"Persons Unknown": the credibility misstep
"Persons Unknown" started out strong: a fascinating mystery, a guarantee of answers by the end of summer, an interesting cast, and lots of questions. I was really enjoying this summer series.
Unfortunately, the last few episodes have damaged the credibility of the premise. Supposedly, there's this omnipotent and omniscient Program behind everything. We don't know its purpose and we don't understand its methods; we see only this tiny segment of its actions, these terrified people disappeared to an abandoned town. But the last few episodes have shown us the minds behind the program.
The Director, a peevish woman. A guy who seems to be a manager from the mold of "The Office" with a really weird accent who bullies everyone below him and kisses the Director's butt without hiding his distaste. And a bunch of robotic call center drones.
THIS is an organization that can exert such power? That can vanish people without reprisal? That can completely control information in the media? That can snap and an ambassador crawls? These mediocrities?!? I don't buy it. Poor casting, poor writing, poor characterization.
There are only four episodes left, and I'll watch them to see how they attempt to pull it all together, but they manned their "Program" with such incompetents that I can no longer pretend to believe in their story.
This story doesn't make sense
Cheap, ultra-pure heroin kills instantly
It doesn't make sense because dealers want long-term users, repeat customers. If I were a conspiracy theorist, this article would raise all sorts of red flags for me.
"Survivor" key to economic crisis
I'm watching "Survivor: Pearl Islands" on dvd. The Morgan tribe is discussing moving their camp because their initial spot was too close to the water and they've noticed the tideline moving closer. Osten (the one who quits) tells the camera that there's no need to go to all the trouble of moving the camp yet, because it hasn't gotten wet; wait till it gets wet to deal with it. Who has that short-sighted an outlook?
Osten is an equity trade manager.
Are physical descriptions needed?
I just finished reading All Seated on the Ground by Connie Willis. (Delightful book, as I've found all of hers to be.) And when I closed the back cover, it struck me that there hadn't been a single description of physical appearance in the whole novella.
How could that be? I started paging back through it again. Okay, we have a single mention that the aliens could be mistaken for plants "[I]f it hadn't been for the expression on their faces". That's almost a description, except that plants don't have faces.
Further on, the choir director is tall and skinny.
That's it. No descriptions of figures, features, attractiveness, skin color, hair color, eye color, build...
And it worked. Not once while I was reading it did I wonder what anybody looked like. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, being able to picture it however I wanted to, without being jarred by the author limiting me to specific characteristics. Refreshing. And yet I didn't even notice until I was done. Skillful.
It reminded me of reading Dolores Clairborne many years ago. I was totally caught up in the story while I was reading. When I was done, it hit me that the entire book was written in first person dialogue. "No way", I muttered, and began leafing back through it to find where it switched. But it never did. The whole book was one person speaking. Damn, that's talent.
Labels: connie willis, sf, stephen king, writing
"The Last Olympian" and "Freebird"
Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series is fantastic, btw. I just finished the final book, "The Last Olympian". No spoilers -- just a weird experience. In the last quarter of the book, I read this line:
Besides, we know this drakon they cannot beat.
"We know this drakon they cannot beat" -- there was something familiar about the cadence of that sentence. I was sure it was some song lyric, with "drakon" fitting in the place of some other word or words. I kept rereading it, and tada! my brain suddenly decided that it was from Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird (popup warning).
Except it isn't. There's really no similarity between "We know this drakon they cannot beat" and "And this bird you cannot change". But there it was, stuck in my head. I could go no further down that path.
But honestly, if you need a song in the back of your head as a soundtrack to the battle of Olympus, "Freebird" rocks.
Are we human or are we dancer?
The lyrics to The Killers' "Human" generated quite a bit of discussion...
...a search will find many more sites. What seems to be definitive (from the writer's mouth!) is that "the lyrics were inspired by a disparaging comment made by Hunter S. Thompson about how America was raising a generation of dancers." I had no luck finding the original quote by Thompson (looking for context) and no mention of it other than in connection to this song.
I've considered all of the interpretations I read and haven't really been satisfied with any of the theories. So I made up my own.
Human = physical; dancer = spiritual. Treating them as a dichotomy is the puzzle and "both" is the answer.
HuffPo writer offended by mirror
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach posted an article today about the damage divorce does to children. I wrote a comment to his article, pointing out that the inevitable damages he lists are not actually inevitable and that not all children are "scarred" by divorce. I pointed out that he himself writes "I was always puzzled at how so many of my friends, whose parents were divorced, were either neutral on the topic or actually happy that their parents divorced, thinking that everyone was better off" after stating that his parents' divorce "scarred me so deeply that I thought I would never fully recover".
He hurt, therefore every child of divorced parents must feel the same. He enumerates the damages in the second person: you will suffer these consequence. I wrote that no, he suffered those consequences; not all children do, and that his point might have been stronger had he written in the first person and not projected his experiences onto everyone else.
Since I made no attack, offered no insult, and carefully used only the words he himself wrote, I'm left wondering if he really needs to believe that every child suffers the pain that he did, and the fact that they don't is too threatening to his worldview to even allow it in print...
Chateau Ste. Michelle concerts
Chateau Ste. Michelle is our favorite concert venue. But every year, I have to try to recall what our "routine" was, so I decided to blog it so I can just look it up next time.
Last night was our first concert of the summer, Tears for Fears (TFF). The concert start time was 7:00 pm. We left Bellevue at 2:30 and arrived at the winery by 3:00. The winery has expanded its on-site parking area but now charges $5 for onsite parking. There were maybe 10 cars already parked in the field when we arrived.
Carried our chairs and cooler to the line. The line forms on the grass alongside the sidewalk, most of it in direct sun. (The front of the line has shade.) We set up our stuff in the line, then moved over the deeply shaded grass to relax and read while waiting. (We could see our stuff so no problem.)
Shade, good company, and a good book - nice relaxing wait. During part of the wait, we got to hear TFF rehearsing. (The crowd applauded after one bit, and whoever was on the microphone imitated Elvis saying "Thank you very much", then the band did a snippet of "Suspicious Minds", which was amusing.) When they were done, they walked back to the manor, but they could see the line of people camped out on the other side of the taped barrier, and Curt and Roland went up to the tape where a gaggle of enthusiastic fans rushed up, and they all got kisses from Roland.)
We snacked a bit while waiting. At 5, the gate usually opens, but on this day Ticketmaster was late delivering the Will Call tickets so opening was delayed a bit.
Gate opens. Show ticket, get hand stamped. Head for our favorite spot (stage right, with the walking lane directly behind us). Spread out blanket, set up chairs and cooler, sit back and have dinner. Read our books, watch the crowd.
We're reconsidering our favorite location though, because when TFF began playing, the entire crowd was on its feet dancing - couldn't see a thing but bobbing butts. At the Chateau, the entire center section out from the stage is roped off with plastic chairs (the "reserved" seating, though who would prefer a hard plastic chair in a sea of chairs to a gorgeous lawn picnic?). We're thinking for our next concert (Moody Blues), we'll try a spot immediately by the roped off area on our side of the stage. The downside is we'll have people on all sides of us, which we don't much care for, so we'll see if it's a worthwhile trade-off for being able to see the stage instead of inebriates "dancing". (I know inebriate isn't properly a noun; deal.)
Tears for Fears did a wonderful show, btw. Some of the songs, I knew, and others I hadn't heard before but really enjoyed, particularly "Memories Fade".
If you live in the Seattle area and haven't tried a concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle, I highly recommend it. Dress and pack for a picnic, relax on the beautiful grounds, and enjoy wonderful music as the sun sets.
(When the gate opened at 5, the line behind us was extremely long. Camping in line for 2 hours may seem excessive, but the pay-off of being one of the first ones in the parking lot and in line, getting spot of choice to set up when the gate opens, and not shuffling along in the long line just to get in makes it worth it!)
Labels: chateau ste michelle, concert, tears for fears, winery
Upside-down flag: free speech?
I read in the AF Times Online today about an US flag, flown upside-down by a restaurant owner to signify "distress" at not being granted a liquor license, being taken by police.
The restaurant owner calls it theft; the ACLU calls it a violation of free speech.
I don't think the owner's situation meets the US Code's definition of distress: "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."
Frankly, I think the owner's actions more in line with a 911 call about a fast food order than "exercising free speech" (which the 911 caller was also doing).
G1 phone: forward messages
Another G-1 tip! My brother just sent me a brief video message that was hilarious, so I wanted to forward it to my daughter. I tried Menu, no luck. I thought maybe incoming videos might be in my Gallery, where I could send it from, but nope, not there.
Before I gave up completely, I Binged it and there was the answer: touch and hold the message -- a menu that includes Forward appears. Very cool.
2010 Census Reveals Frightening Data
17 Feb 2011
National census proves that opinion polls are invalid
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that responses to the set of opinion questions included in the 2010 national census prove that opinion polls, which purport to quantify public opinion by gathering data from small sets of representative individuals, have no basis in reality.
"We included these questions to validate opinion polls," said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. "Poll results are used to influence legislation, form policy, determine the networks' fall schedules -- the impact over the past few decades is enormous. Since the 2010 census was our opportunity to 'listen' to every citizen, we asked a few key questions that we could then evaluate against the more traditional phone polling results."
Locke appeared distressed and befuddled as he read from his report: "Do you believe that the military's policy against homosexuals serving should be repealed? 95% answered yes. Do you believe that the United States is a Christian nation? 17% answered yes. Do you believe that Paris Hilton is a good role model for young girls? 72% answered yes."
Locke went on to say that the census questions send a clear message that nobody in Washington knows what the general population thinks about anything.
When asked for comment, Gallup.com declined to respond.
T-Mobile G1 phone: extended battery
What good is a phone with tons of great apps and features, if you can't use most of them because they drain your inadequate battery too quickly? Running my phone minimally (a few calls & texts, no GPS, no apps), I only had to charge it every night. That's as opposed to a few times a day. Totally unacceptable.
For months, I'd been hearing rumors that T-Mobile was going to be sending customers a better battery. But I finally gave up waiting and bought my own.
Seidio has an extended G1 battery that had pretty good reviews, so I ordered one. The initial charge took about 4 hours (the paperwork said allow 8). Then I (finally!) got to turn on GPS, play games, mess around with apps. About 24 hours later, I thought I'd plug in the charger just to top it off. But the charging light immediately went to green -- still fully charged after 24 hours!
I don't know yet how long it will last on a charge. I just know that finally I can get full use of my phone without worrying. The new battery is so worth it!
Susan Boyle and redemption
If you haven't seen Susan Boyle's performance, you must.
Why did I refer to "redemption"? Because I think that's the gift Miss Boyle gave the audience, both those physically present and those of us watching online.
As the video starts and the scene is set up, one expects what one blogger called "a female William Hung". You can see it in the faces of audience members as the camera pans through, and in the vaguely bored expressions of the judges. Everyone is ready to snicker, cringe, groan, and laugh. Everyone is expecting a humiliating spectacle.
Then she sings.
What I see in the reactions of those watching is the redemption that I refer to: on every face, in the cheers and applause, in the spontaneous standing ovations, is each person casting aside their preconceptions and allowing themselves to feel genuine and heartfelt appreciation. And that's when we remember what it's like to feel that way, unguarded and honest.
Bless you, Susan Boyle, and may only good come to you from this.
Labels: susan boyle
Somehow I missed the shampooing memo
Lifehacker's article on an NPR report on shampooing stunned me. I saw this line: "National Public Radio's story, available in text and audio, details the history of the social ideal of washing one's hair every day" and boggled -- daily shampooing is a social ideal? Why wasn't I told? When did that happen?
I've never (nor needed to) washed my hair every day. I had no idea I was transgressing an ideal. Personally, I have no objection to a deliberate transgression of social ideals (which are seldom ideal), but I at least like to know when I'm doing it.
Where do I live online
Miriam Heddy asks that question in the context of RaceFail (aka RaceFail'09).
I used to be into SF/F fandom, back when fanzines arrived in snailmail and cons were primarily about books and the L5 Society had a phonetree. Fast forward a few decades and I still read science fiction and fantasy, but I'm not involved in any community. I published a few short stories years ago, but I haven't written fiction since then. I subscribe to 26 blogs that are specifically by writers or about writing, and 178 blogs in total. None are on LiveJournal. I don't see any RSS feeds on the LiveJournal pages I've recently encountered, and using a feed reader is the only way I can possibly keep up. When there's a controversy in the SF/F communities, I'll only know about it by some mention in one of the blogs that I subscribe to, and even then only if it catches my attention so that I go searching to see what's going on (such as the Harlan/Connie incident).
One of the writing blogs I subscribe to is John Scalzi's Whatever. He recently invited Mary Anne Mohanraj to post, and her post was the first I'd heard of RaceFail. Her posts provided a number of links. I have put in 40 hours over the past 5 days following links. I've read as many posts as I could find, the entirety of comments on each post (which is a pain on LJ pages, I might add, having to constantly click expand), the papers/articles referenced, the posts on the posts, the timelines.
I haven't commented on any of the posts because I have nothing to contribute and everything to learn. And I'm answering the question on my own blog because the post that asks that question restricts comments to LiveJournal users.
(Edited to add (or ETA as they use on LiveJournal) - I forgot to explain the contradiction: why answer where the questioner will never see the answers? Nobody in this whole deal knows me and nobody will know that I wandered through without answering. I'm doing it here just for myself. To see what I'd say. Because to be honest, the first time I read through her list of questions, I had some indignant self-righteous reactions. I wanted to see if I could get past that.)
For some of Miriam's other questions:
- Do you realize that this conversation has been going on, in LJ and in blogs, in media fandom and in pro sci fi fandom, since January?
I do now. It hit my little corner of the universe on March 12th.
- Do you realize that, prior to this latest round, there were other conversations about racism on the internet? Did you participate in those? Did you lurk?
I assume there are conversations about every possible topic under the sun on the internet every minute. I'm unaware of most of them, and I haven't encountered any on racism. But I've been out of newsgroups and chat rooms and message boards this century -- I spent too much time there the previous one.
- Do you recognize that the fact that the only reason to call it "RaceFail" is to distinguish it from all the other full-of-Fail conversations about racism that've occurred before this one? Do you recognize that specifying it as "09" suggests both a need to distinguish it from the one that happened in 08, and from the one that will almost certainly happen in 2010? Where do you live on the internet that you missed this?
I grouped those because they're related, and because the combination is a scream of frustration. But the fact is, there are huge immense vast regions of the Internet. There are screams of frustration in countless rooms, and we only hear them if we happen to be in range. When we do hear them, we can pass by or we can investigate. I wandered in to RaceFail and stayed to investigate.
- Do you see participation in anti-racist conversation and activism as some sort of elective course, or a hobby, or do you see it as a necessary and important part of your life?
On March 12th, I was first exposed to anti-racism, and I've barely scratched the surface of learning its vocabulary and framework. I'm saying that in the view of anti-racism as a formal school of thought, as opposed to the general non-racist teachings taught in schools and workplaces.
"In space, no one can hear you scream."
Chuck Norris wants to take his marbles and go home
I've always had a soft spot for Chuck Norris, maybe because he's a fellow USAF vet. And I really liked Lone Wolf McQuade. But his article on WorldNetDaily reminds me that the roles actors play aren't the people that the actors are, and the guise of celebrity isn't necessarily a hallmark of good character.
Chuck Norris is joining the chorus of tea partiers and those going Galt who are mad at reality, musing that Texas may (should?) secede.
He states, "Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we'd do if the going got rough in America." Um...cut and run for $200, Alex?
Seriously, Chuck, those are your words: "If the going got rough." I'm glad you weren't by my side in the military.
USAF retiree "exercise"
My email today contained the press release on the Air Reserve Personnel Center's "push pull" exercise.
"For the first time, retired active-duty majors and master sergeants are being asked by Air Reserve Personnel Center officials to participate in the biennial "Push-Pull" exercise, an end-to-end test of key mobilization systems and processes."
I thought, dude, that's me! (Retired active duty master sergeant) I read further and found that if I'd been part of the "preselected population", I would have received an invitation to apply. Which I didn't. But it made me wonder, would I have applied if I had?
"Airmen selected to participate will be "pushed" to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for re-orientation training. This training increases participants' situational awareness of current Air Force issues and activities."
A trip to Texas is none too appealing. Although April isn't that bad of a month to go there (if you have to go). I'm sort of curious about how things have changed since '97. I know the uniforms are different, and the sergeant (E-4) is no more. Instead of AFR (Air Force regulations), they have AFI (Air Force instructions) - they were starting that transition when I was still in, and I still don't like it. It's a stupid word change that didn't seem to do anything except cost money. Like renaming units. They changed the AFSC system (Air Force specialty code) too, but I only remember my old ones...207x2, 732x0, and a special duty one that I forgot...and I'm sure procedures have changed so much as to make everything I knew how to do useless.
It would have been an adventure to go, though. So I guess I probably would have applied. I wish I knew someone who was going so I could find out what it was like afterward.
CEO pay - my modest proposal
Slate has an article discussing Wall Street CEO compensation that advocates binding shareholder votes on pay for company executives. And of course, salary caps for execs at companies that have received federal "bail out" money is mentioned all over the news pages and blogs.
I have a different thought.
Years ago, I read a paper on the role of corporations in the young United States. I can't find that same paper now, but here's a quote from The Uncooling of America that is similar to what I read:
"Early American charters were created literally by the people, for the people as a legal convenience. Corporations were "artificial, invisible, intangible," mere financial tools. They were chartered by individual states, not the federal government, which meant they could be kept under close local scrutiny. They were automatically dissolved if they engaged in activities that violated their charter. Limits were placed on how big and powerful companies could become. Even railroad magnate J. P. Morgan, the consummate capitalist, understood that corporations must never become so big that they "inhibit freedom to the point where efficiency [is] endangered."
The two hundred or so corporations operating in the US by the year 1800 were each kept on fairly short leashes. They weren't allowed to participate in the political process. They couldn't buy stock in other corporations. And if one of them acted improperly, the consequences were severe. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson vetoed a motion to extend the charter of the corrupt and tyrannical Second Bank of the United States, and was widely applauded for doing so. That same year the state of Pennsylvania revoked the charters of ten banks for operating contrary to the public interest. Even the enormous industry trusts, formed to protect member corporations from external competitors and provide barriers to entry, eventually proved no match for the state. By the mid-1800s, antitrust legislation was widely in place.
In the early history of America, the corporation played an important but subordinate role. The people -- not the corporations -- were in control."
I think we need to roll back definitions of corporations toward that early standard, with its emphasis on good citizenship and public interest. And as part of the redefinition of their roles in society, the compensation (not just salary) of the highest level officers in a corporation be expressed as a multiple of the compensation of the employees.
For example, for a corporation to retain its charter, its officers can receive compensation at a rate no greater than...what would be reasonable? No greater than 5times the median compensation paid to employees? 25 times? 100? Average, rather than median?
Well, those are details for econonomic experts and policy makers. But this would do much to rectify the obscene imbalance in salary between the CEOs and workers, and it would also be an incentive for improving employee compensation at all levels.
Why I didn't buy a new computer from Dell
I like Dell computers. It's easy to work inside the box. We've had a number of Dell computers in our family over the years and no problems from any of them.
I got Oblivion for Christmas. My current system isn't adequate to play it. So, when I got the regular Dell flyer in the mail, I took a look. There was a system on sale that seemed just right for my needs.
I went to Dell.com and navigated in through Home Users, desktops, to the model in the flyer. But the configuration was less than the one in the flyer (smaller hard drive, no upgraded video card). I went through Customization and the price went up when I set it to the configuration in the flyer.
Confused, I went back to the flyer and typed in the url listed there. That took me to a special 'catalog' section of the site, and there was the same model in the advertised configuration at the price of the lesser configuration on the "regular" page.
As a consumer, my expectation is that when a company offers a sale price on an item, it's on that item -- not on "that item only if you go to a special page but if you go in the front door not knowing about the sale, we're not going to offer it".
I think it's sneaky and disrespectful.
David Cook's eponymous CD
Apparently most of Cook's diehard fans don't mind 8 minutes of dead air
in the middle of a track, but I'm not a "fan" -- I heard a song I liked on the radio and so I bought the CD. Sorry, kids, but 8 minutes of dead air is excessive, unnecessary, and rude.
Commander in Chief - a West Wing quibble
I never watched West Wing when it was on the air, but I bought the seven seasons on DVD to watch over the holidays on a whim. (I caught a rerun on TV of the episode that had the shooting in Roslyn and got interested.)
I'm up to season 6 now. President Bartlet is on the plane to China, paralyzed. His staff is making noises about landing in Alaska, and he hollers that the plane is going to China. Quote: "That's a direct order from your Commander in Chief."
This isn't the only time the series has made such inaccurate references. If I may direct you to the Constitution: "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States." The President is not Commander in Chief of civilians, cabinet, staff, or any other body or individual; he is their President.
Smothers Brothers: best of season 3 dvd
Tonight I put on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The Best of Season 3. I was about 9 when these episodes were on the air, so I vaguely remembered the show. (Although I grew up listening to their albums, so I know most of their routines and songs by heart.)
I watched about six episodes. There were some interesting moments -- until George Carlin spoke, I didn't believe that young man was really him! -- and great music. But, much of the comedy sketches were...off-putting.
(A major aside: off-putting is in the dictionary, "Tending to disconcert or repel", but doesn't it seem like an odd construction? Like a Yoda phrase.)
Back to the comedy. Much of it was really heavy-handed. Those were dark and ugly times in our country, and the sketches were battles in the war against the darkness and ugliness. But it really became too much for me after awhile.
And I think it may be because of Obama. I think maybe this election has induced just enough cautious optimism that I want to leave the past in the past for a change.
Still, I'm happy that Tommy finally received his Emmy.
Change.gov, the blog
So far, much of what's been posted on Change.gov is the press-release type of update. But today's entry reads like an actual living (interesting) blog:
President-elect Barack Obama visited Manny's Cafeteria and Deli in Chicago today to pick up two cherry pies and three corned beef sandwiches -- including one for himself and one for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
President-elect Obama ordered his sandwich on rye bread with mustard.
Don't ask why that tickles me -- it just does.
Do you know your myths?
Michael Turner delighted me this morning with his comment to the blog post End of the beginning, which links to a Reuters article in which someone states, "Even though the Fed has done everything it possibly could to support the banks it seems like they are rolling a rock up a hill."
Mr. Turner subtly highlights the sad state of cultural literacy indicated by the speaker referring to the punishment of Sisyphus without actually mentioning Sisyphus. In his comment, he offers a number of other statements that allude to mythology yet avoid clear references (that might confuse those who know nothing of mythology). See if you can match up the mythological figure with Mr. Turner's descriptions:
- "Treasury, in opening a massive liquidity conduit last year, was diverting a river in the hope that it would clean a lot of horseshit out of a huge stables."
- "Phil Gramm et al., in deregulating the banking sector, opened up this box that held a whole lot of bad things on wings that then flew out all over the world, plaguing everyone."
- "If Ben Bernanke applies the wisdom accumulated from his deep study of the Great Depression, and somehow saves the day, the way he saves it will leave him so hated by certain Powers That Be that they will chain him to side of that mountain down which that rock rolled and smashed those stables (which then got swept away in splinters in that river). And he will lie there, struggling, helpless, in agony, as his ever-regenerating liver is torn in perpetuity by flying Republican attack monkeys."
Did you get them all?
About gay marriage
I don't have a dog in this fight. Personally, I feel a vague discomfort that government/society is at all involved in defining personal relationships, however I acknowledge that there are a myriad of economic and legal issues, particularly in the areas of children and property, that require some form of regulation.
So be it, specific forms of personal relationships incur contractual obligations that must be legislated.
That given, I see no valid reason why two men or two women shouldn't be able to incur those same obligations. As this protestor neatly prints on her sign, "Against gay marriage? Then don't have one"**. Makes sense to me.
But being unencumbered by structural dogma, I also see no valid reason why the contract should be restricted to two parties. Heinlein certainly made good arguments for more than two adults in a familial relationship.
I know this stance angers those who are fighting for gay marriage, because it appears to play into the slippery slope fears of their opponents (who do argue that a reason to oppose gay marriage is that it could lead to polygamy) (they also argue that it could lead to bestiality, which is a ridiculous misapplication of logic). However, if we can cast off historical precedent in western culture by substituting gender in the traditionally accepted marital relationship, what argument can there be against substituting number as well? Personally, I think both would be good things.
(Anyway, it's not like group marriages would be recognized anytime soon -- culture would have to change first, as it has over several decades with homosexuality being brought out into the open. Unfortunately, the sole model publically acknowledged at this time involves creepy old men, females who are too young, and cult-like environments. Not what I have in mind.)
**That statement reflects my view on another sticky issue: against abortion? Then don't have one.