Sunday, October 31, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Saved FROM Our Sins

Recently, while reading in the Book of Mormon, I took note of particular exchange between a missionary, Amulek, and a heckler, Zeezrom.

Zeezrom asks Amulek, "Shall [God] save his people in their sins?" and Amulek says, basically, "no" (see Alma 11: 34-37) (emphasis added).  This caused Zeezrom to spurn Amulek, who repeated his answer,
And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins (Alma 11: 37).
Furthermore, the Savior Himself spoke of His mission among mankind,
Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin (3 Nephi 9: 21) (emphasis added).
He went on to say,
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved (3 Nephi 9: 22).
Indeed, "the kingdom of God is not filthy" (1 Nephi 15: 34), yet "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3: 23).  So how do "inherit the kingdom of heaven," if we've all fallen short?

Moroni and Nephi give us the key to overcoming our sin, through the Savior.

Said Moroni:
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ (Moroni 10: 32).
Or, as Nephi so succinctly put it,
[B]elieve in Christ, and [] be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do (2 Nephi 25: 23) (emphasis added).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beware! (Spammers or the Tax Code?)

Please calmly disregard the fact that, this year, you have probably already violated 35 different provisions of the tax code.
This sobering fortune cookie (a fortune cookie?) warns gullible email users to be wary of email tax scams.

To be candid, I'm more wary about the busy-ness of the Web page and the, unfathomable, impenetrable, and unintelligible wording of the tax code itself.  (I think these other words also describe the code well.)

Here's a telling example:
  1. Investment income.
The term “investment income” means the sum of—
(i)  gross income from property held for investment (other than any gain taken into account under clause (ii)(I)),
(ii)  the excess (if any) of—
(I)  the net gain attributable to the disposition of property held for investment, over
(II)  the net capital gain determined by only taking into account gains and losses from dispositions of property held for investment, plus
(iii) so much of the net capital gain referred to in clause (ii)(II) (or, if lesser, the net gain referred to in clause (ii)(I)) as the taxpayer elects to take into account under this clause.

Such term shall include qualified income (as defined in section 1(h)(11)(B)) only to the extent the taxpayer elects to treat such income as investment income for purposes of this subsection.

Sorry, Professor M!

P.S.  You remember the evil villain named Zoltran from Space Ghost Coast to Coast?  Turns out he was actually in a famous case on child tax credits:  Zoltran v. Commissioner, 79 T.C. 490 (1982).  Who knew?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Close Encounters of the Food Kind

Last week, I was eating a vegetable in the morning, when all of a sudden I felt something strange.

Thankfully, my natural instinct was to quickly reach up to my mouth and rip out whatever it was from my mouth.

Needless to say, I felt pretty grateful I realized this before eating it . . .

I was reminded to write this post because my wife saw what I believe was as a centipede last night and so slept with ear plugs in.

Too bad we're unable to eat with plugs over our mouths.

I was pretty shaken, and then I got over it a couple minutes later.

Part of me wonders if I would prefer to have simply failed to notice.

(By the way, I avoided telling you the name of the vegetable intentionally - I want to avoid prejudicing you.)

If you've had a similar close encounter before, please tell me about it in the comments.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Born of God

I read a brief message tonight by President Ezra Taft Benson, given in 1985.

I highly recommend it.  Here is my favorite excerpt:
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Lessons I Learned As a Boy

I've always loved this story from President Hinckley.

What if we could all be such friends?

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Latest MacBook Air is here!! And it lacks an HD altogether (gasp). Well, not really.

To be perfectly candid, I've been very intrigued by the new MacBook Air and I will give it a lot more credit than this joke does.

On the other hand, do it's slimmer design, lighter weight, and longer battery life really make up the difference in premium price?

I suppose we could also toss in there the "instant on" (I'm curious to hear how instant it really is), the presumably faster HD because it's simply flash rather than HDD or even SDD (google an article about the device and this will make sense), a turtleneck or two, the new USB key (for re-instillation, if need be), an Apple logo (and some stickers for the car), oh, and the whole thing about looking like I'm chic and cool, and for good measure, a turtleneck for my kids.

If you follow my Google Reader blurbs (which I realize is doubtful because they're so nefariously techie (often) and so infinite), I really do think this will have a huge impact on the hard drive in general.  I'm personally surprised that HDD (as opposed to SDD) have lasted this long, and I do think one article I read raised a good point that most people simply think storage when they think of a hard drive.  Now that the master turtleneck has spoken, people might start to wake up and smell the speed.

They might also wake up and realize that a large HD for the computer itself is becoming less and less relevant,  "Why?" you might ask.  Because it's all moving to the Cloud!

Chrome OS, anyone?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Never Leave Him

This morning, while working out, I watched/listened to a talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen entitled Never Leave Him.

Given today's world of strife and confusion and the many attacks on my Church and faith, I felt deeply inspired by this message.  Here are some excerpts that really hit home to me (some of the hyper-links direct to footnotes in Elder Andersen's talk; you may have to scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Show References" and then find the footnote, by its number, manually - I was especially intrigued by 27):

After tasting of the fruit, Lehi saw “a great and spacious building … filled with people … old and young, … male and female; and their … dress was exceedingly fine; and they were … mocking and pointing their fingers [of scorn] towards those who … were partaking of the fruit.”23 An angel explained that the mocking, the scoffing, the fingers of scorn represented the pride and wisdom of the world.24

Nephi declared plainly, “We heeded them not.”25

Sadly, there were others whose courage faltered. The scripture reads, “After they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those [who] were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.”26

As disciples of Christ, we stand apart from the world. There may be times we feel uncomfortable as the fingers of scorn mock and dismiss what is sacred to us.27 President Thomas S. Monson warned, “Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith.”28 Nephi said, “[Heed] them not.”29 Paul admonished, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; … Be not … ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.”30 We never leave Him.

Some ask, “Do I have to be so different from others?” “Can’t I be a disciple of Christ without thinking so much about my behavior?” “Can’t I love Christ without keeping the law of chastity?” “Can’t I love Him and do what I want on Sunday?” Jesus gave a simple answer: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”32

Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.

Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts.

Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely.

Will we be astonished at times to see the anger a few feel toward the Lord’s Church and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak?36 Yes. But this will not deter the growth or destiny of the Church, nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is another talk on being offended, by Elder David A. Bednar, given in October, 2006, entitled, And Nothing Shall Offend Them.  I'm unable to embed it here; however, you may listen to it or download and watch it.

I also really enjoyed it and think you will too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Legal Quote of the Day: The Spawn of Neglect

This one comes from 432 A.2d 814.  It's a case of a little old lady sitting idly by while her sons "pillage" the valuable and hard-earned assets of third parties:
Her sons knew that she, the only other director, was not reviewing their conduct; they spawned their fraud in the backwater of her neglect.
I guess little old ladies are supposed to cross the street in New Jersey, rather than hold a 48% share in its family businesses.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Prophets Today

In the April 2010, General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Neil L. Anderson was the last speaker (of many), and he talked about how all the messages interrelate to one another:
When you are assigned to speak at the end of the final session of general conference, you listen to every word, wondering which parts of your talk will be given before your turn comes. There are no assigned subjects, no collaboration of themes. The Lord’s way, of course, is always the best way. He takes the individual prayerful efforts of each speaker and orchestrates a spiritual symphony full of revelation and power. Repeated themes, principle building upon principle, prophetic warnings, uplifting promises—the divine harmony is a miracle! I testify that in this conference we have heard and felt the mind and will of the Lord.
In this past Conference, October 2010, I noticed two talks that seemed almost identical:  Both focused on a message given from then Elder Ezra Taft Benson in 1980, entitled Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.  The talk focused on how important it is that we have a living prophet in our modern times and how we can take advantage of the blessing.  Upon searching for "Fourteen Fundamentals" on the Church's new website (, I found only one other talk referencing Elder Benson's message.  How interesting then, given Elder Andersen's insight, that there would be two talks, essentially repeating Elder Benson's message, on the same day!  Maybe thirty years was the magic number? . . .

Here are the two messages.

The first, entitled Obedience to the Prophets, was given by Elder Claudio R.M. Costa.

The next is entitled Our Very Survival, by Elder Kevin R. Duncan.

I testify that Thomas S. Monson is the man called of God today, to lead His Church and invite all the world to come unto Christ.  I invite you to read the words of President Monson and the other Apostles and Prophets God has called for our age, today.
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Amos 3: 7.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Of Things That Matter Most

In our modern lives, we often get caught up in busy-ness.  Sometimes we lose sight of what matters most.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminds us what does.

Here's another message from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who reminds us that some things are good, some are better, and others are best:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Frito Lay Panders to Eco-Villains, as its Compostable Bag Crumbles

Birds chirping in the distance, dew resting on green foliage, and a golden sunrise.  Click here, to fill out the effect with Edvard Grieg's "Morning."

Then, as the musical group Queen would say, "Another one bites the dust!"

Yes, the image below actually comes to you live, straight from the SunChips web site, describing its amazing, small step (for mankind).  There, you can take in what I presume is a breath-taking time lapse of the compostable bag degrading (the video refused to work for me on Chrome and Firefox), some hip info on the right, and even some marketing/investor style pdfs at the bottom.  Mmm, I feel so enlightened - Nirvana is near.

The true path to enlightenment
As the next-generation lettering describes, the "compostable bag is still [there]" for anyone in touch enough with nature that she will buy the original flavor, so she can look out over the green landscape of Mount Nicaragua, and breathe in the fresh air of moldering waste.  Ahhh.  Can you feel the compost, tonight, Elton?

I guess it really is
all about the Benjamins
Sadly, for our devoted Planeteer friends over at Frito Lay, the Wall Street Journal reports that a number of Sun Chips buyers detested the over-loud bag so much that they have demanded a return to the good old fashioned (and evil) non-degradable packaging.  Heck, some folks were so upset, they even posted mocking videos and "lodged fierce complaints on social-networking sites."

So, in an absolutely shocking turn of events, Frito Lay is "transition[ing] back to traditional packaging while [it] put[s] the finishing touches on the next generation of compostable bags."

I want to know who these sick people are who complained about the noise, rather than taking up their human duty to show off to their friends about how enviro-conscious they are!

I guess Frito Lay is just a filthy, profit-driven "business," after all.  Gaia is crashing down all around me!

Frito Lay has clearly been "bought"
by a new generation of Eco-Villains;
Big Oil must have been involved somehow . . .
Wo, wo, wo unto these consumers; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the Eco-Villains laugheth, and their minions rejoice, because of the slain of the next-generation chip bags of my people; and it is because of consumers' iniquity and abominations that the bags are fallen!

Surely, Captain Planet's biodegradable remains are squirming underneath mounds of earth, as this cataclysm unfolds.

RIP, valiant hero
Click on Captain Planet for a musical tribute

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Treasure in Heaven

This is the true story of John Tanner, a wealthy entrepreneur and former lay, Baptist minister who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and essentially donated all he had.

My wife and I saw this for the first time yesterday and loved it.

It runs about 20 minutes, and I found myself touched by each minute.  I hope you also enjoy it.

Matthew 19: 29

Matthew 6: 21; Luke 12: 34; 3 Nephi 13: 21

I think you will also enjoy this message from Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Reflections on a Consecrated Life.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Did you know the Cubbies were sued
in '68 to install lights and schedule
night games?  Cubs win, Cubs win!
While reading for corporations, just now, I felt moved to share another legal gem with you. (You can actually skip the following paragraph of legal nonsense, I've just added it as a lovely garnish to show what we poor and subjugated schmucks, excuse me, law students and attorneys, have to stomach day in and day out - unless, of course, the schmuck is a schlemiel partner (thank you, Peter, for educating me on this latest in Yiddish), in which case some associate or intern does the reading.)
Plaintiff is a minority stockholder of defendant corporation, Chicago National League Ball Club (Inc.), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Chicago, Illinois. Defendant corporation owns and operates the major league professional baseball team known as the Chicago Cubs. The corporation also engages in the operation of Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home park, the concessionaire sales during Cubs' home games, television and radio broadcasts of Cubs' home games, the leasing of the field for football games and other events and receives its share, as visiting team, of admission moneys from games played in other National League stadia. The individual defendants are directors of the Cubs and have served for varying periods of years. Defendant Philip K. Wrigley is also president of the corporation and owner of approximately 80% of the stock therein.
Shlensky v. Wrigley, 237 N.E.2d 776 (Ill. App. 1968).

My spell checker underlined the emphasized word in red, and I too found it strange.  Yet, a simple ctrl+shift+y (in Google Docs) revealed that, indeed,

sta·di·um Noun /ˈstādēəm/ 

noun: stadium

stadia pluralstadiums plural
  1. A sports arena with tiers of seats for spectators
  2. (in ancient Rome or Greece) A track for a foot race or chariot race
  3. An ancient Roman or Greek measure of length, about 185 meters
Wow, and I thought I was a geek for sometimes saying formulae rather than formulas.

Ah, the joys of early-morning law school readings.

One last thought:  Shlensky sounds awful close to the last name of our friends Peter and the used-car "distributor" . . .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Schmuck v. United States (Seriously)

Okay, I'll get right to the point. While searching for a case in my White Collar Crime text, I came across this entry:

Do federal prosecutors have something against Schmucks?
You may think I doctored this photo up; actually, it is a real case.  The course syllabus indicates it's on deck for our next class . . .  According to the opening line of the case, Mr. Schmuck was, you guessed it, a used-car "distributor."  Ah, I love it when the Supreme Court gets PC.

Would you buy a vehicle from a
used-car salesman named Schmuck?
While poking around, I also found a 90's-style web page discussing Yiddish and the law.

A man goes to a lawyer and asks:

 "How much do you charge for legal advice?"

 "A thousand dollars for three questions."

 "Wow! Isn't that kind of expensive?"

 "Yes, it is. What's your third question?"


This says something other
than chutzpah -- I think

Friday, October 1, 2010

Patience and Mortal Afflictions

In preparation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' biannual General Conference, I would like to share the following message about patience and mortal afflictions, namely same gender attraction, which is an issue very close to my heart, as it has deeply affected my brother, whom I love very much.

Many of us are afflicted with various desires and temptations throughout our life: alcohol, tobacco, pornography, sex outside of marriage, same-gender attraction, cheating, stealing, violence, abuse, etc.

Regarding mortal afflictions (particularly same gender attraction), in a message given to Evergreen International, on September 18, 2010, Bishop Keith B. McMullin stated the following:

The Lord views us in the context of our immortal possibilities, not in the light of our mortal limitations. He “esteemeth all flesh in one; [and] he that is righteous is favored of God” (1 Nephi 17:35). He does not view us as forever poor or halt or maimed or blind, though He is compassionate toward these conditions and knows the purpose of each in the lives they affect. Mortal limitations are with us only for a season. They were not part of us before birth and will not be present in our lives beyond the grave.
“Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”). It is vital to our happiness; it is everlasting and unchanging.
Same-gender attraction is a mortal challenge. As with all such limitations, in and of itself it is neither evil nor sinful. For example, same-gender attractions that result in genuine friendships and beloved, righteous associations are desirable and praiseworthy.
But as with all mortal conditions, if the inclination of same- or opposite-gender attraction leads a person to violate the laws of God or to mar one’s immortal possibilities, this inclination needs to be controlled and overcome. Sexual thoughts and behaviors, except for those within the bonds of marriage between husband and wife, fall into this category. Conquering them becomes part of this mortal probation, part of what must be done as we “prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).
Most importantly, I (this blog's author) believe and know that through Jesus Christ, we can overcome any and all difficulties we may face. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4: 15).
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities (Alma 7: 11-12).
I invite you to learn more of the Lord's Atonement and doctrine by listening to what His Prophets and Apostles will say tomorrow and Sunday in General Conference.  "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (Doctrine & Covenants 1: 38).