#4 & 96

First, thank you Ashley for the swift kick in the pants.  🙂  I have been doing a few things here and there, but I most certainly have not beein blogging about them.  What can I say….sometimes I’m a slacker.  But here’s what I’ve been up to:

#4

My book club picked this one out.  I don’t usually like tell-all type books, but considering everything that was happing in El Dorado I thought it would be a good lesson in current events. 

Under The Banner of Heaven starts off with a brief chapter about the two central figures of the story (Ron and Dan), but then quickly shifts into a fairly detailed history of Mormonism.  I can’t imagine the book without this section, because it really helped me to understand the roots of Ron and Dan’s fanaticism.  Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church we were taught that Mormonism is a cult.  Period.  No further explanation needed.  [Aside:  While I don’t necessarily agree with how much influence the Mormon church exercises over its members, it doesn’t strike me as all that different from other more “mainstream” religions.  Though some would understandably argue that at the rate Mormonism is growing it is mainstream in some parts of the world.]  Now I feel like I have a solid understanding of how and maybe why the Mormon church began and developed over the years.  For the most part Krakauer presents the history in a straight forward manner.  Every now and then he lets the narrative drift into condescending tones, which was my only real beef with this book.

The second half of the book deals with the story of Ron and Dan Lafferty and how they came to murder their sister-in-law and niece.  This was the part of the book that I honestly dreaded.  I’m not a fan of Dateline exposes or based-on-a-true-story made-for-tv movies.  Every time I see them I’m reminded of lyrics to an Ani DiFranco song:  “tv is, afterall, the modern day Roman coliseum, human devastation as mass entertainment.”  And the last few chapters did feel a lot like that.  But the way Krakauer tells the beginning of the brothers’ tale…it’s almost like another history lesson.  As the Laffertys delve deeper and deeper into fundamental Mormonism, you learn so much about the fundamental sects themselves.  How they function from day to day, how they survive economically, the way they recruit and maintain their membership, etc.  Through interviews with former members of fundamental sects, or apostates, you get a few brief, but detailed glimpses into the FLDS lifestyle.  These glimpses are, of course, a wee bit tainted by the fact that these are former members with a strong bias against the church, but they seem as “fair” as they could possibly be. 

Like so many books I read in school, now that I’m finished with it I’m really glad I made myself push through the unpleasant parts.  It’s a good read for anyone looking to learn more about both mainstream and fundament Mormonism.  Though the squeamish or very sensitive would do well to skip over the paragraphs detailing the murders.

**I’m currently re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Since I don’t count re-reads towards the goal of 35 books, I won’t do a review.**

#96

The Hubby and I recently took a trip to D.C. and had the chance to try two top notch restaurants while we were there. 

The first was Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar.  We went there on a recommendation by the guidebook we were using (Access D.C.) and really enjoyed our quick lunch.  After smelling the wonderful aromas coming out of the wood-fired pizza oven, I opted for a buffalo mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, spinach and basil pizza.  It was excellent.  Though arguably anything is better with buffalo mozzarella.  Though I think the Hubby won the prize for best dish.  His frogmore stew was AMAZING.  I never would have thought to pair this decidedly American dish with curry, but it works.  It works so very well.  We also had what is now my very favorite wine ever.  The 2007 Muculan Pino & Toi, which is a pinot blanc, pino grigio, tocai blend.  It’s everything you could ever want in a wine.  And more!  Now if I can get the distributor to call me back so I can get a bottle here in Austin.

The second place we discovered (thanks again, Access!) was Grillfish.  This place has fresh-outta-the-water seafood that practically melts in your mouth.  We started out with a sampler appetizer that consisted of calamari, shrimp and portobello fries.  These are exactly what you think they are:  portobello caps thinly sliced, breaded, fried and served with a yummy “special sauce”.  The Hubby is generally anti-mushroom, unless they’re well disguised, but even he gobbled these up.  For the main course I ordered mussels with spicy tomato sauce and the Hubby had a mixed grill.  Both were fantastic, but once again I think the Hubby may have made a better choice because the salmon on his kebabs was divine.  We finished our gluttonous evening off with two desserts:  Banana Split with Russian Dark Chocolate Sauce and creme brulee cheesecake.  I would give my left arm for that cheesecake recipe.  Seriously…it was What About Bob good.

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2 Comments

  1. ash said,

    July 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    yay for blogging again 🙂

    and the book I just blogged about (Cage of Stars) is also about Mormons and murders… WEIRD! I’m adding yours to my Goodreads list to read!

  2. MrsMonkey said,

    July 17, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    “What About Bob good”, haha! I do love cheesecake, but I don’t know if that would surpass my love for dark chocolate. Both desserts sound delicious!


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