Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Haircut

Well, it was time, due to the warming weather and the impracticality of the long curly hair, to cut it off. I began by shaving the beard and 'stache earlier in the day, and here I am sitting in the haircut chair - my wife is going to do the deed.

I really can't believe how long it has grown. I look a little too much like an 80's rock star or Weird Al Yankovich.

Well, we're committed now. My little flower has got the number four comb attached to the razor and she's attacking the 'fro with glee. Look at that crazy mop! It's going to get a lot easier to take care of now.

This is the mullet - there's absolutely no way that I'm going to keep it, but it sure looks great for a photo. Once again, welcome back to high school. I pulled it into a pony tail for a second - wow, we're really styling now.

We're headed back to the land of conservative hairstyles. She's done with the number four, and now she's taking the scissors to the top to taper things a bit. Notice how long her hair is - she also wants to get a pretty serious haircut very soon. Sometimes a little change is fun - you know, shake things up a bit.

Well, we're done with the cut and here is all my hair. What should I do with it? It's not quite long enough for "locks for love" so I guess I'll just throw it away. Funny how powerful a little hair can be.

And finally the self portrait in the bathroom mirror after the shower. I just dropped ten years in 30 minutes. And now nobody needs to worry about the dangers posed to my immortal soul by the evils of long hair.

And here is another picture of my little Mrs. She has something in mind about shoulder length - I gave up a long time ago maintaining that she should keep it long - she's beautiful just the same and it's fun for her to play around with different styles. Besides, it's hard with five young boys to maintain long hair, and it's always getting in the way.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Chicken Tractor

We have increased our ability to engage in backyard farming - this is a "chicken tractor" that I built this week. It has wheels on one end - you lift the other end and roll it to a new spot on the lawn. It has a man-door at one end and an egg-gathering door on the other end. Chickens are great for keeping the bugs down, and they produce great fertilizer for the grass. We jsut have to remember to roll the tractor off of the grass the nights before the sprinklers come on! We have three little Bantams and two Auracanas. We also have some Rhode Island Reds, but they live one block over at a neighbor's house. The boys like the birds - we have to convince the oldest that he doesn't need to check in on them every fifteen minutes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Pirate Name...

Dale's Pirate Name Is...

Captain Wicked Willie

Philosophical Musings on Hair

We hit the low 90's in temperature this week. Today was cool and rainy, but those warm days earlier in the week reminded me that the hair can't last much longer. It's been almost three months since the perm, so the 'fro has settled down a bit, but this mop is crazy when I'm outside in the wind. I'm running outside almost daily, training for a long-distance event in June. Long hair just doesn't work for a runner.

To set the stage for my following remarks, remember that I am a committed Latter-day Saint (Mormon). I go to church weekly, attend the temple, and serve in a leadership calling. Most of all, I love my Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, I find it obvious that personal grooming is a cultural issue, not a doctrinal or salvational issue. Current cultural perceptions about what constitutes clean grooming grow first out of the backlash to transcendentalism and all of its liberal connections. Short hair on men as a more standard practice (at least in the last few hundred years) began in the late 19th century (before that short hair was often connected to your status as a slave or servant). It probably peaked in the first half of the 20th century. Then you had the cultural revolution in the recent past, and tattoes, pearcings, promiscuity, drug use, etc. are often connected to a more rough personal grooming, and especially long hair and facial hair. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, didn't have facial hair, but had relatively long hair by the standards of today's church leaders. Following Joseph Smith, all the presidents of the LDS Church had facial hair of various styles until David O. McKay cleaned it up a bit. Today's unwritten standard, not just in the LDS Church, but in other faiths and the business culture as well, is a clean cut image. Anytime a Church leader has asked a member to cut their hair, it was probably because of how easy it is to associate it with immoral behavior or at least non-conformity, whether or not the member actually was engaging in such behavior. Twenty years ago, it was common for Stake Presidents and Bishops to ask members to cut their hair – now it is much less common. And the only places I am aware of it being written down are in the missionaries' rulebook and BYU's honor code (which has also relaxed a little over the last couple of decades.) Will it be culturally acceptable once again, and perhaps even commonplace, for men in the Church to have long hair and beards? It is conceivable.

However, I have observed some sad tendencies toward judgment in other people through this exercise in hairstyling silliness. Most people are indifferent, and see it for what it is (just a fun little whim.) But some surprising comments have reached my ears, some directly and some through the rumor mill. It seems that looking like I do raises concerns in the minds of some small-minded people about the welfare of my immortal soul.

So, I'll probably cut it short again in the next few days, but it will be due to my own personal preferences and practicality, not due to submission to other people's unwarranted concern. But I will always live with the memory of the poison of judgmentalism, and maybe I'll be less likely to jump to conclusions about others based on superficial evidence.

Texas CPS and the FLDS

I have put this post off for too long - last night I had a lively discussion with several friends, and I believe we all concluded that Texas chose the wrong approach to dealing with their concerns over the beliefs and practices of the FLDS people at the YFZ ranch. Since we believe so strongly in freedom, and lament the fact that we have seen our freedoms slowly erode since the inception of the United States of America, we should speak out openly when we see further erosions of those freedoms. This is a clear case of the ends not justifying the means. Whether or not you agree with the religious beliefs and social customs of a group of people, you still must respect their rights as humans. There should be overwhelming evidence of a crime, and that crime should then be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In the absence of clear evidence, we are walking on thin ice to take the types of measures that Texas CPS officials took. You have to ask yourself - What country do we live in?
Today's article might be a step in the right direction, but Texas and the FLDS have a long, painful, highly expensive legal battle ahead of them. And, due to legal precedent and common sense, Texas will lose badly, even if it has to go all the way to the Supreme Court, and will look foolish in the eyes of the nation.