Friday, September 30, 2011

Book of Mormon Zombies (Ch. 2)

Being the missing pages and/or sealed portion of the Book of Mormon...

Chapter 2. I, Nephi, having great desires to know of the mysteries of concussions, wherefore, I did bang my head with a hella big rock

For behold, it came to pass that his concussion spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: "Blessed art thou Lehi, because thou hast declared unto this people that more zombies are coming, and maybe orcs too. But behold, the ungrateful bastards seek to take away thy life."

And it came to pass that his concussion commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness, where there aren't many zombies.

And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, for houses are too big and heavy to carry into wildernesses, his land (likewise), and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and weapons in case there were zombies, and departed into the wilderness.

And he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea; and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.

And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water, which I pointeth out to contrast it with rivers not made of water.

And it came to pass that he got stoned, and made an offering unto his concussion, and gave thanks unto his concussion.

And it came to pass that my brother Sam didst betteth me that I couldn't write the next sentence without using the phrase, "And it came to pass."

And it came to pass that I couldst not, and I didst payeth him five bucks.

And it came to pass that my father called the name of the river, Laman, and the name of the river, Lemuel.

Now behold Laman and Lemuel were pisséd off against their father, because he had a concussion, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem and into the wilderness, and left behind their gold, and their silver, and their Xbox. And this they said he had done because of his "effing hallucinations."

And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father, for they always hated camping anyway. And they did murmur because they knew not much about zombies, and even naming a river and a valley after them didn't help at all.

Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed by zombies. And they were like unto the people who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father, because he had a way of pissing off pretty much everyone.

And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with hallucinations, until they got too tired to argue anymore. And he did confound them, that they said, "Whatever. Just give it a rest already." Wherefore, they did as he commanded them.

And my father dwelt in a tent, because, like I said, we were in the wilderness, so what else would he have dwelt in?

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of concussions, wherefore, I did bang my head with a hella big rock. And behold, I got a concussion too, and did soften my head that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father. Wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the concussion had manifested unto me. And it came to pass that he believed in my words, being kind of slow.

But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto my concussion for them.

And it came to pass that my concussion spake unto me, saying: "Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, and thou really banged the hell out of your head with that rock.

"And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which is choice above all other lands, for it has no zombies in it right now..

"And thy brethren are dicks, so they have to do what thou saith, or they shall end up becoming zombies.

"And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt get to boss them around.

"For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse their asses even with a sore curse, and you can bet they'll be sorry they ever lived."

(To be continued...)

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (9/29/2011)

Regime change doesn't work.

The rot at the core of the Democratic party: the heavy handed use of identity politics as a cover for neoliberal policies that betray the very groups the party purports to represent.

The FBI thwarts another terror plot concocted by the FBI.

New NFL contract prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The chaos behind Van Gogh's Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear and Pipe.

One-third of Sun-like stars may have Earth-sized planets in habitable zones.

The six main reasons young Christians leave the church.

Sometimes I despair for the internet.

Find the kitty.

1001 jokes (PDF file).

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Background knowledge required

I saw this xkcd a few days ago and found it funny:


Mark Lieberman at Language Log pointed out how many things you need to know to get the comic:
...you can't understand why this is strip is funny unless you know that Piaget was a psychologist who developed a theory of the stages of children's cognitive development, that the NHC is the National Hurricane Center, and that the APA is the American Psychological Association [or the American Psychiatric Association, or the American Pediatric Association].
That reminded me of something I noticed about the Rolling stones song "Sympathy for the Devil" when I wrote about it earlier this year. Of course you can enjoy the music without understanding the lyrics, but to really get the song, you have to know something about

The New Testament:
And I was round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
The Russian Revolution:
Stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
World War II:
I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the Blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
European religious wars:
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
The Kennedy assassinations (although they were more news than history at the time):
I shouted out
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me
And Thuggee (apparently; this one's pretty obscure; I had to Google it):
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
Not to mention that you have to know what "politesse" means.

Obviously, it's possible to write things that require more esoteric knowledge (I once wrote a song parody that only people who have been Mormon missionaries in Japan can understand), but I'd say that both the xkcd comic and "Sympathy" are on the high end of required general knowledge in pop culture.

Can you think of any other good (or better) examples of comics and songs and so on that require a similar amount of general knowledge?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bible quote of the week: "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son...all the men of his town shall stone him to death."

Bible quote of the week brings you the wit and wisdom of Bronze Age and Iron Age barbarians God's Word. This week:

Deuteronomy 21:18-21
"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son... all the men of his town shall stone him to death."
18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. (NIV)
Or they could go to some sort of family counseling. Just sayin'.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (9/25/2011)

The power of political lying.

Perry gets confused about foreign policy during debate. (But a] does this surprise anyone, and b] does anyone think Republican voters care if their candidates don't know facts?)

If you care about science, by now you've probably heard about the faster-than-light neutrinos. I'm betting it's a measurement error.

Australian Aborigines separated from other people about 70,000 years ago.

Scientists take steps towards decoding and reconstructing images from inside people's brains.

Power without status leads to rudeness.

Official cause of death: spontaneous human combustion.

Why don't other countries use ice cubes?

How to get rid of clingy guys.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Movies I watched this week

Airplane! (1980) 8/10
This is still one of the funniest movies ever made, and it has just enough of a heart that you can care about the main characters despite the absurdity of the whole thing. A few of the jokes ("Bob never has two cups of coffee at home") have probably passed on into incomprehensibility for viewers below a certain age, but overall it still holds up really well.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) 8/10
I think the fact that the "speedy car" in the movie is a Pontiac Trans Am, not a Ferrari or even a Corvette, says a lot about the film. It doesn't use a super car; it doesn't try to be a super movie. It just focuses on the chase, the gags, and the developing relationship between its characters. There's great chemistry between driver Burt Reynolds and runaway bride Sally Fields, Jackie Gleason makes a hilarious villain, and Fred the basset hound demonstrates how to steal scenes by doing nothing. This is just good, unpretentious film making.

Thor (2011) 6/10
This was borderline boring. It's competently made and all, but the story and the characters just aren't very interesting. In great contrast to Airplane! and Smokey and the Bandit, I never got the sense that this is a movie that people made because they wanted to tell a story. It's all just calculated, commercial setup for the coming Avengers movie. I did like Heimdall's costume, though.

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Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Blue Suede Shoes"

"Blue Suede Shoes"

Familiar version: Elvis Presley
Original version: Carl Perkins

This was actually a bigger hit for Perkins, who wrote the song, than for Elvis, who covered it later in the same year, but my sense is that the Elvis version gets more play nowadays. Unfortunately, in my opinion, because I think Perkins's version is better.

On video, Elvis's charisma is overwhelming, and Perkins can't come close to matching it. But if you listen to the music without the images, I think Perkins brings much more heart to the song than Elvis does. It's not a "deep" song, but Perkins brings a sincerity to it that Elvis doesn't match in this case.

Anyway, enjoy.

Carl Perkins (1956)




Elvis Presley (1956)



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Friday, September 23, 2011

The power of the penis

The Mormon church has a mostly lay priesthood, to which almost all males over the age of 12 can belong. Since only males can belong to the Mormon priesthood, however, some argue that having a penis is therefore the primary qualification. Others carry the argument even further and argue that a penis is the priesthood.

Inspired by this comment, I decided to see what happens when one substitutes "penis" for "priesthood" in some well-known Mormon talks (sermons).
Honoring the Penis
Penis isn't something we take off during the week and put on for Sunday. It is a 24-7 privilege and blessing—that is, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Penis of Aaron
The penis you bear is a special gift, for the giver is the Lord Himself. Use it, magnify it, and live worthy of it.

A Royal Penis
While holding the penis brings great blessings, the penis also carries with it great obligations.

Our Sacred Penis Trust
The penis is not really so much a gift as it is a commission to serve, a privilege to lift, and an opportunity to bless the lives of others.

Growing into the Penis
Penis is the power and authority delegated to man by our Heavenly Father. The authority and majesty of it are beyond our comprehension.
I find myself agreeing with these sentiments in a way that I could rarely agree with anything at church. The penis isn't something we take off and put on. Holding the penis brings great blessings. The penis is a privilege to lift. Its authority and majesty are beyond our comprehension.

Indeed, I know with every fiber of my being that these things are true. (OK, the last one not so much.) I will do my best to use it, magnify it, and live worthy of it.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book of Mormon Zombies (Ch. 1)

Being the missing pages and/or sealed portion of the Book of Mormon...

Chapter 1. I, Nephi, zombie hunter

I, Nephi, zombie hunter, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the zombie-killing skills of my father; and having seen many zombies in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored with weapons in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of zombie-hunting, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of modern English to which he doth like to addeth some random Biblical-sounding stuff.

And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge; and if you don't believeth me I shall smiteth you in your secret parts with a sore smiting, and you will liketh it not.

For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days, except for that one trip we all took to Disney World that my grandparents paid for); and in that same year there came many zombies, turning the people into more zombies, so that the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, ran liketh hell, yea, even with all his heart, as fast as he could, that he might escapeth the zombies.

And it came to pass as he ran liketh hell, he didst trip and hit his head upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard many hallucinations; and because of the things which he saw and heard he thought it was bitchin'.

And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with tiredness from all the running liketh hell from zombies and the bitchin' things which he had seen.

And being thus overcome with a concussion, he was carried away in another hallucination, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw himself sitting upon his chair, surrounded with numberless concourses of zombies in the attitude of trying to eat his brains.

And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of an armorer's shop, and he beheld that the luster of his sword was above that of the sun at noon-day.

And the One came and stood before my father, and gave unto him the sword, and bade him that he should smiteth some zombies.

And it came to pass that as he smote, he was filled with the Spirit of smiting.

And he smote, saying: "Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine zombies!" Yea, and many crazy things did my father say concerning Jerusalem -- that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by zombies, and many should be carried away captive into Isengard.

And behold, the One whisperedeth unto my father saying, "Dude, wrong book!"

And it came to pass that my father said, "Sorry, I have a concussion." And it came to pass that when my father had smote and cut many great and marvelous zombies, he did exclaim many things; such as: "Great and marvelous are thy works, O One! Thy power, and goodness, are all over this sword, but let us shew no mercy to zombies, whether they wear shews or not! And by the way, what is thy name?"

And it came to pass that the One saith, "My name is Neo."

And my father didst say, "And you're telling me I'm in the wrong book?"

Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after his concussion had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

And it came to pass that the people did mock him because of the things which he testified of them, saying, "You sound like you have a concussion"; for he truly testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he hallucinated, manifested plainly of the coming of more zombies, and maybe orcs too.

And when the people heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the zombie hunters of old, whom they had cast out, and not let get stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away, because why else would you seek someone's life?

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those who have really good swords, to make them mighty even unto the power of smiting the hell out of any that messeth with them.

(To be continued...)

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Bible quote of the week: "Am I not your own donkey?"

Bible quote of the week brings you the wit and wisdom of Bronze Age and Iron Age barbarians God's Word. This week:

Numbers 22:30 (NIV)
The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" "No," he said.

This has always been one of my favorite Bible stories (not least because in the King James version the whole thing is about "Balaam's ass"). The talking donkey, of course, is the best part.

Numbers 22:20 That night God came to Balaam and said, "Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you." 21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against it. So he beat her again. 26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" 29 Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now." 30 The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" "No," he said. 31 Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 32 The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her." 34 Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back." 35 The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

I especially like the way Balaam seems completely unsurprised by the fact that his donkey is talking. He's never like "WTF?! My donkey is talking!" He just has a (quite abusive) conversation with her.

But there's other good stuff in there as well. First God tells Balaam to do something, then he sends an angel to kill him for doing it. But then the angel -- who apparently can't just walk up to Balaam and smite him, but has to wait for the man to come to him (kind of like how a vampire can't come inside your house unless you invite him, I guess) -- gets outsmarted by a donkey.

And then the angel tells Balaam all over again to do the same thing that he was trying to kill him for doing in the first place. And Balaam doesn't say, "Dude, you just tried to kill me for doing that!" He just says, "Sure, OK," and does it (and manages to survive for a few more chapters). That's the wisdom of the ages right there, I'm telling you.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bible quote of the week: "pisseth against the wall"

Bible quote of the week brings you the wit and wisdom of Bronze Age and Iron Age barbarians God's Word. This week:

"Pisseth against the wall" (KJV)

1 Samuel 25:22
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

1 Samuel 25:34
For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

1 Kings 14:10
Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.

1 Kings 16:11
And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

1 Kings 21:21
Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,

2 Kings 9:8
For the whole house of Ahab shall perish : and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:

(Personally, I would strongly prefer that no one pisseth against my wall, but times were different then, because "I'll kill everyone who pisseth against your wall!" was clearly considered something you didn't want to happen.)

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (9/7/2011)

"My job is to watch dreams die."

A "culture of accountability" aimed only at poor people.

Who falls out of the middle class.

Best medical care in the world: Uninsured 24-year-old dies of infected wisdom tooth because he couldn't afford antibiotics.

Tennessee mom threatened with arrest for letting daughter bike to school.

Orson Scott Card fucks up Hamlet with fucked up homophobia.

SOYLENT GREEN IS GUMMY BEARS ARE PEOPLE!

Yea and I beheld Sisyphus in strong torment, endlessly shaving her pubic hair.

What we should have been taught our senior year in high school.

I lol'ed at this once I got it.

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Bible quote of the week: "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys..."


Bible quote of the week brings you the wit and wisdom of Bronze Age and Iron Age barbarians God's Word. This week:

Ezekiel 23:19-20 (NIV)
19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt.
20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Why I won't even consider voting for Republicans anymore

I grew up in a Republican family. The first five times I voted for president, I only voted for a Democrat once. But today, I won't even consider voting for a Republican for any office, no matter how large or how small.

And this is why.

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Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day, Americans and resident aliens!

Happy Monday, everyone else on this side of the International Date Line!

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Friday, September 02, 2011

High concept Japanese comedy

I had an idea for a sitcom once. There would be three young Japanese or Japanese-American women named Mi, Yu, and Ai (pronounced "me, you, I"). They'd all be roommates or friends or something in some big city like LA or New York. Hijinks would ensue whenever they met new people and had to introduce each other.

For example:
Ai: This is Mi.

New Person: That's you?!

Yu: No, I'm Yu.

New Person: You're me?

Mi: No, I'm Mi.

New Person: You're not me.

Mi: Yes, I am.

New Person: I'm me. You're you.

Yu: I'm Yu!

Mi and Ai: She's Yu!

New Person (to Ai): And who are you?

Ai: I'm Ai.

New Person: You're you.

Yu: I'm Yu!

Mi and Ai: She's Yu!

I never got much farther than that, though.

Except maybe they'd take a trip to Jamaica, and people would keep thinking that Ai was trying to sound like a Rastafarian.
Ai: I'm Ai.

Jamaican: No, it's "I 'n' I," not "I 'm' I."

Ai: What?

Jamaican: It's "I 'n' I," not "I 'm' I."

Ai: No, that's my name. I'm Ai.

Jamaican: Your name is Aimai?

Ai: No, my name is Ai.

Jamaican (philosophically): You're much more than your name.

Sometimes I get some pretty weird ideas.

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