Quote of the Day: George Hrab

George Hrab (of the Geologic Podcast) on his parents’ and grandparents’ generations passing along the Ukrainian language and traditions to subsequent generations:

They made us go to Yukie school. They made us wear the M.C. Hammer pants while we were doing the Yukie version of Fifteenth Century breakdancing to polka music.

Weirdness really is all around us, especially in this country.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are Getting Crafty

My in-laws have a good way to get rid of pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses. The “I don’t speak English” gambit always works. That is to say, it always worked. The other day, I went to my in-laws house. Apparently the JWs had been by and provided some pamphlets. Judging from the title, they were either about how Jesus hates modern medicine or the tragic career of Jimi Hendrix. Anyhow, I was rather surprised to see that the wisdom of Pasty white Northern European Jesus (not to be confused with pasty white Northern European Space Jesus, who is totally different) is apparently available in Chinese even in a Southwestern town of less than 100,000 people.

It shows the lengths to which they will go to spread their bullshit the word. I think I will be forced to believe in space aliens when the JWs and the Mormons have translated their various texts into Rigelese.

Can You People Finally Quit Pretending?

Sure, Romney and a few top right-wing stooges have “refudiated” (also, can we quit pretending that Sarah Palin has an IQ much above room temperature?) Akin’s stupid “legitimate rape” comments.

Why? When it comes down to it, we all know it.

When Uncle Bill’s been hitting the bottle, everybody notices, but politely pretends not to. It’s not until he starts threatening to “show you punk kids” that people intervene. But unless you are around strangers, you never act shocked. Does anyone actually believe that the gentlemen of the GOP refrain from using the n-word in private, like they have finally come to do in public? Why, then, does the press corpse collectively clutch its pearls and collapse in its fainting couches when someone lets slip what he thinks of women? Who are the media fooling? I assume it can only be themselves. They love pretending that Limbaugh’s occasional intentional tipping of his hand is a revelation. It’s not. Just like you knew Uncle Bill was a violent drunk, you know that blacks are “niggers,” the house help are “wetbacks,” and those rape victims are “sluts” who probably “had it coming” to all the GOP headliners.

That excludes Willard himself, of course. Have you ever heard Mormons curse? Imagine Ned Flanders’ version of cursing. It’s actually rather amusing. I mean the guy actually claimed to have used the phrase “for Pete’s sake” when berating an employee (regarding paying wetbacks over the table, rather than under or something like that. I don’t really give a shit). This, despite the fact that he is well under 90 years old.

You see, Space Jesus hates cursing. Pasty white Northern European Space Jesus used to live in the Middle East for some reason, but then went to America on holiday, and now resides at or near the planet Kolob. Anyway, he hates cursing, but he hates Lamanites (dark people) even more.

Wrongness

Is there ever a point at which wrongness becomes established? In science, there certainly is. The dustbin of science is home to countless theories that have been proven incorrect. From the four elements of ancient Greece to the five elements of ancient China, from caloric theory to phlogiston theory, from Olympian creationism to Hebrew creationism, innumerable cases exist where the scientific community has collectively discarded one theory in favor of another. I’m no historian of science, but I am a working scientist and I am not familiar with any cases of a discarded theory making a resurgence.

Aside: I should add a caveat, that out-of-favor theories on relatively small details do occasionally come back into favor, but I know of no theories that have been completely abandoned only to reemerge as canon. An example of this would be Alfred Wagner’s theory on what would become plate tectonics. At the time if its introduction, it not generally accepted, with most earth scientists being actually hostile to the idea. Wagner, however, was never considered a crackpot, and he continued to be a respected member of the scientific community despite the unpopularity of his theory. When the evidence in support of Wagner became overwhelming, it was fully embraced and became an integral part of modern geophysics.

What I wonder, though, is how long we have to continue with such long-lived failures as abstinence-only sex education. It is often difficult to characterize social issues or problems scientifically. In this case, however, study after study has borne out the idea that AOSE is not only a failure, but is actually worse than doing nothing. That means that old fashioned sex ed (in my generation, that consisted mostly of watching R-rated movies) is superior in efficacy to the programs on which we waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

VP Bump

So I hear tell the brilliant choice of Paul Ryan as second fiddle to Romney’s barely tolerable to its staunchest supporters ticket had proven a boon in the polls. Doesn’t that always happen? Probably. But the most important thing is that it shows that Romney will not do what people suspect all Mormons do: staff every available position with BYU alumni. Granted, it is probably the token “gentile” among Romney’s cabinet choices…

Of course that’s not true.

While the Mormon church probably encourages that sort of thing normally (based on anecdote I have witnessed, which could hardly be considered solid evidence), in this case it would be counterproductive. Romney has more money than he could possibly spend. The only reason he could possibly have for trying to become president (half-heartedly, it would appear) is that someone put him up to it.

It seems to me that Mormondom has been going out of its way to promote itself by the prominence of its holdings. Those holdings include its people (in American politics, Mormons are over represented relative to their population), its capital city (Salt Lake City has overachieved in hosting a basketball team, a major airport, and the 2002 Winter Olympics). Among adherents, Romney may be the best shot at the American Presidency in the next few decades:

  1. At a time of renewed Gilded Age division of wealth, worship of the Robber Barron class is at its peak.
  2. Romney has passed his test case of surviving a term as governor of a state not known for either being wholly owned by the Mormon Church or for being of a general right-wing bent.
  3. He looks like what right wing loons think a President should look like, which always works out well (see Harding, Warren G.).
  4. His immediate and sycophantic bowing to the right wing makes Obama’s immediate and sycophantic bowing to the right look amateurish at best.

Interesting, no? Perhaps more interesting is the crackpot conspiracy theory I came up with about five minutes ago and for which I have no evidence whatsoever:

-alert- -alert- -alert-
-begin crackpot conspiracy theory-
To top off what should be a crackpot conspiracy theory, I would posit that the real reason that Romney hasn’t shown his birth certificate …sorry, wrong crackpot conspiracy theory… tax returns is that he was successfully hiding his income in overseas banks for years. When he came clean during the tax-dodging amnesty a couple of years ago, the Mormon Church has let him slide on his tithing. Such a scandal would be really hard to explain to the rank-and-file Mormon family kicking in $3,000 a year on a meager $30,000 annual earnings. But the Church really neeeeeeeeeds this one. So we will never see another scrap of tax-related Romney data. Such a revelation would be devastating to lower class Mormons and would do real lasting harm to the credibility of the Mormon Church.
-end crackpot conspiracy theory-