This, Too, Shall Pass

By: Bogon , 07:43 PM GMT em 09 de Maio de 2012

Yesterday there was a primary election in North Carolina, the state where I reside, the state of my birth. There was a lot on the ballot. There was so much, in fact, that I did not vote. Wife phoned to remind me, so it's not because I forgot. Mainly it's because I'm lazy and apolitical. I'm not plugged into the political process. I don't know any of the people who were running for office. Not only do I not know them personally, I don't know anything about them. I don't follow political news closely enough to form an opinion. (It bores the heck out of me.) The day of the election is much too late to start that homework assignment. I did not want to go to the polls only to pick winners by flipping a coin. That sort of uninformed voting is liable to do more harm than good.

Then there's the fact that I have some background in mathematics. I understand the odds. I also have a grasp of local demographics. This is the Bible belt, Ku Klux Klan territory etc. There's more of them than there is of me. I might break a tie between two candidates, but in any election that pits me versus a sea of Bible thumpers, my lone vote doesn't count for much. I'm okay with that, actually. I'm used to it. That's democracy. I may lament the outcome, but I know that the majority of people will get the quality of government they deserve. After all, they asked for it.

The reason I'm pounding the keyboard today is, that there was precisely one item on yesterday's ballot about which I had formed a clear opinion. If I had gone to the polling place, it would have been in order to express that single opinion. Election returns indicate that it may have been a touchy issue for a lot of people, because there was a big turnout for this primary. The big draw was a constitutional amendment restricting the institution of marriage to intersex monogamy. The amendment passed.

Since I didn't bother to express my opinion at the polls, I'll beg your indulgence to express it now. If you don't care about what I have to say, then move along, folks. There's nothing for you to see here.

Here's the text of the amendment:

"Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."

What does this amendment change? Most marriages with which I am familiar, including my own, follow the standard one male per one female pattern. Most are conducted in a church or, at least, by a minister, which satisfies a religious imperative. You get a marriage license, which implies a legal angle. You file your taxes jointly, which adds an economic consideration. You get to shack up, which multiplies the economic effects and satisfies a biological imperative. In many cases children will follow, and there is a social imperative that the parents should provide a healthy and stable child-rearing environment. Society regards marriage as a kind of kinship. The amendment affirms all that.

There is already (since 1996) a law on the books which bans gay marriage in North Carolina. I assume there are laws restricting other patterns, such as group marriage, as well. The amendment confirms and reinforces all such restrictions and denials.

The effects of the amendment are therefore minimal. Voters get to vent. The affirmations and restrictions are now etched somewhat more deeply in figurative stone. Surely there are other more pressing and important issues that might be addressed by amending the state constitution.

So why the rigamarole? What is it about the institution of marriage that needs regulating so stringently? Let's look over some of the attributes of marriage that I listed earlier: kinship; child rearing; sex; economics; legal, social and religious sanctions — and love. I didn't actually list that last one before, but here in the Occident love is very much part of an ideal marriage. There may be more stuff that I didn't think of. If I left out something that is important to you, sound off. That's what the comments are for.

Kinship defines families. Whom do we call for help? Who will inherit our stuff when we die? Where do we draw the line between incest and fair game? For most people who get married, these considerations are secondary. One doesn't usually date one's future in-laws. One doesn't amend the constitution over such questions, either.

Child rearing is how we perpetuate our civilization. That's sort of a biggie. That would certainly be worth an amendment or two, but the text of the amendment doesn't address this point. Is monogamy the best way to accomplish the goal? Traditionally children were raised within an extended family. Grandparents, aunts and uncles provided care and acted as role models. These days kids are lucky to be born into a stable nuclear family. Separation and divorce are increasingly common. People are mobile. They leave their families to go where the jobs are or wherever their wanderlust takes them. In a sputtering economy it's more common for both parents to hold jobs. Kids are raised in daycare centers or by television. It might be better for our civilization to consider group marriage as an option. I'm thinking that more (than two) people in a marriage would yield more income, stability and caregivers at home. Those are all good things.

Sex... is private. There is an exhibitionist/voyeuristic side to sex, but in general I don't want to know. I don't really care who does what to whom. Bible thumpers rant about what the Bible says, and I don't care about that, either. The United States Constitution, which explicitly supersedes the state constitution, guarantees freedom of — and by implication, from — religion. I don't need some self-righteous ass telling me what I can do in my own bedroom. Butt out, Jack; it's none of your business. We're all consenting adults here. You're free to do it your way in your bedroom. Grant me the same privacy. That goes for all you paparazzi, too. Butt out. If it were up to me, you guys would be required to paint a target on your t-shirt.

Marriage conduces to economies of scale. By pooling incomes and sharing food and lodging, people are better able to care for each other. No problem there.

Legal marriage affects official identity, since most married couples style themselves as Mr. and Mrs. It helps the state keep track of kinship, inheritance and taxes. Lastly it separates condoned sex from adultery. Adultery is a concept that bleeds over from the social and religious side of things. In that sense it's sort of artificial and doesn't necessarily belong here in the legal domain. Among some primates promiscuity is more the rule than the exception, so I'm inclined to doubt that this kind of jealousy is inherent in human nature. I think it probably goes back to the old patriarchal religions, of which we seem to have a more than generous affliction.

The social and religious aspects of marriage are where the norms and mores originate that define our ideals and expectations with respect to the institution. This is where it gets touchy. This is where the animus behind the amendment comes from. In particular, I think it is the religious folks who feel threatened by any proposal for innovation or diversification in our definitions of marriage. Why they should feel threatened, I can't understand. They remain free to do it their way. Insofar as they seek to prescribe for others, who may not believe as they do, they have no moral or legal standing. In my opinion the new state amendment could be ruled in violation of First Amendment rights, no matter how many people voted for it. Marriage as defined here is essentially "an establishment of religion". It abridges certain forms of free speech. It infringes the rights of people to peaceably assemble.

Peaceable assemblage is what marriage is all about. That's where love enters the picture. Two people like each other so much that they are prepared to make a lifelong comittment to stay together. Most newlyweds have little idea what that commitment will entail. They rely on their love to make their dreams unfold in the face of adversity. Love can hold the marriage together despite the often unforeseen exigencies of aging. It is love, more than anything, that good parents wish to pass on to their children.

So here is where I have the greatest problem with this marriage restriction thing. I don't want my government to tell me what I can't do. Don't repress people. Don't tell me I have to be like everybody else. Don't create problems where none exists. This democracy of ours is not supposed to be exclusive.

I want a government that helps me out. Keep me safe and healthy. Create a fair system within which I can seek my own happiness. Encourage diversity. Spread the love. Love is inclusive. If I'm happy, it increases the chances that you can be happy. Life is not a zero sum game. We can bootstrap this sucker. We can build heaven right here. It will take a lot of love and commitment.

Let's get married.

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59. Bogon
06:05 PM GMT em 05 de Junho de 2012
That's it! It's not weather, it's Chiffon.
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58. BriarCraft
04:45 PM GMT em 05 de Junho de 2012
Technically, you're right that climate change is caused by global warming which, in turn, is caused by mankind's excesses, but those very same excesses have PO'd Mother Nature. And since those commercials in the 70s, everyone knows it's not nice to fool Mother Nature (or mess with her, either).

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57. Bogon
02:04 AM GMT em 05 de Junho de 2012
Cal - I didn't read the wiki yet, but I did live through the history. Many of the images flashing in the background, including the one displayed in the flash player before the song starts, look disturbingly familiar. The names Billy Joel recites ring bells and trigger dormant emotional responses. I guess some things are hard to forget.

And that only brings us up to 1989.

BriarCraft - The old blog floats along for days at a time with little or no action, then out of the blue somebody comes along with cogent commentary supported by visual aids. :o)

We like to brag in this country on how long-lived our government is. The wise men who instituted it tried to build in enough flexibility, checks and balances to make it endure despite the sins and shortcomings of those who would endeavor to operate it. There have been occasions when it was sucessfully rebooted without recourse to violent revolution. I continue to hope that the next such occasion may be drawing near. It is, in my opinion, overdue.

With regard to global warming, we're not really talking about Mother Nature, because it's not natural. It's artificial. We humans are doing it. You're right about one thing, though. When the bill comes due, the collection agency will wield all of nature's power. Then we'll see which side of the argument is better for business.

I haven't written the first word of the hypothetical Baby Boom blog. Since you're already standing in line for the next edition, I reckon I better get on the stick.
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56. LowerCal
11:10 PM GMT em 04 de Junho de 2012
For those who haven't lived through all of it and aren't history buffs Wikipedia has a great article on the song "We Didn't Start the Fire".
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55. BriarCraft
09:50 PM GMT em 04 de Junho de 2012
It's been longer than I thought since I came by to visit.

Quoting you, Bogon:
I don't believe that it is a proper function of government to specify how people should get together to create a family and raise children. People are going to hook up however they please. The government can either get out of the way, or it can try to buck the flow. Governments that routinely adopt the latter course of action are unlikely to succeed in the long run. They are too eminently replaceable.

Does anyone find it strange that the Republicans have picked now to spend so much effort in legislating morality? Not just in North Carolina, either, but in lots of states. Or it is just me? Surely, they know such efforts won't fly in the long run, so what is it, really, that they're trying to accomplish? Please the evangelicals, so they'll vote in more Republicans, so that some other agenda can be accomplished? Just call me a conspiracy theorist and nutcase, I guess.

I really got a kick out of that Scientific American article, in particular, "Which, yes, is exactly like saying, do not predict tomorrow's weather based on radar images of a hurricane swirling offshore, moving west towards us with 60-mph winds and ten inches of rain. Predict the weather based on the last two weeks of fair weather with gentle breezes towards the east. Don't use radar and barometers; use the Farmer's Almanac and what grandpa remembers." I mean it is funny, until you stop to realize that some politicians actually seem to be taking this seriously. Well, who knows? Maybe they'll succeed. As soon as they figure out a way to fine and/or arrest Mother Nature when she breaks the law. As I'm sure she will, as soon as she hears that some puny mortal men are trying to tell her what she can and cannot do. Wonder who will win that contest???

Oh, and I look forward to seeing what you condense down out of three score years' worth of history to fit into a blog header. The recollections and history will be fun, but more interesting from my view will be which things make it through the editorial process into the typed word in a Bogon-blog. Have a good time with it!

Okay, enough blog-hogging, but I had to make up for not coming around for awhile, didn't I???
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54. Bogon
01:11 PM GMT em 04 de Junho de 2012
sp, I read that same page in the course of my researches. Apparently there were several possible values of pi on offer, none of them integer, all of them rational. The bill makes no sense at all. Why should government involve itself in squaring the circle? That's a job for mathematicians.

Sadly, getting elected to a legislature doesn't guarantee that the candidate will have a clue about what constitutes good governance. I suppose that's a perennial problem with democracy.

Is it the proper business of government to facilitate the search by hucksters for suckers? I don't think so, but maybe that's just me. I would prefer my government to facilitate the search for truth. Obviously that's a hangup from which a lot of my fellow citizens don't suffer.
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53. sp34n119w
10:06 PM GMT em 03 de Junho de 2012
Just today I came across an article giving the details of the not-pi legislation. There is a lot of incorrect information about it on the 'net so this was good to see. Assuming he's got it right, anyway.

I found that via a thread about the NC sea rise legislation. If it passes it will definitely help developers and insurance companies to squeeze more bucks out of the shoreline, and that's what matters, I guess.
When I look at what State politicians are doing in the midst of an on-going recession, look at what they evidently think their jobs are, I am amazed that voters are willing to pay them so very well for that "work". But, clearly, that's what the voters want them to do, so, so it goes.

Your generation is often the topic of conversation among those of us right on your heels. You can find lots of essays and discussion threads on the 'net from us, too. Our impressions wouldn't interest you, though, as we won't be writing that history.

Hope the yard survey turned up no more up-turned pots!
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52. Bogon
04:17 PM GMT em 02 de Junho de 2012
Thinkin' 'bout m-my g-g-generation...

You know, my parents' generation has been called the greatest. Does that make mine the sorriest? How will history treat the Baby Boomers?

A lot of stuff has floated under the bridge during the last sixty years. It does add up after a while. Wait, I took a picture...

I'm thinking I might try to do a blog entry about those three score years. It's kind of a big subject, probably too big for a blog header. I would have to decide whether to do a personal retrospective or go for some kind of objective overview. Given all those obstacles, the project may be doomed from the outset. Shucks, I never let that stop me before. :o)

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51. Bogon
03:01 AM GMT em 02 de Junho de 2012
Weather update - The front has passed, and we seem to be no worse for wear. The last report from the airport says 64°. Sweet.

A squall line rained on us around four o'clock. Another shower, which I took to be a sign of the surface front, passed as darkness settled. There was some wind. Earlier today I found a potted plant blown over, assorted oak leaves and a dislodged bird nest on the ground. I'll have to wait for daylight tomorrow to make a final survey.
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50. Bogon
02:03 AM GMT em 02 de Junho de 2012
Howdy, Cal. Thanks for linking that story. It's relevant not only to the saga of the coastal real estate interests, but also applicable to the Game of Thrones discussion. :o)

Below the SciAm article, commenter Leroy compares the events in North Carolina with past attempts to legislate the value of pi. It might make the arithmetic easier to redefine pi equal to 3, but any such calculation is guaranteed to give the wrong answer.

Too many people talk about global warming as if it were a matter of belief, like religion. Science is about reality. It's something you (or anybody else) can measure. There are multiple lines of evidence all pointing the same way. Sea level is going to rise. It's already rising, and the rate at which it is rising is increasing.

Granted, I have no real estate interest at the beach. If I did have, I would be looking to sell.

Since I moved back to North Carolina, I have been fortunate to visit the beach several times. I have learned that some locations are more tenable than others. For instance, Emerald Isle rises to an altitude of something like twenty feet (six meters) a block behind the dune line. Jockey Ridge, near Nags Head, rises thirty meters. Topsail Island, on the other hand, is low and narrow. If sea level rises a meter, there may not be much of it left that is safe and habitable.

There still might be a few fortunes to be made from beachfront property in North Carolina. I don't see how it helps anyone to bury our collective heads in the sand, though. Let's keep our toes in the sand and our heads in the game.
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49. LowerCal
08:47 PM GMT em 01 de Junho de 2012
Quoting Bogon:
Hmmm, ran across this article while I was looking for something completely different. Regardless of where it came from or how it got here, it's pretty much on topic. :o)
One might think those legislators without the inclination or capacity to grasp the science might at least appreciate the tale of King Canute on the Seashore.
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48. Bogon
01:28 PM GMT em 01 de Junho de 2012
The "cold" front that swept Beryl from our doorstep morphed almost immediately into a warm front. Yesterday was sunny, hot and humid. I took advantage of the opportunity to push the mower around the yard to decapitate dandelion and clover. We had another rain shower last night, and light drizzle darkened the driveway as I ventured forth to collect this morning's paper.

The grass looks well-behaved today, but that won't last long. While I may punish it, I can hardly expect contrition. As soon as my back is turned, it revels.

Another front approaches today. This one is built of sterner stuff. It should actually moderate the heat and humidity for a few days. Predicted lows subside below 60° (16 C). Daily highs linger near 80° (27 C). That's more like it.

All that temperance comes at a cost, however. There's a fair chance of hazardous thunderstorms (wind, hail, lightning etc.) in the forecast today and tonight.


Probably a good day to keep an eye on the radar.
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47. Bogon
04:18 AM GMT em 01 de Junho de 2012
Hmmm, ran across this article while I was looking for something completely different. Regardless of where it came from or how it got here, it's pretty much on topic. :o)
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46. Bogon
03:14 AM GMT em 01 de Junho de 2012
Prose, thanks for the poem, the introduction to a new month (time to flip my calendar!) and the hydrangea. I've heard that the color of hydrangea flowers depends on the pH of the soil in which the plant grows. This one must be balanced very delicately on the edge of pink.
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45. Proserpina
02:12 AM GMT em 01 de Junho de 2012

Happy  Month of  June

"The fountain murmuring of sleep,
A drowsy tune;
The flickering green of leaves that keep
The light of June;
Peace, through a slumbering afternoon,
The peace of June.

Arthur Symons
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44. Bogon
03:19 PM GMT em 30 de Maio de 2012
Okay, the best animation I could find is right here on Weather Underground.

Tropical Depression Beryl Radar
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43. Bogon
02:34 PM GMT em 30 de Maio de 2012
Hard rain dampened the Dry Slot yesterday afternoon, as the circulation around tropical depression Beryl drove warm moist air off the Atlantic Ocean into the face of a cold front crossing the Appalachians.

It was only a passing shower. A little more rain fell overnight, but sometime early this morning the leading edge of the front passed overhead. Now, as Beryl douses the coastal plain, the front is holding that tropical deluge at bay. It was a very near thing. While the sky remains cloudy, sunshine threatens to break through any minute.

It has been fascinating to watch the radar presentation over the last few days. There was an explosion of convection each afternoon. I'll keep my eyes open for a good time-lapse video to post here.

I can't help feeling that we've been lucky. We got a useful amount of rain, no more. It came with no excessive wind, hail or lightning. The front will usher Beryl out to sea. We can look forward to cooler, dryer weather for a few days.
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42. Bogon
10:28 PM GMT em 28 de Maio de 2012
There is a cloud to the west, but nothing spectacular. It's a nice quiet Memorial Afternoon (at least until my neighbor across the street fired up his lawn mower). I reckon Beryl missed us this time around.

The storm is projected to move closer tomorrow, so maybe we'll have another chance. The weather service is giving 20% today and tomorrow, 40% tomorrow night, and 50% Wednesday. Do you know where your umbrella is?
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41. Bogon
10:03 PM GMT em 28 de Maio de 2012
At this hour we seem to be under a Beryl swirl.

I first noticed it on radar, where it looks rather impressive. Based on morphology it appears to be one of the outer bands of tropical depression Beryl, which are spreading out since the storm went ashore. The storm itself is still centered in north Florida. A glance at the WUnderMap confirmed that a wave is passing, but it also revealed that the associated rain is spotty and decreasing in areal coverage. Lastly let me relay the report from the window, which shows partly cloudy skies and sunshine. When in doubt, I go with whatever the window says.

I'm going to venture out into the tropical heat to see what I can see. Maybe there will be some cool clouds or something.
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40. Bogon
09:27 AM GMT em 26 de Maio de 2012
Waking early this morning I realize that I have a couple more things to say about the North Carolina marriage amendment before I'm ready to let the topic rest.

Number one: Just because it is part of the state constitution doesn't mean that it's going to fly. For instance, there is already a constitutional provision that only God-fearing men need run for office in this state. That provision is widely acknowledged to be unenforceable. It is in violation of federal law. Atheists can and do hold office in North Carolina.

It remains to be seen whether the marriage amendment will have widespread or lasting effect on the way people live in this state. The provision is likely to make a lot of work for the state courts.

Secondly, I understand that President Obama has made a statement in favor of gay marriage. This blog entry is not specifically about gay marriage. It's about inviting the government to butt out. I don't believe that it is a proper function of government to specify how people should get together to create a family and raise children. People are going to hook up however they please. The government can either get out of the way, or it can try to buck the flow. Governments that routinely adopt the latter course of action are unlikely to succeed in the long run. They are too eminently replaceable.
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39. Bogon
02:10 AM GMT em 26 de Maio de 2012
Whoa, Rob, I just spent a good part of the afternoon browsing the wiki. Got quite a few of my questions answered. If I spend enough time over there, I may eventually learn all the characters' names.

The site you linked is based primarily on the HBO television series. Each article in the wiki displays pictures from the show. There is another wiki, occasionally linked from the first one, which deals with the books. That site won't help you identify characters in the show. It does, however, cover the story through book five. If you're reading the books, you might prefer to start with that site. Viewers of the television program should be warned that the book site is full of spoilers, because the book publishers are running well ahead of the video production.
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38. RobDaHood
05:00 PM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
Jeor Mormont, nicknamed The Old Bear, is the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, leading from his headquarters at the fortress of Castle Black. Jeor Mormont was once the Lord of Bear Island and head of House Mormont until he abdicated his seat in favor of his son, Ser Jorah Mormont, and joined the Night's Watch. He rapidly rose through the ranks to become Lord Commander.

So, maybe the kilt is part of the traditional dress of Bear Island or of the Commander of the Night's Watch. Or maybe he just likes that "breezy" feeling (which is odd considering all the ice and snow).

The above link takes you to the Game of Thrones wiki which is a good source for figuring out who is who and background info. Spoilers are forbidden until after the episode airs.

And you are right...Adult version...not a show for kids.
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37. Bogon
02:11 PM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
Howdy, Skye. That's the spirit. :o)

A big factor in determining whether marriages succeed or fail is community support. The Tarheel community has elected to withhold support from all but one type of marriage. I think that is narrow-minded and foolish, but who cares what I think?
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36. Skyepony (Mod)
01:59 PM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
Enjoyed your entry & thoughts. A little disappointed I won't be able to pick up another husband or two when we retire & move up there. Probably could have talked the current husband into it on the grounds he could truly retire..As expected I suppose..
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35. Bogon
01:30 PM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
ycd - I may have watched an episode or two of "Deadwood". Wife and I haven't maintained a constant subscription to HBO, so I haven't been in the habit of watching their series. I imagine that the probability that HBO will produce — and that I will faithfully watch — every episode required to finish the entire Ice and Fire saga must be rather small. When it comes to that, the books would be a safer bet.

Even books are not a sure thing. Back in the mid nineties I started reading Wheel of Time, which at that time consisted of a few sizey tomes, the conclusion of which I was assured must be right around the corner. I'm still waiting for the final volume. Meanwhile the author has kicked the bucket, and the franchise has been sublet to a, uh, ghost writer.

How long can George R. R. Martin hold out? How long can I?

Rob - Tyrion Lannister is the fellow I was thinking of when I spoke of memorable characters. Mormont is on the list, too. I still haven't figured out where he came from. He's the only guy who wears a kilt.

There are lots of strong female characters, too. Daenerys, Arya and Talisa are not alone.

Game of Thrones purports to be an adult version of a swords and sorcery tale. Magic is played down; the emphasis is on politics. In the context of feudalism politics are often impolite. There is no security, either for serf or king. Brutal realism reminds us of why we consider the revolutions which effectively ended feudalism in our world to be social progress, and why we never want to go back to that system. Feudalism only looks good in fairy tales.
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34. RobDaHood
11:29 AM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
Plenty of bad Karma to go around. The spoiled baby boy king needed a spanking a long time this point he needs something a little more severe. I almost quit watching when Eddard let them kill a wolf.

There may be hope for Robb, I like Arya, Jon Snow has potential, if he finds his way. I've always liked Jon. Sansa deserves what she gets but maybe she'll find a way to redeem herself. Tyrion is a lot of fun, probably one of the best characters.

Daenerys and cold. A little too full of herself and her royal blood, but strong. Sort of the polar opposite of Jon Snow.

Lets see, I could live with Daenerys and her dragons forming an allegiance with Jon and the wolves and whatever else he leads out of the north and setting the world to right.

Oh, yeah...and I agree, it can be hard to follow, especially in episodes where they skip around a lot. I think it would be easier to watch several episodes at once.

edit: Almost forgot...Ser Jorah Mormont (Daenerys' bodyguard). Seems like a good guy.
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33. ycd0108
03:14 AM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
Surfacing Bogon?
I got into "Deadwood" but learned my lesson. Wait a minute - then there was "FireFly" but then I really got off that stuff
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32. Bogon
03:03 AM GMT em 25 de Maio de 2012
Hey! Thanks, Rob, for the exhumation. Things have been so slow around here that I wandered off to read a book.

Not Song of Ice and Fire — I have the first book on loan, took a look at it, but haven't really started yet. It turns out to be, what? Five books to read the whole thing? Seven? I'm not sure I'm up for that. Wikipedia says the last couple aren't published yet. Already been through that with Harry Potter and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. I'm not starting any more book series until they're all lined up on the shelf, start to finish.

The television version is easier to absorb. Like BriarCraft says, they hit you with a whole world of stuff happening at once. It's very hard to follow. After watching most of two season's worth of episodes, I think I have a handle on the main plot points.

The show has high production values, good acting, some very memorable characters. There are heaping helpings of violence and nudity. So far the good guys get dead, and the conniving, evil guys get ahead. That's hard to take. I assume that the rest of the series will begin to redress grievances. That kid Joffrey is running up one heck of a karmic debt.

No, I did not know who the doctor lady was. She is a fascinating character in more ways than one. I understand that Charlie Chaplin had a lot of kids during four marriages. Oona is the namesake of his fourth wife. Quite a legacy.
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31. RobDaHood
11:24 PM GMT em 24 de Maio de 2012
Hey Man!
Major excavation, dug your blog up, dusted it off and hung it back up at the top.

You Okay?
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30. BriarCraft
05:26 PM GMT em 24 de Maio de 2012
I gave up on Game of Thrones, both the HBO series and the book. I bought the book last year, hoping it would help me sort out all the characters. While I generally like that kind of story, I don't like to have to work so hard to follow something that is supposed to be entertaining. It would be like trying to absorb medieval history of all of Europe and its fiefdoms all at once. It's beyond my capacity to absorb. Now, give me the history of a small section and I can absorb that. I even require England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland to be parsed in order to "get it". I guess I would require Game of Thrones to be divided into about 4 different and separate story lines to "get it". As it is, I had to give up on it or deal with more confusion than my poor brain could handle.
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29. RobDaHood
02:17 PM GMT em 24 de Maio de 2012
Sorry so long getting back with this.

The last two or three episodes, I've found myself oddly fascinated with Talisa Maegyr, the woman that goes around patching up soldiers from both sides and Robb Stark's new love interest.
(I smell trouble there as he is betrothed, but who marries for a bridge anyway?)

So, the actress looked vaguely familiar so I went to IMDB and did some research. Her name is Oona Chaplin. Named for her grandmother...the wife of Charlie Chaplin!

Was just a little surprised. (She's so much prettier than Charlie, after all) Anyway, her family tree is full of famous actors and writers.

Don't know how interesting this is to you. Just wanted to know the name of a pretty girl and got a surprise!
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28. Bogon
09:25 AM GMT em 22 de Maio de 2012
Hi, Rob. Yep, I've seen the latest episode. It's still hard for me to keep all the characters sorted out.

When I look at Game of Thrones, I have to say I'm really glad it's fiction. Though I suppose the game itself is (or was, in feudal times) real enough. Give someone too much power and see what happens.
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27. RobDaHood
12:37 AM GMT em 22 de Maio de 2012
Are you caught up on Game of Thrones yet?
Because I found out a bit of interesting trivia, but don't want to spoil anything for you.
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26. Bogon
07:53 PM GMT em 21 de Maio de 2012
The heat is on. I think it's time to start talking about summer here and let spring depart for points north.

We have a lot of low action. Low pressure areas, including Alberto, are circling the map like buzzards. There is an upper level low, which is holding our temperatures somewhat depressed relative to other US locations on this latitude. That low, combined with an approaching "cold" front, will keep skies mostly cloudy with rain chances elevated for a day or two.

After that the heat will crank it up a notch. I don't foresee much help for that this side of September.
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25. Bogon
06:50 PM GMT em 19 de Maio de 2012
Same-sex marriage is one form of union banned by the North Carolina amendment. Some gay people have children, and some want to adopt. How does it help society to place additional, artificial barriers in their way? You don't solve a problem by making it worse. Child rearing is hard enough already.

The people who voted for the marriage amendment are clearly prejudiced. They are also arrogant, because they seek to impose their views on others. They think they can demonstrate their moral superiority by resorting to legal coercion. Come on, folks, that's not how it works. You should know better.
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24. SBKaren
05:16 PM GMT em 19 de Maio de 2012
Well, I'll put in my two cents. I'm not as prolific as some of the other posters here, but I don't think we should define 'marriage' as only between a man and a woman.

I have quite a few gay friends, and I have even attended a gay wedding. I think telling them they can't get married and enjoy the benefits that marriage can bring is just ludicrous. I know at least one gay couple that has been together longer than quite a few married folks I know.

I also have a good close friend that is gay that adopted a daughter and that daughter is now in her 20s. She not gay and she's pretty darn intelligent and knows herself pretty darn well.

I think that some folks that are what I would call, too religious, think there is one way in life. Their way or the highway.

I just don't happen to agree!

Member Since: Dezembro 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
23. Bogon
04:42 PM GMT em 19 de Maio de 2012
Hey, BriarCraft. Nice observation about the pink ice cream. It could be raspberry, too. Or cherry. Mmmm.

Throughout my working life there was always a lot of talk about innovation. "We're going to innovate our way out of this problem," "America leads the world in innovation," or maybe "Our capacity to innovate will make the economy strong." Sure, we can innovate all we like in service of technology or to make money, but when it comes to developing a better society, we're at an impasse. We have a constitutional amendment that limits us to precisely one form of marriage. No innovation allowed.

I haven't had to quash anybody lately. The last time there was a skipped comment number in my blog, it was my fault. I inadvertently created a duplicate comment, then I deleted the dupe rather than taking the time to think of something new.
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22. BriarCraft
11:01 PM GMT em 18 de Maio de 2012
I came by to see how the discussion was going. You did get bashed a tiny bit, but held your own as I knew you would. And I don't see any missing Comment #s, so you didn't have to ban anyone. That's good, because this could just as well have turned nasty. Instead, several very valid points got raised.

One thought about prejudice is that most people don't realize they are prejudiced. You have an opinion. You think that opinion is not exceptional and that it's shared by most folks you know. It doesn't "feel" like you're prejudiced. You don't like strawberry ice cream. You are offered some ice cream that is pink, with some reddish flicks in it. You refuse to taste it because you don't like strawberry ice cream, thinking that is a reasonable course of action. You don't realize you're prejudiced against pink ice cream with bits of red in it. The person who offered you the peppermint ice cream, however, knows just how prejudiced you are.
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21. Bogon
04:37 PM GMT em 17 de Maio de 2012
ycd, I'm afraid some of Zappa's range extends beyond that which belongs on WU. For instance, I had in mind to post Lonesome Cowboy Burt, but after refreshing my memory of the lyrics, I went with Valley Girl instead.

Frank refused to be defined by pursuit of commercial success or confined by cultural norms. Nevertheless he managed to produce a hit record here and there. Judging by the extent of the collection on YouTube, he must have accrued a sizable corp of fans. Count me among them.
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20. ycd0108
03:36 PM GMT em 17 de Maio de 2012
Morning Bogon:
What a way to start my day!
I'm way back when in the "Listening Room" wondering again who makes music like that.
I'll try to link the Moon Zappa video for my Grand daughter (12 going on 19). She's into singing and dressing up and poking at her iPod.
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19. Bogon
04:54 PM GMT em 16 de Maio de 2012
ycd - Zappa is definitely various. Here's a brief exposition of his musical range.

Sandi, I revisited your blog and saw the map. The school was around the corner. :o)
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18. sandiquiz
02:07 PM GMT em 16 de Maio de 2012
Hi Bogon, thanks for posting in my blog. I found that Google maps showed both Independence Ave and the school - yes, it is still there and looks like it hasn't changed in almost 40 years!
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17. ycd0108
02:02 PM GMT em 16 de Maio de 2012
Good Morning Bogon:
I remember the first time I noticed Frank Zappa:
UBC had built a new Student Union building in about '68 and included a Sound Library where you handed in your student card and requested an album, plugged the headphones into a wall jack and selected one of twelve channels to listen to your requested music. I had listened through "White Rabbit" and was browsing the other channels and the strangest combination of music and poetry caught my attention and I listened for a while. I'm no expert on music - just an appreciator of variety and Zappa was various.
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16. Bogon
10:24 PM GMT em 15 de Maio de 2012
There's a sixty percent chance of rain tonight. We've had nearly an inch of rain since the weekend, and three or four inches over the last couple of weeks.

So, technically speaking, the Dry Slot is actually pretty much on the soggy side today. While I was visiting Mom, Wife brought home three small lantanas from a local nursery. Yesterday she told me where she wanted them planted, and this afternoon I went squelching around the yard, digging holes and spreading mulch. It wasn't too hot today, but it was way too humid. ’:o[

Lantanas are great. I saw them a lot when I lived in Texas, where they did very well. Here they are effectively annuals, which seems kind of a waste. The three plants went in widely separated locations around the house. I'm hoping that at least one will have the right conditions to survive the winter.
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15. Bogon
06:16 PM GMT em 13 de Maio de 2012
Hello, ycd. If you like Zappa, you can find hours of entertainment on YouTube.

I wonder if the phone company ever got their money?
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14. ycd0108
03:10 PM GMT em 13 de Maio de 2012
Morning Bogon:Zappa was "Very Interesting"I just read a bit of the Wiki entry on the Mothers.We lived in a "communal house" in Vancouver and soon after we got a telephone bill for the over a thousand dollars addressed to our new house in the name: Frank Zappa. I  assume the previous renter had been a fan who did not pay his bills.
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13. Bogon
02:15 PM GMT em 13 de Maio de 2012
Happy day to all you mothers out there!

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12. Bogon
09:14 PM GMT em 12 de Maio de 2012
Hey, folks. This weekend is for moms everywhere. Last night I drove up to see mine.

Clouds are building in western North Carolina today. The sun was peeking out earlier, but now the overcast is solid and there is a chance of rain. Those chances increase tomorrow and Monday. The forecast calls for heavy rain.

SP, my wife is already mad at me for not voting. Feel free to pile on, though, if it makes you feel better.

I have a real problem with people who moralize at me, who try to tell me how I ought to live. I don't do that to them. I assume they already know how to live (or will someday find out, if they don't die first). When people tell you how to live, that's a dictatorship. We're supposed to have a democracy here. Democracy is all about leaving people alone. If people want to moralize at each other in the privacy of their own homes, that's fine.

You're wrong about my wanting to pick a winner, if by that you mean the candidate most likely to win the election. I used to think that's what my dad did. What I want to do is pick the best man for the job. My problem in this election was that I didn't know who that was. My best options were 1) don't vote, or 2) go eeny meeny mynie moe.

With our simple election setup, there's some gamesmanship involved, especially when there are more than two candidates running. I liked Ralph Nader when he ran for president, but I worried that a vote for him would be wasted. I preferred to vote for my number two choice in order to give him the best possible chance to defeat my dead last choice, the guy I was afraid would win if I voted for Nader. So in that sense, yes, I was hoping to back a winner. It would be more accurate to say that I wanted to see number three lose.

That was a presidential race in a general election, and I knew something about all three candidates. When I looked at the ballot from this week's primary, there were dozens of people listed, and I had never heard of any of them. I mean, I have a hard enough time remembering the names of people whom I have actually met.

GG - What are blogs for? Once in a while I like to rant. In this case I feel like it's the least I can do, since I didn't vote.

nykid - You're right, marriage is a private affair. What business is it of government? Next thing you know, they'll be telling us we have to kneel on a carpet facing Washington and pray five times a day.

I'm not sure how they're going to enforce that one, though. :o)

As a practical matter, I'm not sure how they're planning to enforce the marriage rule, either. Maybe your neighbors will be invited to inform on you if you shack up with the wrong number of the wrong sort of people. Oh boy, marriage quislings.
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11. nykid84
12:33 PM GMT em 12 de Maio de 2012
Nice writing and you present some good points but I am of the opinion that marriage should not be regulated by the state at all.
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10. GardenGrrl
10:25 AM GMT em 12 de Maio de 2012
Hey Bogon, voter apathy is real understandable in a climate where right wing brutes always seem to have the microphone and tell everyone else what to think.

It takes courage to put up a blog that says without apology; "Oppressing people is wrong". Especially when so many regular folk have become conditioned to believe oppression is okay because some weirdos claiming to speak for God say so...all the time.

This election year reminds me very much of Stephen Kings; "The Stand".
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9. sp34n119w
08:32 PM GMT em 11 de Maio de 2012
Good topic - excellent and thoughtful comments. I'm glad you posted it, Bogon.

In comment #2 you wrote: "The question then becomes, is this marriage restriction part of the Republican agenda?"
and I thought I'd drop by with the answer. It is "Yes".

Preserving Traditional Marriage

Because our children’s future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it. In the absence of a national amendment, we support the right of the people of the various states to affirm traditional marriage through state initiatives.

You can read the rest of it at the G.O.P. Platform, 2008 (they won't have an official 2012 version until after the convention but this is on the 2012 site).
It's an interesting read, mostly gobbledygook, and also includes their insistence on "abstinence only" sex education for kids, never mind the disastrous consequences that have been experienced by families in those States that adhere to that policy.
These people are obsessed with others' sex lives and very detailed in how they will control other people's bodies. Yet, they are surprisingly vague when it comes to fixing the economy and on most foreign policy matters. Odd, that.

From #8 (if you don't mind me piling on ;) ):
"Did half a million good people stand by?"
Maybe. Maybe a half a million people have convinced themselves that "This is the Bible belt, Ku Klux Klan territory etc. There's more of them than there is of me." so they didn't bother to vote.
NC has seen a large increase of tech companies and the well-educated folks that come with that. Those folks tend to be younger and more open to the idea of marriage for anyone who wants it. But they, like you, are convinced that they are living in the land of the backwards, and they do not participate as if they were a part of that State. Instead, they are "doing time" in the Bible Belt for the sake of a good job and hoping their next one is in a civilized place - like Norway.
There might not be a half a million of them. What if there were 200,000? 100,000? 1000? Would it change the outcome? No. Would it change people's perceptions? You bet, and that's often the first step.

Do you really only vote when you're sure ahead of time that you are on the winning side?
Your one vote will never, ever, make or break an election or a ballot measure. Never. But it is your voice and, together with all the other voices, it can change everything. How can you not know that?

That's all I got. I think you and BC and gg covered the main issue extremely well - thanks for putting that out there.
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Retired software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...

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