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Luke's Hair

If you'd like to comment on my site, go to Cathy Seipp's site and stick your comment in anywhere. She won't mind.

A Fly On The Wall writes Cathy: "Is Luke dying his hair? It seems rather dark. And why is he hiding behind Nancy in that strange sideways pose like he's trying to hide something? Is he getting fat? He also looks like he's doing something rather perverse with the poor porcine creature. Nancy looks fabulous, as always."

Cathy Seipp writes: "There is a faintly Eddie Munster-ish aspect to this picture, but...Oh, geez, now you've got me doing it. Come on, you guys! You're going to give Luke a complex. He's really very good-looking and is an addiction to Grecian Formula really such a crime?"

Luke Y. Thompson writes: "Well, it is a double standard if he tells certain people who share his name that hair dye is for "women and homos.""

Cathy writes: "I'll say, LYT. LF is SO BUSTED!!!"

I was out with a woman tonight and she noted that the hair on the back of my head is grey while the rest is dark.

Luke writes: "Grecian Formula is not hair dye. Mobsters use it and they're not fairies."

AFOTW writes: "I know an actual, honest-to-God mobster. He does not wear Grecian Formula. He wears just a bit of gel. With Grecian Formula, you get an oil slick on your car headrest and on your pillows at home."

Jordan writes: "Is Luke's hair thinning? He should try propecia to stop it, since his hair is one of his best traits. The downside is that propecia tends to suppress the libido and grow breasts on men."

Luke: Yes, my hair is thinning and I spend $55 every three months on this snake oil hair kit from Supercuts. Also, Grecian Formula says it makes your hair look thicker. I wonder if it can also make other parts of me look thicker.

Cecile writes: "You will only look younger! The in cut for teenage boys these days is to shave their heads so they look like gangstas. Look on the bright side: with your passable skin, people will mistake you for a teenage boy or wannabe!"

Jordan writes: "I've read on the web that monkey urine works, if vigorously massaged in. Something to do with it neutralizing certain male hormones. But it has to be fresh to work, and getting a good supply isn't easy. If you have a friend who is a vet, maybe that's how you could get some, and you could ask Cathy to keep tabs on your scalp to see if it is working."

DEA writes: Luke needs to:

1. wear lighter colored shirts (I know, this involves more frequent laundering episodes, but it'll do wonders for your complexion, dear boy)

2. let his hair grey out (this to increase his "distinguished" factor, and lend (albeit shaky) credibility to his moral leader-ness)

3. lay off the pork! that pose is decidedly non-kosher!

Bob writes: With Penthouse magazine in bankruptcy now maybe Luke could pick up Bob Guccione's toupee on the cheap? Or maybe adopt a larger yarmulke to cover his follicles' recession? Just a thought.


I talked by phone with the author of this site Monday evening, Ashley O'Dell, shortly before Passover. She was upset with a poorly done b------ article in the newspaper of her alma mater. I wanted to know how she would do it better. She said she'd interview experts.

Ashley O'Dell writes later:

Luke, Apologies about last night. I was poisoned by some bad mussels. I was feeling feverish and shaky and nauseous all evening, and I always feel like a blathering idiot on the phone. Whatever I try to hold up falls to shreds like wet tissue paper. I hate talking about myself, and am much more comfortable being the interviewer instead of the interviewee. I've just seen too many people tied up and mangled by their own words, the writer painting a picture with strange and careful strokes, too many people vowing never again to do another interview, having been burned, and one image of them made eternal. I got on the phone and all of a sudden I couldn't remember what attracted me to journalism, I couldn't explain who funded the lab where I work, I knew nothing about blow-job articles, less about Judaism, and everything came out in frantic dribbling verbal diarrhea. I hang my head in shame. This is why I left acting, why I never pursued TV anchor stuff beyond the news for kids spots I did when I was 12, why I will never audio blog, etc. etc. These words which I feel I can fine tool so well when they are in front of me, their familiar characters, like Tetris blocks, stack up and overwhelm me when verbalized. I am a dork. That's all.

The Winner Takes It All

LF.net London Bureau chief Jackie Di took in Mami Mia, the ABBA musical, last night. She reports:

It was so fun! I loved it. We drank champagne before and during the interval, and then afterward went for a nice meal and a couple of bars, where he bought me more champagne. Then we went to a posh hotel overlooking Hyde Park. I never thought I'd say this, but what people tell you is true -- guys with money are definitely the way to go. I'm ruined for all other men.

Oh and Bjorn and Benny and Frida came out on stage after the show and gave little speeches. It was very exciting. I've been listening to Abba since yesterday. What's your favourite song of theirs?

Who's going to drive you home tonight?

I love the song "Drive" by The Cars. It overwhelms me with vivid memories from my 19th year.

I told one friend how much I wanted that song. That it was not available on the AOL music service I pay for. (I've bought about 100 CDs in my life and have downloaded illegally about 20.) My friend located the song and album within a couple of minutes. He mocked me for my ineptitude with Internet music. I told him several times how much I wanted that song. He ignored me.

That friend is no longer in my life (though that was only the last straw).

I mentioned to another friend my love for this particular song. After Passover, it was in my email in-box.

Who's gonna tell you when
It's too late
Who's gonna tell you things
Aren't so great
You can't go on
Thinking nothing's wrong
Who's gonna drive you home tonight

Who's gonna pick you up
When you fall
Who's gonna hang it up
When you call
Who's gonna pay attention
To your dreams
Who's gonna plug their ears
When you scream

You can't go on
Thinking nothing's wrong
Who's gonna drive you home tonight

Who's gonna hold you down
When you shake
Who's gonna come around
When you break

You can't go on
Thinking nothing's wrong
Who's gonna drive you home tonight

I spent the year after high school in Gladstone, Australia, with my older brother Paul. I met these twin brunette 16-year old sisters (LeeAnne and Rachel) who worked 100 yards up the street from my brother's office.

I fell in love with Rachel.

One long weekend, my brother went away. I had his car to myself. I could not work up the courage to ask Rachel out. I went home Friday evening discouraged. Then I decided to drive the 30 minutes into Gladstone to a nightclub. Sad after a couple of hours, I walked out and up the street.

My heart leapt. I saw Rachel and a friend walking out a school play. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Scared, I crossed to the other side of the street.

"Luke!" Rachel called out. I smiled and ran to her.

We walked down the street to the jetty and out to the edge of the harbor. We talked for over an hour. It was glorious. I volunteered to drive Rachel home.

It was a ten minute drive. The radio played "Drive." We loved it. I asked her out to a party thrown by my brother's girlfriend Sue Sunday night. She said yes. She wrote down her phone number for me on a gum wrapper.

Sunday she called back and canceled. Later I learned that her parents had confused Paul's Sue with another Sue of a bad reputation.

The next week, I called Rachel to ask her out that night. She wasn't in. I talked to LeeAnne and asked her out.

"I thought you were interested in Rachel?" she asked.

"I'm just looking to go out," I replied.

I picked LeeAnne up a couple of hours later.

After the party, I drove to the beach and we lay in the sand and watched the sun rise. It was the latest LeeAnne had ever been out.

I never got to go out with either of them again. I'd made a strategical blunder.

I saw them frequently however. They got boyfriends. I played soccer against one of them. I tried awfully hard to distinguish myself on the sporting field to grab Rachel's attention but failed.

I was last in Gladstone in 2000. I asked about the twins. They'd married. One of them died in a car accident. My brother didn't know which one.

A few weeks later, I visited my parents' home for the last time. They were selling it and moving back to Australia. In my box of stuff was the gum wrapper with Rachel's phone number scrawled on it.

I realized it was time to throw it out.

Who's going to drive you home tonight?

Luke Gets Mail

Yaakov writes:

I'm surprised and disappointed in you. Your analysis of the scarcity of fine Jewish writing assumes that contributions to popular culture are somehow important. It is true that most Yeshiva boys cannot write an elegant sentence the way say, Philip Roth or Saul Bellow can. But these Yeshiva boys are also, on the whole, more moral and certainly more important to Jewish history than Roth or Bellow--both men notorious libertines, who have only added to the cultural clutter. The boys who study Torah are involved in something deeper and certainly more epic: the transmission of the Mesorah. [I believe that the Torah a good yeshiva student] left behind is more valuable and will outlast the work of any of our "finest" writers or artists; for in truth, modern art is nothing more than fashion art, created by decadent thinkers for decadent consumers. Here today and forgotten today. Torah on the other hand is eternal.

Everything that influences how human beings behave is important. Pop culture influences how people behave. Ergo, pop culture, to the extent it influences human behavior, is important to me and to G-d.

If the work of an immoral artist moves people to do good, then that art is morally good (though it may be aesthetically flawed) and the artist deserves some moral credit.

At times, Philip Roth and Saul Bellow beautifully illuminate what it means to be human. If more rabbis were as clued in to what it means to be human as these men, these infinitely more moral rabbis would do greater good. I find most rabbis (and other clergy) a giant crushing bore. Therefore their learning and moral rectitude does limited good.

Rabbi David Wolpe is an enormously effective preacher because he understands the evil that lurks in the human heart and doesn't dance around it.

Shakespeare and Homer and Socrates and Aristotle are as close to eternal as human beings can hope to be.

Cecile du Bois writes:

Dear Moral Leader, There is no superiority in Jews. The beauty in Judaism is that everyone has their own dogma, in other words, whatever floats their boat. If you ever go on J-Date, in the profile section, there is a type of observancy you can fill out. "Conservadox, Orthodox, Frum, Reformative, Conservative, Reform...etc. " Same thing with your former religion, Christianity. You were a Seventh Day Adventist; big deal. Is that superior over Presbyterianism, Lutheranism etc?

Of course, you want to feel holier than everyone. Newsflash: Jews have traditionally and relgiously questioned G-D. Read the old testament, don't quote proverbs you vague remember from your strenuous childhood. Remember Moses? Remember deal old Isaac? What does Israel mean? It means struggle with G-D. Isaac literally battled with an angel of G-D, setting the scene for his descendants, the Jews.

Of course, as another Jew, we will debate. You are being a chutzpah if you say Jews don't question God's authority. With you debating with Mom and others, you are. Haven't Jews questioned G-D in the Talmud, a major work of Jewish tradition and literature. When the Shoah happened, didn't Jews question G-D. It doesn't take a genius to deduce that. It takes common sense.

Jews are not like evangelists or Seventh Day Adventists in that they blindly accept Jesus's words. That is why Jews are the people of the book, the Chosen People We struggled to survive like we struggled with G-D. That is why Jews are intellectuals, we continue to think and use our brains than blindly swallow everything a spiritual leader preaches.

Dueling With My Dear Friend Cathy

Cathy Seipp writes:

Why do Judaism and Islam forbid eating pigs?

Why are all sorts of grains, not just leavened bread, forbidden on Passover? I thought Luke would have a good explanation, since he's a convert to Orthodox Judaism and therefore at least acts like he knows everything, but he just put on his holier-than-thou face and said, "I don't need to ask why about every single thing in a 4,000-year-old tradition, Cathy." Now Luke knows much more about my religion than I do, as he's read the Bible backwards and forwards both in the Hebrew and the Seventh Day Adventist versions, and I respect him for that. But there's one thing he doesn't quite get, because he's a convert: Asking why is a big part of that 4,000-year-old tradition. Even -- especially -- if it drives everyone crazy.

It says in Proverbs that one should not reprove a fool, for he will hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will respect you.

I rarely reprove people.

In common with this approach, I rarely defend myself. I also rarely defend others because it rarely does any good. My friend Tiffany Stone has been trashed on a blog of late and I've raised neither my pen nor my voice to defend her because it wouldn't do her or me any good.

If someone were to say to me, "Why does Shakespeare write in such a difficult to understand manner? Why can't he write in plain English?," I would not answer such a foolish question. If someone were to say to me, "Why does Beethoven go on and on about joy in the Ninth Symphony?," I would make no reply. If someone said to me, "The Catholic church is too authoritarian and it is wrong that priests must be celibate," I would not waste my breath in response.

Now there are many questions that I would devote time to answering if I thought the person truly cared about the answer. There are profound reasons for Judaism's dietary laws (Kashrut) that have nothing to do with health or sociology but rather holiness. Holiness (separateness) is not a concept I can convey to Cathy Seipp (nor a concept that I should be arguing to anyone given my own lack of holiness). Her interest in her Jewish tradition and in religion in general is on the same level as her interest in where Monday's pig Frances Bacon pooped. Therefore, I don't respond.

For many months, I'd respond to her questions about Judaism with elaborate answers. Her typical response was, "That's stupid." Monday, when I did not articulate a reason for why Judaism forbids the consumption of certain grains on Passover, her immediate response was, "That's stupid."

Judaism does not need to prove its superiority as a way of life to Cathy Seipp. It has elevated the people who have lived it for four thousand years. I'm not going to make its case to someone who's instinctive response to a practice that she doesn't immediately understand is, "That's stupid."

Almost every woman I date is politically left of center while I am to the right of Atilla the Hun. I try to never discuss politics with women I date. When I'm asked for why Bush invaded Iraq, I say, "I don't know." I do know why but I'm not going to go down a path that will only cause hurt feelings.

I'm usually happy to listen to a hot woman talk politics or anything else her little brain desires, but I'm not going to contradict her if I have any desire of ending the evening on a happy note. As Chaim Amalek says, a real man doesn't care about a woman's politics or her other harebrained ideas so long as she's hot.

Second, it's true that I am not as fevered in my search for answers to why Judaism prescribes things as I was in my first ten years studying and practicing (to varying degrees) the tradition. Allow me this crude analogy. When one takes on a new lover, you're crazy to make love at least once a day. But a few weeks down the line, you take a more moderate approach.

The first few months you have a wonderful romantic relationship, you might constantly inquire of your lover, "Why do you do this?" After a while, you realize your love is a wonderful person, worthy of respect, and you don't feel the need to question her as much.

Judaism has proved itself to me. I'm more at peace with it. Parts of it that perturbed me years ago (its seeming irrationality and inhumanity) no longer bother me as much.

Third, I'm less eager to engage in apologetics than I once was because it rarely does any good.

Four. It's cute to watch Cathy opine on a 4000-year old tradition she knows nothing about. How would she know if asking questions is integral to the tradition? In fact, that assertion of hers is largely false. Within Orthodox circles, only a tightly prescribed number of questions are socially acceptable, and outside of Orthodoxy, there are only a tiny number of people who have enough knowledge of Judaism's texts to be able to seek answers. Most Reform rabbis, for instance, have a helluva time reading the Torah aloud in Hebrew. Ergo, the overwhelming majority of Reform rabbis lack the language skills to read the texts of their tradition. Conservative rabbis aren't much better.

Orthodox rabbis aren't much better either. The standards for becoming a rabbi within Orthodoxy vary dramatically. Many, perhaps most, of the most learned Orthodox Jews are not rabbis and many if not most Orthodox rabbis are not particularly learned. A true scholar of Torah typically disdains becoming a member of the rabbinate (too vocational, not scholarly).

Another example of the unthinking nature of Orthodox Judaism is the tiny number of important social thinkers (novelists, journalists, essayists) who've come out of it. Orthodox Jews tend to have very little to say to the world about how it should conduct its affairs. They also offer few insights into how people and cultures work. Pick up an Orthodox Jewish publication and struggle with the poor quality of its English. Please name a living aesthetically pleasing Orthodox writer (yes, I know the Rambam 800 years ago wrote the Mishna Torah in beautiful Mishnaic Hebrew).

Most rabbis are as happy to receive challenging uncomfortable questions from their congregants as are priests, imams and pastors. That is, a distinct minority. The overwhelming majority of people who practice Judaism do it in an unthinking manner. The more you practice Judaism, the less you intellectually challenge it. The more you intellectually probe Judaism or any faith, the less likely you are to practice it, and the less likely it is that you will have grandchildren who practice your faith.

Few people come to religion as the result of an empirical rational road to truth (though that is precisely how I believe I came to Judaism).

If Cathy is truly curious about why Judaism prescribes certain things, she can use the same ingenuity she displays in the pursuit of a story. But the truth is, frankly, my dear, Cathy Seipp doesn't give a damn about things Jewish. It's just fodder for her amusement, just another opportunity to prove her superior intellect. Cathy believes that she knows more about life than 4000 years of the wisest minds in the world. So when she doesn't immediately understand a Jewish practice, she doesn't hesitate to label it stupid. That's Cathy. That's why I love her so. Her need to be right is so cute. It never ceases to amaze me. That chutzpah.

Joy writes Luke: "I enjoy your skew on life, but I have a question. I know you consider yourself Orthodox, but how can you, when you eat traif, date non-Jews and [apparently] have sex with some of them."

I wish I could install a moron blocker on this site so I wouldn't have to keep dealing with questions like these when the answers are so bleedingly obvious on every bloody page I write about myself.

Nobody with an IQ under 120 or who reads fewer than ten books a year is allowed to read this site. I leave many sharp knives laying around and you could get hurt.

That above paragraph, boys and girls, is an example of metaphor.

I always feel reduced to second grade when I answer such questions as Joy's. But here's my response: Any references I make to my great religiosity are ironic.

I wish I could give my American readers an irony transplant. I wish I could educate them on how to read different literary forms. For instance, one approaches a love letter differently from a telephone bill. I've often thought of using different colors to distinguish different types of prose -- opinion, reporting, sarcasm, satire, irony, diary, a cry from the heart...

In short, when a donkey looks into a blog, you can not expect an angel to look out.

PS. A couple of weeks ago, Cathy Seipp posted on her blog that anyone who wanted a "No Loh, No Dough" sticker could write to my P.O. Box (Cathy does not have one) for a free one. Nobody wrote in.

PPS. People often ask me to create a comments section for my website. If you want to leave a comment, either email me or post your comment on Cathy Seipp's blog. Just stick it in there anywhere. She won't mind. She likes the action.

PPS. I get an email from Cathy Seipp. She has the bottom half of a duplex for rent. "Will consider small, quiet pets. So if you know anyone....but be aware that I only consider quiet, clean, responsible tenants with good credit and decent incomes who are never, never, never late with the rent."

I find commerce vulgar, entirely unsuitable for a sensitive artist such as myself. I wonder what else Bourgeois Cathy has for rent?

A Perfect Lunch

Nancy Rommelmann writes on her blog:

Because the owner of this massive, lovely, Queen Anne Victorian home insisted I "have a party in my dining room," I invited guests for lunch. Cathy Seipp arrived with Luke Ford, he carrying the pumpkin pie she'd baked. The first thing Cathy wanted to see was the pot-bellied pig; the first thing she wanted to know was where it pooped.

"I don't know," I said, as we began a requested tour of the home.

"But it doesn't do it in the house, right?" she asked, admiring a wall-size portrait of many spiders in tghe reading room. "The decorating in here is so gorgeous, so English."

I commented that, while my hostess is British, her husband is American.

"Yes," said Cathy, "but it's always the woman who does the decorating."

Luke wanted to know if I ever swam in the pool, and expressed that he'd like to jump in naked.

"Oh, go right ahead," said Cathy, and then had Luke and me pose for a photo with the pig.

We went upstairs; Luke wanted to know if I'd had sex in all 30 rooms; I said my husband was in Portland.

"I'd like to have sex in every room," he said, and then gave a deep, staccato laugh that Cathy said was animatronic and weird, so he did it again.

Lunch was homemade carrot soup and caprese sandwiches. The conversation wound from Quaaludes to male strippers to appearing topless in films to pantyless girls who say no but mean yes. It was all very sophisticated.

Pulitzer Prizes Awarded

I am curious why anyone sees any correlation between Pulitzers and merit? Walter Duranty from The New York Times in the 1930s won a Pulitzer for claiming that a famine that was killing millions did not exist. The prize has never been rescinded. Janet Cooke at the WP won one for a fabricated story. I'm truly curious why anyone gives a hoot about an Oscar or a Pulitzer or an Emmy? I suspect empty people are seeking to latch on to something to give their lives meaning. If you know in your marrow that you are doing work with meaning, then these prizes have little importance.

Rape Over Lunch

I had lunch with friends at a mansion in Hancock Park. With the sandwiches and soup, we discussed rape.

"When does no mean no?" I asked.

Woman: "It's been so long since I said no, I don't know."

Let's say a woman takes an illegal drug before going out on a date. Then gets bombed. Ends up at the guy's place. Asks to stay the night. While she's half-passed out, he has sex with her. Is that rape? Maybe.

What if she's attacked but an intruder but is not penetrated. Is that rape? No, that's an attack.

What if she's...

How Come All Palestinian Suicide Bombers Are Muslim?

Dennis Prager says: About a third of Palestinians are Christian. So how come all Palestinian suicide bombers are Muslim? Christians are equally occupied by Israel.

Because something is seriously wrong within Islam. The reason for Islamic terror is to create an Islamic state wherever possible. There's a violent faction within Islam that wants to take over the world.

The Women Behind Luke: They Promote and Defend, Nudge, Revere and Defer

By Elisabeth Bumiller

This will be a big week for Heather Mac Donald, Luke Ford's national security adviser, whose debate with Tamar Jacoby on immigration is expected to portray her boss as incisive, tough-minded and on top of the threat from the undocumented dusky ones.

Last week was a big one for Cathy Seipp, one of the Moral Leader's closest advisers, who began a 16-city tour promoting a blog that portrays her boss as incisive, tough-minded and, on top of it all, "enormously fun."

Together the two are Ford's Valkyries, warrior women devoted to defending him. Luke may be on the wrong side of the gender gap — polls show that women do not support him in the same numbers as men — but no other moral leader has had women in such powerful positions in the Hovel House.

Mr. Ford's supporters say his dependence on Ms. Mac Donald and Ms. Seipp shows that he is comfortable with strong-willed women, like his mother and sister, his two other Valkyries.

"When you grow up with a smart, strong woman who is not reticent about her opinions, then that's what you come to expect from all women," said Kendra Jade, an actress. The Moral Leader, she added, "doesn't pull any punches with women; there's as much towel-snapping with them as there is with the boys."

Mr. Ford's critics say that he is comfortable with strong-willed women as long as they do not raise uncomfortable questions about his private predilections.

Heather Mac Donald writes Luke: "Women should ALWAYS be behind men, especially those whose moral authority is greatly strengthened by having sources who actually know the proper use of "reticent." National security advice of the week: Avoid tapas bars. Am collecting more immigrant gang crime stories than I can possibly use for upcoming catfight with Tamar."

Does No Always Mean No?

If it does, then I am a rapist.

These are fine lines. I've been with women who changed their minds in the middle of intercourse. I obeyed.

Let's say you're naked, in bed, and engaged in heavy petting. You're on top of her and an inch away from doing the deed and she's moaning, "No." Is that a real no? I have my doubts.

I've known women in that situation who would say, 'Only an inch. Just on my clit, no more.' That seemed to me at first harshly arbitrary, but I later realized that for me that boundary was completely satisfying. Anything more would've been a waste, not to mention slutty.

Afterwards, women would often moan, "We did this too soon." And we would've known each other three months.

In high school, I got the nickname "rapist." It's not fair. I was a virgin. I just liked to wrestle girls on the gymnastics bus. I was stronger than they thought.

This is messy and embarrassing stuff. I'm not proud of all my conduct here.

I once went out with a woman who was separated from her husband. I would not do that again.

In my younger days, I was aggressive. Girls would say "No!" and I'd try things anyway. Then, if they slapped my face or pushed me away, I stopped. These things are situational and unique to each pairing.

I can be so intense, I frighten people. I'm much calmer now I'm on lithium (one of the requirement to join the LA Press Club).

In my experience, most women want to feel "swept away," almost "overpowered" the first time or two with a man, and thus not fully culpable for doing the deed.

I'm on good terms with anyone I've been intimate with, so I think that argues I'm not a rapist.

Nobody I've been with has accused me of rape. I do believe, however, that there are women who've been with me and later regretted it, which is a feminist definition of rape.

I've never been with a woman and then refused to talk to her later, which I think is cruel. I've had times that I've regretted at times. My standards have frequently been low.

Dennis Prager says a gentleman always accepts "No" as no. I wouldn't know.

The last few months, I've cultivated chastity as my spiritual gift. This has spared me from these moral dilemmas.

Cathy Seipp writes (whose original blog entry and entire persona inspired my post) writes:

Just as long as he doesn't try to rape anyone who says he can't have a third piece of pie.

Luke gets so philosophical around Passover. It's really touching.

Graham (I once fell in love with his girlfriend over the phone and via email while he was away but I restrained myself from ever meeting her) writes:

Hello Luke, Just wanted to write and tell you how much you entertain me at this godforsaken hour of the night in Blighty. That a man's wonderfully narcissistic self exploration could inspire as broad a smile on my face as you have done does come as a surprise to me, but then you're always quite the charmer. You're also a good guy who makes me laugh out loud. Say nice things about my ex, okay.

You remind me of Nick Hornby. You're honestly a wonderful writer, Luke. Your idiosynchrasies, not to mention neuroses, pour from the words you write. I'm somewhat in awe of you.

I sent you an email a while back. Just that I'd discerned for myself that the two of you had shared something special while I was attempting desperately to struggle my way into the country. That she had not told me anything, but that I have a gift for reading into insignificant details. That I was hurt. That .... and I share soulful bonds incredibly deep and special. That you had perhaps felt something akin with her, or simply glimpsed it, and that made us brethren of a sort...and that you must be pretty special yourself to have touched her heart. ..and that of course I had no bad feelings.

Lenin writes:

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had in recent years with male friends over this, and how many of us feel that today, we, too, would be labled rapists, or sexual abusers at the very least.

Years ago, I was visiting in Fargo and called an old friend. A woman's voice came on the line, telling me that my friend Jack no longer lived at this number and giving me an earful. She then suggested that I come to pick up his personal papers or she was going to burn them.

I hurried over, then wound up going to lunch and dinner with her. I listened to this sad story about how Jack had forced himself on her, both sexually and into a relationship that lasted for several years. "Jack practically raped me," she told me.

I don't know why I was attracted to her. We corresponded by mail for a couple of months and had a lot of long telephone conversations. One day she told me she wanted to come visit me. We had a wonderful first day, including a long romantic dinner. She was staying at my place and had unpacked her bags in my bedroom. That night we made love.

I thought everything was great until the next day at brunch when she told me that she felt she had given me the wrong impression -- that she had only come to Tampa Bay because she had never been there and wanted to sight-see. "You got the wrong idea," she said. "Last night, I feel like you practically raped me."

I think I know why you were attracted to her. Because crazy chicks can be dynamite in bed while practical chicks are usually only satisfactory. A woman who is an accomplished lover is frequently not accomplished at anything else.

Kate writes:

As Preston Struges wrote in The Lady Eve--a mug is a mug in everything. A guy who's lousy at any number of things isn't likely to be a wow in the sack--and I'd imagine the same goes for women. Pride of accomplishment, I'd say. But practice does make perfect--didn't Rod Stewart brag that he'd been to bed with 1000s of women and thus, he'd gotten good at it? Make sense to me.

Kim Cattrell's made a name for herself by playing the world's hottest woman on STC, and yet she wrote a book about how she wasn't orgasmic until she met her husband. I find that hilarious.

About a third of the women I've known intimately weren't particularly into sex and rarely if ever had orgasms with anyone but themselves.

'I've Got Good Prospects'

A friend called and blathered about his problems, such as needing a place to live.

Luke: "Let's talk about what is most important. Have you been ---- lately?"

Fred: "No. And you?"

Luke: "I have prospects."

Fred: "You always have prospects and you always flatten them."

Sound Like Anyone We Know?

  • Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);
  • Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;
  • Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);
  • Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);
  • Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;
  • Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;
  • Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;
  • Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;
  • Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

Luke Prepares For Passover

I've been cleaning my hovel all morning, getting rid of all the schmutz. Everything smutty and impure in my life, I've emailed to Cathy Seipp.

As I take this physical inventory of my worldly belongings, and decide which to keep and which to trash and which to donate to charity, I think it is time that I also take a spiritual inventory of my relationship with you, the reader.

Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I could have. Maybe I didn't treat you quite as I should have. Maybe I cut and pasted too often. If I made you feel second best, I'm sorry, I've tried. You were always on my mind. You were always on my mind. Maybe I didn't produce as much original material as I should've on those lonely lonely nights. Maybe I didn't update quite as often I should've. Maybe I didn't tell you all my feelings and motivations for publishing a particular story.

Tell me that your sweet love hasn't died. Give me one more chance to keep you satisfied. Maybe I haven't told you how much I appreciate you stopping by.

Little things I should've said and done, I just never took the time. But you were always on my mind.

There may be times this week and next (as I observe my religious tradition with all its grim demands) when I don't update as often as you'd like. But I have a team of writers keeping their sharp eyes on what's happening. So if I'm late, it's better than never.

I still want to be your knight in shining armor. I want to be your moral leader. There's no other love like our love. I always want you near me. I've been waiting for you for so long.

Big Fatty

I was playing with kids today. This four year old girl punched me and gave me a black eye. The eight year old boy kicked my head and made me see stars. Then they spat on me and said I was a big fatty. They called me a lot of other names too that I can't repeat on this family website. They seemed obsessed with defecation. I think they really like me.

I tickled the boy until he burst out crying. Then the mom and I went for a walk and the two kids pedaled their tricycles. I pushed the boy hard and ran him into the girl who fell off her bike and started crying. I got her back.

Shane writes: "It's pedaled, not peddled. I pictured them selling their trikes, poor things, then you beat them up and stole their candy money."

Upright Yiddish Citizens Brigade

Amy Alkon writes: "Luke, after reading your about your work, in your early days in LA, as a Jewish gigolo, I think you're missing a major opportunity. You could be the Heidi Fleiss of the shul escort trade, matching up lonely women with suitable faux suitors. This would be very good for the team of hot young heeb men you'd have working for you, paying their way through med school while kibbitzing over kichel after services. And, of course, it's great for the women, since the best way to attract a man is to have a man already on your arm. Well, that and having huge b...... and a 22-inch waist. It would be totally legal, this Upright Yiddish Citizens Brigade of yours, since there would be absolutely no sex involved. Well, except for you. Well, except if the woman you're escorting is hot. Whaddya think?"

'I Del Olmoed over the photo of Tiffany Stone and went to Latino heaven again'

Frank del Olmo writes: "To coin a phrase, I Del Olmoed over the photo of Tiffany Stone and went to Latino heaven again."

Here are articles on the author of this Popfactor.com blog. And here. Scroll down.

Tony Castro from the LAIndependent.com writes:

The piece poking fun at our story is pretty funny. The guy should be parodying better writing.

Just browsed at the comments. I guess the Independent gets as much bashing as Tiffany.

I was having an interesting conversation with someone at lunch today about bloggers. What were all the people we now see with cellphones on streets, going somewhere, in malls, etc., doing 10-15 years ago? What were all the bloggers doing just a few years ago? I wonder if cellphones and blogging haven't become the emotional therapy of the 21st century. Thousands, millions of people are talking and writing when they weren't doing anything else in their lives were there no cellphones and blogs, and they're getting out a lot of emotional and psychological frustration. I just hope there's a postal worker and a loser longcoat from some high school in there.

I think what sets Tiffany apart is that many of her posts are stories. These are unpretentious stories -- even the spiel schpeel thing was funny because I thought it showed some of the innocence and naivete that she may still have -- and good for her. There's a certain arrested development there -- not in her, but in many in the blogging biz -- and their blogs seem like nothing more than so-called slam-books of past years. Years ago, when the parents of these bloggers were in junior high and high school, someone would take a notebook and write some person's name on the front of it. Then this notebook would be passed around the school for everyone who wanted to write something about this person to have the opportunity to do that. Some kids wound up absolutely destroyed by being the subject of a slam book. Well, Luke, welcome to the day of the modern slam-book.

Mickey Mantle Biography

Tony Castro writes:

My Mickey Mantle book tour has resumed after a hiatus during the off-season -- and because the book was recently released in soft-cover after a successful run as a hardback. In super early morning interviews with on sports talk shows back east (4:30 a.m. my time, 7:30 a. m. theirs), I find that I'm telling some better Mickey Mantle stories than some I had in the book. But it's because the book was not about Mickey and me but instead about the making of Mantle as an American icon.

'When I met Mantle, he was two years retired from baseball and living grumpily in Dallas where I was a young reporter. I didn't think the stories about how I met Mickey and how I played golf with him for much of 1970 before moving to Washington, D.C., had a part in the book. But as I look back on it now, I'm seeing these stories as hilarioius on their own and maybe worthy of retelling in another long yarn.

Among those stories is how the Preston Trail Golf Club of which Mickey was a member finally had to establish a dress code for its restaurant -- a dress code as in how you had to wear clothes, any clothes, to go in there. Mickey had a habit of showering after a round of golf and then heading straight to the restaurant bar to order a drink, often in his birthday suit and not thinking to even wrap a towel around himself.

The conservative membership at the club, among them Byron Nelson, finally felt it necessary to set up the Mickey Mantle Dress Code for the club.'

Who Is Cesar Chavez?

Tony Castro writes:

You know when you asked me if I had ever faced discrimination for being Latino, the reason I hesitated -- 10 seconds you said -- was because I hadn't really been on the receiving end of the discrimination that some people have faced. I mean, my first in-laws didn't exactly like that their blonde, blue-eyed German daughter was in love with a Mexican-American. But other than that, I didn't face the kind of problems that many youngsters encounter.

The discrimination I faced came later, when I was a grown man and a working journalist. I think the 1970s were a period when many in our profession resented minorities entering the news media because so many of them got their jobs because they were minorities. I can't say I disagree. I saw it myself. I also found myself constantly proving myself to editors and fellow reporters. At the same time, I was always stuck with the assignments dealing with minority coverage. It was a double-edged sword. It gave me an opportunity to undertake some stories that many others overlooked -- and to do them well -- but it also pidgeon-holed me. I felt that I was never going to be allowed, for instance, to be a political reporter but rather a political reporter covering the minority angle or minority politics. It reached the point where I felt that, had I known this, I would have just stayed a sportswriter, and it's one of the reasons I enjoy sportswriting so much more today.

When we had our first son, I was determined not to allow him to be pidgeon-holed the way I felt I had been. I insisted that we give him a double last name, taking my wife's name and mine -- LaSalle-Castro -- so that he could always drop the Castro part, should he find himself in a society not much different than my own. I also made no effort to teach either of my sons Spanish because I was too familiar with situations in offices when someone asks, "Does anyone here speak Spanish?" You become the translater. You become Tonto.

Today my two sons are very mainstreamed Americans in the midwest America sense. It all was underscored just how Americanized they are Wednesday when my oldest son got up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to class at the community college he attends in the Valley. I drove him there, and we find an empty parking lot. My son, who would never pass up a school-free day, hadn't realized that there was no school because of the Cesar Chavez holiday! Worse still, he's not sure who Cesar Chavez is.

I'm sure that if God is Latino, there will be hell to pay.

When Renee and I married we went to great lengths to marry in the Catholic Church. I was put through the hoops to prove that my first marriage had not taken place in the Catholic Church, nor been sanctified by it. I wound up having to contact my ex-wife to have her sign an affidavit stating so! Renee was very devout and wanted to marry in the Church, and I love her so much that I would do whatever I could to make her happy.

That being said, we're at a loss as to religion in the lives of our children. We don't want them to grow up carrying ethnicity or their religion on their sleeves, just as we don't want them to judge others on theirs. For the most part, we've succeeded. But it's not easy when you grow up in a society that continues to be extremely polarized, extremely factionalize and in extreme denial of it.

I have Latino friends who have faced even less discrimination than I've encountered -- or none at all. Some years back, I visited this beautiful Latina who looked like a young Barbara Carrera in her hometown of Laredo on the Texas border. I get there and wind up as a guest in a virtual palace. It turns out that her father was a heart surgeon who worked with DeBakey. I had met my friend at Harvard, and I guess I thought she had struggled to get there. It turned out all her brothers and sisters -- and I think there were about eight of them -- had also gone to Ivy League schools and MIT. Today my friend is a lawyer for the INS, prosecuting illegal immigrants into this country.

Is America a great country or what?

Here's the poem my kids are still cracking up about:

Copyright Tony Castro

I always wanted to memorize your face.
I see the past: glimpses of your childhood
Blend with vague withdrawn boyhood memories.
I dwell much longer on old faded pictures
And fit them in my heart's private notebook.
Is the sepia of those old photographs
Like the brownness of your hair?
And those frail soft features --
Do they stare at me through time's muted light
Like the hazel eyes that I always wished
Would cross my own and lock for a moment.
You are the Juliet at the costume ball
And I, disguised and masked, have stolen
All those dances, though you never noticed.
I've come home to you: I've come home wiser
Than I left for life's dream kingdom.
I've come home to the snowflakes I never saw
And the ice-capped mountains that never grew.
I've come home, I've come home.

'I Thought You Were Del Olmoing On Us'

I was in a staff meeting the other day at Lukeford.net when one of the editors started choking and fell back in his chair. One of the reporters with a morbid sense of humor, says afterwards (the editor was okay -- just a coughing fit), "Man, there for a minute I thought you were Del Olmoing on us." Maybe that's the term we'll now use when a journalist falls dead in his office.

Monthly PMS Column - New Feature On LF.net

I feel achey and sniffly. I thought it was allergies. Then the flu. Now I realize I'm pre-menstrual. I don't think I'm going to want to sleep with you tonight.

I Was A Jewish Gigolo

There was a time when the demand for my writing talents was not as immense as it is today.

When I came to Los Angeles in 1994, I had little more than a dream of making it big. I pursued acting and modeling jobs but the work was scarce and unrenumerative. Soon I was forced to trade on my body in synagogue. I became a Jewish gigolo.

I'd charge $200 to escort middle-aged to elderly over-educated and over-weight Jewish women to functions within the Reconstructionist tribe where it helped one's status to have a hearty lad on your arm. I charged $150 for Reform functions and $100 for Conservative ones. I charged according to the degree of opprobrium I held for the particular religious movement.

I did Orthodox functions for free.

Sometimes, a rich woman, after taking me to several temples, would ask me to spend the night. Sometimes a silly old fool would lose her head and I'd get new clothes, a car, and a wrist watch. One of my gigolo pals married a woman old enough to be his mother but she gave him a Mercedes and money to gamble with. I was not so fortunate. Just a few all-expenses paid trips to the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

Then the dotcom boom crashed in 2000 and gigolo gigs were harder to come by. Luckily, I'd been honing my writing abilities so I was able to successfully transition to the position of Moral Leader, where I stand today without peer.

Bob Baker: 'hey, mother---ker, the guy is DEAD'

From February's The 8 Ball, the monthly newsletter of the Los Angeles Press Club

By Bob Baker of The Los Angeles Times:

Frank del Olmo, a Los Angeles Times associate editor and columnist who became an icon to Latino journalists during nearly 34 years at the newspaper, died of an apparent heart attack at his desk on Feb. 19. He was 55.

Del Olmo was a quiet, intellectual journalist who carried on the mantle of a more flamboyant crusader of an earlier era, Time columnist Ruben Salazar. But he had a greater impact because of the decades as a reporter, editor and columnist. Raised in Los Angeles, del Olmo spanned a half century in which Latinos rose from discrimination and invisibility to the leading demographic group in the region. His ability to bring historical and social perspectives to his writing made him one of the most insightful Latino journalists in the world.

XXX writes Luke:

I wanted to hurl when I saw that the LA Press Club was doing a tribute for Salieri. Couldn't believe Baker's suck up to the dead in the 8-ball. Some major inaccuracies, too. Reported that Del Olmo had been a foreign correspendent, which he wasn't. His trips to Central America had been special assignments while he'd been on the Metro Staff or on the Editorial Staff. Reported that he had overtaken Ruben Salazar in his reporting, which also is untrue. Before he began his controversial column at the Times, Ruben had spent several years covering the war in Vietnam as a reporter for the Times, plus numerous other years covering other hard news for the Times. Ruben was meat; Del Olmo meat loaf. Then there was the quote from sad-sack shill Felix Gutierrez about Del Olmo being the first Latino to ascend to the heights of journalism or some crap like that. Before Geraldo was Geraldo, he was an outrageously good journalist, who broke some major stories in New York City and had an impact on righting wrongs in the state homes for neglected children. There was a reporter named Carlos Conde from Texas, a friend of Salazar's who in the mid-1960s won several national awards for his coverage of migrants in South Texas. So why this big memorial for Del Olmo? I mean, I used to attend the LAPress Club awards dinner and never saw his ass at any of them. I used to hang out at the old Press Club on Vermont, often closing down the bar there, and never saw him there or could get him down there. Was he himself ever a member?

Bob Baker emails Luke from the LA Times:

two points to mister xxx:

1. hey, motherfucker, the guy is DEAD.

2.call me one of these days and use your fucking name. what a fucking coward.

I emailed back but my email is repeatedly rejected by the LA Times email system. For some reason, I'm blocked from emailing anyone at the Times.

XXX writes:

Don't know Baker. Have heard a lot about him. Supposed to be a conscientious guy with his rules for what to expect from an editor, what to expect from a reporter, blah, blah, blah. I would imagine he's another of these die-hard liberals in the news media who bleeds for diversity and excuses shortcomings and idiosyncracies of minority journalists more than he would from white journalists, unless the guy is a complete outlaw like Blair. Guys like Baker remind me of all those white liberal journalists I've known who couldn't wait to have me in their homes or their circle of friends because it made them feel better about themselves and alleviate whatever guilt trips they'd been put on, up until they learned that I wasn't a liberal, at least according to their stripe, and had voted Republican a time or two. But if writing about Del Olmo in ways that he has to make up stuff or distort the facts makes Baker feel better, then I suppose there's no harm. It just shows him for what he is, especially when the facts so easily contradict what he reported.

Sometimes I think journalists are too eager to believe the bs that's spun out about other journalists. All that bullshit about Norma Zager at the BH Courier and how she's really reported the truth in the BH cancer scare. She's reported the BH city corporate line, taken easy potshots at Erin Brockovich & Co., and the media folk have bought into it. Have you ever read the BH Courier? It's all controlled pabulum spoonfed by the editor, March Schwartz, the wizard of BH Oz.

Television Is For Morons

Saul Lieberman, the greatest Talmudist of the 20th Century, refused to allow classes in kabballah (Jewish mysticism) at the Jewish Theological Seminary (rabbinical school of Conservative Judaism). He did allow classes in the history of kabbalah. Why? He said that while kaballah is nonsense, the history of nonsense is scholarship.

I feel that way about most of popular culture. It is ephemeral, trivial and frequently demeaning. Yet, you can write profound things about sports, music, movies and television, even if your subjects are shallow.

Dawn Eden writes: "I agree that if one has something to promote, it's disingenous to refuse certain types of media coverage because they are seen as more commercial or mainstream (or geared towards a less intelligent audience) than others. Like you, I don't see any conflict in using TV when it helps me, while not indulging in it myself. It's like being a French chef and being asked to make marshmallow bunnies. People are going to watch TV anyway--they might as well be watching you. The only thing that would be dishonest would be if you promoted something that you yourself didn't believe in."

Joseph "Joyrides" Mailander replies to Cathy Seipp: "This is what I need. Someone who went on Dennis Miller last week telling me that I need attention."

Kate Coe writes: "Well, did Dennis Miller call you, Joseph? Pay attention: When writers get to be known by more than their families, the evil mawl of popular entertainment (TV, radio, roving bands of players) began to clamor for them. The reasoning is that is someone read Cathy's wrting and liked it, then that same person might watch the TV show on which she appears. You see, Cathy is what is known as a professional writer, i.e., she gets paid to do it."

I jump in:

Joseph is also a professional writer. For years he's been paid for his words.

It is a bit rich for either me or Cathy to accuse someone like Joseph of attention-seeking when both Cathy and I are huge attention-seekers.

I wonder if most serious thinkers refuse to go on TV because the medium is so inherently debased and trivial.

And since when is writing for money more honorable than writing for free. Since when does that make a person more serious or worthy?

Kate Coe replies: "Luke Ford, "serious" thinkers who shun the glare of studio lights--whom, pray tell, would these creatures be? And how do you know them?"

Cathy writes:

Right, Luke, that one's worth wondering about. Except, of course, when the topic discussed on TV is porn. That of course raises the medium to a whole other level.

Now you can sit here and think of more ways to insult me, or you can use the time instead to act like an honorable professional and rewrite that essay for Heeb you were lucky enough to have a very smart editor assign you in the first place.

I reply:

Cathy, I explicitly stated that I was as attention-seeking as you were. Television is not a medium for serious discussion, as you found on Dennis Miller. It is a medium for morons. Serious people don't watch TV regularly.

Kate, the group that immediately comes to mind is Orthodox rabbis. Many of the greatest Orthodox rabbis do not even like to have their picture taken. Now, most congregational Orthodox rabbis I know would be thrilled to discourse on television, but the great scholars of Orthodoxy would not. I know two great Talmudic minds and they would never go on TV.

I grew up on Seventh Day Adventist college campuses. Many of the great thinkers I knew there did not own TVs and would probably not appear on the medium.

I love how novelist Johnathan Franzen was reluctant to go on the Oprah show because it and it's book club was often moronic.

Anyone who takes his religion seriously should not own a television. Its values are the polar opposite of religious values.

The life of serious reflection is the polar opposite of the life of TV. TV is for morons.

I do TV. I've done it many times. It serves a purpose for me but I don't pretend that the medium is anything but moronic. And precisely because I do do TV, I am very slow to accuse others, such as Joseph, of attention seeking.

TV is moronic. Writing about moronic things can be scholarship.

Cathy writes:

Luke, so is your hero Dennis Prager not a serious thinker now? Because he's on Dennis Miller all the time. As is Victor Davis Hanson. And a bunch of other thinkers I know you consider serious.

TV is sometimes moronic and sometimes brilliant. How often is it one or the other? You have no idea, because you don't watch TV except for sports.

Everyone likes attention; there's no shame in that. But some people feel there is, and that's when we see the sad spectacle of their constant, simmering, irrational anger at others who get more. Obviously, anyone who resents a person for something like being on the Miller show wants a lot more attention than he's getting.

Princess Tiffany: Bridget Jones of the Blogs

By ROSANNA MAH, The Independent Staff Writer

If the silver screen mythical Bridget Jones were real and living in Los Angeles, her delightfully funny diary probably could be read by anyone with access to the Internet.

Enter Tiffany Alana Stone, a literary disciple of the legendary Jack Kerouac, a professional Hollywood script reader, and unofficial queen of the ever-growing world of the Internet web logs, or blogs as they have come to be known.

Her daily updated blog, called “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” often picks up where Variety and The Hollywood Reporter leave off — or don’t even dare go — filled with irreverence, wit and a unique take on stars, celebrities and on the world of how movies are made.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to go past the headings on her posts at www.TiffanyAStone.com to appreciate the humor in her work:

Luke Doomed By His Van

I stopped by a friend, Yaakov, the other day and yelled his name. He didn't look at me. I yelled again. He reluctantly turned and said hi. Now Yaakov writes: "Levi: I feel that it's my duty as your friend to tell you a hard truth: the other day when you called to me from your van I did not recognize your voice. All I saw was a beat up Mexican-serial-killer-plumbers van and I said to myself: I don't know anyone who drives a heap like that. Okay, I'm an arrogant materialistic snob. However, in spite of the old adage, we actually do buy books based on their covers, which is to say, no woman (Jewish, at least) will consider you as marriage material as long as you tool around in that thing. It's ugly, I know you want to be judged by your gentle soul, and your vast learning, and of course your shaygitz good looks, but the van, oh that van is a deal breaker."

XXX writes Luke: "That's a good friend you have there. Sometimes the truth is cold and stark like a winter in Siberia."

Khunrum writes: "Don't listen to that guy Luke. There is nothing wrong with the van. We never know where life will take us. You could end up marrying that cute Mexican honey at the dry cleaners (the one with the cute ass) renouncing Judaism and having eleven kids with her. In which case, the van would be perfect."

Palm Sunday

Rodger Jacobs writes:

Upon returning to Los Angeles last year after a five-year, self-imposed exile in Northern California, the first thing that struck my eye--and continues to do so to this day--are the palm trees. These tropical and subtropical monocotyledonous trees with their simple stems and remarkable crowns of fan-shaped leaves are everywhere you toss a gaze. In my first 20 years of living in L.A., I never noticed their inundated presence in this city of dreadful joy. I simply took them for granted.

So I'm planning a book, a high-quality photo essay on the Southern California palm and its strange juxtaposition against neon signs, against towering pillars of concrete and steel in Century City, palms jutting from hard, cracked sidewalks in the no man's land of East Hollywood and in front of topless bars in the Valley, and the replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, framed in the sway of palm trees.

Another photo essay book I wrote in 1996, Ebony Erotica, continues to make money for the publisher eight years after publication, and I was confident that I had another winner with the palm tree proposal.

But then one of the minions of Christ came calling in the form of a rebuttal to an essay of mine earlier published at Strike The Root that dealt with, among other things, Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ.

In my essay, I eschewed organized religion and asserted that God is where you find Him, and often that is not in a church with your nose stuck in a hymnal or on your knees on a prayer rug facing Mecca. As the character of Helen Harland, the Unitarian Universalist minister in Michelle Huneven's brilliant new novel Jamesland, says:

"I believe that this relationship with the other--God, if you will--is transformative, regenerative, and essential for a life lived fully . . . (but) specifics cause all the trouble. It's insisting on this or that point of orthodoxy or doctrine that has led to wars, inquisitions, burnings at the stake."

My essay was also an obituary of sorts for my sweetheart's father, a way of setting right the perfunctory obituary that ran in a local newspaper after his death last February. I invoked the belief of Virginia Woolf that nothing really happens in life until it gets memorialized on paper and suggested that there was a religious corollary to that notion.

Why I Don't Pitch Stories And Don't Write Essays

I hate writing for other people because they make all sorts of demands on me that I don't want to meet. I've already spent about six blasted hours on this unpaid essay for Heeb magazine and I do not intend to spend another minute on it.

Dave Deutsch, humor editor for Heeb, writes:

Luke, nobody wants you to do this more than me, but my masters at Heeb have said that your piece lacks something, most significantly, you. They feel that rather than being a series of vignettes about getting kicked out of every shul in LA, it should focus on who you are, how you came to be in one shul, and how you got kicked out of that one. I tried to explain that they really don't want to know more about you, but they wouldn't listen.

Luke, I know this is not going to be pretty, but please, can you write an introductory blurb about who you were, especially how a frum Jew became the Matt Drudge of ----, and tack in to the start of this, and then find some pithy Luke closing? I promise to give you some filler. Pesach (and my parents, and siblings, and their kids) are coming, and it would do much to relieve my stress if you played nice with me. Just remember your ANZAC forebears--when the Pomies told them to go over the top at Gallipoli one more time, they did. When the Pomies told them to hold Tobruk, they did it. You come from tough stock. Don't let me down. The world of smug 20-something Jewish hipsters needs Luke Ford.

Luke replies: "No. I already put in six hours on revisions to the essay."

David replies: "Gosh Luke, I never would have asked if I'd realized that this essay had already taken six hours from your packed schedule of ogling Persian Jewesses, groping shiksas, having lunch with Ms. Seipp, having pillow fights with her daughter, attending conservative and Conservative lectures, getting into internet feuds with deceased latinos, and having lengthy discussions with your assorted alter-egos. If only there were more Lukes Ford, for clearly there is not enough of you to go around."

Closed For Cesar Chavez's Birthday

I went to library Monday, March 29, and it said it was closed for Cesar Chavez's birthday. Ten years from now it will be closed for Frank del Olmo's birthday.

Excuse me, but how is this site not porny?

Cathy writes Joyrides: "Joseph, you're classifying Luke Ford as a "sober adult" now? Actually, if you read his blog today, you'll discover that he was there. (You're right that I wasn't...too busy trying to control the universe from universe-controlling HQ at home). Too bad you missed Luke, I know he would have enjoyed meeting you. Sounds like he hit it off with an Industry girl he met there and perhaps left before you got there."

Luke writes Cathy: "She was a woman who had nothing to do with porn but worked in software as I wrote. You are weird and catty."

Cathy replies: "It took me two days to work up enough interest to check it [[Supermodel Personals] out, but since I did, for the record I am not "catty and weird." I am candid and accurate, and you are deluded and weird."

Charlotte Sometimes

I'm watching this movie and I identify with this scene.

A couple has been together for ten months. They have fantastic sex. One night, they can't sleep. The woman says, "Why don't we go away someplace?"

Guy: "Where?"

Girl: "Monterey. Wouldn't you like to go?"

Guy: "You want the truth?"

Girl: "Yeah."

Guy: "I don't really want to go anywhere."

Girl turns away from him: "You know what you are? You are a user."

I've had this happen to me so many times. Everything's fine in the relationship (meaning the sex is good). Then she will suggest some needless expenditure of vast amounts of money and time on my part to do something that is of no interest to me. She will demand to know how I really feel. I then tell her I really don't want to do it. There will be a pause. Then she will say, "You're just using me for sex."

Soon after, the relationship disintegrates and never recovers.

Khunrum writes: "I think a lot of us are with you on this one Luke. In the begining when the errrrrr! relationship is fresh and new, one promises to take them everywhere....anywhere. We never get there of course. We keep putting it off and eventually everything gets a bit familiar and well....why spend the money? Wasn't it Gertrude Stein who said "sometimes when we get from here to there, there is no there there"...How astute. Just as your lovers do to you, ours do to us, they get fed up and move on. Oh! Well!. we eventually find another..."Honey, how about a trip to Vegas ......sometime"?"

My next complaint is that I am a sucker for movies with great reviews on the boxcover and most of them suck, such as Gerry. I did not approve of Better Luck Tomorrow. Charlotte was plodding to watch, Secretary was fine, good stuff I can play act with my dates. Gangs of New York was great.

I have a hard time telling the characters apart in asian movies.

I think physical therapist is about the hottest profession for a woman. I had an appointment today because I've had a gimpy left knee for over two months. This black woman touched me all over in a way that only a woman can. It was great and it only cost me $25. Normally I have to spend a lot more money for this amount of contact with a woman. Most times I shell out $15 for a hair cut, I don't even get to rest my head on her chest (unlike this bird I had in Australia when I was 18).

My knee is still bad but the rest of me feels much better. I think I'm going to make a follow-up appointment soon. This time I'll tell her my injury is above my knee.

While doing my washing at the laundromat, this kid I've adopted spies me, comes running up and jumps in my arms.

My Favorite Writing

Tom Wolfe writes on page 242 of his book Hooking Up:

Four specific devices give the naturalistic novel its "gripping," "absorbing" quality: (1) scene-by-scene construction, i.e., telling the story by moving from scene to scene rather than by resorting to sheer historical narrative; (2) the liberal use of realistic dialogue, which reveals character in the most immediate way and resonates more profoundly with the reader than any form of description; (3) interior point of view, i.e., puttin gthe reader inside the head of a character and having him view the scene through his eyes; and (4) the notation of status details, the cues that tell people how they rank in the human pecking order, thow they are doing in the struggle to maintain or improve their position in life or in an immediate situation, everyting from clothing and furniture to accents, modes of treating superiors and inferiors, subtle gestures that show respect or disrespect -- the entire complex of signals that tell the human beast whether it is succeeding or failing and has or hasn't warded off that enemy of happiness that is more powerful than death: humiliation.

In using the first two of these devices, scene-by-scene construction and dialogue, movies have an obvious advantage; we actually see the scenes and hear the words. But when it comes to putting the viewer inside the head of a character or making him aware of life's complex array of status details, the movies have been stymied. In attempting to create the interior point of view, they have tried everything... But nothing works; nothing in all the motion-picture arts can put you inside the head, the skin, the central nervous system of another human being the way a realistic novel can. The movies are not much better with status details. When it comes time to deal with social gradations, they are immediately reduced to gross effects likely to lapse into caricature at any moment: the house that is too grand or too dreadful, the accent that is too snobbish or too crude.

When a moviegoer comes away saying, 'It wasn't nearly as good as the novel," it is almost always because the movie failed in those three areas: failed to make him feel that he was inside the minds of the characters, failed to make him comprehend and feel the status pressures the novel had dealt with, failed to explain that and other complex matters the book had been able to illuminate without a moment's sacrifice of action or suspense.

Tell Me, Was I Wrong?

I met a nice girl. I took her to dinner. Afterwards, we drove away. She spotted a candy store. We stopped, bought candy, and sucking on our goodies, walked up the street. We paused in the entrance of an Orthodox synagogue. I put my arms around her and kissed her, sampling the apple flavor of her tongue. Was I wrong? She wasn't Jewish. I was trying to convert her, to interpenetrate her mind with the sweetness of the Torah and my kisses. I'm a fool for love, a crazy Hebe in heat.

Special Agent Dies In Mysterious Circumstances In AZ

"Thomas DeRouchey, interim special agent in charge of the Phoenix Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was on the way to an announcement of a new federal border initiative by Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson at Davis Monthan Air Force Base."

He was shot in the head while driving and it is being ruled a suicide.

Do you know how rare that is? Rare. Check out this abstract from a forensic pathology magazine: "Suicide by means of a motor vehicle occurs more frequently than is generally realized, and may be difficult to prove. Suicide by other means while driving a motor vehicle is far less frequent. Only two cases of suicide by gunshot while driving an automobile have been previously, and recently, reported. The author reports two additional cases of suicide by gunshot while driving a motor vehicle. Each case was a young man who had been suffering from depression; who obtained a firearm apparently for the express purpose of committing suicide; and who shot himself while driving a motor vehicle on an Interstate highway. Contrary to the usual finding in a series of suicides, three of the four cases now reported each left a suicide note or notes. What is apparently a fatal single-vehicle-single-occupant vehicular mishap may in fact be a suicide at the wheel by other means. What is apparently suicide by means of motor vehicle may in fact be an attempt to disguise homicide. Medicolegal offices are urged to routinely perform complete autopsies in fatal single-vehicle-single-occupant vehicular mishaps so that cause and manner of death may be documented without question."

The odds are this guy was murdered.

There are a ton ex-CIA agents in this area. It used to house a top secret airport used by the CIA until about 1979 for flights to South America and elsewhere.

From an article in the March 27, 1991 Los Angeles Times:

Headline: Airlines Rust In Desert Waiting Better Times:

Second paragraph: "The place is called Pinal Air Park. In the 1970s, the county-owned airstrip 35 miles west of Tucson was a secret airbase for the Central Intelligence Agency. Twelve years ago, the CIA got out of airlines and sold the lease..."

I Move On Supermodel Personals

I went to the LA blogger bash at the Farmers Market Saturday night. One chick immediately catches my eye - a tall slim brunette Tara Morrisson.

I play it cool for half an hour chatting with other bloggers before making my move. I talk to her about her favorite novelist of late -- Emile Zola.

Tara started a unique site (Supermodel Personals) two weeks ago that's proved wildly popular. The religious and traditionally-minded should not view. In fact, my religious beliefs precluded me from viewing it. I just heard it was funny. Tara said so. It must be true.

The stuff that young people are into these days. I fear I'm losing touch.

I mean, what kind of mind posts a picture of some white trash chick with the caption: "Ever since I was on Girls Gone Wild, my life has been out of control. I'm just a nice country girl, working at a topless bar, until I settle down with Mr. Right. If we live together, maybe we can afford a double-wide!"

Who knew how much wickedness lay behind Tara's demure exterior.

What is Tara like in person? Shy. She doesn't say a word unless you force it out of her with deep probing literary questions.

She graduated from an arts college in Boston two years ago with a degree in photography. She works at a computer software company for digital photography -- Picassa. She's hot. She's looking for a good time.

Joseph writes on Joyrides:

Lynn and I were the, um, most mature people there. I had to explain our pitcher of SieNev: Lynn is fussy. In truth, I am fussy, Lynn is simply a good sport. But in a way it was refreshing all around and nonetheless, especially because there was no Kaus/Siepp/LukeFord/RogerLSimon/Welch/Roderick et al. present, sober adults trying not merely to present the world but to control a fiefdom within it. In my earshot, nobody had a single thing to say about Sandra Tsing Loh or the LA Times or even politics in any context other than, "You know, it just might be a good idea to leave America sometime--I'll see in November" which is of course the sweetest music to my ears. Almost nobody in the young crowd is working the literary side of the street; but everyone seems to respect it, which is gratifying in its own way. I was known to some in the group, nonetheless, as "the guy who's flight from Mexico City was cancelled because of the terrorism stuff"; my work on Proust, on Anti-Oedipus, on the Gaybashing Amendment, has largely been in vain, I feared at first; then when I saw the best efforts of Kaus/Siepp/Simon et plures alia had also been in vain, I felt--relieved. Rants are for the self, and self-minded; but they are as dirty rags to the uncorrupted.

Unprotected Sex At Shalhevet?

I had lunch at a friend's home. I spot a picture of a cute brunette in glasses. "Who's that?" I ask.

"She's too young for you," says my friend. "She's 17. She just got kicked out of Shalhevet for giving her boyfriend a 'movie kiss.'"

"I bet that 60% of the kids at Shalhevet have unprotected sex," chimes in another friend. "There's no sex education at the school. There's rampant drug use."

Shalhevet is the most liberal of LA's Orthodox day schools and the only one to give boys and girls the identical curriculum.

I believe Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, leader of the Sephardim in Israel, says that a Torah Jew should boycott co-ed Jewish highschools.

Many of my friends' kids are getting kicked out of their Orthodox day schools. I'm thinking of starting up one of my own in my hovel to fill this pressing need. Would you send your kid to my school? Do I need a license for this? I tell you one thing. There will be no unprotected sex in my classrooms. All kids, from second grade on, will be handed condoms as they walk in the door. Not to use of course until they marry.

My friends say I beat to death my jokes and I try too hard.

Big Daddy Luke

I dropped off a friend at the airport today and then drove her kids to school. In the afternoon, I lined up with the other parents to pick up one kid from an Orthodox Jewish day school. She ran to the car and jumped in.

We rolled down the windows and and she blasted KIIS FM. The sun shone. I wose short sleeves, and my yarmulke. My fringes streamed behind me in the breeze. Even though I had locked myself out of my hovel and broken a table in my haste to meet my newfound daddy obligations, I felt happy.

Disinfo's Richard Metzger

I meet my friend Richard Metzger (I've known him since December 1998 when he interviewed me for a radio show on Disinfo.com, then in early 2001, he interviewed me for a Channel 4 TV series in Britain now available on DVD) for lunch Tuesday, March 23, at the Good Earth restaurant on Ventura Blvd in Studio City.

I'm dressed in jeans and a pullover while Richard's dresses smartly as always in a blazer and a nice pair of daks.

Luke: "Are you a Satanist?"

Richard: "No. I make fun of Satanists. Heavy metal teenagers on Long Island lighting candles and listening to Ozzy Osbourne records..."

Luke: "Do you think Satanism is dangerous?"

Richard: "No. I think it is silly."

Luke: "Do you believe in a deity?"

Richard: "Sure."

Luke: "Do you believe in one God?"

Richard: "Not necessarily. The Greeks believed in many gods..."

Luke: "Do you think there is a divine entity that is more than human projection?"

Richard: "Sure, but I don't know what it is."

Luke: "Has the divine ever spoken to you in a direct and concrete way?"

Richard: "No, but I have had occultic experiences...and drug experiences."

I order a vegetarian tostada and Richard gets a bowl of vegetable soup and half a sandwich.

Luke: "How religious was your Methodist upbringing [in Wheeling, West Virginia]?"

Richard: "Very."

Luke: "At what age did you tell your family you would no longer attend church?"

Richard: "Twelve or thirteen. I never had to go to church again after that. I was going three times a week.

"I went to public school."

Richard's dad worked for the telephone company and his mom worked as an insurance adjuster for Blue Shield. His sister, 18 months younger, is a devout Methodist.

Richard lost his virginity at age 15. "There wasn't a whole lot to do except to tip cows and to read. [Disinfo] subject matter has always been my area of interest. I was interested in strange things. I lived in a town where nothing strange or glamorous or unusual ever happened. These people seemed glamorous to me. I wanted to move to New York to be part of the Andy Warhol crowd and an underground filmmaker. I was into Monty Python, Woody Allen, and then Lenny Bruce, William Burroughs, Aleister Crowley. What do these last three have in common? Drugs. So I started doing drugs at age 12. I got my hands on marijuana. I smoked it a few times and liked it. From the first time I used it to the present, I've spent about a total of six months not using marijuana daily. I've tried almost every drug. I've never shot up heroin but I have injected ketamine with a member of a satanic cult."

Luke: "How did you get kicked out of high school, just a few weeks before graduation?"

Richard: "I was smoking a bowl of hash and got a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was the Vice Principal and the track coach, who hated my guts. I was a straight A student without any effort. They wanted to make an example of me.

"I was 17. I immediately left home because I didn't feel like dealing with my dad. I went to stay with a friend of mine who was going to Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester, above New York. It was great. I was taken care of by college girls who would f--- me and give me pot. Then I returned home and informed my parents I was going to live in Amsterdam. [Singer] Nina Hagen had some songs about Amsterdam. It seemed like an incredible place for a punk rocker like me to go.

"My parents said, 'You don't even have a passport.' I said, 'Yes, I do.' They were shocked. I told them on a Wednesday and I left on Saturday. I'd worked at a grocery store and saved up money. I sold my stereo, guitar. I lived in Holland for six months. I lived in abandoned buildings. I figured I should go live in England because they at least speak English. I lived in England for 18 months."

Luke: "How did you survive financially?"

Richard: "Selling hash. I worked as an-house model [at a major department store for affluent private clients such as the Sultan of Brunei)."

Luke: "You never worked as a male prostitute?"

Richard. "No. Where did that come from? Leave it to you to ask that."

Luke: "You've never been asked that before?"

Richard: "Not while telling the story I'm telling now. No, never. I've never been asked that question.

"Then I worked at a lot of nightclubs in New York. I was the doorman at Mars. I never kept one person out of the VIP room. I'm not going to pass judgment. 'You can't come in. You two can but not you.' That's an unbelievably rude thing to do.

"I expanded into music videos and television production. I had an idea for a TV show that Showtime liked and gave me a lot of development money. I couldn't get anything going.

"I worked as a production manager for Eric Mittleman at Playboy from 1992-93. I did not see a naked girl one time while I worked for Playboy."

Luke: "What did you think of Jenny McCarthy?"

Richard: "I liked her. She was unflappable in the face of being hit on by all manner of guys who worked at Playboy. At the Grammy Awards, she dropped what she was doing and talked to me for a long time."

For six months in New York, Richard was virtually homeless. He lived in an office he rented for $100 a month or slept on the kitchen floor at a friend's place, right next to the litter box.

"I had a lot of ideas and a lot of sh---- jobs but not a lot of success. The dotcom thing came along and suddenly a lot of the ideas that I had were easy to manifest. There was money around. Disinfo.com was one of dozens of ideas I had but it was the one that got funded."

Luke: "How did you get the idea for the publishing arm of Disinfo?"

Richard: "At one point, we were owned by the Razorfish company, one of the big dotcom high fliers with a market capitalization of two billion and revenue of about $72 million. We had an amazing design team. There was an opportunity to put a book out [You Are Being Lied To]. While I was working on our first TV show for England, he worked on putting our first book out. We sat down with Adam Parfrey and picked his brains. How many should we print? Adam recommended 6,000 copies. We printed 6,000 and sold 6,000 in two weeks. You Are Being Lied To has sold over 100,000 copies.

[Book of Lies.]

"Around this time, the dotcom boom came to an end and we were wondering how we were going to keep the company afloat. Gary Baddeley made the publishing arm happen so we could fly out of the problem area. There aren't that many dotcoms that have survived. Nerve.com and us."

Luke: "Do any Christian hymns move you?"

Richard: "Not that I can think of. I remember being 20 years old and very badly wanting to be able to feel that I was saved. And just coming to the conclusion that it was only my desire for it to happen. It never did. Who wouldn't want to be touched by divine grace out of the blue? Who wouldn't want God to speak to them?"

Luke: "What is your relationship like with your parents today?"

Richard: "It's OK. I gave my dad a Disinfo T-shirt but I don't think they've looked at my DVDs, or books or website. "They've never asked to see my TV show.

"My sister is a manager at an autoparts chain."

Richard reads more than any member of his family.

He says he has friends going back to age four and has had only a couple of fallings out with longtime friends.

Luke: "What's your favorite song?"

Richard: "Right now I'm obsessed with Miles Davis from 1974-75. He was doing this dark rhythmic astral funk. The weirdest improvisational music I've heard and it is usually written off as the time that 'Miles was on drugs and was out of his mind.' It was ahead of its time."

Luke: "What are your favorite movies?"

Richard: "Wings of Desire (1987) by Wim Wenders. Performance (1970) starring Mick Jagger. Head (1968), the psychedelic movie made by The Monkees. The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) starring David Bowie. I saw that with my mom in Wheeling when I was 11. She was mortified by the sex and nudity. It was an R-rated film. She had to take me in to see it. I was a David Bowie fanatic."

Luke: "She was pretty tolerant that she didn't make you leave. My parents would've made me leave."

Richard: "She was blindsided by it."

Luke: "Are there times when your pursuits put more strain on you than they give back to you?"

Richard: "No, not at all. I have a great job. I do what interests me. I'm able to showcase the work of people I respect and admire. This stuff is not dark. It's what I do. 'Occult' doesn't mean dark. It means hidden. Many of these techniques, heresies, gnosis, whatever you want to call it, are holdovers from the time when people would get burned at the stake for believing these things. These things don't need to be hidden any more. Nobody is going to burn you at the stake because you have a new age belief system. These things are neither light nor dark. They're neutral."

Luke: "Are there things people shouldn't think about?"

Richard: "Did you hear about that cannibal guy in Germany?"

Yes, I heard about it, and I never wanted to hear a word of it. Nor would I choose to read a word of it. I did not want that in my mind.

Richard: "I wouldn't read those articles. I'd read the headline and I knew it was some sick murder s--- and I did not need to put my head there. I find any movie with violence towards women..."

Luke: "Strange Days (1995)."

Richard: "Boom. I was just about to bring that up. I used to work with the girl [Iris] who gets killed in the end. She was a bartender. I was very fond of her. I've known her since I was 19 and to have to watch that scene... That film disgusted. You picked the example I was going to give you. I don't think things like that need to exist.

"More people watch the news if it is bad news. They've done a survey of families living side by side. The family that watches the news is more paranoid and more negative about life. They will be distrustful and believe that they live in a crime-ridden world. It's the world we live in, yes. Do we need to dwell on it? I don't."

Luke: "Have you had significant death threats?"

Richard: "No, only in the beginning. The Internet was new and people didn't know how to find what they were looking for. Disinfo was one of the first professional sites out there. In a world of darkness, a lot of moths are going to come to your flame. We'd link to an Aryan Nations site to make fun of it. They'd come to our site and make threats. We'd get email death threats. It's hard to take that seriously. Everyone's a big man on email."

Luke: "Do you feel like you are still in touch with young people?"

Richard: "I'm not young any more. I'm 38. I'm not going to listen to a young person's music. I don't enjoy books or even journalism written by people younger than I am. Mojo is a great magazine around for ten years but you start to see some 26 year old guy writing about the recording sessions for John Coltrane's Love Supreme. You weren't born then. You don't know. Our products are popular with young people.

"When I was a kid, my heroes were people who were dead. William Burroughs didn't live his life thinking, 'How do I be in tune with the Mallrats?'"

Richard's last girlfriend (of five years) was 15 years younger than him.

Luke: "Was there a day when you realized you were no longer young?"

Richard: "No. Something's on your mind.

"There was a time, about four years ago, that I pulled my back out and I put on about 20 pounds. I couldn't exercise any more. I did notice that women weren't looking at me the way they had before.

"The older I get, the more I see the folly of youthful ways of thinking. I remember being 16 and a punk rocker and Ronald Reagen was in office and I was thinking, 'They've just elected a fascist.' That's nonsense. What does a 16 year old know about anything aside from MTV and cars and whatever else they're into. Then you become older and you have to pay taxes and you have employees and have to pay taxes for them... I've never been a joiner with religion or politics. As you age, you get perspective. When you're young, you think, 'Oh, the Republicans are a bunch of Nazis.' No, they're not. There are two narrow goalposts. That's the mainstream and it's where society wants to be. Democrats and Republicans are in the same amount of wars. What's the biggest difference between Clinton and Bush? Personal style. The Europeans are so anti-Bush is because he seems like a cowboy.

"I once worked on a political campaign - for Jerry Brown. I would never do it again. It's all about personality. It's not going to change lives whether the president is John Kerry or George Bush.

"I know that you define conservatism as being proactive. That society should do things to protect itself and make things more cohesive. I agree with you that pornography is negative. But I like it. I consume it. Do I know that it is bad like cigarettes? Definitely. No matter how you slice it, when you have a drink of alcohol or smoke a cigarette, it is not good for you. Too much of that, and you're going to become an alcoholic and get lung cancer. Too much pornography and you are going to become a moral pariah or a crazed loner with a messy keyboard. Or you will become one of those guys who just don't know how to relate to women any more. There's nothing wrong with them but they can't perform with a woman. As a conservative, you might say, well, let's put some limits on that. I wouldn't say that. I don't think you can go backwards."

Luke: "What do you think should be the age of consent?"

Richard: "Eighteen but for pornography for girls, 21 or 23. How many girls when they are 21 know what they are doing when they consent to an Anabolic gangbang?"

We step outside for a walk. Richard directs us to a newsstand. I buy Rolling Stone.

Richard takes me into a poster and art shop. He discusses such artists as Joel Coleman with the owner. I know nothing about art.

Richard takes me into a shoe shop.

3:06PM. Richard takes me into a clothes store, Banana Republic. He asks for dress shirts on sale. There aren't any. We leave.

Richard says he's worn a blazer every day since third grade. He's the classic metrosexual.

We walk by Morgan Fairchild sitting at an outdoor restaurant. She looks hot. She was a fantasy object during our teens.

Cathy Seipp On CNBC

With David Horowitz and hefty travel expert Peter Greenberg.

As the camera zooms in, Cathy puts a cough drop in her mouth.

She wears a plunging red dress. She can get hardly get a word in but I guess she's there for eye candy. She does some vulcan-like gesture with her fingers when emphasizing a brief point.

Host Dennis Miller seems to spend more time giving out her lengthy blog URL than Cathy gets to speak on the show.

She smiles a lot.

Dennis calls Davey a genius.

This is the first time I've watched CNBC.

Cathy writes:

That was a cough drop, you horrible thing, because of my laryngitis, remember? I do not chew gum, as you perfectly well know. I do not have that disgusting bovine habit. Yeah, and what of it if I looked bosomy?

"Never go up against a fat man with a beard," said my father, watching Peter Greenberg go on and on and on and on and on....so at least I had that in my favor.

How Hot Is This?

Heather Mac Donald debated author David Cole (Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security) on Dennis Prager's Show March 24 on the Patriot Act.

Heather writes her dear dear friend Luke, her reason for being and her unshakeable moral foundation in an age of relativism: "Wow. You must be the only person in the country who wasn't listening to Richard Clarke; I am so grateful for your ears. David Cole is a lyin', cheatin' vermin. And they must have sprung me on him just as they sprung him on me, because in the past, he has refused to appear on the same stage with me.

"Youz quite nuts if you intend to subject that interview to a rehearing; I was desperately ad libbing in the first half with those totally arcane sections Cole was throwing out that no one but he has heard of before."

David Cole turned tail halfway through the debate and claimed he had to leave at the halfhour. He had misunderstood the producer's request for an hour long debate. I don't believe David. I think he's lying. When he saw how badly he was getting whipped, he turned tail and left.

David says he has no concern with much of the Patriot Act. "There are provisions that bar foreign nationals from entering the country based on pure speech [such as support for terrorism]. Provisions that criminalize pure speech by all of us if we provide advice or assistance to any group that the Secretary of State has labeled a terrorist group. Provisions that allow the government to deport foreign nationals based on their innocent associations with any group the Attorney General doesn't like and puts on a blacklist. Another provision allows the government to freeze anyone's assets without any notice if they are under investigation and then to defend it in court using secret evidence."

Heather: "The most important thing the Patriot Act did was to allow intelligence to be shared among all aspects of the intelligence community. Until the Patriot Act was passed, two FBI agents in the same office on the same Al Qaeda squad couldn't talk to each other about an Al Qaeda investigation if one agent were designated a criminal investigator and another was an intelligence investigator.

"Foreign nationals have no constitutional right to enter this country [or to free speech in the US]. We admit people on a discretionary basis. If we wanted to, we could say, nobody from Morocco can enter."

David: "During the McCarthy era, we engaged in ideological exclusion, keeping out people like Charlie Chaplin, because of their ideas. It's wrong, whether or not foreign nationals are entitled to First Amendment protection."

Heather: "We are engaged in an ideological battle. The spread of Islamic terrorism is through ideas. Those are weapons. If we decide that people who espouse a certain set of ideas shouldn't enter this country, that is completely the perogative of any government."

David: "We did this from 1950-1990. In 1990, the provisions for ideological exclusion were repealed by Congress. We have a strong enough country to battle on the ideological front, not by suppressing what Americans can hear and controlling the borders."

How Long Will Media Maintain Icy Wall Of Silence About Ruth Seymore's Looks?

I've been besieged to comment on the Sandra Tsing Loh firing from Santa Monica public radio station KCRW. I'd like to say for the record that both Sandra, and KCRW general manager Ruth Seymore, are handsome women and that if they were available, and I was not such a religious man...

Listen Up You Blogging Losers

He Who Will Not Be Named writes Cathy Seipp:

Okay, now listen up, all you silly blogging losers. This is a big chance to help someone become so big that we can ALL ride his coat tails. That Santa Monica station has a huge gaping HOLE in its schedule, a hole that it craves someone fill - and I know just how to fill that hole, and with which filling. I want to start a campaign to fill it with a thrice weekly hour of commentary/talk by none other than LUKE FORD. The man is a natural for radio. Who else do you know who could naturally do an hour of social analysis that mixes dispatches from the world of believers (without being condescending) with some additional reportage from the world of entertainment; a man who can talk candidly both with a Mel Gibson, an Abe Foxman, and a ___________? Nobody else has tried this before, nobody else is doing it, but I am damn certain that millions of people coast to coast would tune it to give it a listen.

And Luke already has a built-in cadre of deep thinkers/writers willing to work making this show a success, because they don't have anything more important to do with their lives anyway. With all your help, I know that this can be done. Luke Ford could be something big within five years, something we could all feed off of, if only we jump in now to start things. Cathy, as the responsible adult in his life, he looks to you to get the ball rolling. This ain't no joke.

The fundamental difference between those who succeed in life and those who fail is that the former look for ways to win and the latter assume defeat no matter what they do. Let's not be negative about Luke's prospects. Let's light a roaring fire under his tuchus, begin writing letters to that Ruth person, and get him on the radio within the next month. Let us dream of basking in his glory and fame. (I dream of using "I know Luke Ford" as a line with which to pick up hot chicks wherever I may meet them.)

A Fly on the Wall writes:

Does Luke Ford have one of those thick, annoying Australian accents that are nearly impossible to understand? Does he use a lot of irritating down-under aphorisms like "crikey" and "mate," like that reptile-torturer on cable television?

If so, then I think this potential grassroots movement to put him on the radio should be uprooted pronto. KCRW already has enough impossible-to-understand foreigners on the air, like that Romanian Edward Goldman doing "Art Talk." Goldman could be peppering his show with expletives and no one would know.

If, on the other hand, Luke has a pleasing Australian voice like Nicole Kidman, then this might be an interesting idea.

Perhaps as part of the "boo the KCRW trailer" campaign at local theaters, people could shout out "Luke Ford" during the spot. Or he could start an Angelyne-style billboard campaign. But considering the $150-a-week pay that Her Ruthness dishes out, he'd be in the red for quite a while.

Cathy Seipp writes: "No, he just has a thin annoying accent. I do think he'd be quite good on the radio, and like the idea of people shouting "Luke Ford!" during those KCRW trailers. But it's hard to imagine his...shall we say sometimes insensitive attitudes about women...fitting in with the public radio gestalt of KCRW."

Edwina Gein writes: "Well, what do you expect a good boy to do when his mother's name has been impugned? Luke always was a devoted boy, eager to do whatever it took to please his elders. Not at all like those horrible sluts . . . who are always trying to put terrible thoughts into his head."

Is 'Luke Ford' A Social Construct?

Jackie D writes Cathy Seipp: "[Luke] is very amusing, in the way that the peculiar and creepy often are."

Yolanda writes: "I am new to all this. Is this "Luke" a real person, or his he some sort of literary device you invented to help you make certain points about men?"

Cathy writes: "I am afraid he is completely real. His alter egos, however, are not."

Kate Coe writes: ""Luke Ford" is a social construct. There's a little Luke in all of us. Luke Ford is a state of mind. Luke Ford is a way of life."

Alter Egoyim writes: "We are as real as electrons can make us. I fear that you have become an enabler in Mister Ford's life (assuming he really exists)."