Monthly Archives: January 2008

Utah Flags Fly at Half Mast as a Prophet is Lost

Mormons around the world are in mourning today as news spreads that LDS church president Gordon B. Hinckley passed away.

As for me, I have to admit that at first I didn’t like President Hinckley. But over time, I grew to love him as one of my church’s most prolific, energetic, and lively prophets in recent times.

For many people, Hinckley was perhaps the most influential prophet in their lifetime. Now, prophets tend to stick around for awhile (Hinckley for 12 years) so younger folks such as myself haven’t been through that many, but each prophet in my time has certainly left their mark. One of the legacies Hinckley leaves behind is a massive temple-building program that more than doubled the number of operating temples to over 100.

Spencer W. Kimball is the prophet I have the earliest memory of. He is, of course, most well known for having the revelation that allowed all worthy men to hold the priesthood, something that he had wanted since before becoming prophet and something he spent a lot of time on his knees praying for.

Ezra Taft Benson was probably most well known for his ultra-conservative views. Unfortunately, some people decided to leave the church when he became prophet. They didn’t bother sticking around long enough to see his dramatic change. Some people (myself included) contribute his change to the fact that he was directly humbled by “the man upstairs.”

Howard W. Hunter is the shortest serving prophet in modern times. Prophet for just 9 months, his very short term of service left some to wonder why the Lord would let a man be His mouthpiece for so short a period of time. But Hunter is perhaps my favorite. When he spoke, it seemed the world stopped to listen. Maybe it was because his health was so bad, everybody knew he wasn’t going to be around for long. Nonetheless, when he did speak, it was a powerful treat to hear him.

As to Hinckley, I was beginning to think he would live forever. He was born the same year as my grandfather, but managed to outlive him by just over 11 years. Hinckley became prophet at the ripe ol’ age of 84, and many wondered how long he would stick around at that age. If anybody bet on it, I’m sure they lost.

Hinckley was also one of the most qualified persons to take the post. As a 2nd counselor to an increasingly unhealthy Kimball in the 80′s (and due to 1st counselor Romney’s failing health as well) Hinckley essentially lead the church during that time. The same happened when he was 1st counselor to Benson as Benson’s health began to fail.

If things go as planned, Thomas S. Monson will become our next prophet. With a very different personality than Hinckley, it will be interesting to see what direction he takes the church.

But for now, here’s to you Brother Hinckley!

Men Not as Smart as They Think

So when the results of this study came out, I’m pretty sure I heard a collective, “Well, DUH!” from the world’s women. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first. I probably just figured Oprah Winfrey said something really well-duh’ish on her show or something. But then I read this story from Newsweek, and it all made sense to me.

Letterman admits he's not that smart to Oprah

I wish I could say I was not one of those men. Testing in high school showed that I had a very logical thinking mind, and that I tended to be logical “to the point of splitting hairs.” Even as a child, I tended to do things based on what seemed to be the most logical path. It would be completely illogical for me to lie about my intelligence.

However, I do have a rather clear memory of speaking with my wife (then girlfriend) back in 1995 about her having taken a test based on real I.Q. tests with supposedly corrected scoring to provide a relatively accurate I.Q. score. I proudly proclaimed that I had an I.Q. of, get this, 140. Yeah. I had never taken an I.Q. test in my life, but there I was bragging about being some kind of super genius.

In my own defense, I didn’t realize that a score of 140 is as high as it is. That, and uh… I’m a man. I really didn’t have a clue what the average I.Q. score was back then. Not very logical of me, huh?

Anyway, the test my then-girlfriend-now-wife took was out of a book she got at the local library. I was so confident in my self-rating (again, hardly logical) that I took the test as my then-girlfriend watched. In the end, I counted up my score with a whopping 127.

Did I learn my lesson? Hardly. I went around telling people I had an I.Q. of 130. In all fairness, I was eventually proved right when I took a more accurate test, though I’m now smart enough to not go around bragging about my lack of intelligence.

So what’s the point? Well, I would disagree with the Newsweek story. Only problem is I just got done proving that it’s true… at least in my case. Yeah, not very logical of me, is it?

However, there is one part of the story that I agree with: Men of average to below average intelligence tend to overestimate their smartiness by the largest margins. Well, yeah! Isn’t it always the dumbest guys that think they know everything? And can you blame them? They’re not smart enough to know that they don’t know anything!

Although, based on this famous quote from Socrates, if you realize your own stupidity you’re actually a genius:

True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.

Yeah. Not very logical is it? Socrates thought he was pretty smart by realizing that he knows nothing. But if he knows nothing, then how does he know that? Because by knowing that you know nothing, you know something. It’s a paradox worse than all the crap they pulled in those Back to the Future movies!

Nobody knew anything in 1985

I know nothing… except that.

Stu Emerges from the Computer Dark Ages

Finally, after a three-year hiatus, I’ve decided to upgrade my computer. Just for the record, this is the first time I’ve gone more than a year without upgrading since my college days.

For the geeks, here is a comparison of my old and new parts:

Motherboard: nForce4 to nForce650i
CPU: Athlon64 3200+ (1.8 GHz) to Core2Duo E6550 (2.33 MHz)
Video: GeForce 6800 to GeForce 8800GT @ 700 MHz (both 256 MB RAM)
RAM: 1 GB to 2 GB (both running dual channel @ 800 MHz)

Basically, we are looking at a processor that is (based on benchmarks) about 3x more powerful and a video card that is about 11x more powerful. Here’s a comparison of the two systems using 3DMark2006 as a benchmark:

#DMark 2006 Comparison

Based on 3DMark, overall the new system is about 6x more powerful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much money as I would have like to spend on this, otherwise I would have gotten a much faster quad core CPU and a 512 MB overclocked GeForce8800GTX.

Nonetheless, I’m just happy I’m able to crank up the image quality in Ghost Recon 2.

The Other Side of “Don’t Tase Me Bro!”

So “Don’t tase me bro!” was the #1 phrase of 2007. That’s great and all, but as somebody who writes for a living, what I really wanted to know was what phrases were at the bottom of the list?

Why do I want to know you ask?

I once read that the best way to get people to your blog is to write about stuff that is highly controversial and/or polarizing. By doing so, every crazy person on the planet will converge on your blog and you can just sit back and watch the blood fly!

George Clooney's perfect storm of moviesSo I figure, “Hey, if I use the most hated phrases in the world on my blog, maybe I’ll catch me a few new readers to add to the three or so (including me) that I already have!”

Sweet plan, eh? Luckily some other guy that writes for a living did the research so I could steal it from him.

So get ready for some blood, because you are about to experience a perfect storm surge of post 9/11 decimation where wrong is the new right!

Webinar – Look, I’ve participated in and helped manage several webinars in my time. So to this I say, “Shove it up your —” well, you know.

X is the New Y – I have to contribute this to doctors. Who else but people who know everything (otherwise, how could they have gotten a doctorate?) could have come up with something so witty? I say that college drop outs are the new geniuses.

Not everything is organic!Organic — This is on the list not so much for it’s stupidity, but for it’s overuse. Since I work in online marketing, where we use the term “organic” to refer to natural search engine results, I have to agree with this one. Look, there’s nothing organic about computer programs! That doesn’t happen until the 24th century.

Decimate – I know what you’re thinking. To decimate means to utterly and completely destroy. Wrong! You can thank the news media, who supposedly know what they are talking about, for confusing your understanding of this word. “Deci” is one tenth (think decimeter), and decimate originally meant to take one tenth of something. But today it means to destroy most, but not all, of something.

Maybe it has it’s origins from Australia? If you destroy nine-tenths of a mate, you are left with one-tenth of a mate, or a deci-mate. Maybe the media should start using the term “decamate,” which I hereby declare means to completely destroy 10 times over. Now that’s what I call a perfect storm of destruction!

Post 9/11 – Uh, I’m not sure why this made the list. How are we supposed to refer to the time frame in which Thankgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and that fraud of a holiday Kwanzaa as? Post 11/3? I don’t think so.

Popeye the SailormanSweet – Sweet! Hey, how come “dude” didn’t make the list? DUDE! Along the same lines, “It is what it is,” a distorted form of “I yam what I yam,” made the list too. What, nobody’s a fan of Popeye?

Wordsmithing — No, wordsmithing is not what I do… BECAUSE IT’S NOT A WORD!

Check out more phrases that made the list.