Monday, November 28, 2011


I am becoming more and more grateful to have done the summer osteopathic principles course.  It was an expensive decision at the time, but has opened up a few doors and has lightened my load during the regular school year.  Because of that, I didn't have to take the tests on Monday or Tuesday which means I was stir crazy by Wednesday evening even before the Thanksgiving break officially began.

I learned today of 2 medical students who have dropped out.  One failed two classes and decided to do something else and the other decided she bit off more than she could chew.  Knowing that failing out is a possibility is motivating in its own way.  It will be interesting to see if anyone else chooses to do something else when we come back from Christmas break.

Last Friday we had our second Molecular and Cellular Basis for Medicine test and I haven't been affected by the mixups in the test scores this far. Baring that, I got a 94%.  That puts honors in this class within reach if N stays put until the break.  Speaking of which, the name N is pretty final.  S and I both fell in love with it when we thought about having a Christmas baby.  Putting a name to the bump has revolutionized C's world.  She now refer's to N's clothes and tells us she is going to give N her blanket back when she comes.  She talks like she has a sister now instead of a mythical baby.

S's parents came into town for Thanksgiving and it has been so fun to have them here.  We all went to the city on Wednesday to have some fun.  Somehow, we thought it would be a city similar to San Francisco where you can pay gold and silver robotic dancers to do their thing, or commission a mentally underdeveloped individual to scare the socks off of your friends when he pops out of a bush, or watch the seals play king of the hill on the docks.  Nobody told us that none of that would be available and to add insult to injury, it rained the entire time, the toy store we wanted to roam around in with C had gone out of business, the fashionistas scowled and rolled their eyes at C and T, and people in general eyed C and pregnant S and then me with a look that said, "You guys need some birth control."  The redeeming part of the trip was World of Books.  Walking in that place made rival to the castle library in Beauty and the Beast.  I think the building took up an entire city block and was at least four stories.  On the way home we stopped at Fudruckers and enjoyed a fantastic build-your-own burger.

On Sunday, I met some of the families of other medical students and on individual was born and grew up in Ajo, Arizona.  I guess I can cross that off my bucket list.  Ajo is the last stop in Arizona before crossing the Mexican border...oddly enough, it's also the first stop for illegals from the Mexican border and it is as ugly as sin.  When I mentioned it to Dad he proceeded to explain to me that Ajo is where the earth receives an enema.  He also told about a few houses he built out there and he said that the city outlawed anything that could be used to dig because hell is so close to breaking loose there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Screwtape Revisited

Here is the original article.  What surprised me was how well it was written mostly because an otherwise intelligent individual could possibly give vent to such an absurd posture.  This is my response.

My Dear Jacob,

I am very pleased by what I read in your recent article.  As you and the other young tempters know, one of the most powerful tools at our disposal is humor.  Cowards, bullies, disloyal friends, and even thieves are forgiven among the most honorable people if they can recount their exploits with a joke.  Consequently, when you talk about our Enemy's most concentrated movement recently in a belittling, flippant, and yet jovial manner, you have expertly moved the argument from whether Mormonism is true to whether it is popular or fringe, contemporary or outworn.

You must never push mortals to an argument of whether or not Christianity is true or not.  Our great Enemy can debate too (reason is, after all, His invention and on His territory), but sits with insolent silence when our mortal counterparts such as yourself scoff at His work.  For that reason, in your future articles I would retell various aspects of the story of Joseph Smith truthfully, and yet without any semblance of solemnity.  Use absurd language while telling a truthful account so that your readers can scoff and dismiss the facts they unearth later with legitimate sources.  As you do this, seer-stones will become "diamond-encrusted decoder glasses", Priesthood will become a "chauvinistic White Supremicist club," and Joseph Smith will become a "dogmatic, irrational, absurd gold-digger."

You have been thoughtless and will be reprimanded on two points.  First of all, you have taken too lightly the strength with which mortals attach feelings of self worth to what they believe even what they believe is contradictory.  Never directly attack the miracles of the Bible and those of the Restoration in the same breath.  Surely you can do better than set up great camaraderie among Christians and non-Christians alike against Mormons and then destroy it with a brief (though well-written) paragraph.  In another place your suggestion that the Biblical miracles are farcical would have been perfectly justified, but you attempted to break the rule spoken of by our Enemy, "a house divided against itself cannot stand" and not even we are capable of breaking rules He has ordained.

The second mistake was to avoid referencing literature from the Mormon libraries.  Our goal, as you have surely discovered already, is not to capture weak minds, but strong ones who can then parrot our positions fluently.  Weak minds attach to the first philosophy they come across and often wreak havoc on the group espousing that philosophy with shoddy logic, misplaced energy, and zeal without faith.  When the weak minds find their way to our side, we own them but they are thankfully dismissed by the strong with pity.  However, when weak minds find their way to the side of our Enemy, we lose their soul, yes, but our job becomes much easier to convince the for-now ambivalent strong that Mormonism is comprised of shoddy, misplaced zealots.  A strong mind will question assumptions before choosing a side which means they will likely check your sources which does you as the author a disservice precisely because all of your sources are from anti-Mormon literature.  If you would have included some Mormon references (not the Book of Mormon, we must ensure that work never finds it's way into the hands of those we have a hope of claiming) your position would have been even more powerful because it would have been even more believable.

As the comments following your article indicate, all publicity seems to be good publicity for Mormons.   

With affection,

PS  See you in a few years.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lion King

This was a week of titanic proportions.  The test Monday I felt went okay until I saw my grade that night - 71%.  Borderline failure.  So Shelli and I had a long, deep discussion about how to improve my grades and the additional time away that I might have to take.  The next day, however, administration unapolligetically informs us that most of the grades were switched around and that my real grade was an 87%.  I feel bad for the guy who switched with me, but not bad enough to switch with him permanently - at least he got to feel good about himself for a few hours.  Good thing this administration doesn't build houses or if I had requested one I might have received someone else's lean-to.

On Tuesday we practiced drawing blood for the first time.  Fortunately enough, there were enough brave souls who bared their arms that I could discreetly not get poked, but I did pierce a few veins on others.  It is a rather unnatural feeling piercing flesh and causing pain in people.  I did it and I didn't pass out, but I don't relish it and I borderline hyperventilated.

On top of the hardcore science classes we are taking we have a few other minor classes.  One is a practical medicine class where we practice taking a history and physical, learn to use the stethoscope and ophthalmoscope, and stuff like that.  We have 25 minutes to take a full history and review of systems (head, eyes, ears, neck, throat, cardio, respiratory, GI, genitourinary, psych, neuro, musculoskeletal) and then 9 minutes to write everything out.  It's the 9 minute part that scares me most simply because it's difficult to occupy your hands with instruments and flesh and a jot notes at the same time.

This week C called me 'the prince.'  I asked if I could be the king and she thought a minute and said, "No, just the Lion is the King."