Trust the Gene Genie

Friday, July 29, 2005

It's Completely Useless Information Friday. To get the ball rolling, here's a link to a fully interactive map to Mexican Highways circa January 1955. It's a gentle reminder that Pemex is the combustible of champions.

Feel free to add your submissions to Completely Useless Information Friday below. I'll throw in one more, a personal favorite: Lilek's Gallery of Regrettable Food. Who thought snarking old cookbooks could be so funny?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I think an update is in order. A few months ago, my brother-in-law Dave and I got into a bit of a tussle over U2 and Creed here, arguing which was the better band. I'm still scratching my head -- I really thought Creed fans died out with the 90s.

Anyway, to my point. We agreed we'd swap CDs, compilations of what we thought were the best or at least the most approachable of the two bands' masterworks. We'd both listen and give summaries of each individual song. That was the deal. I sent mine off, he never his.

Anyway, his no show essentially forfeits him from the contest which means the argument victory goes to me. Not only does this speak to the quality of Creed fans, it speaks directly to the quality of music they produce. The obviously underwhelming desire to share can really only mean that their music inspires nothing in the listener. In so many words, they suck. They've always sucked and it doesn't matter what they do in the future, they will forever continue to suck. And then be forgotten. If there's any mercy in this universe. Did I mention they suck?

I mean really, who in their right mind argues Creed is a better band than U2? I can see backing Radiohead or making a case for Weezer. But Creed? Are you listening Dave? Go home and listen to your Neil Diamond. Go turn on your heart light and talk to your chair. Then, when the tears have dried, give me a call and I'll help you establish some legitimacy as a music lover.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'm trying to use the photo feature more because, as a reporter, I know nothing makes big blocks of text easier to read than having a nice, colorful photo nextdoor.

So, the following is a shout out to that special breed of dog that populate(d) the streets of Mexico while I and my fellow compatriots were there -- the mangy, bald, disease-ridden mutt of Northern Mexico. This photo has actually been making the rounds, but our A&E editor actually came across it on the AP photo service wire. If that doesn't make it legitimate, I don't know what does.

Friday, July 22, 2005

It all comes back to Utah. If you're Mormon, you're going to be connected in someway to the state, whether it's through a relative you have, by a pilgrimage you took or in photos from the temples-of-the-world calendar you have hanging in your kitchen. But when it comes down to it, there are really only two kinds of Mormon -- those born and raised in the Beehive state and those born and raised outside the state.

The distinction comes up here because Becky and I have some friends who have recently decided to move back to Utah. Both were born and raised there and the year they've spent here in Redding is the first time either -- with the obvious exception of Dave's mission -- have lived outside of their hometown. And a year here was all it took to convince them Zion was where they wanted to be.

It highlights the classic tet-a-tet in the Mormon culture. Those who are from Utah seldom leave and if they do, leave to find a way to return to remain in the state permenantly. Those who are Mormon and grew up outside the state -- with the exception of those from Idaho (more on that later) -- at first don't understand the Utah draw and then once they get an inkling of it, resent it and disparage it.

I grew up in Colorado and moved to Utah when I was 16. By that time, I knew the state pretty well. We visited Salt Lake and Provo at least once a year. It's a great place to visit. But it was wierd. Whole cottage industries based on theological tenets of the church existed in the real world there -- like stores specifically designed to outfit missionaries and clothing boutiques which sold all-white suits and dresses. And it all existed in a world that assumed everyone watching TV, walking down the street or reading the newspaper was Mormon.

Obviously, you grow up anywhere else and you know you're different because you're Mormon. In Utah, you grow up knowing you're the same as everyone else. You're high school chemistry teacher makes Relief Society jokes during class. The local news has a Conference watch. As an outsider, you begin to see and think of Utah Mormons as insulated and closed-minded, taking for granted their religion and making it completely commonplace. It was surreal then and it still is today.

So obviously a huge disconnect exists between Utah Mormons and mission field Mormons. As our friends prepare to move, Becky and I argue that they can do more good for the church outside of Utah than in, which I think is the central argument between those who live in and those who live out of the state.

Recently my Skutch ( friends talkedabout who was living in Utah, who was living out of Utah and who was planning to stay and/or return. Of course, everyone but me is either there now or has plans to return in the next five years. The desire to return to Utah, the desire to stay is, second only to the strange commonplace religion-infused culture, the one thing Utah Mormons are attacked for more than anything else.

In a religion that esteems missionary work as one of its three reasons for being, why do so many chose to live in a state that is three-quarters Mormon? In a religion that instructs you to stand out from the crowd, to be a beacon on a hill, why would you want to stay where you're the same as and almost indistinguishable from everyone else? Well, obviously, I have a few ideas.

With our friends who are moving back, as with, I would argue, the vast majority of the state, I believe it's the comfort zone. It's comfortable to live in a place you know, around people with whom you're familiar. It seems everyone wants to live within 15 minutes of their parents. Dave has openly stated that he wants to move back so that he can be mothered by his mom.

For those who never leave, I believe its still the comfort zone issue but mixed with a little ignorance. There's the undeniable sensation when you visit Utah that most people believe nothing exists beyond the borders of thier state.

Now, these are broad generalities, mind you. I knew while I lived there in high school and I know now Utah Mormons who clearly don't fit that mold. But I would argue these people are in the minority. But the point I'm trying to make is simply this: Utah Mormons are abnormal and unhealthy. Hahaha. I jest. No, seriously, more Mormons should spread their influence, prompt some personal growth and live outside the state of Utah. That's all I'm trying to say.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

It looks like it was Karl Rove. I know, big surprise. What's a little national security when your man's future is at stake? Or not. As a favorite blogger of mine put it, "What's really scary is that this is how Rove behaved when Bush was had a 62 percent approval rating. Who knows what kind of stuff he's pulling now?"

Here's Newsweek's story:

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