Monday, October 27, 2008

This is a great video - All four candidates agree that marriage should remain as defined between a man and a woman.

Cat Lovers Unite!!!

My very astute friend Kathy Jackson wrote this allegory to the homosexual agenda a while back - Its pretty good.

Cat Lovers Unite!
This is a rallying call to correct a great social injustice. Cat lovers everywhere must awake and recognize the gross inequality imbedded in the civil code of Pleasanton and many other municipalities in the form of biased rules limiting the issuance of dog licenses to the owners of dogs. Those of us who do not like dogs, who, through no fault of our own, are afraid of dogs, allergic to dogs, or just naturally inclined to prefer cats are denied our basic civil rights to apply for and obtain dog licenses in our municipalities. We are being persecuted and singled out because of our pet preferences, and we must take action today.
1. Go to your city offices and demand to be issued a dog license for your cat. After all, cats are just as good as dogs! and we love our cats just as much as dog lovers love their dogs, and that is what is important after all. You may encounter some of the following arguments from the administration:
First, that your cat is not a dog, and dog licenses are for dogs. Take this as an insult. Become offended, and insist that this is a bigotted anti-feline statement. Who are they to suggest such a narrow minded interpretation of the purpose of a dog license.
Second, they may suggest that you have the same right as anyone else to go buy or adopt a dog and apply for a dog license. Do not be confused or softened by the obvious logic of this argument. Take it as an insult. Become offended, and insist that this is a bigotted, anti-feline statement. You cannot help the fact that you prefer cats to dogs. You were born that way, and cats are just an alternate pet choice. Everyone should be entitled to choose whatever pet they naturally prefer, and get a dog license for it.
Third , that, since dogs are different from cats, society has established different responsibilities and privileges to each, such as leash laws and rabies vaccinations. Take this as an insult. Become offended, and insist that this is a bigotted, anti-feline statement. Just because societies throughout time have seen cats and dogs differently is a sorry excuse for denying someone their civil rights.
Fourth, that if dog licenses are issued to cats, it would threaten the very legal or societal definition of what a dog license, or a dog for that matter is. Take this as an insult. Become offended, and insist that this is a bigotted anti-feline statement. Insist that the issuance of dog licenses to cats, far from taking away or confusing the meaning of what dog licenses are, would enhance it, and only add to the beauty of dog licenses as an institution. Look deeply wounded, maybe tear up a little and ask the totally rational question, "Why are you so hateful and selfish? How does giving dog licenses to cats diminish the meaning of your dog's license?" Point out that many dog owners are irresponsible and do not love their dogs or care for them properly. They get dog licenses, why can't you? Do not be discouraged that this has nothing to do with the argument. Throw it in there anyways. It is inflamatory, and cannot be argued against. Insist that the love of your pet is the only issue.
Fifth, They may suggest that issuing dog licenses to cats would open the door for other animals to apply, like birds, fish, hamsters, or even non-animal pets, like pet rocks. They may suggest that stretching the definition of "dog" that far would, in the end make it meaningless. Again, do not be confused by the logic of such an argument. You are not suggesting that licenses be issued to rocks. That is absurd. You just want to have one for your beloved cat. You have waited all your life for this chance. Quickly change the subject, becoming offended and accusing them of bigotry is always good.
Sixth, be especially wary if the city, to assuage their concience and keep you from feeling injured, suggest they create such a thing as a cat license, and allow you to apply for that instead. They may even make the two legally exactly the same as far as rights and privileges. Do not be placated. Keep your eye on the goal here. You do not want a Cat license. You want a Dog license and your rights are being denied if you receive anything else. So, take this as an insult. Become offended, and insist that this is a bigotted and anti-feline idea.
By now, you will probably have been issued a dog license. If not, go to another city, or better yet, take it to the California Supreme Court. They will assuredly see the impeccable legal argument here, and will overturn all existing dog licensing laws in the state. After all, who will it hurt?
2. Now the real fun begins. With your dog license in hand, go sign your cat up for a dog obedience class. If you are denied entry, sue the obedience school. You will win. Now that you are in the class, bring your cat and set it right down there amidst all those dogs. If it is chased, scared, or hurt in any way, you guessed it, sue the obedience school. Sue the dog owners. Sue whoever you can. Bring as many cases as high up in the courts as you can. The ACLU should be very helpful.
You may notice that obedience schools all over the state close, since they are now in a catch-22 situation. You should feel happy about this. After all, these were the same bigots that denied you your dog license for so many years. They deserve to suffer. In fact, you may notice that dog obedience classes all over the country shut down. This is great!
3. Now move on to dog parks. Take your cat/dog to your local dog park and plop it right down there with all those off leash dogs. Proceed as you did above, if anyone objects to your presence, sue them. If they relent and your pet is insulted, scared, or injured in any way, sue them, and the city. In this way, you should soon shut down all dog parks in the state. Isn't this fun.
Use your imagination about other ways you can ruin the lives of dog owners. Remember, our goal here is to abolish the very institution of dog ownership, but don't tell anyone this. Insist that it is all about your rights and the love between you and your pet. Oh, and don't forget to be offended. That seems to work really well.
If you run out of ideas, buy an iguana.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We had a great stake Halloween part on Saturday! They had a carnival for the kids with games, prizes, a pie eating contest, a bubble gum blowing contest and a 'trunk or treat' - Ellora and David decorated our car and we ran out of candy in the first 20 minutes! We had to get more....
Here are me and the kids all dressed up!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mischief - a silly poem


I hope the cement is smooth as can be -
No lines or wrinkles, like glass you can see -
The skip of a trowel, over forms sure and straight
For a structure that none can repudiate-
But hard to resist, be it ever discreet
Is writing my name in fresh wet concrete-!!
-Allison Staker

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

David's hair is SHORT

OK - Just had to post that David, after years of long hair, has decided to cut his lovely locks - we're just all glad that we can finally see his face.....and I might not get any more phone calls from teachers concerned that he is cheating underneath his hair.... (?!)

Poem of the day

6. Ode
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

Arthur O'shaughnessy - from 'Music and Moonlight'

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Yoke is Easy

I belong to an LDS musicians email list in which many subjects come up - most relating to the LDS music industry, making music and related philosophy. A member of the group, Mark Hansen, posted a blog entry that really resonated with a lot of things I have been working on - I am posting it here again with permission:

My Yoke is Easy

My friend and I went to the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival tonight. What a fun time. It’s interesting for me, a rocker, to see what real musicians are like!

And while everyone that was on the stage just completely blew me away, there were two performers that had a particular impact on me. They were the singers. One was this older lady named Barbara (though she said she went by the name “Queen”), and the other was this big guy named Kevin Mahogany… Or something like that...

They sang incredibly well. Kevin could scat like noone I’ve ever heard before, and he would gesture while he was shoo-be-dah-be-dabbing along like he was playing his voice with his hands. It was soooo cool to watch and even cooler to hear.

The point was that they made it look so effortless.

For a long time, I was taking voice lessons, from this incredible teacher here in West Jordan named Linda. She teaches a program called Speech-Level Singing, developed by Seth Riggs. Great program, and she’s an incredible teacher.

Even though I’m not the greatest singer in the world, probably not even the best singer in my neighborhood, I have learned a lot of things. One of them is that singing is 10% physical (breathing, technique, etc…), and 90% psychological. You have to learn that inside of you is a pure, clear voice, and you have to shake away all the fear, misconceptions, insecurities, expectations, and false programming that you’ve put on yourself over the years. Great singing, then, is the absence of bad singing. And bad singing comes from baggage.

So, when singing looks and sounds difficult, it’s because it is. When singing looks and sounds easy, it’s because it is.

What’s funny is to understand how much work and practice and patience and diligence goes into making singing effortless. And it’s further amazing to me (and humbling) to see these incredibly effortless singers and to know how far I have to go to get to that point. I need to step out of my way and let the pure voice come out.

OK, now there’s a point to all this, and I’m getting there.

The same thing is true of the Gospel.

Of all the bits of Mormon kitsch that bugs me most is a plaque that I see a lot. It has a picture of Jesus, usually in his “coming out of the clouds” rendering (and I actually like that picture a lot), and next to it are placed the words, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

And the problem is that not only did He never say those words, He actually said the opposite. His exact words were: “…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 30)

And I believe Him. I think that living the Gospel SHOULD be easy. I think that if we were to just get out of our own way and let ourselves live the Gospel, without doubts, fears, insecurities, or hesitation… without baggage… we would find the ease and simplicity of the Lord’s Plan. HIS burden is light. OURS is heavy. When we stop fighting ourselves, we will soar.

Just like singing.

Mark Hansen

OK - this is me again.
Mark put so many things together so well in his post. I've run across this principle over and over again - why is it so hard for us to get ourselves out of the way?

I have been taking voice lessons from an amazing lady, Sarah Franklin for about 3 years now - and most of that time has been spent learning to let the great voice I already have, work without interference from me. That there is never a cause to violate the integrity of the voice that Heavenly Father gave me. (by holding, manipulating, squishing, limiting, etc.) And interestingly enough, learning this has brought a lot of 'baggage' up to the front. Learning to let go, and trust my vocal instrument and trust the process isn't just about singing - it reflects these same blocks in many areas of my life. Learning to let go - trust Heavenly Father - trust the process - being open to what Heavenly Father wishes to bless me with in my life - not being so bent on what I want or think is necessary. Learning to allow mistakes and room for growth- since Heavenly Father designed mistakes into our earthly life, and that every single person on earth except one is subject to them - they must be important - not as something to beat ourselves (or others) up over, but as a great tool for growth, and a reminder of humility.

One of my favorite lines from Mark's post: "Great singing then, is the absence of bad singing, and bad singing comes from baggage." When you sing, you have the opportunity to connect to the energy of your spirit, from deep within yourself. If you don't even know where that is, because of baggage, or you are too afraid to access it, because of baggage - your singing will not be authentic, and will be but a mere shadow of what is possible - covered up behind walls of baggage. This does not mean that anyone without baggage will automatically have an american idol or metropolitan opera voice - it means your voice, however it came, will have an energy all it's own - and other people will know it - they can tell and they will want to listen - it will affect them and they won't know why - but they will recognize the authenticity - from your spirit to theirs.
This is what I hope to accomplish in the rest of my life - authenticity in spirit, and the freedom that comes from truly letting go and having Heavenly Father as a partner in the direction of my life. And not allow baggage to keep getting in the way. Great living, then, is an absence of bad living - and bad living comes from baggage. Give the baggage to Christ - he's already paid for and offered to take it - why would you want to carry it around too?

Christmas '07

For an excellent recap of my Christmas, please see Meghan's blog - link at right. She completely covers it-!! :)