The Mormon Diaries, Part Five: Beer And Boozing In Provo, Utah

Mormons Napoleon Dynamite

The Mormon bartender is scared.

Picture the hang-dog faced cast of Napoleon Dynamite. Try to remember the frumpier extras in the back. Now try to imagine the pudgier ones who didn’t make final cut. And you have the scared Mormon bartender.

He doesn’t have the cast’s awkward, goofy charm. He has a mullet, a gift for awkward silences, a name tag that reads Tyler. So he wasn’t in Napoleon Dynamite. He is the scared Mormon bartender at Outback Steakhouse.

Tyler doesn’t know much about alcohol. But he doesn’t have the social grace for reception up front, either. So management sticks him in the back. At the bar. With less lighting and, this being Provo, Utah, with few to no drinking customers.

Except tonight. Tonight I am hosting a senior sales manager from France.

And the Mormon bartender is scared.

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America’s Prison System Is An International Embarrassment

US Prison System

The Article: America’s Prison System Is An International Embarrassment by Dylan Ratigan in Business Insider.

The Text: Friends,

In life there are some clear paths that we can walk down today to reach a better place, while others are less clear, dangerous even, yet no less important for us to travel.
Beyond my work with jobs, food and vets, few things keep me up more than the disastrous functionality of our prison system.

It is, after all, no secret that the U.S. houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates, while representing a mere 5 percent of the world’s population.

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Tomas Young’s Fuck-You Letter To Bush And Cheney

Bush Cheney

The Article: in Dangerous Minds.

The Text:

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

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What Difference Does Gay Marriage Make?

Gay Marriage Difference

The Article: What Difference Will Gay Marriage Make? by Melissa Harris-Perrey in The Nation.

The Text: In his essay “Message in the Stars,” the American Presbyterian writer and theologian Frederick Buechner conducts a thought experiment. What if God decided to prove—dramatically, irrefutably and publicly—that God does exist by writing across the night sky. Buechner imagines the heavenly author arranging the stars to read—GOD IS—and the subsequent hope, terror, regret, joy and utter astonishment that such a message would bring. He fantasizes that God would write the message in all the different languages of the world, so that on any given night one might go outside, look up and see, in French, Mandarin or Arabic: GOD IS.

He invites us to envision the sense of relief that would come with the utter certainty that God exists. Then he imagines this:

Then the way that I would have it end might be this. I would have a child look up at the sky some night, just a plain, garden-variety child with perhaps a wad of bubble gum in his cheek…. and then I would have the child turn to his father, or maybe, with the crazy courage of childhood, I would have him turn to God himself, and the words that I would have him speak would be words to make the angels gasp. “So what if God exists?” he would say. “What difference does that make?”

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The Jobs Aren’t Coming Back

Need Work

The Article: The Jobs Are Never Coming Back in Thought Infection.

The Text: I just watched former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s TED Talk. She provides some nice insight as to what it is really like as a politician trying to grapple with the new realities of the modern world; trying to save jobs in America that just don’t make sense economically any more. Granholm also raises the need to address global climate change as an enigma on equal footing with economic issues. What makes her talk interesting is she sees that a solution to the climate change problem could also be a solution to economic woes, a surprising position given the normal myopia of politicians when it comes to linking environment with economy.

While I like the general slant of Granholm’s view, in particular with respect to proposing a feasible means of stimulating the move to green energy through competitive incentivization programs, I have to disagree that even a major shift to green energy in America is somehow going to bring back “good jobs”.

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