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It is with sadness that I report that Sylvia is a total loss. For those of you who don’t know, my car’s name is Sylvia. It was christened with this name by John Conroy, who drove back from Las Vegas with me. He was drunk, I was smoking, and we laughed and laughed about it.
I’ve only had the car 11 months. It already had 55,200 miles on it, which if you do the math, comes out to 1,150 miles a week. I’m tired just looking at that number. One thing I underestimated about being a road comic is how much time you spend with your car. By the time I’d had the car for two months, I had already driven it from western Washington to Florida. And back to Minnesota. If I spent that much time cultivating a relationship, I’d be married to the happiest wife in the world. Instead I opt to spend my time in fabulous locations like the parking lot of the Corn Palace brushing my teeth. What better way to spend Valentine’s Day?
The accident was pretty scary. It blew the air bag right in my face before I could even react. And I’m not used to anything being blown in my face. After checking to make sure all my limbs were on, I called my mom. Sorry to freak you out, mom. I felt terrible for the other guy, but at least no one was hurt. I banged my face up a bit, but it really wasn’t any worse than a rugby match. If you like car accidents, you should go play rugby. You can drink after either one, and you still get to go to the hospital once in a while.
So there you go. My relationships with cars and women are pretty short, and it’s with sadness that I let this one go. I really thought we’d last longer than this, but I’ve let my car/wife down again. At least I’m ok, right?
The gay marriage bill passed in the Washington State senate last week. I was in a gay bar in Seattle waiting for a comedy show to start, and I can’t think of a better place to watch the voting action. The show was delayed as all the televisions were tuned in to the local C-Span channel to listen to last arguments before roll call. As the votes came in, the bar quieted. The results were announced: 28-21 in favor of the bill. Clapping and cheering and hugging went all around the bar. Washington State Gays and Lesbians immediately started planning their weddings. Dog tuxedo outfits were purchased, and deposits put down for honeymoons in cuddle destinations, like Massachusetts. Unfortunately for the gays, cats do not wear tuxedos.
While we cheered, others were fuming. Religious groups across the country denounced the decision, and promised to fight back. The more I read about the senate vote, the more ridiculous opponents seemed to become. I finally had enough when I read about Steven Andrew, the head of USA Christian Ministries, based in California. In his blog about the gay marriage bill, he calls on the Christians of America to boycott Starbucks simply because Starbucks supports gay marriage being legalized. More than anything, I don’t understand why a married guy from California gives two sh*ts about who gets married in Washington State, unless his secret crush is a male barista in Seattle. But since he brought it up, let’s tackle the ignorance spewing from this man’s fingertips.
The number one verse I always hear conservative Christians quote against homos is Leviticus 18:22. Pastor Steve doesn’t let us down, bringing this one right out of the gate. If you’re going to hold me to that verse, I’m going to hold you to every other verse in Leviticus. Do you wear clothes with two different fabrics sewn together? (Lev 19:19) What a sinner you are. Pastor Steven clearly shaves in his picture, yet Lev 19:27 commands the men (and maybe women?) not to cut the edges of their beards. Also, no “deformed” people are allowed to enter God’s sanctuary, thanks to Lev 21:16-23. This includes the blind, the lame, disfigured or deformed people, hunchbacks, dwarfs, people with eye infections, crippled hands or feet, festering sores, or damaged testicles. Of course, slaves are fine. You can buy slaves as long as they come from neighboring countries (Lev 25:44). I hope this includes Canada. They would make the nicest slaves ever.
Among the most ridiculous things written in his blog are the “facts” about homosexuals. The first of two claims in his blog are that one in five homos has HIV or AIDS. Let’s do the math, shall we? The US Census Bureau doesn’t track sexual orientation according to their website, but it does give a total population for the US as of 2010, which is a lovely 308.7 million people. According to voting exit polls for the last 3 elections, self identified homosexuals ranged between 4 and 5 percent. Pastor Steven cites studies that claim as low as 1.8%. Let’s use Pastor Steven’s numbers, just for fun.
308,700,000 people x .018 (1.8%) homos = 5,556,600 homos
One in Five = 20%
5,556,600 homos x .2 (20%) have HIV/AIDS = 1,111,320 HIV infested homos
Sounds terrible. It might be worth it to know that as of 2008, there were an estimated 682,668 cases of HIV here in America. That includes everyone, gays and straights. Since 66% of women contracted HIV through heterosexual sex, it sounds like Pastor Steven is a big fat exaggerator. In fact, 1.14 million people have been diagnosed with AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, so it seems highly unlikely that his numbers hold any water at all.
His other “fact” about gays is that the average life span of a homosexual is 42 years old. Where is he getting these facts? Enter the Family Research Institute. With lovely articles such as “Child Molestation and Homosexuality”, “Does Homosexual Activity Shorten Life?” and “Homosexuals Disruptive From the Get-Go”, this is an organization where the father and son team are clearly obsessed with making homosexuals seem as threatening as possible. Because the idea that homosexuals die at the age of 42 from being homosexual sounds so ridiculous, I decided to do 5 minutes of research to see if anyone had anything else to say on this subject. Turns out Dr. Paul Cameron is not well regarded in the Psychological community. He’s been kicked out of at least 4 major associations for ethical reasons, and his work is discredited by, well, everyone. Everyone except right wing religious groups looking to prove how awful homos are. His “study” that proves homos die at 42? He reviewed obituaries from 18 gay journals and 2 mainstream newspapers. Yeah, that’s it. I would do a critique, but I have to walk the dogs soon and someone has already done it. The only real conclusion I can draw from reading about this guy is that he is really, really gay.
So far we have out of context bible verses and discredited studies. What else gets the religious right into a foaming lather? Ah, the Founding Fathers.
Pastor Steven writes, “Homosexual ‘laws’ remove Americans’ Christian freedom. “Why is Starbucks against our Founding Fathers and God’s liberty?” he asks. George Washington, John Adams and John Jay made the Christian laws that Starbucks wants to make non-Christian.”
We ought to take a moment and think about this. If the Founding Fathers wanted to make a Christian nation, why did they go through all that hoopla about separating church and state? From the first Article of the Bill of Rights, it sounds a lot like they didn’t want any specific religion to be a part of the newly founded country. In fact, you can find just as many (or more, I didn’t count) quotes of the Founding Fathers being against Christianity. Whenever Christians quote the Founding Fathers, I chuckle deep inside at the irony. You see, they separated church and state to protect the rest of us from the likes of you. You’ve had your chance throughout history to rule, and your track record is dismal. I sincerely doubt that legalizing gay marriage will lead to the kind of destruction that Christians have repeated time after time.
Maybe Christians don’t realize that homos are going to be homos whether they like it or not. And when they fight against basic rights for Americans, they come across as hate mongering jerkwads. You don’t have to believe in what I believe in. Just show some love and tolerance similar to what Jesus showed in the bible. Don’t you think God cares more about how people treat each other than the gay marriage bill? Maybe Christians need a reminder:
Romans 13:10 “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Matthew 5:43-47 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
As a response to the Starbucks boycott, I encourage you to go there and discuss these issues over a nice cup of coffee. What would Jesus do? We have no idea, since coffee isn’t talked about in the bible, and neither is the gay marriage bill.
Let me start off by saying I’m really sorry about my 20’s. Like most kids squashed in the middle of a large family, I wanted to get as far away from all of you as possible. You all seem very understanding of it now, but I must have been a real pain in the ass sometimes. I’m sure my peace-loving hippie parents were probably scratching their heads at my choices. (You see, I left home, joined A Very Religious Organization and started Air Force ROTC). You guys must have enjoyed the sweet irony of me telling you that you were bound for hell when I was the one getting trained by the government to launch nuclear weapons. I mean, could anything else be more un-Christian than launching a nuclear weapon? Yet you were still supportive.
I admit, I thought family was lame. I wasn’t going to stay and be like those people. I was going to go out and do great things. Well, I went. I went to college. I became a military officer. I’ve traveled to 19 countries, and most of America. I’ve met people from numerous walks of life, with every kind of belief you can imagine. It turns most people suck. When you’re sitting on the side of the road at 5:50 am in North Dakota and you’re crying because you were 12 very tiny inches from hitting a Giant Buck in a ’92 Honda Civic, you really just want to call your Momma. Which I did. Her response? “Why are you calling me? I can’t do anything from here.” Thanks for keeping it in perspective, Mom. Last month I called my mom again, and this time it admit I was in over my head. My car was breaking apart faster than I could keep it together, and to keep doing comedy I needed a car. And I needed help. I flew out there, and she put down a thousand dollars to buy me a new car with the Premium Maintenance Package so I could keep driving to gigs. My Dad stepped up and helped. My cousin Jenny lent me her car for the first gig, which was 650 miles round trip. Turns out family isn’t so lame after all. After all the traveling, searching, experiencing…my family is some of the most awesome people I have ever met. They are always working hard to be better people, warm and giving with great senses of humor. My biggest gift from my family is my ability to laugh at pretty much everything.
So if you’re the parent of a teenager, just hang on. Let them go out and fall on their faces a bit. When they reach the end of their rope, they’ll call. And they’ll start to appreciate just how wonderful you are, and how hard life is. It’s really amazing how smart my parents got in the last 15 years. So thank you. Mom, Dad, all my awesome sisters, my fun and generous brother, numerous cousins, aunts and uncles. Someday, I hope to repay you all in more than a thank you blog.
Until then, I hope you feel buttered up, cause I’m going to start writing about all of you. Hey, at least we can laugh together, right?