Monday, February 28, 2005


I'm down to 100 during the wonderful window when Tylenol and Advil overlap. I'm still feeling like a bus hit me. The clinic said my lungs are clean so no worries about Bronchitis, Pneumonia, or Pterodactyl Syndrome. The worst part is that I need to be quarantined away from my son… and it's a medical fact that I need to play with him every day or I'll go nuts. He misses me, too. Durn you, virus!

Sunday, February 27, 2005


My temp is now 102, guess I'll watch the Oscars from the clinic. Wish me luck.

Fever Alert

Fever has hit 101.2. A record for at least 2 decades. We'll see if I need to go to the clinic.

Oscar Predictions 2005

Ya know, I had a grand plan as to how I was going to predict this year. Every year I have a grand plan, I know, but after reading a bunch and analyzing even more I realize that: (a) I've been doing it all wrong, and (b) almost everyone else does too.

Ya see, Oscars are voted by an electorate that is largely unknown and many of them do not express their opinions in another forum. Academy members are all professional Hollywood workers; the largest category are actors, but the next highest are Producers.

Only a few of the other awards given for movies overlap with the Academy electorate. All the guild awards, for example, are good indications for some direction, but not one guild has enough voters to be a sure thing.

The majority of voters are "Old Hollywood" - money people who are and were the idiots that turn out sequel after numbing sequel. The smartest people in Hollywood are Directors; the dumbest are actors, but a close second are producers.

Moreover, even though the nominees are chosen from the particular industry (cinematographers choose Best C, actors the 4 awards, writers the screenplay awards, and everyone the Best Picture), everyone in the Academy votes for the winners. The same meathead Producers who make movies of talking toasters and toilet monsters are allowed to choose Best Editor. They have no idea how editing is done, nor cinematography, etc. So they vote Best Picture all over again. Or, big "or," they could split their ticket based on sentimentality for the underdog. It's anyone's guess because the voters are so stupid.

This is why there are sweeps - because the lazy geriatrics in the Academy will just vote one movie across the board when they are overly enamored with a film (something that doesn't look likely this year)

The only way to have a really good idea of where the Oscars are heading is to be a Hollywood/Los Angles insider. To know who is popular to the electorate. That’s why critic awards (e.g. Golden Globes) are largely useless. Who in Hollywood likes critics?! If anything, the critics' awards can backfire because the Old Guard wants to demonstrate independence or the wonderful trait of Stupid People to assert their ability by being contrary.

A romp through past races shows that the Critics awards are anecdotal and useless.

There have been many upsets in recent years (e.g. Roman Polanksi for Best Director in 2002, Adrien Brody for Best Actor in the same year; Marcia Gay Harden for Best Supporting in 2000) that I haven’t heard good explanations for except that there was some politicking on the ground in LA.

For example, if an actor is criticized by the White House between when the electorate receives their ballots and when they are returned, that could tilt the votes. Million Dollar Baby was attacked by conservative critics for advocating euthanasia during this period - was that enough to tilt the voters? No idea.

So for my predictions, I will start from the standpoint of the Guild and then gauge how the Academy Old Guard will manifest their Idiocy this year.

The Producer's Guild voted for Aviator.

Directors Guild: Clint Eastwood

Screen Actors Guild
Best Actor: Jaime Foxx
Best Actress: Hilary Swank
Best Supp Actor: Morgan Freeman
Best Supp Actress: Cate Blanchett

My predictions:

1. Best Picture: Aviator
2. Best Director: Martin Scorcese
3. Best Actor: Jaime Foxx
4. Best Actress: Annette Bening
5. Best Supp Actor: Morgan Freeman
6. Best Supp Actress: Cate Blanchett
7. Best Original Screenplay: "Eternal Sunshine"
8. Best Adapted Screenplay: "Sideways"
9. Best Animated Film: "The Incredibles"
10. Best Documentary Feature: "Super Size Me"

I choose 10 because that makes the tzedaka easier.

Why these?

I think "Aviator" is Oscar bait and the Academy bit. It's perfect irony that Scorcese is overlooked for his real masterpieces, but if the Academy will redeem Polanksi, so they'll support Scorsese. It’s an epic film, a bio-pic, and fuels nostalgia for the bygone era of the majority of Academy electorate. Bada-bing.

Bening over Swank. As one critic put it - Swank isn't one of the greats, why would they award her with 2 awards in 5 years? Bening is Hollywood royalty (married to Warren Beatty) and the very fact that the movie she's nominated for was disliked and unknown shows how the academy is trying to rescue her. I think Winslet deserves it for the awesome "Eternal Sunshine" but Jim Carrey was even better than she was and he was ignored, so I think the academy will ignore her. I've heard good things about Vera Drake, which will be ignored for the same reasons.

Foxx is everyone's "shoo-in" so who am I to argue?

Freeman hasn’t gotten an Oscar yet, would you believe that? A crime.

Blanchett is the most nostalgia driven character in "Aviator" - and has built up an impressive career. I'm banking that Aviator is stronger than Million.

"Sunshine" may not win Screenplay - because the movie is too too good. But I'm hoping that after five high profile films, (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Adaptation, Human Nature, and Being John Malkovich) Kaufman's genius will penetrate the Geriatric Boneheads.

"Sideways" for Best Adapted because the critics' darlings are never given top awards but they seem to be recognized in the screenplays. My theory is that in non-sweeps years, the Geriatrics don't vote for this category, allowing the Young Turks to win.

"The Incredibles" for Best Animated Film because even though "Shrek 2" made more money than the European Union, it was hackneyed trash. The Incredibles is for the older, more staid crowd.

"Super Size Me" for Best Documentary Feature because it was the second most famous doc this year (after "Fahrenheit") and is widely credited with making McDonalds drop 'super-sizes' from their menus. Hollywood likes that kind of power.

I don't know if I'll be awake enough to watch the show. Let me know how I did…


I've been fighting colds on and off this whole winter but a week of no-sleep finally brought me down. A mild fever, a hacking cough, and epic languor are perfect to round out this unhealthy season. I've been trying to sleep all day and get plenty of fluids. I'm heading into a heavy speaking season so I hope I can lick this quickly.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Square K

Does anyone know anything about the "Square K" - from Seattle? Square-K Kosher Services POB 18915, Seattle, WA 98118. (206) 878-1065; Fax: (908) 370-0467. Rabbi Moshe Londinski.

The hekhsher is left off some good lists and included in some bad ones, but I know very little about the West Coast Scene.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson, 67, Author, Commits Suicide

Tuesday afternoon, in the middle of the conference, I finally get to look at a Times - the only source I have when I'm in hyper-focused conference mode - and I get floored by Thompson's suicide.

Hunter S. Thompson, by all accounts, was a paranoid degenerate and deeply weird person who nonetheless had an immense effect on my writing and literary worldview. Even deeper, I felt a kinship with his outlook - that were he to have been born an orthodox Jewish redhead in 1972 he'd be me instead of being a godless coked-out gun-crazy superfreak. The converse is true, because I felt he was a brother under the skin, I was long afraid that there but for the grace of God go I. I feel the same way about Belushi.

Thompson was an outlaw, a unique voice, and one of the most important writers in the 20th Century. His concept of "gonzo" journalism is based on the phenomenological philosophy of the breakdown between subjectivity and objectivity - his most important contribution to literature, epistemology and that rarefied nexus between ethnography and journalism that the greatest non-fiction writers inhabit.

I was very worried that his suicide came from the inevitable depression inflicted on we who see too much - a depression that may have been fueled by his mythically enormous drug consumption. Thank God, sorta, it turns out that he gunned himself down for all-too-understandable reasons for someone of his Libertarian freaky-deaky worldview: he was getting too sick.

We didn't think he was going to die quietly. A profound egotism drove his appetites for narcotics, pornography, guns, explosives, the fourth amendment, Freedom and is the very basis of Gonzo Philosophy. It's that same egotism that drove him to go out in a blaze of glory.

The gifts of family and God that I was given have kept me away from that egotism and those appetites, but I still mourn the loss of a person who spoke to my mind with an eerie resonance.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

That's My Idea!

I've had this idea for a while - that Election Day should be a national holiday. First of all, it would make it much easier for people to vote. But also because Election Day is greater than even the Fourth of July to demonstrate what America is all about.

Now I see that Hillary has the same idea and is sponsoring this in the Senate (Sen. Clinton Pushes for Voting Holiday). Well, that's the *perfect* way to kill it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Democracy, Cheap!

This is one of the most important stories out there - that the Bush Administration has been paying journalists to shill government policy under the deceptive face of 'objective' journalism. You'd think that since the RNC basically owns FOXNews would be enough, but nooooooo.

Already, the journalists Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus have been found selling out their integrity. Now we have a newer, and more twisted, tale.

Frank Rich (who has redeemed his idiotic op-ed career by becoming a real journalist in his weekly columns) reports on the case of "Jeff Gannon" (The White House Stages Its 'Daily Show').

Basically, a dude calling himself Jeff Gannon has attended many White House press conferences and was responsible for giving McClellan (the press sec) and Bush lowball partisan questions - for example (quoting from Rich):
In the last clip [on MSNBC], "Jeff" is quizzing the president himself, in his first post-inaugural press conference of Jan. 26. Referring to Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, "Jeff" asks, "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
Gannon, it turns out, does not exist. His real name is James D. Guckert. His news credentials came from a website "Talon News" which is actually a partisan Republican PR machine.

McClellan says that he had no idea that Gannon was under a false name and credentials. Rich quotes "Bruce Bartlett, a White House veteran of the Reagan-Bush I era, wrote on the nonpartisan journalism Web site Romenesko, that "if Gannon was using an alias, the White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover." (Otherwise, it would be a rather amazing post-9/11 security breach.)"

How low will Bush go? How low will we let him??

{2009 Update, pic from here.}

The Perfect Candidate

Michael Chertoff was the perfect choice for Homeland Security - I have no idea why Kerik came before him. Chertoff was confirmed as DHS Secretary last Tuesday (Feb 15) which makes him the Bush's first Jewish cabinet secretary. Bush is such a friend of the Jews that it took him 5 years to find someone qualified enough to be in his cabinet, but he chose well.

Ya see, while Kerik was merely a rapacious crook, Chertoff is a moral midget. I mean, who else should be head of Homeland Security than the man who wrote the execrable Patriot Act?

It's ironic - our current Attorney General (Hispanic) allowed torture and the DHS (Jewish) allowed our civil liberties stripped. At least they should switch jobs!

{2009 Update: pic from here.}

Cingular Blues

So, ya see, the synagogue wanted to get me cell-phone that can be an exclusive 'all-points' way of getting in touch with me. Great idea. Cingular was having a massive sale, so I felt it was the best option - also beause they could get you a phone number immediately and the phone soon after.

Well, turns out that Cingular had just merged with AT&T Wireless and was in the process of integrating their computers. After two days of waiting, one of the poor saps who works their customer service told me that because of the computer trouble, there were unprocessed back orders from two weeks before me. At that point I started cursing in Jedi. They took my point and rushed my order through and I got the number soon after and the actual phone in a few days.

But the phone didn't work. I tried vainly to get it set up, but it didn't budge. The phone said that I lacked the SIM chip (short for simian, I suppose) and it was supposed to have come with the phone. My office, never in a full state of organization, was turned upside down in my search for the chip which runs the phone and which supposively came with the package. No dice (or chip).

This morning, my wife went to a Cingular Authorized Dealership Emporium to get a replacement SIM chip (and to holler at them for not sending me one). She just called to tell me that Cingular did send me one - and installed it in my phone as a courtesy. They just installed it upside down.


{2009 update: pic from here.}

Headless Conference

We're leaving soon for this year's Wexner Alumni Conference, held in sleepy Tarrytown. Trivia buffs know that Tarrytown became famous as the setting of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving (or Irving Washington)- the first sentence being:
IN the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.
So, we'll be gone til Wednesday. Any of you who live in New Haven want to drive by our house to make sure it's still OK, be our guest.

Terror Alert Review

While I like to see Burt's smiling face, telling me all's Yellow in the US, I'm wondering if I should keep the terror alert up. First of all, the java-mojo mechanism that runs the alert slows down the blog's loading. Second of all, and most importantly, the terror alert is unlikely to change now that (a) Ridge is out of a job, (b) Ashcroft has left, and (c) Bush has been re-elected.

Even though we are far more vulnerable now than three years ago, Burt will not help us despite his mighty powers.

If you have opinions on the matter, let me know.

Movie Review: Shark Tale (2004)

Rented and saw Dreamworks' Shark Tale (2004). It reminds me of "Matrix Reloaded." Actually, it reminds me of the movie review I wrote for Reloaded (see below) - the critics savaged "Shark Tale" for reasons that I cannot understand.

What's wrong with these people? Have all journalists been taking stupid pills with their whiskey? The older I get, the more I realize how much I need other people to help understand the world yet the more I realize most other people have the minds of dumpsters.

Check out this review from the once reliable Onion A.V. Club:
"the real, uncredited architects are a bunch of kids in the mall: Every single joke, character detail, music montage, and pop-culture reference looks extensively market-tested, whether via screenings, focus groups, or other box-office successes. With dollar signs in its eyes and nothing in its heart, Shark Tale calculates each moment for the broadest appeal, but its impact couldn't be more impersonal. The filmmakers are convinced people will like it because the spreadsheets and pie charts tell them so, not because they've invested it with originality or passion. "
What on earth is he saying? The movie was very smart - the amount of detail that went into the Fish World and the fast, frequent inside jokes that NO kid would understand show that this movie wasn't a cheap knockoff of "Finding Nemo" (a claim almost every review made), e.g. from the Onion: "Shark Tale steals shamelessly from Finding Nemo"

OK, first of all, these animated movies are so long in pre-production that there's really no way they stole from Finding Nemo. Second of all, "Nemo" had almost nothing in common with "Shark" except that they were under water. The movie industry has this weird tendency to put out two movies from two studios on the same theme (e.g. "Volcano" and "Dante's Peak"; "Armaggeddon" and "Deep Impact"; and most relevant for this discussion, "Antz" and "A Bugs Life")

The comparison to Antz/Bugs Life is apt because "Antz" was from Dreamworks and "Bugs" from Disney-Pixar and it was seen as the first stage of the battle of animated giants (which sounds like another good movie idea, by the way). Critics of all brain-capacities have weighed in on which movie was better (or "won") but they are very different films. They are both remakes, "Bugs" of "Magnificent Seven" and "Antz" of "Love and Death" (roughly). But Bugs was G, Antz PG - and that's just the beginning. Antz was adult oriented and had a A-list celebrities parodying their personas in a knowing, mature way. Woody Allen, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Christopher Walken in a plot about betrayal, government genocide, and headless bugs. Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin playing WASPs was funny for me but would fly over the head of a 16 year old. "Bugs" was a cute movie about believing in yourself.

"Finding Nemo" vs. "Shark's Tale" is the same story. Nemo has all B-listers and the protagonist is the irritating Albert Brooks. The theme? Finding yourself (and your son). Actually it has the adult theme of not being as uptight as Brooks and more uptight than the fish Dory. I liked the movie, no doubt, but it's not in the league of "Shark's Tale" for references and easy humor.

How would 'focus group kids' get the trivia? e.g. "When Lenny coughs up the objects on the table, one of them is a license plate with the registration "007 981." This is the same plate found inside the tiger shark in Jaws" or that the fish voiced by Renee Zellwegger responded well when Will Smith's fish nonsensically said "You had me at hello"

Now, if you want to trash focus-group trash, take out "Shrek 2." Yeeeeeeeeugh.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Latest in Leadership from the Free World

The head of the Judiciary rules for life - a way to remain impartial and above politics. The Supreme Court justices are the last ones who are appointed by the old system of double-elections; i.e. the used to be chosen by electors (and even though we still do that, there's bunches of laws restricting electors from changing their votes, so it's meaningless) and the Senate was elected by the state legislatures. SCOTUS justices are appointed by the president and voted by the senate - thrice-removed and in it for life - a remnant of the 18th Century fear of a craven government, affected by the passions of the moment.

How ironic that all those great Enlightenment brains couldn't have protected us from the Rehnquist court, or Rehnquist himself. Who would think there'd be a further embarrassment after Bush vs. Gore (2000) - a landmark case of craven momentary passions on the level of Dred Scott.

But we have it as seen from today's story: Rehnquist Won't Be on Bench When Supreme Court Convenes… but "The chief justice has given no indication that he plans to step down."

Oh yay.

Rehnquist - who personally designed his robes with gold stripes - has taken his role as American Pope too literally. Just like the real Papist, Rehnquist will cling to his catherda until he bites in on the bench. I'm not happy about term limits nor age limits but do we really need to have this joker still in office?

Summers' Blunder

What Summers' did wrong was substitute a conclusion for a hypothesis. This happens all the time in the social-sciences. Summers is an economist (I believe) and all they *have* are hypothesis so who can blame him for just repeating the intellectual guano he's been trained to shovel.

Are women innately worse than men in math and science. Don't know. But it's a hypothesis (to answer the question 'how come there are way more men than women in engineering/math/physics'). If you stop at the hypothesis - and its a quick fix - then you'd be able to share your conlusion with your bar buddies but not with scientists and the rare intellectual.

Summers should have said 'Are the centuries-old prejudices true? Are women worse at math than men? I sure hope not, but if not we need to find a compelling reason why my Physics department has 10 men to 1 woman, etc etc).

And another point; speaking as a non-math dude; why is it an insult to suggest that women are worse than men at math? I am a verbal whiz and a math sloth and I am quite happy with that arrangement. The fact that people are angry at the suggestion means that they have incorporated the real prejudice - that because men ruled the culture, they (we) claimed that whatever we were good at was the right and superior set of skills. Anything non-masculine became sub-standard.

Thinking that math skills are inherently better than verbal skills is something that only a math-oriented person would say - or someone immersed in a male values dominated culture.

Ironically, the biggest display of chauvenism in this whole mess comes from Summers' critics who cling to the hierarchical prejudices of an arachaic system.

Harvard's Choice

As you may know, Larry "Lounge Lizard" Summers, President of Harvard is in deep trouble after he said the most terrible things anybody has ever said about women.

Not even getting into whether Summers has a valid point about women in the sceinces is the way the University "community" is handling it. [University Community is simultaneously a tautology and oxymoron; both mean 'all for one' yet universities are by degign fractious. Whenever a University's denizens unify you should run to the hills; academics who agree only do so in order to squash a third person]

According to the Times, Summers said (according to the now released private transcript):
"My best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon - by far - is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity; that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude; and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination,"
According to his critics, he in fact said "Women are stoo-pid" in a Gomer Pyle voice.

More importantly, the University may throw him out on his pasty white rump. I love this - Harvard is showing its true colors; in the battle between academic freedom and political-correctness, PC will win.

Bye-bye Summers, next time run a real school.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

SOY Sale and My Lists

Living outside of The City for the first time in 8 years, getting to the SOY Sale is very difficult. I haven't missed the sale for all those years; it's like a religious experience!

In any case, going to a booksale unprepared causes me much anxiety. Actually, that sentence made me sound like Yoda, which I guess proves the point. I have stacks and lists of books to buy and smaller stacks of files of the books I own. The danger of buying a book I already own is very high - there's just not enough time for me to keep track of my holdings. I don't know if it's pretentious or pathetic, but I think I need a private curator. My kid is too small for the job (and he eats every single book he gets in his fisty mitts).

My ethic this year is when in doubt, I will not buy a book - which will make my family happy (except for my kid, naturally).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

N.H.L. Commissioner Cancels Rest of Season

I don't know what is more of a shock - that the NHL is, in the words of the Times story "the first major pro sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute" or the fact that I had absolutely *no* idea that the hockey season was supposed to have begun. Does anyone outside Canada know when hockey season starts anyway?

Except for the movie "Slap Shot" (which we just acquired, thank you very much) hockey means oh so little to my world. But I love the Slap Shot (especially the Hanson brothers ... did you know that it was basically a true story! no joke!)

Comic Book Theme Music

This should get you in the mood for all the comic book movies coming out (more on that anon): Comic Book Resources - TV Theme Music.

Karaites vs. Messianics

[This is a backpost dated from September 27, 2004 - I only had one line, I think I can remember where I was going with it]

I was doing Sukkot research online and stumbled across the Karaite form of Sukkot.

I think I wanted to weigh who is weirder or more obnoxious - the Messianics or Karaites, and I think the Messainics are still worse. The Karaites just take away from the religion but the Messainics add a whole mess of bad. In a certain extent, the halakha of 'Bal Tosif' is worse than 'Bal Tigra']

{2009 Update: pic from this website, which I haven't checked out, but looks notable in itself}

Political Reading After November's Debacle

Because of my busy schedule, I was unable to read every single article in every single magazine I subscribe to at the moment it arrives in my house; I give myself several weeks (months) of idle or throne time to get through them all. However, now that the Disaster of '04 has happened, I find that all of these pompous, under-thought political articles are just terrifying.

[Update: My reflections on my mindset 3 months ago]

The spitting rage I was in 3 months ago has dulled into a lugubrious torpor. This is what it must have felt like in February 1973 in the shadow of Nixon. Except that the dirty tricks were more obvious under the Trickster (whose intelligence was a disadvantage, we see - the worst presidents were usually the meatheads and they were worst because they got away with it: see Harding, Bush).

The biggest - if not only - factor in Bush's victory was that we were attacked on our own soil. He's a fool to play it as a mandate but he's gotten where he is by being a fool, so for him it works. Bush is the Disaster President in more ways than one.

Backpost started 11/14/04 & finished 2/16/05.

More Passion

[This is a draft post from sometime in early March 2004 - I didn't post it because it was unfinished, as you can see from the Roman Numerals at the end of the post... I don't have time to finish it now, either, but I gotta make this blog less drafty!]

Hopefully, the end of this topic

Some last points about the "Passion."

First of all, I want to rationalize why we are spending so much time on it. I happen to believe that it is a significant point in early 21st Century. Yeah, this is just a film; yeah, its a pet project of a lowbrow religious punk - a punk who has been able to manipulate the entire Western World into paying attention to his personal demonology.

The 20th century saw the transformation of Western Culture from Industrial to post-Industrial to Information. We are in the "information age" (for those who're keeping track) and when you recognize that information is all in the mind, you will recognize that anything which directly impacts the mind is both powerful and significant.

In a land that holds free speech as an inalienable right, we have understood even back in the 18th Century that ideas are powerful and significant. However, over those hundreds of years, we've learned that speech can liberate as well as obliterate.

"Hate speech" is a difficult and nebulous substance that has only been seriously thought out in the late 20th Century. We have the Supreme Court cases that relate to dangerous speech (shouting fire in a crowded room) to hate speech. A watershed moment, I believe, was the Clarence Thomas - Anita Hill case which alerted America that sexual harassment is harmful and is accomplished in the intangible realm of verbal and non-verbal language. The fact that the culprit of the harassment is one of the most powerful people on earth is ironic but understandable when you see him as an antediluvian vestige and an accident of history.

Speech is a weapon; images are weapons. The cultural-conservatives who demand prayer in schools (speech), Ten Commandments in stone in the courthouse (images), no smut on television and radio (both), understand this.

In fact, were you to ask a cultural-conservative and a cultural-liberal what the greatest threat to American society is in 2004, the liberal would say "the near-fascist thuggery of our rapacious and illegally elected government." A conservative would say "Hollywood."

The reason why "The Passion" is so important is because it wages a war of images and ideas using the enormous power of Hollywood and Big Business. It's message - about religion and violence - has been the public discourse for the past 20 years and ever-so-much-more-so in the past 3 years.

That's why I think we need to still discuss it.

II. Why you do not need to see it
III. Christianity is anti-Semitic by definition

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Extracts From Adam's Diary

In my senior year of college, when we needed to find quotes to put next to our pictures in the yearbook, a literary snob friend of mine said that the only legitimate quotes were those we found ourselves when reading or listening to songs. Getting quotes from a quotebook was not proper. Yes, she was an English major. I agreed in principle, except of course that I read quotebooks for fun so, by Talmudic logic, I was fine.

Ironically, I did have a quote from a story that I would have loved to use but I couldn't find it in time. Ten years, and one internet, later I can find the quote and broadcast it to ya'll

This is from Mark Twain - the only decent 19th Century American writer (who I am glad to say is not only better than Melville and Hawthorne but could also probably thrash them both in a barfight) - from his short story Extracts From Adam's Diary (about Adam Harishon and eating meat):
It was against my principles, but I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed
Go Twain!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein

If you want to see a wonderful example of moral foreign policy, check out this (presumably undoctored) photo of Donald Rumsfeld Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein

This is from George Washington University's "National Security Archive" - a generally fun place to surf and get very frightened.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Roto-Blogger (Bloggo-Rooter)

While it may look like I've been only sporatically bloggin', I've actually been writing a lot in draft form. I will try to unclog the bottleneck and get those old posts out into the light.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


My whole life has just come together in 25 seconds. McDonalds in Israel is now making a "McShwarma" sandwich and their commercial is a parody of the "quarter-pounder" scene from "Pulp Fiction."

2009 Update: Now with embedded video!