Is cohabiting before marriage the right thing to do, and why?

Copied from Quora.

For what it’s worth, my experience leads to this answer:

Only if you have already made the commitment to get married or if both of you do indeed see yourselves married to each other. If you’re doing it for the promise of lots of easy sex or to save money, it is not a great idea.

I have co-habited three times. The first two ended badly. The first time lasted less than a year, but we were young and we did it not only to be together but to save money as we were both moving to a bigger city. Living as a married couple that had no immediate plans to get married just made the situation feel wrong for me. When the arrangement didn’t turn into an everyday sex-fest, I quickly became dissolusioned with the relationship. Remember — we were both in our early 20s, and now in a strange town in a new place making new friends. It didn’t feel like the right time to settle down. On an up-note, she and I are today the best of friends.

The second time we did actually announce our engagement, but I was besotted by this woman — mainly because I didn’t really know her. We moved in together, once again, in a new place for both of us. I ignored the signs that this wasn’t going to work, and despite the huge argument we had a few weeks before, we moved in together, and it went sour pretty fast.

Nevertheless, we stayed together nearly 4 years, partly because of finances and partly because on paper, we should have been perfect together. However, hardly a day went by without some acrimony. Finally, I grew a pair and asked her to leave. I haven’t seen her in 18 years, although someone who is now a good friend dated her after me and will corroborate my experience with her. Crazier than a bag of hammers, he calls her.

The third time was the charm. This time I moved to her place, again in a new location for me. I did it because every day with her brought me peace — something I greatly needed after some personal and professional tumult. I made the decision because I easily saw us married. My wild oats were sowed.

She makes life easier. We never argue, and in fact, until we had our daughter, I never once heard her raise her voice. All my friends, male and female, want their own version of her.

I moved in in September, we got engaged in February, and got married the following September.

In my mind, living with your sexual partner is in no way immoral. It is, after all, a commitment. Maybe it’s not blessed by the church or licensed by the state, but I’m an atheist and I don’t think government should have any role in marriage whatsoever.

I do have a friend that’s been cohabiting with the same woman for 30 years! They have a house, a daughter now in her twenties, and seem to be living a good life. However, if they were ever to break up, they would need a lawyer. To me, if you need a lawyer to break up, you are married.

What do old graphic designers think of young graphic designers of today? – Quora

This is the answer I posted on Quora:

While I started as a print designer, I design almost exclusively for the web today, and if you look on the internet right now, it seems like 80% of all websites launched in the last five years look like they came from the same template.

And what do you know? They have big moving hero above three columns of boxes, all optimized for mobile.

I think today that young graphic designers, the truly creative right-brained ones, are at a serious disadvantage. The merging of tech and art is nearly complete, which has given us the specter of the designer-developer. This to me is no better than having an architect-plumber or a chef-maitre-D’. Sure, you can do both, but you will not get the best possible results of having two people with complementing disciplines working in concert. Employers think they save money on labor by hiring one person, but the end result looks like everything else out there — with different colors.

The developer will not design something that exceeds his or her abilities to code for it. Developer-designers or “front-end developers” (even the word designer is going away) will argue with me, of course, but these people casually cherry pick from existing trends to “create” their designs. This leaves us with web interfaces as staid now as print design was before the advent of the Macintosh.

The dominance of WordPress, which runs about 80% of the web these days, makes matters even worse. I’d estimate that 90% of those sites are made with off-the-shelf themes, most of which are big moving hero above three columns of boxes.

The only art direction involved is the branding placement and choice of photographs. As someone who does not like to code, this actually helps me, but it turns the job into mere data entry. Building websites has become so much drudgery, and since this is all clients see out there, this is what I end up presenting them as well. I will ask a prospective client to show me what they like, and invariably they show me big moving hero above three columns of boxes.

With print dying (yes, it is dying) and desktop displays on the wain, designers have smartphones and tablets as their canvass now, but here the coder lords supreme. With such small interfaces, the opportunities to make impact just with thoughtful design has all but vanished.

User-interface design is mostly a science, not an art, and while there will always be some amazing work done by some very special true designers, the industry of design has largely been subsumed by high-tech, and never again will graphic designers ever be able to create something that casts an actual shadow.

Which is why I now spend a growing part of my day working in my wood shop making birdhouses.

Source: Randy Garbin’s answer to What do old graphic designers think of young graphic designers of today? – Quora

Brandi Carlile: I am now a fan.

I’ve always enjoyed listening to Brandi Carlile’s music. My wife brought her to my attention, but I never called myself much of a fan.

Until this song.

And today’s interview on Howard Stern just sealed the deal. This is great music and a song that will stand the test of time.

3 Facepalm Moments in Regulation 

More government regulatory theater.

the Ten Eyck family, which owns the farm, along with the staff devoted about 40 hours to serving the investigators, who visited three times before closing the books. …This is life on the farm — and at businesses of all sorts. With thick rule books laying out food safety procedures, compliance costs in the tens of thousands of dollars and ever-changing standards from the government…

Source: 3 Facepalm Moments in Regulation – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

Utah legalizes sane parenting

The measure, sponsored by Utah state Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R), exempts from the definition of child neglect various activities children can do without supervision, permitting “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities …”

Time to turn down the noise again

Facebook Noise

I’m off Facebook again. My account is not fully deleted, but despite all my attempts to make adjustments to my timeline and filter out the nonsense, it still pours through.

And while it is no surprise to me that Facebook got caught with its privacy pants down again, and that I seem to be one of the relative few who understand that Facebook was specifically created to do what it is doing to us, I’m just weary of the way Facebook seems to degrade my life. So, I gotta take another break.

I’m still available via this site and by FB Messenger.

Overplaying the Left hand

Too many libertarians hate the left more than they love liberty. One response I’ve heard to my pushing back on their take on Trump is that “well Obama/Clinton was/would have been worse!” No, actually he wasn’t and I don’t think she would have been. Yes, they might have expanded the regulatory state, but there would be no revival of torture, no wall, no registry, no trade war, no attempt to muzzle the media, etc.. Trump is a tin-pot dictator wannabe (and startingtobe), without an ounce of knowledge or respect for constitutional limits on government, who threatens the foundational institutions of the liberal order. Obama was not. Clinton is not. I confess to some schadenfreude myself as the left squirms in the aftermath of a defeat they didn’t see coming. But every time Trump opens his mouth, the fundamental threat to liberty he and his supporters embody overwhelms that.

Plain and simple, the Left overplays its hand, which should surprise no one in this volatile political climate. Right or wrong, however, they will only make Littlefinger’s supporters dig in even deeper, with no net progress on any front. Displays of destruction, pussy hats, and Elizabeth Warren’s caterwauling play very badly to people who only want a decent job and a sense that their government listens to them.

Source: Liberalism in the Balance – Bleeding Heart Libertarians

Excellent summary on the decline of newspapers

I saw the end coming the day I read the Boston Globe on my laptop while the printed copy lay on my doorstep. That was in 2000.

Stop just blaming the Internet for killing newspapers. Start blaming editors. – Reassociated Press

NYTimes: Cubs Defeat Dodgers to Clinch First Pennant Since 1945

I couldn’t be happier for the Cubs. While as a Red Sox fan, I also have a soft spot for the Indians, you just have to root for Chicago in this contest.

One thing though: Should the Cubs finally turn the corner for good and shake off its “hapless” moniker, I hope their fans don’t turn into annoying, entitled assholes like so many newly minted Red Sox fans did after 2004. Yankees fans have already perfected this attitude, and deserving or not, it’s not an example a good fan should follow.

Dear Mike Rowe: What dream do I pursue now?

[The video mentioned in the previous post inspired me to write Mike Rowe in hope against hope that he might have some wisdom to offer.]

I recently became a true fan of yours, and I only just this morning finished watching your interview on ReasonTV. I’m sold. In a sense, I always was, but I’ve rarely been able to articulate your message in such an entertaining fashion.

Please indulge me in telling my story. I came from extremely humble beginnings. I grew up in a household headed by divorced mother of three, who worked hard her entire life, often in sweat shops. We never had much, but we managed to get by.

Because of this upbringing, I was determined to go to college and learn a profession. While in school, I worked summer jobs as a shop laborer, office janitor, and a floor refinisher among other things. I saw this as temporary. I was going to college, dammit, to become a professional, and take over the world.

I eventually went to school to become a graphic designer, and embarked on that career in the mid-1980s with a measure of success, despite enduring a couple of severe recessions and a few other twists and turns.

However, as I was entering this career, I read this article in Esquire magazine that resonated with me. It was written by a Porsche mechanic with his own garage. He described a great life, fixing toys for the wealthy — people who drove their sick baby into the shop, caring only that they would drive out with a purring kitten. They didn’t tell him how much to torque the head gasket or angle the alignment of the left front wheel. They didn’t care what it cost or even when it might be done. They only cared that the car was fixed. He was king of his castle.

The mechanic talked about the fringe benefits of this life, including the invitations to his customers’ parties where he often found himself the most popular guy there.

Reading this I thought to myself that despite how much I used to love working on my old car, there was NO WAY I was going to shift gears now and become a “lowly” auto mechanic, even if I did work on the coolest cars in the world.

My 1973 Hornet in 1982, held together with bubble gum, rubber bands, blood, sweat, and love.
My 1973 Hornet in 1982, held together with bubble gum, rubber bands, blood, sweat, and love.

The story stuck with me, because I had trained myself so well on repairing my hand-me-down 1973 AMC Hornet, by the time I was done with it, I had switched out almost everything except the drive-train. Against all odds, I got that car to go at least 150,000 miles before I finally gave up on it. I actually loved the work and getting my hands dirty, but that to me was just a hobby, and I did it partly because I had more time than money. I called myself “Mr. Prettygoodwrench.”

Today, I’m 55 years old. I find myself aging out of my chosen profession as a website designer/developer, and I look back on that article and think to myself, What an idiot I was. If I had switched gears, I might be that guy today.

Mike, I have a 12-year-old daughter, and thanks to you, nothing would make me happier than if she came to me and said she was going to be an HVAC technician.

But what about people in my position? I think it’s a little too late for me to become a certified auto mechanic or a railroad engineer.

I have several friends in similar situations. We’ve spent the best years of our working lives pursuing a dream in some kind of creative profession, and it’s not working out. The prospects are frankly bleak. If I had a time machine, I’d go back to that day I read the article and beeline to the nearest Porsche dealer to find out what I needed to do to work there.

I know that I can always march down to the nearest Home Depot and get a job stocking shelves, but I don’t have to tell you how I fear that’ll affect my self worth.

What’s the alternative? What dream can I pursue now?

Thanks for reading, and please put your TV show on YouTube or start your own channel. We dropped out cable subscription years ago, and we’re not going back ever, even if we could afford to.

Hope to hear from you soon.


Randy Garbin
Recipe for an American Renaissance:
Eat in diners. Ride trains. Shop on Main Street. Put a porch on your house. Live in a walkable community.