This is too cool not to blog – Dialect Survey Results as a map. Do you pronounce the sound in aunt like the a in ant, the au in caught, or is it the same as ain’t?

You probably won’t believe this, but I’d love to believe that President Bush is a capable, competent representative of a powerful collective of 300,000,000 free-thinking individuals. I’m just havin’ a little trouble with that. See, I’m not sure this man understands the difference between a million, a billion, and a trillion. Some people don’t, you know.

I mean, when he asked for $87 billion, I did a quick calculation ($87,000,000,000/300,000,000) and figgerred this was about $300/head * me+my wife+my daughter, and got $900 to fund the Iraqi reconstruction. Well, OK.

So I was reading this article from some financial site like Motley Fool, and it turns out I really was confused about the distinction between the budget deficit and the national debt. See the deficit tells you the difference between what we have available to spend and what we plan to spend, and the debt tells you what we already owe our own bondholders and other nations. It’s kinda like, you know you make $35,000 a year, but you spend $37,500, which means that at the end of the year you owe $2500 on your Visa at 13.5% interest. So that year, you have a $2500 budget deficit and a $2500 debt.

But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that if you keep this up, next year you’ll have a $2500 deficit, but a $6000 debt, and so on.

So my understanding is that we currently have about a $500 billion deficit, and a $7 trillion debt. What that means to me and my family, if I understand this at all, is that we owe somebody somewhere around $75,000, and Bush is a) cutting taxes and giving rebates, and b) asking for more spending. At least the Democrats have the god-given sense to ‘tax and spend’ instead of just spending.

For an extra-special Asparagus Pee perspective, consider this: A trillion is a million million, so if there were 7 million millionaires in America, our national debt would take all 7,000,000 of their fortunes.

Looks like our daughter is going to need some dental work, so here’s a joke I thought of earlier today: ‘Four out of five dentists recommend chewing Trident Sugarless Gum. The other guy, who has a much clearer understanding of his own business model, recommends sucking on sugar cubes.’

I don’t really think about gay marriage all that much in my day to day life, because I’m not gay, and I am married. But recently, I seem to keep butting my head against this issue wherever I turn as something that needs to be thought about. (I should probably mention that we live exactly 121 miles from San Francisco.)

I think the main problem is not the whole gay vs. straight dilemma, Christian morals, or ‘American Values,’ but rather, the fact that in our society over the last 91 years, taxes and social benefits have been deliberately structured to benefit married couples who own property and bear children.

Now, after several thousand years, marriage has a lot of baggage associated with it. I guess the bible folks still think the man and the woman cleave together to become one flesh. I think there may even be an element of ‘Adam gets his rib back,’ which neatly mirrors the ancient Greek ideas about needing both halves to make the Platonic whole, which in the vernacular becomes ‘my better half.’ (Despite the fact that Greek philosophers were generally homo-pedophiles.)

So my bottom line is, I think they’re fighting an uphill battle to call it ‘same-sex marriage’ but I believe with all my heart that serious same-sex alliances should be granted all of the rights and privileges of temporarily married wannabe breeders, or else the straights shouldn’t get any special treatment. (As long as the Government wants to reward me for gettin’ hitched, buyin’ a house, and gettin’ it on, that’s fine, but let’s spread the love, OK?)

My very best and only real friend in the world was a gay man who lived a confused life filled with shame and died of AIDS about 10 years ago, so don’t you dare even ask me about a special amendment to the constitution to document our idiocy about same-sex couples.