The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

It's Just Lunch....or IS IT??

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Reader Requests

One of my favorite readers points out:

This was meant for your blog -- dim sum, Maoist oppression, paternalistic attitudes about unhealthy foods.

So true....also, one of my West Coast readers has asked for a post on Frederick Law Olmsted. Due to finals, I'm not sure I can devote the proper amount of time to such a great man. However, it did make me think about how we city dwellers live in the shadow of bygone giants. Hopefully I'll be able to do a compare/contrast with Robert Moses at some point in the future. Obviously my paternalistic maoist sympathies would tend toward Mosses' point of view, however he was just wrong about some basic realities of mankind (bigger roads means more cars, not more space).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Email war: resolved

OK, now I feel bad....

Here is the reply I got:


I have taken you off my email list. I truly did not understand that I was sending it to the incorrect mailing. I just thought my brotherin law was being rude.

Did you realize that when you are mad, that you do not like yourself. No capitals when addressing yourself. When you were nice and addressing my son, you capitalized the I when addressing yourself.

Have a nice life. Signing off.


Fuck finals for making me irrationally crabby. Also, for the record, I told her several times in the past about when she says "I thought my brotherin law was being rude," she must have thought he was trying to pretend like he didn't know her.

NOTICE John Kerry lurking the background....Jane probably thought he was an appeaser. Were there orgies after the protests?

My Email Doppelganger...

I still use my email address on my parent's AOL account. For almost 5 years I've received emails for someone who must have a remarkably close email address. At one point I knew his name, social security number, and his alimony status (he registered my email account to the Texas family maintenance payments bureau). The most frequent emails come from a HelenOMK, who i think is like an estranged sister. Sometimes the emails are about funeral plans, sometimes angry emails about my email doppelganger's behavior at family functions. Obviously my doppelganger is a real asshole. I was always scrupulous about telling her that she got the wrong address. But, she never replied and kept sending stuff. For about two years I've been getting updates on her son Sean's service in Iraq. I almost sent a care package (Salami from Katz's). A few months ago she sent out email to tell me that he's back in Germany and safely out of Iraq. Anyway, HelenOMK finally crossed the line today by disparaging one of my favorite actresses. My reply is first, followed by her email:


Whoever you are, i've told you several times that i don't know you. Furthermore, i do not want to receive any more of your hateful right-wing crap. Please take me off your list and figure out who you really want to be sending these emails to. Jane Fonda was a confused young woman who has appologized several times for her more egregious actions. I suggest you rent Coming Home [United Artists 1978]. It is a powerful and moving Hal Ashby classic.

Also, I do sincerely appreciate your son's service in Iraq and was happy to hear he got out of there safely.

-----Original Message-----

From: HelenOMK


Subject: Jane Fonda? Unbelievable!

That she was recognized by Barbara Walters in connection with an award of greatness lends credence to stories of her disloyalty and only serves to increase my contempt for her... and the liberal media. A TRAITOR IS ABOUT TO BE HONORED She really was a traitor.

A TRAITOR IS ABOUT TO BE HONORED. KEEP THIS MOVING ACROSS AMERICA This is for all the kids born in the 70's who donot remember, and didn't have to bear theburden that our fathers, mothers and olderbrothers and sisters had to bear. Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the "100 Women of the Century."
Unfortunately, many have forgotten and stillcountless others have never known how Ms.Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country,but specific men who served and sacrificedduring Vietnam.
The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot.
The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat.
In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAFSurvival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the "Hanoi Hilton."
Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell,cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he wasordered to describe for a visiting American"Peace Activist" the "lenient and humanetreatment" he'd received.
He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and wasdragged away.During the subsequent beating, he fell forwardon to the camp Commandant's feet, which sent that officer berserk.
In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered fromdouble vision (which permanently ended hisflying career) from the Commandant's frenziedapplication of a wooden baton.
From 1963-65, Col Larry Carrigan was in the47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the"Hanoi Hilton",,, the first three of which hisfamily only knew he was "missing in action".His wife lived on faith that he was still alive.His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed andclothed routine in preparation for a "peace delegation" visit.They, however, had time and devised a plan toget word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tinypiece of paper, with his Social Security Numberon it, in the palm of his hand.
When paraded before Ms. Fonda and acameraman, she walked the line, shaking eachman's hand and asking little encouragingsnippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombedbabies?" and "Are you grateful for the humanetreatment from your benevolent captors?"Believing this HAD to be an act, they eachpalmed her their sliver of paper.She took them all without missing a beat. At theend of the line and once the camera stoppedrolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs,she turned to the officer in charge and handedhim all the little pieces of paper.
Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason weknow of her actions that day.
I was a civilian economic development advisorin Vietnam, and was captured by the NorthVietnamese communists in South Vietnam in1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years.
I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; oneyear in a cage in Cambodia; and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi.My North Vietnamese captors deliberatelypoisoned and murdered a female missionary, anurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, SouthVietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near theCambodian border.At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.)
We were Jane Fonda's "war criminals."
When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked bythe camp communist political officer if I wouldbe willing to meet with her.
I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the realtreatment we POWs received... and howdifferent it was from the treatment purported bythe North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as"humane and lenient."
Because of this, I spent three days on a rockyfloor on my knees, with my arms outstretchedwith a large steel weights placed on my hands,and beaten with a bamboo cane.
I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fondasoon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.
These first-hand experiences do not exemplifysomeone who should be honored as part of "100 Years of Great Women."Lest we forget..." 100 Years of Great Women"should never include a traitor whose hands arecovered with the blood of so many patriots.
There are few things I have strong visceralreactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation inblatant treason, is one of them.Please take the time to forward to as manypeople as you possibly can.It will eventually end up on her computer andshe needs to know that we will never forget.RONALD D. SAMPSON, CMSgt, USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron, Chief ofMaintenance DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Harvard and Me

Any Tufts student or grad that denies having a tortured relationship with our neighbor to the South is fooling herself. What starts as slight envy and curiosity seethes and burns over 4 years, blossoming into outright hatred. They have the Gore girls and various European royalty; we have Jessica Biel. They have Harvard Square; we have Davis Square (note: this used to be a real edge for Harvard when I was a Freshman, now Harvard Square is a big mall and the punk kids left…and Davis is kind of cool). They have jobs; we have bongs. The list goes on.

This is all an introduction to my one single, disastrous experience at a Harvard party. Remember, readers, that yours truly does not hide his jealousy/righteous indignation/rage very well.

Anyway, during Fall of freshman year a really good friend of mine from high school was in town with some new friends from his summer-camp-for-liberal-rich-kids-of-a-college located in Waterville, Maine. These new friends had friends at Harvard. Apparently there was some huge rager going down that night at the Harvard friends' suite. We pre-partied in the new friends’ suite at a fancy downtown hotel, my friend and I downed an entire liter of vodka between the two of us. At 18, it was probably more than I’d ever drunk before. I was shit-canned, loaded, and mangled…all at the same time.

We get to the Harvard suite, and I’m not really making much for conversation…just swaying back and forth in the corner and turning to people asking where the Gore girl was. I’m pretty sure I was actually embarrassed to say I was from Tufts. Nobody is talking to me, and the girls we knew were already hanging over a bunch of douchebags in polo shirts who were probably all named Chad.

I remember going to the bathroom, noticing that they actually had spare rolls of toilet paper out in the open (never would have happened at Tufts, lest us irresponsible scallywags toss the tp all over campus). I grab a roll….my memory gets really hazy at this point….I get back to the suite and go up to my friend and loudly yell:

“Look, these Harvard kids wipe their asses with the same shit we do.”

Music stops, people turn bright red in embarrassment for me. Apparently everyone is aghast and such a blatant display of Harvard-envy. Murmuring ensues. I sort of imagine little girls in tennis outfits exclaiming, “well I never!”

The sad part is that I was somehow escorted out, as if I was going to “cause problems” (even though I probably weighed140 pounds at the time). My friend who was there constantly tells this story, usually ending with something like, “that’s when I realized you were really cool.” The problem is that, even though I now look back at the whole incident with a certain degree of smug satisfaction, at the time I was profoundly embarrassed.

Happily, I’ve managed to hold my own with the East Coast snobs since then. I’ve also learned that Yale is actually much more impressive than Harvard (and Princeton is a joke). Just to stay true to my roots, however, I would definitely pull the same sort of embarrassing self-immolation if I ever happened to be partying at Yale Law School. Wait. Party?…Yale Law School?….never mind.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I love the Daily Show

This has got to be one of the better skits they've done in a while. Rob Corddry goes to Harvard ("a Yale on the Charles, if you will") and investigates the scandal surrounding Dorm Aid. God only knows what "Little Lord Fauntleroy training" involves, but I think Michael Jackson would get off watching. Also, pronouncing "Jim" as "Jeeem" to sound ethic is hysterical.

Anyway, I always thought the Daily Show wouldn't be able to survive once everyone knew about the show, meaning that they couldn't catch interviewees offguard. But, this skit shows that even when they go into a situation where everyone knows exactly what's going on, they can still make the people look like asses.

The best part of the whole thing is the kid who's trying to be politically correct saying, "Hey, let's be careful here, they're not Guatemalans, they're cleaning professionals." Harvard kids, think they're so fukkin smaaat.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

More interesting information from Wikipedia

What's a "dum dum bullet"?


Dum Dum is a group of small towns to the north west of Kolkata (Calcutta) in West Bengal state in India, and the location of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, formerly Dum Dum Airport.

During the 19th century the area was home to a British Royal Artillery Armoury, where, in the early 1890s, Captain Bertie Clay developed a bullet with the jacket cut away at the tip to reveal its soft lead core, known as a dum dum. The British needed more powerful weapons to use against the Afridi Tribesmen in the Khyber Pass, who were apparently unconcerned by ordinary bullets. The dum dum shells were designed to expand rapidly upon impact with the human body, breaking up and inflicting a number of savage tearing wounds.

Dum dum bullets were banned by the first International Peace Conference in The Hague in 1899, along with shells that delivered asphyxiating gases, and the practice of dropping bombs from balloons "or similar new machines". The ban on dum dum bullets was the only one to survive after World War I, because they had a tendency to jam in self-loading weapons, and because armourers had by then developed fully jacketed bullets that were equally destructive in tissue.


So-called "expanding bullets" were some the first "fringe" weapons banned under International Law. Their prohibition has been recently codified in Rule 77 of the ICRC's new treatise Customary International Humanitarian Law.

The end is nigh!

Check it out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Well, that was kind of anti-climactic if you ask me. Now I remember why I'm a Jew.

I must say, I'm proud to probably be the only Jew on the planet who received two excited voicemails and three instant messages upon the appearance of the white smoke.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Man, today's "recent keyword activity" is like a greatest hits.

#1 ALL-TIME: "long pinky fingernails india ass"

Also notable: "parents the antidrug ever wonder what your kids are talking about" and "livery of seisen"

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Its 5am in Rome, do you know where your Cardinals are??

It's Conclave time, and I'm pumped!

Get your brackets printed out and authenticated....I'm pulling for Shoenborn, mostly because of my love for Austrian food and the Austrian people's wonderful tradition of warm and friendly inn-keeping. Plus, have you ever been to Africa? I have...let me tell you, nothing infallible is coming out of there this century. TRUST ME.

IT'S ON BABY! Here's more info than you could possible need to fill out your brackets. Since betting on the Conclave might be considered Simony under Rule 78 of the Universi Dominici Gregis, I suggest you fill them out as to what you want rather than what you expect.

Breaking News!!!: Pitchfork jumps shark

If you've ever wondered how all the kids you know who are in to music like the same music, look no further than Full disclosure: I've found out about many, many bands I truly love from Pitchfork. Plus, I think its cool that they can take an unknown band like Broken Social Scene and turn them into The Next Big Thing.

Sadly, however, Pitchfork has grown fat on its own power. Its true that they are probably never going to give a good review to a bad album (although I find their fascination with The Fiery Furnaces totally baffling). My problem is how small minded they are becoming. The rule at Pitchfork seem to be: if its on a major label, bash it...ESPECIALLY if its by an artist who used to be on an indie. The problem is that outfits like Pitchfork have become so entrenched that the line between indie and major label (especially in artistic output) is becoming so blurred that this formula leads to absurd results. I'll give three examples.

#1: The Killers album Hot Fuss- This is a great album that everyone seems to love. Look, I'll admit, I'm probably not going to listen to this a year from now, and some of the songs are genuinely annoying (for example "Mr. Brightside"). But, the album works...its catchy pop music. Pitchfork gave Hot Fuss a 5.2 (out of 10). My problem isn't really the score (although I think it should be a bit higher), my problem is the review itself. The review's chief criticism is that, "The Killers have made a record more concerned with artifice than artistry." Fair enough. But, the support for this claim comes from the band's artifice...its press releases, its story, the reviews from the UK press. That, friends, is circular logic, and its just plain disappointing in art criticism. Grown some balls, Pitchfork, tell us you hate these guys cause they have an MTV deal. That's cool, its even a fair criticism...especially if you can show how this makes them sound worse. But, hiding behind lines like, "Where are they, besides their wily references to past pop pros and a vague sense of Sin City cynicism?" is amusing, but just a tad immature.

#2: The new Beck album Guero- Probably the best album Beck has put out in a couple years. Pitchfork says its a 6.6. Try reading that review, I dare you. Its uninformative garbage. I just refuse to accept that an album that SOUNDS GREAT is bad because it sounds like similar music by the same artist. Can imagine these fuckers trying to review Bach or Shostakovich? "Dimitri really broke ground with the Fifth Symphony, but now, with the Tenth, he just sounds old and tired."

#3: The two new Bright Eyes albums- Pitchfork pretends like Digital Ash in a Digital Urn doesn't really exist. In reality, its the much more interesting of the two albums.'s my biggest gripe with Pitchfork: its spawning a whole slew of out-of-their-league reviewers who suddenly have "cred" because they write for this rag. Case in point: Nick Sylvester, who published this review of Mail Order Wife in The Village Voice. I saw the movie, I read Sylvester's review. I'm convinced he didn't actually see the movie. You'd think someone who usually reviews music would put a little more effort into his first movie review. Go to his blog (a collection of faux interviews) and tell him I say he's a worthless hack.

P.S. Does anyone else find it incomprehensible that blogger's spell check does not include the word "blog?"

Thursday, April 14, 2005

nice pubes!

Somethings rotten in the State of Nevada... about it here. Please tell me there's a Roswell connection too.

Here's an article that I am too relativist to comment upon. In other news, all hell has broken loose at Tufts
University's fraternities. You can read about one incident here. Legal eagles, first one to explain to me how the cops got probable cause for the warrant gets a golden star sticker. The other incident involved this fraternity's neighbor (and also former Secretary of Energy, former Governor of New Mexico, and former dark horse VP nomination candidate Bill Richardson's former house) being caught with a pledge who had stopped breathing after bing drinking on cold medicine.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You can go anywhere in The Netherlands on the wonderful train system.

These are Dutch football fans watching their side in the Euro 2004

this is a biker near Leiden's town hall

this is what the dunes by the North Sea look like

this is the view of Leiden from my roof

The street/canal that my building (with the aforementioned courtyard) is on.

Here's the courtyard where the weed photo was taken

This is what weed looks like...don't worry, this is legal marijuana--bought, photographed, and consumed in The Netherlands.

Parents: THE Antidrug

Ok, first...sorry for the lack of posts. My life is boring, the weather is nice, and I've been busy signing a lease for a 2000 square foot duplex apartment in the east village with a huge private backyard. I'm not kidding, its that big. There will be many, many bbq's the summer. Here's info about my new building. Its on the corner of sixth street and 3rd ave./Bowery. Its on the site of the Fillmore East. This means yours truly is now part of the much maligned Bowery corridor gentrification. I hate to be a dick, but does anyone really doubt that if Woody Guthrie were alive today, he would shop at Whole Foods ? Wait, that's all wrong....I'm sorry Woody. This land is your land this land is my land, from the humvie dealership to the tanning salon.

Moving on, I was just checking out the site during class and one of those 5 second window-filling ads came up. This one was sponsored by Parents: THE Antidrug, the federal government's pathetic homage to the "this is your brain on drugs" campaign of our youth. Anyway, this ad on had the words "skunk" "schwag" and "kindbud" flashing on a green screen followed by the message, "ever wonder what your kids are talking about?" Anyway, the whole thing is takes place on a background of what I'm assuming is supposed to be weed. But the thing is, it wasn't even close to looking like the real thing. Really, I laughed out loud. I think they spray painted some thyme. I tried to find a link to it, but haven't had any luck. I'm going to post a picture of the real thing lest any youngster or parent get confused.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Travel Plan: UPDATE

This is highly troubling. Although, I think nuclear fallout is more of a long term health risk than a risk to the short term visitor. I mean, smoking cigarettes has to be worse. Speaking of which, Sin City (an awesome movie) HAS to have been funded in part by the cigarette lobby. Upon leaving, the first thing I had to do was buy cigs.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Why Barry Bonds doesn't understand the American public.

Barry tried to cry in front of TV cameras, America responded with disgust and started saying that he was exploiting his son and shouldn't play baseball again. He failed at crying. Now, he does the simple thing--going in front of the Pac Bell crowd to get his MVP and batting titles from last year. This time, he's triumphant (and slightly emotional) and the crowd cheers him for minutes on end. This is why Barry hates the public: when he tries to be humble...people accuse him of being a monster, when he's mindless champion, they cheer. Yet, he gets criticized for being aloof.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Red Sox jump shark

I am/was a Red Sox fan, I'm still trying to work that out. Either way, I've had the stinking suspicion that the Sox jumped the shark at some point since last October. Although the shark jumping might have happened sooner, this is definitive. No one wants to see you feet Johnny Damon, no one!

Here's to you Andrea Zuckerman

It makes me happy that random things like this make me think about 90210.


Now THIS is how you wage a hearts and minds campaign. Go team! I'm serious, really. Human rights concerns aside, this seems like a brilliant idea. [from Drudge]

Friday, April 01, 2005

RIP: John Paul II

If you want info on what happens during the interregnum, I have some links here.

The Pope's passing give us a chance to reflect on what it means to lead a good life. Personally, this came into focus for me while listening to Daniel Pipes speak to the Federalist Society here at NYU. Our president tosses around the words "good" and "evil" enough to deprive them of all coherent meaning. But, yesterday, listening to Pipes speak and thinking about John Paul's life, I realized that there really are good and evil people here on earth.

First, the Pope. People around school ask me, "you don't seriously care about the Pope, do you?" The reality is I do. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who have faith in their lives. I am not a faithful person, I don't think being faith-filled would improve MY life one iota. But, that doesn't take away from the fact that many people need faith, and for many people faith is the only way to endure nasty, brutish, and short lives in this deeply flawed world. I respect John Paul II because of his ability to lead the faithful of the Earth by example. I don't think I can think of another living leader who can speak with the same legitimacy to the faithful of the Earth. This isn't a man who only connected with Catholics. He drew huge crowds in India, Africa, and Asia. Even us cynical Jews seem to, as group, respect the man. It is remarkable that, in a hyper-modern world, this man has led faithful people by example. That is a type of leadership that can't be taught. Maybe it can't even be learned. John Paul II wielded tremendous moral and political influence on a deeply skeptical world without an army and using only his own moral legitimacy.

A constant source of criticism of the Pope is the policies of the Catholic Church. I absolutely agree that it is abominable to prohibit condom distribution in overcrowded developing countries. The Church's treatment of homosexuals is retrograde and embarrassing. Many missionaries still trade rice for conversions. Many Church institutions are deeply sexist. But, using these things to criticize John Paul II is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Pope's role. Its a law school conceit to conflate policy makers and policy. The Pope is constrained by politics and law just like any leader. Furthermore, he is not a policy-maker, he is a man of faith serving as the organ of God in this mortal sphere. Whether we can intellectually accept that is a very different question. But, its not acceptable to say, "if he claims to be the organ of God, he must agree with me and my conceptions about what God would want, or he's not legitimate." An example of this misunderstanding is an article I saw this week which claimed last year's papal pronouncement that feeding tubes are not 'extraordinary measures' means that the Pope would want to have a feeding tube. No, it means that God's policy, which the Pope is servant to and the organ of, is that feeding tubes are not optional.

This is a profoundly important man for millions of people around the world, that alone should be enough command our respect. His life story is nothing short of amazing. Think about how fracturing and disruptive life under Soviet control was for half of Europe. Yet, this man comes out of that situation and is able to engage both the masses and the elite of the rest of the world. He was a good man.

Daniel Pipes, on the other hand, is evil. Never before has a speaker made me so ill and upset. What really bothered me was his total abuse of his title as "eminent historian." Under the guise of his own intellectual achievement, he manhandled history in such a transparent and embarrassing way that I felt as bad for him as for the throngs of admires constantly taking photos of him. Not to dwell too long on this fool, but his basic idea is that Our enemy is not just terrorism but the ideology of Islamic Extremism. We need to fight a total war against the ideas of Islamists and not just Islamist terrorists. He publishes articles about how to tell a "normal Muslim" from an "Islamist." He refuses to make any real policy suggestions as to what to do with extremists when we out them, but since "they want to replace our Constitution with the Koran," they are all treasonous. He argues over and over again that the "hijacking of Islam in America by Islamists" is historically unprecedented, but constantly uses historical analogies to totalitarianism and communism. Most upsetting, as far as principled argumentation goes, was his total side-stepping of the fundamental moral difference between a war on terrorism and war on an ideology that supports terrorism. That's what's so shitty and evil about Pipes, he's advocating the wholesale annihilation of a worldview, and he does it using the most base utilitarian arguments. To quote, "liberals appease threats, I fight them head on." Even worse, his arguments are neither coherent nor substantiated. He's betrayed his intellectual heritage and the entire field of History so that he can be the glam poster-child of the modern day Charles Lindberg set. FUCK YOU DANIEL PIPES, if there is a hell, you'll be there soon enough. Also, just an know someone is a pretentious bastard when they talk about their "web log" rather than "blog."