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The Scoop On The Chameleon Group, Anthony Pellicano, Anita Busch

Ross Johnson, the last of the truth tellers, writes:

1. Chameleon Group. The snitch that burned Alex Proctor on the Pellicano case initially tried to shake down Jules Nasso's lawyers by giving them the wrong lead about who whacked Anita Busch's car. The snitch was trying to work the feds, Nasso's lawyers, and possibly the LA Times for payment for the information. But the snitch had to sniff out the wanna see factor, so he told the Feds and the mob lawyers that it was a bunch of israeli muscle guys from a security agency that screwed with Busch's car. Nasso's lawyers narrowed the search to Chameleon, which may be a totally legit operation. (Their cool web site is for those who want to know what ex-Mossad members do when they move to Hollywood.) Sources close to the U.S. Attorney's office (whose information I shuttled to you so that you could scoop everybody on the Pellicano story) checked out Chameleon, found out they were not to be messed with, and left it at that.

There was one reporter at Alex Proctor's arraignment: yours truly. I got a tip that Anthony Pellicano's attorney, Don Re, wanted to rep Proctor, and the feds told Re that it was a total conflict of interest. So in walks another mob lawyer, who is there to sniff out if Proctor has any money, like cash money, to get a defense going. Well, Pellicano didn't have a way to get cash to Proctor, so Proctor had to use a federal public defender. Still, Proctor didn't make a deal to rat out Pellicano on the Busch hit. Why? The whole Busch fish caper read great in the papers, but it was a vandalism beef, at the end of the day. Proctor is going to do a little time on a drug beef, and he'll never rat out Pellicano.

How did I know Pellicano was in on the Busch car hit? The mob lawyer gave me the 4-1-1 on Proctor. Proctor has worked for Pellicano for years in Pellicano's wire tapping business. Pellicano and Proctor go back almost twenty years.

Now let's talk about Pellicano's wire tapping business. The only two reporters at Pellicano's first bail hearing was moi and Gina I-forget-her-last-name from Reuters. Who did we see there? Two very well-known lawyers, one a pit bull that's been featured in your column and the other one of Hollywood's toughest divorce lawyers. They ain't there out of the goodness of their heart. The message to Pellicano was this: keep quiet and his extended family will be taken care of while Pellicano does his bit in the pen on the explosives rap resulting from the C-4 and hand grenades that were found in Pellicano's office.

The Hollywood lawyers at Pellicano's bail hearing knew that the feds had found the transcripts of Pellicano's wiretaps done on the behalf of the lawyer's clients.

Don't expect these transcripts to ever become part of the public record, because Pellicano will plead guilty to the illegal wiretapping. It's perfectly legal for lawyers to use information from a p.i. as long as the p.i. doesn't tell them he got the information illegally. The feds may be talking to Bert Fields et al, but nobody's gonna roll on Pellicano because these lawyers are all one step removed (wink-wink) from Pellicano's wiretapping.

But there is one rub. What the feds want is to get one of Pellicano's electronic operatives to roll. Pellicano never planted the bugs himself, he got an operative to do it. And these guys are like Proctor, they're ghosts. They live in the shadows, like Travis Bickle.

What's the story here? The big one is how dirty stars play when they go through a divorce. Man, it's ugly. The forensic accounting is nothing compared to the dirt digging. Do you think for one second Tom Cruise didn't have a full file on Nicole Kidman's every phone conversation when they were going through a divorce?

Another thing that Pellicano is great at is illegally wiretapping the women who sleep with stars and come back either pregnant or psychotic. Remember the woman who sued Steven Seagal for all sorts of stuff after she slept with him on location (you have her name, I forget.) Nobody knew this was the same woman who had faked her own death years earlier on an insurance fraud scam until Pellicano went to work. And why is it that after Pellicano goes to work, all the subjects of his investigations are suddenly under the gun for taking anti-depressants? Read any deposition of someone suing a star that Pellicano has worked for that star (through the star's attorney), and it's all about the poor plaintiff looking deranged because they're taking Xanax or Prozac. If you think Pellicano finds out about these people's perscription drug use by anything other than wiretapping, then you believe in the tooth fairy. Pellicano is not some great sleuth with tons of investigators going through public records. HE gets his information putting bugs on phones and paying off cops. That ain't shoe leather, amigo. The reality is so far from Phillip Marlowe it's a joke.

Why am I telling you this? You owe an apology to Anita Busch. I want you to say, "I'm sorry, Anita." How would you like to be a single woman who, by the nature of her profession, has to be paranoid? And then goes online at Lukeford.net to read how crazy she supposedly is? You crossed the line, Lukie Boy. I believe in the power of the Web to get to the truth, but you can't torture people like Anita. She was deeply hurt by what you wrote, and she's not even a public figure.

Like I said, use the above as long as you apologize to Anita. And why aren't you using the power of your blog to get good dirt going on Guvner Arnold? Enough of the shit about you wanking off about yer problems of being a good Jew. There's dirt to be dug on Cali's number one public servent, and if Rusell Crowe is ever gonna star in "Luke Ford: The Movie," the real Luke is gonna have to get off his ass and do some good blogging. Get to work.

(And don't call me or email me about this stuff. I got some heavy stuff I gotta take care of next week. Just run this when you're ready)

Luke says: "I apologize if anything I wrote ever gave the impression that Anita Busch was crazy. She's a good woman, a good reporter, and a patriotic American."

Anita's friend writes: "What character. I'm talking about Mr. Johnson. I applaud Mr. Johnson for coming forward. He is right. You were wrong. I told you that you unfairly went after my friend. She is not crazy. She is not paranoid. She was a just a person doing her job. You not only owe her an apology, you owe her a second look (in that bio/life story thing you do). It takes a strong person to admit when they're wrong. Be strong, but most of all, be right."

I'm White And I'm Proud

Black professor Shelby Steele writes in the WSJ:

It is quite acceptable for either party to explicitly go after the black, Hispanic, or even the Jewish vote. In fact both parties gain an indispensable moral authority by doing so. But it is absolutely verboten for either party, or any white candidate, to appeal to whites as a racial identity group. Racial identity is simply forbidden to whites in America and across the entire Western world. Black children today are hammered with the idea of racial identity and pride, yet racial pride in whites constitutes a grave evil. Say "I'm white and I'm proud" and you are a Nazi.

When Howard Dean brought Confederate-flag whites into identity politics, he implied one terrible thing: that whites, like other racial identity groups, have the right to pursue power in the name of their race. He inadvertently sanctioned one of history's most destructive formulas: race alone justifying power. And yet, had he reached out to angry black separatists, he would have been hailed as a racial healer. Why the difference? And how does it affect our politics?

Why Married Men Shouldn't Work Closely With Women

WSJ.com: The seven-year study of 37,000 employees at 1,500 workplaces provides empirical evidence that working with people of the opposite sex is hazardous to your marriage. Working with co-workers who are all of the opposite sex increases the divorce rate by a startling 70%, compared with an office filled with co-workers of the same sex.

Gonorrhea Rates are 30 Times Higher in African Americans than in Whites

I want all my readers to write to the Center for Disease Control to protest culturally-biased STD testing that illegally discriminates against black people.

MILWAUKEE – Following years of steady decline, gonorrhea infections among African Americans increased by more than five percent from 1997 to 1999, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC report, released at the National STD Prevention Conference, being held Dec. 4 to 7 in Milwaukee, also shows that gonorrhea continues to disproportionately affect African Americans compared to other racial groups. Similarly, new data show that genital herpes continues to disproportionately affect African Americans, especially young African-American women.

Other studies presented at the conference today suggest approaches that may be effective in helping to reduce this toll. These studies found that culturally appropriate television, print, billboard, and radio ads can successfully increase awareness of STDs among young African Americans at high risk for infection, an important first step towards behavior change.

"It is unacceptable that sexually transmitted diseases, which are preventable and can often be effectively treated when caught early, continue to be found at significantly higher rates among African Americans than the rest of the population," said Helene Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP). "We must continue to develop effective prevention strategies and increase our efforts to reach communities at highest risk of infection."

CDC’s new report, entitled "Tracking the Hidden Epidemics: Trends in STDs in the United States," found that gonorrhea rates increased from 802.4 per 100,000 African Americans in 1997 to 848.8 in 1999. Although gonorrhea infections increased more among white Americans and Latinos over this period, gonorrhea continues to have a much greater impact among African Americans. Gonorrhea rates among African Americans (848.8 per 100,000) are more than 30 times higher than whites (27.9 per 100,000), and more than 11 times higher than Latinos (75.3 per 100,000).

Hostest With The Mostest

Amy Alkon writes in the LAWeekly.com: The party pooped: Outlandish moments include (my co-hostess) Cathy Seipp and Luke Ford and me in a tented waterbed at the downtown Standard Hotel, but I’m not at liberty to say any more than that at this time. Then there were a bunch of people dancing around balancing Eugene Volokh’s new law book, The First Amendment, on their heads at Michael’s Room (at our party for Adam Parfrey’s book, It’s A Man’s World.) Also, I’m pleased to say that many people meet at our parties and then leave to do slutty things together, but Emmanuelle Richard, my other co-hostess (the diplomatic one) suggested that my life would be in jeopardy if I named names.

Hosting with the mosting: Invite people who disagree with each other — even to the point of wanting to throttle each other. In other words, if you want to throw a good party, be sure you invite at least one major asshole.

Luke says: The attorney Deborah Drooz at the top of the link has several times sent me threatening legal letters about my alleged slandering of her clients.

Is It Always Wrong To Use Racial Epithets?

Let's say you are driving down Pico Blvd and an Orthodox Jew, dressed in religious garb, stops his car in the middle of traffic to run into a store to buy something. Now you are stuck in traffic that won't move because of this obnoxious Jew. Is it wrong to say to your girlfriend, "I wish that kike would get a move on"?

Let's say you enter the post office and all employees and managers that you see are black and moving like molasses with utter disregard of customers. Is it wrong to call them "surly negroes"?

Let's say the black wide receiver for your favorite football team drops a pass that costs you the game? Is it wrong to say, "That stupid monkey"?

Let's say you go to a Conservative synagogue and you see several female students from the University of Judaism wearing yarmulkes and prayer shawls and leading the service (things reserved for men in the Jewish tradition). Is it wrong to whisper to your mate, "Dykes!"?

Let's say you hear about three students at Milken High School have been expelled for making a porn video. Is it wrong to call them "horny Hebes"?

Let's say you are driving behind a slow asian driver. Is it wrong to say, "Hurry up you stupid chink"?

Let's say your girlfriend makes you mow the lawn rather than watch the football game. Is it wrong to mutter under your breath, "Domineering bitch"?

Let's say you're having an IM conversation with a Jew who annoys you. Is it wrong to call him a "nigger loving Jew bastard"?

Now, I would never use any of these epithets but I've heard others use them and I wanted to know how I should think about that and what are polite ways to ask those around you to stop making racist comments?

If you have any questions about racial comments and context, please email Luke. It'd be mighty white of you to make this a regular feature.

The Hero's Journey

I sit at home growing fat and happy with my tabloid ways.

Then out of my email box comes a call for adventure -- Dave Deutsch wants me to write an essay for Heeb Magazine.

I resist. I don't like to write essays. Dave wants me to come to conclusions. I particularly don't like to write didactic essays. What's worse, I can't write essays. I got Cs in my high school and college English classes.

Then my wise mentor Cathy Seipp encourages me, repeatedly, to take up the challenge of an essay.

Turning the sound down on the NFL game, I cross the threshold and penetrate deep inside the Special World of the Essay. I take the leap of faith to pursue the goal and resolve the problem of my limitations as a writer.

I find friends and encounter opposition by people and events as I struggle for minutes with the essay, cutting and pasting from my memoir.

Finally, I get to the crux of the problem, try everything to resolve it between commercials, and appear to fail. Immobilized and disheartened, I all but give up hope I will ever publish an essay. In so doing, I face my greatest fear (success) and character weakness (sloth).

Then I turn away from the TV, seize the sword of my keyboard, and do battle with my cut-and-paste job, shaping it into an essay.

I celebrate my success by turning up the sound on the NFL game. I express my full range of emotions to the trials and tribulations of the Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins game. I don't want to deal with the past or contemplate the future.

Finally, after the Cowboys win, I face reality. I tidy up loose ends and return home to that special place inside, to my wounded inner child.

Now I face the Ultimate Test/Resurrection and Rebirth. I'm tested within and without to demonstrate my character change as I give my essay one final look. I look at my old self, dogged by weakness and need, and then step forward into my new self, strong and self-sufficient. I welcome the life I've chosen for myself. I have greater awareness. I love myself.

"Don't look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness."

Master of two worlds (my old self and my new self), I return to life with the buried treasure. I email it to Dave Deutsch who accepts it with appropriate gratitude and pride. Having passed the final test of character growth and integration, I am a person reborn into a new self.

My door opens up, and a tall slim Jewish brunette walks in, takes me in her arms, and carries me away to a sweeter place.

With the reward of having reached the goal, the fulfillment of my deepest yearnings, I share my enhanced knowledge with my audience on my blog.

(Thanks to Elizabeth Lyon, A Writer's Guide To Nonfiction, pg 101-102)

Bang, You're Dead

When I was a teenager, my family had a good friend who worked as my father's secretary. When my parents left town, she stayed in our house with me.

Once, she was cleaning up just before my parents were due to return home. I had a firecracker that I lit and tossed in the sink she was cleaning. When it went off, she got a huge fright.

She never stayed with me again.

Now I learn from my mom that this woman:

------ died yesterday, a huge loss to us. She was 81 and should have lived to 105. She was in a terrible accident. There was a butane space heating system which was installed before she moved in (previous owner) and the owner had taken the tank with him. So she had it delivered the day before she died. Later that afternoon, it blew up, and the explosion was terribly violent and knocked two walls of the house out and pretty much destroyed the inside. She was set on fire. Neighbor's teenage sons pulled her out. ------ was conscious and her wounds were so horrendous, most of them were relatively painless. 60% burns to the upper torso and head, 50% were 3rd or 4th degree burns. She survived to have surgery the next day and the minister came and prayed, and then she died pretty immediately. She called me on my birthday on the weekend and we talked for an hour. We have a lot of history with her, and she was like family. We will miss her.

'When Are You Getting Married?'

I pick up my van from the shop. For $250, I now have windshield wipers and blinkers that work.

I walk around my 'hood for half an hour and then head to shul for afternoon prayers.

An old man asks me about the woman I sat next to in shul Tuesday night for Rabbi Steinsaltz's lecture. Another man in the minyan thinks he knows her. Nu?

I piously keep my mind on Heaven and pray mincha - maariv. We have Israeli charedim (fervently Orthodox), with long sidelocks, pray with us. Normally if charedim enter our minyan, it is not to pray but to ask for money.

Leaving the shul, I run into the wife and 11-year old daughter of Billy, the accountant who sits next to me in shul every Shabbos. They've just bought earrings for the daughter.

I look at them. "Those are the ones I was going to buy."

The girl holds them up my ears. "They match your eyes."

Luke: "If I wore them, Billy wouldn't even notice. I'd have to pierce my tongue to get his attention.

"Tell Billy you saw me piously emerge from evening prayers," I say and walk to the store to buy three big bottles of kosher grape juice. You can never have too much.

Exiting the checkout line, Larry and his six-year old daughter follow me out of the store.

The girl asks me: "When are you going to get married?"

Luke: "I'm trying. Have anyone in mind?"

Girl: "Yes, Mary."

That's the name of my Gentile ex-girlfriend. Probably not the same Mary.

When will I trade in my tallit katan for a tallit gadol (worn by married men)?

Paul writes Luke: "Read a bunch of stuff on both of your sites after Googling for information on Pellicano. Man, what a complete and utter disaster you are. Just more evidence that if there is a God, he's a sadist and probably totally unaware of it."

Living The Life I Chose

I love it.

I've faced up to who I am and I'm living out of that.

If you want to be part of that, great. If you don't, fine.

That needy clingy part of me has gone on recess.

More Common Sense from Chaim "May His Name be Blotted Out Forever, Except When We Engage in Recursion" Amalek

Mothers who let their children watch MTV or VH1 have no business lecturing anyone on their morals; rather, they ought to examine their own. I believe that the Jew Murray Rothstein who thought up MTV (who gave himself the pseudo-Amerindian moniker "Sumner Redstone" to fool the goyim) has done more to corrupt the morals of America's young than any single pimp or whore in the history of the Republic. He has not merely defined deviancy down, he basically took it out of the vocabulary of American teenagers and young adults.

You may be corrupt for loitering along the periphery of society, where you collect and tattle tales about marginal people who have little cultural clout, but the harm that you do is quite limited, just as the harm that a hooker does to the morals of the community in which she plies her trade is limited. But the mass media, on the other hand, particularly cable networks like MTV, the harm that they do is multiplied a hundred million fold. In the aggregate, Britney Spears is a million times more of a problem than any Jenna Jameson. Before the Pecksniffs of your kahilla go tearing after you with their lashon hora, they ought to be asking themselves what is to be done about MTV, Judeo-Hollywood, Hip-Hop music, and the rest of mass culture.

Helpful writes: I saw that VH1 special and Luke was the absolute voice of morality in the show. He did not endorse that lifestyle in any way, in fact, he did the opposite.

I must admit I was a little disappointed that Luke did not wear his yarmulke and prayer shawl to emphasize his piety.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Hints Southern California Jews Are Retards

The Israeli rabbi was born secular and is now fervently Orthodox. He may be the best known popularizer of Jewish texts such as the Talmud, which his team translated into Hebrew and English from Aramaic.

Rabbi Steinsaltz spoke with a thick Israeli accent to a packed house of about 700 people at the Orthodox synagogue Bnai David Judea Nov. 10.

He talked about the movie Charley where the protagonist was happier in his retarded state than in a normal state. I think he was hinting that Southern California Jews are retards.

Rabbi S. made sarcastic remarks about the high intellectual level of S.C. Jews.

Rabbi S. said Chabad Jews read Tanya all the time and find it comforting because their knowledge of Hebrew is so spotty, they don't understand much.

The rabbi was an equal opportunity offender.

I remember when he spoke at this same synagogue eight years ago. He said on the radio he had a low view of America because of its decadence and hedonism. He said non-Orthodox forms of Judaism were "the walking dead." About half of the crowd tonight was not Orthodox.

Rabbi S. disparaged the American political system and Israeli politicians. He said there are no prospects for getting along with the Arabs. The best we can hope for is a ceasefire.

The rabbi said the Bible was a good book, like a movie, and we should read it.

He spoke about evil. He said American rabbis and Americans don't speak much about evil but 9/11 has changed that for the good.

He talked about the verse from Genesis that says sin crouches at the door but you may reign over it. It's the theme of John Steinbeck's epic novel, East of Eden.

The rabbi says evil loves us, embraces us, even has intercourse with us. It lives in our homes.

I've read many of Rabbi Steinsaltz's works and he comes across much more modern and tolerant in them than he does in person. He's a man of great vitality and you can see the twinkles in his eyes from a hundred feet away. He speaks with fire and doesn't need you to like him.

He was not easy to understand and some people left during his talk. Others dozed. Most of the crowd poured out after he finished, ignoring the question time.

Rabbi Steinsaltz spoke to the Jewish Journal about his new book on the 18th Century work The Tanya:

Morality has the notion of dichotomy: you are either good or evil, you’re either a saint or a sinner — it is an either/or way of looking at the world. In this book comes the novel idea that there are some people for whom the conflict for good and evil is never solved completely, and there are people for whom the struggle will be permanent and eternal.

These people are important people, not failures, and are fulfilling the divine plan, by their permanent struggling.

This book is a very comforting book, because it says as long as you are struggling — conquering your own evil desires — you are a hero, and it is frightening because it doesn’t say that you will ever come to the point where everything will be peaceful in your mind. All your life you are going to struggle.

The hero here is the anti-hero, because the hero here is not the conqueror, but the person who does the hard work. The glory is of a very different kind.

Saturday night, Nov. 15, at 8PM at 9717 Pico Blvd, Orthodox Rabbi Avi Weiss, a famous Jewish activist and educator, talks with Mordecai Finley, a Reform rabbi to the stars (Dustin Hoffman, et al).

Completely off topic, I heard an Orthodox rabbi say the other day that a brain lesion, according to some sacred Jewish text, can be the result of heresy. He referred to a prominent Conservative rabbi who has preached heresy, now has a lesion and is going into surgery.

According to Maimonidies, there is no need to mourn the death of any Jew who knowingly broke with the essential principles of the Jewish faith.

Judaism is a brass tacks, blunt religion that is not intuitable.

Angels Are All Around Us

I asked some of my friends if they believed they were angels. These important questions just don't get enough coverage in the secular news media.

Amy Alkon writes: "If I were an angel, I'd find some dumb mortal to stay up all night writing my column. I do not believe in angels, although I know they exist -- glued to dashboards of sickeningly sentimental people everywhere."

Matt Welch writes:

I don't really believe that you think I might be an angel. I'm a mostly uncurious agnostic about the Great Imponderable Questions, and the Angel Conundrum is probably lower on my things-to-ponder list than most.

In college, I had a nifty theory that there was no God, though there was a Satan ... but I forget the logic behind that.

One of my favorite all-time religious records is Nick Cave's "Boatman's Call," the first song of which, "Into My Arms," contains a great line that I almost identify with: "I don't believe in the existence of angels but looking at you I wonder if that's true"

It's a terrific record, about love and faith and doubt and loss. I think you might enjoy the song "People Ain't No Good," for example.

Ken Layne writes:

No one has ever accused me of being an angel, although I guess I wouldn't mind if it was the Peter Falk sort of angel in Wings of Desire. Don't you love Peter Falk?

I do not believe in angels because I am not a religious sort, although I do honor & appreciate & study the great old religions. (Did you know I used to work as an editor for a Jewish newspaper? Way before you wanted to be a Jew, dude!)

What about Aliens, Luke? Weren't you going to break the silence on The Aliens?

Heart Be Still - Email From Heather MacDonald

Luke emails Heather, the sexiest woman in New York, at the Manhattan Institute: "Do you believe in angels? Because you might be one."

Heather replies:

If I'm an angel, my view of God is definitely confirmed--only an evil or non-existent spirit would grant selfish me such status.

Do the Bee Gees really fit in with the EZ Listening status of the rest? I thought they had some of that 60s edge to them.

Pls. enjoy the fragrant eucalyptus groves for me, which rise up in my mind's eye CONSTANTLY. Although compared to Australia's own, California's dwindling stands must seem pretty pathetic.

I hope you are whupping the competition with your work.

I tore my rotator cuff recently, and haven't been allowed to swim for a month. This has pushed all my exercise onto my legs and already fragile knees, which are about to snap from overuse. I'm going nuts.

Luke says: According to the Midrash (Jewish rabbinic tales), the angels are selfish. They didn't want humans to get the Torah.

Kosher Cheeseburgers

If you want a kosher cheese burger, make the cheese out of breast milk. Breast milk is pareve. Find a lot of women in 3rd world countries, feed them well and hook them up to milking machines.

Wasting My Time At Post Office

Every time I stop by my branch, there's a window or two open, manned by a surly negro who looks like she's on furlough from a penitentiary or insane asylum. The negroes move as slowly as possible, seeking to extract maximum fury from the forty or so people qued up like sheep. They feel safe behind their windows and government-service union.

I walk to the front and bang on the bullet-proof windows, screaming at the dilettantes in the back room that we need more help up front. Eventually the negro manager, wearing a stud in his ear, wanders out and dresses me down for using profanity like "damn" and "hell." Does anyone ever dress him down for running a crap organization?

No wonder people shoot these places up.

I used think librarians were the exception to the norm of lousy government service but it is not true with the LAPL.org (though it is true with the Beverly Hills Public Library). They hire bottom-of-the-Bell-Curve-barrel losers who are over-matched with their minimal duties. Much of my time, I have to explain to the LAPL employee how to do his job.

Nicholas Vance writes: How come you didn't buy a Peter Allen CD, Luke? I mean he was Australian, you are Australian. He claimed NOT to be a homosexual, you claim NOT to be a homosexual. It just seems a perfect match. Please note how helpful I'm now being toward you. After my recent -- and entirely appropriate -- dressing down by Ms Seipp, I have had a sincere change of heart. From now on I will only offer you positive, uplifting advice.

For example, in your story about visiting the post office you used the word "negro." This is a terrible mistake. It reflects poorly on you and all those who link to your site and consider themselves your friends and supporters. There are many of us and we don't like to see you embarrass yourself in this manner.

Of course, you intended no harm. It was just a cultural misunderstanding, owing to your foreign birth, that led you to write "negro" rather than the proper "Negro." Could you please go back and make this single edit so that your site is once again perfect.

Your Number One Fan, Nicholas

PS - I think your website needs a store selling officially licensed memorabilia, such as signed copies of your book and movie, life-sized posters of you, and perhaps even a Luke Ford action figure.

Luke's CD Collection

I first listened to pop music (against my parents' wishes) in 1979. I bought my first tapes in 1981 - Air Supply, Barry Manilow, Simon & Garfunkle...

In 1985, I bought my first CD player and about 25 rockn'roll CDs such as the Beatles, Eagles, INXS... Then I got religious in 1989, tuned into classical music, and sold all my CDs for $60. Idiot.

I bought about 15 classical music CDs in 1999 (Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, Vivaldi, etc) and a dozen CDs of pop Jewish music (Sam Glaser, Craig Taubman, Debbie Friedman).

I bought my next pop secular CD in 1999 - Elton John's Greatest Hits.

Then Sunday night, I went on a tear. For the first time, I sought music on the web, particularly Air Supply. Inspired, I headed over to Amazon.com and, on a whim, bought the greatest hits of Air Supply, Barry Manilow, Supertramp, the Bee Gees, and Abba.

It's not the music that moves me as much as the emotions the music evokes in me. They flow out of my memories of coming of age in the late '70s and early '80s. I figure these pop CDs are a work expense because they will stimulate my memoir writing.

JMT writes: Gee, isn't there a Tower Records in West Hollywood?

Rodger Jacobs writes: So you fell in love with the Dallas Cowboys as a young lad and you recently bought the greatest hits collections of Abba, Air Supply, Barry Manilow, The Bee Gees, and Supertramp. It is time, dear Luke, for you to find a hovel in West Hollywood. By the way, traditional Mexican tortilla soup usually has bull semen in the broth ....

My mom writes: "I have been watching a history of Australian pop stars over six weeks on Sunday nights. I love those sort of programs. I get all the pop music I want in 6 hours. Most of them I've never heard of. When I went to Avondale, I went into the cloister and missed the Beatles, etc. Paul and I did a sing along in the car when he, his family and I were going somewhere and we sang all the 50s songs. [My brother] Paul listened to them replayed as a teen and I listened to the first edition. One sang he sang I didn't recognized but when he told me the title I did. He was so tuneless."

Vegetarian Crying Game

Cathy Seipp and I love the new movie about fabulist Stephen Glass - Shattered Glass - at the Sunset Five on Sunset Blvd.

I've never been able to summon up rage against fabrictors like Glass and Jayson Blair. I find it sad that those who are among the first to forgive those who commit violent crime are the last to forgive fabricators.

We have lunch at Wolfgang Pucks. Cathy orders Tortilla Soup. I orders the same. I had the same thing at The Gardens in Westwood a few weeks ago with Amy, Emmanuelle and David Rensin. It was delicious.

"Does Tortilla Soup have meat in it?" I ask Cathy.

"Yes," she says.

I chase down the waiter and change my order. I feel sick. In the past few months, I've ordered Tortilla Soup several times. It's hard being a vegetarian in a trafe (non-kosher) world.

"It's like having sex with someone you thought was a woman and you find out later was a man," I explain to Cathy, my face turning green.

"A vegetarian Crying Game," she says.

Good line.

Then we go to Rob Long's charity My Friend's Place at 5850 Hollywood Blvd. Cathy runs into the editor of LA Innuendo. One of her first questions is, "How did you like my article?"

A beautiful blonde volunteer talks me into drawing a Holiday greeting card. Cathy goes the PC route, writing "Happy Holidays." Not for me. I scrawl, "Merry Christmas," and then pick a name of one of the homeless kids -- Drew.

Then I draw a kangaroo. I try to add a pouch but instead it looks like an erection. I'm embarrassed. The blonde takes a look and laughs. I ask Cathy to rescue me and she turns it into an innocent pouch with a baby joey.

Throughout the event, I check in on Sony Walkman to learn the fate of the Dallas Cowboys football team. They won.

Cathy donates $50.

I'm listening an excellent memoir by Nick Hornby -- Fever Pitch. It describes his unhappy childhood, and how at age 11, after his parents' divorce, he fell in love with the Arsenal football club.

At age eleven, feeling miserable, shortly after my move to the United States, I fell in love with the Dallas Cowboys.

In the past few months, I've read two Hornby novels - How to be Good and About A Boy. Next will come High Fidelity.

Baring Body And Soul

Author Lori Gottlieb writes: "I write emotionally revealing memoirs, but won’t wear see-through blouses. Which is to say, I’m not the type of person who posts naked pictures of herself on the Web. But when a women’s magazine asked me to write about joining an "erotic amateur photo site," I was intrigued."

Cathy Seipp writes Luke: "Moral: Yes, Dave Deutsch and I are obnoxious and bossy, but why did you convert to Judaism if you didn't realize you needed Jews to tell you what to do?"

Kendra writes: "I remembered today that the guy I went out with a few months ago told me on our first date about this incredible guy called Luke Ford, who I should just go look up on the Internet as soon as I got home. He didn't know about my blog, so I didn't say anything. But he told me that he and his friend had seen you getting out of your van in LA when they were on holiday, and that it was the best celebrity spotting they had."

Everyone's Favorite Social Critic, Chaim "May His Name Be Blotted Out" Amalek, Writes Luke:

So (concerning the Jewess journalist who went nude on the internet for want of anything else to write about), below the neck, is she hot or is she not? All I can tell from this piece is that she writes in the breezy, pseudo-hip style of the modern secular Jewess who knows she's not as attractive as the WASPs she regularly sees on television and in the movies and who feels that she must, therefore, expose more of herself for others to notice. (This is unheard of among Muslims.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If more Jewesses looked like Jessica Simpson there'd be less intermarriage, drug use (antidepressants count!), liberalism, paganism, entophilia and homosexuality in the Jewish community. Far fewer Democrats, too.

On a related matter, check out this story from yesterday's NY Daily News concerning that new school for gay and "transgendered" teens that the Jews who run the local public school established this year:

The name of this school itself suggests part of the problem: Harvey Milk High School. Can you imagine trying to project a positive image when you give a school a name like that? The local Muslims are laughing their asses off over this one, and no amount of media dominance and no number of jewish lawyers can change that. "Harvey Milk" sounds like the name of someone born to be assaulted on the street. It has no deterrent value whatsoever. It's students clearly are overcompensating for the name.

Apparently the kids who end up there are not like the cast of "Fame" with their sensitive, misunderstood mulattoes and wise-ass Jewish kids. The News reports that 7% of the little darlings who go there have been arrested in the last few months for violent crimes against the people of the community in which the school is located. This is a shanda to the entire Jewish community, what with the name of the San Francisco Homosexual Jew Harvey Milk being attached to the school.

As Christianity continues to dissolve in the west, only the hardier forms of belief will survive to multiply, and as their adherents grow in number, these belief systems will rise to power. No, it won't be Judaism. For us, this is as good as it gets, what with Wall Street and Hollywood firmly in our purses, and even so it is clear that things have already begun going downhill for us. Islam will be the winner. America 2103, like France 2053, will be a substantially Muslim land. And I can guarantee that there won't be any "Harvey Milk High School for Transgendered Teens" by then.

Milken High Learns From Video Scandal

There's so much to love in the latest issue of the Jewish Journal but my favorite is the article on page 16: "Milken High Learns From Video Scandal"

The lead: "Milken Community High School is facing a series of complex issues and emotions following the administration’s discovery a few weeks ago that three students had filmed sexually explicit videos and then shared them with other students.

"Parents and teachers were devastated to learn of the incident, which follows two scandals last year, one in which a student hacked into computers to erase a senior’s SAT score, and another in which a girl left the school after allegations of promiscuity damaged her reputation."

Has anyone considered that this type of behavior is what should be expected from the non-Orthodox? Isn't the whole point of Reform Judaism is that Jews should blend in with the goyim?

Fourth paragraph: "The events have raised questions about whether it is realistic or fair to hold students at a Jewish high school to a different standard than the society at large."

Yes. We're placing way too much pressure on kids in non-Orthodox day schools by expecting them not to make pornographic videos and share them with the school.

An Orthodox rabbi I know asked me if the kids showed the videos as part of a graduation ceremony.

I initially wondered if the tapes were an extra-credit project for drama class.

"The school, with 834 students in grades 7-12, has responded to the latest incident with an aggressive openness, holding an assembly for parents last Thursday, having continuing coffees with parents and dialoging with students in Jewish studies classes and in meetings with faculty advisers. The school has consulted with professionals in areas from mental health to public relations."

In the liberal mind, dialogue is the answer to moral problems. And more self-esteem.

The principal, Rennie Wruble, is mystified that the kids knew about these porn videos for a year before anyone came forward to adults. Gosh, even with all that dialogue, kids still keep secrets from adults. Who'd have thunk it?

Rabbinic director of the school, Rabbi Gordon Bernat-Kunin, says teachers "let the kids’ emerging emotions and thoughts guide the discussion, but they also tried to help them stay rooted in core Jewish values."

Good luck. Milken is a school with a club for homosexuals and lesbians. That's rooted in Jewish values like a bacon cheeseburger. The school has an avowedly lesbian rabbi teaching Talmud. So why be surprised when its kids make porn videos?

The principle says: "We want our children...to feel better about who they are..."

Yeah, right, self-esteem is the answer to moral decay. Only in the fevered imagination of the liberal.

The Jewish Journal's cover story is an appeal for Jews to help blacks and Hispanics stop murdering each other in South Central Los Angeles (prompted by the murder at Avalon Discount of a Persian Orthodox Jew and father of four, Joseph Javaheri, by two black men who got away with less than $100).

The cover reads: "Now that the victim is Jewish, will the community do something about the ongoing slaughter?"

Councilman Jan Perry has negotiated a $500,000 soccer turf so black and hispanic kids in the area can have an outlet in sports rather than crime.

Get a clue, Jan. Males don't murder because of a lack of soccer fields. They murder because of a lack of values.

Gaby Wenig writes in the JJ: "The idea of all of these programs is to make residents of South Los Angeles feel invested in their community so that they will look after it."

If these folks don't care about their lives, no amount of building projects will cause them to care about themselves and their community. The problem is a lack of moral backbone, not a lack of Starbucks and government transfer payments.

Now You Can Write Like Luke Ford

Dave Deutsch writes: Please tell Ms. Cathy Seipp that I had also wanted to include lyrics from the theme of "To Sir, With Love," but upon reflection, realized I didn't know any of them. Also tell her that I appreciate that she used that song instead of "Don't Stand So Close to Me."

Also, you should watch the O.C. with her. There have been at least three episodes with Jewish references, any one of which would have given you several paragraphs worth of screed on the sorry state of Jewish affairs and the corruption of the American media. If you watched a little more TV, your blog would really write itself. And lets face it, how many more times do we really need to hear about your lunches? If you want, to improve your productivity, use this:


It's easy, just use these central elements, and fill in the minor details:

Luke Eats Out (insert day of the week) I met (insert name of female journalist) for (insert meal of the day). She was wearing (insert type of garb, hairstyle or accessory) and I said she looked like a (insert insult, followed by tangent on the state of femininity in America, making sure to rant about the Jews). Somehow, she took offense at this, and refused to speak to me until my (insert name of vegetarian entrée) arrived. While waiting, I couldn't help but notice how all the (insert name of ethnic, racial, or sexual group) looked like (insert derogatory term). That reminded me of how, when I was a boy in Australia, we had a saying (insert vaguely racist saying that has nothing to do with anything).

Sit back and wait for replies from your fictitious correspondents.

Check this out: Luke Eats Out.

Tuesday I met Cathy Seipp for lunch. She was wearing high boots, and I said she looked like the whore of a mid-level SS officer. Why is it that in this godless world, women feel that they must not merely give it away, but offer it up like so many cheese samples in a supermarket? Clearly, the fault of the liberal Jewish media elites. Somehow, she took offense at this, and refused to speak to me until my spinach souffle arrived. While waiting, I couldn't help but notice how all the lesbians looked like Mexican busboys. That reminded me of how, when I was a boy in Australia, we had a saying: "Two Chinks don't make a chain, but they can sure make a mean stir fry."

Chaim Amalek replies: "Admit it, Luke, you racist Jews like your friend Dave are hypocrites! You'll eat souffles with lesbians who look like Mexican busboys, but not with Palestinian busboys who look like lesbians!"

Rodger Jacobs writes: "Been doing interviews for an article and pounding my head against the wall over what a jerk you're being over the Deutsch thing. He's a hilarious writer, by the way.

"It's a CREDIT, dummy. A by-line. Something to put on the ol' resume. Y'know, Yoram only paid me $350 per issue to edit and write New Rave but it got the attention of Hustler. Stepping stones, stepping stones. You wanna be a blogger the rest of your life?"

Luke: Yes.

My writing style is minimalistic, like Raymond Carver. I write the minimum necessary to get some funny responses.

College Professor Lets Mind Run Fallow

I was sitting in shul studying the laws of the Sabbatical year. Every seven years in Israel, you are supposed to let your land run fallow.

I leaned forward to the professor sitting in front of me. He's on sabbatical. "Are you letting your mind run fallow?"

Prof: "Yes. And anyone is allowed to come by and pick from it for free."

"Journalists" Pontificating On Fabulist Stephen Glass

I love it when folks calling themselves journalists, like Jack Shafer and Andrew Sullivan, pontificate about the sins of Stephen Glass and what his recovery program from fabricating stories should be.

When was the last time Jack Shafer went out and reported a story and broke news and wrote some vivid scenes? I suspect it has been more than five years.

When was the last time Andrew Sullivan did it? Never. He was an abysmal editor of The New Republic and has never reported a story on in his life. He's a pontificator. I also loved it how he released the news that he had AIDS on the day he left in disgrace as TNR editor.

You gotta love a sodomite who catches a deadly disease through sodomy and then runs graphic ads on the Net seeking more sodomy, devotes his life to clearing the way for more sodomy for everyone, and propounds "marriage" for same-sex sodomists...

I love it how Shafer and the mainstream liberal press give The New Republic a free ride on Stephen Glass. TNR had abundant evidence for years that they had a fabricator in their midst and they chose to ignore it.

And isn't Stephen Glass a secular Jew?

Judaism's path to redemption is not nearly as dramatic and other-worldly as Christianity's.

Giving Up On Luke's Autobiography

Nicholas writes: I've given up reading your autobiography. I downloaded each chapter and concatenated them together to make a book. The end result was 128,512 words. Narcissist! I got up to about age 10 when you started droning on about having sex with critters in the Australian Outback,* at which point I thought to myself that there is no way I can read another 500 pages of this sort of material. It wasn't so much that it was boring (although you do tend to go on and on and on), it was more that I decided that this was not a constructive use of my time.

If I had thought that the story was going somewhere -- fame, fortune, marriage, or at least a cool violent death of some kind -- I would have kept reading. But when you know beforehand that a book has no real ending, it will just collapse of exhaustion at some point, this takes away the incentive to keep plugging (no pun intended) through the bestiality bits.

* I know the reference was to your "friends" doing this kind of stuff. But come on Luke, everybody knows that when someone uses their "friends" to broach an embarrassing subject, they are really talking about themselves.

NYT Publishes, Then Kills Prince Charles Gay Rumor

From Drudgereport.com: Top editors at the NEW YORK TIMES panicked and ordered a story killed after London-based reporter Sarah Lyall filed a dispatch alleging rumors of Prince Charles and a sexual affair with one of his closest advisers [Michael Fawcett]! The story appeared on the TIMES's internet website for 20 minutes -- before top editors ordered it immediately removed, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Up The Dave Deutsch Staircase

Cathy Seipp writes on her blog: [N]ever have I seen the exasperated editor/incorrigible writer situation laid out in all its trainwreck glory as in the current psychodrama going on between Luke Ford and Dave Deutsch, a standup comic and high-school teacher in New York who was recently hired as the humor editor at a Jewish magazine and -- fateful decision -- asked Luke to write a 1200-word essay about his experiences [getting ejected from] orthodox Judaism. (Dave is also orthodox, but to the manner born.) Luke turned in over 4,000-words of blog-style vignettes. Dave asked him to rewrite it and shorten it. Luke did, but not enough. At this point, they're at a standoff, although you can tell that Dave must be a really good teacher as he's still trying to turn Luke around, "To Sir, With Love"-style.

18 Questions with Norman Podhoretz

By Dave Deutsch

The maid, a beautiful West Indian woman in her early twenties, led me into the living room, where Norman Podhoretz was waiting for me, dressed in a silk smoking gown and a smile. He caught me admiring his ensemble.

“You like this robe? A present from Pinochet. Please, sit.” He gestured towards the couch. His gaze followed the maid out the room. “You know, I hate to see her leave, but I loooove to watch her go. Would you like some tea?”

I demur, and he reaches into his pocket and takes out a joint. “I got this from Safire. Real high quality. You sure you don’t want any?”

“No thank, you Mr. Podhoretz. But, I have to say, this isn’t what I expected from a neo-conservative icon.”

“Icon, schmicon. Listen, your boss at the magazine, Josh Neuman, is a gay icon. Does that mean he’s a faygeleh?”

“No, but then, he didn’t start the nation’s most prominent gay magazine.”

He took a deep drag, and let it out. “Listen, you want to know the truth about this necon foolishness, I’ll tell you the truth. There I am, fresh out of Columbia, and looking for parnossa [income]. I can write…and so can fifty thousand other Jewish leftists looking for work. What kind of market was there for Norman Podhoretz, leftist? None, but for Norman Podhoretz, conservative? The sky was the limit. Before I came along, the conservative movement was all antisemite Birchers and antisemite Establishment supergoyim. Not a bris in the bunch.”

“What about Roy Cohn?”

“Please, he was hardly an intellectual powerhouse. Plus—and I don’t want to speak ill of the dead--he always seemed a little swishy to me. But I made conservatism kosher.”

“But it was all an act?”

He shrugs. “That’s entertainment. But now that I’ve left Commentary, the show is over.”

“So what are you doing now that you’ve retired?”

He gestures to the maid, and gives his best “Mr. Roper” smile. “You and the maid?”

“Didn’t you ever read ‘My Negro Problem, and Ours?’ I was advocating shtupping black chicks long before anybody else.”

“What does your wife think about this?”

“She has her own…diversions, but you can ask her yourself. Midge, could you come out here?”

I hear a door opening in the back, and footsteps coming down the hall. Podhoretz leans in close and whispers: “Listen, Midge has had…a little work done. Be a good boy and say something nice.”

She walks in, and looks like the love child of Jocelyn Wildenstein and Joan Rivers.

“Hi, I didn’t know that Mr. Podhoretz had a daughter.”

She laughs coquettishly. “Who’s this, Norman? Is he a present for me?”

“No, no, he’s a journalist here to interview me.”

Suddenly her tone changes to one of desperation. “A journalist? Do you work for the Times? You know, my son John is a journalist. Maybe you could talk to the people at the Times about a job for him?”

“Please, Midge, that’s not what he’s here for.”

She grabs my arm with her talons. “Please, you have to help him! I know he doesn’t have any talent, but the Post?! The Post! Please…”

She collapses sobbing into Podhoretz’s arms.

“Shhh, come on, honey, it’s time to take your medicine. I’m sorry, but she’s just a little excited, we’ll have to cut this short. The schvartze will see you out.”

He leads her from the room. Norman Podhoretz, neoconservative.

OJR's Mark Glaser On Hollywood Online Journalism

I made a 1PM lunch appointment for Thursday, November 6, with E! movie columnist Anderson Jones to discuss weighty issues of media ethics. At 12:21PM, Thursday, he rescheduled for Friday at 1PM.

So Friday morning, I email him a confirmation. No reply. At 1PM I show up to Kate Mantilinis and he doesn't show. I call his cell phone. It's out of service.

[It turns out Andy thought lunch was for 2PM.]

I must be wearing a sign, "Please waste my time." Last Tuesday night, I was stood up on a date by a Persian philosopher. She must've been studying the poet Rumi and the art of non-being.

I believe, along with Andy Jones, that love is all around, yet I'm not feeling it. People, where's the love?

I want to go where love is, I know you can show me. I want to feel what love is, I need you to hold me.

Anderson Jones writes OJR forum: "[O]ne online journalist [David Poland] invited to a press junket (excluding those sites with a TV presence) does not mean Internet journalists were invited to attend. The one blogger who attended, as I said, was invited specifically by the studio. Ultimately, it didn't matter who he or she works for does it? The studio wanted that person there. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. You are a fine, fine journalist, Mark. But, I maintain that one of your sources [David Poland] was intentionally disingenuous. That's all."

Mark Glaser writes on the OJR forum:

It's usually unfair to generalize about a certain medium, but in the case of entertainment journalism, I'd say online has the other media beat in terms of the gossip/hard news ratio. Calling the publicist or studio might not give you the whole truth of the matter, but it would certainly be more balanced than simply running a rumor without checking it in the least.

As for being bamboozled, I believe my sources were honest with me for the story. If you have issues with my sources, you should take it up with them and not with the OJR forum. If there was a factual error in my story, I'm happy to correct the record. We might never know if Crowe or Fishburne indeed wanted Net journos banned, but we do know that in the end they weren't banned -- whether you like them or not.

Luke replies: Why would I want to talk to a publicist or a studio about their honesty? That's like talking to a white shark about not biting people.

My issue is not with them. I know they're liars and I accept that and I do not expect anything but deceit from publicists and studios. When they speak the truth in a difficult matter that does not show them in a good light, I'm surprised.

My issue is with you Mark Glaser. My issue is that in your columns you generally assume that by calling official sources you are getting the truth. My issue in this particular story is that you claim that by calling a publicist and a studio you demonstrated good journalism in contrast to particular online journalists who don't call publicists and studios. I don't buy it.

You Mark Glaser reserve your skepticism for online gossips but you demonstrate none towards publicists and studios. You're naive.

Why don't you be honest with your antipathy towards online gossips? It is not that they get their facts wrong at times and are often in bad taste. It is that they challenge and discomfort establishment journalists like yourself, who most feel at home talking to other establishment types like publicists and studios.

The context here, Mark, is that studios and publicists have about finished off in-depth hard-hitting reportage on Hollywood. Premiere magazine is a shell of its former self. The LA Times and NY Times are clueless followers. About the only tough reports you will find on Hollywood anymore is by folks on the Web. For instance, the person who often led the way on the Steven Segal - Anthony Pellicano story is me. I was the first one to name Pellicano as a suspect in the mess. And no, I did not call any studios or publicists on the story.

Mickey Kaus writes on Slate.com:

I'm not saying [NYT's Bernard] Weinraub would write a bland, hack, just-shy-of-fawning piece on [Jack] Valenti in order to please his wife [Amy Pascal of Sony]. He did write a bland, hack, just-shy-of-fawning piece, but that's probably because it's the kind of piece he almost always writes these days.  By that, I'm not saying that he's a behind-the-curve embarrassment to the Times, snickered at by other reporters, who habitually either misses the story or gets it after everyone else is sick of talking about it. ...Oh, allright, that is what I'm saying.

It's bizarre that the Times would relax its conflict-of-interest rules to get more of this buzzless voice into the paper. The paper has apparently tried to keep up appearances in the past by not letting Weinraub write about certain topics, but that regime has obviously broken down.

Bill Todman Jr Stands Me Up

I spoke by phone to producer Bill Todman Jr (Wild Wild West) at 11AM, 8/16/02, and arranged to meet for lunch at 1PM at The Coffee Cafe on Sunset Blvd, next to the Director's Guild building.

I left home at 12:30PM, arrived at 12:50PM and stood around like a schmuck, calling Bill's cell phone number for the next 35 minutes, until leaving in frustration at 1:25PM. I got stood up. My calls weren't returned. No explanation was given nor apology offered. I hate it when people steal my time.

Todman has an office at Elie Samaha's Franchise Picture, where, I gather, I am not a favorite.

Bill is the son of game show producer, Bill Todman. Bill Jr. was a producer for Les Moonves, chairman of CBS, for 14 years and produced many hours of network television.

Bill Jr is the former head of production for Morgan Creek Productions.

Anderson Jones Says Love Is All Around Us

Anderson Jones writes: [Y]ou really had to pay attention to Bonnie and Clyde to get that Warren Beatty was light in his loafers. With Butch [!] Cassidy and the Sundance Kid it was pretty obvious, right? And then The Shawshank Redemption...If we're honest with ourselves, we know (deep down) that every movie, save Steel Magnolias and Thelma & Louise, is a love story between two guys. I know that, at least.

Next week, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World roars into theaters (we've gone a bit colon crazy, too). I did not, at first glance, think I wanted to spend a few hours watching Russell Crowe battle the high seas with his faithful seamen. Boy, was I wrong.

Ford's Foundation

Luke writes Dave: I reviewed your last page of instructions. I'm sorry. I do not write didactic essays.

Dave Deutsch writes:

When I first read your response, I was puzzled. This was largely because I didn’t know what “didactic” meant. I had to presume it meant something like “bitchin’.” That made some sense, since the essay I was trying to get you to write would have been a particularly good one, one which was could, in some American argot, be termed “bitchin’.” However, in reading your blog, I saw that you referred to me as a “didact,” which, according to my understanding at the time, meant that you were calling me a “bitch,” which seemed somewhat unlikely. I pondered that this might be some sort of Australian slang, what with you guys all having been prisoners at one point, perhaps it’s a variant on “mate.” It made a certain amount of sense, since in prison, you mate with your bitch, so maybe it’s the Aussie equivalent of “my nigga,” but, nonetheless, it seemed peculiar, so I looked into it, and it seems that “didactic” means “instructive” or some such thing. On one level, this cleared things up. On another, it became even more confusing, and things just got worse as I went on.

You say that I treated you like one of my students. Again, this seemed odd, since I hadn’t made fun of the sexual predilections of either you or your parents, discussed the merits of various comic books or Fox TV shows, or yelled at you for not being quiet. I realized however, that you meant that I was trying to tell you how to write something, which somehow seemed to offend you. I plead guilty to the charge. When a student comes to me with a sub-par paper, I will make him fix it, even if it means making him rewrite 3 or 4 times. I do this, as opposed to merely giving it a low grade, because I want the kid to learn how to do it the right way. And that’s because, while I won’t pretend to be the world’s greatest teacher (and no student has yet purchased a mug for me suggesting that I am), it is my job to teach them, so that’s what I try to do. In your case, my job is to edit your essay. It wasn’t a job I necessarily sought, but I thought that, since I enjoy your writing and schmoozing with you, it would be a reasonably pleasant experience. O, how wrong I was.

My initial reaction to your “I don’t write didactic essays” (after I figured out what it meant) was “What kind of prissy prima donna is this?” You were like Norma Desmond finding out that they wanted her for a bit part in film. “Luke Ford is still big, it’s the assignments that became small!” What kind of pathetic excuse for a writer won’t write a 1200 word essay?

I was well past low dudgeon and building up steam to high dudgeon, when it hit me: Your self-righteous posturing was all an act. It isn’t that you won’t write it, it’s that you can’t. I felt like the tough but caring teacher in a film about a struggling high school in a traditionally underserved urban inner-city replete with historically oppressed racial minorities who finds out that the school’s basketball star is illiterate. “Luke, you really can’t write essays, can you?”

“That’s absurd, I’m Luke Ford. I could write essays, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities of the screenplay, of crafting my writing as if I were creating a cinema of the written word, each sentence a scene, each paragraph an act, all building to a triumphant crescendo of emotive gotterdammerang, a veritable Shoah of the senses.”

“Luke, what does that mean?”

“Why, it’s…it’s…” breaks down sobbing “You’re right. I don’t write essays because I can’t. I’m a pathetic, miserable, excuse for a writer.”

Now here’s the thing, Leybl. There is no shame in your inability to write an essay (well, there is a little shame; it’s just an essay, for God’s sake. It’s like a concert pianist not being able to play chopsticks, or, to phrase it in a way that you might more fully understand, like a ---- star who doesn’t know how to give a hand-job.) More significantly, though, what kind of pathetic excuse for a writer won’t try? That’s all I’m asking for. If it seemed like I was treating you like a student, well, gosh, I’m sorry, but maybe it was because you were acting like an adolescent (and no, I’m not referring here to your obsessively masturbating to the Olsen Twins—though, quite frankly, you might want to try to limit that as well). Do you consider yourself to be perfect writer? Do you see no room for improvement? I have to tell you, your memoir, as it stands, is a disaster. And do you know why? Because it is completely incoherent. You jump from vignette to vignette without anything connecting them, and background, any context. That’s not cinema; that’s Attention Deficit Disorder. Do you know what a real memoir is? IT’S A GIANT ESSAY! People read them learn about somebody, to derive some information about a life, and about life in general. That would make them essentially—what’s the word I’m looking for—DIDACTIC! How can you write that if you can’t write a small essay? I know from your blog that you attend various writing workshops and try various exercises. So why don’t you just pretend I’m some overpriced hack, and try this out, and then make fun of me on your blog? Why is it that you’re willing to try and stretch yourself as a writer for the goyim, but when I ask you to, suddenly you’re too good for it? Do I detect a little self-loathing? I bet if my name were Christopher C. Christiansen, you’d do this in a hearbeat, and pay for the pleasure, but because I’m frum, I’m too déclassé.

But if you won’t do it for yourself, because it might actually benefit you, then do it for all the people out there who could benefit from it. Not from the essay, but from the writing of the essay.

“The Gospel of Luke”

True story of Luke Ford, who achieved considerable fame as a writer among dozens of people, all while he couldn’t even write a simple essay. At the age of 38, he admitted his handicap, and committed himself to learning how to write an essay. R for graphic language and some nudity.

Just imagine, Luke, somewhere in the great LA metropolitan area, there may very well be a 19 year old nymphoniac lesbian from an Orthodox home, who is trying to do teshuva, but doesn’t feel that she has the strength to go home and face her family. Your heartwarming story could inspire her, and lead her grateful family to make a shidduch for the man who brought her back.

Ultimately, my advice to you is to quit being such a schmendrick. I don’t benefit at all if you write this thing. I’m not doing this for me. I feel quite certain that if I tell Josh that you are too deranged and egomaniacal to write a coherent essay, it won’t take much of a stretch for him to accept that. I can call my friend Erik and tell him I want 1200 words on what it’s like being a goy who ends up going out with Jewish women who think he’s Jewish because he teaches at a yeshiva. It would be the easiest thing in the world for me to let this drop. I don’t want to do that, though, and here’s why.

I can’t say that I’m you’re friend. I can say, however that I’m probably as much of a friend as I can be given the circumstances of our limited personal contact and subsequent relationship. At the minimum, I can definitely say that I like you, and want what’s best for you. I want you to be successful, I want you to be read. I think this will help you achieve, if not the former goal, certainly the latter. Look you said that you wrote “C” essays in college. That’s all I want. I’m the editor. You give me a “C” essay, and I will make it an “A.” You want to put your Chabad expulsion at the end? Fine, do it. If you want, make the whole essay about that episode. Don’t give me any pathos, just make it funny. Do it any way you want to. Just do it. If you want, I’ll send you some tripe fill your blog.

And The Dead Shall Rise

Thursday, November 6, I attend a party for Steve Oney's new book, And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank.

Before an evening with one's social betters it's important to eat a balanced meal. I have two bowls of Cheerios with plain soy milk and an apple.

I get a call from one of Eugene Volokh's best students. She wants to know how Australians use the term "benchtop."

I arrive at the party at 6:30PM and see Greg and Antoinette Critser chatting with crisis-management consultant Allan Mayer.

Khunrum writes from Vietnam: "Is a "crisis management consultant" in danger of having his job out-sourced to Bangalore, India? Or has this guy already been canned and has dreamed up his own unemployment title?"

No. You couldn't be more wrong. He's in great demand in Hollywood which has a never-ending series of crises.

Cathy Seipp blows in 20 minutes later with a crisis -- her daughter is waiting in Pasadena for her grandfather to pick her up. And he's late. Cecile's crying and Cathy's determined to leave the party in ten minutes to drive to Pasadena to pick her up. Allan assures her, as I did, that she wont arrive in Pasadena before Cecile' grandfather. We point out Allan's job title. It has no effect.

Cathy remains freaked until she gets a call on Antoinette's cell phone that everyone is safely home.

I'm on my third glass of water by this time.

Amy Alkon hooks into Greg Critser for a discussion of pharmaceutical drugs and their deleterious affect on the male sex drive. I like it that my drive has gone down 50% since I've gone on lithium and company. I think that's just peachy. I'm not as compulsive and I spend less time fighting my unholy drives.

I think it's cool that circumcision reduces sexual sensitivity. I couldn't handle any more.

I spot author David Rensin in a suit and tie for the first time. He was leaving his house at 5:30PM when his garage door wouldn't open. He called a guy from the yellow pages and got away an hour later.

I did something similar when I moved to LA. I needed a psychiatrist. I went to the yellow pages, found a Dr. Ackerman, and he was my shrink for years. And a good one. And a reasonably famous one. (Mentioned in an article by John Connelly.)

Antoinette tells me about her full and dramatic life as an assistant UCLA chancellor. The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article on the UC's admissions process, a way to get around the Ward Connerly proposition ban against affirmative action.

I recommend to her this blog by Mickey Kaus:

Times' Big UC Admissions Piece As Uncertain as it is Predictable! John Rosenberg's Discriminations disses an embarrassing front-page story in, yes, the L.A. Times that "is virtually dripping with defense of the University of California's admissions policies." The Times' three-byline article makes a big deal of this finding:

Latinos with low SAT scores are admitted to the University of California at rates only slightly higher than whites and Asians, while blacks who score poorly are significantly less likely to get in, according to a Times analysis.

The LAT eventually admits in the jump, however, that this conclusion does not apply at the university's "two most competitive campuses"--UCLA and Berkeley:

UC Berkeley, the original focus of the admissions debate, admitted low-scoring blacks and Latinos at twice the rate of Asians and whites with similar scores.

UCLA was about a quarter more likely to admit low-scoring African Americans and Latinos than whites and Asians.

Rosenberg notes:

When critics of race preferences argue that high standards and thus [relatively] fewer minority admissions to Berkeley and UCLA are not discriminatory because minorities are able to attend other, less selective campuses of the University of California system, they are often called racist. Now the Los Angeles Times argues that, despite highly disproportionate admissions of low-scoring blacks and Hispanics over similarly low-scoring whites and Asians at Berkeley and UCLA, there is no discrimination because in the UC system as a whole low-scorers from all groups are accepted at about the same rate.

I actually don't understand the entire basis of the LAT story. Does it tell us anything important if one ethnic group with low scores is admitted at a higher rate than another group with low scores? Doesn't the rate depend on the number of low-SAT applicants, which could vary for all sorts of reasons.

Suppose, for example, that members of ethnic group A know that if they have low SAT scores they are unlikely to get in. Since the combination of SAT scores and G.P.A. normally required to ensure admission is published on the Web, those whose scores are low just won't bother to apply. That is in fact what happens, according to the Times itself. ("... UC officials said, students with low SAT scores who are unlikely to qualify don't tend to apply.")

Now suppose many members of ethnic group B know that they have a credible claim of having overcome race discrimination--and that this might get them in under the university's "comprehensive review" policy, in which overcoming hardship can outweigh low SAT scores. These group B students are likely to apply in very large numbers even if they have low SATs. As a result, their rate of acceptance may be no higher than those of the few low-SAT applicants from group A. But that rate doesn't tell us much about whether or not university officials are bending over too far to admit applicants from Group B.

In fact, although the Times doesn't discuss it, the paper's own data shows that low-SAT "underrepresented minorities" (primarily blacks and Latinos) do apply to UC in relatively great numbers--so many that, whatever the success rates, 65% of the students actually admitted to Berkeley and UCLA with low SATs are "underrepresented minorities."

Backfill: Patterico and BoifromTroy made many of these points two days ago. ... Ten days ago the Oakland Tribune's Maitre and Brand wrote a good, straightforward article reporting the relevant statistic--namely, who is in the low-SAT group that's actually admitted--rather than the LAT's showy, mostly meaningless calculations. The Tribune revealed that while 30 percent of the low-SAT admittees are indeed "White or Asian," that category is mainly Asian. Only 7% (2002) or 6% (2001) of the overall low-SAT admissions are white. About 25% are Asian. Some 17-19% are black and 44-45% are Latino. ... 2:10 A.M.


I generate a brief discussion between Antoinette and Mickey, two political centrists. They quickly realize they will make zero impact on the others' beliefs.

Mickey Kaus opposes affirmative action in education and generally doesn't like government-coerced affirmative action ala quotas, but likes it when the private sector does it to some extent.

Amy Alkon's boyfriend Greg (novelist Elmore Leonard's researcher and webmaster) tells me about their recent trip to New York for a NY Times panel discussion on turning books into novels. Filmmaker Gary Ross was also on the panel and he's also at tonight's party.

We all crowd into the living room for brief talks by Steve Oney and his wife. The Mrs. remembers getting married in this house (owned by Steve's mother-in-law) 18 years ago and how Steve and she took a dead Jew along with them on their honeymoon - lynching victim Leo Frank.

Given the number of showbiz people at the party, we could've had a dramatic re-enactment of the lynching to really spice things up.

Book sales were brisk. Steve was busy all evening signing books.

I'm curious if TV writer Scott Kaufer's wife is as rabid on the death penalty as he is. No. She's generally politically moderate. Scott wonder if I am for rehabilitating murderers. Hell no. I'm for executing them. My line of inquiry was not about the death penalty as such, but rather the emotional dynamic of a relationship where the two partners have significantly differing beliefs. I'm conservative but almost all the hot women I date are Democrats. I don't think I could come home every night to a woman who believed that all murderers should live, unless she was really hot and had a great personality.

David Rensin and Cathy Seipp go off on a long discussion of their love of trash television. David loves the WB for its shows full of teenage angst and nubile women. I suggest a more wholesome substitute would be Fox News. Their anchor babes are hot.

David says if I write about his discussion of TV, I should put that he only watches PBS.

I'm nervous that I know few people at the party and they all seem so posh. I keep drinking water and soon I need a bathroom. It's right off the main hallway. I go in and I can't figure out how to lock the door. The bathroom has an open window to the backyard and people are giggling and laughing and walking by the bloody window. This makes me nervous. I feel my face flush. Soon I will sweat.

Eventually, I get over my nerves. As I wash my hands there's knock on the door. I clear my throat loudly but this lovely woman, somebody's girlfriend and wife, comes in and I don't know who's more embarrassed.

"I couldn't figure out how to lock the door," I murmur as I scoot out of there, my hands dripping, my face and neck blushing.

Five minutes later, I'm having a dignified conversation when the woman comes over and apologizes. "No, it was my fault," I say.

Seipp asks me why I don't have a comments section on my blog. "Because I attract mentally unbalanced readers," I say.

Cathy suggests they're less mentally unbalanced than plain evil. She has in mind Chaim Amalek.

Chaim Amalek is in fact an honest liberal living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan who worships the ground Barbara Streisand walks on.

Just before I leave, I say hi to author Nancy Griffin (Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood, co-authored with Kim Masters), who's talking with Mickey Kaus.

I was bowled over by Hit & Run. Then I was as disappointed with Kim Masters' next book, on Michael Eisner, as I was thrilled by Hit & Run. The Eisner book had no new facts or insights to shed on the man. It was a total waste of my $30 and of however much time Kim put into the book. I've never been that impressed with Kim's work aside from Hit & Run.

Nancy points out that there have been many books written on Eisner. Therefore, Kim faced a much more daunting task than deconstructing Peter Guber and Jon Peters. Not for a second does Griffin intimate that the problem with Masters' Eisner book was that it was not written with her, Nancy.

Then I segue into a discussion of LA entertainment journalism. The LA Times has some good reporters, such as Michael Cieply and John Horn, yet the papers' entertainment coverage is so mediocre. Why? Because while the writers can be hot, the editors are dull.

Nancy writes the occasional piece for Premiere magazine (about the last bastion of long-form serious journalism about movies) and for The NY Times. She's taking time to smell the roses these days.

Nancy: "Why are you asking me so many questions?"

Luke: "I loved your book and I have a great interest in entertainment journalism."

I watched my first episode of HBO's hit Sex and the City a few months ago and loved it. I've seen about ten.

Allan Mayer says the show is obviously about four gay men. Their thought patterns and speech are put into the mouths of these four female characters who do not develop.

People look up to Mickey Kaus as an authority on cars, journalism, and politics. I've never seen a shortage of people wanting to talk to him at parties. When he walks in a room, people always say, "Oh, look, Mickey's here."

8:30PM: Cathy prepares to leave for drinks with libertarians like Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in Los Feliz.

Cathy's daughter Cecile du Bois writes this tearful blog entry:

Mummy told me that Grandpa would be there around 6PM. And he usually gets ten minutes early, grumpily and sarcastically saying, "Hop in Kid!" as we zoom off to Red Lion. Yeah, you envision your normal grandfather to be some jolly aged man who doesn't rant about your mother's health or cusses at you every other minute.

Well, he arrived quarter to seven--causing me to cry my eyes out for fifteen minutes. If you need to cry and just can't--come meet my grandfather. He's the earth's most depressing man. Almost as fufilling as Dostoevsky. I guess I get the most thoughtful and the most inspired when I cry. I am grateful that I'm not physically abused, although I would rather be physically than verbally. He ranted about my mother, me, etc. Whatever angers him has me as the scapegoat. Why I make Grandpa utterly miserable! I'm sorry for living. What is aspirin for? What's the limit? I nearly wanted to kill myself. I delighted in his description of aspirin. Seems like the death I fucking deserve. Hmmm...I used to think about this a whole lot in the seventh grade. If I fail, what else do I have to live for? The only reason I could find is just knowing my mom's friends and my friends as well as some of my family's members. I used to think of drowning myself or hanging myself. What would be the most painful? I've tried choking myself when I was very upset two years ago. There's this inner fear of death. Everybody's got it. You don't really want to die--just to escape your situation. No wonder so many who succeed are cowards. But lucky them! No more stress!

Falling Short Of The Libertarian Glory Of God

I got into trouble on Cathy Seipp's blog for condemning libertarians. Resolution: I must stop calling Cathy's friends evil.

Cathy Seipp writes me: "Sometimes I feel like a Haitian constantly asked to explain Baby Doc -- and, as usual, I'm trying to putting a positive spin on your whole schtick, and now this."

Luke says: "Jesus Christ suffered from these same problems too. They also called him crazy, a troublemaker, a sociopath... Eventually, they put him on a cross and crucified him... But go ahead, drive those nails through my hands. The day will come when you will see that I will rise again."

Matt Welch writes: "If the "glib" are "always more evil," then I daresay Luke should have been fitted for his devil horns years ago."

Jackie D writes:

A truly libertarian, self-reliant society will be one where morality has such a strong influence over a person's conduct that encroaching government control is superfluous. The most successful societies in history with minimal state presence and powers were those with a very moral populace.

So the evil of libertarianism is actually a natural byproduct of widespread moral purity as promoted by the likes of Mr Ford. If we were all as holy as he is -- and I assume that Mr Ford doesn't enjoy reminding us all that, though we all fall short of the glory of God, he falls less short than we do -- the evil libertarian agenda would be achieved without much effort at all.

Luke says: If this book represents libertarian thought (nothing in it about decriminalizing drugs and commercial sex), then I am a libertarian. What It Means to Be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation by Charles Murray.

I just don't care for those who want to tear down moral boundaries, be the "right-wing's version of the left," to quote Allen Bloom.

Bert Fields Caught In Anthony Pellicano Probe

From Variety.com: Famed attorney Bert Fields acknowledged Tuesday that he has been questioned by the FBI in connection with a grand jury investigation into alleged illegal wiretaps by Pellicano.

Fields is believed to be one of several well-known entertainment attorneys who have been questioned in connection with the wiretapping investigation. According to sources, some of their clients also have been questioned about the wiretaps.

The Feds have interviewed entertainment people on both coasts, sources tell DRUDGE REPORT, in what appears to be a dramatic expansion of the Pelican probe.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez Speaks Out Against The Miami Book Fair International

MIAMI – Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, the outspoken author of the N.Y. Times bestselling novel “The Dirty Girls Social Club,” says the Miami Book Fair International is guilty of ethnic profiling and discrimination with regards to U.S. authors of Hispanic origin.

Valdes-Rodriguez, who will sit on two panels at the book fair this weekend, says the book fair’s Web site and press materials list her as an “Ibero/Latin American” author, and only list her among the Spanish-language writers, even though she is an American writer who writes in her native tongue: English.

“No one expects Toni Morrison to show up speaking and writing an African language,” says Valdes-Rodriguez. “And no one expects Lauren Weisberger to present her thoughts German. But for some reason organizers of this fair assume I will speak and write better in Spanish than English.”

The Miami Book Fair lists Valdes-Rodriguez’s home nation as “New Mexico,” the U.S. state of her birth and residence.

“Are they really this ignorant?” the author asks.

Valdes-Rodriguez complained to the book fair through her publisher, St. Martin’s Press, but got no reply.

“I’m not the only U.S. writer the Miami Book Fair International has decided to label a Spanish-speaking foreigner,” says Valdes-Rodriguez. “They’ve done it to almost everyone with an obviously Spanish surname. It’s shameful.”

Valdes-Rodriguez, known for speaking out against ethnic and gender discrimination at her previous employer, the Los Angeles Times, considered canceling her appearance at the festival, but decided to attend in order to speak out about continued ignorance about U.S. Latinos.

“My novel was written in part to combat stereotypes about Hispanics, including the ones that say we all speak Spanish or come from somewhere other than the United States,” says Valdes-Rodriguez. “How ironic that the Miami Book Fair’s organizers still don’t get it.”

“The Dirty Girls Social Club” is about a group of six friends in Boston, and has been optioned by Columbia Pictures with Jennifer Lopez and Laura Ziskin as producers.

Valdes-Rodriguez recently sold her second novel, “Playing with Boys,” to St. Martin’s for a high six-figure deal. Valdes-Rodriguez is also creating, co-producing and writing a sitcom for NBC.


Over the past two years, I've read a lot of books on writing screenplays to learn how to structure my memoir. They all stressed that a good script must have a theme that can be stated in one sentence. Here's my theme for this book: "Maturity means understanding that the good is a constellation of competing values."

Does that sound right?

Would You Stand Up For Jesus?

Conservative Rabbi Micah Hyman, a chaplain at UCLA's pediatric unit, lead a class in "Mishna and Martinis" at the University of Judaism Wednesday night. We studied text from the Mishna, the Oral Law compiled in 200 CE, about idolatry.

Rabbi Hyman related going to a House of Blues gospel brunch one Sunday morning for the sake of his mother. At one point, the leader said, "Everyone stand up for Jesus now." Rabbi Hyman, like a good Jew, did not stand, while his mother did.

A Persian guy sitting next to me went on and on and on (why can't men ever shut up when asking questions?) about how Jesus was a good guy and all humans are equal in God's eyes and there's nothing wrong with standing up for Jesus, even as a Jew. Everyone else at my table disagreed.

My comment to the rabbi was pithy - either you live by Jewish Law or you don't. Jewish Law has the answers to what you should do in all sorts of situations from participating in yoga classes, saying ommm, reading horoscopes, stepping inside a church, participating in a mass....

Rabbi Hyman said Christianity was declared to not be idolatry by Rabbi Isserles in the 16th Century. I countered that the Rambam (12th Century) said it was. Judaism does not consider Islam idolatry because of its pure monotheism.

I broke Jewish Law by stepping inside a Roman Catholic church last December for the funeral of producer Edgar Scherick. I did not stand up for Jesus however. Nor did I kneel or sing in praise of Christ. Nor did I allow any of the beautiful Christian women present to tempt me from my path of strict Jewish observance.

The other day, I offered to boff the Jesus out of a woman. She said many had tried and all had failed. That is faith that passeth understanding.

Dave Deutsch writes: I will excoriate you for your literary turpitude soon enough, but as far as the exchange with Rabbi Hyman goes, while Rambam did say that Christianity is avoda zarah (idol worship), Ashkenazim by and large should follow the ruling of the Rema that it isn't, since he's an Ashkenazi authority. I'm not sure what the rulings of degenerate Aussie ger authorities is.

Shelve Heeb, We're Going Keyk

JMT writes: Luke: don't waste your top-shelf material on Deutsch and Heeb. I'm still struggling to get Keyk -- the magazine for Jews whose self-hatred is such that they will eagerly purchase a Gentile-published magazine named for a crude anti-Semitic slur -- off the ground. (Typically, the Jewish banking cabal is conspiring to withhold financing.) Once we're up and running, however, we'll welcome your submissions, and you can be assured the editorial staff will never engage in any of this pushy Jew business of sending your stuff back, complaining that it isn't good enough, trying to wheedle you into putting more time and effort into it, etc. Also, no attempt will be made to Jew you down on your writer's fee.

Sometimes It Takes A Man To Do These Things

Cathy Seipp writes on her blog: "L.A. Times: worst online registration on the planet? I foolishly attempted the whole process once again today because I wanted to read my friend Morgan Gendel's "Counterpunch" piece, which ran Monday and I somehow missed, before I saw him this evening. I put in everything correctly: case sensitive password, address, phone number, account number, and still no go."

Luke says: I found it as easy as pie. I've never had a problem registering on latimes.com. I suppose the male brain is more logical and has fewer hangups with spiders and computers. In other areas, such as the arts of love, I find women superior to men. I don't think the ability to operate computers and register online is all that essential for a woman so long as she can cook, clean, sew and have babies. God meant women to exercise their influence, not online in blogs or in the political process, but in the kitchen and the bedroom.

Cathy Seipp writes: "Luke, I'm sure you think I was needled by your blogging about my L.A. Times registration troubles today -- but I was not. In fact, I have been quite proud of my increased skills in housecleaning during the bus strike and am even working myself up into writing a piece about it..."

David Rensin writes Cathy and Luke: "Please, you must take this squabbling, bitching, hectoring, teasing -- and obviously affectionate act to cable tv; I'm sure there's a public access TV station nearby. Everyone's got to start somewhere. Titles anyone?"

How about - The Luke Ford Show?

Gil writes Luke: Cathy has been a good friend. You are teasing her and your readers with your male chauvinist voice -- which you know you are supposed to believe in part because traditional Judaism says there is a place for men and for women in this world. But you also want to live in this world. You'd like to form a bridge like you think DP is doing, but you want it to have Luke Ford's stamp. And you retain not a little love for Christianity because of your parents -- who you also tease. Tease is the theme of LukeFord.net in an effort to figure out how to affect others, to see how they respond. Most take it well enough, but others take umbrage with your boychick irritations.

Your reluctance and resistance to formalize your writings take the form: "Why should I? You read and like what I write already!" They've told you why, but you still fight. My guess is that you'll make the effort just to please them, but still leave some of your non-structure, which is fine if that's how you see your limits of your art.

Which brings me back to my observation "What's the point?" answer: Luke isn't too sure either. Luke's answer: "Come back in a few days or weeks -- or I hope it's not years."

I Don't Write Essays

At Sierra Community College, I took a class in English literature from Bill Howarth. He was also the advisor on the school newspaper, on which I served as editor.

I got a C in the class. On my final essay, Bill wrote to me that he was frustrated that I'd never learned to write an essay.

I don't like writing essays. I got Cs in English classes in high school.

I got an email from a friend the other day who's taking an essay class through Mediabistro. And out of nowhere, I sent her this snarling email about how I try to write in the opposite fashion of the essay. It was quite inappropriately nasty but there's something about the essay that sets me off.

I find scene-by-scene construction with a dramatic build and climax far more satisfying to read and to write than essays (unless they are particularly skilled and thoughtful, such as Dennis Prager, George Will, et al).

Cathy Seipp writes:

You don't write essays? What you mean is, it's hard to put your vignettes into narrative form, because you're not used to that, and you don't want to bother. That's like me saying I don't do pushups. For years that's what I thought: Oh, I can't do that. But now I do them, although it's not easy.

If you look through your archives, some of your vignettes do approach essay form. I'm thinking of the funny one you wrote about the color-coded type and how no one over 80 or under 16 was allowed to read your blog, etc.

You should just buckle down and do this, lest you end up like your heroine Nikki Finke, whose editors have to pull the stuff out of her via endless haranguing phone calls.

Luke says: I think that's a cheap shot at Nikki who's had legitimate reasons for not always making her deadlines. Cathy, don't be a playa hater. There will always be a special place in my journalistic heart for your gotcha-form of journalism. It's just that Nikki has the best sources, the best anecdotes, the best scoops... Oh, I better stop now. I'm getting all dreamy.

A Playa Hater?

Cathy Seipp writes:

What do you mean by that? I like the beach. You are just dawdling and changing the subject and trying to push my buttons because you don't want to do something hard -- like work to put this stuff into an essay. And don't get me started on "legitimate reasons" for missing deadlines. That's crap. I've never missed a deadline -- not even when I was in the hospital, not even when I'd just given birth, not even when....OK, I'll stop lording it over everyone now with my Nietzschean self-discipline and superiority (even though it's all true) and get back to the point at hand: I don't normally side with editors but I'm with Tough Love Dave on this one. Stop making excuses and get to work.

I think he's just trying to get you thinking so you'll sit down and write the segues and put it in narrative form. I know you don't want to but I do think it's a good idea to at least give it one more try. Sorry to sound buggy but it sounds like a good opportunity.

My buddy Dave Deutsch asked me last week to write a 1200 word essay for the "Amen" corner at the back of Heeb magazine. So I put together the most important scenes in my Jewish journey over the past eight years and sent it in. Not good enough, writes Dave, a didact who treats me like one of his students (hey man, I'm Luke Ford. I don't need no honky Jew teacher in a yeshiva telling me how to write, even if Cathy Seipp does adore him):

I’m moving closer to Tough Love Dave, followed shortly thereafter by Raging Dave. This is still not an essay; this is a collection of vignettes. More to the point, it is a collection of cut and pasted vignettes. Let us return to the basics.

You, Luke Ford, are a fascinating figure. You have lived a distinctly unique life. You have an interesting and amusing story to tell. What I want, therefore, are 1200 words which will introduce the audience to the fascinating figure of Luke Ford, expose them to his distinctly unique life, in a way which will interest and amuse them. I think, before we go any further, we should establish a few things. First of all:

Read the “Amen” section on the back page of the magazine. That’s what you’re writing for. If you don’t have any issues of the magazine, let me know, and I’ll fax you some copies of “Amen.” It features first-person narratives. Read a couple to get a feel for what we’re looking for. Check out the issue I was in. It was written by a schicksa who married a traditional Israeli, and went to shul and so forth, but ultimately realized she had no place there. You have, in a way, the flip side. You do have a place there…they just won’t let you in.

Having done that, then, before you’ve done anything else, answer the following questions:

* What story are you trying to tell? This may seem silly, but it is crucial, because it gives you a framework. What am I supposed to learn from reading these stories you tell me? So you’ve got contradictions, and you’ve been kicked out of a lot shuls. But:

* Who are you? More importantly, who are you in relation to these synagogues? How do you fit in, or fail to fit in there? Once we know your place in the universe of LA synagogue life, we can address the final question.

* What does all this mean? Have you learned anything, have you grown? What you really have to do in this essay is give us some of you. Not just the schticky part, or the public Luke Ford persona, but simply Luke Ford, a Jew who is looking for his makom kavuah. Not just literally, a physical place where he can sit in shul, but his spiritual makom kavuah, the place where he belongs in klal yisroel. Basically, you need to make us understand why all this matters to you, because if it doesn’t matter to you, why should it matter to us?

And I have to tell you, this is a good audience for you, and a good opportunity. Heeb readers are Jews who feel that they don’t belong, and are looking for their own place in the Jewish world where they fit in—that’s why they read Heeb in the first place. Moreover, these are people—tens of thousands of them—who have never heard of Lukeford.net. Give them a reason to check it out. Perhaps your beshert will be a reader.

As for what you’ve written, I’ll say it again—give me a narrative. Do just what I told you; take the Chabad anecdote, just the way I cut it down. I also took all your other vignettes, and cut them down as well. Your 1460 words are now fewer than 850, so you have room to work with. You have to fill in the gaps, connect these stories, clarify when things are happening, and so forth. But don’t just fill in the narrative these anecdotes are the heart of your story; now provide the soul.


Luke says: So I emailed Dave and told him I don't do essays. I said everything I wanted to say in my scenes.

I'm not a didactic writer. I'm a moral leader who uses scene-by-scene construction and his own life to inspire others.

Robert writes: "Can't you just cut and paste something from Gene Ross' site or steal an AP story and change the names? It's worked before."

Return Of Nice Jewish Girl

NJG: I've been reading a book about your shadow. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

Luke: I read it.

NJG: You know Luke, have you thought how much like Hitler you are?

Luke: No.

NJG: I think you were my inspiration for reading Hitler actually. I was thinking how could a really brilliant person be so f--ked-up in the head. So I was in the library and there was Mein Kampf, and I thought, ok, I should try to figure this out.

So I'm like reading this, ok, and let me tell you, he is no slouch. He is not stupid. He's really brilliant. He's a failed artist, hello?

His mother died when he was young. Hello?

And he's obsessed with Marxism and Jews.

You know how on your site you're talking about Jews from out of the blue. You had this question, are there too many Jews in porno? That's how it was to him too.

He's going along telling you all about his pathetic life, and then Jews. Jews. But he's so different from you. He's like starving and he says, I think it made me STRONGER! Oh, what a different idea from Luke, who is, oh, I'm pathetic.

Luke: I give that off, that I'm pathetic?

NJG: Yes. Hitler was the opposite. I went through hardships and I am a stronger person. And he was also in the construction trade. You've gone quiet, Lukey. Why are you so obsessed with Jews? That's like Hitler.

Luke: But I don't want to put them in gas chambers. I want them to do the Torah.

NJG: Ok. But that's just the other side of the coin, the shadow. One is gas chambers and the other is Torah. Both are rigorous, some weird thing.

Let's see. What are your other qualities? Megalomania, total righteousness, self obsession. Has the worst relationships with women. Rumors that he's gay.

Luke: I am not gay!

NJG: You asked me the other day if I thought you were gay. And you called yourself a 23-year old gay twink.

You are the worst driver on the planet. You scared me so bad. I wanted to jump out of the car. So who did you ---- today?

Dave Deutsch writes Luke: Luke Ford is like Hitler, but pathetic--I love it! Why don't you marry this girl?

Luke says: She's already married.

Dave writes further: Speaking of marriages, ours is about to become abusive, unless you start producing for me. Where do things stand with your introspection?

Luke says: I'm an artist. I can't be hurried.

Dave says: Hitler told the same thing to the Vienna Academy of the Arts.

Joseph Mailander writes Luke: I know it's the most difficult and angry and maddening internal dialog of all--but if you are interested to read another Jew's internal dialog between Hitler and a Jewish self (one that reminded me of your own recent dialog), you may find George Steiner's only novel, The Portage to San Cristobal of AH, a very good read.

AH speaks in the final chapter. I think this book was originally published in the Paris Review. I read it over twenty years ago, but still think about it sometimes.

You're writing a lot about writing lately; reading Steiner's essays taught me how to write more than any class or teacher.

Black Crime

Adam Glasser, a white Jew, says: "Blacks, for instance, are athletically superior, more muscle fiber per square inch of flesh, because they were bred that way. We killed the weak ones off. The ones that survived were the big ones, the fast ones, the strongest ones, the fighters, the ones that could work the most, with the biggest c---s... Jews, same thing. We network, the one thing that blacks don't do. They're still killing each other. We support each other. The worst that we will do is sue each other."

TK replies: Blacks, or more historically proper, Africans, by and large weren't bred with more muscle fibers and whatnot, it was already in them. America's "slave-breeding" program was a failure, which is why they had to keep importing slaves from the Western-part of Africa. Africans, by and large, were already physically adapted to a challenging environment in Africa, which was the reason slavers choose Africans in the first place. Native Americans and poor Whites (Believe it or not, some Whites in America were slaves, too.) didn't know certain cultivation techniques that Africans knew. Also, only the strongest of Africans survived "The Middle Passage" because of the harsh conditions on the slave boats. Also, there are many Blacks who network in there various businesses, just pick up any issue of Black Enterprises magazine and see it. All Blacks don't kill each other. While Black crime is high, 94% of Blacks murdered were by other Blacks, crime is high, period! 87% of Whites murdered are by other Whites! While not as high as Blacks, a small 7% difference is nothing to brag about. Also, keep in mind that they are more Whites in this country than Blacks, which means that more Whites are dying by their "own" hand than Blacks. Blacks just make the news more.

After all, look at the rise of Russian immigrant crime, mostly made up of first or second generation Russian Jews. They kill each other just like the Italians criminals did and do, just like Irish criminals did and do, and like Latino criminals do. Statistically, people tend to kill their own kind, whatever their ethnic group is. And don't forget the Bugsy Siegels, Lepke Buchalters and Gurrah Shapiros of crimes past. Unfortunately for Blacks, it's shown on TV more, and I'm not just talking about the news. Look at BET (which I think is a disgrace!), all they show the rappers as "pimps, playas, and hoes" in videos, supposedly "representin' " Blacks. Black crime also makes money, listen to almost any rap record. Tupac and Biggie Smalls are dead and are making more money than they did alive. People, including a few Blacks, buy into this corruptive image, even though many rappers are the same criminals past and/or present, whichever applies (How many times have you heard rappers tell on themselves, saying how they dealt crack, had some street hookers on the stroll, or were gangbanging. In the beginning for some rappers it was an act, but a great deal of the newer ones, it's all too real. Ever heard of 50 Cent?) as were other ethnic groups in America. I would hope that you wouldn't fall for the hype. Like I said, I do reading your musings and I hope that this enlightens you abit. I hope to hear from you soon.

The Advice Goddess Answers My Question On Dating

I wrote Amy Alkon: "I broke up with a woman I really liked, after two months, because she always answered her cell phone while we were together. The last straw was a 10-minute chat with her friend while I stood by waiting for her to finish. On dates, I've taken a brief call maybe twice, while women have taken over a hundred! Still, there's no way I'm going to say, "It makes me feel unimportant (or hurt, or bothered) when you do that." Men don't talk that way. Women do. My instinct is to drop a few bills on the table for dinner, call a taxi for the woman, leave, and never ask her out again. Why do so many women think interrupting a date to take a non-urgent call is acceptable behavior?"

Amy writes in her copyrighted column:

Let's say, after years of therapy, you're finally ready to reveal the defining moment of your childhood: how your parents left you at a highway rest stop when you were 5, and didn't realize you were gone until they got home -- two days later. You're midway through the painful details when your date's cell screeches, and she dives into her bag for it. She mouths "just a sec" (give or take 20 minutes) -- and she and some girlfriend proceed to review the history of shoe sales in western civilization. Lacking the ability to evaporate, you stare hard at the busboy, pretending to explore the existential ramifications of the way he stacks dirty dishes in his gray plastic bin. Forget any therapeutic advances you've made: No matter how steel-belted your self-worth, this sort of thing is sure to leave multiple puncture wounds in the ego department.

Of course, certain calls must go through -- when the liver's on ice, the patient's on the table, and your date's the doctor who's supposed to install the thing. And, surely, you'd forgive a lady for interrupting a tender moment in case it's her office calling to inform her "there's a bit of an overheating issue with the reactor." But, generally speaking, an answered cell phone on a date is a sign, not of important business, but of self-important business. Think of it as a kind of boor alarm; as in, a warning you should be alarmed that you're out with one. Don't be swayed into submission because the interruption comes in a form of technological excess -- her ringer that shrieks Hava Nagila or barks like an annoying little dog, or the fact that she can shoot blurry phone-cam pictures of her life instead of experiencing it. Answering a call on a date is no different from jumping up from the table of the one you're with to go sit in the lap of some other guy in the restaurant. No wonder it makes you hot to pay and run.

Wait until the woman's between callers, then try to wedge in a question: "Just wondering, do you usually take cell-phone calls on dates?" It's not only a way of complaining without complaining; if you're lucky, you'll learn that she was just checking in with the baby sitter to make sure her little darlings weren't trying to garrote each other. Even if she's simply flat-out rude, you should still consider yourself lucky. Remember, like those tiny paper cups of sausage handed out by little old ladies in hair nets at the supermarket, a date is the relationship in sample size. Multiply the minutes of in-your-face rudeness by a lifetime, and what do you get? The realization that you were just saved by the...well, the digitized 1812 Overture, performed on a vintage 2002 Nokia.

Grief Grips Army Families

Recent banner headline in the USA Today after 15 US troops were killed in Iraq.

Dennis Prager: That's not news. That's a human interest story, a feature. What do you think would grip the families of those killed in Iraq?

Can you imagine if newspapers did this every day during WWII?

It's just the news media's insidious way of pushing their agenda.

The Newsweek cover: Bush's $87 Billion Mess - Cronyism, Waste... How come there weren't any such covers during WWII? You don't think Roosevelt had messes and cronyism and waste?

It's the sadness of the loss, not the greatness of the cause, that grips the media.

HILARIOUS MOMENT: Dennis Prager says he believes himself to be about the least self-referential talkshow host on the radio.

That's precious coming from a guy who can't conduct an interview without saying, "Let me tell you about me."

Prager then said he's realized that he has the task of explaining Christians to Jews and vice versa. And this task has fallen to him because he does it better than anybody else.

DP is considering asking listeners to hand out his essay on Mel Gibson's film The Passion at movie theaters.

Dennis writes: "Early this past summer, Mel Gibson invited me to see "The Passion," his film on the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The invitation was significant in that I was the first practicing Jew and active member of the American Jewish community to be invited. He did so because he believed, correctly, that he could trust me. I have long worked to build trust between Jews and Christians, especially traditional Christians."

Why The LA Times Couldn't Find A TV Critic?

Mickey Kaus writes on Slate.com: LA Weekly's Nikki Finke reports that no less than five journalists turned down the chance to fill Pulitzer-winning TV critic Howard Rosenberg's slot at the L.A. Times, in theory a prime perch at the paper. Finke tactfully attributes the humiliating multiple rebuffs to "L.A.-phobia"--fear of moving to L.A.. But are we sure "L.A.T.-phobia"--fear of the Times' spotty and P.C. reputation--wasn't a factor? Somehow I think that if the Times was a better paper at least one of those five writers might have made the immense sacrifice of moving to the nation's second-largest city. If the Times can't even get entertainment writers to move to L.A.

XXX says: I think Nikki Finke missed something [her latest absorbing column]. It wasn't so much that people didn't want to move to LA. People did not want to work at the LA Times under editor Johnathan Taylor. He was managing editor at Variety. He was paper pusher. He's dull and doughy. Who would want to work under him? If he takes people out for drinks at the TCA (Television Critics Assocation), of course they are not going to consider it. When you see a giant mushroom coming towards you, offering to buy you a drink, I don't think it is inspiring. Exciting writers want to work with an exciting editor.