Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Once again I have missed the carnival of the veil deadline, but this time it is entirely my fault. Well, hopefully I'll get a submission in by next time.

I'm not intending to miss them things are just happening that way. Well I promise to get back on top of it and bring you some of my most pressing thoughts within the next two weeks.

And perhaps during those two weeks I'll watch "Paint Your Wagon" as someone suggested and have something to say about that.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My apologies to the Good Folks at Times and Seasons

The link to you was simply I could find although Bishop Rick provided the actual sources for the quotes. While I do not normally read your publication (truthfully the only Mormon publications I still check unless you count the occasional Robert Kirby column, are Sunstone and Dialog and that's only because of the interesting approach they take on Mormon issues although one would should not confuse them with actual Mormon doctrine.)

I did not intend to stir up anything and if I did I'm truly sorry. Perhaps linking to you was a poor choice. My views on Mormonism are mine alone and should not be taken as any representation of any of the other commentors here or those I link to. They may sometimes echo them, but then again, wouldn't this warning be unnecessary since that is in fact the whole point of a blog? I don't blame you for checking the link, I do in fact do the same thing if something appears in my history I don't recognize.

Finally, I'd like to welcome my sister (who posts here as 'Val' or at least used to) to Blogging, but I do not think she'll be joining Outer Blogness anytime soon.) Despite rumors that might be circulating, La and I are not related. I think she'll be doing something on local coupon clipping which unless any of my readers live in North Central Pennsylvania will be of no or little use to them.

And while I'm rambling on, I do check the searches from time to time and have learned of the existence of a band called Taking Back Sunday. It took me a while to piece it out because I thought people were looking for the lyric to a song by the same title. I have never heard them and I'm not sure I'll post the lyrics despite the traffic posting lyrics usually drives to me.

Oh, and after reading a book by the late and venerable Jacques Costeau on dolphins, I'd like to answer the one person's query on how you teach dolphins to speak. This has believe it or not been tried but the results are inconclusive. So far all we know of dolphin language is that each of them has a distinctive 'whistle' that serves as their name.

Friday, January 12, 2007

HiveRadical -- here you go

Stupid things Mormon Leaders have Said

While it does not give the source which I strongly suspect is Brigham Young, it does confirm that it has been said. I am aware that the church does not teach it now, but it almost certainly did and never issued a retraction. No longer teaching it is not the same thing.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Need for Mystery

If you’ve read the last two entries you know the year did not exactly end well or start well for me, but that’s behind me now. I have my new computer back in my possession and in more ways than one I am back in business. Now that I no longer have to contend with the local library’s filters which blocked out many of your blogs and indeed would not let me read Charlie Brown’s bio on the Peanuts website, I can now make a full return to Outer Blogness.

Perhaps the one benefit of my computer being down is that I caught up with several movies I intended to watch along with doing some reading. One of the books reminded me of one particular problem I’ve always had when trying to read some Creation scientist trying to debunk Evolution (which by the way says nothing about the existence or non-existence of God.) Typically they start off with the Big Bang which is a completely different theory. Before I get too far off track here, let me just say the person was defining words to suit him. That is not important. The book was written by a Christian pastor for an obviously Christian audience. I was hoping for a slightly better understanding of Christian theology and came away from the book knowing about as much as I did before I picked it up.

But I’ll start getting to the point in this entry with another book I read over my unplanned vacation – The DaVinci code. Perhaps because history is one of my points of contention with the Brethren in Salt Lake, I find it annoying when someone misrepresents religious history particularly. While I’m not exactly sure it was Dan Brown’s intent to imply that Goddess worship as Neo-Pagans and Wiccans practice today existed before the religions of Wicca and Neo-Paganism came to be, I have seen no source where he denies this is the case. Most of the ancient Romans were hard polytheists, Mister Brown, not Goddess worshippers. Goddesses (note the plural) were found in their worship, but despite the presence of two Iberian deities, Magna Mater and Magna Pater (both of which can be found in the Dictionary of Roman Religion), they were not modern Neo-Pagans.

But despite my distaste for religions and people being dishonest about religious history particularly aside, it doesn’t matter if the history is true or not as he is trying to convey something else with the book and the themes of the quest and even the conspiracy and the fact that the book itself is a mystery all tie in to the point I am trying to make.

Whether it’s the Grail, Trinity, or deciding we should try to feel the force for those who think they’re Jedi, we all seem to need mysteries in our lives. If we don’t have sufficient mystery or wonder, we’re more than certainly willing to create it and this is in part what I think the UFO craze is all about.

Is it because we’re trying to recapture the wonder we felt as children when so many more things were a new experiences for us? (Of course people who are older than I am can answer this question more readily.) I don’t think so. It may be that why mystery is necessary is itself a mystery, but I think it’s more likely that we need to experience awe and wonder from time to time. It gets harder when we learn things and people will almost always react in a certain way and if we can’t find wonder in what is here anymore, we’ll readily fantasize about it. While one could easily say this is a bad thing, I would think otherwise, for while art provides us a mirror – certain arts, especially those where a story must be told invoke the imagination, helping us to discover more important truths as our minds wonder through the objects of our imaginations.

Monday, January 08, 2007

While I can only thank all the Gods that Blogger Beta is no longer (and I really hope all of you have to suffer what the people who agreed to beta test there software for them with no recompense from Blogger suffer through what the people who dealt with the Google's idiocy had to suffer with. Hope you enjoy your login ID being changed to your Google one if you have any other Google account!) I'd ask for forgiveness from people if this year did not start off with dropping my computer and necessitating what is likely to be an expensive repair. Right now The Sinister Porpoise is in the mood for random people she doesn't know to suffer, especially since I can read very few of the Outer Blogness blogs, many of which seemed to be blocked by the library filter for containing content on drugs and alcohol. (Watch. I bet I won't be able to access this post as long as it remains on the front page now.)

At least I'm over the initial anger over it and I spent a few good days chewing myself (and other people) silently in my apartment until I realized there was very little I could do about the whole thing except try to recover. At least all the components with the possible exception of the motherboard or the processor seem to be in good shape.

I shall be returning in full force to Outer Blogness and in fact to the Carnival of the Veil as soon as it is possible.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ever had those times when the world seems against us? True, I've been having one of those times lately and I've had times where I find it hard not to believe in a higher power that pulls what he pulls on humanity merely for his own amusment. (I think this was the point of Kurt Vonegut's Cat's Cradle I suppose you wonder where I'm going with this.

Not too long ago I got a newer computer to replace one which, although it worked, had a few problems with it. Things go well for a while, but the fan on the power supply stops working and the power supply overheats. Fine, no problem. I get a new powersupply installed on New Year's Day but drop the blasted case while taking the computer up to my apartment. Now it won't work and I don't have a clue what's wrong with it. I suppose it's either a new one -- again -- or taking to get it repaired. (Which at least I trust the place where I did my internship.)

Sometimes these things happen and it has nothing to do with a higher power, curses or bad luck, although it is tempting to believe that is the case. (My current favorite theory is that my mother's spirit is preventing me from getting a good computer since I once told her that my computer was more important to me than her or something like that. Repeated calls from the police at 3 a.m. and her belief that you were trying to kill her make statements like that easy regardless of whether or not you really mean them.)

Of course, it is my parent's fault that I'm a klutz since that's a genetic thing but dropping the computer itself was one of those things that just happened. Unfortunately the line of thinking that leads us to believe something beyond ourselves is causing bad luck in our own lives (which may be the case as some things, such as the weather are beyond our control, but these forces are impersonal), also leads certain belief systems to believe bad circumstances in this life are for things that cannot be remembered that our spirits supposedly did in some former existence. Mormonism is guilty of this, especially since people of different skin color were supposedly fence sitters in the war in Heaven. (By the way, does anyone know if this is current Mormon doctrine? I don't remember it being taught in Sunday School, but living in what is sometimes referred to as the "mission field" by arrogant Utah Mormons may mean they had to tone some things down.) But the Buddhists, Hindus and probably a few other groups I don't mention or don't know about do it as well. I remember having an argument online with a Buddhist a long time ago that the reason the people who were hit by Katrina suffered so badly was because of actions in a previous life which they now needed to make up for. Excuse me, but does the weather know or exactly care who gets hit with hurricanes? Who governs these things anyway? I will not continue because my knowledge of Buddhism is not perfect although I believe the sentiment was echoed by the Dalai Lama.

But it's easier to believe someone or something has it out for us or that justice carries into the next life (which of course I hope it does unless it gets applied to me. Justice is one of thos tricky things to ask for, like asking your boss to pay you exactly what you're worth.), but the fact is impersonal forces cause bad things to happen as well as our own actions. Odds are it's not some other entity who has it in for us.