Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ex-Mormon Glee over the Mitt Romeny Campaign

As much as I’d hate to address what is purely a political issue, the candidacy of Mitt Romney forces me to do so. I’ve seen too many people particularly Ex-Mormons think that somehow this will magically expose the church for what they think it is and its membership will dwindle simply because the religion is shown to be as weird and corrupt as they already think it is.

I have a warning to give to these people: Get Real. Information about Mormon theology, doctrine, and its interference in politics is already freely available. The membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may be shrinking, but it’s by no means a mass exodus. What’s worse is that people continue to think that somehow rational thought will debunk Mormonism and all other religions eventually..

Such a belief shows a fundamental lack of understanding about human behavior. Religion is the one thing that all cultures have in common and it is not about common sense or being rational. It is about meaning. Ideally it should be about the improvement of the world and helping individuals to become better people. The problem comes when people try to control it for their own personal agendas or to further their own hatreds.

I’ll admit I have reservations about Romney’s candidacy. I favor Rudy Guliani to win the Republican nomination. I do not know if Mr. Romney will follow the brethren blindly but there have been no assurances from him that he’s not. That's all it took enough of the public to vote for John F. Kennedy.

I hate to sound like I’m prejudiced, but the reason I won’t vote for Mitt is because he is Mormon. Unlike many conservative Christians, it won’t be because I don’t think he believes in Christ, but because I have a deep mistrust when it comes to political matters and the Salt Lake organization.

To Mitt: Good Luck. You’ll need it. Why not start by assuring people that you’re not under the thumb of the prophet? I’d still prefer a candidate that’ll tell a Saudi Arabian prince to “take your check and stick it up you’re a--" to you, but I don't know how many other people have this silly preference.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I've had over 200 posts

I suppose we all occasionally use our blogs to express moments of self-doubt. I know this blog hasn't always been as good as I'd like it to have been and you can't always write every post with the same quality. Some will be better than others.

As I'm move the archives over to the blog's new home, I noticed that the tone of this blog changed over the two years its been up. I never intended it to focus on Mormonism as much as it did. Yes, it was a major part of my life and strangely I think of myself as Ex-Mormon. (Are Mormons the only group that feels the need to continue with the label?)

Now in some ways I'm cursing myself for writing so much early on. I've got a almost 200 posts to move, and this entry will be the 204th to appear on this blog. I don't know if there's an easier way to do this, and I'll probably have to go and convert some of the tags Blogger uses that do not have meaning to a Movable Type blog.

But it blogging has been good. It let me know where my strengths as a writer lie, in much the same way as my attempts at detective fiction are making me question whether or not I should be doing it. Perhaps instead of trying to write fiction, I should go into thoughtful essays on my personal philosophy. The only problem I have with that is that I'm not sure that there's a market for it.

Don't worry, I'll keep on blogging and sometime in the near future, the link will be sinisterporpoise.com, not sinisterporpoise.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Moving the Location sometime in the future

I have in the past considering moving this blog from Blogger to somewhere else. The nice thing about Blogger is that it automatically lists my Blog on Google. The downside is I don't have as much control over the content as I might elsewhere. While it is true that Blogger for the most part leaves my content alone, they have changed it in the past. (Look through the archives.) It was minor, but those who've switched to the new Blogger know about the added problems with their new system.

I am in the process of setting a new blog up, but it'll most likely take a while. In the meantime, if your link is wrong, please drop me a note and I'll fix it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sound and Fury

I'll admit that I have not done as much with Blogger Beta as can be done, particularly with the labels, but I really have no desire to use them anyway. Isn't it enough they've forced the software on everyone now without asking for anyone's input? Good grief, Google, can I at least have my original login name back?

Well, I've been toying around with a movable type blog and hosting elsewhere, but there's one thing you do get with Blogger that you wouldn't there. Blogger blogs are automatically listed on Google's search engine, while I'd have to wait with a blog elsewhere. Then again it depends on the nuisances I have to endure. One more edit like the one I complained about a few months ago and I'd seriously consider it.

As fun as blogging is, it's not what I wish to address today. I've been trying to get to this for a while but it is not a comfortable topic for me to begin with and I get funny if people I actually know face to face read my blog. I will tend to hold back a little. The thing is this is my space and I will do as I wish here so long as Google allows it.

Not only that there are certain subjects which make me uncomfortable to begin with, and the one I've been trying to address falls under that category. It has to do with sexual orientation and gender identity. In many people's mind they are the same thing, which of course they are not. I don't know exactly how to sort this out and the confusion in English is even more understandable since the word sex is both a noun and a verb. Still, it gets a little sticky for me for the rare times I do get asked about it. I have no interest in dating at the moment. In fact I probably couldn't tell you if someone was flirting with me since I'm pretty much oblivious to those signals.

My love life or lack thereof is not the point here, however. Someone who is trans is not necessarily gay or lesbian. They may be, but it varies in roughly inverse proportion to the gay/straight mix found among the general population.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blogger's Block

I've been having a bit of Blogger's block lately. I started to write something today and found I couldn't. The mistake I often make while doing this is trying to force what I write which generally results in a lower quality entry than I might otherwise have written.

I could go into the writing process here, but I think others in the Outer Blogosphere are better qualified to do it and Sierra Sage runs a site dedicated to it. I plan on signing up for her workshops one day, but I'd host her exercises somewhere else. I have a slight confession to make. I don't read fiction posted on blogs as a general rule. It's not that the fiction is bad it's just that most of it doesn't interest me and I'm reading the blogs for a different reason. I like to know what their thoughts on the topics they blog about are.

It seems that I am a point in my life where I have a lot more confidence than I used to. Whether or not this is warranted is a different matter but it has caused a shift in my outlook at least. I tend to spend a little less time thinking about problems now and more time implement solutions. Unfortunately it's showing here and I seem to have less energy to put into my writing or it could be perhaps that I'm devoting more of it to the book I am writing and not really getting anywhere on it.

I hope this condition ends soon and I can get back to where I was before with at least some interesting ideas, but for now I seem to be stuck.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Happy Birthday

I don't know if any of you care, but February 10th is my 30th birthday. Strangely it seems to be no big deal, but it's not like it should be, should it? After all it's an arbitrary number and its not a big accomplishment.

I mean it's not hard to look back on our life and see where not where we expected to be when we were younger or how our dreams may not have exactly turned out the way they planned. It's not unusual. We learn as we get older that the ideals that were driven into our heads when we were younger aren't exactly the way things work in the real world and sometime after we turn 20, we learn we don't really know everything. Fortunately, I continue to maintain the illusion that I do know everything quite successfully.

I'm trying to be entertaining here and in some way thoughtful, but I must admit I've found that to be a little bit harder of late than of usual. Perhaps it's because of a mindset shift in my own life. It may or may not be the case.

Of course I'm sure my readers have noticed this in the blog itself, but at least so far they have been kind enough not to mention it. So, while I don't plan on going out and exactly having a Bacchanalia, I think I'll be spending the next day or so celebrating.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Gambler

I actually meant to do this a while ago. Believe it or not this post was brought on by the bar across the street waking me up – yet again – playing music too loudly. Strangely enough the music this time wasn’t some rock song whose lyrics I had never heard or wouldn’t care if I did. (Now if they played ska punk or swing on a regular basis I’d be a customer there often.)

No, this time it was at the end of a party that a local university group had rented out and it was signaling the end of it. I suppose at this point I should tell you what the song is. Very well, if you insist it was Kenny Roger’s The Gambler.

Now if any of you have noticed that some major life decisions always come in moments of insomnia you can guess where this is going, but strangely enough the game got me thinking as to how life itself applies to this song. I’m not sure if life is like a poker game and if so, it’d be similar to the analogy Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman used in their book Good Omens, where you have a dealer who smiles all the time and won’t tell anyone the rules.

I sincerely hope I don’t need to post the lyrics after this one as I imagine most people already know them as most people already know the chorus which is relevant. In any case I’ll post it here for easy reference. It goes, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” I’m not sure I can make an analogy about counting your money when setting at the table. Perhaps you’d have to be drunk enough to know what the song Stairway to Heaven is about. (Strangely enough I once told someone that they were drunk enough to know what that Led Zeppelin song was about this New Year’s Eve, and surely enough they told me exactly what the song was about. I guess it takes hard liquor to understand Stairway to Heaven, although I think LSD helps too.)

But I was thinking that’s exactly what life is like. Sometimes you need to know when to stay there and stick it out (“hold ‘em”), know when you’re in a situation when you can’t win (“fold ‘em”) and of course knowing when to walk away and when to run are obvious.

It could be easily applied to the moment when you found out the church wasn’t what it claimed to be but this should not be limited to Mormonism specifically. We often treat life like it’s a big game of chess where strategies can make all the difference, but it isn’t. Chance plays a role as well. It’s a lot easier if you start out as a Rockefeller if you start out life as a child of Pennsylvania Dutch parents who are working poor and have decided sometime before you were born to become Mormons.

And I guess that’s where chance comes in. You either get to decide to keep the hand you’re or dealt in life or “ask” the dealer for new cards through your own actions. And sometimes you just have to know when to go to find a new table.

Perhaps the songwriter for the Gambler intended this or he didn’t. It really doesn’t matter and I’m probably not the first to make such an easy analogy out of this song, but it’s the first time I realized the message hidden in it although quite transparent might be something more than just a nice story about a chance encounter a poker player has with an aging gambler.