The Top Fourteen Passover Pickup Lines
1. Let's make this night really different from all others nights
2. What will you do to me for two zuzim?
3. What's a girl like you doing at a seder like this?
4. I like my matzah thin, like my women.
5. Maybe when Elijah comes, we can make it a threesome
6. I hear that horseradish is an aphrodisiac
7. Nice Hagadah
8. After four cups of wine, you look like Cindy Crawford
9. I bet I could make you sing Dayenu!
10. Did that just say we were in bondage?
11. I could never Pass you Over...
12. I'm going to have to search you for chometz
13. Gefilte fish jelly makes for great lubrication
14. Did someone say Staff?
Why Can't I Be A Jew Like Chuck Heston?
Khunrum writes: I hope you are watching Cecil B DeMille's Ten Commandments on tube now....That Chuck Heston has the right Mojo. What a Jew. Unlike our boy Luke who is a mass of religious contradictions, Chuck (Moses) refuses to be swayed by a pretty face and nice pair of tits. He prefers to marry the rather plain shepherd girl Ann Baxter than diddle the hotter Yvonne DiCarlo..."There are no strangers among those who ask God's mercy." I believe Charlton has the real Republican spirit. If he doesn't free the Jews in the next half hour I believe he will ask the Pharaoh for tax breaks.
Meeting Michael Tolkin
On 4/20/03, I walked up Hilgard Avenue in Westwood with trepidation. Why must I always be on time if not early? Sunday's Yom Limud (day of Torah study) starts at 11:30AM. Even though I parked two miles away to save on the $7 parking fee, I walk in the door at 11:30AM sharp. I'm the first one to arrive for the event at the beautiful new Hillel building at 574 Hilgard.
I feel trepidation because I dread being the oldest one here. The event is pitched for people 20-30 years old. I'm a tad older. But not to worry. The event overflows with oldies, some in their 70s if not older.
I paid $7 in advance for the day, which begins with a kosher for Passover lunch. I sit next to several brunettes, young nubile coeds, one fresh off the boat from Iran (well, two years ago). I love the dark Persian look.
Everybody gets a free book - David Wolpe's 1995 Why Be Jewish. He gives the keynote lecture and is spellbindingly eloquent and hilarious.
For the second session, I head downstairs to the cafeteria where Rabbi Wolpe answers questions for 90-minutes. He says he doesn't much believe in hell and a punishing God.
I ask Rabbi Wolpe: "I've heard that Bnai Brak, an ultra-orthodox community outside Tel Aviv, is the largest city in the world without a police force. Do you think Conservative or Reform Jews could operate a similarly-sized community without a police force and what are the implications?"
Rabbi Wolpe talked about sociology and exclusivity. I say, and Rabbi Wolpe mentioned this too, that the charedim (fervently Orthodox) fear God more than us regular Jews, and hence behave more morally.
Cantor Steve Puzarne ran the second session I attended. He's a livewire. He operates Breeyah, which creates "exciting and dynamic musical worship services" according to the program. Unfortunately, we didn't get much music out of him. Instead we had a lively discussion on intermarriage.
Cantor Puzarne lives in my neighborhood with a female Lutheran pastor. Cantor Puzarne generally won't perform intermarriages yet he's considering one, after two marriages with Jews ended in divorce.
I got on my Orthodox high horse and sound pious and talk about the immutability of God's Law. Shame I'm a lunatic or I might've had more credibility.
So, it's 4:05PM and I see the tall rumpled figure of author Michael Tolkin walk in. I've flayed this man regularly on my website. I fear approaching him. So I let ten minutes go by when I could've spoken with a famous and successful novelist and screenwriter. Eventually I walk in and strike up a conversation with him. He's evidently never heard of "Luke Ford." Lucky for me.
We talk about the pain of bad reviews. He says he told his friends and family not to tell him about the reviews for the movie Deep Impact, which he wrote. Michael says his latest novel has gotten flayed on Amazon.com. He sarcastically says that we should start rating people on the internet.
Tolkin looks just what you'd imagine for a screenwriter and novelist. Tousled, rumpled, tall, a tad awkward, awfully smart looking, with a small head, wrinkles, pinched skin from wearing glasses which he puts on and off.
Tolkin speaks on the final panel with advertising whiz and super-Jew David Suissa, moderated by UCLA Hillel rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller. Incidentally, the program lists Rabbi Uri Goldstein and Julie Yanofsky-Goldstein, husband and wife, as "helping to develop more opportunities for orthodox students on campus."
I've heard many Orthodox Jews complain that Rabbi Seidler-Feller has not done that. Rabbi S-F studied under the great Rav Soleiveitchik at Yeshiva University but has moved so far left that he's probably no longer Orthodox though he may be orthoprax.
Rabbi S-F poked his head in a door and saw me. "You've been to every one of these?"
Luke: "Yes." I've been to all four of them.
Suissa looks sleek and cool, as an advertising exec should.
Tolkin speaks after Suissa. He hasn't prepared his remarks and speaks off the cuff: "My grandparents [came from Europe]. My great grandfather made uniforms for the army. My grandparents moved to Montreal. My parents asked themselves why be Jewish. While they never gave it up, [they didn't observe Jewish Law]. They would walk past shuls on the way to lunch on Yom Kippur. My mother never sat down to a seder until I was about seven or eight years old.
"I grew up with the Maxwell House Haggadah. It wasn't until I was in my mid-forties that I got through the whole thing."
Tolkin says he started studying Judaism ten years ago. He wants Jewish students to master Jewish texts and use that power of analysis on the Greco-Roman academy aka the modern university. "One thing that is missing from the modern intellectual world is a marriage between secular learning and Judaism.
"I've become a more critical thinker, a better thinker, since I started studying Judaism. There are few critics in the true sense where Judaism is a deep part of their reference system."
Tolkin told of buying long candlesticks just before his Passover seder. The owner of the store, which was filled with incense and Buddhas and Hindu idols, was a married Sephardic mother who planned to have a CD player at the center of her seder table to play the various sections of the seder and her and her husband would chant along. Tolkin said he was a Reform Jew and she denounced Reform Judaism as inauthentic, which he found amusing.
"What she was giving was too charming to argue over. I just wanted to keep getting more. She managed to live phenomenally rich contradictions."
Question from a UCLA professor of medicine: "Do you believe in God and what's your concept of God?"
Tolkin won't talk about God in public. "When you see the world right now... When you see all the religious contention there is... I want to say absolutely nothing at all, to make absolutely no reference to God. Even though I believe the Torah is historically written, I believe it is divine and it has to be read as a unity. It can only be read as though it is divine. Particularly right now when we are in the middle of a religious war [is he referring to Iraq?], I think any discussion of God...is [wrong]."
David Suissa, publisher of Olam magazine: "The comment we get more than anything is: How on earth did you get all these people in the one magazine? How can you get a radical leftist like Michael Lerner and a radical right-winger like Yitzhak Ginzberg? And the reason is - you don't tell them they are going to be in the same magazine."
I ask Tolkin: "What are your reflections on your debate with Dennis Prager in the Jewish Journal about Jews in Hollywood and what many see as their lack of support for the state of Israel?"
Michael: "Does everybody know what he's talking about?"
Tolkin gave the backstory. That he told the LA Times that Hollywood is liberal and sides with the underdog, and Palestinians are seen as the underdog, hence Jews in Hollywood are loathe to speak out in support of Israel. Then Prager jumped on him.
Rachel Abramowitz in the 9/25/02 Los Angeles Times: "Liberals are on the side of the underdog," says writer-director Michael Tolkin, author of "The Player" and "Changing Lanes." "The people who've had their cities turned into rubble look like the underdog. There's embarrassment about being a Jew and a feeling of alienation from the Jewish community, a fear that it's been taken over by the right wing."
Dennis Prager writes in the 10/11/02 Jewish Journal:
Tolkin then delivers an angry personal attack in response.
Michael Tolkin says 4/20/03: "I wrote a vitriolic polemic [against Prager 10/11/02] and made one huge ugly error [that Prager wouldn't send his kids to Israel when he did send his son David]... Other than that, everything else I stood by. What bothered me was that after I wrote that, and went to shul, I can't tell you how many rabbis and scholars and community leaders came up to me and thanked me for it. Because I don't care, because I'm not in the Jewish community except voluntarily... I have no community and institutional position... I was able to say something that a lot of people were afraid to say, which was to take on a bully."
Tolkin got his Bar Mitzvah from Temple Emmanuel in Beverly Hills from a charismatic rabbi who Michael's father hated. Why? Because the rabbi would quote the Playboy philosophy approvingly from the pulpit. The rabbi also lived it out in real life and got caught in an ever-worsening series of scandals. Still, Tolkin says he was a charismatic, gifted rabbi who gave him some great teachings and spurred his love of Judaism. Just because someone falls and sins spectacularly doesn't discredit their teachings and good works, says Tolkin.
Sellers' Casting Caned
From Australia's Daily Telegraph:
US SYNDICATED film columnist Jeffrey Wells has slammed the decision to cast Geoffrey "Phone it In" Rush as Peter Sellers in an upcoming television special based on the tortured life of the late British comic.
Wells, never one to hold back on exactly what he thinks, says putting Rush in the lead role of Stephen Hopkins' The Life and Death of Peter Sellers is "a dreadful idea."
"[Rush] may be able to mimic the genius comic actor in many respects, but he doesn't begin to resemble Sellers and, at 52, is obviously too old to play him during his 1960s heyday, when Sellers was in his late 30s and early 40s," the columnist says.
Good points, but Wells leaves himself a bit open by laying it on a bit thick over Stanley Tucci, who has been cast to play director Stanley Kubrick. "It is a terrific idea – Tucci will kill in this role," said Wells, who also suggests Tucci would have been better suited to play Sellers.
"Tucci would be a much better choice – he's a great actor, great with accents, close to the right age, and could be made up to resemble Sellers."
Cathy Seipp writes on her blog: Luke Ford has gotten busy again, after a brief recycling hiatus. His cell phone conversation with gangster Rob Spallone -- he's always having these cell phone conversations -- makes me think that Luke would be a perfect sidekick to Catherine Zeta-Jones and those T-Mobile commercials:
"This is Luke, and he's bored. Let's change that!"
Spallone: I'm going on a little vacation, pal.
Etc. Then for the camera phones, we could see a picture of Luke careening around town in his yarmulke and serial killer van. Sometimes reading these Pinteresque exchanges on Lukeford.net is like popping a head-cleaning tape into the VCR. Afterwards your brain feels blank...but kind of relaxed. And sometimes it's just appalling (but, let's admit it, weirdly fascinating). Memo to Rick Barrs and Marnye Oppenheim of New Times: Rick, even in emails -- especially to Luke Ford, because you know he's going to publish them -- use punctuation. Marnye, calm down.
Shalhevet Drug Scandal
Ten high school students ended up getting probation for the marijuana-laced brownies incident of a few weeks back. No student was suspended. So much for the "zero tolerance" policy of LA's most liberal Orthodox day school.
What are the odds of this happening at Bais Yaakov and Yeshiva Gedola (two right-wing Orthodox day schools)?
I find the most impressive religious people on the right-wing of Orthodox Judaism while the people I feel most comfortable and open with are on the left-wing of Orthodox Judaism.
You'll Know You're Accepted When...
I met an old friend from a former shul of mine Saturday afternoon. He asked me how I was doing with my new shul. I said it was great. He said, "You'll know they accept you when they set you up with a shidduch (date - bride)..."
Luke's Guest Editor Speaks Out
Guest Editor Curious writes: Gentle Readers, I have just arrived back home to fair Modesto from my extended stay in Southern California. I spent a lot of time with my family and old friends, but most importantly, I completed my stint as Luke Ford's "shabbas goy" (a non-Jew who works for a Jew on Jewish holy days). I am now able to share with you some personal insights that I gained while working next to the enigma called Luke Ford.
My internship at lukeford.net began late Wednesday night when I arrived at Luke's "slums of Beverly Hills" apartment. Really, to call it an "apartment" is a gross exaggeration. It is more like a casket with a shower attached. Clearly there was not enough room for me to stay in his disheveled den so he put me up in his "guest house" while he went off to his first Passover seder.
His "guest house" was his surplus Pacific Gas and Electric work van. It was very difficult for me to sleep in the van, not because it wasn't roomy, it was, but because of the frequent bumps and rattles created by the Mexicans trying to break into the van. No doubt they were expecting to liberate it of leaf blowers and other gardening equipment.
Thursday morning finally came and Luke greeted me with a breakfast fit for a vegetarian inmate, an old HTML instruction book and my "To Do List." The day went as follows:
8:00 am Arise from the gardener van.
8:15 am Breakfast: lemon protein bar and soymilk.
8:30 am Go to Jamba Juice to get Luke a large strawberry smoothie.
9:15 am Tell summons server that a "Luke Ford" no longer lives here.
9:30 am Tell collections agent that a "Luke Ford" no longer lives here.
10:00 am Tell Anita Busch that a "Luke Ford" no longer lives here.
10:15 am Tell Dr. and Mrs. Ford that their son, a "Luke Ford," no longer lives here.
10:30 am Drop Luke off at the Museum of Tolerance so he can "pick up vulnerable Jewish chicks."
11:45 am Lunch: lemon protein bar and soymilk.
12:20 pm Receive call from Museum of Tolerance to pick up Luke Ford. Luke ejected for necking with a 16 year old girl by the "Krystalnacht" display.
1:00 pm An irritated Luke FINALLY shows me how the Hollywood internet journalism game is really played. Go to LaExaminer.com. Copy. Paste. Repeat. This is easy! Thank you!
1:30 pm Go to lukeford.net's email. "Which letters should I post?" I ask. "All of 'em. They're all written by Chaim!" he snaps.
2:00 pm Midafternoon snack: half a lemon protein bar and soymilk.
2:15 pm Watch Luke's movie "What Women Want" four times! He fast forwards over the sensual scenes and focuses only on his on camera "comedy" segments.
3:15 pm Fetch Luke's mail from PO box. Sort per Luke's instructions: If the envelope says: "FINAL NOTICE". Shred. If the return address says: "From the Law Offices of …" Shred. All packages. Submerge in bucket of water until the ticking stops.
4:00 pm Check TheHotButton.com for late updates and cut / paste accordingly.
4:30 pm Luke checks www.amazon.com to see if his book, "Your Moral Leader," has cracked their top ten yet.
5:00 pm Go to east Los Angeles to Javier's house to score Luke's Mexican Black Tar Heroin for tomorrow. He says it "Takes the edge off."
6:00 pm Dinner: CHOCOLATE protein bar and RICE milk!!!!
7:00 pm Relax by viewing selections from Luke's extensive library of Talmudic videos.
8:00 pm Begin Talmudic studies.
8:05 pm End Talmudic studies.
8:30 pm Escort Luke to the "Spearmint Rhino" for meeting with his theological study group.
12:05 am I retrieve an exhausted Luke from the "Spearmint Rhino."
It is now Sunday. Passover has passed and I am now relieved of my duties as a "shabbas goy."
There you have it lukeford.net readers. A glimpse into the glamorous life of an internet Hollywood journalist.
Luke Ford Synagogue Book Club
Rashi writes: I suggest you start your own book club for jews who want the communal experience of going to shul without the extreme boredom. Would they be pissed at you if you brought along a DVD player and headphones? Or maybe a gameboy?
Bite Me writes; I respond
Marnyeoppenheim@aol.com (columnist for New Times Phoenix) wrote to The Raven (who was trying to defend her against poster Alex Proctor), on LaExaminer.com: "another anonymous cowardly fuck, i see. why don't u put ur real name on what u write. at least we do that."
The Raven writes: Dear Marnye: A super-irony is: I enjoyed Bite Me [a column in the now defunct New Times Los Angeles free weekly]. You turned a good phrase and told a good joke. I like and respect the work of Mr. Barrs. I have nothing against either of you. I was so entertained by your letters to Mr. Ford, I thought everyone should get the same chance to enjoy them that I did. Perhaps you thought "delirious tirade" was insulting. But one of the most important novelists of the last century was Celine. Every one of his books was an extended delirious tirade. Take it as a compliment, if you like. But I stand by my description of what you wrote to Mr. Ford. It was a delirious tirade, but it was wildly entertaining and I thought many people would like it as much as I did. Really, I thought I was giving "Alex Proctor" a chance to know you better. Really. I swear.
I used to post on LA Examiner with my real name, but then I grew alarmed by the hatred and contempt of journalists expressed so often on the site. And you may have noted that some who post seem mentally unstable, and some of them seem very angry. I decided that one of them might use my name one day to make libelous comments. Why risk this headache by posting comments in defense of journalists -- such as you and Mr. Barrs -- on a site where they are hated, if I can post anonymously, as many people do, make my point, and not have to worry about an insane angry person misappropriating my name and damaging my reputation?
And Marnye, even if I used my real name, what would it mean to you? You asked: Alex Proctor? Who are you?
Alex Proctor is the suspect in the threats against Anita Busch. I believe it is unlikely that it is the same Alex Proctor -- and given that this "Alex Proctor" also discussed Mr. Barrs coverage of the Anita Busch story in the same string of comments on LA Examiner before insulting you, I'm suspecting it's one of the journalists involved in the Proctor/Busch story. And not the real Alex Proctor. This, in fact, Marnye, confirms my suspicion that an LA Examiner reader might misappropriate my name if it suits him or her.
And if I had used my real name, you could still ask: Joe Shmoe, who are you? (Kind of like Chevy Chase: "I'm Marnye Oppenheim and you're not.")
If you had an issue with my use of "delirious tirade," you could have begged to differ, politely. But instead you chose to use insults and profanity. What are you saying about yourself? You might try this: Close your eyes and picture the darkness and hate within yourself as a mass. Picture it shrinking into a lump. Picture it leaving your body and floating away.
There. Doesn't that feel better? You may not believe this, but I swear I mean it: Fondest regards. I really did enjoy your work. Keep on doing what you do. I love you for it. I swear. Even for calling me a cowardly fuck. I love you for it, I swear, I swear.
"Why does Marnye Oppenheim always refer to Rick Barrs as some sort of genius; i.e., "brilliant" and "unique"? Is she related to Mr. Barrs? Does she work as his assistant? Is she related and his assistant? Or does she just like to crawl on her knees when anyone mentions his name?" Posted by: alex Proctor on April 8, 2003 05:52 PM
"alex proctor? who are you?" Posted by: Marnye Oppenheim on April 8, 2003 09:00 PM
"Ms. Oppenheim writes a column called "Bite Me." She was in L.A., and is now in Arizona with Mr. Barrs. As I've mentioned before: For a really, really good time you should check out Luke Ford's site for delirious tirades from Barrs and Oppenheim in response to Mr. Ford's claim that all was not well in Arizona." Posted by: The Raven on April 9, 2003 06:32 PM
(See Marnye, there's really nothing nasty in there ... see?)
Alex Proctor writes 4/4/03 to LaExaminer.com: "Ed Rampell trying to get some cred on the back of Rick Barrs is a joke. Barrs had a lot of "stringers," "researchers," et all chasing news for him. Some of them were good, a lot were clueless. (remember when Barrs TWICE missed the facts on the Anita Busch-fish story? The "reporter" who gave Barrs the bad info didn't have the brains to call anyone beside the dolts who doubted Busch's true claims, and Barrs was too cranked up on whatever to insist for some real journalistic fact-checking.) Barrs WAS the Finger, for better or worse. It's pretty sad when the only train Rampell can hitch himself too was a gossip columnist for a defunct alternative weekly."
Marnye Oppenheim writes to LaExaminer.com: "A loud RIGHT ON to Dan Reines for his comment about being credited when he wrote the Finger. I wrote four or five of them fingers too and was always credited "as told to Marnye Oppenheim." Few people were capable of doing the column in Rick's brilliant and unique style. Dan, myself, Tony Ortega and Glenn Gaslin are the only four I can recall. All were credited because they wrote the column. Rick rewrote the "finger tippers" because it was necessary. I do recall an uncharacteristic outburst from Rick when Ed Rampell turned in some sludge reporting that was worthless, forcing Rick to gather the info himself at the last minute. I watched him work on the column for two plus days a week for years, working in the cubicle near his office. I never saw Ed Rampell once in the entire time I worked at New Times. Enough said."
Luke wrote 3/11/03: I heard the other day that former Los Angeles New Times editor Rick Barrs had an insurrection on his hands in Phoenix, where Barrs moved as editor after Michael Lacey shut down the LANT. The Phoenix staff, I heard, didn't like Barrs preoccupation with raunch, dirty talk and obscenities and they avoid him at public events. Rick has never had this happen to him before. He's always been liked by his reporters. He doesn't know what to do. He can't cure his dirty mind.
Rick Barrs replies: "come on luke, where do u get ur so-called information? inssurrection? well, that would be interesting. brang it! would i care if it were true? no. but it's simply not accurate. and over salacious material (there's always been a smattering of that in every new times paper. remember, we did a story on ur porn-purveying limey ass once upon a time. there goes *my* foul mouth again.). duh, couldn't u at least take a look at the phoenix new times web site to see if i've been a nasty boy in print? (fact is, i'm kicking myself for being so god-damn nice here -- so far.) oh, maybe ur referring to the story a staff writer did on phoenix's lesbian burlesque troupe, which wouldn't have raised an eyebrow in l.a. even here in the desert, nobody made a peep about it, except a couple of homophobic businesses in town that wanted our news racks removed. thing is, every new times staffer worth her or his paycheck swells with pride whenever we piss off tight-ass idiots (pun intended). around here, only a fool would go to the wall over such. see, whether we shock the public with investigative reporting on corrupt politicians etc., or do it by exposing a city's pop-cultural underbelly, this is a good thing for readers. also, this is the news *business*; our experience in l.a. aside, we tend to make money when people read the paper. (hey, i'm giving u a couple of *actual facts* to use in ur follow-up about how u've caused this stuck pig to really squeal). words to the obviously unwise: stop immitating the accuracy-challenged gnat drudge; he's an idiot savant, only without the savant part. best, rick"
Marnye Oppenheim writes: "Bite Me is a columnist who used to write for LA New Times. Bite Me now writes that same column in Phoenix, Arizona for the Phoenix New Times. Bite Me is also a back-up copy editor at the Phoenix New Times. She is in the office every day. She has been out in public with Rick Barrs, editor-in-chief of Phoenix New Times and former editor-in-chief and Finger scribe at LA New Times. Not only do the Phoenix New Times writers allow themselves to be seen in public with Rick Barrs but Bite Me can attest that she spent this past Friday night boozing it up with the art director and Rick Barrs in the privacy of her home. We stayed up til 4 a.m. Bite Me had to kick the art director out when she wanted to go to bed.
"These people at Phoenix NT are thrilled to have the extraordinary Rick Barrs at the helm of the paper. He's already made his mark here. Circulation is up 25,000 papers a week and return rates are almost nil. The covers are amazing. The ad people cheer when he walks through. They're selling more ads than ever. Two weeks ago they added 10 pages to the paper. He's the best thing that they've seen here in years. Michael Lacey, co-owner of the New Times chain wanted Rick to come here because of his stellar ability to make magic. He did it in L.A. He's doing it here in Phoenix. So Bite Me wants to tell you, Luke Ford, that whoever is telling you about an insurrection is full of shit. That couldn't be further from the truth. But then again, now that I've had the sincere displeasure of looking at your pathetic website, I see that you regularly write piles of smegma and pass them off as journalism. You are a loser not worthy of writing Rick's name. Bite Me (a.k.a. Marnye Oppenheim)"
A Chat With Rob Spallone On The Way To Jail
I call my gangster friend Rob Spallone (Jewish mother, Italian-American father Joe) at 12:55PM, Tuesday, 4/15/03 on his cell phone:
Rob: "What are you doing?"
Luke: "Not much. What's going on with you?"
Rob: "I'm going on a little vacation, pal."
I hear Rob's wife Helena and two sons in the background.
Luke: "Where to?"
I hear Rob's wife laughing in the background.
Rob: "I should be out in a few weeks."
Helena: "I'm not waiting for him."
Rob: "My wife's driving me. Do you believe this bitch?"
Luke: "Would you like me to testify for you?"
Rob: "No, there's no trial."
Luke: "You copped a plea?"
Luke: "Are you going now?"
Rob: "I'm on my way."
Luke: "What is this for?"
Rob: "A little New York thing."
Luke: "I know you are innocent. You were framed."
Rob talks to his wife: "Which way do we go here? Penitentiary. There it is."
Luke: "What penitentiary are you in?"
Little boy: "The pig pen."
Rob: "I don't want anyone to know Luke. I don't want no visitors. The pig pen."
Luke: "Your kids are there?"
Rob: "They're dropping me off. It's family day."
Luke: "Do you get your own suite?"
Rob: "I'm getting my own room. What else is cooking?"
Luke: "It's hard to beat what you've got going on, pal. So how are you going to use this time?"
Rob: "I'm going to use this time to meditate."
Luke: "Are you going to read books?"
Rob: "I'm going to read books. I'm going to rebuild."
I hear Helena's voice.
Rob: "Can you believe she's taking me? I wanted to take a limo."
I chat with Helena.
Luke: "How are you?"
Helena: "Good. I'm getting rid of him. Do you want to come over?"
Helena: "I'm doing the yippy dippy dance. You see, two can play at that."
Rob's littlest son is making his first communion in the next couple of weeks.
Luke: "Is this to do with that FBI insider stock trading scandal?"
Rob: "Could be. I'll be home in a few days. I'm going to postpone [the sentence] until summertime."
Luke: "Does this scare you?"
Rob: "No. It's giving me a break from my wife."
Luke: "What do they claim you did?"
Rob: "I won't know until we go to trial next month."
Luke: "So why are you serving time now?"
Rob: "I had to. Contempt. About three weeks ago."
Luke: "Because you wouldn't tell?"
Rob: "Yep. That's life in the big city. They wanted me to serve time in New York for this but I wouldn't go."
Luke: "They wanted to put you in Ryker's Island?"
Rob: "Been there, done that. We were just talking about that."
Helena yells out: "Ryker's Island. You broke out, remember? I got you on the boat."
Rob: "I had two friends break out of there once."
Luke: "You seem to know Ryker's Island well?"
Rob: "I lived across the street my whole life."
Luke: "How many times have you been there?"
Rob: "Twice. It's a s---hole.
"Are you going to be safe without me for a few weeks?"
Luke: "I hope so. I will stay home and hold my gun."
Rob: "Stop by my house if you need any. Helena will give you some. Give me a call next week."
Luke Gets Mail
From my application to the Brandeis University Jewish Journalism summer workshop: "Let's be honest - Jewish journalism is a dull timid thing. With the exception of the Forward, all Jewish papers in the US read like church bulletins about bake sales. About the only scintillating Jewish journalism I've read in the past couple of years is Stephen Fried's book The New Rabbi, which is why I interviewed him at length on my website lukeford.net, along with a dozen other journalists and rabbis."
Khunrum writes: "Dissed by the Jews again....Luke, join an organization that will have you for Christsakes...How about The Shriners?"
'I Don't Like Labels'
I went to the University of Judaism's final lecture in its 2003 series Monday night, April 14, at the Universal Ampitheater.
I'm accosted, because I wear a kipa, by two young men, wearing kipot. They appear to be Orthodox.
Man: "What's the lecture about?"
Luke: "I don't know. Probably Iraq."
Man: "Where's the Judaism? It says it's sponsored by the University of Judaism."
Luke: "I doubt there will be any Judaism. Neither Mario Cuomo or Bill Bennett are Jewish."
Man: "It says University of Judaism. You'd think it'd be about Judaism."
Both men look dissatisfied and sneering towards the series.
I walk in. Tonight's program begins 20-minutes late as usual. But what's most painful each time is the long ponderous pompous speeches before the main speakers. Dena Schechter, dean at University of Judaism, leads out with a five-minute promotion of UJ. But her talks are like nails scratching on a blackboard. She's a poor public speaker. Her speeches read like they are written by a government bureaucrat. She's painfully boring and pompous. She will not inspire anyone to attend UJ unless they have fascist bureaucratic tendencies.
What's particularly painful is that there is no other way to spend your time during her torture sessions. If I had my druthers, I bring in a Sony Walkman and listen to a book on tape but such electronic devices are banned. And you can't read, because the lights are dimmed.
Dean of Continuing Education Gady Levy is a partial exception to these boring talks. With his thick Persian accent, he injects some humor. Tonight he thanks the nine women working under him for making him happy. No kidding. If I had nine women working under me, I'd be happy too.
If the UJ truly wanted to inspire people to study at its institution, it would have its most eloquent professor give one introductory speech, instead of the ponderous three-person gangbang they use now.
The first UJ speaker series used all speakers from the left. They got criticized and this year's series is carefully balanced. I hear Al and Tipper Gore were the most pleasant to deal with behind the scenes and Henry Kissinger was the most obnoxious.
Mario Cumo speaks. I don't applaud once. Bill Bennett speaks. I applaud vigorously throughout. Then comes the discussion moderated by UJ President Robert Wexler, who does a good job.
Cuomo suggests that President Bush's war on Iraq was politically motivated to help the Republicans with the 2002 elections. It's the only comment of the night that brings widespread booing.
The liberal sitting next to me frequently applauds Cuomo. We never once cheer the same remark.
After one comment by Bill Bennett about why we don't invade every evil regime in the world, she says, "He's full of sh--."
I reply: "You were wrong about the first Gulf War and you're wrong about this one too."
Friday night, I heard Douglas Rushkoff speak at Temple Sinai. Before the speech, I went up to him and named a friend we had in common. I praised him for publishing nine books. I admit jealousy. I'm struggling with my second. I noted the many positive reviews I've seen for his latest book, his first about Judaism, Nothing Sacred.
Then I asked him if he was a theist. The question appeared to stump him.
Douglas: "I don't like labels. Theist. What does it mean?"
Luke: "Theist means a believer in a personal God. Atheist means absence of belief in a personal God. Agnostic means uncertain about God's existence."
Douglas doesn't like to be pinned down. It takes a couple of minutes before he admits he doesn't believe in a personal God.
Rushkoff didn't seem to have much interest in talking about anything aside from himself and his book.
I've noticed that many liberals and secularists don't like labels. They don't like distinctions, aristocracies and hierarchies. Liberals, for instance, frequently hate to be labeled as liberals, instead preferring terms like "progressive." Conservatives, however, don't mind being called conservatives.
Atheists like Rushkoff hate to be called atheists because like the term "liberal," atheist is a term of opprobrium in the wider culture.
Conservatives and Orthodox Jews are more comfortable with who they are and therefore are more comfortable with labels. Conservatives are more likely to be married with kids and active in a religion. Liberals are more likely to live in floating uncommitted unconventional relationships.
Liberals tend to believe that the highest value is self-expression. Conservatives most value self-control. Conservatives lead lives revolving around commitments.
Labels are important. They are economizing devices to distinguish real and painful differences between people. Reform and Orthodox Jews, for instance, have almost nothing in common. The solution to their differences isn't more dialogue and togetherness. When these groups get together, they realize how much they hate each other.
Liberals believe that people are basically good. They don't like definitions because they reveal painful truths, such as that humanity is not just one happy family and that we'd all lie down like lambs if only we removed racism, sexism, ageism, capitalism, etc...
One painful truth is that somebody who does not believe in a personal God has little basis for commenting on Judaism or promoting Judaism. The foundation of Judaism is belief in a personal God. Without a God, there is no Judaism. It's a fraud.
Judaism believes in defitions and differences. It distinguishes between men and women, adults and children, humans and the divine, the Sabbath and secular time, kosher and non-kosher foods. Judaism is obsessed with maintaining distinctions. I'm in the middle of painful and time-consuming clean-up for Passover, getting rid of chametz (five forbidden grains).
When I meet someone who doesn't like definitions and labels, I know I've met someone who doesn't like reality.
You can go too far with labels and definitions and use them as tools to stop dialogue and communication. For instance, I find it disconcerting how little concern or interest many Orthodox Jews have all people who are not Orthodox Jews. I find it disconcerting how many Orthodox Jews are more interested in someone's level of ritual observance than in a person's ethics. In many Orthodox shuls, a wife's level of participation and honor in the shul is dictated by how much she covers her hair (mandated by Jewish Law for married women).
Douglas Rushkoff writes 4/20/03: It's not that I want to [only] talk about myself and my book. It's that I *don't* want to talk about my personal religious beliefs. I don't think they're important - and I think my position as an 'author' or 'speaker' or whatever can get in the way, and give too much weight to my beliefs.
All I'm trying to do is open up a conversation about Judaism - and I'm trying not to impose my own model of God on the discussion.
Yeah, I believe in God, but not as a creature up there. To some, this makes me atheist - to others, it makes me superstitious and traditional.
Am I theistic? I don't really know. But I wanted to hear how you were defining it before I answered a yes or no question. To me, it is the same as asking someone "Are you for abortion?" Well - no. I'm not for it. But I wont' stop someone else from doing it. What does that make me?
Dennis Prager Show
First hour. Prager rips the media for its coverage of Iraq, citing Victor Davis Hanson of National Review and Franklin Foer of The New Republic positively, and CNN, Peter Arnett (worse than a whore, real prostitutes are only sad women who've made sad choices) and New York Times (R.W. Apple) negatively.
Second hour. Prager has on a family to promote home-schooling. Their kids are not good examples. They are horribly inarticulate, don't know who Stalin was, have barely an idea about Hitler, and admit they have few friends their own age.
Third hour. Prager welcomes the repercussions that some Hollywood stars feel for ripping into the president and his war on Iraq. These stars are used to being adored and think they should still be adored no matter what they say and do. Celebrities should understand they are famous for being actors, not for their political philosophies.
From the Dixie Chicks and Martin Sheen to Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, stars who speak out against President Bush and the war in Iraq are seeing repercussions.
"There's a piling on, and we're isolating people. That's just wrong," says Kevin Costner, standing up for "courageous" Bull Durham co-stars Sarandon and Robbins.
A Baseball Hall of Fame event April 26 to celebrate Bull Durham has been canceled because Sarandon and Robbins, who have been vocal in their criticism of President Bush, were to be featured.
* Calls and e-mail have come in threatening to boycott ABC and its advertisers if Janeane Garofalo's sitcom Slice O'Life gets on the schedule. But the comedian, who has been outspoken against the war, says she's going ahead with the show. ABC already had pushed it back to midseason.
* A Lipton iced tea ad featuring the Dixie Chicks may be in jeopardy — creators are at work on a backup ad idea — as the public continues to react to Natalie Maines' anti-Bush comments four weeks ago. At Thursday night's Country Music Television video awards show, Brett Butler suggested "forgiving" the Dixie Chicks, and the audience booed.
* Handlers for Avril Lavigne are eager to brush off the singer's recent anti-Bush statements as backstage banter, especially as her sold-out Try and Shut Me Up tour hits the USA on Tuesday. A record label spokeswoman says Lavigne's young, hip audience isn't likely to respond as vehemently as the Chicks' country fans.
My Daily Fantasies
Johnson writes: New feature for your website...... It may even deserve a website all its own..... It's Luke Ford's daily diary published worldwide on the WWW. Nothing fancy....... Just record your daily fantasies for all to see......and have a healthy laugh.
Too shy? Too discreet to name names? Then a simple tick mark will do for each day of the week! (For added laughs, you might even plot your tick marks on a curve against the Dow Jones ups and downs for the week!)
If anything more interesting is occurring, then by all means share with us too! The way you put it in your Mission Statement, a mightly battle is waging inside you......... It's the classic battle between good and evil. Think of it as Star Wars on your back.
Why do this? The journal will show you aren't afraid to expose yourself anymore than you expose your subjects. Who knows, Luke, someday things may really get out of hand, and if you're lucky, you'll be caught up in a really juicy scandal yourself! Hopefully, on that fateful day, if you aren't already a celibrity by then, it will be big enough to make you one! But, just as an extra insurance policy, when that day finally does come, everyone will fondly remember as that really neat guy who published his daily fantasies on the Web. What's not to love about that? And just think........ You'll be an instant hit with the likes of Howard Stern et al on the talk show circuit. They'll all wish they had thought of it themselves..... If nothing else, it's more grist for the mill, don't you agree?
I Talk To My Mommy About My Feelings
I call my Mom.
Luke: "There is a great controversy between good and evil going on in the middle of me. A cosmic struggle for my soul. So I'm moving to Jerusalem and I'll enter a yeshiva. I'm trying to stay chaste, and these chicks..."
Mom: "Well, you've lost that battle."
Mom: "Why don't you go to a therapist, a man, someone you can't fool, and tell him the truth?"
Luke: "A therapist can't change me in a direction I don't want to go.”
Mom: "Your doctors don't see what is going on because you hide it. You probably don't think you need any help. But you're going to have to lie down on the bed you make and you're going to be depressed because you're doing stuff that violates your soul. You know better."
Luke: "I am a big sinner. I keep getting sucked into sin."
Mom: "You've got a side of you that you let take over. You're supposed to let the good one take over."
Luke: "Dad wrote me a note and I posted it on my site."
Mom: "I wish you wouldn't."
Luke: "It's inspiring to people."
Mom: "No it doesn't. It causes them to criticize him. People come by and presume child abuse and stuff like that that never happened, and it's painful. That's why I stopped writing for your site. Everybody wants to give their opinion. What do they know. Something happened to you."
Luke: "I got sucked into sin."
Mom: "You got hit on the head. It doesn't do any good to tell you off because it doesn't make any difference.
"That heehee guy. I don't like him. I'll call him Barabbas. Leave him behind when you go to Jerusalem. You want to do Jews some good."
Luke: "I'm going to bring peace to the Middle East."
Mom: "They'll shoot you and that will create peace.
"You need to clean up your act. You've got to want to. You need to see that you've got a problem and then want to do something about it. But you don't see that. I want you to do something good for the world."
Luke: "I'm exposing sin."
Mom: "But you're not standing apart from it, are you?"
Luke: "Yeah I am, just sometimes I get sucked in. Jerusalem will rejuvenate my writing, rejuvenate me. I'm in a slump."
Mom: "Dad said to me this morning, people do what they've been doing, few people change after age 25. I certainly don't think I am any better than you. But we care about you very much. It doesn't change, even if you are a brat."
Luke: "I took out Executive Chick to dinner but she is still elusive."
Mom: "Of course she is. Any decent woman is going to have problems. But Luke, you've got tremendous capacity for change."
Luke: "This guy swaggered into the doctor's office on Tuesday. It was Michael Douglas."
Mom: "I've seen Kirk Douglas and he swaggers as well. He swaggered down the airport. He looked great. I like the Douglases. He runs around with these young women. Like you will, if you make it. We expect that you will be a blot on the carpet.
"You've got this heehee side that wants to destroy you. You've got a death wish. Anyway, I like it that you call me. Does Dennis Prager think you're loopy?"
Mom: "Your laugh is so insane. I looked at the article in Rolling Stone. And my book has a higher ranking on Amazon.com than yours. You're like Jack Nicholson in that 1971 movie Carnal Knowledge about the fornicator. You'll be a rogue. Sorry."
Luke: "Let that be a warning to me. I keep praying to God to give me the strength to be chaste. Me and Augustine. God grant me chastity, but not yet."
Mom: "Instead of chastity, I'd ask Him for sanity. Anyway, I've got to go."
Luke: "You've got to go? But I'm talking about my feelings."
Mom: "I know you are love, but it's a game. You don't mean it. It's like me talking to myself."
I'm Covered For My Seders
It's difficult for me to admit need. I've had about 30 people ask me over the past month where I will be for the Passover seders. I'd say I would be with friends. In truth, I only had a place for the first night seder.
Then Saturday night, walking home from shul, I finally told the truth. And my friend suggested I talk to someone in my shul, which I did Sunday morning. And now I'm all covered.
Sabbaths and holidays can be depressing times when you spend them on your own because they remind you of what's missing from your life. And I haven't made things easy for myself with certain scandals in my past, which dramatically reduced my invitations for Sabbath and holiday meals.
Death Be Not Proud
I would like to take a minute to mourn the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who best knew how to handle:
* The Arab street
* Rioting Muslims
I loved that news story about Muslims in a mosque ripping to death two opposing Muslim clerics. What a great religion and culture. When was the last time you heard of Jews killing two rabbis in a synagogue or Christians killing two ministers in a church?
It's Not About Iraq
From a call to talk radio, I just realized that the primary domestic opposition to the war on Iraq has nothing to do with Iraq. Opposition primarily comes from hatred of the US using its power unilaterally in the world and hatred of President Bush.
Saddam Hussein knew how to deal with dissenters like these.
Sgil46: "just realized that the primary domestic opposition..." You just realized that? Have you as yet realized how Eurocentric is the American left too?
Sgil46: what are you afraid of? backing the wrong horse?
Pep Talk From Amalek
Chaim Amalek writes: Luke's best hope for success with his autobiography:
1. As a graphic novel. PROBLEM: This would require the work of good - and expensive - artists (R. Crumb immediately comes to mind). Without the enthusiastic support of a publisher, that won't happen.
2. Maybe as a modest, funny paperback written in the spirit of Howard Stern's "Miss America" or "Private Parts." PROBLEM: You haven't done even a thousandth of what Stern had already done when he penned those books. Outside of a universe of a few dozen, nobody knows about you.
3. Accept that this idea sucks, and do something totally different. I suggest that you drop both this and the Producers project, and spin the best part of it (clueless nobodies yacking about how important they are) into a book about Hollywood has-beens and really never-weres, C and D level celebrities desperately trying to hang on to their minor celebrityhood. Now THAT would make for interesting reading and might even find a mass audience.
Otherwise, I think Rum's right. Your natural writing style is to be pompous or self-pitying. The former does not fit with your life as a camp-follower, and the latter is very irritating. You are the only one who thinks that this "lost boy" shtick can work for a man in his late thirties. More likely it just creeps people out.
The good news is that you are slowly accepting the truth, which is that you make your living off of slime and always will. And that's not such a bad thing, is it? You are a good match for your work, which is more than most people can say about themselves.
Best wishes for a happy Easter
I Apologize For Not Giving Enough
I've been working on a book about my feelings for about 12 years. And I'm not making much progress. I usually have to end up paying people to read it.
So I've been reading books on how to write. My latest one is Writing With Power. And I learned what my problem is: to write well, you have to give. And it's hard for me to give because I'm a narcissist.
So now I'm going to find a safe place, and go deep inside and get in touch with that tiny part of me that wants to give. And I'm going to nurture this tiny seed of generosity. I'm going to water and tend it. And hope that it grows into a great big tree of a book about me.
Khunrum writes: Luke, I predict your book if it is ever finished will be a flop. Sorry buddy but that is the way I see it. Why? Because your life story just isn't that interesting. I just finished an autobiography which I picked up in T-land called Mr. Nice (http://www.mrnice.co.uk/). It tells the life tale of a Welsh professor at Oxford who became one of the world's biggest hashish and pot smugglers. The guy was involved with the IRA, DEA, British Intelligence and a host of other organizations. He flew around the world (totally stoned) putting deals together, sending tons of weed to several countries. Thieves, diplomats and Chinese whores were his close friends. It is a lively read.
I hate to say it Luke but it is your narcissism which bullshits you into believing you have anything to say (about yourself) that folks would pay ten bucks to read. However, I think there is still hope. Get out there and do something interesting. Are you too old for the French Foreign Legion? How about becoming a professional assassin?
A Threeway Phone Call
I’m immersed in a cyber and telephone relationship with Sondra, a beautiful and educated non-Jewish woman in Atlanta who loves my website. I introduce her over the phone to Nice Jewish Girl:
NJG: Luke's a player. He'll never settle down. He does this schtick, poor pathetic me, no girls understand me.
Sondra: He'll tell you that I have no sympathy for him.
NJG: But you sent him a naked picture of yourself. Why? If you sleep with him, you will regret it. You don't understand, he disses women really bad. Luke is a wolf with women. Did you notice what he said today that he knows the niece of Saul Bellow. That's one of his dates. He has a lot of dates. Do you know that?
NJG: That's cool with you.
Sondra: Considering the situation that I am in, that is absolutely fine with me.
NJG: Oh, are you married?
NJG: And did he tell you that he wants to get married to you and all that?
Sondra: Yeah, been down that road.
Luke: I do.
NJG: He tells that to every girl.
Luke: I don't.
NJG: Luke lies. He told that to me. He tells it to everyone.
Luke: When did I tell it to you NJG?
NJG: Oh please Luke. He totally told it to me.
Luke: I did? Oh.
NJG: You realize that any chick he sleeps with, he can't deal with.
Sondra: I am on the other side of the country. That thought hasn't even entered my mind.
Luke: Wait, Sondra, the thought of sleeping with me hasn't entered your mind?
NJG: You send him a naked picture of yourself. You have no self respect, you need to live in San Francisco man. My girlfriends would rip you to pieces. You just don't do that, especially to a person like that. He is a wolf. He's a player.
Sondra: Isn't part of being a strong woman being able to be in control of things like that? Of your body.
NJG: Oh yeah, as long as you diss him first.
Sondra: What makes you think I haven't?
NJG: You only talked to him four times yesterday and the day before for seven hours.
Sondra: You sound jealous.
NJG: Jealous, ohmigod, please. Take him!
Sondra: What's up with you crying a river of tears over him. What's that about? If he's that pathetic, why waste the time?
NJG: Because he's sick and I'm sick.. But you're not that sick, I can already tell. He's going to run over you like a Mac Truck.
Sondra: No he's not. He's not going to do a single thing to me that I don't allow him to do or want him to do.
NJG: He already likes that you're innocent. If you think you are going to marry this guy, you've got another thing coming.
Luke: I'm going to marry Sondra.
NJG: There's a line of women out his door and around the house who've heard the same line. He'd admit that.
Sondra: To redeem myself, did you know that my politics are completely on the other end of the spectrum from his?
NJG: The one good thing about Luke is that any chick will do. It doesn't matter if she's the scummiest looking chick on earth. That's cool with him. But all the other ---- you have to put up with, that he will never ever marry anyway. He is so ------ up beyond belief about women and he cannot be faithful to one woman ever, and he lies all the time about this marriage ----. My father was just like him. So I've got his number. My dad was engaged to six women at once and one woman was paying for him. I know.
Luke: Kendra Jade is IMing me.
NJG: You know about his thing with Kendra, don't you?
Sondra: Remember, we talked about her unfortunate hair.
NJG: Kendra does have Luke's number. She knows him and she isn't willing to put up with his bull----.
Sondra to Luke: It's not good enough that you are talking to both of us, you have to be talking to her at the same time?
Luke: Yeah. I'm needy for attention.
NJG: He's probably telling her that he wants her to ---- him. Sondra, is this what you want honey?
Luke: Kendra has a message for you ladies. ‘Tell them to forget it. You are my leftovers.’
NJG: Tell Kendra she can have you.
Luke: She doesn't want me.
NJG: He's so awful that even a ---- ---- doesn't want him. Don't forget he's a Gemini and Geminis are the hos of the Zodiac.
Sondra: I don't give any credence to that stuff.
NJG: That's fine but he is. He can be really cold. He can be all into you and then really cold the next day.
Sondra: I'm not hanging my star on him.
NJG: Why do you think he wanted to do this threeway? Because in his own self destructive head, he wanted me to tell you the truth about what he's really like.
Sondra: Luke, isn't that what I just said to you? You're a masochist.
NJG: It's really good that we're talking because you sound really sweet. You don't sound at all like me. And I've been there and I really hate men.
Sondra: I realize the problem you have with men. I don't have that problem. Don't project that on to the entire gender.
Luke: Sondra is my future wife. She's just got to convert to Judaism.
NJG: I hope so Luke, until the next one shows up. Until you go over to Kendra Jade's house.
Sondra: Don't you think as a woman embodying feminine power that I have a right to be proud of my body?
NJG: Oh, it's a complicated issue. I would essentially agree with you. But the reality is, if you walk down any street in this city and you walk naked or you walk with a low top, you're going to get it from Luke and Luke's men. They don't respect women. They don't know how.
Sondra: If I am walking down the street naked or in a low cut top, why am I doing that?
Luke: To get attention from men.
NJG: It usually makes other women uncomfortable. Women don't like it. Look, you could be wearing a Victorian dress and still get unwanted attention from men.
Sondra: How do you handle unwanted attention from men?
NJG: I try to walk across the street when I see men. Every girl I know walks across the street when they see men.
Sondra: Would you like to know anything about me?
NJG: Sondra, honey, I don't need to. I can already tell. I'm older than you. Honey, I have been there. I have been in your seat.
Luke: She's cried a river of tears.
Sondra: I've never cried a river of tears over anyone.
NJG: You don't know Luke Ford.
Sondra: I feel the need to make you understand that I am not...
Luke: A trick.
Sondra: Whatever that means.
NJG laughs: You don't even know what that means. I knew what that meant by the time that I was 18.
Sondra: What does that say about you?
NJG: It says that I am a very edgy girl, huh Luke?
Luke: Yeah, she's a very edgy girl. NJG needs a younger man so that he can keep up with her. She wears out men her own age. NJG is a man wrecker.
Sondra: Luke, considering that you instigated this whole melange, you have been awfully quiet.
Luke: I'm subtle.
NJG: That's his way. I love how you slipped onto his site and fell for him. Luke, I typed to Cookie yesterday about the whole thing and we were cracking up. I'm like, I'm just going to watch this girl self destruct on his site, because I know what he does. She did everything wrong. She likes him instead of disliking him. She sends him naked pictures.
Sondra: Don't get the idea that I think that every word that comes out of his mouth is golden. Now Luke, this is where you need to step in and tell her.
Luke: NJG, what is it that you like about me?
NJG: I don't know. I would have to go back into my notes Luke. Because I think we're similar.
Sondra: That's a very self loathing statement.
NJG: He self loathes.
Sondra: Evidently you do too.
Luke: Oh yeah, she hates herself big time.
NJG: Oh yeah, you do too, big time.
SONDRA: I don't hate myself. I think it is unfortunate that a man or a series of men have made you feel that the entire male gender is bad.
NJG laughs hysterically: Chicks were trying to go to the bathroom [at Woodstock II] and they got raped.
Sondra: Have you ever been in love?
NJG: Luke, have I ever been in love?
Luke: Yeah, and she had her heart ripped out by men.
Sondra: Could that maybe be one of the driving forces behind this hatred?
NJG: We have to look at my father.
Luke: Did he ever incest you or was that just your grandfather?
NJG: Please, never say that. My father never did. My father worshipped the ground I walked on and I broke his heart. He loved me so much.
Luke: How did you break his heart?
NJG: Because he was a dog. The only thing that gets to a dog is the dog's daughter. He died in January.
Luke: Was it something you said?
NJG giggles: It could've been a series of conversations we had in December.
Luke: Did he go downhill rapidly after that?
NJG: He did. Shut up Luke. You're saying I killed my father.
Sondra: I don't see why emotions have to be bad.
Luke: NJG, do emotions have to be bad?
NJG: The fun ones.
Sondra: I don't have this element of self destruction that the two of you share.
Luke: This is cool. Having two chicks fighting over me.
Sondra: We're fighting?
NJG: What are you talking about Luke? We're trashing you.
Sondra: Bless her heart. Which is what southern women get to say when they say something bad. You can say, she's such a whore, bless her heart.
NJG: I had a southern boyfriend once.
Sondra: I've never had a southern boyfriend.
NJG: He was so tortuous and charming and he was a player. And he brought this girl to this meeting we were at, and I just looked at him and I said, fuck you, get away from me. And he started chasing me down the street. It was so cool. He was calling me every day. And I'd say, are you sleeping with that girl? And he'd say, no, I'm not sleeping with her. And I'd say, Chris, don't fucking lie to me.
Sondra: I've never had a boyfriend cheat on me.
NJG: We were on the corner and screaming at each other at 6AM. And he's supposed to take me to work. And we were screaming loud. It was cool though.
Sondra: You have a destructive pattern. I made better choices than that.
NJG: I'm sure you did. Good for you.
Sondra: Don't you have any men that you love?
NJG: I love Luke.
Sondra: I think we may have just hit upon the crux of the entire conversation. You want Luke to marry you. This is the most dysfunctional conversation I've had in my entire life. The two of you have a dynamic that is boggling to me.
Luke: Sondra, when we get married, I'm going to have to get a bigger place.
NJG: And live off you. Whoops, I wasn't supposed to say that.
NJG giggles: Have you had surgery or anything?
Sondra: No I haven't but I'm at the gym three days a week and I run and I do that for me. I don't do that for a man. Because I feel better when I look good.
NJG: I come from a different place. From punk rock.
Sondra: And I come from the generation that is pissed off at your generation for what you did to the feminist movement.
Sondra speaks off the phone: Thanks for coming over.
Sondra: I just had a man in my apartment. I better go disinfect.
NJG: Oooohh. Kick him out.
Sondra: Don't you realize that everything we discuss, you make it about a man?
NJG: Thank you. That's good. I'm conflicted. My girlfriends would be like, that's right. That's fucking right she does. Everything is about some guy. I can hear them right now trying to kill me. I'm sick of it.
NJG: Cause I'm ------ up. Shenae O'Connor is seeing a shrink. And she's lost her art and she's in a Catholic cult and they call her a saint. I think you can't see a shrink because you're dysfunction is your art. And if you lose your dysfunction, you lose your art. And so fuck seeing a shrink. I want my dysfunction, I want my art, I want my creativity. I want all the shit that makes me who I am.
Sondra: NJG, why do you let him post all of your conversations on the website?
NJG: Because I think they're cool. They're interesting.
Luke: Like a car wreck.
Sondra: Perfect analogy.
NJG: Luke is a car wreck.
Sondra: And you're with the rubber neckers.
NJG: I'm in another car.
Luke: We collided.
Luke and NJG laugh.
NJG: We're that movie Crash, but we're the real thing.
Luke: No poofters.
Sondra: Luke, what did I tell you about not using that word. It's derogatory and it's mean.
NJG: Yeah Luke, it's derogatory and it's mean. You can't change a man.
Sondra: I can change his behavior when he's talking to me or I won't be talking to him. I don't care what he does when he's not talking to me. And he knows that I don't like that derogatory phraseology.
Luke: God, NJG, she's so strong.
NJG: I know. Really. Can I just lean on her strength? I'm into strong chicks.
Luke: I like strong chicks too. Maybe we can both lean on her.
Sondra: But I wear lipstick.
NJG: I wore lipstick to a Courtney Love concert.
Sondra: You gave in to the patriarchy.