Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oh Say Can You Retch?

I admit I'm somewhat of a dork about the Olympics. I love the Olympics, especially the winter version. It's so much cooler watching people ski down hills and skate really fast than run. And snowboarding has made the Winter Games kick even more ass. I was especially happy that, although the U.S. won a lot of them, it wasn't just a big beat down by the Americans on everybody else. That would have made it as boring as Olympic basketball was for several years. Well, basketball is boring and stupid anyway, but even more so when the U.S. team was beating everyone by 60 points. Everybody else in this country, besides me, seemed to love that for some reason. Kind of an American thing I think. Don't care how the game is played, just as long as we kick the fuck out of everybody. I guess that's why I think it's OK that Lindsey Jacobellis lost the gold medal in the snowboardcross by showboating at the end when she had a huge lead. You all have seen it I'm sure. The world gasped as she fell down on the last jump because she did a trick in celebration of her about to win. I was as shocked as everyone else, but the more I thought about it the more I thought it was cool. She may have ended up losing the race, but she lost because she was acting like a snowboarder. Trick moves like that are what snowboarders do. Remember, this sport is a derivative of skateboarding, the whole thing is based on showboating. Even when they lose, they seem to be having a hell of a lot more fun than the figure skaters. Those kids need to lighten the fuck up. Geez, you're at the Olympics, how about smiling every once and a while?

The thing I hate the most about Americans winning events is the playing of our national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is, by far, the worst national anthem in the history of the world. I hate it. I just hate it. Could there be anything more depressing sounding than that tune? It sounds like a damn funeral march. Why can't they play something that sounds more uplifting? Like a song by The Cure? Seriously, we have a great song like America The Beautiful at our disposal and we choose the drudgery of the Star Spangled Banner instead.

At least they don't use the words at these things or it would be even worse. Nothing like a little bit of glorifying war to tell the world what we're really about in America. But it is the tune that is the worst. Who the hell writes a song that has about an eight octave range? Even if the lyrics weren't overly nationalistic and celebrating violence it would still be annoying to listen to because there isn't a person alive who can sing it. Freaking Pavarotti couldn't hit the all those notes.

Really, listen to every other countries' anthems. They sound so nice. Uplifting and celebratory. And such great melodies. Even the German one.

Our national anthem was the most embarrassing thing at the Olympics. Well, except for speed skater Chad Hedrick. What an ass-hole. And a horrible sport. Such a jerk to everyone if he doesn't win. And then accuses the first black man to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics of not being patriotic enough when he doesn't skate in an event to help Hedrick win another medal. And doesn't shake the skater's hand when he wins that gold medal. So not just a jerk, but a racist jerk. What an embarrassment to our country. What a shocker he's from Texas.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What If I Said God Told Me To Smoke Crack?

A recent Supreme Court decision said that the government can't stop a small religious group from using a hallucinogenic tea in their rituals. Now the decision itself is no real surprise - they have made this kind of decision before in the case of Native American groups using peyote - but a couple of things about this struck me. First, it was a unanimous decision. So both the civil liberty type justices and the religion type justices could agree on something. Personally, I totally agree with this decision. I think what an adult person decides to put in their body is completely their business and nobody else's. Whether it's for religious reasons or just because you want to, I don't care.

But the thing that stands out to me the most in this decision is the fucking hypocrisy of (surprise surprise) Antonin Scalia. Now, I'm sure there are more justices guilty of this (hello Clarence Thomas), but Scalia is such a major loudmouth prick about everything that I love to point out his stupid nonsense.

Now let's look at this Supreme Court decision vs. other decisions made by them. So, if you are a religion you can use all the drugs you want, apparently. But, just last year the court decided that if a medical doctor wants to prescribe you some marijuana to ease your pain, nausea or whatever reason the doctor has for wanting you to have it, you don't have that right. Of course Scalia was in the camp of letting the government keep pot out of the hands of Grandma. So in his world view, medical reasons for using a primarily recreational drug is bad. Religious reasons, good. So it's OK for the government to come between you and your doctor, but not between you and your god.

This is a man who doesn't believe in the right to privacy or individual freedoms unless they are religious based. He wrote a scathing minority (thankfully) opinion when the court struck down the ridiculous sodomy laws still on the books in many states. Scalia hates gay people so much that he couldn't even consider that maybe the government doesn't have the right to tell consenting adults what they can do with their own bodies. But you can bet that if some religious sect in this country had a ritual that involved raping 12 year olds to make them feel closer to god, Scalia would say "Who are we to stand in the way of someone's religious belief?"

What I really want to do is start a new religion that has as one of their core beliefs that all males must have sex with each other. Just for shits and giggles, we'll demand that we are able to use public places like community centers to perform the sacred rituals. After all, the Boy Scouts are allowed to use public spaces as a religious organization even though they discriminate against gays. Scalia said so. And then of course get the case to the Supreme Court to make Scalia have to decide which is more important to him, hating gay people or loving all things religious.

I would love to hear the inside of his head when trying to decide the case. "Let's see, I really can't stand those fucking fags. But they are a god-fearing religion having butt sex, so who am I to tell them they can't, since it's for religious purposes?"

I'll bet his head would explode.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Idiot And Idioter

So I've explained how driving in Boston sucks and how walking in Boston also sucks. And when you combine the two elements, well, it makes for quite the interesting situation. In a city where cars don't even come close to following basic traffic rules, it is amazing how willing the walking public is willing to risk their lives by not following even basic common sense. Now, I've lived in a city that had hardcore jaywalking laws before (Seattle) and I certainly think that can be a little much. I mean, if you are at an intersection and have a "don't walk" sign but no cars are coming, I don't see the problem with going ahead and crossing the street. But you can get a ticket for that in Seattle. Boston is a place where this law might actually be a good idea. It's amazing to see what people will do in this town.

Now, most place where people walk against the light or in the middle of the street they are pretty smart about it. Not here man. I see people just walk across the street without even looking in the direction the traffic is coming. They might be on their cell phones, listening to their walkman, talking to a fellow walker or just looking down involved in thought. Seriously, I see people not even break stride like they are still on the sidewalk with no cars around even though they are walking across a city street. What's worse, I see people do this with their kids in tow. It is incredibly common to see people do it while pushing baby strollers in front of them. I'm not kidding about that. It is a very common sight. Even if they don't walk into traffic with the stroller, you'll still see them waiting off the curb to cross and the strollers will be sticking out into the road. I just want to kick these idiots. If you want to risk your life, cool. But you stick your baby out into Boston traffic like that?!?! I don't trust that I'm not going to get run over even if the car has the red light and these people act like they are walking in Venice (no cars) or something. And in this town not only do they not care, but I'm convinced they would rather hit you. Many times I've been crossing the street when I knew I had the room to get across before the car coming would get to me, when I've heard the driver gun the engine. It's like they think their in some crappy Sylvester Stallone death race movie.

But the cars are the worst though. There isn't a traffic law they won't break on a regular basis. A good friend of mine was visiting this weekend from Seattle and a point I was making about it happened right in front of us with just brilliant timing. We were waiting to cross the street and I was explaining to him that this isn't Seattle, so if you have the walk sign be sure to look really well before crossing because even if the light has been changed for even 5 or more seconds a car may still come blazing through. Right after I said it the light for the cross street turned red. Then there was a couple of second delay before our side turned green/walk. About two seconds after we got the walk a car went blazing through. Really, the car must have been two hundred feet before the intersection when he got a red light and he never even considered slowing down. It was absolutely perfect timing. It's good for an out of towner to see it right away so they know to watch their ass. And that's just one occasion. Almost every intersection in this town is "no turn on red" but you wouldn't know it. The number of times I've almost been hit from somebody turning against the red is staggering. I still can't believe they actually bother putting up those signs at intersections that say "yield to pedestrians when turning" because you never actually see that happen.

But the best is the crosswalks. Like California and Seattle, we have a lot of uncontrolled crosswalks with signs that say "Cars must yield to pedestrians in crosswalk. State Law." Now, in place like California, when you step into the crosswalk all of the cars see you and they stop. That's not the way it works here. If you want the cars to stop you have to physically put yourself in front of them. Really. So every time I need to cross the street at one of these I have to go right out in front of the crazy drivers.

This all makes for a very trying existence in Boston. Don't even get me started on what it's like to ride a bike in all this shit. I tried that all of about once and then put my bike in the basement about two years ago. I won't even try that again. The thing is, all of the things I've described to you about the whole Boston driving/walking thing happen right in front of cops all the time. I've seen the red lights run, the no turn on reds ignored, cars going the wrong way down a one-way, car double-parked and pedestrians in crosswalks almost run over in front of cops a bunch of times. Not once have I seen the cop do anything about it. Hell, a lot of the time they are the ones doing it.

And people wonder why I don't like to go outside anymore.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Please Disregard Aerosmith's Instructions

As I mentioned earlier, I hate cars. I hate getting around by car. I like to live places that I can get around by public transportation, walking and riding my bike. One of the very few nice things about Boston (the other being the squirrels that you can feed from your hand in Boston Common) is that it is a very walkable city. Well, it should be a very walkable city, but the people who live here go out of their way to make sure it's not.

Aerosmith had their biggest hit about, what, a hundred years ago with Walk This Way. I'm certainly not claiming to know exactly what message these deep thinkers of drug-fueled arena rock were trying to say with this little ditty, but they are from my own little personal hell-hole that other people call Boston or Beantown or (for a reason unknown to me) the HUB. So I hope that the message in their biggest hit song ever (Thank you Run-DMC) is not to walk "this way," as in the way Bostonians walk. You are just asking for trouble and a life of tense misery if you follow that advice. First of all, people in this town like to walk with the same attitude as the one they drive with.

The walking in Boston is a lot like the way they drive, which is the absolute worst in America. People cut you off without looking where they are going, the ones coming at you in your lane think they have the right of way even though they are obviously on the wrong side of the sidewalk (just so we're clear, the concept of move to the right to let people by coming from the other direction seems to work just about everywhere else in this country. It is, of course, the only time that moving to the right is a good thing). So you either end up bumping in to people or walking off the narrow sidewalk just so you can get around. If you stick to the sidewalk to get by these people they will in no way make even the slightest amount of room for you to get by. A group of people could be walking toward you, spread across the whole sidewalk, and you get over to the right and, the thinking goes in most places, that they will move slightly over to give you space to get by. But guess what? More often than not they won't even give you the break away soft shoulder. You just get plowed through like you weren't even there. This has happened to me on the Harvard Medical School campus from a medical faculty member. I got knocked into a wall because she refused to move her bag back a little as she went by me and I went full-on into the wall that I was already hugging because I saw her coming toward me and wanted to get out of the way. No "I'm sorry" or "Excuse me" or anything that even acknowledged what she had just done.

Walking in Boston is most like high school than anything else I've experienced in adulthood (except for the moron popular kid getting elected president). Everyday it feels like you are the unpopular kid in the hallway in high school that gets bumped all the time walking down the hallway and knocked up against the wall with "hard shoulders" all the time.

And it's competitive like that too. Or like the way people drive has bled over to how they walk here. People actually will cut you off a mere inch in front of you for no real reason. I've been tailgated many times by people who had plenty of room to walk around me, but they chose to walk as close to my butt as they possibly could. Twice now I've been in those situations and decided to just stop. They, of course, then bumped into me. And they give me a look like I somehow did something wrong. Seriously, do you know how close you have to be walking behind someone to not be able to stop fast enough not to run into them? It's the combination of the competitiveness of these people and their weird lack of any real comfortable personal space. I can be standing at a crosswalk by myself and one other person will walk up. Now, there will be a whole area of curb, sidewalk and road shoulder to stand. But people here seem to like to choose to stand right next to me so close that our shoulders are almost touching. They don't seem to have a clear idea of what personal space is all about. I think these are the same guys who will stand right next to you at a urinal, even though there are ten urinals and only the two of you in there, and strike up a conversation. Weirder still, that seems to be the only place in Beantown that anyone ever strikes up a conversation. Which is really the only place I'd rather not.

And for the competitive nature of the walking in Boston, try this little trick sometime you're in town. I usually walk at a pretty good clip if I'm going somewhere and I'm by myself. There seems to be walkers in Boston who are a lot like drivers in a lot of places, that is the attitude of "I have to get past this guy even though he's not going slower than me I just have to be in front" You've seen all of them on the road before, I'm sure. It's a bizarre alpha-male thing for sure, when it's just in driving. But to do this when you are walking around the city is absolutely nuts. And how I know it's not just that they want to walk faster than I am walking is that I've tested it. First off, the people who just want you to go faster are the tailgater types I've mentioned earlier. They don't want to pass you, they want the world to move at their speed and think they can force it to by riding your ass. The passers just want to be in front and it doesn't really make a difference on how fast they get there. I like to play a little game with them. As I'm chugging along down the sidewalk or pathway in the Common and one of them comes up along side me to pass me by there's something I like to do which gives me minute and minutes of fun. See, as I'm starting to get passed by one of these guys, which is happening slowly because I'm walking at a really good pace so these guys have to really kick it up to get past me anyway. But when they get alongside me in their passing mode I slowly start picking up my speed. Just a little bit at a time so it's not even really noticeable but he just can't quite make it past me. This forces them to make a decision, pick up their speed to make sure they pass me or just give up and be happy with your own pace and be content that you will be getting to where you need to go in plenty of time. They always choose the former. It is delicious fun watching them try to pass me when I'm fucking with them. They are so determined that one guy even decided to just start running and be done with it. That kind of entertainment has gotten me through some days here in shittown. I'll be laughing at the guy a good hour later.

I figure I helped him get his exercise for the day.

Next: The two worlds collide. And collide. And collide...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Baby You Can't Drive My Car - Or Anything Else For That Matter

I've had to do more driving lately than I'd like. I hate cars. Just hate them. Everything about them. The car culture in America ruined the passenger train business (which in turn forced people who'd rather not use cars, like me, to use them). They are the reason that you have about twenty feet of visibility in Los Angeles. They are the reason we have been in two wars in Iraq in the last 15 years. The reason our country has become a web of concrete freeways (fuck you very much, Ike!). But the worst part is that, really, human beings just shouldn't be trusted with piloting their own personal heavy piece of machinery. Really, there is no such thing as a really good driver. Anyone who really is good at piloting anything has a job flying planes or being a train engineer. And that's the way we should keep it.

I've had to use our car sometimes lately to get to rehearsals for a show I'm doing, due to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) total inadequacy at both planning and running a transit system. The fact that the coverage area in the suburbs is very underserved, and they make maddeningly inconvenient schedules. Where I need to go to when I take the train is one of the most heavily used stations on the line, but all trains during rush hour run local schedules. No express. No skip stop limiteds. Nothing. I don't think they've ever even heard of an express train at the MBTA. You get all of those things in a Chicago commuter rail system that covers more area and cost you less for much better service. But I digress.

So I have spent much more time among the polluters on the roads lately and it does not help my stress level at all. I know, every city has their issues with their drivers. In all the places I've lived, drivers all suck in their own special way. In Atlanta, they're just kind of stupid and meandering. They seem to realize every time they need to exit right at that moment and they find themselves needing to cross eight lanes of traffic to get to it. Of course the first problem there is that there are any roads in the world with eight lanes. But then you always end up with someone who has about an eighth of a mile to cross those lanes to get to the exit. And if you miss it? Well, just back up along the emergency lane to get back to the ramp entrance. I'm sure that won't cause any problems at all.

In Seattle, people just always seem to have other things on their mind. Kind of like they are out for a little stroll and they love changing minds about what direction they're going. There's just so much beautiful scenery to look at there that people are just too distracted by it all. And they are always making decisions really late. Sure, they use their blinkers, it's just that they remember to put them on as they are making the turn. Or you are behind them at a stop light, assuming they will be going straight, but when the light turns green they suddenly turn on their left turn signal and wait for an opening to make their turn. And you end up stuck behind them because there are too many cars going by in the other lane, that you would have been in had you known this guy was going to make a left turn.

Chicago drivers are just some of the most aggressive drivers you can ever come across. They will fight tooth and nail to get that one more car length ahead, even though it doesn't get them to where they are going any faster. And they are going to get ahead of everyone else on the freeway, dammit! Don't even get me started on Chicago cab drivers. For some reason making a right turn from the far left lane makes sense to them, even without looking to see if there is any oncoming traffic.

But Boston, by far, takes the cake in this country for people who should just not be allowed behind the wheel. They are the perfect combination of arrogance, aggressiveness, and stupidity. The saying goes in Boston that red lights are merely a suggestion. That's only funny if it weren't so completely accurate. But it's not just lights. One-Way signs, No Turn On Red signs, Do Not Enter are all routinely ignored in this town. And I'm not talking about the occasional person who accidentally turns the wrong way down a street and then realizes it and goes back. No, no, that happened everywhere. No, I'm talking a regular occurrence of purposeful defiance because it slightly inconveniences them for this street to be a one way right now. This is a constant occurrence in my neighborhood. I try to point out to people who are going the wrong way when I'm walking down the street and see them, but they give me a wave and a look that says, "I know, I know ass hole. Fuck off." Like it's my fault! And they act all pissed at me.

And the aggressiveness of the driving around here is amazing. Especially considering the street design. Well, street design is the wrong word. Imagine you took a handful of wadded up string of various lengths and threw them in the air. Well, where they landed is the basis of the Boston street system. Even if it doesn't make sense, and even if things like a road looping around and meeting itself happen, you have to keep it that way. Oh, and refuse to put up street signs anywhere, except where they are not really needed. And make them too small to make a difference anyway. And this is a city that people drive overly aggressive in. And they also seem to love sitting in the middle of intersections when the people from the other direction have the green light. Now, in most cities when this happens it is because some idiot found himself in the intersection when the light turned red before the traffic started to move. That's a big Chicago thing, to be sure. It was no surprise that all those cars got hit by a train a few months back when Chicago drivers were not leaving a gap for the tracks in the stop and go traffic. Everyone thinks it'll start moving in time for them to get through. But I digress.

Here in Boston they will get themselves in the middle of the intersection on purpose! I have, on many occasion, been at a red light and there is traffic at a stop going the other direction that has the green light. I will notice that there is a gap in the intersection like there should be so I'm not worried about being able to go when my side turns green. But when the other light turns from green to yellow, people that had been leaving a gap suddenly gun it to get right behind the car on the other side of the intersection. And not just one. A whole line of cars that will fit in the intersection will do it. And then I have a green light but nowhere to go. I just don't understand these people. It's like some sort of fuck you to me I guess. "If I'm going to be stuck in traffic than you are too, ass hole" seems to be what they are saying when they do this.

Yet somehow, with all of this aggressive/moronic city street driving tactics, these are the same people that get in the left lane on the interstate and go 45 miles/hour. And these people are trusted on many of the freeways here to be allowed to drive on the emergency lane during rush hour. There's a brilliant idea. Ugh.

Next: How pedestrians are just as bad as the drivers in Beantown.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'd Rather Shoot A Republican Lawyer Than A Poor Defenseless Quail Too

Holy shit. I just watched the press conference on CNN of Scott McClellan taking questions about Cheney shooting a fellow hunter on Saturday morning. He is so irritating to watch. So he claimed that Dubya didn't know that his VP had shot somebody until Sunday, even though it happened Saturday afternoon. But then Andy Card later said that Georgie-boy knew Saturday night, so they can't even get their stories straight when they've had two days to prepare. And McClellan claimed that the reason the information wasn't given to the public until 23 hours later was because the VP and his staff were focused on getting medical attention for the wounded hunter. Why Scott thinks that people will buy the that answer is beyond me. After dialing 911 and getting the man to the hospital, what more is there to do? Did the VP and his staff and the Secret Service scrub-in and help with the operation? Nobody was available to make a phone call for the next 23 hours? I mean, the first shooting involving a VP in this country since Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton, isn't this something we should know about? Like, sooner rather than later?

The people of this administration are doing so many illegal things that they just, as a general rule, lie about and cover up everything. I mean, you can't get a straight answer from these stupid fuckers about anything. Every press briefing goes like this:

Reporter: "Scott, what about reports that the sky is blue?"
McClellan: "I haven't seen these reports you are talking about. And we don't comment on ongoing overhead illuminations until the special prosecutor has finished his investigation as to the sky being blue."
Reporter: "So the sky is blue?"
McClellan: "That's how you would characterize it, I didn't call it blue. You called it blue."
Reporter: "But doesn't the president think the sky is blue, Scott."
McClellan: "That's a ridiculous question and I'm not going to dignify it with a response."

And on and on it goes....

Rule of thumb of this administration is "When in doubt, lie about everything."

Question I didn't hear asked by reporters that I think needs to be:

"Had the VP been drinking or was he in any way impaired by any prescription or over-the-counter medication?" After all, we are talking about a guy who has two separate arrests for driving while intoxicated.

And who the fuck thinks it's OK for a 67-year-old who's had 5 heart attacks to be carrying a gun? Do we really want a man who's likely to have a cardiac event at any moment to have his finger on the trigger of a shotgun? Holy shit, when my grandfather's health got too bad we wouldn't even let him drive anymore, much less go hunting. And he didn't even have the anger management issues or history of drinking problems that Cheney's got. I'm just sayin'....

Friday, February 10, 2006

Too Much Money And Time

So, gazillionaire Steve Fossett is out to break another aviation record by flying around the world like two times without stopping. Apparently he couldn't find any other useful thing to do with his money. I guess all the homeless shelters, human rights groups, environmental charities, and international aid groups are doing just fine so he might as well just piss his money away trying to break pointless records.

I wish this dumbass would find a hobby like stamp collecting or something that would a) keep him out of the news because it's annoying hearing about him all the time, and b) free him up to do something useful with his money, which would basically be anything else you could think of. Seriously, why is this in the news all the time anyway? I have never met anyone who cares about this, but the media seem to think that we are all glued to the TV like he's breaking some new ground, ala Charles Lindbergh or something. Well, he's not.

Why can't Fossett and other super rich guys be more like Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat For Humanity? A self-made millionaire who actually found something useful and wonderful to do with his money. And he is almost never in the news.

And what exactly is Fossett trying to prove? Flying around the world has been done, even in the nonstop and solo way that he's making this trip (Fossett did this himself last year). Why would you need to go any farther than that. Actually, why would you need to do more than half that? If the place you need to go is farther than half way around the world, then you just went the wrong direction. Really, what's he going to do next? Climb to the top of Mt. Everest and build a 1,000 foot tall ladder to climb higher?

It must be guys like him that answer those spam emails about elarging your penis. And buy Hummers.

Well, I suppose there is hope. He could crash and die, then at least the government would get an estate tax windfall. Maybe then we could re-fund the cuts Bush made in student loans/grants.

So keep your fingers crossed for wind shear.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Swear

Just when I think it's possible to have some respect for a Republican politician they go and ruin it. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called hearings on Dubya's evil wiretapping of American citizens without a warrant and called Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to come in for a good old fashioned grilling from the committee. "Great", I thought, "there is a Republican in the Senate who wants to make Bushie answer for his illegal actions. There is hope for our Republic."

But then he lets the Gonzales testify without swearing in. What the fu....? What kind of bullshit is this?!?!?! Just in case you didn't know, without taking the oath to tell the truth, well... he doesn't have to. He could sit there and tell the committee that the administration is only tapping calls to known terrorists from Giant Martian Purple People Eaters and they couldn't do anything about it. Sure, they can sit there and say they don't believe him, but big whoop. If we find out later, which I think we will, that our AG was lying to the committee about the nature and the scope of the spying program, there's not a damn thing they can do about it. You can't charge anyone with perjury if their testimony wasn't under oath.

So what we have here is just another Republican, shadow government, back room deal. The decision to swear in a witness is the sole discretion of the chairman of the committee, and that is Specter. This was a total deal with the White House. They agreed to let Gonzales testify as long as he wasn't sworn in, and one would have to be an idiot to think otherwise.

Yesterday's testimony was nothing but political theatre, designed to calm the moron masses' fears about the wiretapping program. There was barely any effort to pretend it was about finding out the truth.

The revolution may not be televised, but the rise of Fascism in America certainly has been.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Book Of Mohammed

So it seems the Muslim world is all worked up over some political cartoons that mocked the Prophet Mohammed. And now there are protests all over the world, some peaceful, some violent. Well, let me speak directly to the Muslim community for a moment if I could.

Dear Muslims,

I have seen on the news that you are upset over a Danish paper running some cartoons that seem to mock the Prophet Mohammed and your religion in general. Well I have just this to say to you: GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELVES AND GROW THE HELL UP!

Seriously, I mean that in the most sincere and loving way. You religious types need to chill when it comes to your beliefs being criticized and made fun of. If you think you can ever do anything to stop it you are deluding yourselves. If the conviction of your beliefs is not strong enough to withstand mockery, well then I guess you just don't believe strong enough, now do you?

For crying out loud, there are Muslims in Gaza storming the local European Union office with AK-47s, gunmen in the West Bank searching through apartment buildings trying to find Europeans to kidnap, and people have stormed and broken in to the Danish embassy in Indonesia. Over some cartoons! People, please.

I'm not just picking on you, Muslims. I say the same thing to every religious person who gets all worked up over stupid shit like this. The stupid right-wing Christians have protested to get a pretty decent TV show cancelled (The Book Of Daniel) because they found the depiction of Jesus to be "offensive." Well, nobody forces you to read or watch something you find offensive. I can't stand that horrible show Touched By An Angel so I never watched it, and it never made me upset with their stupid messages. This is also why I would never watch Three Wishes or anything else that involves Amy Grant. It's not my thing. And really, you guys never get made fun of as much as the things that I believe in do. As a hard-core liberal/progressive, I see political cartoons every day that make fun of me and the things I believe in. Sure, I've been annoyed by some of the shit I've seen. But I just think "what an asshole" and move on to the next thing in the paper. I've never even gotten pissed off enough to even write a letter to the editor, much less kidnap anybody or burn a flag. For the record, I'm all for burning flags of whatever country you are annoyed with, but at least have a better reason for it. Like, for instance, if that country's government is bombing you. That's a pretty good reason. That you don't like one or two of that country's cartoonist might not be the best reason to waste your energy and/or lighter fluid.

Seriously, in my country they don't even just keep it in the op-ed pages to bash on people like me. Open up the regular comic pages and you can see a daily dose of liberal bashing in the comics Mallard Fillmore and Prickly City. Well, comics might be the wrong word since they are never actually funny, they're basically just boring cartoons. Like Ziggy.

And like all crazy religious types, you are wasting a lot of energy protesting shit that doesn't matter when you could be out there protesting things that both matter and you could have an effect on. I rarely see huge gatherings of Muslims protesting the "honor" killings that go on in many of your communities. You know the one's I'm talking about, a woman is suspected of adultery or some other ridiculous thing so she is killed by either her family or the local tribal council. What about protesting things like the gang rape of a woman ordered by a local Islamic tribal council because her brother or father committed a crime? Or women who get stoned to death for not wearing a burka or being caught out in public without a male family member? It's shit like that that makes your religion look bad, not some drawings by a few Danes.

And I'm not just picking on you my dear Muslims. I feel the same way about every religion that has such misdirected energy. Like Catholic leaders who will protest something like a picture of a crucifix in a pool of urine or a movie that they deem "anti-Catholic" like The Magdalene Sisters, when they don't really say anything about their priests raping children. And Mormons will get all pissy about how we make fun of them all the time, but they don't seem to spend any of their energy on stopping any of their renegade members from forcing 13-year-old girls to become some middle-aged dude's 8th wife. And just about every Christian group in this country will get all worked up over some "unfair" depiction of Jesus, whether it is The Book Of Daniel or The Last Temptation Of Christ, but it is OK for them to go around spreading hatred toward gay people, trying to stop them from getting married, adopting children, being teachers, or even having sex with each other in the privacy of their own home.

So Muslims, yours is not the first religion to be insulted, and it won't be the last. All this energy you are wasting trying to protect the image of Islam could be going toward things that really would help the image of your religion. Like trying to stop young Muslims from blowing themselves up to kill others. That would be a good start toward helping your image. I know, I know, it is a small minority of Muslims who do such things. It is also a small minority of Catholic priests who are raping children, but when the rest of them don't speak out against it or turn those scumbags in, they all bear the burden of those sins.

But if you still insist on protesting comics, could I make a suggestion on some better ones to be speaking out against? Here are some that I would speak out against if I were to spend the energy:

The previously mentioned Mallard Fillmore and Prickly City. I'm OK with the stuff I believe in being made fun of, but it should at least be funny. You should protest that both of these "comic" writers be forced to take lessons from P.J. O'Rourke before continuing their work.

Marmaduke. The writer of Marmaduke has absolutely no understanding of the word "comic," and he should be put out of our misery. Preferably by throwing him to a pack of wild dogs. Seriously, have you read Marmaduke? I've had more laughs reading the ingredients of a bag of potato chips.

Pluggers. The celebration of fat, stupid rednecks, which this comic treats as a philosophy of life, must be stopped. Although I must admit, reading this comic will help you understand how Bush became President. It plays well in the sticks.

So there you go Muslims. I hope this has helped you decide on some better ways to spend your time and energy.

Oh, and if I have offended you in any way please feel free to stop by and talk about it. My address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500. Ask for George.