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Roger L Simon

Roger L. Simon is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, novelist and blogger, and the co-founder of PJ Media. His book, Turning Right at Hollywood and Vine: The Perils of Coming Out Conservative in Tinseltown, was re-released in an updated edition in 2011.
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Is This The Most Potent Fictional Take-Down of Scientology?

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Roger L Simon


The controversial Church of Scientology has been in the crosshairs of the media of late, notably with Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright’s excellent journalistic study Going Clear and Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master. Now comes Allen Barton’s play Disconnection, which opened Saturday at the Beverly Hills Playhouse venue of the Skylight Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

Like The Master, Disconnection does not mention the “S”-word but it is more than obvious the celebrity-driven religion famed for almost imprisoning its gullible and needy adherents is the subject here. The play, however, is considerably more potent and provocative than the Anderson movie, which is surprisingly ponderous given its dramatic subject.

Barton, who extricated himself from Scientology some years ago, tells the story of the apostasy of two members of the church, a father and a daughter, who have themselves been estranged from each other. The two are trying to disconnect from the religion and reconnect with each other — and it isn’t easy. The father (Jay Hugely), a lawyer, is struggling with his aging piano teacher (Dennis Nollette), himself a reluctant member of the church and onetime friend of its mercurial L. Ron Hubbard-like founder, Oldman. The daughter (Carter Scott), herself now a high ranking church official, is trapped in a nightmare with Oldman’s successor, a junior Gestapo-type named The Chairman.

Indeed Disconnection often puts you in mind of other totalitarianisms, including today’s radical Islamic versions where apostasy is, of course, penalized in even more draconian manners than in Scientology, although there are imputations, both in and out of Barton’s play, of brutal, even homicidal, behavior for the more modern religion.

The play is unconventional in its form, at times breaking the fourth wall, and includes, in one of its best moments, a soliloquy by Oldman (well played by Robert L. Hughes) justifying why he has created this bizarre monstrosity. It almost had me taking the plunge to get an e-meter reading. (I didn’t.)

The production was skillfully directed by Joel Polis and produced by Gary Grossman for Skylight. Barton’s previous work Years to the Day was highly acclaimed and was performed in Paris, New York, Kansas City and at the Edinburgh Festival. The superb Disconnection seems destined to follow in its footsteps. If you’re in the SoCal area, see it.


Cross-posted from Roger L. Simon’s blog

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A Must-See Video: A Courageous Palestinian Christian Confronts 60 Minutes

Sunday, April 27th, 2014 - by Roger L Simon

The second annual Walter Duranty Prize for mendacious journalism will be awarded May 5 and,  just in time for this year’s prizes, an email alert from the estimable CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting) validates how the Duranty committee’s first runner up for last year was indeed well chosen.  

That runner up was Bob Simon for his 2012 report on 60 Minutes — “Christians of the Holy Land” — that blamed Israel for the plight of the dwindling Palestinian Christian community in Bethlehem.

Now one of those Palestinian Christians whose family actually appeared in the 60 Minutes segment — a young woman named Christy Anastas currently living in the UK where she was granted political asylum in only three days — has made a video of her own that contradicts virtually everything Simon said. Christy — who has received death threats from her own family members if she continued to defend Israel (they were that afraid) — tells her story in a compelling speech she gave at Upsala University.

She describes how one uncle was blinded by a gunshot to the head for refusing to pay jizya (the tax demanded of non-Muslims by their Muslim rulers).  This man’s life was saved by treatment in an Israeli hospital.  Anastas also recounts how Palestinian judges from Hebron colluded in the theft of land from Palestinian Christians.  It goes on, of course. The longer you listen, the more blaming Israel for the flight of Palestinian Christians becomes not only absurd, but a disgusting smear with violent implications.

Christy’s talk was so incendiary — the threats to her so severe — that the video was pulled down from YouTube.   It is now up again thanks to Jerusalem Institute for Justice with some additional material regarding the prevarications of Saeb Erakat.   See it while you can. But most of all Bob Simon and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager should see it, especially now with the true colors of the Palestinian Authority have been revealed (to those who did not allow themselves to see) by its recent alliance with Hamas.

It’s hard to say if we should hold Simon and Fager accountable if something bad happens to Ms. Anasatas, but I know they won’t be far from my mind.  It will be interesting to see if they issue an apology.  PJ Media has contacted Mr. Fager’s office.

Here’s the video:

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Cross-posted from Roger L. Simon’s Blog

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Why Tennis Is The Best Life Sport There Is

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Roger L Simon

Folks who know me know I am a tennis geek.  It’s the one sport at which I am at least so-so.  I am miserable at most others. (Okay, I’m not bad at ping-pong and squash, but they’re related.)

I’m also a huge fan of the game, so I have been attending matches most of my life at such venues as the US Open and Wimbledon, and lesser spots like UCLA, even watching them endlessly on the Tennis Channel from places like Doha and Rotterdam.   But I had never  made the two and a half hour trek from L.A. into the desert for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, aka the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Yesterday, however, thanks to the kindness of an attorney friend with a pair of spectacular leftover box seats, I got into the pajamamobile with Managing Editor Aaron Hanscom and highed us down to the low desert to ogle some top-level racquet play.

Oh, what I had been missing.

Forget Wimbledon, forget Roland Garros, forget the scorching hard courts of Melbourne,  Indian Wells is THE place for tennis today.  The stadiums, old and new, are fabulous, the palm-lined grounds gorgeous, the atmosphere exciting yet relaxed, the March weather heavenly, the margaritas free flowing and the food exceptional.  Well, I assume it’s exceptional.  There is now a Nobu pop-up restaurant in the grandstands, but the lines stretched to the Mexican border, so we passed. Besides,  we could get plenty of sushi in L.A.  We were there for tennis.

And tennis we had, great tennis, about twelve nearly consecutive hours of it.   We watched four top ten players in the world play, Andy Murray losing to Milos Raonic,  Stan Wawrinka losing to Kevin Andersen and the great Roger Federer breaking the trend and defeating Tommy Haas.  Interspersed were some terrific women’s matches, but I was waiting for my personal favorite, Novak Djokovic, to play.

The magnificent Serb — who had been world number one for a couple of years to be recently overtaken by Rafa Nadal, who has been having problems of his own lately — hadn’t been at the same peerless level he was in Fall 2013, when Djokovic won 25 matches in row, many of them against top ten players.  But I was hoping he would return to form.

Due to a remarkably long women’s match Nole, as he is called, finally appeared on the court at 10:20PM to battle the surging  Croatian Milan Cilic, who stunningly dismissed Djokovic in the first set 6-1.  By this time it was nearly 11PM and, groggy, I had visions of flying off the freeway somewhere west of Magic Johnson’s beloved Morongo casino.  So we left.  But as we drove home, Aaron kept tabs on the rest of the match on my iPhone.  Not unpredictably, the DJoker turned it around and won 6-2, 6-3, setting up a possible Federer-Djkovic final.

If it happens, that should be a classic.  Too bad it will only go three sets, because Indian Wells is just a 1000 Masters event.  Three out of five are played at the slams. Speaking of which, Tennis.com’s Peter Brodo recommends that the BNP Paribas Open be made the fifth Grand Slam.  I’m right with him.

Before I end, kudos should go to Larry “Oracle” Ellison for sparing no expense in making the Tennis Garden so fantastic,  and to the Ukraine’s Alexander Dolgopolov who, now in the semi-finals, is standing tall for his country against Putin on the courts, even if our administration isn’t anywhere else.

And… don’t forget to teach your kids tennis, or get someone else to do it.  It’s the best life sport there is.  And play yourself.  Just think, besides that extra fitness boost you get over golf, you won’t have to run into a retired Barack Obama on the course.


Cross-posted from Roger’s blog

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How PJM’s CEO Emeritus Stays in Shape on His 70th Birthday

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 - by Roger L Simon


I have an admission to make. (Well, it’s not so much of an admission because you could look it up on Wikipedia in about five seconds.) Today, November 22, 2013 — the 50th anniversary of Jack Kennedy’s assassination — I am seventy (70) years old.

Fifty years ago today, I was a senior at Dartmouth College, getting dressed to go visit my girlfriend at Skidmore for my birthday, when I heard the news. I went down to Saratoga Springs, New York, anyway and spent the weekend in a motel, watching television. I saw Ruby kill Oswald, easily the most dramatic moment of live TV ever.

I remember it pretty vividly, more vividly than a lot things in the fifty years since, some of which happened considerably more recently but, hey, I’m seventy.

Fortunately, I’m told I don’t look it and I know I don’t feel it. Seventy is the new sixty — or is it fifty? I seem to have as much energy as I ever had. Since resigning as PJ Media CEO last February, I’m writing up a storm with book and film projects lined up. My tennis game is better than it was when I was twenty-five. Also, I’m only about five pounds heavier than I was then and quite a bit more muscular.

I haven’t always been this way. Sometimes I have been pudgy and out of shape. Maybe more than sometimes — decades. No longer. As I got older, I panicked. It was now or never. Either start moving my body seriously or, well, it’s finito la comedia. I’m on my way out.

I started moving. Now I’m religious about staying in shape. I exercise six days a week, sometimes seven. Often I exercise more than once a day. In fact, the days I don’t exercise, I am frequently depressed. I’m probably addicted to exercise at this point. At least I hope I am because I want to be addicted. I just love those endorphins and the rest of the goodies that get released — serotonin, dopamine, etc. Exercise is a complete mood alterer for me. It beats therapy by a mile — trust me, I’ve done enough to know — and it’s a helluva lot cheaper. (No, you’re not going to see a selfie. I’m not running for mayor of New York — or Toronto.)

So what do I do? The easiest part is playing tennis. I’m a lifetime player (since age 7 approximately) and I play now 3-4 four times a week, singles and doubles. When I play doubles it’s usually for two hours, singles for an hour. Doubles can sometimes feel like not much of a workout, it’s such a strategy game. Singles, against a good player, is always a workout. Every Tuesday morning at eight, I take an hour lesson with Godwin Omuta, a former member of the Nigerian Davis Cup team who is six foot three and has an amused smile on his face as he runs me unmercifully around the court.

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The Importance of Being Ibn

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 - by Roger L Simon



Being an apostate – someone who leaves a religion, ideology, political party, etc. – is rarely easy. You can lose friends and family, often a job. But for those who abjure Islam the problems are on a whole other level. You can lose your life. That is why Islamic apostates are some of the most courageous people on Earth.

One of the bravest of the brave whom I have met is a man who goes under the name “Ibn Warraq.” He is the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, first published in 1995, that demonstrates how Islam is incompatible with “individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state.”

Warraq has just published a new book Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades and Other Fantasies, largely a collection of Internet essays previously published on Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and other sites. I highly recommend it. But be warned: Warraq is a true intellectual. These essays are serious and detailed, not the breezy stuff you’re used to reading online.

Nevertheless, they are extremely timely. The choice of Walter Scott, an often slow-going author most of us brushed up against briefly in school via a mandatory reading of Ivanhoe, as the principal object of Warraq’s interest is far from accidental. The real subject is the Crusades and how to interpret them – and the ensuing false equivalency between Christianity and Islam that exists to this day and is continually manipulated by leftist multi-culturalists. (As Warraq points out, the Crusades were violent, but they were a reaction to over three hundred years of intense Muslim violence against non-Muslims.)

Warraq’s main ideological adversary here, as it is in most of his work, is the late Edward Said, the Columbia professor who so identified with the Palestinian cause that he stood at the Lebanon border and personally threw stones across into Israel.

This is all the more important because Edward Said is one of the intellectual fathers of Barack Obama. Indeed, when Said died, Obama’s close personal friend Rashid Khalidi replaced Said as the chairman of Columbia’s Middle East department. (The suppression of a tape of Khalidi’s Chicago going away party with Obama in attendance by the Los Angeles Times remains one of the more interesting cases of censorship in our times.)

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The Final Frontier of Apple Design Worship

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 - by Roger L Simon

Actual product may not match illustration. Ditto the author.

I  am a loyal vassal of Lord Steve.  Even after his death, I follow his orders explicitly.

Dutifully, at exactly 12:01 AM on September 20, 2013, I ordered my iPhone 5S, color “space grey,” on the Apple site.  It was slated for arrival September 26, but arrived one day early at my house.  That’s what happens when you are loyal to Lord Steve.  (Also, you get numerous emails such as… “Your iPhone is in Dong Ding, China.” “Your iPhone has left Dong Ding, China.”  ”Your iPhone is in Anchorage, Alaska, freezing its butt off.”  ”Your iPhone has just gotten a ticket on the Ventura Freeway and will be delayed, etc.” Then, finally, “Your iPhone is here.  Answer the door, you idiot!”)

And so you do. You immediately, drop everything, rush to the door, pull the box apart (stopping a mini-second to admire the smashing dee-sign) and fire it up.  Even if there were nuclear war, that’s what you do.  Remember this 1980 cartoon?  In 2013 she’d be holding an iPhone (and don’t give me any of your Android lip).

So no sooner did the UPS guy bring my anointed  5S (it was “space grey” — I stayed away from the gold/champagne thing lest my enemies get the idea I was moving to Palm Springs and celebrate), than I pressed the familiar button (these things haven’t changed in a decade after all) and off I went.

At which point… things… slowed…to….a………..crawl…. then…..a……………..halt.

What was up?  My brand new iPhone wasn’t working. And Steve was dead.

Turns out I made a mistake.  I was restoring my phone from the “cloud” — at the same moment  about fourteen million people were doing the same thing, not to mention another seventy-eight million in Guangzhou — instead of using iTunes like any doofus with an IQ in triple digits. But soon enough things loosened and by morning (well, late morning) my new iPhone was ready to go.  (“Why do you have so many apps?” my wife and daughter always asked.  Well, now I don’t.  I learned.)

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The Djokovic Diet

Thursday, August 1st, 2013 - by Roger L Simon

Forget the Scarsdale and Atkins diets, world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is publishing a book of his diet secrets next month and I’m going to scarf it up. (Think I’m nuts? How many Grand Slams has Dr. Atkins won?) According to the WSJ:

…in a new book that will be released next month, Djokovic reveals much more about the diet and regimen he follows—details he has, until now, kept quiet.

It offers a rare look into the mind of an elite athlete who has climbed to the top of a brutally competitive sport during one of its most competitive eras.

It also confirms something many tennis fans have long suspected: Novak Djokovic is a decidedly unusual fellow.

Want to roll like the world’s top men’s tennis player? Start by drinking loads of warm water all day long, as well as shakes made with pea protein concentrate. Avoid dairy and stay away from alcohol during tournaments. Eat lots of avocados, cashew butter and very little sugar. Banish caffeine, other than the occasional energy gel bar before matches. Be sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, meditate, do plenty of yoga and tai chi, take melatonin supplements, hook yourself up to a biofeedback machine that measures your stress level and, when you have a free moment or two, keep a diary. Feel free to unwind with a cup of warm licorice tea.

And that’s not all. Apparently Nole’s, as he’s known to us tennis fans, secret sauce is something called manuka honey from New Zealand. He takes two spoonfuls of the stuff when he wakes up with a glass of warm water. (It evidently clears up acne too.)

That and twelve hours a day of practice and you’re in Wimbledon. Well, maybe not.

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‘Sexual Jihad’ in Syria

Thursday, June 20th, 2013 - by Roger L Simon

I bet you thought the self-respecting jihadist had to wait until the afterlife to bed (or cloud) down with a bevy of virgins. Not so, according to our good friends at the ever-useful Daily Mail:

At least 13 Tunisian girls reportedly travelled to rebel-held Northern Syria to offer themselves as sex workers to opposition fighters.

The report comes as concerns in Tunisia grow about religious orders or ‘fatwas’ that have circulated the internet calling on women to perform jihad through sex.

Last week, a Tunisian minister of religious affairs appealed to girls not to be influenced by Islamic preachers outside of Tunisia who, it has been reported, made a number of ‘sexual fatwas’.

Noureddine al-Khadimi rejected ‘sexual jihad’ fatwas, urging Tunisian people and state institutions to not respond to them.

Tunisian newspapers reported that a young Tunisian man divorced his wife, and that they both headed to Syria almost a month ago to ‘allow her to engage in sexual jihad with the mujahideen’ there.

Sounds like a new form of three-way, but never mind. The real question is WHICH rebels are getting the jihadist nook – the Islamists or the moderates? Excuse me for being cynical, but this seems, once again, another blow for extremism.


Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

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Kobe Bryant at 34

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 - by Roger L Simon

Sunday night against the Hawks…. Now that’s longevity.

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It’s Great to be Novak Djokovic

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 - by Roger L Simon

These days it’s great to be Novak Djokovic.  Undisputed number one tennis player in the world, winner of his last eighteen matches including today’s final in Dubai, seriously under discussion as a possible greatest of all time, king of Gangnam style dancing.  And now THIS…

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Klavan’s Homelander Series is Back (CORRECTED)

Thursday, October 25th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

A new installment in PJM’s Andrew Klavan’s prize-winning Homeland series of young adult thrillers - If We Survive - has just been published by Thomas Nelson. I read the first in the series - The Last Thing I Remember  - and, although I am several decades beyond “young adult,” enjoyed it immensely. The new one takes the series out of the country to Central America where the heroes are to build a new school for the poor and, not surprisingly, run into some revolutionaries.

Klavan’s novels would make great holiday gifts for the high schoolers on your list. Buried beneath the good fun of the mystery plots are some values they don’t often get from their teachers.

CORRECTION: I have been informed that If We Survive is a standalone novel for Young Adults, not part of the Homeland series – all the more reason to buy both.

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The Djoker is Wild

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Is men’s tennis the most amazing and competitive sport in the world today? Well, with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, now Andy Murray and soon a returning Rafa Nadal playing the game at levels never seen before many fans are beginning to think tennis is in a golden age beyond Sampras-Agassi, Laver-Rosewall or anything else. And this includes me who has been watching (and playing) tennis so long that I saw Gonzales and Laver play (no, not Tilden or Budge).

Nowadays, it’s not just the skills, but the incredible fitness of the players who duel each other at top speed for three-to-five hours. Compare that to the NBA where they might play fifty minutes in an overtime game – and that’s a team sport. These guys are on their own.

Want some evidence of the level? Take a look at this point in Sunday’s Shanghai Open final between Murray and Djokovic. Andy had outlasted Nole in a five-setter at the US Open (another near five-hour match) and seemed to be doing it again in Shanghai when this happened….

Through the legs and then a drop shot put away? Kobe and Lebron should try that one on for size. Djokovic came back to win this one after facing five match (actually championship) points. On to Paris and London. Next year’s tennis looks to be sensational.

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Gangnam Djokovic

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Novak Djokovic wins the China Open and then dances Gangnam-style with the ball girls. Is this the coolest athlete ever?


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Dull Speeches, Great Tennis

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

While people – a few anyway – were watching some pretty tedious political speeches Thursday evening, they missed some sensational tennis at the US Open. The quarter final between Novak Djokovic and Juan del Potro was a classic, particularly the second set when the six-foot-six inch Argentinian del Porto battled the Serbian world number two almost dead even until Djokovic, as he so often does, slipped through and won the tie breaker – and eventually the match. Both men were playing at their best, which is very good indeed, with several remarkable points going on for twenty or more strokes, leaving commentator John McEnroe (who should know) breathless.

Del Potro is returning to the form that won him the US Open in 2009 and Djokovic is playing at or near his 2011 level when he was virtually unbeatable. The Serbian – who at his best is almost otherworldly – seems destined to take his place in the Top Five all time pantheon of tennis players with Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, Rod Laver and, of course, Roger Federer. It’s interesting that three of these guys, assuming Nadal comes back from his knee injury, are currently active. This is an incredible time for men’s tennis, which is being played at a higher level than ever. The raw, non-stop athleticism of Nadal and Djokovic has never been seen before in tennis. And Andy Murray is no slouch either. He may be headed for a collision with Djokovic in the US Open final next week. Don’t miss it.

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Roger’s Do-It-Yourself Bourbon and More

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Some folks like to brew their own beer. Others like to ferment wine. To me those drinks are candy, as in the old line: “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” These days I’m a hard liquor man, favoring martinis and Manhattans, both done just so.

Toward that end I’ve been doing my own safari across country in search of the best ingredients. When it comes to martinis, I favor Plymouth gin kept in the freezer with a quick splash of Noilly Prat vermouth (the straw-colored kind). Add to that a secret ingredient I discovered at a bar in Charleston: celery bitters. Sprinkle some in, depending on taste. Of course, it’s then all shaken, not stirred, Mr. Bond. And served as icy cold as possible, straight up with, in my case, two olives. Others prefer, as Robert Mitchum would famously say, “No vegetation.” That’s up to you.

On the Manhattan front, things are a bit more complicated. I was originally a Maker’s Mark man, but lately I’ve been gravitating to Buffalo Trace bourbon. But more of the bourbon in a minute. The other ingredients for an unforgettable (I’ll take…) Manhattan that Dorothy Parker never had (I know, I know – she preferred martinis) are Antica Formula dal 1786 Vermouth (incredible stuff, a little pricey but worth it – you don’t use too much) and Luxardo, an Italian liqueur made of maraschino cherries. Use two parts bourbon, one part of that fancy vermouth and maybe slightly less than 1 part Luxardo (depends on how sweet you like it). Again, use a shaker with ice and pour over another maraschino (or not – it’s fine without it). Kick back and listen to Bobby Short or some equally “Manhattan” sound.

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Condoleezza Rice playing Schumann’s Fantasiestucke, Op. 73 with Cellist Kjell Stenberg

Friday, July 13th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Amidst recent rumors that Condoleezza Rice may get Mitt Romney’s nod for the vice presidency, it’s worth acknowledging that Rice would be pretty much the most accomplished person in high elected office in our country in recent years, possibly ever. She is a Russian literature scholar, fluent in the language, and a classical pianist at a professional or near-professional level. (The thought of her debating Joe Biden has definite comic overtones.) Here she is playing Schumann’s Fantasiestucke, Op. 73 with cellist Kjell Stenberg just last May:

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Cross-Posted from The Tatler

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Who Is the Greatest Athlete of All Time?

Sunday, July 8th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Tiger Woods once called Roger Federer the greatest athlete in the world.

But that was several years ago, before Federer eased out of his friendship with the scandal-ridden Woods.

More importantly, it was also before Federer won his seventh Wimbledon today (tying Pete Sampras’ record), his seventeenth grand slam victory overall (already record-breaking), elevating him once more to number one in the tennis rankings, a position he has now held for 286 weeks and counting (again breaking Sampras’ record). All this at the age of thirty, almost thirty-one, when most tennis players are supposed to be heading out to the country club farm or learning how to do TV commentary à la Joh McEnroe (non pareil in the area).

The match he played today against the unfortunate Andy Murray was one of Federer’s best. Several shots and rallies, including one deft net approach curveball to win the second set, will be replayed by tennis aficionados into the future.

At the moment, Federer again looks unstoppable. Of course, that could change. He has terrific competition, some of the best in the history of the sport, from Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

But even if it does, what Federer has accomplished over his career, from the initial victory over the waning Sampras back at Wimbledon in 2001 until today, is quite remarkable. It’s easy to agree with Woods that since 2001 he has been the greatest athlete alive. There is, however, a yet greater claim to be made.

He is the greatest of all time — not just in tennis, but in all sports.

What? Greater than Michael Jordan and Rafer Johnson and whoever else you might want to put on the list? Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb? Jesse Owens? Roger Bannister? Pheidippides?

Well, we all know it’s impossible to assess the comparative greatness of athletes in different sports across different eras and that this is the ultimate in biased assertions (and, yes, I admit to pro-tennis bias — a sport I have been playing since the age of six and still play, three times a week, in my sixties), but I will try to make the case.

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Why You Won’t Look at Spielberg’s Munich the Same Way Again

Sunday, June 17th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

From the Times of Israel, via Der Spiegel:

The Palestinian terrorists who killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics were assisted by a German neo-Nazi, a German newsmagazine reported Sunday. The neo-Nazi, Willi Pohl, helped forge passports and ferried one of the Black September terror cell ringleaders around Germany in the weeks before the Olympic massacre.

Based on recently released files from Germany’s security service BfV, der Spiegel reported Sunday that Pohl had met with Saad Walli, an “Arab-looking man” who boasted of his contacts to the radical wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization, seven weeks before the massacre in September 1972. Saad Walli was the code name of Abu Daoud, one of the masterminds behind the attack.

The 2,000-page report, which the police of the city of Dortmund sent to the BfV and other national authorities, does not mention any efforts made by any of the contacted officials to apprehend Abu Daoud in the weeks prior to the massacre, the weekly reported.

In October 1972 Phol was arrested by the police and was found in possession of grenades, arms and ammunition. The weapons were thought to be held in keeping for Black September to be used in a retaliatory attack against German targets. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

Pohl, who today makes a living writing crime novels and has “credibly distanced himself from terrorism,” according to Der Spiegel, helped Abu Daoud in several ways. He helped him forge passports and other documents and drove him “across the country, where he met with Palestinians in several cities,” the magazine quotes Pohl as saying.

I wonder what Steven Spielberg — auteur, with Tony Kushner, of the unconsciously (on Spielberg’s part anyway) anti-Israeli film Munich — must be thinking now that links with the Holocaust have been drawn. As one who has been known to write crime novels myself, the mystery for me is why Spielberg, after Schindler’s List, would make such a film, as if the Israeli vengeance were in any way morally equivalent to the horrendous racist mass murder. I think the answer is Kushner. I doubt Steven, not really a news maven, had any idea of the extent of the playwright’s anti-Zionist animus.

Now that the links between Neo-Nazis and Palestinian terrorists are made manifest, will the director have the courage to disavow his own film? If he really wants to do something for Israel, he should.

Cross-posted from PJ Tatler.

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C’mon, baby, drive my “People’s Car”!

Friday, June 15th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

The car of the future hovers of Chengdu:

Meanwhile, that was now, this is then:

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Nole v. Rafa: Best. Tennis. Ever.

Friday, June 8th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

I’ve been a tennis fan and player long enough to have watched the 43-year-old Pancho Gonzales defeat the 19-year-old Jimmy Connors in the Pacific Southwest tennis tournament held at the Los Angeles Tennis Club — the club where I now do fitful battle on weekends — back in 1971.

Okay, I admit it. I was already older than Connors then and had already seen a whole galaxy of great tennis players: Lew Hoad, Frank Sedgeman, Jack Kramer, Ken Rosewall, Tony Trabert, etc., etc.

But here’s the thing. Unlike a lot of fields of endeavor (movies, theatre, art, music, etc.), tennis is better now than ever. Two men, both with an argument to be the greatest of all time, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, are going to be battling it out for the French Open title at Roland Garros on Sunday. Don’t miss it.

These guys play a brand of tennis no one would have believed twenty years ago, with a fitness the best of the NBA can only dream of. The last time they met in the finals of a Grand Slam (Australia), it went on for over six hours, non-stop, no substitutions, no real breaks. Who knows what will happen Sunday — and there is so much on the line.

Djoker is out to win his fourth Grand Slam in a row, the first one to pull that off since Rod Laver in 1969; Rafa is out for a record-breaking 7th French Open victory.

Along the way Nole (as Djokovic is called) dispensed with Roger Federer — the man Tiger Woods called the best athlete in the world — in three quick sets, while Nadal blew away everyone, barely facing a break point and losing a scant 35 games in the whole tournament. Only Bjorn Borg had done better, but that was in the days of wood rackets.

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Study: Eating Organic Makes You a Self-Righteous Jerk

Friday, May 25th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

From the Daily News:

Eating organic might make you a jerk, a new study suggests.

Researchers have found that people exposed to organic foods are more likely to exhibit judgmental attitudes.

“There’s a line of research showing that when people can pat themselves on the back for their moral behavior, they can become self-righteous,” study author Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of the department of psychological sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans, told NBC’s “Today” show.

For the study, published last week in the Journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science, Eskine and his team split 60 people into three groups.


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Poliwood: With The Avengers Has Hollywood Rediscovered Patriotism?

Friday, May 18th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Lionel Chetwynd and I have been taking a hiatus from Poliwood until recently. Perhaps we were getting tired of the sound of our own voices.

But that was then and this is now and we’re back with a revitalized and we hope (not to be confused with the Obama brand of the same word) a better show. It has a more rigid format – first television, then film and then… here’s the new, new part… an ending segment by Matt Atchity, Editor-in-Chief of Rotten Tomatoes. Matt’s a cool guy with a cool eye on what’s coming out in the cinema. He gets to see all the reviews early. (Hey, someone’s got to read them.)

Anyway, the second of the new shows is up now – The Avengers: Has Hollywood Rediscovered Patriotism?

You can see the YouTube above or check it out on PJTV here. Let us know what you think. Any improvements – we’re game. Also, suggestions on movies or television shows you would like us to discuss.

Cross-posted from Roger L. Simon’s blog.

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World Peace Gets Seven Days

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

LA Laker Metta World Peace was given a seven day suspension by the NBA for whacking Oklahoma City’s James Harden in the head with his elbow at the Staples Center the other day, nearly decapitating Harden. With only one game of the NBA season left, this means WP will be out for the first six games of the playoffs.

Not just because PJ Media HQ is within spitting distance of the Lakers’ training facility, there are a fair number of Showtime fans in our company (the CEO and the COO – for two). But a rough poll of them today did not reveal a lot of sympathy (though perhaps a little sadness) for the one time Ron Artest. He may have gotten off easy with seven days.

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VIDEO: PJTV Remembers the Late Dick Clark

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

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