Musings on Mormonism

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Just For Fun category.

If Jack Handey WERE dead, this is how he would want to be remembered

Discovering these articles by Jack Handey in The New Yorker may just have been my most important discovery of this decade so far. Check this one out here.


Things even out

I was afraid that Jack Handey is dead, but -thank goodness!- as of March 3, 2008 he is still kickin! Check out his article at The New Yorker.

For my dad, the economist

From time to time, I find myself actually interested in economics – these periods tend to coincide with when I am earnestly applying myself in whatever econ course I’m enrolled in at the time. Now is one of those times!

So, I searched for “iso-cost” on Google, and found this picture:

…ok, you got me, those are iso-quant curves, not iso-cost curves! Iso-quant curves follow different combinations of inputs which produce the same amount of output. If you think that’s boring, well, I was once like you ūüôā

For more great econ fun, check out the blog where this picture originated: Jake Does Econ 101

Fill in the ______

Another great search term. For zany fun, attach your own ending!

“Finding a black mormon is like finding a” _______.

Funny search terms

WordPress has a cool feature where it tells you what search terms have led people to your site. Here are the most funny/unusual ones I’ve seen so far (with comments):

-geddy’s lee’s views chairman mao

(Rush consistently rakes in the hits, but I had no idea that Geddy Lee, their bassist, had any views on the Chairman that were worth looking up)

-mormons good natured people

(I agree!)

-scary facts about mormons

(I’m sure they were led to this post, which no doubt was a disappointment, being, of course, pro-Mormon)


(no argument here)

-rush is the greatest band ever

(probably true, as well)

-brigham young work play sleep

-marriage wisdom

(as I am always seeking rather than dispensing this, I am sure the searcher was unsatisfied)

-funny last name scholarship

(the funny thing is that such scholarships do exist! If your last name is Van Valkenburg, prepare yourself for some serious cash!)

-hello kitty statue

-scholarships for mormons

(those would be nice, but I haven’t encountered any yet)

-church of jesus latter day saints bryce

(probably a pretty good church, but this one is even better)

-cuteness across cultures

(I’d be interested to see what else has been said on this topic)

-band rush and mormons

(…and also for this topic)

-do you think my personality is too callo

(did they mean “callow” or “callous”, I wonder?)

-musings of mormon

(yep, he had those)

-“cat sympathies”


-taylor hartman mormon

(yes, he is)

-where to find cute mormon guys

(there’s one right here)

Funny characteristics you can get scholarships for

My search for scholarships on fastweb thus far has not yielded any awards. However, if I weren’t such an unremarkable left-handed,¬†half-Chinese, libertarian-leaning, intellectually curious and creative¬†Mormon from Oregon, and instead possessed the following characteristics, maybe I could get some sweet cash too:

Against the Death Penalty


Birth mother who has placed a child for adoption


Canadian Citizen

Clinically Overweight

Displaced Homemaker

Drug Conviction (Misdemeanor or Felony)

Farm, Raised On


Foster Care Recipient

From Small Town <25,000 Population

Height: Women, 5’10” or above; Men 6’2″ or above

Last Name Van Valkenburg

Mobile Home Park Resident


Parent of Multiples (Twins, Triplets, etc.)

Public Assistance Recipient

Public Housing Resident

Residence Hall Resident (Dormitory)

Student, One of Multiples (Twins, Triplets, etc.)

Transplant Candidate

Transplant Recipient

Undocumented Immigrant


A personal loss, and other assorted happenings

A piece of me died yesterday. Yes, I am talking about my lower left molar. After a year of neglecting my damaged tooth (out of lack of funds and insurance), it finally started to really hurt this past Monday, thus necessitating an urgent¬†trip to the dentist. Now, I count it a matter of divine¬†providence that one of my home teachers* just¬†happens to be a dental student who¬†was able to connect me with a fellow student who was available to help me out on short notice for a reasonable price**. Well, as it turns out, I need a root canal, which they started yesterday by removing most of¬†the soft tissue in my tooth (the technical term used¬†was “scoop out”), and temporarily capping the gaping hole until we can schedule another appointment. I left feeling relieved, groggy and ugly (anesthesia and lying¬†at an unusual angle¬†for hours leave you feeling and looking¬†like Quasimodo), and¬†very grateful. I do have regrets, however:

1) I wish I had somehow addressed this sooner so that I could keep my tooth alive (a root canal basically kills all living tissue in the tooth and turns it into a dried out husk which retains its chewing ability). I prefer my body parts to be living, thank you very much.

2) I wish I had had some way of watching what they were doing in there! It’s not every day you get to see the inside of a tooth – I wonder what the nerves look like?

In other news, I took the GRE on Monday, and it went so much better than the first time (also, it was thankfully after the GRE and not before that my tooth started hurting). It leaves me much more competitive for getting into the grad schools I’m looking at, George Washington being my top pick. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball¬†on applying to Georgetown, whose deadline is very soon¬†– it¬†occurred to me this week¬†that¬†they require 3 letters of recommendation,¬†and I only have¬†2. Boooo! ¬†Even now, I’m debating whether to try and find an emergency recommender to¬†make my application complete. On the other side of the debate, however, I’m trying to console myself with thoughts like “you didn’t want to go there anyway”, or “it’s really expensive there”, or my personal favorite, “the location is really inconvenient”. Still, I am no quitter, and I have a hard time just rolling over and accepting defeat (admittedly largely self-inflicted defeat).

Anyway, one more topic, and then I’ve got to get going on those grad school apps. Last night, I was quite fortunate to go to a Rock Band 2 party, and it was awesome!¬†Family, you’d better believe I played “Carry On Wayward Son”, although with the throng of people there, I didn’t get a chance to try some old favorites (“That means no Rush,” Bob nods¬†knowingly).¬†The emergence of Rock Band and Guitar Hero have been a big boon in my life; they channel my nerdy love of¬† music and video games into an outlet which is not only more¬†socially acceptable but also tons of fun! But you know, it also gets me thinking about whether party games like these are merely “childish things” which I will have to give up when I eventually get married and start a family. My money is on “yes”, and if so, I’m certainly willing to do it. Nevertheless, I often¬†wonder how marriage will¬†affect my lifestyle, specifically my approach to fun (which I think is more important to me than most – as discussed previously, it is an important recreative outlet for me). But who knows? Until I have to cross that bridge, I guess¬†I’ll continue to enjoy Rock Band parties.

One more thing: I’m unable to attend the Sunstone Symposium this weekend (Sunstone is¬†an organization which does scholarly work on Mormon thought and culture – not officially affiliated with the Church, but at least intriguing to guys like me). If anyone reading this attended the symposium¬†or has thoughts about Sunstone, I’d like to hear what you have to say. I mean, Sunstone ain’t General Conference, but I’m interested to know what¬†thoughtful people in the Church are discussing (I’m guessing¬†I would have a lot to disagree with, but also surely many¬†points of agreement). Also, I really wanted to see the documentary¬†Nobody Knows: The Untold Story¬†of Black Mormons;¬†perhaps I’ll have to wait until it’s on DVD ūüė¶¬†

Like an ugly Senate bill***, I’m attaching one more thing to this post – a video of “Limelight” by Rush. They rock!

*for those unfamiliar with the LDS Church, home teachers are the first line of support and assistance provided for each family, even families of one like mine.

**as an aside, have you ever noticed how a larger than normal proportion of dentists are really, really nice and pleasant people? A profession that requires digging around in people’s mouths must favor a certain¬†easygoing, pleasant¬†temperament. It gratefully¬†makes dental work relatively¬†less unpleasant.

***According to a friend of mine who works for a Congressman, the recent stimulus bill for which none/almost none of the Republicans voted contained lots of pet projects attached, such as spending $60 million to re-sod the National Mall. I suppose it needs to be done some time, but $60 million, in a stimulus bill? It will stimulate the sodding industry, I suppose.

Prelude to a great post

I’ve got agency and identity on my mind, but no time to write about it just now. Please stay tuned, though, and enjoy “Freewill” by Rush in the meantime.

An awesome and only moderately bizarre Pet Shop Boys video

I love this song, and the creepy old man has a certain charm, too, don’t you think?

Still alive – plus, some interesting books to consider reading

The past few weeks have been pretty tumultuous over here for a number of reasons, primarily moving to a new house, poverty (relatively speaking, of course), and having no internet (!!!!), but now I’m back with a very important message, namely: I want to let you all know what books I think are worthwhile. After all, the implication of being well-read (i.e. showing interest in books) is almost as good as actually being well-read. So here are a few good books I’d read, or at least sample if I had the time.

1)”Dave Barry’s Money Secrets – Like: Why is There A Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?”

I admit, I’m actually sort of reading this one, and it makes me laugh a lot. Hydralisk, this is one you should find on tape/CD if you can. It will help you shift some paradigms and revolutionize outside the box, or something like that.

2) “Obama Nation” by Jerome Corsi

When I first ran into this one at the book store, I got a little excited – “A well-researched, non-gushing book about Barack Obama?! How much is this? I’ll take 2.” I skimmed the preface, and thought it seemed pretty even-keeled and objective (and for the record, the author is not a Republican, but a Constitutionalist). However, when I checked out what wikipedia, the bastion of e-truth, had to say, my faith was shaken – apparently Corsi has taken some liberties with the facts, or else just drawn conclusions many didn’t want to hear (or, more likely, something in the middle). So anyway, I’m a little more skeptical of the book. However, it is on The New York Times bestsellers list, and, like so many people in this country, I take the New York Times more seriously than a lot of things. It can do no wrong. Ever. Seriously, though, I’m intrigued to hear what Corsi has to say about Chairman Barack’s supposed cult of personality.

3) “The Definitive Guide to Stuff White People Like” by Christian Lander

Another book I happily bumped into at the store the other day. Flipping through it, I was surprised at how many people the author and I both seem to know ūüôā Lander has a great way of poking fun at white people (or, as one of my white co-workers candidly pointed out, a certain subset of white people: the college-educated, left-leaning ones), and I admire his ability to do so in a way that is simultaneously incisive and good-humored.

Also, you can check out the official website,