I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

June 12, 2012 - 4:16 p.m.

By Any Other Name

I had today's edition of Wise Madness all planned out. I didn't write it down anyplace. You know what that means. I now have no idea what I wanted to write about. Oh wait, I'm getting some echoes. It has to do with the evolution of language and gay marriage. I got it! I'm not sure if this is what I actually had in mind but it is something I planned on writing eventually.

I didn't do much after I updated here yesterday. I went to Best Buy and exchanged my router. Did I mention it was giving me problems? I think it was just the physical connection in the jack. My desktop was having intermittent connection with internet and it was connected with an Ethernet cable not WiFi. Since the switch things are working fine.

I was a bit afraid I was having a Crohn's disease attack last night. I was not very hungry. I ended having just one slice of pizza for dinner. I'm fine now, more on that latter.

I had another panic/anxiety attack last night after I went to bed. This is three nights in row. The symptoms are all physical. I have the tightness in the chest but I'm not actually thinking about anything that's bothering me. I am learning how to deal with it. I got right out of bed and grabbed a snack. The bloated feeling was totally gone. Maybe I had just eaten too much during the day and it was still too early when I had dinner. After the snack I read. I didn't read Yeats's Irish Fairy Stories as I find the dialect a bit difficult to deal with when I'm tired. Instead I read one of the books I bought at the Strand yesterday. OK I just got up to get the book so I could give you the exact title and author, got a drink of water, and forgot the book. I'll try again. It's Who Got Einstein's Office: Eccentricity and Genius at the Institute for Advanced Study by Ed Regis. Yes I find a book on science and history easier reading than fairy tales. It worked. After reading and eating I fell asleep.

I had my first bad experience with a local business. I stopped for an iced coffee at the coffee place I hadn't tried. It was overpriced at $4 but I figured I'd try it. Then it came in an 8 or at most 10 oz cup, half filled with ice. Then it wasn't particularly good. In other world a total ripoff.

This morning I stopped at the Greenlight Bookstore, the marvelous independent bookstore down the block. When I went to the bathroom I noticed something odd and I'd say disturbing. On the bottom corner of the door somebody had painted in the tetragrammaton, the four letter Hebrew name of god. It is often written YHVH in Latin letters but the writing on the door is in Hebrew. I am sure religious Jews would find that incredibly offensive so I told the person at the register. She knew about it and they can't remove it. Nobody has complained so far. I'm surprised. Would it offend any of My Gentle Readers? What would you do if you saw it on a bathroom door? Here's the thing I actually am offended. Why because I think it was done with the purpose of offending.

Now back to what I was thinking about in the beginning what was that? I better reread that first paragraph.

Oh right; gay marriage and language. First off I try not to say gay marriage. The marriage isn't gay. The people getting married in it are gay. Same-sex marriage is a far better way of phrasing it. I'll try and stick to that.

The argument that marriage between two people of the same sex should be banned because by definition a marriage is between a man and a woman is based on a false paradigm. Words gain their meaning by social convention, not what is written in a dictionary. Sometimes these change and expand because it is more useful if they do.

To the Greeks "the Sea" meant the Mediterranean Sea. It was the one sea they knew. When others were discovered they realized they fit their notion of what a sea was and called them seas. They didn't say, A sea means this specific sea so we have to make up a new word.

When Edison invented the phonograph a record was a cylinder with metal foil. As the technology changed and it became a wax cylinder than an acetate disc that changed rotation speeds then a CD and now a digital file the meaning of record changed with the times. The essence of a record is not the technology it's recorded on it's that it is a recording of sound.

When Les Paul invented the electric guitar he didn't have to make up a new word even though all guitars before his amplified the sound of the vibrating strings by resonating with the wood not electrically. People didn't say, "You can't call that a guitar."

Anyone that objects to calling a legal romantic union of two people of the same sex a marriage should object to calling an electric guitar a guitar, a CD a record, and the Caribbean a sea. I don't hear them doing that.

Then again maybe they did at first. That flexibility of language is a liberal notion. It says that the rules are not prescribed but dynamic. It is accepting things as social conventions not absolutes.

The other book I bought at the Strand was Jingo by Terry Pratchett. One of Pratchett's great gifts is knowing the difference between social convention and objective truth. It's at the center of so many of his books.

Now I have to catch up on my emails since this morning. That sounds like nothing but it was something that my anxiety has kept me from doing. It a step in the right direction,





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile June 12, 2012
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