Friday, December 30, 2005

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Funerals And Holocaust Museums Make Women Horny

Just talking to a man about women and he said there's nothing like a funeral to make a woman want to do something to lift her spirits. Agree or disagree?

I asked him if it was true that Chabad was the religion closest to Judaism. He said that Orthodox opponents of Hasidism don't study Hasidic thought while Hasidim study both regular Orthodox Judaism and Hasidim. So they had it all.

"That's like Christianity where you get the Old Testament and the New Testament," I said.

Friend: "Since I've studied Hasidic thought, I've no longer tried to pick up chicks. And that has made me more attractive to chicks in the Tao of Steve way.

"I no longer go to secular singles events because I'd either want the chicks to convert to Orthodox Judaism or I'd sink and want to sleep with them, which is not in accord with my highest values."

Luke: "Hasidus is your secret weapon for picking up chicks but you won't use that power in a bad way. I respect that.

"Do I remind you more of Philip Roth or Ernest Hemingway."

Friend: "Hemingway. After he blew his head off with the shotgun."

The Uninvited

That was my therapist's suggestion for the title of a book about my life.

When I was in second grade, I was not invited to classmate Gavin Brown's birthday party.

I was not invited for good reason. Then as now, I was obnoxious and hurtful.

My best-friend's mom interceded and got me invited to the party. But once at the party, I was told clearly by the other kids that they did not want me around.

Thursday morning, a friend asked me if I was going to XXX's party Saturday night.

XXX is someone I've come to know well over the past year.

I replied that I had no idea that XXX was throwing a party, that I hadn't received an invitation, and therefore I wouldn't be going. I had too much pride to ask for an invite.

I sent on the first three lines of that IM to XXX then walked around Thursday feeling despised and rejected. I resolved that even if I was invited, I wouldn't go. I had too much pride.

Late Thursday afternoon, XXX called and said of course I was invited. She didn't issue invites to the party because she thought everyone knew.

And I was convinced that this lack of an invitation was a deliberate slam of me.

I'm paranoid. I should seek help.

Woman: 'You're quite a project, if anyone was to take you on'

Woman: how annoying is this
Woman: a (male) friend of mine wants to go out, but when i told him i didn't want to drink this week he wanted to change plans
Woman: basically he doesn't seem to want to go out unless i'll be drinking
Woman: hmm, i wonder what he's after
Luke: gee, what's he thinking?
Woman: when i confronted him about it, he got all offended
Woman: but he's been trying to sleep with me for almost 2 years now
Luke: and this surprised you why?
Woman: i don't konw
Woman: i'd just like to fool myself into thinking guys might want to be friends with me just to be friends
Luke: lol
Woman: and it always surprises me when they have an ulterior motive
Woman: i don't know why
Luke: 1% of guys are like that
Woman: i just always give people the benefit of the doubt
Woman: yeah, the gay ones
Luke: if all guys want to do is talk, they'll talk with other guys.
Woman: well all men need female friends
Woman: we feed into a side of men that other men can't
Woman: i'm sure you've opened up more to women in general than men, right?
Luke: true...how many men whom you have offered sex have turned it down?
Woman: umm...

'You Dirty Fag'

A friend of mine went to a Barry Manilow concert and was mortified that much of the crowd were crying women over 50 waving such banners as "I've waited 40 years for this night, Barry."

I asked her what her banner would've read.

Which Sentence Is Better?

"I felt the ground open up beneath my psyche."

"I felt the ground open up beneath the shaky edifice of my psyche."

Misdemeanor Man By Dylan Schaffer

"Gordon Seegerman is overworked but unambitious; his passions lie with Barry X and the Mandys, his Barry Manilow cover band..."

The book is in part an elaborate defense of Manilow.

Where Special Needs Blvd. Meets Religion Road

Tony Peyser writes in the New York Daily News:

Timothy Shortell, now sociology department chairman, wrote in an online academic publication that the devout "are an ugly, violent lot. In the name of their faith, these moral retards are running around pointing fingers."

The term "moral retards" didn't sit well with a lot of people. "He's intolerant," fumed Alex Selsky of the school's Hillel chapter, a Jewish campus organization, in the Daily News. "With this kind of unreasonable thinking, I don't know how he can be elected to head of a department."

Kevin Oro-Hahn, director of the school's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, was quoted as saying he hoped the university could "move beyond mere rhetoric in the pursuit of truth."

Astonishingly, these students didn't find the use of the word "retards" objectionable.

Tony writes me: "Sarah Silverman talks in her comedy act about her grandmother having been a "survivor." When in fact her grandmother was never in a concentration camp. It just proves to me that it's easier to shock than it is to be clever. And shock is rarely as funny as funny is."

Tony continues:

In January of 2004, I did a Counterpunch piece in The L.A. Times' Calendar section about The Black-Eyed Peas party anthem, "Let's Get Retarded."

Those of us with kids in the special needs population found this, gee, just a bit much.

I wondered why this was OK but songs called "Let's Get Kike-y" or "Let's Get Nigger-y" surely wouldn't be released by a major label like A&M Records. (I know those words are horribly inflammatory but I do feel they're crucial to making my point.) (And I am Jewish, thanks for asking.)

Cutting to the chase, Black-Eyed Peas --- without admitting the title was in any way wrong --- changed the title to "Let's Get It Started" several months later and the single became an even more enormous hit. It was even played at the Democratic National Convention. Fat lot of good it did John Kerry.

Although I did try, I was unable to convince L.A. Times music editor Robert Hilburn to have someone on his staff mention the song's title being changed. He kept saying, "I don't know what the story is."

I let it go because I didn't want to be a pest. Actually, I'd already passed the pest point but I digress.


That sound was me 24 months later kicking myself for not having sooner thought of a better way to frame this issue.

To wit:

Several times a year, a school somewhere --- high school or college --- is forced to change its name because there's some alleged American Indian slight involved, i.e. Redskins, Braves, etc. I know you've read and heard about these conflicts.

Regardless of whether you think this is political correctness run amok or a legitimate complaint, these stories got covered.

There weren't sports page or city editors saying, "What's the story here? Why should we write about it?"

And that's precisely what I should have said to Hilburn. If similar stories get printed in other sections, why not his?

Armed with clips of Times articles about these kinds of school name changes, I was all set to call Hilburn.

But my greatly delayed inspiration was so late that Hilburn had already announced he was leaving The Times after a very long stay there.


Nonetheless, I tucked this realization away and will trot it out the next time I'm writing about these issues.

I'm sure that time will not be too far off.

And if any of you are writing about other topics close to your heart, you should bear in mind that the most persuasive arguments for your cause don't have expiration dates.

Malcolm Muggeridge said that "tasteful humor was like a chaste whore." If it doesn't wound, it's probably not funny. I don't advocate going around wounding people in personal life, but when it comes to publicly presenting comedy or music or writing, then screw anyone who doesn't like the joke.

I guess this attitude of mine is another reason why I'm single (and interpersonally and socially retarded).

Tony responds:

I don't think I agree with that [Muggeride line].

To me, humor is more a question of cheap shots vs. expensive ones. Cheap shots are more common because they're easier. For example, Jay Leno is still doing Bill Clinton sex jokes, even though Bill hasn't been in office for almost six years now.

I try to take expensive shots, smart jabs at people in power. I do this everyday at BuzzFlash, the progressive news and commentary site that's based in Chicago. I write daily poems and draw twice-weekly cartoons. Can people you take shots at take shots back at you? That's my bottom line of departure. If a conservative voter or politician doesn't like something I've written, they can tell me so.

The reason I so dislike jokes about people with disabilities is in many cases, they literally can't fight back. So, going after them is inexcusable.

Help Me Help Poor Black Women Get Pap Smears

Recent events in my life have put me in a mood that is both introspective and charitable, as more than most men will acknowledge, I know that there but for the grace of God go I. I recently learned that poor black women are not getting as many pap smears as they should (relative to the number that white women are getting). This is a serious matter, as pap smears can detect the early stage onset of serious disorders caused by human papilloma virus infections (HPV).

Of course, simply meaning to do well is not the same thing as doing well, and if more such tests are be made available to black women, money must be found for this purpose. I propose funding my program with a special tax (hopefully it will be the first of many such "Luke Ford" taxes) to be levied on pornography. I know that certain people close to me will recoil at this prospect, but it makes just as much sense to impose taxes on pornography as it does to tax cigarettes to help pay for the social consequences of tobacco use.

And pornography has consequences. To begin with, the manufacture of pornographic movies exposes virtually every performer to both herpes simplex (HSV) and HPV. (At the risk of penetrating the veil of fantasy with which every man covers his mind when using pornography, virtually every performer active today is infected with at least one strain of each kind of virus, and will be for life.) A tax on porn could be used to better fund the search for vaccines to prevent the transmission of HPV and herpes, to the benefit of both porn people and the rest of humanity. This would go a long way towards improving the cervical health of black women too, as some of this money could be used towards funding pap smears for black women until such time as vaccines obviate the need for such tests.

This isn't the sort of thing that can be done alone or by my shouting from a blog; I will need the help of God-fearing men and women of good heart across the land to join with me in demanding that our legislators begin to tax pornography for the betterment of women's health, especially that of our all too often neglected Black Women, who do so much for us and yet get so little in return. Please, if you belong to a church, contact your clergy and ask them to get behind this movement. If you are a social conservative, then write letters to George Bush and his closest friends and advisers, whoever they may be, asking for their support. The important thing is to put down that porn and start acting on behalf of others. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

The Erotic Possibilities Of A Broken Arm

I didn't get anywhere with this woman through a few weeks of dating (frankly, she'd broken up with me) until I broke my wrist and had to wear a big cast on my left (lower) arm and keep it elevated. Then my woman came over and on my cold hard hovel floor on the Sabbath helped me make the day holy.

There's a similar scene a quarter-way-through Ernest Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.

The man Harry: "Listen, do you mind the arm? Don't it make you feel funny?"

Woman: "You're silly. I like it. That's you I like. Put it across there. Put it along there. Go on. I like it. True."

Beth Jacob

Linda writes: "I would like to make a contribution to the synagogue where Steven Spielberg belongs in honor of "Munich." Could you tell me what synagogue that is."

I've Finished John Updike's Memoir Self-Consciousness

I have his basic dispositions.

> I should hear more about this. I'm sure I can imagine.

Well, if you bloody return my blinkin' call, I'll bleedin' talk about my shared dispositions with Updike till you're ready to drop.

Dr. Luke

I spoke Tuesday to a friend who's screwing around. He wanted my views on his situation.

Here are my secular rules (religion holds that the only place for sex is within marriage) on this:

* With few exceptions, all women expect an emotional and monogamous commitment to go with screwing around (I know that 50% of women will disagree with me, and I'll contend that most of these have been propagandized by society, by Sex in the City et al, to try to be like men). Those exceptions are usually freaks (except for the ones who primarily just want comfort, connection and release). Watch out!

* You can't screw around with multiple women at once without damage being done (including you becoming more cynical and manipulative).

A Catchy Couplet

Your good-bye
Left me with eyes that cry--

Updike On God

The Jewish God, as best He can be glimpsed in the United States, wears yet a different face. He seems meatier, more unbuttoned than His Christian offspring; He does not excite the churchgoer's anxious either/or, that "Does He?" or "Doesn't He?" in regard to His existence, that angst-generating crux of faith. Christianity has somehow taken hold of religion at the wrong end of the stick -- the inhuman, or wholly other, end. The Jewish attitude seems in comparison humorous and submissive: it's His choice, to exist or not. The Old Testament God seems brashly free, compared to the locked-in God of Acquinas or Anselm. What theologian was it who, asked for a proof of God's existence, answered, "The Jews"? As long as Jews exist, even as atheistic Marxists or Freudians, a chosen people exists, and in its existence indicates that of a Chooser.

All anger, a psychotherapist recently informed me, is anger at God. "God" is a word, however problematical, we do not have to look up in the dictionary. We seem to have its acquaintance from birth.

...In the light, we disown Him, embarrassedly; in the dark, He is our only guarantor, our only shield against death.

...[A] loud and evident God would be a bully, an insecure tyrant, an all-crushing datum... His answers come in the long run, as the large facts of our lives, strung on that thread running through all things.

...God already knows everything and cannot be shocked. And only truth is useful. Only truth can be built upon.

...For many men, work is the effective religion, a ritual occupation and inflexible orientation which permits them to imagine that the problem of their personal death has been solved. Unamuno: "Work is the only practical consolation for having been born."

...Perhaps there are two kinds of people: those for whom nothingness is no problem, and those for whom it is an insuperable problem...

...Religion...preaches selflessness. ...Insomnia offers a paradigm, the mind cannot fall asleep as long as it watches itself. ...Falling asleep is a study in trust. Likewise, religion tries to put us at ease in this world. Being human cannot be borne alone.

...Shakespeare over and over demonstrates life's singularity -- the irrevocability of our decisions, hasty and even mad though they be. (Self-Consciousness)

National Enquirer (circa 1988): "Men drive an average of 13, 962 miles a year, more than double the 6,381 miles driven by women."

John Updike And The Blacks

In a letter to his mixed-race grandchildren, Updike writes: "...I have never dealt with a black as an editor, printer, or publishing executive." (Self-Consciousness)