Thursday, November 29, 2007

Heroes I've been thinking about lately

So, I pretty much read every article that comes out about Mitt Romney online. I read through all the articles and the comments and there really is a lot of anti-Mormon stuff coming out in these articles and comments because of Mitt. A lot of it is about Joseph Smith. It's kinda strange reading this stuff from my "interested in politics" side instead of my "religious" side. A couple days ago, in my scripture study, I was reading a talk and it went into Joseph Smith's vision when he saw God and Jesus Christ. It was just a good experience where the Spirit confirmed once again, that Joseph Smith was a prophet. No matter how much others try to demonize him, he is the prophet of the Restoration and did God's work while he was here. "I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true." I've always been really impressed with people who stay strong to their convictions no matter what kind of opposition they face. I really think there are only a couple individuals in history who have gone through as much as he did. Joseph Smith is absolutely my hero.

Ori, in Rigoletto, is also a really good example. The movie doesn't say much about his background, but you can figure out that he was a pretty selfish guy. But once he decides to help others and goes gung ho about it he is more liked, happier, and does lots of good. Bonnie sings a song, that is up for interpretation, but here are the words:

Music boxes have with them, Melodies they carry within
Once they're opened music fills the air
Every person you have known, Has a song of their own
Once they open up you'll hear what's there
It's not easy you must listen With your heart for what lies hidden
There was a melody Locked deep inside of me But now it's free
It found a place embraced by harmony, Sweet harmony
Love, more than anything teaches our hearts to sing
Only love could break the shell
Now I know very well The love within myself

At one point in the movie goes back and forth between her singing it and Ori helping a girl and then going into town to get medical help for her. The people are really afraid of him because he looks different and they end up killing him without realizing, until they break into his house and steal his records, that he actually made anonymous payments, helping the disabled citizens in the town. Bonnie sings about how great of a person Ori is for being so selfless in helping her with her singing problems but also her personal confidence. So what I'm basically getting at, is Ori's personal growth, selflessness, and ability to bring out the best in people is heroic.

Samwise Gamgee ladies and gentleman. A couple weeks ago I felt like watching my favorite part of Lord of the Rings. Instead of pulling out the DVDs I found it online. Watch it online:

Steve Jacobs reminds me of Sam. Samwise is extremely loyal to Frodo at every step of the way. Even when Frodo is a jerk and tells him to leave, Sam stays close and is there to help him when he needs it most. Just look at how willing he was to take on the orcs to save Frodo, or how he kept on encouraging Frodo to take another step on the way to Mount Doom. He was optimistic, humble and just an example of loyalty to a cause or a person. I think back to the blessing I got when I was set apart as a missionary, President Bendorf said that my mission would teach me about loyalty and a sacred devotion to Christ. Ever since then I've noticed and admired that trait of loyalty

Jean Valjean from Les Meserables. I saw this play in London a year and a half ago and then finally saw the movie a couple weeks ago. Isn't it amazing how much an act of mercy changed his life and shaped him into a selfless person. I think he did his best to help who he could and as mayor of the city he had lots of opportunities to do lots of good. But what gets me the most is when he prays to God in the form of song and pours his heart by pleading with God to keep alive Cosette's fiancee so he can take care of Cosette and that he is willing to give his life for him.

God on high, Hear my prayer
In my need, You have always been there
He is young, He's afraid
Let him rest, Heaven blessed
Bring him home
He's like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son.
The summers die, One by one
How soon they fly, On and on
And I am old, And will be gone.
Bring him peace, Bring him joy
He is young, He is only a boy
You can take, You can give
Let him be, Let him live
If I die, let me die, Let him live
Bring him home.

Back in September or October when I was on one of my long runs this song played on my MP3 player and I thought about it a lot. When I saw the play Jean sang it while kneeling, praying to God, holding Cosette's fiancee (what is his name?). It was dark with just one light on them. I think I've seen a painting of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane very similar to this scene in the musical. So as I was running I thought of Christ singing this song about me and how much he has done for me. I'm not entirely sure why I've been thinking about these particular heroes lately, but in thinking about them I thought about why they impress me and what is it about heroes that impress us all: they have Christ-like characteristics. Of course none of them come close to being perfect like he was, but they demonstrate an attribute or two that Christ has. I like the fact that our society admires and rewards goodness still and heroes leave impressions on us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vigilante, Defender of Justice, Lawbreakers worst nightmare..and I can drive fast

Real quick- So I was making phone calls in the Papa Murphy's parking lot for the campaign and two kids run by with two packs of beer each. There was a Budweiser truck delivering beer, so I figured they stole the beer. I was wondering what to do and then I thought, "come on Kasey, don't be a wimp, they are stealing, plus it'll make the day more interesting." So they jumped in a jeep and drove off. I decided to go after them. I was going pretty fast to catch up with them, followed them up near the high school, they must have seen me following them cause they were going fast as well. I got close enough and got their license plate number. I went back told the beer guy and the police showed up so I told them too. I should have been a real vigilante and taken em out myself...but I had to get my calls done so I didn't.

Umm, I should get like a key to the city or something.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I just like this picture

I forgot how much I don't like papers. I edited a paper for a Chinese student I taught in Holland and it wasn't fun. True, I don't get much out of Chinese environmental policy, but I kind of wish we didn't have English "rules" and could just say what we wanted. But I guess communication is better when we follow the same rules huh?

I love this college football season! Arizona beat Oregon last week, I think they're like the 6th top 5 team to get beat by an unranked team this year- CRAZY! It's just too bad we couldn't beat UCLA or Tulsa. If we wouldn't have lost to Tulsa I think we'd be in the top 15 sending us to a BCS bowl. We're not getting much love from the polls, though we finally got into the top 25. I think it's because we play on a network that is very limited. Poll voters, let alone BYU fans, can't watch the games because of the Mtn network. That is the worst thing that's happened to the MWC. It has hurt all the teams with getting into the top 25 and recruiting. I like the idea of going to the Big 12.

I think I have a man crush on John Beck. The guy is just an amazing quarterback and I still get goosebumps everytime I watch the "answered prayer" touchdown against Utah last year. Beck didn't do the best in his first start against the Eagles, but he'll most likely play out the rest of the season. I hope he tears it up in the NFL, I haen't really been interested in the NFL since Steve Young played.

So, I pretty much read every article that comes out about Mitt Romney online. I read through all the articles and the comments and there really is a lot of anti-Mormon stuff coming out in these articles and comments because of Mitt. A lot of it is about Joseph Smith. It's kinda strange reading this stuff from my "interested in politics" side instead of my "religious" side. A couple days ago, in my scripture study, I was reading a talk and it went into Joseph Smith's vision when he saw God and Jesus Christ. It was just a good experience where the Spirit confirmed once again, that Joseph Smith was a prophet. No matter how much others try to demonize him, he is the prophet of the Restoration and did God's work while he was here.

Well my mom wanted me to beef up this semester and it's worked. I'm around 166 now, about 20 pounds heavier than when I got home from Uganda. I eat a lot...and will eat a lot more during the holidays, but I'm doing my best to run and lift. See, the problem is that I'm flat. I was looking at high school pictures the other day and man was I skinny. So I like that I'm filled out more.

Cannon, usually you can't tell if he's in his bead or not because his bed is always made.

I think I've put this picture in my blog before, but it looks like it belongs in the Lord of the Rings

Yeah buddy. Coach Mendenhall.

33-31, Harline's still open! I doubt this year's game will compete with last year, but just as long as we win against the Yewts.

Ha, this was great, a bunch of us burned the Christmas tree up Rock Canyon.
Playin the guitar pretty high up.

I was going through these pictures with Trevor, our Rec Management class hiked up these slot canyons- Ding and Dang Canyons

Chattin with the kids in the IDP camp near Gulu.

Yes, those are really his legs

Pretty typical in Mukono- cows going onto the main road.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Hey Natalie, I'm a big fan, every since I saw you Rigoletto. I think you're a really good singer. I was just wondering what your doing these days. If you're not doing anything over Thanksgiving my brother would love to take you out sometime, if your not married. We'll be in Provo, I don't know if you'll be in Utah then, but if you are we would love to meet you. Hope you write back!

Sincerely, Jamie

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Long live the United States of America!

I've said a lot recently about how ticked off I am at Americans for turning towards socialism and supporting the immoral Clintons. Ya know, I love living in America where we have the freedom so we can discuss things like this. There have been major crackdowns recently in Pakistan, Iran, Myanmar, and Venezuela against people speaking out against the government. With the caucuses and primaries coming up I've thought a lot about American values. I'm not dedicated to a candidate, I'm dedicated to American values and will vote for who embraces those values.

This speech was given recently, it is amazing! I moved around some parts of the speech, but ya gotta read this, it gives me goosebumps:

Upon first meeting Washington, Lafayette told him: "I have come here to learn, not to teach." It was this new spirit and youth of the Old World seeking out the wisdom of the New World that opened a new era for all of humanity.

From the very beginning, the American dream meant putting into practice the dreams of the Old World.

From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person.

America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who—with their hands, their intelligence and their heart—built the greatest nation in the world: "Come, and everything will be given to you." She said: "Come, and the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent." America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.

Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was by watching America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.

What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for all mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The men and women of my generation heard their grandparents talk about how in 1917, America saved France at a time when it had reached the final limits of its strength, which it had exhausted in the most absurd and bloodiest of wars.

The men and women of my generation heard their parents talk about how in 1944, America returned to free Europe from the horrifying tyranny that threatened to enslave it.

Fathers took their sons to see the vast cemeteries where, under thousands of white crosses so far from home, thousands of young American soldiers lay who had fallen not to defend their own freedom but the freedom of all others, not to defend their own families, their own homeland, but to defend humanity as a whole.

K, now I'm going to continue because he says a lot more awesome things, but can you guess who gave this speech? It's election season so...a presidential candidate? Republican probably, right? Maybe Pres. Bush? Maybe a leader in the Senate or House of Representatives?

NOPE! This was given by President Sarkozy, the President of France! This guy loves America more that many Americans love America. Recently I've heard stories of a professor giving students extra credit if they burned the flag. In a movie, Tommy Lee Jones, put up the flag upside down. I heard of a teacher who changed the words of "America, the Beautiful" to "America, the Terrible."

------He continues---------

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The men and women of my generation remember the Marshall Plan that allowed their fathers to rebuild a devastated Europe. They remember the Cold War, during which America again stood as the bulwark of the Free World against the threat of new tyranny.

I remember the Berlin crisis and Kennedy who unhesitatingly risked engaging the United States in the most destructive of wars so that Europe could preserve the freedom for which the American people had already sacrificed so much. No one has the right to forget. Forgetting, for a person of my generation, would be tantamount to self-denial.

What was so extraordinary for us was that through her literature, her cinema and her music, America always seemed to emerge from adversity even greater and stronger; that instead of causing America to doubt herself, such ordeals only strengthened her belief in her values.
What makes America strong is the strength of this ideal that is shared by all Americans and by all those who love her because they love freedom.

America's strength is not only a material strength, it is first and foremost a spiritual and moral strength. No one expressed this better than a black pastor who asked just one thing of America: that she be true to the ideal in whose name he—the grandson of a slave—felt so deeply American. His name was Martin Luther King. He made America a universal role model.
The world still remembers his words—words of love, dignity and justice. America heard those words and America changed. And the men and women who had doubted America because they no longer recognized her began loving her again.

On September 11, 2001, all of France—petrified with horror—rallied to the side of the American people. The front-page headline of one of our major dailies read: "We are all American." And on that day, when you were mourning for so many dead, never had America appeared to us as so great, so dignified, so strong. The terrorists had thought they would weaken you. They made you greater. The entire world felt admiration for the courage of the American people.
America feels it has the vocation to inspire the world. Because she is the most powerful country in the world. Because, for more than two centuries, she has striven to uphold the ideals of democracy and freedom. Fathers took their sons to the beaches where the young men of America had so heroically landed. They read them the admirable letters of farewell that those 20-year-old soldiers had written to their families before the battle to tell them: "We don't consider ourselves heroes. We want this war to be over. But however much dread we may feel, you can count on us." Before they landed, Eisenhower told them: "The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."
And as they listened to their fathers, watched movies, read history books and the letters of soldiers who died on the beaches of Normandy and Provence, as they visited the cemeteries where the star-spangled banner flies, the children of my generation understood that these young Americans, 20 years old, were true heroes to whom they owed the fact that they were free people and not slaves. France will never forget the sacrifice of your children.

To those 20-year-old heroes who gave us everything, to the families of those who never returned, to the children who mourned fathers they barely got a chance to know, I want to express France's eternal gratitude.

On behalf of my generation, which did not experience war but knows how much it owes to their courage and their sacrifice; on behalf of our children, who must never forget; to all the veterans who are here today and, notably the seven I had the honor to decorate yesterday evening, one of whom, Senator Inouye, belongs to your Congress, I want to express the deep, sincere gratitude of the French people. I want to tell you that whenever an American soldier falls somewhere in the world, I think of what the American army did for France. I think of them and I am sad, as one is sad to lose a member of one's family.

In times of difficulty, in times of hardship, America and France have always stood side by side, supported one another, helped one another, fought for each other's freedom.The United States and France remain true to the memory of their common history, true to the blood spilled by their children in common battles. But they are not true merely to the memory of what they accomplished together in the past. They remain true, first and foremost, to the same ideal, the same principles, the same values that have always united them.

It is this ambitious France that I have come to present to you today. A France that comes out to meet America to renew the pact of friendship and the alliance that Washington and Lafayette sealed in Yorktown.

Together let us be worthy of their example, let us be equal to their ambition, let us be true to their memories!

Long live the United States of America!

Vive la France!

Long live French-American friendship!


Have you ever read and pondered the words of "America the Beautiful," "God bless America," or "The Star Spangled Banner"?

Man I love this country.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fa la la la la la la LAA

Yesterday I watched Rigoletto, reminded me of something about 10 years ago. Me and Colby found out that this girl in Rigoletto, Natalie Hill, my age roughly, also was in a children's primary songs video as a little girl. Colby thought she was cute in that video, and I thought she was cute in Rigoletto. I'm pretty sure that's been the case in our family where two of us brothers fought over the same girl.

Ya know what, I think I'm going to try to graduate in April. Eh, why not?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stuff I've been thinking about recently...

There's going to be a Israel/Palestinian forum going on, probably in November. Israel and several other Middle East countries are coming. President Abbas, the head of the Fatah party in the Palestinian territories, is trying to make sure that Israel agrees to specific issues are on the agenda before committing. I'm really following this issue because how important it is to me that this gets solved. It's about time the international community got serious and started helping the Palestinians who are among the most impoverished people in the world. We want long-term solutions to the Middle East problems, well solving the Israel-Palestinian issue could be huge in bringing peace to the region.

About two weeks I overheard a conversation of someone from a really small town here in Iowa with a reporter. The reporter asked him why he's so involved in Romney's campaign and other political campaigns. He said that he just wants to see good people get elected. That really hit me. I want to see good people elected too and need to do more if I really believe that. I really think I want to work full-time for the Republican nominee after the winter semester. I'm not sure where they'd want me, hopefully here in Iowa, but I'd go wherever. I'm just really passionate about not letting Hillary take office. Every single Republican presidential candidate is better than Hillary Clinton. I am so afraid of her becoming president because of all the bad she could do, but it would also be a significant change in the wrong direction. The Book of Mormon teaches that when the majority of people choose wicked leaders we would be ripe for destruction, just like the Jaredites and Nephites. There have been several things that have been really bothering me lately. People really don't care how immoral Bill Clinton was and how involved the Clintons are in dirty scandals. How could we let such immoral and dishonest people be an example and represent our nation in the world?! And people want them back! Second, when did our nation become so lazy and expect the government to take care of us in so many aspects of our lives?! Do people not realize how awful socialism is?! That is what Hillary and other liberals are trying to make our country- socialistic. Supposedly these are the same people who say JFK is their hero. Wasn't it JFK who said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"? Do people think the government will just stop at taking control of our retirement and health care? They will not stop there, and what government program is more efficient than the private industry--none of them! How con people willingly put people in office who are systematically taking more control over our lives and limiting our freedom?! They want to limit what we can do in our time (example- California lawmakers making it illegal to smoke in your own apartment). They want to limit what we can say (example- Harry Reid and 40 Democrat Senators condemning a private citizen for voicing his opinion). They want to limit what we can buy (to combat global warming). Sure one might say these are little things and they sometimes make sense, but do you think it will stop?! History repeats itself and you give people a little power and they'll take more. This craving for power goes back to this pre-existence struggle for power. The Clintons spit on the Constitution, lie under oath, lie to the American people, disregard fundraising laws, are involved in several immoral scandals, and compromise our national security. When Bill was in office he somehow got away with selling tons of defense secrets to the Chinese. Something is up because Hillary keeps on accepting checks from really poor Chinese immigrants and has recently been caught in a scandal involving a major Chinese donor who has been wanted for arrest. The liberal media loves the Clintons and will do all they can to protect the them. And yet, Hillary is the most popular candidate among Americans! For me it's not that I just really don't like the Clintons, but I'm amazed how much support she's getting from the American people. What happened to us?! How can we put such evil people in office. We really need to pray for our country and our people that we'll put people in office who are God-fearing, honest, moral people, who will defend the Constitution. I was reading the other day about how concerned Captain Mormon was for his people and how much he prayed for them. Prayer is a powerful thing and is only one thing we can do to protect our nation from steadily falling into Satan's hands. Now I'm not saying that every person should work full-time to put people in office, but I do agree with President Hinckley that we all need to participate more in our community and national politics. I hope others can see that the sides are becoming more distinct and we really have to choose which side we're on and rise to a new level of committment of fighting for all that's good about America. I mean this is the future we're talking about! Who do we want making the decisions that will affect us and future generations. We can't let bad politicians, Hollywood, and the liberal media hijack America. That's exactly what's happening and it all comes from that same source.

There's been a war declared on terror, a war declared on about we declare a war on Hollywood! I mean Mid East extremists always blame our Western culture for damaging their culture. Well, it's damaged our culture too. And they think that every American girl is like every Hollywood actress, just ask BYU students in the Mid East who have been harrassed by Middle Eastern men. So really our enemies really are after Hollywood. But the ironic thing is that Hollyood has allied itself with these enemies. Hollywood influences the media and makes their culture seem like the norm. Anyway, I'm sure I'll write more about this is future entries cause it really bothers me.

Ya know, day by day things keep on getting better for Mitt Romney. I think it's really looking like he'll be the Republican nominee. Even though Giuliani has been winning in national polls forever now, it is Romney who is bringing in the most money and is winning in each state. Evangelical leaders are lining up on sides, some are on Romney's side, some on other candidates, but they will not support Giuliani because of his pro-life stance. Traditionally, the candidate who wins in the early states gets ton of free press and rolls on to victory. Romney is winning by a double-digit margin in Iowa and New Hampshire- the first two states. People are saying he'll win Michigan because it's where he grew up and his father was Governor for awhile. And the biggest news recently is that he is leading in the polls in South Carolina. This is huge! It means that people really don't care that he's Mormon. They are saying that South carolina is the big challenge for Romney because Baptists and other Christians don't consider Mormons Christians. Though the percentage of people who think that is going doesn't matter to most voters. Looks like people are smartening up and realizing that this is the twentieth century and people shouldn't vote for others simply based on religion, gender, or race. Romney is saving most of his money for advertising between the primaries and mostly right before Feb. 5th, Super Duper Tuesday, when like 20 states are having their primaries, including California. In several of those states Romney is already doing very well, including California which could have a big say in who the next Republican candidate will be, even though he hasn't focused on most of those states as much as Giuliani. Giuliani is concentrating more on doing better nationally than the early states, though he still is trying in the early states. Romney has the organization, the money, and solid conversative values. He's also a genius and I think that if he can win the nomination he can definitely win the presidency. A lot of people say that only Giuliani is capable of beating Hillary. Well, she has so much dirt on her that really anybody could bring it up. Plus, most of the anti-Hillary stuff will come from the media and talk radio. I also think Romney is better able to rally the social conservatives to his side. In any case, this next year is going to be really fun. I'm really into the election right now and will do all I can to make sure she doesn't win.

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