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The Case for Marriage

This is more or less an abstract for a longer article I’d like to write on the topic of marriage.

The Millennials are delaying marriage, and many are skipping the Sacrament altogether. There are a number of reasons for this, the recessionary economy for one, the cultural shifts caused by feminism for another. Government programs that serve to encourage single motherhood, or at least make it economically viable, could be a reason as well. Most recently, the collective male backlash against these processes, and against a legal system that favors the woman over the man in domestic disputes, might cause marriage rates to fall even further.

Yet, despite all this, there is a still a strong case to get married, assuming you can find the right partner. Very briefly, in a marriage the couple can nearly double their household earning potential while cutting expenses in half, cutting the amount of housework each individual has to do in half, marriage requires half the stuff (you don’t need two blenders, two microwaves, etc) and you otherwise effectively double your overall economic state in one instant.

The downside of marriage is still the risk of divorce, being forced into a heavily prejudiced legal system and its brutal child custody culture, and the possibility of marrying a spendthrift. Cohabitation is an option, but common law marriages are still the legal norm, so you have to pick your partner carefully anyway. The same mathematical economic results can happen with just a group of buddies choosing to live together, but the lack of deep emotional connections makes this an unstable and impermanent option. The best bet is to use divorce probability calculators to evaluate the likelihood of a longterm relationship surviving, creating a resolution structure early on to work through problems, and to delay marriage until the 2-year mark of any relationship.

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From the Notebook

-Read John Sandford’s “Wicked Prey.” Typical Sandford, very good. There were some problems, the book takes place during the RNC in St. Paul and I’m not sure how historically accurate some of the background story really is (well, it is fiction after all). I can say that there is no such thing as “street money” (I’m the kind of guy who would get money like that, if it existed. I’m also the kind of guy who would lie about getting that kind of money, if I got it). My other complaints are probably even more nit-picky. Probably based on Sandford’s allegiance to the DFL. Still worth reading.

-Ever since Southpark convinced me “Family Guy” sucked, I stopped watching. It’s been great.

-Old news, but was I the only guy disappointed with the possible survival of Jack Bauer in the season finale of “24”?

-Mitch Berg has lost more posts than I’ve written. Not sure why that bothers me.

-I like Aaron Gleeman, but he sometimes does things which drive me nuts. He writes:

Through two months the Twins have scored 261 runs and allowed 254 runs, which would typically lead to being something like 27-25 instead of 25-27, but their run totals are skewed somewhat by the 20-1 thrashing they gave the White Sox on May 21. If the final score of that blowout win was 10-1 rather than 20-1 the Twins would’ve been out-scored 254 to 251 to more closely match their 25-27 record. Turn the 20-1 into 10-1 and the Twins would rank ninth among AL teams in both run scoring and run prevention.

Why just remove 10 runs? Why not five, twelve or eight? I understand what Aaron is saying, a statistical outlier skews the results away from what one would expect. So, just remove the outliers. You do this and you get 241 RS for the Twins versus 253 runs allowed. Thus the losing record. More nitpicking on my part, I know. But massaging numbers Ad Hoc...Come’on.

-Mathews, Aaron, Adcock: the #2, 3 and 4 hitters for the Milwauke Braves in 1959. So Gardy, how is putting a crappy hitter in the #2 spot “Traditional” baseball?

-Two four-page papers, one ten page paper, a wedding and the Twins Autograph Party are going to keep me pretty busy the next couple of weeks (not to mention the other assignments I’m probably forgetting about).  Expect light to partly-light posting.

Colbertness

Most of the time I don’t like Colbert, but I still watch his program regularly as it’s one of the few good programs playing when I’m at the gym. Occasionally I’m rewarded; This interview with Juan Cole was hilarious:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Juan Cole
comedycentral.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Mark Sanford

(Looks like the embed code doesn’t work with wordpress but I’m not going to delete the whatever it is)

You know someone is full of crap when a should-be-friendly-conservative-parody-with-supportive-audience makes them look stupid. In the interview it looked like Colbert was hammering the guy so much that Colbert backed off a bit to try to help him.

Finally, Some Good News

Fantasy Football

I had, for the most part, avoided the fantasy sports craze for a very long time. In fact, I believe fantasy sports makes for cynical fans. I used to think fantasy sports could even distance participants from their home teams. Now I just believe fantasy sports creates arrogance. Ever hear someone who is too “in” to fantasy sports carry a conversation? Intolerable.

Yet this year, thanks in part to the fact I have a hard time saying no to my friends, I was roped into a fantasy football league. I came in second place, a single point behind the leader in the final bowl game of the league (I didn’t start my #1 defense, rather stupidly in fact). For a first attempt I thought it was an acceptable showing, especially after screwing up my draft. The whole league was a nice diversion.

To my dismay, The Night Writer, a decades long veteran of fantasy football, has retired from the hobby. To summarize his main points, he felt being a fan of football is being an enabler. Men destroy their bodies in an attempt to entertain us (for money) and this was unacceptable to The Night Writer (Unofficial Motto “Not evil, at all”).

Am I persuaded? Not sure. After one season of Fantasy Football I could live my life without another. Could I go without watching another football game the rest of my life? Doubtful. Avoiding celebrity-ness can get difficult. Do I want to be responsible for the murder-suicide of the Chris Benoit family? Am I interested in being responsible for the death of Heath Ledger or Korey Stringer? Britney Spears? Paralyzing Darryl Stingley?

I can but throw my hands skyward in exasperation. People who are free are responsible for themselves. Gladiators were slaves, not Anna Nicole Smith. Shall I wash my hands of their fate? Typical of the Night Writer, his words have haunted me since I read them.

Madam Chairman

One of the non-events at my BPOU convention this year was an amendment the chairman made to the constitution, later passed on a voice vote (!), changing the name of anyone who leads one of the numerous constitutional committees from “Chairman” to “Chairperson” in order to be “More PC.”

I about lost my cool but I didn’t rise to speak as arguing over this matter would quickly spend any goodwill I might have otherwise for passing my own resolutions. But I still feel a discussion ex post facto is warranted.

Political Correctness sucks. There might be a more couth way of putting it but sucks works. The problem I have with “chairperson” is it is so very disinfected. Everything in the PC world lacks any organic tones. A person who says “chairperson” is someone who has been systematically cleansed of personality and flair.

Journalists too have found issues meeting PC requirements when it comes to committee leadership. Until recently (as of 2005 in fact, when one of the editors of the Minnesota Daily sent a mass email to all employees asking for help in the matter), chairperson wasn’t even an actual word, a chair was something you sat in and chairwoman or chairman assumed traditional gender roles which left untraditionally gendered persons offended by society’s refusal to bend to their present personal whims.

Alas, even Wikipedia struggles with the concept. I don’t have a great answer here. Of the available options, I like “Madam Chairman” though I would accept “Chairwoman Soandso.” As for the transgendered, I would leave it to them to dictate. If they want, they can chair their meeting if I may couch the afternoon.

Affirmative action calls into question all minority achievement

Geraldine Ferraro discovers something all conservatives know intimately:

Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro on Wednesday stood by her comment that Democrat Barack Obama is only where he is because he is black and said the reaction by his campaign was dividing the party.

“My comments have been taken so out of context and have been spun by the Obama campaign as racist that it’s doing precisely what they don’t want done — it’s going to the Democratic Party and dividing us even more,” Ferraro said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Ferraro, the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 1984 and the only woman ever nominated by a major party for either of the top two U.S. political offices, ignited a flap by telling a California newspaper that “if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.”

“And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept,” Ferraro said.

When a topic becomes taboo, it ends not only the unpleasant discussion but also the rational. Race has become such an issue. Taboos can be a way to control free speech through societal pressure rather than legislation. The same end is accomplished. No one can talk about how Obama is really inexperienced and something other than achievement is driving his popularity. Not even an enlightened lifetime liberal.

On Spanking

A new study, as reported:

Professor Murray Straus, of the University of New Hampshire, found that children who are spanked or experience other corporal punishment have a raised risk as teenagers and adults to verbally or physically coerce a partner into having sex.

“It’s more evidence that parents should not spank if the wellbeing of their children is at stake,” he said in an interview.

Straus analyzed the results of the International Dating Violence Study, a survey of more than 14,000 university students at 68 universities in 32 countries. The students were asked if they had been spanked or hit frequently before age 12 and if they had coerced a sexual partner in the previous 12 months.

Men who had experienced corporal punishment were four times more likely to physically coerce a partner into having sex, than those who had not experienced a lot of corporal punishment.

Physical coercion includes holding someone down or hitting them. Women who had experienced corporal punishment were also more likely to coerce sex from a partner than those who had not been spanked.

I don’t have access to the study so these questions will remain unanswered; but still cum hoc ergo propter hoc? You can’t prove causality with a survey such as this. Does the study control for demographics like socioeconomic status, number of parents in the home or even the IQ of the spanked. Did everyone surveyed have a similar definition of coercion? Was the intensity of the coercion measured?

It’s completely possible anti-social behaviours are inherited and thus we would expect some children would be spanked and others not and we would also expect these children to be anti-social adults. This calls into question the effectiveness of spanking long term, but it’s not causal.

Assigning a simple reason like “spanked or not spanked” for complex behaviours later in life is an insult to us all. The one lesson of psychology should be humans are complicated critters with enigmatic lives.

Punishment, despite the opinions of BF Skinner, works. Whether it is the best method is debatable. Moderation in all things is probably the way to go.

Thanksgiving Paper Avalanche

All the following documents were found at the Library of Congress website. They are wonderful pieces of history and I really suggest taking the time to read them. They will show the importance of this holiday and what it meant to the generations that came before.

(click to enlarge)



Why?

I may have taken (proverbial) rocks to the occasional window as a youth, but I never destroyed a priceless work of art. Young males have this inexplicable urge to destroy (as well as create) but taking a swing at an historical bit of impressionism (I mean, what did impressionists ever do to the guy?) is just well outside the bounds of civilized behaviour.

It makes keying some cranky guy’s car look like an act of nostalgia.