Thursday, October 26, 2006

More “News”

Grey's Anatomy is the new Ally McBeal.
Veronica Mars is the new Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Right Turns on the Inside Outside

Strengthen them, oh Lord,
And keep them from the strangers' ways.
--Topol, Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm dating a Baptist girl right now or the fact that I've been romantically involved with a number of Protestant girls despite being a good Catholic boy who has dreamt since childhood of marrying a fellow mackerelsnapper, but I seem to be reading a lot of books lately about interfaith relationships.

Of course, a relationship between Protestants and Catholics seems less controversial than a relationship between Christians and Jews. And yet I find it impossible to read a book about Jews and Christians dating one another without comparing it to my own experience.

The latest such book is author Herman Wouk's Inside, Outside, a novel I considered at best so-so until the author introduces the main character's Gentile girlfriend, Bobbie Webb. Then suddenly I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

Of course it didn't hurt that Wouk was writing about a beautiful showgirl and I -- like most straight men -- have a weakness for stories about beautiful showgirls.

And yet this book seemed different.

Perhaps because in this book, the author doesn't gloss over the feelings of the Gentile girl. True, the author's main emphasis is on the Jewish character's feelings but he does not gloss over the girl's feelings like some authors would. He does not ignore the irony of a Jewish character who spends much of the book feeling like an outsider in the gentile world treating his own beloved as an outsider. Nor does he pretend that the Jewish character's eventual decision to pass up Bobbie Webb in exchange for a relationship with a nice Jewish girl is painless to either party.

I know it's not fair to compare fiction to nonfiction but I can't resist thinking of an account of a similar relationship in Michael Medved's autobiography Right Turns. Medved, too, eventually gives up his shiksa girlfriend in favor of a nice Jewish girl but for some reason, his account rings kinda heartless. True, he deserves props for not disguising the fact that he cheated on his gentile girlfriend and for not making her out to be worse than she was. (In fact, she comes across as being far more sympathetic a person than he is.) But his decision to give up his girlfriend and return to his Jewish roots is presented in such a positive unambiguous light that one can't help feeling sorry for Medved's ex-girlfriend and wondering what she ever saw in the guy.

Oh, well.

I'm not yet sure what I learned from Herman Wouk's book or how it relates to the current amor de mi vida but I'm sure I'll find out eventually. If nothing else, I pray I treat her more kindly than Medved treated his ex-novia. And that I don't end up calling her Bobbie...

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Movie Quote of the Week

All my life, I've been? I've been waiting for someone to love me, and now I love someone. And it's so easy. Why is it so easy now?
--Natalie Wood, Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

All the Things That I Have Seen

1. The Weather Man (2005).

If you have a copy of Iggy Pop's song “The Passenger,” you already have heard the best part of this movie. Of course the song itself doesn't make much of an appearance in this movie so you're not missing a lot if you don't see it. Nicolas Cage plays yet another victim of middle-aged angst and this time solves most of his problems by buying stuff and hitting people. Ah, the American way.

2. Lassie (2005).

I usually hate dog movies but this film really caught my attention. Peter O'Toole hams it up as a wealthy grandfather and Samantha Morton plays an uppity -- but in a nice way -- Yorkshireswoman. The film doesn't quite erase memories of Mindy and Buttons but apart from one scene stolen from Doc Hollywood, it proves to be quite entertaining for all ages.

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Australia Is the New Nigeria

At least that's the impression I get from the number of suspicious E-mails I've received from that country. It's gotten to the point where I automatically delete any E-mail with an Australian address.

But then it's a bad idea to receive E-mail from addresses you don't recognize anyway...

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Special Edition DVDs I'd Like to See

1. Heavenly Creatures: Special Mother's Day Edition.
2. Marjorie Morningstar: Special Don't Call Me Shirley Edition.
3. Lolita: Special Father's Day Edition.
4. Carrie: Special Prom Night Edition.


The Weekly “News”

Hugo Chavez is the new Castro.
Katrina refugees are the new Marielitos.
Islam is the new Communism.
Iran is the new Iraq.
Iraq is the new Lebanon.
Spanish is the new English.
English is the new Latin.
Latin is the new Sanskrit.
Taiwan is the new Hong Kong.
China is the new Russia.
Al-Qaeda is the new PLO.
Pirates are the new cowboys.
Mel Gibson is the new Brando.
Rap is the new rock.
Rock is the new country.
Country is the new disco.
DVRs are the new VCRs.
Cyberspace is the new heroin.
Youtube is the new crack.


Hooray For Profiling?

Most of the criminals I've met didn't look like criminals. Or at least the Hollywood version of criminals. For that matter, most of the drug users I've met didn't look like drug users. It would be nice to pretend that everyone who uses illegal drugs looks like Cheech or Chong but they don't. More often, they look like you or me.

The one murderer I ever met face to face didn't look like a murderer. Nor did he have the haunted expression one would associate with a person who committed such a dastardly crime.

So when I recently received one of those “hooray for profiling” E-mails from a beloved family member, I could not help but think, “I love this family member very much but any message that even hints that profiling on the basis of appearance is a good thing is -- well -- stupid. If for no other reason than it assumes that criminals are stupid.”

Yes, I understand the various reasons overworked law enforcement personnel would want to save time by concentrating on specific groups of people. And I have no problems with profiling on the basis of, say, suspicious behavior.

But appearance? Tell criminals that you're only looking for red-headed midgets and most smart criminals will ensure that the only criminals they use in the public eye aren't short redheads. Indeed, there have already been cases of Muslim terrorists employing would-be hijackers and “suicide” bombers who don't look like Muslims.

It would be nice to think that profiling works. But somehow I'd have more faith in that system if people weren't always recommending that we only profile groups that they don't happen to belong to. After all, it doesn't exactly take a lot of discipline to demand that sacrifices be made by someone other than yourself...

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Love, She Gives Me Presents...

She also baked me cookies too. With Nutrasweet.

She is most definitely a woman...

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