Monday, March 31, 2008

And you thought BYU boys couldn't boogie.

Check out our Orange Man on bongos. We were sure his head was going to detach before the song ended. So sad they hid him in the back: I admire the great musicality of these BYU steel drummers, but their hips simply don't wiggle enough.

C'mon, kids -- miss a couple notes and boogie with Orange Man! We're channeling Trinidad, here -- not Vienna!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Death, thou shalt die.

...My Classics veil their faces,
My Faith that dark adores,
Which from its solemn Abbeys
Such resurrection pours!

--Emily Dickinson


Is the resurrection irrelevant?

Most people believe in an afterlife of some sort, and that it is at least a niceish destination if you're a non-felon (or something like that). Most of those who do believe in an afterlife don't dwell much on the body-or-no-body issue -- they figure as long as they are still conscious in some realm and that realm is a pleasant realm, they shouldn't fuss too much over the details. Even most Christians have divorced themselves from the idea of physical resurrection. You go from the Hellenic Nicene Creed, in which Jesus is freed from his body.....

....let it stew a few more centuries.....

....and soon we want rid of ours, too.

I can understand this way of thinking, though I don't subscribe to it. To truly believe that this unjust life doesn't end in cold oblivion is quite the feat; to believe that it opens onto a pleasant scene is even harder; to believe that the next life involves actual physical restoration and perfection seems pushing the limits of what the seemingly cruel, entropic universe will allow a sane person to swallow. And whether or not we are part of a faith or philosophy that emphasizes the negative aspects of physicality, we all understand the ugly side of life in a body: the appetites that hurt us and tempt us to hurt others; the weaknesses and indignities; the illusion of control that at some point is ripped away from chainsmokers and health nuts alike. Sometimes the physical aspect of our being gives us more misery than joy and we aren't sure we wouldn't be happier and better beings without it. And even those of us who do believe in a literal resurrection don't really believe that there's no possible happy existence without the taste of physical cheesecake on our physical tongues.

So what's the big deal about the resurrection? Was it just a really great parlor trick that Jesus used to prove that he was the Real Thing, but not something that really mattered in and of itself? Could he just as easily have pulled a unicorn out of his hat? And if Jesus didn't care to keep his body, as so many Christians believe, why should any Christian wish to keep his own?

Again, I understand why people ask these questions. It's baffling enough to accept the thought that a god would spend 33 years living in a leaky, smelly human body in a dank and dirty world, but even more fantastical to believe that he would choose to keep that souvenir from Earth when he returns to a purer space. It can seem like the most laughable example of human beings superimposing their weaknesses on the gods they choose to worship -- we don't like ourselves very much, so we invent a god who's physical like us and thereby feel better about our place in the universe. Then three hundred years later we realize it's ludicrous, not to mention blasphemous, and change our minds.

Mormon doctrine runs audaciously against that powerful current of human self-loathing, however apparently logical. We believe that our faith restores truths about mankind that were lost (and/or rejected) over centuries: The body is not evil, nor is it neutral -- it is ultimately divine, and is the main reason we are on earth. Whether we live 100 years or one second, a body is the single thing we all get from this life. And the reason we wanted incarnation and eventual permanent incarnation, and why both of these have been granted every human being free of charge, is we are embryonic gods and a physical body is standard issue. A non-optional prerequisite.

And it is only that knowledge that makes the resurrection meaningful. Because most people who mourn dead dear ones don't really care whether they will see them again in a body -- they just want to know that they will encounter them again someday, in some form or another. The importance of resurrection doctrine only becomes clear when we understand that is not we who want to superimpose our physicality on God -- it is he who superimposed his physicality on us. It is not just a nice thing to be resurrected and get to wiggle our toes in the heavenly creek -- it is a necessary thing. Because the next life is not just meant to be pleasant; if that were all it was, then Christ's resurrection is just tossing another pretty miracle on the pile. The next life is meant to be expansively concrete.....mind-bendingly, fantastically grand.....grab yourself a body in the Third Dimension and then we're off to the Fourth, and the Fifth, and....

We signed up to be gods.

It is pretty ludicrous, but so is life itself.


For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.

Job 19: 25-27

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Do I have to choose a winner??

'Cause you're all winners!

Except that there IS an actual winner......

But before I get to that technicality, I must say that you guys really outdid yourselves this year. Click here to read all the entries, and you'll see what I mean. (And be sure tell me in a comment which number limerick you wrote so I can put your name next to it. Any unclaimed limericks will be presumed abandoned. I will then attach my own name to them and enter them in the Deseret News Limerick Contest next year.)

The themes were all highly clever, many of the rhymes were ambitious and goofy, and I wouldn't be surprised if some ol' Irish dude Googling "silly limerick" plagiarizes your work to impress the lads, Friday night down at the pub.

Rhymes that make me woozy with glee:




librarian/au pair, Ian/veterinarian




Other bits that almost got me fired for giggling at work:

She said “if I married”/I’d eat garlic all day and be lazy
(Oh, Maisie -- we are so alike, except my breath is like no daisy God ever made.)

She offered a prize/For the best pack of lies/Bound up in the form that you see!
(I never encourage lying! Ever! Unless it's funny!)

There once was a man named Gerard....
(Way to play to my weakness! I love it! Can I commission you to write a Love Limerick for Gerard? Will you be my Silly Cyrano?)

When making some "Irish Stew"....
("Making Irish stew" is my new favorite euphemism for sex* -- I hope you don't mind, WhoeverYouAre.)

she chased him quite gladly/and captured him, sadly/and now he's a husband - and mad!
(Ha! I like this ending better -- sadder, but funnier :)

She ran off with the manny/And his fantastic fanny
("Don't laugh," I told myself. "That's naughty!" But I did laugh. Oh, I laughed.)

Mayhap I'll be born at gloam
(Do I really know a fetus capable of writing this line? Who are you, little embryonic prodigy? The reincarnation of Tennyson?)

In fact, I laughed so hard reading every one of your limericks that I've decided to send all participants my super-special Irish Mix CD. Not a bad consolation prize, especially since most of the songs bear Sharon's Impeccable Taste in Music Seal o' Approval. (Except for the very last track -- gotta throw in at least one tacky song since she's not here to stop me.) So if you want the mix CD, be sure to claim your limerick and then send me your address using the "Email Me" feature in the side bar ---->

As for the winner of the moolah and the Pogues CD, it was hard, but after much prayerful supplication to the Humor Gods, it was revealed to me that that Greatest of Goofballs, that Viceroy of Verse, that Lord-High Limerick-Smith is the author of......

There was a cute single girl (Maisie)
Who kept her breath fresh as a daisy
It made her quite harried
She said “if I married”
I’d eat garlic all day and be lazy

So congratulations Anonymous #2 [it's Lena!] -- the rhythm was perfect, the rhymes were great, and the humor was apropos of everything. (At least in my world :)

And if anyone feels I chose wrongly, feel free to vent your spleen in the comments. Better yet, register your complaints in the form of a limerick.

Because limericks make everything better!

Thanks so much for humoring me, you guys -- I love ya.

* For the record, when I was trying to imagine the genesis of the term "wedding vegetables" I decided that maybe someone thought tossing a salad was sensual ("you see, Bobby -- when a carrot loves an avocado very much, they come together and..."), but it's all so clear, now -- the slow sexy simmer of vegetable stew....

Prepare to giggle -- the 2008 limerick entries!

If you entered the contest, please please please leave a comment telling me which number is yours so I can put your name next to it. I'll even link it to your blog so people can find more of your killer wit....

(In order of entry)

#1 (by Lena)

There was a young man called Obama
Who’s created a whole lot of drama
He’s made Hillary mad
But the media glad
And we all think he has real good karma

#2 (by Lena)

There was a cute single girl (Maisie)
Who kept her breath fresh as a daisy
It made her quite harried
She said “if I married”
I’d eat garlic all day and be lazy

#3 (by D'Arcy)

There once was a young man from Tatooine.
When he got older he married the Queen.
Not too much later,
He became Darth Vadar,
Now everyone thinks that he's mean!

#4 (by Jessica)

There once was a lass called Marie
Who on her blog set up a spree
She offered a prize
For the best pack of lies
Bound up in the form that you see!

#5 (by D'Arcy)

There once was a man named Gerard.
Who Marie thought was the bard.
He wrote in rhythm sprung,
While using the Welsh tongue,
Now he rests in an Irish yard.

#6 (by Gawain)

In truth it is quite reprehensible
That an "ingredient" should be so indispensable
When making some "Irish Stew"
There is only one thing to do
Mix in some wedding vegatables

#7 (by Vesper)

Get this freaking baby out
Is what I always want to shout
He's been in there too long
His kicks are very strong
I'd rather have the gout

#8 (by Gawain)

I still live in mother's home
Nowhere to stretch my legs and roam
No friends can I meet
My head's below my feet
Mayhap I'll be born at gloam

#9 (by April)

There once was a vet named Tom
who hadn't had a good poop since 'Nam.
So he sucked on some prunes
til he felt something brewin'
And he shat an atomic bomb.

#10 (by April)

There once was a lovely librarian
Who fell in love with an au pair, Ian.
She ran off with the manny
And his fantastic fanny
Til she left him for a hot veterinarian.

#11 (by Jessica)

there once was a lass liked a lad
who was truly a terrible cad
she chased him quite gladly
and captured him, sadly
and now he's a husband - and mad!

[Version 2]

there once was a lass liked a lad
who was truly a terrible cad
she chased him quite gladly
and captured him, sadly
and now he's a husband - and dad!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Don't pinch me -- I'm Irish!*

1) Massive Celtic pate,** packed with fiddle reels and naughty rhyming couplets.

2) Green eyes.

3) Freckle.

4) Freckle.

5) More freckles.

6) Freckle. Or maybe zit. (Too afraid to zoom in, and I hope you won't, either.)

7) Pasty, pasty white skin.***

8) Freckle created when pasty, pasty white skin encountered five nanoseconds of direct sunlight.

9) Drab brown hair left behind by the little green men who snuck into my bedroom 28 years ago and STOLE my pretty red pigtails as I slept.****

10) [Undisclosed location] Birthmark in shape of four-leaf clover.

11) Freckles lurking beneath my shirt. Multiplying. Ever multiplying.

* Not true.
** Like an orange on a toothpick.
*** Like the flesh of a diseased potato. Makes ya wanna flee to the New World and marry into pigment.
**** One of the saddest nights of my life. I can only hope my stolen hair was used to make little red wigs for little leprechaun chemo patients.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Don't do it for the cash. Do it for Conan.

Bzzzzzt! Time's up!

Stay tuned for the exciting results! (I hope you'll be patient -- I must wait for the tears of glee to clear a bit so I can re-read your entries perform the ridiculous task of choosing the funniest.)

And Sophie thought HER choice was hard.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It's that time of year again, dearies -- time to dust off your silly and get Irish in my second annual St. Patrick's Day Limerick Contest! I can hear you all woohooing from here.

I'm upping the stakes, though. No stuffy old books of nonsense verse as grand prize like last year. No, this time around I'm rolling out the cold hard cash. Twenty dollars (plus a copy of the best Irish rock album ever*) to the limerick that makes me laugh the hardest. That's enough green to buy you eleventh class passage to America and a pint on the way over.

The rules are the same as last year with one difference: I don't want to be suspected of choosing based on anything but sheer artistry, so all entries that want to be considered for the prize MUST BE SUBMITTED ANONYMOUSLY. If you accidentally post your entry with any recognizable identity I'll have to disqualify it, so double check before you click "publish" and be sure you've got the "Anonymous" button selected below the comment field. After the winner's chosen I'll repost all the entries, give each one a number, and ask everyone to tell which number limerick was theirs so you can all get credit for your wit.

Here are the rest of the rules, same as last year:

--Contest ends Sunday, March 16, the day before St. Patrick's Day. (But any entry posted by the time I turn on my computer on the 17th will be in the running.)
--Your limerick can be a bit naughty, but not too naughty. Use your own judgment in defining that line.**
--Finding clever rhymes for difficult words will win you extra points.
--Enter as many limericks as you want.
--No matter how funny, a limerick will probably not win if it doesn't follow the traditional limerick meter and rhyme pretty closely. Can't remember what that is? Click here for a refresher course.

I can't wait! I know you will make all my goofiest dreams come true!

Tell your friends!
Tell your drinking buddies!
Tell that scheming bird who up and married Tommy O'Rourke while you were off at sea!

* If you already have this album, I'll substitute some other fabulous Irish-esque giftie of comparable value.
** I reserve the right to take down any limerick that I think crosses the line. Keep in mind that my mother reads this blog -- she's got a good sense of humor, but she's still my mother, so if you do naughty, make it a nice naughty.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why my family is better than yours.

My aunt sends me text messages like this:

"Just heard a new British term for naughty bits: vegetables!"

Can't beat that. Educational.