Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ok, Janis Joplin
Drunk now. Eating day. Or should that be "Drinking Day"? C'est possible. Janis lives. And she has never died dans ma cerveaux fievre. Prediction: Youtube is going to take over from cable TV, DSL and all that other jazz. Who needs anything else?

Later Note: this post shows why internet access should be automatically cut off when the alcohol level in the blood goes above a sane level.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Married to the job

A Samizdata post avers that being married beats working for a living. But at least when you're working you get to take a break! Ba doom ba! It's really about McCartney and wives gone wild, though:
Of course, it may not be terribly 'romantic' to have pre-nups, but let's face it, if rich people fear they will lose a huge chunk of their money to a cynical spouse on the make, it will raise calls for no-fault divorce to be abolished.

So, being quite recently divorced, I had to hop in with a snarky comment that summarizes a bit of regretting, having to do with my state of mind when I was 24, which unfortunately I can't go back and change, in this lifetime:
In fact, if the newlyweds had to explicitly promise to share a certain percentage of their assets and income with each other, for a specific time - none of this "till death us do part" nonsense - they might wake up and realize how ruinously unprofitable marriage could be. The way things are, you have to be a lawyer to quite understand the trouble you are getting yourself into. If marriage were a true contract, there would have to be a knowing, conscious meeting of the minds.

Posted by Robert Speirs at May 25, 2006 08:47 PM

Maybe before reincarnation I can leave a message for my next self warning of the pitfalls presented by women you think you can't live without. Hey. Maybe that's how all those self-help books get written!

But it also seemed like a good opportunity to chime in with one of my most time-honored pieces of worldly wisdom about marriage:
Marriage as it is today is not a relationship between a man and a woman. It is a relationship between a person and the state, with the terms set by the state, for the benefit of others, that is, the spouse and the children. The relationship between a man and a woman is called love.

Posted by Robert Speirs at May 26, 2006 07:21 PM

I can't believe I've never blogged about that opinion before. So maybe I have. What does it really mean? I left out the other supposed beneficiary of the marriage machine - other members of society who get a nice domesticated castrato to deal with instead of a wild young man, from which development the state benefits as well. And marriage also is a machine for creating more taxpayers, as one commenter pointed out.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hee, hee!
A bishop gets a lesson in what some people consider holy:
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend John Gladwin, and 20 curates have been abandoned in Africa by the Anglican Church of Kenya after its Archbishop discovered his liberal views on gays.

I liked it so much I even made a comment to a Social Affairs Unit post about the British church. The comment isn't up yet. I am bowled over by a vision of the Bishop's astonishment that some religious leaders actually read the Bible and take what it says as literally true and applicable to today's world. How stupid, mean and arrogant can one be? And he calls himself a representative of goodness. I hope the leopards eat well tonight.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Symmetrical blather

Tyler Cowen, having absorbed multiple broadsides on the immigration issue, has struck his flag and is bloviating about relationships. But that's OK. I can spout blather on that topic, too:
In every relationship, there is a moment of maximum symmetry. Sadly, a man's emotional high points will rarely coincide with those of the woman he loves. Women and men are just too different. The longer a relationship goes on, the more moments occur when there's no match at all. And perhaps the mutual high points are all pretty much the same. The mismatches are all different, and so more memorable.
The Da Vinci Code: Never read it, never will. But...

A post on the Gene Expression blog about the Da Vinci Code publishing phenomenon seems puzzling, as in this extract:
That being said, why does it matter that The Da Vinci Code is historically inaccurate? Some readers might view it as fantasy, but the problem is that it is billed as historical fiction (see the preface to the book). 45 million Americans have read this book, that's 20% of the population. A small minority, on the order of millions, claim to have had their view of the Bible and Christianity altered. This is nothing to sneeze at, if a new religious movement claimed millions in a few years we would take note.
until I stopped to think about Julian Jaynes and Rodney Stark. Then I came up with this comment:
Isn't it odd that a book about the fine details of Christian history should be so popular in our secularized age, when you would think religious history would be totally irrelevant? The only explanation I can imagine is that Western Man realizes that his view of the world depends heavily on the Christian perspective, whether he's an agnostic or a self-proclaimed "pagan". 45 million readers sense that what happened to Jesus affected events for two thousand years and, by extension, is essential to the consciousness with which we analyze the world today. Pretty amazing.

I don't see the DVC as leading to a religious reawakening or anything. But if it leads to a greater understanding of the role of Christian theology and psychology in creating the modern world, perhaps it will be worth the laughable errors it contains.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Futility moment
I sent this letter to Senator Mel Martinez:
I have lately heard the unbelievable suggestion that illegal aliens - who lied and cheated to get into this country and continued to lie and cheat to work here - should be able to benefit from this deception by getting credit for their illegal work in the US Social Security system, even though the work was only possible because they used forged documentation! I certainly hope you don't agree with this appeasement of felonious conduct.
The rationale that has been given is that these workers paid into the system and should get the benefit of what they paid. Of course this is nonsense. Like all other workers, the system envisions giving them far more than what they or their employers paid. But it gets worse.
As I understand Social Security regulations, even if a worker doesn't make contributions to the Social Security system, or his employer doesn't, as long as the work he does SHOULD HAVE been covered by Social Security, he will get credit for the work. How long will it be until some liberal lawmaker gets the bright idea of imputing contributions from every illegal alien who asserts, however mendaciously, that he worked in this country? This is a real threat to the Social Security system and to honest, hard-working American workers. Illegal immigration and especially illegal employment must be stopped now.

I know. It's pointless. They'll do what they want and Mel Martinez in particular will never vote for justice and freedom. But I had to try. Do I feel especially strongly about all this because I'm within a decade of getting Social Security? Maybe. Or maybe the whole immigration thing is getting to me big time, even though I plan to spend my retirement as an immigrant - legal, let me hastily add - to some lucky country with a stimulating environment. It would be good, though, if there were an actual America to come back to now and then.