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Luke's Least Favorite Phrases

"That would be his/her choice."

"That's a judgement call." (Cathy's peeve)

"When I say no, I mean no."

"Quit that. Stop. Don't."

Chats In Parks With Girls

I met this nice girl in a Beverly Hills park the other day. She went to a Roman Catholic high school. "I gave a lot of head," she told me, "because I wanted to keep my virginity until I married. I learned how to do it really well. I had a boyfriend. That was the way I could keep boyfriend without actually having to have sex. That was the way I could get guys with cars so I could get out of the house."

What a moral condemnation of men and modernity. It made me very angry as I headed into the Sabbath.

Rodger Jacobs writes:

Women have been doing this for ages, Luke, or don't you get about much? It's a form of remaining somewhat chaste, and as being someone who is obsessed with the topic of chastity I'm surprised you did not put more thought into this one. There's a centuries old saying in Italy, for instance, that until a young woman is married she is "a virgin in the front and a martyr in the rear." I kid you not. Look it up.

And you shouldn't be heading into Sabbath angry but it seems to me that more and more, with each passing day, you're becoming the kind of man who has nothing more than his anger to keep him warm. Are you veering off into some kind of headline-grabbing psycho-sexual breakdown?

Joan writes:

I have known girls who thought they were virgins because they'd let their boyfriends -- as you might put it -- f--- them in every hole except the one that might spit out a baby someday.

Also, wouldn't you be horrified if your daughter immediately started talking sex with some strange Jewish guy of a certain age who she met in the park? Or if she emailed some strange Jewish guy of a certain age who she'd never met, about the stupid things some girls tell themselves about non-vaginal sex? Yes, me too.

Straight Talk: My Dilemma As an Orthodox Jewish Woman

Thursday, March 11, 2004, I call author (Straight Talk: My Dilemma As an Orthodox Jewish Woman) Sally Berkovic in London. We're both from Australia.

Sally praises this recent article by Aussie ex-pat feminist Germaine Greer:

I love Australia with a fierce passion that churns my guts and makes my eyes burn with tears of rage and frustration. But I would rather not be there.

For the vast majority, life in Australia is neither urban nor rural but suburban. The reality is not Uluru or the Sydney Opera House but endless, ever-expanding replications of Ramsay Street that spread out as rapidly as oil stains on water, further and further from the tiny central business districts of the state capitals.

Each street has a nature strip; each bungalow faces the same way, has a backyard and a front garden, all fenced, low at the front, high at the back. Somewhere nearby there'll be a shopping centre with fast-food outlets and a supermarket.

The other great Australian passion is relaxation and I was even less interested in that. For me to be as good as I could be, I needed the pressure of competition, the intellectual cut and thrust, so I came to Cambridge (where, needless to say, I didn't find it, but that's another story).

The real reason I won't live in Australia, even when Britain has no further use for my services, is that I love the country too much. The pain of watching its relentless dilapidation by people too relaxed to give a damn is more than I can bear. I don't know how many of my fellow expatriates feel this way, but I'll bet some do.

Sally: "I thought it was a fantastic piece. I agreed with everything she said. I couldn't live in Australia now. I've moved on."

Sally will have spent eleven years in England in June. She also spent two years in America and two years in Israel. He rabbi husband Johnathan is English. "If we could afford on Central Park West [in Manhattan], we would do that."

Luke: "Is he as feminist as you?"

Sally: "Yeah. He's certainly supportive of all the women's issues that I'm concerned about. I think for a lot of women [their feminist concerns] create too much conflict in their family life and they give up because it is not worth the tension it creates."

Luke: "What do you most want from your three girls Jewishly?"

Sally: "I want them to have the same opportunities that boys have to explore their Judaism. I want them to be able to make an informed decision about the sort of Judaism they want to have. We bring them up Orthodox. We do send them to a school that teaches the girls Mishna [Oral Law traditionally studied only by men]. It labels itself Modern Orthodox Zionist. We don't do the hard sell of you must be frum [strictly religious]...

"Every Purim there is a group of women who do a Megillah Esther reading [traditionally only men would recite this before the congregation]. Last year, I took my girls. They said, 'Oh mommy, why don't you do it?' I said, 'Oh, it's not my sort of thing. I don't have a good voice. I haven't learned the trope [the musical notes for recitation]. But this year, I did one of the perakhim [portions]. I was excited by it. I only did it because they pushed me into it. They were so proud. They were telling everyone at school that I was doing it. They were singing along with me."

Luke: "If one of them became a Conservative rabbi, would you be more happy or sad?"

Sally: "That would be her choice."

I have to hold myself back from screaming down the phone, "I know it would be her choice. I didn't ask you if it would be her choice. I want to know how you would feel about her choice. Arrrr, I'm sick of people telling me, 'That would be his/her choice.' Sheesh, we live in such a nonjudgmental age, it is hard for me to get the sort of judgmental soundbytes I need to make a compelling interview.

"I'm not a moron. I know it is her choice. Sheesh, why won't women talk honestly about their feelings? Why is there more of the woman in me than in many women? I just want to reach out, shake you, and give you a hug."

Sally: "Part of me has this fantasy that one of them will be. Or an Orthodox rabbi. It's their choice."


Luke: "But it is your emotions. Which way would they go?"

Sally: "Umm, ahh?"

Luke: "You are going to have some emotional reaction if that happened."

Sally: "I can't predict. It's too cliche to say, 'I'd be proud of whatever she does.'"

Not as cliched as saying, 'It's her choice.'

Sally: "I'd like to think that I'd be proud of whatever she chose to do, and if that's what she chose to do, I'd support her. Whether I'd be happy about it or not, I don't know."

Luke: "Do you think you would be happy if she became Aish Ha Torah charedi?"

Sally: "I don't think you can answer these questions. Whatever lifestyle she chooses, I want her to be happy. I don't want her to become an unthinking person. If she thinks she's making an informed choice, that's fine. Better Aish Ha Torah than a drug addict."

Luke: "When you think of the charedi [fervently religious] world, do you think more warmly or negatively?"

Sally: "I think parts of it are terrific (kindness, community solidarity, support for each other, I'd guess it is unparalleled and in some ways it puts the modern Orthodox community to shame). On the other hand, the levels of poverty, particularly in the Israeli charedi community, that are encouraged by not enabling people to work properly, by not giving men and women a proper education to get decent jobs, I think that's criminal. What they believe in and practice is their choice. It's not my cup of tea. I don't want to be a Hasid where women eat in the kitchen and men eat in the living room."

Luke: "Do you yearn for all Jews to become Orthodox?"

Sally: "No. That's never entered my head."

Luke: "What were the consequences of publishing your book?"

Sally: "Different parts of the book touched different groups of women. One group of women in their 50s and 60s read the bit about [women saying] kaddish [prayer for the dead]... Traditionally in England, women don't go to the cemetery. In Australia and America, they do. So these older women read that part of my book and relived those issues.

"Another group laughed at the dating and singles lifestyle stuff. A few rabbis were encouraging and invited me to speak to their communities. A few rabbis stopped me coming to their communities [to speak]. That upset me but now I can laugh about it more."

Luke: "Did you lose any friends over the book?"

Sally: "My friends who weren't in the acknowledgments were really annoyed. No, I didn't lose any friends. I didn't gain any. My friends I've had from childhood were surprised I was so open because the one complaint they always had for me growing up was, 'You never tell us anything.' Then I got all these furious letters and phone calls. 'How come you tell the whole world everything and you never told us.'"

Luke: "How did your husband react to the book and its consequences?"

Sally: "He was proud of me. He's shy but enjoyed the attention. He was more angry about the rabbis who were against me than I was. He has spent time in the charedi world. He was angry about how narrow and petty it can be. He's very into live and let live. He's the most nonjudgmental person I know."

Luke: "Were there any common themes in the reviews of the book?"

Sally: "Everyone thought I was this angry woman. And why does she bother to remain Orthodox? They completely missed the point."

Sally gathers in fervor. "I'm not angry," she says angrily. "I'm a little bit frustrated and conflicted. I would never call myself angry. While parts of the Orthodox community annoy me, there's no other community where ritual is maintained as much. The Conservative movement in England, while they have excellent rabbonim, the majority of their community is not Sabbath observant. I need a community where we share rituals. I have individual relationships with people in the Conservative community. We're good friends. We're socially friendly with two of the Conservative rabbis."

Luke: "Is it OK for an ayshet chayil (woman of valor) to be angry?"

Sally laughs: "The ayshet chayil is pretty busy. She's out in the mornings early, up late at night [working and taking care of her family]. It's fine to be angry. It depends on what you do with that anger. How did the book read to you?"

Luke: "Certain parts I enjoyed tremendously, such as your stuff on dating and your critique of Baal Teshuva [returnees to tradition] movement. It was like an Orthodox version of Sex in the City."

Sally: "I think the best part of my book was my critique of the BT yeshivot [Orthodox outreach organizations such as Aish HaTorah that specialize in bringing secular Jews into Orthodoxy]. People in kiruv [outreach] were upset by that. I replied, 'It's true to me. That's the way I see it.' I was proud of that bit. It encapsulated what I had been thinking for many years."

Luke: "I don't have an ideological stake in most of the disputes within Judaism. As long as someone can laugh, I can get along with them. I would never lead out in Jewish religious life. I prefer to observe. Some of the petty obsessions of Orthodox life make people like me give up on getting involved. It's too much bother. Let me participate in those arenas (such as Los Angeles journalism life) where I can give my all and not be nitpicked to death.

"Were you encouraged by the JOFA conference [Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance in February in New York]?"

Sally: "I was. I hadn't been in New York for six years. To go and be with a thousand people who don't think you're crazy for being interested in those issues. In terms of what was covered, I didn't feel it was ground-shattering. There was a session on sexual abuse by rabbis and community leaders. [Los Angeles has seen three Orthodox rabbis charged with sexually molesting kids within a one year span this millennia.] Rabbi Yosef Blau and two others spoke and how the Orthodox rabbis have a responsibility to deal with this. And we haven't dealt with it as well as we should've in the past and we're making amends. That was groundbreaking, just to get it on the table."

Traditionally, Orthodox Judaism and other insular groups including the Roman Catholic Church have dealt with these problems by covering them up rather than publicly admitting a problem.

Sally: "Another topic was mikveh and sexual desire. They showed the movie T'ahara [women who bathe in a special place a few days after the end of their menstrual flow before returning to their husbands to make love]. For two days you are in this bubble where this is all you talk about and you can't believe that other people aren't as passionately interested as you are."

Luke: "How often do you read Jewish journalism that is passionately interesting?"

Sally: "I find the features in the Forward interesting. I think that's the best of Jewish journalism. And the English version of Haaretz. The Jerusalem Post is weak. There isn't a huge amount.

"I've been doing less journalism. Things I'd like to write about such as corruption in the Beth Din [Jewish Law Courts]... I know it would be so difficult to get access. And the backlash. And is it really worth it? Am I willing to do it and who's going to pay me for it? Jewish journalism just doesn't pay. No matter how much money you're going to make it, who's going to print it? The Jewish Chronicle in London may print a little bit..."

Luke: "Have you had experiences of having good stories that you couldn't get printed in the Jewish press?"

Sally: "Not really. I've been pretty lame. I haven't been an investigative journalist. I've done a lot of soft features."

Luke: "Are there many feminist-friendly Orthodox shuls in England?"

Sally: "Not really. There's one Orthodox shul in London where they pass the Torah through the women's section but it is pretty marginal. It's considered fringe."

Ask the Ethicist:

Hans Moleman of Tonopah, Nevada, asks: Is it immoral to have sex with a woman for pleasure alone? And does it matter that she does not enjoy it?

Should there be a law against sleeping with more than a certain number of women prior to marriage? Should one be legally required to disclose number of previous lovers? Would this be a thinly veiled attempt to criminalize Luke Ford-like behavior?

Thus spake Zarathustra AKA Jackie: "No, no, no, no, and no."

He Who Cannot Be Named writes Luke: "Who are all these people writing in to your web site? Do any of them (Heather MacDonnelly, Cathy Seipp, Dawn - lots of women, I guess) really exist, or do you make them all up?"

Due to my medication, I'm not sure.

Success of "The Passion" Proves Hollywood's Jewish Colony Out of Touch

Ethnically Ambiguous Abel Nuterian writes Luke:

Pornography, perversion, and publicity have been the staples of that group for years; it has made them richer than even their grandfathers dared dream. But it has also quietly earned them the enmity of many millions of Christians who have long felt that Hollywood's elites were anti-Christian. I suspect that part of what is attracting so many Christians to see "The Passion" is the chance to witness something that was made against the express, noisily stated wishes and demands of the Jewish establishment. It is Christian cinema, made for Christians by Christians, without any Jewish involvment as intermediary or silent partner. And not surprisingly, it is quite different from anything you would get to see from Miramax or Disney.

These people are not dumb, and they can look at the numbers that this movie is generating as well as anyone. I expect to see them begin making more of an effort to tell the stories of the bible, but to do so with their own spin on it, the way they want. (Don't be surprised to see a bible movie in which Jesus is seen officiating at a gay wedding.) Just don't expect them to make a movie about he conflict in Palestine told from the point of view of an Arab.

Hispanics Flock To The Passion

Nikki Finke writes:

L.A. Weekly has learned that, according to research exit polls, The Passion of the Christ is attracting a gargantuan 40 percent Latino audience in the cities tested. Until now, there has been only anecdotal evidence that Latinos, as well as Asians and African-Americans, are flocking to the film. The research shows that Latinos are rating Passion higher than does any other ethnic group, and 76 percent say they’re inclined to pay to see the movie again. Not only do 86 percent of Latinos say the film is excellent, but 80 percent say the movie is better than they expected. And while a whopping percentage of the overall audience say they would definitely recommend it, that figure among Latinos is a startling 91 percent.

Tony Castro writes:

I grew up Hispanic and Roman Catholic. Both by birth. We attended a cathedrall-like Catholic Church, which off to an alcove had a larger than life-size crucified Christ looking as if in grotesque agony with a terrifying look on his face. As a little boy I had a difficult time looking at it and would alway aver my eyes. Years later, after having told this story to my disbelieving wife, I felt compelled to visit this church again to show my wife that I had not been exaggerating all these years.

As a Catholic, I also grew up in a climate in which Jews were blaming for "killing Jesus Christ." Honest to god, this was the answer I got one time from one of my uncles, who at the time was the most "educated" man n our family -- a man who was a high-ranking member of the Knights of Columbus (like 'lay guards' of the church), and a man who later was honored by Pope John. I grew up in the 1950s, well before Vatican II, attending a heavily Latino Catholic Church that wasn't even near our neighborhood, and in a sense feeling like a stranger in my own religion. My recollection is that everything in the church centered heavily on the passion and on the events surrounding Easter Sunday. The walls of the church, similar to others, were covered with what's called the "Stations of the Cross," the stages of the passion leading up to the crucifiction, err, crucifixion.

I was an altar boy, so I grew up getting to see all this much like a bat boy watching a major league game from the dugout. The churches were packed during the Lent -- meaning the passion of Christ, for a Roman Catholic, seemed to me to better define the faith of these Latino Catholics than the birth of Christ or even the resurrection, which you would think would be the bedrock of Christianity, and which theoretically is.

In subsequent years, I have learned that for Hispanic Catholics -- and perhaps all Catholics -- of my age, these were similar experiences. Not only were we raised with the passion of Christ as central to belief but also wound up in a religious womb in which the passion, the stations of the cross, Lent, the liturgy and the importance attached to these strongly shaped our definition of Catholicism and the world.

Now comes the Passion of the Christ. Am I surprised that Latinos are flocking to it in these incredible numbers. I think I'd be surprised if they weren't. The film is a natural to anyone, but especially Latinos, who grew up either directly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, even after Vatican II, which I'm not convinced had much of an impact on the way Catholicism shaped the lives of Catholics, other than to change the Mass from Latin to whatever the vernacular in a community happened to be. This certainly is true in my old church. If you go there, the only thing that has changed is that the Masses are now said in Spanish and English.

I had a phone conversation with a good friend the other day, and he asked if I'd seen the film. I told him I haven't had the time and that I have mixed feelings about it. I don't like to think back on the face of that crucified Christ in my old church, I told him. My friend said he hadn't seen it either but told me he was planning to see if on Good Friday.

What does this all mean? I don't know. Maybe it's a lot like Tom Wolfe's explanation of readers of daily newspapers. Wolfe says readers don't want to be shocked or surprised by their daily papers -- that they want the outlook of their world as they know it reaffirmed, much like they would rather just slip into a warm bathtub than be shocked by one with the water too cold or too hot.

Gabriel, Don't Blind Me With Your Charisma

I walk into the Wednesday Morning Club Wednesday morning at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

[Rodger Jacobs writes: "Worst Line Ever Written by Luke Ford. Your L.A. Press Club card is being revoked. Immediately."]

I see three college kids and strike up a conversation. Chris Riha, Kendra Carney, David Lazar.

I hear Mecha (radical Mexican-American group) is the highest funded student organization at UCLA, snagging $6500. Next to them are the Filipino and Vietnamese student groups. These radical racialist group dominate student politics at UCLA, these three white Republicans tell me.

An appearance on Al Rantel raised $28,000 for the Republican group at UCLA.

Kendra: "UCLA won't distribute funds to political or religious groups but the Muslim group gets funded as a cultural organization and Mecha gets funded as a cultural group. They campaigned against the Iraq war."

Kendra is the president of the UCLA chapter of Students For Academic Freedom, founded by David Horowitz (who founded the Wednesday Morning Club).

I learn that every UC requires a diversity class to graduate except UCLA. Jewish classes don't count towards that.

Gay studies count.

Luke: "What about hot girl-on-girl studies?"

They laugh.

The three students seem more libertarian than conservative.

I understand the ethnic composition is about 40% asian, 40% caucasian. I hear the average GPA for entering UCLA from high school is 4.3 and the average SAT score is 1340 (I got 1135, and 3.3 but went to Sierra Community College (3.6 GPA) before transfering to UCLA).

During lunch, I sit next to the Tensers, who own Crown Pictures. I tell them their film My Tutor (1983) was my favorite teenage sex comedy. They say that Fox is coming out with a remake.

I loved the aerobics sequence at the beginning. They tell me how much trouble that was to shoot.

This is the biggest crowd I remember for a WMC and the worst speaker.

Cathy keeps clearing her throat.

The service is atrocious. One Jewish lady at a table must repeatedly request coffee and icewater before her needs are fulfilled 15 minutes later.

Kate Coe says that when her chef husband worked at a restaurant in Santa Monica, food got sent back all the time [because of all the picky Jews]. When he moved to a restaurant in South Pasadena, that almost never happened.

[Kate writes: "Oh, Luke, I'm the anti-Semite in my household. My husband thought the sending back was due to the insidious influence of show-biz, not Judism. He'd never say anything mean about anyone--that's why he married me."]

Kate recalls researching a documentary on Jesus for A&E for producer Bram Roos, who asked her why Christians held Jesus in such high regard? "Because they view him as God," she said. "No, that's not it," said Bram, cancelling her script and refusing to pay her. She took him to arbitration and extracted many thousands of dollars.

Cathy says when she was four years old, she sat on a fire hydrant at her home in Vancouver and yelled triumphantly, "We're going to America. We're going to America."

"We're going to Canada to have lunch," said the babysitter. "Come on."

Rabbi David Wolpe introduces the guest speaker:

My books aren't relevant to the moment.

I'd like to begin with an apology to my father. I remember my father, like a lot of rabbis, had an extremely sensitive antennae for anti-Semitism. When we were kids and watching football, and I'd say, 'Wow, what a great catch.' My father would say, 'Ehh, he's an anti-Semite.'

I resisted discussing anti-Semitism with my congregation. I knew that if you brought up anti-Semitism it would galvanize Jews, while younger Jews would think, is this all you have to talk about? Not the spiritual reaches of the tradition? Not God, history? So, I did not do that.

It seems strange that someone trained in a spiritual tradition would know about how much people hate him. But in fact, every rabbi I know has a good background in the history of Jew-hatred, the non-polite term for anti-Semitism. These days, I talk about it more.

One of the least consequential results of anti-Semitism is that it robs me of the opportunity to speak only about the spiritual riches of the tradition.

I disagree with David Horowitz [who loved The Passion]. Gabriel Schoenfeld is an optimist about anti-Semitism. On page 114, he talks about those who have drawn obloquy for anti-Semitic remarks (Pat Buchanan, Louis Farrakhan). He has a little footnote: 'A similar fate may be enveloping the actor-producer Mel Gibson whose film has engendered fierce controversy even before it assumes final form.'

I fear that no such fate is enveloping him. As the film climbs to the many hundreds of millions, and some of that is the function of the religious feeling that some have while watching the movie, I have no doubt that at least some of it has to do with the subject of our guest speaker today.

Gabriel Schoenfeld, an editor at Commentary magazine, speaks softly on his new book, "The Return of Anti-Semitism."

He packs all the charisma of a chess whiz.

Sheesh, man, if you are going to speak professionally you should either learn how to do it or you should stop inflicting yourself on the unsuspecting. Gabriel's content is compelling but he doesn't have the foggiest idea how to conduct himself.

To my right is a loud fat Israeli (next to the Marie Cathy writes about below) who proclains loudly that he punches anti-Semites.

Gabriel: "Let me give you a few examples."

Israeli: "Please don't."

Commentary magazine is housed in the offices of the American Jewish Committee in Manhattan. Schoenfeld has worked as an editor there for ten years. As time has gone by, the building has developed increasingly elaborate security measures. These are the genesis of Gabriel's new book.

Gabriel quotes from an American college newspaper: "Die Jew, die, die, die. Build yourselves an oven. Die Jew, die, die, die."

Gabriel calls the faculty advisor for the paper who's happy to talk until she realizes that Schoenfeld will use the interview for an article/book on Jew hatred. "That's not anti-Semitism," she protests. "It's just blowing off steam."

Gabriel has dignity and grace and is probably a terrific guy in a small group, but in this packed room, his speaking style stinks.

David Horowitz is a formidable communicator but on the radio his voice sounds irritating and his manner awkward.

Despite Schoenfeld's abysmal speaking skills, I find myself absorbed by his content. My blood pressure rises. I clench my fists. I fill with anger that the Democratic candidates for President did not condemn the Jew hatred spread by their fellow candidate Al Sharpton.

Gabriel wonders why the Anti-Defamation League (led by Abraham Foxman) fixates on The Passion when there are far more pressing issues of anti-Semitism like Sharpton.

If you forced me to choose between the values of Mel Gibson and Abe Foxman, I'd choose Mel in a heartbeat.

Sharpton said his numbers in South Carolina were "Jewed down." This got little media coverage aside from Michael Savage.

Gabriel lists off right-wingers who've been kicked out of the conservative movement for their anti-Semitic comments. Jude Wanniski was a key figure on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. They kicked him off when he made an alliance with Louis Farrakhan.

David Duke is behind bars on fraud charges.

Joseph Sobran (kicked off National Review by William F. Buckley) speaks at conferences organized by the Institute For Historical Review (notorious organization that denies the Holocaust). "Crackpots speaking for other crackpots."

Gabriel either looks at the lectern or David Horowitz, who sits five feet in front of him. Other than that, his eyes don't move let alone engage the crowd.

During the question and answers, Gabriel comes out of his shell. The problem is there are so many lunatics in the crowd who go off on long pointless tangets. One plump woman seems ready to burst into tears when she says how much Christians love Jews and what a wonderful movie The Passion is. About a quarter of the crowd applaud that last sentiment.

A Jewish woman then delivers an equally incoherent rant. "People say The Passion is a good movie. So were the gas chambers. They had good equipment."

A PhD student (doing her thesis on Moby Dick) gave a speech so abstract that only fellow graduate students like Robert Light could understand it. Then she went around asking people if they understood what she was saying.

I meet tall blonde actress-singer Anna Lively who's conservative and wears a black "Free Martha" t-shirt.

Cathy and I wait outside the restroom for Kate and Debbie to emerge.

"I have a big bladder," Cathy says.

I rest my head in my hands.

Kate and Debbie come out. "Ahh, that's a Hallmark shot. For a Rosh Hashanah card."

Cathy chatters about how many hours she can go without needing to pee.

I went on a twelve hour hike up and down Mount Hood with a woman a few years ago who did not pee. She called herself a camel.

Cathy Seipp writes:

I went to the Wednesday Morning Club lunch to hear Gabriel Schoenfeld talk about anti-Semitism. Usually I have to pick the mushrooms and onions off Luke's salad for him at these things, because ever since a nutty woman making goo-goo eyes at him loudly suggested that I do so he expects it. But today we had a different kind of salad, so I escaped that particular chore. Except she was there again today, and shimmied over to invent another task for me. "He has a spot on his shirt," she annnounced. "You should take better care of him!"

Geez. Is there something about me that invites these impertinent and insinuating comments? This woman had long, flowing, ash blond hair, and our new friend Kate Coe (who was also at lunch today) observed that it made her look just like Lady from "Lady and the Tramp."

Wednesday night, I took my two adopted kids ("Sarah" is four and "Avi" is eight) and their newly divorced mom out to eat.

The kids had put a bottle of mouse in their hair and on their long suffering cat.

At the restaurant, the kids played on a vibrating toy car.

"I love you," Avi said to me.

I did not know how to respond. This was our first date.

"Thank you," I said.

"I love you," Avi repeated. I repeated, "Thank you."

"That's weird," said Avi. "When somebody tells you 'I love you,' you are supposed to say, 'I love you too.'"

"I love you too," I said.

He smiled.

Eleven years ago, I had a three month daily telephone fling with a woman in Orlando, Florida. After two months she said, "I think I love you."

"Thank you," I said.

In the following phone calls, I was disappointed she did not repeat herself. I asked her why she didn't.

"What do you think you should say if you want to be told 'I love you,'?" she said.

"I love you too?"


"I love you too."

SPINSTERS! DO NOT Read the Following!

Tough Jewish Chick (not Cathy) writes Luke: "You of all people should not be into mocking older women who maybe did make some bad choices in years past. What are you, almost 40? Just what sort of prize do you think you are? My friends and I (mid - late 20's) are well aware that the clock does tick against us all, but no way are we ever going to settle for the likes of you or your readers."

Marvin in Miami writes: "Thanks for forwarding those comments from "tough jewish chick" to me (you were right). I have to agree with her. We men need to do a self check in the mirror, and I'm happy to read that there are some really sensible Jewish women out there like her who know how to help us. Please tell her that not all men are like this, and that if lives in or ever visits Miami, I'd be happy to show her around and prove to her that there are a lot of nice guys out there looking for someone like her."

Chaim Amalek writes:

WARNING: The following words are of no use to the barren spinsters of the planet, and should not be read by them as likely they would be hurtful. Instead, what follows is to be read by young, biologically viable women, and their concerned mothers.

A frequent traveler to Thailand from Texas writes Luke: I used to tout Internet dating but not anymore. Too depressing. Women who are old enough to know better looking for their "best friend," life partner, an honest man, and always ...."long walks along the beach"....All profiles are about the same., still looking for a Prince Charming

A New Yorker who had BIG PLANS for neo-spinster Luke responds: I totally concur. The older the spinster, the more divorced she is from reality. She has to be, for how else would she have the courage to face the days that remain before her? Not that men too, don't want to find a great woman, it's just that the sort of women men are looking for (decent personality, mentally and physically healthy, fertile, YOUNG, happy, sweet, not fat, not on drugs, booze, or smokes) have absofreakin'lutely no need to be on the internet looking for men, and aren't. Men come to them. In droves. And most of them marry, and marry young, especially if they are smart. And the rest? It's like they were all living in New York, wandering the streets looking for takeout menus, when everyone else is getting them stuffed under their doors at night. What these women failed to comprehend in time was that they were in possession of what economists know as a "wasting asset" - their flesh - and that by waiting too long or being too picky, they were screwing themselves for life. The internet spinster women I've "dated" here in NY have all had very serious mental problems in addition to their old dry flesh (quantity is no substitute for quality, ladies), and there is nothing to be done for them save marry them off to guys in their sixties or seventies who are widowed or who have dumped their even older wives. Very, very sad.

Not to sound antisemitic here (AMALEK hates being accused of that!), but ever notice that to a wildly disproportionate degree, the authors of such books full of pop-culture tripe as this one on dating for women over 35, or "the Rules" (one of them) seem to be Jewish? (Remember, Jews make up a declining 2.5% of the population of the United States.) And the shiksas are eating this poison up! Better that they should ask themselves what got them to this impasse in life in the first place, and warn the young women in America's high schools not to do what they had done. Had the average shiksa stuck to church, avoided feminism, MTV, careerism, Hollywood etc., likely she would be living a far healthier and happier life today.

Profiles In Courage

Dawn Eden writes:

Dear Moral Leader,

I did a Luke Ford at my work today.

I was handed a story about a 22-year-old porn "star" who went missing in Philadelphia on Feb. 29. The story was padded with a list of her films, a description of an act she performed in one of them (bondage), and a catalogue description of that same film--something like, "bare chest and bare feet--always a treat!"

I looked to see if I could cut out the film descriptions without making the story too short. I couldn't.

I thought about how children and teenagers read the paper. And I thought about how the missing woman was only 22, a "beginner" in the field. It was sickening to think that she felt such acts were her route to "stardom." She's probably dead and dismembered, and here she's being "remembered" by things she did with duct tape so that unseen masses could masturbate to the images.

I realized that there was no way I could copyedit the story objectively, so I returned it to my editor, asking if he could possibly give it to something else. "I'm disturbed by its gratuitous references," I explained.

My boss took it back, but then he took me aside as I got up to go to the ladies' room and gave me a severe talking-to, telling me NEVER to do that again. He said he'd had a male copy editor who'd been offended by certain types of stories in the past, and it was too much effort for him to remember which copy editor didn't want to edit which types of stories. He made it clear that he thought my attitude was unprofessional.

I protested that I'd worked there over two years and had never made such a request, but he said it didn't matter.

I held it together until I got to the ladies' room and then I cried. I'm tearing up now as I write this. I can't say it was totally unexpected--now that I think about it, I did make the same complaint once before, over a year ago, and got the same dressing-down.

I can only be thankful that stories that offensive don't come up too often. There's not really a question of my leaving my job right now--every major media outlet publishes stories that glorify pornography in some way. I certainly wouldn't get away from it at The New York Times or NPR, for example. And I don't think it's a good idea to deprive my newspaper of a moralist.

Pray for me,

Dawn [Aliza Ora bat Rachel Shoshanna]

Will Senger writes: "Hello Ms. Eden: I read your letter to Luke Ford this morning and was disappointed to learn that an experienced journalist is unable to remove herself from the emotions of a story. It is your responsibility as a journalist to remain objective and to report on events without prejudice. When you refuse a story because the missing woman is a bondage porno queen, you are essentially saying that this woman is insignificant -- that she doesn't matter. This victim has the same right to have her story aired as anyone else. Perhaps a well-written article could help find the missing woman, but you couldn't do it. Your supervisor dressed you down and you cried. So be it. If you were my staffer I would have fired you on the spot regardless of any detriment to the 'moralist' pool at my paper. Journalists who want to be social activists are actually censors."

Jackie writes: "I feel for Dawn Eden on this, but the fact is that having a free press means that -- just as postal carriers can't pick and choose which mail they agree with politically and will therefore deliver -- journalists need to report the facts regardless of their personal or religious feelings about those facts."

Big Daddy Luke

I'm going around my neighborhood selectively adopting Jewish kids and dogs and taking them to kosher restaurants. It makes me feel great, like a daddy, like a Pied Piper.

I've experienced a dramatic uptick in my health the past three weeks due to being hooked up to this electrical currents bio-feedback machine designed for farm animals.

I think I'm full of fire but Cathy thinks I am full of ----. Hi Infidelity by REO Speedwagon is the greatest record in the history of music since Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913). I've listened to Hi about 87 times in the past three days.

Politically Incorrect Question of the Day

This is the latest in a whole raft of features suggested by Chaim Amalek to spiff up this site (Chaim refuses to use the term "blogg", as he thinks the correct truncation/contraction of "webb log" is "wog"). Today's question is contributed by Skippy McButter of Sutton Place who asks "Are men who assume the name "Muhammed" more likely to murder people in acts of mindless violence than men who have not assumed that name? I am especially keen on reading what Heather MacDonald has to say about this."

Dear reader, let us not use this question as an occasion for questioning our commitment to diversity, which remains as unshakable as it is unquestionable.

Heather replies: "Dear Mr. McButter: Men who assume the name of "Muhammad" are seeking to recover their dignity after a life of marginalization as the Other, the trace, the unmotivated sign that will not be reduced to the Logos, the subaltern in a world of post-colonial hegemonic e/race/ing of differance, so any "violence" they may commit is not mindless (what after all is "mind" but the sublimation of absence to pre-sc[i]ence?) but part of the inevitable rupturing, tearing, qua mutilation of the Knowledge/Power metonymy. Hope that helps."

Gastrogrill: Luke Ford will nuke burritos for love

Jackie writes:

Gastrogrill is a new feature here at The Daily Bread where we, erm, grill people on food-related matters. Our first subject is Los Angeles-based author and journalist Luke Ford. You may have seen Mr Ford on Entertainment Tonight, The E! True Hollywood Story, or 60 Minutes. Luke is Australian, a vegetarian, and an Orthodox Jew who is supposed to observe kosher dietary laws.

What's the hardest part of keeping kosher?

I feel guilty putting anything in my shopping cart at Ralph's that doesn't
have a kosher symbol on it. I feel guilty eating vegetarian in non-kosher

The cooking and eating habits of single men is a source of fascination and amusement to many. Well, to me, anyway. What's the last meal you prepared for yourself?

Lunch -- fudge covered graham crackers, cottage cheese, Smart Start soy
protein cereal.

Yes, fascinating...What food do you have in The Hovel [Luke's home in LA] right now?

In the freezer, a dozen burritos, strawberries, peas, lemonade, concentrated passionfruit juice. In the fridge, soya milk, peach preserves, bread, raisinbread, cottage cheese, ten different types of fruity yoghurt, oranges, apples.

In your cupboard?

Grecian Formula, Old Spice Deodorant, dry soup, peanuts, Diet Sunkist, cans of beans.

One of your readers recently wrote to you and said: "Have you thrown any diner parties at The Hovel to reciprocate for all the free chow you've been glomming all these years? Yes, I know space is a problem but maybe you could do it buffet style. Have your guests queue up on the grass, bring them inside one at a time, serve them, and then have them eat the food out on the lawn. Just a suggestion. Where there is a will there is a way."

When's the last time you made a meal for a group of friends, and what did you feed them?

I've never done that in my life. Once I made a meal for a couple. I burned
the potatoes in the microwave and my mother had to come to the rescue.

It's amazing you're still single. If you were going to make a meal for a woman you were dating, what would you cook?

I'd heat up frozen burritos in my microwave.

Again, can you believe he's single? Ladies, if you're interested in this fine specimen of a new man, check out his website. If you cook, I'm sure he'll do the washing up.

My Next Big Project (as dictated to Luke Ford by his yetzer hora)

I'm thinking of writing a book with the self-descriptive title "The Over-38 Man's Guide to Finding a Sexually Desirable Wife." I mean it to be for finding a sexually desireable wife, because any man can find some woman to marry him if he does not care for such things. (For example, it is easy for a homosexual man to marry a wealthy woman of a certain age.) Amongst my qualifications are that I have stupped quite a few women in my day, and not all of them (or even more than three of them) were pros. I am 38, more or less, and looking for a wife. This book is the distillation of all that I have learned thus far at countless Jewish singles events, and shall include contributions from my many correspondents.

Amongst the ideas to be presented:

1. date desperate women from Eastern Europe;
2. the prisons are full of women who want to marry you;
3. some chicks with bipolar disorder are hot;
4. be rich;
5. get rich;
6. wear a banana in your pants;
7. pretend to be gay;
8. BE gay, and marry rich;
9. find a really insecure young woman; and
10. hang out with chicks who do ----.

Jackie adds:

11. Troll beauty pageants for the girls who don't even make runners-up; they're still beautiful, but needy and very receptive to the reassurances of a father figure (read: old guy) who's somewhat handsome and not too creepy.
12. Don't be creepy.

Dear kind gentle readers, please add your ideas to mine, and I will make a book of it that will entertain us all and make me rich. -the yetzer hora

Khunrum writes:

I used to tout Internet dating but not anymore. Too depressing. Women who are old enough to know better looking for their "best friend," life partner, an honest man, and always ...."long walks along the beach". What is it with women and beaches? All profiles are about the same., still looking for a Price Charming....and all us guys looking for one thing, to get "our end away" (thanks Henry Miller).

How about The Rules Gals? Whatever happened to them? There was another scam. What was the big rule? Never call the guy? There must be millions of women out there sitting by the phone for the past five year waiting for some shlunk to ring them ..."where is he?"

Chaim Amalek writes:

Damn you Luke, damn you all to hell for wasting time with your boring bio when you could be writing nifty humorous trade paperback books.

You just don't see the humor in your situation. Instead you keep trying to write the pseudo-scholarly tomes about the most ridiculous things. I mean, just consider the History of X. It should've been light and funny, but you wrote it as though you were writing about the Franco-Prussian war and its aftereffects.

And the deal is, the stuff I propose could be banged out in a few weeks.

"A ---- Journalist's Guide to Finding a Mate"

I'm thinking "The Luke Ford Library"

And I have the perfect ghost-writer for you. Jayson Blair. Or should I say "Spook Writer" haw haw haw (with apologies to Phillip Roth). That Brit woman who thought up Harry Potter made a billion off of it. You could make a few million, no?

The Luke Ford line of dating accessories. The Luke Ford line of automotive stuff Your own line of kosher foods.

Luke Ford Condoms with a hole in the center, to better fulfill the miztva of procreation How about a condom that breaks only if you are shtupping a hot young woman?

If not now, when?

Luke Ford brand sanitary napkins.

Dear Readers: After a hiatus, I am again being tempted by yetzer horah to depart from the path of Torah purity by the evil that is Amalek, may his name be blotted out from all memory, and may those portions of the holy Torah that command us Jews to kill his kind be excised out as well.

What should I do to return to the path of purity that is my only ambition in life? Already I fear myself tempted to wear garments made of aggregations of both linen AND wool. Already I hear the siren call of the shiksa. Already I feel within my loins stirring the call of exogamy (although for me I'm not sure what that is).

Amalek is clever. He uses the natural yearnings of a simple yeshiva boy like Luke Ford for a beshert to urge a course of action that can lead to, God forbid, exogamy.

Cathy Seipp, Amy Alkon, I appeal to the entire Jewish sisterhood to help me in my hour of need. If I don't find a nice young jewish wife soon, I fear that I will become a manster (man-spinster) or worse, and either marry a shiksa or a similarly situated Jewish man from some chassidic sect where they don't tolerate computers.

When Asking For Help, This Is How Not To Do It

When asking a stranger for something via email, it is good to spell and punctuate correctly, and to avoid insulting them.

I enjoy insulting people as much as the next person, but I usually wait until afterwards.

Did I mention the video camera?

You woke me up for that?

And to think I was really trying to pick up your friend.

But everybody looks funny naked!

Hope you're as good looking when I'm sober.

Have you seen Fatal Attraction?

Maybe we should call Dr Ruth.

Sweetheart, did you lock the backdoor?

Maybe you're just out of practice.

On second thought, let's turn out the lights.

You're almost as good as my ex.

And to think I didn't even have to buy you dinner.

Does this count as a date?

Scream and I'll kill you.

I really hate women who actually think that sex means something.

Christopher writes, and this is verbatim:

hullo, luke:

I was given your blog to look at for an assignment.

If not too much trouble, could you explain what, if any, logic there is to what you write, and how you find your information?

Is it like an on-line dear diary?

And what types of resposes do you typically get back from readers?

Do you have any idea what the demographics of your readership are?

And are you NYC-based? I would assume so, from the subject matter, but would you write about non-NYC events, too?

Thanks, in advance. Christopher

I replied: "If you want to discuss this, feel free to call me. I'm too lazy to write out responses."

Christopher responds: "Thanks. This is the answer is was expecting, but not hoping for."

Luke says: I'm afraid that LF.net is a playground for very smart people and the dim should stay away.

Cathy Seipp, my reason for living who looks more radiant every day, writes:

hullo, luke:

You were nicer to Christopher than I would have been. Are you coming tomorrow to the Wed Morn Club? Kate Coe and Debbie are...and of course, I will be there!

Note to self: Describe three said ladies of having a lasting beauty and regal grace that makes it impossible to guess their ages. Then ask them to pick the nasty onions and mushrooms off my salad.

Gentile for Orthodox - m4m - 29

I'm so desperate for love. I might respond to this on Craigs List. I think it was placed by Handsome Bob aka Robert Light:

masculine, discrete, bi- whiteboy, looking to explore with orthodox (pref. hassidic) Jew. I've seen lots around the neighborhood, been with few men, but am very turned on by the orthodox...perhaps this is a fantasy of mine. I'm not looking for a boyfriend, this most likely will be a one-time thing. I'm 29, nice shape, all-American type looks, safe, ddf, etc. you should be clean, under 35, and a no-smoker.

Handsome Bob writes: "Phew!! Good thing I remembered not to mention anything about my being a close reader of Harry Jaffa, or that REALLY would have blown my cover!"

Cathy writes: "Oh, you guys. Why don't you just get married? Sometimes it's hard for me to decide which one of you is actually handsomer!"

RIP Spalding Gray

I haven't posted much of late because I have been in mourning over the passing of artist Spalding Gray.

In keeping with the LF.net policy of never speaking ill of the dead, Fred Nek writes: "I actually saw "Swimming to Cambodia". It was fairly bizarre--just a camera focused on some guy who gave a 1 1/2 hour monologue. I can't remember how I was talked into seeing it. I don't think I'd be inclined to see anything else that he did. I think that movie and theater critics give "extra points" for stuff that is gratuitously weird. To the extent that any critic had anything good to say about Gray, I suspect that it was for that reason."

Khunrum writes: "Thanks for speaking up counselor. You seem to be one of the few who has a life outside of a blogg. Perhaps Luke would have more to say if it were errrrrrrr! Matt Welsh or Cathy Seipp fished out of the drink. I rented the film after he "disappeared" and having been to Cambodia, enjoyed it....But I also understand his neurotic WASP shtick isn't for everyone."

Viacom Censors Nudity, Language Out Of Game Over

Last week I published an interview with Jason Venokur, producer of the new TV show Game Over [that will air on UPN, starting March 10 at 8PM] about the private lives of video game characters.

Jason and producer David Sacks are Orthodox Jews.

I saw the episode in question and was surprised by the extended view of the mother's derriere in the shower. It made me question my belief in God and Torah.

Now I read this by Mike Albo:

Just when you thought all this hysteria over on-the-air indecency couldn't get any more insane, comes the news that Viacom-owned UPN has ordered the producers of the new computer-animated series "Game Over" to delete nudity and some scatological dialog from the show's pilot that's scheduled to air on Wednesday.

The panicky reaction is a response to a two-second shot of a female character's buttocks and what's described as a "mildly scatological epithet" used by one character to disparage another.

The producers of the show are not happy with the order, but Viacom executives are standing firm, claiming that the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake Superbowl incident has created a heightened sensitivity to nudity and coarse language...even in cartoons.

Advancing The Story

I wrote to Jack Shafer of Slate.com:

I'm impressed by how ethical American journalism is. These Leonard Downie rules about anonymous sourcing is another step forward for ethical journalism.

There's only one journalistic value more important than ethics -- merit. To me, journalism is about advancing the story (and almost anything you do to advance that is OK as long as you don't hurt innocent people). If you told me I'd have to sleep with a subject of my story to advance the story more than I could otherwise, I'd do it (if I weren't married and she was young and hot).

I only believe in two basic journalistic rules - do not make things up and do attribute (and even violations of those serious codes pale if you advance the damn story). A lot of journalists never advance the story but are ethical. Boring.

The main thing is merit. What matters is how accurate you are, not whether you use anonymous sources. Some not for attribution sources are as good as gold, better than reams of official documents.

Leonard Downie, like his peers, is unreadable. Try picking up his recent book on journalism. So what the heck does this pompous dull prig know about advancing a story?

Moxie Listens To Dennis Prager

Listened to Dennis Prager this morning*. Seems the NYT is up in arms over the ONE college in the US that is grooming folks for political careers and gasp they happen to be on the right.

The fear in the article is unmistakable. It's mentioned that they are evangelical Christians however a student from the College called Prager and said explicitly that there is surprising diversity of religious beliefs on campus. Figures the NYT would need to classify inaccurately.

But back to this evil breeding ground...my gawd, an institution that bucks the trend and actually supports conservative causes? Prager noted just about every other University in the US is skewed to the left.

Ohr Ha Torah Meltdown?

My favorite teacher of the inner life is Rabbi Mordecai Finley who founded the liberal synagogue Ohr Ha Torah with his wife in 1993. I was a happy member there for three years (1998-2001).

I loved how members joyfully took on responsibility for the shul rather than sitting back and letting the paid staff do all the work.

Now I understand the synagogue is in turmoil.

I think part of the problem is that Rabbi Finley is so wise and wonderful in his preachings, he develops unrealistic expectations in his listeners who expect him to be a super-human paragon of compassion and love. When you devote your life teaching spirituality, people develop unrealistic expectations for you.

As a moral leader myself, I understand.

An OHT member writes me:

Have you heard about what's happening at Ohr HaTorah? I got a letter last week, which was sent to the entire membership by the President of the congregation, and that was the first I had heard about it. Apparently various malcontents within the shul have been circulating disgruntled emails.

Anyway, Rabbi Finley addressed the congregation at the study session this past Shabbos, to set the record straight. And to encourage people not to leave, after a number of families did just that.

Are you clued in to all of this? Have you seen any of the emails? Apparently somebody even hacked into their system and sent emails under a false name, claiming to be an employee of OHT.

Luke, since you're the king of all gossip (not to accuse you of engaging in Lashon Hara, but you know . . .), and since you're the email maven, I figure you must know about this. Nu?

I heard Rabbi Finley handled it well, and people were feeling better afterwards. Much of the discontent was over the handling of the Hebrew school and certain troublesome students.

Luke, I was hoping you had access to the actual emails. I was at the Saturday morning study session and heard what the rabbi had to say. He did not allow anybody in the audience to speak, and the letter that went out took pains to state that the meeting was open to "members and prospective members" only, evidently excluding the "eight or ten families" who recently resigned. So I think the audience was largely confined to people who support the rabbi. And in any event, nobody in the audience got a chance to say anything.

The rabbi, as usual, was mystified as to why people that he thought were his friends turned out to be so disloyal. As usual, he concluded that the problem was them, not him. I was very disappointed in him. But I guess not surprised.

The rabbi mentioned four separate incidents, two of which involved the religious school. His version of the facts made him and his wife out to be wise, rational, and fair, and the families who resigned out to be petty, immature, and probably slightly deranged. I guess the first few times you hear him tell those kinds of stories you buy it, but at some point, you start to wonder.

I had to shake my head when I read what Rabbi Finley said about Hebrew schools teaching kids to hate Judaism. My child comes home from classes with Rabbi Finley and announces that he hates Hebrew school and he's going to become an atheist.

In all fairness, I don't think there's any way to take a bunch of kids who would rather be home sprawled on the sofa playing video games, and plunk them down in a room, make them sit still and listen to an adult who's talking about stuff they're not interested in, and not have the kids hate it. I'd really be interested to hear what Rabbi Finley thinks Ohr HaTorah is doing differently, that is working better than what every other shul does. Or if he would admit that OHT is failing, also.

I wish I had a better alternative, because it really wasn't my goal to teach my kids to hate Judaism.

Moses And Mythology

El Shaddai of the Luke Ford Fan Blog writes: Do you view Moses in historical or mythological terms?

LF: Both. I treat the Torah and the sacred scriptures of Judaism as divine truth and I treat scientific examination of those scriptures as if there is no binding dogma. These are incompatible beliefs but I'd prefer to think I am playing each one by the rules of its game.

ES: What are the consequences (religious, moral, social, etc.) of interpreting Scripture mythologically?

LF: If this replaces a belief in the literal truth of the Scriptures, that leads quickly to reduced observance of the precepts of those texts in one's daily life. Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians are more observant of their faiths than their more liberal counterparts. Once people feel free to interpret scriptures in primarily mythological terms, you have moral anarchy.

ES: Does such an understanding strengthen or weaken religious devotion in the modern world?

LF: Modern AKA scientific understandings of sacred text and religious history inevitably weaken religous devotion.

I heard Dennis Prager say today that he did not believe in the Documentary Hypothesis (which is held by virtually everybody who has studied the evidence (has a PhD in Bible or Hebrew related to this document) for the origins of the Torah). The D.H. says that the Torah is composed by various authors and edited together over centuries. Virtually everyone who has studied the evidence has come to this conclusion. And no, Prager has not studied the evidence because he does not know the relevant languages of the ancient world. Prager is not a Bible scholar (nor are the overwhelming majority of rabbis). Prager has been teaching the Bible his adult life but one is not a Bible scholar, nor an economist, unless one has a PhD in that subject from a reputable university.

It does not bother me that people believe things against the evidence if this does not lead to deleterious results.

Prager has taken the same approach to the book THE BELL CURVE. He's never read it and never studied about IQ but he instinctively hates it and he feels his feelings and values are sufficient for dealing with the questions raised by this book.

Curb Your Enthusiasm When Worlds Collide

A few months ago, I went to a Leslie Cheung film festival with a liberal friend. We ran into my buddy David Aaron from another world. I introduced him as the published novelist that he is.

David writes me Sunday night: "I'm watching CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM tonight and Larry David and wife were renewing vows at Beverly Hills temple in front of small crowd, and the couple in the front row looked just like you and your upscale friend! I know it wasn't, but I can be amused, can't I?"

New Theme Song On Spring Street For That Crack Unit Investigating Gov's Sex Crimes

Arnie's sperm is sacred,
Arnie's sperm is great.
If a sperm gets wasted,
The LA Times gets quite irate

Jose Can You See?

Author Tony Castro writes: "Just judging from the teaser: Problem is that there's a schism between the US-born Latinos and immigrant Latinos that will stand in the way of this happening. Not to mention the agenda differences between MexicanAmericans and Puerto Ricans, both those groups and Cubans, Texas MexicanAmericans and California MexicanAmericans, New Mexican Hispanics and all the others. Then there's the Central Americans. Just here in LA, the Latinos in Boyle Heights have little in common other than language with the Salvadorans and Central Americans in Pico-Union. The middle-class Latinos in Montebello and working class ones in Commerce don't want anything to do with the immigrants and, when newspapers with Spanish supplements are distributed there, the Spanish sections are pulled out by Latinos and thrown in the trash. Don't Fear The Latino Influx."

Heather Mac Donald writes: "I'm debating Tamar Jacoby, a liberal colleague at the Manhattan Institute who shares David Brooks's view and then some, in April. She's been spending the last three years writing solely about how wonderful illegal immigrants are; I wrote one lousy article, and they expect me to go mano a mano with her. Oh well, maybe I'll cream her anyway."

Womanizer Antonio Villaraigosa - Former Candidate For Los Angeles Mayor

His real last name is Villar. Antonio's sister Deborah, who was extremely involved in his last two campaigns, still goes by the maiden name Villar. Strikingly sultry. Looks like a Mexican film actress.

Antonio's story is that when he and his wife Corina (educator) married, they wanted to recognize their union and her importance to it, so they joined names (hers was Raigosa). Sounds great.

Not so great when you hear the story that in 1994, at the height of his first Assembly campaign which wound up being a bitter feud between the Gloria Molina forces and the Richard Polanco-Richard Alatorre clan, Antonio got involved with some Latino judge's wife... This while his own wife was facing what she thought was a life-death crisis involving a brain (?) tumor.

Antonio won the primary fight but lost Molina's support when she learned of Antonio's indiscretion. Antonio lived the next few months sucking up to his wife and fearing that they Polanco-Alatorre machine would run someone as a write-in against him in the November election. They didn't.

Changing a name is also something you do when you have financial and credit problems that hounded you. Some of his enemies back in the 1994 era had pulled his TRW and claimed this to be true. Don't know for sure.

But the story with his wife was a story under the surface in 2001 and again 2003. He admitted his infidelities and ran with her blessing. Nothing was ever written about her putting up with so much. I had to admit. I didn't have the heart to do it. I don't know if it's that she reminds me of my mother when I was young or the fact that she appeared to have been an innocent by-stander, like all political wives.

Corina Villaraigosa is alive and well.

Sadly, Villaraigosa is probably a better councilperson, candidate, guy, etal than the other Latino pols out there -- Cedillo, Padilla, Alarcon, Firebaugh, Nunez. Labor-suckup lackeys all. And closed-minded doctrinaires. At least Villaraigosa has some moxie about him. Villaraigosa is among the few Latino leaders who recognize the need to take the Latino, labor, sad-assed and sorry labels off their sleeves, which is one of the reasons he's getting beat up by Latino nationalists over things like his support of the Weisenthal Center and his connections to Broad and other non-Latino ties.

Mecha is a paper lion student organization, with even less clout that MAPA, the Mexican American Political Organization. To say that someone was a member of Mecha is to say that someone was a member of a Greek fraternity. These Mecha types probably had even less clout than the golf club at the school. But they looked threatening and evoked all the fears in all us xenophobes. So what we're talking about is that when Villaraigosa was at UCLA, in the 70s or so, 30 some odd years ago, that he was a Mecha member. You also have to remember the climate in California at that time. I wouldn't judge too much on that.

From a 2001 LA Times profile during the mayoral race:

Villaraigosa fathered his first two children. He was 21 and had known the mother of his first daughter for just six weeks before she became pregnant. He was 25 when his second daughter was born to another woman.

After a fight during his 24th birthday celebration at a Wilshire Boulevard restaurant, Villaraigosa was arrested on suspicion of assault. He told a jury he had been defending his mother and sister against an abusive patron; he was acquitted.

But the rising star had also committed an indiscretion that would cost him dearly. He had an affair that became the talk of the Eastside political elite. His wife filed for divorce just one day after he won his first election.

The infidelity cost Villaraigosa the friendship of Molina, among others. Two years later, Corina Villaraigosa took her husband back, but Molina continues to keep her distance.

Del Olmo's Complaint

Only now can the true story be told

The late Frank del Olmo is remembered at the Times as a huge party animal. Before his second marriage, he lived in a tiny grubby apartment and chased chicks, including some secretaries who worked at the Times. He eventually landed the most beautiful of them -- she looked like Maude Adams, about 5'7" in high heels -- as his second wife. They had a tempestous relationship. His third marriage was to the mildly attractive Magdalana, the J-school graduate of his alma mater Cal State Northridge. They were a Latino power couple who created the Latino Fund with other Latino power couples (including the Villaraigosas).

A source writes:

[Among the powerful Latinos Frank hung with was] Victor Franco, community affairs manager with the Miller Brewing Co. and now on the City Council in Monrovia, and his wife Giselle Acevedo-Franco, a VP with the Times. Victor Franco has almost statesman-like standing among many Latinos on the Eastside, presumably because of a role he had on the 1984 Olympics Organizing Committee on which he was head of protocol or call girls or something. He was one of the few Latinos on that group, whose positions were jealously sought back in the late 1970s.

Franco is one of these strait-laced guys who says and does all the p.c. things. He sounds like the guy who does commercials with light Spanish-accents on voice-overs.

I thought Frank's first wife was a bit on the plain side, even if she was a blonde. I was under the impression she was someone he met at Cal State Northridge. By 1972 they had Valentina. Frank showed me a photo of the baby and his wife in Texas in September 1972.

Now the second one was a knockout. She was auburn haired. I know that Frank did see himself as the ladies man. I once got a crazy call from a beautician in one of those downtown office buildings offering me a complimentary facial. Instead we met for lunch. Turns out she was trying to find out background about Frank. I guess he got a bit more than a facial from her, and he had never called again and wouldn't take her calls.

Frank's first two wives were not Latinas. Defintely Anglo. Change Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint to Del Olmo's Complaint and Jew to Latino, and you will understand where Frank was coming from.

Magdalena is Latina. Linda Breakstone once told me years ago that Frank had become obsessed with finding a Latina wife. I guess Linda qualified, being that her maiden name was Bustamante. You can talk to Latino pyschologists, some of whom will tell you that Latinos who marry non-Latinos ultimately wind up looking for the Latina wife, be it guilt for whatever.

Magdalana later worked at the Chicano News Media Assn., and now heads up the PR division of some health foundation. Playing amateur psychologist, an acquaintance once referred to her as Frank's Latina Penelope, to which he became noticeably pissed off.

Penelope as in The Odyssey. Frank wandering about all those years. Magdalena the devout, devoted wife waiting patiently, faithfully at home for Frank to come home and say, Latina, Latina, Latina, Latina, Latina, (apologies to Molly Bloom).

Maybe I should have explained the reference to Frank.

Linda Breakstone once said that Frank had become obsessed with finding a Latina wife. I guess Linda qualified, being that her maiden name was Bustamante. You can talk to Latino pyschologists, some of whom will tell you that Latinos who marry non-Latinos ultimately wind up looking for the Latina wife out of guilt or whatever.

Frank and Magdalena married about 15 years ago. Dolores Sanchez, a publisher of a small group of papers on the Eastide, says that Magdalena worshipped Frank, as if he were a god. Does that mean that she felt she was riding the cross? Don't know.

The MexMafia thing, of course, is there. I think it was Del Olmo who largely pushed it, using other people like Ramos to front it. But a lot of it was Del Olmo. Even the term "Latino" is something that went into the LAT stylebook because of Frank's demands and influence.

Tthe Times has been hard-pressed to put Latinos and African-Americans in management positions, all in a profession which the best Latinos and African-Americans usually avoid. Certainly during the 70s and 80s. Other professions paid better for starters. Then you had moms and dads of this large wave of minorities who, after sacrificing for their kids, wanted to see them going into the traditionally higher respective professions like medicine and law. Many of those interested not in money but in service to their communities went into teaching. All this accounts for the smaller numbers of minorities in journalism -- and the smaller numbers for papers to push into management slots. The only thing I do know about Clayton (or one of the African American women in the editorial section, and I assumed it was Clayton) was that she and Del Olmo had gotten their knuckles rapped a few years ago involving favoritism over the elementary school on the UCLA campus. The Times even wrote about it. Del Olmo reportedly tried to use his influence there to get the child of this fellow editorial person jumped ahead of other applicants at this school.)

It seemed like many of the Latinos del Olmo hung around with had those little Zorro wannabe mustaches. I remember one time him even telling me that he thought my face could use a mustache. I never did. Does that mean I couldn't have been Zorro, nor part of Del Olmo's Latino in-crowd?

Heather Has Two Mommies but Luke Has Many More

Chaim Amalek writes:

Remember "Heather has Two Mommies," that gay-friendly feminist classic by Leslea (!) Newman from the late 80's? Looking at the women in your life, one sees many more mommy figures than that: Cathy Seipp, Amy Alkon, the Israelite, the Lawyer, that chick you stupped years back who must've had twenty years on you even then (and still does). Then there are the neo-mommies, the women now about your age (you keep getting older, you know) who still are about the age your mother would've been had she lived to see you to early adulthood. They seem to be your "sweet spot" for mommy figures - 38-ish. Your problem, Luke, is that there are too darn many mommies in your life, and likely none of them is suitable for breeding purposes. You need a woman whom you can turn into a mommy, not to be a mommy to you, but to be the mother of your children, as the holy Torah commands. And for that, you will need the services of a young woman.

I know it has been hard, what with your hovel and your crummy van. But thanks to your success in the infotainment sector, you now have the resources to move into a nicer apartment and buy a nicer set of wheels. Invest in yourself by upgrading things. Then make further use of your many deep connections to the world of fertile young women with liberal morals. Find yourself a few nice young white women to breed with. You don't have to marry any of them, just sweet talk them into giving you that which they already have given so many other men (and I'm not talking about herpes). Think of these women not as your mother, but as human chia pets - add sperm and PRESTO! Nine months later you have a mitzvah on your hands.

Amalek: How old was your mother when she died?

Luke: about 40

Amalek: I think we've achieved a real breakthrough here today.

Amy Alkon's 40th Birthday Party

I was the first guest to arrive at 7PM Saturday night. Kevin, a black female clothing designer and next door neighbor, doesn't count as a guest. She's a regular.

Amy's boyfriend Gregg welcomes me. Freshly dressed, Amy brings me a glass of sparking water. I can't trust the kashrut of a post-Jewish Jew like Alkon. She has pornographic videos on her mantelpiece, including Wives by Paul Thomas.

I brought a Purim gift for Cathy Seipp from a friend of ours. When Seipp arrives, she upraids me for not bringing her a Purim gift. She's really into tokens of affection. For me, a nice quick ---- --- is sufficient to say I care.

Cathy writes Luke:

Well no wonder I didn't get it. The way you sent up that sentence, it seemed to be a gift coming FROM you. It didn't occur to me that you actually think...

Oh, never mind. You're horrible. And I don't usually care, but the hypocrisy of your insulting, holier than thou attitude to Sandra's accidental f-word on the radio, juxtaposed with your constant, shameless twisted blue streak on your own blog is really too much for me this week. I'm going to bed.

Sheesh, perhaps I should never have given Cathy that round loaf and honey jar for Rosh Hashanah. Now every time she hears it is a Jewish holiday -- she's a little fuzzy on these things but a mere passing mention of Golda Meir's birthday or Yitzhak Rabin's death day -- and she's looking for presents from me.

Cathy seeks one man to meet her many needs while I seek many women to meet my one need.

Cathy, Matt Welch and Emmanuelle arrive together. Matt's got a slick new hairdo with gel and everything and if I were an unorthodox poofter, I'd give him a root while closing my eyes and imagining he was Ben Affleck.

"Hey look, Cathy," I say. "There's free food."

Not only hors'doeuevres but a whole dinner.

[Khunrum writes: "Luke do your friends consider you a schnoorer? Have you thrown any diner parties at The Hovel to reciprocate for all the free chow you've been glomming all these years? Yes, I know space is a problem but maybe you could do it buffet style. Have your guests cue up on the grass, bring them inside one at a time, serve them, and then have them eat the food out on the lawn. Just a suggestion. Where there is a will there is a way."]

Cathy's offended by my remark. "You've been rather obnoxious lately," she says and gets up and moves away from me for 15 minutes. By the time she sits back down, it's almost time for me to leave.

She hasn't responded to any of my emails, even the kindly ones, since Wednesday (though, thank God, I still receive notifications of her latest published articles). This has only happened to us about three dozen times before. I think we'll work through it.

I read in the latest unauthorized biography of Warren Beatty that womanizers tend to be good with kids. I agree. "Kids fall for immaturity and shallow charm," says Cathy.

Amy's little dog nestles unbidden on my lap.

Cathy remarks that animals tend to like me, "which puts the lie to the theory that animals are good judges of character."

I pull out my recorder to note these remarks exactly.

"It's a little odd to pull out a recorder at a party and follow me out around once I start talking," says Cathy.

Matt says I remind him of the 1982 movie Night Shift where the Henry Winkler character keeps pulling out a tape recorder to note thoughts.

Cathy: "Does he have a little acolyte who follows him around?"

Matt: "Kind of. He has this character who makes him a man."

Luke: "Cathy, are you going to make me a man?"

Cathy: "You shoved me right into that one. I don't know, Luke. It depends on if you start behaving yourself."

The reason that Matt hasn't been blogging is that he's got writing assignments from half a dozen magazines and newspapers.

I get confirmation that there are racial mafias at The Los Angeles Times and the paper wouldn't think of hiring a black or Latino reporter without first clearing it with the ruling powers in that particular race at the Times.

The Times has been obsessed with race and political correctness and sanitizing the misdeeds of the darker-skinned people since the 1991 riots.

For a long time, Janet Clayton served as the opinion page editor. She's dull with few opinions. But she's black and female and the Times wanted to advance minorities and so she fit the bill in two key respects, plus she shared a certain quality with Frank -- not dribbling down the chin while talking.

I might get an assignment to cover the Democratic and Republican conventions in a few months. That would beat the last few Consumer Electronic Show conventions I've reported. I look forward to asking this country's leading politicos if they ever had jungle love.

I needle Cathy about KCRW's firing of Sandra Tsing Loh for saying f---. "That's outrageous," I bait.

Cathy: "Do you mean that?"

Luke: "No."

Cathy glares at me. She's a loyal friend, unless the friend use the word "c---," such as Amy Alkon did in an altercation over parking nine months ago. I wasn't allowed to blog about it then but time heals all wounds.

The Los Angeles Times still has a team of reporters investigating Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual pecadillos and possible love child (that John Connolly was proclaiming six months ago before withdrawing his charges).

I drive to a Purim Party at Bergamot Station. It sells out (tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door), meaning attendance approaches 500. Rabbi David Wolpe is dressed as a rapper gangster.

Last Wednesday night at Megilla and Martinis at UJ, I asked this blonde for her businesscard. She didn't answer. Five minutes later, I tried again. No answer, no acknowledgement, not even a tongue kiss. Discouraged, I drained my pure water martini, rolled up my megilla, and left. Tonight I see her again. She gives me her card and explains she didn't hear me. Her friends wondered why she was so rude to me.

Rabbi Hirsch taps me on the shoulder as she walks by. She's dressed like Marilyn Monroe. Later, the other assistant rabbi, R. Schuldenfrei, walks around dressed like Elvis. All the costumes were bought by the temple. The rabbis didn't have to do any work.

The West Coast leader of AIPAC, Elliot Brandt, looks like a pirate.

11PM. "Is it just me," wonders my friend Paul, "or is this place getting Persianfied?" He's right and that's fine by me. I think Persian women have amazing bodies. They make me pine for Shushan. Oh to be King Aheseurus for a night and have my pick.

I can't fight this feeling anymore. I need to tell you how I feel.

This year's party had no pretense of religious content. There was no attempt to read even a single verse from the Megillah of Esther. We were just party animals uninterrupted by any rabbinic preaching.

"I would've thought you'd be at a more hardcore Purim?" said a secular friend. Hey babe, I'm where the girls are.

I want to go where love is. I want you to show me. I want to know what love is.

Many women are dressed like sluts.

I have to hold on to one drunk friend (two martinis) and guide her to the Ladies room.

I Wish I Had Kids

I met an Israeli divorcee in the produce section at Ralphs. She has two kids. A boy eight and a girl four.

I played with the kids Sabbath afternoon.

They piled on top of me and tried to smother me. Then they spat in my face, picked their boogers and pasted them on me.

[Khunrum says: Smart little Heeb kids....they know an imposter when they see one.]

An hour passes.

"Are you going to stay with my mom?" the little girl asked me.

"No," I said. "We're just friends."

"You should go on a date," said the girl. "I want to marry my brother."


"Because I love him."

I put her on my shoulder and walked down the street. I run into several members of my shul. They look at me in a new way. [Child molestor? asks Khunrum.] You don't feel like an Orthodox Jew until you have kids, or at least can rent some for an hour.

After two hours, I say goodbye to the boy, girl and mother. The boy says to me, "Don't leave."

We exchanged yarmulkes. I'll wear his black felt one from now on.

The girl took me by the hand. "I want you to stay," she smiled plaintively.

I met up with the mother Saturday night at the Temple Sinai Purim Party at Bergamot Station.

Marvin The Orthodox Menace

By Cecile du Bois:

Marvin could not concentrate on the Rashi script. The cantor was not good that day, and the lighting was very dim. Plus, the woman next to him through the lattice could not stop singing. Marvin did not like that. Marvin had a good day as long as women did not sing, he did not have to drive through Hispanic neighborhoods, and no bums protested against Bush. As he lived in Los Angeles, this was very common and Marvin had unlimited wisecracks on his popular journal on the Internet.

Marvin has been kicked out of 24 Orthodox synagogues. He hopes to stay in the one he is currently at, for better or for worse. He even sold his porn gossip website to insure that. Ten years ago, he did not know if he was dead or alive while he suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That was when he converted to Judaism. Since then, has conflicted with his double life: that as a devout Jew, and hardworking porn gossip. He admires the female sex, and the mysteries of the divine.

One story he tells repeatedly to explain himself is from when he was little. One day, when he was out on the lake in Brisbane, Australia, he kept on throwing stones at his older sister. As he advanced into the water, he slipped and was suffocating for air. Fearing his life, his sister, despite her annoyance, came to save him. Since then, that is the continuing theme of his relationships. When he was young in his early 20’s, he dated older women. They loaned him excessive amounts of money, and within three months he would break up with each of them. He has not heard from them since.

His life goals, jokingly, are to marry a virgin, and father a dozen children. So far, he has not succeeded. Firstly, he is not that observant as most Orthodox Jews are, and secondly, he is reaching forty, and few women younger than 25 are willing to elope with a man that old. In the last year, he has dated two women: a secular masseuse, and a fifty-year-old broad. Neither qualifies.

After each person had exited the synagogue, Marvin found himself alone with the director of the place. “We need to talk,” the scruffy rabbi murmured.

Marvin knew what he meant. “I apologize deeply for lying, and not telling you what happened…” he began to reply.

“You have proved yourself disloyal by doing your business in that field.” The rabbi elaborated, disgusted.

“You have every right to be angered but please allow me to explain.”

“Explain what? Until you’re a person of dignity and understanding, you are not welcome here any further, do you understand?”

Marvin understood, but he had an appointment at Heebster Lounge that afternoon. He had the juiciest assignment in the “industry.”

Jenny Karpel, a rising adult film star known as the “Jewess,” with her unusually wide hips and long nose, was signing autographs to local college students and men alike. Marvin admired Jenny, but as she was not religious and not his type, he didn’t bother to flirt with her. She had to strike a chord with him in order to go back to his hovel.

“Who is the worst costar you have had in your career so far?” he asked.

“Oh probably Lars Wallis,” Jenny replied, after thinking for five minutes. “They’re all poor in acting, y’know. If I didn’t have this job, I’d go find myself a real man by now. And they really only use me because of mine being Jewish and all! It isn’t really fair, y’know.”

“Do you regret your job?”

“Yes of course at times, as I don’t never talk to my mom or dad, but its money, and money’s money, you feel?”

Marvin was bored already, so he left early. As he was in the neighborhood of a friend, he drove over to her house. Penelope answered the door. Her eyes were bloodshot.

“What’s the matter Pen?” he asked. He listened as she soaked his shoulder. “I---I was fired today and now I have no income!” she sobbed.

“Why did they fire you?” he inquired, shocked, as Pen was a popular TV critic for the Wailing Wednesday Weekly, an alt-weekly, mocking the absurdities of the media.

“Because I received two complains from a Christian Advocacy Group and a doctor explaining to the editor how I deserve to be booted for indecent exposure for offensive words I used like the F one, and normally, I mean usually, I never ever use that word. But I was so angry when they cancelled Angel, I couldn’t help it!”

Marvin couldn’t believe his ears. His friend was troubled for one minor indecency while he received similar care for doing something unbelievably dishonest, amoral, and offensive.

Marvin drove back to Heebster Lounge to search for his clientele. No one was there.

At his hovel, he wrote an email to his clients explaining why he was no longer working for them.

“Although I enjoyed immensely our experiences, it is time for me to refocus my energies elsewhere, i.e. personal spiritualities.”

The next day at synagogue, when he entered, everyone was disturbed to see him there. The rabbi had died the day before, from a stroke.

“And his last wish was for us to restrict our membership to the truly observant,” a congregant remarked. “We apologize, but we don’t feel this is the right kind of environment for you,” another person said to Marvin.

Marvin walked out empty hearted. Even his own family deserted him. If only he had started earlier. If only.

Crimes Of Passion

Bot writes: This sexy, tongue-in-cheek pictorial in the recent issue of HEEB Magazine has drawn criticism from the Anti-Defamation League for its "blasphemy", and we're sure there are plenty of conservative Christians out there (at least the ones who read magazines aimed at hip young Jews) who'd be equally offended by photos of a hunky Jesus in a loincloth and a topless Virgin Mary with multiple body piercings. At least there's something both groups can agree on these days.

HEEB Magazine, Issue #5: "Back Off, Braveheart"
"Crimes of Passion" (HEEB scans @ Andy's Chest)
See also: "Heeb's Steamy Passion" (Jewish Week)

Rabbi Marvin Forhire of the Weaselthal Center

Heeb magazine humor editor Dave Deutsch writes:

Luke, check out the Jewish Week's Purim insert, for the following: A reference in the story titled "Next Bush Target: Jesus Killers" to "Rabbi Marvin Forhire of the Weaselthal Center..." True, it's the purim edition, but what antisemitic mag or website wouldn't kill for a line like that (and what do you think would have happened if Heeb had printed it?)

Incidentally, Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days, since it’s the one day of the year when Orthodox Jews seem perfectly normal. "Sure, I've got a beanie and little strings hanging out of my shirt, but you've got some schmutz on your forehead."

I think I've solved Heeb's image problems--I'm trying to convince Josh to retool the magazine as an orthodox periodical which has adopted the chumrah of only putting out Purim editions.

Anthony Pellicano Reflections

The last time Tabloid Baby author Burt Kearns contacted his old friend Jerry Nachman, it was to mention the connection between Anthony Pellicano's gray rock hotel check-in and the Jacko raid. Jerry said he was looking into it. Then he died.

On a Monday, Anthony Pellicano goes to prison. On a Tuesday, Michael Jackson (a former Pellicano client) has his place searched in Santa Barbara. On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara DA announces there are charges for child molestation against Jackson. On Thursday, Jackson surrenders. On Friday, the DA announces he's going to use information from the 1993 case in this current go-round. There are people in the Jackson camp who are of the strong belief that Pellicano gave Jackson up.

A bunch of LA's top celebrity lawyers have been subpoened to testify before a grandjury. Many of them, including Danny Davis and Bert Fields, have engaged criminal counsel. I think that Bert Fields dropped out of the Winnie the Pooh litigation over someone going into someone's trash (I think Fields' frequent client Pellicano was involved). I don't know if Pellicano tapped anyone's phones at Disney.

Anthony Pellicano's divorce record is sealed, which is unusual under California law. I don't know if it was because it contained domestic violence allegations.

Pellicano was using a unique way of tapping people's telephones. He was using a law enforcement tap. He could avoid having his tap detected. A tap is almost impossible to detect on a digital phone circuit if it is done at the fiber optic junction in Texas. Pellicano had his own voice recognition software that would provide a transcript of recorded conversations in real time. As the conversations occurred, they would pop up on his computer and print out.

Pellicano's cop snitch, Sgt. Mark Arneson, was out of Pacific division vice. He's headed for years of federal prison.

J.R. Taylor from New York Press writes Luke: "Just a quick note to say that you're doing amazing work. It was great to see Dawn Eden make an appearance on the site, and that "Winner Takes It All" dialogue was inspired. You might want to make plans to go to a screening of "Starsky & Hutch," and check out the opening wedding sequence to "Along Came Polly." The films put Ben Stiller at 2-2 for recent productions that are rich in Jewish stereotypes."

Luke Provides Strong Moral Leadership

Sarah writes: "The guys who get all serious and deep are usually the most screwed up. Or do you disagree?"

Luke: "I don't know enough."

Sarah: "Don't care, either, I am sure. Thanks for pretending, though. Here's hoping I meet a shallow guy with no issues. How many girls have let you ---- them in every ----? I know that's very important to you.

"What if you met your dream woman...Heather McDonald morphed with Cathy Seipp...and she would only let you ---- her in one or two ----s of her choice? Could you live with that?"