Thursday, March 28, 2013

Legislated Morality Killed Jesus

How's that for a headline? It combines two major thoughts occupying Christians this week. The first is the death and resurrection of Jesus, this being the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, when we Christians contemplate Christ's arrival in Jerusalem, His betrayal, arrest, and execution. On Sunday we celebrate Easter, the third day when Christ rose from the grave. That's one thing Christians are thinking about. The other thing is gay marriage.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard two different challenges to laws that deny gay couples the right to marry: Prop 8 and DOMA. As is often the case with big Supreme Court challenges, the masses descended on Washington, some in favor of gay marriage, others who want marriage to stay a strictly man-woman arrangement. It's made for quite the scene.

Both sides have been making their case for years, but that's not what I plan to talk about. Not directly, anyway. No, I want to get down to one of the more basic principles behind the desire to uphold laws against same-sex marriage, that the United States needs to legislate morality and use the force of law to enforce God's laws. That rather than base laws solely on the Constitution, we should base laws on the Bible. We can find many examples of Christians stating that they want the United States governed by Biblical values.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: "The Time Travelers"

Quick Review: This emotional powerhouse is easily the best of the season.

Episode Synopsis: Futuristic doppelgängers of Barney and Ted try to persuade them to attend a Robots vs. Wrestlers competition. Meanwhile, Marshall and Robin engage in a dance-off. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, and if there's ever a time you listen to me about spoilers, this is it. You don't want a future self to appear and warn you against getting spoiled. Trust me, that conversation can get pretty awkward, and it's never a good idea to get into an argument with your future self. You never know what kind of future gadgets they might bring back to the present, and that just won't be a fair fight. Plus, you might see that you've gone bald in the future, and that will probably just freak you out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: "The Fortress"

Quick Review: It begins with promise and ends with me being severely cross.

Episode Synopsis: Robin would like Barney to sell his bachelor pad so they can get a place of their own, but he is somewhat reluctant and goes to great lengths to sabotage any potential sale. Meanwhile, Lily's art-consultant position with the Captain impacts her relationship her husband. -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, so you might want to wait until you watch the episode before proceeding. Otherwise you will share the same bitter disappointment you felt when you discovered who had framed the chimney sweep or deliberately over-watered the plants. Things like that can only be learned once, and then it's stuck in your brain forever. You can try to get them out, but you won't like the side-effects.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why We Need Frivolous Bad News

This was supposed to be a big week for the SimCity franchise. Instead, reports of the new installment's failed launch are burning across the internet. There are well over a thousand reviews on Amazon, most of them giving SimCity a one-star rating. It's all anyone can talk about, and it's become a huge PR nightmare for EA, the publisher. I have a feeling that this massive failure will be remembered for a very long time. Whether this becomes a failure on the scale of Atari's ET remains to be seen. While I doubt it will be that epic a failure, this is still pretty bad.

Why is this such a huge story? Is it because SimCity is such a cherished franchise? That could be part of it. Many of us grew up playing SimCity and other related Sim games. This franchise is almost as beloved as Super Mario Brothers, and people still play the older games in the series. To see a one-time giant fall is kind of a big deal.

There's also the fact that this failure is caused by a key new component of the game - you can only play the game with an active internet connection. If you can't connect to EA's servers, you can't play your game. Many gamers hated this idea, wanting the option to play offline and not have to depend on the often unreliable internet to get their SimCity Fix. They even brought this up to EA representatives and found themselves soundly ignored. So for some people, this is a heaping helping of "I told you so" mixed with Schadenfreude.

But I have another theory why this is becoming a huge news story. This is the kind of bad news that we need.