Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Take These Broken Spleens

I made a list.

These are all things (mostly music) that remind me, in some way, of my mission, or of the months directly preceding or following.

Pre-Mission (mainly summer 2006)

Anything from Radiohead's Kid A album
Anything from Radiohead's The Bends album
(more specifically, songs from those albums remind me of driving to/from work at Dixie Nutrition during the summer of 2006).

Getting closer to mission (weeks and days before- "The Presence of Impending Doom")

"How to Save a Life" by The Fray
"Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche
Anything from Jeff Buckley's Grace album
Anything from Death Cab for Cutie's Plans album (especially Brothers on a Hotel Bed)

On my way to the MTC (October 18th, 2006)

Mormon Tabernacle Choir songs - "Homeward Bound" "Suo-Gan" & "All Through the Night"

First area )Hendersonville, TN)

"Nashville Tribute to the Prophet" album
"Float" album by Bell and Cardiff
"Garden Walls" by Mindy Gledhill
The smell of golden honey flavor handsoap (which I believe we had in the bathroom)
The cologne that Elder Call wore (don't remember what it's called... but I know it when I smell it).
"Believe" by Josh Groban (first Christmas out)
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Bing Crosby (first Christmas out)

Murfreesboro, TN

"I Feel My Savior's Love" by Jessie Clark Funk

Shelbyville, TN

Enya songs from A Day Without Rain album

Bowling Green, KY

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music

Lawrenceburg, TN

Music from Colby Horton mix, including a lovely rendition of "Amazing Grace."
Music from Mindy Gledhill albums- "Sum of All Grace" & "Falling and Flying"
"Now We Are Free" from Gladiator soundtrack
"I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" by Mormon Tabernacle Choir (generally when driving to Pulaski, TN)

Post Mission Days

Music from Super Mario Galaxy
Music from Cave Story

What made all these "musics" and other things stick? Would I, at any other time in my life, have found the song "Silent Lucidity" to be that memorable when I heard it? Or would it just have been another tune that I I quickly forgot? What was it about having this impending anxiety of a coming mission that caused these things to stick in my brain? And not just stick in my brain, but to be actual instant reminders of a time and a place, and the exact emotions I felt at the time? Why does Josh Groban's "Believe" stick in my mind so much and remind me of my first Christmastime out? Why does the smell of golden honey handsoap instantly transport me back to my first apartment? There's nothing special about golden honey handsoap, is there? Because the smell carries the emotions. The song carries the emotions. What emotions? In the beginning, fear. Loneliness. Homesickness (especially during the first Christmas). Anxiety about what lay ahead. All these emotions magnified to an especially intense degree. Later on, music that drew me inward and gave me reason to reflect on the mission of Christ and the vast humbling opportunity of sharing the gospel and having stewardship over an area. Music that, in post-mission days, brings to mind the weird feeling of returning to society and engaging in all the childish garbage that was withheld from me on the mission, like vidiot games.

Well, that's all. This probably hasn't been too exciting, so I'm sorry.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


What would you like to hear about? Well I'll tell you. Space. How amazing this vast "space" is. Just dotted with all these little stars, these little flaming balls of hydrogen and helium and plasma, off in the vast cosmos, millions of light years away. Right now, Jupiter is sitting high up in the sky with his many mistresses. And we're just... spinning around... spinning... spinning... day after day. And this spinning gives us our days, our days of love, days of fear, days of taking a relaxing vacation and going to the beach, days of endless mind-numbing work, Days of our Lives (the soap!), days of war and peace, days of struggling with children who have problems, days of struggling with school, of trying to make ends meet, days of suffering and tribulation, days of joy, days of heartache, days of struggling to keep brine shrimp alive for school science projects, nights of sleep (or lack thereof), nights that give us our starry sky, nights that give us our graveyard shifts, nights that give us our 4th of July fireworks and our late-night get-togethers, our midnight snacks, our night drives, our twinkling city lights. And if you go up there and look back down at this lovely blue globe, you leave all that here. And I'm sure as hell some people would like to do that every now and again, just leave Earth behind for a bit, all of its cares. Not that there's anything particularly worrying about 4th of July fireworks or midnight snacks. Also you wouldn't really leave the starry night sky here. You'd take it with you. You'll be forever enshrouded in a blanket of starry night. To sleep now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Many Flat Tires of Mrs. Bennett

I lay. In bed. Sick with something or other. I reek of tea-tree oil, which I rubbed on my legs yesterday evening to stop the itching. This itching has been going on since the middle of January. The tea-tree oil seems to be working pretty well. I've been to two dermatologists about it. One basically said there's no cure for it and I'll just have to put itch cream on six times a day for the rest of my life. Another one recommended oatmeal baths, some other lotion, allergy pills, and did blood work, which was all negative. He also removed my possibly cancerous mole from my leg. There's now a big scab there which doesn't appear to be healing. I don't know what's going on. Rivers threw up yellow goo about 30 times last weekend and was in the hospital for a day. Emily got sick right after that. I predicted I would get sick by Friday. I was wrong. Saturday. I've lost my wedding ring, which is too bad because I kinda liked that ring. I dropped my phone and shattered it in the McDonald's drive-thru. Good times! A couple times this week, I have taken Rivers on a walk to Home Depot (he loves Home Depot) and then down the Halfway Wash trail. I've taken an interest in plants and flowers. I like cottonwoods. The trail is dotted with many of them. There's also a lot of Sacred Datura plants, which are those ones with the big white trumpet flowers. Don't eat them. They'll send you on a mind-blowing acid trip and then kill you. Trust me. I know. When it gets hot out, the flowers close during the day, then open back up at night to attract pollinators like moths. I noticed that on Wednesday, the flowers were all open during our 7 pm walk. On Friday at about the same time (and it was a lot warmer on Friday), the flowers were all closed. I came back at 11 that night to look at them, and they were all open. Amazing. That would make a nice time-lapse video.

Welp, this is all for now. I'm missing church today. I haven't been to our ward for a month. I think I'm gonna get fired from my primary pianist job.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Associated Press- Gordon Hayward scored 26 points and George Hill and Derek Favors each chipped in 17 as the Utah Jazz ended Paul Pierce's career Sunday at Staples Center.

From the beginning, Utah outplayed the Clippers and made the extra hustle plays needed to end Pierce's career.

"We knew what we had to do tonight," Hayward said after the game. "We knew what was on the line. It was Paul Pierce's career. And we had to end it. And we did."

The Clippers, fresh off a win in which Pierce's career was extended for another game, fell behind early and couldn't make up the deficit to save Pierce's career.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers played a video montage for the team before the game which featured several clips of Pierce throughout his career dunking, scoring some layups, and hoisting the NBA championship trophy as a Boston Celtic in 2008. Needless to say, the Clippers were inspired.

"We wanted to go out tonight and extend Pierce's career," Chris Paul said. "That was it. And even though we fell short, and his career is over, we feel like we played them tooth and nail."

The Jazz continue their playoff run Tuesday night when they attempt to end more opponents' careers.

Coach Quinn Snyder mentioned he was proud of his team for the way they handled the pressure of being in a hostile environment where everybody wanted Paul Pierce's career to keep going. "This is what it's all about," he said. "Doing all the little things. Good things happen when you play aggressive disciplined basketball. Like ending Paul Pierce's career."

Saturday, March 11, 2017


What is everybody looking forward to?

This week?
This month?
This year?
In the next five years?
In the next 30 years?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ISIS claims responsibility for video purportedly showing ISIS leader claiming responsibility

Associated Press- An ISIS propaganda video released Monday purports to show ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claiming responsibility for last week's mosque bombing in Pakistan; ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the video with a video released several hours later purporting to show ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi claiming responsibility for the earlier video.

"Just in case any infidels thought it was another inferior jihad group that released the video earlier today, well, it was us. Not Al-Qaeda. Not Boko Haram. Not Al-Shubba babala something or the Revolutionary Freedom Crusaders of Allah or whatever. Okay?" the ISIS leader stated in a 30-minute long recording that also included warnings that more videos would "soon be unleashed upon the Zionist crusaders in a fiery sea of videos." Al-Qaeda immediately claimed responsibility for the video with a video released an hour later, throwing the whole world of terrorist video-making into chaos.

"Death to America! Also, we made that last video!" a masked man wielding an AK-47 stated in the video. Within minutes, a video was released purportedly from al-Baghdadi, who stated, "Allahu akbar! Don't listen to him, that's ridiculous. Why would they make a video with me claiming responsibility?" The authenticity of that video could not be immediately verified. Several more videos were released in the following hour, each one criticizing the previous video and calling down curses from Allah on their wives, flocks, herds, and their "video-making equipment."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How Grampy Saved Christmas

Ah, my first vacation in years! What a thrill! What a delight! Anxiously, I board the flight, shoving other passengers out of my way, shoving people off the airstair, shoving children into the overhead storage, just shoving shoving shoving.
But all of this changes when I take my seat and meet the guy sitting next to me. He immediately launches into some boring story, a story about murder, deceit, sabotage, and betrayal, a story of the risks one is willing to take to make it to the top, a story that shows that with hope, faith, and guts, even one ordinary man can change the world of small-town politics... forever.
“Boy, that’s pretty wild!” I say, and then I instantly fall asleep, because face it… when you’re running on no sleep, well… you go to sleep eventually. Right? AM I RIGHT?! And how are all these thoughts coming out of my head when I’m clearly asleep? I mean, I just said that I fell asleep. But did I really fall asleep? Or am I bluffing? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am bluffing! I’ve always been a good bluffer, especially at sleeping. In fact, it looks like I’m sleeping, but I’m not. I’m just sick of this yahoo next to me blabbing on about some terribly dull story, so I shut my eyes. But I am actually very tired, so after about 30 seconds, I really do fall asleep.
I wake up sometime later (not sometime before). The sky is black outside the window, the lights on the wing flashing intermittently. A little… too intermittently. Something is wrong. No, it’s not. I don’t know what got into me there.
My neighbor to the left of me, the one who was blabbing on about something or other earlier, is fast asleep, his tongue lolling out of his mouth (LOL!). Just then, the flight attendant walks up. “Peanuts?” she asks. “Oh boy, peanuts!” I reply, and this means that I want some, so she dumps a bag of peanuts on my lap. “By the way,” I ask her, since I have really been wondering. “Where is this plane going?”
“DOWN!” she yells, and then pulls a detonator out of her pocket. I can tell it’s a detonator. I’ve owned a few.
“I knew it!” I cry, pointing at her with my crooked finger. By this point, many of the other passengers have awoken from their slumbers, and they are mumbling in a worried manner. “I knew it! I knew it all along! I knew you were a terrorist! From the moment you pulled out that detonator! I knew it!”
My neighbor to the left of me marvels at my deductions.
“Well,” says the flight attendant. “You may have guessed correctly this time, but that doesn’t matter anymore! You’re all going to die!”
Many passengers scream. There are a variety of screams. Some high, some low. Some fast, some slow. Some guy screaming who has no idea what’s going on, demanding to know why the beverage service is late and if he could get some V8. Another lady screaming at her 6-year-old who keeps complaining because his iPod died and he wants to play Pokeyman Crush Saga or Flappy Crush or some such ridiculous vidiot game on her phone. The flight attendant screaming as she’s waving the detonator up in the air, with a crazed look in her eyes. I’ve had enough of this madness.
I pull out my ear-buds and crank up Destiny’s Child, then settle back and relax. They’re my favorite band. My neighbor to the left of me nudges me. “Hey, we shoulda booked first class,” he says, and then we have a good laugh. Well, mostly just him because I’ve got Destiny’s Child on full blast, so I don’t really hear him. But I think that’s what he may have said. Or something along those lines. He may have said something completely different. But we both laugh, me a little bit, him a whole lot, tears streaming down his cheeks. Eventually, others join in the laughter too, including the flight attendant, who did NOT DIE. Then the pilots come and join in, and everybody holds hands, and sings “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and a more heartwarming and inspiring scene I have never known, in all my days.
“And that’s how your old grampy saved Christmas,” I say, shutting the book, a large tome of thousands of gilded pages and a mysterious seal of a snake on the cover.
“Wow Grampy, that was a really great story! Can we read it again?” my grandson Billy says, his eyes gleaming like only a child’s eyes gleam.
“Maybe tomorrow kid,” I reply, in my thick raspy Ukrainian accent. “Now be at peace.”
At this point, I pull his blanket up to his chin, then reach up and shut his eyelids for him, since he’s not able to do it himself, having a very rare form of eyelid paralysis.

The End

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION (to be discussed as a loving family unit):

1) Why does Grampy feel the need to share his incredible true story with Billy? Who does Billy even think he is anyway, taking up Grampy's valuable time?
2) Describe the influence that Destiny's Child has had on the modern-day libertarian movement.
3) Name 3 events that occur in the story that are critical to understanding the psychological motivation of the passenger who demands his V8.
4) Does anybody still drink V8? Why did anybody ever drink V8 in the first place? Explain.