You keep hearing about these Ten Commandments on television, all the religious fundamentalist types saying, "Let's put them up in the courthouse, let's hang them up in the schools, etc., etc." They seem pretty determined to make the Ten Commandments the law of the land, so I figured, as a responsible citizen, I should bone up on them.

I cracked the wife's Bible the other night and let me tell you, after all the hoopla about these 10 magical rules, I expected a lot better.

Take the first commandment, for example. It says you shouldn't believe in any gods besides God. No gods besides the one, eh? Okay, I can agree with that. Frankly, I got no idea how foreigners keep track of all their different gods. But as an opener? As number one on a list of 10? Seems pretty weak to me. You want to lead off with a batter who can hit.

Then it goes on more about God. "Don't believe in any other gods," it says. "Don't worship graven images of God, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them."

One tip I would give this writer is to lay off the God stuff. Or at least dial it back a little bit. And you're not impressing anybody with the Dr. Seuss language.

After all that jazz about God, the author just keeps on going: "Don't take the Lord's name in vain" is the next one. What is it with this guy and God? I'm beginning to think he's one of these church types. Where's the stuff we can use? Where's "No pushing"? Or "Bag your leaves so they don't blow around in your neighbor's yard?" And don't even get me started on right-of-way. Didn't they have real problems back in Bible days?

Note to the joker who wrote these commandments: For inspiration on some good, down-to-earth laws, take a look at John Ritter's 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter. Good stuff.

Next, he gets to the rule that you're supposed to honor your father and mother. Finally, we're getting somewhere. But just when you think we're about to get to the "how," he's on to number five, just like that. I guess this guy never had any kids. I tell my sons to honor me every day, but just you try and get them to obey! It makes me wonder if this so-called lawmaker gave any thought to enforcement. That's part and parcel, my friend. You're going to have to get police in every child's bedroom all across the country, and we just don't have the manpower for that. You mean well, but this law is strictly pie-in-the-sky.

My advice: Think up some more, and maybe cut this one.

The next one is "Thou shalt not kill." I'm sorry, but that just sounds like bleeding-heart bullcrud. We have a death penalty in this country, and it works. And how will you fight a war if you don't kill some people? I suppose the writer of these laws is one of these dreamers who thinks the world would be better if people picked posies and held hands all day. Enjoy your flower music, Sunshine, and call me back when you grow up and start paying your own bills.

It gets back to earth with "Don't commit adultery" and "Don't steal," but then it's back to the old rubber room with "Don't covet thy neighbor's oxen" and "Don't bear false witness." Whatever you say, Matlock.

I applaud the idea of 10 simple laws of the land, but I don't think these are the ones to go with. Somebody needs to do another draft of these things. Cut the fat, and put in a few real solid ones. Like what about keeping telemarketers from calling? Or some clear guidelines on tipping. Can we at least have one in there about drinking and driving? Maybe get some feedback from the taxpayers.

Altogether, I believe these commandments are pretty thin on law and order and the needs of the common citizen, and a little thick on the religious mumbo jumbo. But as I said before, the fundamentalists are running the show now, so they must know what they're talking about.