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Karing about others

Mostly because I have been thinking about her lately, I feel compelled to write about someone who was very dear to me.  Many people who have met me in the last several years may not be aware of the fact that I was married to a woman for 3 years. I understand there can be lots of confusion whenever I mention it, and misunderstandings or misconceptions might occur. So I would like to take this opportunity to discuss my feelings about her.

Shortly after I came out, I attended a party for ex-Mormon gay people. Many of them had been married (to someone of the opposite sex), as I had. Most of those marriages had ended in divorce. Sometimes the divorce was very ugly, other times it was rather pleasant and they remained friends throughout the process. I assume it is because of the ugly divorce scenarios that this statement was made to me. Upon revealing that I had previously been married to a woman and that the marriage had ended in her death, a man said to me that it was good that it had end…
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The Orville is making me feel spacey

(As a warning, this post contains spoilers to the Episode 7 "The Majority Rule" of the TV series The Orville.)

I started watching The Orville a week or two ago.  I have seen up to episode 7.  In this episode, there is a planet with a culture that evolved to be very similar to Earth's.  In fact, the dominant species on the planet looks identical to humans (partly, I believe, to save on budget costs for make-up etc).  In this society, we learn that every person is given a badge at age 18 and they must wear this badge at all times.  The badge has two buttons--one upward-pointing green arrow and one downward-pointing red arrow.  When a person does a good thing, another person might press the green button as an "up-vote", to express approval.  When a person does a bad thing, one might press the red button as a "down-vote."  This is clearly inspired by sites such as Reddit that allow thumbs up and down voting on posts. 

At one point, one of the crew members…

Outfall 4

There are events in life that cause me to be introspective.  Perhaps this is not frequent enough.  I do believe that many problems in life can be solved by people looking inward and examining themselves rather than looking outward to find flaws in others.  And so it is for my own benefit that I ought introspect frequently.

I often find that my feelings are profoundly influenced by how others esteem me--how they treat me, as well as how they perceive me.  I am hurt when I learn a person does not like me, or when a person is unkind to me.  I feel a strong feeling compelling me to engage with people in such a way as to elicit high esteem of myself from them.  This is true even of people that I only recently met--people with whom I have not established a long relationship or deep bond.  In many cases, I have developed a thick skin to prevent my feelings from being hurt due to unkindness from others.  Sometimes this is easier than others.

The number of times I have fought with people onlin…

Factual Alternatives

It seems apparent to me that very little in life will ever be considered ideal or perfect--especially in matters of public policy.  This is why I believe the practical approach to discussing policy is not strictly talking about the pros or cons of one particular policy, but rather considering all available alternatives.

I give as my first example the question of healthcare.  Just yesterday a conservative voiced his concern that if we had government healthcare (as nearly every other developed country has), we would be subjected to "death panels" and he cited the case of Charlie Gard to support his claim.  Now, discussing the finer points of that case could be a discussion on its own, so I set that aside.  Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the prospect of changing to single payer invariably comes with death panels.  That is to say, the courts of the land will be given authority to terminate care for a patient due to whatever reason it seems to find reasonable to do…

The Great Dragon, Smug

A friend shared this article, and I shared it myself on Facebook.  I wanted to start by mentioning the points that I believe the author got right.  It is true that liberals are often smug.  It is true that liberals wish to impose their views on other people in many ways.  When NYC banned soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, I'm sure they felt like they were doing what was best for its citizens.  Sugary drinks can cause health issues.  They can make you fat, they can inflame diabetes, and they can cause other problems as well.  This is an example of what I would call unnecessary meddling in personal lives.  I don't think it's the role of the government to do things like that.  I think it would be good to educate the public on the harms of consuming large quantities of sugars, but I do not believe it should be made illegal in this way.

However, this meddling in personal lives (the "hamburger problem" as the author calls it) is not unique to liberals.  Conservatives a…

The Parable of the Roller Coaster

A couple weeks ago I went to Six Flags with a friend.  It was not a busy day.  Most of the lines were very short.  We literally walked right onto one ride, without having to wait at all.  The last ride we went on, we waited for roughly an hour.  While I was in line, I thought of something.  A parable.

Waiting for an hour is a sacrifice.  Most people view waiting as a negative thing--and I agree with that.  I don't like waiting.  The times I wait are when I am forced to (such as in a traffic jam) or when I know there will be something valuable that comes from the waiting (such as a roller coaster).  I made a sacrifice in order to obtain something I wanted--namely a fun time riding the coaster.

While I was waiting in line, I drew a parallel with religion.  Many religious people will teach that rewards in the next life are worth the sacrifices they require in this life.  That is, they are telling us that (religiously speaking) it is worth waiting in line for an hour in order to enjo…

Grief is good

It's ok to not be ok.  It's okay to be sad, upset, angry, depressed, and other emotions that are often considered negative.  It is not possible for us to be happy and smiling all the time.  That isn't how we are meant to be as biological beings.  Sad things happen to us.

A very sad thing happened to me a week ago.  A person that I loved passed away.  Death is not new to me.  I have lost many loved ones.  Three of my four grandparents have passed away, the first one when I was a young teenager.  It hurts.  It doesn't get easier and it's not necessarily supposed to.  We may develop more healthy coping mechanisms as we get older but that doesn't mean the pain isn't there.  It hurts.

Ed made me smile, and he's no longer here to do that.  We shared so many pleasant memories together and there won't be any more of those.  I'll have to make more memories with other people or relive the memories that I have from the time he and I spent together.

Some of…