Life of a Stick


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  • Humorous Scriptures

    While reading the scriptures, I’ve occasionally come across verses that seem funny or odd. Sometimes in context, sometimes out of it, and sometimes just odd or poor word choices in translations. I’d like to share what I’ve collected so far. Being a Latter-day Saint, or Mormon, many of these versus will come from the Book of Mormon.

    They’re sorted by the order they appear, Bible first, then Book of Mormon. Bible translation is the Revised King James version, which is standard for the LDS church. Feel free to comment and add your own if you have some.

     

    The Camel brand cigarette is millennia old.

    Genesis 24:64

    And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.

     

    Moses, supposedly the meekest man on Earth, has several scriptures where he goes into a rage. Such as when the Israelites get tired of eating the miraculous manna they find outside their tents every morning, so they demand meat from God. He gave it to them, but with this stipulation.

    Numbers 11

    19 Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
    20 But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?

     

    A description of a murder. How a man died after having a nail driven through his temple. I think the record they were transcribing from started skipping.

    Judges 5:27

    At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

     

    The prophet Elisha does not take well to being mocked.

    2 Kings 2

    23 And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
    24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

     

    The proper treatment of the wicked: break their arms until they stop being wicked.

    Psalms 10:15

    Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.

     

    Proverb’s method of educating your children is to beat them until they’re smart.

    Proverbs 22:15

    Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

     

    History’s first recorded food fight.

    Zecharaih 5:1

    Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.

     

    The dangers of falling asleep during a religious lecture.

    Acts 20:9

    And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

     

    The prophet Abinadi was driven out of a city for preaching. Later he comes back in disguise. A disguise doesn’t last long when you quote someone saying your name.

    Mosiah 12:1

    And it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying—Abinadi, go and prophesy unto this my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words; they have repented not of their evil doings; therefore, I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations.

     

    Amulek and Alma converted a bunch of people. The prophets were then captured, and their converts were thrown into a big bonfire. I imagine Amulek’s voice in verse 12 resembled that of Eeyore.

    Alma 14:12

    Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.

     

    True to politics, “a few particular points” can be translated as “all the points.”

    Alma 51

    2 Nevertheless, they did not long maintain an entire peace in the land, for there began to be a contention among the people concerning the chief judge Pahoran; for behold, there were a part of the people who desired that a few particular points of the law should be altered.
    5 And it came to pass that those who were desirous that Pahoran should be dethroned from the judgment-seat were called king-men, for they were desirous that the law should be altered in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land.

     

    Helaman lays siege to an enemy held city in order to steal incoming provisions.  The wording implies he takes some humor in this deception.

    Alma 57:10

    At length their provisions did arrive, and they were about to enter the city by night. And we, instead of being Lamanites, were Nephites; therefore, we did take them and their provisions.

     

    Being on fire is good for moral.

    Helaman 5:24

    And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage.

     

    Book of Mormon: The Musical.

    3 Nephi 4:31

    And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies.

     

    The Lamanites are the ancestors of the modern day American Indians. See also: Indian reservations.

    3 Nephi 6:3

    And they granted unto those robbers who had entered into a covenant to keep the peace of the land, who were desirous to remain Lamanites, lands, according to their numbers, that they might have, with their labors, wherewith to subsist upon; and thus they did establish peace in all the land.


  • Moral Ladders

    Let’s start with some hearsay (as opposed to heresy). Back in Biblical times, near the coming of Christ, the Jews had it all figured out. They had run through the Bible, found every possible sin, and prioritized them. Well, organized them. So they had a nice ordered list about how severe each sin was, top to bottom.

    As a side note, in Matthew 22:26, when the lawyer asks Christ what the greatest commandment was, he could have been referring to this “list” and simply testing Christ’s knowledge of the system. True to Christ’s form, he acted instead of reacted, taking control of the situation. But that’s another topic.

    So right, Jews had this nice ordered list of sins. This is a natural inclination people have. Is forgetting to brush your teeth worse than murdering some random stranger on the street? Is murdering a random stranger on the street worse than murdering a close family member?

    I propose that we all have our own personal order of “sins,” from worst to not-so-bad. I say sins so I don’t have to refer to them as something like “no-nos.” Substitute whatever word you want. Most of us agree on some of the larger landmarks: lying, theft, adultery, murder.

    But not everything lines up evenly. For those sexual purists among us, you may find that a sin like fornication slides along the scale for different people. They may be horribly adverse to lying, but see no problem with sex outside of wedlock.

    So this is the concept of a moral ladder. Everyone has one, however solidified and pre-decided, or wishy-washy and waffling with the situation.

    Let me touch on exceptions. If someone holds a gun to your head and threatens you with death, would you lie to save your life? Would you steal? Would you kill someone else? What if they deserved to be killed? What if they wanted to die? Generally, the higher up on the ladder something is, the more extreme an exception must be for the rung to be stepped on.

    Now here’s the problem I had that let me figure all this out.

    I have friends and relatives that do or did consider themselves gay. But when I associated with them, it felt awkward and uncomfortable. And I couldn’t figure out why. Normally, my associations with them weren’t enough to force me to deal with the issue, but it eventually reached the point where I needed to figure out why. With a little logic and introspection, I realized I was uncomfortable because I felt like they were obsessed with sex.

    Wait, what? Nothing in their behavior indicates something like this. Some of them are quite religious and have the same opinions regarding sexual behavior as I do. Where in the world did such an opinion come from?

    If you recall, a while back I talked about Truth. And how people have a tendency to apply their personal truth on a social or universal level, which is a big cause of offending people. Turns out — I was doing just that with my moral ladder. Wanton sexual activity is below the homosexual behavior rung on my ladder, and I was unconsciously applying my personal truth as a social/universal truth. It really had no business being there.

    Once I realized this consciously, it stopped being a problem, and things are just dandy.


  • Truth and Cheating

    TRUTH! It’s a wonderful thing. Everyone should have some truth in their lives. I’m writing this in the hopes that I can help a few people know what to look for and how to categorize it. Things made a lot more sense to me after thinking about it this way. But as I’m going to point out… my truth may not be your truth.

    Truth comes in three levels.

    1. Personal Truth. A personal truth is something that is truthful for you and only you. For example, I can get pretty bad heartburn if I eat the wrong things. True for me, but some people have been fortunate enough to never have heartburn.

    2. Social Truth. A social truth is a rule, law, or consequence put into place by a social structure, usually to assist with keeping things orderly and manageable. Traffic laws keep people safe on the roads. If you didn’t stay on the correct side of the road or stay under (or at least near) the speed limit, then dangerous things might result, for you or someone else.

    3. Universal Truth. Universal truth is something that’s true for everyone. And not just for people, for anything, anywhere. Light travels at a certain speed. Sound travels at another. Gravity works off a certain mathematical formula. And etc.

    Now let me dig a little deeper on these, and illustrate some common communication problems these help clear up.

    Elevating a truth offends people. This is just a general rule, of course. But if you take a personal truth, and apply it socially or universally, you’re essentially imposing a rule on someone else that they may not believe in.

    A common example of this is churches. Churches, like it or not, can only be empirically proven as social truths. Personally, I believe that the truths my church teachers are all the way up at universal truth. But if I present it that way to someone who doesn’t agree, I can easily offend them. By leaving it at the personal or social level, a discussion can actually happen.

    And when I talk about social levels, I mean limited social levels. If you’re dealing with national social beliefs and speaking as an American to a Briton, and the Briton insists that cars must drive on the left side of the road, then ur doin it rong. You’ve crossed the social truth boundaries and they no longer apply. Same goes with religious discussions. Social truths should only be applied for people that are a member of that society.

    Essentially, the biggest problem I see with religious, political, and other discussions that end up offending and resulting in yelling is that people upgrade their personal or social truths to apply to other people’s personal, social, or even universal truths.

    Now the title includes “cheating.” This is my favorite part.

    Truth seems to have two parts to it. Action and consequence, and limitations. Social truths tend to be punishment based, so they’re more action and consequence. Personal truths have action and consequence, but they’re also heavily limitation based. There are things people simply cannot do, such as fly, or run faster than a few miles per hour.

    But let’s talk about limitations. For example, I cannot lift five tons. It’s too friggin’ heavy. But, if I apply all sorts of mechanical lever and pulley knowledge (or just get a big tractor) then I can do it no problem.

    Cheating in life means bypassing limitations defined by truth. The Belgariad has a fun recurring theme, where a master sorcerer gets offended when people say things are impossible. I’m much the same way.

    I’m currently working on a project in Second Life. It defies truths, or limitations, set in place when the program was created. I’ve shown it to some friends that are familiar with Second Life. They look at it, and they watch it work, and then when I’m done demonstrating it I ask them a simple question, “is what just happened possible?” Having just watched the demonstration, currently looking at it with their own eyes, they invariably answer “No.” A truth was established, and it was cheated. It’s a wonderful and exciting feeling to do so.

    I’ll (hopefully) give more info on that project within a week.


  • Eureka!

    I’m not sure if this is the “It’s past three in the morning and you’ve gone mad” phase, or “It’s finally clicked” event, but I think I’ve got something important. Probably very basic, but important. Especially in relation to art. It’s one of those “It’s so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it” kind of things that everyone says they would have thought of themselves, but no one did for some reason.

    There’s been a great many things I’ve learned at DigiPen in the last year I’ve been there. I’ve put this knowledge to use when working on my own art and working on other pieces of art, and I’ve seen that it’s effective and proper. The latest one is a lovely little critique I left on this piece.

    Last night… or tonight. I can’t remember… I was speaking with Mr. Maglot. The problem we both expressed to having was that even though we can learn all this amazing and wonderful knowledge about art, when we draw the drawing just “happens.”

    I’ve talked with my friend Ember about art, and he said something that Betty Edwards mentioned in her book that a lot of people experience. When you’re doing art, you lose track of time. You’re making something, then BAM, it’s suddenly hours later and you find yourself with something finished on the page.

    The problem Maglot and I were expressing is that during that multi-hour “BAM” that’s occurring, there isn’t much “left brained” or logical thought going on. We go into auto-pilot for drawing, and just draw.

    So basically, the situation is thus:
    -Art knowledge is awesome and excites and is so very, very useful.
    -You can’t actually use any of that information when you’re drawing.

    When I was younger, my church would also talk about making your choices before you did them. Being a Mormon, we don’t do things like smoke, drink alcohol or coffee, have premarital sex, kill people (without good reason), and other things some people put as commonplace or acceptable. They taught us at church to already make the choice before the event happens. If you’re never in a situation where someone offers you alcohol, great! You never have a problem. But if you haven’t decided that you won’t actually drink it, you may find yourself trying to decide whether to have some or not during that moment.

    It’s very similar to the “say no to drugs” thing, except it explains the principle behind it and says “make your choice” instead of “say no.” Though I guess they did want us to make the no choice anyway. Right, back on subject.

    The whole making up your mind beforehand method is actually very effective. And it works with lots of other things, too. Which brings us back to art.

    One of the first things they taught us at DigiPen was “WTF.” That means “What’s that for.” Whenever you start a picture, that’s the question you ask yourself.

    Something else they mentioned, after giving us all sorts of knowledge about art, is that it’s just a big toolbox, and like any toolbox, there are some tools that are right for the job. You’re not going to be using 50 different tools to change a light bulb. You’re going to want a stepladder, and maybe some heavy rubber gloves if you’re really paranoid. And maybe some sunglasses in case you forgot if the switch is on or not. But you’re not gonna pull out the crescent wrench, and the left-leaning gyroscopic horseshoe tuner, because you don’t really need those. Yeah, they’re useful, but not for this job.

    So lemme try and bring this all together in an actual lesson we call the “oh no it’s 4am and I haven’t gone to bed yet” lesson on art.

    In order to apply the art knowledge you have into your actual art practice, you must decide before you even start the picture what your goal for that picture is, and what tools you’re going to use to reach that goal.

    The choices of what your goals can be is an entirely different discussion.

    According to the Modified Bloom’s Taxonomy Accordion Diagram (which I have never mentioned before now but it is a stepladder of learning things) everyone starts out on any given topic as ignorant, and eventually becomes better and more knowledgeable and practiced until they internalize the knowledge and it becomes second nature to them at the top level.

    To start, you learn of the existence of the left-leaning gyroscopic horseshoe tuner and all about its greatness. Then you find a situation that’s a good use for it, pull it out of the box, and go… what the heck do I DO with this thing? You stumble around with the knowledge you have, because you know it’s a good tool, and after 10, 50, or a thousand drawings specifically trying to use it, you finally reach the point where you you don’t even have to think about using it because it comes naturally. So you pull it out when you’re changing a light bulb and crank an extra 50 watts out of a 60 watt bulb without even breaking a sweat.

    Another thing I’ve learned tonight is that obsession is respectable to limited levels, proportional to the person’s own desire for the subject, until it passes a certain point and the level of respect plummets.

    That is: To someone with a Beanie Baby desire level of 5.0, they will respect a Beanie Baby collector’s obsessive tendencies to the level of 8.0. However, the average person has a desire level of 3.3, which only allows them to respect to the level of 6.3. Therefore, the original Beanie Baby collector has a respectable hobby, and the later has an unhealthy obsession.

    This principle is why gamers think staying up all night playing games is “cool,” while parents think it is “not cool.” If the parents had a higher desire level for games, they would also see it as “cool,” baring other crazy ideas like “growing boys need plenty of sleep.”

    I need to make graphs for this later, and not talk about it at 4am. They would probably help it make more sense. Or not make any sense at all, so I could stop trying to explain it.



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