Archive for June, 2013

Marry Making

Friday, June 28th, 2013

So the big gay marriage rulings came down from the United States Supreme Court this week. And they actually got it right.

My first reaction was of course elation. Then cognitive dissonance set in as I overlaid my dissipating fear that they would get it wrong with being appalled that the decisions were five to four. I can give some wiggle room to the Prop 8 case, it was after all an amendment to the California Constitution, and the constitution is the last word in what’s legal. But DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, was merely a law and was so clearly a violation of the principles laid out in the U.S. Constitution, that I don’t see how any justice could rule in favor of it without ignoring the constitution in favor of their own prejudices.

So I, of course, asked God how he felt about the rulings. He told me he didn’t really care. He said that marriage is an institution of mankind, not of his. This completely derailed my railing against the anti-marriage justices; after all, the biggest argument I keep hearing against gay marriage is that marriage should be strictly a religious commitment, that the government should either stay out of relationships entirely or it should only involve itself in civil unions or other contractual constructs. So I pushed for clarification on how something so clearly tied up in religious trappings could be of no particular interest to God.

And what he told me is that religions in their entirety are not products of God, but of man. Religions are just another form of government, just another way to control and direct the populous. They use God but they aren’t from God. He said you could consider religion and government to be like the threads of a screen door, with one of them being the vertical threads and the other the horizontal. When you want to make sure the insects don’t go where you don’t want them to, it’s a lot more effective to have threads going both ways than to have them going just one.

Refrigerator Art

Friday, June 21st, 2013

God and I were talking about how some science fiction tries to predict the future and often gets it wrong. We bandied back and forth for a bit about flying cars and industrial robots and things of that ilk. We went on to more soft science and agreed that George Orwell’s 1984 is turning out to be much more prophetic than we like, even if it’s happening some thirty years or so later than George’s arbitrary date. I also pointed out that we’re starting to move towards Asimov’s psychohistory but she wouldn’t tell me how soon we might get there.

Then God gave me some insight about how hard it is to get the details right. She said if you ever want to imagine the difficulty of detailing the future, try to imagine predicting, even years after the invention of refrigeration, how large a market there would be for refrigerator magnets.

And then try to imagine convincing the readers of your book that someone makes a living selling them.

Courting Hope

Friday, June 14th, 2013

So now I’m a little worried. God tells me not to worry about it. He says this not because he’s hinting that I’ll be happy with the outcome but rather just for the simple reason that my worrying about it won’t change things one way or the other. Like Bobby said, don’t worry, be happy.

So what am I worrying about? The Supreme Court decision on DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Prop 8. Or to make that clearer for those of you that manage to avoid obsessing about this like I do, gay marriage, or rather the right’s of married American homosexuals to have their union given official government recognition, in California (Prop 8.) and in the U.S. Federal government (DOMA).

But why am I worried now, when between the week in which the arguments were made before the court and this week I’ve mostly been waiting patiently, occasionally hoping but mostly not thinking about it? Well, this week the court published its decision that naturally occurring human genes are not patentable. This is such a clear and obvious thing to me but one that I feared the corporate-deferential court would not see. But they did. And overwhelmingly at that, with not a hint of party division.

So my fear is that the court has used up this season’s allotment of sense, so now they’ll have to rule against the fundamental right of two consenting adults to express their love for each other in a legally sanctioned marriage.

Oh bother.

But I must not lose hope. I will not lose hope. After all, if the court can make one good decision, surely they can make another. Maybe they’ll start a trend.

Font Ills

Friday, June 7th, 2013

I’ve seen a lot of “internet memes” and other bits of humor that involve showing how punctuation or the lack thereof can change the meaning of sentences. Two classics that come to mind are the book “Eats Shoots and Leaves” and the lifesaving punctuation in “let’s eat, Grandma.” But what I haven’t seen is an equal outpouring against what I consider to be one of the most egregious sins of modern typography.

So let me just say now, can’t we just banish any font in which the lowercase “L” and the uppercase “i” cannot be told apart.

I’m pretty sure we could even automate the process. Wouldn’t it be a public service to write a program which would hunt through your system, find every installed font, render those two characters and if the results are not at least, say, 15% different, delete the font.

Not only have I seen no sign of anyone doing this important work, but there’s actually a documentary about people’s love for Helvetica. People actually love a font that renders two completely different letters with identical glyphs.

Well, I’ve got a message that sums up my opinion if not actually God’s: all you “Helvetica” fans can just go to hell.