Bob Kay is a nutritional scientist who lives in Southern California and is prepping for a catastrophic earthquake. He describes the land under his feet as “Graham cracker crust” near where 5-6 major faults come together. Geologically speaking, if you live in Southern California and don’t prep, you might just be the one who is dangerously delusional.
As we’ve seen in graphic detail in recent decades, a major earthquake near large population areas can “pancake” overpasses and bridges, destroying roads and rails and leaving the affected area with severe bottlenecks at the most desperate of times. Bob’s plan is to turn his 2.5 acre property into an “oasis” where his family will have the supplies they need to ride out the chaos following a major quake.
Bob has six motorcycles of various types to get around regardless of road conditions following a major quake, and has spent tens of thousands of dollars in functional landscaping, from 300 types of edible plants and trees to thorny species that form subtle but effective barriers. He’s built a 35,000 gallon (concrete?!?) pool to use not just for recreation, but as a water source that he can filter and drink.
It’s one of my biggest disappointments that I’ve only begun to accept in the past few years: the average level of maturity that we experience in high school is as good as it gets. That’s where most people stop their emotional and intellectual development. Once one realizes and accepts that overgrown teenagers dominate the planet, then literally everything starts to make much more sense.
First in my post-college years in the workplace and second as I began a career of full-time new media editing the same questions continually emerged. What happened to America’s grown-ups? How come so many “adults” still act like adolescents spreading gossip, stabbing each other in the back, lying, nursing petty rivalries, and obsessing over how much fun sex is? Isn’t college supposed to be the last hurrah where you get all the stupid things you need to do out of your system before your idiocy can hurt others too much?
As the Obama campaign dragged the national dialogue down to the locker room level thanks to Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluke, baby boomer conservatives uniformly predicted victory for their white knight Mitt Romney. This Ward Cleaver epitome of adult respectability would inspire the legions of “Silent Majority” American grown-ups (who somehow the pollsters kept missing) to awaken to the truth of Obama’s fantasy of raising taxes on “the rich” for fairness’s sake regardless of the disastrous economic consequences and the pitiful extra 8 days’ worth of revenue to gain.
But those voters didn’t show up. They don’t exist anymore. Decades of cultural Marxist infiltration have finally started to bear fruit. Two rising cohorts that played key roles in Obama’s victory include the never-married and the irreligious (two interrelated subjects, as readers of David P. Goldman’s How Civilizations Die know).
Where did these voters come from to assist the president in his fundamental transformation of America?
In previous installments of this series, I’ve suggested famous (and not so famous) must-sees on your trip to Israel. You won’t want to miss your chance to float in the Dead Sea, snorkel with exotic fish in Eilat and fire a gun or two at Caliber 3 in Gush Etzion.
Now, onto some helpful hints and observations about everyday cultural cornerstones like food, language and manners.
PLUS: a crash course on words — like “settlement,” “refugee camp” and “checkpoint” — that don’t mean what you think they mean, at least in Israel.
The Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years because they couldn’t decide where to eat.
Food is a very big deal in Jewish culture, so it’s not surprising that you can eat well in Israel, and as cheaply or as expensively as you wish or can afford.
Contrary to what you may think, not all restaurants there are kosher.
Many people believe that kosher food, wherever it is served, is healthier and cleaner. I for one do get this sensation when I’m in Israel, that somehow the food is fresher and more carefully handled. When it comes to kosher food, a bug on your lettuce isn’t just a faux pas — it’s a serious violation of the law.
Every hotel offers a breakfast buffet. It’s an Israeli institution, and differs little from a similar spread in North America except for the addition of chilled fish like herring, and the absence of bacon and ham.
In fact, the presence of dairy at these buffets means that no meat — pork or otherwise — will be on the menu. Milk and meat are not combined because — to put it simplistically — milk represents life and meat represents death. (So while there are McDonald’s in Israel, they don’t serve cheeseburgers. Coffeemate was invented so that Jews could enjoy “cream” in their coffee while eating, say, a steak.)
One dish that’s standard fare in Israel, and that we fell in love with, is shakshuka. “Dr. Shakshuka’s” restaurant was closed the day we visited Jaffa, which is too bad because it is world famous:
We went to the charming Nelly’s Kitchen instead, and really enjoyed it.
In the evening, across Israel, a “switch” takes place in restaurants and dining rooms: meat is offered but dairy is not. The types of cutlery at your table setting will be different, too.
Expect your lunch or dinner order to come with bountiful plates of appetizers like humus and salad. THEN your main meal arrives. Keep this in mind when ordering (and eating.)
Since I’m from Toronto, I’m familiar with the cuisine of most cultures, and have long been a falafel fanatic. The falafel is the “hamburger” of Israel, so be sure to try one. If you’re a bland “meat and potatoes” person, this and other Israeli dishes may be an acquired taste.
Starbucks isn’t there yet, but the Israeli equivalent — Aroma — is arguably superior anyhow. You get a little piece of dark chocolate with your cup of coffee, and their sandwiches are exceptional.
In Jerusalem’s Old City, treat yourself to a poppy seed bun or other fresh pastry sold by the Muslim merchants who push their wares along on old wooden carts.
A fourth accuser has come forward with a lawsuit against Sesame Street’s former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash.
The unidentified man charges that when he was 16 or 17 in late 1995 or early 1996, he met Clash in Miami Beach. After subsequent phone calls, Clash “lured the boy to visit him in New York, with promises to pay for his plane ticket, be a ‘dad’ to him in New York and give him cash and a free place to stay,” according to an excerpt from the filing released by Miami-based attorney Jeff Herman. Herman also represents two of the three previous Clash accusers.
The offer appealed to the boy, “who was contemplating running away from home,” according to the suit, which was filed in Miami.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
I never imagined what being 40 would feel like, because it never occurred to me that I’d ever be 40. I didn’t think I wouldn’t be, mind you. It was just too boring to enter my brain, and it seemed like forever from now. — Stephanie Dolgoff
Been there, done that, got the postcard. Haven’t we all (I’m not including you whippersnappers in “all” — and P.S.: get off my lawn!)? When you’re a kid, people who are middle-aged almost seem like a different species. You’re young, energetic, and have your whole life in front of you. You’re the male lion of the human world, and they’re not the hyenas you’re going to surpass or the antelope you plan to eat; they’re more the hippos of the human world. You see them around, moving from one task to another, doing things you don’t. You don’t hate them or eat them, but you don’t want to be them either. The idea that you’ll be like that one day seems almost beyond belief.
Theoretically, you understand that it’s going to happen to you, but your brain blocks it out because it seems so far-fetched. “Me? Middle-aged? Like my parents? Well, if….oooh, I like that song. Hey, that’s shiny” and next thing you know, you’ve forgotten about it. Then one day, you wake up old. At least that’s how it happened to me.
True story: from the time I was 25-39, I FELT like I was the same age the entire time, 25. When I moved from 39 to 40, it was almost like I aged 15 years in a day. It was like I went to bed at 25 and woke up at 40.
Unsurprisingly, since I had trouble conceptualizing being middle-aged, it was hard for me to know what to expect. That made aging a wonderland of delightful surprises — if by delightful surprises, you mean taxes I didn’t realize I had to pay and bouts of bursitis in my hips.
1) Declining health: When you’re young, you can stay out all night, work all day, take a physical pounding, and still recover in a day or two. The first one, I can still do. If I have need to go three or four days in a row with minimal sleep and get up at 5 a.m. on the last day, no problem. Granted, I might lie around listening to the alarm clock for five minutes before I peel myself out of bed, but I can do it.
On the other hand, like a lot of people, I’ve accumulated a number of little minor physical problems over the years. My feet are a little too flat, and that, combined with being overweight, proved to be too much for me when I got up to jogging a mile and a half a day on the treadmill. It led to an attack of plantar fasciitis. I’ve always had a bit of a bad back, but over the last couple of years I started to develop some hip pain from spending so much time each day writing in front of a computer. Happily, I took care of that with the help of a chiropractor, but I now have to stretch a couple of times per day, not so much to improve, but just to maintain the most optimal level of health possible.
Is there anyone in the world who couldn’t see this coming? I mean, we’ve all met old people, right? We’ve seen professional athletes who’ve gotten old and noticed that they couldn’t play in the NFL anymore, haven’t we? But somehow, you never quite expect it to happen to you. You’re going to remain just as young, vital, and strong as you were at 20 forever — until you don’t and you’re left scratching your head wondering why it takes so long for your bruises to heal.
Storage Wars star Dave Hester today sued A&E and the producers of the reality show, calling it a staged “fraud on the public” Represented by attorney Marty Singer in his suit (read it here) Hester is seeking more that $3.75 million in damages and fees on five counts from the network and Original Productions for their actions and for firing him from the show. “When Plaintiff David Hester (“Hester”) complained to producers that A&E’s fraudulent conduct of salting and staging the storage lockers was possibly illegal, he was fired from the Series. As further evidence of Defendants’ outrageous conduct, they purported to rescind their written exercise of an option retaining Hester’s services this coming season,” says the 14-page complaint.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Oh, Dikembe. You had me at “The Blurgpocalypse.”
Old Spice has created an ingenious ad — yes, an ad — that allows the player to control now-retired basketball player Dikembe Mutombo as he joins his friends Science the Bear and Random Turkey in a quest to stop the Mayan Calendar from reaching December 21. Along the way the player will encounter references to Gangam Style, Furbies, Twilight, and lots of munching on food. What makes this hilarious is the voice work by the real Mutombo. His gravely, dead-panned, accented delivery brings an extra bounce to what is already clever writing.
The link is here.
There are only two more weeks to play. Check it out. It’s worth your time — especially if you like basketball, fun pop culture references, and you appreciate old, eighties-style games.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World stands as one of the most creative scripts produced in 2012. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley play an odd couple united on a quest to reconnect with their respective pasts before a meteor destroys all life on Earth. Dramatically deviating from the clichés of the disaster genre, Seeking a Friend presents a doomed humanity that takes the apocalypse fairly well. While including requisite scenes of panic and riot, the film’s characters strive toward some sense of relationship in their final days.
We too seem to be taking the apocalypse pretty well. Our world hurls toward its scheduled end on December 21st according to predictions based on the ancient Mayan calendar. It’s something folks like Art Bell, George Noory, and their overnight talk radio guests have been warning us about for years. It serves as the subject of several books, a keyword of countless websites, the inspiration for a variety of B movies, and the premise behind Roland Emmerich’s consummate disaster film titled simply 2012. After years of hype, the date approaches. Yet there is a conspicuous lack of panic.
The smart money bets on the continued survival of both humanity and our planet. As my friend and PJ Media colleague Sunny Lohmann recently quipped on Twin Cities News Talk, the only thing sure to come beyond the winter solstice is more daylight. Predictions of Armageddon have an impressive failure rate.
Be that as it may, we should not completely dismiss the potential for a kind of apocalypse. No, I don’t mean the fiscal cliff, Obama’s second term, or an imminent economic meltdown. I’m talking about an apocalypse of the kind which has come many times before, a moment in history when a culture unravels under a development so overwhelming that established institutions pass into ruin. Think of the Aztecs and their encounter with Spanish conquistadors. They scurried about, minding their own business, when the white man arrived to unmake their world.
At a moment like that, two things happen. Newly introduced technology bowls over indigenous methods, and a new way of thinking transmits through that technical superiority. That kind of apocalypse, one which reforms our world and thus destroys our way of life, looms not only possible, but anticipated.
TUESDAY NEW RELEASES: Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox Challenges Third Serving of Green Day This Year
With two weeks remaining before the entertainment industry’s end-of-year Christmas shutdown, Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox should dominate its competition, though Green Day hopes Tre! also delivers their three-album experiment from the arms of commercial failure. Elsewhere, Lifehouse’s Almeria and Boys Meets Girls’ Crazy World look to make waves from the relative shadows.
With Grammy nominations announced in advance of February’s big night we have time to break down the albums you must hear this year across the pop spectrum. Meanwhile, Hollywood held over some big releases for these last few shopping weeks, including Seth McFarlane’s Ted and The Bourne Legacy.
Tuesday New Releases in Music
Adrian Sherwood – Recovery Time (On-U Sound) – Vinyl
An English record producer best known for his work on albums by Depeche Mode, Sinéad O’Connor and Primal Scream, Sherwood’s latest EP twists his dub innovations through the lens of modern electronic club music.
Alternative TV – Love Lies Limp (Fire Records)
Blue Sky Boys – Presenting the Blue Sky Boys (Arhoolie Records)
Boys Like Girls – Crazy World (Columbia)
Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Jukebox (Atlantic)
Hailing from the “go big or go home” modern school of pop R&B, Mars’ debut Doo Wops and Hooligans wildly varied in quality from track to track. This sophomore effort aims high for its unorthodox hooks, merging deep respect for classic R&B with Mars’ more prurient interests (hint: Prince). The pinnacle, “Locked Out of Heaven,” illustrates deft control over influences, while “Gorilla” satisfies itself with smug, albeit catchy, references to animalistic sex. Fans of ear-catching pop won’t want to miss this one.
Calvin Love – New Radar (Autumn Tone Records)
Circle City Band – Circle City Band (Luv N Haight)
Fairhorns – Doki Doki Run (Invada)
Flipron – Firework Shoes (101 Distribution)
Green Day – Tre! (Reprise)
Supposedly Green Day came to their senses after two consecutive concept albums turned them into this decade’s most pompous rockers (sorry, Bono.) Instead, they overindulged again, creating three albums when one would suffice. With the grunge of Uno! and the power pop of Dos! out of the way, Tre! stands as Green Day’s attempt at something epic. Instead they’d benefit from brutal editing. Your opinion of “Dirty Rotten Bastards” will determine your mileage for what Tre! delivers.
Howard Shore – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (WaterTower Music)
Lento – Anxiety Despair Languish (Denovali Records)
Les Misérables – The Original 1985 London Cast Recording (First Night/Red)
Lifehouse – Almeria (Geffen)
Without a hit to rival 2001’s “Hanging by a Moment,” Lifehouse spent the next decade releasing workmanlike albums every few years for their ardent followers, getting little traction nationally. Almeria, their sixth full-length, aims to change that, as “Between the Raindrops” builds an audience online. An inoffensive album, Almeria breaks no new ground, but does prove the band still has a few good songs left. That alone makes this one worth a listen.
The Game – Jesus Piece (Geffen)
The Racer – Passengers (MondoTunes)
Siobhan Fahey – The MGA Sessions (101 Distribution)
The Wonder Revolution – Firefly (Air House Records)
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With the Grammy nominations announced and two months remaining for research before you make your predictions, here’s PJ Lifestyle’s primer of thirty albums worth hearing from the 2013 class.
Grammy Nominated Hits
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Seven albums in, Dan Auerbach’s Black Keys found the recipe for success, ditching the slower, quieter tracks of Brothers to focus on “efficient rock-and-roll songs with minimal instrumentation.” El Camino lacks subtlety, but Auerbach lets the songs breathe, making them more widely accessible. From the Los Angeles Times: “Sometimes, a CD scratches an itch you didn’t even know you had, and El Camino is that record.”
Fun – Some Nights (Fueled By Ramen)
Mumford & Sons – Babel (Glass Note)
Gotye – Making Mirrors (Universal Republic)
Maroon 5 – Overexposed (A&M / Octone)
Jack White – Blunderbuss (Third Man / Columbia)
Boys & Girls, the full-length debut of this southern soul-rock quartet, introduces a band fully in control of its sound. Brittany Howard’s full-throated growl defines Alabama Shakes, proving the death of rock remains a premature prediction. That “Hold On” became a contemporary hit bodes well for the appetites of discerning listeners as we head toward the new year.
Muse – The Second Law (Warner Bros.)
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (Capitol Records)
Tom Waits – Bad As Me (Anti)
Channel Orange stands out as this year’s clearest artistic breakthrough, utilizing an unconventional blend of electro-funk, pop, soul, jazz and funk to craft arrangements with free-form flow, defining modern R&B for today’s listeners. From Entertainment Weekly: “Ocean is less concerned with urban realism than with his own ’80s-noir fantasy … and his music captures that vibe perfectly, pulsing with electro-soul grooves [and] vintage jazz-funk.”
Drake – Take Care (Cash Money)
Nas – Life Is Good (Def Jam)
Eric Church – Chief (Capitol Records)
Eli Young Band – Life At Best (Republic)
The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter (Universal Republic)
The Lumineers – The Lumineers (Dualtone)
Best Americana Album and Best New Artist
Denver’s Lumineers arrived as this year’s answer to Mumford & Sons, riding the Americana-inspired pop wave while pushing “Ho Hey” to #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100. From the Austin Chronicle: “The general expansiveness … make[s] this young group’s eponymous debut uniquely American in all the best ways: gritty, determined, soaked in sweat and love and drive.”
Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream (Redwing Records LLC)
John Fullbright – From the Ground Up (Blue Dirt Records)
Dr. John – Locked Down (Nonesuch)
Ruthie Foster – Let It Burn (Blue Corn Music)
Joan Osborne – Bring It on Home (Saguaro Road Records)
Consider Hunter Hayes a welcome surprise. The 21-year-old country songwriter’s debut album spawned three legitimate hits this year, including “Storm Warning” and “Somebody’s Heartbreak.” This refreshing debut warrants a second look, highlighted by his warm, distinct vocals and descriptive writing.
Ed Sheeran – + (Plus) (Elektra)
Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials (Universal Republic)
Deadmau5 – > Album Title Goes Here < (Ultra Records)
Skrillex – Bangarang (Atlantic)
Marilyn Manson – Born Villain (Cooking Vinyl)
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Seth MacFarlane’s Ted headlines this week’s new releases on DVD and Blu-Ray, competing against action thriller The Bourne Legacy and the latest Ice Age installment. Plus, before you see the latest Les Misérables update, watch Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush and Claire Danes in the 1998 non-musical adaptation, now available on Blu-Ray.
New Releases: DVD / Blu-Ray
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Starring Mark Wahlberg and a foul-mouthed stuffed bear, Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy yet loveable ode to childhood and friendship finally hits the small screen after blowing up in theaters this summer. Grab your “thunder buddy” and make this a new Yuletide viewing tradition.
A new CIA operative must put together the pieces of a complicated government conspiracy while outsmarting those who wish him dead. Who needs Jason Bourne? With this film, The Avengers and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol under his belt, Jeremy Renner enters 2013 as a true action star.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Year Nine (DVD)
Dick Tracy (Blu-Ray)
The Joy Luck Club (Blu-Ray)
The fourth film in this franchise showcases a stretching, tired formula but kids won’t care. They just want to see Manny, Diego and Sid in a fresh series of adventure, something Continental Drift delivers with ease.
Heavy Weights (Blu-Ray)
Les Misérables (Blu-Ray)
Bill Cunningham’ New York (Blu-Ray)
Babes in Toyland (Blu-Ray)
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For those still searching for the elusive “perfect holiday gift,” we salute you and hope to provide solutions for your shopping dilemmas. Whether you’re looking for kitchen accessories any budding home chef requires or the ultimate boombox for the annual office party, PJ Lifestyle has something for everyone.
Ultimate Holiday Gifts
Pack your knives for kitchen glory with this officially licensed Top Chef set, featuring cutlery the pros on Bravo’s flagship show utilize daily. Though this set includes a wide assortment of blades appropriate for any cooking occasion, the company makes smaller sets depending on your needs, including a 9-piece set and a basic 5-piece set suitable for any novice on your list. As an added bonus, if you get them before Christmas, Amazon has each set steeply discounted.
For the wine aficionado in the family, this trendsetting preservation system chills, serves and stores up to three 1-1/2 liter bottles in individually controlled chambers. Each chamber holds its own temperature, whether you chose one of the nine presets or choose to adjust settings manually. The Skybar 3 keeps each bottle’s temperature steady for up to 10 days, so no need to worry over freshness or wasted wine!
The Jawbone Big Jambox turns any phone, tablet or mobile device into a portable, hi-fi sound system, bringing boombox technology into the 21st century! With the speaker’s wireless construction, steam all your digital media through any Bluetooth device, with a battery that lasts 15 hours. Meanwhile, don’t expect tinny audio — built-in LiveAudio technology provides a 3D immersive experience, equivalent to hearing the music in a live setting. With the Jawbone Big Jambox, the party never has to end, and weighing less than five pounds, you’ll never need to travel without it!
For those among us tempted to cut the cable cord, the Belkin @TV Plus deliers a perfect reason to wait. Connect the @TV Plus to your DVR, cable or satellite system, download the appropriate app on your mobile device and the box transmits to your router and the web, and your mobile device receives TV programming through a WiFi, 3G or 4G connection! Even use your smartphone or tablet as a remote — “Swipe Surf” allows you to scroll through TV channels or record a show at the touch of a button. You’re paying for the television signal already, but with the @TV Plus you can more fully enjoy the experience, wherever you go. Welcome to entertainment nirvana!
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That’s all for this week’s edition of Tuesday New Releases! We’re open to your suggestions as we develop this column to best serve you. If you have suggestions for future coverage, or if you have a product you’d like featured or reviewed here, simply email Jonathan Sanders at email@example.com.
From Newsbusters, a transcript of the end of Saturday Night Live‘s lead monologue this weekend:
JAMIE FOXX: My name is Jamie Foxx. Give it up, give it up, New York City, Saturday Night Live. Come on, make some noise, man. New York City, New York City, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, it’s crazy. I’m black, and I’m dressed all black cause it’s good to be black. Black is the new white. I’m telling you, how black is this right here? Nice fly, I’m saying. You know how I know black is in right now? Cause the Nets moved to Brooklyn. How black is that? They got black jerseys, black court. I mean, how black is that? And Jay-z is the owner, a rapper. How black is that? And Jay-z only own about this much of the team. But he act like he own all of New York. How black is that?
And I got a movie coming out, “Django,” check it out. Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson. “Django Unchained” I play a slave. How black is that? And in the movie I had to wear chains. How whack is that? But don’t be worried about it because I get out the chains, I get free, I save my wife, and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that? And how black is that?
But I’m going to tell you right now, speaking of blackness, my President, President Obama is back up in the White House four more years. How black is that? And not only that, he’s so black, he was playing basketball during the Election Day. How black is that? But he was also late for his acceptance speech. Okay, all the white people, this is your turn – how black is that?
But he going to be extra black this next four years. He going to get everything black, and white people, don’t get nervous about that because he is mixed. Now the first four years was the white side of him, because I don’t know if you saw him on Ellen when he was dancing and everything. I don’t know what this is. That wasn’t President Obama, that was President Barry Gibb Obama. But the next four years he’s even changing his name from to President Barack Dikembe Mutombo Tupac Mandela Hussein Obama X. How black is that? And the next time you see him dancing on Ellen, he gonna be dancing like this.
“Long before quantum mechanics, the German philosopher Husserl said that all perception is gamble. Every type of bigotry, every type of racism, sexism, prejudice, every dogmatic ideology that allows people to kill other people with a clear conscience, every stupid cult, every superstition-ridden religion, every kind of ignorance in the world, are all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see, and then we believe our interpretation of it, but we don’t even know we’re making an interpretation most of the time.”
One of the better movies I’ve seen this season is Argo, directed by and starring the talented and appealing Ben Affleck. The movie tells a fictionalized version of the true story of how a CIA operative helped six Americans escape from Iran during the hostage crisis of the Carter administration.
I, of course, had no problem with the filmmakers adding fictional dollops of drama, danger and adventure to the story. But I did object very strongly to the rewriting of history purely for purposes of pro-Democrat propaganda. The running gag in the movie concerns a make-believe sci-fi film called Argo that the CIA uses as a cover story. The battle cry of the good guys is, “Ar, go, f*** yourself.” But, as so often in Hollywood, it’s the political truth that gets f***ed.
Bad enough that the entire hostage crisis was subtly and not-so-subtly blamed on America in the movie. Even worse is the fact that the Democrat president’s idealistic incompetence in withdrawing American support for the Shah is completely passed over. It was this bone-headed Carter play that opened the floodgates of Islamo-fascism, allowing Ayatollah Khomeini to come to power — a bone-head move that Obama stupidly repeated when he withdrew support from Mubarak in Egypt and essentially handed the place over to the Muslim Brotherhood. As the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens recently said, “In the middle east there are two kinds of regimes — those that could be worse, and those that couldn’t be worse.” Carter and Obama both opted to abandon the former and allow the latter.
Also smoothed over in the movie is the president’s fatal incompetence in allowing a poorly planned rescue operation. At one point in the film, Affleck’s CIA agent is told to ditch his mission because the White House is mounting a rescue of its own. This is a suspenseful moment because we know Carter’s Eagle Claw plan will be a fatal failure, leaving eight U.S. servicemen dead in the desert. But the disaster is never mentioned in the film. Why not? Guess.
Autism is a painfully mysterious syndrome. We don’t know what causes it, although we do know that about 1 in 88 births will produce an autistic child. We know that it’s the fastest growing developmental disability in America, although we don’t know why. The commonly used treatments have limited effectiveness, so increasing numbers of adult autism sufferers cannot care for themselves, requiring costly life-long maintenance.
Part of autism’s mystery lies in the nature of the condition itself: in its most severe form, it leaves the autistic person entirely unable to communicate, either verbally or physically. It’s not just that someone with autism cannot speak. As most who have lived with or seen autism know, a child with serious autism seems entirely disconnected. Autistic children do not make eye contact and they don’t play. Instead, they flap their hands, roam around a room’s periphery, engage in endless repetitive activities, and seem locked away in their own world.
Some experts contend (erroneously, as it turns out) that autistic children dislike physical contact, cannot emote, and lack the capacity for loving. This seeming emotional isolation led the misogynistic Bruno Bettelheim to conclude that mothers caused autism when they (allegedly) withheld affection from their child. This wrongheaded theory inspired generations of loving mothers to suffer enormous guilt.
Even though Bettelheim has mercifully fallen by the wayside, non-verbal autism still contains many questions. This mystery is about to undergo a significant challenge, though, due to Ido (pronounced “Ee-doh”) Kedar, a 16-year old young man who has written about his journey from isolation to communication in Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison.
In Our Last Episode: Our Hero – having dived into a 13 Week Experiment with a high-protein, high-fat, low carb di… eating plan inspired by Gary Taubes, and high-intensity training inspired by Tabata Izumi’s Tabata Protocol and the high intensity weight-lifting described in The Power of Ten and Body by Science — was confronted by the Thanksgiving Monster on the Weight-Loss Plateau. Now, we find him crossing the Slough of Despond pursued by ghosts from his past and burdened by excessive baggage.
Yeah, I’m not having as good a time.
It’s predictable: any time you do something like this, there’s initial excitement and enthusiasm, but eventually you’re in the middle of it and the excitement abates. This week the excitement has definitely abated. A lot of that has to do with things outside of the experiment itself: as we said in grad school, life is something that happens when you’re just trying to do your damned research. I had a programming project with a hard deadline for a demo; it wasn’t working and I got stubborn, resulting in my working from 9:30AM on Wednesday to 11:30AM on Thursday — 26 hours straight. And I can tell you, I’m getting too old for this crap. Adding insult to injury, I’d hit 276 pounds on Wednesday morning, and was back up to 278 when I got home on Thursday, even though I’d actually not had much to eat over that 26 hours. I then had some unhappy news on another issue that was stressing me when I got to work on Friday morning.
By Friday afternoon I was not a happy man. (This, by the way, is a cliffhanger to remind you to follow to the next page.)
Certainly all you aging baby boomers out there remember this song.
It was 1969 when Spirit in the Sky first hit the airwaves and we used to all sing the chorus:
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
As I sang along, the lyrics invoking the name of Jesus confused me since Spirit in the Sky was performed by Norman Greenbaum who had an obvious Jewish sounding last name.
Noticing that, I distinctly remember thinking, “why would someone who was Jewish sing about Jesus?”
Important to note here: I too was Jewish. However, since my parents were totally non-religious, so was I. But there was one aspect of my heritage about which I was totally versed and that was Jews did not believe in Jesus.
My questioning this belief began around the age of 11 as I was singing a Christmas carol in school.
(During the 1960s in my public school everyone sang Christmas carols, regardless of your faith.)
The song which sparked my question was The First Noel, with its chorus, “born is the King of Israel.”
Since my Jewish family did not celebrate Christmas (a real bone of contention with me from a very early age) I began wondering why we ignored this Jewish Jesus who I just learned from a song was “born the King of Israel.”
Prompted by this phrase, I asked my mother, “Why don’t we believe in Jesus if He was born the King of Israel?”
Her scholarly reply was “because we are Jewish.”
Now fast forward a few years, as I am listening to Norman Greenbaum sing:
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He’s gonna set me up with the spirit in the sky
These lyrics, combined with the Christmas carol incident just left me more confused about this “forbidden Jesus,” who was “born the King of Israel” and now I hear is “gonna set me up with the spirit in the sky.”
Throughout my teenage years more seeds of religious curiosity were planted, eventually sprouting into a glorious garden leading me to be baptized, “in the name of Jesus” at the age of 21.
So how many of you practice a faith that is different from the one in which you were born and raised?
Many of you is my guess.
For the record, baby boomers are a relatively religious bunch. According to Pew Research:
Among Baby Boomers, 43% say they are a “strong” member of their religion, a higher share than among younger adults and a lower share than among older ones. Four-in-ten say they attend religious services at least once a week.
Then, a new Gallup study on religion just released this week states:
Although it is always difficult to predict the future, certain trends in the age composition of the American public suggest that religion may become increasingly important in the years to come. This is mostly the result of the fact that the number of Americans who are 65 and older will essentially double over the next 20 years, dramatically increasing the number of older Americans. As long as these aging baby boomers become more religious as they age — following the path of their elders — the average religiousness in the population will go up.
So from Pew and Gallup we learn that Christianity, and this message, as reflected in the Spirit in the Sky lyrics is increasingly striking a chord with aging baby boomers:
Prepare yourself, you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you to the spirit in the sky
While researching this piece I discovered some interesting facts.
Mr. “Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum was born in 1942 (which means he is NOT a baby boomer) and is from my hometown of Boston.
Since my maternal Grandmother’s maiden name was also Greenbaum and she settled in Boston after arriving from Russia around 1910, is it safe to assume that Norman and I are somehow related?
Furthermore, Wiki has this to say about my newly discovered long lost relative:
Although “Spirit in the Sky” has a clear Christian theme, Greenbaum was, and still is, a practicing Jew. Greenbaum says he was inspired to write the song after watching country singers Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner singing a religious song on television.
Regardless of Norman’s motives in writing his only hit, the song played a role in bringing me to believe that Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah, “born the King of Israel.”
(And as you can imagine, Dora Greenbaum Cohen’s daughter, my non-religious Jewish mother Gloria Cohen Kahn, was not at all happy about my embracing that Jewish King.)
So please do comment about any family trauma your faith change may have caused and we can all compare notes.
As every Jew will tell you, in the traditional Jewish calendar Hanukkah is not big deal. It reached its present status because it happens to fall at the same time as Christmas. Jewish parents, therefore, turned it into a gift-giving holiday so that their children didn’t feel completely left out from the happy, generous, celebratory Christmas season.
The fact that it’s not a big religious holiday, though, doesn’t mean that Hanukkah doesn’t commemorate an extremely important event, one that has enduring meaning to all freedom seeking individuals. For those who don’t know it, the story of Hanukkah is as follows:
Since time immemorial, nations have fought over that small patch of land we now call Israel. Considering that nature was less than generous in endowing Israel with fresh water or arable land, there must indeed be something special about the Holy Land, some transcendent aura, that has made it such a tantalizing prize to so many nations and people.
In 168 B.C.E., Greek soldiers located in modern-day Syria seized the great Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and defiled it by dedicating it to Zeus. Jews were appalled and offended, but still passively accepted this insult, for fear of incurring even greater wrath from the Greeks. Human nature, though, is human nature, and you cannot appease a tyrant. Heartened by Jewish passivity, the very next year, Antiochus, the Syrian-Greek emperor, mandated that any Jews who observed Jewish rituals would be put to death. Just to make sure he was completely clear, he also ordered that all Jews must affirmatively worship the Greek gods.
image courtesy shutterstock / Wally Stemberger
More from Bookworm at PJ Lifestyle:
To understand evil, we must set aside the comfortable belief that we would never do anything wrong. Instead, we must begin to ask ourselves, what would it take for me to do such things? Assume that it would be possible. — Roy Baumeister
Many people consider monsters like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin somehow uniquely evil. They imagine them as malevolent, abominable, nearly inhuman entities who spent their days scheming to inflict misery on other humans for the sheer sadistic pleasure of it.
The truth is much more terrifying: human beings as evil and ruthless as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao are so common that we pass them on the street daily, see them on TV, and may even have the misfortune of knowing them personally. The real difference between these notorious butchers and the guy in a federal prison is not so much the degree of depravity, but the unchecked power needed to make his darkest desires reality.
Once you set aside Hollywood’s caricatured portrait of evil and accept the normalcy of villainy, you see how a “normal person” just like you or me could embrace evil. Moreover, sometimes the shift from human to fiend can have murky beginnings. Some people step over a line and come back. Others follow that tragic path described by C.S. Lewis,
The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Here, at least, are a few signposts that will alert you to stop, pause, and take stock to make sure you’re not on that gentle slope.
1) I/You vs. I/It.
We’re all sometimes guilty of treating others like objects instead of human beings with families, feelings, and dreams, just like us. Without that ability to objectify other human beings, pornography couldn’t exist. It’s also one of the reasons for Internet rudeness. When we type something cruel to janeeschmoe8765, we don’t see the crushed look on her face, watch the tears roll down her face, or know that her brother died last week so she’s feeling particularly vulnerable.
Oftentimes, the “morally challenged” among us tend to see themselves as real people, but they look at most others as “things” to be manipulated in any way that benefits them. The thief views a house the way you’d view a gold nugget you found underfoot in a stream instead of thinking about how he’s taking things that another human being may have worked for months or years to pay for. A man who tells a woman he loves her just to seduce her and then never call again only thinks of her as an object for his gratification as opposed to a person. A professional hit man looks at the targets he kills as a pay day. Ultimately, the perpetrator looks at himself as an “I” and his victim as an “it,” like a coffee maker. Few people have moral qualms about what they do to a coffee maker.
When it comes to adding a shot of alcohol to your cold or flu remedy, it’s hard not to wish those boozy concoctions are doing some good for your health. As it turns out, they are.
Drinks like hot toddies, which traditionally contain whiskey, lemon and honey, can actually give cold and flu patients relief from their symptoms, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
It just can’t prevent or cure a cold or flu virus.
“It would not have an effect on the virus itself, but its effect on the body can possibly give you some modest symptom relief,” Schaffner said. “The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection.”
Since Sept. 30, more than 5,100 influenza cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including 40 cases of H1N1.
Schaffner said warm moisture from a steaming mug of any beverage can offer symptom relief.
“That’s part of why chicken soup is thought to work,” he said.
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South Korean rapper Psy — you may have heard of him — spent time during the last decade attending anti-American protests in his country. He even rapped the following about the Americans:
Kill those Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives/Kill those Yankees who ordered them to torture/Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers/Kill them slowly and painfully
Psy is meeting President Obama Sunday and will be in a Christmas TV special with him that airs on December 21. Those old lyrics about killing Americans “slowly and painfully” are suddenly a problem for him.
“As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world,” said Psy in a statement. “The song – from eight years ago – was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.
The statement continues, “I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months – including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them – and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it’s important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.”
His “Gangnam Style” video has been watched more than 902 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube in July. It has spawned more imitations and copycats than Elvis. Now it turns out that it came from a bona fide America hater.
The two innocent Koreans were two schoolgirls who were killed in an accident involving two U.S. soldiers stationed in Korea. Their accident in no way justified rapping about killing Americans “slowly and painfully.” Nor did the bad actions of a few U.S. troops in a war zone that Psy cannot comprehend.
This fellow lived in this country and is from a country that America has protected for 60 years. More than 50,000 Americans died protecting his country, and countless Americans put their lives on the line to protect his country across the decades.
For what? So ingrates can turn around and fantasize about killing Americans? Why do we do this?
I think I’m done with the world. It’s not just this idiot, it’s how the entire world treats the United States like a fool and a villain. Maybe it’s time to pull all of our troops out of every nation that we currently protect and cut them all loose. No more military protection. No more disaster relief. No more foreign aid. Nothing. We take care of our own and no one else.
The Black Count:
Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
By Tom Reiss
Crown, $27, 414 pp.
Review by David Forsmark
It sounds like one of those goofy Black History Month blog posts put out by an activist — hey, did you know the inspiration for the Count of Monte Cristo was really black … and his name was Alexandre Dumas?
The first thought that crossed my mind while reading The Black Count — the fascinating new book by Tom Reiss — was “why the heck hadn’t anyone written a major biography of General Alex Dumas before 2012?” This was immediately followed by “why the heck do we have Black History Month if it’s not going to uncover and publicize this man’s story?”
First, to avoid any confusion, the book’s subject is not the 19th century author who penned such adventure classics as The Three Musketeers, The Corsican Brothers, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Rather, this is the tale of the writer’s father, who is not nearly as well known as he deserves to be.
Reiss, author of The Orientalist, presents the story of the son of a French aristocrat and a Dominican slave who rose through the ranks of the French army through feats of incredible valor, only to be betrayed by racist backlash. In the process, Reiss offers a unique look at the first modern-style totalitarian government to be born of revolution.
The Black Count begins in the slave-trading world of colonial France, an oddly hybrid system where French legal protections for people of mixed race clashed with perhaps the most brutal form of European-sponsored slavery in the New World.
Alex enters the historical record at the age of 14, when his father, a rebellious French nobleman who disappeared into the Haitian wilds with his slave mistress, returns after a years-long absence to reclaim his inheritance. Alex, however, is his father’s sole companion when they return to France; his mother and sisters were sold off by his father before the journey. Alex, in fact, was recorded as his father’s slave upon their return.
Alex, however, was brought up as a nobleman’s son and grew into an intellectually and physically imposing figure. Still, he entered the French army as an enlisted dragoon, rather than taking advantage of his titles.
A nurse who transferred a prank phone call from two Australian radio presenters about the Duchess of Cambridge has died in a suspected suicide – two days after being duped.
The body of Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on the switchboard, was found at an address yards away from King Edward VII Hospital, where she worked, just before 9.30am today.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge issued a statement saying they are ‘deeply saddened’ by the tragedy and said they had not made a complaint, adding: ‘Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.’
‘On the contrary we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.’
image courtesy shutterstock / Steve Ikeguchi
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Hey, I just noticed that if you sign up to PJTV, you get a free copy of Evan Sayet’s E-book The Kindergarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks. This is a good deal — which I know because I’ve actually read The Kindergarden of Eden and it’s really good! Evan, of course, is a stand-up comic by trade, so not only does his work contain excellent insights into the state of the liberal’s mind, it’s genuinely funny — doubled me over with laughter more than once. The chapter on Bruce Springsteen would make Chris Christie weep… again!
Here’s a taste:
The retardation that comes from self-adulation was the very centerpiece of the True Believers’ Blueprint for Utopia, and for this reason they made self-love paramount and reinforced it on a near constant basis through incessant programs of wholly unmerited “self-esteem”-building. You were perfect just for being you, which meant that the only way not to be perfect (and perhaps even turn into one of those evil bigots and phobics) was to attempt to change (i.e. better) yourself in any way.
“Be yourself,” “do what feels good,” and “esteem nothing more than yourself” were the new pillars of society in the Modern Liberal era, and they were in every way the exact opposite of what had made Western Civilization great and the very antithesis of what was needed for a functioning, happy, healthy, prosperous and progressing society.
In fact, not only were these concepts not progressive, but they couldn’t possibly have been more regressive (just as the True Believer wished) as they made “feelings” — the same “feelings” that every child since the dawn of man was born with – into the arbiter of all truths; while they eliminated that which does progress with time – personal and collective wisdom.
Coming soon at PJ Lifestyle: David Swindle will review The Kindergarden of Eden and include it in a future edition of his ongoing collection of recommend books for Counterculture Conservatives.
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The lyrics of the anti-US song performed live by PSY and several other popular Korean singers in 2004 (shortly after the US invaded Iraq) were first translated into English two months ago on CNN’s iReport:
싸이 rap :
이라크 포로를 고문해 댄 씨발양년놈들과
고문 하라고 시킨 개 씨발 양년놈들에
딸래미 애미 며느리 애비 코쟁이 모두 죽여
아주 천천히 죽여 고통스럽게 죽여
Kill those f***ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f***ing Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
PSY’s anti-American views weren’t discussed when the K-Pop star appeared on Ellen.
Exit question: Will anyone in the mainstream media ask PSY if he still supports killing US soldiers and their family members?
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We already knew that Franklin D. Roosevelt was a lousy president — the Depression dragged on for 11 years, mostly on his watch, so the proper word for what he did to the economic calamity is “extend,” not “end” it — but the strange Bill Murray comedy Hyde Park on Hudson makes clear that FDR was a horrible man as well.
The movie is principally about FDR’s habit of employing his mother to call up local women, some of them cousins, and send them over to be the president’s concubines at his country house in upstate New York. It’s made clear to the women that they’re not to be taken seriously, they’re not to say anything, and they’ll be discarded as soon as the president tires of them, and in this film by Roger Michell (Notting Hill) all of this is presented as merry good fun and entirely suitable behavior by the iconic figure of the party that “cares about women.”
Laura Linney plays Daisy, a second cousin who is hurried into FDR’s life for unpaid sex work. FDR flirts with her by showing her his stamp collection, then takes her for a quiet country drive in his car, which is operated exclusively by hand controls due to his paralysis. But apparently the president was able to maintain an extramarital love life that can only be called Clintonian, or perhaps Kennedyesque. (Why is it that our most priapic presidents tend to be Democrats? Is it because they enjoy doing to the country what they do to unsuspecting younger women?) A more astute director would have played FDR’s womanizing as yet more evidence of the imperiousness of a president who famously used to lie around in bed in the morning dreaming up a price for gold, for instance declaring 21 cents to be the right number because sevens are lucky and 21 is three times seven.
Daisy, quickly accepted as the newest member of the household (though not the only concubine present), gets to witness the events of the summer of 1939, when (or so this movie would have us believe) the fate of the free world rested on whether or not the king of England would eat a hot dog.
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) – Glenn Beck is launching a reality show with Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley to find great documentary filmmakers.
Vaughn is one of Hollywood’s highest profile conservatives, and a recent Ron Paul supporter. Billingsley, a producer and director who often works with Vaughn, is celebrated this time of year for his childhood role in the classic film “A Christmas Story.”
The new reality show, called “Pursuit of Truth,” will air on Beck’s TheBlazeTV. It will feature documentaries submitted to the show as it seeks “the world’s next great documentary filmmaker.” Twenty competitors will see the ultimate prize of financing and worldwide distribution.]
“I am proud to announce that Vince Vaughn and I are going to be the executive producers,” Beck said on his Wednesday radio show, according to Politico. “That should make everybody’s head spin. What the hell is Vince Vaughn doing with a crazy man? I know, that’s what my friends say. Glenn, what are you doing with the crazy man Vince Vaughn? Yes. It’s great, isn’t it? I love it.”
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Today from Roger L. Simon: