Fan Mail

Anyone who has a blog knows that the ratio of spam to actual comments is crazy high. On ZD over the past five years, we’ve had about 16,000 comments—and 215,000 pieces of spam. Fortunately almost all of it gets caught, though some occasionally make their way through. (More unfortunately, sometimes actual comments get mislabeled, so do let us know if your comments are disappearing.)

One of the entertaining things about these fake comments is that they often try to seduce you with very generic flattery.  But hey, at least we’re getting fan mail. So I thought I’d respond to some of it.

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A testimony.

This week, with Lynnette here to visit, I finally succeeded in inflicting my current favorite movie ever upon the last family holdout: we made Eve watch Troll 2. I’m pleased to say that she enjoyed it much more than she expected; she was still talking about the infamous and inexplicable popcorn scene the next day. Most of the other ZDs were able to experience this steaming pile of cinema at Christmas, after Lynnette helpfully gave it to me for my birthday, a decision which she has only had occasion to regret two or three times since. Read More

The Circularity of “Separate but Equal”: A Dialogue in Socratic Form.

Socrates and his pal Piggly-Wiggly are out for a post-Thanksgiving pre-Advent walk down by the river.

Piggly-wiggly: . . . and you know what else? Short people. Short people just need to learn to accept their divinely-appointed height role. It’s not a lesser role, just because they’re not allowed to hold public office or propose legislation. They have a lot of important responsbilities. Their role is just as important as tall people’s role.

Socrates: An interesting perspective, my friend. But, if I may query, why do short people need a separate role? Read More

Nine Reasons I Can’t Write a Post Right Now

1. It’s after midnight and I really should be going to bed.
2. I’m too busy reading through all of the blog posts I started but never finished.
3. The gelato in the freezer is calling my name.
4. The cursor on my computer keeps jumping around, making it just too difficult to type.
5. I have to harvest my rice in Farmville so that I can get gold in the Co-op I started.
6. I need to give moral support to Lynnette as she organizes her CD collection.
7. I either have to reorganize the apps on my iPhone or the files on my computer, I haven’t decided which.
8. I have to rip the twenty-four CDs I purchased today.
9. Robot. Unicorn. Attack.

The Five Universal Truths of Road Trips

I’ve recently had the opportunity to do a lots of driving (somewhere over three thousand miles all told) and I think I’ve discovered the five universal truths of road trips.

1. Books on MP3 (aka CD/tape) make the trip go faster.
I listen to audiobooks to help my apartment get clean faster but this time I discovered they also seem to make road trips go faster. I seem to prefer light mysteries (I’m listening to the stories of Amelia Peabody right now) because I can move my attention to something else (like the semi up ahead who’s pulled over or the downpour that’s about to happen) without losing too much of the plot line. After sitting in a car for three, eight, or even ten hours straight, it’s nice to listen to someone else’s ‘life.’
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Random Facts: Tell Us About Yourself

I’m feeling a little guilty because no one has posted anything here for a while (and our last post was even a guest post — thanks Beatrice!). But I’m also pretty much incapable of higher thought function at the moment, so you get to read some more random nothingness. There has recently been a fad on facebook where you post 25 random facts about yourself. I joined in, mostly because I had enjoyed reading what other people wrote so much. I thought I would share my list with you as well, and I would love to get to know all of you better by hearing some random facts about your life. Read More

Rearranging Zelophehad’s Daughters

If you’ve visited recently, you may have noticed that elements of our sidebars have been moving around. We recently upgraded our WordPress installation, so Lynnette has been tidying everything up in the aftermath, when of course some plugins failed and now have to be replaced.

But rather than rearranging pieces of our blog, I’m thinking more about rearranging the letters in Zelophehad’s Daughters to see what words I could come up with. If you’ve made a resolution, as I have, to waste more time in 2009 than you did in 2008, you’ll immediately see the value of such an undertaking.

So I’ve fiddled around with Zelophehad’s Daughters, as well as the names of some other blogs I read most, to see what I could come up with. I’m not nearly good enough to do complete anagrams, where all the letters are used. Most of my solutions are just partial, leaving one or more letters out. Also, since I did these all manually, I’ve probably made errors, so please feel free to point them out.

Here are a few of my favorites: Read More

Three Years of ZD, and an Invitation to Say Hello

Today marks ZD’s third anniversary.  Our third year has been perhaps a bit slower than the previous two in terms of regular posting, but we’re happy that we’ve managed to stay alive (albeit with occasional long pauses between posts).  Our approach to blogging, as you’ve doubtless observed, is random and haphazard.  No one on ZD really presides (whether as a full-fledged presider or a chicken patriarch)–depending on your point of view, this is evidence of why presiding is unnecessary, or why loosely organized anarchy is a mistake. Read More

Approved Party Song #19

In a discussion about the hymnbook at FMH a few weeks ago, patti said that her husband thinks Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel is the Communist fight song. This reminded me that many years ago, when I was in a BYU ward and this hymn was announced, a friend wrote a note referring to it that said, “Working shoulders of the world, unite!” (Perhaps my friend is patti’s husband.) This comment inspired me to rewrite the hymn: Read More

Books, Mormons, and Statistics, part II

Ziff, Ray, and Kent Larsen had it right — the Book of Mormon has the largest standard deviation in ratings of any book on the site. The stat is called “25 Books People Can’t Agree On” and you can see it at the bottom of this page.

The Book of Mormon may be at the top of the list, but it’s in good company, since books by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Isaac Newton are also on the list. (Of course, the urban vampire fantasy and regency romance do drag down the neighborhood a bit.)

It’s also the most widely-owned of any book on that list, by far. There are around 1,600 LibraryThing members who own a total of around 1,800 copies of the Book of Mormon. The next most widely held book is Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun, at around 400 copies. There have been some other popular books on the list, but they tend to drop off when they get very popular, because enough people give them an intermediate rating (2.5-3.5 stars) that it lowers the standard deviation of all the ratings. The Secret, a book made popular by Oprah Winfrey, used to be on the list, but now the standard deviation of the ratings is down to 1.34, well below the current top-25 cutoff of 1.42. Read More

Books, Mormons, and Statistics

If you like books and statistics, you’ll love LibraryThing. They have 554,277 members who have cataloged 33,647,263 books of which 3,850,295 are unique works not shared by anyone else on the site.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s [Philosopher’s] Stone is owned by more people than anyone else (37,254 copies, 3 of which are mine), although more people have posted reviews of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (704 reviews, with an average rating of 4.43 stars out of 5).

As you might expect, J.K. Rowling is the top author in terms of number of copies of her books owned, but Stephen King is second, even though his top individual book isn’t even in the top 200.

Oh, and one more thing (which is actually the whole point of this post): The Book of Mormon is at the top of a list based on another site-wide statistic. Care to guess what that statistic is?

Know Your Naccle I: Match the Comment to the Commenter

By our reckoning, it’s time for a well-earned break from aggregator politics, Proposition 8, and the finer points of topless-male-missionary-calendar excommunication. Following are nine excerpts from posts and comments–some quite recent, some positively antique–made by nine well-known denizens of the Bloggernacle. Can you identify the blogger who said each of the following? (Hint: each blogger listed is represented by exactly one comment. That is, no blogger on the list appears more–or less–than once.) Read More

Stuffed Animals and the Transmigration of Souls

I have a small stuffed bear by the name of Juliana (named after the dashing Dr. Julian Bashir of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). I got her as a birthday present about ten years ago, and she quickly developed a unique personality. She has a somewhat sad look to her, which has led to much speculation in my family about her possible involvement in a life of crime. It’s a well-known fact among my siblings that Juliana is very interested in money. But does she belong behind bars? When I was studying at a Catholic university a couple of years ago, I maintained that whatever her previous history might have involved, Juliana had now reformed and was planning to become a nun. But this assertion was met with serious skepticism by certain of my sisters. Juliana’s true character remains a source of much dispute. Read More

Renouncing the Philosophies of Women, Mingled With Scripture

We at ZD are pleased to announce that we’ve made a surprising and delightful discovery: our radiant inner femininity is a true blessing to the world, and, in light of this ephiphany, we’ve begun embracing our divine gender roles in earnest. We’ve long felt there was something sadly lacking in our lives, and we’ve found it in the most surpising of places: patriarchal authority. We feel strongly (and the men in our lives concur) that there’s no more reason to worry our pretty little heads over things of the world, so the single among us are moving back in with our fathers where we can hone our skills as full-time homemakers and practice submitting to male jurisdiction, “learn[ing] in silence with all subjection,” while the wives on our site have committed themselves to renewed effort in surrendering to the presiding wills of our husbands. Read More

A Random Survey

Seeing as how our blog has been a bit quiet lately, I thought it would be fun to take a break from our usual discussion of topics like angel mothers and soteriology, and do a completely random survey. All are invited to participate and share their answers to the following deeply profound questions: Read More

Changing the Words to Hymns

When I put my boys to bed at night, I often sing them hymns. One of their favorites is “There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” probably because it’s one of the few that I know all the verses to and can sing in the dark. But part of this hymn has always struck me as odd. In the first verse, it says that the green hill is “where the dear Lord was crucified.” The dear Lord? That sounds so impersonal. So taking a page from “Upon the Cross of Calvary,” I always sing this line as “where our dear Lord was crucified.”

So are there any hymns that you sing nonstandard words to, or any for which you would like to see the wording changed?