Follow by Email

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Thoughts Exactly

I used to really like the band Coldplay. They were freakin sweet. They had a lovely sound, driven by mostly GUITAR and PIANO. And now their music is garbage, and most of their songs I hear on the radio are extremely annoying. Oh, here's a quote from somebody else about Coldplay.

As a great admirer of Coldplay’s early work on releases like 2000’s “Parachutes” (including international hits like “Yellow,”) or 2002’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” with tracks like “Clocks” and “The Scientist,” seeing the bands development through the course of the last decade has been more than a little bit worrying. The band’s third release “X&Y” (2005) began a gradual departure from the personal and intimate, guitar and piano based, slightly rough-around-the-edges alternative rock of their earlier creations, toward more heavily studio-produced, mass market music, in the style of radio friendly hit singles like “Speed of Sound” and “Fix You.”


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Arby's Adventures

So I have finally learned what it's like to be a COMPLETELY different person. Every time I go to Arby's, and they ask me for my name, I tell them something different! I HILARIOUS IS THAT?!?!?! Today, for example, I was Mark. Last time I went, I was Jim. One time I went, I was Barnaby. The Barnaby one was weird, because there was no prior thought process. The guy asked me for my name, and it was the first thing that came to mind. I was thinking that maybe I had the circus on my mind, but I don't think there is a circus with the name "Barnaby." I must've crossed "Barnum" and "Bailey" or something. The Arby's guy didn't seem at all phased by my odd name. What a nice guy, so unwilling to judge my name.

In case you didn't know, I go to Arby's way too much because I am too dang lazy to go to Lin's and pick up 20 boxes of cup noodles for my lunch breaks at work. And I am paranoid about making sandwiches because I hate to leave filthy peanut-buttery knives laying around the sink. "Well why don't you just clean the knife Barnaby?" you might be asking. NO. Besides, a junior chicken sandwich is probably healthier. All that protein. All of those vitamins and minerals swimming around in the Arby's sauce and the horsey sauce. You can't go wrong, especially when the vitamins and minerals are swimming. I don't care that their commercials suck and are the most annoying thing to hit TV in all of my years. I JUST WANT A DANG SANDWICH.

And now, to end this, some memorable dialogue from the blockbuster Cohen brothers' black comedy Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

"Most of them have seen too many winters!"-- Gimli
"Or too few."-- Legolas (I almost called him Leonard, I guess I forgot what his name was).
The main characters look at Legolas with concern, as they often do when he adds haunting wisdom.

The end.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Time to go back to the film," says 1st grade basketball coach after tough loss

Cincinnati, OH—After his team’s tough 14-6 loss to the Spartans, basketball coach Rick Franken announced that it was time for his team to “go back and look at the film.” Franken, who coaches a team of 8-year-olds, announced in a post-game interview that his team needed to get back to the basics of what basketball is all about. “I thought we made some critical defensive mistakes down the stretch,” he said, referring to the countless plays in which all five players would collapse on the ball-handler, leaving various Spartan players open. “We played like garbage today,” said the team’s star power forward, Taylor Bedrins, who also attends South Franklin Elementary School and is in Mrs. Webster’s class. “We didn’t execute, we weren’t hustling, and they just took advantage.” He also referred to a number of offensive mistakes, including players heaving up one-handed 40-foot 3-point attempts with defenders all over them, seven traveling violations, two instances of players scoring on the wrong basket, eight airballs, and all four players calling for the ball simultaneously on every possession. “It was just selfish basketball,” said point guard Braden Jenkins, who just got his training wheels off his bike. “How can we run our offense when every player wants the ball? It’s just not going to happen.” It was rumored that Coach Franken exploded on his team after the game and threw a chair across the locker room, but players are used to his hard-nosed approach and no-crap attitude when it comes to the game of basketball. “We respect Coach,” said center and reserve Derek Williams, who is planning to go and play toy guns with his friends after the game, but only after he’s cleaned his room. “We just really let him down today.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Bill Became a Law

There was a guy named Bill. He was very prestigious. One day, he was made into a law. He liked this for awhile, but then it got kind of boring, just sitting there, being a law. He also forgot to tell his wife and children about this happening, and they wondered where he went and what happened to him. They grieved over his disappearance, but it didn’t matter. In time, they overcame their grief. His kids began to do better in school. His wife, though depressed for a time, got back into the routine of wifeliness.

One day, a burglar broke into their home. He realized that the TV was too big to steal, so he just broke a framed picture of Bill and his wife and then left. When Bill’s wife saw the picture with the crack in it, it was too much. She fell to the floor and wept bitterly. She would’ve rather had the thief steal the TV, the video games, the refrigerator, even the family cat…but this? Crack a framed sentimental picture? What sort of monster would do such a thing? “A burglar, that’s what,” she answered to herself through her tears. Only a burglar would crack the glass of a framed sentimental picture for no reason at all, other than to say, “I have burglarized this house, and left my mark via sentimental picture cracking.”

Bill, watching from above (for the law is above us all), wept for his family in their time of trial. “Oh dear wife,” he said to himself. “How I love thee.”

The end

Questions for family discussion (only to be discussed as a loving family unit):

1) How exactly did Bill become a law? Do you think the author properly explained the process of transmutation as it relates to humans turning into law? Do you think the author cares what you think? Explain.
2) Have you ever been the victim of burglary/sentimental picture cracking? How did you react?
3) Have you ever burglarized someone and cracked a sentimental framed picture? You scumbag. 
4) If everyone knew about the placebo effect, then there would, essentially, be no placebo effect right? RIGHT?!
5) Is it possible that the burglar was actually Mr. Baldwin, the creepy old man next door who's always spying on Bill's family? Because a younger burglar would be able to lift that TV right? What kind of TV are we talking about here? A little teeny one? A Zenith? A 70 inch plasma screen? Only you can decide. And decide wisely. Because Mr. Baldwin's fate is in your hands. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When Death Comes

          This is a reflective response I wrote a few years ago in my "Intro to Literature" class. I stumbled upon it and laughed heartily. HEARTILY. You don't have to understand the actual poem I'm referring to, other than it's about death, and it uses a lot of silly metaphors. The end. I hope you all find it hilarious, all three of you who read my blog.

                               "When Death Comes"
           Sometimes in life, people die. Actually, thousands of people die every day. From death-related illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS, harpoons through the chest, and freak rollercoaster accidents, to civil war, genocide, being old, and getting sucked into jet engines. Because of all these tragedies, poets have been inspired to write beautiful lovely poems about it, and compare death to such things as whales, bears, hurricanes, Keanu Reeves, and the Pope. Such is the case of “When Death Comes” by acclaimed poet Mary Oliver.
            Oliver, in this poem, seems to be calling us to action. She exhorts us that we should not merely be a visitor to the world, but that we should be “married to amazement.” She also really sounds like she hates death. A lot. Her view of death is fearsome, angry, and completely opposite of the view of death portrayed in Woody Allen’s “Death Knocks,” where Death is a big bumbling doofus who falls down the stairs, and more reminds me of Death from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.
            The first of the poem is structured with fearsome similes. Death is like the hungry bear in autumn. I think she’s referring to the Chicago Bears here, who begin their NFL season in the fall. Some seasons, they’re hungrier than others, like when they got to the Super Bowl a few years ago. It would make sense that she would be a Browns fan, as she was born in Cleveland, but nobody knows what a “brown” is, so how can we know when it gets hungry? The next figure of speech is actually a metaphor: death coming and buying her with gold coins, and then snapping the purse shut. This plainly shows that Death has a nice purse, one of those ones with the little button that makes it snap shut. Also, that Death is a woman. Or maybe a gay man. Whatever gender Death is, Death carries a purse. And fortunately we can’t see Death, which makes it all that much easier for Death to carry a purse. Otherwise, Death would probably be embarrassed. I had a coin purse once in fourth grade, and man, did I ever get made fun of. Just think what it would be like for me to carry a purse. How does this add to the intensity of Oliver’s poem? That Death does whatever it wants. It shows no mercy. It shows no embarrassment by carrying a purse. A cruel truth, a cruel reminder.
            Next, Oliver compares death to the “measle-pox.” I’m not sure what the measle-pox is. I’ve heard of “measles” and I’ve heard of “chicken pox,” so I assume measle-pox is some deadly combination of both, probably created by Oliver herself so she could include it in the poem. Because admit it, it sounds pretty deadly. Then she probably unleashed it upon those who opposed her, such as the editor of her poem who didn’t like the idea of a “death” theme, and her co-worker who spilled coffee on Oliver’s skirt during their lunch break. So those true scenarios make it all that much more vivid. Then she devises her last simile, comparing death to an “iceberg between the shoulders.” All I can say to this is…ouch! Wait, I don’t understand this simile. I mean, an iceberg is gigantic. Apparently it’s big enough to scrape a giant hole in a cruise ship, but it’s small enough and pointy enough to jab someone in between the shoulders? I think this comparison is supposed to show that death is so merciless that it doesn’t even care about physical impossibilities. That’s how terrible it is. Also, it’s big. And cold.
            Once she’s finished devising hilarious similes, Oliver moves on, pondering on what it’ll be like to die. She seems to take on an eternal perspective as she ponders the meaning of death. Oliver’s an odd duck. Usually, people sit around pondering the meaning of life. Oliver sits around pondering the meaning of death. All day long. She’s still a relatively pleasant person though, you just have to get to know her. Thus, the theme of this poem should be this: “Death: It’s Bad News,” or “Death: It’s a Home Run!” or “Death: It’s a Slam Dunk!” because sports is America’s pastime. No, for real, the theme should be “Live Life to the Fullest.” Because you never know when death is going to stab you in the back like an iceberg. Or infect you with measle-pox.
            Like I mentioned, it’s a call to action. Sort of. She has a different outlook on life. She wants us also to have a different outlook on life. I’m just afraid though, that this poem is a result of her regret. She doesn’t want to be just a visitor to the earth, but it’s already too late for her. She wants to be a bride married to amazement, a bridegroom taking the earth in his arms, but the problem here is that she just can’t be both a bride and a bridegroom. But maybe she can? Because if death can be an iceberg and stab me in the shoulders, then by all means, Mary Oliver can be both the bride and the bridegroom. “Oh Holden,” the critics are saying. “Don’t you know? It’s symbolic. Have you no appreciation for fine poetry?” Why yes, I do. I just think hermaphrodites are kind of weird. I’ve never known one though, so my prejudice is kind of unfounded.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Missionary Work and the Atonement, by Jeffrey R. Holland

This is an excerpt from a talk I read often on my mission...

"Almost everything I have said here has been an aid directed toward the missionary process, ultimately toward the investigator. May I close with an extended testimony about how focusing on the Atonement helps full-time and member missionaries and mission leaders.
Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way. (emphasis added by Holden)
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, 17 was the chief Apostle then and is the chief Apostle now, the Great High Priest, the chief cornerstone of His Church in this last and greatest of all dispensations. I testify that He lives, that the whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.
On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the cedars of Lebanon, the tree of life.
I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, the Bright and Morning Star. I know that our garments can be washed white only in the blood of that Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death, that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with His stripes we are healed. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all. 18
I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. 19 I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world."

I figure I should post some thoughts, which will be brief. Missions are hard. Salvation is hard. My own mission was hard. It's difficult for other people to really understand it, I think, because we're told, as missionaries, to be as positive and upbeat as possible when we write our loved ones, but there were times when there was hardly anything to be positive and upbeat about. I think one of the most important lessons I've come away with from my mission is exactly what Elder Holland said. "Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience." It will never be easy for us, and it will neverbe easy for people we are trying to teach. I have found myself, sometimes, uttering blasphemous phrases like, "My mission was a waste of time," and this is usually a result of learning about some convert of my mission who went inactive or left the church. Then my dear sweet wife rebukes me for saying such a thing, and when I stop being upset, I am unable to say such things.

If any prospective missionaries, or current missionaries, are reading this, and might be having a hard time, or are scared or fearful of the great task of preaching the gospel, just do your best, and remember that your whole mission is to help people. Your mission is not to rack up numbers to impress your zone leaders and your mission president. Find a way to love people and make them your whole focus in everything you do. When you do that, you won't be scared. It's strange how that works, but it does. You will have disappointments, and sometimes you may have so little success that you hate your life, but that is normal. Keep on going and have faith. I could say a lot of cliche things, but I won't. I'm glad I went on a mission, even if it wasn't all a piece of cake.

Converts of yours may leave the church or go inactive, and investigators may dump you, but your hope, and my hope, is that these converts will come back, that your investigators who you pray for morning and night with all energy of heart, will seek out missionaries again to be taught. It is my hope, and should be your hope, that we will see all of these people when we pass on to the myserious "other side." It will be just glorious to see a family that you baptized, and who stayed faithful throughout their lives. It will be even more glorious to see old Bill McGee, that old hobo you contacted on that park bench once who you were pretty sure was drunk and didn't understand anything you were talking about.

Oh yeah, and just so you never forget who Bill the Hobo is, you should write experiences like these in your journal so you never forget.

Monday, February 13, 2012

L'isle Joyeuse

I've decided I really like this song by Debussy. It's quirky and magical. Yes! Quirky and magical! Can you believe it? You should listen to it, but only if you're cool and cultured, like me. Just kidding, I'm not that cultured. Performing it here is Angela Hewitt. She should probably wear more clothing, but she's still a good pianist. So leave her alone. Oh, and hurry and listen to it, before it gets removed off my blog like every other video I post on here. The end.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I'm sitting at my desk at my new job. I think I need a lesson in posture or something, because I really have no idea how to sit at a desk. I could be breaking my back or getting carpal tunnel or something. So far, I haven't packed myself a lunch for this job yet. I haven't stopped at a store and bought cup noodles or anything. All I do is walk to Arby's every lunch break. I need to stop that. Sitting at a desk all day + fast food is probably not ideal for my health. So far then, I am endangering myself in three ways. Bad desk posture. Sitting all day. Arby's.

I realize that this post is quite uninteresting, but I figure I should describe my new job. I sit in a cubicle. It's kind of lonely, there's only one other person in this entire row. People, using their awesome CaptionCall telephones, and who are hard-of-hearing, place a phone call to someone. I hear the voice of this "someone," dictate orally what they say, and what I say pops up on the screen of the CaptionCall user. The end.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Here are my latest opinions.

The MPAA is not a divine institution. As such, I believe many mistakes are made in the rating of movies. Take, for example, the Matrix. Pretty much everyone I know HATES this movie, because it's rated R. If I ever suggest to a group of friends that we should watch it, I get a whole big pansy cry-fest about how it's rated R, and we have been counseled by church leaders NOT to watch rated R movies. But it's okay to watch...say...Anchorman? Pretty much any Will Ferrell comedy? Dozens of PG-13 flicks containing a FAR heftier amount of profanity (including F bombs), inappropriate sexual dialogue, and sex scenes in general? The worst swear word in The Matrix is the "s" word, and as far as I know, having watched that movie only several times, there is no sexual dialogue, and there are no sex scenes. Does this film deserve an "R" rating? Use your head. Use what you know about all the movies you've ever watched, and judge for yourself. There is a decent amount of violence, but nowhere near the violence of say...Braveheart or Gladiator or some obnoxiously unnecessary gory slasher flick.

If you had to CHOOSE between watching a filthy PG-13 movie and a rated R movie that contained nothing inappropriate whatsoever, what would you choose?

"Whoa. Holden is right." 
Granted, most rated R movies are probably rated that way for a reason. But here and there, there comes a film that I think doesn't deserve that kind of rating. Am I being a disobedient scumbag because I feel this way?  Should I be subject to church disciplinary action because of my belief that you really need to use your head and judge for yourself? Or maybe I just really like the Matrix. The end.

Opinion #2: Am I a terrible person because I really don't care about the proposition 8 fiasco? Regardless of whether I feel homosexuality is "right" or "wrong," gays being allowed to marry, as far as I can see it, doesn't affect me personally. If this was an issue that impeded upon my rights in some way, I might be against it. If this was an issue that gave homosexuals more rights than heterosexuals, I would probably react. But maybe someone else can clarify for me? Perhaps this opens the door for more homosexual rights in the future that would affect me? Explain. Someone. Now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Is This

Boil away the bitterness!

This would be my campaign slogan if I was running for president. Because, face it. Candidates are kind of mean to each other. And then in the same picture, there would be some sort of food, boiling. I don't know. Something that's bitter before you boil it. Broccoli rabe maybe?

Moving on with that subject...Brother Romney won in Florida because he...wait for it, wait for it...HAD MORE MONEY. And so was able to make more negative television ads demonizing Newt Gingrich. Angry angry. Everybody is just so angry at each other. Yes, when my son says he wants to grow up to be president, I will say to him, "You go for it son. You go chase your dream. You go make billions of dollars first though, because you need all that money to make nasty negative ads about your political opponents." Because without all those billions of dollars, he will NEVER HAVE A CHANCE.