Friday Five

If you…
1. …owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?

Fat- and carbo-laden breakfast fare. Well, maybe I’d have some healthy stuff, too, whole grains, fruit, real yogurt, sushi, eggless omelets with interesting fillings, like guacamole or olive tapenade.
2. …owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
I would sell goods that have no practical value but are absolutely beautiful in their own right, the kind of items that make life gracious and pleasurable, like stained glass, art books, gorgeous flatware. A combination museum store and Mikasa outlet.
3. …wrote a book, what genre would it be?
For lack of imagination, probably a biography or auto-biography.
4. …ran a school, what would you teach?
Something subversive that would undermine a loathesome institution or individuals, like medical doctors.
5. …recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
Music to code by: 60’s and fusion jazz, or swing and other 40’s big bands.

Foghorns and Snowplows

We seem to be at the tail end of the annual St. Patrick’s day snowstorm.
From my porch this morning, I can hear foghorns, unmuffled by the usual stream of traffic on the state highway that’s about a quarter mile away. The bumps and grinding of the plows explains the absence of car and truck noises; it’s probably rough going out there, with sunrise still half an hour away and snow predicted to last until 8 this morning.

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Friday Five

Friday Five
1. What was the last song you heard?
Brazil by Kenny G
2. What were the last two movies you saw?
The Passion of the Christ and Cold Mountain.
3. What were the last three things you purchased?
a) Carvel cake
b) eHarmony membership
c) Birthday dinner at Cooke’s
4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
a) Haircut
b) Coding
c) Dump run with Peter
d) Pick up flowers and pastry for Candy’s party
e) Sunday brunch with the girls (okay, five)
5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
a) Peter
b) Candy
c) My customer and work friend of 6+ years, Ron
d) Tim, a fellow web developer
e) Steve, a colleague from the User Group and also a web developer

Some Victory

One of the jurors in the Martha Stewart trial gloated that her conviction was “a victory for the little guys who lose money in the market”.
Whether or not the government made a valid case for obstruction of justice, etc., I’m completely puzzled by this remark.

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Separating Church and State

Someone suggested this in print a couple of days ago, and I think it’s a great idea: separate the institution of “marriage” as a religious sacrament from “civil union” as a legal relationship.
It seems to me that the current debate mixes secular concerns with religious convictions. As a member of the intelligentsia in an old Jules Feiffer cartoon intoned following a scatalogical exchange: “Let us define your terms”.
I think the government has no business giving “marriage” licenses. “Marriage” is a religious sacrament. We don’t ask government to play a regulatory role in any other event associated with a religious observance, for example, baptisms or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.
We DO – and quite properly so – expect government to regulate and adjudicate contractual obligations between people. The legal and tax ramifications of adults living together in a committed relationship are a legitimate government concern. The emotional and spiritual aspects are, frankly, none of government’s business.
Why not, then, separate the terms marriage and civil union, leaving one to the church and one to the state.
The government would continue to grant some form of recognition of committed unions, making people eligible for applicable rights and responsibilities within civil law.
Marriage would continue to have a religious meaning appropriate to the beliefs and traditions of the people involved. Furthermore, religious leaders would have the same authority they have now, to conduct marriage ceremonies for particular couples, or not, based on their own convictions.
No pun intended, but I think this entire rancorous “wedge” issue would disappear if these two concepts were de-coupled.
And you wouldn’t even need a constitutional amendment to do it.

Hear, Hear

For the fifth year, China has issued a call to the United States to mend our own lousy human rights record before critcizing theirs.
According to an AP story in Fox News, “The Chinese report said the United States ‘should take its own human rights problems seriously … “and stop its unpopular interference with other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of promoting human rights.'”
The report from Beijing specifically criticized the US for its treatment of working people, women, children and the elderly. It described the US as a “crime-ridden” society which continues to discriminate against minorities, and it commented on the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of US military action.
Coming within a week of Greenspan’s assault on Social Security and the Frontline special on the war in Iraq, it’s tough to argue with Beijing’s logic.
I’m not saying our Federal government is wrong to have gotten rid of Saddam or to protest the persecution of the Falun Gong and other prisoners of conscience in China.
The fact is, Washington generally doesn’t set a great example for the rest of the world. With all its wealth, privilege and power, it should.