Sunday, August 26, 2007

There's Crazy, and then there's UTAH Crazy

Below happened this week- How did I get here?

Friday at 6 pm, standing in the Blockbuster in Bountiful, I realized that we were in a very unique place. Brent and I stood in front of approximately 50 empty cases for the LDS romance movie “Anxiously Engaged”, every single one had been checked out, along with every other cheesy LDS genre film.

In church some one said in their prayer “We’re grateful to live in Utah” Have you heard some one in California say in a prayer, “We’re grateful to live in California”? And we Californians LOVE our state. I don’t think even Texans would say such things. I wonder if there is a local Rameumptom.

My sister’s boyfriend has been living with his parents (in Kamas, UT) as he is preparing to go on a mission. He needs his parents financial support in order to finance his health bills and living expenses. They tell him, “While you live in our house, you live by our rules” One of which was to cut off all communication with my sweet 19 year old sister except for letters, in July, 2 months before he leaves on his mission. They forbade him from calling/talking to my sister weeks before his farewell. So much for teaching them correct principles and letting them govern themselves.

I was taken back when in the middle of the frozen food aisle at the local grocery store I saw President Hinckley's face staring at me, on a greeting card saying "Congratulations on your Baptism!", along with other cards congratulating people on missions, temple weddings and the likes, right across from the frozen peas.

A friendly guy introduced himself to us at a local HomeDepot. We had an interesting conversation with this total stranger, and liked him. Brent and HomeDepot dude exchanged cards. A week later he left a message on Brent’s phone saying there was something that he felt he REALLY needed to talk about. As suspected, he had a 'business opportunity', he wanted Brent to join his MLM. Be wary when a Utahn says he owns his own business- what he means is “I own my own downline”.

Friday, I got my haircut by a very nice young man. He mentioned that he spoke Chinese, he learned it on his mission, in New York. I said, "Man, that must have been tough" and he said, "Yeah, especially since I'm gay"

Driving down I-15 in the middle of the August heat, watching the billboards for the Missionary Mall and the newest CD by Janice Kapp Perry- I began to sing...

There are more stories about Utah Crazy, better stories, please share yours. I want to know as Michael McClean sang on the radio this morning, during Sounds of the Sabbath- "I'm not alone"

UPDATE: To those of you from Utah that have taken offense from this post please click HERE

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nerd Power

Years ago, on a train in Europe, I ran into a member of my graduating class from high school, but had never met during our school years. We started talking about who we hung out with in high school and he started naming off the guys that were the self-proclaimed 'cool kids', that is if you think failing basic English and getting drunk in Tiajuanna on weeknights is cool.

I told him I was in student body and emceed all the high school assemblies. He didn't GO to high school assemblies. I said in sarcasm, "oh, that's right, you guys were 'too cool' for assemblies” His reply, "You know it, you worshiped us"- and he was dead serious.

So I asked what he was up to. He was in his 4th year at a 2 year community college, surfing and partying yo. As he started to realize pathetic his current life was he ended with an arrogant, "yeah, but you still worship us"

I smiled, "you're right, and 5 years from now when you're pumping my gas, I'll still be worshiping you"

With a glased over look in his eyes he responded, "yeah"

My cousin Emily forwarded the following clip, and it immediately reminded me of Lori (she'll understand why when she sees it), and that being “cool” is severely over-rated.

Shakespearian insults naturally appeal to the inner speech geek.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Why wear black?

I just got a forwarded mass text message saying:
"President James E. Faust just passed away, please wear black in respect"

Who takes it upon themselves to ask other people to wear black?

My response, "It's 11am, I've already changed my clothes twice today" I love President Faust, so much that I'd wake up during general conference to listen to his talk, take copious notes, then get right back to my nap when the Primary President took the stand.

Faust gave some great talks, chalk full of insight, and love. There has to be a better way to pay respect than dressing like you work at a NY ad agency. Maybe, the best way to pay respect to President Faust would be to re-read his talks and live his teachings.

At my mother's funeral, she wants us to wear white, listen to the Supremes and eat Sees candies. My funeral has a time limit of 1 hour, followed by a day wakeboarding in my honor. We may want to re-thing mourning someone's loss, and instead celebrating their life and their legacy.

I'll miss President Faust, he was like your grandpa, who twice a year gave you really good advice.

When you pass how would you like people to remember you? Tears and moaning or celebrating that you lived?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Food for thought

Don't you think it's a little messed up that liposuction exists in a world where people are starving?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Scam

I’m going to offend all of my female readers here and get a silent applause from men around the world. But ladies I’ve got to spell it out for you- you’ve been brainwashed. Women want to go into debt for a useless rock that sits on their hand because of a very cleaver marketing campaign. Moreover, they could get the exact same rock for a tenth of the cost but refuse to do so because this campaign was so effective. The diamond instustry has effectively manipulated human pride to make themselves rich.

A brief history lesson:

Before the late 1800’s diamonds were found only in India and in a few jungles of Brazil, only a few pounds were produced each year.

In 1870- Huge diamond mines were found in the Orange River, in South Africa, and diamonds were coming out by the ton. Suddenly the market became diluted with diamonds

British financers who organized the South Africa mines realized that with the influx of diamonds into the market, their investment was becoming worthless- the value of a gem depends on its scarcity.

All investors then merged their interests into a single entity that then controlled the production of diamonds, and thus give the illusion of scarcity. In 1888, enter De Beers, which then controlled all diamonds- operating under different names in different countries, but all roads lead back to De Beers- owning diamond mines world wide.

Next, the marketing campaign- in September of 1938, the son of the founder of De Beers, Oppenheimer, came to the US, and met with an ad agency- he was concerned because the demand for diamonds was low. They wanted Diamonds to be marketed to the masses. (I know this is getting kind of dry- but stick with me here)

They then sought out to “change the social attitudes of the public at large and thereby channel American spending toward larger and more expensive diamonds instead of competitive luxuries” Since young men bought over 90% of engagement rings, it was crucial to inculcate in them that diamonds are the gift of love. The larger the diamond, the greater the love, similarly young women were encouraged to view diamonds as an integral part of any romantic courtship.

How was this brainwashing of America executed? Product placement. Movie stars were given diamonds to use as their symbol of love. Society photographs were given to newspapers linking diamonds to romance. Fashion designers started talking about the trend toward diamonds. Royalty started wearing diamonds.

Then in 1947, De Beers gave highschool assemblies on diamonds. Yes, they came into high schools and they lectured STUDENTS on diamonds. Continuing all the while to give diamonds to celebrities, photographing them and then giving their pictures to the media to print.

That is when the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” came from De Beers.
Here’s where we get to the crux of why diamonds are a scam- conspicuous consumption. De Beers’ marketing company realized Americans are motivated in their purchases not by utility, but because it was a symbol of socio-economic achievement.

“Promote the diamond as one material object which can reflect in a very personal way, a man’s success in life”

Toward the 1960’s 20 years of advertising and marketing campaigns had their effect. Since 1939 an entirely new generation of young people has grown to marriageable age," it said. "To this new generation a diamond ring is considered a necessity to engagements by virtually everyone." The message had been so successfully impressed on the minds of this generation that those who could not afford to buy a diamond at the time of their marriage would "defer the purchase" rather than forgo it. Mission accomplished. Americans were duped.

No more saving money for a down payment on a home, no more paying off the car, women had been successfully taught that if a man loves her, he’ll buy her a big fat diamond.

Fast forward to 2007- Men are willing to pay around $7,000 for a diamond. What is the ROI (return on investment) on a diamond? Does it feed you? Clothe you? Give you good memories? Shelter? Nothing. It glitters and sits on your hand.

Can you tell the difference between a Cubic Zirconium and a Diamond?

There’s an alternative to the CZ, it’s a Moissanite. Moissanites have the exact same properties as diamonds, but they are 1/10 the cost and aren’t farmed by small African children. (I’ll talk about diamond wars at another date)

I took my Moissanite ring in to get sized by Jared’s jewelers. They looked at the stone under a microscope and used one of their ‘diamond testing machines’ to test the quality. They then asked what Brent paid for it. Brent replied “$700.” The girl smiled and said, “You mean $7,000 don’t you” His response, “No, $700. You know that’s not a real diamond don’t you?”

Her face went white, her colleague started to stutter, “but, but, it tested, it tested….” Brent said “it’s a Moissanite” they practically threw the ring back at us “We can’t have that ring in here”

Why? Because it’s a diamond. Technically by all standards, it’s a diamond, and it’s a perfect stone. If these were to become popular the diamond industry would crumble.

Click Here For Moissanite Info

The purpose of this post isn’t to make you feel bad for the ring you have. It’s a symbol that your husband loved you so much that he sacrificed a great deal of income on something totally worthless to make you happy. The purpose of this entry is to create awareness, that diamonds are really worthless, and the only reason women want one is because the company that sells them had a brilliant marketing campaign. Try selling yours and see how much you can get. Maybe, if we teach our daughters to value substance over image, we might raise a new generation that won’t need a diamond to prove their love.

Can you tell which picutre is a Moissanite and which one is a Diamond?

Girls, it looks like we’re going to have to find a new best friend.

Find the full story HERE