the chief executive officer of the world's largest
religious denomination. Through no fault of my own, a
number of pedophiles have found their way into positions
of responsibility in my organization. This has caused me
considerable embarrassment. What can I do to discourage
If pedophiles are your problem, the
Israelis might have just the solution. They do not let
anyone under the age of 40 into the Friday evening
prayer service at the al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. That
is to keep out suicide bombers rather than pedophiles,
but the same tactic might work. If you keep the kids out
of church, the pedophiles will go away.
Recently I became the proconsul of a Middle
Eastern country after a successful invasion. The
majority group wants immediate elections, but if I let
them take power the country might erupt in civil war.
What should I do?
Hold elections, but use the paper ballots
left over from America's November 2000 presidential
election in Florida. Then you can spend the next several
years counting them.
I am the
religious leader of the majority of citizens of my
country in the Middle East. Recently, a superpower
invaded us and overthrew our government in order to make
us into a democracy. I want to have direct elections so
that our majority can rule. What can I do to persuade
the occupiers to let us have power?
Baffled in Basra
You need a good lawyer with strong contacts
in Washington and experience representing Middle Eastern
countries. Why not hire James Baker?
Recently I invaded a country on the grounds
that it was hiding weapons of mass destruction. To my
consternation, no weapons of mass destruction have been
discovered yet. The neighbors are beginning to talk.
What can I do about this?
Perplexed on the
If it hadn't
been WMD, it would have been something else. Doubtless
the invadee did something else to deserve it. You know
the old adage: "Beat your children every day. If you
don't know what they did wrong, they do."
Until recently I was the front-runner for
my party's nomination as candidate for president in the
world's leading superpower. I used the Internet to raise
funds and recruit supporters, and had a huge following
among young voters. In the last month my campaign has
gotten nowhere. Now people think I am crazy. I am not
crazy and neither am I. What should I do
Sincerely yours and yours,
Perhaps you need to attract an
even younger group of prospective voters. Fantasy
role-playing is what the Internet does best. Instead of
a political campaign, why not market a net-based video
game to teenagers? If and when they grow up they will
vote for you, and in the meantime they can improve their
matter what I do, I can't seem to settle a longstanding
dispute with my neighbors. As a last resort I am
building a wall between their property and ours, except
we can't agree on the boundary and the neighbors are
threatening to take me to court. In the meantime they
try to put pressure on me by blowing up busses and
cafes. What can I do about them?
Jaded in Jerusalem
You sound like you
worry too much. Remember the old joke about Cohen who is
pacing back and forth in his bedroom. His wife says,
"Come to bed and stop pacing!" Cohen replies, "I'm
worried. I owe Levine $10,000. It's due in the morning
and I don't have it." Said his wife, "Levine expects you
to pay him $10,000 in the morning?" Cohen says, "That's
right." "Then come to bed," concludes his wife. "Let
My people and I
are chafing under an oppressive occupation by an
arrogant Zionist entity. We threw out a similar
occupation by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages, and yet
another occupation by the British in the 20th century.
Shouldn't we try to throw out this new
Raging in Ramallah
What do you mean, "We?" Your history is a bit
inaccurate, if I read my Bernard Lewis correctly. It was
the Turks who drove out the Crusaders, the British who
drove out the Turks, and the Zionists who drove out the
British. My advice is to lighten up, enjoy life, and
wait patiently for someone else to come and drive out
I am the
governator of the largest of America's states. Recently
the mayor of one of our cities began performing marriage
ceremonies for gays and lesbians, against state law.
Should I stake a strong stand on this?
I don't understand the problem. Why would
a gay man want to marry a lesbian?
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