Sunday, August 20, 2005

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Peter Jennings — Apologist For Islamic Terror

Debbie Schlussel writes:

While the rest of the world is blindly singing Jennings’s praises, here`s a reality check: Peter Jennings did more for the cause of Islamic terrorism than any media figure today. And that`s nothing to celebrate, honor, or even memorialize.

It is no coincidence that al-Jazeera’s chief Washington correspondent praised ABC, and Jennings in particular, for their “objectivity.” Before there was al-Jazeera, there was Peter Jennings.

From the beginning of Jennings’s career until his death, his biased coverage went beyond the pale, bending over backward in “understanding” the terrorists who hate us — from seeing “their side” when he covered the siege and then murder of innocent Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics to honoring an al Qaeda operative with a prized “commentator” spot during Jennings’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks.

Robert J. Avrech: "Help! I'm A Hollywood Republican!'

He writes in The Jewish Press:

I have been hired to write a bio-pic about a very famous Republican talk-show host. A man who has revolutionized the radio format. I decide that I’m going to be up front with the studio executives. “I’m not going to assassinate this man,” I explain. “If that’s what you want, get another writer.”

“No, no, we want you to do it because you have such a good feel for character. Just be honest.”

I’m a moron. I believe them.

I go off and write the script. I hand it in and walk into a firestorm of a meeting. I’ve been too gentle with the talk-show host, they say.

“How?” I ask.

“Well, look at what he’s done to this country,” an executive challenges.

“What, he has 25 million daily listeners who adore him. What’s he ever done except almost self-destruct on pain killers — which I portray in all its awful detail.”

American Reform Judaism By Dana Evan Kaplan

Rabbi Kaplan covers every angle I thought of, including sexual harassment:

The scandal that shocked many and changed the way sexual harassment issues were dealt with was the Robert Kirschner affair.

"I climbed too far, too fast, and seemed to develop a certain form of narcissism, arrogance and obliviousness to the feelings of others.

"When you are elevated -- literally -- on this pulpit with the light on your face, kind of the way I remember thinking in my youth of Jesus, you get that look from people...of admiration and even more. It can be very seductive; it can be toxic for someone like me... I didn't have the most important attributes needed to serve in that capacity; that is self-knowledge, humility, experience."

...[T]he resignation of HUC-JIR (Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institue of Religion) president Sheldon Zimmerman due to a "sexual boundary violation."

It appears that Zimmerman had an affair with an adult congregant while working at the Central Synagogue in New York City a decade and a half earlier. Interviewers asked him why the woman had waited more than 15 years to file an accusation against him with the CCAR. Zimmerman explained that the woman, now a rabbi, had asked him to write a reference for her. Zimmerman refused, and shef iled the ethics charges.

...Susannah Heschel of Dartmouth College...connected the inequity [of tenured female professors to male] indirectly to the type of scandal Zimmerman had apparently been involved in. "Gender inequalities unfortunately foster an atmosphere of male dominance that carries over from the rabbinical school to the rabbinic profession."

...The Women's Rabbinic Network (WRN) initiating the gay and lesbian same-sex resolution is one manifestation of the special role that women rabbis play, as a group, in the contemporary Reform movement.

That role appears to some critics to stress compassion over intellectual rigor, sensitivity over historical precedent, and egalitarianism over halachic (Jewish law) obligation. Anecdotal evidence suggests to these critics that women rabbis have less grounding in traditional sources than men and less concern with traditional Judaic precedents...

Watching the decision by the CCAR (Central Conference of American [Reform] Rabbis) supporting rabbinic officiation at same-sex marriages, journalist E.J. Kessler wrote: "Those of us watching this battle knew that the gay vows struggle would clothe itself in the prestige of...feminism and that any discussion of law, tradition and precedent would likely be thrown out in favor of appeals to compassion and mercy."

Congregational leader Davi Cheng is probably the first Chinese-American lesbian Jew by choice to be a synagogue president [of Beth Chayim Chadishim, a Los Angeles Reform temple on Pico Blvd which has a strong gay slant].

Rabbi Camille Angel of the San Francisco Reform homosexual-outreach synagogue Sha'ar Zahav says about their school: "Not only are we teaching Jewish values, but we are bringing the experience of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgendered people to bear on Jewish values." She says that "the experience of coming out, the experience of being on the margins, if not altogether invisible, helps us to identify with the stranger and the oppressed. For so many LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) Jews, we feel that we ha vecome out of Mitzrayim [Egypt]."

What's next? Rabbi Ron Jeremy of Valley Torah, which has a special outreach to industry workers in the San Fernando Valley, says about their school: "Not only are we teaching Jewish values, but we are bringing the experience of porn people to bear on Jewish values." He says that "the experience of coming out, the experience of being on the margins, if not altogether invisible, helps us to identify with the stranger and the oppressed. For so many Jewish smut peddlers, we feel that we have come out of Mitzrayim [Egypt]."

The Pick Up Artist

Amy Sohn writes in New York magazine about New York lawyer and writer Chris London:

[He] lives the love life most men can only dream of. But for all his success in the sack, he insists that what he’s really looking for is a woman he can take home for keeps.

In an August 12 blog, London takes on Stephanie Klein, who was lauded in The New York Times for living the Sex in the City lifestyle:

I met Stephanie Klein about a year ago. I was introduced to her blog by a friend Ari and subsequently met her. I am aware of and have myself interacted with some of New York's best writers and journalists, or at least those covering the social beat who write about the social life and style undercurrent, like Warren St. John, Amy Sohn, Vanessa Grigoriadis, Richard Johnson, Ben Widdicombe etc. all of whom I have met. So I was curious that perhaps here was yet another, New York Original in the form of little Stephanie Klein. Unfortunately, I have found Stephanie to be about as original as Ray's Pizza. But I am sure that her response would be to kish mir in tuchis since she is the one with the huge advance and more fat pay days ahead.

When I first met Stephanie, I was very much looking for reasons to like her. As much as I genuinely tried, or a number of reasons, I found it incredibly difficult to find any substance of character in her persona beyond the self promotion. Like a good Publicist or Director of Communications in a political campaign she was adept at remaining on message. At first I thought it was perhaps because I did not understand her, her blog or what she was about. I even questioned whether I was being unfair. So, I gave it time, spent more time in her company and yet my perception did not change. I could not find the soul of Stephanie Klein and in fact after a year, gave up looking for it. In fact, the more time I spent with her socially the more I came to realize that my first impressions were dead on.

Stephanie Klein's Greek Tragedy is prepackaged by design. The Puff Daddy of the blogging world's chic lit set, Stephanie Klein is a caricature of a New York City female based upon the fictional character Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. That Stephanie does so while attempting to cultivate the hip downtown edginess of the pre-married Amy Sohn, does not maker her Amy Sohn. Like many of the chic lit bloggers, her stories are by design so tragically ironic as well as terribly self absorbed and indulgent. A conversation with Stephanie Klein always leads back to uh well......Stephanie Klein of course. See Straight up andBraggy, The Other Side of "Fame".

After all the time I spent with Stephanie Klein, I have found her to be very much a fictional person living a fictional life, one that is designed or choreographed for the purpose of creating an utterly fabulous blogging persona.

I call Chris Wednesday night at his Manhattan law office.

We discuss Stephanie Klein and how better-looking female writers get more attention.

Luke: "So many women in their 30s don't realize how much their stock has gone down. I've lived in LA for eleven years. Many of the women I met in my first few years here have now gone to seed. And they used to be gorgeous and unapproachable."

Chris: "I know a girl in her 40s. When she was in her late 20s, she met a guy who's now extremely successful. He had an MBA and went to work for UPS and worked his way up. He treated her well. He took her to nice places. But periodically, he would pop over to her house in the brown truck and brown shorts UPS drivers wear. She'd make JAPy comments. 'I can't see myself dating a guy who wears brown shorts. It's embarrassing.'

"That was part of his training program. The guy is now a multimillionaire and the guys she goes out with are blowing her off. Guys she would have never dated ten years ago.

"LA is equally as vapid as New York but in different ways. Here you have this psuedo-intellectualism you don't have LA. Women in LA seem to prefer to date a guy who's a drug-dealer and drives a Lamborghini than a guy who went to an Ivy-League school who's pursuing a writing career and living in a small apartment. In LA, it's all about the flash.

"Stephanie Klein is one of the least liked people but has massaged the whole blogosphere to link to her. She doesn't feel any of the angst that she claims she feels. The kind of guys she's going to meet are guys who want to f--- her and get on her blog. She's get a skewed sample."

Luke: "What do you think of the show Sex in the City?"

Chris: "Mixed feelings. It's an infomercial for New York City and the brands displayed there. It is a postcard from New York City. I am sure that the show has led to increased tourism and interest in things that have a "New York" flavor. But it's a caricature of New York. You have a lot of vapid chicks in the city who are [attempting to create] creating this psuedo-Sex in the City lifestyle. 'I'm so Carrie.' 'I'm like a Charlotte.' Stephanie has tapped into that.

"Candace Bushnell (author of such books as Sex in the City) f---ed her way through the city and became famous for doing so. I have no genuine interest in her but she's a real writer. She created that brand (of the female sex columnist).

"Amy Sohn lived that life. She wrote the column 'Female Trouble.' It was real, not posed. Stephanie tries to come off as this artsy downtown chick but she's a JAP who lives on the Upper West Side. She grew up in suburban affluence. She had false delusional princess dreams of what marriage would be like. So she married a guy who was super-successful and super-wealthy and he got bored of her within a year and traded up.

"A lot of the angst that these women have is from naively going for the biggest meal-ticket they can get in New York City. They feel somehow screwed if it doesn't work out.

"Stephanie's become a millionaire from her blog (the advance she got from Regan Books)."

Luke: "What's the highest number of sex partners a woman could have and you could be interested in marrying her?"

Chris: "Indefinite.

"The women who are writing about this sexy life, their lives aren't so sexy. I'd rather marry a porn star than marry someone like Stephanie."

Luke: "What do you think of the dichotomy in perception of men and women who sleep around -- men are studs and women are sluts?"

Chris: "I think it's less true today. I don't think guys care. Joe Gallant (former musician turned porn director) gave me this great quote: '"The current NYC Sex Events are a lot like a Phish Concert. Part of the reason the new "Sexutantes are so VERY eager to be all' bitchin' in nicely-publicized clean upscale environs is due to the likes of $$ex & the City, writers like Amy Sohn (a nice Brooklyn girl who fabricates her jaded, men-can't-satisfy-me-though-they-try posturings), the lez-mafia machine at toys in babeland, etc. It says a lot about the safely iconic distancing of this era, when virtually every woman of a certain age and societal rank in this matrix-green radar-cooked shark tank we call contemporary culture desperately wants to be seen as a BAD GIRL-----14 year old girls wear "pornstar" rhinestone t-shirts in malls, Britney and ol' Madonna rehearse a corporate-edgy tongue kiss to lay on th' k-mart yokels in TV viewer-land, etc... The current crop of NYC party offerings provide a safe, non-threatening, non-consequential place to get their 5 minutes-of-nipple-lick wings, without fear of it hitting mom & dad's breakfast nook. This collective (entitled? as all louche "sex trend" adherents have been, throughout the ages, never comes from a stridency of spirit, rather from the well-nourished and oh so bored) and latest version of pussy power has its pulsating roots (of course) in media, a reactive (rather than innovative) construct that must prove itself on the very bleeding crest of all movements, seeming or real... What starts out as small like the Grego Loft thing (who is only continuing on a smaller scale the outrageous weekly parties of Neville Chesters (90's porn director) at his midtown loft for the last 10 years) must de facto get "Real Sex" coverage ANON, as field producers fall over themselves to track down that LATEST... "underground"... EDGY... odd, these scenes are never THREATENING.'"

Chris: "These chicks who write about the sexual life they lead are not really having sex. There's an artistic edginess to write about it. It's bulls---. You're either in the sex industry for real or you are an artistic poser.

"I'm more concerned about a girl who's not a slut but is using sex as a lever to extract something from me than a girl who says, 'I love you but I loved a lot of people before.'

"You become relevant as a writer when the publishing industry can figure out a way to make money off of you. She sells to a lot of people who have no idea what New York is about. Intellects don't take her seriously except as a product to sell to the heartland.

"I had a friend from an affluent family who I introduced to Heather "This Fish" Hunter. He said to me, 'I don't want to be in some chick's blog.' So he stopped dating this woman and he ended up in a blog entry. I wrote a negative comment on her blog, and she wrote back threatening to tell my employer that I had written a comment on her blog while I was at work."

All the instances I've heard about this sort of threat have involved women, such as Washington Post reporter Susan Schmidt who tried to get a couple of people fired after they wrote her negative emails from their workplace.

"Women who write these blogs complaining about their problems meeting [quality] members of the opposite sex...are only going to meet men who want to be written about. So they only have themselves to blame for this self fulfilling prophecy (unless they are merely posing to obtain fodder for their blogs).

"Rachel Bussell Kramer is another [female sex columnist] whose sexuality seems contrived, or, at least embellished. A woman who dated Rachel told me that if she was half as exciting as what she wrote about, they'd still be dating. But she was this dead fish and lied about her provocative sexual experiences. Nevertheless, she is an interesting read.

"Guys are more interested in actually f---ing someone than writing about it."

Luke: "How did Amy Sohn's article, The Pick-Up Artist, affect your life?"

Chris: "It still does. There are women who want to meet you because of that. Then there are women who have the eww factor, 'Ohmigod, he's slept with all these people.' Then there are women who think that if you f----- all these people, you must be good at something, so they want to f--- you.

"It led to a lot of interesting things. It opened a lot of doors I wasn't trying to open.

"At first I was embarrassed. But at the end of the day, for a guy, any kind of press is good press. People are speaking about you and that you are controversial makes people think you are more exciting than you are.

"I'm not going to prejudge women who may have had a gangbang in college. I'm not going to date the pollyanna who's never had triple-penetration and then I get f---ed in divorce court and she's sucking the milkman's dick. I don't think chastity is indicative of character. Women who have taken the time to explore and understand their sexuality are ultimately better lovers and partners."

Chris says this sentence by Amy Sohn about him is not true: "Beneath all his warmth, he seems to have a bitter core, as though his years of playerly ways have made him lose respect for any woman who would have him."

Chris: "I was never really a player nor have I tried to be. I am just fascinated by people and perhaps that has led to some success in that regard."

His father comes from a line of Sephardic Jews who moved to South America and converted to Christianity. His mother is an Italian-German Gentile. "At Dachau, there were probably relatives on both sides of the aisle."

London says he's more spiritual than religious. "I was always much happier f---ing the same person, unlike a lot of guys who get sick of it. I am very much a creature of habit. If find something I like, I stick with it or at least try to. God knows I have been as pathetic as any needy woman and have myself tried to hold on a bit too long to relationships which were ill fated. I eat at a lot of the same restaurants. I'm not a guy who needs a lot of different women. It just happened that way."

Chris says he's been "basically monogamous" in his long-term relationships. "I'm as flawed as any man. There were times when I was in love and I rationalized that it didn't count if it was an escort or a happy-ending massage. It didn't count if she was away for three weeks. Would I go out and pick someone up in a bar and f--- them? No. Sometimes you do other things. You use professional services out there.

"I think everybody has [patronized a hooker]. Every man has seen professionals. I remember when I was up in the Hamptons and this woman, looking at the ads for escorts in the back of New York Magazine, said, 'Who sees these girls? These guys must be the biggest losers.' I said, 'Those girls cost a minimum of $500 an hour. Doesn't your boyfriend work at Goldman Sachs or a big law firm? That's who sees them. 'No way. My boyfriend is hot. He could get laid by anyone.' Just because a guy can get laid doesn't mean he won't pay for it. You either pay for it by the minute, the hour or the lifetime. There's always a cost to sex. Paid sex is one of the more honest transactions between men and women."

I emailed Stephanie Klein about Chris London and his blogs about her. She replied: "Chris London is entitled to his opinion. Despite everything, I really do wish him the best."

Chaim Amalek writes:

New York is really screwed up. All these women on the Upper East Side, these gold-digging buck hos, don’t care if you’re charming or sweet. It’s just ‘Okay, what do you do for me? Are you hot enough? Is your career good enough? Is your whatever big enough?

Also, that comment about leaving even a remotely negative comment on a woman's blog is correct. Most NY women, especially the young care free sex in the city single types, go INSANE when that happens.

Smoothie Recipes

I like to start my day with a smoothie. I need some recipe suggestions.

Under Attack has been down most of the week because of DDOS attacks. The other problem was that my server is in Gaza and the Israeli army kicked it out. So we're hustling to new digs in the West Bank while keeping our dream of the Greater Israel alive.

Right To Laugh - Conservative Comedy At The Friars Club In Beverly Hills

Evan Sayet hosted the night and was the third and final comic. "George Bush could be Jesus Christ himself and liberals would say, 'Well, sure. His father got him the job."

Lawyer Howard Smith (from Queens) led off. "The minute I gave my [future] wife a ring, she quit her job so she could be fresh for the wedding. How come no one worries about the man being fresh for the wedding?

"We had the original members of Iron Butterfly do the wedding. The ones that hadn't OD'd.

"The honeymoon was no better. We had to spend nine days in Maui. I get nervous about being on an island with no subway. I've never had so many $90 breakfasts. My wife got a $300 massage. Her massage: 'Don't worry. We'll just charge it to the room.'

"This is when I gave my wife her pet name. I call her 'Crime.' Because crime don't pay.

"My wife woke me up at 3:45 am and told me that we had been married for exactly one million minutes.

"My wife not only needed to be fresh for the wedding, she also had to be fresh for our marriage, because she's still not working.

"I'm a lawyer. Honestly, I provide no valuable service for society. (Huge applause.) That wasn't a joke. That was just information.

"I came to Los Angeles to be an entertainment attorney. The closest I got was the Erin Brokovich case. I got stuck defending the chemical manufacturer in the movie. You're not going to see an Erin Brokovich 2. Nobody wants to hear the story from the side of Dupont.

"The day we got engaged, my wife said, 'My Howard owns property.' The day we got married, she told everyone, 'We own property.' The day we were married for a month, she told everyone, 'She owed property.'

"I understand why men get divorced. You can get 50% of your s--- back.

"We live in Brentwood down the block from Coffee Bean. You go down there on a week day, and that place is jammed pack. Who are these people who can hang out there all day? I'll tell you. They're my wife.

"I came home the other day and it was cold in the house. I said, 'You don't work and you run the air conditioning? We're three blocks from the beach. Open the window.'

"My wife has an interview next week, which only means one thing -- A trip to Nordstroms to buy two new outfits. Eight hundred and seventy one dollars. I hope she gets the job so I can garnish her wages.

"If she gets that job, she'll want me to buy her a BMW like I have. Which isn't a bad thing, because as a Jew, you know you've made it when you've bought that German car.

"Remember how CNN reported that at the G8 meeting, there was an agreement to help the Palestinians rebuild their infrastructure. I didn't know the Palestinians ever had infrastructure. And if they do, it must be in Switzerland.

"Finding the truth on CNN is like finding a Palestinian that wants peace.

"I ask that we all take a moment for Yasser Arafat who finally did something good for the Jewish people -- he dropped dead."

Jeff Wayne (the second comic of the night) and Larry Elder promoted their new DVD Michael and Me (about Michael Moore and gun ownership).

Larry: "I took out a home equity loan to make this so please buy it."

Jeff: "If we ever get the blacks, the negroes and the African-Americans together in the country, they're going to be a power.

"I'm from the most oppressed group. White trash. Kentucky. People ask me if there was inbreeding in my family. I say, 'Let me ask my Uncle Daddy.' You can say anything about white trash and nobody cares. Not even white trash.

"My 13-year old white kid wants to be a black rapper. He wears his pants around his knees. My dad wears his pants around his chest. The three ages of man.

"You have to wait five days to get a gun. I might not be angry in five days.

"In Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore walks around South-Central (where the LA Riots started) with a UCLA professor at noon on a Thursday with a film crew. They say how perfectly safe they feel.

"Let's take the same scenario, but haul your honky asses down at 2am Sunday.

"I think Arnold is going to compromise on drivers licenses for illegal aliens. They'll get drivers licenses but they'll be restricted to driving south.

"I want to see Michael Moore on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

"Canadians say, 'We don't have an illegal immigration problem.' Of course. Who wants to live in Canada?

"Canadians say, 'You don't know our politicians.' We don't even know our's.

"In England, they think we're barbarians. A man asked me, 'Do you believe in the electric chair.' I believe in electric bleachers.

"In England, they lose more people at a soccer game. At our sporting events, people aren't killed.

"I told a joke: 'My grandma's going deaf. We can't afford a hearing aid. So we just stopped talking to her.'

"A man told me after the show, 'It's not 'deaf.' It's 'hearing impaired.'

"That's like The LA Times. They don't use the term 'Illegal aliens.' It's insensitive. They call them 'undocumented workers.' They're all workers. They're just undocumented. Twenty five percent of the prisoners in California are undocumented workers. What were they working on?

"Pretty soon The LA Times will call burglars 'Unwelcome houseguests.'

"Rainforest. When you were kids, there was no rainforest. There were jungles. A damn good word. Why did they change that word? When environmentalists got serious in the 1970s, they changed the word to rainforest.

"Jungle conjures up images of cannibals, swamps, insects. Nobody wants to save that. So they came up with rainforest.

"My wife and I took a tour of a rainforest and our tour bus broke down for four hours. We were in a damn jungle.

"Tarzan in the Rainforest? Sounds like gay Tarzan.

"I have the solution to gays in the military. We should have a separate gay army. Scare the hell out of everybody. 'If you don't settle down, we'll send our gay army over there. They take prisoners.'

"I want to thank you for empowering me. I hoped you liked the diversity of the material.

"The world has changed. My wife found our 13-year old son's Playboy magazine. It brought back memories of when my mom found my Playboy magazine, which she rolled up and struck me with. 'Wait till your father comes home.' I got a talking to and a spanking and he took my magazine.

"My wife brought me the magazine. What was our response as parents' today? Thank God."

Evan, the host, talks for the next hour but doesn't get as many laughs as the first two comics.

"In other states, they are not going to believe what I'm saying is true. But California and New York are so much more gross than the red states. New York and California are so vulgar, that's why they're called blue states.

He complains about driving his 13-year old kid to school and on every block there's a sign for "Orgasm: The Musical." On the way home, every block there's a sign for "The Vagina Monologues." Or "Puppetry of the Penis."

Evan: "We owe Pee Wee Herman an apology. He was not masturbating in a theater. He was leading an actor's workshop. Why was George Michael arrested? How many superstars do you know who take the time to do theatre in the park?"

Evan: "Why am I so much funnier than you think I am?"

"I told my kid that until you're 18, you're flying Virgin Air."

"Did you realize that it now costs more to see Miss Saigon than to f--- Miss Saigon?"

"Let's take questions from the audience. I expected there'd be more laughs to fill more time."

Melrose Larry Green sits in the front row and keeps yelling support.

There's another man in front of the stage with a little white dog on his lap. Evan asks the man to hold the dog up. The man won't. I start screaming at the man to hold up his dog. The audience joins in. He finally lifts up the dog and that gets the biggest applause of the night.

A liberal complains to Evan about conservatives imposing their values. Evan asks: When have you ever seen signs for, "Marry The Woman You Impregnate: The Musical."

Rumsfeld Makes Surprise Visit To Wife's Vagina

WASHINGTON, DC—Amid rumors of sagging morale on the home front, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld greeted his wife Joyce Monday with an unanticipated visit to her vagina, according to the Pentagon.

"Despite the hurried nature of the visit, I am proud to report that my wife met and exceeded the operational standards set by the U.S. military for readiness in a two-front war," said Rumsfeld in a press conference shortly after the visit. "I am confident that she can still stand up to heavy fire and serve ably, even in a rearguard action."

The Pentagon would not confirm a rumor that President Bush is scheduled to drop in on the vagina with a holiday turkey around Christmas.

Heidi Lives Her Dreams In The United Arab Emirates

Raised a Christian, my comely young friend found peace through surrender to Islam. She writes me from the United Arab Emirates:

I want to get a job close to the Sheikh Mohommed so that he hears good things about me and maybe I can win his heart and care then he will put me under his protection and make me like a princess. If I belong to Sheikh Mohommed, then men will have to respect me and they can never treat me like the piece of meat again. These men are so great and kind that even they will take the poor woman and make her into the princess if God wills it.

Gossip As A Gauge Of A Religion's Commitment To Reality

Every religion (and every moral system) of which I am aware condemns gossip. None do it in as minute detail as Judaism.

Until recently, it was taken for granted by elevated individuals that gossip was bad.

This is nonsense. Gossip is as bad as water. Sometimes water can save a life and sometimes water can kill. The same with gossip.

Have You Heard? Gossip Turns Out to Serve a Purpose

Given this protective group function, gossiping too little may be at least as risky as gossiping too much, some psychologists say. After all, scuttlebutt is the most highly valued social currency there is. While humor and story telling can warm any occasion, a good scoop spreads through a room like an illicit and irresistible drug, passed along in nods and crooked smiles, in discreet walks out to the balcony, the corridor, the powder room.

Knowing that your boss is cheating on his wife, or that a sister-in-law has a drinking problem or a rival has benefited from a secret trust fund may be enormously important, and in many cases change a person's behavior for the better.

"We all know people who are not calibrated to the social world at all, who if they participated in gossip sessions would learn a whole lot of stuff they need to know and can't learn anywhere else, like how reliable people are, how trustworthy," said Sarah Wert, a psychologist at Yale. "Not participating in gossip at some level can be unhealthy, and abnormal."

Unless you acknowledge the powerful good that gossip can give, you are morally retarded in this moral matter. Almost all religious texts I've read about gossip, including the best (by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin), give short shrift to the moral necessity of much gossip (which at its best protects the innocent from predators). By so doing, religion ignores reality and impedes progress towards a better world.

The primary reason gossip has a bad name (in secular or religious life) is that the benefits of gossip are diffused among many people (though they are better informed they have little incentive to speak up for the value of gossip) while the price of gossip is concentrated on individual subjects who have a huge incentive to tamp down gossip.

Let me give an example. Let's suppose a rabbi is so physically affectionate (not that he's a predator) that he makes some people he hugs uncomfortable.

Gossip about this hugging rabbi protects those who would not like to hugged by the rabbi.

The rabbi could take this gossip as a form of reproof and reform his ways. But his most likely reaction would be to feel angry and protest vigorously that he's done nothing wrong, and that this gossip is evil because it humiliates him unnecessarily.

'I Really Think He Loves Me'

A woman tells me about this guy she's interested in: "He's just afraid to admit it. He's been hurt before."

Maybe he's just not that into you.

Big Fat Liars: How Politicians, Corporations, and the Media use Science and Statistics To Manipulate the Public

Dennis Prager on his radio show interviews author Dr. Morris Chafetz: "The first call from Sarasota [where his radio show is now airing] will get a prize. Maybe a copy of Big Fat Liars. In fact, we'll send you [the author] Dr. Chafetz."

Dr Chafetz: "You're clever."

Dennis: "You crack me up."

Billionaire Steve Bing Sought A Gangster To Hurt Sean Penn?

This story should break in about a month. There's a grand jury investigation. There's a letter, purported to have come from gangster Donnie Shacks, asking Colombo family boss Carmine Junior Persico to hurt Sean Penn (whose trip to Iraq cost Bing, in Bing's opinion, a lot of money because it hurt Sean as a movie star in such as movies as Why Men Shouldn't Marry, Bing's directing debut) on behalf of Steve Bing.

Donnie Shacks with Liz Hurley. Liz, Donnie.

Facing Reality, Living Up To My Values

A few months ago, a friend got me to join MySpace. It has a feature where people can ask you to add them as a friend.

Until two weeks ago, I added everybody who wanted to be my friend. Then Cathy's 16-year old daughter Maia found my profile and asked me to add her as a friend. I did so.

Maia pointed out my profile to Cathy who then told me the plain truth about most of my MySpace "friends."

After reflecting on that for a week, I purged my friends list of people connected to unsavory things (ok, I left on Luke Y Thompson but deleted more than ten hedonists).

Now, as I go about my life, I meet nice people who do things I don't have a problem writing about as a journalist to his subject, but who I don't want to be associated with as MySpace friends. I don't want people in my sacred life surfing online on to my acquaintances whose lives are publicly unholy.

I just emailed one person who wanted to be added to my friends list:

I want to be your friend, but I don't add anyone connected to the... to my MYSPACE friends list because of kids who might see my profile, my friends and family in the real world. I used to do it but my civilian friends ridiculed me, bla bla...

As a writer, I have no problem being perfectly nice to evil people. When I'm not at work, I want to keep bad people at arm's length. Frankly, I'm highly selective about those people I will share myself with.

Everything above is a highly sanitized way of saying that most people I deal with I am emotionally distant from. And while I try to be polite to everyone, I only care to share myself with a handful of people -- Cathy, Robert, Chaim, Michael, Yechiel, Ian, Lisa, Lindsay, Billy, the Professor, Susan, Emmanuelle, Matt, Monica...

The case for hiring biased book reviewers

Jack Shafer writes:

The point of a book review isn't to review worthy books fairly, it's to publish good pieces. Better to assign a team of lively-but-conflicted writers to review a slew of rotten books than a gang of dullards to the most deserving releases of the season. British newspaper book reviews subscribe to the former ethos, often assigning books to the well-known enemies of authors, creating tension and reader interest from the get-go: Can the prejudiced reviewer write against his personal feelings to tell the truth, the readers wonder?

Tim Kenneally Vs. Bruce David

The Hustler Tattler writes:

Everyone at LFP (Larry Flynt Publications) was stunned when Bruce David fired Managing Editor Tim Kenneally from Hustler last year (everyone except for Carolyn Sinclair who claims it never happened). An extraordinarily talented writer, Tim was THE engine that drove Hustler, and the magazine has been limping along ever since his departure.

These days Tim is the editor of Men's Edge, and in the ultimate switcharoo, he has hired several writers that Bruce fired from Hustler: Dan Kapelovitz, Giddle Partridge (former Hustler freelancer), Mike Albo, and Gus Mastrapa.

The verdict? Men's Edge blows Hustler out of the water. Men's Edge has Pamela Anderson on the cover, Hustler has its typical skank who looks like she's failed a few HIV tests (we’ll never know for sure because Hustler’s head of records Sean Berrios often misplaces the results).

Tim Kenneally's editorial is funnier and far longer than the few sentences Bruce David manages to sqeak out as Larry Flynt in the Publishers Statement. It’s mind-blowing to think that Bruce once wanted to charge Larry 500 dollars a pop for a few sentences such as "I love America!" Of course, that Bruce David scheme (like all of them) crashed and burned.

The articles in Men's Edge are so glaringly above Hustler, it’s embarrassing. Kapelovitz, Albo, and Partridge wipe the floor with Hustler's staff: former Dominos pizza deliverer Carolyn Sinclair, out of work sitcom bit player Keith Valcourt, and bloated trekkie Tom Farrell.

There are no naked chicks in Men's Edge, but their scantily clad hot ones sure beat Hustler's monthly meth addicts.

The success of Men's Edge is a damning indictment of Bruce David's idiocy. What other editor on the planet would fire his best writers only to have them snatched up by a competitor and then watch them beat his ass on the newsstand?

How much longer can Larry Flynt and Donna Hahner support Bruce's incompetence? Thanks to Bruce, Larry has to pay multiple staffs, the one working for him and the ones on the unemployment line. And for all of his underachieving, Bruce actually thinks he deserves an executive position on the tenth floor at LFP. Perhaps someone should tell Bruce, “Put down the crack pipe.”

Why does Bruce still have a job at LFP? Maybe he's right when he says, "Liz Flynt keeps Larry so doped up he doesn't know what's going on."

The Luke Ford Story™ (Part Four)

From The Luke Ford Fan Blog:

Cathy and Cecile are proponents of the quality of life, rather than culture of life, argument. They contend that a life without Cathy's World and Sky Watching My World is a life not worth living. Perhaps. They do seem to have been vindicated in the Terri Schiavo case. But not here, because a few weeks later a television in the hospice was tuned to a channel showing Entertainment Tonight. Luke Ford shot out of his bed like a rocket, rushing toward the television screaming: "ME! ME! ME! ME! It's ME on the telly!"

And so it was. ET was repeating a programme featuring Horrid Boy discussing his scholarly monograph on the history of.... Hospice staff, with tears of joy in there eyes, gathered around Mr Ford saying "You're awake! It's a miracle! There is a G-d, after all!"

When the television programme ended, Mr Ford collapsed to the floor. Fortunately, his team of psychiatrists knew exactly what to do. In place of a feeding machine, Mr Ford was hooked up to a television with a built-in VCR that showed his various television appearances in a continuous loop. With Luke Ford's energy-level artificially restored, it was time for an intervention.

How Luke Became A Moral Leader

When I look back upon my life
It's always with a sense of shame
I've always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too

It's a, it's a, it's a, it's a sin It's a sin
Everything I've ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I've ever been
Everywhere I'm going to It's a sin

At school they taught me how to be
So pure in thought and word and deed
They didn't quite succeed

Father, forgive me, I tried not to do it
Turned over a new leaf, then tore right through it

I confess to almighty God,
And to you my brothers,
That I have sinned exceedingly
In thought, word, act and omission,
Through my fault, through my fault,
Through my most grievous fault

The intriguing story of how an Orthodox Jew met a stripper-turned-born-again-Christian-now-running-an-outreach-to-fallen-women.

It seemed like just yesterday (let's say it was year 2000) he was talking on the phone with Grace. He thought she'd be an amusing story but quickly the servant of his journalistic ambitions became his moral master. And to think she believed in that man.

Grace: "So you wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant?"

Luke: "A kosher restaurant. I'm an Orthodox Jew."

Grace: "I read the Old Testament. We can get into it. We can see how much of the Old Testament are you really following. You might not be eating pigs, but I'm sure you might be doing some other things that they say no, no, no.

"You'll have to order for me because I really don't know too much about that. I will eat anything.

"If I can get you following your religion, I'll be happy."

Luke: "So you used to be a dancer?"

Grace: "Yes. And other mild things."

Luke: "Did you do movies?"

Grace: "Yes, but more like fetish and stuff. You can try to dig it up, but I won't share. I know you'll try to dig it up and get all kinds of funky pictures of me. You'll be emailing my church pictures.

"I got pregnant my senior year in highschool and had a son.

"I started out as go-go dancer. Then a bikini dancer. Then everything [she got breast implants]. My personal life was more crazy than the life I lived in the industry. I didn't want to mix my job and pleasure. On the job, I was very money focused. Dancing in Las Vegas at the Olympia Gardens, I made $500-$1500 a night. I only worked two nights a week. But I didn't save my money. I constantly spent it to try to pay for my happiness. Everybody gets into that when you're doing something you don't like to do."

Heather turned her life around in 1999 and got married. "My husband was just like me. We both changed our lives at the same time. He was my hairdresser. I had so much dysfunction with the way I interacted with men, I almost made him one of the girls. My husband is very metrosexual."

"We go to strip clubs and witness to strippers. My main goal of the ministry is that there's nothing they've done in their life that God won't forgive them for. I had a girlfriend die two years ago from alcohol. She was a dancer. She was angry. She was bitter. She never had a chance to know that what she's done in her life can be forgiven.

"After she died, I realized I had created this perfect Christian world for myself. I only had Christian friends. I only did Christian things. People are out there and they're dying. If I hadn't been in my bubble, I might've been able to help her.

"It's so hard for people with a past to go to church without the church judging them and being mean to them.

"The ministry is about teaching churches not to be judgmental. Our church has made a commitment to not judge people who come through the door -- not on the way they dress, not on how they look, and not on their past. There are people who would like to go to church and would like to talk to God, but feel like they've done too much. My main goal is to let them know that they have not done too much. That our God is a forgiving God. We're just supposed to be messengers to let them know that God loves them.

"We want to have porn stars and strippers come to our church. How do you do an ad for that?

"Now, how are you involved in all this?"

Luke: "I'm a journalist. I've written a couple of books on the industry."

Grace: "What got you interested in this?"

Luke: "The typical reasons that you would expect from a man. Also, I thought I could blaze journalistic new ground."

Grace: "Do you think they need a ministry like this for them?"

Luke: "Yes. But I'm not an advocate. I'm just a journalist."

Grace: "But personally?"

Luke: "Yes."

Grace: "I'm hoping to develop relationships with people like you and with people who are more imbedded in the industry and to help them if they want help.

"I went to this porn convention, Erotica LA, and everybody thinks that I'm a porn star. Primarily our outreach is towards women in the industry. But because I get so much attention from the men, I'm definitely going to address them.

"I was dressed like a normal girl, but everywhere I went, I had lines of guys behind me to take pictures with me. I took pictures with everybody who wanted one. Over 100 in an hour. I also told them why I was there. They'd come up to me and say, 'You're my favorite girl here.' You don't know what you just walked into. I was the queen buzz-killer of the day.

"We had guys taking pictures of our feet. We had guys who wanted us to put stuff on our feet. No.

"I had porn directors talking to me, wanting to get me into the industry, until they found out why I was there. This one porn guy was like, 'Did you know that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes?' I go, 'Yeah. You know why I'm here.'

"I was scared going in there. I thought everyone was going to hate me. It was the exact opposite. I thought, 'Man, I'm a star.'

"A lot of them were polite. When they asked for my picture, they were polite. They weren't inappropriate. They didn't try to grope me. I anticipate that people are going to mess with me. That's why I was shocked when it didn't happen. I'm a thick-skinned girl. Say somebody grabs me, I'm not going to want that, but I'm not going to run off crying."

Luke: "Strippers know how to handle themselves. Customers aren't allowed to touch them."

Grace: "That is so true. As a stripper, I know how to move and grab their hands. You know how not to get touched. All of the past has helped me to reach out better. I do know that there were parts of dancing that were exciting, but there were hours and hours that were not good. Having people say things to you that hurt your feelings, having people judge you on the way you look every day... A girl would go on stage and then another girl would get up and everybody would stand up and move away. That would hurt.

"I know that New Year's Eve was horrible. Everybody [the strippers] were crying and suicidal. Because we were spending one more year there.

"I know that one of my biggest fears about becoming a Christian was that I would need to go put on a mumu (a big dress down to the ankles) and some berets in my hair and rub the make-up off. That scared me. Until then, I had only judged myself on looks."

Grace works as a hairdresser.

Grace got Bill Day to go to church with her, but not by choice. He came to film her. "I tried to talk Jimmy into going to church with me but he kept coming up with these crazy scenarios. That I wear a Bad Girls t-shirt with no bra, and a collar and leash. I said no. I said I'd wear a Bad Girls t-shirt and he could wear his Bad Girls trainer t-shirt. That's just lettering. Yeah, people would look at me, but that would be practice for the church in being non-judgmental."

Grace: "So how do Jews get forgiven now that there are no longer sacrifices?"

Luke: "If it is a sin between man and God, then the same as you. You go to God for forgiveness. If it is a sin between me and someone else, I have to go to that person for forgiveness and then to God."

Grace: "What about repentance? What are you doing about that, Luke? That's your hard point. Repentance is stopping, turning around, and going in the other direction."

Luke: "Exactly."

Grace: "Can you find another profession? Or is this something you feel like you couldn't give up. You believe in the same God that I believe in. I know that you don't believe that Jesus came and he's the Son of God. I didn't know at what point you are in your life. If you are at a stage where you are going to make a change. Would you say that you are trying to leave?"

Luke: "Yes. I'd prefer to do just honorable work."

Grace: "But you still have relationships with people in...?"

Luke: "Yes. I'll maintain some friendships."

Grace: "I believe in keeping your friends, particularly if you make a life change, because then you can help them make a life change. It's important that you don't leave them as I did.

"These other things that you work on. Would you be able to make enough money to support yourself?"

Luke: "Not at the moment."

Grace: "Do you think people in your [community] would be willing to help you if you confessed that you needed help?"

Luke, after a long pause: "Very possibly."

Grace: "Are you at a point where you don't want to do that because you don't want to give up yet? Do you think they'd have connections that would help you make a better living in a better world?"

Luke: "Possibly. But I'd find it very humiliating."

Grace: "This needs to be brought to light more. You're not alone. The addiction thing is bad. Now that you've been around it for so long, do you have the same level of temptation towards it?"

Luke: "No. I'm not into that stuff."

Grace: "So it is more like a trap, a financial trap."

Luke: "Right."

Grace: "I'm going to pray for you, Luke. I'm going to pray that more doors open, especially as you don't like where you're at."

Luke: "I don't."

Grace: "I know that God has things planned for you and that you want to be on a different road and that you feel like you can't. It's a bad place to be in."

Luke: "It's so humiliating socially."

Grace: "That's my goal for these girls. Just like you feel humiliated to tell your [community]. These girls feel too humiliated to go to church. My goal is to take that humiliation. So that they know there's a group waiting for them who knows that they have this in their life, currently in their life, and wants to help you. I want girls not to be embarrassed to come to us because I believe in a God who created the universe. I know that God can help them right where they're at and He can help you too.

"God wants to use this experience you've had. He's not thinking, Luke, I want you to hide this past. He wants you to use what you know and turn things around.

"I'm hoping you can reach a point where you can turn things around and let people know that this is a serious problem so that the next guy who comes in isn't ashamed like you are.

"I'm just happy that you know God. He's going to be working on you. He'll keep your life in conflict until you go His way. Then things will get better. You are going to have to surrender, come clean, and go from there.

"When I was feeling humiliated at church, I thought, this is wrong. Why should I be judged differently from others? You might think that this is wrong, and you might start making a change in your [community]. You might let people see that you're a sinner the same as anybody else, and you could work towards making changes. Look at how our culture is going. And if our churches don't realize... I'm on MySpace. This is a nasty little place.

"I told my son, I have some disappointing news for you because your friends must think I'm hot. Look at all these kids emailing me. My son is so disgusted at men looking at me in the car and stuff. I say, I can't help it. I'm hot.

"That's what I say just to mess with him because boys don't want to hear that about their moms. My son is the biggest prude in the world.

"My four-year-old daughter is erotic dancing all over the room. It's so embarrassing. She's crazy. She has unbelievable confidence. It look so bad to have this out of control daughter. It's like I gave birth to myself.

"I have some amazing plans for the convention. Maybe by then you'll be fully converted. You can help out at our booth."

Luke: "I'm more a guy who stands back and observes."

Grace: "Come on Luke. Maybe you can be our male bodyguard. Our church will not send in men. They think it is too much temptation. Maybe you can protect us. You'll be working for the Lord. Since you've seen enough of it, you're not going to be enticed. I've found your calling."

Luke: "I'm skinny."

Grace: "Skinny is ok. You could just say, 'I'm Luke Ford. If you want me to write something bad about you, I will. But don't make me do that.'"

Luke: "I could do that."

Grace: "Come on Luke. You've got to help your Christian sisters out."

JC's Girls

"They remind me of Charlie's Angels, but they are for real! They're fighting false glamour with spiritual beauty." Bill Day, Documentary Filmmaker

Jenna Jameson: Worthy of Literary Acclaim

Joel Saxton writes:

When I think of the great literary figures of our time, I think of Hemingway, Steinbeck, and now, of course, Jameson. This may sound rather unbelievable, but you will believe it once you begin turning the pages of this deep and astoundingly intelligent opus. To be sure, HTMLLAPS is worthy of literary acclaim. As many artistic critics have already noted, Jameson's on-screen improvisational skills rivaled that of the great jazz musicians of the 20th century. Her sense of nuance, ebb, flow, and rhythm are uncanny and clearly god-given. Incredibly, the same holds true with her writing skills. Featuring page after page of erudite revelations, HTMLLAPS's profundity approaches Nietzschean proportions, and is a welcome and refreshing change from the poor taste and decaying aesthetic standards of today's literary world.

Cathy Seipp: 'You Missed The Jewish Angle!'

Cathy writes me:

Your stalkee Amy Klein of the Jewish Journal was there, waiting to talk to Paul Feig as I was standing next to him, and she asked me, "Are you his publicist?"

"No," I said somewhat irritably. "Why?"

She said because she was thinking of doing an article about him for the Jewish Journal, and wanted to find out if he was Jewish, but it seemed an awkward question to ask him directly.

I said that I assumed his father's family was originally Jewish but had converted to Christian Science. But I hadn't ever asked him about it -- it was just something I assumed. And that she should just go ahead and ask him directly, which she did. And as usual, it turned out that I was 100% right.

These are the sorts of things you just naturally know when you are born to the tribe.

Now that you mention, there did seem to be a distinctly Zionistic angle to Paul's book.

Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin

I arrive before 7pm for Wednesday night's LA Press Club party for author Paul Feig's new book.

I tell my friend Cathy Seipp: "Since I've met you, I'm seeing things I've never noticed before."

Cathy: "Like what?"

Luke: "Stop signs."

Cathy: "Where did that come from?"

Luke: "Naked Gun."

I thought my memoir, XXX-Communicated, was excruciatingly embarrassing but Feig put me to shame. He says he's slept with only three women (and not because he's religious) in his life (the average is six according to the 1994 University of Chicago study), that his first source of auto-erotic fervor was W magazine, and that he thought the place where he was supposed to insert himself into a woman was slightly below the navel.

Joe writes:

Well, I’ve only been with one, and my first source was a Jacuzzi catalogue. Does that win? Well, except for the navel thing.

I don’t know if XXX-C was embarrassing—it was very, almost brutally, honest. I remember after reading it that I was all worried about you, but then you were kinda like ‘It’s cool, man. I’m settled.’ Actually, you were a little grumpy about it maybe, probably because applying something 4 years ago to you now wasn’t spectacular logic. But anyway, it wasn’t that long ago and you were there. All I was trying to say was I’d say it was more harrowing or disturbing than embarrassing, I think. But that’s just me.

A lot of people were curious about the reaction of Feig's wife to the reading. I think she was embarrassed.

I hear comedian Dave Chappelle might pull a Marlene Dietrich and withdraw from public life. He's not only stopped communicating with Comedy Central but also with his agents. He's financially set for life.

Retired journalist Anita Busch is desperately hoping for a conviction of Anthony Pellicano for harassing her. That way she can sue SBC (for allowing her phone to be tapped) and the LAPD (a rogue officer gave up her private info) and probably get at least a million dollar settlement from each organization.

Cathy's 16-year old daughter Maia Lazar has the default facial position of sullen, just like Cathy did at her age.

Cathy's friend Lewis Fein didn't make the party because he was feeling too sulky and depressed. It's the affliction of the brilliant who see through the chimeras of our capitalist nation to the desperate heart of things.

Jack Nicholson

That's the subject of Dennis McDougal's next book.

American Reform Judaism By Dana Evan Kaplan

I've read 115 pages of this 2003 book. A couple of things grabbed my attention.

* For all its universalist rhetoric, Reform Judaism has long been as uninterested in making converts of Gentiles as any other form of Judaism. I remember in my first explorations of Judaism in the early 90s, one Reform temple secretary told me it was an ethnic club.

Yaakov Ariel writes... that there was an "astonishing gap" between the ideals of the Reform movement as expressed by its rabbinic leaders [Isaac Meyer Wise said Reform Judaism would become America's primary religion], and the attitudes held by the vast majority of members in the congregations: "The Reform movement held a character almost diametrically opposed to its universalistic aspirations. As an ethnically oriented, parochial, and tribal group, Reform Jews were concerned with Jewish matters...

An example of this startling descrepancy between Reform theological posturing and actual congregational behavior can be seen in a series of letters written by W.E. Todd of Tappahannock, Virginia, to Rabbi Edward Calisch of Richmond in 1896. Todd expresses interest in converting to Judaism and studying at HUV for the Reform rabbinate. Calisch asks a number of prominent figures in the national Reform movement, including Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch and Bernhard Bettmann, president of the Board of Governors of HUC [Hebrew Union College, the American Reform seminary], for direction. Despite their universalistic rhetoric that advocated proselytization and invited non-Jews to join the synagogue, they uniformly responded negatively to Todd'srequest. Hirsch told Calisch: "My advice to your friend would be to the Unitarian or Liberal Christian ministry...[because] it will be impossible for him to procure a position in a Jewish congregation... Theory in our congregations is, as you will know, one thing, practice another. We are liberals, until a non-Jew believes us to be in earnest." (page 17)

I remember a Gentile I was dating telling me I was not a real Jew because I had not argued, as had two of her previous Jewish boyfriends, that the Romans killed Jesus, not the Jews.

* Dana writes why Reform Judaism has had such little success outside of America:

Americans take pride in being pragmatic and want to connect ideals to reality to avoid hypocrisy. Optimists by nature, Americans are convinced that abstract ideals and concrete reality can be synthesized successfully. ...[P]eople in most of the rest of the world are more pessimistic about human nature and have lower expectations of reality. Therefore, they see it as natural to believe that ideals will differ from how life is actually lived.

This general attitude carries over to the religious sphere. Many non-Americans consider it perfectly proper to view a strict form of religion as the ideal, even if they fall far short of its standards and may have no intention of becoming more devout. The public recognition of these standards provides them and their children with an ideal to which they can aspire, a public standard for behavior, and the norm for communal events. Orthodoxy thus should be and must remain the public standard for Jewish attitudes and behavior, althought this conviction does not obligate them to personally believe in or practice such a Judaism. (page 115)

The Girls Next Door

Ray Richmond writes in the Hollywood Reporter:

What's potentially most interesting here is what isn't shown or discussed -- namely, what their true physical relationship is with Hefner and whether this really is the big happy family they all claim it to be. Chinks already are showing in the armor by the end of the opener when Holly, who is Hefner's acknowledged No. 1, admits, "Well, I'm a people person, so I like having Bridget and Kendra around, but I'd rather have Hef to myself." There isn't much outward affection seen on camera between the women and Hefner, as if he's most interested in the women as Barbie doll-resembling trophies than anything akin to true mates. If that's the reality of mansion life, then give us back the fantasy, please.

Air Supply Rocks

I caught Firefall and Air Supply at Humphreys on the San Diego bay.

The crowd's average age was about 45 and there was an equal ratio of men to women. The place was 70% full for Firefall (went on at 7:05pm) and 100% full for Air Supply (went on at 8:30m and played until 10:20pm).

"I always wondered what kind of people go to concerts at Humphreys," says my buddy KB. "Now I know."

I call him Monday afternoon.

KB: "You're the only person I know who'd go see Air Supply."

Luke: "The place was packed. People were going crazy."

KB: "I bet you didn't smell one person burning a joint anywhere at an Air Supply concert."

Luke: "Of course not. It was awesome."

KB: "You drove back the same night?"

Luke: "Yeah."

KB: "That's a long day."

Luke: "Air Supply was great. Girls were going wild, waving their hands up in the air.

"It was the most fun I've had. Let's keep talking about Air Supply. These guys were jumping around on the stage. Graham Russell, the tall blonde guy, was jumping up and down making fancy moves with his guitar. Russell Hitchcock was grabbing his mic stand and twirling it in the air and around the stage. [Not bad for a couple of geezers in their mid-50s]. For one of their songs, they came down and walked around the audience while they sang. Everyone was touching them and crying."

I sat next to Air Supply publicist Guy McCain Sunday night.



(Wireless Flash) -- If you're looking for a hot summer romance, don't go to the internet, check out an Air Supply concert. That's the word from the soft rock group's lead singer, Russell Hitchcock, who says he's astounded by how many couples tell him they met at an Air Supply show.

Considering the band is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, that's a lot of couples; especially because women make up the majority of the audience.

Hitchcock figures the reason is simple: "The content of the songs draws people in a romantic frame of mind -- softies."

There must be a lot more softies these days because Hitchcock and his partner, Graham Russell, are attracting a wider audience to shows than in recent years. In fact, Hitchcock recently met a Hell's Angel who told him, "My wife and I got married to `Every Woman In The World.'" Hitchcock's response: "Thanks. Would you like my wallet as well?"

Folks who are "All Out Of Love" will have a chance to up their Air Supply because the band just released a new CD-DVD, "It Was 30 Years Ago Today."

Air Supply Rocks Baghdad

Ahmad from Baghdad writes me:

hi pal i found your blog accidantly ,its amazing how two different people can have such similarties in their thinking. i am a devoted air supply fan who lives in the other side of the world , in the most dangerous place to live in: baghdad. am an iraqi gemini and a writer too althogh my official job is a dentist.i liked your blog and i have to admit that air supply meant a lot to me as teen ager,they guided my steps through maturation thanks a lot pal for your creative thoghts.

Hugh Hefner's Girlfriends

About Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, he dumped all but three last summer. The ones that were let go last year were Sheila Levell, Lana Kinnear, Cristal Camden (although she did accompany Hef and current girlfriends to this year's Super Bowl activities in Florida) and Zoe Gregory Paul. After Holly Madison, Zoe had been there the second longest. Holly joined the girlfriend group towards the end of 2001. Sandee Westgate was also briefly a part of the girlfriend posse but didn't last too long.

I've been told that being in the group was similar to a beauty version of Survivor. Think sabotage like Nair in your shampoo or nasty rumors being spread. Zoe was always on Hef's right for photos and even when sitting; I saw her hustle Bridget Marquardt out of seat to Hef's right during the Playboy special that ran on A&E last summer. Bridget looked taken aback, but Zoe had an arrogant self satisfied smile on her face after it was done. Bridget was a cyber girl of the week. Cristal was on the Playboy Xtreme team, but never made it into any Playboy publications or even the website. Zoe was in numerous Playboy Special Editions.

Lana Kinnear and Sheila Levell were both cyber girls of the week. Holly was a cyber girl of the week, but her layout was pulled two days after it was posted because she was up for a Hollywood movie role and having publicly done nudity would have affected her chances of getting the role. Holly used to post on the Playboy message boards and so did Bridget, but they've stopped.

Here are Hefner's other girlfriends:

Tiffany Holliday (Playboy Cyber Girl of the Week)
Stacy Burke (appeared in a Special Edition, I think)
Renee Sloan (owns and designs a lingerie line)
Christie Shake (Miss May 2000)
Charis Boyle (Miss February 2003 - supposedly comes from a very wealthy East coast family with Washington ties)
Katie Lohmann (Miss February 2002 ?)
Stephanie Heinrich (first ever cyber girl and Miss October 2001)
Bentley Twins (Playboy cover girls)
Brande Roderick (Playmate of the Month and Playmate of the Year)
Jessica Paisley (reviled on a popular Playboy mailing list as Hef's only girlfriend that no amount of plastic surgery could turn into a Playmate)
Buffy Tyler (who said on Howard Stern that she was asked to leave the mansion for disobeying Hef - Miss November 2000, I have seen footage from that era of her and Hef and she seemed a special favorite)
Tina Jordan (lived at the mansion with her kid and Hef paid for the nanny - Miss March 2002)
Teri Harrison (Miss October 2002 and the last Playmate to have the cover of her centerfold issue)

The girls get $1,000 a week, free room and board, free maid service, free dry cleaning, free healthcare, and a shopping allowance. They have a strict curfew and if they are not back on time, they are locked out of the mansion. The girls are expected to spend holidays with Hef. There are planned outings every week and the girls have to attend. Every Thursday and Saturday night, the gang goes out on the town (Hef has to approve of their outfits before they leave the mansion.) and the girls either come back drunk or high on Esctacy.

Once home, they either have to have sex with Hef or with each other (even if they aren't attracted to each other). Finally, they can't have other boyfriends besides Hef.

You won't see any more girlfriends as Playmates, because Hef didn't like the way that the ones who had the honor bestowed upon them discarded him immediately after their centerfolds ran. Allegedly, Brande Roderick was promised 2001 Playmate of the Year even before it was announced that she'd be a Playmate. It has often been rumored most frequently that Shannon Stewart won the Playmate of the Year vote that year, with Brooke Berry in second place; Brande was much further behind, not even in the top five for the honor. Jillian Grace, Miss March 2005, was gifted her title as part of a publicity deal that Playboy made with the Howard Stern Show.

There was nothing accidental about Howard 'discovering' Jillian Grace and her becoming a Playmate. It was revealed on the Playboy boards by Miss October 2003, Audra Lynn (I've also heard that she was promised a Playmate spot shortly after she was discovered by Playboy scouts).

I don't like the idea of the Playboy reality show. Its not a good idea to allow daylight in upon magic. They need to maintain the Playboy mystique because that is a big part of the brand.

My Work Is Not to Blame for Jew-Haters

Bernard Goldberg writes in the Jewish Journal:

I don’t have a clue as to how many Jews are mentioned in my book. I never thought about who was Jewish (or any other religion). It never occurred to me to count people by their religion. It’s my friends on the left who love to put people in groups and count them up like so many beans. Liberals love diversity — just not the intellectual kind.

Let’s acknowledge that Eshman was trying to make a serious point: That I’m giving ammunition to lunatics who hate Jews. If my book contributes to their dark fantasies about Jewish control of America and the world, I’m sorry. But what should I do? Stop commenting on successful, prominent people in our culture — who happen to be Jewish?

That’s a very illiberal road to travel. Are liberals who protested the war in Vietnam responsible for Pol Pot’s killing fields, which happened only after American troops pulled out of Southeast Asia — thanks in large part to the anti-war protesters? Are liberals who supported civil rights in the 1960s responsible for anti-Semitism among some blacks today?

The Empire Strikes Back

Lewis Perdue writes:

Random House scored one today in their attempt to deny a trial for the truth behind Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code copyright copycat caper. Judge George Daniels sided with the world's largest publishing conglomerate and issued a decision that would keep the Da Vinci Cover-Up complete.

Book Sales For June

The Producers: 1

The Cryptkeeper in PJs

Cathy Seipp writes:

Remember Hugh Hefner's last set of multiple girlfriends? Handie, Mandie, Brandie, Randie and Post-Priandie, I think they were called. They've been replaced by a new shift of just three: Holly, Bridget and Kendra. You can meet them all in "The Girls Next Door," a new E! reality series that premieres Sunday, and...oh, just let the E! press release tell you, because I really can't top it:

Discover the playful adventures of "The Girls Next Door" -- from planning naughty birthday parties to entertaining prospective Playmates. See the drama of their daily lives. It's not all red carpets, limo rides and celebrity partying; the girls live by Hef's rules, which include a strict curfew to be home by sundown, unless he's with them, of course!

Attack On Blogs

Gram writes: Here is an attack on bloggerdom from a Des Moines sportswriter. I think you'll find it funny that she name-drops people no one has ever heard of.