The Emotional Theory of Evolution
Few Odd Fellows But Plenty of Weirdos

Things Younger than McCain and the Governing Body

We know now we‘re in a sexist country.

We know it because the first woman ever to campaign for President was rejected. What reason could there possibly be other than sexism?

But there is yet one more “ism” that will condemn us before we’re through. Racism, if Obama goes down. Ageism, if McCain is defeated. Such is the nature of this election. It’s a win-win-lose for the politically correct.

Opponents are painting McCain as too old to be President, same as they did two or three elections ago with Bob Dole. Back then, someone pointed out that Dole’s social security number was 6. Of course, it was actually much higher. Similarly, some wise guy has come up with a website collection of things that are younger than John McCain……things like Scrabble, polyester, the minimum wage, teflon, and duct (or duck) tape. I read about this site in the Economist magazine. In fact, since two of the things younger than McCain (Mildred Loving and LSD synthesis) are two things prominently featured in recent Economist issues and nowhere else, and since the website itself is only 2 months old, I suspect the author reads Economist. Perhaps he is even an employee.

Now this “younger than McCain” idea is intriguing to me because I have often thought of doing the same: putting together a list of things that have come about during my lifetime.

Tamper-proof bottle caps, for example. I well remember how you could once buy a bottle of pills or anything else and simply pop the cap and take one. You didn’t have to be a safecracker. It was inconceivable that anyone would tamper with a product. Oh, you might want to poison a specific person, like in an Agatha Christie novel, but to contaminate a product so as to harm random people? It had never happened and was impossible to imagine.   

The Tylenol scare changed all that. In 1982, someone laced bottles on Extra-Strength Tylenol with cyanide. Seven people ultimately died. Johnson & Johnson pulled the product promptly, redid the packaging, and we’ve had to dynamite open containers of anything ever since.

I am also older than airline hijackings. It used to be you could park your car at the airport, buy a ticket, and hop on the plane. Nobody wanted to strip search you. You didn’t have to walk through wands and buzzers. Show up ten minutes before departure time? Not a problem.

According to this report, there were 15 hijackings worldwide between 1948 and 1957, one a year. Between 1958 and 1967, it was about 5 a year. But in 1968 alone there were 38, and the next year 82! For the next ten years: 41 per annum.

Strictly speaking I am not older than all hijackings, but almost. I am older than all hijackings in the western world. The first instances here involved flights to and from Cuba. I vividly remember public dilemma following one of them….how old could I have been? The hijackers had made some demands. This was a new tactic. Nobody in the media knew what to do. Should they report every tidbit of information they learned? Or, by providing a stage, would that only encourage future hijackings? Maybe they should treat the hijackers as simple thugs, and publicize neither their demands nor cause.

The uncertainty lasted a day or two. Then the news people decided to spill all, moralizing that the public “had a right to know.”  I’ve often thought the popularity of hijackings would have fizzled had they not played along.

I have no idea if a young person makes a better President than a old person. I suppose you can’t be taking your afternoon nap when some crazy launches World War III, though the Economist reports that McCain’s indefatigable energy leaves the kids covering his campaign panting and exhausted.

But in a spiritual organization, age is a great virtue. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is comprised of people who are old. Sometimes ancient. The downside, I guess, is that they don’t know much about ipods and reality TV. But the upside is that they don’t go carrying on as if skyjacking and lacing medicine is normal. They’re old enough to realize human society is getting sicker and sicker, and they’re human enough to realize that increased gadgets and technology don’t compensate for that.

Over the years, the governing body has delivered on its promises. Unlike politicians, they've not promised that the world will get rosier and rosier. They’ve said all along that world conditions are rough and will get rougher as humans display their total inability to govern themselves. The present day reeling in view of energy and food spikes is entirely in keeping with the Bible’s take on the “last days” and just one more evidence of human ineptness and mismanagement. “Light at the end of the tunnel” does not shine from any human leaders, but from God’s promise of renewed conditions on earth under Kingdom rule. Focus on those promises, despite unceasing and deafening claptrap about human efforts, and the specific accusations of some soreheads that the GB is out of step with modern times, is a monumental achievement.

Human leaders usually don't lead. More typically, they figure out which way the wave is flowing so as to ride the crest and give the appearance of leading. The governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has not been afraid to lead, pressing ahead with a message distinctly unpopular with those who put all their trust in human efforts. Telling about the four horsemen....on the gallop for most of the past century....doesn’t win you friends from that crowd. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell it.


I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.    Rev 6:2-8  NIV


Sure, the politically correct today would have the second horseman wailing about sexism, the third ageism, the fourth racism. But the ailments afflicting humankind go even deeper than that.


Tom Irregardless and Me              No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


Awake In Rochester

The minimum wage is younger then McCain? Oh my, I didn't know that!

He was good on SNL when he lampooned himself. He has a good sense of humor.


Federal Minimum Wage law was passed in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (at $0.25/hr)(state versions were patchworked together as early as 1912, but there were lots of judicial problems with implementation). However, there was a Federal minimum wage enacted in 1933, but the act that it was a part of (National Industry Recovery Act) was struck down as unconsitiutional in 1935.

I'm not that old, but even I can remember a time when kids respected their parents, didn't bring guns to school, and gave their teachers some measure of respect. I even remember the "paddle" in the principal's office. Things sure have changed thanks to numerous lawyers and parents who don't respect any authority at all...

Awake In Rochester

You have won 2 awards! See my blog for details.

Romulus Crowe

I'm keeping quiet because there are too many things younger than me.

I owned a ZX-81 when it was state of the art!

I'll say no more...

tom sheepandgoats

Screech: Lawyers, I think, are behind a lot of our societal woes.

Awake: You know how I love prizes. Thanks.

Romulus: Oh my! Really? And they let you on the internet?

Actually, I had to google ZX-81 to find what it was. Turns out the problem is not that it is too old but too British. Sinclair was a British firm. I had never heard of it. Here in the states Commodore was the groundbreaking computer. I'm not sure if the two were direct competitors. If your machines were ever sold here, I was too foreign to computing to know it.


Commodore! I had a VIC-20, C-64, C-128, and Commodore Amiga 2000 & 500. I love those machines! I recently hooked up my C-128 to my TV and when I loaded a favorite game, by son thought that the computer had crashed! Remember the Cassette tapes on the early home computers?

tom sheepandgoats

I once took a computer networking course (prior to my brief stint as DSL technician) and in a round robin session, students were asked what drew them to the course. Student after student answered that they had owned the first Commodore as a kid...and every upgrade thereafter, and they'd feasted on the early computer languages, and they'd lived and breathed computers ever since. I knew I was in trouble. My interest was purely mercenary & I was up against true believers!


A lot has changed since then...


You know things are crazy when people accuse you of being old and cranky because you prefer email and actually connecting with a human voice over texting someone on a phone.

Speaking of computing, does anyone remember the Apple IIe and the Oregon Trail game? I was in middle school when I first started using computers. Good times!

tom sheepandgoats


Unfortunately, I remember the IBM 360 computer. Our high school had one for those who wanted to take "computer math" and learn Fortran.

It occupied an entire room. It required air-conditioning. You had to feed it data via punch cards.


The LDS Church also shares and prizes a leadership made up primarly of old men. We recently lost our 97 year old prophet/president Gordon B. Hinckley, he was replaced in short order by our new 80 year old prophet/president Thomas S. Monson. Anyway in a 1996 interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes President Hinckley gave a quote on this matter that I always liked, here is that exceprt from the transcript:

Mike Wallace [voiceover; footage of missionaries continues]: Gordon Hinckley says he never intended to become president of the church, but that one by one all the other church leaders with more seniority died.

[Gordon B. Hinckley interview]

Mike Wallace: There are those who say, this is a gerontocracy, this is a church run by old men.

Gordon B. Hinckley: Isn't it wonderful? To have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment, who isn't blown about by every wind of doctrine?

Mike Wallace: Absolutely, as long as he's not dotty. [Laughs.]

Gordon B. Hinckley: [Laughs] Thank you for the compliment.

tom sheepandgoats

Outlive the competition...that's the secret!

Reminds me of one of our people, an architect, in another town. He's always in demand and his works are well-regarded....I've even heard the description "inspired."

He tells me (only partly tongue-in-cheek)that the secret is just to keep your shingle out there long enough. He worked his way up....he's never been to college, he says. People just assume it.

No doubt an architect does need college now. But he's been grandfathered in, I'm sure.


Speaking of College, I’ve heard tale that higher education is discouraged among members of your faith. Is that true, if so why? Just curious.

tom sheepandgoats

It is true, Nate, for the most part. It takes a little explaining, so counter does it run to counsel from anywhere else. I'll post on it soon and let you know.

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