Vid's Space

Hello! You are visitor number 94414! I may be a bit narcissistic, but I don't quite want to talk about myself for pages and pages on my website anymore.  I could, but that might be a bit depressing.  Meh, at least I have a job.

Suffice it to say I'm a pansexual nudist roadgeek with issues including but not limited to depression, selective eating disorder, and possibly Asperger's syndrome.  But again, this page isn't about me.  Instead, it's my space for random thoughts which I hope you'll find interesting or amusing. 

By the way, if you don't like the fonts or colors on my website, now you can override them using the Style Chooser!  As for other improvements to this site, I really need to redo the guestbook, get the counter/greeter system to work how I originally intended, and oh yeah, get in the habit of adding content more often…

Random Quotes

I hope you'll find the following quote amusing and/or thought-provoking.

“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing — after they have tried everything else.”

— Winston Churchill

A new quote is randomly selected three times each day. For your convenience, here's a permanent link to this quote.

Cool Story, Bro!

Here you'll find brief anecdotes which usually are worth the time spent reading them.

New items will be selected in 16.6 hours.

Police Chase

One time, I was driving home from somewhere in Columbus. On the freeway, I had just moved out of the left-most lane when two vehicles passed me at high speed on the left. When I got home, my older brother was there, and I told him I though I'd seen a high-speed police chase. He said it was probably just a couple of idiots racing.

“Well in that case, the guy in the police car was losing!”

Hrs

A long long time ago, my little brother shared with me a funny thought. This thought was related to a Kroger store we often see out the car window. On the side of the building, it says “24 HRS A DAY”. Well, my little brother had thought “hrs” was a word, which rhymed with “doors”, and apparently had just learned it was actually an abbreviation for the word “hours”. We thought this error was funny enough, without having the slightest clue of the existence, let alone profane nature, of the word “whores”.

Like I said, we thought this was funny. I suggested to my brother that he should share this funny thought with our mother. With a smile, he did. And he got smacked for it.

Okay, no, I don't think he actually got smacked for it, but it's funny to think he did. Anyway, Mom wouldn't believe our ignorance of the profanity that had been uttered, mistaking my brother's smile of amusement for one of mischief. We both got a very mild punishment, which seemed like a big deal at the time (we were innocent, after all) but now I can't even remember what.

Get In The Phone!

The Matrix is an awesome movie. Not a perfect movie, but an awesome one still. One time in my college dorm, someone had The Matrix on TV, and a few of us were watching. It got to that scene near the end, where Neo and Trinity are going to leave the Matrix by answering a telephone and sort of teleporting into or through it. Agents are closing in, and the telephone starts ringing. Trinity is going first, but first she has to make an angsty confession to Neo about love and prophecies. Why can's she wait till they get out? So the phone just keeps ringing while they talk, and someone in the dorm starts yelling at her, “Get in the phone!” Soon all of us are shouting the same thing at the television.

Later that day, a phone in one of the dorm rooms starts ringing. It rings several times, without either resident of that room paying attention to it, so someone shouts, “Get in the phone!” That got a lot of laughs, but even better, it got the phone answered.

This was back in the day when people let their answering machines (physical devices in the home) answer incoming calls, then listened to the messages being left in real-time, possibly deciding to pick up the phone and talk to the caller. (If your elderly relative ever leaves you a voice mail like “Are you there? Pick up the phone!” this is why.) So a few times when I called home, I actually left messages asking Mom to “Get in the phone!” Of course I had to explain it to her at some point. I've told this story to my friends, and they occasionally use the phrase, though with voicemail service largely replacing actual answering machines, “Get in the phone!” isn't very useful anymore.

More Cool Story, Bro!

Passing Thoughts

This is the opinion section of my site. If I have something to say to a general audience that won't fit in a tweet, it'll probably end up here.

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Logical Expansions of Legal Marriage

(Updated 26 June 2015, the day the Supreme Court struck down state bans on marriage between persons of the same sex across the United States.)  A common reaction to gay marriage is, “if we legalize gay marriage, what's next?”  This ‘slippery slope’ argument was used mostly as an emotional scare, usually with little rational thought involved.  However, it's still a good question.  Throwing out religious preferences for ‘traditional’ marriage, and starting with an exclusive union between two adult humans as a baseline, there are a few practical ways the legal institution of marriage can be expanded:

Group Marriage

One way to incorporate polygamy is to simply increase the number of members a marriage has.  To keep things fair, everyone in a group marriage is equally married to everyone else in that group marriage.  Formation of a group marriage requires the consent of all members; if one member wants to terminate the marriage, the others can't prevent it, and legal proceedings for separation follow.  Really, there's no need for the law to distinguish a marriage between three or more people from a marriage between just two people.  Sex among members of a group marriage is never adultery; whether or not adultery is a crime is beyond the scope of this discussion. 

Certain legal procedures need to be established: a single person joining an established marriage (consent of all parties required; dissenting parties in the established marriage have divorce as an option); two (or more) established marriages merging to form one group marriage (again, consent of all parties required); separation of one (or more) person from a group marriage (which should have the same end result of a divorce of the whole group followed by remarriage of a subset, but may have a more streamlined procedure); division of a group marriage into two or more marriages (similar to the previous procedure). 

Marriages should be subject to age-of-consent and ‘Romeo & Juliet’ laws considering the greatest age difference among the marrying parties.  Community property rules applicable in most states should need very little adaptation.  If a couple wants to marry, and preserve the binary nature of their own marriage, they may form a prenuptial agreement barring future additional partners in the marriage. 

Non-Exclusive Marriage

The other way to incorporate polygamy is to make marriage non-exclusive.  This is almost certainly the most severe departure from traditional marriage; in fact I hesitate to use the word ‘marriage’ to describe it.  What marriage means to the parties involved is considerably different if the marriage is not exclusive.  Community property is essentially incompatible with marriage non-exclusivity.  For these and other reasons, non-exclusive marriage should almost certainly stand apart from exclusive marriage. 

Marriages must be declared as exclusive or non-exclusive from the start.  Conversion from non-exclusive to exclusive marriage (or vice versa) should be possible; it should have the same consent requirements and overall legal impact as a dissolution and remarriage, but may have a more streamlined legal process.  A person may be a member of more than one non-exclusive marriage, but may not be a member of multiple marriages if any are exclusive.  Sex between members of a non-exclusive marriage is never adultery; sex between a person in a non-exclusive marriage and a single person (or between two people not married but having a common non-exclusive spouse) might technically be adultery, but practically should be of no consequence.  If non-exclusive marriage exists and marriages may have more than two members, then non-exclusive marriages may also have more than two members, though the necessity for that option may be unclear.  In a non-exclusive marriage, each partner has the same legal ability to enter into other non-exclusive marriages, though prenuptial agreements may theoretically provide a disincentive to doing so for individual members. 

Marriage With Non-Humans

Laws concerning marriage don't need to require that members are human, only that they are persons capable of entering into legal contracts.  As soon as such ‘personhood’ recognition is bestowed upon animals, the debate over human-animal marriage will become relevant.  Again, sex between people who are married should never be considered adultery or, at least in a legal sense, bestiality — though you can still call it a sin if you want.  Given the current political climate, however, it appears more likely we'll first be debating individuals marrying corporations. 

Adult/Child Marriage

I add this section only because people seem to worry about the normalization of pedophilia.  Adult/child romantic relationships are problematic at best.  I don't forsee any realistic way to implement this any time soon.  Our culture would have to change dramatically before we can even have the conversation as a broad community about how to address the problems with normalizing these relationships systematically, not to mention the intense moral opposition. 

Religious Freedom

No religious institution should be required to perform any marriage not compatible with its views.  Inversely, a religious institution should be allowed to perform any marriage, regardless of the legal definition of marriage; if a marriage is performed that does not fit legal requirements, then the partners are not married by law, but the institution which performed the marriage should not be punished either.  If a couple or group can't find a church which will bless their union, they would probably be happier with a secular ceremony anyway. 

Commercial Concerns

I suppose businesses don't have to recognize the marital statuses of their customers if they prefer to only recognize a limited kind of marriage like one-man-one-woman, or two-men-one-cat.  It's discrimination, yes — but so is ladies' night at your local tavern.  At what point that discrimination becomes illegal is for the people, legislatures, and courts to decide, but I think free enterprise (except perhaps the insurance industry) should have quite a bit of latitude, at least when it comes to policies dealing with customers. 

On the other hand, employers should be required to recognize (at a minimum) the same types of marriage recognized by the government, and offer equal marriage-related benefits to all their married employees — however reduced benefits for non-exclusive marriages might make sense considering the massive potential for abuse.  Again, that's up to the people, legislatures, and courts to decide. 

Conclusion

The purpose of this document is not to advocate for the radical expansion of marriage as described above.  It is not a direct statement of my opinion; it is only a hypothesis of how governments such as the United States might practically implement non-traditional forms of marriage, dictated primarily by logic.  If you want to hear my personal opinion, keep reading.  Though this article no longer discusses making marriage gender-blind, I am personally glad that it is so in the United States.  There is no good reason to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, and attempting to enforce such a limit can become tricky with the emerging recognition of nonbinary sexual and/or gender identities.  Group marriage, if implemented fairly, I would support; I know there are people out there in ‘odd’ arrangements who would be normalized if they could be married completely, and I see no reason to deny them that normalcy.  Non-exclusive marriage I can accept if implemented fairly and there is public support, though I would prefer it be called something else, for moral and practical reasons.  Marriage with non-humans is fine with me, but that point is moot until some animals are legally declared ‘persons’ or aliens land; until then, you can't marry your pet because your pet can't enter into legal contracts.  The section on religious freedom is just common sense as far as I'm concerned, though recent developments in this area suggest there's lots of room for debate.  I'll admit I already let my opinion slip regarding commerce, but to be honest I'm not entirely sure myself precisely where the line between legal and illegal discrimination should be.

See Also

The Dems vs Christianity?

These days I hear lots of people saying that the Democrats are waging a war on Christmas, or Obama is crushing religious freedom, or various similar nasty-sounding things. These things aren't true. Something similar is true, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Liberals in the United States generally tend to believe in a concept called separation of church and state. There is no national religion, and no religion should be given special treatment by government. The only way these policies attack Christianity is to say “get back in line with all the other religions” when Christian organizations attempt to assume some kind of official or universal-default role.

This has been happening a lot lately, it seems. This is particularly true in local government. In many local governing bodies, the vast majority of participators are indeed Christian. This leads to assumptions of Christianity being the de facto source of guiding principles for that governing body.

The problem is when Christians in government begin to assert their opinion that Christianity should be the source of guiding principles for everyone. I understand that part of being a good Christian is to save others by converting them to Christianity, but this is where things get problematic.

Government in the United States is not to be used as a tool to convert people to any specific religion. It is not to enforce specific moral rules of one religion on everyone else. It is not to give members of one religion more freedom to practice that religion, than to members of any other religion.

It seems a significant fraction of Christian citizens of the United States believes that this country is and/or should be a Christian nation. They have ambitions to use government to save the whole country and/or punish sinners. These ambitions are incompatible with the separation of church and state — which is, in fact, a founding principle of the United States of America. It is these ambitions that are crushed by those politicians who uphold the separation of church and state.

To crush the ambitions of national (or global) domination by one religion is not the same as to crush that religion.

Disclaimers: This is an opinion site, not a debate site. You are entitled to your own opinion, as I am entitled to mine. We are not, however, entitled to our own facts. I have done some light research on this topic. If you disagree with the facts I have asserted, do your own research; I hope you'll discover those same facts. Beware of any “facts” presented as part of an argument for a political position (such as this essay).

More Passing Thoughts

Cool People

Cool Famous People

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite people from movies and TV:

Cool Obscure People

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorite people of whom you may not have heard:

Best of my LJ

You know how radio shows often run "best of" shows during the weekends or when the stars are on vacation?  Well, I haven't posted to my LiveJournal much recently, but there are some good nuggets from the past I thought I might share here.