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A Great Day

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I started running long before I was in high school. I know for certain I was running before I was in the 7th grade and I think before I was twelve. I ran for fun. It was enjoyable. I would head out running and train for specific races. Before I was in high school I had competed in the Whole Enchilada Fun Run in the mile run and in the 5K. I competed in the Memorial Medical Center 5K at least twice. I can’t honestly tell you how or why I got started doing it but I know I enjoyed it because nobody was forcing or even encouraging me to do it. I just did it for fun.

My freshman year of high school I turned out a week late for Cross-Country practice and I was out of shape. I was demolished in practice by the other runners and I don’t know if I was embarrassed or what, but it wasn’t fun so I didn’t run that year. The next year I tried again and I ran the last 3 years of high school both track and cross-country but I was never a fast runner.

The highlight of my JV track career was when I was placed in the 2 mile at a small meet and the only runners were myself and 2 girls. Terrified that I might lose to a girl I ran a pretty good race and even lapped the girls. Glad I didn’t embarrass myself.

My first 10K was the Baylor Pass trail run in November of 1995 when I competed in the 25th running of that race. The race includes 1515 feet in altitude gain in first 4 miles; 700 feet altitude loss in last 2 miles and it is a blast! The next may I ran the Bolder Boulder which was probably the highlight of my running career. I didn’t have a published 10K time better than 53 minutes so they put me in the first heat for unpublished runners. I finished in 45:20 so needless to say I spent the whole time passing people, and in a field of 44,000 I passed a lot of people! No pressure, it was just fun!

Those of you who have been reading my Facebook posts will know that of late I haven’t been enjoying running as much. I did take 15 years off, but they should be no reason for it to hurt so bad. On the recommendation of a friend I started reading Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen and it has really inspired me. Tonight I set out determined to enjoy my run. I focused on being light on my feet, which forced me to increase my turnover and put more energy forward and less up and down. I smiled. How can I enjoy myself if I am grimacing? Inspired by A story on NPR about listening to Mom & Dad’s radio collection I put on some John Denver and set out to run.

You want to know what happened? I enjoyed myself (well, at least 80 percent of the time.) I ran 3.5 miles in 30 minutes, my ending heart rate was 200bpm and I feel like there is hope for my being ready to run (but not competitively) in the Rock to Pier run at our family reunion.

Thank you, Ben & Carrie for recommending the book, which I would recommend to anyone, even if you don’t want to run. It’s quite the story as well.

P.S. I also made a point of eating more carbohydrates the last 2 days. Today I had a Goop (Peanut Butter, Butter, & Honey) Sandwich for breakfast, macaroni and cheese (of the homemade variety) for lunch, and another Goop sandwich for mid-afternoon snack.

The combination was fantastic! I just might end up enjoying running again.

A living prophet who loves us.

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This weekend I had the opportunity to listen to a Prophet’s voice. Twice a year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a General Conference where the leadership of the church address the worldwide membership in an effort to unify and strengthen us. I take joy and solace in knowing that our Heavenly Father continues to lead and guide his children (myself included) through a prophet on the Earth today. To listen to the General Conference you can visit gc.lds.org

One of the takeaways from this conference for me is to try and choose more wholesome forms of entertainment in my life. I’m not a big movie-goer but I do watch too much TV. Some of my favorite shows have included The Big Bang Theory, The Office, Survivor, the Amazing Race, NCIS and others. After a lesson I gave in deacon’s quorum a few months ago and talks from this conference I have to ask myself however if they are appropriate forms of entertainment?

Some things are cut and dry for me. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic.” In my opinion, there is no exception. After all, if I believe he was a prophet of God, and I do, why would I choose to disobey him? Other choices are more difficult and sometimes intentionally. The Lord said, “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.” He hasn’t given us direct commandments regarding which shows we can and cannot watch but he has given us guidelines. Most recently at this Sunday’s conference, President Thomas S. Monson said, “Many movies and television shows portray behavior which is in direct opposition to the laws of God. Do not subject yourself to the inuendo and outright filth which is often found there.” (Watch his complete talk below.) It will be difficult to avoid all TV shows which portray behavior which is in opposition to the laws of God, but I’m going to try. Additional counsel is given in For the Strength of the Youth:

Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable.

The bar has been set very high and by my analysis none of my favorite shows I listed above seem to pass the bar. Nearly everything on television portrays immorality as acceptable. That is such a difficult bar and it eliminates much of what is on TV today. I will, however strive to eliminate these programs from regular television viewing. I take comfort in knowing that I have the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will give me strength and help me make good choices. Moroni 7:12-19 President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and I will strive to obey his counsel. As Boyd K. Packer said in the recent conference, “If someone is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one.”

I’ve enjoyed being a freeloader

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For an interesting take on NPR funding you should check out this planet money podcast.

After listening to the podcast continue reading:

One thing not discussed in great detail is whether or not you want to be a consumer receiving the benefit of wonderful broadcasting or whether you would rather be the product that NPR is pedaling to advertisers. Remember that in order to have you as a product to peddle they may just try and please you to keep you around. I’d rather they just report it how it is than try and report what pleases me.

Anyway, I’ve been a freeloader of this public good (public radio) for a long time and its about time I stepped up and contributed for the benefit of all. I’d just assume the federal government keep contributing $2.40 (or whatever it is) on my behalf because I like being a freeloader. Just in case funding gets cut, and because its long overdue I have pledged to make my $35 contribution to public broadcasting this year. For those of you keeping track, I will be deducting that contribution from my federal taxes which means that at a 15% tax rate I will have robbed the government of $5.25 of revenue which is much more than my share of the $430 Million dollars the federal government gives to public broadcasting. I feel so powerful telling the government how they should spend their money. Conservatives, want to make a real difference in the federal budget put an end to ALL tax deductions and institute a fair or flat tax rate. Why should I get to decide how the federal government spends the $5.25 I was supposed to send them? I shouldn’t, but I do, so I will. :)

Rants about Conservative Radio

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I have been in a huge debate with a co-worker about the merits of NPR and public broadcasting. What can I say, I love NPR even though I thought I was a conservative, which apparently is not compatible.

Why do I love NPR? No commercials. Common Sense. Humor. Very little news about Charlie Sheen. Global news. I find it to be pretty fair and balanced, atleast in the news department. The talk and entertainment leans towards the liberal side.

Today as part of an experiment I listened to 2 hours of Fox News. Here is what I learned.

  1. If you listen to conservative talk radio you have to endure 5 painful minutes of commercials for every 9 minutes of talk.
  2. Those commercials are extremely annoying commercials for buying gold, foreclosed homes, and magic pills which will help you lose weight, get rid of varicose veins, and grow hair.
  3. You would have to be awfully gullible if you believe you can just swallow a pill and cure any of those problems. The people who pay for those ads think the listeners of talk radio are gullible enough to do exactly that. Why not? The rhetoric the pundits spit out gets repeated ad nauseum by their listeners as if it were the gospel truth. — The money says Fox’s listeners believe whatever they hear on the radio, as far fetched a claim as it is.
  4. If you don’t like profanity don’t bother. The reason I stopped my experiment before the day was over was because I couldn’t stand listening to Spencer Hughes say that everyone on unemployment are lazy @$$es. If I can’t listen to it with my kids in the room. I don’t need to listen to it.
  5. Every 10 minutes they try to remind me how “fair and balanced” they are.
  6. The host says “when we get back I’ll give you my two cents worth” then the announcer in the commercial tells me that “We report. You decide.” All afternoon they told me what to think and they believe that by telling me that all they do is report and they let me make the decisions is going to make me believe it. No way, I’m smarter than that.
  7. On Fox “News” you get 4 minutes and 30 seconds of news at the top of the hour. One story repeated during every commercial break and a bunch hot air telling you what you should think about one insignificant story.
  8. Here is what the hourly news update covered today: 75 seconds about 2 budget bills not passing. 30 seconds about Libya. 15 seconds about the Space Shuttle. 30 seconds about a Pakistani national from Buffalo, NY who killed his wife in New York. (Why is it important that he is a Pakistani living in the U.S.?) 45 seconds about Iran pursuing nuclear weapons. 15 seconds about Iran supporting the Taliban. 30 seconds about a British Sex Ed Shocker. 15 seconds about Mel Gibson facing charges of battery. 15 seconds on the Dow and oil prices.

    Here’s how my day went: For 40 minutes I listened to John Gibson discuss a gentleman (I use the word loosely) in Rhode Island whose son was killed in 1975. The killer was convicted and served 28 years of his 40 year sentence and is now set to be released early. The father has come out and said publicly that if they release his son’s killer early he will kill him. Mr. Gibson asked what we would do. Caller after caller said the father is justified in his statement. Several callers even suggested ways in which the father could commit the murder. One of the guests suggested he hire someone to do the job and the only mistake he made was to tell the world what he was going to do. Is this hateful and immoral discussion? In my opinion yes. There is never a reason to take the law into your own hands. There is nothing resembling self-defense here. I hope the boy’s father can find it in his heart to forgive his sons killer and return to living his life. We have a justice system for a reason. Whether or not you think the killer should be released a revenge killing is not the legal, ethical, or moral answer.

    The next hour was spent listening to John Gibson talk about Jessie Jackson Jr’s recent speech on the floor of congress calling for constitutional amendments to give American’s the right to a decent home, an education, and health care. Of course if you listen to the entire sound bite, which Mr. Gibson did not air, you would know that Jesse Jackson was quoting FDR. I don’t know Jesse Jackson. I don’t follow Jesse Jackson, but is it possible that he was using sarcasm or exaggerating to prove a point about the ineffectiveness of the right wing tactics? That’s how I interpreted what I heard. Nevertheless, for an hour (minus the 20 minutes of commercials) they discussed this one topic. It wasn’t much of a discussion. Mr. Gibson’s favorite argument seems to be a chuckle. i.e. The democrats said “X” - ha, ha! While I sometimes would agree with his statements he was so poor at backing them up I wanted to not believe. At least he was civil, if not eloquent.

    My last 20 minutes were spent listening to Spencer Hughes who re-hashed Jesse Jackson’s comments and relished in the firing of NPR’s CEO and head fundraiser. The following comments from Mr. Hughes are neither intelligent nor convincing arguments. If somebody on NPR spoke like this on air, they would probably get fired. Oh, and please let me know if you consider the following to be “fair,” “balanced,” or just “reporting.”
    Quoting Mr. Hughes as best I can: “Jesse Jackson, Jr. is just as stupid as Jesse Jackson, Sr.” Jesse Jackson is an “ignoramus” and a “brain dead liberal.”

    Last lesson of the day. According to these pundits the only possible way to decrease the deficit is to cut programs (decrease spending.) They ignore the other side of the argument which would be to raise taxes (increase revenue). If you are poor and unemployed and in need of more money the only possible solution is to find more work. (increase revenues.) The best way to encourage this sort of behavior is to cut off all aid from the government (decrease revenues).

    It’s not the ideas that turn me off - except with that first tale of the day. It’s the endless repetition with no evidence to back up the arguments. It’s the hateful and bigoted speech.

    I’m going back to NPR

The state of pop culture today

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Anyone can tell you that I am really not in touch with pop culture. There are very few points in my life when I have been. In 2nd grade I enjoyed the Beach Boys while others were listening to Metallica, White Snake, Poison, and Bon Jovi. In high school I fell in love with the Beatles. In college I started listening to some pop music and today I do as well.

Even though I was out of touch with pop music and culture, I would like to believe that I was aware of its existence. Today on NPR they reviewed Katy Perry’s new Album, Teenage Dreams. The California Girls song is everywhere on the radio, you’ve probably heard it. While somewhat offensive, it turns out to be the least degrading of all the songs on her new album. I don’t think that the kind of garbage Katy Perry discusses in her music could ever have been considered mainstream in my youth. Am I wrong?

NPRs reviewer gave a positive review of the album, but based on the comments on the news page none of the NPR listeners agreed. The album is marked EXPLICIT on iTunes and with good reason, although the real reason is probably the F-Word usage because there is a radio-edit version of the album not marked as Explicit. More than half of the songs on the album (remember its titled Teenage Dreams) chronicle rampant teenage alcohol abuse, casual sex, and demoralizing relationships.

. . .

When I first heard California Girls on the radio I asked myself, Would this be appropriate to be played at a church dance? It is after all the most played song on the radio right now. The album cover depicts a naked Katy Perry floating on a cloud of cotton candy (with her sensitive parts barely covered). I actually un “liked” iTunes on Facebook because I was sick and tired of that album cover showing up on my Facebook page. That for me is reason enough to not play the song at a church dance, but thankfully it also has a cuss word in it so it is a really easy decision. And now that I know what the rest of the albums songs are about I wouldn’t let a Latter-day Saint youth near that album with a 10 foot cord on their ear buds. It’s filth! but it’s on the radio!

I guess I’m glad I have the guidelines in For the Strength of the Youth to remind me that “unworthy music may seem harmless, but it can have evil effects on your mind and spirit. [You should] choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Don’t listen to music that drives away the Spirit, encourages immorality, glorifies violence, uses foul or offensive language, or promotes Satanism or other evil practices.”

Katy Perry, I’ll change the station when your songs come on the radio.

Grow Up!

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Dear Citizens of Albuquerque,

The park is a family environment. Please refrain from using the F-Bomb when you are at the park. Your kid may speak like that but I don’t want my kids talking like that. There is no situation outside the confines of your home when it is appropriate for you to use any word which cannot be aired on television or radio. If you don’t know what words those are google it.

The park is not your canvas. Please take the Sharpies away from your kids. There is not a surface at the Westgate Community Park which isn’t covered in graffiti. You have successfully put ten years of wear and tear on a two year old park.

Sincerely,

Your fellow citizen, although tonight I’m embarrassed to be a part of your community.

First Egg!

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Our Barred Rock laid her first egg yesterday. It’s a beautiful creamy brown color and was pretty small, but they should get a little bigger. I’ve read the first ones come irregularly and smaller than normal.img_6786img_6789

Chickens

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It’s only been forever since I blogged on a personal level. This may just turn into my chicken raising journal.

On Apr 17 we got three chickens. A 20 week old barred rock and two 6 week old Black Australorps.

They are fun to watch, because they’re goofy.

22 minutes in a war zone

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I am beginning to hate, dread, and even fear New Year’s Eve. This year we rang in the New Year at 10:15 with some of our bestest friends only to come home and have it ruined by our worstest neighbors.

Three years ago we were awoken at midnight by fireworks and a chorus of imbeciles shouting “Happy F—ing New Year” which continued for about 15 minutes or so. Apparently they don’t trust their clocks so they wanted to be sure the New Year was really here. I don’t really know how these people can even yell so loud that it wakes me up inside of my house with all the windows closed, or why they think that is acceptable.

Last year we were awoken by multiple gun shots firing repeatedly from the house across the street. When I looked out the window and saw a group of 6 or 7 minors firing a handgun in the air repeatedly I called the police only to be informed that they had a list about 100 addresses long of people reporting similar incidents and that the would never make it to my complaint. Oh well!

This year we were again awoken by gunshots at midnight. I was unable to see anybody firing a weapon or you can bet I would have called the police to report it again. It blows my mind to think that there are people in my neighborhood who are stupid enough to shoot a gun straight up in the air who own a weapon. I become afraid when I think about the weapons they possess. I don’t know anything about guns but whatever this gun is it can fire off at least a dozen rapid fire rounds so fast I can’t even count them. There were two of these guns firing off so close to our home that it was frightening, especially when we heard something land on our roof. Within earshot, but not loud enough to wake me up, if I haven’t already been awake, there were another six similar weapons being fired. All of this went on for 22 minutes.

So what scares me about all of this: 1. What goes up must come down. Don’t these idiots realize that firing a gun in the air means the bullet comes back down at the same speed it left the barrel of the gun — Killing Speed. Rule 1 of gun safety, know your target. 2. These people are violent. A few months ago there was a shoving match in the street outside of our home which ended with a gun shot. 3. These people have tempers. We hear so much shouting and fighting coming from these houses that it is plain to me that tempers are flaring in these homes. 4. These people are drunks. During the summer months we fall asleep to raucous, drunken, yell fests coming from these homes multiple nights a week. Put it all together and you have New Year’s Eve.

Whatever happened to watching the ball drop on TV, or whatever it is they drop in your town. Kissing the one you love and going home to enjoy the New Year?

When did it become acceptable to make any kind of noise at midnight? — I don’t care if it is New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, or Labor Day fireworks make noise, people have jobs and it is not acceptable to make noise in the middle of the night. Set them off before 10 o’clock, then go inside and have a nice enjoyable evening that doesn’t disturb your neighbors.

Dear neighbors, please consider and respect your neighbors and their property. Perhaps we don’t want to be awake in the middle of the night. Maybe we don’t want you to fire your gun in the air and have the bullets come down on our homes.

La Santa Biblia

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The new LDS edition of the Holy Bible is available today from Church Distribution. I ordered my print copy but I was checking it out online and I am downloading the audio recording for my iPod. The new edition is based on the 1909 Reina Valera translation and the church has put years of work into it. It is fully annotated like the English version with cross references to the full LDS cannon of scriptures.

I just did a quick search online (escrituras.lds.org) and it is impressive. When you search for a verb in the scriptures it will search for all the different conjugations of the verb. Super useful!

For example I just searched for “apacienta” and it produced one of my favorite scriptures in Spanish:

Juan 21: 15-17
15 Y cuando hubieron comido, Jesús le dijo a Simón Pedro: Simón hijo de Jonás, ¿me amas más que éstos? Pedro le contestó: Sí, Señor, tú sabes que te amo. Él le dijo: Apacienta mis corderos.
16 Volvió a decirle la segunda vez: Simón hijo de Jonás, ¿me amas? Le respondió: Sí, Señor, tú sabes que te amo. Le dijo: Apacienta mis ovejas.
17 Le dijo la tercera vez: Simón hijo de Jonás, ¿me amas? Se entristeció Pedro de que le dijese por tercera vez: ¿Me amas?, y le dijo: Señor, tú sabes todas las cosas; tú sabes que te amo. Jesús le dijo: Apacienta mis ovejas.

The search also returned verses with “apacienten.”

I was disappointed to see the new translation of this verse however. In English (KJV) the scripture reads:

John 21: 15-17
15 ¶ So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

This reflects the same idea as the above translation. The old spanish translation (RV69) was:

15 Y cuando hubieron comido, Jesús le dijo a Simón Pedro: Simón hijo de Jonás, ¿me amas más que éstos? Le respondió: Sí, Señor, tú sabes que te amo. Él le dijo: Apacienta mis corderos.
16 Volvió a decirle la segunda vez: Simón hijo de Jonás, ¿me amas? Pedro le respondió: Sí, Señor, tú sabes que te amo. Le dijo: Pastorea mis ovejas.
17 Le dijo la tercera vez: Simón hijo de Jonás, ¿me amas? Pedro se entristeció de que le dijese la tercera vez: ¿Me amas?, y le respondió: Señor, tú sabes todas las cosas; tú sabes que te amo. Jesús le dijo: Apacienta mis ovejas.

Emphasis added to demonstrate the differences. In the RV69 translation Peter gives three distinct responses. 1. Feed my lambs 2. Take my sheep to pasture 3. Feed my sheep. This is great because it implies that first he should give nourishment to the little ones who may have little knowledge. Second, teach them how to nourish themselves. Third, nourish them still. This middle line (pastorea) is lost in the other two translations, but it is presumed that the Apostles have prayed and fasted over this verse and that the English and new Spanish translations better reflect the original intent of John’s words.

Why do I presume they fasted and prayed over these little tiny words? Story time: While on my mission Elder Oaks shared a story with us. He chaired the translation committee for the Book of Mormon. On one occasion the translators working on a Vietnamese translation of the Book of Mormon approached the leadership of the church and asked them if the Brother of Jared was an older brother or a younger brother. This did not seem important to Elder Oaks, but when the translators explained that in Vietnamese there was one word for younger brother and another for older brother and no generic term for brother he took the problem to the Quorm of the twelve Apostles and they fasted and prayed about it. They received an answer and the correct translation appears in the Vietnamese translation of the Book of Mormon. Every word must be correct.

I’m sure the same effort was put in to this translation of the Bible which is why I am anxious to read it.