Martin is a good friend I met in 1995 in prison when I signed up for a music theory class he taught.  Martin’s many talents include being a gifted pianist, composer and choral director.  He and I went on to become cellmates for several years and collaborate in writing and producing a half dozen musical theatre works that were well-reviewed and seen by thousands of folks across Ohio and beyond.  He remains behind bars.

Of Pride and Prejudice
by Martin Petersime
[with thanks to Bill Maher]

There I was, standing in line for breakfast — on this day it was French toast, only the guy in front of me insisted on calling it Freedom Toast because he has a thing against the French, but it’s not limited to the French and includes any and everything that he doesn’t consider all-American, so I asked him if he was aware that 85 percent of the French turned out to vote in their most recent national election and he countered that 85 percent of Americans probably voted for American Idol and then asked me why the French never asked their candidates where they stand on evolution, school prayer, abortion, stem cell research, or gay marriage and, in reply, I hypothesized that the French don’t care about the candidates’ private lives and that although Segolene Royal has four kids but never bothered to get married and Sarkosy and his wife (though married) live apart and lead separate lives, the French people are okay with it, perhaps for the same reason they’re okay with nude beaches: because they are not a nation of 6-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts because they have weird ideas about privacy — they think it should be private, at which point Freedom Toast dude reminded me that France has high unemployment and a nasty problem with its immigrant population, not to mention all that lousy accordion music, and I had to agree, but not without mentioning their healthcare system — arguably the best in the world — and the facts that France is not dependent on Mideast oil, it has the lowest poverty rate and the lowest income-inequality rate among industrialized nations, and it is also the greenest, with the lowest carbon dumping and the lowest electricity bill — and the French are not fat — and I was going to intone that where we have bullets, the French have bullet trains, and where they have public intellectuals, we have Dr. Phil, but just then a seat opened, so I ran to grab it before I could even point out that the French also invented sex during the day, the ménage à trois, lingerie, and (for all intents and purposes) the tongue, and that we might just learn something from them.  The French Freedom Toast was cold.

To contact Martin, leave a comment below or send an e-mail to and I will happily forward your remarks to him.