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Spiritually Retreat With Steven Seagal

XXX writes: If you can find the book by david rakoff called FRAUD there's some amusing stuff making fun of steven seagal's belligerence at a spiritual retreat that he was running some years back ...

In his first collection--a series of pieces for public radio and for various magazines--Rakoff positively revels in his world-weariness. Whether he's investigating the Loch Ness monster, attending a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, visiting a New Age retreat hosted by Steven Seagal, or just, you know, playing Freud in a department-store window at Christmastime, Rakoff tends to get comically depleted.

My Passage From India: A Filmmaker's Journey From Bombay to Hollywood and Beyond

Shalini Dore writes about Ismail Merchant's autobiography for Variety: Quite a few people Merchant met in his producing career seem to have been wary of him, including Ivory's father from whom they borrowed money. (They borrowed money from Merchant's father, too, as well as sundry others including the stars of their movies, but that's the lot of the indie producer.)

The book answers the question of what exactly a producer does (hustle for funds, talent, exhib space and more funds) though it leaves you wanting more.

More details on this journey of Merchant's and certainly more information on his personal life --of which there is very little mention other than the fact that he likes to cook and frequently cooked for the people on the sets of movies he was working on.

Half Past Dead

Robert Koehler writes for Variety: The strangest career in Hollywood continues its gradual disintegration in "Half Past Dead.'' In recent years, Steven Seagal has been steadily losing any firm standing as even a B-grade actioner icon, and by the genre's most basic standards, he now displays a visible fatigue and lack of interest that proves deadlier than any of his hero's skills. Playing an FBI undercover agent whose assignment inside a newfangled Alcatraz prison unintentionally turns into a siege against hostage-taking criminals, Seagal nearly fades into the background, thus giving the younger, hungrier cast members plenty of room to chew the penal scenery. This latest -- though long delayed --in a series of cheapies from Screen Gems (stamped with the imprimatur of Franchise Pictures) will briefly do time theatrically until a getaway to vid shelves.

Luke's Friends Applaud His New Role As Protector Of Jewish Virginity

Fred writes: Actually, despite my best efforts to the contrary, I have inadvertently been fulfilling the role of Protector of Jewish Virginity. I'm trying to correct this matter.

Khunrum writes: Jewish virginity is safe with you Luke. Likewise Jewish non-virginity as in Ms. .... and so many more. Why not find another worthy cause?

Permission To Eat Chicken McNuggets With Milk?

I spoke to an Orthodox rabbo on shabbos who said he'd give his congregants a private hecksher (permission) to privately eat Chick McNuggets with milk (Judaism prohibits the mixing of meat and milk) once a month in exchange for throwing away their television sets (as TV is a greater threat to an Orthodox life).

Have 'The Sopranos' Lost Their Way?

A certain entertainment journalist [Jeffrey Wells], a member of the atheistic liberal elite who rule Hollywood, writes: Frazier Moore's piece about how the currently-unfolding season of THE SOPRANOS isn't delivering is articulating what I believe is a latent (i.e., slowly simmering) popular rage among the faithful. Sometimes the blinders come off when a columnist just says it. Then, suddenly, the troops are in revolt and the producers have a problem on their hands.

I agree with every word in Moore's article, and the truth is that if SOPRANOS producer David Chase and his collaborators lived in the same realm as THE SOPRANOS and lived by the same goombah rules of the game, Chase -- who only recently was a kind of Godfather-like figure to so many die-hard fans of the series -- would be in danger of being clipped. He's screwing it up. He's not advancing the various plots. He's turning THE SOPRANOS into some kind of meditative theme show about various social and psychological "evergreen" issues -- money and investments and gambling, the importance of blood relationships in business, how should you treat the women in your life? etc. -- and leaving the all-important narrative threads in a tangled mess on the floor.

Chris Moltisanti's significant other turned by the Feds...and nothing's really happening. Uncle Junior's RICO trial finally gets going...and suddenly the whole thing is in doubt because Junior decides to act loony like Vincent the Chin? A crazy Russian thug nearly killed by Paulie and Chris last year in the snow-covered woods and probably still alive and bent on revenge...and it hasn't been even been mentioned yet. Florio or Fluvio or whatever his name is nursing the hots for Carmella and her apparently starting to feel something for him...and aside from his talking to an older guy in Italy about it, nothing's happening. Moore's article woke me up -- there's only four episodes left and nothing's happening. Well, next to nothing.

The best moment of the season so far? Tony sitting in the Pie-oh-My's stall at night as she lies there, sick. That was the high point...that and that shot of Ralphie's head being dropped into the bowling bag. The oddest, what-the-hell? moment was when Tony belt-whipped Peter Reigert for schtupping his ex-Russian girlfriend. Who cared? Reigert is an okay guy...amiable, agreeable, totally rancid and corrupted. Why did he have to be beaten and humiliated?

"Part of what has distinguished THE SOPRANOS in past seasons was how its multiple story lines were finessed," Moore writes. "Each would dominate or recede from week to week but never get lost in the shuffle, while, collectively, they moved the viewer toward the series' distant, tantalizing resolution. [But] this season, the pacing is off and the stories seem pointed in all directions. THE SOPRANOS, and everyone in it, have fallen into a disjointed funk."

Even if this Sunday's episode is a killer and Chase suddenly pulls it all together, I think this season is going to rank as a major disappointment. I think when Chase agreed to do a fifth and final year under pressure from HBO executives, he said to himself, "Ahhh...a break." He decided the current fourth year would be his last chance to meander and dawdle and introduce new minor characters and plant the long-term seeds, because he'll really have to deliver next year. I think he said to himself, "Fuck it...let's coast and save our energy, because next year we'll have some heavy-lifting to do."

A bonus question if you agree with me and want to answer it: how should Chase be whacked? Should some poison be dropped into cappucino? Should he be shot in the back of the head as he's jogging in the morning? Should Gandolfini and othe cast members take him out in the yacht like they did Pussy, etc.? It hurts me to say this, or to even admit that things have come to this. It's sad. I just think those who love(d) his show the most should decide how he should go.

Frazier Moore writes for the AP: In my mind, this HBO drama has fallen short of its rich past in the current season. Week after week, painfully little happened. Then, most recently, the show seemed bent on making up for lost time with an hour of wretched excess and enough plot twists to give its audience whiplash. Bottom line: With only four of 13 episodes left, I have written off the season as a disappointment.

Faithless Jew David Poland Gets His Spiritual Highs On The Cheap

While I follow in the footsteps of my spiritual ancestors, my tzitzit falling to my knees as I faithfully trudge through three feet of snow every morning to synagogue to put on tefillin and otherwise carrying out the minute prescriptions of a jealous and vengeful G-d at great cost to myself, faithless secular Jew David Poland, who has blackballed all discussion of Rebbe King Moshiach from the Hot Button, the most natural place for such a colloque, lives off the fat of his DirectTV dish (where he gets every NFL game) and gets his spiritual highs on the cheap by worshipping in the secular synagogue of cinema, the synagogue of Satan, watching movies like Steven Soderberg's Solaris, which promote skepticism, rationalism, modernism, humanism, immoralityism and socialism.

Check out the psuedo-religious language Poland uses in his latest column while in the throes of a no-moral-cost awakening:

"There are no answers. Only choices.

"Solaris is a love story that deals with loss and our sense of responsibility for others without much interest in sexual combustibility. Solaris is a story about the nature of humanity and the divine, without telling you what to think."

The Inquisition knew how to handle thinkers like David Poland, who was spotted recently sipping coffee with a post-modernist.

Orthodoxy Is Where The Babes Are

I went to a malevah malkeh (saying farewell to the Sabbath bride) Saturday night and as I looked around the room, I saw it was full of hot looking young shapely fashionably dressed Orthodox brides in wigs carrying infants. And when I went to Reform temples on Friday nights, they are filled with women over 50.

Protector Of Jewish Virginity Wonders If Rabbi Elliot Dorff Is An Atheist?

As the Protector of Jewish Virginity and Your Moral Leader, I've long suspected that the University of Judaism professor of ethics Elliot Dorff is an atheist but people keep disabusing me of the notion.

So I was in my Orthodox shul Friday night with Dr. Dorff's latest book, "To Do The Right And Good: A Jewish Approach to Modern Social Ethics." And I read this:

"Religion provides us...the transcendent (imaged in the Western World as God)."

"...[N]one of us can attain the vantage point that Judaism ascribes to God in His omniscience."

Now, ascribes is a word intellectuals use to denote the beliefs of the uninformed masses. Ascribes implies that the writer, an intellectual, knows the truth beneath the ascribing. If the intellectual believed what was ascribed, he wouldn't use the word ascribe.

In these sentences, it seems that Rabbi Dorff is not comfortable with proclaiming God's omniscience but only that Rabbi Dorrff's religion ascribes all-knowningness to this "God," which is only the way the Western World images the transcendent.

Trust me. I'm on the Piety Patrol, and this Rabbi Dorff, though a lovely human being who once invited to his home for a shabbos lunch and welcomed me into the Library Minyan at Beth Am (I was only there to do outreach for Orthodoxy), appears to be an apikoros (heretic) in sheep's clothing. The Inquisition knew what to do with these people.

(Now I should know heresy because my family and I have been convicted of same.)

Though Friday night at my Orthodox shul, again, everyone kept assuring me that Rabbi Dorff, who they know personally, is a theist. But Your Moral Leader knows better. One by one, I'm slowly picking off those above me in the Moral Leadership stakes.

I believe a sturdy Beit Din (Jewish Law Court) could convict the good rabbi of modernism, rationalism, humanism, socialism and corrupting the youth with heretical ideas.

I got more out of the first third of the book (comparing Christianity and Americanism unfavorably with Judaism) than the rest with its discussions of "epistemological relativity" and care for the poor.

I did get a kick out of all the glowing praises for the book on the back cover by Rabbi Dorff's friends in the Conservative movement. Reminds me of Dennis Prager who also recruits his friends to write similar blurbs.

Read here Rabbi Dorff's debate with Prager on ordaining avowedly homosexual rabbis.

David Novak reviews Rabbi Dorff's book "Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics" here on First Things.com:

"Dorff abandons his traditionalist reasoning when he gets to the subject of human sexuality, specifically homosexuality. Dorff argues that the ban on homosexual acts, male or female, should be abrogated on "moral grounds." This is a truly radical position, since Jews have always understood the ancient ban on homosexual acts as scriptural in origin, hence immutable. Lifting the ban would be what the rabbis called "uprooting a whole body from the Torah"; no Jew who hears the Torah read in the synagogue could possibly think it valid Jewish teaching.

"Rabbi Dorff knows this as well as any other Jewish scholar. Yet he is relentless in his opposition to this prohibition and all its ramifications. At this point, one must raise questions not only about his grounds for radically deviating from the Torah and its tradition on this issue but, more basically, about the adequacy of his general theological position."

Rabbi Dorff replies: "I clearly know and stated several times over that the Torah and Rabbis were opposed to homosexuality. I even stated openly that most within my own Conservative movement do not agree with me on this issue. Prof. Novak may surely disagree with my arguments, but that is very different from suggesting that I have deliberately tried to mislead people—a charge that is both untrue and defamatory."

Professor Novak replies: "It is understandable why Elliot Dorff didn’t like my review of his book. No author likes sharp criticism. However, I stand by everything I said. His stand on homosexuality, even if only a small portion of his book, is the exception that proves the rule. By so cavalierly dismissing as unjust the traditional Jewish ban on homosexual acts—a ban undisputed throughout the whole history of Jewish law—he shows that this whole tradition is not normative for him, but only the source of selective guidance or misguidance. This is Reform Judaism, which Reform Jews at least admit is not a continuation of Normative Judaism. If Professor Dorff had only admitted that he is not really a halakhic (that is, traditionally normative) Jewish thinker, I would have reviewed his book very differently, differing with its view of Judaism to be sure, but not on grounds of inner inconsistency."

Blessed be G-d who hath created us for His glory and separated us from those who err... May He open our heart unto His doctrine...

Therefore we hope upon thee, L-rd our G-d, that the abominations of Reform and Conservative Judaism may be banished from the earth and that the vain idols of Christianity and Islam may be destroyed and that all sinners will turn to You and acknowledge that we Jews have been right all along. Amen.

Midway Between Orthodoxy And Standing Naked At A Bar

An Orthodox friend phoned me Thursday afternoon and encouraged me to attend a wine and cheese mixer for young professionals at the Jewish Federation. It was her first secular singles event. "This is great," she said. "It's midway between Orthodoxy and standing naked at a bar."

As I walk in, I run into two sisters who've googled me and were shocked at what they found when they entered "Luke Ford" into a search engine. I blushed.

I shook hands with John Fischel, head of the LA Jewish federation. He's a former rock promoter.

I met blonde journalist Shawn Goodmon, author of the book advertised at www.Sevensecretsofslimpeople.com.

I met a Jewish woman who married a Mormon and lived in Utah for two-and-a-half years. She left him because he wanted additional wives. She says the laws against bigamy aren't much enforced in Utah.

I had an interesting conversation with a lawyer who told the truth. He hated being 40 years old. Why? Because his age freaked out the younger women he wanted to date. And here I've blamed my single status on my low earnings. This guy makes a great living, a Yale graduate, yet he has his own burdens.

My friend told him he should expand his horizons regarding what he seeks in a woman. The attorney didn't want to date anyone over 35.

Attorney: "Are you suggesting I should date farm animals?"

I've been reading John Updike's short story collection Licks of Love. The language is exquisite, particularly in contrast to the clumsy wordings of most Orthodox Jewish writers. Yet Updike is so depressing. Almost all his characters are unfaithful to their spouses. I guess we write about what we know about. I sure don't want to spend my life writing about sexual sin.

I saw the Woody Allen movie Deconstructing Harry. The character played by Demi Moore, Woody's second wife in the film, gets religious and starts making Hebrew blessings before everything, including "Baruch atah adonai, bore pri ha blowjob." That was my highlight of the movie. Of course, even with a blessing, "bore pri ha blowjob" is forbidden by Jewish Law in case it leads to spilling of seed.

David Poland On O'Reilly

November 11, 2002, from the Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor TV show:

BILL O'REILLY: In the "Unresolved Problem" Segment tonight, Eminem's new movie took in an enormous $55 million at the box office this weekend, and it got good reviews to boot. As FACTOR viewers know, I couldn't care less whether Eminem is the greatest actor since Laurence Olivier. I think the man has hurt America and children with his coarse, violent message. However, I could be wrong. Joining us now from Los Angeles is David Poland, a movie critic for hotbutton.com, and, here in the studio, Christy Lemire, the entertainment writer for The Associated Press. So you like this movie, Christy?

CHRISTY LEMIRE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ENTERTAINMENT WRITER: Yes. I mean, he is really good in an essentially formulaic movie. This is pretty much a rap version of "The Karate Kid" or "Rocky" or "Flashdance," and he knows that, when he flails at the beginning, he has to come back to the same place at the end and emerge victorious. You see it upcoming from the opening credits, that he's really good in this. He has a ton of charisma. Whether you like his lyrics, whether you like rap music, he has an undeniable presence.

O'REILLY: All right. What about the rewarding of a guy who has demonstrated antisocial and some would say pernicious behavior with a big movie contract, making him a millionaire? Doesn't the corporation behind him, Vivendi, have any responsibility to society in this?

LEMIRE: I think you separate the actor from the role and the actor from the act. I mean, when he is Slim Shady, when he's rapping about killing his ex-wife and sticking her body in the trunk of a car, that' s not really him. That's...

O'REILLY: That's not really him?

LEMIRE: That's a version of him, just like...

O'REILLY: But does a 9-year-old know that? Does a 10-year-old know that, with no parental guidance, with...

LEMIRE: Well, that's the parent's problem then. The parent should be the one keeping an eye out.

O'REILLY: But what if there isn't a parent? What if there isn't a parent keeping an eye on him? Doesn't that fall into Eminem's purview there? See, he's making money off this kind of questionable conduct where, yes, a responsible parent will say, "Stay away," or offer guidance. But the kids at most risk will become under his spell. And doesn't Eminem have any responsibility for that?

LEMIRE: Eminem is a father himself. He's a very protective father of a 6-year-old daughter.

O'REILLY: Yes, but I don't care about that. I care about the other kids.

LEMIRE: She raps in one of his songs even. So...

O'REILLY: So what does that mean?

LEMIRE: Well, it means that he clearly cares about children.

O'REILLY: He does?

LEMIRE: I think so. You know -- but the Slim Shady thing is just one act. It is like Ziggy Stardust was a David Bowie act. It's like that bad Chris Gaines character was a Garth Brooks act.

O'REILLY: With all due respect, Ms. Lemire, I think you're really giving him a pass here. Mr. Poland, do you feel the same way?

DAVID POLAND, THE HOTBUTTON.COM: Well, I mean, the thing is Hollywood is about money, ultimately, and, indeed, Eminem is already a millionaire, and the people behind this picture, ironically enough, are about as liberal as anybody you would ever expect to be in Hollywood. So it's kind of one way, half-dozen the other, as far as I'm going.

O'REILLY: Well, who are those people that you're talking about behind him? Vivendi's a French corporation. Universal Pictures is a subsidiary of them.

POLAND: Well, Vivendi is a French corporation, but Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment, Curtis Hanson, who is a terrific director and who actually did a terrific job directing this film, and Universal domestically is really now Barry Diller's company more than it really is Vivendi, but that's -- that's kind of getting to the corporate level. I don't really see a big corporate issue.

O'REILLY: All right. So the creative people behind it are liberal, you're saying, the director and producer?

POLAND: Right. Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Now, when you watch this movie -- and, again, I mean, it might be the greatest movie in the world. That's not the point here. It's that I believe that our society and corporate America is rewarding terrible behavior. Do you see it that way?

POLAND: Well, it's rewarding the behavior that it feels will make money, and, generally speaking, corporations, whether they're entertainment corporations or otherwise, are only really interested in that bottom line. In this case, I know that the people involved are interested in doing something creative. The question for me is -- seeing this picture is what the underlying subtext of the movie is, not just whether they're rewarding Eminem.

O'REILLY: Well, what is the underlying subtext, in your opinion?

POLAND: Well, I have some concerns watching the picture. It's a very, very well-made Hollywood movie, and it gives a lot of the highs and the lows of Hollywood movies. But, ultimately, the women in the movie are not positively betrayed. Ultimately, the only real hero in this picture is white in a whole black world, and he ultimately gains his success by leaving the black world.

O'REILLY: But that's not a liberal position, to denigrate women and blacks. That's not liberal at all.

POLAND: It's ironic, isn't it?

LEMIRE: But he also has...

POLAND: That's why I see the picture different than most critics.

O'REILLY: All right. Go ahead, Christy.

LEMIRE: He doesn't leave the black world. I mean, he -- I don't want to give away the ending, but he doesn't leave the black world. He stays true to where he came from.

O'REILLY: Yes, but is -- do you agree with Mr. Poland that women and blacks are not well treated in the film?

LEMIRE: I think he's giving him way too much credit by calling it racist or misogynist.

O'REILLY: No, I don't think he did that. He just said...

LEMIRE: Yes, he is, I think, actually. He said that women are portrayed negatively and that blacks are.

O'REILLY: No, he's not. No, no, no. You're making the...

POLAND: Every woman in the movie -- every female in the movie who has lines is in some ways a whore. Every one of them has sex for financial gain.

O'REILLY: Christy?

POLAND: Now should we not care about that? Yes, maybe. Maybe it' s just another movie. But, ultimately, we look at the message of the movie. Even though the people who made it are quite liberal and quite smart and people I admire normally, I think there's a subtext to this picture that's actually a little dangerous.

O'REILLY: So that's interesting. Is that true? I haven't seen the movie, and I will not go to see it because I'm not giving this company my 10 bucks. But is that true, that every woman in the movie has sex for money?

LEMIRE: Two women in the movie have sex. One is Brittany Murphy, who is attracted to him but, yes, she also wants to get out of Detroit. She wants to go be a model. The other is Kim Basinger, who plays his mother, who...

POLAND: Who has sex with a man, who...

LEMIRE: ... who has sex with a man...

POLAND: ... is getting rewarded for his -- for a compensation claim eventually, and that's why he wants -- she wants him in her life.

LEMIRE: But I think also she's desperate and she wants attention in any way, and that's financial -- that -- in any kind of...

O'REILLY: All right. Well, I -- again, I don't want to discuss the dopey movie because I couldn't care less about it. So, Mr. Poland, in your opinion, the message -- pernicious message that Eminem has in a lot of his music, that women are hos and they can be beaten if they get out of line -- and I don't care whether he's Slim Shady or he's, you know, Wilt Chamberlain or whoever he wants to be on any given moment. I don't care. I just know that -- And, interestingly enough, 70 percent of the people who saw this movie are under 25. Seventy percent. I feel it will drop off huge next week when "Harry Potter" comes out, but I do know that children have been -- not just by Eminem but other rappers -- have -- you know, this has seeped into their world, and the kids, as kids, will pick up some of this stuff. So you see a carryover into the movie?

POLAND: I have a 13-year-old nephew who, you know, calls women the B word without much thought...

O'REILLY: Absolutely. No question.

POLAND: ... and that's horrifying to me. On the other hand, I don't think that's what this movie is really about. I think that ultimately the movie is a "Rocky" movie, it is "Purple Rain," it is "Saturday Night Fever." That is what the structure is for this picture ultimately and what they are trying to achieve with Eminem, whether it's -- And I think one of the things that's false about it and which people are kind of picking up on is the idea that he's real and this is his real life, when, in fact, even the filmmakers have gone out of their way to say it's really a fictional film.

O'REILLY: All right. I'm going to give Christy the last word. Go ahead.

LEMIRE: It's a sanitized version of Eminem's life. So, if you hate Slim Shady, if you hate, you know, whatever negative thing he has to say, you're not going to see that in this movie because this is the inspirational Eminem.

O'REILLY: Yes, they're making him a hero.


O'REILLY: They're glorifying him and he's the greatest guy.

LEMIRE: Yes. He comes from nothing, and he makes something of himself.

O'REILLY: All right. It's the society we live in.

POLAND: If you hate everybody, that's OK.

O'REILLY: It's the society we live in. You're right, Mr. Poland.

David Poland writes 11/12 on www.thehotbutton.com: By the time the show aired twice, I was “a liberal basher,” “ignorant” and “looked intelligent on air.” (Thanks, mom.) The most ironic thing was that I went on as the guy against 8 Mile and ended up defending the film far more aggressively than my “pro” 8 Mile counterpart. Funny.

Lunch With Eric Mittleman

I had lunch at the Continental on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills October 30, 2002, with producer Eric Mittleman. We each order 12-inch pizzas that we consume in their entirety (minus some crusts). I drink four lemonades and Eric has a couple of Cokes.

I've known Eric for five years, since his days producing Nightcalls and other shows for Playboy, through his tenure at Danni's Harddrive to his present position at Creative Light Entertainment.

Eric: "Creative Light started out as a distribution company and expanded into production. They acquired the rights to distribute the animated movie AirTroopers that needed a full audio redo. If any of my relatives anywhere in the world ask what I'm working on, I don't have to candycoat, spin, or do any of the things I did while working at Playboy. Then I couldn't tell my four-year old niece about female ejaculation. It's not socially acceptable.

"That helps you ease into a more normal life, as normal as Hollywood can be. It's a lot cooler being stopped on the street because you are walking down the street with Mark Hamill than Jenna Jameson. If it's a picture with Jenna Jameson, I'm ducking out of the frame. There's so much of life that comes back to you when [you work in mainstream as opposed to adult entertainment]."

Luke: "It's like a burden off your shoulders."

Eric: "Yeah. You don't realize..."

Luke: "The strain that you were under..."

Eric: "The stuff you would do to compensate... Even just sitting here like this in a restaurant talking about Hollywood entertainment. It's not like looking up to see someone's shocked expression because you said 'anal.'"

Luke: "How does your girlfriend [of five years] feel about your switch?"

Eric: "She likes it. I met her while we both worked at Playboy. She worked in post-production. Even then there was a certain amount of 'ohmigod, look at what he does for a living.'

"There are friends from that business that I would keep in touch with but I don't know if it's the flake factor, or if they feel out of their element around non-adult stuff, but they don't keep in touch. Once in a while I'll talk with Gary Gray at Playboy. There's some overlapping crew that I know. I keep in touch with some of the executives at Playboy.

"I know the principle partner at Creative Light, Scott Zakarin, from high school. Scott brought me into Playboy in 1991 because he was running the on-air promo department. Scott left in 1993 to join an advertising company. He created The Spot in 1993, the first online soap opera. It was just text and pictures. He left The Spot and started Lightspeed Media, which also does online entertainment. He then formed a partnership with Brandon Tartikoff called Entertainment Asylum. It was bought by AOL in 1995. Brandon passed away. Six months later, they laid everyone off and bought out their contracts.

"With some of his AOL money, Scott and Rich Tackenberg started Creative Light Media in 1998. Peter Jayson (former producer of Dateline and TV documentaries) came in as a partner. They pursued production and distribution deals, making the kids video The Adventures of Cinderella's Daughter.

"In October of 2000, as my contract with Danni's Harddrive was coming to an end, I talked with Scott. They had a movie called Magenta, an erotic drama, which sold well for them. With my Playboy background, it made sense for me to produce a movie in that genre (became Forbidden) - something for late night cable TV, softcore, Showtime, Cinemax, HBO. HD24P technology was just coming on the seen. It's high definition digital video that George Lucas used for Star Wars episode two and Robert Rodriguez used for Spy Kids. Almost all the CBS primetime shows are shot in high def. It looked as good as 16mm and approached the quality of 35mm.

"We then pulled the trigger on another movie in that genre - Voyeur Beach. I wrote and produced both erotic flicks. Then the bottom fell out of that marketplace in 2001 because of competition from hardcore. Playboy bought the hardcore cable channels. Our profits halved.

"While making these movies, we made some straight-to-video reality programs. We produced a 90-minute interview show with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner called Mind Meld. It's Nimoy and Shatner sitting down and talking about Star Trek and how it influenced their lives. It's a nice warm show. If you like Star Trek, you'll love the show. An interviewer could not do an interview with either of these men as well as they interview each other. The success of the video opened up many distribution avenues for the company."

JLS writes on imdb.com: "Shatner and Nimoy couldn't be more different. Yes, they were born four days apart -- as we find out at the beginning of the film -- and their careers following similar arcs, but their professional concerns and personal problems diverged radically. Nimoy, the actor's actor, and Shater, the comedian, approached the roles from different perspectives. Their Trek journeys, although documented in more detail elsewhere, are discussed with benefit of age-weary hindsight."

Eric: "Scott is friends with Stan Lee [created Marvel comics in the 1960s]. Spiderman was coming out and getting a huge marketing push. We decided to do an interview show with Stan Lee and Kevin Smith [director of Dogma, Chasing Amy, Clerks] and then we enhanced it with Marvel images. Sony bought the show from us and it is going to be part of the Spiderman gift pack coming out.

"After that, we started production on a low budget horror film [Inhuman] which I co-wrote and co-produced. Actress Chase Masterson, who has a huge following among the sci-fi audience, signed on so we decided to make it as a SAG film. We shot over the summer and we're in post-production now. It's heavily inspired by classic horror movies like Creature From The Black Lagoon.

"William Shatner was doing a charity event in Jolliet, Illinois, to benefit the Hollywood Horse Show, a charity for kids. He sponsored a 1500-person paintball tournament in a $5 million paintball park. He went to Paramount and got permission to use the team names Federation Klingon and Borg and use jerseys that look like uniforms. He plays a Captain Kirk-like character in charge of the Federation in this battle. It was too good of an opportunity not to bring out a whole bunch of cameras and shoot. We brought 12 cameras and created William Shatner's Spplat Attack. It's Star Trek meets Survivor with a paintball twist. That will show on pay per view December 10 and in stores December 12.

"We have a longstanding relationship with Sid Caesar. We remastered all his Show of Shows. We interviewed many of his old writers like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon... We've released these as DVD sets, websites and merchandise.

"We're looking for other icons to develop relations with. I'm connected with Mark Hammil through mutual friends. He has a huge passion for collecting comic books. We've developed a project called "Comic Book: The Movie." It's an unscripted movie shot on digital video over four days during Comic-con in San Diego in August. We shot over 80 hours of material that we're now trying to edit down to a 90-minute movie."

Luke: "Why do you think Playboy.com hasn't made money?"

Eric: "It's too big. It's an old company. Try explaining the internet to your parents or grandparents. They'll get it eventually but they won't be surfing like a 15-year old in an hour. When I was at Danni's, which is hugely profitable, they tried many times to get meetings over at Playboy to pitch some managerial consulting deal. Playboy didn't know how to manage that business, especially with the huge amount of free content available to the web site from other aspects of the business.

"As Playboy sinks more into hardcore, it becomes just another hardcore company with a good reputation. Hef did a cameo in Comic Book: The Movie. We did a 50-minute interview with him about comic books. I've never seen Hef more alert, alive, witty and fun than during this interview, just because he was talking about something other than Playboy. I realized that for eight-and-a-half years, I'd been watching the man regurgitate poorly written press releases. Here he's finally talking about something he has real expertise in. He's not just trying to put a dollar in his pocket.

"The company has strayed so far away from what the magazine was... I think the company will coast until Hef passes away and then AOL/Time Warner will buy them."

Luke: "What was behind your move to Dannis?"

Eric: "I was really unhappy at Playboy during my last two years there. Just the bad management decisions they made and being forced to work with some incompetent people. I met Danni when we did a show called "Playboy's Hard Drive," which was a show we did looking at sexy websites. We stayed in touch.

"I didn't get into entertainment to do erotic material. My work for Playboy had a false prestige for it. I used to say to myself, 'If I'm going to do this kind of material, at least I'm doing it for Playboy. I'm not doing it for Vivid or Wicked.'

"Eventually, Danni and her husband came up with such a good offer. Did I want to make less money working for people I can't stand or make more money working for people I liked? It was no choice.

"It was November 1999. We were shooting in Jamaica. Somehow Playboy had developed a policy that significant others weren't supposed to go on field trips. My girlfriend wants to go to Jamaica. My life is going to be a lot more difficult if I don't take her to Jamaica.

"I decided we would go down a week early. She stayed the entire time. My executive producer [Tamara Wells], who tried to fire me a number of times and was basically the reason I quit, was on the phone to LA from Jamaica complaining that I'd brought my girlfriend down. I get off the plane in LA, go to the office and quit. Cut to a year later, a new producer they hired is now living with Juli Ashton, and Flower, host of Nightcalls 411 is pregnant with the director's child. So much for the policy against fraternization.

"In late 1999, Danni had just built a huge production facility and they didn't know how to work with."

Luke: "You had a dream of doing a lot of special things at Dannis?"

Eric: "Some of those became impractical because of the way the internet went. While I was there, I started 24/7tv.com. It was going to be short-form programming for the internet. This was the time of companies like DEN (Digital Entertainment Network) were collapsing. I realized I could do better by myself, with a $1000 camcorder, and a Mac and my rolodex.

"I called celebrity friends like [rapper] Ice T, [actor] Billy Dee Williams, and Steve Schirripa, then the entertainment director at the Riviera in Las Vegas and now an actor on Sopranos. I just knew that someone one day would point a camera at Steve and make a lot of money. We shot a lot of short web interstitials and the plan was to pursue sponsorship. As the web fell apart, things like that totally fell apart.

"We found at Dannis that the stuff that got the biggest response wasn't bigger productions but it was more intimate home movies. People would rather see home movies from Cancun than a more expensive elaborate parody production."

Luke: "Like Bra Wars."

Eric: "That was made by Dean Guilotis who has been with Dannis a long time. He worked for me. He did all the work. When my contract was coming up at Dannis, I had nothing against anyone there. It's just that they were paying me a lot of money to do very little. It was time to move on. A lot of people like me were derailed by the internet. I was happy to get back to mainstream big productions on a big screen. I couldn't be happier than what I'm doing now. I'm working with friends. We're doing shows that I would actually watch."

From Daily Variety 10/30/02: "NEW YORK -- The Sci Fi Channel has signed a two-picture deal with actor Bruce Campbell, who will not only star in "The Man With the Screaming Brain" but will write, produce and direct it. Campbell, known to sci-fi fans as the star of Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" feature film trilogy, will do "Screaming Brain" and the second original movie "Earwigs," with Creative Light Entertainment. Prexy-CEO of Creative Light Scott Zakarin will be co-executive producer of both movies with Campbell."

Luke: "You're like Elie Samaha. You've found a niche forming good relationships with celebrities and finding projects they really want to make and making it happen. You're like John Travolta with Battlefield Earth. You need to start making some Scientology films."

Eric: "It's not an immediate plan but if Travolta knocks on our door... The difference between us and Elie Samaha's company (we do have a lot of similarities) aside from that he knows bigger stars because he was in the nightclub business, is that we're a distribution company. A lot of what we do is greenlit based on marketing costs. We knew before we greenlit Inhuman that Japan was looking for monsters that were big and scary."

Luke: "Are there any star vehicles for [porn star] Juli Ashton planned?"

Eric: "If I was going to pull anyone from that world for something, it's probably be Juli. We had a scene in Comic Book: The Movie where we needed some girls, not nude, for a party scene. I invited Juli at the last minute through a mutual friend but I have a feeling that the invitation did not get to her in the way it was intended. The response was, 'No, she just turned down American Pie 3.'"

Luke: "If you had to cast a porn star, aside from Juli, in an acting role, who would you choose?"

Eric: "The adult business is so different. I've never seen an adult actor, aside from Steven St. Croix, analyze a character. I just think of the research real actors do for a part. I just read an interview with Selma Hayak who did the movie Frida. She spent months painting reproductions of the paintings Friday painted so she could get into Frida's head space. Could you imagine a porn star who has to play a pizza delivery guy working as a pizza delivery guy for a week? 'Oh, I play the sexy pool woman, so I am going to go dredge pools for a month.' Getting into character in the adult world means something entirely different.

"If you need a hot sexy actress to play a porn star, it's a lot hotter to see Jennifer Love Hewett try to do it than a real porn star. What have been the big porn star crossover roles? Jenna Jameson in the Howard Stern movie playing herself. Kobe Tai in Very Bad Things playing a hooker who gets killed. Ginger Lynn in Young Guns. The only one who has come close to crossing over is Traci Lords and she went through a stage where noone would hire her. After she put in the work to become an actress, she got good and booked bigger roles. In Blade 2, I didn't even realize I was watching Traci Lords."

Luke: "How's Greg Dark?"

Eric: "He's making 12-15 big budget music videos a year. He's promised features but nothing's been finalized. I've always wanted to do something mainstream with Greg, something action-oriented. I asked Greg two years ago what he would do if he had money and didn't have to work. He said he'd be a martial arts instructor. Greg is holding out for a feature with a guaranteed theatrical release. That's difficult. Seagal can barely get a guaranteed theatrical."

My Friend Rodger Jacobs Has Written A Hot New Script

The buzz I'm hearing is that journalist and screenwriter Rodger Jacobs -- who hung up his hat from the XXX writing trade last month -- has written a hot mainstream script that uses the porn industry as "a framing device" for a clever crime thriller. Two powerhouse agencies have already requested to read the script, which Jacobs tells me "was unintentionally written as a low-budget to medium-budget crime thriller --- it was the discipline from all those years of writing scripts for porn that made the story come out that way."

Rodger tells me that the action-driven script, titled "King's Ransom", is packed with a lot of "empirical knowledge" of the porn industry but cautions: "This is not another 'Boogie Nights'. I simply used my working knowledge of the business and it's denizens to craft a tense urban drama that could just as well be set in the automotive industry, such as Paul Schrader's 'Blue Collar' was, yet from an insider's perspective."

Information on Rodger's current representation can be found by e-mailing him at rdjacobs@concentric.net.

Luke Apologizes To Steven Seagal

I'm afraid that I've made some derogatory remarks about Steven Seagal, his acting ability and his movies. I now take it all back. Wednesday night I watched my first Seagal film ever, Exit Wounds, and I thought it was cool. I thought he was a cool actor. There was a ton of action. I was wrong. And I'm sorry. And I apologize to producer Joel Silver as well.

I've been too hasty and too critical too often and too much.

Khunrum writes: You're easily amused.

Curious writes: Rum, you are such a snob. Luke never critcizes your extensive collection of Chuck Norris movies.

Khunrum writes: You are absolutely right Rob. Actually there was one I liked. Steve is a cook on a ship and a gang of bad guys (I think Tommy Lee Jones was one of 'em) tried to Pirate the vessel. Not Bad...

Curious writes: I have never seen an entire Steven Seagal film only bits while flipping through HBO. I do recall reading one of the funniest reviews I have ever seen for Seagal's "On Deadly Ground." Steven is an enviromentalist fighting oilmen in Alaska who want to drill in protected land. So how does Segal save the environment from these polluters? He blows up the oil refinery apparently totally oblivious of the massive environmental repercussions. I also saw part of one where he was a detective who sings country music. Country music?

Khunrum writes Luke: First you feel sorry for Anita Busch and now Steve. You old softy.

Helpful writes: You know he was married to that major league piece of ass who was in Weird Science. Kelly LeBrock. She allegedly dumped him when he knocked up their babysitter. Women! You can never please 'em!!

Luke writes: You guys should see Exit Wounds. It is so cool. A speeding car is gonna crush him and he leaps over it. He's got a cool laid back Buddhist persona on screen. I really dig it.

Helpful writes: He's pretty ummm portly these days. Don't think he could jump over much of anything these days unless it was to get to the head of the buffet line.

Steven also began gaining weight and one publication actually labeled him as, "Probably the most out-of-shape action hero the movies have ever seen." His career began to suffer as well as his personal life and in 1996 LeBrock filed for a divorce, listing "irreconcilable differences" as the reason. It turns out that Steven was having an affair with the family's nanny, Arrissa Wolf. Shortly after the divorce, Seagal had his sixth child with Mrs. Wolf.

Fred writes: I'm mildly amused by Segal, but you have to admit--he is a fairly one-dimensional actor who can only play one role, but it's not a bad role. (Or as one critic put it in another context, he has all of the range from A to B.)

Just out of curiosity, exactly what is the Messiah supposed to do?

Helpful writes: Kick the bad guys in the face, f--- the hot babes, and play country western music ... wait. Sorry, that's Steven Seagal. Nevermind. He's got that killer "squint." Man, that's acting!!

I'm talkin' 'bout Seagal. Whe he's in love. He squints. When he's going to kill a man with his bare hands. He squints. When he busts out a country tune on his geetar. He squints. When he's going for the end cut of prime rib at the buffet. He squints.

From http://mrsg.lunarpages.com/movies/exit_wounds.html

It must be the new cliché to have black characters in an action movie layered over with rap tunes. Attract the young and hip crowd, you know, because Steven Seagal playing the straight, dull-witted, colorless lead character is definitely not what is the best thing about this time-wasting piece of - er, movie.

Here is an actor who has clearly outlived his shelf-life as an action hero. If he's Clint Eastwood, Seagel would be playing old cowboys or old reporters in decent but unmemorable movies. But Seagal is not Eastwood. Hence this movie is pretty embarrassing. It's like watching your grandpa on life support determined to star in the new porno flick regardless whether he can actually get it up or whether the audience will flee screaming when they see him on screen. Steven Seagal, looking rotund and worse for wear, playing a vigilante cop busting some ridiculous corrupt-cops-drug-dealer-conspiracy racket, looks ridiculous. Where's Jet Li?

DMX provides the soundtrack and the youth factor, but this movie is horribly dull and clichéd. Seagal's character sprouting Kung Fu Guru mysticism and hokey good-wood philosophy isn't any better. It's like watching a large pimple on one's face. I should just switch off the player and do something else, but I just can't turn away. I must see the whole movie, if only to see how bad it can become or whether Granpa Seagal would break a hipbone, even if I know I will be suffering from the traumatic aftereffects.

The Killer Producers

From LAWeekly.com: Behind the big films that wind up smart, or the little films that turn out edgier than the competition, there’s usually an independent producer. PAUL CULLUM talks to four such risk-takers — Don Murphy, Stuart Cornfeld, Chris Hanley, Steve Golin — about the projects that float their boats.

"Producers are very misunderstood. Of course, there's a lot of pigs -- I won't mention names -- who sit in New York and buy every piece of literary property they can and get a studio to pay for it. But people like Don [Murphy] and Chris [Hanley] are really struggling, because they have to do things on a very small level. Those guys are the lifeblood of this industry, the fertility. So more power to them. We need them." Director Oliver Stone

Luke Ford to David Poland of Hot Button: 'Mr. Poland - Tear Down This Wall!'

Why the wall of silence on Hot Button about the Rebbe King Moshiach?

David Poland replies: "Silly Rebbe Moshiach King... Lucky Rebbes are for kids!!"

BostonChabad.com - Scandal For The Goyim?

This website is created and maintained by Ariel S. Sokolovsky. It attempts to present the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach. It was reviewed by a number of Chabad Rabbis who assured Ariel Sokolovsky that the site is proper. However there are some people in Chabad in general and in the Chabad of Boston in particular who believe that even though the message of the site is true it shouldn't be publicized (despite the clear instructions of the Rebbe King Moshiach to the contrary) since in their opinion it may push away some people from Chabad. Moreover they claim that my using the www.BostonChabad.com name is illegal, against halocha and the Rebbe King Moshiach's directives. Since they have yet to produce one quote or any other shred of evidence to support these baseless allegations it's my humble opinion that they are jelious of the success of this site and are trying to intimidate me into giving up the domain name. I have offered them to ask what the Rebbe King Moshiach thinks about this thru Igrot Koidesh (Holy Letters of the Rebbe King Moshiach which can be used to ask a question and recieve a miraculious reply from Him www.igrot.com however I'm not aware if they have taken me up on my offer so I'll keep you posted of any new developments.

Persecuted Believers In Rebbe King Moshiach Undaunted By Criticism

Chabadniks, members of the Chabad Hasidic sect of Orthodox Judaism, tell lukeford.net that they are persecuted when they speak out about the identity of Rebbe King Moshiach (the Messiah).

A Boston Chabad rabbi writes Ariel: It was brought to my attention that you are running a website www.chabadboston.com. Did any shliach (presumably Rabbi ___ - the Chabad shliach in Boston, or myself) give you permission to use the name "chabadboston"? If not it is

1. against the law (USA)
2. Against halacha [Jewish Law]
3. Against the directives of the Rebbe

I urge you to stop immediately.

Ariel replies: Have you heard of the principle innocent till proven guilty well you know me better then to excpect me to cave in to intimidation with no basis in reason or logic. My address is also a part of Boston. I'm also a part of Chabad and it's not within your power to kick me out of Chabad (if that is even possible) so if you feel like it place an ad in Jewish Advocate saying the web site www.BostonChabad.com is not affiliated with your Chabad House or sue me (have you heard of the expression there is no such thing as bad publicity) I urge you to stop immediately.

Did you ask the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach before writing this letter with such unsubstantiated accusations? why not do it now http://www.igrot.com/eng/form.htm last time i had a similar argument with someone in New York eventually we went into 770 and I opened Igrot the answer of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach Shlit"a was "Mivtzoim that you do widen the gates thru which the brocha will flow down" that was a convincing enough answer for that person who is also older and presumably wiser then me to agree that I was right and leave me alone are you sacred of the same exact outcome? Hate to be proven wrong? I dare you try it: http://www.igrot.com/eng/form.htm

Perhaps I wasn't brought up with the same dicipline you were and it's much harder for me to keep any kind of Seider but i was taught not be embarrassed that I'm a Jew not to be embarrassed to say the truth and if you don't share those values your entire being mesudar is worth nothing and the builders of the migdal Bavel were also very mesudar people and had the tremendous achdus...:-)

So if you want to continue convincing students to wear kippah "since everyone around them also dresses weird and has purple hair and piercings" fine i think it's foolish but it's your choice do what you think is right however I'll do what i understand is right and that is to fullfill the directives of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach and i know i have His support and i dare you or anyone else to interfere with me and i hope for your sake you are not going to do so. Respectfully Ariel S. Sokolovsky

Question: Is this the official policy of Lubavitch?

Answer: The only one who sets Lubavitch policy is the Rebbe himself. No one else. Lubavitcher Chassidim, the world over, live by what the Rebbe says, does and wants. Yes, every person regardless of race, religion, color or creed has a right to express any opinion he wants. It has to be clear, however, that it is only a private and personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the Rebbe and/or Lubavitch. The Rebbe made three things crystal-clear:

1. "The time of the redemption has arrived and Moshiach is on his way. "

2. The Rebbe, is Moshiach (see above).

3. We should "publicize this to all the people of the generation." (Shabbos Shoftim 5751)

This is what the Rebbe said. This is what the Rebbe wants. And this is what Lubavitch Chassidim live by.

FOR A CONTRARY VIEW, read this book by David Berger: The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference

Born in Kishinev, Moldova, former Soviet Union on 15th of Teives 5740-January 4 1980, (few months before the Rebbe King Moshiach [Menahem Schneerson] made the famous speech in Russian demanding that the Soviet goverment follow it's own constitution and allow and protect the observance of Judaism in the USSR predicting that if it will not do so it will be replaced by the one which will in a near future) Ariel Sokolovsky grew up in a family where only some Jewish traditions were observed. Before the the fall of communism, he slowly got in touch with his Jewish roots by learning Hebrew and later learning Torah Jewish Law and any Jewish book he could find. He eventualy deciding to stop eating meat since no kosher meat was available. He went to various Zionist summer camps then later went to a Jewish school for a year. He went to a Kishinev branch of Torah Vodath Yeshiva right after his Bar Mitzvah. He moved to the United States June 2, 1993.

Ariel: "I grew up in Kishnev, Moldova. When I started becoming religious, I started reading various articles. The Chief Rabbi of Kishinev and Moldova, Rabbi Zalman Abelsky HaCohen, is a great Torah scholar both in Talmud and in Chabad Chassidc philosophy. He was emissary of the Rebbe King Moshiach and of the previous Rebbe a person who rekindled the Jewish spark in Moldova. I went to a yeshiva of Agudat Yisrael [Lithuanian approach to Judaism, mitnagdic, different from Habad Hasidim] Torah VoDas. We studied only Torah from morning until late evening for four month before my family and I went to Moscow on the way to Boston. My mom would also come for Shabbos there and to a seminar they conducted and she too became observant. I and many others had "brit mila"- circumcision and got my Jewish name Ariel which means Lion of G-d and is also used in Isaiah 29 as a metaphor for Jerusalem.

"I studied at the Torat Haim Yeshiva about 30 miles from Moscow in May 1993 . It had some people who were Chabad and some people who were not-Chabad. Some who looked Chassidic some who didn't. I did not then understand the many differences in philosophy between various Jewish movements. (I was told misnagdim study more Torah and hassidim do more good deeds.) During a meal at Shavuos [feast of Pentecost], I asked the head of the yeshiva if it was mitnagdic [opponents of Hasidism], he said "For sure not misnagdic since even the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlit"a said there were no longer any real misnagdic yeshivot.

"In that yeshiva, I saw a book in Hebrew that took all the customs of Chabad Lubavitch, scrutinized them, and concluded that Chabad was a form of idol worship (G-d forbid) . I was confused. In Kishnev, there were warm and friendly relations between Chabad and Agudat Yisrael How could that be if the charges in that book were true Besides the fact that the customs they quoted there were and are common among many other groups Seffardic and Chassidic in particular.

"When I came to Boston, I was invited to the home of Rabbi Z. for Shabbos. We studied together the laws of who is the Moshiach [Messiah] in the Mishne Torah and he explained to me why he thinks the Rebbe [Rabbi Menahem Scheerson] fits the description. I went to a Chabad yeshiva in Moristown. I'd go to the mikveh [ritual pool of water] every morning and study Chabad Hasidism before prayer. That regimen gave me a clear mind. I did not have extraneous thoughts. I felt that the evil inclination was sleeping.

"I went to New York for shabbos and visited 770 Eastern Parkway and saw the Rebbe King Moshiach. When he came out on the balcony, people would sing "Long Live the Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever! And he'd encourage their singing. I saw that the rebbe supported the idea."

Levi: "What have been the negative repercussions to you for believing that the Rebbe is the King Moshiach?"

Ariel: "Having to endure some public humiliation. I've had people yelling that I am an idol worshiper.

"There are two issues here. The issue of believing in the Rebbe as the Moshiach and the issue of promoting that belief. All Chabad Hassidim and other people who took time to reasearch the issue of what the Rebbe was saying about Moshiach and know who is the Rebbe believe he is the Moshiach. I do not know one Chabad rabbi who has said publicly that he does not believe that the rebbe is the Moshiach. Some of them however, especially those in America, feel that saying publicly that the Rebbe is the Moshiach now after the Gimel Tamuz 5754 the day of the Rebbes concealment creates the wrong association between Chabad and Christianity. They fear of enduring the few moments when they are called idol worshipers forgeting that the firs thing writen in Shulchan Aruch (code of Jewish Law) is that one is to be bold like a leopard in ignoring the mockers (and as the Rebbe comented the rest of the Shulchan Aruch can't be observed without this that's why it's placed in the beggining) ...

"One Chabad Shaliach screamed at me for saying the Rebbe was the Moshiach in Shule. Then I was at his house later. I tried to convince him the Rebbe is the Moshiach. He said he knew the Rebbe is Moshiach but if we say it publicly, people will not give money to Chabad and they will not come close to Chabad and they will not study Chabad Hasidism which the Rebbe said is the way to hasten the revealation of Moshiach. I pointed out that he mentioned money as the number one reason forgeting that money comes from HaShem (G-d) and following the instructions of the Rebbe King Moshiach and after that he stopped to oppose my actions in publicizing the identity of Moshiach. (After that I also got a reply from the Rebbe thru Igrot Koidesh [holy book] saying that I should continue and increase my activites in this area and I'll overcome all obstacles in the merit of my anscestors.

"If people would understand that the Rebbe is the Moshiach and that he is also a prophet and that whatever he says is the word of HaShem, such as not giving away parts of the Holy Land, and the who is a Jew controversy (rebbe says only those who have an Orthodox conversion) and the obligation to listen to his directives not just as those of the Torah sage but of a prophet see Deuteronomy 18 ..."

Levi: "How many people have given you a hard time for your websites?"

Ariel: "Very few until I registered www.bostonchabad.com. When some shluchim [emissaries] in Boston said I had to ask their priour permission to do so. I was told by Rabbi Chaim Yitzhok Cohen of the Beis Moshiach center in London that Rebbe King Moshiach said in a public talk on this issue that every Chabadnik should put a "Chabad House " sign on his home. It would be as illogical to say that I should go to one of Chabad's emissaries and ask if it is right for me to put a Chabad House sign on my "virtual home" as on my actual home particularly since the Rebbe also said that all Jews who assume that mission are his emissaries. Besides there are plenty of other domain names they can register.

"I urge everyone who is reading this to go to their respective emissaries in their communities and demand that they obey the Rebbe King Moshiach's directives and stop "concealing" the identity of Moshiach and teach people the Rebbes talks from 5751-5752 since the Rebbe said this is the surest way to hasten the redeemption. And proclaim "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu veRabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach LeOilam Vo'ed!"(video)- Long Live the rebbe King Moshiach forever! (video)"

Chaim Amalek writes: All the best to this guy, but let's face it, HE ISN'T JEWISH. Oh sure, he remains a Jew in the Adolf-Eichman-Jews-are-a-biological-fact sort of way, but in terms of basic theology, he is no more a Jew than an adherent of the Nation of Islam (let alone a "Five Percenter") is a Muslim or a "Jew for Jesus" is a Jew. He belongs now to some other faith, just as those Jews who insisted that Jehoshua bar Miriam was the Messiah in the years after his death were ultimately acknowledged to be the first adherents of a new faith.

Meanwhile, the flesh and bones of Menachem Schneerson continue to decay in his simple grave. The guy is dead, dead, dead, and he is not coming back to assume earthly form for moshiachdom or for any other purpose. Or do these people believe that he is in fact alive, just "resting" in his grave, not subject to the forces of physical decay that are the final arbiter of all flesh? Luke, if this delusion continues, expect to see some of these people dig up the rabbi's corpse and drag it through the streets of Brooklyn in a parade.

The Chassidic movement, itself not exactly Jewish, deserves this comedy. It is the end result of making of every self aggrandizing rabbi in ignorEuropestern europe who had a following a mincaliphate a kaliphate of the mind in which "The Rebbe" was made into some sort of intermediary with God. And do not forget that by and large these "rebbis", who had immense power over their followers and could have ordered them into a state of violent revolt against the Nazis, instead generally chose for them the path of pacifist suicide. If the Arabs do succeed in driving Israel into the sea, I have no doubt that quite of few of these rabbis will remain on as collaborators with their Muslim overlords, imposing their version of Sharia on the few survivors.

PS OK, let me let you in on a little secret. AMALEK is moshiach. That's right, it says so write in the Oral Law that God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai. You can look it up in the Oral Record. But before I can be "revealed" as such, the Jews must arrange for me to have coitus with all their hot daughters. (But only if of proper age - THIS Messenger of God ain't no perv.) So if you want to bring the Moshiach and you have a hot unmarried daughter or sister or cousin, all I can say is LET'S GET BUSY! Oh, and you are supposed to give me five percent of your wealth, too.

Ariel replies: As it's writen in the Mishlei (Proverbs of King Solomon) "Answer the fool according to his folly" :-) so all I can say to Reb Chaim Amolek the man should change his last name and have No Compassion for Amalek if he is even Jewish in the 1st place:-)

PS. Can Reb Chaim reread my site and find anything positive he can say about it, anything:-)

Chaim says: You know, I imagine that were he alive and mentally sound (not suffering from the infirmaties of old age) "The Rebbe" would be spinning in his grave over the assertions being made in his name.

OK, I've read the site, further considered the arguments and have now changed my mind as follows:


About Reform Judaism, Gays And Preventing AIDS

XXX writes: The Torah explicits prohibits homosexuality. This view, like many others of the Torah (such as forbidding idolatry, incest and the killing of infants, baby girls and old people) openly opposed the fashions of contemporary society. It was not accepted by the licentious and brutal societies of the time, especially by the Greeks, who openly indulged in homosexual promiscuity.

For well over a thousand years, however, the Torah view was accepted throughout the Western World. This had the effect of elevating women's status. Before the Torah, for practicing homosexuals, a woman was often relegated to the status of a baby machine, and was not the focus of her husband's love.

Only recently has society's view begun to change. This has been aided by heavy activism on college campuses, and... was often accompanied by social pressure to almost force oneself to become a lesbian (Dennis Prager, June 2, 1991). The radical gay lobby is well-known as aggressive, and is seemingly many times more vocal than its number, which are small (no more than 3% of males are homosexual). Visitors at college campuses often remark that from the bulletin boards alone, one might think that 30% of the student population was gay. (Gays don't reproduce, they recuit." It has become fashionable and convenient for many liberals to show their righteousness by supporting them, just as others support animal and tree rights.

In this period, more than ever before, the following forms of misery have flooded the world: drug addiction, illegitimate births, absentee fathers, broken families, violent crime, juvenile delinquency, endless venereal diseases, child molestations, rape and AIDS. It's hard not to ponder the question: Is there some connection?

Fifty years ago, even a Reform rabbi would have been scandalized if a gay couple had come to him to be married. He would have pointed indignantly in the Torah to the prohibition, right next to murder, theft, and "love your neighbor." But since times have changed, Reform rabbis have conveniently made a 180 degree turn. The Conservatives, who are ridiculed by the Reformers for always being 10-15 years behind, have already begun to follow suit.

The Reformers state openly that they do not condemn murder or theft or anything just because it is written in the Torah. When their own "enlightened" reason dictates otherwise, any Torah prohibition can be junked as obsolete or mistaken.

Now, what if societal norms change? What if murder is condoned by the prevailing winds and by the "in" crowd? They will condone it too!

!) What if euthenasia becomes popular? What if society decides that 90 years is long enough, and then it is time to be put out of the way? What if the university intellectuals construct fancy philosophical edifices (as happened in Nazi Germany) and the idea gains wide acceptance, with or without the consent of the old people? Will Reform and Conservative "rabbis" stand up against he whole world and protest? Of course not.

2) How about infanticide? Would they have fought against killing babies in ancient Greece when this was popular among the intelligentsia and the aristocracy? Of course not.

3) What about sensitive pet owners who want to marry their dogs? Dennis Prager mentions a liberal was greatly annoyed by this question because he had no answer.

4) What about incest? Some societies encouraged this. What if our society changes? What is inherently wrong with a brother and a sister marrying each other? Isn't it cruel to be so insensitive to people who are in love? If society changes, will Reform and Conservative "rabbis" refuse to marry a brother and a sister?

But if they believed in the Torah, they would never do any of these things. If they believed in the Torah, they would have a clear definition of right and wrong, and would not be blown around by every passing fad.

Abraham was called Ivri, because the whole world stood on one side and he stood on the other. He stoop up fearlessly for the truth, even if it contradicted soceity and his era's modernity. The Orthodox are the true spiritual children of Abraham. Many Reform "rabbis" do not even believe that Abraham existed.

There are undoubtedly many gays who could live normal heterosexual lives if only help were available to them. Gays describe the homosexual life as not particularly gay, even without the risk of AIDS, adn the furthe guilt and irresponsibility of having spread it to many others. Why should they not be given the freedom to enjoy the blessings of regular parenthood and marriage? The Christians have had some noticeable success in this direction.

The ultra-secular universities and the media conspire to prevent any adjustment in sexual orientation. Positive messages about the gay lifestyle saturate modern literature and the arts. In Hollywood, it is easier to declare oneself gay (1-3%) than Republican (half the country).

Why has science been forced to abandon research into techniques that could help willing gays to change for their own benefit? Answer: Because the aggressive gay lobbyists do not want any stigma whatsoever attached to their lifestyle. ("Although I have AIDS and syphilis, I don't intend to change.") That is why untold thousands of gays are not being offered freedom of choice, and many will contract and spread AIDS.

"I grew up in the sixties, where, at Columbia, and especially at Vassar, there was pressure to be a lesbian. So of course society's attitude will greatly influence the amount of them. (Dennis Prager in a dialogue with Conservative Rabbi Harold Kushner, 6/2/91)

"One of the leading psychiatrists in Southern California said to me recently 'Of course it's an illness. But psychiatrists are unwilling to say it publicly because we'll get killed by liberals.'" (Dennis Prager, 6/2/91)

"I don't think a rabbi who is openly gay is an appropriate embodiment of the tradition any more than a rabbi who is a declared adulterer." (Rabbi Kushner)

Satyric writes: Maybe this liberal was annoyed by the Prager dog marriage question because it is totally stupid. How does a dog give consent to a legal marriage contract anyway? Bark once for yes, twice for no? The key here in many of your questions if you didn't know it XXX is really simple. It is "consenting adults" making decisions about their own lives. Not complicated at all, unless you want to make it so.

Disney Argues Pooh Was In Public Domain

From www.american-reporter.com: HOLLYWOOD, Nov. 13, 2002 -- A move by the Walt Disney Co, to recapture rights to Winnie the Pooh from a Tampa, Fla., widow and her daughter may have been designed to boost the company's stock just before an earnings announcement and has little chance of success, persons close to the long-running lawsuit between the heirs of Stephen Slesinger and the studio say.

Disney announced shortly before its third quarter earnings report that it had persuaded the granddaughters of Pooh author A.A. Milne and illustrator Earnest Shepard to "recapture" rights from the Slesingers granted by Milne and Shepard in 1930 and 1932, and that the Slesingers' royalties from Disney - estimated at $12 to $13 million per year - would end in 2004. After that, they're out, Disney spokesman John Sprelich told the Los Angeles Times and Variety, whose Janet Shprintz broke the story on Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, the American Reporter has learned that Disney's own lawyers argued at length in letters to Disney general counsel Peter Nolan and others that the property was in the public domain because it had not been registered in the author's name but in that of publisher E.P. Dutton in 1924, when the law required that the owner's name be on the registration document. Failure to use the true owner's name placed the properties in the public domain, Disney lawyers argued over the course of almost 50 years of correspondence. That would mean the copyrights Disney is trying to recapture did not exist in 1930 and 1932, at the time the Milnes granted the Slesingers the right to create secondary uses of Pooh, such as a line of clothing, recordings and radio shows. Those rights are separately granted by the creator, as Milne is called in the contracts, who may or may not have owned the copyright but as "creator" could grant other rights.

More Information On Alexander Proctor - Crook Who Threatened Reporter Anita Busch

From Reuters, 10/27/02: ....[A] federal magistrate in Los Angeles denied bail for Alexander Proctor because of his prior drug and burglary convictions and prosecutors' claim that he is a flight risk, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders said.

Proctor, 58, was arrested outside his West Los Angeles home earlier that day by a team of Los Angeles police and FBI organized crime agents. He was charged with a single charge of interfering with commerce by threats of violence, for allegedly trying to stop the Times and Busch from printing the stories.

If convicted he could receive up to 20 years in jail.

Ned Zeman, a Vanity Fair contributing editor who wrote a feature about the plot, reported being threatened at gunpoint by two men as he drove to his home in Los Angeles. Zeman said that two men in a dark-colored car pulled alongside his car, pointed a gun at him and said, "Stop it" and, "Bang," according to a Vanity Fair spokeswoman. Police so far have not linked the cases. Saunders said he expected more developments in the next few days.

Luke says: I've learned that Proctor is an electronics expert. "Unlicensed private investigator." Proctor knows a lot. He's a maven at eavesdropping. Proctor is an operative. He works for people like private investigator Anthony Pellicano, who journalist Jeffrey Wells says in 1993 used an electronics device to listen in to his cell phone calls while Wells was investigating the Michael Nathanson - Heidi Fleiss scandal at Columbia Pictures.

Proctor bugged a Jewelry store in Ventura County and figured out when the owner was going to show up with diamonds. Proctor used a bug to rob the guy in a non-violent way. Proctor knew from bugging the owner's phone that he was going to show up at a certain time with diamonds. Proctor then snatched the guy's diamonds.

Breaking News On Alexander Proctor - Anita Busch Case

There are developments in the Alexander Proctor case. Proctor is the 58-year old crook who police charge with bashing Anita Busch's windshield June 20. Violence is not in Proctor's modus operandi.

Two sources have told me that Proctor has ties to tough guy and infamous private eye to the stars Anthony Pellicano. Did Pellicano order Proctor to bust Busch's windshield? I do not know.

Proctor ain't communicating much with his public defender. He banks that richer and more powerful people will come to his aid.

It looks like there were different people, not Proctor, and not Pellicano, who threatened Vanity Fair reporter Ned Zeman.

I think the people who aimed a gun at Zeman and pulled the trigger (no bullets were fired) were trying to intimidate investigative journalist John Connolly who's published two devastating articles about Steven Seagal in Spy magazine (August 1993) and Penthouse (1998).

According to New York defense attorney Barry Levin, the feds are investigating Steven Seagal for these threats to reporters.

Jane Galbraith writes about Pellicano in the 9/1/93 issue of Newsday:

In recent weeks, Pellicano also was hired by a Columbia Pictures executive to find out who'd been spreading rumors linking the executive to Heidi Fleiss...

In the not-so-distant past, Pellicano's name could be found in newspaper stories about how Roseanne Arnold found the daughter she gave up for adoption - she became enraged with him later, believing he sold the story to the National Enquirer - and again in stories disputing the legitimacy of taped conversations between Gennifer Flowers and then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

Who is this guy? His business cards say that he does either "private investigation," "electronic surveillance" and / or "negotiations" - he's had three versions printed. His purported expertise in any combination of the above has brought him clients ranging from Kevin Costner to the National Enquirer - and a high-profile status achieved by no other private "dick" working the Tinseltown beat. He's also been dubbed "The Big Sleazy" by GQ magazine - a moniker some say couldn't be more accurate.

"He turns up really spectacular kinds of evidence," said one avowed fan, entertainment lawyer Bertram Fields, who represents not only pop star Jackson but other big names as well. Fields, who hired Pellicano in the Jackson case, credited him with getting the emotional distress suit dismissed against "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Top Gun" producer Don Simpson, whose secretary had claimed he made her schedule appointments with prostitutes and other alleged transgressions.

On the foe side is Jeffrey Wells, a freelance writer covering Hollywood who believes Pellicano tapped his phones when he was doing some investigative reporting on Columbia Pictures executive Michael Nathanson earlier this year.

The Chicago native first made a name for himself in Los Angeles by casting doubt on government tapes as an expert witness for John DeLorean in the former auto maker's 1983 cocaine trial. DeLorean was acquitted - and later claimed Pellicano intimidated government witnesses.

Pellicano, who did not respond to a reporter's requests for an interview, has admitted to resorting to strong-arm tactics. He's bragged about beating somebody with a baseball bat on behalf of a client.

CIA Operative Robert Booth Nichols

I keep hearing the name Robert Booth Nichols, a suspect in the 1991 murder of journalist Danny Casolaro. John Connolly writes about Nichols in the August 1993 issue of Spy magazine:

"One of the technical advisers on the set of Under Siege was Robert Booth Nichols, who has been identified in federal wiretaps as associating with the Gambino family. [See The Fine Print, Spy, July 1989] A retired Navy captain named Joseph John who was a technical adviser on the same movie -responsible for securing use of the U.S.S. Missouri for the movie - described Seagal and Nichols as "ass-hole buddies"; Seagal even cast Nichols in a tiny role."

According to John Connolly, the one person who had openly threatened Casolaro's life days before he died was Robert Booth Nichols.

FROM THE BOOK 'Virtual Government' by Alex Constantine pp.52-54, Mafia dons found lifelong friends in Hollywood (from mihr.org):

The Mafia's hold on Hollywood periodically burst into headlines with politically-embarrassing results. In December of 1988, the president of MCA's Home Video Division, Eugene Giaquinto, was accused by the FBI of funneling corporate payoffs to Ed "The Conductor" Sciandra, believed to be Giaquainto's uncle and the alleged underboss of Pennsylvania's Buffalino crime family.

The wiretaps led the FBI to a self-described CIA asset, Robert Booth Nichols, a suspect in the murder of journalist and musician Danny Casolaro, found slashed to death with a broken beer bottle in the bathtub of a West Virginia Sheraton hotel in 1991. Nichols, under oath, has described himself as an eccentric entrepreneur and intelligence genius. In March, 1993, in a civil suit waged against the L.A. Police Department, Nichols charged the cops with interfering in a huge overseas arms sale. From the witness stand he waved correspondence on White House stationery and photographs of himself in the company of foreign political and military dignitaries. He informed the jury that he had operated for nearly 20 years in the service of the CIA. The FBI affidavit alleges that during a July 15, 1987 stakeout on Sunset Strip, agents saw Giaquinto, then under investigation, hand a box to Robert Booth Nichols. The affidavit also mentioned that "Nichols may have been associated with the Gambino LCN (La Cosa Nostra) family in New York City.

A couple of years ago, I read the mesmerizing book "Dish," about America's gossip industry. During the 1990s, according to the author Jeannette Walls, celebrities found that the most effective way to respond to threatening gossip was by employing folks like Anthony Pellicano to intimidate those gossiping about you.

The Justice Department inquiry set out to determine whether Giaquinto, Nichols and others were "buying or selling stocks by the use of manipulative or deceptive practices." In 1988, after Giaquinto resigned from the board of Meridian International Logistics, Inc., a firm controlled by Nichols, he took a sudden "leave of absence" from MCA, never to return.

The name Robert Booth Nichols, reported the Los Angeles Times on March 21, 1993, also "surfaced in a House Judiciary Committee report on possible malfeasance in the Justice Department during the Reagan era. The report also linked Nichols to an aborted business venture at the Cabazon Indian Reservation in Indio which, he declared on the witness stand, dealt with the manufacture of machine guns to sell to the Nicaraguan Contras."

To underscore his clients' credibility, Nichols' lawyer introduced in court a flood of paper indicating that he had worked on numerous ventures with prominent individuals. They included Robert Maheu, Howard Hughes' former right-hand man; Michael McManus, an aide to President Reagan; Clint Murchison, then the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and George Pender, an executive with a worldwide engineering company. Nichols testified about discussions he had with a White House aide on the rebuilding of Lebanon while he was affiliated with Meridian's predecessor, Santa Monica-based First Intercontinental Development Corp., (a firm that) supposedly specialized in secret foreign construction projects for the U.S. government. Nichols also testified that he had no visible income for more than 15 years except for the living expenses he claimed he was receiving from unnamed CIA keepers.

Another link on Robert Booth Nichols. Link