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Better To Marry And Cheat...

Dennis Prager says he prefers men like Kobe Bryant who commit to marriage and children, and commit adultery, to single men who go from woman to woman.

I prefer a guy who drives for years and then has an accident to a guy who has never driven a car.

If a 19 year old girl starts in with a macho basketball player, then decides to not go further, the guy should stop. But we live in an age where the concept of female responsibility for sex is zero. Women can start the motors running and then leave. And she's innocent and he's a brute.

Maybe, darling, you should learn a lesson that you don't start in with a sports star at his hotel room if you don't plan to go through with sex. Five minutes of doing stuff is a lot of time.

There's no relation between a stranger who rapes a woman and a man who starts in with a woman and doesn't stop when she asks him. You can't call both rape. The second isn't rape.

The Chicago Cubs fan who interfered with the Cubs catching a foul ball. Narcissism. He thought of himself not his team. Point two. It is evil that people want to kill this guy. People over-identify with their sports teams these days because they don't have a religious identity.

Dave Deutsch writes: "Dennis Prager's comment on preferring men who "commit" to marriage and children and sleep around, as opposed to men who just sleep around, casts his comments on conservative hypocrisy in a new light. Kobe Bryant, it seems, wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime cheater, he was serial cheater. A man who sleeps around on his wife, isn't "committed" to marriage; he is committed to the appearance of marriage. And that seems to be what matter to Prager. But if you just sleep around, and you're not married, you are not necessarily lying or hurting anyone else. In the case of an adulterer, he is betraying his wife, and, even if you want to argue that some wives accept that (as Bryant's wife seems to), he also hurts the kids, who didn't sign on to that. Not only does he hurt them by betraying their mother, he hurts them by providing a terrible model of sexual behavior for their own adulthood. But hey, at least he pretends to be a decent person. I guess that's why Republican adulterers like Dan Burton, Henry Hyde, Robert Livingston, Asa Hutchinson and Newt Gingrich are never criticized by conservatives. Odd, that Prager, who professes some sort of role as standardbearer for ethics, seems to be lauding hypocrisy."

From MSNBC.com:

The defense said the tests found “substances” — later described by the lead investigator as semen — from a man other than the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard. The lawyers argue that injuries to the woman may have been caused by previous sexual partners.

NBC News also said the alleged victim told detectives that she was expecting for Bryant “to make a move on her” when going to the star’s room.

Other evidence brought forward was the fact that the hotel’s night auditor was the first person the alleged victim saw after the attack — not a bellman. The defense said the night auditor said the alleged victim didn’t appear upset and finished her shift.

The hearing then resumed with the defense questioning of the lead investigator, sheriff’s Detective Doug Winters.

Winters said the Eagle woman told him she had consensual sex on June 27 or June 28 and used a condom, backing earlier defense suggestions she was sexually active before her encounter with Bryant.

Winters also said two pairs of panties from the woman were tested - one from the night of June 30, the other being the one she wore to a hospital for an exam the next day. The latter pair contained blood and semen, Winters said.

“The accuser arrived at the hospital wearing panties with someone else’s semen and sperm in them, not that of Mr. Bryant, correct?” defense attorney Pamela Mackey asked. “That’s correct,” Winters responded.

Pubic hair samples from the woman also turned up Caucasian hairs that could not have come from Bryant, who is black, Winters said.

In Wednesday’s court filing, defense attorney Hal Haddon said prosecutors misrepresented blood evidence found on the underpants. “The clear implication of this testimony was that the accuser was bleeding due to the alleged sexual assault,” he said. The prosecution deliberately failed to “put before the court all of the evidence concerning those panties.”

The defense said that evidence had been given to Gannett, under seal, and it provided “compelling evidence of innocence.”

Stan Goldman, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said: “It’s a very strong bit of evidence for the defense to argue that the victim’s injuries may have been caused by someone else.”

BigFish writes: So what exactly was she doing, as part of her job, sneaking up to his room voluntarily?

POV guy writes: By flirting with him, accepting an invitation to his room, visiting his room and making out with him? Then f--king him? What hotels have this on the room service menues? I want a room for life.


Mike South writes: "Ok Luke, we need to talk. Look at me....Do I bear any resemblance whatsoever to Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise or whoever? But I routinely get girls who these guys would consider a trophy. Pay attention here son and you might learn why."

I had dinner with a woman Tuesday night. For once, I did not want desert. She did but asked if I would have a bite. I agreed.

We shared a three-layered chocolate cake. I found myself eating more than her. She had to remind me not to finish it off. There was a strawberry on top. Without thinking, I picked it up and put it in my mouth. Before I chewed on it, I realized I had done something wrong.

"I'm sorry. I should've asked you first," I mumbled with the berry in my mouth, before I crunched it.

[MS: You should be paying attention to her not her fucking strawberry shortcake. You aren't as dumb as you pretend, if she wants to share it she will offer you a bite, otherwise order your own.]

I do that a lot. Once a woman wanted to sample my soup. After I finished my bowl, I looked at her, remembered her request, and said, "Oops."

[MS: OK , goofball when she asks you, you put your spoon in your soup and you feed her a taste, right then and there.]

Other observations about dating and dining:

* I always come to my decision on what to order five to ten minutes before her.

[MS: You only think you do pal, she is exercizing good manners and finding out what you are ordering before she makes a decision because she will not order something more expensive than what you order. If you want to, then make it very clear that she may order ANYTHING she wants, tell her yer a rich Jew and money is no object if you want but unless you do she will order something equal or lower in price than you do.]

[Amy Alkon writes: Any woman who takes five to ten minutes to order has no personality or standards, and should be dispensed with post-haste. It is polite, however, if you're being treated, or have reason to believe you are (the person who invites the other person should be the person who pays, and on the first date, this is usually the man), to try to order according to the man's budget, and finding out what he's having is one way to do that. Even if you tell a woman to have "anything she wants," she might want to see if you'll be having a plate of rice and beans or filet mignon before she decides to go for the champagne and caviar. (Hmm, it occurs to me that, of that list, rice and beans are probably all you'd eat.) Still, "what are you having?" and "rice and beans!" -- how much time does that exchange take, five seconds? Any woman who can't make up her mind about something simple like what to eat -- well, it doesn't bode well for the future.]

* She's (including David Poland) more likely to send something back.

* She's more likely to discuss the menu and to ask me what I'm getting. I rarely ask a woman what she's getting. I don't really care so long as it is not meat, particularly non-kosher meat, which grosses me out (but I rarely say that on a date, though I am getting more finicky as I age).

[MS: If you weren't such a klutz you would ask her what it is she would like. Do you know why? It is because YOU should order for her, In the most polite circles, a female should NEVER address a server. Learn yerself some manners boy!]

* Women rarely order alcohol on a date with me because I don't drink.

[MS: You seem to notice all of this but the logic just escapes you doesn't it? They are polite, they look to you to set the tone. If it bothers you order a glass of wine and only take a sip or two, hell wine is cool with jews...drink Manashevitz.]

* I usually eat more. I dig in, finish first, and clean my plate. Women are much more delicate and dainty in their approach and they usually leave food behind on their plate.

[MS: It isn't a job Luke, its a freakin date, take your time, enjoy it. get her to talk about herself, don't talk about yourself unless she asks, don't preach or moralize, keep it light.]

* I always make a joke or some introductory remark before escorting a woman for the first time to a ride in my van. Some women say that's because I'm self conscious and embarrassed about my vehicle. I say with Dennis Prager that if there's an 800-pound gorilla in the room, you acknowledge it.

[MS: Finally you do something that's probably right. point out that you are going to drive that van till the wheels roll off then you will abandon it on the side of the road and go buy another one.]

[JMT writes: That might work in regions in which cousins routinely intermarry, and/or where miserliness is appreciated, but in California, particularly LA, people *care* about what you drive. Clinging to that POS van just labels you as a weirdo, or a loser who can't scrape together a down payment on anything even remotely presentable to drive. You might as well show up for a date driving a garbage truck.]

* Women are usually late when you pick them up. You agree on a time, say 7PM. I always arrive on time. It's usually 7:15PM before we get away. I think this is a power trip. Women like to test you early on to see if you are a wimp who will wait around on them and let them abuse you. So I always bring a book to read while I wait. I should start bringing it on a date for those long awkward pauses while she studies the menu like it is a Torah, goes to the bathroom for ten minutes, or worst of all, talks on her cell phone.

[MS: Bad idea Luke, unless you want to remain single your whole life. If you engage her in conversation there arent any long awkward pauses. And do you stand up when she rises to go to the restroom, and again when she returns? Show a little respect dude.]

[Zac writes: Yes, woman normally do that stuff as a bullsh-- test. Bringing a book sure won't pass it though. You have to take charge and take control of the situation in an active, positive way. That's really what they're looking for you to do.]

I hate it when a woman takes a call on her cell during a date. I think it's highly disrespectful of me (unless it is a life and death emergency). I'm about ready to bolt the date as the minutes go by while she chats on her cell phone. But then again, I figure she has to put up with a lot from me - my sarcasm, dumpy van and hovel, narcissism, misanthropy, finicky eating habits, interesting choice of subjects I write about.

I broke up with a woman I loved, after dating her for two months, because I thought she did not treat me respectfully. The last straw was when she chatted by cell phone with a friend for ten minutes while we were on a date. Maybe once or twice I've taken a cell phone call on a date while my dates have taken over 100. How should I react when my date takes a cell phone call that is a non-emergency?

If the situation were reversed, the woman might say, "I feel disrespected when you take calls when you're out on a date with me." I don't think more than one man in a hundred would say that. We don't share our negative feelings unless we can do something about the situations that bother us. My instinctual response to this situation is to want to drop a few bills on the table for dinner and a taxi for her, and get up and leave, and never date her again. Do this without ever discussing it with her first. No way am I going to say, "It makes me feel unimportant (or hurt or bothered etc) when you do that." Men don't talk that way. Women do.

[MS: Here's how ya handle the cell phone situation. You take yours out, you lay it on the table and you make it obvious that you have turned it off. You even tell her that you have no desire to have your time with her disturbed by some idiot with a story you just have to run right now or whatever. Now she may not be able to do the same, maybe she has kids or whatever but she will get the hint and all but the most important calls will go unanswered, as yours should.]

* I should always ask first what type of restaurant the woman would like to go to before heading out with her to my favorite vegetarian place.

* Which Judaic musician do you most like to make-out to while sitting in a succah shaking a lulav after a heavy date? I'd go with Debbie Friedman or Craig Taubman that Sam Glaser can rock.

Amy Alkon writes on the cell phone issue:

I'm in total agreement with you. It's a sign that the woman is totally lacking in social graces and manners -- and what's even more incredible to me is that she doesn't even realize that she's behaving terribly impolitely. I might not say something if somebody took a non-emergency cell phone call on a date -- but it would make a big impression with me -- and not a good one. I don't think I'd go out with that person again. In fact, to use a term you used in connection with lateness - it's a power trip to just jump out of your date and talk to somebody else. It says, "I'm really important, and my life's really important, and your time and life are so negligible by comparison, you'll just have to wait while I conduct a little business or friendship, or whatever." Boor alert, boor alert! When this happens, if I were you, I'd just consider myself lucky to have insight into what the person's made of, so I could get out before I unwittingly got into a relationship with them and got the full-on boorishness below the cell-phoning surface.

I hope that woman laughed when you accidentally ate that strawberry. It's actually a very good test to see whether a woman has a sense of humor -- essential, of course. Now, it would be one thing if you were just a selfish glutton -- but absentmindedly mowing through more than your share is kind of funny. And you know what they say about people who like food!

PS I'm with you on acknowledging the 800-pound gorilla.

PPS Disagree with you on lateness. I'm always late because I change clothes five times -- sometimeseven if I'm just going to the coffee shop, where I will see no one. The cell phone thing, however, -- unless it's news that somebody's in a coma, and the person needs to know which hospital...grounds for instant dismissal! When you're on a date, you give the person your full attention. On a date or with a friend! Dipping out to take a call is just plain RUDE!

Fred writes:

I sorta liked the articles you posted on the effect of Internet porn on relationships. In particular, I liked the article by Naomi Wolf on newyorkmetro.com. Her basic thesis is that internet porn causes men to lose interest in real women. There is an interesting subtext here--she notes that if that happens, women lose bargaining power in the battle of the sexes. Naturally, she equates that as being a bad thing. And naturally, I equate that as being not so bad.

Query: what would happen to the balance of power if prostitution was legalized?

Regarding dates, I note the following:

1. I tend to eat faster than most of my dinner dates.

2. I don't think I've ever sent anything back.

3. I have never been on a date where a woman took a cell phone call. If that happened, I would consider it extremely rude.

4. Why do you keep an 800 pound gorilla in your van?

Centerfold Babylon: Behind The Music

The Erik Himmelsbach journalism saga begins in a log cabin in San Francisco in the mid '1980s as an intern for Newsweek. It was the age of Reagen and sexual repression was in the air.

Fleeing from the grip of a harsh monetarist policy, Erik clawed his way to the highest reaches of journalism, writing for Rolling Stone, and serving as managing editor of LA Reader from 1993-96, managing editor of Spin magazine (1997) and managing editor of Bikini from 1998-99.

He later came to rest for a year at AVN Online, finding his true calling.

Now finally the story can be told, the lurid behind the scenes details at VH1's 90-minute special Centerfold Babylon. The women, the breasts, the sex, drugs and rockn'roll. And that's just Erik's life before lunch on a Monday.

This story should not be read folks under age 18.

I'm a good deal sicker than you think. I think I need an operation. That's what my new doctor told me, Ethan Frome.

Employed at VH1 for over a year, Erik Himmelsbach, a non-Torah Jew, writes a fortnightly "Valley Boy" column for Valley Beat, a free weekly, about the travails of the secular Jew in the age of Bush.

We spoke by telephone over lunch October 13.

I pushed aside my bowl of porridge and tried to unlock the mystery that is Erik McFarland Himmelsbach.

Luke: "How did the show come up?"

Erik: "The show was conceived (in March 2002) by the executive producer Justin Sterkin. They wanted to do a Porn Star Babylon. I think the president of the network, Brian Graydon, thought it was too risque and they countered with Centerfold Babylon.

"I began on the show in in mid-April.

"I was working on the editor of AVN Online (2001-2002). My past experience is primarily as a music journalist. I was asked to be a talking head on The Garbage Behind The Music episode.

"While I was there, I asked the producer how does someone get involved with VH1. He told me who to send my resume to. Coincidentally, they were staffing for a show called Ultimate Albums. People who were working on the show knew who I was."

Luke: "What surprised you in doing this show?"

Erik: "Nothing. I was touched by the naivete of the girls that do it. It was hard for me not to be judgmental. I wanted to tell them that if they wanted to, they had other choices. But I had to stay above the fray.

"A lot of them know exactly what they're doing. I don't think Teri Weigel thinks of herself as a victim. She feels comfortable about what she's doing.

"For every one of those stories you hear about how I was raped as a kid, molested, and I had no choice, there are those who chose. With the success of people like Jenna Jameson, and the mainstream acceptance of porn, it's become a business proposition for a lot of girls.

"If you look at sites like www.suicidegirls.com. I wish we could've done something with them. It's an alternative to the mainstream. They're keeping the pinup alive even though it's a niche oriented site. It's girls with tattoos and piercings, but it's done in an artsy way. It's not totally titillating but it's a popular site with kids of a certain generation. The girls feel empowered by it because they have a lot of control over the shoots. It doesn't have to be exploitation."

Luke: "You didn't mention in the documentary that Penthouse has gone bankrupt."

Erik: "We didn't learn that until the end of the production. We couldn't find a smooth way of describing it other than to talk in a general way that the magazines are in trouble and the centerfold is passe. It's all about the Internet and it's all about porn now."

Luke: "Did you get to interview any of the women who'd been meaningful to you when you were a teenager?"

Erik: "I was never a big porn fan. I was never a big Playboy or Penthouse fan. I know people in the office would see some of the girls like Cheryl Rixon or Teri Welles and they'd remember them. Personally, there was never that vicarious thrill. Even when I worked in that business, I never talked to the girls. This is my first experience with it.

"I guess I knew the right phone numbers. I think they asked me to do it partially because of my experience in the adult business. When I was in the adult business, I was chained to my desk."

Luke: "What was your role in this documentary?"

Erik: "I was the producer and writer."

Luke: "What was lost when the show went from 120 to 90 minutes?"

Erik: "There was an act on the attraction between rock stars and centerfolds and nude models. And an act on girls who'd been scandalized in the media and turned to Playboy and Penthouse to extend their fame (Elizabeth Ray, Jessica Hahn, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones)."

Luke: "Do you feel sad that Penthouse has gone out of business?"

Erik: "My heart's in publishing. I feel sad when any magazine goes out of business and people lose jobs. Penthouse has a history. Bob Guccione was the Larry Flynt of his day. He opened a lot of doors. There was no pubic hair before Bob Guccione came along and he forced Hefner to reconsider his stance. For a while, there was a battle. That's another thing we lost on the show. The early battle between Penthouse and Playboy got cut as well as a Betty Page segment. A bunch of the history got pulled."

Luke: "Which interviews did you enjoy the most?"

Erik: "I had a great time with Bebe Buell. She's had such an interesting life. She's the prototype rockno'roll groupie. She was the model for Penny Lane in the movie Almost Famous. She's been around for 30 years.

"I enjoyed talking to Julie Strain. She had such a good attitude. She took it for what it was and she ran with it. She got into B movies. She started in Penthouse and now has a Playboy show, Sex Court. She married well."

Luke: "What percentage of the girls see it for what it is and are happy with their choice?"

Erik: "About half of them. It's such an unusual profession, so exposed, you can not know what you are getting into. I did some naivete but, maybe I'm wrong, but I think they know what they're getting into."

Luke: "If they are naive, it's willful naivete."

Erik: "It's a crapshoot."

Luke: "What struck me from the show is that these girls are so lazy that they think that after doing a Penthouse or Playboy layout, these magazines owe them a living."

Erik: "True. That's part of it. It is an easy profession. Their selling point is their attractiveness but as Ken Marcus said, 'If you can't act, you're not going to be a movie star.' If all you can do is take your clothes off and look pretty when you pose, that's as far as your career is going to go."

Luke: "On the other hand, by doing a centerfold, they've forever altered their position in the general workplace."

Erik: "In most cases, they have. There are a few who've made a profession out of it - Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson, Julie Strain... But you do have to work it. It's not like sitting at Schwab's drug store waiting to be discovered. Even Tera Patrick was smart. She's like the multi-national corporation. She started with the magazines, then did porn, but kept her foot in the magazines. She had her own show on Playboy."

Luke: "Tera and Alex Arden came across as particularly photogenic."

Erik: "Alex Arden was great. I had no idea that she was going to be so honest. I picked her because she was a recent Pet and she had an interesting look about her. She just opened up. I had no idea."

Luke: "Becoming a centerfold creates a flow that carries you into a certain stream? It forever changes your life."

Erik: "There's this inertia that carries you on. It's so interchangeable now. A lot of strippers want to be centerfolds to make more money on the road. It's the same with porn stars. They all use it to enhance another aspect of their career. It seems that there are few who do a centerfold and that's it.

"The Playboy models stay out of the fray. They get married. They have low level modeling careers. We found a few Playmates who had gone astray. With Penthouse, it's all a blur. They will photograph porn stars.

"I think someone will buy Penthouse on the cheap. It's a solid brand name."

Luke: "How did you choose Monica to profile? What's the latest on her?"

Erik: "We followed several girls, all of whom were suggested by Earl Miller or Suze Randall. Her [stage] name is Monica Temptem. Last I heard she was back stripping in Amarillo, as well as doing internet porn and asphyxiation videos. Apparently, the Japanese love to see pretty blond American girls pretend to be killed.

"We followed all the girls with the hope that they would be selected as a Penthouse Pet. None of them were, and Monica seemed the most interesting in a car crash sort of way."

From VH1.com:

From the moment an obscure magazine called Playboy unearthed its ripened chromes of Marilyn Monroe in 1953, the centerfold girl has occupied an exceedingly warm place in the loins of the red-blooded male; they're as enduringly American as a pack of Trojan ribbed condoms.

The women who grace centerfolds become an object of desire for the month they're on the newsstands, but what happens to Miss July when October rolls around? Centerfold Babylon is a 90-minute documentary that will undress the nude modeling industry to reveal the life-changing odyssey of girls who take their clothes off for money and their hopes, their dreams, the lengths (surgical, pharmaceutical, sexual) they will go in order to land in the pages of Playboy or Penthouse.

Centerfold Babylon will get under the skin of former Playmates and Pets to reveal that membership in the flesh trade comes at a heavy cost. For every Pamela Anderson who finds mainstream fame, there's a Teri Weigel or Victoria Zdrok, who unceremoniously vacate Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion for the cold beds and hot lights of hardcore pornography. Others have turned to prostitution, drugs or suicide to cope with a life where their objectification is their most marketable skill.

Throughout the program, we will follow Monica, a stripper from Amarillo, Texas, as she follows her own centerfold dreams.

Centerfold Babylon is a 90-minute journey that strips away all the layers of pinup culture -- from the glamour to the gutter.

Those who appear in the show include former Playboy Playmates Angela Melini, Teri Weigel, Rebecca Ferratti, Terri Welles, Victoria Zdrok, Linn Thomas, Bebe Buell, Rebekka Armstrong and Devin Devasquez. Featured Penthouse Pets include Julie Strain, Cheryl Rixon, Alex Arden, Aria Giovanni, Sunny Leone and Tera Patrick. Photographers interviewed include Playboy's David Mecey and Ken Marcus. Penthouse is represented by Earl Miller. Authors Legs McNeil and Luke Ford are featured as well. Former Playboy executive Cindy Rakowitz also chimes in, as do adult performers Ginger Lynn and Sharon Mitchell.


Internet porn is everywhere; even “nice” guys are hooked. So where does that leave their girlfriends?

This story by novelist David Amsden reads too rivetingly to be factual. There's no disclaimer about changing names. What other details aside from names were invented? I have reason to be suspicious. The material is too gripping. How could he be inside a therapist's office?

Fred writes: This article is written in the sort of anecdotal style one would find in a woman's magazine, e.g. like a typical Cosmo article.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, in Orlando, Florida, I lived with a Jewish woman ten years older than me. We were together a turbulent few months and then I moved out.

So why do I bring this up? I was checking in with my voice mail service tonight. And when I punched in my security code, I remembered that it's the street number I used to live on with my ex. Ever since then, I've used that number for various combinations for the stuff in my life most important to me.

Out of the blue, she called me four years ago wanting a cover that she had sewn me for a Bible. I didn't have it. It was home with my parents.

Jews, Why The Violence?

Gregg Esterbrook, a mainstream Protestant, writes:

Is Quentin Tarantino the single greatest phony in the history of Hollywood? I realize that's saying a lot--about Hollywood, not him. But it's the sole explanation I can think of to explain his bizarre prominence.

All of Tarantino's work is pure junk. How can you be a renowned director without ever having made a film that's even good, to say nothing of great? No film student in 50 years will spend a single second with a Tarantino movie, except to shake his or her head.

Tarantino does nothing but churn out shabby depictions of slaughter as a form of pleasure--and that, for decades, has been what the least imaginative and least talented of Hollywood churn out.

Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can't possibly miss the message--now Disney's message--that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.

Ok To Do Violence Against Modern Orthodox?

During this season of our joy, I discussed with friends if it were a good idea for the ultra-Orthodox to use violence against the Modern Orthodox to encourage them to be more observant of Jewish Law.

If a crowd of religious Jews bent on violence arrived at my doorstep and demanded that I bring out the strangers, I'd gladly hand over Dave Deutsch and Chaim Amalek as the true threats to Jewish youth.

Dave Deutsch replies: "The fact that you would presume that a crowd of frum Jews intent on extirpating a threat to Jewish youth would arrive at your doorstep looking for someone else only makes me love you more.

"It's great to see you challenging yourself as a writer and thinker, and diversifying from your usual screeds about Jews and sex."

Dennis Prager, Etc

First line in Dennis Prager's interview with Johnathan Chait, editor of The New Republic.

Dennis: "Let me tell you about me. I've subscribed to TNR for more than 35 years."

Sgil46: There was a certain smarminess about chait's delivery that DP was too polite to comment upon. That's one of the things that his "good" host behavior works against. Why not say "why the smug delivery?" Is your enjoyment of schadenfreude so immense you can't contain yourself on national radio? That's the kind of problem we witness on national TV on a daily basis whenever a conservative or even a non-political but popular figure get in a tight position. Aren't you a little embarrassed?"

DP on Rush Limbaugh's addiction to pain killers: What Rush did was not immoral, it was illegal. It's a tragedy. Rush had a failed back surgery. Unsurprisingly, he became addicted to pain killers.

When you're a conservative, and you do something personally inconsistent with conservative ideals, you're tagged as a hypocrite. Liberals don't stand for personal standards, thus they can't be called hypocrites. If Howard Stern were hooked on painkillers, nobody would say he was a hypocrite.

If Rush spent his time attacking people addicted to painkillers, he'd be a hypocrite. There's no comparison between heroin and painkillers.

What Rush did was unwise. He should've gone public with it. It would've been a good cause for him to take up.

How do you work for someone for four years (Rush's housekeeper), and then snitch on him? She must've sold out for money.

I read the Newsweek cover story and felt sorry for Rush. He leads a lonely life.

Dave Deutsch writes:

Prager's comments, like those of Drudge and Co. below (don't worry, you're still #1 blogger in my book; I only started looking at his because you said he was bashing the Bush administration) are yet more evidence of the fact that conservatives, despite their pretensions of integrity and responsibility, are just as weaselly as anyone when it comes to avoiding blame for their own. Liberals can't be accused of hypocrisy because they have no standards? That’s absurd. Liberals, like anyone, can be accused of hypocrisy when their actions contradict the positions they advocate, whatever they are. When Carl Rowan, liberal pundit and gun-control advocate, shot an intruder in his backyard back in the '80's, he was being a hypocrite. When Bill Clinton cheated on his wife, after he signed into law something called "The Defense of Marriage Act," he was being a hypocrite. When liberal advocates of open-mindedness refuse to condemn PC speech codes, they are being hypocrites. Liberals may advocate for different things, but its just childish name-calling to say they have no standards. It is also illogical--to be a liberal means you must advocate certain beliefs--the beliefs that define liberalism. If that weren't the case, then you couldn't call anyone a liberal. So obviously they have certain standards.

More to the point, Prager tries to exonerate Limbaugh by saying that painkillers aren't like heroin. As a matter of fact, Oxycontin is exactly like heroin. It is an incredibly powerful synthetic opiate that has roughly the same effect on the body as heroin, and is seen as a gateway to heroin use.

Limbaugh is a drug addict. I'm not going to criticize or mock him for that; drug addiction is sad. But he is a man who has made his living being rude and unforgiving to others. Like Dr. Laura and Sean Hannity, and others, he has played his part in helping to destroy civility in our society, to replace dialogue with invective, and empathy with derision. He has called for drug users to be punished severely and without mercy. Let's rephrase that--he has called for drug addicts, no less sad or in need of help than him, to be punished severely and without mercy. He has a powerful forum, he could have used that forum to call for rehab instead of incarceration. He could have done a lot for people no less deserving of sympathy than him. Instead, he chose to denigrate and criticize those who failed to live up to the standards he pretended to. Apparently, when Jerry Garcia died, he referred to him as "just a dead doper." Now, I'm not a fan of Jerry Garcia, but should Rush Limbaugh be treated with more respect than he treats other? Mida k'neged mida. Measure for measure. Everyone engages in moments of hypocrisy in their lives. But in Limbaugh's case, his public life was one big act of hypocrisy, in which he put himself forward as some sort of paragon of decency, while at the same time casting scorn on those who fell below the standards he claimed. He chose to live that way; now he has to live with the consequences. The real question is whether he will learn anything from this. I wish him complete physical recovery. But I also wish him a spiritual recovery as well, and hope that he comes back from this a more humble, and decent man.

Oh, and catch Drudge and Co. heaping praise on Rush--so forthright and courageous to admit he was going into rehab. I'm quite sure he checked with his lawyer beforehand--and his PR people. after all, at this point, he's not admitting to anything the cops and prosecutors don't already know. How is that courageous? It seems like a shrewd move to appear contrite and ashamed in preparation for whatever legal travails he has yet to face--"Your honor, my client has publicly admitted his drug problem, and took steps on his own to confront that problem. Surely you can see that he poses no further risk to society..." and so forth. Oddly enough, according to accounts, he had gone into rehab twice before. Why was it that he didn't courageously announce those times on the air? Oh, that's right--because his addiction hadn't been made public, and he wasn't already the target of a criminal investigation. Yes, we all have a lot to learn about integrity from this episode.


Luke: I saw myself on VH1 Sunday night (I appear three times in the first 20 minutes) and thought I looked old, wrinkled and debauched. I spoke in that monotone I use whenever I'm on TV or the radio. I wish I could be more life-like.

Nicholas writes:

How do you know the girl in the picture is really Cecile du Bois? How do you know Cecile even exists? After the whole Randy Swanson erotica scandal, I'm on high alert. "Cecile" is probably a figment of Luke Ford's disturbed imagination. The picture looks fake to me. The odds expressions and hand positions -- it looks like something created in Photoshop. Besides, who ever heard of a 14 year old that reads Defoe, Flaubert, et al? When I was 14 I was still playing with my G.I. Joe "dolls."

Apparently anytime Luke Ford is mentioned somewhere on the Internet, he cuts and pastes these comments (complete with spelling and grammatical errors) and sticks them on his vanity website. He is obviously trying to drive traffic to a (relatively) unflattering picture of Miss Seipp. Unrequited love and the terror of permanent bachelorhood have pushed Mr Ford toward behaviour that suggests misogyny (women are very sensitive about these sort of things) thus offering further proof, as if it was needed, that he lied about his extremely high empathy quotient.

Cecile du Bois writes: "Yes, Luke Ford may have vanity problems and whatnot, but he's not purposely posting comments for himself. He's trying to offer different perspectives other than his own so people won't always see him in his own light. Also I understand why some people may think I'm a figment of Luke Fords imagination, but after the Randy Swanson experience, people can see similarities between Luke's and "Randy's" blog. As my mother says in her blog entry about the incident about me outing myself as Randy, she sees that I was inspired by Luke Ford so therefore I used that for my alter ego Randy Swanson. Mom says that I had a different voice, but obviously influenced by the bachelor drone of Luke's. That way, people tend to believe that Luke Ford is in charge of Randy's blog as well as mine and that's not the truth. I was inspired by Luke Ford by his eccentric ways as I, like my mother find them formidable. If anyone doubts me then they can see me themselves. Just come on over!"

About the Anthony Pellicano case, XXX writes: The feds know a good thing when they see it, and they swept up a ton of printouts when they found the explosives. The amazing stuff is how much Pellicano did on hollywood divorces. The feds are frothing at the mouth to get this stuff in the public record and get the press.

Jewish Journal Singles Columnists Speak At Friday Night Live

Over 1000 single young Jews crowded into Temple Sinai in Westwood October 10 for Rabbi David Wolpe's spectacularly successful Friday Night Live.

After the service, shortly after 9PM, I walked into a side hall and spied columnist Teresa Strasser who wrote an October 3 cover story about "seeking forgiveness in freakland."

She'd called an ex-boyfriend "small...down there."

As someone who has suffered from similar insults, I felt his pain.

At my shul last Shabbos, I was asked by an angry mother and daughter what I thought of Strasser's Yom Kippur piece. I said it was great writing. They said it was filth.

I tell Teresa I defended her. She's talking to a friend from high school ( married with two kids) about the loser who wrote in Teresa's high school yearbook "UR UGLY."

Other panelists include Mark Miller, J.D. Smith and Carin Davis. Their writing usually annoys me.

The rabbi repeatedly calls for Carin to join the panel up front. She makes a diva entrance.

Teresa wisely says she has no wisdom to dispense on relationships (her writing's great descriptively, not prescriptively). Neither do any of the other writers. They're all funny, flip, and shallow.

J.D. and Teresa are always in good tase. Teresa is even kind at times. Mark is raunchy and Carin can't stop talking about sex. A strange choice for a public conversation with Rabbi Wolpe in a shul.

Near the end, when the rabbi asks them if they want to plug any projects, Carin says she "works as a stripper at the Body Shop on Sunset on Friday and Saturday nights and please come down and leave a big tip."

Asked about the differences between dates one, two, three and four, Carin says "the sex gets better."

I fell in love with Strasser shortly after reading her first columns in the Journal about nine years ago. I felt she was my soulmate. Luckily I've never told her this. I suspect she'd find it creepy.

Asked by the rabbi if she'd ever dated someone she'd met through her column, Teresa said, "God no."

I love Teresa's writing for its courage, honesty and ability to reveal life. And she's totally hot looking too. Shame she's not Orthodox. Not that Rabbi Yitzhock Adlerstein hasn't tried (who we both adore).

Carin says it's fine for strong confident women like herself to ask men out.

A man dressed in jeans and a schlumpy sweater, unshaved and unkempt, complained he goes to every Jewish singles event under the sun and he can never land a girlfriend.

Teresa: "I can't imagine why."

University of Judaism instructor Brian Fox asks the rabbi and panel what the Jewish tradition has to say about relationships, rather a big question to be asked on a quick-hitting evening. Unsurprisingly, the panel has little to say.

I was surprised Rabbi Wolpe wasn't able to elicit deeper answers from the panelists but perhaps they had no depth to plumb.

The Searchers

Last week I watched this 1956 John Ford film starring John Wayne and I was struck by how racially conscious it was.

The Wayne character, Ethan Edwards, is ready to kill his niece when he sees she's gone Commanche and might carry Commanche spawn.

Jim Beaver writes on IMDB.com: "Ethan Edwards, returned from the Civil War to the Texas ranch of his brother, hopes to find a home with his family and to be near the woman he obviously but secretly loves. But a Comanche raid destroys these plans, and Ethan sets out, along with his half-breed nephew Martin, on a years-long journey to find the niece kidnapped by the Indians under Chief Scar. But as the quest goes on, Martin begins to realize that his uncle's hatred for the Indians is beginning to spill over onto his now-assimilated niece. Martin becomes uncertain whether Ethan plans to rescue Debbie...or kill her."

Laursene writes: [T]he movie is so profoundly racist that it's hard to sit through. The worst scene is the one where Edwards visits a group of young women "rescued" from the Indians. They're protrayed as gibbering lunatics, as though that's automatically the fate of any female who adopts a Native American culture. Wayne's racist glare at them to close the scene is no worse than the racist implication of the filmmakers that red and white don't mix. Scar is the usual Evil Red Man. The "squaw" who gets attached to Pawley is condescended to excruciatingly.

John Myers writes: John Wayne has one of his finest roles in playing the tragic, vengeful, and bigoted Ethan Edwards. Ethan has trouble reconciling the fact that his niece Debbie, who has been captured by the Comanche chief Scar, will be raised by the Comanche and eventually become a Comanche 'Squaw'. Such a thing is too much for him to bear, and he figures Debbie is better off dead. But Ethan finds some humanity in the end when he lifts a frightened Debbie high in the air, then takes her in his arms and says 'Let's go home Debbie.' Interestingly enough, Ethan picked Debbie up in a similar manner five years earlier when he has returned home after being away for so long. Perhaps it is this memory of a little girl that triggers the tenderness in him when he finally catches up to her in the end.

Sex is a Drug and I'm an Addict

You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life. So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to sex.

Immediately following this blog, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive activity has on me.

At the present time, the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete.

I started having sex some years ago after a doctor prescribed it following psycho-therapy. My narcissism persisted, so I kept having sex and became hooked.

Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on sex and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.

Touched By A Woman

I'm pitching the networks for a new TV show where nerdy nebishy Orthodox men like me get touched by a woman for the first time in months. Watch the moral struggle that ensues as they pit duty against desire.

I had to pay $13:50 for the privilege today at Supercuts. One of the little talked about side benefits of a haircut is when you get a woman who will let you rest your head in her bosom while she rubs your head and gives you a blowdry. Today's was so good I left a $2 tip and shelled out $55 for the anti-hair thinning kit, at 29% off, with the free follicle booster.

She was a round, sweet latina.

As I walked in my gate, a neighbor told me, "Nice lulav, Levi."

I'd just picked it up from shul.

Many people say I have the firmest lulav in town, and a round ripe etrog filled with seeds. All Jews who would like to do a big mitzvah during this season of our joy are welcome to step inside my succah and I will guide you in the blessing and the shake.

All Jews should have a rockin' Hoshanah Rabbah, a merry Shemini Atzeret and a drunken Simchat Torah.

And from now on, either address me as "My Moral Leader," or "The Hebrew Hammer."

The Hebrew Hammer

That nickname has haunted me for my 11 years in Jewish life. It's the price of being a Talmudic prodigy.

Thursday evening I arise from my sickbed, slip on my slick black suit, and drive to the University of Judaism, parking way up top, near the dorms, hoping nobody will see my van and laugh at me.

I walk in five minutes early. Do I have a sore throat? No. Headache? No. Fatigue? A bit. How am I sick? I've felt hammered all week. Just that general knocked down feeling kicked off with three of an onrushing sore throat.

I have visions of lifting myself out of my slump, connecting at tonight's event, and going on to bigger and better things that I loll over in my mind at great detail.

If only I had as much passion for Torah as I do for women.

I wonder if married people are having sex tonight or are they saving it for the Sabbath. I always hesitate to knock on the door of my married friends because I expect they're in the bath tub going at it.

"Hi Luke," says the nice Jewish female administrator who hands me my ticket.

It's lovely to be greeted by name. I respond playfully: "Are you staying out of trouble?"

That's my ironic remark based on some of my misplaced past energies that did not rebound to her benefit.

"I'm a wife and a mother," she replies. "How could I get into trouble?"

I walk into the auditorium and scan for babes. I see a handful I want to get to know better and a lot of people I have little desire to talk to.

My friend Adam walks up. "I recognized your frightening form from behind," he says, and pats my stomach.

"Putting on weight?" he asks.

And here I thought days of illness, and weeks of adjusted medication, had taken off the excess pounds of the past five months. No such luck.

The only scales I've used in the last eight months are, as of three weeks ago, no longer in my life.

I sit by two girls I know. They don't like the mechitza (partition in Orthodox synagogues that divides men from women during prayer).

I spot Jewish Journal reporter David Finnigan. Solemn, seemingly literal-minded, a married Roman Catholic who keeps appearing at all the Jewish singles events I've attended for the past two months, he appears an odd choice to cover the screening of the first Jewish exploitation film (The Hebrew Hammer). But he's a heckuva reporter, better than most of the hacks who've written for the Journal over the past ten years.

Gina writes on Imdb.com about The Hebrew Hammer: "I say guilty pleasure because this is the sort of film you feel like you should NEVER laugh at, but what makes it ok is that the characters laugh at themselves before anyone else can. In the tradition of the "blaxploitation" films of the '70s comes a "jewsplotaition" farce about the efforts of Goldberg's Mordechai, a "Semitic super stud," to stop Santa's malevolent son (the wacky, hysterical Dick) from erasing Christmas competition from the calendar. It's risky and will probably offend 80% of its target audience. Woohoo!"

The youngish audience and I enjoy the film.

Half the crowd (including the two blondes next to me) streams out after the movie, skipping the panel discussion for the deserts. There are hardly any left when I arrive. It's probably a good thing. I should not eat deserts when I try to pick up chicks because I tend to get all messy and sticky.

Rob Eshman, Journal editor, moderates a panel afterwards.

Director Johnathan Kesselman writes his own introduction for Rob to read. "Johnathan is single... He enjoys walks on the beach...and 1980's pornography and 1980's pornography and staying home with good hand lotion..."

A psych major, Kesselman has worked as in information data management (computers?) since college. His brother Josh produced the film with $1.3 million dollars arranged by Ed Pressman.

John's mom is in the audience wearing a big Hebrew Hammer t-shirt.

John explains his erratic speech pattern on "too much coffe and three beers."

Ed's on the panel. He's bald and wears horn-rimmed glasses. He's the classic Jewish nerd. Slow speaking, deliberate, quiet, dweeby, nebishy, it's hard to believe he's a big Hollywood producer. He inherited a ton of money and has shown at times good taste in material. He's married to a shiksa (Annie Pressman) who plays the teacher in the movie that torments young Mordy.

Also on the panel: Jim Petersmith (skinhead bartender), Grant Rosenmeyer (young Mordecai), Sean Whalen (Tiny Tim), Adam Goldberg (the lead Mordechai Jefferson Carver).

I would've liked to have seen in the flesh the female lead Judy Greer (Esther), who keeps the Hammer satisfied throughout the movie.

Eshman gets off the funniest line of the night.

Ed talks about screening the film in Utah for Mormons.

Rob: "Did they think it was a documentary?"

Ed explains the Kesselman turned down a more lucrative offer than his to keep control of the project. It was shot on 33 locations in 22 days in New York City. They worried that Orthodox Jews would disrupt the shooting. They hired security. There was no need to worry. The Orthodox apparently got a kick out the shoot.

Adam Goldberg's dad contributed much of the crafts service because he works as a food wholesaler.

Adam Goldberg (mother is not Jewish) mumbles and stumbles. Adam and John and Sean whisper among themselves and crack themselves up. They're probably funnier than when they speak into the microphone.

Panel discussions are hard to do right. You can't get a good flow going. It's start and stop and mumble.

Adam is asked if he considered covering up his tattoos for the film. Adam says it was considered but they figured that if the lead was going to kill people and have premarital sex, what were a few tattoos?

The Hebrew Hammer won the Berlin Jewish Film Festival (beating out three other films?).

Eshman calls on David Finnigan.

Rob: "Hey."

David: "Hey."

Finnigan asks a serious question.

Pressman: "Jews are the new blacks."

Ed says the movie will show in theaters in 25 major markets in the next few months and then on Comedy Central in its first theatrical pickup. Ed drones on about distribution.

Pressman says the most hostile reactions to the film come from elderly Jewish audiences.

Eshman comments on the transformation of the cool Mordecai in the title sequence to the nebish in his office. "Scratch any Jew and you get a neurotic."

During the movie, Tiny Tim drifts in and out of Cockney accent. Much of his work with Andy Dick is improvised. Because of one line about the two of them sleeping together, the movie was invited to various gay and lesbian film festivals.

Johnathan says the film went over big in Israel. He thinks there'd be better chances for peace if Jews and Arabs in the Middle East used deoderant.

Sean says they've developed a drink called The Hebrew Hammer - Manischewitz and vodka. Goes down sweet but hammers you in the morning.

The film stars Melvin Van Peebles (who brought his own costumes), whose dad invented blaxploitation.

A mini-rock star, Rob Eshman seems to be a center of attention wherever he goes in Jewish life.

I leave before 10PM. It's raining. My windshield wipers don't work. I use a Coffee Bean napkin to wipe the water off my windshield.

As I maneuver out of my parking spot, I see two Jewish women making merry over my van. Is that derision in their faces?

As I've added to my pharmacological repertoire over the past six months, I've experienced increased feelings of terror when I drive. My life is filled with horrific car accidents that never happen.

I go home on the 405 at 45 mph peering through the flood on my windshield for the white lines to stay in my lane through the drizzle. I talk into my new digital tape recorder.

Friend from shul writes Luke: "hey, missed you on Monday, haven't seen you on the way to the library at all. Was that neo-con purim book that disturbing that you have left orthodoxy and moved back to Australia, or was it so inspiring that you have moved to Israel and become a soldier? hope you're OK. did you go to another shul on YK, you didn't miss much at...., lots of singing and crying. hope to see you this weekend."

Hey, I am a part of a community after all.

I watch Summer of '42. I first fell in love at 15 (but did not lose my innocence until 21). I identify with the lanky awkward teenager buying his first pack of condoms. Like that for me too at 15. And the longing for the older woman with a boyfriend. And just the general longing. And the ocean and the pounding surf with the classical music in the background.

My best friend in high school was getting it all the time. And my friends called me a "virgin" and a "homo." The former was true.

I think 50% of the trick with women, and life, is just showing up. You go to enough events, you talk to enough women, you inevitably find chemistry with one, and then off you go. And the way you meet is the way you date is the way you relate is the way you marry. And when the sex goes, the relationship goes. No relationship I've had has ever survived that.

When I was sick, I was asked by friends if I needed anything. I have only one need, and it is against the Torah for me to fulfill it without marriage.

My DVD of Summer of '42 konks out at the end, freezes just before the love scene. Then only bits play normally, a few fragments of dialogue, and I never get the satisfying concluding four scenes in full.

So I look at the freeze frame of the protagonist reading a letter from his older love against a backdrop of an old wooden house and the sea and I fill in the gaps in the film and I see myself.

Tom Fowler writes on Imdb.com:

This film touched me in an odd way. Perhaps it is because I waited 30 years to view it and see so much of the young guy I used to be in Hermie that it is sort of frightening. One shouldn't look too deeply into a mirror of any kind. Most people reading this are going to be familiar with this old and well known story. Three young boys, all 15 years of age, are spending a boring summer on a vacation island in the summer of 1942. The lovely Dorothy, 22 years old and her husband away fighting the war, is hauntingly played by Jennifer O'Neill, fresh and very beautiful in the summer of 1972 when this film was enjoying it's impressive run in the nation's theaters. Dorothy lives alone and Hermie injects himself into her life, carrying groceries and performing odd jobs around her home. Director Robert Mulligan was wise not let us get to know Dorothy too well, as this allows us to feel the same mystique regarding her as Hermie feels, and it is through his eyes the key parts of this fine film are presented.

Hermie was smitten with Dorothy from the beginning, but we are never allowed to think the feelings were reciprocated, much to Mulligan's credit, for Summer of 42 could very easily have been turned into something sleazy without his skillful and understated direction. Throughout the film, we see a view of the world through 15 year old male eyes. Life and love are overwhelming mysteries at that age and we are somewhat comforted by the fact that it is not until deep into the film that Dorothy, shocked and grief stricken by the telegram informing of her soldier husband's death, succumbs to a temporary but very intense emotion and introduces Hermie to a world he has only dreamt about. Everything comes with cost and we see Hermie and his buddies, themselves introduced to the world of females and relationships during this long summer, at film's end retreating back, for the precious time they have left for it, into the safety of childhood and teenage concerns. Perhaps this film worked as well as it did because of the presence of Ms. O'Neill. Her personal problems and anguish are well documented, and one wonders if some of this did not show up onscreen at this very early time in her life? An element of sadness hangs over Summer of 42 to this day. Robert Mulligan could not sustain the promise of this film and The Others, a little known but wonderful film made during the same general time period,. Gary Grimes never had another Hermie role and certainly Ms. O'Neill never realized her vast potential nor ever again reached the excellence she did as Dorothy. Who knows, perhaps art did imitate life to come and that is what gives Summer of 42 its well deserved reputation.

Luke Ford's Hidden Work On Behalf Of Legal Mexican Immigrants

Dave Deutsch writes: A few weeks ago I made comments regarding you and immigrants, and you responded that you were only opposed to illegal immigration. I apologize for not appreciating the respect you have for legal Latino immigrants. Somehow, I missed that in your writing on the subject of immigration. I didn't get it until I read the attached article; I get it now. Please accept my apology.

Luke Ford Exposed

He’s been said to have “calm of the Dalai Lama, and the charm of David Niven,” but lately, Luke Ford’s apple has definitely lost its blush. Whispers following recent appearances by the former male model manqué once known as the “glossy Aussie” hint that his increasingly erratic behavior and physical deterioration are signs of some sort of severe mental and/or physical condition—most likely syphilis. A phone call from a close personal friend of Ford’s, however, suggested a different reason. “Luke is distraught,” revealed my source, one of the coterie of distaff journalists who flock around the handsome expat, “It’s all because of David Deutsch. Deutsch is a funny guy, but sometimes, he goes too far. And his comments regarding Luke and Mexican immigrants are just way off base. He cares so much for legal Mexican immigrants, and Deutsch’s comments really hurt him, but he’s too much of a tsaddik to talk about all that he does for them.”

This reporter, for one, was dubious. Luke Ford, caring about Mexican immigrants? Luke Ford, who, after one wag dubbed him “the kosher Pat Buchanan,” quipped “No, he’s the treyfe Luke Ford?”

“I know it seems hard to believe,” I was told. “But don’t take my word for it. Go to Boyle Heights and ask around.”

Still waiting for the punchline, I did just that. Hungry, and hoping to kill two birds with one stone, I stopped by the unassuming Gonzalez Taqueria, and found myself eating the best burrito I ever had. I informed the gentleman behind the counter who I assumed to be Mr. Gonzalez of that fact, and was stunned by his answer.

“Gracias, but don’t thank me. I owe it all to my friend, Senor Luke.”

“Not Luke Ford?” I inquired.

When he heard the name, his face lit up. “Si, si, you know Senor Luke? He’s an amazing Mexican chef, and he not only showed me how to make this burrito, he got me to switch from lard to vegetable oil.”

He turned to show me his profile. “I’ve lost 50 pounds. And he provides the kosher certification.”

He pointed to the wall, and sure enough, there was a certificate bearing Luke’s own kosher symbol, the “Porn K,” a silhouette of a well-endowed young woman with a “K” in the middle.

I asked the gentleman if Luke’s position on illegal aliens bothered him. “Bother me?” he exploded. “It’s because Luke cares so much about us legals that he feels that way. Look, there used to be this woman who sold food from a cart down the block from my tacqueria. She paid no taxes, she paid no rent—she was killing my business. Luke called a contact of his in La Migra, and the next day, she was gone. He’s a savior, and I’m not the only one who says so. Go over to Gonzalez Garage and ask them about Luke.”

I did just that. As I entered, the crowd of vatos working on the low-riders started to size me up, and it was clear that they found me wanting. It was an uncomfortable moment, until I mentioned Luke’s name.

“Ese, you asking about El Jefe? Why didn’t you say so,” said the group’s apparent leader, a young man named Chino who, unlike his peers, had no tattoos. “El Jefe is our man. When I was in prison, Luke came around to counsel us—he’s the one who convinced me that it was wrong to make marks in my flesh, and paid for my tattoo remova. And when I got out, and I couldn’t get a job because employers would rather higher a damn illegal than an ex-con, Luke talked to his peeps in the industry and got me a job as a key grip, and now I’m learning to be a best boy, so I’ll be an’ effin’ double-threat. You wanna know how we feel about El Jefe? Look around this garage. What kind of cars we drive?”

I looked around, took it in, and he smiled, proudly. “That’s right…all Fords. But hey, you really wanna get the 411 on him, check out the Gonzalez School for Children of Legal Immigrants. El Jefe is probably there right now.”

And indeed, he was, but by the time I got there, he was absent. Fulsome praise for Mr. Ford, however, was definitely in attendance. The school’s headmaster, Jorge Ochocoa told me that without Luke, the school wouldn’t even exist. “These are children who weren’t being served by the public schools. Not only were those schools understaffed and ungodly, but the children of illegal aliens were taking all the good education. By the time it came around to these kids, all that was left were gerunds and antonyms. How are they going to succeed with that? But El Angel—that’s what we call Luke here—arranged with somebody in his synagogue to donate this old building as a tax write off—he was going to burn it for the insurance money, anyway, and, until we could raise the money, Luke taught the kids.”

Luke Ford, teacher? Even after all I’d heard, I was skeptical…until Mr. Ochocoa showed me the pictures, and the awards Mr. Ford had won. “But you know, when Presidente Bush gave Mr. Ford this “Points of Light” award, Luke said to him. “Mr. President, you have it wrong. I’m not teaching them, they’re teaching me.”

As I drove away from Boyle Heights, I couldn’t help but thinking that all of us—and especially David Deutsch, whose support for illegal aliens may have something to do with allegations that he employs low-wage Dominicans in Washington Heights to grade papers for him—have a lot to learn from El Angel…Luke Ford.

Recall Punchline

Dave Deutsch writes: Of course, the real joke in the California recall is on all the lib-left celebrities who so eagerly strive for relevance by trying to inject themselves into the political arena at the highest level possible--schmoozing with the president, addressing congress, speechifying at various awards shows--while the celebrity who actually makes the biggest impact is the guy who simply agrees to submit to something which the former stars apparently can't imagine subjecting themselves to--the people's will (not to be confused with the People's Choice.)

A Missive from Reverend Peter Luther Christian, O.B.E.

Dear Luke:

You are quite right - these have been an eventful three years for me to say the least. I have been working in the lakes region of east-central Africa, helping to rebuild the social infrastructure that was destroyed in the wars between Hutu and Tutsi groups in Rwanda and Burundi. There is no better way to win a soul for Christ than to show someone that you care for them, no matter how poor, how attractive, how sick they are.

But then, you know this. Your latest writings show that you yearn for that which the Pharisees of your world will never give you - love and acceptance. And why should they? You are not rich, you are not powerful, you have no means by which to bestow on them anything that they value in their greedy lives. But there is something that you need that not even they possess - the love of Christ Jesus. I assure you, were you to join any proper Church, you would be cherished for just who you are. Your life's experiences would be viewed with amazement and keen interest for all that they can teach the professing Christian about what it is like "on the other side."

We Christians are praying for you. We pray that you will find the inner strength to rise from your sickbed and make a choice. Choose concern for the welfare of Luke Ford over the sarcasm and detached irony of the secular Jew. Choose the love of a caring religious community over the scorn of the rabbinate. Choose happiness over the Pharisitical pursuit of wealth. Choose Jesus.

Yours in Christian Piety and Faith,

The Reverend Peter Luther Christian, OBE

The Movies That Most Moved Me

* A Man For All Seasons (age 9) - A good man stands up for what he believes and sacrifices his life rather than violates his conscience. I found it stirring. I wanted to be good like Sir Thomas Moore.

* The Man From Snowy River (age 16) A wholesome young man conquers the Australian wild and the girl. What I want to be.

* An Officer and a Gentleman (age 16) A bad boy shapes up his life, finds love, success, and commitment. What I want to be.

* Crimes and Misdeameanors (age 25) God has eyes. Never forget that Luke.

* Annie Hall (27) The heartbreak of love lost. I see my good relationships that soured reflected in the film.

* Legends of the Fall (28) A troubled young man goes his own way. He's at times heroic, at times heartbreaking. Loses the woman he loves. Dies in an honorable fight with a bear.

* A Perfect World (37) An honorable criminal, a Christlike character (Kevin Costner) kidnaps a boy from his Jehovah Witness home (reminds me of my sheltered Adventist upbringing) and shows him the beauty of the wider world, and how to be a man, before dying a senseless death.

* Cinema Paradiso (37) A young man inspired by his local movie house, forsakes the love of his life for f success in the big city as a movie director. He has a series of fleeting relationships. Then his mom dies and he comes home and finds the love of his life has married and given birth to a beautiful daughter. See the director's cut.

* Walkabout (37) Filled me with nostalgia for Australia, for my youth, for adventure, for the untamed land, for awakening desires.

My all time most moving movies - Legends of the Fall (1994) and Cinema Paradiso (1989, and 2002 director's cut especially).

My favorite TV shows - Mary Tyler Moore, MASH, Sex in the City, Cheers.

What are the common themes in the movies and TV that move me? That life is good and worth taking seriously. The drive to prove oneself and become a hero. To find and keep love.

My Grasp On Community Remains Fragile

I did not make it to shul Monday, Yom Kippur, because I'm sick. I did not make it to any prayer session (minyan) this week. I don't think I've been missed. Nobody has inquired how I am (aside from the host of a break-the-fast party who I left a message Tuesday to explain my absence).

On the one hand, this is bad news, because it shows that I am not important to my community (because I can not be relied on in myriad ways). On the other hand, this is good news, because it gives me great freedom.

If I'm not held accountable, if I don't have to explain why I wrote what I wrote, or why I did not make it to morning minyan, I can go forth and sin mightily (not that this holds any appeal to me).

I read a frightening story the other day about a young man who fell down and broke his back in his apartment. Nobody checked on him for many days, by which time he was dehydrated and verging on death.

So what if I fell? Who would know? I remember eleven years ago, I was staying with my parents. They were gone for the weekend. I got up in the middle of the night and pulled something in my back. I flopped about on the floor, my back spasming. I couldn't get up. I started screaming out, "Help me, help me!"

It was 3AM. Nobody answered. After an hour or so, my back relaxed to the point where I could tumble into bed.

That memory frightens me. Bachelorhood frightens me. You feel dispensable.

Young single men are best suited for martyrdom.

I think that's what I seek most in a relationship - to feel needed.

I've never had a girlfriend make me feel deeply needed. I don't think any have said, "I need you." I'd rather hear that than "I love you." It would hold a more powerful sway over me.

My primary community may come from the Internet, perish the thought, from Horny Jenny and Webcam Girl81 who keep IMing me to check out their stimulating websites.

Inspired by Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas success, I'm developing a reality show for network TV wherein I report on Mafiosi and then dodge their attempts to hit me. That would make me feel important. Everybody wants to ride a white horse. That's why it doesn't bother me that most everyone I interview thinks their work lies at the center of the universe.

Time for me to pop a lithium, some anti-ADD stuff, half a tab of anti-anxiety med.

I was at Ralphs Tuesday. A three-year old sat in a shopping cart. He said to his mother, "Do you know how much I love you?"

"How much?" she asked.

"To the sky," he said.

For a several minutes, they went back and forth about how much they loved each other. They kissed.

In shul on shabbos, a mother cradled her five-year old boy. He liked to kiss her open-mouthed.

"How adorable," I said.

"What about with tongue?"

"That's going too far."

"I draw a different line than you do. I won't let him kiss me open-mouthed."

I have shaky boundaries.

On Sunday, I drove around with two producers from 60 Minutes.

"Shock me," one producer challenged me.

I began to sing:

Overnight dreams,
Dinner and wine
Saturday girls

I was never in love,
Never had the time
In my hustle and hurry world

Crying myself to sleep
Waking up lonely
I needed someone to hold me
Oh oh ooooh

It's such a crazy hometown
It can drag you down
Till you run out of dreams

So you party all night
To the music and light
Though you don't know
What happiness means

I was dancing in the dark with strangers
No love around me,
Till suddenly you found me, oh oh oooh

Girl, you're every woman in the world to me
You're my fantasy, you're my reality

I shocked him with my Air Supply song.

Luke's New Lines With The Ladies

"If 60 Minutes can come to my hovel, you can too."

Or, "Come see what sent Steve Kroft fleeing to Iraq."

Jewish High Holidays Crimp Trade

Flashman, the Jewish party goer, says the three top escorts in the country, who are also three of the top actresses in the world in their own way, tell him that because of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, the biz dropped 50% over the Jewish holidays. Why? Because the Jewish millionaires in New York, Las Vegas and Beverly Hills weren't spending as usual.

There were fewer shoots in LA during that time. Nobody wanted to shoot on Yom Kippur. A lot of the Gentile actresses couldn't understand it, and they had a hard time pronouncing "Rosh Hashanah" and "Yom Kippur."

Rejoice, ye righteous! If even the most dissolute can temper their wickedness on the Days of Awe, how much more so can the virtuous improve their daily behavior before the One who sees all.

Remembering Producer Edgar J. Scherick

Seth Raxton writes to me 9/21/03: Luke, I read your interview with Edgar Scherick last night. I worked for him in the mid-80's and enjoyed getting up to date on the his life, since it intersected with mine. Scherick discovered and was a mentor to two other producers, Michael Barnathan and John Solomon. His mother was Holly Solomon, one of the most well known art gallery owners in New York for decades. His father is a multi-millionaire named Horace Solomon.

Michael Barnathan has executive produced the Harry Potter films and Mr Solomon has been a Disney producer for years. They would be interesting subjects for a biography.

It was fascinating to read about Edgar's conversion to Catholicism. I remember at the time his secretary was a woman named Levine, but she was raised Catholic, her father having converted from Judaism. It's fascinating how these themes appear in people's lives.

John never had a relationship with Edgar. I don't believe Edgar ever liked him. Scott Rudin's relationship with Edgar ended abruptly and permanently when he left Scherick and Associates without even saying "goodbye" and/or "thank you" to his mentor. Another interesting subject for a profile would be Steve Krantz, married to "author" Judith Krantz and the father of Tony Krantz and Nick Krantz. I worked for Nick Krantz after I worked for Scherick.

I'm getting hit by bricks as I stroll down Memory Lane! Edgar used to say, "the tyrant you know is better than the tyrant you don't know." That is to say I guess Edgar was a "kinder and gentler" tyrant. I was never able to form a relationship with him that was necessary to keep working for him (and get anywhere). John Solomon wasn't able to either. Edgar was tough, but I never heard him yelling. Correction, I never heard him screaming in a reprimanding bent-on-humiliation sort of way to a staff member a la Dawn Steele. He was tough. It took Michael Barnathan forever, maybe like two years, to receive an "audience" with him to ask for a job, ie help with establishing a career. And their fathers were good friends!

You can sort of judge a powerful successful person by the proteges they leave behind. I could be wrong, but Barnathan is the only decent mentee of Edgar I know of. Scott Rudin is a horrible individual. I should say that Michael Barnathan was a mentor to me.

What I got out of working for Edgar was meeing him and realizing producers could be good guys. Although he got mad at me over something and stopped returning my phone calls years ago! I was bemused re Scherick's comments on "gay mafia." I think he was mildly homophobic. I don't know if he would have mentored Scott Rudin so aggressively if he had known he was gay. I don't think he formed a professional relationship with John Solomon for the same reason. It's nice to know he evolved towards the end of his life - if he was telling the truth.

By the way, I also worked for Larry Elikann. Larry is the director Edgar worked with eight times. He is a character, sort of like a New York Jewish Howard Hughes. He has long stringy grey hair and wears these fishing vests, although I don't think he was ever at a lake. Part of my job duty was to buy his cigars which he chain smoked at Dunhill Beverly Hills. On set, I carried them around in a fanny pack. He would yell for me on set, I would rush over, unwrap a cigar and light it for him. It was like this "act". He talks sort of like James Cagney. He's hysterical, bombastic, full of facts. His regular producer was Gary Adelson, the son of Marv Adelson who was married to Barbara Walters. Gary despised me and I left.

How did you gain an audience with Scherick? I'm still shocked by his second wife's behavior. Although no one in the office really liked her. We didn't understand the connection.

I'm teaching now, high school at the moment, and writing as well. Teaching is a more valuable profession, although Administrators and District officials are becoming increasingly "Hollywood Producer-like" these days, with the changes in the market and rise in teachers available to work. Speaking of which I should get back to my lesson plans!

I'm surprised Edgar's children weren't more concerned about ensuring his legacy was recorded. That's why I sort of question the closeness of the relationship(s). Hmm picking up a dubious vibe on the subject . . . I only knew one of his offspring, the screenwriter. He seemed a down-to-earth sort of chap. Used to arrive on a motorcycle to visit his dad on-set. I wonder how they really felt about him. I know when my dad was dying, I didn't only visit him "only on the weekends," as Scherick stated in the interview. In fact I lived in his room until he was gone.

Were you at the funeral? I would have liked to be a fly on the wall. Edgar for his part lived, breathed ate Hollywood 24-7, I can't imagine him being there re children's milestones like he stated, but I could be wrong. Maybe all his kids' milestones were held in the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills? Haha. That was his favorite haunt. Then I would believe he attended all those concerts, recitals, graduation ceremonies, etc!! He was always there when he wasn't at the office. There was something really low key about him. Most producers "make and entrance" when they walk into a space. They like the attention, especially entering their own suite of offices. However with Edgar I must say it was different, although he loved to see and be seen too (the Polo Lounge) in a subtle way.

I worked in Hollywood for 10 years, like between '84-94. I was busy. I never compromised myself. Later I became involved in the Latino community, traveled all over, decided my calling was teaching, like both my parents. I studied Spanish literature and composition. I studied Buddhism, which I still practice. I know . . . "very Hollywood". I also worked for a director named Brian Gibson ("The Josephine Baker Story" & "What's Love Got to Do With It?"). Another Buddhist. Another Hollywood character. Another interesting profile.

I teach Spanish, English, English as a Second Language at the high school level. Although more of my experience is middle school. Languages fascinate me. I can still read Hebrew. I love the melodies to the prayers in Hebrew, or Aramaic sometimes. I was born in the city of San Fernando, although my mom comes from a very New York Jewish family. I live and work in Van Nuys. Help I trapped! I can't get away from the San Fernando Valley! I guess it could be worse. I think there's a saying, "a hundred faces, a thousand stories". That's the Valley.

I write fiction and screenplays. Whimsical stories based on relationships for the most part. What interests you about Hollywood? What interests you about these crazy people (enough to be writing a book about them)? You come from such a different background and you have embraced such a completely different one (Orthodox Judaism) as well. I grew up with Hollywood. My great uncle handled publicity for Lucille Ball and Diana Shore.

In a way I wish I was born back east with my cousins, a more wholesome existence - free of trend observance, walking to schul every Friday/Saturday . . . I think I wasn't more observant because it's so damn difficult putting on a suit and walking to schul when it's 95 degrees outside! Like you will be next week! That used to drive me crazy. Although ultimately you can't beat the Mediterranean thing going on in LA on a perpetual basis.

I am fascinated by the Hollywood personalities. What determines success in Hollywood? Is it nepotism, personality, luck, compromising relationships, hard work, an impossible combination of said elements? Why did Michael Barnathan become a Uber-producer instead of the others who worked for Scherick. They were equally as talented, and are currently just slugging along on a more line-producer basis. These things are fascinating to me.

Anyway I'm really glad I discovered the LAObserved Blog awhile back. I think it's an incredible resource and it's where I ran into your site as well. Time to walk the dog!