August 27th, 2009



  • 08:14 I didn't know Ted Kennedy had so little time left. :( #
  • 08:14 On the bright side, though, I think he might be the first Kennedy to die of natural causes. #
  • 14:53 Why are they still building so many expensive houses? Rich people already HAVE places to live! #
  • 15:29 Jason Bateman is on NPR. #
  • 15:43 @JaredofMo Well, they weren't actually blood relatives, but I would still think Dorothy would prefer someone outside the family. #
  • 15:44 @JaredofMo Also, why does that say Zeb wa
    s a Kansas farmhand, when he lived and worked in California? #
  • 15:47 @3x1minus1 So is your brain computerized? :P #
  • 15:49 @arfies Some AVGN videos are better than others. I tend to prefer the ones where I've actually played the game. #
  • 15:51 @arfies The Nostalgia Chick is a good mixture of cute and sarcastic. Plus, she shares my wife's last name. {g} #
  • 15:54 @3x1minus1 The IKEA catalog is the 3rd most printed item? What about the Rubaiyat? #
  • <
    em>15:56</em> @InBloomers Why give people extra features when they can't even spell? #
  • 15:57 A million poppies gonna make me sleep, but just one rose, it knows your name. #
  • 15:59 @JaredofMo Well, people thought I was gay even BEFORE I liked Oz. I probably could be if it weren't for not being sexually attracted to men. #
  • 16:01 @oz_diggs Maybe you have to have a mustache like Baum's. #
  • 16:07 I had a dream that I was using a Magic Marker to write on all the directories in the mall, but I couldn't think of anything to write. #
  • 16:08 At the escalator to the Kmart, I was just going to write, "Escalator to Kmart" #
  • 16:08 I guess I don't have a future as a graffiti artist. #
  • 18:17 I heard Danny is headed our way. I just hope it's not Danny Bonaduce! #
  • 18:53
    Twitter isn't very popular with teenagers (thank God). #
  • 18:56 Photo: samuraifrog: #
  • 19:17 Photo: Dare I make the obvious joke? Okay, I dare.  Something about this picture stinks! mudwerks: #
  • 19:22 Why do only boys turn into donkeys in Pinocchio? I can't believe Italian girls are that much better behaved. #
  • 20:17 Fact I learned from today's Wikipedia mailing: Alice in Chains only had three studio albums. #
  • 20:50 @3x1minus1 I think
    I remember a professor saying that the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam was the second most printed item in history. #
  • 21:01 RT @comicgoodness The Secret Sexual Symbolism of Batwoman #comics #
  • 21:05 @oz_diggs No, it's actually I Can't Believe It's Not Frog. Which is mostly made of toad. #
  • 21:08 RT @JaredofMo Microsoft advertising fail: #
  • 21:08 @oz_diggs Everybody loves Terrybubble. #
  • 21:09 @TarynAria NMD=No More Donuts #
  • 21:12 @JaredofMo Well, you don't have to GET it all at once! And I don't think there's enough original Oz fiction being released these days. #
  • 21:13 @JaredofMo Maybe all Oz packages have to pass through Kansas, in honor of Dorothy. #
  • 21:16 RT @jlbellwriter Among this week's deaths: Ellie Greenwich, Brill Building songwriter/producer who discovered Neil Diamond. #
  • 21:17 (Although, honestly, I probably would have preferred it if Neil had remained undiscovered.) #
  • 23:07 Bill O'Rei
    lly insists that there are things on the Internet about Ted Kennedy that even HE found offensive. I wonder what they are. #
  • 23:07 He also said that only God should make personal judgments. Bill, do you LISTEN to yourself? Or do you think you ARE God? #
  • 23:46
    Silly rabbit, social media are for narcissists! #
  • 23:47 Don't people who use social networking sites usually look at other people's stuff as well as posting their own, though? #
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Thursdays with Moroni, Part 4: Those Dang-Blasted Injuns!

You know, even if the idea that there was a lost civilization in America descended from pre-exilic Jews is an odd basis for a religion, you'd think it would at least be an interesting fictional premise, right? I mean, Joseph Smith had the opportunity to invent an entire history for these people. Unfortunately, what he came up with was kind of boring and hard to follow.

In the Book of Mosiah, which covers a fair amount of Smith's invented history (Smithstory?), King Benjamin builds a tower at the temple, and the words of God emerge from it. And, um, I think King Noah also builds a tower in the same place? I don't know; this book is confusing, and skips back and forth through time. It would be one thing if there were other references to give a better sense of time. We do, however, learn that the book covers up through 509 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, which means we're getting closer to when Jesus walked the Earth. Not that it really matters for the Nephites, who somehow knew all about Jesus centuries ahead of time.

Anyway, this King Noah is said to have done a lot of bad stuff, including having many wives and concubines (unlike the author of this book...oh, wait) and levying a 20% tax on his subjects. Yeah, the flat tax IS a dumb idea, if that's what this is about. Noah also puts one preacher of Jesus (Abinadi) to death, and wants the followers of another one (Alma) destroyed. He never gets a chance to carry out this latter goal, though, due to troubles with the Lamanites. These guys are described as "a very cunning people; delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder." They're also pathetic drunks, whom Noah's successor Limhi and his subjects manage to escape by getting them drunk on the firewater. Yeah, Joe, we get it. You don't like the Indians.

This confusing narrative also makes reference to several places, including Helam, Amulon, Shemlon, Shilon, Valley of Alma, and Zarahemla. Were these places supposed to be identified with ones in the nineteenth century United States, or did Smith just hedge his bets by making up locations that could have been anywhere?

A Book That's As Good As

Just today, I finished reading Robert Rankin's The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. It's sort of a detective noir murder mystery, except the murder victims are nursery rhyme characters, and one of the detectives a teddy bear. Also, an Antichrist figure who runs a chocolate factory is involved. I enjoyed it, and I liked some of the little touches that Rankin used in creating Toy City, like how Eddie Bear needs to be upside down to get fully drunk (because, since he's stuffed, the alcohol otherwise runs into his legs), and the clockwork cars. I've also noticed that, when compared to American writers, British ones seem more likely to insert asides on various issues that might or might not directly relate to the plot, and Rankin is no exception. The explanation of the various religions that the toys had was clever, and actually DID come into play in the main plot eventually. This is the first Rankin book I've read, and I'd be interested in trying others, but I'm not sure which are the better ones. The list in the front indicates that he's written a lot, and came up with some great titles, but you can't always judge a book by that.

One thing I've noticed about my own reviewing is that I tend to prefer to finish a good book before commenting on it, while I like to comment on not-so-good books (like the Book of Mormon and Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior) as I'm reading through them, because there's just too much ridiculousness to hold it in until the end. While I have a lot of books on my to-read list (I've just checked out the last two books of the Prydain Chronicles and Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book), I'm sort of thinking I want an ongoing review of a kind of silly and/or obnoxious book to become a regular feature here. Some of the ideas I've had recently for this series are The Da Vinci Code (I'm curious as to whether it's REALLY as bad as people say) and Chariots of the Gods (probably the most famous work in the "gods are really ALIENS" school of thought, which seems like it would be amusing enough to hold my interest, but I have no idea what the writing style is like). Any other ideas? (I welcome suggestions for GOOD books as well, of course, but I have more of them waiting in the wings.) Also, are there any other religious texts you'd like me to address?
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