she ran forth from house to house

So, I'm entirely uncertain why, when forced to come up with female figures from the book of Mormon, people totally forget Abish. Ok, that's a lie. I'm not entirely uncertain. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that most folks aren't paying that much attention by the time they get to Alma. I mean, it's all wars and the chopping off of arms and the harlot Isabel*. What chance does a story that actually holds direct bearing on modern believers' lives actually have?

Abish is the female servant of King Lamoni's wife (talking about women in the book of Mormon is tricky, as you make use of a lot of genitives [Nephi's wife, the daughters of Jared, etc]) who sees the whole royal household collapse and then decides it makes the perfect missionary moment. When the people get together, they start thinking maybe it's actually some evil trick of Ammon's, that he's killed the whole family. Abish becomes visibly upset by their discussions. You can almost hear her scream, "No! Why don't you just believe me?" She then wakes up the queen by touching her (proof of female priesthood, anyone?). Then, everybody's up and testifying of the great things they saw and heard. In essence, Abish experiences what a lot of modern missionaries do: the complete disjunction between what they feel and what others take from the exact same situation.

Why is all of this pertinent? Because I'm entirely unsure how I feel about Real Hero Posters. For instance, the exact dates? How white the people are? But I do know that making some lame "Daughters of the Wilderness" attempt is ridiculous given the fact that we have a story of an actual female spiritual hero. Also, doesn't Enos look a little...elfin here?

*Isabel is probably the best-recognized named harlot in Mormonism (even more so than Rahab of Jericho, though her story is probably cooler. But it's probably a bad idea to get me started on Mormons' selective memory about the Old Testament). She's also one of four women in the Book of Mormon graced with a proper name. However, I have a (totally unaccepted) theory that Isabel isn't a name, but rather a title. One rendering from Hebrew would be 'Isa Ba'al (Wife/Mistress of Ba'al). Which then raises questions about how we know that Corianton's sin is sexual and not some form of idolatry.

Gives a totally new meaning to "not handsome enough to tempt me".

Every now and then I'm struck with this panic. Basically, it centers on the fact that someone will start seriously questioning my ability to perform my job. Maybe they'll notice how I haven't built a library website. Or that my budget tracking system is in total disarray. Or, worst yet, they'll start looking a little closer at the books I've decided we needed in our collection and it won't add up. Some titles are easily defended, like The Complete Tintin. Others are less defensible (Crunch! The History of the Potato Chip, my book of hilarious Peep poses, Stacked Decks--a history of erotic playing cards, etc, etc.).

But then, the fear subsides and I start thinking, hey, I really should just go ahead and order whatever I want. So, my next order will most certainly include this.

Recent things I am "For"

  • Bacon & Blueberry Scones. I know, who would have thought?
  • Jeffrey Donovan, who really makes Burn Notice what it is (and what it is is a delightful television experience). Do you think we could somehow nominate Michael Westen's smile for some sort of acting award?
  • Alain de Botton. This isn't a new thing, but anybody who can bend genres so seamlessly and then include the alternatively heartbreaking and hilarious in one book has won me over. I want to have his intellectual babies. Need proof? Take his imagined personal ad for Marcel Proust from Kiss and Tell:
    GAY WRITER PARIS AREA, close to mother, asthmatic, keen on socialising, Vermeer, long sentences, Anatole France, chauffeurs, men if bearing women's names, Venice. Problems with travel, being brief, getting to bed without a kiss. At work on a big project. Send photo.
    Want even more?
    We may be forced to identify our lovers from a cripplingly small pool of choices. In trying to explain the more inexplicable love stories, one may have to answer the question, 'Why them" with the gloomy thought, 'Did you see the others?'
  • Studying the D&C in Sunday School. Hands down my favorite tome of scripture, and, for some reason, people act like they've never read half of it before. (I am less for having quotes of third-hand experiences of David O. McKay shared by the recorded voice of Hyrum W. Smith, who is not, it turns out, an apostle, but rather the founder of the Franklin-Covey company. Though, Church movies with coordinated polo shirts? Brilliant.)
  • My recent trip to Chicago. Seriously, I loved every. single. minute. Turns out, I have the best friends ever. Way to go, guys.
  • Having another week of work to get done all that stuff that I was supposed to be working on over the break
  • And, lastly
  • Reading a book by an author that stands to be the start of a lovely relationship with all their works. Welcome to my obsessions, Allegra Goodman.