Monday, July 23, 2007

Polly Love

I love "Polly: A One Woman Musical." It is a delightful musical based on the life of Polly Matilda Merrill Colton, an ancestor of Stephen Kapp Perry who wrote the play and whose wife Johanne is the one-woman star of the show.

The show takes the form of a reminiscence of an old woman. She thinks back on her girlhood days, including milking the family cow and schoolgirl crushes and follows her through romance, childbearing, motherhood, and old age.

The musical is full of catchy tunes that I find myself singing around the house. Keryn has her own favorites, including songs that talk about the quirks of frontier Salt Lake City, longing for loved-ones lost, and the role of women in history.

I think the most powerful themes in the play are issues of Polly coming to grips with her role in the world. She want to "be one of the movers and shakers" and "history makers." She laments that women's work--food preparation and cleaning--is never done, but always used up immediately. She is portrayed as a bit of a frontier feminist who comes to peace with her role as daughter, wife, mother, and woman.

It is a perfect mix of fun, serious, and sentimental.

If you'd like the chance to watch the fabulous show, your two best bets are to purchase the DVD (which is an excellent recording of a live performance) or to catch it on BYU TV. For the next two weeks or so, you can watch it streaming from the BYU TV archives. They take the shows down after that, but it regularly replays, so you might be able to find it there if you don't read this post within the two-week window.

If you need the voice of another witness, here is a review from Eric Snider.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

FAIR Conference Coming

The FAIR conference is coming up on Aug. 2 and 3 and I signed up this year for the first time. It will be in the Salt Lake area (Sandy) which isn't too far from my Spanish Fork, Utah home. I'm really excited about the list of presenters. We've got Terryl Givens, David Seely, William Hamblin, Blake Ostler, and more. We'll hear a session titled "Are the Church Archives Closed?" by Steve Olsen and "Reflections on Mountain Meadows" by Richard Turley. It should be a really info-packed two days.

If you're going to attend the conference, perhaps I'll see you there. The admission is pretty inexpensive, only $60 for two full days including lunches. If you're coming in from out of town for the conference and need a place to stay, Keryn and I would be happy to have you stay at our place. We're about 45 minutes from the conference location.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Times and Seasons of Copyright

I must confess that I ruined it for everyone else.

Once upon a time, the popular Mormon blog, Times and Seasons, was published under a Creative Commons license (scroll to the bottom of the right column of that link to see the copyright notice in the Internet Archive) which allowed for redistribution of their content with attribution for non-commercial purposes. Based on the grants in this license, in 2005 I decided that a fun Christmas present for people in my family would be a printed collection of a few of my favorite posts by Wilfried Decoo. I know they don't read the blogs and I thought they'd appreciate reading some of those stellar posts.

I copied the text from the posts and put it together in a nice format for printing and put it all together in a PDF document. I printed and bound several copies. Grateful as I was to Brother Decoo for his writing, I sent him a copy of the PDF in a thank-you email.

Imagine my surprise when a short time later, Times and Seasons dropped the Creative Commons license. Brother Decoo sent me a kind email granting me permission to distribute the copies that I had made but "requiring" that I include an extra copyright notice. The word require is in quotes since he didn't actually have legal power to revoke the license under which his work had previously been distributed, according to the terms of the Creative Commons deed. (Maybe they should get a lawyer to blog over there.) Nevertheless, I complied with his wishes.

Still, I am saddened that I caused this right to be revoked for everyone. Times and Seasons has been a great publisher of LDS content over the past few years and I'd love to see them rejoin the Creative Commons and make their work available again for redistribution.

I put my own religious blog under a Creative Commons license after this incident. I'd invite you to do the same.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ronald Reagan on Forgiveness

On Meet the Press on May 20, 2007, they were discussing the recently published Reagan Diaries. Apparently, only four presidents kept a regular journal during their time in the White House and Reagan was one of them. The diary was pretty raw and honest from what I gathered during the show. Like any father, he apparently struggled with his children.

This quotation from the diary that they shared on the show was particularly meaningful to me. Reagan was writing about March 30, 1981, the day he was shot. (I've preserved the punctuation as it was presented on the television screen during the program, which I assume is from the diary.)

Left the hotel at the usual side entrance and headed for the car -- suddenly there was a burst of gun fire from the left. S. S. Agent pushed me onto the floor of the car & jumped on top. ...

Then I began coughing up blood which made both of us think -- yes I had broken a rib & it had punctured a lung. He switched orders from W. H. to Geo. Wash. U. Hosp.

By the time we arrived I was having great trouble getting enough air. ... I walked into the emergency room and was hoisted onto a cart. ... It was then we learned I'd been shot & had a bullet in my lung.

Getting shot hurts. Still my fear was growing because no matter how hard I tried to breathe it seemed I was getting less & less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn't ask for Gods help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn't that the meaning of the lost sheep? We are all Gods children & therefore equally beloved by him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold. ...

The days of therapy, transfusion, intravenous etc. have gone by -- now it is Sat. April 11 and this morning I left the hospital. ...

Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can.

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