George Takei coming out of the closet

George Takei

George Takei has come out of the closet and simultaneously revealed he has a partner of 18 years.  Kudos to Mr. Sulu.  I'm glad to see he's now comfortable enough to be open about it.

I'll have to disagree with Orac at Respectful Insolence on this one.  As a Trek fan and having met George Takei on several occasions, this comes as no surprise to me.  Think 'dar.  Its blaring klaxons were definitely a hint.

I did expect it sooner, either voluntarily or forcefully, and am surprised it took this long.  I don't know why I expected it earlier, though.  As a Japanese-American, he had to live in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8 because of the war.  That experience not only helped engender shame of his ethnicity, but it also would have made him think twice about adding himself into yet another minority bin knowing precisely what America was capable of doing.

Well, I wish both of them the best.

Lacking interest of any kind in demonstrating the social skills necessary to inhibit such things, allow me to add this: George's announcement gives new meaning to James Doohan's line at the end of Star Trek VI when, referring to the Excelsior (a ship) and Takei's Sulu character, he says "Not so big as her captain…"  Insert childish laughter here.

Old pets

I've had my share of old pets.  You may remember Henry.  There are many others.  He happens to the one about whom I have thus far posted.

If you've grown up and always lived with pets as I have, you understand the experience of having an old pet.  You help them through their various health crises.  You watch them slowly slip away from you over the course of years.  You know that, near the end, they are likely in pain all the time but will expend whatever energy they have to keep you from seeing it.  You eventually face that day when you must make the decision: quality of life is more important than quantity; is it time to say goodbye?  You know the drill.

While reading In the Dry Leaf at AmbivaBlog, I immediately recognized the sentiment Amba so touchingly relayed.

I then followed the link to read My old dog at Creek Running North.  Amba got it right: "Thanks to Chris for saying the almost unsayable."  There's just too much there to quote, and all of it true and shared.  Go now; read it.

This is lots of fun

While these results don't surprise me, I do admit to having played with the quiz after I first got the results below by quizzing blind (for the first time) and assuming that all references to spirituality and afterlife were entirely religious in nature.  On some of the questions, if I define the words literally (which one would expect in a "scientific" test), I get different responses.  See below this version for the response I get if I answer based on a literal translation of the questions.

You fit in with:

Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You have very little faith and you are very focused on intellectual endeavors. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people.

40% scientific.
100% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at

If I answer based on literal definitions of the words in the questions (including knowing what spirituality, soul, technical and afterlife mean in purely academic terms), here's what I get:

You fit in with:

Your ideals mostly resemble that of a Humanist. Although you do not have a lot of faith, you are devoted to making this world better, in the short time that you have to live. Humanists do not generally believe in an afterlife, and therefore, are committed to making the world a better place for themselves and future generations.

20% scientific.
80% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at

That seems an interesting disparity, wouldn't you agree?  It's not until you look at the results shown in the chart that you understand the two responses are relatively close together.  However, even if you consider the chart location, I could further manipulate the results, while still answering honestly, by interpreting the questions differently.  Each translation of the text seemed as valid as the one before.

This is precisely why I have fun doing these online quizzes but don't hesitate in understanding that they are meaningless entertainment only, none of them having yet shown any scientific method of accuracy or reliability.  They all generate results based on the authors' points of view as interpreted by those of the test takers.  While this certainly gives tremendous weight to the idea of using them for fun, it completely negates their use as scientific tools.  (This, I will remind you, has not been claimed.)

In this case, both of the results are accurate in their own ways.  I am therefore more than the sum of my intarweb test "grades".  I thought the same thing with the kissing quiz I mentioned here.  I also toyed with that one and came up with different results each time, and each of them was accurate by defining one part of me — and all of my answers were honest based on different criteria.

Of course, with the sexual quizzes, there's more fun to be had by manipulating your answers according to what is meant versus what is inferred by each question.  Some people may understand themselves better by doing this…


Excellent analysis and response to the Wal-Mart employee benefits fiasco.  That company needs to get dragged into court and sued until every Walton family member is broke.

Have a Hummer H2?  Ever seen a Hummer H2?  Ever heard of a Hummer H2?  Then I point you to this site so you know how I feel about them.

The voice of the Jolly Green Giant has died (in addition to the person attached to that voice).  Very sad. [via Running for the Right]

Carnival of the Godless #26 is now available at A Rational Being.  These are always good.

The 20th edition of the Skeptics Circle is now available over at The Uncredible Hallq.  Again, these are always good.

If intelligent design (more aptly named un-intelligent design) is to be considered a viable scientific theory, then astrology should be as well.  Since that's true, now what say you about intelligent design?  [via Anne's Anti-Quackery & Science Blog]

The UN is stepping up pressure on Syria regarding the ongoing investigation into Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's death.  Unlike Saddam Hussein, can we not allow this one to fly under the radar please?

Samuel Alito's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and the GOP's threat to ram it through Congress have me cringing.  The Christian fundamentalist movement sure must be pleased with itself — unlike the rest of the country.  And who said America wasn't an exclusionary Christian nation where only the radical churches get to control everything…  No link; just despair.

Random Thought

Any organization could profit from a 10-year-old member with enough strength of character to refuse to swear falsely.

New York Times editorial, 12/12/93, on the Boy Scouts’ refusing membership to Mark Welsh, who would not sign a religious oath