The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle just disappeared from the blog. Sorry!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Life Is Cruel

First, let me wish you all a happy Fourth of July, even you Brits. We did nothing; no going to a fireworks display, for example... we are getting a bit old for that. And the mosquitos are something we can no longer tolerate.

By the way, the more astute of you may notice that "Aunty Acid" misspelled "exaggerating."

Things are still broken in Blogger-land... meaning I must write my posts "on the fly", without benefit of using copy and paste from some word processor.

I am not sure why I titled this post that way, it might be because Faye got some disturbing news at the doctor's office the other day. The doctor suggested she get an echo cardiogram because there was indication on her EKG that she might have had a heart incident recently.

He warned her that it may not have actually happened, that it could have been an error on the EKG, but she is concerned... as I am, and has tried to remember any incident that would point to it. It seems women do not generally get the same symptoms as men when these occur. Men get pressure on the chest, some arm or jaw pain, as well as a little nausea. Women often get dizziness and nausea and that is what Faye recalls a few weeks ago; that dizziness and nausea. She begged off our weekly night of dining with some friends that evening.

To be honest, I think she is worrying too much about it. At least I hope she is worrying over nothing.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Showers And Politics

I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I don't sing so that's all I can do is think. In fact, I don't understand that whole "singing in the shower" thing. In the Navy, it would be the easiest inducement to ridicule.

I won't go into the "it's my soap and my [bleep] and I'll wash it as fast and as long as I want."

But two ideas came to me while in the shower recently. One is the advice to go from hot to cold (or at least cool) water. I never understood that. The idea is that you open your pores with the hot water and then close them up again with the cool. Seems to me that you stand a good chance of trapping soap in those pores by closing them and that can't be good. On the other hand, you could make sure you are all rinsed off before switching to cold water but I wonder if it isn't better to just keep the pores open?

Speaking of water, it seems the sharks are not only circling around North Carolina beaches but also in the political arena. Hillary just picked up another challenger, Jim Webb of Virginia. That makes 6 in the Democratic race for the nomination. And too many to count in the Republican race.
But I guess having all these candidates means there's someone for everybody.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Marriage Of Like Kinds

I would like to open myself to attacks by the political left by posting about same-sex marriage. I realize this makes it possible to label me a homophobe but  don't care.

I have written about same-sex marriage before. I really do not have a problem with it nor do I have a problem with gay, or any other, lifestyle. Well, I do have a problem with socialists and progressives but that's not an issue... yet.

Let me refer you back to what I said in 2008. I wrote of the history, as I see it, of marriage... which I believe is the province of religion. Somewhere in history, it became a concern of government. Don't get me wrong, government has an interest in marriage. It has this mostly because a marriage is a financial partnership and it often produces new citizens.

But its primary interest is in the welfare of those new citizens and the financial partnership. It is brought in when a marriage is dissolved... just as it is when any financial partnership is dissolved. Unless there is a disagreement over assets,  the government deems it a private matter. As it should, I think. I consider children to be assets and, so, I put them in that category (some may disagree with that and view children as liabilities).

My proposal is that all current marriages be deemed "civil unions." I think that can be easily done in spite of the number of times the term "marriage" is mentioned in laws. A law stating that all marriages are now civil unions and all rights and responsibilities that fall under "marriage" now apply to "civil unions." So it doesn't dissolve marriages, just extends those rights and responsibilities associate with marriage to civil unions. As far as the law is concerned; a spouse (who would still be a "spouse") could still be the person who makes medical decisions, shares the assets and liabilities, and so on of the "marriage." Nothing would change.

What my proposal does is remove the government from marriage and force it to treat all partnerships, social or business, the same... which it should.

All a couple need do is apply for that "marriage" license and be approved (have it issued) and they become a partnership, or "civil union", in the eyes of the law. There would be no need of a ceremony at all. If a couple wanted a ceremony, they could have a civil ceremony or a church wedding, as they see fit, assuming they can find a church willing to perform it. But no church would ever be forced, under the law, to perform a ceremony.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Black And White

We're supposed to have a dialogue about race. That's what they say anyway. What they really mean is that we should talk to each other about racism. I have talked about racism and prejudice a number of times here on Boomer Musings.

My friend at "The View From Outside My Tiny Window" has done a better job of describing why racism exists than I ever could in his post #194. I urge you to read it. He is a very smart man and quite the accomplished one.

Essentially, I believe that racism is an offshoot (or "unintended consequence") of a genetic predisposition to trust those who look most like us. That is, it began when mankind was first emerging. We had needs: food, shelter, procreation. In order to satisfy those needs we needed to survive in a sometimes hostile world full of dangerous animals and, worse, other humans. We could easily learn which animals might do us harm and which weren't likely to but other humans? Not so easily. So we developed a kind of judgment based on looks. After all, that is/was our primary sense. We could see the fangs and claws of predators easily enough and, using our other senses, hear them growl and hiss and the like. But humans are stealthy and can pretend to be friendly.

In our clans, mostly made up of kinsmen, people were familiar so it is logical to extrapolate that into be trusting of those that look most like us. Any characteristic that was different made our distant ancestors wary.

As an aside and example of what I mean, a friend of mine once told me she felt fear around blue-eyed people with fair skin. This friend is African-American. She felt more comfortable around me because I had brown eyes and dark hair.

As we developed tribes, which later grew into communities, we allied with people who also looked like us.  We still do this, I think, in a number of ways. Look around your towns and cities... you will find enclaves of people who look alike and speak alike. Italian neighborhoods, Chinese neighborhoods, Korean neighborhoods, and so on. It's not just because these folks were kept out of other neighborhoods, though that certainly happened, but also because they felt more comfortable being among their "own kind."  We are "herd animals" and that means we like being among others and the others should look familiar.

Do we still need this predisposition? I do not think so but since it has become "hard-wired" into our DNA it will be near impossible to eradicate... much as we might like to get rid of it.

Can we overcome it? Yes, I believe so, on an individual basis. That is, each of us can, if we choose, not give in to it; suppress it in our interactions with others. But it takes effort and, above all, recognition that we all have it. That is the part that is difficult... not do a kneejerk denial of our own prejudice.

I wish you luck in disciplining yourselves to control your alleged instincts. We can, each of us, make this a better world.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What About AI?

That seems to be an important question. As in, "If we create robots that think, will that be the beginning of the end for humanity?"

I am one who is in favor of creating such and I don't fear it. First, because it will happen well after I am dead and, second, because I think the benefits outweigh the risks.

Much of our thinking, especially on this subject, seems to come from books and movies. And these tend to play up the fear of annihilation. Think the "Terminator" series and any number of others over the years. Intelligent robots have supplanted space aliens as the destroyers of Earth (humanity).

I doubt it. First because an old joke is that artificial intelligence already exists... the vast majority of humans qualify. And, second, because I think AI will enhance our lives, even though I believe it will cost a huge number of jobs in the long run. Think about it: you would no longer have to explain that weird noise your car makes to a mechanic who won't know how to fix it anyway (but will claim to have and charge you greatly). The car will probably tell you what's wrong (in simple terms) and the (robot) mechanic will have a complete encyclopedia of your car stored in his memory bank, you won't have to explain anything; the robot will analyze the car and determine just what is wrong with it (assuming anything would be... cars are getting "smarter" already).

I think we spend an inordinate amount of time explain what we mean to others. AI could end that waste of time. Will we humans be jealous of the robots? Probably. Still, I think AI is inevitable.