Friday, May 29, 2009

Sign up day

Marathon sign up day is in July.


I have a schedule in front of me that would have me running 226 miles between now and then, if I stuck to it.  Possibly a little more thanks to 5ks and 10ks and other training runs over the course of the thing.


There’s a small catch, though.  I may be taking a trip to Chile January 10 – 16.  If I take that trip, I’ll be flying in on Saturday, then turning around and running a freaking marathon on the next day.  26.2 is already hard.  I can’t imagine what it would be like jet-lagged.  Of course, I would be coming in from high altitude summer weather and running in low altitude winter weather.  My lungs may appreciate the change in altitude.


I still dunno…

Seriously, now

6 missile tests in the last week or so.  Seriously…  6.


And another nuclear test.


And backing out of the 1953 armistice.


And basically saying that if anyone farts in their general direction, they’ll consider it an act of war.


Don’t worry, though, everyone.  You can just relax.  Everything is under control.  The UN is going to strongly condemn North Korea’s actions (maybe) and President Obama is very, very unhappy with them.  That’s right “very, VERY”.  2 “very”s.


So you can rest easy, fully safe and secure in the knowledge that a very stern look has been pointed in their direction and, just to reinforce the stern look, a very, very rigid finger has been wagged at them and Guantanamo will be closed.  Because maintaining a detention facility in Cuba where we can hold terrorists until the either die or disavow their desire to wage war against America makes us unsafe.  But North Korea having nukes AND ballistic missiles capable of delivering them to our allies AND a desire, willingness, and past history of selling that technology for much needed cash resources AND backing out of the ceasefire agreement that ended hostilities makes us safe.  That makes sense.  Totally.


I feel safer.  Safer by the day.  Don’t you?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Big Day Looming

July 17, 12:01am.


Registration for the Houston Marathon opens.


Hhhmmm…  Should I?  COULD I?  I’m pretty sure I can…  not so sure I should.


No, correction:  I’m certain I CAN.  Less certain if I want it bad enough to actually do it.  And THAT’S the overriding factor as to whether or not I should.  If I don’t want it bad enough, then I definitely shouldn’t.


It’s not a question of can.  It’s a question of will.


Like so many other things in life…



And by the way, no matter what the press tells us, there WON’T be a fight over the nomination of Judge Sotomeyor.  Her confirmation won’t change the makeup of the court—just replacing one worn out part with an identical replacement—and even if it did, there aren’t enough votes (or political will, for that matter) to do anything about it.  There may be some stomping around, but there won’t be any serious opposition.  So when Robin Roberts and Dianne Sawyer tell you the republicans are “gearing up for a fight”, they’re full of shit.  There’s no fight to be had.  She’s a good enough candidate and will do just fine.


If the Rs are smart, though—and that’s not to say they are—they’ll raise their concerns firmly rooted in their principles (if they have any anymore) and use phrases like “judgment WITHIN the bounds of the framework of the constitution” and “interpreting the laws as they’re written, not revising them to suit your preference”.  If they were keen to stress ideals, not ideology, that’s important to most of the middle, they’ll make themselves look good.  I’m not sure if they have it in them to do that, though.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Problem? Solution.

Look, I know homosexual marriage is a big deal to some people.  Some people think getting married is a civil right (which means the Catholic Church is violating their priests’ civil rights, and if I ask and you say “no”, then you’re violating my civil rights, but I digress), some don’t.

The problem, I think, goes even deeper.  Most people still believe “marriage” is something that is done at a church.  Yes, people get married at city hall or Vegas all the time, but most people still consider “marriage” to be defined not as “a man and a woman”, but as a “holy union”, generally done at a church or officiated by a church dude.  If the state says marriage is between any two people, that invites a push to force churches to follow suit, lest they be violating the law at the least, or a person’s civil rights at worst.

No, you say?  Couldn’t happen, you say?  The same could be said 10 years ago about the “right” to get married being invented out of thin air by a lawsuit and a judge reinterpreting the existing law and forcing a legislature to make new laws.  That’s what set the whole nationwide referendum processes in motion.  If one side is going to invent new laws by suing and claiming the current ones are unconstitutional, then the other side will simply make the current law constitutional by amending the relevant state constitutions.  Simple as that (and a little bit awesome that the rule of law won out over activist judges).

Nevertheless, as long as it’s called “marriage”, and as long as “marriage” is seen as something that is done at a church (and I believe my grandmother never recognized my aunt’s second marriage because it second didn’t happen in a church), then there will never, ever be a widespread acceptance of homosexual “marriage”.  Sure, some churches already perform gay unions and some do so against the governing principles of their own particular denominations.  But most don’t.  And most likely won’t for a long, long time.  Probably about a generation or two more.  My sense is that most of the folks opposed to allowing gay marriage are of the opinion that they can do whatever the hell they want, just don’t call it marriage.

But, if you’ll excuse the pun, there may be a way to back-door a solution.  There is a thing known as “common law marriage”.  Folks live together long enough, act like husband and wife long enough, hold themselves out to be husband and wife long enough, the state considers them married.  No certificates needed.  No ceremony needed.  No nothing.  Just say it’s so, and it’s so.  Some states still allow it (Texas is one of them), and the rumor used to be that if you got a hotel room with your girlfriend and told the clerk she was your wife, you were married, BOOM!  Easy as that.  Might have to call it something else, though.  “Common Law Unions”, anyone?

Common Law Marriage

Common law marriage is permitted in a minority of states. To be defined as a common law marriage within the states listed below, the two parties must: agree that they are married, live together, and hold themselves out as husband and wife. Common-law marriage is generally a non-ceremonial relationship that requires "a positive mutual agreement, permanent and exclusive of all others, to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitation sufficient to warrant a fulfillment of necessary relationship of man and wife, and an assumption of marital duties and obligations." Black's Law Dictionary 277 (6th ed. 1990).

Before modern domestic relations statutes, couples became married by a variety of means that developed from custom. These became the elements of a "common-law marriage," or a marriage that arose by operation of law through the parties' conduct, instead of through a ceremony. In many ways, the theory of common-law marriage is one of estoppel - meaning that parties who have told the world they are married should not be allowed to claim that they are not married in a dispute between the parties themselves.

Currently, only 9 states (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas) and the District of Columbia recognize common-law marriages contracted within their borders. In addition, five states have "grandfathered" common law marriage (Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania) allowing those established before a certain date to be recognized. New Hampshire recognizes common law marriage only for purposes of probate, and Utah recognizes common law marriages only if they have been validated by a court or administrative order.


New Hampshire ³


Ohio 4

District of Columbia

Oklahoma5 (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 43, § 1)


Pennsylvania9 (23 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 1103)

Idaho ²

Rhode Island

Iowa (Iowa Code Ann. §. 595.11)

South Carolina

Kansas 8

Texas 6 (Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 2.401)

Montana (Mont. Code Ann. § 26-1-602, 40-1-403)

Utah7(Utah Code Ann.§ 30-1-4.5)


1.     Only for common law marriages formed before January 1, 1997 (1996 Georgia Act 1021).

2.     Only for common law marriages formed before January 1, 1996 (Idaho Code § 32-201).

3.     Common law marriages effective only at death. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann § 457:39).

4.     Only for common law marriages formed before October 10, 1991 (Lyons v. Lyons 621 N.E. 2d 718 (Ohio App. 1993)).

5.     Only for common law marriage formed before November 1, 1998. (1998 Okla. SB 1076).

6.     Texas calls it an "informal marriage," rather than a common-law marriage. Under § 2.401 of the Texas Family Code, an informal marriage can be established either by declaration (registering at the county courthouse without having a ceremony), or by meeting a 3-prong test showing evidence of (1) an agreement to be married; (2) cohabitation in Texas; and (3) representation to others that the parties are married. A 1995 update adds an evidentiary presumption that there was no marriage if no suit for proof of marriage is filed within two years of the date the parties separated and ceased living together.

7.     Administrative order establishes that it arises out of a contract between two consenting parties who: (a) are capable of giving consent; (b) are legally capable of entering a solemnized marriage; (c) have cohabited; (d) mutually assume marital rights, duties, and obligations; and (e) who hold themselves out as and have acquired a uniform and general reputation as husband and wife. The determination or establishment of such a marriage must occur during the relationship or within one year following the termination of that relationship.

8.     Kansas law prohibits recognition of common law marriage if either party is under 18 years of age. (2002 Kan. Sess. Laws, SB 486, §23-101).

9.     Pennsylvania law was amended to read "No common-law marriage contracted after January 1, 2005 shall be valid." (Pennsylvania Statues, Section 1103)

Because the doctrine of common law marriage developed prior to the advent of modern domestic relations statutes, in some states the law exists in case law rather than legislation. (For example: Piel v. Brown, 361 So. 2d 90, 93 (Ala. 1978); Deter v. Deter, 484 P.2d 805, 806 (Colo. Ct. App. 1971); Johnson v. Young, 372 A.2d 992, 994 (D.C. 1977); Smith v. Smith, 161 Kan. 1, 3, 165 P.2d 593, 594 (1946); Sardonis v. Sardonis, 106 R.I. 469, 472, 261 A.2d 22, 23 (1970); Johnson v. Johnson, 235 S.C. 542, 550, 112 S.E.2d 647, 651 (1960)).

Tennessee has employed a doctrine of "estoppel to deny marriage." See Note, Informal Marriages in Tennessee - Marriage by Estoppel, by Prescription and by Ratification, 3 VAND. L. REV. 610, 614-15 (1950).

Many states have abolished common-law marriage by statute, because common-law marriage was seen as encouraging fraud and condoning vice, debasing conventional marriage, and as no longer necessary with increased access to clergy and justices of the peace. (For example: Cal. Civ. Code § 4100; N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 11 ; Furth v. Furth, 133 S.W. 1037, 1038-39 (Ark. 1911); Owens v. Bentley, 14 A.2d 391, 393 (Del. Super. 1940); Milford v. Worcester, 7 Mass. 48 (1910)).

Among those states that permit a common-law marriage to be contracted, the elements of a common-law marriage vary slightly from state to state. The indispensable elements are (1) cohabitation and (2) "holding out." "Holding out" means that the parties tell the world that they are husband and wife through their conduct, such as the woman's assumption of the man's surname, filing a joint federal income tax return, etc. This means that mere cohabitation cannot, by itself, rise to the level of constituting a marriage. Of course, many disputes arise when facts (such as intentions of the parties or statements made to third parties) are in controversy.

The United States Constitution requires every state to accord "Full Faith and Credit" to the laws of its sister states. Thus, a common-law marriage that is validly contracted in a state where such marriages are legal will be valid even in states where such marriages cannot be contracted and may be contrary to public policy.

There is no such thing as common-law divorce. Once parties are married, regardless of the manner in which their marriage is contracted, they are married and can only be divorced by appropriate means in the place where the divorce is granted. That means, in all 50 states, only by a court order. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Yup, I got out last night and ran while the missus put the little one to bed.  Just a quick mile, but it was running all the same.  I don’t have a chronometer anymore, so I don’t know how fast the run was.  I was running naked—just me and the pavement.


And Holden is still more awesome than me.


The tomatoes are still coming in, too.  We’ve got some squash growing, and a couple of bean harvests have already come and gone.  Hell, we had some garden beans last night with dinner.  Blackberries are coming in, too.  We found a bunch of bugs we can’t quite identify as good or bad.  They’re “leaf footed nymphs”, we think, and depending on where you check they’re either good or bad.  I think they’re bad, and there’s lots of them thanks to the mild winter.  Since they’re related to stink-bugs they have few natural predators, too.  The best defense is removal, and when there’s an infestation the best defense is deforestation.  Sigh.  We have a soap based insect repellent, I’m going to try that.  Failing that, we may just have to escalate things.


Tonight I’m going to go ahead and register for classes in the fall.  It’s time to shit or get off the pot.  I can’t just wait around for other people to make time.  And, while I’m at it, there’s a certain commencement address I’m finally going to have the time to watch.  I’m looking forward to it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

They don't want me

Grades are in and they’re looking more like Fonzie all the time (aaaaaaa).


Thanks to a particularly frustrating process regarding the fall semester, I’m no longer completely certain that I’ll have enough time to train for the marathon next year.  I am, though, still seriously considering the half.  One of those two races will be run in January.  The second marathon may have to wait until 2011.  The problem is the sudden changing of gears that is going on.  If I have to change up my class mix away from what I’ve been preparing for, then I may have to put in more work that I was expecting on classes.  More work in one area means less time available for work in another, and something has to go.  As the last man on the totem pole, the marathon will have to be cut.  Unless, that is, things straighten themselves out soon.


Oh yea, and musical ring tones annoy the crap out of me.  ESPECIALLY the ones that you’re forced to listen to when you call someone.  I don’t want to listen to your music while I wait for you to answer the phone.  That’s really, really annoying.



So, anyway, there are several reasons why I’m not a republican or a democrat.  I’m not a democrat less because of policy differences and more because of philosophy differences.  I’m not a republican for the exact opposite reasons.  As just one example:




The Republican Party seems to think there should be a law banning abortions, leaving exceptions for rape and incest and health of the mother.  Which is to say that babies are always a blessing, unless they’re the product of rape or incest or medical irresponsibility, in which case the baby should be punished for the actions of the criminals or parents, along with the criminals.  Forget the fact that any pregnancy can run at least some risk of harming the health of the mother—even if that risk is extremely remote.


The Democrat Party seems to think that any abortion, anytime, anywhere, and for anyone should be always legal and it’s a decision solely between a woman and her doctor—nobody else.  And if they could make them free, so be it.  After all, nobody should be punished for a simple mistake with a lifetime responsibility of a baby.  Because, you know, that’s what a baby is, punishment.

Personally, I don’t think either of them are completely right, but those are our choices.


Me?  No, I’m not in favor of abortion at all, but by the time the decision whether or not to have an abortion comes up, several other failed opportunities have presented themselves.  Both participants failed to abstain, if the act is consensual.  At least one participant failed to adhere to social and legal codes with regards to sexual conduct and violence if it was not consensual.  They failed to practice safe sex.  They failed to use birth control.  They failed to consider the potential consequences of their actions.  They failed to adequately prepare for the consequences for their actions.  Babies aren’t like weeds.  It’s not like you wake up one morning and suddenly dandelions are growing in your yard and you have no idea where they came from.  Several actions must take place before a baby is conceived, and before each action there is an opportunity to make a choice.  (Excepting, of course, in the case of conception following rape where the choice was not mutual, the victim had no voice in the matter, and the rapist has no parental rights.  Even then, though, the view of the child as a man-made event or a true blessing is a cultural difference, not a legal designation.  “He did this to me” versus “He did this for me”, depends on who the speaker considers “He” to be.)  And for some people, the final choice is one in favor of abortion and in certain circumstances it’s a perfectly reasonable choice.  For others, though, it is simply not a choice, not ever, and no law legalizing or banning something changes that, ever.  The fact that purple hair is legal doesn’t mean I’m going to dye my hair.  Ban purple hair and people are still going to dye their hair, they’re just going to do it secretly.  Some people choose to go to college.  Others never considered any other option.


But, you see, because I do see abortion as a choice for some and I’m not in favor of banning it for all, the republicans don’t want me.  And as a father who believes he has a stake in the well being (and existence) of his child(ren), I can’t philosophically call myself a democrat.  If I were a member of parties today, though, I’d be expelled from the republican party as “not ideologically pure enough” and embraced by the democrat party as a “conservative democrat”, even if they don’t really care what I think.   And this story can be retold with regulation, and taxes, and a whole litany of other issues where on the one hand I can go with the policy but not the philosophy, and on the other hand I can go with the philosophy but not the policy.


The libertarians and greens have long been ideologically narrow parties.  People who weren’t “conservative enough” for the libertarians voted for the lesser evil of the Republican Party.  People who weren’t liberal enough to be greens would do likewise for the Democrat Party.  If the Republican Party is going to fight for ideological purity and send people to the next lesser evil, and the dems are willing to make their tent bigger to accommodate lesser evils, then within the 2 party system we’re going to have a long tale of single party governance with a perpetual opposition, rather than a true 2 party system.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The game just changed

I was just looking over graduation requirements and realized the 3 honors designations (Cum Laude, Magna CL, and Summa CL) are for the undergrad program only and they don’t apply to the grad program.  To graduate with honors from the b-school MBA program, it’s a flat 3.7 or better.  No alternative designations available.

It doesn’t change things much, but it does change the degree of focus.  Where I could accept a final gpa as low as 3.4 to graduate with honors--which meant I could coast for the last year and knock back straight Bs and still walk home with honors—I’ve not got to keep the petal down for at least 2 more semesters.


What’s the point?


Well, that could put a serious crimp in my marathon training.  If I’ve got to put in time every weekend and most evenings, there’s remarkably little time left over for 10 mile training runs.


Hm…  pondering time.


Meanwhile, I’ve got tomatoes.  They’re yummy, golden, pear shaped tomatoes.  Sooooooo gooooood.


Oh, yea, and Nancy Pelosi is a big, fat lying liar.  It’s been exceptionally fun watching her squirm.  Funny, I haven’t received any steaming piles from her love child troll in my spam-box demanding a full accounting of HER involvement.  But, then again, if it can’t find someone else who already said it, then it probably won’t copy their words.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A tale of two standards

Remember, girls, if you’re going to be pretty, be sure to be stupid or, if you do manage to think something, be sure to lie about it.  Because being stupid is ok.  As long as you’re pretty.

Good answer:

“I personally believe, that U.S. Americans, are unable to do so, because uh, some, people out there, in our nation don’t have maps. and uh…
I believe that our education like such as in South Africa, and the Iraq, everywhere like such as… and, I believe they should uh, our education over here, in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq and Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.”


Bad answer:

“I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage.  And you know what? I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised.”


Now, will these people please get the hell off my news?  You’re making the entire universe a much dumber place.  Like, such as.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interesting, indeed

Ok, I really don’t want to care about stupid pageant queens, but it keeps popping up on my news and you really can’t escape it.


Nonetheless, other than being kind of annoyed that guardians of tolerance are demonizing a pretty girl for giving an opinion that disagrees with what they think her opinion should be, I still don’t really care.


I DO find it interesting, though, that when a pretty girl makes a complete ass out of herself and gives a ridiculously stupid, ill thought out, and completely incomprehensible answer to a very simple question she gets a pass and there’s no question as to whether or not she’ll keep her “crown”.  You know, in the such as.


But when a pretty girl gives a fairly coherent and honest answer to a very dishonest question she is demonized, attacked, slurred, and threatened with stripping of the crown.


Moral of the story?  If you’re going to be pretty, be sure to be stupid, ‘cause that’s perfectly acceptable.  You know.  With the such as and such.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

And the beat goes on da da dum de dum

My tomatoes are almost ready for munching.  I can’t wait.  I’ll also have the bike cleaned up and ready for weekend rides in the next couple of weeks.  Also, the little side project I’ve been working on has suddenly picked up some real momentum and just might materialize into a real thing in the next month or so.  That’ll be particularly interesting to see, if it actually works.  If it doesn’t?  Back to the drawing board.  Don’t worry, I’ll have a video of the thing once it’s all put together (cause I know ya’ll are all on the edge of your seat and don’t not care in the least).


Here’s the problem with the current identity crisis among the opposition—not unlike the identity crisis we saw in the early and mid 90s among newly dispossessed dems.  There’s no debate.  There’s no dissent.  There’s no nothing.  There’s a health care reform proposal being worked on.  Have you heard about it?  Nope, me neither.  At least not any significant information.  The compliant media is just taking what is being given and nobody is giving anything of substance.  If there was a decent opposition there would at least be purple faced rants about the absolute worst possible case scenario and the leadership would at least have to come out and say “no, no that’s not how it will be at all”.  But we’re not even getting THAT.  We’re not getting ANYTHING, because the press isn’t asking, and the leadership isn’t talking.  When interviews go like this “hi, how are you?  Are you comfortable?  Would you like some water?  How is it being great?  Ok, thanks for your time.”;  you’re not getting real oversight.  Hell, even John Stewart, presumably the last line of rhetorical defense, isn’t asking hard questions anymore—and he’s not even supposed be expected to ask hard questions!


Hell, I’m not opposed to the idea of universal health insurance, available to all, and affordable by all—if it’s done right.  But for Christ’s sake, have a conversation about it.  Don’t just cram the damn thing down our throats and expect our grandkids to pick up the tab!  Here’s a thought:  universal primary care for all, paid for through Medicare.  If you’re disabled or indigent, additional coverage can be made available through Medicaid.  If you’re not indigent or disabled, you’re going to have to pay for supplemental healthcare based on your means either through your employer or a provider.  Done and done.  Everyone has access to a physical and basic maintenance completely “free” (provided by taxes assessed on the rich, because they’re making too much money anyway, and it’s not like you aspire to be among their ranks, right?).  That reduces the cost of supplemental medical costs because major problems are identified and treated before they become major problems.  After all, a cold is easier (and cheaper) to treat than pneumonia.


If they continue their march toward ideological purity, this will become a one party nation for a time, until a real, reasonable third party raises its head and embarks on the conversation.  It’s completely asinine to insist that there be some kind of ideological purity test.  It’s the same ridiculously stupid thinking that forced Lieberman to go independent, has shrunk the base of the republican party, and threatened the very foundation of the democratic party.  It seems the dems have overcome their more radical leftists who were insisting on a single issue litmus test (opposition to the Iraq war), but only because the war is being won and coming to a close.  This is where I would go into a rant about trolls, but I haven’t completely cleared the steaming piles of distortion and ignorance from my spam filter.


Speaking of trolls, beauty pageants are boring and generally a demeaning waste of time.  But the ongoing character assassination of Miss California by those who are tolerant of anything except for those who disagree with them is oh so very interesting.



Friday, May 01, 2009

And the hits keep coming

The semester is FINALLY winding down and I’m can start diverting my attention to more pedestrian pursuits over the next few weeks (until the summer session starts).  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all my spare time.

- -

I am thoroughly amused at the restructuring efforts of GM and Chrysler.  It looks like the unions are going to own a significant share and be the largest shareholder of both companies.  At last check it was 55% of Chrysler and somewhere near 35% to 45% of GM.




There used to be signs in stores saying “if you break it you buy it”.  The unions have done a very good job of protecting their members and destroying these companies.  It’s about damn time management said “fine, it’s yours.  Run it into the ground on your own time.”  If the unions can manage to do something they’ve never done before—that is, successfully run a company—hooray for them.  If not, it’s sad, but fully deserved.  Good luck, guys.  You broke it, now you’ve bought it.


If only they could figure out how to build a car that was actually worth the amount of money they had to charge to make a profit on each unit.  If only.  Then they wouldn’t be dependent on financing and they could actually sell cars, not just build them.

- -

Arlen Specter leaving the GOP makes me chuckle.  It would have been much, much cooler to see him pull a Lieberman, and run as an independent if the extremists in his party managed to dislodge him from his seat without a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the general election.  Maybe they’d have gotten together and formed a centrist party.  That would have been much cooler.


But I take what I can get.  Meanwhile, this could be the dreaded 60 vote majority if Coleman finally gives up the ghost in Minnesota.  Having all 60 in the Senate (though all 60 votes are not a rock solid guarantee) could finally be the last little bit that acts as the catalyst for honest to God opposition, rather than mere noise making and pant wetting.  Time will tell.  Until then, it looks like we’ll have no choice but to try to steer the dems down a moderate path.

- -

But the real story on everyone’s mind is the swine flu pandemic that is killing everybody everywhere (AAAHHH!!!).


Oh, wait…  it’s not killing everybody?  There’s only 109 cases in all of the United States?  Not 109,000?  Not 109,000,000?  Just 109?  As in 10 tens, plus 9?  Really?  Hm…  I was being led to believe that this was a big deal.  Nevermind, then.