Archive for the 'unscriptured' Category

It’s Just Greek to Me

Friday, May 9th, 2014

When I read I pronounce things in my head. I don’t know the Greek alphabet. You might be as perplexed as God seemed when I made those two statements to her, but I assure you they actually are related.

Recently I’ve been reading things that toss in a Greek letter or two. Science articles and computer articles. They didn’t actually need Greek letters but they wanted a place holder for something, which really means they wanted to talk about something, but they didn’t want to have to give that something a real name. They pluck a glyph from the Greeks and call it a day.

Now I understand that it can be hard to come up with good names for things, and I can even kind of forgive the scientists who are using foreign letters because they want to stick their “thing” into equations, but hey, Einstein managed to stick to the Roman alphabet for his most famous equation, I think that much like Einstein every scientist can aspire to be.

Anyway, when I’m reading along and I come across a Greek letter, there’s this skip in my head. There’s a blank space where the name of the letter should go, because I don’t know what the name of the letter is. There’s still a thought connected to it, but it’s not a “verbal” thought. And for somebody that’s as hung up on words as I am, that’s a little unnerving. It’s sort of the mental equivalent of that stain on the movie screen, where somebody threw their drink, that makes you aware of the mechanics of projection whenever the action crosses over it. It takes me out of the moment.

The same thing happens when I’m reading a bad science fiction story and the author deliberately gives the aliens names that are unpronounceable. Perhaps the authors are thinking it’s a way to make their readers uncomfortable and they think that breaking people out of their comfort zones is what serious art is supposed to do. Well I’ve got news for them, it’s not uncomfortable, it’s just annoying and annoying is not art.

Seeds Upon the Wind

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

So Spring is in full force, at least where I live. That means eighty, even ninety, degree highs; trees and bushes that seem to want trimming almost every week; and lawns that cry out to be mowed.

And the bane of the urban lawn, dandelions, are popping up near constantly.

God seems to think that dandelions get a bad rap. They have beautiful yellow flowers. Every part of the plant is edible and some parts are also used in herbal medicines, not to mention dandelion wine. They’re puffy seed clusters are beautiful in their own right and are the stuff on which wishes are made.

So why do we hate them on our lawns?

I think it just comes down to the fact that it’s work to keep them away. Purging them from our lawns shows that we conform, and not just that we conform but that we care enough about conforming to work at it. Still, even knowing that, I went ahead and plucked them from my yard. God seemed both disappointed and amused.

Call Me Fish Meal

Friday, April 25th, 2014

I went to see the new Disney movie “Bears” this week. The next day, for lunch, I made sure I went to someplace where I could order salmon, though unlike the stars of the movie, I got mine cooked.

God says it was a very Pavlovian response. I say I was just looking for some thematic unity in my week.

Gods on Film

Friday, April 18th, 2014

I went to the movies this week, like I do very nearly every week. The thing that kind of surprised me this time was that in my local multiplex there were three different Christian movies playing. There was “Son of God,” yet another film depicting the life of Christ, “Noah,” which is more of a straight fantasy than a Biblical study, and “Heaven is Real,” which appears to be trying to convince us of its own title.

I know it’s almost Easter, but still this seemed a little heavy handed. So of course I asked God what was up.

He told me that it’s just the latest salvo in the war on Christianity in this country, we’re oppressing them by making them have to choose which pro-Christ film to go see. I mean we all know how much staunch Christians hate having to think for themselves.

For God and Country

Friday, April 4th, 2014

God was complaining to me about how many countries seem to think that he’s specifically on their side. It’s bad enough that every religion, and especially the splinters of religions, is sure that they have the one true answer about who God is, what God likes and doesn’t like, and what God expects us to do or not do, but to have whole countries thinking that God will save them from their own stupidity is apparently beyond all reason.

Myself, I think he had rather more emotional reasons for his complaints than logical ones, I think it’s just that God hates flags.

Book It

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The message from God this week is pretty simple: If the posts you see in your Facebook news feed don’t make you appalled at how horrible humanity is and also amazed at how wonderful humanity is, you probably need to adjust your list of friends.

Hot Water

Friday, March 21st, 2014

While I was eating my corned beef and cabbage this week I remarked to God that there wasn’t a lot of things that I cook by boiling. There’s corned beef, there’s pasta, and then there’s… well nothing else.

So she asked, me what about chili, and I had to give her that. I mean I don’t really boil chili, I just simmer it, but then, I really only simmer the corned beef too. And she asked me about soup, but I wasn’t willing to concede that one. I haven’t made soup myself since I was a kid and I don’t count heating something up out of a can as cooking.

But I do like soup. Maybe I’ll have to revise my cooking habits. Even if it does lead to God acting all smug around me.

In the Name of Pride

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Sometimes God acts as my psychotherapist. She asks gently nudging questions and gets me to think about things that I wouldn’t otherwise have been thinking about. It’s not that these questions lead to earth-shattering inner revelations but sometimes it’s nice to keep nibbling at an aspect until I figure it out.

This week she was goading me about things I do in the name of pride, but for things that I’m not specifically proud of. The impetus was St. Patrick’s day being just around the corner, but we also discussed Gay Pride events. Both of these are things in which I join in the celebration, but they’re not actually things I’m proud of, in that they are not things that I accomplished. I was born with an Irish heritage and while I don’t know if I was actually born Gay, I do know that it was not something I ever chose, it just turned out to be who I am.

So I’m not proud of being these things, but being these things, I’m proud of things that have been accomplished by these groups. Not everything of course, but enough.

But as we kept pushing at the edges of the subject I figured out something else: Life is hard enough that we need to take the time to celebrate whenever we can. So really I just want to party, and if being Irish or being Gay is a reason to party, then hell yeah I’m proud.

Just Eat It

Friday, March 7th, 2014

There’s old advice that says, “never eat anything bigger than your head.” Now obviously that’s meant to be humorous, but like a lot of humor, that advice is built on a solid core or truth. God pointed out to me that we do break the rule, and all the time, in that we eat cows and watermelons and various other things that are bigger than our heads, but we only eat small bits of them at a time. Still, there’s really not all that much that we eat, outside of meat, that comes from something bigger than our heads.

But for ants, it’s a whole other world. I was watching some ants go to work on an abandoned pastry the other day and it occurred to me that for ants, harvesting food is less like picking fruits off a tree, or catching a ruminant on the run, and more like working in a mine. In fact, where ants live is kind of like living in a mine, and then when they “go to work” it’s often like heading off to the giant pit of a strip mine.

Just imagine toiling away with pickaxe and shovel, loading loading up a wheelbarrow full of bavarian cream filling. What would your lunch break be like?

There Are Reasons

Friday, February 28th, 2014

I go through my days analyzing things around me. Most especially I spend time analyzing the behaviors of people, people in general and also in particular the people immediately around me. Lately I’ve been paying attention to the way people walk. Not to how they move their legs, how they work their joints, but to the paths that they follow. People have a strong tendency to wander around as they ambulate along a sidewalk. They drift to and fro. They find a comfortable distance from the nearest wall or obstacle. but they don’t hold that distance fixed. It’s actually quite annoying when they’re walking slower than I am and casually meandering in such a way that I can’t figure out on which side of them there will be enough room to pass.

I realize that I’m not immune from some of the same random movement to my own path, but I am working on it, I am making an effort to walk in a straight line and to not position myself just far enough from a wall so as to make it impossible for someone to pass between me and the wall but still taking up as much of the sidewalk away from the wall as possible.

Today I had a woman walking in front of me and pretty much right on cue, as I started to move forward to pass her she angled to the left, moving away from the street and cutting me off. There was no one in front of her, no obvious obstacle, no reason for such a deliberate maneuver; but when I moved around and to her right I was able to see that there were a couple of shallow puddles left over from the morning’s rain and clearly she had moved to avoid stepping in those. It was one of those all too rare moments in my analyzations when there was an actual answer, one that was essentially definitive.

God says I’ve now moved from overthinking things to overthinking my overthinking. And I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.

Life Imitates Art

Friday, February 21st, 2014

I asked God what he thought about the mayor of Sochi claiming that there were no gay people in his town. He reminded me that on an episode of Soap, back in the late seventies, one of the characters said they didn’t have any “homos” in Texas, with complete sincerity. God went on to tell me that it was funny when it was fiction and still early in the struggle for Gay rights, but that these days it was more sad than anything.

Chubby Baby

Friday, February 14th, 2014

It’s St. Valentine’s Day. Today we celebrate love and promote it with pictures of Cupid, looking for all the world like a chubby little baby, who goes out shooting people with magic arrows to make them fall in love. Now I don’t really know Cupid’s motivations, but I’m willing to do some second guessing here. I think maybe he didn’t really have all that good of a childhood so he figures that maybe one of those newly-in-love couples that he puts together will look at him and think “What a cute little baby, let’s adopt him!” and he’ll get to do it all over again and get it right this time.

Then again, maybe he did have a good childhood, even a great one, even more than one great one, and he just keeps getting adopted and living out his dream, over and over again. It might not be a bad way to spend eternity.

Pray Louder

Friday, February 7th, 2014

I asked God if he enjoyed the Superbowl last weekend and he sort of groaned at me. He then explained that before the game he’s got millions of fans pestering him to make their team come out on top and then after the game he’s inundated with blame from the fans of the losers and mostly ignored by the fans of the winners. So I asked him why he doesn’t do something to make the game less popular or find some other way to get people to leave him out of it. He said he considered that but then he figured it was actually kind of nice to have one Sunday a year when something drowned out the noise of people praying in church.

Super Sunday

Friday, January 31st, 2014

It’s Superbowl weekend. I changed my yearly trip to Disneyland back to the last weekend in January so for the first time in years I’m not busy during the Superbowl. But I’m still not going to watch it, not even for the commercials. I asked God if this makes me anti-American or just anti-capitalism but she didn’t take the bait.

She pointed out to me that even though in some years the Superbowl is the single most watched event on television, still less than a third of Americans watch it. So that actually puts me in the majority.

I always have mixed feelings about being in the majority.

There’s a strong part of me that wants to be unique, but there’s also a strong part of me that’s happy to be part of a tribe. I’m not so much of a joiner that I would change myself to be part of a group, but I’m always happy to find a group that I can identify with without having to change myself. So, fellow non-watchers of the Superbowl… hi.

Obscene and Not Heard

Friday, January 24th, 2014

God and I were discussing language and its power to define and its power to offend. He made me realize that those two things both come from the same source, they come from an agreement between people. Words mean what they mean because we have agreed to assign that meaning to a particular group of sounds, to a particular group of letters. And the words that offend, not by their meaning but by their, I don’t know, essence, the words that we bleep out on TV or obfuscate with asterisks in “polite” publications, they are offensive not by some inherent characteristic of their pronunciation or of their existence, but because we have agreed that they will be considered offensive.

So the obscenity is in the mind. This got me wondering what words might I want deemed obscenities, not out of arbitrary need to have some new swear word, but instead because of the character of its meaning. Sure there are obvious suspects, things like “genocide” but I wanted something less clear cut, something that not everybody would agree with.

Having thought about it for awhile, I’m not sure that I can come up with any word more obscene than “worship.” “Worship” takes its object out of the realm of critical thought. It goes beyond even mere “faith” for its irrationality. God says he doesn’t need to be worshipped, that despite what it says in the Old Testament, he’s actually got pretty good self-esteem with or without us cheering him on. And if God doesn’t need it surely nothing else does. So how about it?

Not Yet

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I saw a post online this week that was complaining that it’s now less than a year until the midterm elections here in the U.S. and no one is talking about them. The post lamented that the electorate was not engaged and espoused that the stakes are high and the outcome would be important.

I was horrified and it took God a good half hour to calm me down. I’ve been complaining for years now that we start our electioneering way too early. By the time most of our elections actually happen I’m burned out, scandaled out, and in general feeling that a third of the country is ignorant, insane, or both.

So to all of you out there that aren’t talking about the next election… Keep up the good work. You’ll have plenty of time to get informed about the candidates and the issues later in the year. Much later. God promises.

It’s That Time

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Well the long holiday season has drawn to a close. For me that was Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, with just a pinch of Chanukah thrown in. I’m done with my end of year traveling and am now faced with my first unscheduled weekend in weeks.

God asked me what I’m going to do. I told him I think I’ll take a nap.

A Little Bit of Heaven

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

This week I got to feel a little bit of what I imagine it’s like in Heaven. But before I explain that let me talk for a minute about how I rate my music collection.

I’ve spent a lot of time assigning “star” ratings to my music. It took me a while to work out exactly how to think about it so that I could rate songs consistently. The first song I rated as five stars was Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” and for a long time if I was considering rating a song a five I had to ask myself “is this as good as ‘Like a Hurricane?’” So I was very glad when I figured out a better way to think about it.

What I finally decided on was a simple criteria for each number of stars. One star is a track that actively lessens the enjoyment of my life. I don’t ever want to listen to a one star song again, especially not accidentally. Two stars is for songs that, while there may be nothing wrong with it, it’s not something that stands out for me. Two stars means I don’t care if I never hear that song again. Three stars is for tracks that I want to hear again, just not very often. Four stars are songs that I’d like to hear again, next week. And five star songs are songs I’d like to hear again tomorrow.

Mind you, I don’t hear all the four star songs once a week and I don’t hear all the five star songs every day, but I’d be happy to, that’s the criteria. Even for all of that though, it wasn’t enough, five ratings wasn’t quite granular enough. So to get that extra ratings edge I created a playlist, and in the spirit of “Spinal Tap,” I named it “Eleven.” The songs in “Eleven” are the songs I’d be happy to listen to twice in a row. They’re that good. To me.

So back to the little bit of Heaven. I was driving down the coast of Northern California, along beaches and through groves of redwoods. I hooked my phone up to the sound system and put the “Eleven” list in shuffle mode. Every song that started a little softly made me want to reach for the knob to turn the volume up, even “Turn It Up” by The Alan Parsons Project. Every song was amazing and wonderful. And the point where I figured out this experience must be a little like what it’s like to be in Heaven, was the point when I noticed that not only were the last ten songs I listened to all amazing, and not only was the song I was listening to right then wonderful, but I knew, knew, that the next one would be too. And realizing that I also realized there was just a little bit of tedium to too much good stuff. There was no chance for the next song to surprise me that it was fantastic.

I pointed this out to God, that if everything is wonderful, doesn’t it come around soon enough that nothing is wonderful? She says that in Heaven it started out like that but that she’s fixed it since. I asked how? She says it’s a trade secret.

Snow Job

Friday, December 27th, 2013

I’ve spent more than my usual amount of time at Disneyland this winter. Just because I wanted to.

While there I’ve encountered three distinct kinds of snow. The first is the hardpack. It’s plastic or resin or some such and mostly adorns the roofs of buildings; designed to make them look like they’ve been accumulating snowfall throughout the season. The next kind is both fresh and transient. It’s made of small bubbles smaller than the ones kids blow through wands, more like what detergent makes in a washing machine. It gets blown out of tall towers and in the lamplight of night does a credible job of looking like falling snow. The final kind is made of soft paper. Not tissue soft, but not as hard as what you write or print on. It’s cut into the shape of oversized snowflakes and gets blasted out of air cannons for a quick burst effect during shows. It doesn’t look real, but it’s suggestive and entertaining, so it’s kind of in the tradition of animation.

God told me that if I were an eskimo I’d have a distinct word for each of these kinds of snow. I told him that was a myth.


Friday, December 20th, 2013

I was listening to some Christmas music and it occurred to me to ask God if the story of Rudolph was true. She kind of dodged the question for a little bit but finally gave in to my persistence.

She told me that it was actually a misinterpretation of events.

It seems the real story is that Santa had been noticing the rise of technology down south and was interested in adapting some of it for his own uses, and being that he had a very creative and talented work force, he didn’t want to just copy what we had. So he saw cars on the street and saw what a boon it was at night to have headlights and he decided he wanted something like that for his sleigh.

He went to the elves and talked to some of their designers about the problem. They assured him that putting headlights on a sleigh was a lousy idea. He’d just end up staring at the rear ends of the two hindmost reindeer and ruining his night vision. So they realized that they needed to put the light out in front of the reindeer. They wanted to come up with something that matched the aesthetics of the whole “reindeer pulling a sleigh” motif and they wanted something that wouldn’t spook the working reindeer.

And then they got a little carried away, not too mention a little overconfident in their abilities.

They made a mechanical reindeer. With a bright light where the nose should be.

At first the reindeer didn’t know what to make of it. Then they got the idea that they were being replaced. Automation is the wave of the future, they thought, and here’s our “John Henry” moment. Just as John Henry couldn’t match the power of the steam engine when it came to doing work, the reindeer knew that they wouldn’t be able to outfly a machine and couldn’t match Rudolph for new features like headlights.

There wasn’t much they could do though. They weren’t willing to engage in outright sabotage, so they just tried to ignore it. They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.

Then Gene Autry got ahold of the story and the rest is history.

Party Crashers

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Apparently it’s the season for fender-benders. I haven’t been in any. In fact I haven’t even seen any. But what I have seen is a lot of debris, both on the road and in parking lots. Bits of broken glass, pieces of taillights, that kind of thing.

God says it should go without saying that while I’m out getting wished “happy holidays” and wishing the same in return, that part of what I mean by “happy” is for you to not be involved in any of the aforementioned accidents. But just in case, I’m saying it. And also, please be careful out there.

And Happy Holidays! Remember, only a week left to shop in time for the solstice. And if it’s Friday the Thirteenth you wanted to celebrate, well, I hope you already got you’re shopping done, ‘cause, well, it’s here.

Rising Air

Friday, December 6th, 2013

My new house (I’m told I can call it that for up to six months) doesn’t heat like I’m used to. It’s both better and not better.

I’ve got central heating and air, but that’s not it. I’ve had those before. I think actually it’s because I’ve got central heating and air but that the house wasn’t built with it, so it’s installed differently. When I’ve had central before it’s always been fed into the rooms through vents that are up near the ceiling and when I’ve not had central I’ve had wall heaters that push the heat out through six feet of vents in one central spot.

And God refuses to tell me why the distributed vents are called central heating and the vents all in one central spot are not. But I digress.

In my new house the vents are all in the floor. There’s ducting in the crawlspace to route the heated air where it wants to go and it sort of gently wafts up through the vents. It’s that gentle wafting that had me concerned. First, I’m used to the hot air blowing out of vents, rushing into the room to quickly disperse to all corners. It gives me someplace to stand when I’m cold and feel the warm breeze. It’s not as satisfying as standing in front of a wall heater and feeling the fireplace-like glow but it does let me know things are working and let’s me get a little directed warming. But this gentle wafting? I had visions of it taking hours to heat the house.

When I got home this week from a short vacation the house was down to sixty degrees. It was with some trepidation that I turned the heat back on but with surprising speed the temperature began climbing. There’s enough air flow to warm my toes, but not enough to feel anything up as high as my hands, but I guess sometimes slow and steady really does win the race.


Friday, November 22nd, 2013

I told God that I’ve figured out there are two types of “last week before vacation.” The first type is where I’ve made sure that nothing is going on at work, that I have the kind of week where I can sit and twiddle my thumbs.

The other kind is like this week. I end up putting in overtime trying to get everything in place and stable so that I won’t have to spend my vacation doing emergency fixes and maintenance from wherever I happen to be. Sometimes I end up putting in almost as much overtime the week before as I spend on vacation. Of course even that beats the one time I put in sixty hours of work the week while I was on vacation. For problems that weren’t even my fault.

And when I finished telling God this, she smirked. She didn’t just smile, she actually smirked.

Apex Inc.

Friday, November 15th, 2013

It turns out that even God sometimes uses inexact metaphors when trying to make a point. We were talking about things that are wrong with the United States and how they get all intertwined and twisted back on each other.

Some of what’s wrong is that we’ve got people in power who think that everything must be driven by a profit motive, that that’s the only thing that will lead to people doing a good job. God and I freely agreed that central planning only works when the planners are omniscient, but we also recognized that the free market leads to twenty different laundry soaps with little to no difference between them. And thinking that the free market can solve everything leads to absurdities like profit driven medical care.

It was right about then that God came out with his mismatched analogy. He told me that corporations are the apex predators of modern society and that government is supposed to serve as the immune system to protect us from them. But of course I pointed out that immune systems are not what takes down apex predators.

Now that I think about it though, maybe the analogy isn’t so wrong after all. Immune systems are good at taking out things the size of bacteria, not the size of lions and tigers and bears, so maybe that’s why the government has become so poor at reigning in big business. Corporations have been pushed by evolutionary pressure until they’ve grown too big for government to effectively keep them in check. No wonder they want to keep government small.

Ender’s Boycott

Friday, November 8th, 2013

I’m going to explain myself. God says it’s a mistake. He says that no one is asking for an explanation, so why stir up the muck.

Here’s the thing, I saw the movie “Ender’s Game.”

A friend of mine was of the firm opinion that all our decisions are made emotionally and only after the fact do we justify them with logic and reason. I think I’ve done about as well as anyone in making that not be the case, in making the majority of my decisions be reason based more than emotion based, but I think in this case my friend might well have been right. Still, even if I did see the movie mainly because I just wanted to, and I’m not copping to that, maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, I don’t really know, but if I did, just if, I’d still like to explain my choice away, justify it with reason.

And fair warning, this isn’t a carefully laid out case, it’s all kind of fuzzy in my mind and so I’m going to come at it from different directions and try and give you the shape of my understanding more than a listing of reasons.

For those of you that might be sitting there, reading this, and thinking, “why does he need reasons to see a movie?” it’s because of the whole call for a boycott. To sum up quickly: Orson Scott Card wrote the book on which the movie is based, he also has said insane things in the fight against Gay rights and in particular in the fight against Equal Rights for Gays and Lesbians to Marry. And beyond just saying things as an individual citizen, he was on the board of directors of an organization that was near the forefront of the fight against marriage rights. So a lot of people want to see him not get additional money to use in that fight, not get additional attention to use in that fight, and not get any sort of validation that might lend credibility to his views.

And I get all of that. I even kind of agree with most of that.

But I don’t want to shut him down. I want him, well really I want him to come to his senses, to get over whatever programming or fear or whatever it is that’s causing him to not use his considerable intellect to understand that we aren’t the problem, that our right to exist and our right to marry doesn’t have any impact on his life, doesn’t hurt him or impact him in any way that isn’t of his own doing, but, well, barring that, I want him to choose to shut himself down, to at least realize that he’s not doing himself any good and that the tide he is fighting against will come in with or without him. For us, whoever us may be, to shut him down is a form of censorship, and I abhor censorship. And for all of you that say it’s only censorship if the government does it, oh grow up.

Right now the tendency is for people within the queer spectrum to be accorded our rights and for the list of rights that we are accorded to be expanded. More than a dozen states now grant us the right to marry. An ever-increasing list of other countries also grant that right. Ten years ago many activists in the Gay Community told us not to even try to get marriage rights, that it was a step over the line that would cause a backlash and set our fight back. They said we would be in danger of losing rights that we had fought hard for not very long ago. When I was a child, homosexuality was barely mentioned, I don’t remember even hearing of it before I was in high school. When I was a young adult it was an act of bravery to buy the gay newspaper in a bookstore instead of out of a vending machine. People fought for the right to say they were Gay, to make it safe for any of us to say we are Gay.

And that’s part of why I care so very much that people have the right to speak out, to say unpopular things. And yes, even to say things that are wrong and stupid. Because what people believe is wrong and stupid today may turn out to not be so.

I’ve never read Ender’s Game. I had friends, gay friends, recommend it to me, fifteen, twenty years ago. I told them then that I wouldn’t read it because of Orson Scott Card’s published rants against homosexuality. I didn’t begrudge him his right to speak then, when he was much closer to mainstream in his views (it’s not that he’s changed as much as that it is that “mainstream” has changed), but reading a book is one of the closest things we have to a Vulcan Mind Meld. When you read a book, ideas, both explicit and implicit, are passed from the author to the reader. Knowing that my very being was repugnant to Mr. Card, I chose to not put my mind in such close proximity to his. I told my friends then that I would see a movie based on the book, but I wouldn’t read it, but obviously that was before any sort of semi-organized boycott.

There’s also more to it than that, more to seeing the movie but not reading the book. Reading a book, as I said, is like hooking up two brains together and passing information between them. A movie is not like that. A movie is art by committee. The director, and often also the producer, is in charge and puts the clear stamp of their vision on the project, but for all of that, it’s still a group effort. How big a group? Well judging by the ever-lengthening time I spend sitting through credits, a very, very big group. These people are craftsmen but also, many of them are artists in their own right. So there’s a strong argument to be made that it’s not fair to all of those people to boycott the movie because of the views of an artist who is a step removed, albeit one without whom the work would not exist at all despite that level of remove, for his views and actions which are not expressed within the work itself. It’s not an argument that everyone buys, but it carries weight with me. Does it carry that weight just because I wanted to see the movie? I don’t know.

And back to all those people involved in making the movie, with the possible exceptions of hair salons and interior decorating, I think it’s safe to say that no industry has been more supportive of gay rights than the film industry. I think they’ve earned a little slack here. I think they’ve earned the right to not be boycotted by the queer community.

So that’s my thinking, such as it is. Maybe the real reason God didn’t want me to try and explain this is because he knew it would come out an incoherent mess.

The All Saints Party

Friday, November 1st, 2013

So yesterday was Halloween. I asked God if she ever takes on the form of a little kid, dresses up in some costume, and goes out trick or treating. I was hoping she did, because I was wondering what kind of costume she’d choose, and would it look homemade or store bought, things like that.

She said no, she’s always too busy getting ready for All Saints Day. It seems the saints expect her to throw them a party up in Heaven and she’s always busy putting together the last minute details. She also told me that it’s surprising how many saints have dietary restrictions. I mean I kind of expect St. Francis of Assisi to be a vegetarian, but apparently a lot of saints are now claiming gluten allergies.

And then she started to complain about how much beer they drink, but she stopped herself. She said she had only herself to blame for that one. I asked what she meant. She told me that the monks were right, she did invent beer to show us that she loves us and wants us to be happy.

Ho Hum

Friday, October 25th, 2013

One of the tropes of science fiction, a minor one actually, is that living forever becomes boring. I would’ve asked God for his take on it, after all, he actually is living forever, but I realized that his take on it would actually be irrelevant to my own. One of the main things I do with my time is to learn stuff, to work on developing expertise, and God is already an expert on, well, everything.

The internet has made it possible for me to easily subscribe to interesting sources of information. It’s so easy that I’m constantly searching for reasons to drop subscriptions, and I work very hard to not follow too many links out of the ones that I do read. Here’s the thing, and this is a “life” trope, there just aren’t enough hours in the day, or week, or year. I’d like to learn it all. I’d like to become an expert in everything. So I don’t know about “forever” but I could certainly be happy living for a very, very, very long time.

A smart man once told me that if you study something for just two hours a week, in a matter of just a few years, you’ll be an expert. I’ve seen quoted anywhere from two to ten thousand hours of doing something will let you master it. For me, the job of growing older has always been one of reigning in ambition. The older I get, the less time I figure I have left, the less time I have left, the fewer things I can learn really well. It’s tempting to say that by the time I die I’ll have figured out what I really want to know and have learned it, but the truth is, even if I live for a thousand years, I think I’ll still be just getting started, and I think I’ll still be pushing away things that I’d like to learn because there just isn’t time.

Yeah, I think the only way that life gets boring is if you just stop looking.

The Bully Pulpits

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

I’ve been watching what’s going on in Politics here in the U.S. since the rise to power of the Tea Party. First I’ve got to give them full tactical credit, for such a small group, and such a fringe group, they’ve done a masterful job of pushing their agenda. Of course it helps when you’re being backed by billionaires, some of whom own media outlets. But then I get to sit back and be aghast at what damage they’re doing with their mean-spirited, regressive, winner-take-all antics.

The thing that they’ve done that’s unique, at least within my lifetime, is they’ve recognized that the American Constitution pretty much guarantees a two-party system, so rather than become just another powerless fringe group they’ve figured out how to infiltrate one of the extant parties and run it like a voodoo doctor running a zombie. Of course it helped that the Republican Party was already floundering in a world that was too modern for them to understand. Not too mention that there was already a large part of the Republican Party that believed that the best way to get to smaller government, government that they and their corporate masters could easily get around, was to show that big government doesn’t work by getting in and sabotaging the very government they were supposed to be running. The Tea Party just grabbed them by the figurative lapels and said, “Stop being subtle, you’re not fooling anyone that actually cares!”

And they’ve definitely stopped being subtle.

So I asked God for comfort. I asked him to tell me it would all be okay. He said don’t worry, that no matter how many times it gets pushed to the ground progress eventually picks itself up again and keeps marching forward.

Great, my whole country is being bullied and all God can say is, it gets better.


Light Bulb Joke

Friday, October 11th, 2013

So God says to me, “How many angels does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

I said, “I don’t know. How many does it take?”

She said, “None. Angels don’t screw in a lightbulb, they screw on the head of a pin.”

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Is it New Year’s already? Okay, sure I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I also know that these last three months of the year are going to go by in a mad rush. They always seem to, each holiday suddenly upon me when I’m just starting to get over the last one.

God says it’s just a fact of getting older, time speeds up as more and more we realize that it’s running out, that our little patch of it is drying up. I get that. I really do. But I don’t think that’s it for me, I don’t think that’s what I’m feeling.

What I think is that when I was a little kid the holidays just happened, they were isolated islands that just came up over the horizon. Sure they were scheduled, sure I knew they were coming, and sure I had to do things to get ready for them… but not much. I had to decide what to be for Halloween. I had to help, a little, with the cooking and cleaning for Thanksgiving, and I had to answer a few questions about what I wanted for Christmas and buy a few presents to give. But now that I’m old and have a job and have a little more disposable income each year, the holidays are a lot more work.

I have to decorate my home and my office for Halloween and then again for Christmas. I have traveling to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas and usually New Year’s, so I have to plan vacation time and coordinate it with people at work. There’s shopping, there’s wrapping, there’s Oscar contender season at the movies. There’s redoing my playlists with seasonal tunes. And as often as possible I work in a trip to Disneyland to see the Haunted Mansion done over with Jack Skellington and crew.

Sure there’s months to do it all, but it’s exhausting I tell you. And then just when I’m most worn out, when my resistance and will to fight are at their lowest, I’ll have to listen to a bunch of nut jobs whining that there’s a “war on Christmas” and lying to me about “the reason for the season.” And yet, for all of that, I wouldn’t give up these three months without getting an awful lot in return.

So let me be the first one this year to wish you Happy Holidays, and that includes Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving. When I say Happy Holidays, I mean them all. Happy Holidays everyone.

Product Notation

Friday, September 27th, 2013

With the release this month of the new iPhone models 5c and 5s, God and I got to talking about undeclared letters in product names. There’s lots of choices for what those “c” and “s” letters can stand for, and I’m sure that Apple enjoys people spending time speculating about it.

We also spent some time talking about the current lineup of Prius models from Toyota. Unlike the iPhones there’s three models of Toyota’s flagship hybrids, but like the phones there’s only two appended letters. The current lineup is the Prius, the Prius C and the Prius V. When they moved from a single model to a family of models, with the 2012 model year, they added the “c” as a smaller model and the “v” as a larger model.

God asked me if I had any guesses what the “c” and “v” might stand for. I told him I thought it was an obvious homage to the graphical interfaces that grace our personal computers. Oh sure maybe somebody in their marketing department had originally suggested “c” to mean “compact” but that same sort of obviousness doesn’t carry over to the “v”. I think somebody was thinking of the original Macintosh and it’s introduction to the world of command-c for “copy” and command-v for “paste”. What they “cut” from the “c” to make it smaller, they “pasted” to the “v” to make it larger.