Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UPS: When it absolutely, positively has to be there some day

Last week I ordered a new gadget for Ms. Pool Bar from Amazon, and opted for the standard shipping since there was no big rush for it. Amazon estimated deliver for today, 2/29. So far so good, right? Well, a few hours later I get an e-mail saying the item had shipped, so I figured maybe it would arrive a day or two early. Since I'm one of those who'll keep pushing the elevator call button in the hopes the elevator will get there faster, I checked the UPS tracking link that Amazon provided and saw that the package had left Phoenix, arrived in Tempe and arrived...back in Phoenix. I kept checking the progress over the next few days and was vaguely amused. Today it shows that it's out for delivery, which is on schedule so I'm not really complaining, but check out this shipping history (click for larger image):


I'm particularly amused by the package's stopover in Louisville. What did it do, run out for a pack of cigarettes while it was there? It's almost as if UPS had to go to extra effort NOT to provide 2-day delivery.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ending the gay marriage drama

I have a plan for putting an end to the gay marriage debate once and for all. A laughably simple plan. I'm not a lawyer so I'm sure there are holes in it, but I think it would be a great start.

Since marriage is rooted in our history and culture as a religious construct, let's just get the state out of the marriage business altogether. Within public law, marriage would be replaced with...I don't know...let's call it "domestic partnership". Any consenting adult would be allowed to enter into a domestic partnership with another one, subject to the following constraints:
  • A domestic partnership may consist of no more than two people.
  • No party to a domestic partnership can be related by blood to another party of the same partnership.
  • Nobody can be party to more than one domestic partnership at a time.
  • If a state decides that rules against polygamy constitute unjust intrusion on religious doctrine, it can just drop that first rule.
Within the law, the word "spouse" can be retained as a term describing any party to a domestic partnership, but someone will need to fire up Word and do a global search and replace to change all occurrences of "husband" and "wife" with "spouse". And hey, if the law specifically refers to a husband or wife anywhere, then that section of law probably needs to be reviewed, anyway.

This eliminates the stickiest part of the debate - that of redefining "marriage" - and allows adherents of a given faith to preserve the definition of marriage as their religion sees it, and lets the law provide equal protection to all spouses without regard to sexual orientation.

Yeah, I know...it won't be enough for those activists of no religious affiliation who'll say they want to be married, dammit! They'll say that because for them the issue isn't about legal status, it's about wanting to feel included and accepted. But the law is concerned only with equal protection, it doesn't really give a crap about our feelings.

Having solved that problem, let me go take a look at that national debt thing...