Warning: Contains no financial content.


I have been thinking about animals and language. What do you call a cat that writes poetry? Purr-verse. We all know about a pod of whales and a pride of lions, but what do you call a flock of terns (those beach birds that dive bomb when you get too close to their nests)? I have decided they should be a phrase of terns. Or, for those who prefer, a signal of terns. I have more thoughts along these lions (a cacophony of coyotes?), but I will spare you.

I was also thinking how tough it must be to grow up with a funny name, as so many do. Remember that Johnny Cash song about ‘A Boy Named Sue’?

Imagine the teasing all those people named Richard Head must have endured. I don’t know any of them, but you can readily find a batch in the cyber-phonebook, from Alabama to Alaska. Is it hard to guess what they were called in high school, and how this must have made them feel?

Most such people cope. Some may even be made stronger – look at John Wayne, born Marion Morrison. But others?


‘ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – A man who told police he was angry over being teased about his last name – Gay – pleaded guilty to murder and other charges Thursday for killing one person and wounding six others in a shooting rampage at a gay bar. Ronald Edward Gay, 55, faces a maximum of four life terms plus 60 years in prison for the Sept. 22 shooting. Gay told police he was upset that his last name made him the victim of jokes. He also said that he was humiliated that three of his sons changed their last names. . . . Gay called himself a ‘Christian soldier working for my Lord’ and condemned homosexuals in a letter mailed to the Roanoke Times in March. ‘Jesus does not want these people in his heaven,’ Gay wrote.’

Billionaire televangelist Pat Robertson and his colleagues need to understand how much hate and unhappiness they bring into the world – inadvertently, no doubt, but still. Mr. Gay surely did not come to his views from reading Jesus’ own words.

Organized religion can be a very scary thing. All the wars fought in the name of God? The Taliban? I understand that the Pope has recently apologized for the Fourth Crusade; but that apology was 800 years coming. (And, as comedienne Kate Clinton recently asked, what about the First, Second, Third and Fifth Crusades?)

Logic is no match for faith, so here’s what I have long proposed: Let us stipulate that for two people of the same sex to ‘lie down together’ is unnatural. That it is perhaps even an abomination before God – if they’re straight. OK? Let’s agree! STRAIGHT PEOPLE SHOULDN’T DO THAT! But let’s also agree that for two of God’s millions of gay and lesbian children, it’s the most natural thing in the world. Indeed, what is unnatural is to try to force them to live loveless lives of loneliness and dishonesty.

Wouldn’t this compromise work? It’s a sin for straight people to have gay sex. End of story. No need to feel bad or kill anyone for Jesus.


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