Well, some of you have kindly given me some more information on this Utah thing. David tells me that I will likely have to readjust to the altitude every time I come out here; lovely. He also thinks I'm not in the MidWest -- I think the West is probably more accurate, actually.
A few of you have told me that the official position of the Mormon church is that, given that the law of the United States specifically prohibits marrying more than one person (a law that I grumble about regularly), they do not advocate polygamy. There are clearly some factions of the faith that continue to have more that one wife, but this is not a common practice of all Mormons. I actually think I sort of knew this, but now I know it definitively.
One reader tells me that the underwear is a single piece that's a kind of combined t-shirt and boxer shorts thing, that's either officially blessed or somehow holy, and is supposed to protect the wearer from harm. Interesting. I remember vaguely that when I was a kid in Catholic school, the scapulars (little pictures of Mary that you wore around your neck) had a similar function, and that you weren't ever supposed to take them off.
Someone else sent me a link to a website, http://exmormon.org. It's a site with close to a hundred personal accounts from those who have left the church. Clearly, it's a somewhat one-sided view of the religion, since many of these people are rather bitter, but it does make for interesting reading.
Okay, back to work. I'm going to try to sort through some of the backlogged e-mail, and get Clean Sheets a bit more under control (some parts are running very smoothly; others are a bit wobbly. :-)
1:15. Hey, I know what time it is, even though there's no clock in Kevin's (tiny, but all his own) office, and I can't find the computer clock on this Sun workstation -- I bought a new watch just before leaving town. Huzzah! It's been months since I wore one -- I seem to be the kind of person who either wears a watch constantly (and I mean constantly; when I had a waterproof one I didn't even take it off when I showered -- the skin under the watch was probably the palest part of my body), or doesn't wear one at all. Not even a little. Weird, huh?
Just read Columbine's latest journal entry, over at Alewife Bayou. He rants for a while about perfumed soap. He uses Ivory, and thinks soap should be made of fat and lye and that's it. Well, Kevin uses Ivory too, and I've tried it, but frankly, it dries my skin out, which is why I use Caress, or something similarly moisturizing. I'm not sure he was really objecting to the idea of adding something like aloe to soap, though -- it was the pretty perfumed decorative soaps he objected to. And I admit, that if they're pretty enough, no one seems to want to use them, 'cause they don't want to mess them up (just like those fancy wizard candles I used to buy, that I was afraid to burn, or the way if you put a pie out at a potluck, it'll sit there for ages until someone works up the nerve to cut the first slice, and then the rest will disappear within five minutes). But I like the scent; it's not as heavy as perfume, which most days I feel like I can't cope with at all (even thought the jasmine oil I wear when I do wear perfume is pretty light and inoffensive). The very faint scent you get from scented soap and shampoo is really pleasant, in my opinion. So there, Columbine. :-)
Heh. It would be way too easy to start reading a bunch of online journals and getting into these weird self-reflective conversations...
2:05. I have now been told repeatedly that the God box I wrote about a few days ago was definitely a reformulation of Pascal. I got it, I got it, stop writing me to tell me about it, okay? :-) I also got some useful information, of a website with the text of the original Pascal, from Pensees, broken down into bite-size student-focused chunks (with study questions and discussion groups and everything. You can skip all that if you like, and just click the 'Go on to Part X' near the bottom to continue reading. The meat of the discussion appears to be in Parts IV and V, but I recommend reading it through. If it seems a bit dense, that's 'cause it is -- just keep going and it'll probably make some sense eventually. :-) That's my standard tactic with philosophy, at least for a first read. You'll find it here: http://iq.orst.edu/odyssey/IQf96/07wage01.html
Note that the first part is particularly obscure sounding -- don't let it intimidate you.