Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Get to Know Your Hamedan politics

Reading the news today, it appears that I was correct in my Thursday night prediction that Michael Jackson's death would remove post-election tensions in Iran from the world's attention. I'm not the only one with this theory, of course: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's favorite song on facebook has been "Thriller" since Friday, and he just posted some photos of himself practicing his moonwalk (yes, I'm facebook friends with an international pariah. Honestly, folks, it's just facebook, it's not like it matters.)

Now that no one cares, however, I'd like to take some time to educate the youth of our country, or at least readers of this blog under the age of 80, about just what happened in Iran:

1) In 2005, Ahmadinejad won Iran's "better beard" contest with whopping 62% of the vote over Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, later cleverly revealing it to actually be a Presidential Election. No one questioned the election's outcome because, as should be clear from the pictures below, Rafsanjani probably only got a few sympathy votes.
That Mahmoud has not been on the cover of GQ is hard evidence of a Western conspiracy.

Rafsanjani wishing he looked 32% of the way to cool.

2) During four years as president, Ahmadinejad won international fame for his dashing good looks and offensive comments, both key components of his reelection strategy, but managed to tank the Iranian economy so badly people had to stand in line for gas longer than it would take them to dig in their own backyards for oil if the government allowed it. A vocal minority of Iranians were very upset.
In a more troubling development for his campaign, an exiled dissident released the following defamatory statement:
"If you squint a little, he looks kinda like President Bush in this pic."

3) In 2009, Mir Hussein Mousavi made it through the Guardian Council candidate-vetting process to run against Ahmadinejad.
The Ahmadinejad campaign determined to take Mousavi seriously as a threat because unlike Rafsanjani, he actually had a beard.

4) Though poised to win the election fairly, the Ahmadinejad campaign appears to have elected to follow in the footsteps of the campaigns of other dashing political leaders like John F. Kennedy and finesse the totals a little...Kennedy, though, was smart enough to have dead people vote for him in Chicago, a party bastion where being considered dead has never been a bar to voting, rather than say, Utah, where a son voting for a Democratic candidate may be considered dead to his parents and friends.
Ahmadinejad's fixers were sloppier. The moral of this story, actually, is that election-riggers really ought to outsource to more experienced Western countries when it counts.

5) On election night, vote totals were released as polls closed. Poll workers who claimed to just be "really fast counters" felt hurt by subsequent accusations that counting millions of ballots should take at least a few hours. "Tricky Dick" Ahmadinejad was promptly announced the winner with 63% of the vote...distributed evenly across Iran's 30 provinces. The number of votes he received in the reform-oriented province of Hamedan, for example, was four times higher than in 2005, something akin to anti-Semitic American politician Pat Buchanan taking four times more votes in Jewish-retiree-heavy Palm Beach County than the rest of Florida in a purely hypothetical 2000 contest in our very own United States. In other, more conservative areas, his performance did not improve, probably as a result of poor design in the autofill program used to create the election re--er, I mean, probably because of complex political things we just don't understand.

6) Mousavi supporters questioned election results and were told by Iran's Supreme Leader, "I have an unworthy life, a defective body and little honour, which was given to me by you. I will put all of these on the palm of my hand and spend them on the path of the revolution and Islam." This comment, while doing little to explain irregularities in places like Hamedan, did inspire thousands of revolutionary guards to beat and occasionally shoot anyone wearing the protesters' green, including several members of Iran's minority leprechaun community.

7) The BBC tried to take over Iran.

8) President Ahmadinejad stepped up to the challenge by having more Iranians beaten.

9) Michael Jackson died.

10) The world mourned.

So, in conclusion, everything important is pretty much over and pretty much has been since 1982.

It still probably isn't a good idea to buy Ayatollah Khamenei a pet monkey, though.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Except thy neighbor's wireless to write this post about the evils of theft.

Top ten reasons not to steal:
10) The Bible, a text made famous by Don McLean's hit song "American Pie," says not to...unless you're a slave about to leave Egypt, in which case using a liberal definition of borrowing is permitted and encouraged.
9) Kobe Bryant had the most steals in this year's playoffs...and who wants to be like Kobe Bryant? Seriously.
8) Theft rhymes with left, the side most often associated with evil.
7) Nobody has any good stuff since the advent of China's export-driven economy anyway.
6) When you steal, you are screwing up a lot of other people's plans. I mean, how would you feel if someone stole the rest of this

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Evil Con Carne

P. S. This is what I get for staying up late reading that Jewish Viking book. Grandma and Mom passed down such a bad habit--that vice of nocturnal literacy! Ugh.

Evil Incarnate

Just woke with a start from the middle of a nightmare in which a raccoon-like creature was biting my (fully grown) little brother's toes. I tried to beat it off with a piano stool and made it very angry. Switched to a broomstick for more distance between the hideous creature and my own bare feet.

We were in my childhood home, in the living room, but a strange entertainment center was against the wrong wall. The wolveraccoon of doom was chewing on a small door my brother had opened and at first I'd tried to lightly bonk it just to get it to leave before it hurt him. But the narsty little beasties are so aggressive! May the Almighty protect us from any such ferocity in the real world!

I don't think I'll get back to sleep soon, though. I have a longstanding fear of mutant raccoons.

Dampening the pillow, but not with drool...

Stayed up late reading Menachem Bloodaxe. I just got to the part where he's hiding from enemies in the cliffs of a fjord, and has to celebrate Hanukah alone in a cave, reduced to using fish oil for the last two days' worth of candles.

I found the passage strangely moving.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Monkey Business

Kudos to Zambian president Rupiah Banda, who reacted well when a monkey decided to "spend a penny" on his jacket during a recent speech on the economy. The BBC described the monkey as "cheeky."

Apparently, in addition to teaching their children to floss, monkeys have developed an interest in political speeches. Or perhaps multiple forms of political protest, as suggested by the behavior of an incarcerated chimp in Sweden.

All of which leads me to a single conclusion: it is definitely not time for anyone to give pet monkeys as gifts to Ayatollah Khamenei, who has been having a hard time lately.


Left work today to step out into a wind. Beautiful, majestic thing—I like to feel wind like that; it reminds me of God. Great, unbidden, beyond you and yet all around you: they have so much in common. And so I danced up to the parking lot, music of the wind in my head and on my body, missing the days when I had long hair that would wrap a bit around my face in a wind like that, and a long beard that tells me at once that I belong to God and that I am free. Missing the days when I could almost believe that such a wind could carry me into the air because body and soul were still one and the same.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Swine Flu Replaced by A New Worry

I am noticing a pattern in myself lately: my body hates mornings even more than usual. At first, I thought it was because I've had trouble sleeping, but I'm noticing that even on nights when I sleep nine or ten hours, I wake up drained. And I'm not the only one struggling: a number of people I know seem to be slowing down and wanting to curl up most of the time.

My theory? Our bodies want to spin chrysalides (yes, that's the plural of chrysalis). And we have to consciously struggle to keep it from happening. Nothing else makes sense, so I'm probably right.

It's tempting to just let it happen: who knows what metamorphoses we might undergo? And yet life seems worth not missing for any extended period of pupation.

Certainly, there are things I'd love to avoid, to be totally separated from by a naturally-produced organic blanket, but what's the point of getting away from those things knowing they'll still be there when I get back? And then there are the lovely things that simply cannot be experienced from a chrysalis at home in bed: playing cows with Kira on the trampoline, sitting in a car in the driveway and listening to the sound of the rain beating down on it, tracing patterns like old Indian mounds as I move my finger across my fiancee's skin.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God's Two Greatest Gifts to Mankind....


1) Love.

2) Bangan Bharta.

Tonight I am reflecting on how blessed I am to have both in my life. And now I will prepare myself to receive another divine gift: sleep.

Motivating America

Listened to NPR on my way to the BYU Apocalypse Club meeting this morning...they interviewed this guy named Michael Shellenberger, of the Breakthrough Institute, who said that the trouble with preaching global warming is that guilt and doom only motivate a small percentage of Americans. That is, admittedly, shameful and foreboding, but probably worth acknowledging.

Shellenberger has decided to shift his focus from direct discussion of global warming to positive, opportunity-based discussions about investing in research on cleaner new technologies. That's more resonant with the American Spirit, he said. We like to invent stuff; we don't like being told the world is going to end.

Which has me thinking about how we at the Club could recast the Apocalypse as an opportunity for America...maybe we could get people to fund one of the horseman, so they could feel some sense of accomplishment when the plagues and wars come....hmm....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good reading

I'm about halfway through Menachem Bloodaxe: Lost Legend of a Jewish Viking. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in that sort of thing.

The Truth is Out There...

that is to say, the truth is not here and seldom will be. Just a heads up.
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