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Tom learns lessons about men, gay mayors and stupid homeowners

Y'know, you learn new stuff every day. For example, recently, I've learned that:

• Guys are pigs. I was reading an article in Time magazine about this new, fake-ass societal subclass, people who refer to themselves as Committed Unmarrieds (CU). They're not the stereotypical commitment-phobes, but people who claim to have evolved past the stifling convention of marriage.

Some CU people note that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, but they conveniently fail to mention that CU couples split up at twice the rate of married couples, and they usually do so in the first five years of CU-dom.

I don't really care that much. If a guy doesn't want to marry his woman, and she still lets him see her naked and everything, I guess, good for him. What kills me is that instead of sitting back and fighting to hold back that canary-eating grin, guys open their mouths and say really stupid things.

This one guy said that he'd like to marry his woman, but he refuses to even consider it as long as Proposition 8 is in effect in California. Apparently, Brad Pitt is his patron saint.

I'm reminded of the anti-war jerk in Forrest Gump who slaps around Jenny and then blames his abuse of women on Richard Nixon.

C'mon, guys; sack up. You don't want to get married? Don't get married. And don't bother trying to explain your decision; it's really not that important. Although it would probably make for a pretty good reality show 10 or 15 years down the road when you try to explain that decision to your kids.

Sometimes, the grass is greener. J.W. Lown, the mayor of San Angelo, Texas, resigned his office the other day, because his male partner lives in Mexico, and the mayor didn't want to break any laws by bringing his partner to San Angelo without proper documentation.

Lown was recently elected to his fourth consecutive two-year term, receiving 89 percent of the vote in the process. He was supposed to be sworn in last Tuesday, but called from Mexico to say that he wouldn't be there. He said that if his partner can get a visa, they'll return to San Angelo "if the people would welcome him back."

Oh yeah, the mayor's job has an annual salary of $600.

Raise your hand if you would trade Tucson's political problems for San Angelo's.

• Star Trek has been, and always will be, better than Star Wars. I was a nerd/geek/comic-book guy long before they had derogatory names for it, and I've always taken the Gene Roddenberry side of the argument over George Lucas (although I'm also a big fan of Lucas, all the way back to his experimental film THX-1138. Did you ever notice that the license plate number of John Milner's yellow hot rod in American Graffiti was THX-138?).

The new Star Trek movie certainly piles up the points for my side. It's cleverly advertised with the line, "This is not your father's Star Trek." I went to see it with my son, who has spent most of his life ridiculing my love of the series. I've paid him back over the years by using the split-finger Spock move to say goodbye to him on the way to school—in front of as many of his friends as possible. One kid told him, "My dad drinks, but your dad is way worse."

Anyway, the new movie is quite good. I would like to say that it's better than the three most-recent Star Wars things, but I can't honestly say that. I'm one of those people who saw the first three Star Wars movies (Episodes 4, 5, and 6), waited 20 years for another, and then ran screaming from the theater after sitting through The Phantom Menace. I've never even bothered to see Episodes 2 and 3.

Smart people can be really dumb sometimes. I have a friend who is a doctor. He moved to another city about four years ago and bought an overly large and overpriced house. Now, on paper, it's worth less than what he paid for it. He's freaking out, talking about declaring bankruptcy, and in one phone conversation used the term "upside down" more times than a hooker would in a month.

I tried to explain to him that the only way he would lose money is if he were to sell it right now, or abandon it altogether. As long as he's living in the house, it doesn't really matter what the market says it's worth. And does he really think that the real estate market is going to remain depressed forever (or even for another year, for that matter)?

For most of my adult life, my pattern has been to buy a new car, drive it for seven years or so until something goes wrong, and then go buy another one. As soon as I drive the thing off the lot, I'm "upside down" financially. But there comes a point where I pull even, and then I move ahead. I have a car to drive, and there's a few thousand dollars left at the end to put toward a new car. Not once did I freak out about being upside down.

I can't believe they give a Nobel Prize in economics.

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