Thursday, December 31, 2015

Utah Says No to Trump!

I hardly ever venture into politics here, but today am making an exception.

This morning's New York Times ran a story about Donald Trump's relative popularity among Republican voters. According to the article, of all the traditional Republican enclaves, Utah has the weakest showing of Trump supporters.

Now, I don't say this very often, but, WAY TO GO, UTAH!

I'm neither a Utahan nor a Republican, and therefore in no position to explain this dynamic. Hopefully some of my Gentle Readers will weigh in on this in the comment field.

Mark says it's because Mormons adhere to organizations and therefore oppose Trump and his rejection of the Republican establishment. I see his point, only I'm pretty sure there are a sizable number of Rand Paul supporters in Utah - and he's hardly a team player either.

Could it be that Utah Republicans are too smart to buy a used car from a flamboyant blowhard who looks like he should be plugging the ShamWow?

Maybe. - But then they will buy an old beater from a reticent navy-suit who looks like he should be managing a crooked hedge fund. They'll even throw in 10% of their income.

Could it be the hair? I have to admit, that lacquered combover almost makes the Mormons' genetic male-pattern baldness look sexy. Almost.

Perhaps I'm overthinking things. What the heck, it's the holidays, and on this rare occasion, Mark and I find ourselves on the same side as the Utah Republicans. At least for the moment. That's reason enough to break out the champagne - even if it weren't New Year's Eve.

Cheers and Happy 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Crazy Talk Gets Even Crazier

Mormons have always gone crazy in defense of their church and its teachings. It's never enough for a member to grudgingly go along with whatever the Brethren come up with next. She/he is expected to embrace each new policy or pronouncement with orgasmic excitement.

Yes, Brethren, YES! 

Although, in the wake of the recent new church policy regarding the children of same-sex couples, the quality of "faking it" has cheapened considerably. Uber-faithful Saints who used to carry on like Sally with Harry are now coming off more like Princess Leia with Jabba the Hutt. 

And the crazy-a**ed arguments they're making! For example, this popular post from (Gay) Mormon Guy that has been floating around social media for the past month. In it the openly gay, (I'm assuming) celibate, believing Mormon blogger argues that the Brethren are being totally fair. After all, the children of gay couples are not the only aspiring members who must face estrangement from their families. Among his examples are the daughter of fringe Mormon polygamists, and the son of radical Islamists who threatened to kill him for leaving their faith. 

I'll give the former extremist Muslim kid a pass for cutting ties with Mom and Dad. But I'm not even going to try to wrap my head around the (gay) blogger's logic of comparing married same-sex parents to homicidal fanatics. If any of my more intellectually grounded readers would like to take a pass at it, I welcome your insight.

As for the polygamy argument, I keep hearing it from seemingly thoughtful Mormons, even - and perhaps especially - from those who are gay.

How can an admittedly gay man equate his natural desire to be with another man to some creepy old pervert's desire to collect underaged girls? (Or to homicidal fanatics, for that matter?) How does one reduce himself to this level of self loathing? For the Brethren? Face it, they're a bunch of clueless old white men.

How clueless? Consider these remarks from apostle Dallin Oaks at a recent BYU Christmas address. Thanks to Heather! I saw this first on her blog, Four Monkeys.

"A few years ago, I analyzed the Christmas cards I received at my office and home. There were many, so this was not a small sample. Significantly, my sample was biased toward religious images and words by the fact that most of the cards were sent by fellow leaders or members of my faith.
I sorted the cards I received into three groups. In the first group I put the traditional cards—those with an overt mention of Christ and/or pictures evocative of the birth of the Savior. Only 24 percent of the cards I received were of this traditional character.
In the second group were those cards whose pictures and visuals were not at all religious, but they did have the words “Merry Christmas” to identify the religious origin of the holiday. This was the largest group—47 percent.
In the third group—comprising 29 percent of the cards I received—there was no mention of Christ or Christmas and no religious visuals at all. These cards had words like “Season’s Greetings,” “Happy Holidays,” “Peace in the New Year,” or “Peace and Beauty of the Season.” A few were so daring as to refer to “Peace on Earth” or “Faith, Hope, and Love,” but none had any pictures suggestive of religion.

For Latter-day Saints, Christmas should be a time to celebrate the birth of the Son of God and also to remember His teachings. In reality, His life has had greater impact on every part of this world and its history than any life ever lived. His gifts to us are the greatest gifts ever given—the assurance of immortality and the opportunity for eternal life. Those are the gifts we should celebrate at this and every Christmas." 

See what I mean Gentle Readers? Nobody should be lying down on her back for some creepy old man who spends his quality time dividing his holiday cards into groups and then running statistical analysis to determine the standard deviation of the appearance of the words "Christmas" and "Savior."

Nevertheless, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that since Oaks' talk, Utah Valley stationary stores have been booming with business from shamefaced customers who've dumped their "holiday" cards for a new set of "Christmas" cards. And heaven help the poor schlubs who had already put theirs in the mail! -Sigh- You really don't need to act like you're enjoying it!

In that spirit, I wish you all Happy Holidays and Peace in the New Year! Thanks, as always, for reading.

I also hope that my above reference to Princess Leia doesn't dampen your enjoyment of the new Star Wars movie.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Loving that Appearance of Evil

It's tricky being a Mormon. They have to obey all these rules - or at least look like they're obeying them. That's the key. Looking the part.

Just about every Sunday Mormons are reminded to "avoid the appearance of evil." This gospel tenant is driven so deeply into their collective psyche that you'll find them rushing to explain even the slightest possible misperceptions.
Brother Benson, I know you saw me standing in front of the liquor store, but it was only because I was admiring an ad featuring a guy that looked like someone I used to play ball with. . . . Not that I'm gay or anything.
The problem is the emphasis on appearances doesn't stop at the chapel doors. During the week Mormons go out into the world, equally obsessed with how they look, especially when they're hanging with "the cool kids" - aka "nonmembers." This is why you'll see hipster-clad Mormons at Starbucks buying milk in cool looking cups or at LDS wedding receptions guzzling Martinelli's in cool looking champagne flutes. Say what you want about "evil." Bottom line, it looks really cool.

Speaking of Mormon wedding receptions, some years ago Mark and I attended one such cool looking affair in Dallas. The posh gathering featured a martini bar. Only, because it was a Mormon home, the caterers had to substitute mashed potatoes for the gin or vodka, gravy for the vermouth, sour cream for the twist of lemon, etc. Are you following me, Gentle Readers? They served mashed potatoes in martini glasses. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

As we were leaving this sophisticated soiree, Mark suavely turned to me and, in his coolest voice, said, "Make mine mashed, not baked." Then we went to a bar. I mean a real one.

In light of all this, the recent Utah Soda Wars should come as no surprise. (Read more here.)

Evidently there's been a rise of "dirty soda shops" staffed with "mixologists" who serve soft drinks laced with non-alcoholic flavor shots, offering Mormons the guilty pleasure of ordering what sounds like a cocktail. Competition is fierce, with 2 chains vying in court over the use of the term "dirty."

Care for an Extra-Dirty Second Wife? It's a combo of Mountain Dew, fruit syrups and half and half. Salud!

According to the article, these establishments have their share of regulars:
They know me, they know my drinks, and they get excited when I walk in,” she (a regular) added. “It makes me feel good.”
And, no wonder. It's like . . . everybody knows her name.

Dare I boast that I saw this coming? In my 11/17/11 post, It's Ward Cocktail Hour!, Abbottsville Stake President Dennis Newsome suggested cocktail recipes featuring his own alcohol substitutes. For example:

Long Island Iced Tea
3/4 oz Windex
3/4 oz clam juice
3/4 oz root beer
3/4 oz Mountain Dew
3/4 oz Karo Syrup
3/4 oz Mr Bubble
dash of lemon juice

Rum and Coke
1 part root beer
2 parts root beer

Gee, maybe I should sue somebody.

Or, better yet, maybe Mark and I will just toast the Mormons again over our ritual Friday night cocktails - made with real booze - not Mountain Dew or mashed potatoes.

May the Saints continue to keep up appearances!
Brother Benson, I know you saw me with that drink in my hand, but it wasn't a real cocktail, it was just my favorite Extra Dirty Returned Missionary. . . . Not that I'm gay or anything.