Trust the Gene Genie

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What would Gordon B. do?

I rant. Sometimes I try not to, because it can be kind of obnoxious. But when you live in a world where a show like American Idol can pull in 40 million -- 40 million! -- viewers and politicians like Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter can draw enormous nationwide support by basically being openly racist, then the rants tend to come.

Well, I've got something that's been buggin' me for a while and I just need to get it off my chest so I can get back to blogging about happy, funny and fulfilling things.

Evangelical Christians. They're basically ruining it for everyone else. Now don't get me wrong, one of the tennents of my own religion is believing anyone has the privilege of worshipping how, where, or what they may and allowing them to do so. I'm not going to tell them they can't do their thing.

But here's my problem. First off, and this may be what bugs me the most, they've hijacked the word "Christian," attacking anyone else who claims to be one. If you're not Evangelical Christian, you're not Christian. Which is, of course, absurd. As a Mormon, I believe in Jesus Christ. And, I would think, that makes me a Christian. The same goes for Episcolpalians and Catholics and anyone else.

Now I understand the issues Evangelicals have with my religion. They don't like the way we interpret the Bible. They don't like that we believe in modern-day revelation (I would think that if you did beleive in the Bible you'd be at least curious about a church that claims God has called prophets again). They don't like that we believe Jesus visited the American continent after his resurrection in Jerusalem. They don't like our interpretation of the Trinity (yeah, we believe they're three seperate personages -- but you have to admit it makes more sense). But most of all, they don't like what we believe about man's origin, purpose or potential. You know, the answer to the big question of why we're here.

And what gets me about these guys is the way they actively go after other religions, trying to tear down other people's beliefs. There is a level of intolerance and bigotry about these poeple that is staggering. Look at James Dobson. Look at Pat Robertson. It's all about hate with these people. And that seems pretty counter-intuitive to the gospel. But maybe that's what I'm doing here. On the other hand, maybe I'm just defending myself and what I believe.

So let me spell it out. I can call myself a Christian because I am one. And here's the great thing about what I believe. It may be crazy, it may be way outside the traditional, but there's a method to the madness. I spent two years in Mexico telling people that they didn't have to take my word or anyone's word about what I was teaching. I mean, really, am I going to convince anyone that Joseph Smith as a 14-year-old saw God and Jesus, that he translated the Book of Mormon from ancient gold plates? No. It's so out there. But that's the thing, no one has to believe me. If you believe in God, if you believe you can talk to him, you ask for yourself. You know, that whole bit in the Bible about asking and receiving. It's a pretty handy little policy. And obviously it works.

Anyway, I'm done. This won't make my co-worker go away, but maybe I'll be a little more tolerant toward him now. You know, show him how it's done.

Monday, January 29, 2007


It's no secret, I love David Mamet. So until my next post, here's some Mamet to chew on. It comes from a NYTimes review of a collection of his essays, where he spends much of his time evascerating modern movie making and the practices that keep it chugging along that downward spiral. Here's a pulled-quote from the review:

Is there a worthwhile message to be found within the big, vacuous [movie] blockbuster? Yes: “You are a member of a country, a part of a system capable of wasting two hundred million dollars on an hour and a half of garbage. You must be somebody.” He finds this brand of wastefulness equally conspicuous in current moviemaking and military strategy.

This is what makes Mamet so great. I mean, at the end of the day, that's all that "Pirates 2: Dead Man's Chest" boils down to. And all the other films like it. So do youself a favor, go throw "The Spanish Prisoner" or "Glengary Glen Ross" on your Netflix queue and relish good movie making.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I hit people.

I'm trying to be better. And so I'm gonna blog for a bit right now.

Kids are crazy. Because they're kids, really. Claire, my six-year-old, is more intense than crazy. But Leigh, my four-yer-old is all crazy. In fact she has this crazy grin she flashes when she knows she's being crazy. And, as a writer, I should be able to describe it some way to give you a sense of what it is. But I can't. You know how it is. There's a certain way 4-year-olds act, a certain way you expect them to act and then a way they act that completely surprises you. Leigh is often doing things that catch you comlptely off guard.

Maybe when I have more than just few minutes on a blog, I can do it some justice. But, to try and illustrate here's a story.

When Elsa was first home from the hospital, she was still pretty small but still a ravenous eater. Becky would start nursing her and the milk flow would just ovrewhelm her so Becky would have to sit Elsa up and pat her back so she could catch her breath. Often she'd say, "Breathe, Pumpkin, breathe" as she'd do it. Leigh, who's always within a one-foot radius of Elsa when Elsa's awake was quick to catch on. So the next time Becky was feeding Elsa, Leigh was right there. And when Elsa started to choke on the milk, Leigh patted her back, but being a four-year-old, she doesn't quite have that command of the English language. So she came up with the closest approximation to Becky's gentle supplications as she could, and said, "Breathe, Mushroom, breathe." It still makes me chuckle.

Claire is a fisrt-grader and wants to understand everything right now. In fact, most of her day is spent arguing with me or Becky, trying to convince us she understands the world. You know for example, a couple weeks ago I argued with her at length about whether it was Thursday or Friday. It was of course Thursday, but she knew it was Friday.

Anyway, she recently got this little pink address book, with lines for name, phone number, address and e-mail. Underneath all of that is a line called "Dirty Little Secret." She read that with some confusion, not knowing how exactly that fits in with everything else or even what a dirty little secret is. So Becky tries to explain, not wanting to inadvertenly catapult Claire into her catty tween-hood, that a dirty little secret is just something bad you've done.

Well, a few days later, Claire is showing me her address book and having me check out all the names she's included. She even has herself listed. So I read through it and then notice she's got the "Dirty Little Secret" line filled in. I about died laughing. It read, "I hit people." Classic stuff.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Grind it

Back from vacation, back to life and we're trying to feel good about it. Obviously vacation is fun because it's vacation -- a break from regular life. In all honesty, what made our little trip to Utah last week so enjoyable was the fact that the girls were so well-behaved. Very uncharacteristic. And Becky and I had a blast 'cause we actually got to spend time together. Plus, it was good -- as always -- to see family.

Now that the holidays are over, it's back to the grind. So, here at the Rob Report it's back to the grind, too. Welcome to the New Year U2 post.

First, remember how I raged about the crap the band has been producing over the last six years or so? Well, Bono was talking about the band and its future musical direction on BBC1 last week and said some intriguing things. Here's a link to the interview. But, if you want to save time here's the gist.

Speaking of the last collection of best ofs, U218 Singles, Bono said this:

But when you do these collections, they are usually to mark the end of something, and our band has certainly reached the end of where we’ve been at for the last couple of albums. I want to see what else we can do with it, take it to the next level; I think that’s what we’ve got to do.

It's the usual Bono rhetoric, but then he follows up with this:

We’re gonna continue to be a band, but maybe the rock will have to go; maybe the rock has to get a lot harder. But whatever it is, it’s not gonna stay where it is...I’d like to strip things down; that’s something I’d be very interested in at the moment.

Any change at this point would be welcome.

Second item, I didn't post about it this, but the sorry-excuse-for-a-U2-fan-site,, held their second annual fan survey and, for all intents and purposes, it looks exactly like last year's. Nearly 6,000 people participated and the majority love "Where the Streets Have No Name" in concert, feel Pop is one of the band's worst albums and yet one of its most underrated and think "Bullet the Blue Sky" should be booted from the band's set list. Like last year, I've discovered I have very little in common with the average online U2 fan. And something inside me tells me that's a good thing.

Lastly, a video I probably should have posted weeks ago. I still don't like the new single, "Window in the Skies" but the video to the song made me like it a little more.

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