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'Baby Richard' doing fine -- 7th-grader has straight A's
From the Chicago Sun Times:
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter
The crying 4-year-old boy the world knew as "Baby Richard" eight years ago is now a smiling, 7th-grade, straight-A student at a Catholic school in the south suburbs, according to a new book.
His real name is Danny and he bears no emotional scars from being abruptly taken from his adoptive parents, the Warburtons, and given to his birth parents, the Kirchners, said his psychologist, Karen Moriarty.
Moriarty held a reception at the Pump Room Monday night to release her book, Baby Richard -- A four-year-old comes home.
The book says Danny has turned out fine. It takes aim at the Kirchners' critics and the media, which Moriarty said told only the Warburtons' side of the story.
On hand was James Heiple, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, vilified as the author of the unanimous opinion ordering Danny be returned to his birth parents. He and his clerks said they were glad to see from the pictures in Moriarty's book that Danny seems to be doing OK.
DENNIS PRAGER says: Karen Moriarty is a profoundly irresponsible psychologist.
DP notes there's much less criticism of women in public life than of men. You won't get called anti-male but you will get called anti-women at the drop of a hat.
Of course, he'll get straight As. He's probably frightened out of his mind that if he gets a B, he'll be rejected. His parents and psychologist have so brainwashed the kid that he doesn't remember the family that raised him his first four years.
DP's producer Alan Estrin suggested getting Moriarty on the show. DP said he didn't think he could control himself because this woman has behaved so despicably.
DP: It is narcissistic for gays to say that children do not deserve a mother and a father when they begin life. The Left has been successful in taking the good nature live-and-let-live attitude of the American people. "We are the new blacks. We deserve equality."
No decent person I know advocates separate rules for gays and the things that were part of discrimination against blacks.
There's no law against lesbians who want to be artifically inseminated from having children and raising children with her lesbian lover.
If you allow two gays to marry, why not a brother and a sister? Why not three people?
Saying that heteros who've divorced can't speak about keeping marriage between men and women is like saying that people who've had car accidents can't speak about driving safety.
I believe in discriminating in favor of children so that they are adopted by a loving mother and father who are married to each other.
I can't think of a more important issue than preserving marriage. If we can't, we don't deserve civilization.
Career Advice From Amalek
Chaim Amalek writes Luke:
Any contact information for television?
You need to get a grip. Here is what I suggest. Just do this and you will be better off for it. Ready?
1. Tone down the sexual content of lf.net. Not a good fit there, and counterproductive, too. Lots of it is outright creepy.
2. Start thinking about your next step in your professional life, and how to get there. Namely, getting on television. You need names, contact information. Instead, you seem still stuck.
If you GOT OFF YOUR ASS and made the effort, maybe I could help out but I need names. You are getting older, you know, and this bad-boy shtick of yours was dated even a few years ago. Now it is just plain sad. You need a second act.
Gotta love JewishTribalReview.com. Just good stuff about why Jews are hated. Jews are hated for genetic reasons, but those are never clearly stated. But I will state them. People naturally envy those who are their betters, especially if they are identifiably "different" in appearance or language or custom. Jews, because of their superior jewish genes, are going to do better, on average, on any level playing field than those of certain other races. Hence, if there is no active discrimination against them, the Jews will come out on top in a wildly disproportionate sense. And that means they will be hated. It is as simple as that.
The only way to fight this hatred is for hot shiksas like Jessica Simpson to breed with Jewish men like me. So if there are any Jessica Simpson like women out there, the way for you to fight antisemitism is to mate with me.
I Suffer From Music Inconsistency Disorder
I can see that you have become the victim of music inconsistency disorder ("MID")..in writers, this most often takes the form of an inability to get a rythym going when writing because the tunes you're listening to (often while wearing headphones) break the mood and thus the plan of consciousness of your writing.
Symptoms include: dislocation in writing tone and manner; sudden interruption or complete loss of thought while in the middle of a particularly terrific sentence; displeasure with the cuts on greatest hits albums ("whose greatest hits? who picked this schlock?")...
MID affects not only writers and other artists, but all types of people who like to get into a high-level consciousness groove while working (that can even include financial analysts..) that is based, in part, by hyper-concentration assisted in no small measure by prodigious amounts of great music (sometimes one song, played again and again) played at stun-level volume settings.
You have probably seen the effects of M.I.D. at parties--one minute everything is juking along, then the wrong tune shows up and wham! it's over.
There is only solution: mix your own. Do not rely on the record companies or even the groups.
In that spirit...provide a mailing address and I will try to send off to you at least one disc I think you might enjoy--the very obscure, Glenn Frey Live (recorded in Dublin, Ireland) which has a lot of terrific Eagles songs on it (including "Lying Eyes")...and maybe a compilation of high-energy writin' music...
I'm Too Nuts For Nice Canadian Jewish Girl
One in a continuing series of "Jewish men, argh!" posts:
The Jewish men I know fall into at least one of the many stereotypes described below:
* Too nuts even for me. And you have to know me: I accept weird hobbies and freaky obsessive tendencies in people I like. (The kind of thing I mean: LukeFord.net. You may think he is exceptionally nuts, but this internal monologue, paying attention to every little thought inside their own head, and every trivial reaction one may encouter, goes on inside these people all the time. There's no room for paying attention to other people in your life when you are obsessed with (A) yourself and (B) what other people think of you. I mean, I am sure he is a lovely person and an interesting conversation partner, and certainly fascinating to read, but... At one point, someone has to take out the garbage. And it won't be the person trying to decide whether they are open to trying Orthodox Judaism again, because a pretty girl at the supermarket smiled in their general direction.)
Luke says: So what have I missed out on here? I've got to know. I email Angua for details.
She replies: "It pains me to inform you that my identity must remain secret for now. It pains me even more to inform you that I look absolutely nothing like Jessica Simpson. Fat? Yes. Sloppy? No. And I am absolutely no-one's idea of neurotic. In real life, I am so easy-going as to be practically horizontal."
Skippy McButter writes: "Is Angua hot or is she not? I went to her Internet Web Log, but found no photographic evidence either way. I want to know her weight, age, height, and measurements. Doesn't she know that neurotic, fat, sloppy jewish women don't have any street cred with which to criticise Jewish men? Not that she is any of that, but she might be. Well, whatever she is, her comments are delivering yet another posthumous victory to Adolf Hitler."
From Luke's number one fan blog:
Correction and Abject Apology
Two days ago in this space we made a terrible mistake. We confused Luke Ford, Our Moral Leader, with Luke Ford a little boy from Tennessee who had a wishlist on Amazon.com. We deeply regret this error. We especially regret insinuating, albeit obliquely, that Mr. Ford is some kind of sexual fetishist (an infantalist to be more precise). Nothing could be further from the truth. (Okay, Luke might be into light spanking but only when he gets to know the lady.)
The fact is we don't think of Our Moral Leader in a sexual way at all. He may or he may not have the body of a Greek god -- we have never bothered to check. No, we follow Mr. Ford solely because of his mind. His sex life (which from all reports is, thankfully, nonexistent) is of no concern to us and it will never be referred to again. From all of us here at Luke Ford Fan Blog headquarters please accept our sincerest apologies.
posted by Luke Ford's Number One Fan
Luke Ford Cheated by Conglomerates
Our beleaguer Moral Leader writes:
So I thought I was getting a great deal when I bought these two-disc sets of the greatest hits of Air Supply and the Bee Gees. And now I discover that one CD of each set has no hits worth a damn [please don't swear, it disappoints us so]. And my Best of Supertramp CD has more songs I dislike than songs I like, so I have to keep jumping to my player to punch forward after the good songs.
Here at Luke Ford Fan Blog headquarters we haven't had this problem since the early days of Napster. After the evil music conglomerates closed down Napster we moved to KaZaA to steal our music (although never Air Supply or the Bee Gees, thank goodness).
As a deeply ethical man, Luke Ford would never dream of using KaZaA since to do so would weigh heavily on his enormous conscience.
Admittedly, we do feel bad about our thievery. We hope one day to pull ourselves together and become more like Our Moral Leader. And in broaching this subject, in no way are we suggesting that Mr. Ford should follow us in this highly illegal activity. We couldn't live with ourselves if we thought that we had any part in encouraging Mr. Ford to engage in an act that could end up with him sharing a crowded prison cell with half-a-dozen new black "friends."
posted by Luke Ford's Number One Fan
Without exception we here at Luke Ford Fan Blog headquarters hate football. We think that it is stupid and boring. But since Our Moral Leader loves the Dallas Cowboys (or at least watching big, beefy black men in the comfort and safety of Cathy Seipp's living room) we will henceforth be providing regular football news.
Dallas Cowboys News
Bill Parcells thinks that wide receiver Zuriel Smith's play was "fair" at catching the football in last Sunday's game against the New England patriots, but feels that Smith was "tentative" in fielding punts.
We have no idea who Zuriel Smith is (or Bill Parcells for that matter). We don't even want to know what a "punt" is (sounds rather a dirty to us). And we are not sure if this information is important or not. But remember this is just our first effort, by the time the playoffs start and the Cowboys (fingers crossed) make it to the World Series we will surely be up to speed on all this confusing football stuff.
posted by Luke Ford's Number One Fan
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Luke Feels Cheated By His New CDs
So I thought I was getting a great deal when I bought these two-disc sets of the greatest hits of Air Supply and the Bee Gees. And now I discover that one CD of each set has no hits worth a damn. And my Best of Supertramp CD has more songs I dislike than songs I like, so I have to keep jumping to my player to punch forward after the good songs. Barry Manilow and Abba, however, are completely satisfying.
How I Spent Tuesday
Aside from the police raid, I:
* Did not leave the house
* Sucked dry 25 oranges
* Ate two cups of kosher Ramen noodles
* Listened to my Air Supply Greatest Hits CD ten times
* Sent off 50 emails
* Got an invite to spend Thanksgiving with David Poland
* Skipped my Jewish improv class at UJ (where you improvise your religion)
* Flossed my teeth twice
* Did productive, intellectually-stimulating manly work that soothed suffering and hastened the arrival of the Messiah
* Talked about my feelings for 30-minutes with Jeff
* Fought off allegations that I stalk women
* Put on my scruples, then took them off when they proved inconvenient
* Broke four of my moral fibers surfing the Net
* Dented my moral backbone speaking gossip, test confirms I have osteoperosis
* Lost my youth
Your Moral Leader's Hovel Raided
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Police and prosecutors swooped on moral icon Luke Ford's lavish Neverland Hovel following fresh allegations from a Jewish Journalist that the superstar stalked women.
Between 60 and 70 investigators armed with a search warrant issued by a judge raided the sprawling hovel near Larry Flynt Publications at 8:30 am.
Police declined to reveal the reason for the dramatic search of the "Gloved One's" retreat that draws its name from the "Peter Pan" children's stories, but said the operation was connected to Ford's work teaching abstinence to girls.
Luke Ford - No Master And Commander
I've tried about eight people to see if they wanted to see this movie with me this week. Not one. Sometimes I think I'm losing my charisma. Why has love gone and left me lonely? I was so confused, feeling like I'd just been used... Oh Mandy, you came and you gave without taking...
Mitzvah Man Or Mikvah Man?
Cathy Seipp forwards me this email with the note: "Sounds up your alley. Not mine!"
Email: "For thousands of years, the mikvah, or ritual bath, has been a place where Jewish women go to fulfill a religious duty and rejuvenate the spirit. The Mikvah Project, which opens Oct. 26th at the University of Judaism's Platt and Borstein Galleries, explores this deeply personal rite and brings to life the stories of mothers and single women, Orthodox and secular, breast cancer survivors and brides through the photographs of Janice Rubin and text by Leah Lax."
I saw the exhibit. The photos are stunning but not erotic.
I writes Cathy: "Why do you hate yourself as a Jew?"
Cathy replies: "You're out of your mind. But say, if seeing photos of women doing special cleansing female empowerment things turns you on -- and why do I suspect there will be more than one hairy armpit in this photo exhibit? -- then you can go with Jerry and make a boy's-night-out of it. And your new name can be....Mikvah Man."
Luke says: "If you ever feel blue this week, listen to some Air Supply and look up into the sky and know that I'm listening to Air Supply too. That would be so cool."
Cathy replies: "No, dear, as that kind of gossip...along with unkind words and unholy thoughts...never makes it past my ears into my brain, as you know. Now I gotta sign off and finish this piece!"
Carin Davis - Type-A Overachiever Or Ballbuster?
Carin Davis writes in the Jewish Journal: "I’m a type-A overachiever who has her eyes on the prize. I’m also a one-of-a-kind babe who doesn’t understand why the right woman can’t inspire a man to settle down, even if it’s the wrong time."
I've never heard of Carin Davis outside of her work for the Jewish Journal. I believe fellow singles columnist Teresa Strasser is considerably more of an achiever yet I never remember Teresa boasting that she's an overachiever.
How about substituting "overachiever" with "ballbuster"? That's how it reads to me.
Davis is the columnist who made endlessly inappropriate sexual comments at Temple Sinai while in a forum discussion with other singles columnists and Rabbi Wolpe at Friday Night Live.
Now, if there's anyone who knows about "endlessly inappropriate sexual comments," it's me.
Single Real Man writes on JewishJournal.com forum: "Carin Davis---get off your high horse and start looking at life more realistically. While your column attempts to be humorous, it more about degrading the men you meet. If you were such a great catch, men would make time for you and would not make excuses not to be with you. Yes, there are men who do their laundry at their parents' house (I know a doctor who is doing just that.), and men who's careers haven't taken off like they have hoped, but that is an exception, rather than the rule. If most of the men you meet do their laundry at their parents' house, maybe you should start hanging out at laundromats. Men want to be in a great relationships just as much as women do. The problem is women like you have unrealistic expectation of men. Women expect to meet men with big paychecks. In order to earn a big paycheck, a man needs to work long hours (in most cases). If a man spends long hurs at work, than the woman complains that the man doesn't spend enough time with her. It's a no win situation. When you'll get your priorities straight, reply to me."
The Jewish Journal Is My Misfortune
First there was reporter Michael Aushenker who would snipe away whenever I had a pretty woman in conversation or on my arm.
Now I'm getting blowback from the prissy chicks at the Jewish Journal who are offended by my hyper-masculine style of writing. They perceive me as a stalker for the courageous way I hold the Fourth Estate accountable.
Your Moral Leader is used to these kind of attacks, all aimed at destroying my unimpeachable moral credibility.
Christian writes YML: "The last thing you are is a stalker. You have too much pride. Too much dignity. What you are is romantic. You tend to fall deeply in love with every pretty woman who gives you the time of day."
My buddy Jeff says: "Stalking chicks? You're guilty of banging chicks, but stalking chicks? You're the opposite of a stalker. The first sign of rejection, you're out of there.
"So who's Larry Miller? Is Daniel Pipes Jewish?"
Luke: "Larry Miller is your ass. I want to talk about my feelings."
Jeff: "Is he the comedian who died? From SitnSleep?"
Luke: "I only care about my feelings. How do you think I feel to hear I'm a stalker?"
Jeff: "You've got to talk to chicks about this stuff rather than email. How can you possibly read what she's feeling or thinking?"
Luke: "Dennis Prager says email is an excellent way to communicate. It's just that none of my girls have ever thought so. They always say, 'We should do this on the phone.'"
Jeff: "Dennis Prager hasn't been searching for a woman in almost 20 years. Email is not appropriate for matters like this. For your benefit."
Luke: "I prefer email."
Jeff: "At least she could hear that you're a real caring person and that you really care about her feelings and don't want to write anything controversial any more or anything about Michael Aushenker.
"So what did you say?"
Luke: "Baby, I love your way.
"I just got my CDs. Here, let me put on my Air Supply.
"I'm disappointed with my Best of Supertramp. I only like half of their 15 songs."
Jeff: "Half? Considering what I remember of Supertramp, that's good."
Luke: "I haven't listened to the Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits yet."
Jeff: "Wouldn't it be funny if you had a woman and you managed to keep her even though she knew all about your past and then she found out about your record collection and she left you."
Luke: "What if she had the same type of collection?"
Jeff: "That's like her telling you - Oooh, I went into your closet and it's just like mine."
Luke sings: "Even the nights are better now that we're together."
Jeff: "Oh, please God. Oh, no, no, no."
Luke: "I'm just lost in love and I don't know much."
Jeff: "Who wrote Mandy?"
Luke: "Barry Manilow."
My Air Supply CD comes on. I turn it up and put the phone to the speaker.
Jeff: "I really don't want to hear about this. I'd much rather hear about Michael Aushenker.
"I obviously have to repent. When you come before the great scorekeeper in the sky and he asks you about this... I can't see how liking Air Supply is going to help you. It's so gay."
Luke: "Most girls like them."
Jeff: "Of course they do."
Luke: "I'm romantic. I'm not a stalker.
"Lift your eyes if you feel can... And I'll show you the way."
Jeff: "Lift your eyes? Who said that?"
Luke: "You know you can't fool me. I've been loving you too long."
Jeff, disgusted: "OK."
Luke: "It started so easy. I want to carry on."
Jeff: "Drop dead."
Luke: "Carry on."
Jeff: "You're not the most romantic guy in the world. It's not that you fall in love with every woman who gives you the time of day. It's that you want to bang every woman who gives you the time of day. But you're not a stalker. You have no history of wanting to be one. You'd rather run if you're rejected. Sometimes you used to be pretty aggressive when rejected initially but... I'll talk to her."
Luke: "I'm lost in love and I don't know much."
Jeff: "So what about the other six women?"
Luke: "They don't mean much to me."
Jeff: "Seriously? Is one of them the 19-year old?"
Luke: "I've been crying myself to sleep, waking up lonely."
Jeff: "About the Cowboys?"
Luke: "I needed someone to hold me, whoa ooh."
Jeff: "A good thing my phone is running out of juice. I got the information about that Enzight. You can probably..."
Luke: "Benefit from it?"
Jeff: "I think you can buy the same combination at the drug store. A year's worth is $250."
Luke: "Next time I can put it to work."
Jeff: "It has some ingredients that might be helpful."
Luke: "This magazine wants to do a profile of me but the women on the staff hate me, so no go."
Jeff: "What's the Cowboys' record?"
Jeff: "So they're tied with the Rams now?"
Jeff: "All these weeks I've been rooting for the Cowboys and now I realize they are fighting for the best record in the conference. I realize you don't have that same dilemma."
Luke: "No, no. I'm racked by the fortunes of the Rams."
Jeff: " Have you had experiences with these women on the mag?"
Luke: "Social ones, not sexual ones."
Jeff: "Sad, obviously."
I couldn't survive these troubles if I didn't have my Air Supply CDs.
I'm all out of love.
What am I without you?
I can't be too late
To say that I was so wrong.
Groped Beyond Belief
Sue Smethurst thought her trip to L.A. to interview Olivia Newton-John about breast cancer for New Idea magazine, where she is an editor, would go as smoothly as all her other visits. Wrong
. She was handcuffed, marched through the airport and body searched -- then deported after 15 hours in custody -- for having the wrong visa.
"I've had every part of me groped beyond belief...(I was) shocked more than anything, disbelief, total sense of disbelief, humiliated," she told Australia's Channel Nine. Smethurst was detained under a new reading of the law that lets tourists in on a 90-day waiver of the visa rules, but not working journalists.
Smethurst told the Sydney Morning Herald
that her makeup and lip liner were confiscated as national security threats and that she was made to sign various documents and oaths.
Luke says: I know a lot women her age who'd like to have every part of them groped beyond belief. So what's she complaining about?
Well [Luke's comment] wasn't in *good* taste, but it's not as if you were serious. Also, my bullcrap detector went off big-time with that woman. Every part of her has been "groped"? Riiiight. Smethurst is just annoyed because she doesn't think the rules should apply to white, middle class women like her, and you can tell from the picture of her looking ready for Ascot that the media is running with this that we're supposed to agree and be horrified. "They've picked the wrong one this time." Well, no, Suzie, they picked the right one. You didn't have the right visa, you were detained, searched and deported like anyone else would be in the circumstances.
Look, I've dealt with my fair share of jerky immigration staff over the years, and I'm no fan of the attitudes I've encountered from most of them. But at the end of the day, they have an important job to do, and in this case, they did it. Smethurst didn't think she had to play by the rules, and her Aussie ass got deported. She should shut up, put another shrimp on the barbie, drink a Foster's, think Australian, watch Neighbours, listen to Delta Goodrem and whatever else it is that you Antipodeans do. As far as I can tell, the next item on the list would be "whinge in an annoying accent," but she's done enough of that already.
Prager, Other Media Burned By Weekly Standard WOMD Story?
Dennis Prager's first question: Has this been picked up by the mainstream press?
Stephen Hayes, author: Generally not. Blogs and talk radio, yes.
DP: If the NY Times reports it, the network news will.
Pentagon Debunks Reports on Osama-Saddam Ties Some Outlets Run With 'Weekly Standard' Story
By Seth Porges NEW YORK -- Several newspapers and other media outlets had egg on their face Monday after reporting or endorsing a Weekly Standard story revealing new evidence of an "operational relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.
Several outlets, including the New York Post, The Washington Times and FOX News, ran with the story. There was just one problem: On Saturday, the Pentagon issued a press release stating that "news reports that the Defense Department recently confirmed new information with respect to contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq ... are inaccurate." Despite this, the New York Post on Monday titled its editorial on the subject: "Bush Was Right."
In the current Nov. 24 issue of the conservative journal The Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes writes that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein "had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda."
The magazine's revelations allegedly came from a "top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by The Weekly Standard." The Pentagon press release, however, states that the classified sections of the document contained "raw reports" and "was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaida and it drew no conclusions."
How to Talk to Your Kids About the Paris Hilton Sex Video
1. Start from the Beginning Explain to your children that when two adults love each other very much, they need a special way to express that love. This explanation need not involve a graphic description of how exactly adults go about expressing their love. But it is important to tell them that when the two people that love each other are a party-girl heiress socialite with an upcoming reality television show and a guy who's been burned by a short-lived marriage to a sexually voracious celebrity who coincidentally also had ties to FOX, sometimes you need to capture that expression of love on video and leak it to the public so that people will know there's nothing wrong with your manhood, okay? If your child is particularly precocious, you may choose to inform him of the merits of bringing a lawsuit against the other participant to make it look as if you didn't pass anything to Page Six or TheSmokingGun.com.
2. Patiently Answer Their Questions Expect that children are going to have a lot of questions; the period after watching the video is a very confusing time. Matter-of-factly answer their queries about why Rick is leaning against some pillows and rubbing himself while Paris is catting around on the edge of the bed (a guy needs some time to recover when he's going all night), whether it's OK to answer a cellphone call when you're about to be taken from behind (it's not, it kills the mood if it's your parents calling), and why you might leave the television on in the background while taping (watching Ralph and Norton always helps you go longer, get off my back already). Children will appreciate your honesty and patience with their curiosity.
3. Prepare Them for the Future, When You Might Not Be Around
Mark Cridland, who's emailed me nine times before, posts on frequent blogs like Cecile's and seems to lean to the right politically, emails me:
"John writes Luke:"
Dammit Luke, who's John? When did you meet him? Did he send an email or a letter? When did it arrive? Does he write to you a lot?
Like the Gawker guy said, it's EXHAUSTING. And that's only three words in.
Pragerz: "Context is everything."
I'm not asking you to change your opinion: I want you to *EXPRESS* IT!
Luke says: "I'd like to express my opinion that you've given me much to pray on. God bless you in all of your legitimate endeavors, Mark."
Mary writes: "Why don't you use Google's AdSense advertising program?"
Luke replies: "I fear that money would be morally corrupting."
Luke Ford Could be the Rush Limbaugh of the 21st Century
John writes Luke:
I skimmed your memoir over a few free hours I had today. I do very much think you have a book here, and, at its core, it might be more than just a cheap cheesy read. But it would require editing and, unfortunately, the kind of editing you are not likely to get at Prometheus or low-end publishing houses like it. That means it is up to you to rewrite and aim for an agent -- Sandy Dykstra (Faludi's agent and based on the west coast, a leftwing feminist) and Judith Regan (Howard Stern, lots of other quirky writers, maybe even Matt Drudge) come to mind.
First off, the writing needs to be brought up a notch to elevate it from rehash to quasi-literary, dark comic memoir. Might take weeks or months of going line-by-line. I would drop the screenplay-like dialogue structure -- too quick and easy -- and make it all narrative structure. And I would drop any sections that are structured like a diary/journal. I would also play down -- but keep -- the Jewish angle. I know it is central to your being and perhaps to the story. But it is too divergent to the reader; it's like reading two books. It's also not that interesting to non-Jews.
I would keep this a personal memoir of someone who was the Matt Drudge of ----. The Prager/Jewish angle is an occasional backdrop, like family background, personal relationships, health. And these things should each be maybe 10 percent or so of the story, and the rest, 50-60-70 percent, should be you covering/fumbling your beat and agonizing over it. So, there are my thoughts, in a nutshell, sport. I think a lot of this depends on how high you want to shoot.
LUKE FORD EMERGES FROM REHAB IN NEED OF MAUREEN REGAN
Friends, I'm back. Yes I, Luke Ford, am back from a night spent in the nightmare of drug-rehab, where I finally threw the twin conjoined monkeys of Hollywood Judaism and tabloid journalism off my back. (As Marx pointed out, the former is an opiate of sorts, no less so than Oxycontin, and certainly the latter no less so.)
My therapist urges me to tell my story to the world as part of a plan to get better, and to that end I have taken a stab at writing a memoir. But to proceed any further, I need an editor and a literary agent (it is obvious, no?). My good friend Chaim Amalek has urged my repeatedly to glom on to literary agent Maureen Regan. She, like me, was born a goy, and she, like me, knows lots of Jews. (Gratuitous? Maybe.)
Dear Readers of my life, there must be among you at least one who knows this woman, or knows someone who knows her, someone who can help make a proper introduction for me so that I might speak to her as a man she knows is worth speaking to. I had hoped that Chaim Amalek, living as he does in New York City, would be able to do this, but he claims he does not know anyone there, and I believe him. Hell, he can't even get representation for himself or get any dates with hot chicks on account of his looks, his age, and his poverty, but that's a different tale. (But to be fair to Chaim, he has spent this morning composing these few paragraphs, which is the sort of thing he often does on my behalf for free and without any rational explanation.) So please help me tell my story to the world, as I must if I am to beat this habit.
Luke Ford of the Excellence in Tabloid Journalism Network
Who's Luke Ford's Biggest Fan?
Cecile du Bois writes: Nicholas told me about this new blog that is "Luke Ford Fan Central". I'm thinking who did this? Can it be:
A. Mad satire written by Dave Robb
C. Chaim Amalek
D. Luke himself, because he can never get enough limelight in his exciting life.
E. My wacky father
G. Me--I deny it.
H. Luke's friendly imaginary friend.
I. G-D--we never know enough about these wonderful miracles.
J. Michael Moore--like he actually cares.
K. Ann Coulter--she is in love with him.
L. "Marie"--it took her a lot of deep thinking to do this.
M. Linda, the "mangy dog"
N. some angry ex-girlfriend plotting to embarrass him.
O. Anita Busch--she has always had a thing for Luke...well you never know!
P. Grandpa--who greets him with "Luke the Duke!"
Q. Cousin Mari--she is Mom's number #1 fan and expert on the Cecile-Cathy-Luke triangle.
R. Mom's alter ego--you never know what Ms. Seipp will do next!
S. John Podhoretz--"Teen Idol" he decided to have some fun.
T. Amy Alkon--she decided to get us back when I was Randy Swanson.
U. Lena Cuisina from Amy's blog--he decided to post elsewhere.
V. Felice--she has felt a bit too quiet lately. By the way she's a cat.
W. The ghost of Daddio, my dead goldfish. He revisited from the dead.
X. Mom thinks its Luke Thompson--he wants to kill all other Lukes. (Mom says that.) I say because he's tired of being his ol' self. He attempted to be Matt Welch for halloween.
Y. Lucas from One Tree Hill--he is bored of being Mr. Perfect on that show. He needed to screw around have some long deserved fun.
Z. Larry Flynt--Poor fool, too much ----, not enough Luke.
Don writes Luke: I have been reading you since the early days, before you sold [previous site] (which was a groundbreaking site of a totally different type) which I stumbled across while surfing the net...I watched with distant fascination the conflict of spirituality and sexuality and applauded your move to take the former and not the latter...a brave step, my friend, trading the known for the unknown. Journalistically, it seems that you were among the first of the "bloggers"...in terms of format so you were prescient in your writing (which is prodigious...getting that much text out everyday is no easy task) and helped create a style of writing which did not even have a name at the time you were producing it....it's all been good (at least from a distance) and it was obvious to me early in the game that your own intellectual curiosity was going to force a migration of talents and focus....in the end, there wasn't enough there to hold your long-term interest and grow you intellectually and as a writer. And, to be sure, there is a certain amount of legendary cachet that ascribes to one who leaves one area of work for another while at the peak of his game...that would be you...enhanced by the discovery and commitment to religious study.
Afraid To Love Again
I cannot tell a lie.
A few sentences earlier in my blog, I lied. I said: "Nobody can ever say that Luke Ford is afraid to love and to drink deeply from the fountain of life."
This is not true. I'm afraid to love Orthodox Judaism again.
I get many emails inquiring why Your Moral Leader is not more religious. Here's why. I'm afraid to love Torah again.
I've had several flings with Orthodox Judaism. One was most intense - from August 2000 to June 2001. I spent most of my spare time either studying Torah, praying, or practicing Torah (aside from my work which desecrated Torah).
Then it ended with a crash. Innocent people got hurt. A guilty person - me - got hurt too. And after a series of ejections over the next few months, I became afraid to love Torah again.
Let's say I'd resume daily study. Let's say I'd attend more prayer sessions at synagogue. Let's say I reduced the amount I gossiped and practiced chastity and abstinence from sin. This would narrow my life.
Judaism is not something you practice alone. You practice it with an community. So if I become more observant, I'd become more vulnerable to my religious community and I've have fewer friends outside Orthodox Judaism.
Also, it would remind me intensely how many places and persons are closed to me because of my flagrant sins committed in public.
Non-Orthodox Jews and goyim may not be particularly moral but at least they're not judgmental about most of my type of sins.
If I practiced my religion more, I'd face more restrictions on what I could write. I'd have to bring all of my life into the realm of the permitted.
I'd be more fearful of my religious community because I'd be more vulnerable to it. And I'd get hurt more if I lost another Orthodox community.
So I'm cynical, detached, removed, not present even when I'm present in shul and in prayer and in study.
I'm afraid to love again.
And to realize this, I had to listen several times to my new Air Supply CDs.
When Air Supply sings, "Never get enough, never get enough of you," I think they were talking about my troubled relationship to the Torah.
In fact, I think every song they sing is about Torah, particularly "Making love out of nothing at all."
"I'm not looking forward to the night I spent, thinking of you when you're not here. How many times will I think about the things I'd like to do? Always denied the right to live my life the way I want. I want to share it with you."
Have there ever been keener observers of the human condition than AS's Graham and Russell?
Luke Ford Fan Blog
I've got a fan, or maybe it is all a product of my imagination?
Nicholas writes Cecile: "Some nutjob has just created a Luke Ford fan site. I don't know who's behind it, but I hope they get help soon."
Reporting and commentary on the theory and practice of Luke Ford -- Our Moral Leader
Links: Luke Ford -- Our Moral Leader; Dennis Prager -- Luke Ford's Moral Leader; Cathy Seipp -- Luke Ford's Confidante and Advisor; Cecile DuBois -- Luke Ford's Protégé.
Luke Ford Eats as Dallas Cowboys Lose
Luke Ford spent Sunday evening at the residence of confidante and advisor Cathy Seipp. For all the juicy details go to Cecile's blog. We at Luke Ford Fan Blog headquarters are more than a little concerned about the potential for moral backsliding by Our Moral Leader due to the influence of Ms. Seipp, who is but a neoconservative (i.e., a one-time liberal) with residual tendencies to, on very rare occasion, use bad language, dress in a provocative manner, and give Playboy magazines as Chanukkah presents. We find the latter extremely distressing. Actually, we find all three extremely distressing! Fortunately, Cecile DuBois is a rock-solid conservative and a moral exemplar, so we hope (and pray) not too much damage was done.
Pansies Lead Luke Ford Astray News Flash:
Effeminate Australian soft rock superstars Air Supply have led Our Moral Leader away from Orthodox Judaism! Mr. Ford writes: When Air Supply sings, "Never get enough, never get enough of you," I think they were talking about my troubled relationship to the Torah. In fact, I think every song they sing is about Torah, particularly "Making love out of nothing at all."
We wish we could help. But despite our aggressive affirmative action hiring efforts here at Luke Ford Fan Blog headquarters we have been unable to find a single Jewish person willing to join our rapidly expanding staff. This perplexes us greatly. We will listen closely to the Dennis Prager program today in the hope of finding guidance on this matter. In the meantime, perhaps Mr. Ford should consider listening to a more manly Australian musical group like the Angels or, as a last resort, ACDC. posted by Luke Ford's Number One Fan Monday, November 17, 2003
Buy Luke Ford a Prezzy
Don't know what to get Luke for the holidays? I know it's hard. But Our Moral Leader, being the empathetic soul that he is, has done the heavy lifting for us. All we need to do is go to Amazon.com and type "Luke Ford" into the wishlist box and select from one (or more) of the items that Mr. Ford has already picked out for us. We here at Luke Ford Fan Blog headquarters are leaning toward buying the "Tiny Love Gymini Deluxe: Noah's Ark Design," due to its religious theme. But will it fit Luke? Certainly not if he stays at 170 lbs. The "Playnest and Gym" looks bigger, but we think that the "Tiny Love" gym will encourage Luke to lose those extra kilos that he has been carrying around for far too long. (You may be wondering, why does Luke want this stuff? Unfortunately, this being a family website we really can't get into details.)
Update: Luke Ford's wishlist seems to have disappeared. We believe that this disappearance may have been an act of G-d. Our crack research team is going to get right on this and find out exactly what happened. Please don't panic.
Is It Bad Form To Ask Out Via Email?
I love email. A great way to communicate. You can say everything you want without being interrupted. You can be clear, honest. You can revise until you get it exactly right.
But when I ask girls out via email, they often tell me that is not the way things are done. So what's up?
I once broke up with a girl via email. She says she would've been offended if anyone else had done that but me. What does says about me?
Jackie writes Luke: "Asking someone out via email is perfectly acceptable. If a woman is so rigid in her thinking, so controlling in how things must be done, that this method causes problems...Well, I wouldn't want to be around her, but you might still want to get unholy with her. Either way, ick."
Jack writes Luke: "You should thank all those who forced you to forge a new life. If not for them, you would still be buddies with Jenna instead of Cathy. The Orthodox, who you never tire of hating/loving, mugged you into a new and far better life. They forced you to be a reasonably sincere penitent."
Luke says: "Jeff, I'm distressed I can't summon up more enthusiasm for this gratitude to those who ejected me. My Jewish brain tells me you're right but my heart won't go along. I haven't matured enough yet."
Jeff writes: "Get your kicks with "polkas or waltzes, reels or jigs," and never, but never, to "undulate or jerk to jazz or rock rhythms."
I got my Air Supply CDs, and even the nights are better!
All the CDs I purchased were rated kosher by the OU (Orthodox Union). They are specially dubbed versions of the greatest hits with all female voices replaced by feminine sounding men so as to comply with the Jewish Law of Kol Isha (not to listen to the sound of a woman singing as it can arouse lust).
As a teenager, I got abused by my peers for liking Air Supply. Now I'm 37 and I'm still getting abused for the same thing. This carnal world is not an easy place for someone like me with a tender heart and deep feelings. Good thing I don't dwell in olam haze (this life) but in olam haba (Heaven).
I remember driving down the road at 16 listening to these Air Supply lyrics: "I want to ride the skies tonight in my sweet dreams."
And my perverted friend would ruin the song by singing, "I want to ride you tonight in my sweet dreams."
Then there was a time when my friends were driving crazy in the rain. I was 16 and easily frightened.
"Stop it!" I screamed. "I haven't had sex yet."
I had a suicidal friend. The only reason he didn't kill himself was that he hadn't had sex yet. Now he's happily married and has a child.
Nobody can ever say that Luke Ford is afraid to love and to drink deeply from the fountain of life.
Luke Ford Reveals He Teaches Sexual Abstinence To Girls
By Hugh Macleod
17 November 2003
Luke Ford, the US author and moral leader, has made an admission reminiscent of Gladstone by revealing that he helps to educate girls in Los Angeles about the virtues of sexual abstinence.
The Victorian-era British prime minister would scour the streets searching for prostitutes to rescue and rehabilitate. Mr. Ford has been on a similar mission for the past eight years, scouring the streets of the San Fernando for adult actresses to rescue and rehabilitate.
Mr. Ford described in an interview how he warns girls about the dangers of Aids. "Abstinence is a good thing to teach young people before they're ready for the responsibilities of sexual activity," Mr Ford said. "Abstinence works. We know it works ... and it is a perfectly sensible strategy to take to young people."
Will Somebody Wake Up Bill Keller?
Paul Barresi writes Luke 11/15 at 4:45PM: "Punk"
XXXXXX writes: I've been on this Anthony Pellicano-Alex Proctor-Steven Seagal-Jules Nasso-Anita Busch story since June 20, 2002. I've talked to every wacko between here and Brooklyn so many times that I'd pretty much lost interest in the whole stupid mess. But what I saw in today's edition of the NY Times, in a story by-lined by Laura Holson and Bernie Weinraub, just made me fall out of my chair.
"Paul Barresi, a private investigator, said in an interview on Friday that he worked for Mr. Pellicano and that he was questioned late last year by two F.B.I. agents. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. would not comment on the investigation. But Mr. Barresi said that he was asked by Mr. Pellicano to find "derogatory information" on Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger."
Fact: Singer works for Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Pellicano works for Singer. The idea that Pellicano would hire Barresi to dig up dirt on two of Marty Singer's favorite clients makes no sense. It's just a pathetic attempt by someone to distance Stallone and Schwarzenegger from Singer-Pellicano.
Will somebody wake up Bill Keller, the new executive editor of the NY Times, and tell him there is something very, very wrong with his reporters on this Pellicano story?
Reconciling God With Unjust Suffering
How can God be all-good and all-powerful and allow the New England Patriots to shut out my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday night?
David Rensin writes: "I think this is proof that there is no God. Either that or he/she/it just made us all then told us to go play among ourselves, and hasn't checked back in lately."
I think my question about the Cowboys is as legitimate as most of the questions I hear about unjust suffering.
All weekend I've listened to sermons on theodicy (reconciling God's existence with suffering). People are shallow. Why does the Holocaust challenge God's existence any more than one child with incurable cancer? It's a fundamental Jewish teaching that every human being is worth an entire world.
Was the Holocaust the first time in history that innocent people were murdered? Or is it that the lives of Jews are more important than the lives of non-Jews? Do Jews want to win the suffering sweepstakes?
God has never spoken to me about anything, let alone theodicy, but Sunday night, He IM'd me on my AOL account.
Hakodesh Baruchu: Levi Ben Avraham you have been a very bad boy lately!
Hakodesh Baruchu: You have been ignoring my calls!
Sundays With Cathy
Temple. Sunday morning. Friend: "How do you get to the Westin Bonaventura [404 S. Figueroa for today's Jewish Policy Center dialogue between moderator Michael Medved, Larry Miller, John Podhoretz and Professor Daniel Pipes]? Take the 10 to the 110?"
Luke: "I go straight down Olympic to Figueroa."
Friend: "Isn't dangerous? There are some bad neighborhoods."
Good. I'm not the only one scared driving straight down to downtown Los Angeles. Those are some nasty neighborhoods. No place for a white man. It's the route I always take, and when I take it today, I feel the familiar fear in my stomach. I remember the New York riots of 15 years ago when rampaging blacks screaming "Kill the Jews" hunted down a harmless Australian Hasidic scholar and stabbed him to death.
Virtually every Jew fears that he will be killed for being Jewish, notes Dennis Prager. Something that goyim don't realize about Jews.
Sundays With Cathy
My cell phone rings. It's Cathy Seipp. I'm supposed to save seats for her and her daughter but she realizes that I lack the necessary fortitude to fight for their seats. So she's their early and she suggests where I should park. I end up snagging a place on Figueroa, 100 yards from the hotel. I park three feet into the red but get no parking ticket.
Unlike this morning's lecture, I immediately run into several attractive young female Jewish friends. Cathy has saved a seat for me at an ideal location.
Michael Medved, who has a photographic memory, is a superb moderator, serving up the principle arguments of liberals against the Bush administration. Larry Miller amazes me with his pithy responses. In 15 seconds, he says as much as the long-winded John Podhoretz, who often takes ten minutes to answer a question.
Still, it is the towering scholar Daniel Pipes who stands head and shoulders over everybody. Most of the questions from the audience are addressed to him.
Pipes says that Republican support for Israel is generally pure of political considerations because Jews rarely vote Republican. By contrast, Democrats are for sale. Thus it is probably good that much of their money and influential support comes from Jews, otherwise the party could care less about Israel.
Pipes says we are not in a war against terrorism, nor a war against Islam. We're in a war against radical Islam. "A strategist can no more win a war without naming the enemy than a physician can cure a patient without naming the disease."
Since going on lithium, I haven't felt the urge to ask questions in such public events as these and I do not.
Medved notes that John Podhoretz got a B+ from Pipes at a University of Chicago class and that John felt "gypped."
I'd estimate the crowd at 600 persons. I'd estimate most are Republican, and about one-third are Orthodox.
In the past week, a beautiful woman has sensitized me to not using such terms as the following:
Get your cotton pickin’ hands off of me
Medved uses the term "yekkie," the yiddish slang for a Jew of German extraction. It is not perjorative even though the Beautiful Woman insisted it was. Oh well. I think being right is an over-rated trait in a woman. Who cares if she is wrong about this? I think she's adorable.
Yekkie is no more perjorative than litvak (Lithuaninan) or galitizianer (some place in Eastern Europe).
I hate to see language used to hurt people but those three terms don't.
Novelist and screenwriter Roger Simon wanders in with his ever-present hat and young attractive wife. I flag them down and bring them over to Cathy and Cecile for a brief chat. Roger's friendly with Larry Miller.
A non-Orthodox Jew, Miller puts on tallis and tefillin every morning and prays for people. He's a firebrand on the panel.
Daniel Pipes says the US should turn over Iraq to a strong leader with democratic tendencies and withdraw the American troops to the desert to keep the oil fields safe and stay out of the way of easy terrorist attacks. Pipes says says the US has no moral responsibility to Iraqis.
Dennis Kucinich, a candidate for the Democractic nomination, is fundraising by going to dinner with women who donate $2000. Imagine what he'd do for $5000?
I want to copy this idea. You can have dinner with Your Moral Leader for a $500 to his abstinence campaign. For $1000, you can have a lot more than dinner with YML. For $5, you can kiss me on the cheek. For a $1:99, shake my hand.
I introduce Cecile to her journalistic hero John Podhoretz and then I guide Larry Miller into Cathy Seipp. She once threw an LA Press Club party for him. It makes me feel useful, and adult and fathery.
Afterwards I have dinner at Cathy Seipp's home. She bakes tamale pie for the first time. It's delicious. We watch the Dallas - New England game with the sound down so we can enjoy the best of football and the best of conversation.
Cathy and Cecile dread that I will yell out a racial epithet in my distress at black Cowboy quarterback Quincy Carter's three interceptions. It never even occurs to me.
They were misled by a question I raised on my blog last week: Is it wrong to yell out racist statements if a player on your favorite team plays badly?
But I only raised that as a question. I thought I emphasized that I never participate in such behavior.
I'm not fond of Cathy's nine-year old dog Linda. I say it looks mangy. Cathy says it is a terrier and that is how they are supposed to look. I say that if I looked like that, I'd get a makeover. Cathy suggests my new line of work should be - Luke Ford, dog stylist.
Cathy insists on showing me a scar. It's one of Los Angeles journalism's best keep secrets that Cathy, in a fit of youthful indiscretion, got imaginary implants. Then she did a Pamela Anderson and took them out. I don't think she ever needed them.
"I'm not into these kinky games, Cathy," I cry, cowering into the couch, covering my eyes. It brings Cecile out of her bedroom to see what the ruckus is about.
It's mighty white of Cecile to play me her new favorite CD - Mikhail Mikhailovich Ippolitov-Ivanov's Caucasian Sketches.
For my Chanukkah present, Cathy gives me a 1970 "Girls of Israel" issue of Playboy (a kosher version with all the naughty bits cut out). She approves that none of the women have breast implants.
Cathy's mom taught her that whenever a man loses a job or is hospitalized, you buy him a skin magazine to make him feel better.
Cathy celebrates her birthday November 17. I forgot about it. That's what men are supposed to do. Forget about special dates.
Cathy and I find ourselves surfing to LA Observed before Romenesko these days because LA Observed is about our friends.
For the first time in two months, I find a scale to step on - 170 pounds. Ten more than normal.
Bad sign for a marriage: When the wife comes out to the car to find her husband in the passenger seat already buckled in. I've never had a satisfying relationship with a woman who wouldn't let me drive her car. If she can't trust me to do that, and insists on driving, then it's not going to work.
You know you're over a relationship when you stop reading her blog.
Cecile writes on her blog
Daniel Pipes said that insecurity over Israel intensified during the Bush era and started under Clinton. "Israel is better off without delusion", he said. Israel better face the fact. John Podhoretz stressed afterwards to this reluctant-to-believe man that there "was no roadmap to peace!"
"Arafat lied to Colin Powell in the face about the shipment of arms". Yeah, of course everyone should know that--but the Palestinian-terrorist sympathizers are blinded by their anti-zionism that to them Arafat is better than democracy. Vile bigotry, detestable, full of no-nots. Thats what this Jewish-conservative meeting was all about. I just wish there were teens nearby who are Jewish, conservative, and interesting.
Podhoretz: "Bush asks a friend if a Jew can get into heaven. What is material is how Bush acts towards Jews."
"The money that fuels the Democratic party comes from Jewish sponsors. Jews are more comfortable in the democratic party," Podhoretz said. "Bush deserves our Jewish support", Michael Medved said, which received huge applause.
Larry Miller: "This [Islamo-fascist] war has to be followed through. So the only thing we can do is to turn on the light in the kitchen and see the roaches."
Resulting in huge applause, that was my favorite line. However, one thing disappoints me. There are little Jewish conservatives my age. What to do? Its like waiting for Godot.
While watching his favorite team, which lost to the New England Patriots, Luke Ford shouted all sorts of colorful phrases including throwing his kleenex at the TV when a player made a bad move. "Oh Nooo, Stupid!" he would yell at the TV screen. "Bloody hell!" (my favorite phrase).
After tea and cookies after tamale pie, Mom gave Luke his Channukah present: a Playboy with "Girls from Israel" on the cover. Luke was so excited about this wholesome magazine he skimmed through every cartoon and joked he would read it in the car [on his ride home].
Female Faithlessness Mars Holocaust Lecture
I go to Temple Sinai Sunday morning, not primarily to partake of its brunch or to hear Holocaust historian Martin Gilbert, but to see girls. And none of them show up.
I'm stuck with my male buddies. I feel like a sailor out to sea, or a priest in a parish without an altar boys.
I take out my unfulfilled desires on the danishes, then I wander outside and notice some teenage babes in the Koreh LA room - a project to tutor illiterate goyim. Maybe I should sign up?
I return to the main room and take my medicine without a whimper. Sheesh, a Holocaust lecture sitting next to a guy is just not a Holocaust lecture. To be appreciated properly, you need to sit with an attractive woman who whispers in your ear the whole time, accidentally brushes your knee with her hand or your face with her lips... And you're sitting so close you can sense the rhythym of her breathing and the curves of her body.
Today was like going to the Holocaust Museum without necking by the Krystalnacht display.
Male buddy, longtime member of Temple Sinai, tells me: "Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei [new hire] is warm and fuzzy... So unlike other rabbis..." Temple Sinai has long been an austere place.
The beautiful married mother Rabbi Hirsch brushes my shoulder as she walks by.
Why are the best women married?
Why won't women commit to Holocaust lectures?
I don't know if I am ever going to be able to love again after today's letdown.
You can't hide your lying eyes.
And your smile is in disguise.
I thought by now you'd realize -
T here ain't no way to hide those lying eyes.
It's a little known fact that this Eagles song - "Lying Eyes" - was composed after Don Henley was stood up on a date to a Holocaust lecture.
Any great philosophical insight has been said in a pop song, says Rabbi Finley.
You, however, should listen closely to these two Eagles' songs: "James Dean" and "Learn to Be Still."
In James Dean, the classic lyric "I know my life would look alright if I could just see it on the silver screen" pretty much describes a life of adventure and change (that would you..and many of us, actually).
"Learn To Be Still" , by Don Henley, (Hell Freezes Over). I see as almost a holiday song, but it has this wonderful piece of poetry and insight in the lyrics: "wandered around the desert and got lost, and ended up following the wrong gods home..." ......doesn't that just lay it all on the line as it really is for so many...
As one who has witnessed, from a distance, the transformation of Luke Ford, I send my best wishes for your continued good health, good luck, and personal spiritual growth.
Sir Martin Gilbert begins: "I just spoke by telephone to Rabbi David Wolpe. He was in a splendid state of mind. He asked me several questions about WWI history."
Given my broken heart, it's hard for me to concentrate.
Finally, I want to make a shout-out to all my homies at the JewishJournal.com who read my words so faithfully and learn a great deal from Your Moral Leader about responsible journalism, fair and balanced. Kiss, kiss, darlings, let's do lunch. I love you too.
I voted for JJ editor Rob Eshman to the board of the Los Angeles Press Club. Anyone who is a friend of Cathy Seipp is my friend too, if he'll take me. I really should be nicer to my favorite newspaper that I read cover to cover each week.
Braving A Los Angeles Blizzard
"Congratulations to you for braving the blizzard," jokes Bnai David Judea Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky from the podium at Congregation Mogen David (O) Saturday night.
A light rain fell outside, a major trauma to many Los Angelenos.
Rav Kanefsky moderates a discussion between Modern Orthodox Rabbi Avi Weiss and Reform Rabbi Mordecai Finley of Ohr HaTorah.
Over the next two hours, these opposing rabbis agreed on almost everything. They love each other and their words electrify the crowd, which is 60-40 traditional to liberal. I see three women with their hair covered (a requirement of Orthodox Judaism). All men wear yarmulkes.
Only one person in the crowd looks unhappy - a particularly fervent Orthodox rabbi.
I'm introduced to a pious married lady with her hair covered.
"Hi, I'm Levi," I say.
Lady: "Do you have a website?"
I cringe by reflex. I couldn't write honestly if I thought I'd constantly run into people in shul who read me.
This lady works at the Jewish Federation and finds many of my articles while researching stuff on Google.com.
Rav Yosef's introductory address focuses on the decline in "quantity and quality" in the Jewish-American population.
He makes a remark about "the Jew in the Pew" that raises laughs, which mystifies the rabbi.
Rav Yosef says Rabbi Mordecai Finley "hands down, is the most creative rabbi in Los Angeles."
I've also heard Rav Yosef call Rabbi David Wolpe "a gadol (great one) of our generation."
Why have American Jews left Judaism in such overwhelming numbers? Rabbi Finley (RF) says it is as though Hebrew schools were run by anti-Semittes. Jews go to them, get Bar Mitzvahed, and learned to hate Judaism. About 50% of American Jews intermarry and about 70% of them apostasize.
We need to rework the way we present Judaism. "Business as usual is not working."
RF: "I was Bar Mitvahed at the Compton Community Center and confirmed at Temple Beth Shalom in Long Beach. That was still a time when a Jew could be shamed into being Jewish. It was a shame if one intermarried.
"Starting in the 1970s, people began looking for meaning and relevance and the Judaism they saw did not meet their needs. Synagogues are not well-run. Things don't address them. Once the claim of continuity and tradition is gone, people are going to the place that will spiritually benefit them the most.
"I was asked to do a board retreat at a local Reform synagogue. I asked them, 'If someone walked into your synagogue Friday night, what would make them want to come back?' And they looked at each other and said, 'Absolutely nothing.'
"So much of my vision that has transformed me as a person comes from the fact that I've been around Orthodox Jews. I was a friend and student of Rabbi Danny Landes. I met Rabbi Yitz Greenberg. Yitzhok Adlerstein. I learned a love of Torah that I had never known growing up at a Conservative synagogue or at Reform rabbinical school. I met people who were ecstatically in love with Torah. They brought me into an ecstatic love of Torah.
"I went to the non-Orthodox institutions in which I was working and that wasn't there. When I was a student rabbi in Irvine, just before meeting my wife Meirav, it was hard for me to be in the yeshiva world [without wanting to join it]. I davened twice a day at the Library Minyan at Beth Am (C). I no longer wanted to be a Reform rabbi.
"I told my synagogue, 'I don't know if I can do this. I am the only person here who loves Torah.' The synagogue president in Irvine told me, 'Mordecai, the Orthodox world doesn't need another Baal Teshuva (returnee to Judaism). They've got plenty of wonderful baalei teshuvot. There are few people who can go into that world, love it, and bring it here. You may not think you are doing a lot but you're bringing what you have there to us, and we get a little taste of it. I beg you to rethink. Maybe you can be that one Reform rabbi who acts as a conduit.'
"I don't think if I had not met my wife Meirav, would I have done it [found a synagogue]. When we met, I shared my vision. She completely subscribed.
After his stirring remarks, Rabbi Finley (a former marine whose son is a marine) goes to sit down. He sees Rabbi Weiss standing up and walking towards him with a hand out. Rabbi Finley (RF) tries to shake his hand. Rabbi Weiss engulfs him in a hug.
I talk with a woman who graduated from Stern College, the female branch of Yeshiva University. She says Rabbi Weiss's classes were always jammed.
No wonder. He's extraordinarily articulate and amazingly non-judgmental for an Orthodox rabbi authentic to the tradition.
Rabbi Weiss (RW) calls Rav Yosef (RK) the Mickey Mantle of the rabbinate because he can do it all.
RW tells an amusing story about his uncle who convinced him that YU had a Division One football team that played games with Notre Dame with a quarterback who'd call out the signals in Yiddish, which was understood by the Yiddish-speaking Jewish Notre Dame defensive lineman.
Most Jews define themselves by what they are fighting against. That's negative Judaism. It won't long endure. "If I am a Jew because I appreciate the Jewish mission of ethical monotheism...because I read Jewish books, I study Torah... That's positive Judaism and is the only kind of Judaism that will endure."
Rabbi Eliezer Berkovitz quipped: "Who is a Jew? One whose grandchildren are Jewish."
Why do Roman Catholic day schools charge $2000 a year tuition and Jewish day schools charge $20,000? As a community, we're not subsidizing Jewish education sufficiently.
Luke: I sit next to an attractive young woman who coughs constantly. This helps me to overcome my lustful impulse towards her.
AW: Why is Chabad on every campus but there are only 6-10 Modern Orthodox rabbis in Hillel (Jewish college organization)? Why are there more Chabad rabbis on campus than Reform, Conservative and Orthodox?
RF: Have you heard about the new $100 million Chabad museum devoted to the study of Hasidic thought? Or the new $40 million high school? No? That's because there isn't one. Chabad doesn't spend their money that way. They spend their money sending out emissaries around the world to save Jewish souls.
AW: Not one Islamic cleric will join me in condemning radical Islam.
MF: I agree with everything you said. Chabad has a vision for saving Jewish souls. I learned nothing in Reform seminary about training the soul.
Luke says: Rabbi Finley is the greatest teacher of the inner life I know.
MF: When there are shuls that are loving, the word gets out.
Luke: You just have to look at Rabbi Weiss and you can tell he genuinely loves people. Same with Dennis Prager. I wish I wasn't such a misanthrope.
Question from the audience: Reform man relates that the audience for Rabbi Korobkin's high holiday sermon slept through it. That only 20% understood Hebrew.
MF: They still chose to go to that service. Some people simply like the sound of Hebrew, even if they can't understand it. They like to be traditional. If that is not for you, find another service.
Ohr HaTorah could be three times as large if we had Sunday school instead of Saturday school. But we want our kids and parents coming to shul on Shabbos. We're more traditional than Reform shuls and that's why many people leave us. Others leave us for Bnai David Judea (O).
Reform Judaism made a mistake emphasizing social justice as its main theme. Judaism isn't primarily about ethics. It's about holiness, community, ritual, and peoplehood.
RW: The more Mordecai talks, the more I love him.
The good news for Orthodoxy is that we're bigger than ever. Our shuls and schools are bigger. The bad news: For 85-90% of American Jews, Orthodox is irrelevant.
The future of the Jews lies in Israel, not America.
Everybody praises Chabad (and Aish HaTorah) for the effectiveness of their outreach.
As I leave the shul, I get into a discussion with two women around 40 years of age. We begin by confessing our horrible abilities to remember names.
I relay a story that I've never forgotten even though I've forgotten the name of the woman who taught me this lesson.
We're at a Stu and Lew's Jewish singles event. I chat with this woman for five minutes. I do not find her compelling. As I'm taking my leave, I ask her to tell me her name again.
"One thing I learned in sales," she says, "we remember the names we want to remember."
"That's true," I tell these two ladies. "If I meet a woman I might want to marry, I remember her name, her phone number, almost everything about her. If I am interested in someone, I remember stuff. Most people don't interest me."
Woman A: "How can you know upon meeting a woman if you want to marry her?"
Luke: "I know. I'm a man. Men fall in love immediately, within a few seconds. There's certain look, a certain personality, that just captivates me."
Woman A: "But men have warned me that men who fall in love immediately will fall out of love immediately."
Luke: "True. The male brain is different than the female brain. Men can hear a good argument and change their mind immediately on some political or economic matter. They can fall in and out of love quickly. I can immediately fall for a woman, and then learn some character trait of hers that I can never live with. If she won't keep the Sabbath, I can't marry her, no matter what. No matter what, I will never have a TV on in my home on the Sabbath."
I walk away.
Woman B calls me back. "I want to test your theory. A year ago, I was with a friend with long curly black hair. You found her attractive. What was her name?"
Luke, immediately: "Sharon. I won't admit whether or not I wanted to marry her."
The JewishJournal.com has some excellent reporting this week, including this article about the kicking pacifist Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller.
For a month now, I've been reading Emanuel Rackman's book One Man's Judaism in shul and I'm only on page 133. Normally I can finish a book during a Shabbos morning.
I'm proud of myself. I went all Saturday night without a lustful thought. Either I am holier than thou, or my lithium is kicking in.
I spent over eight hours in shul on Saturday.
Luke's Big Jewish Adventure
Encouraged by a new friend, I exposed myself to the wider worlds of non-Orthodox Judaism Friday night.
First I prayed privately as it is forbidden for an Orthodox Jew to pray in a non-Orthodox synagogue (just as many non-Orthodox Jews don't like to pray in an Orthodox synagogue with its separate seating of men and women).
Walking imaginatively down Pico Blvd to Beverly Glen to Temple Sinai in Westwood, I take part in something called "Friday Night Live," an upbeat celebration of the Sabbath with about 1200 young single Jews.
The service is a creation of Rabbi David Wolpe, who underwent brain surgery November 7 for a lesion and returned home November 10. He's reading, watching movies, talking on the telephone and apparently on the way to full recovery. He might return to work at Temple Sinai as early as December.
The service just wasn't the same without him. While one assistant rabbi pounded a cliche endlessly, another assistant rabbi yawned from the bima (front of the shul).
Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian, is the scholar-in-residence this weekend. He speaks for 40 minutes about the role of heroic Jews in WWII. The approach is so scattered that many have a hard time staying awake.
I have no problem staying awake. I'm riveted. Unfortunately the object of my attention is a swaying female leg in front of me. The skirt stops a few inches above the knee. Her zip-up boot comes up within a few inches of her knees. There's something about those kind of boots, with the two inches heels... You'd wear them horseback riding and other sort of athletic pursuits.
Why do these few inches of female flesh drive me nuts? Am I a man or a monster? Why do I write about my lusts for non-religious women. It's disgusting. I'm ashamed of myself. I should be stronger and purer.
I'm embarrassed to be having these thoughts in the midst of an inspiring oration about heroic Jews. Then again, perhaps non-Orthodox shuls lead to wantonness. That's what my Orthodox rabbinic friends tell me. That the problem with Jewish singles events is that later in the evening, they become doubles events.
That is never true for me, but then again, I fall short of the glory of God by a much smaller margin than the average Jew.
Afterwards, I walk up to the bima, shake Sir Gilbert's hand, and tell him, "I've read all your books - except 50." He's published over 70.
Rabbi Avi Weiss is the scholar-in-residence this weekend at Orthodox synagogue Bnai David Judea. A professor at Yeshiva University for about 30 years, Rabbi Weiss is the leader of a shul in Riverdale and has started his own yeshiva, Chovevei Torah.
Rabbi Weiss is constantly called a "Jewish activist," which immediately rings alarm bells in my brain. Most activists, in my experience, are people without families and meaningful lives who throw themselves into some happenstance cause to feel important and to swell their ego.
Sabbath morning in synagogue, I read Rabbi Weiss's book, Principles of Spiritual Activism.
"Spiritual" is a word that rings my alarm bells. It usually means cheap grace. A way to connect to the divine without work.
With a skeptical mind, I work my way through this book and conclude I agree with every word of it. Rabbi Weiss is a true Jewish leader, spiritual leader, and activist.
I've been reading the man, and hearing him speak in person, for about as long as I've pursued things Jewish - more than a decade.
Rabbi Weiss hugs people more than about any other Modern Orthodox rabbi I know. It makes the more austere among us uncomfortable. Today I drank the koolaid and snagged a hug from the man.
At the end of the Sabbath, he spoke about the problems of Modern Orthodoxy. Many American cities do not have a Modern Orthodox shul. At the hundred of Hillel Houses on American college campuses, there are only six to ten Modern Orthodox rabbis. Modern Orthodox congregations in South Africa and Australia are being filled by Chabad rabbis. There's a severe shortage of Modern Orthodox rabbis at Yeshiva University, where almost all of them used to come from. YU has moved to the right, though that is changing under its new lay leader, Richard Joel (former head of Hillel).
What is Modern Orthodoxy? Rabbi Weiss says it means openness and even embracing of modernity except where it conflicts with essential Jewish Law and beliefs. It means giving women an equal role except where prohibited by Jewish Law. It means dialoguing with non-Orthodox rabbis and welcoming non-Orthodox Jews into one's shul.
Rabbi Weiss says Rav Yosef Kanefsky of Bnai David Judea is the best pulpit rabbi in America. Rav Yosef was the assistant rabbi of Rav Weiss's shul for six years.
Rav Avi says he's never been more exhausted and more inspired by the demands of running a yeshiva in addition to his other duties. His wife, who just turned 60, has retired from her position dealing with alumni at Yeshiva University. As her work life revs down, Rav Avi's revs up.
A figure connected to Yeshiva University says YU won't deal with any synagogue that deals with Chovevei Torah, effectively isolating the yeshiva from Orthodox Judaism. Rabbi Weiss says he doubts that is true and that things are changing at YU under the more moderate Richard Joel.
Master & Commander - Anti-Semitic?
Chaim Amalek writes: "I just saw it, and it is inherently, if not explicitly, anti-Semitic. In making a movie with white, hetersexual themes of honor and national pride, with narry a Jew in sight in front of the camera or working behind the scenes (as writer or director), what message are these Aussies (actor Russell Crowe, director Peter Weir) and Christians sending? At the very least they should have included the character of a wise-ass Brooklyn type of Jew to preach the need for tolerance, or had the role of Jack Straw played by a prominent Jewish person."
The New York Times Corrects Plagiarism By Bernard Weinraub
From page two of the 11/14 edition of NYT: "Editors' Note: An article in Business Day on Tuesday reported on a federal inquiry into suspected illegal wiretapping by a private investigator in Hollywood, Anthony Pellicano. The article incorporated a paragraph about an incident in which Mr. Pellicano recovered the body of Elizabeth Taylor's third husband, Mike Todd, which had been removed from its grave at a Chicago cemetery. That paragraph was reproduced nearly verbatim from a Weblog compiled by a Los Angeles journalist, Luke Ford, who adapted it from a passage in the 2000 book "Dish," by Jeannette Walls. In February 1994, a similar account appeared in Los Angeles magazine. The Times should have credited the Weblog for its version."
Luke says: "I should buy lots of copies of today's paper and send them to my family in Australia, hand them out to all the rabbis who've kicked me out of shul, and save copies for the future rabbis who eject me. Should work great on dates too."
Instapundit writes: "PLAGIARIZING BLOGGERS? This has to be embarrassing for the New York Times. Venkat Balasubramani thinks it's poetic justice. Or something like that."
JMT writes Luke: "So, what's it like being officially prounounced a "journalist" by the New York Times? Is your ---- bigger?"
Mickey Kaus writes on Slate.com: "The NYT's Bernard Weinraub may have a glaring conflict of interest covering Hollywood business involving the studio his wife co-runs, but he's a professional journalist who can be trusted despite his conflicts. He'd never do anything like, say, crib a whole paragraph from blogger Luke Ford. ... Oh, wait! ... One thing Slate's Jack Shafer, who uncovered Weinraub's, er, sampling technique (which the NYT now confirms), didn't point out is that it was the best paragraph in Weinraub's piece. ... P.S.: Oh, well. At least Weinraub's recent profile of Motion Picture Association chief Jack Valenti--in which Weinraub said the studios "don't seem in any rush to push [Valenti] out the door" and quoted studio heads to the effect that "the job was Mr. Valenti's for as long as he wanted it"--has held up. Contrary to kf's insinuations, Valenti's not going anywhere. No, sirreee! ... Wait, what's this? ... P.P.S.: What does Weinraub's self-described "carelessness" consist of? Does he cut and paste, via computer, Ford's paragraph into his NYT copy and then plan to change just enough words to avoid a plagiarism rap? If so, is the "carelessness" changing only 11 or so words instead of, say, 25? Would changing 25 make it O.K.? If so, is this paste-'n-change technique one NYT reporters use frequently? ... P.P.P.S.: Will Weinraub survive, or is the job his for as long as he wants it? ..."
XXXXXX writes Luke: "If you play six degrees of separation from Luke Ford, it's starting to get a little scary. You're the Manchurian Reporter, Luke. You look crazy on the outside, but we all know the last words that former CIA chief Bill Casey said to Bob Woodward on his deathbed were: "Call the book 'Veil,' you yuppie scum. And I gave all the real dirt to Luke Ford.""
A reader writes to Gawker.com:
Is it really so "unusual" that Luke Ford was a source for [Bernard] Weinraub? The circle enclosing Ford's fame is small, but Weinraub is tied in enough to be aware of it. It's to his credit that Weinraub is smart enough to read him. Anyone getting an actual paycheck to cover Hollywood would be a fool not to. He's the real thing, an obsessive chronicler of the town. And every -thing, -body, -place else that touches his life. Let him get the leads, and fill in the background for you. Sure, you need to be smart enough to wipe his fingerprints off your own prose when, uh, reconfiguring his stuff, but everybody knows that rule. Bernard W. fucked up. And not majorly.
Ford wears me out and I can't read him as much as I'd like to. There doesn't appear to be any quiet in the guy's head. You feel like your own mind is being hijacked when you read him. But he's clearly got something (haha, a most definite je ne sais quoi, in other words).
Be great if this media bubble was a little bigger than it's going to be. Ford deserves wider notice.
Rashi writes Cathy Seipp: "I understand that some of you have difficulty reading Mr. Ford's column. It is quite the same when reading the Talmud; that's why surrounding the mishna is the gemarrah and surrounding the gemarrah is further commentary by Rashi, Ramban, etc. Only through deep struggle with the implications of this work can it be understood, but it pays one many dividends for the effort."
Are You Getting Any? Forbidden Tales Of The Yeshiva
The name of my chevruta is Chaim. He doesn't want his last name used on my blog because of the sensitive nature of this essay which could so easily be misunderstood by vulgar minds.
A chevruta is your Torah study partner (of the same sex so one is not distracted by the evil impulse).
"Are you getting any?" is the constant refrain at my yeshiva (Talmudic academy).
Chaim is no nice he will not permit to open the Zohar. He won't even let me put my hand on it, let alone in between it.
I decided I was through with Chaim if he wouldn't let me touch his Zohar. He said I would have to wait until I was 40 years old, married and with kids.
When I said we were through, he started to cry, and so I took him back.
I'd like to be able to tell you that we had long interesting conversations and that we've remained firm friends. Alas, our intercourse has been strictly limited to Torah.
We went to pray three times a day, to shiurim (Talmud lectures), mussar (moral improvement lectures) and to Orthodox Jewish bookstores where we checked out the latest and hottest seferim (books) from Artscroll.
We wrestled a lot - during morning prayers, after prayers, before class, during class, during study... We wrestled over the same old issue - my yearning to touch the Zohar. Sometimes I got so bored with wanting to touch the Zohar, I made a backdoor pass for the teachings of Shabbetai Zevi (Jewish false messiah of the 17th Century).
It all felt like something out of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity, which on an allegorical level, reads like a thesis about the burdens of Modern Orthodoxy at the end of the 20th Century.
My experiences with Chaim are not unusual at my yeshiva (whose name I may not reveal due to the delicate nature of this discussion).
"Does your rebbe let you have any mysticism? How much does he let you have?"
Chaim Amalek reports: "I saw a group of singing Mennonite maidens on the subway today, in Times Square. A very soothing experience, to see these lovely maidens in their modest attire. So much unlike our Jewesses with their sharp elbows and attitudes amalekchai: They gave me a packet of prayers, all in English! Beats anything you can get from those irritating Labuvitchers, who I understand used to be Jewish."
Luke says: "Chaim Amalek is merely a by-product of the time and place in which he exists."
So What's A Poor Jew To Do?
I suffered an intense attack of inferiority Thursday night, November 13, at the ritzy AIPAC (premier pro-Israel lobbying group) night at the lush Skirball Museum. I was surrounded by the best and brightest of my generation, and in the harsh light of Jewish reality, I realized I was far behind.
The game has already moved into the second half, and yet, I haven't cracked the goal line once. The promised land is as far away for me as it was for Moses. And I don't even have two wives, one of them a schwartze.
My peer group seems more attractive, more sexually experienced, more professionally accomplished, more affluent, more crafty in the ways of the world.
And who am I, your humble servant? Just a poor pious Jew who keeps strict kosher, prays three times a day, refrains from touching women, and devotes every spare minute to study of Torah. How can I hope to compete in this earthly world? When will I ever merit a tallit gadol?
I set off at 5:50PM in high spirits. I have a new signal switch and working wiper blades. I have the first tape in the Nick Hornby book High Fidelity.
Then it all starts to go wrong. My Sony Walkman isn't working. The tape won't play. I'm stuck listening to Michael Savage explain that Jews wear yarmulkes because it symbolizes their submission to the Almighty.
That's me - submitted to the Almighty, lying prone on the floor like Aleinu on Rosh Hashanah, while the goyim (of the Jewish and Gentile varieties) walk over me and clean their shoes.
I make the rest of the trip in silence.
I haven't been to the Skirball Museum since 1998 when I offended the leader of my temple Young Adults group by offering my opinion that the tour guide, a lady in her 60s, had a surprisingly firm body.
The shame washes over me anew as I drive up the entrance. Things have changed. The parking lot was right here but now there's nothing. Driving around in circles (not easy with a big bulky van), I eventually surrender to the directions and go down under and take the first spot.
I don't know how to walk to the AIPAC shindig so I walk back the way I drove. I feel like a loser.
The Skirball Museum is vast. I walk on and on, feeling that any moment somebody will eject me, like I've been ejected before for my humble pursuit of my craft and my winning party manners.
I walk into the AIPIC mixer. My name is on the list. I get a badge that says I'm a member of the Ambassadors Club. You have to donate over $240 a year to get that. I'm only here because someone special invited me. I better be on good behavior. She's going to read this. One slip-up and she'll wave her finger through email, 'Lashon hara.'
I write out a $25 check.
I'm stunned by the beauty of the attendees, and that's just the guys.
I skip the martini bar, the coffee bar, the salad bar and the hors d'oeuvres. Can I trust the kashrut? I don't sense fear of God in this place. Where's the Torah? Where's the mehitza? Where's the bigotry and xenophobia that makes Orthodox shuls so comfortable for me?
I'm not worldly enough for this crowd. Neither meat, unkind words nor tongue have ever passed my lips.
Lest I get tempted into sin with one of the comely lasses, I sit in a corner, avoiding everybody, and open up my copy of The Babylonian Talmud: A Topical Guide, by Judith Z. Abrams (lest anyone ever accuse me of being insensitive to the woman's role in Judaism).
After reading a couple of pages, I'm rescued from my loserdom by Marilyn Rosenthal, AIPAC Los Angeles political director, and best of all, a blonde Dallas Cowboy fan.
My most intense emotions come from the Cowboys. I realize that is very wrong. I should be more concerned about the tunes we use during prayer at shul. But I'm not. People can get blown up in Iraq and yet I'm thinking about the performance of lineman Larry Allen.
I almost turned down a dinner invite to Cathy Seipp's place Sunday night so I could watch the battle of the titans - Dallas vs New England.
Cathy writes: "Of course I have cable you knucklehead! What do you take me for? ESPN and ESPN2. So no, you are not doomed. And now you really ought to start treating me better."
Why do I feel this way about a Texas football team? Because when I came to California from Australia in 1977, at age 11, I felt like a loser. Yes, I've come a long way, baby.
I felt alone. I felt like I didn't fit in. I felt like a nerd.
Just like now, I never knew a woman.
I spent my time reading books. Unfortunately, my school library only had kids' books. So I read a couple on Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach, a good Christian, and Cowboy coach Tom Landry, a good Christian. And given that the Cowboys had just won the Super Bowl, and I surely needed a winning element in my life, I shucked off my loserdom and merged myself into the Cowboys (I did a similar thing in 1992 with my conversion to Judaism). When the Cowboys won, which they did more than lose (but not another Super Bowl title until 1993, by which time I'd switch my primary allegiance to the religion of Israel, but afterwards starting switching back), I felt like a winner.
Marilyn pulls me out of my shell and I get up and tentatively mix while munching carrot sticks.
Ilona Fass smiles at me. She's a pretty Persian poetess who writes singles columns for JCupid.com and sells real estate for Prudential. I've long been convinced that Persians are God's gift to the Jewish people. Without them we'd all look like the evil characters in Lord of the Rings.
I run into a blonde I used to date, "Mercedes," one of the few persons in my life who merited to meet the illlustrious West Side sage Chaim Amalek. She will marry in February.
I'm heartbroken to hear that my biggest fan, Michael Aushenker, is no longer employed by the Jewish Journal. Well, at least now he can devote himself totally to his art - comic books.
I hear a story about how the Jewish Journal ('Yes, we don't pay much, people write for us to get a byline') changed a journalist's life, convincing the journalist to abandon the dream of writing for a living, and pursuing another, more lucrative, profession.
The program is about to begin. I take a seat at the back. I take the worst seat in the house. I'm seated looking at the wall, in the opposite direction of the speaker. During the preliminaries, I study my Talmud.
I need more Torah. All around me is temptation. I've gone 37 years and I've never been with a woman. There are so many hot women in a tiny space that I badly need the strength of Torah to resist them. As the Talmud says, the greater the man, the greater his lustful impulse.
Oh, why can't AIPAC meetings have a mechitza? Please separate me from those who bleed.
I spend most of my time in a hovel with my sacred texts and yet it all seems to count for nothing when I come into the presence of temptation. Why do you tempt so sorely oh Lord?
I'm just a poor pious Jew, who does not touch women let alone talk to them, prays constantly, pays his synagogue dues and has just a few shekels left over to buy kosher grape juice, bread and water... What am I doing here with the well-dressed, coolly-successful ones? Is there something that I am supposed to learn?
All around me are Democrats but the Lord has watched over me and seated me next to the two female Republicans in the house. I ask various Jews who estimate the tilt of AIPAC is 70-30 Democratic.
The featured speaker is Robert Bassin, a former Democratic operative turned AIPAC's Political Director. I've been promised that he will be far more interesting than Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. I guess to the secular he is.
He starts right off with the bad news - Jewish demographics in America. We're aging and we're not reproducing. More Jewish women are not having kids than any other ethnic group.
Ron says the Jewish women in Chicago gave him a hard time for saying this brutal truth so he's decided to rephrase for Los Angeles - not enough Jewish men are inseminating Jewish women.
His words strike me like a commandment from Sinai. I can't give $10,000 to belong to some fancy cabinet like those near me. I can't even give $5,000 a year or host fancy parties in my hovel. But I can give the most precious gift of all - my DNA. I could take it on as a moral obligation, no matter how repugnant I find it, to give every woman in the room a baby.
Sure, it would be tiring. Sure, it would be unpleasant. Sure, it would take me away from my strict regime of prayer, fasting, cold showers, exercise and strict kashrut. Sure, it would be a lot of responsibility to have 100 children. Sure, I'm worried about where we will all fit in my hovel... But for the sake of the Jewish people, I'm willing to take this mitzvah.
Even though it runs completely counter to my morals, from now on I will stride into every Jewish singles event, taking numbers, setting up appointments, and preparing to share my DNA with as many fertile Jewish women as possible. Elliot Brandt (West Coast Director of AIPAC) will be proud of me. Israel needs me.
Listen to me Jewish maidele, you don't want to give Hitler post-humous victories, do you?
I fear, however, I may not be up to this holy task. If only there were a way to eroticize Jews to each other. If only I could make films with pro-Jewish fertility messages.
As for Rob Bassin, for a Democrat he's ok. For the politically ignorant, he fills them in. For the knowledgeable, he repeats what we already know.
He says the Arab and Muslim population of the US is about six million and growing. It is young. About 85% of American Muslims have arrived in the last 35 years.
I fear there's going to be an appeal where we will each have to state how much money we will donate. Fortunately, this moment never arrives because you would never guess what I was going to offer to give.
Brandt stands the whole night. He's just returned from a 26-hour trip from India with the 50 members of the Presidents Cabinet.
Final speaker asks us: "What kind of financial commitment can you make tonight to pro-Israel politics?"
It doesn't seem that different from that remark by Gregg Easterbrook the other day about "Jewish executives who worship money above all else.
Ok, I hope I haven't written anything offense. It's hard to be an artist. You have to constantly choose between being honest to your daemon and maintaining relationships.
Cathy's daughter says: "If he impregnates 100 women and makes 100 Luke Fords...that would be very hectic!"
Khunrum writes Luke: You feel like a poor Jew because you are a poor Jew. What self respecting Jew would drive up to such a ritzy affair in that dilapidated bread truck you tool around in? You need some gelt Luke. Perhaps a second job. Parcel Post may be putting some help on for the holiday season and tossing packages around will be good exercise. Get a new ride buddy. You can't get by on your black suits alone.
Lord Peter Luther Christian OBE (Order of the British Empire) writes:
Dear Mr. Ford: I note with sadness that a number of your "friends" are offended that Christians are praying for you as your your anointed hour of combat with the Beast approaches. We are quite used to such hostility - that we can bear up under it all is part of what makes us Christians. But before you join them in your own demise, please ask yourself this question: "What are my friends in pornography doing for me? Have they arranged to provide me with legal representation? Do they pray for me?"
Seriously, Mr. Ford, while as Christians we especially love God's Chosen people, the Jews, are any members of your congregation praying for you? Have they EVER done anything to help you in life? It is time to learn who your real friends are. Another topic of interest to us has been the frank discussion concerning the increasingly hostile, openly violent tone of movies. This represents a change only in that in the past, the pornographer made some effort to keep his profound hatred of young women hidden. Today, the Beast feels so emboldened by the passivity of the masses that he makes far fewer such attempts at evasion. So be it.
KNOW THIS - Christians know what is happening, and we have already begun gathering evidence for use against you pornographers. Christians have been in touch with people in media and politics, as well as in other circles of American life, and have found a great many sympathetic ears of influential people who are eager to strike back. And when the day comes that you are joined in battle, those arrayed against you in the courts of law, commerce, and public opinion will surprise you. Great changes are coming!
Yours in Christian Love, Peter Luther Christian, OBE
Opportunity To Come Clean
Matt Welch writes:
There is opportunity lying in this Jack Shafer story. Opportunity for you to come clean. From your filthy, filthy habits.
I want you to repeat after me: "I, Luke Ford, will now always use the blockquote tool when quoting from someone else's writing, or at least employ those old-timey quotation marks. I recognize that my laziness has caused my readers unnecessary confusion, and made it appear at times that the quoted writing posted on my site is my own. For that I am sorry. Someone please spank me."
Or something like that.
Chaim Amalek writes Jack Shafer of Slate.com:
Dear Mr. Shafer: As a well read, articulate man, you really ought to make Lukeford.net a regular part of your daily "must read" list. On it, you will find information and commentary that you just can't get anyplace else, including much that concerns concerned liberals like you and me. (As my bio on that site indicates, I am a liberal Upper West Side Jew.) Speaking only for myself (but confidant that I also speak for Mister Ford, which often enough is the case), you cannot be a well informed progressive without being part of this man's world.
I will go further. Mr. Ford belongs on television. He is the only social commentator out there who even attempts to integrate the worlds of the religious believer in God, popular culture, and rigorous social theory, all with the fearlessness necessary to discuss the sorts of issues that really concern the average Jane and Joe Gentile out there. He belongs on E! or Spike TV. Can you use your influence to get him a thirty minute weekly gig? He comes cheap and has his own coterie of writers who are willing to contribute to this project for little more than the occasional favor of an invite to a classy party. You'd be invited too, were he to become a big man in LA. So please, Mr. Shafer, won't you give Luke a break?
Chaim Amalek, Former Lovestoneite
What A Friend We Have In Cathy - All Our Sins And Griefs To Bear
Cathy Seipp writes:
I am the "friend of Ford's who had a copy of Dish." And yeah, Luke needs to be more careful with his blockquote indentations and all that. But as I told Shafer, who called me today to make sure he was not being "pranked" by Luke (very sensible in this post-Stephen Glass/Jayson Blair era), Luke is actually pretty accurate, all things considered, except for the spelling problems. In a way he's more accurate than many stuffy proper journos, as he at least admits mistakes and corrects them immediately. Also, he doesn't worry about offending people, which I think is an underacknowledged impediment to journalistic honesty.
I also served as an unpaid Slate factchecker today, as Shafer called me again to look up the Connelly citation in the "Dish" bibliography and check that the pub date was indeed 2000. Lucky for both of them that I have a well-organized office with alphabatized books! But you know, anything to help out a scrappy, seat-of-the-pants operation like Microsoft.
Shafer: "This is very nice of you."
Me: "Yeah, it is very nice of me. So why haven't you ever given me an assignment?"
Shafer: "I'm just a lowly writer."
Me: "But you used to be a highly editor."
Weinraub and The New York Times feel bad about their unattributed clip of Luke's clip job and are apparently going to run some sort of apology. Luke says an editor there just called him. "It sure beats the last time the NYT called me," he added. "A reporter wanted to know about spam emails for bigger penises."
Shaya writes Cathy: "Maybe, the NY Times should give Luke a job to make up for this. However, this will probably just result in him kvetching about how he doesn't write articles."
Luke says: "Cathy Seipp is so good to me. I really should start treating her better. No more remarks about looking like an inked Hittite priestess on her way to a sacrifice...or whore of a mid-level SS officer. That's totally inappropriate and not the type of thing the New Luke Ford will say. I will also stop using the word 'negro.' I got a lot of flack for that."
Crid writes Cathy: "Luke writes: A whole bunch of stuff nobody can understand! This week I am impressed with the skill by which pro journos (NYT/Slate/LA Observed) pull meaning out of Ford's page. When reading it, I can never tell when a new item begins, who anyone is, or the context in which anything is said. Other than that, and this is not kidding, I love it. If he had an editor or somebody doing layout, he'd be more profitable than the LA Weekly. By the way, is the LA Weekly profitable?"
Who, exactly, did the New York Times' Bernard Weinraub plagiarize?
Jack Shafer writes on Slate.com:
"What can I tell you?" says New York Times Hollywood correspondent Bernard Weinraub. "I screwed up … I'm sorry."
Weinraub's apologies, given hurriedly in a very brief telephone conversation, are for lifting a paragraph from another source to use in his Monday, Nov. 11, bylined story about Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano ("Talk of Wiretaps Rattles Hollywood"). Weinraub confesses to having plagiarized the passage, although identifying the precise party he plagiarized isn't simple.
According to Times editor Paul Fishleder, Weinraub believes he got the passage from a Web page about Pellicano at Lukeford.net. Weinraub wrote:
Mr. Pellicano came to Hollywood under strange circumstances. In 1977, he found the body of Elizabeth Taylor's third husband, Mike Todd, which had been stolen from a Chicago cemetery. In front of a television camera crew, Mr. Pellicano walked about 75 yards from the excavated grave, reached under some leaves and revealed a plastic bag containing Mr. Todd's remains. Mr. Pellicano's rivals claimed he had staged the episode for publicity.
On LukeFord.net, Luke Ford had previously written, typo and all:
In 1977, Pellicano found the body of Elizabeth Taylor's third husband, Mike Todd, which was stolen from a Chicago cemetary. In front of a camera crew from a local news station, Pellicano walked over to place seventy-five yards south of the excavated grave, reached under some leaves, and revealed a plastic bag of Todd's remains. Pellicano's rivals claimed he'd staged the entire episode for publicity.
But where did Ford get the information? And who is he? Ford calls his Pellicano page a clip job, assembled from a variety of sources, which he credits, often paragraph by paragraph. But Ford originally neglected to attribute the source of that information. After a brief source search, Ford concluded he got the information from Jeannette Walls' 2000 book Dish, which he cites elsewhere on the Pellicano page. A friend of Ford's who had a copy of Dish read the passage to him this afternoon; he recorded it and transcribed it thusly from Pages 276-277:
In 1977, the body of the actress's third husband, Mike Todd, was stolen from its grave in a Chicago-area cemetery. After police searched and found nothing, Pellicano showed up at the cemetery with a camera crew from a local news station, went to a spot about 75 yards south of the excavated grave, reached under some scattered branches and leaves, and produced a plastic bag containing Todd's remains.
Pellicano insisted that "underworld sources" had told him the body's whereabouts but rivals snickered that the private detective had staged the entire episode for publicity.
Ford's version doesn't plagiarise Walls', but as he acknowledges, he should have cited her as he does throughout his pages. He apologies for his blunder.
A sage writes Luke: I wish you were doing more purposeful screwing in Hollywood. And why wasn't that YOU on the tape with Paris Hilton? I mean, just what are you doing in Hollywood anyway?
Listen, you gots to milk this. You cannot let this go without passing.
Okay, here are some suggestions: First, call the ombudsman of the Washington Post (they LOVE sticking it to the NY Times) to ask how you should respond. THEN call the New Republic, tell them you just saw that movie and were moved by their deep torment to write them with YOUR problem.
ALSO, try to find that short black guy they fired for being a "fabulist" a while back, get his take on it, and post HIS reaction to the story on YOUR web site. THEN ask the New York Times to comment on it. MILK THIS. MILK THIS
This is the best point of leverage you have ever had with the mainstream press. Make Luke Ford a household word!
Remember, three good stories here:
1. ny times copied luke ford.
2.ny times copied Walls
3. I'm such a stinkier, but the ny times is worse: they copied the same people I did.
Shades of Walter Duranty and that more recent fabulist Jayson Blair.
Run with this run with this run with this run with this.
Now you need to combine that with your work exposing word-thievery at the NY Times. Even Zorba the Greek hates the Jews. Why are Jews so widely hated?