Sunday, August 29, 2004

Lithographs and missionaries

Yesterday I went to Salt Lake and worked for my Bishop for thirteen hours. He works for a sports memorabilia business. This Saturday BYU will be honoring the 1984 football team. They won the national championship. Bishop Larsson's business would be selling a lithograph (fancy poster) with the signatures of the starting line. It was a long day. Each athlete had to sign 1,200 lithographs and in the thirteen hours we did six athletes.

Overall, I'm very glad I did it. Shayla, a girl I know worked with me as well. For lunch we went with Kurt (I forget his last name, but I know it's Hawaiian.) to a sports bar. He was a very nice guy. He had been in two superbowls. I saw and held his superbowl ring as well. The thing is HUGE. Like the head of a baby.

One of the football players was in prison for a time and he couldn't sign the lithograph. So they allowed his mother to sign for him. While we were helping her the Olympics were on the television. I mentioned something about Romania and how I always root for them. Sister Larsson told the woman that I had served a mission there. She didn't know anything about missions or missionaries so I got to explain it all to her. I mentioned that we did a lot of street contacting. And she asked, "Well, how would you contact me if I were a Romanian (don't speak in Romanian though.)?" Ah, such a prime answer. So I gave her a shortened introduction. I didn't bear my testitmony of anything like that. But now this woman knows who the missionaries are and what they do. That is a large step right there. Perhaps one day she will invite them in. Perhaps.

It's not often here in Provo that I have any opportunities to do missionary work. But the opportunities exist. You merely have to have the courage to act and be able to recognize the opportunities too. Anyway, it felt good.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Student Suffrage

Yes it has been eighty-four years since women won the right to vote. And now in 2004, students are working for that right. I just read an article which really enlightened me. It seems that many states won't allow their out-of-state students vote in local and national elections. They can only send in absentee ballots to their home state. This was news to me. Students in some states are rallying and have formed a federal lawsuit pushing the issue. I applaud them. Students should vote. Students should be able to make their voices heard in local elections. It makes sense.

Here in Provo, I don't think that we have the same issue. Students here don't want to vote. When weighed in a scale against losing their residency, most students here choose to give up their rights to vote. Sad. There are approximately 30,000 students at BYU alone and nearly that at UVSC. As of 2000, there were 105,000 residents in Provo. If even half of us voted in local elections we could own this city. As it is, the Provo City Council passes anti-student laws. I am a native Utahn so choosing between losing residency and voting is not an issue for me. But I am an independant when it comes to taxes so I don't think residency would matter much to me.

Voting is important. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

West Virginia: No Lifeguard at the Gene Pool

Statement: The Big Red Hammer does not like the political correctness movement.

I am tired of this country's 'offended at the slightest knock' mentality. This country is founded on democracy not on oligarchy. We should not have to conform to whoever is most offended. This stated, we will move on.

West Virginian Governor Bill Wise (isn't that an oxymoron?) is offended by a line of Abercrombie & Fitch shirts "which has an image of a boy and girl in a kiddie pool superimposed on an outline of the state" with the captioning stated in the title of this blog. You can read about it here. Here's the gist. He is offended and has written Abercrombie & Fitch and asked that they discontinue the shirt.

In his spokesman's words, "It is unfortunate that Abercrombie & Fitch continues to perpetuate stereotypes rather than positive things like the number of residents serving in the military or the state's PROMISE scholarship program."

Now can you see a shirt that has an outline of West Virginia and soldiers in the background with the captioning, 'West Virginia has a lot of people in the US Army' selling even one shirt? Well, maybe one shirt. Apparently Governor Wise does not understand marketing. I personally hope that Abercrombie & Fitch continues selling this line. Be offended Governor Wise. I'm sure that will bring more tourists to your state.

PS - For those of you who don't get the joke: West Virginia is known as being the only state that doesn't have laws against first cousins (perhaps even siblings) marrying each other.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete.

I just finished reading this article from the Washington Post on Yahoo news. This is the first time I've known in any detail what the swift boat accounts and accusations were about. The article was written by Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post. I am pleased to say that the article presents both sides of the arguement fairly. If you don't know about the significance of the swift boat accounts to the Kerry campaign, here is the short of it: Kerry served in Vietnam on boats (swift boats) patrolling rivers. He received several awards for his service during this time. He has made that service a defining point in his campaign against Bush and used it to rally support. This article goes through the evidence from both Kerry's side and his detractors.

Read it! You'll learn a lot and be able to form your own opinion.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Communist? No.

So about an hour ago I was watching the Olympics. I watched a woman make a world record in some sort of swimming event. I also watched the women's 100m and some men's medley swimming race. The US won in one of those events I saw. But for the way the broadcasters and announcers went on, you'd think the US had won all of them. If one competitor beat the US, then the announcers would say "He was ahead of the US by 1.35 seconds." Everything is merely a comparison to how the US competed. And I don't think I'm too far-fetched with this scenario: Let's say the US basketball team didn't happen because of some scandal here. I bet that basketball wouldn't even be covered at all.

And you may say, what do you expect from America? If you were watching from Bulgaria, the Bulgarian broadcasters would be doing the same thing for their teams. True. However I am sure that they would not be as strong as it is here. I can't expect an impartial showing of the Olympics, but I can expect them to at least show foreign competitors when they win. I can expect them to show the competitors' fans, and congratulate the winners.

This is Scott with a larger world view than most Americans, signing out.

MPAA Propoganda

While clicking to get to a Yahoo game I came across one of their sponsorship ads. I've become so accustomed to web ads, I don't even see them anymore. However, this one caught my attention. It was made by the MPAA or Motion Picture Association of America. The basic premise of the ad was to scare 'pirates' into stopping downloads of illegal movies. You may have not have seen this ad yet, or their accompanying site,, but I am sure you have seen the ads before movies in the theater. They generally show some average joe who begins by talking about what joy he gets working on movie sets or special effects. Then he makes the transition to piracy and how it's costing him his job. He will actually purport that illegally downloading movies only affects the small guys like him and not the big movie execs. Could this be any further from the TRUTH? Let's assume for a moment, that one movie loses $1 million in ticket sales due to illegal downloads. (I have no idea if that is even close to the real number, whether high or low.) All of the men and women who work on the movie from set builders, special effects artists, animators, stunt doubles, actors and actresses, and extras are paid some negotiated fee. The set builder does not receive a percentage of ticket sales or the like. He did his job, he got paid and now he's working on another movie already. Those ads are absolute hogwash. "Hollywood Hogwash."

Now I've had the chance to argue and debate this topic often. I am on the anti-MPAA and anti-RIAA (music industry) spectrum of things. I am not an extremist. But I believe that a change needs to be made in both industries. Whenever I read articles in which the courts rule in favor of downloaders or the programs that facilitate downloading I give a big Wahoo! The way I see it, technology has opened a new avenue to get your media. And it's free! At the MPAA site, they purport that your downloading habits are easily tracked and thus copyright law is easily enforced. I'd have to say that is more a wish of the MPAA and RIAA than actual fact. P2P (peer-to-peer) software are very aware of their customers. 'Pirates' want privacy and security and they want their movies and music free. So P2P programmers stay one step ahead of those who would take away your ability to pirate. The fact of the matter is, there are more people working for piracy world-wide than against it. And the pirates are much more ingenious.

The piracy issue has been around long before the internet, P2P software, and even VCRs. It isn't going to be eliminated or even curbed. Now whether your ethics say that is right or wrong isn't currently the issue. It is a simple fact: piracy is growing. I wish I could guess how this will effect the music and movie industries in the end. But change will be needed. Technology has outpaced big business and is leaving it in the dust.

So I leave you with two points:
Recognize the music and movie industries' propaganda. Not everything they purport is true, right, or unbiased. Use your head, reasearch it, think about it. Find your own stance

Once you've found your stance do something about it. Voice your opinion, write it down, share it. And the most powerful of all, vote. Copyright law is not an issue in the presidential election this year. But it is always a congressional and senatorial issue. Find your representatives and senators' stances on the issue and vote appropriately.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Et cetera

Today was the first day of BYU Education Week. I had an excellent time. I went to several Book of Mormon classes to get ideas and learn more for my Gospel Doctrine class. Let me tell you I learned some incredible things. But I will save another blog spot for Ed Week. I also have lunch with my mother every day at the Morriss Center. Free food and talking with my mom, that's always great!

I ought to get to bed soon so I don't sleep through more classes than I'd like. But before then I will refer you to some of my favorite sites.

Sluggy Freelance comic A lot of fun and very creative. Joe referred me to it, so you know it has to be good! If you don't know this pull your head out of the oven and go look!

Dr. Devious vs. Lincoln High Spies, supervillians and mayhem in high school. Devious!

And on a closing note, Romania's women gymnasts took gold! Yeah that's right! In your face pompous Americans! Go home and cry on your gilded pillow. (For Kate and those other Romania haters.)

Monday, August 16, 2004

John Kerry's True Story

John Kerry's military service:

My friend Joe just sent me this link. Seems our good friend Kerry has not been very honest about his military service. That makes me uncomfortable to have a military commander in chief and leader of the free world dishonest about his own military service.

As Reed would say, "BAAAAAH" (buzzer noise).


So call me unpatriotic... I root for those who oppose the United States. And if it's Romania... I'll even trash talk. The way I see it, the US is in the spotlight all the time. It pleases me to see other countries win. It please me to see the US currently places seventh in overall gold medals. I like seeing the underdog win. Now when it comes to gymnastics Romania is not the underdog. They are the team that all the other teams are judged by. And a wonderful quote I heard twice today, "If you leave the door open even a little bit the Romanians will come in and eat you alive." Yeah, that's right! We'll eat you alive! (Notice the use of the pronoun 'we'.) And I'm proud to see Romania is a serious competitor in many other events. But they need to win in gymnastics.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Where are the whip lashes?

The California court decided that the rule of law is worth considering. Actually, it decided that San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority by issuing homosexual marriage licences. Nearly 4,000 marriages were nulled. Of course Mayor Newsom has the enduring respect of gay and lesbian people across America. And of course the disdain and anger of those against same sex marriages. But I think another large issue is forgotten behind all the controversy of same sex marriages. We have a system of law here in America. We do not live in the feudal ages where a lord could make and break his laws at his whim. Newsom ignored that system and did what he felt was right. Whether he declared marijuana legal, Saddam the King of America, or leash laws unconstitutional, it's all the same. He doesn't have that right! Mayors don't have that ability. So what I'm wondering: What is the punishment for breaking the law? You law people, is there precedence? I'm thinking that he should lose his position as mayor and perhaps serve jail time. If there is no punishment, then there needs to be one appointed. 'If there is no punishment, there is no law.' People need to know that choices like that have consequences.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Village and Other Things

Yes, I went and saw the Village tonight. My cousin Stephanie invited me to go with a few of her friends. We were supposed to see Napoleon Dynamite (and no, I have no clue what it is about). But it was sold out, so we went and saw the Village. Which by me, is a much better choice. Now I won't give anything away... but it is different from the other M. Night Shyamalan movies. Still some twists and surprises, he doesn't ever disappoint when it comes to that! I will give it four stars out of five. Rated against his other movies, it falls behind Signs and Sixth Sense but way ahead of Unbreakable.

Now for our trenchant political commentary: Several days ago I was reading some critics' reviews of The Village. (How's that for a tie in?) And one critic said that the political commentary in the movie got in the way of the plot. What political commentary you ask? Well, I would suggest you only read the following if you have seen the movie so that you won't be looking for it and thus ruin the movie. You have been warned. This critic believes that the movie was a commentary about Bush and how he leads the country. The leader of the village is named Walker, George W. Bush's middle name. As well the colors yellow and red play an important part in the film. This critic believed that just as Walker ruled his village through fear, Bush does the same thing with us. The war in Iraq must be a diversion to keep us from looking at the shortcomings of this presidency.

First of all, I will disagree that M. Night meant to have The Village be a parable for current American politics. It's too far of a stretch. Secondly, I disagree that this war is a political ploy. If it is, it failed miserably. Watching CNN which I often do, (and I am told is more on the democratic side of things, but which I find much more unbiased than the step-above-a-tabloid Fox Network) there are a lot of stories talking about other pressing issues outside of the war. Same sex marriage, the economy, employment rates and the like seem to be very important. Fear is something we've put upon ourselves, not by Bush.

I believe that companies (especially airlines) have seen this new demand for security and are taking advantage of it. The safety precautions are merely to make customers feel safe. I (half) jokingly suggest we have pre-9/11 and post-9/11 flights. And I will tell you truthfully I would ride the post-flights if it meant I can forgo all of the 'needed' security measures. And I will also hold my opinion even if there is another large terrorist attack on this country.

On a lighter note, I think I have found Kerry's long lost twin brother. Ironically his twin is President. In fact, he is president of a planet, Planet Neutral. Their motto is: 'Live Free or Don't.' And when in danger, they go to Beige Alert. Yeah, so I watch Futurama, what of it?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Kerry's approved! (sort of).

Fast Sunday

As the title states, today was fast Sunday. And it was a beautiful one as well. Many testimonies were born on missionary work and missionary experiences. It reminded me of how good it is to have someone you know learning about the Gospel and accepting it step by step. It is a faith and testimony building process. But not only for the investigator, but for the members involved. I would like to share the Gospel with someone. I'd like to feel those feelings again which were so strong on my mission.

Sunday School went very well too. Kate taught the class I was in. It was in Alma, around chapter 40 I believe. Alma was giving advice to his sons. This lesson included my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon, chapter 38. I chose that as my favorite scripture on my mission. It seemed like the perfect advice from a father to a missionary son. But the lessons learned there apply to me at all times. It was very good to hear it again. It's prompted me to seek some positive changes in my life.

We had break the fast after Church and it went very well. There was plenty of food and lots of people showed up. And then started raining. Beautiful summer rain. We moved into the laundry room. But the rain is so nice. Cooling and beautiful. I like this. I wouldn't want it all the time, but summer rain is pleasant.