I’m mourning the passing of Gordon B. Hinckley, the late president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It’s a strange thing to be so emotionally affected by the death of someone you never met, though I suppose this case is no stranger than perfect strangers mourning the death of Heath Ledger.  I’ve seen exactly one Heath Ledger movie (10 Things I Hate about You), so while I appreciate the tragedy of a promising and talented actor (and father) dying at the young age of twenty-eight, I don’t feel a sense of personal loss. 

There’s nothing tragic about the death of a 97-year-old man.  Pres. Hinckley lived a full life, active and relatively vibrant pretty much until the end, and now he can rest and be reunited with his dear wife, whom he lost a few years back.  It’s not sad that he is dead, but I am sad because even though I didn’t know him, I did know him.  He was president of the church for twelve years, but he’s essentially been the public face of the church for the last almost-thirty years.  Most of the men who preceded him in that office became severely ill and incapacitated in their final years, and the burden of leadership fell on Pres. Hinckley as a result.  I’m not qualified to give his eulogy, and this isn’t a religious blog, so I’m not going to say anymore, except that I will miss his humor and Christ-centered leadership.  And thus am I melancholy today.

On a lighter note, it would appear that I will shortly be mourning the passing of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, a most unfortunate demise that is all the more regrettable insofar as it was avoidable.  (I know Iowa was a lost cause, Rudy, but why did you forsake New Hampshire and Michigan?  Why did you forsake me, Rudy?  Why?  Why?  Why?)  With Fred Thompson gone and Rudy not long for this world–and not so much as a Duncan Hunter to kick around–all I’ve got left is Romney and McCain.  A sorry state of affairs, indeed.  Insert heavy sigh here.  Oh, well.  Things could be worse.  Bob Dole could be running.  (Insert bad Viagra joke here.)

Which brings me to another point:  Whichever one of you cats ends up winning the nomination, DO NOT pick Mike Huckabee as your running mate, no offense to him.  And by “whichever one of you” I really mean you, John McCain, because I think the Mittster is too smart for that numbskull idea.  (I’ve taken to calling him Mittster in an attempt to inject some humanity into him.  Is it working?  Well, at least I’m doing something.)  No offense to Gov. Huckabee, who seems like a nice enough guy, and he’s folksy and plays the guitar and whatnot, but like the original cast of Saturday Night Live, he is not ready for prime time.  Some of you in this race–who shall remain nameless–are 72 years old, and that whole one-heartbeat-away issue should figure heavily into this particular decision.  Don’t blow it.  And by “don’t blow it,” I really mean, “You don’t blow it.  You don’t blow it, John McCain.”  That’s all I have to say.  (Except P.S. Sylvester Stallone would not be a good choice either.)

In other news, Elvis inches ever-so-slowly toward toilet-trainedness.  Sugar Daddy reports that on the last couple trips to the Safeway, which has wheelchair-accessible automatic doors on its restrooms, Elvis has joyfully pushed the button to open the door to the men’s room, gone inside and used the potty, washed his hands, and returned triumphantly, proclaiming, “I had privacy.”  I asked SD how much he thought it would cost us to put one of those automatic doors in our house, but he insists on sticking to that six-month moratorium on home improvements.  Not one to pander to special interests, that SD. 

It snowed last night.  The kids have the day off school anyway, so it was kind of a waste, that snow.  And you know, several weeks ago I made a special point of buying all the kids new gloves because whenever it snows, I can never find their gloves.  And so here we were today, snow on the ground outside and kids home from school, wanting to play in said snow, and where were the gloves?  Heck if I know.  Stupid snowy day.