Sunday, March 28, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Generation Me

Do you ever get the feeling we're becoming more and more self centered?

Do you ever hear the phrase, "Just do what's right for you"? or "right is whatever you think it is"?

It seems like more and more our world is becoming more and more about ME! and what I think.

Take children, for example.  Why would I want them?  They'll just get in the way of my career.  The unsolicited marketing on the right is a "prime time" example of this self-interest.  "Ask how Start Over from Time Warner Cable makes [your children's] bedtime your [me:time]."  Yes, why would I want to do something so cavemanishly prehistoric as pay attention to my children at bed time!? Heck, why not just put them in front of the TV for the rest of their life so I can enjoy perpetual "me time" bliss?  Or, better yet, why even have children when they just get in the way?

Lest you think I've latched on to one skewed example from Time Warner Cable, I provide two more:  McDonald's and Star Bucks.

Just recently, I noticed two separate coffee cups of my friend and classmate.  Each cup, from the respective organization, had in capital letters the word "YOU" - where it couldn't be missed.

Small coincidence?

You guessed it, today's marketing is all about "you," which from our, or the consumer's perspective, would be . . . ME.

Well did President Ezra Taft Benson declare 21 years ago (in a talk I highly recommend), "Pride is the universal sin, the great vice."  He reminded us that pride caused the fall of two great American civilizations, the Jaredites and the Nephites, and will be the cause of many more.  He continued,
The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10.)
How fitting then, that I or ME be at the center of all I do, of everything.

As President Benson testifies, so do I:  Humility is the antidote to pride.  And what better example of humility than the Savior Jesus Christ?  His sole mission was to do the will of someone else, His Father (3 Ne. 27: 13), which was to offer His sinless Son up as a sacrifice for all mankind (John 3: 16).  Yes, Christ is the perfect example of selflessness.  He did not devalue His own life; He cherishes the lives of others.

I testify that He is the Son of God and that as we follow His example, we can cleanse ourselves from the onslaught of worldly pride and from the expanding "Generation Me."

Friday, March 26, 2010

She's a Maniac (Almost)

Okay, so The Beast isn't a slam dancer just yet, but check out these sweet moves:

It's like HP all over again

First of all, let me just say that the British cover art for HP novels is simply daft (e.g., to your right).  I know the Brits pride themselves on being an eccentric lot, but this is just mental.

Anyway, I digress before I even start.

So the other day, The Wife and I finished HP&tDH again.  Mind, this is like the fourth or fifth time we've gone through the entire series!

Yes, grown women have Bella; I have Hairless.

Seriously though, we (or at least I) just can't get sick of listening to Hairless as performed by Jim Dale, especially when The Beast is barking or taking down a bottle.

The British cover art may make me want to throw myself off our apartment building (which is four stories, BTW), toss my cookies (you like the Grandmooge reference, F-Word?), and bury my head in the sand, but the audio experience is still as golden as fat bag of galleons.

Quiz me on anything not minutely ridiculous (e.g., what is the name of the author who wrote some random transfiguration book?) and I can virtually guarantee you:  the CA will conquer all.

Hey, the F-Word doesn't call me Daniel Radcliffe para nada.

Oh, I almost forgot:  as of this writing, we're already on side 3B of the first book (again).

Don't Tase Me, Bro! What do Andrew Meyer and the CA have in common?

That's right, faithful CA readers, the famed YouTube actor, err, victim of police brutality and I are very close.  Or at least we're only two years apart.  You guessed it (or maybe you're scratching your heading wondering what I'm on about), don't tase me, bro! and I share the same birthday!'t_tase_me_bro#Student

And I thought the only "cool" person alive born on my birthday was Prince Harry (besides yours truly, of course).

Out of curiosity, what "cool" people share your birthday?
Yes, Pam, I'll give you sane property that you and HJP were both born as the seventh month dies; I'm quite jealous!

Cinci Conservatory: "Green" and "Cultured" in the Queen City

Down near the bending river that separates Ohio from our blue grass friend, Kentucky, rests a fantastic botanical garden:  The Cincinnati Conservatory.

I'm sure Grandma #2 will do a somersault when she sees this one (although, it's not exactly the Amazon - but I guess Mrs. Claus's not in the Amazon . . .).

Don't worry, I didn't actually force our daughter to touch the cacti.  Promise.

Ault Park: Good Times in the Neighborhood

Our daughter makes any park (and playing the piano) a whole lot cooler.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Living within Our Means

Well, the prophets and apostles have been teaching this principle for decades, but how true it is.

I think we could all agree that the current financial mess we're in would have been avoided had there not been so much unethical conduct and a desire to have more than people could actually afford.

I'm often faced with this reality:  Strutting around with an iPhone or a Nexus One would be pretty cool, but my mom probably isn't going to buy one for me (I'm 25) and "we can't afford it."

Yes, sometimes there are a lot of things I wish we could buy.  However, I'll never forget walking over dirt floors and under thatched roofs in the middle of the Amazon in Peru.  These good people often had raw sewage seeping out of their homes (and I use the term here out of kindness and because it represents much more than just bricks and mortar).  Yet, notwithstanding their indigent circumstances, they were some of the kindest and happiest people I've ever met.

Here's a snippet from another modern Apostle of Jesus Christ inviting us to live with in our means.  I hope you enjoy it (and the 40's or 50's throwback dramatization in it).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good Little Soldier

No, this post isn't about me, it's about him.  Can you spot him, standing tall at the top left of the book shelf?

How about now?

Here's another angle.

Yes, that is my head in the bottom right corner, though.

What in the world?

Here's the story:  At the beginning of last semester, I occasionally noticed these little green soldiers popping up around the building as though they were keeping a look out.  They seemed to change locations quite a bit and, also, so it seemed, the game was to keep them moving.

In short, let's say I have a good feeling I know who put this one here the day before fall break last year . . .

Do you think he'll make it to the end of my three years?  (Maybe he won't if anyone sees this post!)

By the way, I took these shots using my fancy pants laptop.  See?  You can tell, since my arms are down.

Hey, every now and again the criminal law deserves a little break for some high schoolian entertainment.

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did making it.

By the way, I'm aware that he may already have been moved (and moved back) since he was first placed there . . .  But I doubt it.

Rise and Shout! Here's to the Cougars

As usual, I'll be the first to admit (and the F-Word will quickly confirm) that I'm a 100% fair weather fan when it comes to basketball and a 115% fair weather fan when it come to my alma matter's basketball team.

You see, they haven't (or rather, hadn't) broken out of the first round of the NCAA tournament since '92-'93.  In other words, it's almost been two decades since they pulled off the "feat" and my brothers will tell you I was probably still wearing pull-ups at the time.

Yes, I know, there are some of you out there whose program has gone without a significant victory for your entire lifetime and yet you remain as die hard as ever.

Good on you.

Oh, and yes, BYU did virtually give me a heart attack when they nearly choked again, for like the 80th time.  But I give them sane property for pulling it out in double OT.  And from the memory I have of the refresh-every-three-seconds play-by-play, Fredette and Loyd tore it up in the final period.  So here here.

Will BYU's success continue for the near future?

My former Contracts professor has them down for the Elite Eight, my CrimLaw professor thinks (or maybe LV thinks?) they have a 1/10 shot of making it to the Final Four.  It seems like the F-Word told me some sports guy in Denver says they're  Final Four material as well.

I'll probably collapse (out of shock) if they escape the second round.

If they don't, I'll gently remind myself that I didn't care that much to begin with . . .

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Busken Bakery

A couple in our ward (church congregation) here in Cincinnati heads up a bakery and it's charmant!  (Pardon my using French . . .  You can blame JK Rowling and Jim Dale.)

The food is delicious, the marketing is fresh, and of course, my wife fawns over its delicious corollary, Yagööt (which we pronounce, ya-goo).

Here are some good times with our daughter decked out and meaning business:

I guess we'll have to get some pictures of my wife devouring Yagööt.

The Cincinnati Art Museum

Yesterday my wife and I took our daughter to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Good times were had by all.

Here are some photorials.  Enjoy.

Today's Spiritual Message: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

This post is to confirm my testimony of the Book of Mormon.

As its subtitle suggests, its purpose is to witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and our only source of salvation.

Last night, my wife and I were reading in the Book of Mormon, shortly after an immense scene of destruction in the Americas, following the Savior's crucifixion in Jerusalem.

Here, there were earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds, and all kinds of destruction. (3 Nephi 8.)  This destruction, which was foreseen by the prophet Nephi and many others (1 Nephi 19) caused many kings to exclaim, "The God of nature suffers."  (1 Nephi 19: 12.)

After the chaos subsided, thick darkness covered the land for three days in which the people could have no light.  They could not light a fire, they could not do anything to produce light.

In the midst of this darkness, the voice of the Savior was heard to say, in part:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. 
I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
(3 Nephi 9: 15, 18.)

I echo the words of the Master that He is the Light and Life of the world, without His light, the world would literally and spiritually be covered in darkness.

I know that there is "no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ."  (Alma 38: 9.  See also Hel. 5: 9.)

I know that Jesus Christ literally suffered every pain, temptation, sickness, and injustice that we can or ever will face and that because He took them upon Him, He, and only He, can comfort us and remove these burdens from us or enable us to bear them with His aid.  (Alma 7: 11-12.)

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, given to us today as another sure and powerful witness that this Carpenter from Galilee is who He said He is:  The Son of God and the Source of all that is good.  (Ether 4: 12.)

This two part video is the testimony of another's witness of the Book of Mormon, one of the Savior's special witnesses, an Apostle called and chosen by Him in our day, Elder Jeffery R. Holland.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sunday's Spiritual Message: Going Offline Continued

I meant to write about this on Sunday, but since I forgot to and I needed to take a few minutes to rest my brain (I'm writing a brief for my Lawyering/Advocacy class), here I am.

The wife and I recently came across an article in the Ensign that reinforced our desire to limit our "being [constantly] connected."

I think you'll enjoy it.

This links to the pdf:  PDF Link

Or, if you prefer the html:  HTML Link

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Misplaced Modifier in a Common Hymn?

Okay, this is pretty random, but for my Advocacy class, we have to keep track of our grammar.

So a minute ago, while I'm reading Justice Scalia's dissent in Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004), I come across a phrase with the word only in it.

I've struggled with this modifier for a long time and it made me think of a hymn that actually misuses it:

There Is a Green Hill Far Away
There was no other good enough To pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate Of heav'n, and let us in.  (4th stanza/verse)

Ever since I was a kid, this phraseology confused me, and now I understand why!

Only is supposed to modify the word or phrase immediately following it.

So in this case, it should be "Only He could unlock the gate . . ."  Otherwise, it means that all He can do is unlock the gate and let us in, but from the preceding text, it's clear that the purpose of the stanza is to say that He is the only one who can take the action spoken of.

Maybe I'm reading too much into the only bit, but it seems to me like the intention is to say only He could do all this (and not all He could do [expressing limitation] is this).

By the way, I'm pretty sure this stanza is an LDS revision of the hymn, but it seems like the original or more common version has the same issue: