating family photographs and I missed much of this.)

(And now I made him cry.)

Um, amen.

Young Elder Bednar, who is between my parents in age, but who looks, oh, fifteen years younger than one might expect.

A diet of chocolate-covered raisins and oniony potato chips does not seem to be the best way to support lengthy religious instruction....

I've never thought to baptize a bag of sand before.... I thought that was taken care of in the deluge.

Point: Engaging in Spirit-unfriendly activities, in a purposeful and regular manner, does not lend itself to a Spirit-friendly life.

Aligning ourselves with righteousness (that phrase from Bednar, from hereout, however, I'm making this stuff up) puts us in line with the Spirit's frequency--like harmony--we travel together. Great scott, I'm a physicist....

I do love me my ellipses....

(Count the dots.)

Immodest, coarse, crude, sinful, evil. Oh dear.

Unlike our mortal loved ones, the Godhead behaves in completely predictable ways--or at least, the closeness of our relationship with them is completely predictable, even if their precise behaviour may not be. If we behave according to the dictates received, we can be assured of a certain amount of relationship health. We are good, the Holy Ghost hangs at our elbow. We are not, he is not. Simple.

Now to bring it into practice.

My laptop keeps blowing the breaker that it's plugged into. It's very annoying.

I had to go to a dictionary to see what a "joyous lay" might be. A short lyrical or narrative poem. Know your hymns!


It's good advice, to forget yourself and go to work. Self-centeredness never was happiness. Losing myself and "bending [my] efforts to help people" will do more for my happiness than any amount of moping for joy. Moping for joy. What a laugh!

I had a flying dream last night. But instead of simply flying, I had a wing that made it more like hanggliding. In my dream I thought, this is a plan that could be implemented in the waking world. What do you want to bet Lady Steed won't let me hangglide though? She and her insidious concern for my safety....

Wolfgang H Paul

There is a dichotomy in Mormon doctrine in which it is impossible to act unless we are being acted upon by opposing forces, and when we choose and action, we are necessarily aligning ourselves with one force or the other. Making such an alignment makes us more greatly beholden to that force's opinions and designs and ways--and more likely to make further choices that will strengthen that allegiance.

Thus, when bumperstickerboy claims he is doing things his way, he is not mistaken, but it is not his way alone--it is his and someone else's. But whose? Ah, whose. There is the question. There is the question that matters. Whose way is also my way? And am I satisfied with that allegiance?

A good point here--what seems hard from the vantage of the journey's beginning, may well be hard--or not--who can say? But at journey's end, the important thing will not be the ease of difficulty of the journey, but where we are.

Elder Nelson, MD

Poor Elder Nelson, sitting in front of both PDA and a GameBoy. Wow. That's the worst.

On family, love, eternity.

On the battles against such.

"Marriages would be happier with greater nurturing" (molaq). So my dad goes in for a kiss and gets knocked in return. Sheesh. I know better than that!

Usually when I hear about they twain being one flesh, I, being randy, think of sex. But obviously, the truer meaning of that scriptural phrase references children which are

(Mom + Dad) / 2 = One Flesh.

Thus, if this "one flesh" is the sole purpose and meaning for and behind marriage, then, it would seem, without reproduction, marriage is incomplete (if not meaningless and purposeless). Naturally, such a statement raises many more questions than it answers, but I need to catch up with Elder Nelson, so I'll leave that to you. Besides, when we, like Marty, can think four-dimensionally, those questions tend to answer themselves anyway.

The priesthood's first duty is to nourish the priesthood's own marriage.

(This all may mean that my worrying about the laptop's effects upon my lap may be gravely warranted.)

Complimenting is, I agree, an important part of marraige. And this idea of the spouse trying to live up to the compliments gives me an idea....

Lady Steed, you are the most accomplished Speaker for the House this country has ever seen. Now, send me some graft, sweetheart.

Each day together is a treasured gift indeed. I hope I am sufficiently treasuring them now. How much better now than after they have all ended.

I fear the death of Lady Steed more than any other horror offered in this world or any other. And thus I must treasure the days now. The days, the nights, the mornings, all.

I love me my Lady Steed.

Elder L Tom Perry, Apostle

The sacrament is an ordinance so frequent as to become common in the minds of the partakers. But to view it as common is inappropriate. How can we cease to be distracted during an ordinance meant to cast from us our daily distractions, to bring us back to the alter of God weekly? Consider. (Note: Suggestions to change the ordinance's frequency will not be considered valid answers.)

The sacrament is a weekly, easily available opportunity to align ourselves with God. We set aside the world, says Elder Perry, and thus find ourselves alone in the presence of God. This is a good plan; this is a great opportunity. This is something to make us excited and to make us look forward and, ultimately, to make us better human beings. What an incredible opportunity, to visit the house of prayer.

* * * * *


* * * * *


* * * * *

(Prologue: The nature of notes in this section will be different because I will be expected to read them back to the womenfolk later in exchange for cinnamon rolls--which is a much better deal than birthright for pottage.)

If I were speaking in General Conference today, I suppose it would have to begin something like this:

"Today, in many parts of the world, is a holiday of sorts. Here in America we call is April Fools' Day and it is difficult to explain to you the enormity of the temptation to begin my talk this evening with some preposterous lie, made valid by the solemnity of the forum in which it is being told. Folks, if I can withstand this temptation, then you had darn well better lay off the crack!"

Now, thanks to my sloth, Father and I are late. Elder Uchtdorf is speaking. I assume he was first. At any rate, I am in time to learn that lousy bicycles may lead to healthy adulthoods.

What pamphlet is he talking about?

For the Strength of Youth?

"The temple is the binding link between this and...and....." Shoot.

Temples of God: Temporal bodies

I can tell I took notes in school on paper and not with a laptop. I can't really type and listen at the same time. This is challenging.

I keep catching the promises, but not the qualifying factors.

And that matters, because, as Elder Uchtdorf just quoted, whenever we receive a blessing it is by obedience to the law on which that blessing is predicated.

Which is a vital doctrine.

I like the word vital.

Our application of standards says much of

Dang it!

Of what?!?!

I need a notebook....

No, not that kind of notebook. I have that kind of notebook. That's the source of my troubles!


Our priorities will (should) change to match the Saviour's. I can get behind that.

In fact, that seems to be the theme I am uncovering in this Conference.

King Benjamin taught that converted parents teach their children to love one another and to serve one another. How? By example, obviously. How else can such a lesson be taught?

Elder Ronald Rasband on temples.

I often wonder how President Hinckley feels about people thanking him for his "inspired leadership." If it is inspired, isn't it strange to thank him alone? Not that it isn't appropriate, but doesn't it make more sense to thank God for President Hinckley's inspired leadership.

Sorry. Semantics.

Anyway, we're back to King Benjamin again. He's certainly popular today!

Why didn't many of the children of those who were so moved by King Benji's words ever become converted to them themselves?

I smell like cheap chocolate and it's weird. I borrowed my sister's body wash and now I smell like chocolate. I keep catching whiffs. It's strange.

My hair must smell like berries. Unless the conditioner won out against the shampoo. Then it'll smell like bananas.

I'm an ice cream sundae.

Seamen know, ALL HANDS ON DECK.

Their response decides who wins, who loses.

And thus, for the children of today, we must respond.

"Latter-day Saint young person" v. "young Latter-day Saint"

"What a thrill" for teenagers to speak at the Preston MTC? Mmm, maybe. At least it wasn't the thousands at the Provo MTC.

This is good. He is pointing out that for all the good times spent at football games and movie shows, times spent at the temple would have been so much better. Not that the former should be eksed out, but that the latter must also be included. Mark that in my mind, that I may remember.

So...is this the longest Thmusing yet yet?

(That wasn't a typo.)

The rising generation, worst our best efforts? I would say yes.

Elder Richard G. Hinckley looks like his dad.

Starts off with a good joke, also like his dad.

Chocolate chocolate everywhere, and nary an ounce to eat....

"Surprisingly"? or "Impressively"?


He suggests a small notebook to that theme, which can be added to as thoughts occur.

He just made a comment which could very well end up in a book offer.

"The world is permeated with the smell of chocolate." (molaq, Oliver Wendell Holmes)

President Faust who, like, say, Elder Hales or Elder Haight, has a curious name for a man of God, speaks next.

I didn't know this, but Peter called the Aaronic Priesthood the Royal Priesthood. Interesting. But I don't dare expound since I'm having a hard time keeping up.

On angels: Given the doctrine, I expect angels are much more a part of our lives than I tend to think. What do they do? How do they do it? Do they know when to avert their eyes?

What is a "standing minister"?

Elder LeGrand Richards used to say, "I am just a grown-up deacon." I like that. There are not multiple priesthood. There is only one priesthood. The partioning is only significant inasmuch as partioning provides order.

I agree wholeheartedly that flirting with addictive behaviors is madly foolish. And all addictions are, in the end, behaviors. All of them. And you never know which one will require but Just One Time....

Giving into peer pressure is a selfish reason to do something.

Worthiness for the authority to act in the name of God.... It's a lot to ask for. It's a lot to work for....

President Monson sets off with a story that's always a crowd pleaser. President Monson and his son bump into the then prophet, Harold B. Lee. Son is nearly twelve. Lee asks what'll happen at twelve. Monson prays. The crowd laughs. Works everytime. It is a good story.

An amazing thing about President Monson's stories however, is how few are ever repeated. The man has lived more stories than I could make up. And I can make up lots of stories. To the point where my chocolatey sister doesn't believe a thing I say.

Query: Why is your church so wealthy?

Monson: We're not wealthy--we just do that tithing thing. Also: no paid ministry.

Do you smell that? It smells like chocolate.... Maybe it's just me?

Query: What specific belief sets you Mormons apart?

David O McKay: Divine authority by direct revelation.

Great example: The First Vision.

We don't have many of John the Baptist's words, but the few we have suggests a humble man, a direct man. Good attributes. A couple I lack, in fact....

Assumption of authority Joseph F Smith said, ala President Monson) is an interesting thing. To a Mormon (or any of the orthodox Christian religions, I suppose), the idea of just saying one is called and then deciding to be a minister is absurd. Priesthood is from God. And it's a big deal. It doesn't just float about randomly, lighting upon random people. Anyway, I'm getting behind again.

Query: Have you ever had an angel minister to you?

Young Monson: ...? I'm not sure....

I need to spend more time lost in the word of God.... And asking When? is such a ludicrous copout.

He is whipping out some great stories. Ones I've never heard before, of course.

The worth of a soul is its capacity to become as God.

A solemn reply....

I'm sitting next to a young deacon and alas, he is not getting the jokes. And they are many and fine. What a shame.

Of course, I'm not getting them to you either. Darn me.

Joseph Smith is said to have defined calling magnification is to.... Man. And that was important too.

The problem is not that I am a slower typer than writer, but that there is no shorthand in typing. Not for me. Not since giving up telephone work (and good riddance).

Do not doubt, but be believing.

Believe. Believe. Believe.

The priesthood is not so much a gift, but a commission to serve and to help, a chance to lift others. A commission, a calling, a demand, a responsibility.

But still a blessing. For all the above means an opportunity to focus feeble spirituality and turn it into something of greater power and worth and usefulness.

"The hungry sheep do look up, ready to be fed the bread of life."

My grace is sufficient that if men bring unto me their weaknesses, I will make them strong.

That's the way Christ works.

Counseled to listen closely to the prophet. Good advice, of course.

And President Hinckley gives compliments to the introducer.

As a man ages, he says, a man becomes gentler. Less understanding of ugliness.

No disciple of Christ, to state the obvious that unfortunately must apparently be stated, is a racist pig. Who needs to be told this? Incredible.... (And not in a good way.)

Families have claim on their fathers for their sustenance. Yes. Which is why I'm apt to stop switching careers with such frequency. Hooray for me, etc.

At the risk of insulting anyone, there is some truth in the ugly Utah Mormon stereotypes I once heralded. I have rejected them now, but this story he is telling warns us of the ugly and cruel complacency that can come with majority status.

Watch yourselves and your words and your deeds, my Utah friends. Especially when young and careless and, let's face it, idiotic.

President Hinckley seems very healthy and well. As has been the case for years now, the rumor is always that he'll be dead before six more months pass. We heard a stake president last money express that thought last week, with the opinion of an emeritus Seventy as collaboration. Of course, ninetysomethings are always at the edge of the beyond. But let's stop predicting a demise we do not desire. How crazy a hobby is that?

The last twenty-four hours I've been coughing up bile like I saw it on MTv. I wish I would stop.

These were pritty cruddy notes.

I need some chocolate....

* * * * *


* * * * *


* * * * *

We're on the seventeenth song and Lady Steed just finished her game of Spider Solitaire so I've got my machine and oh! here comes the first speaker!

The return of President Faust:

The LDS religion is, yes, similar to other Christian churches BUT there are important differences. He is quoting DHOaks who says these differences explain our sending missionaries to other Christians, building temples as well as churches, and general cheerfulness.

Oops. He said "Dark Ages." I can think of some people who are now standing to go to the bathroom.

I don't think I've ever heard of this Ludlow (sp?) guy before....

Last night Lady Steed and I watched a blasphemous teen comedy and one point of satire was the frequent Christian opinion that those poor jungle heathens are damned to hell. Forever. The inconguity between this supposition and a loving God is obvious to anyone willing to think, but Christianity as a whole has had a difficult time finding a way to let the unsaved heathens into heaven without removing such barriers as faith from from the pathway.

Great. We just lost sound.

Anyway, I'll go on so long as I can't hear anything anyway.

One of the philisophical difficulties "Mormonism" has removed from the trappings of traditional Christianity is this unjust damnation of Socrates and Jimbo the Jungle King. By building temples to redeem the dead with ordinances, and by teaching that there is a time between death and judgement in which the unlearned may be taught, that unjust damnation goes up like morning fog. All have equal opportunity.

Now, to Elder Holland and a return to sound.

I can hear!

I am always amazed to hear of John and Phillip and Peter and all those original disciples, how, in a time closeminded enough to kill God, they were open and heard and felt and knew and could leave all to follow Him. I'm impressed by their listening hearts and their faith.

Alma taught that just a leetle beet of faith is enough to start with. Let that be a lesson to us.

"Gender identity" would seem to be the new phrasing for discussing homosexuality-related whatsits.

The Atonement lifts us not just from sin, but also from disappointment and grief and sadness and pain and loneliness.

Given all Christ has been through for us, Elder Holland is surely right--he will not turn his back on us now.

Be not afraid.

Only believe.

Ah, doubt. That simple, shy enemy. That friendly companion, that good listener, that destroyer of faith, that sinker of hopes, that small-smiling fiend who looks so much like a foul-weather friend....

Strangely, it has never occurred to me to use Jesus's carpentry skills as a metaphor. How obvious it is, however.

Repair me....

Next, Elder Tingey. Why not speak of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Curiosity: Conference Saturday usually feels like a Sunday. Conference Sunday usually feels like a Saturday.

Five truths:

1. A knowledge of the plan confirms the existence of God and Son.

So...do you think I'll catch them all?

2. Did I miss this one? Was it something about sin and repentence? In the future, I really shouldn't do this. I haven't been more connected to the talks, as I expected, but less connected. For shame.

3. Through the infinite Atonement, method has been provided to make us clean via the eternal law of mercy (without which we are fully beholden to the law of justice.

I gotta go help the O.

4. I heard as I was leaving. Had something to do with the Fall.

5. Now he's talking about...Resurrection? I'll guess that is number five.

NO! 5. Jesus christ was born of an earthly mother from whom he inherited mortality.

Speaking of, gotta go----Dumbo's head's falling off and he's bleeding everywhere.....

Well, we got his guts back in. We'll sew his head back on between sessions.

Dumbo is a little pink elephant the Big O attached himself to at the Home of the Brass Clan. It was Lady Steed's when she was young--was actually a baby shower gift before she was born.

"Dumbo" is the first movie that the Big O learned to identify by name, and not just because of the train. He gets so emotionally involved in that movie. I think he really identifies with Dumbo. Them being the same age and everything.

Anyway, he loves the little pink version and has him all the time now, as of less than a week ago.

Hiatin. Sister Pingree.

Putting away childish things.

Like Dumbo, who is now being wept over as he sits on a high shelf awaiting surgery....

I like this phrase, "to grow up unto the Lord."

Elder Dallin H Oaks.

The Book of Mormon teaches "over and over" that the gospel of Jesus Christ is universal, for everyOne who ever Lived everyWhere.

And now he rolls out the quotes. Which is good of course, but few things about the Book of Mormon are more obvious than its Christcentric message and its generosity in spreading the love to all humanity.

The Big O's pain has been headed. Lady Steed is now reattaching the head. O leaned over and kissed Dumbo as he was going under the needle.

"Bond and free"

I usually think of this as referring to slave and not, but Mr Oaks makes some good points--obviously "bond and free" has multitudinous metaphorical possibilities.

Which reminds me of a running gag I set up then forgot about....

The promises of the Lord are to every kindred tongue and people.

Examples from Russia, Nigeria, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia (I knew this one was coming--that's where I would like to be 19 right now).

Missionary work is so exciting, isn't it?

Y'know, Jesus was a missionary....

We are variously commanded to write the words given us by God. Now, I am not a prophet or any sort of official mouthpiece, but if I do not, somewhere, write the words I receive, am I committing sin?

Missed something on the Dead Sea Scrolls....

The Book of Mormon's purpose: to convince all that Jesus is the Christ.

President Hinckley takes the stand.

I love reminiscences. Go right ahead.

Ninety-five before being hospitalized? Wow....

He's given over 200 General Conference talks...? Is that a record?

The point I think he's driving at is that the respect he's received was as proxy for the Church itself.

I wish I was "extremely deliberate."

It's true that when death comes, life forgets nearly all. And how sad it is. Would that we all would remember all. So many, to so few....

But God remembers.

But I would like to as well.

And the ego wants to be remembered.


Only "hundreds of thousands"?

Probably one benefit of reading the Book of Mormon last year, was having BofMs on the person, in use; causing conversations and gift-givings.

I've always looked up to this man, since about the beginning of consciousness.

There. He said he's planning on being here in October. Silly emeritus Seventy....

Of course, ala Pollyanna, God comes unexpectedly.

That's actually my favorite part of that movie.

In fact, it may be the only part I like....


* * * * *


* * * * *


* * * * *

One problem with taking notes by typing is the linearity of type. It proceeds forward, endlessly forward, and while yes you can insert text somewhere else, it is still within that endless continuum. On paper, you can keep various thoughts on various pages, you can make divisions that separate differingly purposed thoughts. For instance, I will often divide a page in columns, one side for what's happening, one side for my own thoughts.

Margins for doodles.

Back of the page for breaking news on a lately begun novel project....

Anyway, our first speaker this afternoon is....

Elder Ballard! Complete with new knees! And grateful to stand!

Joseph Smith, you may know, is Elder Ballard's uncle.

Do we recognize the size of the blessing the gospel may be in our lives. Or, for that matter, is regardless?

Was it Elder Ballard who once gave the parable of the orange juice?

I do believe that today's missionaries are, as a whole, a better group of ministers than missionaries were when I was one.


Okay, where is the real Elder Ballard and what have you done with him?!?!

Christ invited into his home. That's twice this story has been quoted today--and it's a story that never seeped past my eyes before. And Elder Ballard's interpretation is obviously the one meant for me today.

"Gospel-sharing homes"

Selfless prayer

Another thing bad about typing is that it requires two hands for efficiency. Which makes hard choices in the hand-holding department....

"The gospel-sharing home is not a program; it is a way of life."

He's right in that if our religion is a recognized and indivorcable part of who we are, that it comes up frequently and inoffensively. What I'm not sure is why that recognition happens simply some places and never in others. Curious.

Willingness to act

The exercise of faith

"I simply share my joy"

Huh. It never occurs to me to mention church when someone asks about my weekend. Curious.

Also, sharing a well written comedic novel...were it in print....

"Come and see"

Elder Richard G Scott

I love Elder Scott. He has such sincerity and severity. His laser gaze is like disenfectant for the soul. The kind that stings. Real bad.

These days though, he is trying to be more personable. Which is a shame in my opinion. But I already told you that my favorite part of Pollyanna is the only part the filmmakers didn't want you to like. But a little fire and brimstone's good for you, in my opinion.


The difference between "if" and "when" in speaking to children is important in teaching principles and goals of all stripes. "If you become an axe murderer." "When you become an axe murderer." You see the difference this can make I'm sure.

Our choices between "if" and "when"--each choice--instructs our children. But it does not make their decisions for them. They will still make their own decisions. Use "when" not just for missions, but high school graduation, attending college, curing cancer, etc. If everything is "if", surely the kid will never feel werf* can do anything, should do anything--or least not that his parents give a hoot.

(*This is a joke. I consider this gender-neutral pronoun to be about the silliest thing since toast.)

Nothing like a girl to get a body in line....

Let's hear it for girls!

Speaking of girls, let me give a plug for sister missionaries. Sister missionaries are great. Even when they have a birthday everytime they transfer. Gotta love em. Did. Do.

Elder David R Stone

On...the scottish play....

Great scott! Is he promoting witchcraft! The Bible Belt'll have a field day with this!

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

You know, my wife is Scottish.

And the Big O can kill MacBeth.

Babble on. (That's a joke.)

Good point--we cannot realize how much we are a product of our place and times. I feel this frequently. Naturally, I feel my take on morality is superior to the pasts', yet what proof do I have that this is so?

I suppose I haven't been burned up by fire from heaven. Good point.

So I am superior. Glad that's settles.


10 < 50

I like hamburgers, for instance. And Frou Frou.


A chosen generation...a royal priesthood....

I like being peculiar. It's one of the best perks.

Hmmm. The inner walls of the Manhattan Temple are connected to the outer walls at very few points, thus minimizing the passageways available for noise. Interesting. And what a fantastic opportunity for metaphor!

We rarely recognize the idol strings controlling us and pulling us along. Too true. And yes, the world is too much with us.

He says "mores" funny.

Heh heh. People with accents.

Says the guy with a really really thick American accent. I mean, it is really thick. And within my ideolect it gets even worse....

This is a good talk for me. I'll definately need to go over this one again with care.

Hey. His mouth and his words aren't lined up. Well. That's what he gets for raising a witch, I suppose....

Zion v Bablyon.

The most epic battle since Shaolin Soccer v Team Evil.

Ooooooh, Team Evil....



and now, the choir

Elder Robert S Wood has a friend on a national political program who is encouraged to speak before thinking. THIS IS WHAT'S WRONG WITH MODERN DEBATE!!!! WHEN WILL IT ALL END?!?!

(Enter your snide comment here.)

"The first casualties of human wrath are truth and understanding."

I would love to hear some thoughtful and intelligent debate this coming political season. But the oddsmakers aren't even touching it. It would be like betting on the moon taking a vacation....


Do we seek understanding? common ground?

We can't say someone's wrong until we actually know their position, not really.

...because they know not where to find it.

On the other hand, there is no one whom we, I, cannot learn from.

Same principle.

We do not tear down, argue, or destroy, but we build and share and create. So there.

Sheesh, I'm a frivolous person.

"We have been molded as a people to be instruments of the Lord's peace"

Offense, whether given or taken, is a bad idea. /kapi..../ Shoot. Don't have the character.

Is this it? /š/ It's been too long....

Elder H Bruce Stucki

Brucie! You'll put yer eyes out!

What man, having three arrows, and he lose one....

(NZ surgery)

That was an exciting story!

Life is so fragile.... Which of us won't be here tomorrow?

Elder Wirthlin

"Snowman"--sounds like the next horse movie, to me.

How will you find your hidden talent?

Sorry. I've been flopping from sleepy to close attention. Notes have suffered both ways.

I seem to be a silly whatmay. But how does the Lord see me?


In Conclusion...:

President Hinckley


Now we return to the world and what good will this all do us? It better do some. If not? Whose fault is that?

Thank you, President Hinckley.

Will that be titled "Benediction" do you think?

* * * * *


* * * * *

So here we are, at the end of this marathon svithe. If you actually read it, let me know. You deserve cookies.

I don't suppose I will do this again in October. But I did it this time and although the quality of my attention may have been slightly lesser, I didn't sleep through anything. That's good.

I always love Conference weekend. Ten hours of church--what could be better?

Anyway, at the end of the day, God has spoke; have we listened?

Have we listened.

Have I listened....


(Next week's svithe will be shorter. I swear.)

Last week's svithe