Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Week in Nauvoo

This week the U.S. government frantically planned for an economic recovery using means proven to bring fatality. I lived in Japan when their government implemented a stimulus package, and know that country has not recovered, 19 years later, from the ill effects of the package. They were no more successful that FDR, whose plan dragged down GDP until he dragged us into a European/Asian war. But what else is to be done?

We ignored it all. In Nauvoo, we played a giant game of Trivial Pursuit. The Nauvoo Betterment Society sponsored a team trivia competition to raise money for town improvements. So each person paid $10, little more than the cost of a Starbucks trip, to enter. Nauvoo doesn't have a Starbucks shop anyway. The committee raised a bit, which they will hopefully invest before Bernanke's printing presses create hyper-inflation. Perhaps the Betterment Society should instead mimic Tim Geithner: we can borrow money to buy our debts back. But quantitative easing doesn't buy real park benches or street lamps. In Nauvoo we live in the real world, so we need real money. That is better anyway, as we were also able to play a fun game. If only we had written "Dekalb, Illinois" for "where was barbed wire invented and first produced?" Then our team might have won.

One contestant declared that Chicago should be made an autonomous political entity, like the District of Columbia, so the rest of Illinois would be free of their corruption. But how could the new entity survive, without the property taxes of the honest real people of Illinois?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lord Shiva in Galesburg

Driving from Nauvoo to Chicago last Spring, I stopped at a 7-11 in Galesburg, Illinois to purchase petrol and to ask directions. I was surprised to find the cash register operated by Lord Shiva. I was surprised, as I suppose he has very few Hindu followers in rural Illinois. Perhaps it was just an Indian man who looked very much like the Hindu deity. In either case he was very friendly and helpful, which I hope will bring him some good karma. I'm sure Elvis Presley will not be any more obliging if I ever see him at a 7-11.

When we were trying to decide whether to move to Nauvoo, we visited a local sacrament meeting. The bishop approached us, and we explained to him our crossroad. He paused and responded, though he seemed to be speaking to himself, that "well, this is home." This phrase could have come as a prompting from the Holy Ghost, or as a recitation of a Chamber of Commerce slogan. Because he doesn't work in the private sector, and because they are the exact same words I had been thinking, I believe it was the first reason.