Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Absurdity at the intersection of gay marriage and polygamy

The issue of polygamy is unrelated to gay marriage. I am really eager to see how Winston Blackmore can wind the two together. He argues "the Canadian definition of marriage, which includes same-sex couples, should then also include multiple partners."

Gay marriage is about civil law and what the state is willing to recognize as a union. Polygamy, however, is bound up with religion. To be more strict polygamy doesn't even exist outside of a religious context, yet. If we were to take this scenario to an extreme, Blackmore could win the case that he is arguing and get recognition for all of his 19 civil wives, yet still be a criminal for having more than one religious wife.

This is, of course, absurd. We are so close to this absurd outcome because Blackmore is skipping a step. Before the state recognition of civil polygamy comes the decriminalization of religious polygamy. And this is not hard to argue.

There is a space in between, or rather outside of, civil and religious unions. For lack of a better term, let us call these 'secular unions'. These are unions not recognized by the state or the church. A man in such a union may do as he wishes. He may take another partner, and another, and another, and 19 or more other partners. He may do so with no charge of criminality. Only when he tries to create the same union under the guise of religion does it become criminal.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the freedom of religion. As the law stands, a secular man may do things a religious man cannot. How much closer to the definition of religious persecution would we have to get before 'foul' were called.

In stead of making this argument for religious freedom Blackmore chooses absurdity. And he is free to do so.

Link: Accused polygamist to use gay-marriage laws as defence

Friday, January 23, 2009

This post is more for me than for you

I haven't worked much lately. I am on a handful of casual work lists. None too active.

I have explored most entry level positions. I have looked into entrepreneurial enterprise. I have attended college and university.

As most of us frame the issue, our options are entry level work, education, or self-employment.

I haven't had a 40-hour-a-week full-time job since early 2006. I can't say I am eager to get back. Part of it is the job search. I have talked to a lot of people about job searching. I have taken-in presentations about many aspects of the job market and job searching. It has all lead me to a simple conclusion: nobody has the slightest idea.

I have never heard anybody admit that they enjoy searching for a job. I have never gotten any advice about finding a job that didn't boil down to "try harder" and "keep trying". These are the mottoes of those without a clue.

My most recent adventure into institutionalization was yet another attempt to finish my BA. What a crash and burn experience that was. I did the work I was comfortable doing and found myself under fire. Understandably so, as my work was sub-par.

Eager to figure out how I could make myself compatible with my university I began poking and prodding the machinery of formal education. I researched it's organizational structure, looked into its origins and interviewed key personnel. With this information I meditated on how we could serve each other and concluded that we could not. Not in any meaningful, healthy and respectful way. That may not be true of all institutions of "higher learning", but it will be judged on a case-by-case basis. I am not optimistic.

That leaves enterprise on the table. That is, in some small way, what I am doing now. Perhaps enterprise with training wheels. I am trying to create value within the home. I am, in some sense, trying to see it as a business. I am trying to streamline the operations so that other opportunities become clear. I have yet to find such clarity.

Ultimately, I am looking for insight. I am looking for what I should tell the kid when he finds himself in a similar situation. I have little doubt that he will find himself in such a position. Should I really be satisfied to give him the same useless advice that was given to me. "Try harder." "Keep trying." "You don't have to like it; you just have to do it."

I like to think I am already equipped to give better advice than that. And yet I am still without the clarity to take a decisive step. At least not in any direction that would get me praise.

I have plenty of reasons to stay within the home. I stay close to those I trust and who trust me. Such people I could count on my fingers. Much of the job and education markets are a race to the bottom. "Who can degrade and disempower themselves the most and enable an ineffective bureaucracy? You're hired." It is no great thing to be competitive in such an environment.

"You have to eat some shit to get to the top so that you can make effective changes." Bullshit. The most effective changes come from a motivated bottom to an attentive top. Eating shit only entrenches the current problems. Encouraging others to follow your lead in doing so makes the problem much worse. Yet that is the model so many seem to be following.

I am looking for the environment that draws out the best in me. For the moment the home is adequate.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pinnacle Game Profiler Review

I have noticed a disconnect lately in my writing. I have not been writing about the things that I have found myself talking about. The first post to get my real and online lives integrated is about a piece of software I have recently introduced a few friends to.

Pinnacle Game Profiler is the software I use to configure my game pad. After adopting it I can't imagine using anything else.

Pinnacle allows the user to map keyboard and mouse commands on to gamepad buttons joy sticks. With the tools that are in the software, the possibilities are rather staggering.

The software is written for games, and to some extent that is reflected. The community that has grown up around the software is a gaming community. They have published an extensive library of game-specific profiles to map your game to your gamepad without much technical mucking around.

In another way it really is flexible enough to do almost any task that requires a limited number of commands. I use the gamepad now for surfing and media control. In it lies the promise to be free of the keyboard and mouse.

I recommend you try the 30 trial. Then I doubt anything else of its kind will satisfy you again.

Disclosure: For this review I was granted a free copy of the software. This is the only product for which I approached the developer for a promotion agreement.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Free Student Access Code Card

Clearing out my books I found a Student Access Code Card that came with the Brief Penguin Handbook. I never used it.

The code is likely still good if anybody needs such a service.


This code will give the barer access to MYCANADIANCOMPLAB 2.0

To do this you will have to go to