Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Greatest Song in the World

(Tenacious D)

(Does this in any way remind you of Sir Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord"? No? Me, neither.)

(And there's more: Here's Jimmy Durante's rather irreverent version:)

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Message from the Wanderer

This poem by William Stafford was my first introduction to him. This month we're celebrating his birthday, and next year we'll be celebrating his centennial. I hope you'll enjoy this poem as I do:

A Message from the Wanderer

     Today outside your prison I stand
     and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;
     you have relatives outside. And there are
     thousands of ways to escape.

     Years ago I bent my skill to keep my
     cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,
     and shouted my plans to jailers;
     but always new plans occurred to me,
     or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,
     or some stupid jailer would forget
     and leave the keys.

     Inside, I dreamed of constellations—
     those feeding creatures outlined by stars,
     their skeletons a darkness between jewels,
     heroes that exist only where they are not.

     Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
     just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
     you can pass an antelope and not know
     and look back, and then—even before you see—
     there is something wrong about the grass.
     And then you see.

     That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

     Now—these few more words, and then I’m
     gone: Tell everyone just to remember
     their names, and remind others, later, when we
     find each other. Tell the little ones
     to cry and then go to sleep, curled up
     where they can. And if any of us get lost,
     if any of us cannot come all the way—
     remember: there will come a time when
     all we have said and all we have hoped
     will be all right.

     There will be that form in the grass.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't Be Discouraged

“Do not be discouraged because you cannot learn all at once; learn one thing at a time, learn it well, and treasure it up, then learn another truth and treasure that up, and in a few years you will have a great store of useful knowledge....”  ― Wilford Woodruff

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I finally got started, and I see what people are talking about. It's easy and it's interesting, and I feel a connection with the people whose names I'm recording.

Thanks to Madame LN (AKA Aunt Ellen) for writing about indexing on Madame L's blog.

Of course, there's also the LDS church's helpful "Worldwide Indexing" web page, with links to other pages for more information.

And here's something Tony Kierna, Genealogy Coordinator at the Schaumburg Township District Library in  Schaumburg, Illinois, wrote more than two years ago about indexing at the library: Quoting some statistics provided by the LDS church, he noted that, already, back then:

  • Total number of records indexed to date is 418,595,500. (That is correct, 418 million records!)
  • Total number of records indexed just in 2010 is 165,952,000 (That is correct, 165 million records!)
  • Total number of registered indexers that are responsible for creating the above totals is 400,589 (That is correct, over 400 thousand indexers!)
Is that amazing, or what! Here's a more recent article (2011) about the progress being made in indexing.

I'm sure I can find some even more recent facts about how many names have been indexed by how many people all around the world, but I'm going to get back to indexing now. I'm hooked on it mostly for its long-term value to some person and some families:

As I went through a set of 400 names from California death records in the 1930s, I realized that someone, somewhere, will at some time in the future be looking for the records of an ancestor who died in California in that time period, and because someone else in the 1930s and 1940s took the time to record all this information in an orderly and neat fashion, and because I took the time to record it through the indexing program, that person will be able to find out what they need to know about that ancestor. And then they can perform the ordinance work for that person in the temple, and then that person will be able to receive the temple blessings we all take for granted.

Drops of Awesome

Even after you get over berating yourself for every imperfection and failure, and start to acknowledge that you do have a few "drops of awesome" to add to your life's store, you eventually realize that the only way your cup will "runneth over" is when you tap into the ultimate source of awesome.

Thanks to my daughter in Iowa for sending this to me. I'm not even going to try to explain the ideas more than I just did, but just provide the link so you can read it for yourself: Drops of Awesome, by Kathryn Thompson, from her "Daring Young Mom" blog.

BTW, I used this in my Sunday School class last week, and the class members responded the same way I did, the way I'm sure you will. Enjoy!  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fiction Friday: January 18, 2013: The Call

(Madame L apologizes for doing this on Saturday instead of Friday. It will happen again. Also some more entire missed weekends will happen again. Because Madame L sometimes has to choose between reading and living an actual life.)

Yannick Murphy has written one of the most thoughtful but still entertaining (a combination that he makes seem easy, though of course it's not) books Madame L has read in a long time.

So, Madame L asks her (and Aunt Louise's) Dear Readers:

What if you were a veterinarian living on the edge of a small farming town, receiving phone calls daily to go help a goat in labor, a colicky horse, a cow with mastitis, a farming family living on the edge of poverty, an old lady who keeps her sheep in the house with her, and so on and so on?

What if you were also receiving phone calls almost daily from someone who listens awhile in silence before hanging up on you? And if you and your family saw strange lights in the sky that no one else admits to seeing?

What if the first time you went hunting with your son, another hunter shot your son out of the tree, and your son landed on his head with a concussion and ended up in the hospital for weeks without any sign that he would revive?

"The Call" is about all of these things, and more. Madame L found it at one of the Powell's bookstores at PDX and read it on the plane instead of the supposedly more "important" items she had brought along to read and do, and she's glad she did. Madame L thinks everyone should read this book.

You can get it new for over $10.00 or used for under $2.00 at, or you can travel to Portland, Oregon, where you can get it at any one of the three Powell's bookstores at PDX for less than $7.00.

Or, if you'd like, let Madame L know you're interested, and she'll send you her copy. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another Great Quote: On Attitude

"So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment." --- Thomas S. Monson

Truer words were never spoken. This makes me think of altitude, too: getting above the smoggy valley, the discouragements, whatever may drag us down if we let it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lance Armstrong Will Confess: So What?

I just read this article, and I must say it doesn't matter any more.

Lance Armstrong will finally admit what he has hidden so well for so many years, fooling many people like me who wanted to believe in someone who was that brave, strong and capable:

"USA Today's Brent Schrotenboer hears word from a “person with knowledge of the situation” that the disgraced cyclist will admit to doping throughout his career, but isn’t expected to go into details about particular instances and events."

Too little, too late, Lance. Nobody cares any more.

And admitting it on Oprah? Give me a break.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fiction Friday: January 7, 2012: The Lost Boy

Madame L here, reporting on a great play she saw last night at the Morrison Theater in downtown Portland. The playwright, Sue Mach, also has another play opening at another Portland theater, making her famous at least in this area. But Madame L thinks it won't be long before Ms. Mach will become famous throughout the country, with these fascinating and very different plays.

"The Lost Boy" is based on an 1874 kidnapping for ransom. The stolen boy was never found, his parents were torn apart, while his older brother felt guilty.
P.T. Barnum
And the media circus, personified by P.T. Barnum himself, an early version of Rupert Murdoch perhaps crossed with Donald Trump, along with General Tom Thumb and some other circus performers, get involved. Ugh.

Madame L could hardly stand the suspense. The actors were great, the story was great, the writing was great.

Here's part of the story from the Artist Repertory Theater's website:

"...In 1874, 4-year-old Charles Ross, or “Little Charlie,” and his 6-year-old brother were lured by two men into a carriage outside their home in Philadelphia.  The men drove them around the city for two hours before dropping off the older boy.  Charlie, however, was never seen again.  His father, a wealthy businessman named Christian Ross, received a letter demanding $20,000 for the safe return of his son."

Read the rest of it at this link if you'd like. It's heart-breaking, and it's not that different from what parents go through nowadays in these cases.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Demand a Plan

Madame L here, for Aunt Louise:

Today, two years after the horrible murder of innocents and wounding of other innocents in Tucson, and days after even more murders, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (horribly wounded in the Tucson incident) and her husband former NASA shuttle commander Mark Kelly, both gun owners and strong supporters of Second Amendment rights, have asked all of us to join the cause for responsible gun rights.

Please watch this video by Roxanna Green, the mother of the nine-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green, who was killed in Tucson:

For contrast, if you like, check out one of the paranoid crazies who don't mind if more children are killed:

If you're in favor of the children, instead of the creepy crazies, please go to "Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence" and sign the petition.

Madame L is the last person in the world to restrict our Second Amendment rights to bear arms. Here's what she, along with the mayors of 800 U.S. cities, and Aunt Louise, would like to see:

1. Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers”

Please, help keep these tragedies from being repeated. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

From Pres. Hinckley:  "The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired..."