Monday, October 24, 2005
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Naked Ambition: My Tom Sizemore Interview
I was at Hustler Hollywood Thursday night (Oct 20) for a "Naked Ambition" book reading.
Gail Harris rescues me two-thirds of the way through the reading. She invites me to take some photos of Tom.
Tom turns out to be Tom Sizemore. He's standing with Jason Tucker, his manager. We're joined by Gail and Aly.
Tom says he spent $234,000 at Hustler Hollywood last year.
I take some photos of him. He asks me to play them back on my camera and he has me delete a couple he doesn't like.
Luke: "How has this [porn] tape affected your life?"
Tom: "Hmm. The fortunate thing..."
Tom turns to Aly Drummond. "How would you say this without being crude?"
Aly: "You can be crude to Luke."
Tom: "Could you do this for me?"
Aly: "Sure. It makes him really popular with the ladies."
Aly: "He has a massive penis. A big cock."
Tom: "Anyways, it can't be bad for me. Can it?"
Luke: "Have you lost any friends over it?"
Aly: "It depends on one's definition of friend."
Tom laughs. "It really does depend on one's definition of friend. I've gained a lot of friends. I've gained a lot of ends too."
Aly: "A lot of girls want to be friends all of a sudden."
Tom: "I like girls a lot. They're pretty. Cute. They smell good. I don't want to hang out with anyone with a dick anyway. I've got a dick."
Luke: "What kind of frame of mind were you in when you were doing all these?"
Tom: "Ecstatic. Curious. Put under that.
"I was also trying to figure out people's names. Just kidding.
"They were lovely girls. I knew these girls real well. I lived with them. In all seriousness. It's just one night. I was going through a lot of hell with these court cases.
"And by the way... I don't want to spring it on the world. I'm not gonna. Things are going much better.
"Three of the girls in there had lived with me for two years. It wasn't as if it was some type of carnal experience. These were girls I had relationships with in, what do you call that?, an experimental type of situation. It came to an end. It had to because I fell in love with somebody. At the time, it was a lot of fun."
Luke: "How have your peers in Hollywood reacted to you about this [porn tape]?"
Tom: "I don't, frankly, give a f---. But they all like it. In all seriousness."
Jason Tucker: "We had one director call up. He was concerned about it. He made his way watch the video. She came out with a big smile and it was fine."
Tom: "That's exactly true. He was kinda concerned. Then she came out with a big smile and f----- the s--- out of him and he hired me. That's a true story. You keep saying right, right, right, and I'm telling you the truth. I'm doing two big movies right away. And I'm doing a show with VH1. It hasn't affected my career at all.
"Do you know what affected my career? That stupid f---ing bitch [Heidi] Fleiss. She affected my career. And she couldn't even f--- worth a s---. And not the one you're thinking of. Not Heidi Fleiss. Heidi Nice. I can't help it. What's her name? Heidi Ice?
Luke: "What caused you to?"
Tom: "Go with Heidi? Everything that was behind her. Not her ass.
"I love Heidi. I think. I was very lonely when I met Heidi. It was a bad time in my life. I had a really nice time with her. I didn't think it was that acrimonious a separation. She obviously thought it was that acrimonious separation. She was extremely vindictive. Goddamnit, Jason, tell him what's going on."
Jason: "We just found out today that the writ of Habeas Corpus was signed off on and in 45-days, the time of the hearing, everything is going to be reversed."
Tom: "Absolutely reversed."
Jason: "He's going to be found innocent [of charges he beat Heidi]."
Tom: "I don't know if you know what a writ of Habeas Corpus is?"
Luke: "You have to be read the charges against you."
Tom: "It's a pre-appeal. That's the Miranda rights. Your attorney, if he does an appeal, brings out points in things you've been convicted of, that he takes issues with, and brings in facts. A witness, a plastic surgeon, was missed by my other attorney. The judge wrote that if you can produce this plastic surgeon, then I will reverse the conviction on this. Well, we have produced these people and he has decided to..."
Jason: "Reverse the conviction."
Tom: "Period. The end. We're very excited about that. It's official. It's not going to be publicly official for 45-60 days, which will then mean this: 'I didn't do anything wrong.'"
Tom: "Hang on a second. This is very important. Don't interrupt me. This means she fabricated evidence. Which means she committed perjury. Now perjury is the most important law in the goddamned country. The oath goes like this, 'I solemnly swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.'
"If you are allowed to say that and then get up on that stand and tell anything but the truth and bulls--- and lie and fabricate and all that s---, then the whole goddamn system falls in on itself and the building falls down and we should go home.
"Our whole criminal justice system is built upon one principle -- that you tell the truth. We have proven and it will become public, and it will become public in a big f---ing way, that this bitch lied.
"What did she do to me? I lost $14 million. I lost my house. My siblings had to drop out of college. I was homeless. I was living in a garage where the former tenant was a car. I made it livable. All because of three letters and three words: '9-1-1. He hit me.'
"Fourteen months ago, I never seen that bag of bones bitch. A. B. No hospital visits. No one ever saw anything. No one ever heard anything. No family member said she ever complained about anything. Absolutely no evidence and an overzealous prosecutor who's stupider than an average cocksucker, I've heard.
"I didn't do it. It will be publicly announced I didn't do it. Well, where's all my s---? And where's the three years and six months of f---ing mental torture they put me through.
"When I was arrested, I was making a quarter-of-a-million dollars a week on [the TV show] Robbery Homicide Division. I worked my ass off to get there. I was getting five million dollars for a f---ing movie. Those days were over for a while but they're coming back. And you know why? Because I want them to. I decide when it's over.
"If it were true, all they had to do was produce Tara Dabrizi, the woman Heidi Fleiss claimed too the photograph of her on April 13, 2003, when she claimed that on April 9th, I did these things to her. There were three other times when she claimed I did things to her, things I was found not guilty of.
"They can't produce Tara Dabrizi because she doesn't exist. I spent $1.7 million looking for this woman. There isn't one. Then I took the photograph they used at trial and guess what? It's not an original.
"It took me three years and change to undo what took her ten seconds to do to me.
"Who is accountable for what happened to me? Obviously she's part of it. But isn't it the authorities? Isn't it their due diligence?
"Why she did this to me was that porno. Not that porno, but my lifestyle. It was a lifestyle I had before I met her. It was a lifestyle I had after I met her. She, like a lot of people in life, men and women, meet someone, they fall for them, and they go, 'I'm going to make this person change.'"
Aly blows her nose.
Tom: "God darn it, what are you doing?
"These are my pals. Is there something stupid you wanted to say? Is that why you dropped in?
"When that person doesn't change for them, even though I was extremely fond of [Heidi Fleiss], I was straight up with her. I don't lie about sex. I used to. I'm being straight up with you. I used to say, 'I'm going to be this. I'm going to be faithful.' I never said that [to Heidi].
"When things became a little goofy in the relationship, and things became unpleasant, and we were having problems, I've learned from having been married, I'm 42, I'm not a child, that when things start to go wrong, there's a period when you can try to fix it, but you know what I mean, when things are not working, you should get out of it. Both parties should get out of it because you are wasting each other's time. You're just going to cause each other pain. And you may really love the other person but this doesn't work. It's a completely saddening situation. That was the situation with Heidi and me.
"So I said, 'You know what? It's over.' I don't think she was used to that.
"Think about her boyfriends. Ivan Nagy. He's 35-years older than her. Bernie Cornfeld, the first boyfriend. He was 40-years older. Then me."
Luke: "What attracted you to her in the first place?"
Tom: "I've liked her."
Luke: "What about her?"
Tom: "She's very charming. She can be very charming. I know Heidi in a way nobody else knows. Heidi and I were best friends and lovers. It was after prison, after she had been chastened by this whole horrible experience... I thought she was very harshly dealt with. I think that what the criminal justice system did to her was approximately as unfair as what they tried to do to me. But they can't do it to me, motherf---ers, because I didn't do it.
"Now Heidi did engage in certain things that should be legal. But where were the other girls? Why didn't they get in trouble? What about all the johns? Heidi didn't do it all by herself. She didn't stand by the streetcorner? She was in her house and girls called and said, 'I want to f--- for money,' and guys called and said, 'I want to pay for it.'
"Heidi was publicly excoriated and she didn't deserve it.
"When she got out of jail, I started to go around with her because she was so down. She lived with a big W on her chest. She lost three years of her life. She lost all her money. I was just trying to make her feel good. We used to go get icecream together, go for walks.
"You don't pick who you fall in love with. One day at Cherry Garcia, we were walking by Gower, and I turned to her and went, 'I love you.' She said, 'I love you too.' We were living together a month later. We had a lovely time in the beginning and then it didn't work, like a lot of relationships."
Luke: "Do you think you're attracted to people who can hurt you?"
Tom: "No, because she's the only person who has hurt me in that respect. I've been hurt in relationships before but not like that.
"I was incredibly good to her. I would never have done anything to harm her. I don't feel [negative] towards her. I don't think that what happened to me was unjust as much as a mistake. When she called and said, 'He's done X, Y, Z...' I hadn't seen her for nine months. Well, I'd seen her a couple of times in the previous months because she had threatened to do that. I had met with her and said, 'Why are you doing this? What do you want?' It wasn't money so much. She wanted me back. The one thing I couldn't give her was me."
Gail Harris comes up to Tom with Adam & Eve contract girl Austyn Moore: "You complain I never introduce you to girls. Tom, this is Austyn. Austyn, this is Tom."
Tom to Gail: "Give me a second. I'm not done here."
He turns back to me. "Once she called the police and got the ball rolling, there was no stopping it. With her or without her, they would come after me. Why? I don't know. I have my ideas. I think Robert Shaw, the prosecutor, is a C-student who wants to be on TV. He's a knucklehead. He thinks that going on TV will give his life meaning. What will give his life meaning will be to have his ass kicked for doing this to me and he has to explain to somebody why he didn't authenticate the picture.
"He thought he was going after a celebrity tough guy. I'm not a tough guy. I'm an actor. I pretend for a living. He's a halfwit."
Gail interrupts. Tom tells her to hold on a minute. Austyn's getting antsy to go.
Tom talks to her. I snap some photos.
Tom: "How old are you? Because I'm 19."
Austyn giggles: "How old do you want me to be?"
Tom returns asks me my name.
Tom looks at my pictures of him and Austyn: "I heard he was good. These are good ones, Luke."
Jason: "Luke's bookmarked. When I wake up in the morning, that's one of the places I go."
Tom: "I don't like the one where I look like I have a pair of titties. I don't need that.
"They're really good pictures, Luke. I gave you a lot on that interview."
"I don't think Heidi wanted to testify, but there were pressures from the powers that be that wanted her to testify."
Luke: "Which powers?"
Tom: "Who do you think? Shaw. The C-student. He's an average mediocre cocksucker. His IQ couldn't fit in a thimble.
"Can I get sued for that? Run that back."
Luke: "Hi Holly. Holly, do you know Tom Sizemore? Tom, do you know Holly Randall? She's the daughter of Suze Randall."
I take photos of them.
Tom: "You've got to run that back. I can't say all that s--- about Robert Shaw."
Luke: "Yes you can. It's constitutionally protected free speech."
Tom tells Holly: "He thinks I'm dumb."
Holly: "He thinks everyone's dumb. Welcome to the club."
Tom: "Welcome to the dumb club?
"Tell your mother that I am a very big fan of her's. She's wonderful."
Tom says goodbye to Holly and turns to me. "Let me hear the last part."
Luke: "It was an opinion. It can't damage you."
Tom: "Yeah, right.
"Someone call my girlfriend and tell her I'm not here.
"What the authorities do to Heidi, I don't care. I'm the one guy I know who could've endured this. They raided my house over 20 odd times with machine guns. They knocked my door down. I lost my house. I lost my money. But I'm the toughest motherf---er you're ever going to meet and that's the goddamn f---ing truth. If you punch me in the face and you're a girl, I'm going to suck your pussy."
Women Rabbis Are Wonderful
E.B. Solomont writes in the Forward: "Rebecca's maternal compassion is strong enough that by the novel's last page, she encounters God at Auschwitz and comforts him as he lays his head in her lap and cries. Stripped down to its basest level, it is an expression of feminine guidance that isn't altogether different from that of God — who is looked to in times of crisis and who may criticize, but always does so with love."
I know it’s late. I know you’re weary. I know your plans don’t include me. Still here we are, both of us lonely, longing for shelter from all that we see. Why should we worry, no one will care, girl. Look at the stars, so far away. We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow? We’ve got tonight babe. Why don’t we stay? Deep in my soul, I’ve been so lonely. All of my hopes, fading away. I’ve longed for love, like everyone else does. I know I’ll keep searching, after today.
The Right Honorable Judge Lisa Hart Cole
Since March of this year, I've been attacking Judge Cole on this site for not disclosing a conflict of interest she had when presiding over Marsha Plafkin's lawsuit against the University of Judaism (Judge Cole was friends with leaders of the UJ).
Guess which judge is presiding over my lawsuit with Jeff Wald? Lisa Hart Cole. On the one hand, it is surprising that she has not recused herself. On the other hand, it is not surprising.
Joseph Abinanti Connected To 1990 Murder Of Ex-Gangster Anthony Dilapi?
According to law enforcement, Abinanti used to hang out with Anthony Dilapi and may have helped set him up for the 1990 murder in a bid to become a made-guy in the New York Lucchese crime family.
A Detective Story Alleging Hit Men in Blue: Details of Hollywood Killing Helped Indict 2 Former NYPD Cops Long Suspected of Mob Ties (Josh Getlin, July 15, 2005, LA Times)
As misting rain fell in the late afternoon, Anthony Dilapi strolled into the darkened, underground garage of his Hollywood apartment. Suddenly a masked gunman rushed toward him and fired.
Five bullets to the face. Four to the body. The killer jumped into a waiting car and raced away. His victim died instantly. The Feb. 4, 1990, shooting never made headlines. Dilapi, 53, was listed on his death certificate as a used-car salesman.
In fact, he was a New York mobster, a member of the Lucchese crime family. He had fallen out of favor with his bosses and fled to the West Coast.
Dilapi had covered his tracks well. How did the New York Mafia find him?
Prosecutors were mystified. Their investigation hit dead ends. Then, this year, they uncovered startling evidence: The trail led to two of New York's most respected detectives.
In 1969, drug dealing, burglary, robbery and rape were soaring in New York. Muggers on the subways and in the parks terrified many; there was a widespread feeling that the city was out of control.
Nervous officials relaxed background checks and began hiring more police. Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito joined the NYPD during this time.
Alphonse “Little Al” D’Arco's is reported to be one of the shooters on the Dilapi job. Both he and his dad are in witness protection.
Joey got a visit from law enforcement in late 2004 after I published some articles about him.
It's possible that Abinanti might be charged as an accessory in the Dilapi murder.
Joseph Abinanti is probably the Mafia's most powerful man in the Valley porn industry.
He's either a made member of the Lucchese crime family or an associate.
Abinanti owns the duplication company Video Images, located at 1580 S. Stagg St in Van Nuys, 91406.
According to Alphonse “Little Al” D’Arco, the former Lucchese boss in New York from 1991-92 who then switched sides and gave evidence to the FBI, Abinanti is a Lucchese associate.
Civella reportedly told D'Arco that two of Civella's sons were "active" in the mob. The sons were in the pornography business with Lucchese family associate Joseph Abinanti , D'Arco said. The Kansas City crime family wanted to induct Abinanti as a "made" member, D'Arco said. (Kansas City Star, 7/15/92)
D'Arco gave evidence during the trial of Anthony "Tony Ripe" Civella, described by the New York mobster as the most powerful Mafia leader in Kansas City.
According to D'Arco, Civella told him that two of Civella's son were active members of the Mafia's porn trade with Abinanti. And that the Kansas City crime family wanted to induct Abinanti as a "made" member, D'Arco said.
In 1989, Teddy Snyder's VCR company owed thousands of dollars to Martin Taccetta, named in court documents and by federal prosecutors as an organized crime figure. Martin's older brother Michael ranks high amongst members of the Lucchese crime family, an Assistant District Attorney in Newark told the 8/20/89 LA Times. "Martin was his right hand man who engaged in certain activities outside of New Jersey."
Snyder's VCR was one of several companies that received about $100 thousand dollars worth of stolen videotape from Martin's company Ollinor Video. Bobby Genova, Ted's VCR partner, stamped his signature on a $2000 12/29/87 check from VCR to Marty. Former VCR salesman Joseph Abinanti handled the payroll for one of Taccetta's companies in Los Angeles. While under surveillance, Taccetta met several times with Abinanti, whose "godfather," according to law enforcement ranks near the top of the Luccheses.
Abinanti was good friends with Martin Tacetta and Peter Vario, the son of Paul Vario. Peter ran the hijacking at Kennedy airport.
Joseph Abinanti runs a duplication shop (located by the old Western Visuals) and with a guy named Trez they loanshark out money for 3-5% a week. They also offer bookmaking.
Abinanti is good friends with Lenny Montana Jr, whose father Lenny Montana Sr played Luca Brazi in the Godfather. Lenny Sr was a real hood. Lenny Jr has become a real hood. He was head of security at the House of Blues. Then he was in Las Vegas until they kicked him out. Lenny owns some restaurants. He partnered with Joey Merlino, Skinny Joey. They loaned out money to Russell Hampshire's best friend Javier, his step-son (the son of Russ's wife before Betty). Javier owned the production company Mystic.
Javier stole from Russell and people wanted to hurt Javier. And some people stepped in and Javier ended up selling the company to Michael Esposito and Tony Spasado (sp?). Big Tony was a huge drug dealer who just got out of prison after ten years.
Big Tony, a volatile Italian, used to own a restaurant in Tolucca Lake called The Money Tree. He bought it for $900,000 though on paper he only paid $100,000. Movie stars and organized crime guys used to go there. The bar has been part of the LA mob scene forever. In 1948, Jimmy Caci and Sonny machine gunned the back of the bar and the bullet holes are still there.
Big Tony was a big drug dealer with a guy called Ronnie Rome and Uncle Mike who owns an Italian restaurant on DeSoto Ave and Victory by the 7-11.
Big Tony likes to reminisce with fellow connected guys about the old days and why John Gotti killed Robert DiBernardo.
Abinanti is known to his friends as low key "Joey The Duplicator," who runs a small duplicating business. "If Joey's the Mob's big guy, Luke, why does he call people up looking for their work?" asks a friend. "Joey's a hard working great guy who duplicates videos."
Washington Times Op/Ed Editor Tony Blankley Calls For Constituational Declaration Of War Against Islamic Fascism
Blankley spoke to the Wednesday Morning Club Monday.
I sat next to the radiant Cathy Seipp, bathing in her luminosity to the depth that the Torah allows.
When I first arrived at 11:35AM at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, Cathy was not around, so I hung awkwardly around the three-man crowd surrounding Tony (author of the new book The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?). I felt like I was getting cock-blocked even though my intentions were purely platonic.
Tony finally broke through his protective wedge and introduced himself. It made me feel like I had worth.
In his speech, Blankley said he was a child actor. He and Humphrey Bogart made their last movie together in 1956 -- The Harder They Fall.
Tony (former spokesman for Newt Gingrich, he's on the libertarian end of the Republican party) called for ethnic profiling, secure borders, and biometric national ID cards.
He said we should not treat China and Russia as friends or enemies.
Fans of Luke Ford Donation Drive
From the Luke Ford Fan Blog:
Apparently after two vacations, replete with boozing and whoring, Our Moral Leader is, in his own words, "completely tapped out." I guess this means that he won't be able to pay me the $140 I'm owed for guest blogging.
Although I'm a compassionate soul, I'm not a Christian and I'm not prepared to turn the other cheek. So here is my plan. If you would like to help Mr Ford, please email me. I will give you the details of my Paypal account. Send whatever you deem appropriate -- just remember that it's for a good cause. Not only does Mr Ford require rent, food, and prescription drug money, he's also in desperate need of a tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery (and perhaps, if he continues to fail his diet, stomach stapling surgery).
The Man In The Pastel Suit
Emmanuelle Richard blogs:
On Saturday nights in Hollywood, some people go night-clubbing with Paris Hilton. Others, like me, go to seminars about the future of public television in America.
Seriously, this weekend organized by the American Cinema Foundation was very interesting, featuring its own shiny sex-symbols (such as here, our webstar Luke Ford in a pastel suit right out of Miami Vice and Cathy) and glamorous guests (Amy and Gregg.) All the debates were live-blogged at Cathy's blog by our favorite teen blogger, Maia -- the real nom-behind-the-blog of CecileDuBois.)
Next suggested debate: is Luke Ford a public service?
For The Relief Of Unbearable Urges
As a Torah Jew, I wish to live my life alone with my Torah and my Torah community (and away from America's bombardment of sexual imagery).
Saturday night at AFI, I had the most perfectly sexless evening as Cathy Seipp hosted a panel discussion on PBS. Much of the crowd was composed of men who muttered to themselves (and I'm not just talking about panelists Matt Welch and Ray Richmond). Overall, it was far more devoid of sex than Yom Kippur services, or even Friday Night Live, which featured a beautiful 20-year old South African singer Dani ululating on stage while I tried to concentrate on my book Surviving Sacrilege, which described the lengths the Jews of the Second Temple era went to fool the Roman penetrative gaze into the Holy of Holies. If only Jews today were as morally strong and creative. I go to synagogue to pray, but many of my peers only want to hook-up. Nobody talks about disrupting the penetrative gaze. No wonder the Orthodox (some shuls) put women behind a curtain.
I was in London (and one day in Paris) for two weeks and I didn't even touch a woman.
On my trip I woke up at 2:30am and found cocaine and two hookers in the living room with my drunk mates. I grabbed my wallet and passport and returned to bed and to chastity.
Kate Coe writes Cathy:
I'm horrified that Mel Stuart basically wants PBS to continue so he can sell his work. Why not just have the Feds write him a check? Why do all these geezers think they're entitled to a life-time career at public expense?
I can't believe how many of these guys (and they're all guys) think PBS should continue because they can sell shows. I think Mel just doesn't want to have to work so hard--I don't believe for a minute that IFC or Sundance or Showtime wouldn't have bought the Hobart doc. ( can't believe he mentioned Spike)--he just wants to pick up a phone and talk to a buddy. That's understandable, but I'm not so sure that our tax dollars are supposed to pay for cronyism.
The old geezer with the nosehairs glared at me when I dared to interrupt his lecture (I call it a high-involvement conversational style, but I know it's considered rude, esp. by men). He told me that "no one can make a living selling docs. to HBO" and I said maybe that's a good thing. I'm not so sure that Ken Burns should have PBS tenure. Lyn Goldfarb is bad enough.
I see many Muslim women in burkas in London, but no homeless and few beggars (and they're not pushy). I carefully stayed in the good parts of town. You can go down a street and one side is a good area and one side is a bad area (sounds like Robertson Blvd in LA).
It's weird to be in a city with no Martin Luther King Blvd to get your bearings.
Every time I ask for directions, people are polite and point me in the right way.
The kids are adorable in their school uniforms.
The city seems clean and efficient under its leftist mayor Ken Livingstone (no friend to the Jewish community).
I feel an overwhelming desire to act out Monty Python routines but never even get the chance to say, "Lovely plumage." I call people "mate" a lot, but never "guvner" nor "my lady."
I try to book a train to Edinborough. The clerk asks me, "Why are you going to Edinborough?" I say, "I don't know. It seemed like the thing to do." He says there are more interesting things to see closer to London. "It's like being in Sydney and wanting to visit Brisbane."
I don't go to Edinborough.
Kate Fox writes in her book Watching the English: "The lower ranks may drop their consonants, but the upper class are equally guilty of dropping their vowels."
A taxi driver and a clerk tried to rip me off in France. There's no place to sit down in the train station except for the restaurants.
Playwright Tom Stoppard stays in the same apartment complex as I do in London. His wife chucked him out.
Words Of Wisdom
Chris London writes:
My theory, or every man's theory, every chick that would diss you eventually comes around, due to a variety of factors, age, timing, circumstances etc. Women are never happy. You...em right, they wish you had more money...you have money, they wish you were more considerate...you work too hard they wish you spend more time with them, you spend time with them they ask why your career is not more important and that you are not more driven or making more money or otherwise more successful. You are more successful and cannot spend as much time with them, they cheat on you. I have been all of those things.
No matter what you give em, they want something else, which is why as you evolve as man you do not make their concerns so important anymore and then that is how it works best. They want to be able to complain about something so let em. That is why there are so many female bloggers. If you believe half what these chicks write they are victims of life. It goes back to what you said....guys spend time trying to get laid not blogging, women spend time writing about it and wondering whether it was all good enough.
Why Hollywood Sucks
This girl is a walking time-bomb. You never know when she's going to explode next.
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez blogs:
They not only want to replace me with a white male writer who makes the network comfortable and would likely make Dirty Girls whiter and therefore "more fun," but they don't want me in the room when the pitch is made. I am the executive producer of the show.
Why Do Jewish Men Peak At 15?
We must be two sickos because I was pondering the cocaine issue during Yom Kippur myself.
It's actually not a big deal for me to fast at all, the night time when it begins is actually the hardest part for me because I have this bad wacky diet of not eating a thing all day (drink coffee & diet soda & cigarettes) then after the work day is done I finally eat (and eat pretty hearty). Its not unusual for me to have my first bite of food for the day at 8pm or 9.
This year my folks and I spent the High Holy Days at... It was a totally new experience for me because it’s a Conservative temple and all my life I’ve only got to an orthodox one. Now I’m not saying that I have a new love for shul because I don’t, but this was a world better. Men and women sat together, women could go up to the torah, women were allowed to wear pants and didn’t cover their heads. It was a big beautiful temple with a really talented cantor and a very cool Rabbi who spoke a lot in between sections explaining and keeping it interesting. He also is very interactive and invited the temple to bring their shofars and join them for the final Tekea Gadolah last night. That was so wild for me! There were 25 people up there, men, women, boys & girls blowing all together. It was pretty cool.
But of course I still fidgeted through the entire thing. I tried to occupy myself looking for Jewish Man Candy but thought the best looking males were underage. I have a theory that most Jewish Men peak at 15, then it all goes downhill.
My Greatest Fear
That through my blogging, I've loosened the bodice of the English language to the point where every petty clerk felt entitled to fondle her breasts.
My Yom Kippur (including the week leading up to it) reading list:
The Pity of it All: A History of Jews in Germany: A
Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity: B
The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism: C
The King of Torts: A
The Last Days: A
Libertarianism: A Primer: A
Censorship: Debates: B
Where Are They Now? Yeshiva Of Hudson County, New Jersey
Lainie Speiser is in the third row, far right. Her rabbis must be so proud.
Here is Lainie (right) today at her 2nd grade 20-year reunion (the women on the left of Lainie are now Modern Orthodox rebbetzin).
The Jazz Singer - I Was Honored To Lead Aish HaTorah In Kol Nidre On Yom Kippur
That's Rabbi Cohen behind me.
How can you tell if a girl does cocaine regularly?
Looking around on Yom Kippur, I wondered how many people were blowing snow to stay awake during the prayers.
My friend Mike says: "Look at her skin. They'll have a gaunt face. They'll wear a lot of make-up to hide the blemishes on their skin."
Luke: "How do you know if they indulged?"
Mike: "When they go out in the middle of davening and come back down to the shul with white powder on their lip and their snorting and they tell you, 'I don't normally do this. I needed a bump tonight to stay awake.' If they know the word 'bump,' they're doing cocaine."
Cheyenne: "Or if they make a point of telling people who might have it that they're really tired."
Spiritual Bootcamp For Yom Kippur
A Wife For Luke
Chaim Amalek writes:
Another year passes (on the Jewish calender), another year in which Luke has failed to find himself a wife. And yet he is popular with the ladies, is in wide circulation (unlike yours truely, whose girth has left him socially isolated). Why? As to all questions, the answer is to be found in Torah. Luke is single because he has failed to avial himself of the following time-tested techniques set forth in the bible for obtaining a wife:
1. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. -- (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)
2. Find a prostitute and marry her. -- Hosea (Hosea 1:1-3)
3. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. -- Moses (Exodus 2:16-21)
4. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. -- Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)
5. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. -- Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)
6. Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you a rib. -- Adam (Genesis 2:19-24)
7. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That's right. Fourteen years of toil for a woman. -- Jacob (Genesis 29:15-30)
8. Cut off 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law's enemies and get his daughter for a wife. -- David (I Samuel 18:27)
9. Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you'll definitely find someone. (It's all relative of course.) -- Cain (Genesis 4:16-17)
10. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. -- Xerxes or Ahasuerus (Esther 2:3-4)
11. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a ...woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision, simply say, "Get her for me. She's the one for me." -- Samson (Judges 14:1-3)
12. Kill any husband and take HIS wife. (Prepare to lose your son though). -- David (2 Samuel 11)
13. Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It's not just a good idea, it's the law). -- Onan and Boaz (Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)
14. Don't be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. -- Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3)
15. A wife?...NOT!!! -- Paul (1 Corinthians 7:32-35
August Book Sales
From YourMoralLeader Blog:
I'm not sure I like This
I just heard that yourmoralleader was lying back in a lawnchair, poolside, in the greater Tampa Bay Area. The light is on in the deep end and the warm light glows from below the diving board. He's talking (slurring, actually) to another blog owner and bragging : "my guest bloggers are better than your guest bloggers".
Better for him, that is.
Word is that the other bloggers guest blogger gets free run of said bloggers apartment, complete with a stocked refrigerator, and that said bloggers digs aren't a hovel. The other bloggers apartment has wall to wall carpet, as if there's any other kind, and it has NO pet stains.
Well, I just hope that yourmoralleader enjoys himself at our expense, and remembers that the single malt he drinks neat tonight is paid for by our blood, sweat and tears and so-called $20.00/post.
posted by YourMoralLeader @ 12:40 AM
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Sun City Center and Free Vacation Getaways.
Well, I can't speak for what my co-guest-blogger says, and I hate to follow her posts. They're so witty and so much in the true spirit of lukeford.net that I just want to step back and read them over and over again. Luckily, they usually get picked up and re-posted elsewhere on the net so I get to see them more than once or twice.
I don't know about the extra curriculars ourmoralleader may be engaging in while on Florida's gold coast but I do know why he went. The great Luke Ford has reached that stage in a Jews life that he begins to plan for the future. He begins looking for his place in the sun, replete with shuffleboard, Buicks, golf carts, pick-up chess matches under kapok trees and early bird specials. Being a newly minted west coast Jew you might think he'd look in Arizona or New Mexico, where condo prices are more reasonable and the infrastructure less taxed but Luke knows what we know. The best Jews in North America are from New York, and New York Jews move to Florida.
So, in response to a 4 color postcard solicitation delivered straight to the hovel by a branch of the Unites States Government, Luke headed to the greater Tampa Bay Area for a four hour, no obligation presentation of the amenities and benefits of living out his golden years in Sun City Center Though this is a 55 plus community, ourmoralleader must be prepared for what the future holds. Besides, playing the part of a 55 yo is no stretch for him.
Though I'm waiting patiently, I haven't heard if he put his deposit down on a condo on the fairway or opted for the townhouses closer to shopping. I do know he had a problem with security, and it had to do with the thumb operated bell on the three wheeled bicycle he was riding and an unbalanced load in the rear basket. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured and the resolution was amicable.
So, don't be surprised if future updates are timestamped in EST and the focus turns to the rising price of everything. Luke's at home now, and not likely to return.
Godspeed, Luke. Godspeed.
PS, Should you see her, please tell Rabbi Kami I said hello.posted by YourMoralLeader @ 6:04 PM
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Judeo-Pagan Chicks Rule
Luke Ford has asked me to guest blog for him (again). I reluctantly agreed (again) -- knowing full well that I was about to get screwed (again).
Because some people think I lie -- which is rubbish -- here, in full, is Mr Ford's original email sent to me before his trip to Europe: "Would you like to guest blog on Lukeford.net?"
Mr Ford is certainly a man of few words, and those few words clearly state that I was offered to blog on his main site, not his backup blog: a blog with a horrible template; a blog that nobody reads; a blog that I didn't even know existed until he told me that he had changed his mind that I wasn't to pollute his precious Lukeford.net site with my potentially offensive scribblings. And now he's doing it to me again -- and, worse still, making no announcement whatsoever that there will be guest bloggers during his Tampa trip.
What is My Moral Leader thinking? Is he trying to humiliate me? Was I too understated in communicating my displeasure at being banished here during Luke Ford's Euro Teen Tour 2005?
According to Kate Fox, as cited by Luke Ford:
Ideally, the English male would rather not issue any definite invitation at all, sexual or social, preferring to achieve his goal through a series of subtle hints and oblique manoeuvres, often so understated to be almost undetectable. This "uncertainty" principle has a number of advantages: the English male is not required to exhibit any emotions ...That sounds just like me! Apparently Mr Ford's Cro-Magnon Australian brain doesn't get subtlety. Obviously I have been overly oblique and emotionally restrained. So I will put things in terms that Mr Ford can understand:
HOW DARE YOU TREAT ME -- YOUR NUMBER ONE[ish] FAN -- THIS WAY, YOU BASTARD!
I'm so furious. I can't even think straight. My blogging will be even more lame than usual.
I wouldn't mind it so much if I could get a straight answer out of the dude. He still won't tell me why he de-linked my fan site. He won't tell me when, or if, he will pay the $100 he owes me from my first stint as a guest blogger. He wouldn't even explain to me why he's going to Tampa. When I pressed him, he answered obliquely, almost English-like, something about a big convention for moral leaders.
"Oh really?" I said. "I suppose your moral leader, the Great Dennis Prager, will be attending?"
"I don't know, maybe ..." Rat Bastard mumbled.
"Speak up," I demanded.
Rat Bastard said: "I gotta pack. Bye."
Well, I've been doing some research on the Internet about this moral leader conference. And, yes, indeed such a meeting is taking place between October 6-11 in Tampa, Florida. It's a convention of leading Jewish theologians from across America. All the different branches of the Jewish family will be there: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Humanistic (i.e., atheist), Judeo-Pagan.
The Judeo-Pagan delegation especially caught my eye. They're all females. That's a bit strange, I thought. Then again the Judeo-Pagans are different. They don't observe the Halakhah. They don't even believe in the Jewish G-d. Rather, they believe in doing whatever you feel, whenever you feel like it, which kind of defeats the purpose of religion doesn't it? You'd think.
A lot of them seem to be converts, or at least that's the impression I got from looking at the names of the various Judeo-Pagan rabbis set to speak. Some like Rabbi Katie Gold and Rabbi Daphne Rosen are presumably ethnic Jews, but others I'm not so sure about. Rabbis Mari Possa, Rita Faltoyano, and Flower Tucci sound ethnic Italians. Rabbi Carmen Luvana could be Cuban, but there's a small Jewish community in Cuba, so it's difficult to know for sure. Rabbi Courtney Cummz, who will be lecturing on the concept of Tikkun Olam, doesn't sound Jewish at all. I'll have to ask Mr Ford about this when he returns from the conference -- assuming he's still talking to me.
-- by the Luke Ford Fan Blogger
posted by YourMoralLeader @ 8:26 PM
August Book Sales
I made $120.45 in royalties (from my three most recent books), my best month of sales in a year.
Slipping Into Dementia
Ron in Texas writes:
You wrote that Tom Landry was "slipping into dementia" when you met him. How do you know? Why do you say that? Is that what Skip Bayless told you? I had dealings with Tom on several occasions after he left football and he seemed normal and lucid to me. He was capable of making rational decisions right up until he became ill. And he wasn't "he was also more interested in God than in people". In all our dealings he never mentioned God or religion. He was a religous man but not obnoxious about the fact as many so-called Christians are. I lived in Dallas when the self-loathing/oft divorced Mr. Bayless was writing for the local newspapers and wrote his book about Landry and even met the guy once. If anyone is slipping into "dementia" it might be Mr. Bayless or perhaps you for finding Skip interesting. You're lucky that your so insuccnificant. Otherwise the Landry family might sue you.
I Add My Voice To George Will's
Harriet Meirs' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is now sunk.
How To Protect From Evil Thoughts During Prayer In Synagogue
Chaim Amalek writes: "There ought to be an olfactory barrier as well, to prevent the Torah Jew from being distracted by the scent of the Woman of Valour. Air should flow from the men to the women, and then out the building or recycled through some air purification system. And it ought not be possible for a man to hear the moanings of the Jewesses as they daven and gossip."
Further Notes On My UK Trip
Buying just 20-minutes online for one pound in an internet cafe sharpens my priorities. I check my email, then DallasCowboys.com, YML, LAObserved, MissSeipp.com, JewishJournal.com.
The Girls Next Door
Eric Mittleman (a producer at Playboy TV for nine years who's now producing the E! show Kill Reality) calls me back Sunday afternoon, October 2, 2005, to talk about the Hugh Hefner reality show on E! -- The Girls Next Door.
Eric has seen four episodes. "To do a reality show on Hugh Hefner's life is kind of a contradiction in terms because his life is so unreal.
"It was bold of him to do it.
"I find the show entertaining. The mansion was way different when I was working at Playboy. Obviously they are only showing the fun side of things there. There are things that seem contrived, like in any reality show, such as when Bobby Benton came to visit.
"Having said so many negative things in the past about Playboy, and having put some distance between myself and my experience there, I've regretted a lot of things I've said. You really can't say anything bad about Hef. He's a generous guy. He gave the world this wonderful gift of nice girls like sex too.
"I'm looking at the show wanting to like it, as opposed to looking at the show wanting to hate it, as many people do.
"I went to the mansion dozens of times, but aside from half a dozen occasions, I was there as the help, producing and directing shows. It's way different going there as a guest. Once you take the performance aspect out of it, it's a cool place."
Luke: "How would you do the show differently if you were producing it?"
Eric: "More well-rounded Hef. The producers of the show probably have the dilemma that this guy is the [titular] head of this multi-million dollar empire and his time is going to be limited and what he wants to expose to the world.
"One of my best experiences with Hef was when I produced Comic Book: The Movie, directed by Mark Hamill. Hef did a cameo for Mark, which he was wonderful in. There was no talk of naked women or sex. Just purely a scene where he was talking about comic books. He really came alive in a way that I've never seen him come alive before.
"For the past half century, he's been able to have sex with the most beautiful women on the planet. That is a super power that none of us will ever possess. Superman thinks nothing about flying. Hef thinks nothing about snapping his fingers and having sex with a bunch of beautiful women."
Luke: "The show's had overwhelmingly horrible reviews."
Eric: "I can see why the world wouldn't like it, but I know there's more to the mansion and more to Hef and more to Playboy than what they're showing to the world."
Luke: "It's impossible to sell because it's inherently creepy to have this old man leching off these young women."
Eric: "It's creepy but it's nothing new. It's existed back to the time of kings and emperors and cavemen. I turned 40 a couple of years ago. You hope that at 70 you have that same ability. What's a little creepy about the show, what I would do differently about the show, is that I don't see the real bond of intimacy between him and the girlfriends. It does seem like they are there for show. We know that circumstance and greed breed a different type of love, which is what we see on the show. We're not seeing what lies beneath and where that true affection is. We're seeing unnatural relationships. Married porn stars have always been a mystery to me. Marriage is supposed to be about monogamy."
Luke: "Hefner has the bond of intimacy with the girls that an old man has with young women he pays to have sex with. It's a hooker-john relationship."
Eric: "If that is the bond, that should be explored and celebrated. When people hide from things, that's when the audience turns on them, which might be happening with the show. Whatever that relationship is, whether it is hooker-john, the father they never had, any of the stereotypes, that bond needs to be more openly explored and embraced by the participants on the show.
"Based on my experience with Playboy and Hef, I don't think that's a bond that would ever be explored openly. I don't think anyone looks down on Charlie Sheen for admitting he abused Heidi Fleiss's services. This is a different flavor of that type of relationship.
"A couple of years ago, Hef sold 2% of his stock and got $50 million. I don't know what I would do if I could get $50 million. I'd probably go nuts. I'd probably take you to Vegas and go to Smokers. How different is that from Hef?
"I've never heard a bad word about Hef from those who knew him best. The guy's carved out his own world (which he thrives in and has warped his perceptions) which might be why the show hasn't synced with its audience. He really hasn't been in the world in the last 30 years. The girls are not really in touch with the world either. They're one step from dumb. Surrounding yourself with women like that... The best part of leaving Playboy was becoming friends with smart women who do not look like Playmates. Some of them are plain-looking. I'm plain-looking. That's my position in the world.
"The aspect of nudity and being on the softer end of the sex business alienates a lot of people.
"Hef is smart. He does a disservice to himself by not surrounding himself with smart women like he did in the 70s. If you look at the magazine in the 70s, it had all the celebrated intellectuals. Now it is all pop culture, and not even the luminaries of pop culture. It's bubblegum."
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.
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.
Reflections On The English
When they list their religious affiliation, they usually put down "C of E" without ever going to the Church of England except to get "hatched, matched and dispatched."
As Kate Fox points out in her superb book, WATCHING THE ENGLISH:
...[T]he Church of England is the least religious church on Earth. It is notoriously woolly-minded, tolerant to a fault and amiably non-prescriptive.
Sounds like a place for Cathy Seipp.
The Englishmen don't barge to the front of the line. They wait their turn because they have an exquisite sense of fairness.
Ideally, the English male would rather not issue any definite invitation at all, sexual or social, preferring to achieve his goal through a series of subtle hints and oblique manoeuvres, often so understated to be almost undetectable. This 'uncertainty' principle has a number of advantages: the English male is not required to exhibit any emotions...
I Hate To Send Postcards
They are so much bother in the age of email, but Cathy Seipp asked me to send one to her daughter Maia Lazar. It's a picture of St. Paul's Cathedral (designed by Christopher Wren) at night. I wrote:
I think I had a blast in London. I feel like I should have. It's lonely travelling alone. It was good to see Jackie. That and Shabbos were comforting. I climbed to the top of St. Paul's. I did everything you are are supposed to do in London and Paris. Luke
Normally, I don't get cards for someone unless she's my girlfriend.
St. Paul's has this bloke Jeffrey Sachs giving a keynote address on global poverty October 10. Heck, I bet I've experienced more global poverty than he has. Certainly with the opposite sex. It's hard to date on $4 a date.
Ladies, why am I not married?
Do I have tickets for tonight's big event? I'm a member in good standing of my shul. They roll out the red carpet. I don't need tix. I'm beyond that.
Have I gone around making apologies to people I've hurt this year? Only that tender soul Rob Eshman of the Jewish Journal. "I'm sorry for all the defamatory things I've written about you and your paper this year..."
I'm going to harden my heart. I'm going to swallow my tears... But it's time to let you know...
Every time I think of you, I catch my breath... I ain't missing you...
I Got A Prayer Shawl In The Mail
From Shelley Lubben.
I'll Be Preaching The Gospel Of Luke In Tampa Bay Oct 6-11
I look forward to meeting my readers.
If I Ever Apply For A Real Job...
I'm listing Rob Eshman, Amy Klein, Nick Gillespie, Virginia Postrel, Mike Medavoy, Darren Star, Anita Busch, Jeff Wald, Scott Tucker, Benyamin Cohen, Gary Rosenblatt, Yossi Klein Halevi, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, and Rabbi J.H. Worch, as my references. Sorry Yori Yanover.
What has Islam against Bali?
Chaim Amalek writes:
I'm still surprised that they have not mounted operations like that here in the United States, where the economic consequences would be so pronounced - lots of lost bucks for the bang. Your average SUV driving soccer mom would absolutely freak out were a few shopping malls in upscale locations to be struck in that manner.
Luke, I suggest you start a weekly/biweekly feature called "Temple of the Month" in which you, The Stranger, review a temple for the degree and manner in which it welcomes an outsider. If journos can review movies, which cost ten bucks to see, ought they not be reviewing Jewish temples, which can cost thousands to join?
Khunrum writes: "I am very surprised they have not began blowing up targets in the city of Bangkok. There is a Moslem insurgency in the South of the country which has been going on for years but has turned nasty lately. A few well placed bombs in various naughty nightlife venues would damage the Thai tourist industry for sure. Let's hope it doesn't happen."
Hollywood Writers Union Fires Its Executive Director
Deep Throat writes me:
Remember that bit you put on your web site about what a jerk John McLean was? He got fired last week from the WGAW (Writers Guild of America West).
Here's the kicker. McLean was absolutely right about one thing: striking over DVD wasn't worth it. the head of the actors union tried to tell the actors that (Pisano was his name) and he got kicked out too.
From the NYT:
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27 - A week after new leaders swept into office at the Writers Guild of America West, promising a more aggressive posture in organizing and negotiating with Hollywood employers, the guild has fired its executive director, saying he had resisted its change of direction.
John McLean resisted new Writers Guild policies, its leaders said. The executive director, John McLean - who was a top management negotiator for CBS on the West Coast for 18 years before switching sides to run the Writers Guild in March 1999 - had never fully gained the trust of the union's more militant members.
Jewish Speed Learning - Rabbi Yaakov Menken Style
Liya Erela writes on the Jewish Survivors blog:
Today I was at an event called "Jewish Speed Learning", which was sponsored by the Center for Jewish Education and the JCC of Baltimore, MD.
I was outraged to see that these two organization would invite Rabbi Yaakov Menken to be one of their presenters.
I hope the only reason he was invited had to do with the fact they were not aware that they put unsuspecting women at risk of harm.
It's obvious that none of the rabbis who are very familiar with the allegations against this man were more interested in protecting their friend, then they were of protecting non-observant women.
You have to realize that Menken does have some very good friends and influential buddies that he daven's with at the Glenn Avenue Shul. I guess it doesn't matter to his friends that Rabbi Yaakov Menken confessed to HaRav Kaminsky "that he didn't sexual assault his victim"; yet he did confessed to having sexual relations with her.
I guess it doesn't matter to the rabbunim of Baltimore that Menken is married and has children? I'm sure they will tell you that Menken is a master doing Kiruv work (Jewish outreach). You can see that at his website. Why should anyone be concerned. Remember Menken said "the entire affair was the victims fault".
I have a problem with this kind of thinking. Don't forget that Rabbi Yaakov Menken is an orthodox rabbi. I guess he is exempt from halacha? I guess it's ok for him to have sex with a woman other then his wife? I guess it's ok for him to be having sexual relations with women he is doing kiruv work with too?
The Weirdest Blog
African American Rabbi Sets Up Shop In Crown Heights.
My mom writes:
I looked at each and every one and I was glad to find one or two where you were smiling. Did anyone think you were a terrorist?This is the best one. A great photo. You look like the most important person in the street, and I know somehow that will please you. You'll see how the background design brings the eye to the centre which is you. You are the stem of the street flower. The buildings are your wings.
For the weeks before my trip, I was tired and depressed, so I husbanded my energies (for a trip paid for by a friend who put me up and took me around).
I'm writing this report now at 1:05pm Friday, September 23, in Wapping, near Canary Wharf, London. I'm overlooking the Thamas. I'm sitting in an old warehouse which is being used as a movie set.
I'm wearing my black undertaker suit, which I also wore on the plane because I didn't want to carry it around. I brought just a backpack with about 20 pounds of clothes (I wash them in the bathtub and re-use), three books, two books on tape, a digital tape recorder and a small digital camera.
My flight over here was everything I could dream of -- I had the company of an attractive smart young woman who couldn't get away from me for ten hours. She was bound to her chair and it was just the two of us by the window and the rest of the world could go to hell.
I did not talk to her for the first 45 minutes, playing hard to get. I buried myself in my Michael Lewis book, Liar's Poker. Then, when we were past Nevada, I turned to her and extended my hand. "Hi, Luke."
She shook my hand. "Hi, I'm Fiona."
Twenty seven, she was a graduate student at Cambridge. Her parents lived in Southern California.
We chatted for about an hour until dinner came. I asked her if she wanted her chocolate cake. She didn't so I scoffed it. Then I asked her if she wanted her waters. She did.
That was about the last thing we said to each other. For the next eight hours, we lived in our own worlds.
I expected that the women in England would be as rough as bags but there are a ton of hotties. The English are reserved however, which makes it difficult to make quick connections like you can in Los Angeles.
What I most love about traveling is that it places you in frequent situations where people are virtually forced to talk to me (such as being seated next to me on a plane, train, or automobile). In normal life, people frequently avoid me. But I've constructed a preferred personality on the internet where I'm a legend in my own mind.
I've been walking about six miles a day. I have several painful blisters on my feet. I've done most of the famous tourist attractions in London, including the Tower of London, the Clink, Parliament House (I'm staying a couple of miles away on Chelsea Bridge Wharf), walked by Westminster Abbey past Downing Street and Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.
I went to Cambridge Thursday, ran into a bunch of 10th grade schoolgirls from Stafford who asked me if i was famous. I said I was semi-famous. I signed about a dozen autographs, took pictures, told them I wrote on religion. They went home and googled me. One just emailed me. I have quite a fan base among the intellectuals in London.
Because I was from Los Angeles, the girls mainly wanted to know if I knew anyone famous, perhaps Britney Spears or Aussie cricketers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
I do not.
At one time in my college years, I wanted to get a PhD from Oxford in Economics. I wanted to walk around such hallowed grounds as these two elite universities and engage in lofty intellectual intercourse. But it's not happening on this trip. My learned tomes have not made an imprint amongst the English high-brow (though I was on Channel 4 in England Sept 25).
I haven't run into one rude person in London, but almost everyone is reserved. One buxom blonde woman around 40 was bubbly and outspoken on my train ride back from Cambridge but she's been the only one Brit who's overflowed.
I've been up early and out late every night. I went to the club Cheers till 3am Thursday morning, Sept 22. It was filled with Tourists and they played an ABBA song. I haven't heard an Air Supply tune since I've been here and I'm having withdrawals (heard "Making Love out of Nothing At All" on the flight home in the movie Mr and Mrs Smith).
I'm heading for North London in a few hours to celebrate the Sabbath with some Orthodox blogger friends I've never met. Then Saturday night I'm off to Paris (it's three hours and £100). I'll stay the night at a cheap hotel, take a tour Sunday, and return to London late Sunday night.
For the first time since I've been here, it's raining. The high temperatures have been in the sixties all week and about 50 at night.
This trip has cured my depression, and I'll be feeling even better if I'm able to break down some of that British reserve and truly make a unique impression.
I'm going to hit Oxford next week.
I'm surprised that I've noticed no difference in the way people dress between England and America, though one American executive I saw here said the British dress a bit finer.
I've been reading a great book by Kate Frost: WATCHING THE ENGLISH. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this country.
In Australia we have the stereotype that the English don't bathe. My mom grew up in England and she says she only had a bath twice a week. Now it seems with upgrades in plumbing, the English shower every day just like Yanks and Aussies.
I haven't noticed the horrible teeth that the English are (or used to be) infamous for.
I've been staying in Chelsea, a little over a mile from Parliament House and Westminster Abbey, and just a few blocks from Sloane Square, around which the Sloane Rangers hang out (upper-class trendsetters). My sister was enamored of the Sloane Rangers 20 years ago when she lived here and got a law degree from Buckingham University.
There's little crime in the nice areas I've been (though one side of a street can be in a nice area and the other side a nasty one). The tube (London's underground subway) is clean and people are reserved and well-behaved (though designed by an American, the tube far cleaner and kinder than the New York version). They know how to que.
I'm sitting at a computer with two big screens and I can use my mouse to pop between the screens from the same keyboard. I've never had that before.
The English keyboard has about a dozen differences from the American one. The most important difference I struggled with was the "@" sign. I couldn't send an email until I had found it (it was way over on the right, on top of the single quote mark).
Also on my trip I read:
* The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade by Piers Morgan - A
* Next: The Future Just Happened by Michael Lewis - A
* Losers: The Road to Everyplace but the White House - A (Lewis thanks fabulist Stephen Glass, among several others, for helping him fact-check the book)
* Eminent Edwardians by Piers Brendon - A
* Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - B
* Free Air by Sinclair Lewis - B
* Collected Columns of the late Chaim Bermant - A
* The Encyclopedia of Talmudic Sages by Gershom Bader - C
10/1/05: The main point for me in traveling, as in life, is to form meaningful interactions with people. To the extent I did that, I enjoyed my trip. On the whole, I found the English impeccably courteous but reserved. I made my breakthroughs via friends, via the Sabbath in an Orthodox community, and through a handful of spontaneous conversations (one on the plane, one of the train, one at Cambridge, and one in a bar).
One great thing about belonging to a religious community such as Judaism is that wherever you go in the world you have a home. I found my trip discombobulating, except for my Sabbath.
When I'm in a familiar environment, such as Orthodox Judaism, I know the rules and can feel safe that the people around me know the rules too. Therefore, I know what I can say and do and feel free to let it rip. In seedy enviroments where I'm surrounded by people doing things I can not do, I have to be cold and reserved and thoughtful before I speak and act.
I find it disheartening to travel places on my own. If I see something special, I want to share it with someone special (aside from my amorphous body of readers).
I walked a few miles every day on my trip, developing nasty blisters (I only brought one pair of shoes, these black dress shoes). I felt knackered much of the time, and shaky on my feet, which probably made me appear dodgy and squiffy.
When I arrived in England, I pumped with adrenalin. Then I became tired and realized how much everything was costing me and sought ways to maneuver my mate into paying for it.
I spent Tuesday, September 27, at Oxford (the city and the university). As I walked upon the cobbled stones, ground made sacred by the blood of martyrs, I sensed the uncanny parallels between my life and that of such martyrs as Hugh Latimer.
I posed for a picture before a painting of my intellectual predecessor John Locke.
I went into the Borders megastore in Oxford and opened the latest book by Malcolm Knox, Adult Shop, and read this on the Acknowledgements page: "...Luke Ford for shining a light on a dark place."
I couldn't have put it better myself.
I had a Sabbath dinner recently with several Orthodox couples. The only woman who covered her hair was the convert.
I expected British women to be as rough as bags but they were as hot as Hades. Good thing my every action is governed by God's immutable moral law or I might've gotten into some serious trouble.
I've limited myself of late to no more than five helpings of dessert a day. But at night, I've doubled my Clonazepam (anti-anxiety medication) and added a Tylenol PM tablet to make sure I sleep despite my disrupted rhythm due to the time change.
I often find it depressing to travel alone, even if it is only to Ralphs supermarket up the street. Khalil Gibran instructed that there should be spaces in your togetherness. I need more togetherness in my spaces.
I took the Eurostar from London to Paris Saturday night, September 24. The trip takes two hours and forty minutes. I felt like my taxi driver was taking me in circles to run up the 20 Euro bill. Then I walked half-an-hour to Eiffel Tower (I was told it was safe), arriving at 1am. I talked to an Australian couple from Melbourne (found tremendous solace in the kinship), ate a chocolate-and-banana crepe for 5 Euro and walked back.
Sunday I waited 90-minutes at the Eiffel Tower for my booked L'OpenTour bus. It never arrived so I took another tour bus for 23 Euro. Then I began seeing L'OpenTour buses all over the place. I took the tour three times around Paris but didn't stop and enter any of the museums such as the Louevre. Then I walked an hour to the train station, spent my last 15 Euro on a margharita pizza (I had six pizzas in my 12 days overseas) and a chocolate pastry.
Several times, shop clerks and others tried to take advantage of my ignorance of their currency. One at the train station repeatedly tried to charge me 10 Euros for a 2 Euro bottle of water.
Paris seemed smaller than London. I felt like I could cover it by foot. People in London told me the Paris subway system was better and cleaner while people in Paris told me the opposite. I didn't have the courage to try the Paris system. I found it intimidating enough to do the London one where I knew the language and people weren't trying to rip me off.
I got a tad worried coming back to London on the Eurostar when there was a public announcement for an employee named Mohammed.
I sat next to a pretty blonde German who was going to do her second Masters degree (first one was at the Sorbonne, this one will be at the London School of Economics). She wants to work with refugees.
My Book Sales For July
The Producers: 3
Yesterday's News Tomorrow: 1
From The YourMoralLeader Blog (while I was in London Sept 18-30):
Up until, say, 100 years ago, biblical literacy would have been practically mandatory. If you didn't know what "the powers that be" originally referred to, or where "the writing on the wall" was first seen, or what was meant by "the patience of Job," "Jacob's ladder" or "the salt of the earth"-- if you didn't know what an exodus was or a genesis, a fatted or a golden calf -- you would have been excluded from the culture. It might be said that a civilization consists, at its core, of these easily transmitted packages of implication. They are one of the mechanisms by which cultures can be both efficient and rich. You don't have to return to first principles every time you wish to communicate ... Without the set of archetypes and fount of wisdom in the Bible, our lives would be thinner and poorer. I know my own life would have been immeasurably less if I had never encountered the majestic language of scriptural stories, as told in the King James Version.2) History professor Richard Wolin discusses left-wing German philosopher Jurgen Habermas' interest in the role of Judeo-Christian belief in a healthy democracy:
Among 19th-century thinkers it was an uncontestable commonplace that religion's cultural centrality was a thing of the past. For Georg Hegel, following in the footsteps of the Enlightenment, religion had been surpassed by reason's superior conceptual precision. In The Essence of Christianity (1841), Ludwig Feuerbach depicted the relationship between man and divinity as a zero-sum game. In his view, the stress on godliness merely detracted from the sublimity of human ends. In one of his youthful writings, Karl Marx, Feuerbach's most influential disciple, famously dismissed religion as "the opium of the people." Its abolition, Marx believed, was a sine qua non for human betterment.Habermas, in contrast, points to "the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love" as the necessary basis for Western political ideals of fairness and equality:
The "contract theory" of politics, from which our modern conception of "government by consent of the governed" derives, would be difficult to conceive apart from the Old Testament covenants. Similarly, our idea of the intrinsic worth of all persons, which underlies human rights, stems directly from the Christian ideal of the equality of all men and women in the eyes of God. Were these invaluable religious sources of morality and justice to atrophy entirely, it is doubtful whether modern societies would be able to sustain this ideal on their own ... religion, as a repository of transcendence, has an important role to play. It prevents the denizens of the modern secular societies from being overwhelmed by the all-encompassing demands of vocational life and worldly success. It offers a much-needed dimension of otherness ... Religious convictions encourage people to treat each other as ends in themselves rather than as mere means.3) In the Catholic journal First Things Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Yeshiva University explores the Jewish idea that it's sometimes virtuous to hate one's enemies:
[Jesus] acknowledged his break with Jewish tradition on this matter from the very outset: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous ... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." God, Jesus argues, loves the wicked, and so must we.See also Jeff Jacoby's comment on Soloveichek in a piece titled "When Hatred Is Necessary." Jacoby notes: "Jewish tradition holds, with Ecclesiastes, that there is a time to love and a time to hate."
For Christians, God acted on humanity's behalf, without its knowledge and without its consent. The crucifixion is a story of a loving God seeking humanity's salvation, though it never requested it, though it scarcely deserved it. Jews, on the other hand, believe that Gods covenant was formed by the free consent of His people. The giving of the Torah is a story of God seeking to provide humanity with the opportunity to make moral decisions. To my knowledge, not a single Jewish source asserts that God deeply desires to save all humanity, nor that He loves every member of the human race. Rather, many a Jewish source maintains that God affords every human being the opportunity to choose his or her moral fate, and will then judge him or her, and choose whether to love him or her, on the basis of that decision. Christianity's focus is on love and salvation; Judaism's on decision and action.
The Protestant theologian Harvey Cox, who is married to a Jew, wrote a book on his impressions of Jewish ritual. Cox describes the Jewish holiday of Purim, on which the defeat of Haman is celebrated by the reading of the book of Esther. Enamored with the biblical story, Cox enjoys the tale until the end, where, as noted above, Esther wreaks vengeance upon her enemies ... he is disturbed by Jewish hatred. It cannot be a coincidence, he argues, that precisely on Purim a Jew by the name of Baruch Goldstein murdered twenty innocent Muslims engaged in prayer in Hebron. There is something to Cox's remarks. The danger inherent in hatred is that it must be very limited, directed only at the most evil and unrepentant.
Controversial new research suggests that whether we believe in a God may not just be a matter of free will. Scientists now believe there may be physical differences in the brains of ardent believers. Inspiration for this work has come from a group of patients who have a brain disorder called temporal lobe epilepsy. In a minority of patients, this condition induces bizarre religious hallucinations ...I remember reading a similar explanation for the religious visions of Mohammed in Will Durant's The Age of Faith (1950). So, I guess this argument has been around for awhile. But now, apparently, there is scientific proof that moral leaders Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Ellen White, Joseph Smith, et al., were fruitcakes, and so, too, presumably, the Great Dennis Prager and, horror of horrors, the Great Luke Ford.
Professor VS Ramachandran, of the University of California in San Diego, believed that the temporal lobes of the brain were key in religious experience ... So he set up an experiment to compare the brains of people with and without temporal lobe epilepsy ... What Professor Ramachandran discovered to his surprise was that when the temporal lobe patients were shown any type of religious imagery, their bodies produced a dramatic change in their skin resistance.
Scientists now believe famous religious figures in the past could also have been sufferers from the condition. St Paul and Moses appear to be two of the most likely candidates. But most convincing of all is the evidence from American neurologist Professor Gregory Holmes. He has studied the life of Ellen G White, who was the spiritual founder of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. Today, the movement is a thriving church with over 12 million members. During her life, Ellen had hundreds of dramatic religious visions which were key in the establishment of the church, helping to convince her followers that she was indeed spiritually inspired. But Professor Holmes believes there may be another far more prosaic explanation for her visions.
He has discovered that at the age of nine, Ellen suffered a severe blow to her head. As a result, she was semi-conscious for several weeks and so ill she never returned to school. Following the accident, Ellen's personality changed dramatically and she became highly religious and moralistic. And for the first time in her life, she began to have powerful religious visions.
Because of The Chip. The Attitude. The bandsaw whine of anger, anger, anger ... It's there. It's real.So, if Mr Ford can't find his one true love in England, he shouldn't despair. Keep looking, Luke. Mr Reed suggests: "[T]ry Singapore. Argentina is splendid. Many places are. You would be amazed. See what's out there before you marry a gringa with her Inner Susan ..."
You, a young man, may not recognize the Chip if you have never seen normal, warm, happy women. If you are twenty-something and haven't been out of the US, you haven't seen them. They exist by the billion in Latin America, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaya, China and, last I looked, France and Holland.
Susan Reimer [a columnist at the Baltimore Sun] is what is out there, guys: bitter that no one wants her (as who in his right mind could?), sure that no one is good enough for her, never having grasped that those who would be loved must first be lovable. Understand this: Susan is America.
There are so many examples of poor writing on the jacket [of Happiness Is a Serious Problem: A human nature repair manual] that I do not have the time to list more than a few:I'm not entirely sure what point Mr Ford is trying to make here. (Making coherent arguments is not one of Luke Ford's strengths. Nor apparently is criticising someone else's violations "of the canons of good writing" without also violating "the canons of good writing.") He might be saying that Dennis Prager should have written the material on the book's dust jacket, because it was so poorly written by the publisher. Or Mr Ford might be saying that Dennis Prager did write the material on the jacket (as indeed Mr Ford does for his own books), and it's even more poorly written than the book itself. Let's assume that it's the latter, which is the more insightful of the two assertions, and thus probably not the point Luke Ford was trying to make, and agree that Mr Prager thinks better than he writes.
* The sentence that begins "However ..." The word "however" means "yet" EXCEPT at the beginning of the sentence, when it means "in whichever way," which is not the way the word is used (misused) on this jacket.
* Then there are the sloppy phrases like "in order to be happy." Why not just say, "To be happy?"
* Then there is the phrase "make you personally happy ..." Why do we need the word "personally?" We don't.
By contrast to the jacket, Dennis Prager's writing is the triumph of substance over style. Through his use of the passive voice and numerous modifiers, he violates many of the canons of good writing in his pursuit of ideas. But it works.
Judeo-Christian values believe the road to a just society is paved by individual character development; the Left believes it is paved with action on a macro level. Many parents, for example, measure their child's character by the child's social activism, not by his or her behaviour toward fellow students. If the child has walked for AIDS, or marched for breast cancer, or works on "environmental issues," the child is deemed -- and the child deems himself -- a fine person. That he or she might mistreat less popular kids in class is not considered ... [L]eftist ideals, being overwhelmingly macro, will always be more appealing to the less decent who want to feel good about themselves. That helps explain those Hollywood celebrities who lead narcissistic, hedonistic personal lives but nevertheless feel very good about themselves by raising money for "peace" or by demonstrating against global warming.Note Mr Prager's assumption that one can't be a good Christian or Jew and be a leftist. It's profound observations like this that have made the Great Dennis Prager the world's number two moral leader -- behind, of course, the Great Luke Ford.
We have observed a pretty clean sweep of important moral convictions in the collapse of the virtues of chastity, loyalty, and thrift. Is this merely to be recognized as a case of moral decline? Or have these virtues been replaced by something else? And if so, what? The moral life has clearly evolved -- but where has it gone? The evident answer, I think, is that moral sentiments now focus on benevolence, philanthropy, and charitable causes ... As a new morality, this development prides itself on releasing judgment from a narrow concern with sex in order to bring ethical standards to bear on the really serious decisions made in government and commerce ... The new morality thus incorporates both multiculturalism and "political correctness," in that both basically respond to a solicitude for the sensitivities of people different from "us" ... It has above all identified the people who need help, both those victimized by disease or misfortune in our own society and those afflicted in other parts of the world. Morality has thus liberated itself from the merely personal element of being true to oneself and become a program for perfecting the world ... the transposition of bad moral conduct into the language of social acceptability and social capital removes it entirely from the innerness of the moral life ... The new politico-moral order imposes on us duties to strangers, people we have never met, and for the most part never will. Particular duties to family and friends, much less that central duty of integrity to ourselves on which the older moralists laid so much stress, hardly enter the picture ... Could it be, however, that our very greed for social perfection has destroyed our grip on the real moorings of human life?Perhaps when Mr Ford returns from his London holiday he can update us on Britain's decline from the religious, peaceable land that it once was, and that I remember, to the secular, violent wasteland of today.